FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 161
THE 144,000 on MOUNT ZION
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
“Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…”
PART ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-ONE
Redeemed from the Earth
“And I heard a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand which were redeemed from the earth.” (Rev. 14:2-3)
As John stands enthralled by the vision, he hears a voice from heaven. As often, the voice John hears is an unidentified voice. As to its sound it was as the voice of many waters, like the sound of the ocean breaking on the rocky shores of Patmos, the voice of a vast multitude, that is, the corporate voice of a great company. Furthermore, it was as the sound of a great thunder, peal upon peal, reverberating through the heavens, that is, a voice full of power and authority. Now notice! The voice does not come from Mount Zion. It seems to be distinguished from the voice of the hundred and forty-four thousand. It comes out of the heavens of the Spirit of the Lord! It is a voice apart from the Mount Zion realm, as we shall see later on.
Then John hears the sound of a multitude of harpists playing their harps, and you will notice that it is the harpists who are singing to the music of their harps — not the hundred and forty-four thousand. The mount resounds with song, rich and full of meaning to those who can understand it. Yet not a song that those on earth are consciously singing, not found in any hymnal, nor flashed by any overhead projection, nor taught by any praise team, for it comes out of the eternal realm, reaching the ears and exciting the spirits of those who are called to stand with the Lamb upon Mount Zion. Of this song Carl Schwing wrote, “In the countless regions of the spirit there are sounds and words never heard by mortals. There is music so glorious in its magnification of the Godhead, that all that dwell within the vastness of the heavens fall prostrate at the feet of the Creator of all things. Music so overwhelming, so quickening, that everything that has breath is carried into a higher dimension of life in the Spirit and is taken deeper into the unfathomable depths of the heart of God.”
The harps are the Greek kitharais or lyres. The sound of the music also comes from heaven just as the sound of the great voice did, for the music is played and sung before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and before the elders. It seems to be the combined voices and music of a mighty choir and orchestra. Thus is conveyed the ideas of fullness, of majesty, of sweetness. It is the song of the heavenly hosts! Oh, the magnificence and multitude of the anthem raised — the celestial song, the perfect harmony, the melody of triumph, the message of victory, the very sound of that music of long ago, “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy!” (Job 38:7)
Now lest we should flounder in our understanding of these things, it is significant to note that John describes the setting of this song which reveals a drama quite different from what most of us have imagined. We must point out that John tells us that “they sung as it were a new song.” Not really a new song, but as it were a new song. Now notice the word “as” that fills these verses. The song filled the air “as” the roaring of mighty waters or the waves of the ocean. The sound was not the roaring of waters, but “as” or similar to such a sound. Its majesty was also indicated by saying that it was “as” the voice of a great thunder. It was not thunder, but “as” or similar to peals of loud thunder. The King James Bible represents John as saying that he heard harpers harping, but the Revised says the voice he heard was “as” harpers harping. This must be correct, for all three clauses are in the same grammatical construction, the word “as” being in all of them. So while John did not actually hear harpists harping, the sound he heard was like the harping, meaning that it was both grand and divinely melodious.
The song being sung was “as it were” a new song. It is new, and yet it is not new! It seems new, yet obviously the song has been sung before, but so long ago that it has been forgotten — and now it is as it were a new song. It reminds me of the story I read of Helen of Troy. The writer pointed out that according to legend this beautiful queen was captured and carried away and became a victim of amnesia. She became a prostitute in the streets. She didn’t know her name or the fact that she came from royal blood. But back in her homeland, friends didn’t give up. One Greek man believed she was alive and went to look for her. He never lost faith. One day while wandering through the streets, he came to a waterfront and saw a wretched woman in tattered clothes with deep lines across her face. There was something about her that seemed familiar, so he walked up to her and said, “What is your name?” She gave a name that was meaningless to him. “May I see your hands?” he pursued. She held her hands out in front of her, and the young man gasped, “You are Helen! You are Helen! Do you remember?” She looked up at him in astonishment. “Helen!” he yelled out. Then the fog seemed to clear. There was a recognition in her face. The light came on! She discovered her lost self! She put her arms around the old friend and wept. She discarded the tattered clothes, and once more became the queen she was born to be!
Ah, my friend, God searches for all men in the same way. He uses every method possible to look for men and women and to convince them of their worth to Him — their true value! When His word falls upon our ear and strangely stirs our heart, something awakens within and we think it is something new that is dawning upon us, when in fact it is a REMEMBERING of a reality we knew before, in the long ago. Can we doubt that this is what John witnessed happening in the lives of the followers of the Lamb? Oh, yes! There was a time long ago, before the present universe was fashioned, or ever the sun kissed the mountains of earth, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy, beholding God’s great plan of creation, redemption, and restoration. Every son of God was there that blessed day shouting for joy! And every son of God knew the song of the morning stars! And now, at the end of a long journey and travail, reaching the heights of mount Zion, suddenly, amazingly, mysteriously, wondrously THEY HEAR THAT SONG AGAIN! It seems new, but it’s not new — it’s as it were a new song! Hearing the strains of that melody and the lyrics of that hymn the fog begins to clear, the mists evaporate, recognition brightens the face, the light comes on, and we remember the realm from whence we came. The throne room looks the same! Again we take up the scepter that was ours before the ages!
There is another fact which shows beyond any doubt that this song is originating from a voice or voices which are not those of the 144,000 on Mount Zion. We have previously shown that Mount Zion is a symbol denoting throneship — the authority of kingship and dominion. Yet this song is not from the throne, but is portrayed as being sung out of a heavenly realm before the throne, and before the living creatures (kingship, sonship), and before the elders (priesthood). “They sing” refers to the harpists whose sound comes from heaven! Thus, the song is sounding forth from the “voices in heaven” and not from the Lamb and His followers on mount Zion. Can we not see by this that the song is for the benefit and blessing of God’s king-priest company, but it is not they who are at this point singing the song! Instead, they are hearing the song — it is as though a great orchestra and choir have been assembled to perform before God’s called and chosen elect in order to inspire, quicken, and renew within them the message and revelation contained in the song. Oh, the wonder of it!
And now comes the final proof. “And no man could learn that song but the hundred forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” Can you see the picture — the 144,000 are standing on Mount Zion listening to this “as it were a new song” in order to learn it! And no man — no man in heaven above, no man in earth beneath, no man anywhere in all of God’s vast universe, could learn that song except the 144,000 which were redeemed from the earth! Let us now see the enormous depth that streams to us out of this sublime scene. The 144,000 have just been redeemed from the earth realm, raised up out of a natural, earthly, limited, human, carnal consciousness, identity, and state of being into the heavenly, spiritual, divine, infinite consciousness, identity, and state of being of quickened, changed, transformed Christ-men. And in this heavenly state there immediately falls upon their spiritual ears the majestic chords and powerful message of a song which at first seems new to them — yet, somewhere, far away in the depths of their spirit, it stirs a chord, they have the sense that it is not really new — that indeed, somewhere, sometime, somehow THEY HAVE HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE! And now they must learn, actually re-learn it, just as in all of our spiritual experience we are being re-deemed, re-newed, re-generated, re-surrected — that wondrous song!
The words of Ray Prinzing are instructive here. “Volumes could be written on the qualifications of this company — this company of firstfruits which He is bringing forth have a new song. It is stated that ‘no man could learn that song, but…’ those of whom we have been speaking. They have to LEARN IT, but it is learned by the spirit. No man, no flesh, no carnality, no self-will can learn the song! The word ‘learn’ means: to apply by study, to experience, etc. Head-knowledge is not the ultimate of learning. So we find this word comes from a root from which we get disciple. A disciple is a taught one, one who has been trained, disciplined, chastened, developed, until the lesson is worked into their very being. There is an experiential reality which we are to share. No wonder man cannot teach man this song! It is a sovereign inworking of the Holy Spirit!
“Deriving our inspiration from the indwelling Christ, next we note that a song must have meaning, importance, a message that is clear, so that one can comprehend it. Some years ago a certain Communist promoter made the statement, ‘Let me write a nation’s music, and I don’t care who makes their laws.’ For he knew that if a message was clearly written into the music which the youth would sing, it would work into their thought processes, until it became the moral compass of their life, and they would follow the communistic ideology. Negative forces know this principle very well, and thus the sex and violence-oriented message in the rock and hip-hop music of the day is producing its results in tragic consequences. There are songs of suicide, and then people wonder why there is such a sharp increase in suicide among our youth!” — end quote.
As we meditate upon the verses of our text, taking note of what they really say rather than what we have assumed they say, it becomes clear that we often read over such passages lightly and carelessly, missing the true implication and import of the message! The scriptures are very clear that each of us came into this world out of the bosom of the Father. Before the Creator formed you as a vessel of clay, He knew you. He didn’t know you in your present physical form as Joe Smith or Sally Brown, but He knew you as spirit. God spoke to you about His plan for your life before ever you were formed as an embryo in the womb of your mother. Paul states it so clearly when He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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. 1:3-4) The Amplified Bible reads, “Even as He chose us, actually picked us out for Himself in Christ, BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”
Never doubt this reality for a moment — the only way God could have loved you, chose you in Christ, and picked you out for His own before the foundation of the world would be if you truly existed in and with Him before the appearing of the worlds. Nothing can be plainer than that! Yet we have supposed that we were just recently, in this life, apprehended of God to sonship. I thought the work of God began in my life nearly eighty years ago. Now I find that the thing God is doing with His elect began in eternity! It didn’t begin in time. It began before the ages were framed! God loved me, knew me, counseled with me, picked me out for His unique purpose, and commissioned me before the foundation of the world! My origin was in God! The Lord referred to this wonderful truth when He asked Job, who was void of understanding because of the veil of flesh under which he was subjected, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth…when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7) The words of the little chorus so beautifully express the truth of this:
From out of eternity, before time began;
In the bosom of the Father, while the morning stars sang,
I shouted for joy while beholding God’s great plan —
His purpose on earth, His election in man!
Each of us was born into a mortal, physical body and into a world of darkness, sin, and death. Our spiritual life was buried, covered, encased, concealed within the prison house of a natural, worldly, human consciousness just as a little child, if imprisoned in a room with no ability to relate to the world he is in, will be unable to express, expand, or function as a normal person. He will have no idea of what the world is like or what the true human experience is about. But our descent into this gross material realm was according to God’s plan! It wasn’t Adam that created the cunning serpent or invented the desirable tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or placed in man’s path the way of death. Oh, no! It was God who planted the garden eastward in Eden and placed all these things strategically in it! But God has both a purpose and a plan!
Paul speaks of an action of God involved in that plan when he says that we are “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2) This is indeed wonderful! We were born into this world with a promise from God — the promise of eternal life! The promise of salvation from this dreadful travail and a return to life more abundant was given us before the world began! When we came here we were born with a promise! In other words, when we came into this earth realm with all its sorrows and woe, by the promise of God, given us before the world was founded, we knew that we would get out of here alive! We also understood the great plan, the wonderful purpose, and the glorious outcome of it all! It was then, my friend, it was there, my beloved, that the morning stars sang THE SONG, and all the sons of God shouted for joy! Oh, yes, there was joy when our heavenly Father clothed the shining suns with their brilliant garments of light, and stationed the vast constellations in their ample orbits, and filled with radiance boundless space of His illimitable universe. Yes, there was joy even when our planet was clothed with blooming garments of living green, when the air was filled with feathery songsters, and the waters with finny tribes, and the world was covered with teeming life enriching the earth for man. But all these mysteries and wonders of creation are infinitely transcended by the inexpressible purpose of it all!
When we were with the Father as His sons we were perfect, but innocent and unproven. Job was a perfect man, the Lord said, but at the same time he was untested, untried, and thus all that befell him was for the testing. We could have remained hidden in God, and been holy and pure but without the maturity, understanding, wisdom, and power that are developed through experience. We would never have been holy because we chose to be holy. We would have been pure as a little baby is pure — pure but innocent, weak, and helpless. We would never have understood why the way of sin and death is delusive, dangerous, and disastrous. We would never have possessed the character of one who has been tried, tested, and processed. We would have been something like an over-protected child in this world, one who is innocent of much that goes on about him, and therefore unable to cope when exposed to the pressures, problems, and negatives. God wanted sons who became mature sons in the crucible of experience, having experienced all the opposites of life, holiness, wisdom, power, and glory — to overcome in it, to be made strong and victorious by it; not inexperienced and undisciplined sons rich by inheritance but with no nobility of character to handle what they receive. This is why we had to come this route, and believe me, before God would turn the whole vast universe over to us as the rulers in His kingdom WE HAD TO COME THIS WAY!
We must not think that when our ministry is finished here on earth, and all men have bowed the knee and happily owned Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, when all the earth has been set free from the curse and sin, sickness, and sorrow have flown away; when the dirge music has sung its last song, and the minor chords are all gone, that the Master will then say, “Go sit on a heavenly mount, and sing yourselves away forever and ever.” No way! What Bethlehem was among the thousands of Judah, this little earth is to the great Universe of God — for it is here that the glory of God has broken forth! All those stars, those worlds of light, who knows how many of them are inhabited? It is my conviction that there are regions beyond our imagination to which every son of God shall become an everlasting illumination, a living expression of the love, wisdom, and power of their Creator and God. The creatures in those far distant worlds could not see Calvary as this world has seen it; but they shall see it in the redeemed that are conformed to His image. Some entertain the foolish notion that each of those worlds have their own way to God, but such cannot be the truth, for it is the testimony of scripture that it is in Christ that all things are gathered together into one, of things both in the heavens and in the earth (Eph. 1:10). And we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, therefore we have a part in this great “gathering together” of all things into Him!
Truly in that day the Lord shall say to His sons who have brought the kingdom of God to pass in the earth, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” He is to keep on doing something, you see. God’s kingdom does not stop here on this globe, and God’s revelation is not limited to mankind. Compared to the orbs of space the earth is insignificant. The celestial realm is unutterably greater and its glories grander. Men will risk all of their fortunes and their lives to seize the reins of even the smallest of earth’s governments. Yet the glory of universal dominion promised to the sons of God is greater than all! The man who has been a faithful and wise steward of God here, will be promoted by our heavenly Father to more eminent service in the ages to come. This shall be our heaven, not to go there and walk on golden streets waving palm branches and playing harps, but to enter upon some larger, nobler ministry for which we are preparing by the lower and more arduous service of this present time!
The Bible clearly teaches that God’s sons shall inherit all things (Rev. 21:7; Ps. 8:3-6; Heb. 2:8). The eighth Psalm shows clearly that this includes the stars, the galaxies, and the planets. The whole vast universe shall be theirs! Every world that floats in space shall be subject to their word and at their disposal, as they range the broad fields of the boundless heavens. Here and now we are a people in whom there is royal blood; sons of God, heirs to the throne; we are born to rule over all things, and God is preparing us for that dominion. The rule of one little world is not enough for a man born of the omnipresent God of the universe! It may be for a chipmunk. It is not for a son of God, because one born from above is too big in his spirit, which is his real divine self. To be a spiritual man, a heavenly man, he must reach out to the future, to infinity, to eternity, and grapple with the powers of the ages to come, and compel them to gird him with strength to fulfill the ultimate intention of our heavenly Father. Methinks this high knowledge is a part of the glad refrain of THAT SONG which the 144,000 hear upon mount Zion, which is “as it were” a new song, yet we now know within ourselves that we truly heard it before, when the morning stars sang, and all the sons of God shouted for joy as before the foundation of the world our heavenly Father promised us eternal life and universal dominion as the fruit of our being lowered into this dark realm.
Today, unregenerated, carnal man is shooting rockets to the moon and Mars, boasting that he is going to use the planets as a launching pad to soar to the universe beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to “take over” and rule what he has not fitted himself to manage. There is that deep, innate knowledge in the subconscious of man that he is destined to explore and subjugate the universe. But man has not yet proven his ability to wisely rule this planet, much less the worlds beyond! Man with his history of greed, lust, strife, treachery, warfare, bloodshed, deceit, corruption, and perversion has now stockpiled enough atomic bombs to not only blow the earth to smithereens, but twenty more just like it! Shall God indeed commit into the hands of corrupt, depraved human nature the rulership of the universe? No way! Man is reaching out to rule that which he has not qualified himself to rule — and before it has been made lawfully his! Man is still a rebel. But what mankind does not know is, that when, through Christ, he first qualifies for the trust, it has been God’s intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars, but the WHOLE VAST, LIMITLESS UNIVERSE under his jurisdiction!
Oh, the wonder of it! Our Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God. He has been given the dominion and the kingdom. The whole universe has been delivered into His mighty hands for He has been given all authority and power in heaven and in earth. He is the heir of ALL THINGS! Now He tells us that it belongs to us (Heb. 2:6-10); and we have been raised to sit together with Him at the right hand of the Majesty on High, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto us (I Pet. 3:22). We are to sit with Him upon His throne, which is the Father’s throne (Rev. 3:21). We are not only raised up to sit with Him on His throne, but He has been given a name that is above every name, and we are also to share that wonderful Name. Listen to this: “To him that overcometh…I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city (government) of my God, which is New Jerusalem…and I will write upon him MY NEW NAME.” (Rev. 2:12)
This present time is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord over the endless vastnesses of infinity. They have proven faithful over few things. Now they shall be made rulers over many…over ALL HIS POSSESSIONS (Mat. 24:45-47). He has given us His glory because we are His brethren, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit, life of His life, mind of His mind. We are of common parentage, brothers by the new birth, becoming like Him in name, nature, and being. We are all “out of one” for which reason He is not ashamed to call us brethren. He has raised us up to sit with Him in the higher than heavenlies, hence we belong on His throne. And the place which He has been preparing for each one is not only a world to come, and a kingdom of life, light, and love, but a position, a place of eminence at His side, ruling with Him over all the eternal endlessness of His unbounded heavens! This is the song — I have heard THIS SONG upon Mount Zion! The millions of believers in the church systems of man know nothing of this song, for no man can learn this song except the 144,000 which are redeemed from the earth-realm! It is as if it were a new song, yet it is an old song, and we first heard it before the dawn of creation.
While we thus stand, as it were on Pisgah’s heights, and view the grand prospect just before us, our hearts rejoice in the Lord’s great plan, with unspeakable joy; and though we realize that God’s sons are still scaling the heights of mount Zion, and that the hour of divine breakthrough has not yet fully come, yet, seeing the implications of its rapid approach, and in spirit already discerning the dawn of the New Day, we lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh. Oh what fullness of blessing and cause for joy and thanksgiving the truth contains! Truly, the Lord has put a new song into our mouths. It is the grand anthem which was sung by the angelic choir at the birth of the firstborn Son of God — “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people, for unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Thank God, the harmonious strains of this song shall ere long fill heaven and earth with eternal melody as a whole family of sons in His exact image and likeness and form are born — saviours on mount Zion — and the work of universal salvation, the restitution of all things, which they come to accomplish, progresses toward its GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION!
Earlier we mentioned that God gave us a promise of eternal life before the world began. Few understand it, but in that long ago He also gave us the promise of manifest sonship! We were predestinated at that time to be the manifest sons of God! “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:28-29) Not only was eternal life and manifest sonship promised, the kingdom was promised also! “Then shall the King say to them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Mat. 25:34) All these wonderful things happened to us, and many more too numerous to mention at this time, before we entered this world as a human being. But do you remember any of it? Can you remember when you were there with the Father? Can you remember Him informing you of the plan, the purpose, in sending you to earth? Can you remember what was said, what you knew, what you agreed to, and why, and what you had when you were there with the Father? Do you remember being chosen in Christ, promised eternal life, promised a kingdom to reign in, and predestined unto placement as a son of God — before the foundation of the world? Do you remember the beginning of your journey?
Ah — YOU ARE REMEMBERING! Do you know how you’re remembering? The answer is simple — all revelation is but a remembering! Someone says, “Oh, brother Eby, the Lord showed me such and such — I’ve had a revelation and I see thus and thus.” Yes, you received a revelation! The reality is, however, that what you perceived as a revelation was “as it were” a new song, but it was not really new, God was simply reminding you; He woke you up, refreshed your memory, and caused you to recall a hidden, secret knowledge you once possessed before you entered this mortal state of limitation and confinement!
We should always be fervently aware that a revelation is an unveiling. That is the meaning in the Greek. To have something revealed means to have it unveiled. There have been masterpieces of art and sculpture that have had a day of unveiling. Michelangelo was famous for the unveiling of some of his great works. But you see, my beloved, the unveiling is not the creation of the thing unveiled! The unveiling is simply the revelation or uncovering of something which already exists! Spiritual revelation is not the impartation of either knowledge or experience that you have never known before. Not at all! Spiritual revelation is the uncovering of the secret knowledge of God within our spirit. Revelation is a remembering! The whole purpose of the Holy Spirit’s moving upon us in our journey in God in this life in the flesh is to cause us to remember the realm from whence we came, who we are, what our purpose is — that we might complete the journey and fulfill that purpose! That is the mystery.
A son of God can go a long time before he is awakened to the fact of his sonship. In fact a lot of God’s children are like the story of the baby eagle that was hatched out under a hen. You know that the eagle is a type of the sons of God who live and soar in the high places of the Spirit. Well, a farmer took an egg from an eagle’s nest and he placed it under a hen. In due time all the eggs under the hen hatched out. The baby chicks got along fine with the mother hen but that little eagle could not figure out the clucking and scratching for food in the manure pile. He managed to make a living but he was pretty confused about it all. But one day, from way up in the air the mother eagle that had laid the egg spied that little eagle on the ground. She swooped down with tremendous speed and screamed at the top of her voice for him to fly up to meet her. He had never heard an eagle cry, but when he heard that first scream something in him stirred and he longed to launch out toward it. But he was afraid to try. Again that mother screamed for him to arise in the wind and follow her. He screamed back that he was afraid. Once more she called out, screaming that he try. Beating his wings he hurled himself into the air, and answering the cry of his mother, he soared off into the blue skies. You see, he always was an eagle! He acted like a chicken for a little while but he could not be satisfied. But when he heard the call of the great eagle he came to his own place. And once a son of God hears that symphony from out of eternity, once it reverberates down the corridors of his soul, he too, will realize who he is and run to the great eagle who begat him to be seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, to stand with the Lamb upon Mount Zion — there to learn again that song he sang before the foundation of the world. It is indeed wonderful!
With deep spiritual insight brother Carl Schwing wrote, “There is a song that only the Sons can sing. That song was born within their hearts eons ago when they beheld the Lamb upon the throne. It is a song of all in all…a song that flows from the heart of the spirit…a song of wisdom and knowledge. It is a song of holiness…with words of life, liberty and perfection for all that the Father has made. If our ears could be opened for just a moment we would hear that song. Yet, the Melody has already begun His good work in us. It is unto Him that we look…it is by Him we live…and it is in Him that we abide.”
Another has written, “This song of the Lamb, known and sung only by these firstlings, is a song that no ‘man’ can learn for it is not birthed through human and earthly experiences. Man cannot be taught it, for it comes out of the far distant past when these few were chosen to join in harmony with the Father and His precious Lamb as the master plan to subject His good, perfect, and heavenly creation to the frailty and futility of a human and earthly embodiment was made known to them. These chosen ones, elected of God for a purpose, see a God who is working all things after the counsel of His own will; a God who works in His creation both to will and to do of His good pleasure. These were chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth” — L. Dane Tabor.
A distant relative of mine, Dr. Richard Eby, was accidentally killed when he fell to the street from a three story building. Instantly he was conscious in the realm of spirit. One moment he was conscious with a flesh-restricted mind, the next moment with a heaven-released mind whose speed of function was that of light. He was instinctively aware that the Lord of lords was everywhere about him, though he did not at that time see Him. Hours later he was raised from the dead, and of one of the wonderful experiences encountered in that heavenly sphere, he said, ‘Music surrounded me. It came from all directions. Its harmonic beauty, unlike earthly vocal or instrumental sounds, was totally undistorted. It flowed unobtrusively like a glassy river, quietly worshipful, excitingly edifying, and totally comforting. I had never sensed anything like it. The music was sounding within my head, not from an eardrum. Obviously it was not airborne. Most unusual to me was the absence of any ‘beat.’ Then I realized that without time this heavenly music could have no beat which is a measure of time! I was hearing harmonic perfection, undistorted by any interposed medium between me and its source, as heard mind-to-mind. The music around me suddenly seemed louder. I rushed to a nearby tree and grasped its trunk to my ear: it was ‘singing.’ I lifted my right elbow to my head; it emitted the same joyous, beatless melody. Excitedly I stopped to pick some flowers, and found them already in my hand. They, too, were ‘playing’ the tune!”
The atmosphere all about us is permeated with this celestial song of creation. But only the sons and daughters of the most High can tune in to that higher frequency and sing its melody, for these are they who follow the Lamb. The music transcends any earthly sound, nor are there necessarily any words of earth’s feeble languages with it. It is not learned in words, nor does it depend upon the skill of utterance. But it is a living vibration of all that GOD IS which is released from the very substance of the spirit within, flowing outward from the tabernacle of creation. This music is the beauty of holiness, the glory of the living God, the divine communion between Christ and His body, the spiritual harmony between the Father and His sons, the unspoken love between the Bridegroom and the bride, the triumphant symphony of glory! The source of power within the Song of songs is not tones or chords or melodies or harmonic sequences but, as it were, spiritual vibrations of divine power and reality — Perfect Love, Life Everlasting, Joy Unspeakable, Wisdom Unsurpassable, Omnipotent Power, Infinite Light.
As sons of our heavenly Father we are called, not merely to sing that song, but to BECOME that Living Song of songs! “And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isa. 62:7). It is when we become this mighty concerto of Life, Light, and Love that its power is made manifest. The release of the Christ-life within causes us to become this rhythm of glorified Life — creation’s heartbeat of joy, peace, and victory. The song is sung as Life, Light, and Love and is expressed as the essence of Being. It is an immortal Song — the vibration of incorruptibleness. It is not in words spoken — it is in a state of being, the emanation of God’s glorious and eternal reality to all about. Every man who develops the power to hear this Song out of the realm of the spirit is given the ability to sing the Song, sending it forth to a burdened and captive world. Sing that Song, O ye sons of Zion, for it shall eternally triumph! Let the beauty and majesty of the King of kings in the harmonic perfection of this Song vibrate from your redeemed spirit that it may fill the whole earth and subdue all the nations! It is the Song of the Lamb, the Song of mount Zion, the Song of the manifest sons of God, but its redemptive, healing, transforming effect is unto all the ends of God’s great creation!
Truly we experience those moments when verbal praises are inadequate to even begin to express that which surges deep within. There is a note, a chord, an inner song of rejoicing that finds no articulation in mortal words nor any audible strains of melody. From whence cometh this? In the measure body and soul are brought into subjection to, and union with, the spirit, the Song of the morning stars begins to vibrate once more — there is a Song of songs to be sung unto His glory. It is heard through the celestial realms as the NEW MORNING STARS take up that Lost Chord and begin to express the life and reality of God in spirit and in truth. There is a glorious company that stands upon mount Zion with the Lamb, they are of the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (Isa. 14:13; Ps. 48:2), and they are even now hearing that song, learning that song, beginning to sing that song, and are becoming the song! Hallelujah!
A song is peculiarly expressive of praise — praise with a message. And the quality and depth of praise is dependent upon one’s spiritual progression in God. Those who have received salvation, but have never followed on to know the Lord in intimacy of fellowship and vital union of life, are limited in their praise and the message in the praise; for the more we experience the depths of God, the more His essence of Being is revealed. Saints are filled with praise according to their individual capacities. Consequently, while unfaithful and immature saints will be filled with the good things of God according to their various capacities, yet these can never render the same worship as those who have followed their Lord all the way into the fullness of His life. Therefore these sons of Zion are said to sing a NEW SONG that no one can learn, except those who have traveled the same road as they. Those who have never climbed the heights of the mount are satisfied with the songs they sing on whatever plane they are, for they do not miss the greater song, having never heard it nor been moved by it. All have different capacities and different interests. I remember walking into a little Pentecostal church many years after the Lord had called us out of that realm, and they were singing some of the old Pentecostal hymns about flying away to heaven, and others even worse, and I caught myself thinking within myself, “My God! Are there really people on this earth still singing that stuff?!”
A song in scripture represents both praise and a message. It is praise that bears a message, or beyond that, praise which is birthed out of revelation and experience with God. You can tell the spiritual level of a person by the songs he sings! A person’s “song” will always express his depth of understanding and relationship with God. When we receive new revelation from the Lord, experientially inworked into our lives, a new song is created. There is an old English ballad the first line of which runs, “I cannot sing the old songs.” Some change has taken place in the singer’s feelings and experience which makes the old songs inappropriate, impossible. We all know something of this kind of feeling. Sometimes I look back over old sermons, and very often I have to say to myself, “I could not preach that again.” God has been teaching me during the years of my ministry, leading me into a fuller knowledge of Truth and a deeper walk in the Spirit. Hymns and choruses which once ministered life no longer express what the Spirit is doing and speaking in our lives, so we no longer sing them as we once did, and sometimes we change the words. Children always sing different kinds of songs than adults do! In the things of God, as in well-nigh everything else, “Time makes ancient good uncouth.”
Paul Mueller stated it so well when he wrote, “Again and again we are told to sing a new song unto the Lord. ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth’ (Isa. 42:10). The old songs of yesterday are empty, meaningless, and of no value to us now. They have lost their prophetic appeal and purpose, for all those former things have been fulfilled on the plane for which they were appointed. They are yesterday’s manna, and the spiritual people that we are can no longer live on yesterday’s manna. We must have a new song to sing, and by the Spirit, God is giving us that NEW SONG TO SING, which we shall sing to the glory of the Lord with all that is within us! Our new song is a song of the fullness of redemption, with nothing left out, which the prophets foretold was to be fulfilled in God’s elect.”
Thank God, there is a new song, a new revelation, a new message, a fresh word, a higher experience in God for this day, and for all the days to come! Those who sing the new song have outgrown the old ones. They no longer express their experience nor resonate with their state of reality. As the triumph of His life works within we are more and more learning to sing that song, the new song. The melody of praise which arises from the soul set free is rising as a sweet incense unto the Lord. All praise to the Lamb who hath redeemed us from the earth-realm!
REDEEMED FROM THE EARTH
“And no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth” (Rev. 14:3)
Redeemed — what a glorious word! How deep, how high, how broad! Oh, yes, it is true that we have been redeemed, but, like salvation, redemption is no single act or experience; as one has stated, it is “a crisis leading to a process” as we are progressively “loosed away” from one realm to another, from one mind to another, from one nature to another, from one state of being to another. Truly we are being freed from the dominion of the carnal mind, from a world of flesh-centered, self-assertive religious activities, and from the power of sin and death, first in spirit, working outward into the mind, will, emotions, and desires of the soul life, and finally in body by the mighty working of His power whereby He is able to change even our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His body of glory (Phil. 3:21).
The prefix “re” in “re-deem” means “again” (as in re-copy, re-wash, re-write). The main part of the word is from a root that means “to purchase, to buy.” So an article that is left in a pawn shop can be redeemed by paying the money that was borrowed, plus the interest charges. The item is thus re-bought or bought back. The word is also used when a company finds it possible to call some of its indebtedness, pay the borrower, and cancel the obligation: this is the redemption of bond issues. Spiritually, it means a return to that place, wisdom, knowledge, life, glory, and dominion which we once had in God before the ages were framed, ere this present cosmos or world-arrangement began. This confirms in a beautiful manner the truth we shared concerning the “as it were” new song learned by the 144,000 on Mount Zion; not a new song, but it seemed new, yet they had obviously sung this song before, long before they came to earth from the bosom of the Father. They can now hear and re-learn and sing again that heavenly song because their earth-journey is ended — they are redeemed from the earth! That doesn’t mean they have left the earth and flown away to some far-off heaven somewhere. Oh, no! It signifies a state of being — deliverance from the power of sin, carnality, sorrow, pain, limitation, and death. Redeemed from the earth-realm!
The English word “redeem” translates three Greek words, each of which has a rich meaning in connection with our salvation and transformation. One Greek word, apolutro, means “to loose, untie, deliver.” Another Greek word used in scripture and translated by our English word “redemption” is agorazo, the common Greek word for marketing. The noun agora means the market place, and the verb agorazo means to buy. In the New Testament the word is applied to souls. This would be readily understood in the ancient world, since there was a slave market that operated almost every day, and the traffic in slaves was very great. That Christ should have walked into the slave market and purchased, or redeemed, men who were slaves to the realm of carnality, sin, and death, would have been easily comprehended!
There is another Greek word which gives additional light on the thought of redemption. The word is exagorazo (agorazo with the prefix ex), and carries the idea of buying something out of the market. There is a difference between a purchase that is for resale and a purchase that is made in order to take an article out of commerce. For example, a dealer in rare books and works of art might purchase an item at a London or New York sale, and hold it for resale to a customer. Some pictures, books, manuscripts, and art objects are bought and sold again and again. But finally, when a great work of art is bought by a museum, it is thus TAKEN OUT OF CIRCULATION PERMANENTLY.
Today, we are being redeemed, loosed away from the earth — the earthy part of ourselves. The natural man always tends to gravitate towards the earth, towards soulish, earthly, fleshly, sensual things. We are being redeemed from this earthly mentality, consciousness, activity, and state of being! “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (I Cor. 15:47-49)
We are, furthermore, as sons on Mount Zion, redeemed from that religious realm which arises out of the soulical nature of man. Redeemed from soulishness! Redeemed from religion! Redeemed from the carnal church systems of man! Perhaps you never thought of that. We equate redemption with freedom from sin and death. Yet, here in our text it is the redemption, not of sinners, but of sons from the beastly religious orders set forth in chapter thirteen of the Revelation, represented by the beast out of the earth. This bespeaks redemption from that soulical “earth realm” that we read of again and again throughout the pages of the Revelation. That is the mystery!
Truly we have been loosed from this earth’s carnal systems. Oh, how our spirits were once tied to this world’s religious orders! We committed, we conformed, we volunteered, we were drafted, we labored, we worked, we performed multiplied works, participated in programs, drives, and promotions, tilling, as it were, the soil with the sweat of our brow — busily working “for” God! But God is LOOSING a people from the worldly religious spirit and bondage. No more is our spirit yearning to “do” great things “for” God, but our spirit is set free that we might go on to BEAR THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY, to be a manifestation out of the heavens of the spirit of the grace, and glory, and majesty of our God! Ah, these “redeemed ones out of the earth” are the ones STANDING ON MOUNT ZION, SINGING THE NEW SONG. And it is they who, like Moses of old, shall bring down from the mountain the new order for the new day! Redeemed — how I love to proclaim it!
To be continued…
FROM CANDLESTICK…, Pt. 161 [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY 1