FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 99
THE SEALING of the 144,000 (continued)
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
The one hundred and forty-four thousand are divided into classes called by the names of the twelve tribes of Israel — the twelve tribes of those who are Princes of God! The Revelation is a spiritual book, and like everything else in the book the twelve literal tribes of Israel are used as symbols. These are character names, indicating the various aspects of character developed spiritually in every son of God. Many believers have one or more of these characteristics fulfilled in them, but here it is not the whole tribe that is sealed, but only a portion, a special, separated people unto a particular purpose in God. In this vision the twelve tribes do not indicate different groups or companies of God’s called and chosen elect, each company bearing the characteristics of only one of the tribes of Israel. These twelve spiritual character traits bespeak of twelve steps in our experience of Christ by which we progressively put on the mind of Christ and grow up into the maturity of His nature — the nature and character of sonship to God! This is a people that has experienced all that is represented by every one of the twelve tribes! Twelve is the number of divine government, therefore these twelve steps bring us to the throne of God and the Lamb where we shall govern the world in righteousness and reign with Christ over all things!
“Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:5)
Reuben is the second tribe in the list of tribes revealed to John and the name means “Behold a son!” Once we have met Christ in the spiritual reality of the tribe of Judah, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to whom is given the scepter and the throne, we receive the revelation of sonship, which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. When we have been quickened to our true heritage and destiny as sons of God, the next step is for the life of sonship to begin to be raised up within us. We are no longer concerned about the elementary and childish things most Christians are occupied with, but our whole desire is for Christ to be formed in us. Suddenly we do not see ourselves as mere believers, nor do we see those, the Father has joined us to as just “Christians,” but we view one another as sons of God. Our whole life becomes focused on the life of sonship. The cry of our heart becomes, “Behold, a son!”
We are not at this point a mature son, or a manifest son, for this is merely the beginning of Christ raised up in our lives in the power of the Spirit! It is here that the new creation man begins to grow and develop within us! It is the dawn of our sonship walk, the first baby-steps of our journey to the throne! In that blessed moment when the call to sonship was first quickened in our hearts, my beloved, it marked the very point in our walk in God when the cry was heard in and by the Spirit — “Reuben! Behold, a son!”
“Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:5)
The third tribe of Israel listed is Gad. Gad translates as “a troop.” On his death bed Israel prophesied of Gad, “Gad, a troop shall overcome him, but he shall overcome (the troop) at last.” (Gen. 49:19) The book Jacob’s Dozen gives this meaningful insight: “The English versions of the scriptures cannot adequately catch the word play in this statement. Four of the six Hebrew words in this verse are some form of the word ‘Gad.’ The following rendering more closely catches the meaning: ‘Gad, a troop shall troop upon him, but he shall troop on their heels.’ The passage succinctly prophesies that the tribe of Gad will be harassed by tribes of hostile enemies but will eventually repel their advances. A map of Israel in biblical times vividly displays the precarious position of Gad in relation to some of Israel’s ancient enemies. Hostile bands of Ammonites and Moabites bordered his territory.
“The constant exposure to hostile enemies resulted in Gad’s developing a reputation as fierce warriors, constantly ready to defend their land. In David’s days as a fugitive from Saul, the Gadite warriors who joined him at Ziklag were described in the following way: ‘And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David in the stronghold in the wilderness, men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, they could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and who were as swift as the roes upon the mountains.’ (I Chron. 5:18-20; 12:8) Though little is mentioned of the tribe of Gad in the Bible, the lessons to be learned from them are many. Gad graduated from the proverbial school of hard knocks. His difficult experiences produced a toughness that only hard times can bring! The spiritual lesson gleaned from Gad is that in the furnace of affliction we are prepared to come forth as gold. Finally, the promise to Gad is that ‘he shall overcome at the last.’ This corresponds to the seven promises to the overcomer in the book of Revelation!” — end quote.
“A troop” refers not to the large number of Gadites, but to their development as warriors and their victorious warfare against their enemies. As we move from the spiritual experience of Reuben where the new life of sonship begins to spring forth within us, the long process begins of the spiritual experience of Gad, the process of overcoming! The reason so many people fail to attain to great heights in the Spirit is because they are unable to see God’s purpose, and therefore they have no particular incentive to seek the great heights that are in Him. Multitudes of Christians are taken up with carnal ideas and childish notions about pleasing God enough to die and go to heaven, about mansions and harps and sitting on clouds eating pork chops with nothing to do and all eternity to do it in, to be able to grasp the transcendental realities of the kingdom of God!
There are certain basic principles of the kingdom that are raised up within the consciousness of all who are called to sonship. We are learning to think like God! We are beginning to rule with Christ in this life! Too many saints are weak, frustrated, fearful, and defeated. But the dynamite of God’s Spirit comes into the life of every apprehended one and blows us out of the low places of lethargy, discouragement, oppression, and defeat into a vibrant walk with Christ in the high places of peace, joy, and triumph in His kingdom! To the Gadites the Spirit admonishes: “Strengthen yourselves in the Lord and in the power which His supreme might imparts. Put on the complete armor of God, so as to be able to stand firm against all the stratagems of the devil. For ours is not a conflict with mere flesh and blood, but with despotisms, the empires, the forces that control and govern this dark world — the spiritual hosts of evil arrayed against us in the heavenly warfare. Wherefore put on the complete armor of God, so that you may be able to stand your ground in the evil day, and having fought to the end, TO REMAIN VICTORS ON THE FIELD.” (Eph. 6:10-14, Weymouth)
As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, the journey to the throne of the universe begins in that small and undistinguished place where you are. The kingdom of God is within you. The enChristed who are to reign with Christ from sea to sea, from planet to planet, and ultimately from universe to universe, are being trained and prepared! Think not in your heart, precious friend of mine, that you may pass your life here careless, indifferent to the dealings of God, suddenly to awake one fine morning to find yourself sitting with Christ governing the galaxies, because such a thing will not be. This present time is but God’s great “Boot Camp,” His proving ground for those who become equipped to reign with their Lord over the things of this world, over sin, sickness, sorrow, and death, over the nations, and over the endless vastnesses of infinity. He is raising us up to sit with Him in the higher than heavenlies! And the place which He is preparing for each one is not only an age and a world to come, and a kingdom of life, light, glory, and dominion, but a place IN HIM, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit, mind of His mind, heart of His heart, nature of His nature, life of His life!
“Overcome” — that is a fighting word, indeed, a Gadite word! It subdues, conquers, vanquishes, prevails, and comes off the victor! “Overcome” means victory. Now “victory” is a word that thrills! Everybody longs to win. If we play even the most trifling game, we prefer to come out victors. This is all the more true when the conflict is a matter of life and death! “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” said Jesus in the hour of His passion. “Overcoming” is a big word! It means there is something to come up over and getting over it is a divine thing. Even the Lord Jesus was made perfect through the things that He suffered, through blessed obstacles and divine agonies. Sometimes I have been asked why God permits so much evil. “Permits?” Why, bless your heart, He sends it! The old mystic was right who said, “There is no doer but God.” Not one of the ills of life could ever touch you if God did not sign the order. No matter how malignant your assailant might be, when anything has come to you which your soul pronounces unwelcome, praise God and go on — and then you have overcome! The evils, as we call them, of life are often not evils at all. We mix up evil with wickedness, rebellion, or some other negative and talk as if the two were the same. They are not! Evil is a larger term, and pain may be included in it. When we understand the ways of the Lord, we would not have suffering, trial, difficulties, trouble, tribulation, or sorrow expelled from life for all the glory that imagination can conjure up!
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you.” (I Pet. 4:12) “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried…be thou faithful…and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (changed by the sifting), strengthen the brethren.” (Lk. 22:31-32) When we can realize that God ordains trouble, trials, and tribulations to bring forth the gold of His divine nature from these earthen vessels, we can rejoice, as David, in our afflictions and trials and exclaim with him, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes.” (Ps. 119:7)
Any living thing that grows up without any opposition is weak and powerless. Not only do opposing forces promote growth to produce strength, stamina, and endurance, but they also build character in people. God’s sons must be strong and powerful, and anything that desires to be strong, or anyone, must wrestle with a force that is contrary to them! A plant that grows in a greenhouse sheltered from the winds and rains, pampered and protected day after day, may grow large and beautiful, but it is inherently weak, and if suddenly exposed to the elements will quickly wither and die. Any man who wants to build muscular power to be strong to overcome an opponent, must spend weeks and months and years in vigorous training doing heavy exercises, lifting heavy weights, using the opposing force of gravity to develop his strength. There is a great and magnificent future ahead for the sons of God! There is a great work our Father has for us to do in the age and the ages to come! Our work is to subdue, deliver, reconcile, restore, and transform all things and all men unto God! And He is now preparing us and making us ready for the high and holy place He has for us! Can we not see that ALL THE OPPOSING FORCES WE NOW ENCOUNTER, AND OUR RESPSONSE TO THEM are working together for our good — to first make us overcomers within ourselves, to develop the strength, character, understanding, compassion, wisdom, faith, authority, and power we must acquire to subdue and restore all things to God! God is right now, this very hour, making us spiritually like unto the Gadites who joined David to subdue the enemies and possess the land! Through our trials and testings, and our overcoming in them, we are becoming spiritually men of might, men of war fit for the battle, who can handle shield and buckler, whose faces are like the faces of lions, and who are as swift as the roes upon the mountains! Aren’t you glad!
Paul Mueller has written, “The principle purpose which is uppermost in the mind of the Father at this time is the growth and coming to maturity of His chosen remnant. Every other purpose under heaven is secondary to this greater purpose during this exceptional time. Therefore, it is essential that all who are members of this Christ body, the sons of God, should concentrate on their own spiritual maturity. Strive not to do the religious works of man, but seek rather for the fullness of Christ in your own heart and life. There is no other purpose under heaven that can equal this grand and holy purpose of the Father. Put away all the desires and appetites of the world and of the flesh, and seek only to please the Lord. And if you really care for the masses of the world who know not God and His wonderful grace and mercy, then you will seek for His fullness in your life. If you have really heard the groans of a creation that is suffering under the burden of sin and shame, you will cease all your religious activity, which is really only the works of the flesh, and will follow hard after the Lord. Let us seek to please God as Enoch did, and we will witness a glorious manifestation of His life that will set every captive free!” — end quote.
GREAT CHANGES ARE TAKING PLACE NOW IN THE LIVES OF GOD’S ELECT. We are being changed “from glory to glory” by the Spirit of the Lord! We are not of those who come to a certain understanding of God and His purposes and then settle down in that spiritual “place,” to await a change that will come some day. Our change will certainly be consummated at a time yet to come, including the transformation and immortalization of our bodies, but the changes are taking place progressively within us NOW! Each step we have taken in God has made us the more mature and victorious sons of God that we are now in the kingdom of our Father! We cannot hope to be transformed in that “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” appearing of Christ if we fail to take any of the revealed steps of spiritual growth, which are revealed to us by the Spirit in the glorious promises to the overcomers out of the seven churches, and are necessary for our complete and total transformation. Each step of spiritual growth in God is an indispensable and essential part of our full salvation!
We are learning the lessons that will help us to better serve in the kingdom of God. As we do, great heavenly wealth and power and opportunity to bless and restore all things lie ahead for each of us. Through God’s overcoming elect, creation will be lifted, redeemed, restored to life and liberty and glory — and that's just the beginning! Now notice — first, we behold the glory of sonship in the Lion of the tribe of Judah. There we receive our call to sonship! Next, by the quickening of the Father within, the life of sonship begins to be raised up in our experience in the tribe of Reuben. Now we behold a son! And then in the tribe of Gad we enter God’s wonderful training school of overcoming by which we are made strong, victorious, and mighty in God! God is raising up His spiritual storm troopers. Oh, how beautiful this is!
“Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:6)
The fourth tribe named is that of Asher. His name means “Happy.” Asher was the son of Israel by Zilpah, his wife Leah’s handmaid. It is important to know that in those days the “handmaid” was the personal property of her mistress, and any children born to her were counted as the offspring of the mistress. Therefore it is that at Asher’s birth it was Leah who exclaimed, “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed (happy): and she called his name Asher.” (Gen. 35:26)
By the spiritual provisions of the tribe of Asher the members of God’s elect begin to experience the rich blessings of the Lord and the overwhelming joy of His kingdom! It is in the tribe of Asher that we learn that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost!” The kingdom of God is joy! What a beautiful day it is when we step onto the territory of the tribe of Asher and discover the unspeakable joy of the kingdom of God! It is a special and surpassing type and quality of joy! There is more than one kind of joy in the world today. A Swedish massage or the sensual pleasures of sex are examples of physical joy. There is also a superficial soulish joy experienced by every man, woman, and child on earth irrespective of whether they be saint or sinner, moral or immoral, or what god they serve. It is the joy of children playing, the joy of a loved one coming home, the joy of a wedding, the joy of a newborn baby, the joy of the amusement park and the dance floor, the joy of delightful children who are an honor to their parents, the joy of accomplishment and recognition. Soulish joy is often a religious joy inspired by the singing of peppy choruses with the clapping of hands, and emotional prompting from the pulpit. There is nothing wrong with such joy, but if it can be “worked up” it is soulish, not spiritual! While such expressions of praise and thanksgiving may be done “as unto the Lord” they should never be confused with spiritual joy which is the joy of the kingdom of God and joy in the Holy Ghost!
Many good things bring soulish joy to our lives, but none of these have any relationship to the kingdom of God. You see, the kingdom of God is not merely joy — it is joy IN THE HOLY GHOST! It is God’s joy. It is heaven’s joy. It is divine joy.J It is spiritual joy. It is joy unspeakable and it is full of glory! We are the people of God, His chosen elect in the earth to accomplish His kingdom purposes. We are the vessels that contain the Spirit of God. We are the embodiment of God’s Christ. To have a conscious revelation of what Christ is in us arouses the consciousness of the kingdom of God within. The kingdom of God is in our spirit. When we walk in the spirit we are walking in the mind of Christ and in the power of the kingdom of heaven! “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:17) The sons of God are also called the “sons of the kingdom.” (Mat. 13:38) When the Holy Spirit rules us, when Christ in our spirit rules us, what other son could we be? The Spirit of Christ has come to rule our soulical senses and our body! Christ is being raised up within us as the personality and power of our lives! We can now walk and live above every storm and trouble, above all weakness and limitation, yea, above even sin and death! In this kingdom of the spirit tears are wiped away from off all faces and sorrow and sighing flee away as the kingdom rules our lives! It is here that we know and experience the profound and eternal spiritual joy that is the kingdom of God!
Spiritual joy is the sentiment and feeling of the man who, by virtue of the indwelling of divine life, shares the emotions of God Himself. God is spirit, therefore the emotions of God are spiritual. God is the eternal God and His kingdom is everlasting. His joy, therefore, is constant, unaffected, and unmoved by the changing course of events, for it has as its source the unchanging God! The Lord joys in His own perfections, unable as the perfect One to rejoice in anything less than the perfect. By spiritual birth and divine nature man is enabled to share the joy God has in Himself, unmoved by the swirling currents of ever-changing events in the outer world!
Often through the years we have seen the bumper sticker proclaiming “Happiness is…” and whatever the natural man relishes is added to those words. Only with the mind of the spirit may we discern the deep truth that such happiness is not spiritual happiness but the distorted Self’s substitute. That kind of happi-ness is related only to happen-ings. It depends on the nature of the happenings around man, whether they please him, suit his fancy, and meet his soulish standards and physical cravings. If they do, then he is happy. If they run cross-currents with the desires of the Self, then he futilely wishes that they would unhappen! And caught in that vice of circumstances he becomes unhappy!
The firstborn Son of God was happy — with the joy of the kingdom of God! He bequeathed this joy to His disciples. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (Jn. 15:11) When Jesus spoke these words He was under the shadow of the cross, suffering and death were blowing their chill breath in His face, and yet the song of His heart could not be hushed! The joy that characterized all His yesterdays was with Him still! And what a deep and satisfying joy that was! It is the joy of sonship to God! It is the indestructible joy of the eternal Spirit! It is the joy of the kingdom of God! It is not the joy of emotions worked up by singing a chorus twenty-five times amid passionate exhortations to worship — it is rather joy rooted in divine calling, divine knowledge, divine purpose, divine will, and divine nature. The joy of Jesus was not human happiness dependent upon happenings, or stirred emotions, but a new kind of joy, a higher dimension of joy, a deeper current of joy, the joy given by the seal of the living God upon the foreheads of the holy sons of Asher!
Such a lifestyle and language of joy does not just happen. To come up on mount Zion, to reign with Christ as sons of God, is to follow Him whom God has “anointed with the oil of gladness above all His companions.” (Heb. 1:9) This wonderful oil of gladness flows from Christ the Head to Christ the body. The oil of gladness is the anointing of the joy of sonship to God! It is the joy that belongs only to the sons of God! I think that many who read these lines are, through the deep dealings of the Father, coming to know this kingdom joy in a very real and precious way. Those who have received the call to sonship, those who have experienced the strippings and purgings, the trials and the testings, those unto whom the Lord Himself has come as a refiner’s fire and as fuller’s soap, those who have fought the spiritual battles of the Gadites, and overcome in them, know experientially what I am talking about! Ah, what joy this is!
“Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” (Ps. 48:2) When we live in this high realm of the Spirit where we are filled with the joy of the Lord, we live in mount Zion, we are citizens of that heavenly city and that holy mountain — and we are the joy of the whole earth! There is no people in the whole earth that has joy like the people that dwells in Mount Zion. Mount Zion is the governmental realm of God! It is the seat of His sovereignty and His kingdom! It is the center of His authority and His power! Where do you live? What is your residence? Do you dwell in the joy that nothing, absolutely nothing, can disturb, diminish, or destroy? When you live in mount Zion you are the joy of the whole earth! In a world where everyone is troubled, sorrowful, fearful, frustrated, and dejected, your very presence will cause the whole atmosphere to change! The joy of the Lord is coming to the earth in and through us! If that is not our experience, then we need to step over into the tribe of Asher!
It’s like the old farmer that bought a farm. The farm was run down and dilapidated, the fences were broken down, weeds had taken over, everything was in disrepair and disarray, it was in terrible shape. After three years of toil and labor the old farmer had everything in beautiful shape. One day the preacher came by, looked over the farm, and said, “Brother Brown, the Lord has certainly done a great job on this farm!” Brother Brown replied, “Yeah, but you ought to have seen it when He had it all by Himself!” You see, beloved, God doesn’t do anything apart from us. We are the temple of God. We are the priesthood of the Lord. We are the saviours on mount Zion (Obadiah 21). We are the kings upon His throne. We are the body of Christ. We are the arm of the Lord and the instrument in His hand. We are the government of God upon mount Zion — the joy of the whole earth! We are ordained to fill the whole earth with the joy of the Lord! There is no other source of joy, of the kingdom of God, for the peoples of this earth!
“Of the tribe of Naphtali were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:6)
This brings us to the fifth tribe revealed to John, the tribe of Naphtali. Naphtali means “wrestling,” but specifically struggling to attain to that which seems too high for us. In Israel’s blessings upon his sons he spoke of Naphtali in these descriptive words, “Naphtali is a hind let loose; he giveth beautiful words.” (Gen. 49:21) “Hind” is the word used in the King James Bible for a female deer, or doe, just as “hart” is used for the male deer, or buck. Israel’s prophecy is that the tribe of Naphtali would be known by their speed and agility like unto that of a doe! The fleetness and surety of foot seen in the deer is mentioned often in scripture. King David, acknowledging God’s help during his flight from Saul, said, “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hind’s feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” (Ps. 18:32-33) There is no doubt that David from his childhood had witnessed the hind as she fled, climbing high upon the rocks and the hills, at the presence of man.
Do you grasp the significance of this allusion? Hind’s feet are of marvelous swiftness and made to carry them over difficult places impassable to slower-footed creatures. The thought in the psalmist’s mind is that of a divine enduement added to human weakness, an imparting of agility and confidence to the soul, whereby it springs up, so to speak, out of the dangers which assail it on the lower levels of life, and climbs lightly and surely to the uplands of the spirit.
Some years ago I read the story of an Englishman who visited the West of our United States, in which he related the following incident. “It was in Colorado. Riding with a small party of friends through the picturesque scenery of that mountainous state, we came to a rugged narrow pass which presently opened into a narrow glade wherein a herd of antelopes were quietly grazing. If I remember rightly another party coming in the opposite direction rounded the farther corner of the pass at about the same moment, so that the antelope were caught, as it were, between two fires. We didn’t intend to do them any harm, but should greatly have liked a closer look at them. That, however, we did not get. The instant they caught sight of us they leaped up the side of the cliff to our right hand, at an almost incredible rate of speed, following one another gracefully and apparently without effort, from point to point in the giddy ascent, making scarcely a sound as they went, till they were finally lost to view amid the towering rocks and trees far above our heads. It was all over in a minute or two, and we were filled with admiration as we watched the rapidly moving feet of the pretty little creatures springing from crag to crag. It could hardly be called climbing; they were not pulling themselves up; they jumped and stood wherever they liked, in perfect poise, and without slightest hesitation. No fear of their way being blocked! They could go where a man could not except with utmost caution and at considerable risk to his own safety. They were absolutely secure, and they knew it. Up they fled, and were gone” — end quote.
Ah, “He maketh my feet like hind’s feet” — the nature of the spirit is one of lightsomeness, of spiritual sure-footedness, if I may put it that way, a power and confidence whereby we are able to escape from any menace and find our way to heights where no evil can reach to harm or destroy. That is the nature of the spirit! Soul and body are much less sure-footed, they cannot lift themselves up, and hence the “wrestling” indicated in Naphtali — the struggle we each have experienced in our efforts to identify with the ability of the Christ within instead of the weakness of the flesh. There is no struggle in the spirit, for the spirit is the one who has hind’s feet, and can skip and jump over any wall or any obstacle and escape any danger! The wrestling, or struggle, is in our mind as we follow on to be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” and identify with our true identity as the new creation man — Christ.
As we experience this warfare between the flesh and the spirit, between our old identity as human beings, natural men, and our true identity as sons of God, we are caught up in the spirit at times and are able to scale the heights and consciously walk in the high places of God. But then we revert back to our human consciousness and natural understanding and descend again in our consciousness, to identify once more with the rough-and-tumble of life on the lowlands. This is part of our growth experience and development into the maturity of the Christ! And thank God, we are learning the ways of the spirit! We are coming to understand that in every extremity there is always a way up. The way of escape from the flesh, the world, the pressures of life, the fears and frustrations, the temptations and troubles, is not to try and find a way out, but to discover the way up! As we seek the presence of the Lord and draw upon the life of the Christ within, the hind’s feet of the spirit within are raised up within us and by them God sets us on high!
Nothing is less able to resist the assaults of its enemies than the gentle creature here referred to as typifying the child of God. It could easily fall a prey to those that seek to harm it; it has almost no power to defend itself against them; but it has one great gift that makes it superior to them, it can make swiftly to the everlasting hills, and no natural hindrance is great enough to bar the way. Oh, the mystery of it! Are you caught like a helpless deer in a horrible pit of death? The sun has hidden its face and the sky looms dark with trouble, difficulty, problems, habits, sickness, weakness, temptation, and pressures too numerous to count; there is no way out; it is hopeless to look for an escape; all the exits are closed to human wisdom and human strength. Ah, yes, there is a way UP! There is always a way up in every situation, however desperate! God calls you, O son, daughter of the Most High, to take the way up! You have hind’s feet in your spirit, right there within you, in the depth of your life where the mighty Christ dwells!
Now is the time to prove the revelation God has poured into your life; now your wise heavenly Father has opened the door of opportunity to take the highest ground and deliver your soul from death! Are you afraid? Are you too weak to make the effort? Do your weary limbs refuse to work? Even now the Father is sealing you as one of the twelve thousands of Naphtali! Lay firm hold upon the mind of Christ given you, upon the mighty indwelling power of the Christ within you, and the Christ will not fail you! Look not to this preacher, nor to that ministry, nor to another’s gift. God will make your feet like hind’s feet and set you on high! Others will not tell you this. They will tell you that if you will sit under their ministry, eat at their table, join yourself to their church, drink from their fountain, and put your offering in their offering plate, they can lead you into Life more abundant. But I point you today only to the God who can do all. I have no ministry to promote, no church to build, no following to gather, no movement to advance, no ego to inflate. The kingdom of God is within you, and the new creation man within you HAS HIND’S FEET! Just as surely as you have nerves and muscles in your body which enable you to walk and jump and run, so you have hind’s feet in your spirit and they will set you on high! That is what sonship is all about! Only look to the Christ within, try your hind’s feet, get your bearings, spring up and mount to where wide horizons break before you, and shining skies surround you on the blessed table-lands of heavenly life!
This is God’s new day, this is your day — rise up and leap upon the mountains and skip over the hills. Our Beloved says to us, as He said to the Shulamite in the long ago, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and COME AWAY!” Ah, the spirit within you will leap over the sin and weakness in you; He will skip over the corruption and death in you, and cause you to rise into the immortal heights of the eternal mountains of God! Methinks you have heard the sound of His voice, methinks you have been stirred in the deepest depths of your being — arise O ye sons of Naphtali and ascend into the heights of victory and glory!
“Of the tribe of Manasseh were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:6)
The name Manasseh means “Causing me to forget.” “And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house.” (Gen. 41:50-51) Joseph had passed through many painful experiences with his family in the land of Canaan, but now God had so blessed and exalted him that the pain had been erased from his memory. Forgetting is a wonderful mechanism! God causes us to forget all the pain of the struggles, warfare, trials, and tribulations of the journey we have traveled into the fullness of God. He causes us to forget the mistakes, the embarrassments, the weaknesses, failures, and sorrows of the flesh realm and the bondage of corruption. And He causes us to forget immediately following the wrestling in the tribe of Naphtali where finally we get our hind’s feet! Isn’t it wonderful!
It is a natural thing to feel bad when we miss God, when we make a wrong choice, and do the wrong thing, but we never have to feel condemned! We simply have to turn away from it and know that God loves us, He is not against us, He is not “out to get us,” in fact, He ordained the very thing which we perceive as a mistake or a wrong choice — He arranged it in our experience to teach us His ways! He always comes to help us to get up and press on in Him! Every son of God is learning this great sovereignty of our Father and His unconditional love! Oh, how hard this is to believe, and the natural mind can’t believe it, but we can believe it from the deepest recesses of our being, in our spiritual man. GOD IS NOT CONDEMNING YOU! That doesn’t mean He condones and winks at and overlooks everything we think, say, and do, but His great heart of compassion freely forgives us and rises up within us to bring forth His victory. It is only the carnal mind that falls under the accusations and the condemnation and the guilt of sin-consciousness. The carnal mind is enmity against God and always thinks God is against it! As soon as we cry out to the Lord for mercy and strength He pours His healing ointment upon us and begins to flow in us by His presence and power. He wipes all the tears from our eyes! He appoints to each of His called and chosen elect that mourn and travail in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that we might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified ((Isa. 61:3). He washes us, cleanses us, flushing away all the old Adamic consciousness of sin, guilt, fear, and condemnation, establishing within us the consciousness only of the new creation man which is created after His image.
There is a further consideration concerning this great truth of “forgetting.” Biologists have discovered that there are two tiny glands at the back of the brain of the caterpillar which secrete a growth hormone. These glands control his growth as a worm and his larval life. It is when these two glands shrivel and cease to yield their life-giving flow that the caterpillar begins to die and the butterfly begins to form. This is most enlightening when spiritually applied to the renewing of the mind! This is a wonderful discovery, and I cannot help but believe that these two glands figure in some mysterious and divine way the carnal mind which gives motivation to the natural man. When we apply the fact of the existence of two glands instead of one, we see an amazing picture of the duality of the carnal mind — the knowledge of good and evil, and the law of sin and death. If you long, dear one, to be metamorphosed into the image of the heavenly, then “PUT OFF concerning the former manner of life the OLD MAN, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND; and PUT ON the NEW MAN, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)
It is an amazing fact that there is an active force, the secretion of a new hormone which appears in the brain of the caterpillar at the precise time when the two glands controlling the larval life cease to function. It is this new hormone which actually causes the metamorphosis from the chrysalis stage to the butterfly. In other words, both the death of the caterpillar and the formation of the butterfly begin in the creature’s mind! The death of the caterpillar is affected by the cessation of a hormone from two glands in the brain, and the formation of the butterfly is caused by the secretion of a new hormone from another process in the brain. In the light of these remarkable circumstances it is most significant that the apostle Paul by inspiration wrote, “Be ye transformed (metamorphosed) BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND!”
All our lifetime we have been subject to the bondage of corruption and death which is rooted in the carnal mind. Ah — “to be carnally minded IS DEATH.” (Rom. 8:6) That is God’s own definition of death, and according to inspiration death is IN T-H-E M-I-N-D! “It’s all in your mind,” they say, and though it may be spoken in jest, it is a wondrous and divine truth, nonetheless. In the same chapter a truth is introduced showing that the transformation of the body begins with the renewing of the mind, for, says the apostle, “to be spiritually minded IS LIFE…” (Rom. 8:6). Ah — life, also, is in the MIND! And he continues, “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT WHICH DWELLETH IN YOU.” (Rom. 8:11)
If ever a reason was given for a change of mind, a change of thinking, a raising of consciousness, this must be it: “Be ye metamorphosed BY the renewing of your mind!” It is the termination of the old way of thinking — the carnal consciousness of sin and death, viewing ourselves as just human, natural men, with all the Adamic condition of weakness and limitation — and the activation of a new way of thinking — the spiritual consciousness of our true identity and life in Christ which brings the change, and completes the change until our transformation into the heavenly state of being is consummated in spirit, soul, and body. Make no mistake about it! Paul declares forthrightly that this transformation, this change; this metamorphosis begins with the casting off of the corrupt and carnal mind which carries the mentality of sin and death, and replacing it with the mind of Christ which is the mind of incorruption, life, virtue, and glory! We have heard a great deal about this corruptible putting on incorruption and this mortal putting on immortality. We have embraced many theories about how this would be accomplished, but in one majestic sweep of inspiration the apostle brushes aside all theories to tell us plainly and decisively that we shall be transformed BY THE RENEWING OF OUR MIND!
Mind means thought, intellect, reason, sense, thinking principle. Thought is thinking! The renewing of the mind means the renovation, reconstitution, reprogramming, of our thought patterns and processes. The old mind, carnal and human as it is, is always thinking thoughts of sin and death! It leaves us mortal, corruptible, and unchanged. The new mind is the mind of Christ! To have the mind of Christ means to assume the identity of Christ, for the mind of Christ knows that it IS CHRIST. My natural mind knows that I am the flesh and blood man J. Preston Eby with all his human condition. My spiritual mind, however, knows that I am Christ, that is my true identity, for it is not I, but Christ who lives in me! The mind of Christ is the intellect, the thought patterns, the thinking principles of Him who has conquered within Himself both sin and death and abides forever in the life and immortality of the celestial! The mind of Christ is a transforming mind! It renews not only the mind, but the whole being and identity as well — soul and body. Our mind, our thinking, is being raised from the level of the natural, carnal, earth-bound minds we were born with, and is being spiritualized. This is not an instant change; it is not attained with one grand leap, but a continuous renewal as we hear the voice of the Spirit as He unfolds within us the mind and thoughts of God. These are thoughts of love, of righteousness, of life and light and power and incorruption and glory which transform us into the very image of God! As we wait in holy reverence in our heavenly Father’s divine presence He teaches us how to think out of our divinity instead of our humanity! When we think like God we act like God. When we act like God we become like God. When we become like God we are the sons of God. It is indeed wonderful!
Paul speaks not only of the “spirit of life” but also the “law of the spirit of life.” He says that the law of the spirit of life is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2). The law of the spirit means the nature, consciousness, and function of the spirit. It is the way the spirit is! Every life has a certain nature, consciousness, and function. The higher the life, the loftier its nature, consciousness, and function. For example, our youngest son, in his teen years, was a lover of hamsters. He had a hamster which from the time of its birth had never eaten anything but hamster food. One day he gave it an insect. Immediately, the hamster bit off the insect’s head and then proceeded to eat it. Now this unique action of biting off the insect’s head before eating it is a feature of the “instinct” of the animal. It is in his nature, a part of his innate consciousness. Though you breed countless generations of hamsters, and not one of them ever sees an insect, the moment you give one of those distant descendants an insect he will promptly bite off its head and then eat it. He requires no training whatever! This is the LAW of its life — its inherent nature, consciousness, and function. Nature abounds with millions of examples of this law of life-consciousness. Everything is what it is and acts as it acts out of its CONSCIOUSNESS!
The life of our spirit is the life of God Himself, which is the highest life form in the universe! Therefore, it is the richest in consciousness! The life within us, when quickened (activated) by regeneration, causes us to be full of divine consciousness, and this consciousness is the consciousness of INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE. The law of life within us is this consciousness. So — as we put off the carnal mind which is filled with the consciousness of sin and death, and are renewed in our mind into the mind of Christ which is the consciousness of righteousness and life, our spirit, soul, and body will become infused with not only the life of God, but also with the law of divine life, and we will walk in righteousness instead of sin — and we will think the thoughts of incorruption and immortal life instead of corruption and death!
As soon as we are regenerated and are awakened to the life of God within, this law of life produces within us divine consciousness. Our responsibility is to obey this newly activated law of life, thus thinking and acting out of the consciousness of life rather than death. In the beginning, the consciousness of this law of life may be comparatively weak and infrequent. Yet — as we learn to obey the very first impulses of this law of life, though it be weak, the consciousness following will become stronger and stronger. In this way the law of life can work within us in ever-increasing measures and power until it reaches every part of our whole being. In this way the life within us is enabled to expand outward and increase in depth and height until all corruption is swallowed up into life in every fiber of our being! This is Christ raised up in us in the power and glory of His sonship!
Few believe that the spiritual body can be put on here and now even as we stand upon our feet. Do you? Can you believe it is possible for you to be changed, transformed, metamorphosed in your whole man here in this life? And, since you cannot by any natural process perform this for yourself, are you willing and ready to come under the deep secret law of letting the mind of Christ cancel out the carnal mind, of letting the law of life nullify the law of sin and death in the secret chambers of your consciousness? Within the cramped cocoon which swings through the winter gale on the branch of a tree, a mighty transformation is taking place! Be still — all of a sudden the shell cracks, the cocoon gives way; the folded form stretches itself out of its cramped position, and limbers itself up with joy. In its new consciousness it does naturally what it has never done before, the former things have passed away, and with them all their limitations. The worm can fly! It is the law of its life! And the law of your life, precious friend of mine, is to know and live and demonstrate the full capacity of HIM who is within you THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!
Now here is the mystery of it all. The butterfly has been caused to forget that it was ever a caterpillar! God causes us to forget! The Adamic mind and nature is being put off by the renewing of our mind! The day is coming, my beloved, when we will no more remember when it was or what it was like to walk in the old human consciousness of the natural man, any more than the caterpillar can remember once being a worm. Little by little and day by day God is causing us to forget the things which are behind and to press forward into the glory that lies before! Oh, yes! This is what happens when we are sealed in the tribe of Manasseh — it is there that our mind is renewed and we are caused to forget! That is the spiritual characteristic of the tribe of Manasseh. Isn’t it wonderful!
“Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:7)
Simeon was the second son born to Israel and Leah. The name Simeon is related to the Hebrew word for “hear,” denoting one who has a hearing ear. Leah gave him this name because of the thankfulness in her heart to the Lord expressed at his birth, “And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said, Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, He hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.” (Gen. 29:33) God heard Leah’s prayer, and now Leah prophetically bestows that faculty of spiritual hearing upon her son! As soon as we begin to “forget” our old, carnal, worldly, and religious life of the past by the spiritual experience of the tribe of Manasseh, we are now ready to truly HEAR the voice of our Father in all that He will reveal unto us!
I am reminded of the story of the two old Dutchmen, sitting on a park bench. The night had come and the moon started to shine. Not far from the bench where they sat, a river flowed, and from the river came the chorus of the crickets. Pete, the first old gentleman, listened to the crickets and said, “Crickets sure do sing.” John sitting next to him agreed, saying, “Yep, they sure know how to sing.” Just then he heard the voices of the choir coming from the nearby church and remarked, “Beautiful music, isn’t it?” Pete said, “Yeah, and to think they do it just by rubbing their legs together!”
Each heard a different music — one was listening to the crickets and one was listening to the choir. What you hear depends upon where you’re coming from and what you’re tuned in to. Sometimes you meet one that is religious, awed by the crowds, the buildings, the great meetings, the charismatic speakers, the beautiful television programs, the music, and the wonderful works supposedly being done. They feel they are “rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” They can talk much of the milk of the Word, their spiritual gifts and religious toys. But they know nothing of the present truth of His gathering to Himself a remnant to bring them into His perfections. They are well versed in the traditional doctrines about the antichrist and the so-called rapture, but they know naught of the mighty move of God in the earth today preparing a firstfruit company of Kings and Priests to ascend the throne, reign over the nations, and bring the kingdom of God to pass in all the earth. You cannot begin to speak of the deep mysteries of the kingdom, or of those divine quickenings which the Holy Spirit of truth has whispered into your being, for they have no ears to hear them. Were you to declare the things we are hearing from our Father in the churches of our day, they would demand your silence or escort you to the door. Their eyes are closed against the bright vision of that which lies before at the manifestation of the sons of God and the consummation of God’s great plan of the ages. They are dull to the knowledge of the Spirit’s working in this hour in His elect. But, blessed be God, there is a people whose ears have been touched by the finger of God, a holy race of sons of God who are being quickened to hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD who speaks from the throne of the heavenlies!
Shortly after becoming king in Israel, Solomon traveled to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Here the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Ask what I shall give you.” Though grateful to the Lord for having chosen him to succeed his father David, Solomon was keenly aware of his inadequacy to govern the people without divine help. “Give Thy servant therefore,” he implored, “an understanding heart to govern Thy people, that I may discern between the good and the evil.” Pleased by such a request, the Lord replied, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for long life, or for riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to recognize what is just and right, behold…I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor; so that there shall not be any among the kings equal to you all your days.” (I Kings 3:11-13) The expression “an understanding heart” is in the Hebrew text A HEARING HEART. And in Isaiah 50:4-5 we read of the inner discipline which Jesus and all the elect sons experience. “Morning by morning He (the Father) wakens, HE WAKENS MY EAR TO HEAR as those that are willing to be taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious…”
A. B. Simpson was a man of deep spiritual experience. I quote the following from his article Listening. “A score of years ago a friend placed in my hand a book called True Peace. It was an old medieval message and it had but one thought — THAT GOD WAS WAITING IN THE DEPTHS OF MY BEING TO TALK TO ME IF I WOULD ONLY GET STILL ENOUGH TO HEAR HIS VOICE. I thought this would be a very easy matter and so began to get still. I had no sooner commenced than a perfect pandemonium of voices reached my ears, a thousand clamoring notes from without and within, until I could hear nothing but their noise and din. Some were my own voices, my own questions; some were my very prayers. Others were suggestions of the tempter and the voices from the world of turmoil. In every direction I was pulled and pushed and greeted with noisy acclamations and unspeakable unrest. It seemed necessary for me to listen to some of them and to answer some of them; but God said, ‘BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.’
“Then came the conflict of thoughts for tomorrow and its duties and cares; but God said, ‘BE STILL.’ As I listened and slowly learned to obey and shut my ears to every sound, I found after a while that, when other voices ceased, (or I ceased to hear them), there was a still, small voice in the depths of my being that began to speak with inexpressible tenderness and power and comfort. As I listened, it became to me the voice of prayer, the voice of wisdom, the voice of duty, and I did not need to think so hard or pray so hard or trust so hard. That still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in my heart was God speaking in my secret soul; was God’s answer to all knowledge and all prayer and all blessings, for it was the living God Himself as my life, my all. It is thus that our spirits drink of the life of the risen Lord and we go forth in life’s conflicts and duties like a flower that has drunk in through the shades of night the cool and crystal drops of dew. But, as dew never falls on a stormy night, so the dew of His grace never comes to a restless soul. Oh, the calm! The rest! The peace which comes as we wait in His presence until we HEAR FROM HIM!” — end quote.
The sons of God, the mature ones, are coming to the place where they unmistakably know His voice. There is a listening to hear the sound thereof, a receptivity within, and a responsiveness to follow in obedience. He is teaching us secret, wondrous things out of His law! It is a precious walk, a communion that sustains and enriches us day by day. This is the blessing of Simeon — the Father is sealing us with a hearing ear!
To be continued…