FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 149
THE BEAST OUT of the SEA (continued)
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
PART ONE HUNDRED FORTY-NINE
The Bestial World System
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” (Rev. 13:1)
\The beast rising up out of the sea has seven heads. Numbers are always symbolic in the book of Revelation with the number seven standing for perfection, fullness, and completion. It does not denote an actual amount. So there is no need to look for exactly seven kings, or kingdoms, or powers of any kind. The same principle was employed by Jesus when He told Peter to forgive, not just seven times, but seventy times seven. He did not mean to forgive precisely 490 times, and then at the 491st time Peter would be free from the obligation. He was using multiples of seven to impress upon Peter the great truth that he should forgive completely and perfectly! To the Hebrews, numbers were descriptions rather than mathematics as each number represented something.
When the beast is described as having seven heads, it speaks of the completeness and fullness of his authority. Heads always indicate headship, that is, command, control, and authority. When we refer to the head of a group, organization, institution, or government, we’re speaking of leadership, managership, governorship — where the supreme authority is invested. In this case it is the headship of the world system of man that is signified by the seven heads. This is a headship over the whole world of men who are subservient to the system. The ruling powers are right in the midst of the beastly system. In man’s eyes, some human governments are good and some evil. But in God’s eyes they all are directed by the carnal mind, intellect, and nature of the Adamic man and therefore all receive their authority from the dragon! No country is truly doing the will of God, not even my own country which I do love and pray for.
Although the ten horns are not literally ten different kingdoms, or the seven heads seven different actual kings, yet the great truth expressed is that this beast represents a combination of all the great empires of the world. It is a composite picture of the nature, authority, and power of the whole world system ofCC man! And this beast is the incarnation of the spirit of the dragon! Now if we really desire to understand the mystery of these things it will be helpful to make some comparisons. First, I would take you back to chapter four of the Revelation. It will be profitable here to consider the scene John saw when he was caught up unto the throne. “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature like a calf, and the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.” (Rev. 4:6-7) In the light of this sublime scene we do well to remember that the beast in chapter thirteen receives his throne and authority from the dragon. But the throne and authority of the four living creatures (kingship, the sons of God) are from the God of the throne in the heavens! Each — the heavenly kingship company, and the bestial system of man — has a throne and an authority, but what a world of difference! One is the throne of God and man in that throne; the other is the throne of the dragon and man in that throne!
And here comes one of the most remarkable things in the book: the red dragon voluntarily relinquishes his power, his throne, and his authority in favor of this beast! “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon GAVE HIM HIS POWER, AND HIS THRONE, AND GREAT AUTHORITY.” (Rev. 13:2) Here is another remarkable thing: the whole world of men did not worship the beast solely; they worshipped the dragon too! “And I saw one of his heads as it was wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast…” (Rev. 13:3-4) Why is this? Had not the dragon vacated his throne in favor of the beast out of the sea? Oh, yes! But now the dragon incarnates the beast and lives on in the beast! The voice of the beast is truly the dragon’s voice, the power of the beast is in fact the dragon’s power, the authority of the beast is indeed the dragon’s authority, and the throne of the beast is actually the dragon’s throne! The dragon is thus the inward life of the beast, and the beast is the outward physical manifestation of the dragon! Can you grasp the great truth of these words of the apostle wherein he says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.” (Eph. 2:1-2) And again, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one.” (I Jn. 1:19) Can you not see the mystery?
Both the dragon and the beast are described with seven heads and ten horns but the main difference is depicted in the position of their crowns which marks the place of their dominion, for crowns signify rulership and dominion. The dragon’s seven crowns are placed upon his seven heads, clearly showing that his power is all connected with the intellect — the mind — in knowledge and worldly wisdom which he has fed into people’s minds from mother Eve all the way down to you and me. This is the inward, personal, and individual working of the dragon — Satan. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (II Cor. 11:3)
The beast, on the other hand, has his crowns upon his ten horns, identifying the place of his rulership and dominion as by power, for horns signify power. This speaks of the works — the institutions, organizations, systems, governments, laws, etc., which are the external instruments of control and dominion over men’s lives. The beast’s power rests within the transferring of the dragon’s wisdom and knowledge into the man-made world systems by which he motivates, dominates, subjects, and controls the masses of humanity. Can we not see by this that we have a dual enemy — we have an enemy within (spirit of the dragon) and also an enemy without (the beast, the world system of man) — AND THE ENEMY WITHOUT IS THE CREATION OF THE ENEMY WITHIN! And it serves his purpose! “And the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority…and they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:2,4) And is it not true that all men today do pay homage to the world system of man EXCEPT THE HOLY SONS OF GOD WHO HAVE GROWN UP INTO THE MIND AND NATURE OF CHRIST, THE LAMB! That is the mystery!
The man whose life, ambitions, actions, and methods are controlled by the spirit of the world has crowned the beast and given him power. The dragon in the beast solicits homage from all who have any aspiration in this world. He had the effrontery to tell Christ Jesus that, if He would fall down and worship him, all the wealth and the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory thereof, would be His. He is telling men and women that every day! If you will just adopt the spirit, ways, means, and methods of the world (even in your ministry), you will prosper and all will be yours! Without doubt, he has told you that. Have you crowned him as king? Do you believe his statements? Are you putting his directions into practice? I have known many preachers who have resorted to psychological persuasions, carnal methods, gimmickry, false prophecies, and outright lies and fraud in order to raise finances, thereby fleecing God’s people of their hard-earned money. Others think it is alright to put a price on their tapes, CD’s, and books, selling the word of God which they have freely received of Him, thereby preventing widows, the unemployed, retired on fixed incomes, and struggling families from having access to the revelation of God. That is spiritual wickedness in high places. I do not hesitate to tell you that all such have crowned the beast and given him power! That is the way the world operates, but not the kingdom of God! Can you imagine the apostle Paul sending a notice to the Galatian believers stating that for the price of $100 he would send his epistle of the month to them? Such a notion is not only not apostolic, it’s also NOT KINGDOM! I’ve heard the lame excuse, “But brother Eby, if we send the stuff out free of charge, the people don’t respond with enough money to pay the bills. And besides, we have discovered that what people don’t pay for, they don’t appreciate.” That’s a lie of enormous proportions! If people don’t appreciate what is freely and without charge given to them, then there is not one believer in the whole world who appreciates his gift of salvation, his healing, his deliverance, his gift of the Holy Spirit, his gifts of the Spirit, or any other blessing and provision of God, for has He not “FREELY GIVEN UNTO US ALL THINGS?” I could fill the next nine pages of this article with scriptures about our Father’s FREE GIFTS! And I do appreciate every one of them, though I did not pay one copper penny for even one of His favors.
Vast multitudes of men and women have crowned Satan before the whole world. There are men in politics and business and religion and society who show that they believe that a person can get on only by subscribing to the methods and techniques of the wicked world system. They regard those who have not bowed the knee to his satanic majesty as being ridiculously blind to their own interests. Do you want money, or fame, or influence, or position, or pleasure, or power, or ease, or security? Crown the beast, and you get it, is their advice! And so that arch-deceiver, hoodwinking those smart people, whom he makes think are the superlatively smart people of the earth, until at last they overleap themselves and fall in the ditch, chuckles to himself at his success; and when he deceives those folks who think they are the very elect ones of the universe for smartness, he has some grounds for self-gratification. In theory, men repudiate the corruptness of the natural man; but in fact, in actual life, it is simply astounding to see men and women, who hold their heads high, display such low-down, groveling propensities, as to take beast-forces, and mud substances, and the very spirit of merciless fraud, and crown them with the authority of dominion over their lives.
THE BESTIAL WORLD SYSTEM
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea.” (Rev. 13:1)
Throughout the scriptures, the word beast refers to a system, and not to a man. The beasts speak of bestial systems, organizations, institutions, movements, and governments. It can also be a state or condition. Ray Prinzing once pointed out that the description of a monster with seven heads and ten horns is not some pre-historic creature which is to plod across the earth devouring everything in view. If it was this literal, we would immediately recognize the situation as the fulfillment, and would try to find some human remedy. But being a “state or condition,” people are overtaken by it, and know it not, for there are few that understand the meaning of the signs.
This beast now under consideration is a system and evil entity that rules the world; it’s an antichrist system. It’s a wild beast, and a wild beast is a devouring, destroying animal; in the spirit it is a devouring, destructive entity. The beast is not just one human being, rather it is a system that dominates every area of human activity and life, whether it be business, politics, medicine, art, science, education, religion, or any other. Just as the body of a beast has many members, so there are a multitude of worldly systems; but these systems are typically overseen by a powerful government with those in power making decisions that perpetrate the carnal system throughout mankind. This beastly system is rising up out of the sea of humanity, out of all the people on the earth. When John stood upon the sand of the sea, he was standing upon that which could not be numbered, among all the people of the earth. The beast is not an “end-time” event — it is a present reality and has been ascending out of the sea of humanity since the dawn of history.
When the Bible uses the word world in the sense of something that must be overcome, it is not referring to the physical planet Earth. Rather, the “world” in that sense is the present system of society and civilization. The “world” is the collective result of the activities of errant humanity over the past 6,000 years — ever since the first humans departed from their life in and by the Spirit of God. Look at it. Wars, crime, violence, suffering, greed, corruption, dishonesty, sickness, depression. And then you have all the organizations and systems created by fallen man to try to control and restrain, or to correct and improve the situation and condition. But it is itself an evil, oppressive system! It is not God’s world. It is not God’s society. It is not God’s civilization. It is not God’s government! Anyone who seeks a close relationship with the world, “makes himself an enemy of God,” declared the apostle James. (James 4:4)
This beast with seven heads has long ruled over the inhabitants of the earth. The bestial system first made its appearance in the Garden of Eden. Our eyes behold its presence with the understanding of these words: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” (Gen. 3:1) These words tell us that there was not only a beast (the serpent) in the earth in that hour, but there was a beastly spirit and a beastly system already waiting to enforce its dominion upon Adam and his garden. Of all the bestial kingdom “the serpent (who is also the dragon) was more subtle than any beast of the field…” The serpent was called a beast, and was not dwelling alone, but was the most subtle of the whole bestial realm, even then the great dictator of the bestial kingdom! He still is. In the book of Revelation, the subtle little serpent has increased its stature to become a great red dragon who rules the world through the fearsome beast out of the sea. The first Adam, made in the image and likeness of God, given dominion in the kingdom of heaven on earth, failed the same test that later came to Jesus, the last Adam, in the wilderness, and exchanged that blessed realm for the grime and dust and filth and sorrow of the bestial kingdom.
That is why Jesus told Pilate, the Roman procurator, on the night of His trial, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (Jn. 18:36) The kingdom of God is not of this world. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14:17). Jesus said that His disciples are in the world, but not of the world (Jn. 17:11-16). The kingdom, likewise, is in the world, but not of it, not established by the world’s methods or operated by the world’s standards. It does not function by the politics of the world. The kingdom of God does not contain a Republican or Democratic platform. It is neither Conservative, Liberal, nor Libertarian. It is not Capitalist, Communist, nor any other economic system of man. It is established and maintained on a different basis from the kingdoms of this world. When we enter this kingdom we are not taken out of these earthly realms, but we are rescued from the jurisdiction of darkness, the hateful spiritual empire that energizes the governments of earth and enthralls mankind. We have been removed into that other spiritual realm whose Monarch is God’s beloved Son and our Elder Brother. We now live out our lives along the lines of the principles of God’s kingdom which are rooted in His nature, mind, life, and power.
What does Jesus mean when He says that His kingdom is not of this world? One of the key words translated “world” in our English Bibles is the Greek word kosmos. The word originated in Classical Greek where we find it denoted principally one underlying thing: a harmonious order, system, or arrangement. Out of this meaning it may be applied to the earth, the inhabitants of the earth, society, the universe, worldly affairs such as worldly goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, customs, ways, methods, organizations, systems, institutions, governments, etc. The idea of orderly arrangement or organization lies behind all the aforementioned categories. The earth, the solar system, the universe, society, government, commerce, education, social institutions, finance, entertainments — all these and many more operate by precise laws, order, arrangement, system, and method. Behind everything that exists and all that happens in the visible, material realm we meet a planned system; and in this system there is a harmonious functioning, an established order. That is THE WORLD! None of it is of the Spirit of God. None of it is established along the lines of God’s ways, God’s righteousness, God’s nature, God’s word, or God’s will. The Spirit has an altogether different standard and order out of the invisible realm. That is THE KINGDOM OF GOD! Therefore every organized system of the visible realm is the “world” in contrast to, and set apart from, the kingdom of God out of the invisible realm of God’s Spirit.
The Bible opens with God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. It does not say that God created the world at that time. God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, a place of light and beauty, and there was no “world” in relation to man. In that long ago beginning God proclaimed, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26) This wonderful purpose of God to make man in His very image had been settled in the divine councils of Elohim from eternity. The carnal minds of sin-cursed men cannot even begin to imagine in their wildest dreams and hopes the ineffable glory that is determined for man in the image and likeness of God! The glory is fully seen in our Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ Himself is “the outraying of God’s glory, the express image of His Person.” (Heb. 3:1) Only in Jesus Christ today can be seen exactly what God had in mind when He said, “Let us make man in our image.”
Adam, the man in God’s image, walked amidst the fragrant mists of Eden in the living presence of God. He heard the voice of God in the spirit within himself and lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. God Himself was his life and his every motivation and action sprang from the power of that life within. In that heaven blest realm the sounds he heard were spiritual sounds, the things he saw were spiritual things, and the things he touched, smelled, and tasted were spiritual realities. As yet there was no COSMOS, no “world,” no organized system outside of himself that he related to, subscribed to, or was influenced by. There was no outward constituted order of any kind. He did not function under any outward law or system, but functioned as a living spiritual organism, out of the life which he was. There was only God and man! It is interesting to note that the word world does not appear anywhere in the story of creation and the fall. In fact, its first mention is not until the days of the prophet Samuel!
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Eph. 1:4) The word “foundation” translates the Greek word katabole which is a compound word made up of ballo meaning “to cast, to throw” and kata meaning “down.” When man fell from his high and holy relationship with God and was cast down into this gross material realm, the “foundation” of the world was laid in his heart. We still speak of “laying” or “putting down” a foundation. But a foundation is not the building — it is that which the building is raised up upon! The “foundation” of the world was laid in man’s heart when he obeyed the voice of the serpent and departed from the kingdom of heaven realm in which he dwelt; but the “building” of the world was the fruit of his actions. Yet — blessed be God! The apostle Paul informs us that our heavenly Father elected some sons in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” The word “before” translates the Greek word pro meaning “to go before, to precede.” Hence, the Father’s act of choosing us in Christ preceded the fall of man and the establishment of the world system! We are not told how many days, years, or eons this choosing preceded the world, but methinks it was away back there when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy!
Since the world is in such opposition to God we must consider its origin and process of development. The world began with Cain. It is significant to note that the first action of Cain after slaying his brother Abel was this: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod…and he builded a city.” (Gen. 4:16-17) Cain built the first city — organized society, civilization — which typifies the worldly system of independence from the SPIRIT. The world did not exist when man was created (except in abstraction), but developed gradually after the fall, as man removed himself from the anointing and walked in his own carnal way. When man was brought forth from the formative hand of God there was already the universe, the heavens and the earth, and all created things; but the world did not exist. Following Adam’s expulsion from the Garden, when carnal men began to multiply upon the earth, the serpent in man gave direction and character to the “New World Order” of man, thus the scripture speaks of the natural man walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2)
There are three primary requirements for man’s existence and well-being on the earth: provision, protection, and pleasure. For a man to live an abundant, happy, and fulfilled life in the earth realm he needs the provision of food, clothing, shelter, etc., a means of defense to protect himself from adversaries, and a form of recreation and amusement for his relaxation and happiness. Prior to Adam’s transgression GOD WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING THESE THREE NEEDS OF MAN, and they were supplied abundantly right out of the spirit in the Garden of Eden experience, albeit on a much higher level than the corruptible world of today. After Cain’s departure from the leading of the Spirit, the scripture describes him as “of that Wicked One.” (I Jn. 3:12) The preposition “of” is from the Greek ekmeaning “out of.” Cain was OUT OF that Wicked One — the seed of the serpent! Cain’s father was Adam and his mother was Eve — nothing can be plainer than that in Genesis 1:4. This is the very first evidence that the serpent is in man! Cain was born of Adam and Eve, but he was the offspring of the serpent nature, the fleshly man void of the Spirit.
Out of the descendents of Cain were produced the founders of man’s own system of supply for these three great needs of life. These direct descendents of Cain were the three sons of Lamech. Lamech was actually the great, great, great grandson of Adam. Men lived to be very old in those early days, and these generations arose rapidly in succession to one another, so Adam was not very old when his great, great, great grandson Lamech was born. As I mentioned, Lamech then had three sons, and through these sons the world system was rapidly accelerated. The first son, Jabal, was the father of tent dwellers and cattlemen (Gen. 4:20). Tents and cattle are for the supply of mortal man’s living and therefore belong to the category of provision. While Adam and Eve were in the Garden we read nothing of them making tents or building houses or raising cattle. In the beginning God revealed Himself to man as his provision, making Himself available to man in the spiritual fragrance of Eden and in the tree of life in the midst of the Garden, that in union with Him we should have all things, even the supply of God Himself as our dwelling and sustenance. Jabal represents man’s own efforts, apart from the life of God, to make provision for himself. Spiritually, this symbolizes the carnal religious systems of man with their rituals, ceremonies, ordinances, and programs designed to “feed” God to man. All religion is the invention of man in his effort to meet man’s spiritual need — apart from the life-flow of God! Alas, the multitudes of men within these systems understand not that the reality of God’s life is not contained in, nor administered through, creeds, programs, rituals, ceremonies, or ordinances. Those who live in that realm feed upon the husks of the grain but never taste of the life within the kernel. These know nothing of the wonder of the Christ within. Man’s religion is of the world, for it is outside of God, being not of the Spirit, nor by the anointing.
Another of Cain’s grandsons, Jubal, was the father of all that handle the harp and organ. Playing harp and organ is for pleasure and inspiration and thus pertains to the category of relaxation and pleasure. This worldly aspect is fulfilled spiritually in the maze of social activity in religion, as well as in much of the music, programs, and sermonizing, all of which is designed to be pleasant, acceptable, and entertaining to the people. A “good preacher” is usually considered to be one who has charisma and can speak in an attention-grabbing, entertaining style. And have you ever noticed how preachers use music in a psychological way, having the musicians, for instance, playing softly in the background as they give the altar call or do personal ministry, laying on of hands, prophecy, etc., as though the soft, sentimental music adds something to the life of God by the anointing! That is not the song of the Lord, my beloved, it is the harp of Jubal!
I do not think that any spiritually-minded person could disagree with me when I say that nearly all the concerts, programs, and pulpit showmanship that constitute much of the so-called “ministry” among God’s people today are without doubt very appealing to the carnal mind which is ever wont to feed upon soulish entertainment rather than with reverential awe and holy brokenness to drink at the eternal fountains of living water that flow from the throne of God. I am convinced that our faithful Father has given the ministry of the blessed spirit of Truth, and that that spirit of Truth abides within all who receive of Him. There is abundant supply! God Himself is the portion of those who do know their God, and those who walk with God in the Spirit find their contentment, joy, and satisfaction in His pure reality! While God has given His manifest presence and true spiritual ministry for the perfecting of the saints, the worldly church system has given us a veritable smorgasbord of religious shows for the entertaining of the saints. Most solemnly do I declare unto you that all such ARE OF THE WORLD, and not of the Father, for their methods and means lie outside of the anointing of the Spirit and can never lead God’s people beyond the husks of man’s own vanity. Thank God! a people is arising who are finding their way out of Cain’s pleasure land of entertainment and sentimentality, back to the Paradise of God, back to the tree of life, back to the kingdom of heaven where they drink deeply of this sublime reality: “…in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore!” (Ps. 16:11) Oh, yes!
The third grandson, Tubal-cain, was the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron instruments. These instruments were formed for the purpose of defense, thus referring to the category of protection. All the armaments of all the nations of the world today, all the guns, tanks, airplanes, missiles, bombs and warheads are the result of the spirit of Tubal-cain. On the personal level, all the martial arts, hand guns, mace, tasers, and every other offensive device used for self-protection pertain to this category. I quoted the following passage earlier, but let me quote it again for the instruction of all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship to God. “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servant FIGHT, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (Jn. 18:36)
I have no hesitation in telling you that on the basis of the deep truth of the principles of the kingdom of God revealed in those telling words, as well as many other teachings of the Christ, I have been a “conscientious objector” to war all my life because from a small child I could never believe that the spirit of warfare with its hatred, killing, violence, and savagery is compatible with the love of God or with the spirit of sonship. God is love, and the sons of God are the sons of Love! Love will affect every attitude and action toward men on the personal level, the corporate level, and the national level. Oh, yes, we have our excuses and a thousand reasons are given to go forth and kill and maim and destroy by warfare. “The government requires me to do it,” we say. That’s reminiscent of that other time-honored cop-out, “The devil made me do it!” “I must defend my country and our liberties,” we explain, “we have an obligation to our families, our communities, and our nation to defend ourselves.” So we wield the sword, fire machine guns, and bomb villages and cities into oblivion, blasting thousands, yea, millions of innocent men, women, and children out of this world, and call on God to bless! What strange beings we “Christians” are who profess to follow in the footsteps of Him who said, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Lk. 9:56) I tell you today that no son of God is sent into this world to destroy men’s lives, but every son of God is sent into the world to save them. No son of God, no brother of the lovely Jesus, is sent into this world to destroy even one life, but to become a saviour for all men!
War is not a matter of one soldier against one soldier. It is now a war of guns and bombs and germs and chemicals and landmines against soldiers and mothers and children and babes. Any way to intimidate the foe! Scare and blast loved ones out of this world into heaven or hell — that is the way to win! We little realize the awful depths into which the spirit of warfare carries us. As one wrote of a certain war: “I had to aim carefully at the straw roof and only succeeded at the third shot. The wretches who were inside, seeing their roof burning, jumped out and ran off like mad…surrounded by a circle of fire about five thousand people came to a sticky end. It was like hell, the smoke rose to incredible heights, and the flames reddened the setting sun.” Someone said, “War is hell,” and may I add, he who participates in it is therefore a minister of hell. Could it be otherwise?
War is still ruling our world and it is not spiritual; it is carnal, political, and devilish. As ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven we pledge allegiance to a higher kingdom than any of the kingdoms of this world. Sons of God cannot fight carnal warfare and at the same time “Love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use us and persecute us; that we may be the sons of our Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Mat. 5:44-45) We cannot fight carnal warfare because we are ambassadors for Christ! An ambassador is a representative of another country and he is not subject to the political laws of the country where he abides. He is granted diplomatic immunity! The King whom we represent has commissioned us to “love our enemies,” “bless and curse not,” and “see that none render evil for evil to any man.” We are to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering.” “Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind.” How directly opposed are these attributes to the rules and spirit of war! Under the old covenant Yahweh required that His people Israel should go to war and fight and kill, but that covenant has been done away, and we are under the new covenant of grace whereby the law (nature) of God is written upon our hearts, and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God!
If fighting and killing on carnal battlefields is right for the sons of God, then the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, the priesthood of grace, mercy, love, reconciliation, and salvation is wrong; if the priesthood of love, even love for our enemies, is right, then for a son of God to participate in the carnal savagery of warfare is wrong. God is raising up in the earth a Kingdom of Priests — as SAVIOURS shall they come up on mount Zion! It is impossible to unconditionally and infinitely love all men while hating some men. And in the “war machine” of the nations it is impossible to go into battle with the “right frame of mind” unless your superiors have instilled into you a sense of outrage, anger, hostility, and hatred toward the enemy. It is not possible to be in preparation to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption while going out in the world’s war machine savagely blowing men to bits for whom Christ died. The irony of war is that there are in most cases soldiers who are Christians on both sides. These men, saved, perhaps baptized in the Holy Spirit, members of the body of Christ, who are to love and care for one another, and esteem one another, as Christ does us; and who are supposedly endued with a divine and heavenly love for all men, march out on the battlefield of carnal warfare at the command of their worldly governments and unregenerated politicians — and BLOW ONE ANOTHER’S BRAINS OUT! Brother shoots brother and brother bombs brother — each sometimes in the name of Christ! Ponder the fact. In international wars over the past 2,000 years, professing Christians have killed professing Christians by the millions! I have no hesitation in telling you that it is one of the most ridiculous contradictions in the world!
Now, we are talking about how God Himself was man’s defense in Eden. God as man’s defense is symbolized by the wall and gate that surrounded Eden, the spiritual realm of the kingdom of heaven on earth. When man departed from Eden he no longer had God as his defense and security, therefore he commenced to establish his own defense in the carnal realm. Do you think, my beloved, that today GOD CAN BE OUR DEFENSE? Can God Himself be the defense of either a man or a nation?
I first learned about the awesome power of God as our defense from my earthly father who was a good and holy man. He was a small man, only five feet, one and a half inches tall, but he was a man of courage, fearlessness, conviction, and a man of faith and power with God. He lived, breathed, and walked out what he perceived as true in God. And it worked! God was with him. He was an example of the power of the grace and love of God to overcome all evil with good. On more than one occasion he was attacked by men who had sworn to kill him because of the gospel. They came at him with bricks and two-by-fours and brute physical strength, and my father was a small man. He fearlessly stood his ground and spoke only the words, “I love you!” Their arms stopped in mid-air and they dropped their weapons. On one occasion the scene was less dramatic, but the Holy Ghost was upon my mother. As she spoke in tongues and turned the car around, my father was able to jump in and make his escape. He would never resist evil, never retaliate, never manifest any fear, antagonism, anger, or animosity. And he was never injured! God was powerfully with him at all times.
In the 1940’s my father joined himself to one of the Pentecostal denominations. When he was being examined for ordination to the ministry in this denomination he told the brethren, “There is something I must let you know. I am a conscientious objector. I do not believe a Christian has any right in the spirit of Jesus to resist any evil or go to war to fight against any enemy of our country.” He explained in detail his views on this matter. The brethren said to him, “But, brother Eby, what if a thief or rapist entered your house at night with the intent to rob you, or to molest your wife and children, or even kill you — what would you do — what would you do?” He answered, “I would call upon God and God would congeal him in the doorway and he would be unable to do us any harm. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, they are mighty through God.” “But,” the brethren pressed, “what if everyone believed as you do? What if no one would join the armed forces to defend our country? What if our enemies attacked us — what would we do?” My father responded, “My dear brethren, if everyone in this country believed as I do, there would be so much of the power of God in this nation that our enemies would not be able to attack us!” “Well, brother Eby,” the brethren said, “we don’t agree, but we do admire your faith.” They ordained him.
When men come to mount Zion they turn their weapons of destruction into instruments of blessing for their neighbors. “They shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks” is not just a word for the nations in some future day; it begins with us who are being shaped to bring such a result in the world! The characteristic of the holy mountain of Zion is the Lamb — sacrificial, redeeming love! The only sword carried by the Lamb is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Sons who stand with the Lamb on mount Zion have surrendered their right to be the aggressor, the destroyer with the sword. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These have the mind of the Lamb, the spirit of the Lamb, the nature of the Lamb. They are rendered defenseless before their enemies, armed only with the power of redemptive love. They can no longer fight any man or any nation with words or attitudes or actions of murderous rage, let alone with weapons that maim, kill, and destroy. They come under the rule of the spirit of the defenseless Lamb who is the Saviour of the world! The sons of God belong to a spiritual Constitution. Their foes are spiritual, for they wrestle not against flesh and blood. Their armor is the armor of God and their sword is the sword of the Spirit!
Lorain and I have two sons and one daughter. We are blessed that all of them are walking with the Lord and with us in this Kingdom Walk. I tell you today that we are willing to see any or all of them offered up for our Lord Jesus Christ. We are willing to see them suffer privation, ill health, persecution, pain, or even death for the cause of Christ and His kingdom, should the Father require such of them. Lorain and I have made great sacrifices (though we did not consider them as such!) through the years in order to fulfill the call of God in our lives. And we are now willing with joy to have our children suffer that and even greater things in the walk of this Kingdom. We would not hinder one of them from following the Lord to any of the far-flung mission fields of the world — even to give their lives there for the gospel. We are willing to die, or see them die for Jesus — but we are NOT willing to see them die on any battlefield of any nation of this world. We are not willing to see them carrying guns or driving tanks or flying bombers to take the lives of men for whom Christ died. We are not willing to see them blowing to bits men to whom we have been called to bring the kingdom of Life, Light, and Love. I am willing to see my sons and my daughter pay whatever price necessary to deliver creation from the bondage of sin, sorrow, and death — but I am NOT willing to see them, at the whims of carnal-minded politicians, blow men away into hell and judgment. The sons of God must be preeminently the SONS OF LOVE. You cannot love and maim and kill at the same time! The very thought is an absurdity, a horrible blasphemy. “For God so loved the world…” And so will all who are called to sonship!
On the spiritual side, ignorant of the power and sufficiency of the indwelling spirit, with what pompousness do the religious systems construct about them their walls and implements of defense! Church history is replete with examples of revival after revival in which men were sovereignly caught up into heavenly places of revelation, glory, and power, only to have man put his hand of flesh on the workings of God, to control, protect, and preserve it as though the omnipotent Spirit needed man’s useless wisdom and regulations to preserve His mighty work! Out there in Tubal-cain’s world you must have the brass and iron instruments of man’s invention — implements of organization, denominations, fellowships, coverings, bishoprics, creeds, rules, regulations, boards, lawsuits, etc., to defend and preserve the work; but, praise God! as one moves back into Eden, back into the anointing of God’s life, back into the fragrant, manifest presence of God, the omnipotence of the indwelling spirit of life becomes our fortress and exceeding strong tower! With what deep comprehension of the ways and power of the Lord did the Psalmist pen the words of faith in the ability of God alone when he wrote, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. For THOU art the glory of their strength: and in Thy favor shall our horn be exalted. For THE LORD IS OUR DEFENSE; the Holy One of Israel is our King.” (Ps. 89:15-18)
Let us return now to our original thought of how Cain and his three great-grandsons founded the “world.” In these three important inventions of Cain’s progeny man found within himself the answer to his need of supply, defense, and amusement. Man found no need of God, of His presence, life, or power, for he set about to establish his own world, independent of God. This was the civilization produced after mankind departed from the presence of God — a godless life created by men. This present world system of things is patterned after the order of Cain. It is all outside of God. That does not mean that it is all evil. It simply is not of the Spirit! How clear that in this earth the politics, economics, education, entertainment, commerce, and religion are all outside of God! When we have learned how the world was formed, it is easy to define the world. Originally, man was in the family of God, lived by God, relied entirely upon Him, and had at his disposal ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD. Now the serpent, through subtlety, sophistry, the carnal mind, the wisdom of this world, has systematized the world to replace God in being all to man. Man, having forsaken his inheritance, having departed from the presence, and having lost his life, relied upon the world and was overcome by the world. Therefore the world consists of everything that replaces God and possesses man!
The world is not for us. Its methods are not for us. Its fashions are not for us. Its institutions are not for us. Its ways are not for us. Its lifestyle is not for us. Its mentality is not for us. Its spirit is not for us. We are different. We are of God! We are called to higher things! We are led by the Spirit, the sons of God. God is saving us out of this world. Those apprehended to sonship are overcoming the world, just as they are overcoming the flesh, sin, and death. Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.” (Jn. 16:33) John wrote, “For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (I Jn. 5:4) Peter admonishes, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (II Pet. 1:4) And finally, the apostle James entreats us, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God!” (James 4:4) And thank God! the world is passing away. Not the earth that we live on, not our solar system, but the world — the present carnal system of things. And with it, all the chaos, sin, war, crime, poverty, pain, pride, deceit, death; yea, all that is not of the Father shall pass away. We have God’s word for it!
Even now as we learn to rise up in God, to put on His mind, to walk in His ways, to know His voice, to be led by His Spirit, to be conformed to His image, the nature, glory, and authority of that NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH are being formed within us. There has been released from heaven in the past several years a great and wonderful expectancy. It is the expectancy that all heaven is about to break loose in the midst of the Lord’s people on a world-wide basis. Do you identify with that expectancy? God is raising up voices throughout the length and breadth of the land to say, “The earth is about to see the glory of God in an unprecedented way.” A host of heavenly messengers has been released to every corner of the globe bearing the message, “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all mankind together will see it, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isa. 40:5) I have heard that message from every quarter of the earth, and it is the word of the Lord for this day!
Those who think all things are going to continue on as they are, are deceived. Even as I write, this planet is in the greatest spiritual, political, and economic change since World War II. Not too many years ago both the century and the millennium changed. History’s “odometer” turned up to 7000 — the beginning of the seventh day since Adam was banished in sorrow from Eden’s bright portals. But that means nothing to me except that I have heard the voice of the Lord announcing that He is about to do a new and wonderful thing in the earth! The manifestation of the sons of God is at hand! God is accelerating His kingdom program in the earth. We have entered an era or great change. Deliverance will come! There is no way out of the spiritual darkness of this hour, short of the manifestation of the sons of God. The “gospel” that is being preached today by the churches is powerless to alter the course of history. A mere “revival,” or more missionary outreaches, or the election of Christian politicians will not solve the immense problems of mankind, banish Islam, eradicate the man-made systems of Christianity, extinguish Buddhism and all the other isms of the world, bring peace to the warring Middle East, and bring blessing, peace, justice, righteousness, prosperity, healing, life, and immortality to the blighted masses of mankind. Nothing short of the manifestation of the sons of God can avail! Nothing! NOTHING!
With this manifestation the Day of the Lord will shine brighter and brighter. Whole nations will be impacted by the power and glory of the kingdom of God. Immortality and incorruption will begin to spring forth in a people. God shall roar out of Zion! The Lord Jesus shall come to be revealed in His people in all His glorious fullness. Mercy and judgment shall kiss each other in the midst of the earth. Great and terrible shall be the Day of the Lord! The “Day of the Lord” has nothing to do with wars, antichrists, or great vengeance and wrath poured out, as the preachers are wont to proclaim. It is the DAY of the Lord, the dawning and arising of HIS GLORY! I can assure you that a new age is on the horizon, a new dispensation of His working, and we cry out to be ready, and a partaker of that life-flow.
“I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (Jn. 17:14) If Jesus was not of the world, why was He in the world? If there was no sympathy between Him and the world, why was it that He lived in it and did not remain in that high and holy and blessed realm from whence He came? The answer is, the Father sent Him into the world to redeem the world! In these two expressions, “in the world,” and “not of the world,” we find the whole secret to His work as the manifest Son of God in the earth, and the King of the Kingdom.
He was “in the world” to face the powers that rule the world, to learn obedience, and to overcome the world. He was “not of the world” to bring men the life from above, that which man lost from his consciousness in sin, that men might see it and long for it and have it quickened again within them. He was “in the world” witnessing against its sin and shame and sham, its static religion and corrupt government, its impotence to know and please God. He was “not of the world” founding a kingdom entirely spiritual in nature and heavenly in origin, entirely independent from all that the world cherishes, promotes, and imposes, with principles and laws and a spirit the very opposite of those that rule the world. He came and inaugurated a program in the earth to bring deliverance to all mankind, deliverance from “THE WORLD,” from the tyranny of the teeth and paws of the wild beast out of the sea! It has been a long and progressive working, as the Lord has come in mighty spirit-power among His people throughout the church age, gradually but surely perfecting, purging, purifying, instructing, transforming, increasing, and preparing a people, a many-membered body, a company of manifest sons of God, to bring the full revelation of HIS SONSHIP and HIS KINGDOM and HIS POWER and HIS GLORY, to conquer the hearts of all men everywhere, to subdue the vaunted kingdoms of earth, to bring down the pride of man, to abolish the ruling of orders of the flesh, replacing the rule of the beast with the reigning of the LAMB! Aren’t you glad!
To be continued…