OUR PATH HOME, VOLUME II
WHO ARE WE? CHAPTERS 1-18
BY: DANIEL YORDY
2009 and 2011
LIVING in HEAVEN and EARTH
THE EXPLOSIVE MOMENT of the NEW CREATION
WALKING in the FAVOR of GOD
WHAT is HEAVEN
Looking for the Appearing
BE JUST like your FATHER
GOD COMMANDS-BE JUST like GOD
FACING the STORM
THE PRESENCE of GOD
VICTORY in the PHYSICAL BODY
DO NOT COVER your GLORY
CHRIST in the STORM
PERFECTION requires WEAKNESS
THE REDEMPTION of the BODY
THE CAULDRON of RESURRECTION I
THE CAULDRON of RESURRECTION II
REST versus PASSIVITY
WEAKNESS versus PRETENDING
THY PEOPLE shall be WILLING
LIVING in HEAVEN and EARTH
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers… What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You visit him? You have made him a little lower than angels (Elohim), and You have crowned him with glory and honor… David in Psalm 8
What is man?
Who are we? What are we? What is our purpose? These questions have stirred the hearts of men for thousands of years. Every man and woman descended from Adam knows that life is not what it was meant to be. We grope in the darkness; things are not clear. This question that David asks here in Psalms 8 is echoed down through the centuries. What is man; why would God pay attention to him?
Psalms 8:5 says, You have made him a little lower than the angels. That word in the Hebrew is not “angels” it is Elohim, You have made him a little lower than God. Elohim is the same word found in Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth. Jewish tradition translated this into “angels,” instead of “God.” But it was not said that way by David.
You have made him a little lower than God.
Then Psalm 22 shows us this extreme contradiction of what we think we are. Psalm 22 is the thoughts of Jesus upon the cross, given to his forefather, David, hundreds of years before.
My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? . . .But I am a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
Even Jesus, hanging upon the cross, despised and mocked, came to this conclusion about himself in his humanity; I am a worm and no man.
We find ourselves in this great contradiction. What is man? We have a sense of a glory that has been lost, of something great that we once knew that is gone far from our ability to reach for it. We sense a future that ought to be, yet we look at ourselves now, and we say with Jesus, I am a worm and no man.
What is man? Why has God focused His attention on him?
The writer of Hebrews refers to this passage from David. What is man that You are mindful of him. . . You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things under him. But we see Jesus… Hebrews 2:6-9
God put all things into subjection under man. But right now we don’t see how all things could be under our feet. We don’t see that we are in command of anything. Everything seems out of control.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:9-10
The writer of Hebrews refers to the same thing Paul said in Romans 8:29. The purpose of God is to have many sons conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. God is bringing many sons to glory.
He is not ashamed to call them brethren . . . Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death that is the devil… Therefore in all things He had to be made like His brethren… Hebrews 2:11-17
In asking the question, what is man, the Spirit of God tells us, “Look at Jesus.” We don’t see who and what we are when we look at ourselves separately from Jesus. He was made like us that we might be made like Him. We are becoming who we are.
But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
What is man?
I am a person – me; I am one who thinks, who feels, who chooses. In the center of this one who thinks, feels, and chooses is my heart. My heart is all the expression of my desire, my dreams, and my hopes. I am a living soul. My mind, my will, my emotions, at the center of which is my heart, all that I desire, that is me.
I am the pearl of great value. Jesus, coming upon this field which is my life, saw that pearl, my heart; He converted everything that He owned, His life, into the purchase price, His blood, that He might purchase for Himself the treasure that He saw, my heart. That He might have my heart for His dwelling place.
Now, as a living soul, a human, I live in two worlds. The universe has two parts to it. These two parts are intrinsically related together, and yet they are very different. These two parts relate with one another all the time but they are different in makeup. On the one side of the universe is physical matter. In that part of the universe are the stars, the planets, space, time, the earth, animals, plants, and everything of the earth. All those things are the physical side of the universe.
The other side of the universe is spirit. In the spiritual side of the universe are the several levels of heaven. There is the place of the dead, where the dead are reserved in judgment. The spiritual side of the universe is populated by angels. It is my suspicion that as with animals there are many different kinds of creatures of various sizes and shapes and orders and purposes, so the word “angels” refers to a very similar arena of many different types of beings. God always gets carried away with Himself when He creates. He never creates in moderation, but always with abundance. Inside that realm we call angels are creatures of great size and tiny, many different kinds and shapes and ways of beings and purposes of expressions, and we call all of that vast realm of created beings, angels.
These two realms are related closely together. Although the spiritual realm has full view of the physical realm, the physical realm cannot see the spiritual realm. However, the two interrelate all the time.
Man is different. Man is the only being created by God who lives in both the physical realm and the spiritual realm at the same time. Jesus, while He walked this earth, said, The Son of man who is in heaven. Jesus was in heaven and on the earth at the same time. So are we.
Man was created to live in both sides of the universe at the same time. Here is how. God gave me two bodies: a physical body and a spiritual body. I, me – my heart, as it works through my mind, will, and emotions – I relate to, communicate with, and manipulate the physical world through my physical body. At the same time, I relate to, communicate with, and am a part of the heavenly world, of heaven, with my spirit, my spiritual body.
Through my physical body I speak with physical beings; through my spiritual body, I speak with spiritual beings. God is Spirit. I relate to Him through my spirit, my spiritual body.
Now, at the moment Adam bit his teeth into the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his spirit died. Before then Adam communicated with and lived in both realms. Adam communicated freely with the animals in the garden. At the same time, Adam walked with God and communicated fully and freely in the spiritual realm with God. Adam saw heaven all around him.
At the moment Adam sinned, his spirit was cut off from God; it lost its ability to communicate with and see the heavenly realms. It was still there in a twisted form, but it was cut off from knowing God. He could still reach out towards God as through a glass darkly, but from that point on, for Adam or his children to turn to the spiritual side of the universe through their spiritual bodies, all they could contact would be the realms of fallen angels, the occult and the demonic. That’s why God put strict laws in the Old Testament concerning the fallen spiritual realms. “Don’t go there,” He said, because, reaching out in your fallen spirit to the spiritual realms, the only thing you will contact is the demonic.
At the same time, death also came to Adam’s physical body. It did not perish into the dust at that moment. But in less than 1000 years, one day, Adam’s physical body died and crumbled into the dust. The moment Adam sinned, death came into his body. It was now subject to sickness, to deterioration, and the diminishing of its faculties until finally it returned to the dust.
However, Adam himself did not vanish after physical death. Adam continued in the place of the dead, a holding place, as a living soul with all the desires of his heart that he ever had, with his own mind still functioning, his own emotions and will. But in that place of the dead, Adam had neither a physical body through which he could fulfill his desires in the physical realms nor did he have a spiritual body through which he could touch the godly side of the heavenly realms. There Adam wandered, waiting, without the ability to express himself in any way.
And so, all the way through the Old Testament, God dealt with a people in whose spirits was the spirit of disobedience, the nature of sin, and because of sin, death. These were a people who had fallen spirits that could not connect with the heavens of God. If they tried to contact the heavenly realms, all they could touch were the realms of the demonic, far more powerful and prevalent than the earth has known since the cross of Christ.
But during the centuries of God’s dealings with Israel, because of the coming blood of Jesus, the Spirit of God was able to speak through individuals, through Moses, through David, and the prophets. Through those individuals, God could speak to His people. God lived in their midst in the temple, but in doing so, He erected barriers around Himself, barriers that could only be crossed with blood, the blood pointing to the coming blood of Jesus. And thus God could fulfill his purpose, in some fashion, of making His home among men. But only in a distant sort of way, not the way He intended.
Then came the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the first time God could do the work of His intention. From the time Adam fell until the time of the resurrection of Jesus, God held man in a holding pattern. All the development of the human experience, all that God had in mind – He waited 4000 years until He began the work of forming us into the image of Jesus Christ.
God begins that process in us in our spirit.
We were minding our own business one day, when, unknown to us, the Spirit of God hovered over us in our darkness. Whether we were in a meeting or talking to some person or reading a book, the Holy Spirit hovered over us, and in the midst of that Holy Spirit there came a word into us. We believed that word, and in that moment, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we were born again.
Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. 1 Peter 1:23
An incorruptible word, an incorruptible seed that came from God into us, birthed us again, anew. Now this word “born again” that Peter uses and the word John used in his gospel when Jesus said, You must be born again, this word is not the same as the English word “born.” It is the Greek word, gennao. Here in Peter it is the word anna gennao, “born from above.” The word gennao corresponds with the English word “conceived.”
When that word came, a new life was conceived inside of us, a new spirit was created inside of us. We could now communicate with God’s side of the heavenly realms, living and walking in the spiritual realms safely because we walk in the Holy Spirit. We live in the heavenlies, completely bypassing that savage area of the heavenly realms that fallen man cannot get beyond, the occult realms. We live and walk in the heavenly realms with Jesus because our spirit, our spiritual body has been restored, we have been born again, a new life is working inside of us.
I will follow two lines of thought in this investigation of who we are. The first is, what does it mean that I am born again? Sadly, so many Christians revert back to their defining verse, “The goal of the believer is to go to heaven when you die.” And now, being born again means “I’m going to heaven when I die. That’s it.”
Jesus said to Nicodemus, Most assuredly I say to you, you must be born again. Nicodemus said, How can a man be born again when he is old, can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born? Many laugh at Nicodemus for being so silly. You see, it never entered into Nicodemus’ mind that Jesus was giving a formula for becoming a Christian. Nicodemus was grappling with what Jesus said. Even though he saw it only through his natural mind, he was much closer to the truth than most. Jesus was talking about a conception and a birth; He was not talking about where we go when we die.
So, I want to explore what it means to be born again. At the same time, I want to look at the question of our body and our spirit. As Paul explains the gospel, he centers his argument on the body. Our physical bodies are central to the salvation of Jesus Christ. As we live in the allotted time God has given us in these bodies, it is vital for us to take advantage of them. Being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ takes place in the physical body.
Our physical body is central to the plan and purpose of God, as is our spiritual body. Both bodies are important, and we must understand the role of these two parts of us in what God is doing in our lives.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but possess the life of the age to come. John 3:16
What is eternal life? God tells us in John 17:3.
This is eternal life (the life of the age to come,) that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. “To know,” here, is the most intimate relationship of pure and perfect intimacy with God. He that believes in Him will know an intimacy with God and with Jesus beyond the conception of our present minds.
And this is the testimony that God has given us already, we have eternal life. And this life is in the Son, he that believes on the Son has that life. 1 John 5:11
God has given us an intimacy and a closeness with Himself, an entwining, beyond what we can understand.
He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
This life is in the Son, and the Son lives in my heart. When I look at my heart, I see Jesus. I do not blaspheme Him by seeing selfishness and deceit. When I look at my heart, I see the very life of God. I am born again. I am conceived of God from an incorruptible, heavenly seed that has come out of the very bosom of the Father. That seed came into my spirit, and I am a new creation.
I am not what I was before I was born again. Now that I am born again, I am fundamentally different than I was before. Jesus is inside of every part of me, and I, every part of myself, am utterly inside of Him.
What is man?
We dare not fall short of the answer to that question. So many Christians see themselves as nothing more than sinners, sinful humans. “God has had mercy upon me, and He has decided to rescue me after I vacate the earth because He had pity on me and that’s all there is.” That is not the covenant we have with God.
I am conceived from above. An incorruptible seed came into me, and I was born anew. I have eternal life, that is, I have in me an intimacy with the Father beyond what my present understanding is able to conceive.
What is man that God pays so much attention to him? What is man that God takes everything He created, both in heaven and in earth, and makes it subject to me? That He would give me authority over all of creation?
What is man?
THE EXPLOSIVE MOMENT of the NEW CREATION
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
God is Spirit. To worship Him, we must worship in our spirits. Our salvation begins in our spirit. You and I are a living soul – mind, will, and emotions, at the center of which is our heart, our dreams and hopes, what makes us who we are. God, then, has given us two bodies to communicate through. We have a physical body through which we relate to the physical side of the universe and a spiritual body, our spirit, through which we relate to the heavenly side of the universe.
When sin entered the world, death entered both bodies. The spiritual body died, that is, it was disconnected from communication with the godly side of the heavenlies, and the physical body began its decline back to dust. Death entered both bodies.
Man’s fallen spirit became in him a driver of evil. When Paul speaks of the old man, he was speaking of that fallen spirit that turned dark in the sin of Adam. That old spirit was now breathed upon by the spirit of disobedience.
Up until Jesus, nobody could worship God through their spirit. God had given Adam a spiritual body through which he communicated and walked with God in the heavenlies. In the day that Adam sinned, he could no longer see heaven. The children of Israel, under the Old Covenant, could worship God only through their physical bodies. They could sing, clap their hands, and bring an offering of sacrifice, offering the blood of sacrifice up to God. They could do many things of worship through their physical bodies. But they could not worship God with their spirits because their spirits were cut off from God.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “Yes, during the time when man could worship only through the physical body, God set a single place as His dwelling place, the temple in Jerusalem.” Man was not to worship God or offer sacrifices on every high hill or on every street corner. It was too easy for any supposed physical worship of God to fall into the worship of false gods. Therefore God instituted a very strict order for worship, a physical worship.
“Yes, that was true, but now God is looking for something more. God is a Spirit, and He is seeking worship from the spirit of man, from redeemed, made-alive spirits.” Jesus pointed to something soon to come in the experience of man on this earth, that is, the re-creation of the human spirit. God does not restore the old dead spirit; He births a new spirit within us. And He gives us a new heart.
The dividing line between the human heart and the human spirit is hard to find. The human heart is the central organ of our spirit, as it is the central organ of our body. Our human spirit, the largest part of our makeup, is anchored in the heart. When man has a fallen spirit, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Therefore, when God creates a new spirit within us, we get a new heart as well.
Jesus declared that God intends to bring this part of the human back to life so that He can relate to man once again through man’s spirit.
When the disciples were in the upper room, Jesus came to them, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21
In that moment, when Jesus breathed upon these men and women, when He said Receive the Holy Spirit, for the first time since Adam had sinned in the garden, men and women had living spirits. At that moment the people in the upper room were born again; their spirits came alive. They had not yet received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which would come several weeks later. But in that moment, for the first time in their lives, they were ALIVE!
Every one of us who believe in Jesus had the same experience. There was a moment in our lives when we were dead, separated from God, with fallen spirits and hearts that were deceitful and desperately wicked. In our darkness and death, at a certain moment, a word, coming through the presence of the Holy Spirit hovering over us, entered into our hearts, and in that moment, in a flash of light, a new life was created inside of us.
There were a number of things that happened in that moment, drastic and awesome. Different people experienced different things outwardly. Some felt wonderful, glorious and clean, with a huge weight lifted off. Others felt next to nothing, with joy and peace slowly unfolding over the next while. Each person had a different and personal experience on the human side of things. But on the heavenly side, what happened in that moment was beyond extraordinary.
The New Testament tells us exactly what happened, what God’s purpose is.
Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Romans 6:6
At the moment that the word from God entered into our spirits and we were born again, the old fallen human spirit died. In that instant, everything inside of us that God hated, that was an abomination to God, died. It ceased. It ended.
That the body of sin might be done away with. This cannot be the physical body because we still have our physical bodies. What was done away with was our spiritual body that was dead, the old man, the source of sin in our life, the part of us where demons operated. Our old spirit, that was the source of sin flowing into our soul and body, died and was done away. You and I are no longer slaves of sin. For he that has died is freed from sin.
The old spiritual body, the body of sin, the old man, perished. It ceased. God ended it. But at the same moment, He did something else. And you He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins… Ephesians 2:1
That deadness was the deadness of our fallen spirits and of our deceitful and wicked hearts. But at the same moment God raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus… Ephesians 2:6
What does that mean?
We cannot live in the heavenly side of the universe, in heaven, unless we have a spirit that is alive and able to communicate in that realm. At the moment that God ended the fallen human spirit, He created a brand new spirit body for us. He did not restore the fallen spirit. He ended the fallen spirit and in the same moment created a new spirit inside of us. That spirit is one spirit with God.
In our new spirit, we ARE seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things are made brand new. 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Our physical bodies were not created brand new at that moment, just our spiritual bodies. Let’s look at what else has become new.
You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:3
God created a new spirit inside of us, the part of us through which we can now live and walk in the heavenlies. We can worship God, now for the first time, with our spirits. At the same time He gave us a new heart and wrote upon that heart a letter of Christ. Our heart is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
My heart, my new heart, is the dwelling place of Christ.
We cannot have a new spirit without having a new heart. When we look at our heart today, we do not see selfishness and deceit, we see Jesus. Written on our heart is the writing and nature of Christ. It is the Person of Jesus, all of His thoughts, habits, and ways of doing things, flowing out of Himself.
The Person of Jesus is written upon my heart. I am a letter of Christ.
Let’s look at something else that happened at that moment.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5
The moment we were born again, the love of God poured out in our heart by the Holy Spirit. When we look at our heart, we are looking at the fountain of the love of God in this universe. The Holy Spirit fills our heart to overflowing with the love of God. Abounding in our heart; the love of God overflowing.
Pretty awesome stuff happening. We didn’t even know what was going on. But if we could have seen from the side of the heavenlies we would have seen awesome things taking place inside of us.
But as wonderful as these things are, something much, much greater took place at the same moment. All those things are part of our salvation; they are all incredibly wonderful. But something much deeper happened. God had lined up all the other things so that this primary thing could happen.
In that moment we were born again. This is impossible for us to comprehend.
…having been born again, (having been conceived from above) not with corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever… Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:23-25
Peter is saying here that we heard the words that some preacher spoke once; maybe it was words we read in a book, or words someone spoke in conversation. Peter is saying that it was much more than just some natural man saying some words, much more than some vibrations in the air that we picked up by our ears and understood by our brain. Peter is saying that the word that in the gospel was preached to us was really the word of God that lives and abides forever.
The word of God that lives and abides forever is Christ. God spoke that word in the beginning, Let there be light, Jesus, issuing forth from the Father to bring about the Father’s purposes in the creation. That is the same word that came into us the moment we were born again, God’s own Son, Jesus. A living word. That word was more than just a word spoken. That word came into us as a seed.
We must refer back to Nicodemus. Jesus said, You must be born again. And Nicodemus said, “How can I go back into my mother’s womb now that I am old, how can I be born a second time?” Nicodemus was groping for an understanding of what Jesus was saying, and he was on the right track.
When Jesus said, You must be born again, He used the term gennao, you must be conceived again. That word gennao means to be conceived. However, there is a New Testament word that corresponds to the normal usage of our English word “born.” It is the word tikto. That word is used when it says Mary brought forth a new born son and laid him in a manger. That word “brought forth” is the Greek work tikto. The word tikto corresponds to what we normally call “born,” the coming out of the womb. “Born again,” refers, not to the coming out of the womb, but to the conception of the child as it begins in the womb.
Jesus compares the second birth with the first. When we were born the first time, our natural earthly father planted a seed inside our mother’s womb and that seed found a lodging place inside the egg from our mother. The moment that seed penetrated the egg, there was a spark, instantly a new creation came into being. The two seeds became fused as one. The cells began to multiply, more and more, and in just a few weeks time the appearance of a new human became clear. Yes, it would be many long months of development before that child was ready to be brought forth out of the womb, but it was certainly a human child.
From its start that child shared all the characteristics that came into it from the seed of the father and all the characteristics from the seed of the mother. In fact, that new child growing in that womb consisted entirely of the seed of the father and the seed of the mother, together. It was not that the seed of the father worked on something else to create the new child. The child came entirely out of the seed of the father and the seed of the mother joined together as one.
When our natural father planted his seed in the womb of our natural mother, that seed was a corruptible seed, that is, it could die. But it was more than a corruptible seed, it was corrupt. The seed coming from our natural father and also the egg coming from our natural mother contained within themselves the sin of Adam, and the corruption and death that comes through that sin.
We were conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity. We, coming out of that union, carried the nature of both our father and our mother.
It is a law of God that like begets like, that like comes into union with like. It is an abomination to God for one species to come into union with another species. Elephants cannot mate with dogs; turkeys cannot mate with sheep. Like mates with like. Two sheep come into union together, out of their union comes another sheep just like them with all the nature and capacity of a sheep and with the ability inside it to birth more sheep in the future.
When the seed of a human father comes into union with the seed of a human mother, the union of those two seeds becomes a human being with all the characteristics of the father and the mother. That human coming out of that union has within him or herself the ability to reproduce more human beings just like themselves through marriage union with the mate God has chosen.
God has placed this principle into the universe, the means by which God brings forth life. It is a feature of the Holy Spirit who is the part of God that brings forth life. God has planted this picture of the reproduction of life all through his creation and all through the Bible, over and over again.
Abraham knew his wife Sarah and she brought forth a son, Isaac. Over and over again, all through the creation we have this picture. Whether it be in the plant realm or the animal realm or human history. Life begets life. God brings forth life by the seed of the male coming into union with the seed of the female and out of that union comes forth a new life that shares all the characteristics of the father and of the mother.
It is an absolute law of God that two species cannot cross. Like begets like.
Both Peter and Jesus were saying something beyond our understanding. Nicodemus was completely correct to be confused by what Jesus was saying, “How can I crawl back into my mother’s womb to be conceived again?”
Peter was making this claim – a heretical claim, impossible to understand. A claim, that if people had understood what he said, it might have got him crucified. Well, he was crucified, wasn’t he?
Peter claims here that when you were born again, the seed by which you were conceived the second time, the father’s seed that came into your “womb” seeking the egg of the woman that it might come into union with that egg that it might bring forth a new life into the world, Peter says that that seed is not a human seed. He says it is an incorruptible seed, a seed from above.
Now angels are corruptible. Nothing God created is incorruptible. Everything is capable of turning from God and trying to find its own way, subject to vanity.
Only one seed is incorruptible, the seed that comes out of the bosom of the Father. When we were born again the seed that came into us, finding the female egg, that seed was the seed of God.
Now, we were conceived, we have not yet been born. We were conceived in that moment: we are looking forward to the moment when we will be born.
The seed conceiving the new life inside of us was the seed of Almighty God.
Here is a question. Species cannot mate across species. How on earth could God plant His seed in me? Would that not violate God’s principle of like coming into union with like?
In the picture that God gives us of the reproduction of life in the natural realm, the woman has only a few eggs, one per child, but the man produces millions upon millions of seeds, each one of which could produce a child, but of the millions of seeds of the male, only one actually produces the new life.
God says that the word He speaks goes out over the earth abundantly. Yet the only way it will bring forth life is to find the egg of the woman. The gospel has gone out to the ends of the earth. The word is cast across the heavens, God speaking His Word to man. But the Word cannot bring forth its life unless it can find that one seed, that one egg of the woman, and come into union with it.
What is the seed of the woman?
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Heb. 3:19
The seed from God which carries His life and nature goes out across the whole world; it always has. But it cannot bring forth the life that is in it unless it finds the egg of the woman, unless it finds faith. What is the Holy Spirit saying in these words?
When we were born the first time the seed of our father was a human seed. When we were born the second time in exactly the same way the seed of the father that came into us to conceive the new life that is growing inside of us was the seed of God.
How can the seed of God come into the egg of man – faith, and bring forth a new life, how can this be? What is man?
Satan has taught us to mock and ridicule man. To entertain a very dim view of man. It is Satan who gets you to call yourself “nothing.”
What is man that God could plant His seed in our spiritual seed – faith, and bring out of that union a new life that shares fully in one all the characteristics of its Father and all the characteristics of its mother, completely joined together?
Unless man has been created in the image and likeness of God?
Because you see if man were created in the image and likeness of God, then the seed of God can be planted inside of us in our faith, it can come into union with that which is human and out of that union bring forth a new creation that is fully a child of God and fully a child of man.
What is man? Who are we!!?
WALKING in the FAVOR of GOD
There are quite a number of curious inconsistencies in ‘Christian’ thought. One is the idea that if you desire to be like God, then you are being tempted by Satan in the same way that Eve was tempted. Yet the New Testament clearly commands us as believers to be just like God.
Be perfect as your Father is perfect, forgive as God forgives, love as Christ loves, be holy as God is holy, walk as Jesus walked, and so on. And, of course, if you read Jesus’ words, “Be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” and you raise the question, “Does Jesus really mean what He says here?” Then most Christians will respond with, “Be careful, if you really want to be like the Father, then you will be caught in a trap of pride.”
Does the mentality of the evil one rule so strongly in orthodox-evangelical-charismatic Christian thinking? (The answer is, “Yes, it does.”)
If the Father lives in us, then how could it be possible that we would be anything but just like Him. He is Himself, living in and through us; we are like Him because He shows Himself through us.
Man was created to contain God, so that God Himself could be seen in the physical universe –through man.
Here is another extraordinary twist. If you look for God’s favor in everything that you do, His blessing, His going before you and making everything work towards a wonderful future, making the crooked places straight, shining a brighter and brighter light upon your path, causing His blessing and goodness to rest upon you in all of your ways, then you are being ‘self-seeking,’ trying to use God for your own benefit!
There are multitudes of Christians who actually believe that, that it is wrong to expect God’s favor upon your every action.
We used to sing a song “I am like a tree, planted by the rivers of water . . . and everything I touch shall prosper.” We sang it, but never believed it, because it was contrary to our ‘theology’ to expect God’s favor.
But look at one who expects God’s favor upon everything he puts his hand to. Because of that expectation of God’s favor, he sees God in everything. Seeing God in everything, he waits in confidence upon God’s goodness. When things don’t go right, he rejoices, confident that even that which does not seem right, God is working it behind the scenes for his benefit. This one walks in the continual presence and expectancy of God.
On the other hand, here is one who believes it is wrong to expect God’s favor. God is ‘judging’ the flesh right now, and everything that doesn’t seem right is coming from the hand of God as judgment against sin. He sees judgment in all things that happen to him. He expects that God does not bless him, he hasn’t ‘died’ to the flesh yet. God cannot bless, because that would be blessing the flesh. This one walks in a continual consciousness of separation from God, always fearful of a God who can never be satisfied.
Of these two, which is being transformed into the image of Christ? The one who sees God’s favor in all things or the one who sees His displeasure?
I lived in the second way of thinking as an adult for more than twenty years. I lived that way because I thought it was the theologically correct way of understanding God and the gospel. But as a man of integrity, I knew in my mind that I was twisting critical New Testament verses, making them say something other than what they really said, that I was deliberately ignoring other key verses, and that I was living without hope. Many times I wept and cried out to God in great agony of soul, “God what is wrong with me? God, can You not save even me?” I very much needed hope.
God never did answer my cry. God does not respond to unbelief. Yet, He purposefully takes each of us through some form of this mental/religious conflict, this grappling with the full extent of the bankruptcy of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Let me share with you the progression of God’s bringing me out of this realm of mental darkness and unbelief.
I had come to such a state of hopelessness, grounded in strong Bible theology and argument, that I was almost permanently numb and frozen inside. There was no point in continuing in that way, so with a final desperate choice, we left the community and the move. I attended a local community college with the hope of getting a teacher’s certificate so that I could somehow support my family. I was physically very weak and emotionally completely shut down.
In a college course, I took a personality test. I discovered I had a somewhat rare, but normal human personality type. Then I read descriptions of other people like myself. I discovered something I had not known, that there was nothing wrong with me. I was a ‘normal’ human being and it was very common for my personality type to be misconstrued in the exact way I had been for many years.
The next point of deliverance came for me a couple of years later, in a deeply anointed service in Lubbock, Texas. People were going forward in repentance and I joined them. The Lord spoke to me, at that point, to repent of ever having listened to a gospel of separation from God. I spoke that repentance, and then, for the first time in my life, I was able to say to myself, “God loves me,” and to add no other word to it – that is, I no longer needed to add the word ‘but.’
Then, about a year after that, the Lord put into my hand one of John Eldredge’s precious books. I had seen it on someone’s shelf, read the first couple of sentences, and was seized with a desperate thirst to drink deeply from this well. Over the next few months and years, I read John Eldredge’s books, over and over. The first two times through all of them, I wept on nearly every page.
For years, well-meaning people had tried to ‘fix my problem.’ Nothing any of them had ever said to me ever rang true. I could never recognize anything in their words and solutions that had any meaning inside of me. Some of them gave up on me as a hopeless case. John Eldredge’s descriptions and explanations went all through me like the very bells of God. And every answer I found, ringing true in tears of pain and joy, was always the 100% opposite of everything I had ever been told about myself.
For the first time in my life, I was able to consider the truth of the gospel, that God had, in fact, given me a new heart that moment on the back steps of my house when, at the age of 7, I had invited Jesus to live in my heart. God gave me a new heart, and that heart was good.
It was only when I could look at my own heart and call it good, filled with the Lord Jesus Christ, that I could see the clear statements of the gospel. Yes, the Bible was inside of me; I had studied the whole Bible under the anointing and revelation of the Holy Spirit for many years. Even so, I could look straight at a verse like “Christ, who is our life” and not believe it at all.
Through the years with John Eldredge, God took me all apart, separated every part of me into a ‘liquid soup,’ just like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, so that He could then put me back together again in His way.
The next event in my transformation came when we started attending Lakewood Church. Pastor Joel Osteen said something that was the beginning of God putting me back together again. He said, “Speak who God says you are.” Intrigued with that thought, I took it all the way through the New Testament with this definition: since in my eternal state, I am just like Jesus that is who I am right now. Out of that study came my book, The Jesus Secret, which I hope you will not just set on a shelf, if you have a copy, but that you will follow in the exercise that it lays out. My book is not important, speaking out loud who God says you are in a confession of faith is.
And so I have been doing that, speaking who God says I am. God says that I am already dead. God says that every part of me is brand new and completely of God. God says that Christ is my life. God says that Christ is all there is in me.
All of my life, I had seen myself as an insurmountable problem. Now, by speaking who God says I am, the pathways of my mind have changed. In the middle of the night, when accusation is most heavily upon me, I hold to this word, “Christ is all there is in me,” until the dark voice passes, and I am in His gladness again.
The final step in God’s favor towards me came in a school chapel service. In the worship, I closed my eyes and lost myself in the glory of Jesus inside of me. Suddenly, ‘I’ vanished. Jesus was all there was in my mind, in my heart, in my understanding. I was utterly in Him and He was all there was in me, and I knew it was so.
For the first time in my life, I knew my Savior. I will never leave Him again.
Then, the exercise of changing my mind, of changing the pathways of my thoughts, really began in earnest.
Let me give a recent example. The other morning, I was feeling angry about some things my Christian brethren had said. At the same time, the old familiar voice whispered to me that I was in a ‘state of rebellion’ and that I ‘needed to submit’ to these brethren, that unless I did so, I could not be under God’s ‘covering.’ I refused; I was not about to let my anger go, because it was right and just.
Then, I thought, “No, Jesus is living His life in me. This feeling of anger is Jesus, sharing His frustration over lies that bring destruction and darkness. The moment I thought that, Jesus spoke to me. He said, “Will you love these dear brethren, in spite of our anger, with My love.” I said, “Yes, of course, Lord.” Immediately, all trace of the anger vanished, swallowed up by God’s love through me.
This is a terrible thing! God’s love does not displace His anger, it swallows it up. That means that His anger is carried inside of His love. Yes, all expression of God’s anger is surrounded by and works for the purposes of His love. But it is still terrible.
Yet it is also a wondrous thing. Now, I could continue to love my brethren, beyond the anger, with God’s love. Yet, I had not diminished myself in any way. Self was swallowed up in one with God. I knew that Jesus was living His life in me.
I walk in the favor of God. I expect His favor in all things. At whatever point my mind draws back from the expectation of His favor, I change my mind. I will stay with the truth.
To live without the expectation of His goodness in every area of our life is to live a sad, sorry, and wasted life.
I live and walk in the favor of God. I believe in Jesus.
WHAT Is HEAVEN?
What is the meaning of believers who die and are said to be asleep or dead in Christ? Are they not awaiting the resurrection before those remaining waiting to see the redemption of their body in a moment, the twinkling of an eye? Those asleep in Christ, who have gone by way of the grave, their spirit is in heaven for the spirit returns to God who gave it. Is their spirit asleep in Christ?
I was told you enter that realm in the same degree of maturity you had attained while alive on earth to be perfected there. But what of Hebrews 4:13-17 that says spirits of just men made perfect? Who are these?
The Christians I hear tell me when one dies they are in heaven already enjoying it all, as if the resurrection for them is already past, but that denies 1 Thes. 4:16 of the dead in Christ rising first. I hope this is not too confusing, it is for me. Can you shed some light on it?
Our biggest problem as humans – and this is a given for finite, earthly minds – is that we compartmentalize God and we geographize the heavenly realms. Because I am in Texas and you are in the Midwest, we are in different “locations” and far away from one another. Thus, we think of “God on His throne” as up there, over there, somewhere far away. At the same time, when we think of heaven versus earth we think of heaven in the form of a “physical” location, somewhere on the other side of Andromeda, maybe.
But we know that this manner of defining God and the heavenly realms cannot be so. So we must change how we think about these things when we read about them in Scripture.
First, God is omnipresent Spirit. Whatever He is, He is that fully in all places at all times. So “God’s throne” is not some location somewhere, rather, it is a symbol speaking of His authority, which, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth is given unto Me, therefore, you go.” We can see that this word Jesus speaks at the end of Matthew is identical in every way to “and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” The authority of the universe belongs to Jesus, who extends it to us, as He lives in us.
If you do a word study in the New Testament of the Greek word for heaven, “ouranos,” writing out every verse with that word in it, seeking a definition from the context, you will not find any sort of a definition that would satisfy you, nor would you see anything that sounds like the Christian definition of “heaven.”
In fact, such a word study will leave you more not understanding what heaven is than we may have right now. So, if you are confused about heaven, you are much closer to a New Testament definition of heaven than those of your Christian friends who are convinced that they “see” it clearly.
And so, I have drawn a definition of ‘heaven” over the years from many things God has taught me that is much more in agreement with what the New Testament actually teaches than the so-called “Christian” definition. My understanding of heaven is by no means complete.
Let me give you some for instance’s. First, we know that Jesus was in heaven while He walked the earth – that is the normal Christian life. Demons and the Serpent have their dwelling in heaven. Jesus ascended far above all heavens, so that means He is not presently in heaven — ? You refer to those saints who are “with the Lord,” but does it actually say they are in heaven? We know that the Lord is above heaven. Hades, the place of the dead is in heaven. Heaven is unclean in God’s sight (Job) – and heaven is temporal, it is passing away. So “eternal” life cannot be talking about heaven.
You see, rather than deal with the confusion and complexity of the Biblical definitions of “heaven,” Christianity has developed through the imagination of great men, a simple, geographical definition that allows them a simple idea and then they take their imaginative simple idea and impose it on everything in the Bible, whether it is talking about heaven or something entirely different. For instance, in John 3:16 Jesus says, “. . . shall not perish, but have aeonian life -the life of the age to come.” But Christians don’t read it that way, they read, “. . . shall not go to hell, but shall go to heaven when they die.” And so they are thinking of geographical locations, completely irrelevant to right here, right now, locations that can be known only at some distant point in the future.
“Heaven” is not the goal to which we are heading. Those who have died in Christ are with Christ and they are happy and blessed. But they have not arrived at the end of their journey; they are still looking toward us to finish this thing. The end of the journey for all humans is the resurrection, when we receive an incorruptible physical body and then can live fully in heaven and earth with our eyes fully open to both realms.
“Earth” is a metaphor for all the physical parts of the universe, and so, technically, the stars, because they are physical, are part of the “earth” side of the universe, not the heavenly side. “Heaven” is a metaphor for the spiritual side of the universe, and so demons, though they go upon the physical earth, have their being in “heaven,” that is, they are not physical, they are spirits. Since we have a spirit as well, we are partly heavenly. Our spirit is in heaven, it can’t be “earthy,” because it is made of spirit, it is not made of matter.
Part of the problem of confusion lies in the transition between these two definitions of “heaven.” When I say, “We are as fully in heaven right now as we will ever be, we just can’t see it,” that makes perfect sense to me because I think only in the definitions of the heavenlies as they are given in the New Testament. The “Christian” idea of “heaven” does not enter my mind. More than that, every individual reference to “ouranos” in the New Testament fits my understanding. I don’t have to ignore any of them, as most Christians do.
At the same time, I will not use verses and symbols of the New Testament to define “heaven” unless the word “ouranos” is in that same context. This is where a lot of misunderstanding comes from. The “city foursquare” is so clearly talking about the Church of Jesus Christ – it says this is the bride, the Lamb’s wife, and it is “coming down from heaven,” which means that it is materializing out of the spiritual realms into the physical realms of earth. Not one statement in that passage has anything to do with defining “heaven.”
So, when the Scripture says that the Lord will “descend from heaven with the shout of the archangel.” We know that He is not “up there in the sky somewhere,” how could that be since He lives in our hearts? That statement “descend from heaven” is simply a metaphor for Jesus materializing into physical expression out from His present spiritual expression. Both physical and spiritual are 100% real and tangible. They are simply two different forms of being. I even suspect they are the same substance, just at two different levels of frequency, if you want to be “scientific.”
Those who are with the Lord now have no physical expression or form of being. In fact, I suspect that you will find “Christians” at many different levels or “places” in the heavenly realms. But they are still humans and humans were made by God at the juncture between heaven and earth. Therefore, they cannot be complete, nor consider themselves “saved,” until they receive once again a physical expression of being – that is, their resurrected bodies. Full salvation is the redemption of the body. So, I can even consider the fact that those who are with the Lord in heaven are not yet “saved,” not completely.
So, there is no contradiction between the belief that Christians continue in the heavens in the same state of knowing Christ in them and living in the reality of the Christ life, which they have come to here on earth and, at the same time, some, at least, having “spirits” that are made perfect. But those are still awaiting their bodies to be “made perfect.”
Now, you refer to the fact that we who are alive shall not precede those who have died – in the resurrection. Yet, at the same time, Hebrews says that “they without us cannot be made perfect.” Perfection and the completion of the salvation of God is fulfilled in the earth and in this age, it is not fulfilled by any of those who have died. But, when God has accomplished the fullness of salvation inside of us who walk this earth now, He will grant to those who have died in Christ the first experience of the resurrected body, and then we will follow in the experience of our earthly body being swallowed up by life without passing into the grave. That “materializing” of the heavenly saints into their resurrected physical bodies is the New Jerusalem “descending from heaven.”
You see, humans alone, of all beings God created, are given both an earthly body and a heavenly body. We will forever live in both heaven and earth at the same time. We have an earthly, physical expression that can enjoy all the fruit of the earth, and we have a heavenly, spiritual expression that can enjoy all the fruit of heaven. Thus, we will be the image of God to all of His creation, to all the multitudes of physical beings He will yet create throughout all the physical side of the universe, and to all the multitudes of angelic beings He has, and will yet create through all the heavenly side of the universe. Jesus the Head, and we His body, His bride, His expression, His tender hands, His gentle wisdom.
You see, though this definition bears little relationship to the modern Christian definitions of the afterlife, it allows so many weird and cryptic things that God says in the New Testament to fit and make perfect sense to us. Those things are weird and shoved aside only by those who hold to the nonsensical imaginative definition that is so popular.
You say of those who have died, “their spirit is in heaven for the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Now that is combining metaphors. Your spirit and mine are as much in heaven as those who have died. What they have lost is their earthly expression. At the same time, our earthly expression, our physical body, still labors under the out workings of the curse. “The spirit returning to God who gave it,” is an Old Testament expression, Solomon, I believe, which is God fitting eternal infinite reality into the language of limited, finite, temporal, and fallen man. Paul said that we, including the lost, live and move and have our being in God. So our spirit, and even our physical body, at all times has its being in God.
Yes, when Christians claim that those who are presently “in heaven” are enjoying the totality of full salvation, they are speaking out of the historical imaginative fantasy and not from what God says in the New Covenant. That is why I am more and more limiting myself to what God speaks in the New Testament and nothing else. If something else, including the Old Testament, helps me to understand better what God is speaking, great, I will make full use of it. But if it is not what God says in the New Testament, or if it is something quite at odds with what God says, which much of Christian theology is, then I have no use for it. I am bold enough to have no desire to be a “Christian.”
One significant problem that is found in Christian thinking, including in the thinking of those who are “deeper” in their understanding of Christ, is the devaluation of the earth. There is a huge desire to make the earthy and the physical body that enjoys the earth to be “low” and not part of God’s image. This idea, when taken too far, becomes Gnosticism, drawing out of the spirit of anti-Christ that denies the revelation of Christ in the flesh. And it is this idea that John wrote specifically to oppose.
I do not share that way of thinking. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. — The meek shall inherit the earth. — The glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. — The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld Him. And so on.
When God created man in His “image,” that word, as it is used in the Old Testament is most often translated “idol.” It means a visible, earthly expression of an invisible spiritual being.
Although the goal of the believer is the resurrection, something else must come to its fullness and completion first, and that is the life of Jesus unveiled in my mortal FLESH, in my dying body. 2 Corinthians 4
The revelation of Christ is God manifest in the flesh. Human flesh is at the center of God’s focus and triumph in the gospel, a truth seen in a careful reading of Romans and Corinthians uncluttered by pressing theologies.
This earth is my inheritance and I will enjoy the earth in all of its fullness in my resurrected physical body. I will also enjoy heaven in all of its fullness in my spirit, that is, in my spiritual body. Adam was made out of the union between God and dirt – perfect before sin entered the picture.
We are not spirits, per se. We are living souls and we have both a spirit and a body, that is, we are spiritual beings and physical beings combined. And such we will be forever – to reveal the nature and kindness of God in all physical realms and in all heavenly realms forever. In truth, the heart, the human heart, especially as it is seen in the most heart-filled man in the Bible, David, is more an expression of who God is than any part of our spirit or anything in heaven or the spiritual realms. “Heart” comes entirely out of the union of God and dirt.
I know that I see only dimly, but any further “seeing” of the reality of the heavenly realms will come through what God speaks in the New Covenant as Jesus tells me what I am “looking at” as I am seated, right now, in heaven, in Him, upon His throne.
I want to be taught of the Lord, and I know that my present understanding must give way to a clearer understanding of truth on a regular basis. But I must hold any change of understanding to what God speaks to me through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that must come specifically through what God says in the New Testament. People’s ideas and Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic definitions of words cannot be my point of reference. What God is speaking within the terms of the Covenant I have signed with Him and He with me, revealed to me by the anointing which I have received from Him, can be my only reference point.
And the same is true of you as well. Be taught by the Lord, not by me. And be taught from what the Holy Spirit makes life to you from the words of the New Covenant.
LOOKING for HIS APPEARING
J. Preston Eby is a brother from El Paso, Texas who has been teaching for many years a very similar word to what you are reading here. He speaks out of the same move and revelation of the Holy Spirit as I do.
Please go to the following website and read Part 9 through Part 15. The entire series is well worth your time, but is a huge amount of reading. Parts 9-15 are central to understanding the parousia, the presence of Jesus that we are right now experiencing.
Here is one paragraph from this great study of the several Greek words that speak of the appearing of the Lord.
“The PAROUSIA is THE GLORY OF HIS PRESENCE and THE PRESENCE OF HIS GLORY. . .
I am with you IN THIS PLACE, perhaps obscured by the shadows, but I am there, working within to conform you to My image, and bring you forth in My likeness. Though we share an existence apparently filled with nothing but the mundane happenings of the routine, YET GOD IS PRESENT AND ACCOMPLISHING GREAT AND MIGHTY THINGS within. God reveals Himself to the humble in the lowliest of disguises, but the proud who never look beneath the surface, fail to find Him even in the greatest of His manifestations. . .
Do not mistake it, my friend – Christ is coming literally, personally, bodily! Yes, He comes literally, for the Lord IS literal, actual, REAL! He comes personally, for He IS truly THE PERSON of all persons! And He comes bodily, for the appearance and presence of Christ is IN HIS BODY. “Now YE ARE the BODY of Christ.” The PAROUSIA, the PRESENCE of Christ is in the body. Consider now with reverent honesty the inspired words of the apostle, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven … when He shall come to be glorified I-N HIS SAINTS, and to be admired I-N ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE in that day” (II Thess. 1: 7, 10)
That is the presence, the coming of the Son of God in and through the Christ Body. And He is coming, coming, coming, from glory to glory, from experience to experience, from inworking to inworking, until we know the POWER AND GLORY OF HIS PRESENCE in all the fullness of HIMSELF.”
There are heavy winds ahead, giants throwing stones at the unwary. Spend time with Jesus, clothe yourself with His appearing. If you walk forward in boldness, nothing can touch you.
BE JUST like your FATHER
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
When Jesus said, You must be born again, He used the Greek word gennao, which means “conception” rather than the English word “born.” In a sense, our experience as Christians is that of the development of the child in the womb of the mother. We look forward to being “born” into the full light of day.
The apostle John speaks of this difference between the conception and the birthing. Right now we are conceived of God. However, what we really are has not yet appeared. When a child is in the womb, you know only that the child will be like its mother and father. However, only when the child comes out of the womb is it revealed who the child really is.
In the same way we are children of God. We are in the process of development inside the womb. God uses this picture throughout the New Covenant. In Galatians 4, Paul talks about our mother.
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the free woman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar – for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children – but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. . . Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.
The natural child, the natural Jews trying to relate to God by the Old Covenant, which corresponds to the physical city of Jerusalem, are children of bondage. They are represented by Hagar and Ishmael. Ishmael represents the natural Jews in today’s world, trying to seize their carnal definition of the inheritance by violence.
But we who are born of God are the children of promise, the children of faith. Our mother is the Jerusalem that is above, not the Jerusalem on this earth. The Jerusalem on this earth is a city of bondage. We are the children of the Jerusalem which is above, the heavenly woman.
With that in mind, let’s go to Revelation 12. This is one of the most important chapters in the New Testament. Yet because it is understood in wrongful ways, it has not enjoyed its place of importance in the thinking of Christianity.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth… And she brought forth a male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Revelation 12:1-5
In the history of Christianity, most Bible teachers say that this woman is either Israel or Mary. Jesus is the child and the woman is either Mary or Israel. However, this is a heavenly woman. We just read Paul’s testimony concerning these two women, and we read elsewhere that this New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God is the bride of Jesus Christ, the church.
Israel, according to Paul, was an earthly woman, a woman of bondage who pertains to the earth. Mary, in her earthly role as the mother of Jesus, was a part of that earthly woman. Later, Mary herself became a part of the heavenly woman.
This woman in Revelation 12 is a heavenly woman. There is only one heavenly woman in the Bible and that is the Jerusalem which is from above, the church of Jesus Christ, who is our mother.
In Revelation 12:5 we find the Greek word tikto that corresponds to the English word “born.” Tikto refers to the child coming out of the womb into the full light of day. She bore, she brought forth, she tikto-ed, a male child. This child is to rule all nations with a rod of iron and is caught up to God and to His throne.
Most of Christianity wants to limit this verse to Jesus only. But we know that Jesus lives in us, His life is in us. Christ is our life; we have no other life.
He who overcomes (he is talking to Christians) and keeps My works until the end, to him will I give power over the nations… He shall rule them with a rod of iron. . . Revelation 2:26 – This is the overcoming Christian.
So yes, this is speaking of Jesus, and it is speaking of Christ in us. Everything Jesus is He shares fully with us because He is our life; we have no other life. And we need not think that Jesus shares Himself with us only after returning in some outward way. No, His full return is when we come forth in the full light of day.
This is speaking of him who overcomes.
To him (the Christian believer) who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21
We know that the woman in Revelation 12 is not Israel because Israel was an earthly woman in bondage, nor was it Mary because Mary was part of Israel. Since the woman of Revelation 12 is a heavenly woman, we know that there is only one heavenly woman that is of God and that is the church, the bride of Christ.
Therefore we are talking about a child that right now is being carried in the womb of the church. And this child, as we read in Revelation 2 and 3, shares in the throne of Jesus and His authority over the nations.
Right now we are children of God. The seed that conceived us the second time came from God. God is our Father.
God gives us this picture of the conception and of the birthing. We have been conceived; we have not yet been birthed. We have not come out of the womb. We are in the process of development.
We understand that the seed of the father contains all the genes of the father and the seed of the mother contains all the genes of the mother. As they combine, they form a new life, putting emphasis on certain genes of each. Each child is different. Each child, though they have the same mother and father, is surprisingly different from its siblings born of the same genes. And yet, they are also very similar because they share the same parents. Each child draws on the genetic traits of its parents. The genes of both parents are in each child.
In the same way, the seed that birthed us the second time contains the genes of the Father, the genes of God. So we see ourselves in this way. We are in a dark place; we are in a place of development. John said that we do not see what we shall be. We are not birthed yet into the full light of day.
Then he says that those who have this hope in them purify themselves just as He is pure. The time of His appearing is right now upon us. We are children of God. We have the right to become children of God. We have the right to be fully developed as sons in the womb of the church, and we have the right to come forth in the full light of day as sons in the triumph of Jesus Christ inside of us.
But right now we are in the place of development. It is critical for us to understand the nature and reality of our development in the womb of the church.
Paul says that we are being transformed into the image of Christ by the renewing of our minds. This is a development in this in-between place. As believers, walking through our life in this world, the birthing is the goal. We set our focus and press toward the goal of the believer, that birthing into the full light of day as a son of God, just like Jesus. We don’t really know what we shall be, we don’t see it clearly, but we know that we shall be just like Him. God determined we would be like Him from the very beginning.
We understand these two words, gennao and tikto, conceived and birthed; we are in between these two words, in between the gennao when we were born again, and the tikto when we stand in the full light of day, revealed to all creation as those who are just like Jesus, conformed to the image of His Son. In between these two words stands most of the New Testament.
This is how we must view the New Testament. Most of the New Testament regards our development between the conception and the birthing. It speaks to our development as a child in the womb of the church.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles… till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11
God gives us here the measurement by which we are measured. Every one of us is measured by the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, not measured by any other standard. The stature of the fullness of Christ. Just like Jesus.
That we should no longer be children . . . but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ. Ephesians 4:14
This is speaking of our present place in the womb of the church. We are growing up in all things into Him, being conformed to His image.
From whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16
This is a corporate growth, the body of Christ. We develop in the same way that the development of a child takes place in the womb. Week by week, step by step, the child is fully formed until it comes out into the world to be seen by all as the son of the father and the son of the mother.
We are going through a similar process, developing step by step, not just as individuals, but as members of the body of Christ. Both/and. This process describes each of us individually as well as all of us as a body of believers as we build one another up in love.
We are being transformed from glory to glory as we keep our eyes on the measurement, the goal, the stature of all the fullness of Christ.
The Spirit of God uses many illustrations and metaphors in the Bible to teach us how we are being made like Christ. All of these illustrations ought to be taught to the church of Jesus Christ over and over. We need to understand! This process we are going through right now is so important to God that He has given us innumerable ways to describe it.
Later in this volume, I will look at the role of the body. Paul describes the role of our physical, mortal bodies that is critical and central to this process. But right now, I want to look at the “just as” verses. There are quite a number, over a dozen “just as” verses.
Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
This is the first of the “just as” verses. This word in the Greek translated “just as” has a specific meaning. It means “just exactly as.” It means what it says. Just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Through my years as a Christian, I have heard plenty of argument as to why this verse does not mean what it says. However, God does not give us His words in the New Covenant to debate, to analyze, to rationalize, or to define one way or the other. He gives us His words in the New Testament only to believe them, that they might find a lodging place inside our faith, so that the Word God speaks can bring forth the life that is in it inside of us.
It is not my place to fit this verse into acceptable doctrine. It is my place only to believe it. If I cannot believe what God says, then God did not speak it to me. The only thing we can say, when God speaks a word like this, is to say with Mary, I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your Word.
The word comes out of the very bosom of God into our spirits that we might receive it by faith that the power and the life inside that word would work in our lives and bring forth the life that is in it. Our part is to believe. The power and responsibility of fulfillment is inside the word. The word itself has plenty of power inside it to fulfill itself in our lives. What we do is believe.
When God brings forth the desire of His heart, He looks at the end. Then with His eyes fixed on that finished product, He calls it into existence. He calls those things that be not as though they are, with the final reality ever in mind.
John says we will be just like Jesus; the goal is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. God sees me standing before Him, conformed to the image of His Son. That is who I am. Then God speaks that word into time and into the earth. The question is will I believe what He says? Will the Word that God speaks find its resting place inside of faith inside of me?
When God says You shall be perfect – whatever it means, it means Jesus AND my being conformed to His image. The very Word is Christ Himself.
Without faith, we cannot please God. Faith is not performance. We will never see the fulfillment of what Jesus says by gritting our teeth and doing it. There is a process by which we will see the fulfillment of the Word God speaks.
The first step is to hear and to believe. The next step is in Romans 10.
What does it say? “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved – (you will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Every time we see the word “saved,” we see it pointing directly to the fulfillment of God’s purpose in our lives.) For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
As Jesus spoke in the parable of the sower, the birds come and snatch the word away so that those who receive it don’t even know what it means. With those who define this word “to salvation” as meaning “go to heaven when you die,” Satan snatches the word God speaks out of their earth and they do not bring forth its fruit. The teaching that salvation means “going to” heaven, removes the word God speaks more effectively than any other device.
We believe in our hearts what God says, and then we speak with our mouths. By speaking that word we are saved, we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. God spoke it; I believe it. I then speak what God says. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind, by changing the way we think. And we change the way we think by the words of our mouth. The word is near you, the word of faith which we speak in our mouth and in our heart.
Jesus said Be perfect – I look at my finished state. That is who I am. Then, I confess with my mouth, “I am perfect, just as my Father in heaven is perfect.” I see myself as God sees me. Then, my eyes are opened to see that word working itself out in my life. I am not going to accomplish obedience to this word by performance, by “trying” to fulfill it. I see its fulfillment in my life by believing it and speaking it, knowing that the Spirit of Christ in me is always accomplishing the power and the life of that word inside of me.
But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak. Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 2 Corinthians 4:13-14
We confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus; we speak what we believe.
We believe and speak because we know that the purpose of God in our lives is fulfilled as we believe. We are perfect just as our Father in heaven is perfect. This is who we are; this is who Christ is in us.
What does it mean to be perfect in this context? Many say it means to be “mature.” But the operative word here is neither “perfect” nor “mature.” The operative word is “just as.” Whatever it means, it’s just like the Father. If it means a maturity, the Father is mature. He is what He is, He does what He is, and every part of Him is in full agreement with who and what He is.
A believer who is mature, according to the New Testament, is one out of whose belly flow rivers of living water; he is one who contains all the fullness of God. A mature believer is one who defeats the accuser of the brethren and casts him down out of the heavens. One who is mature walks just as Jesus walked, conformed to the measure of the stature of all the fullness of Christ.
But the context of this verse in Matthew 5 is the Sermon on the Mount.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies. . . be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
When it says, “Be just like your Father,” the context is loving your enemies.
We do find this word “perfect” always associated with love. Love is the bond of perfection. We are made perfect in love. To be like God is to love.
Many Christians shy away from this thought of being like God even though we are commanded to be like God, because of a passage in the Old Testament that talks about Lucifer.
Many Christians believe that Lucifer fell because he wanted to be like God. But Isaiah did not say that Lucifer wanted to be like God. If Lucifer had wanted to be like God, God would have been pleased. If Lucifer had come to Him and said, “God, I admire You, You are awesome and glorious. I would like to learn Your ways. I would like to be like You, to love as You love, to show mercy in the way that You show mercy, to be kind in the way that You are kind.” God would have been thrilled. God would have said, “Let Me live through you.”
Rather, Isaiah says that Lucifer said in his heart, “I will be like God.” Lucifer did not go to the Father and say “Live in me.” More than that, he had his own definition of God in his mind. Lucifer did not want to be like God; he wanted to be what he imagined God to be. Lucifer imagined that God was like himself.
That is the problem with this word “perfect.” We have a conception of God that is satanic – a satanic view of God. We see God as the controller, as the one in power who can do whatever He wants, who always gets His way. In movies about someone who comes as God, it is someone who by the flash of his hands makes things happen according to his present desires and lusts and wants.
This is a satanic view of what it means to be like God. This is not our Father.
Jesus said, Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest . . . for I am meek and lowly of heart.
To be like God is to be meek and lowly of heart. God does not think highly of Himself. He is lowly of heart. God never brags about Himself. He brags about His Son, but He never brags about Himself.
God does not control, neither can He do anything that He wants. God is bound by His own word. He does not control or manipulate. Why is there evil in the universe? Because God does not control or manipulate. God does not force anyone to do what He wants them to do. Everyone is free from God.
Not so with Satan. Satan binds people with chains and turns them into slaves. With God everyone is always free. God only accepts an equality of respect and regard that comes out of love. God does not push, nor does He accept performance. And so this maturity, this being perfect like God, is rooted in love, in tenderness, in kindness.
One who is like God is one who is like Jesus because Jesus shows us what God is like. To be like God, to be perfect as God is perfect, that is to love, even our enemies, is to be the kind of person that is always thinking about other people. Always seeking to bless, always seeking to lift up, always seeking to encourage. Always seeking to meet other people’s needs, whatever those needs might be. In gentleness, in kindness, with a lowly heart, not thinking themselves to be anything of themselves and yet resting in the certainty of who they are in Christ. This is one who is like God.
And this is just the beginning of the “just as” verses.
Be just like the Father. Be just like the Father.
Please don’t be confused about the statement “Be just like God,” as if I am saying something different from the truth that Christ is our life. We are created by God to contain His life. He is Himself. We are just like Him as He is free to live as us and to show Himself to others through us. God is Himself; we are His image.
That means that God Himself shines forth through us. We are His “skin,” His temple, His dwelling place. Since God Himself reveals Himself through us, we are “like God” in the sense that we appear as Him. Yet it is always He, yet we ourselves are never absent. He reveals Himself through us.
GOD COMMANDS – BE just like GOD
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
With the mouth confession is made to being conformed to the image of Jesus, His image revealed through us.
God has not left us in this life to meander around, wondering how His word is to be fulfilled in our lives. God has a clear way set for us to follow. There is a path from where we are right now to where God sees us to be in our finished state.
The New Testament commands us to be just like God, over and over in the “just as” verses. Be just like God is a commandment. How can we fulfill such a commandment? By performance, by obligation? “Well, I have to do it because God said I have to do it and if I don’t do it, it’s obvious I don’t love Him”?
So many dear believers get caught in a trap of performance, outward obedience to God – “All that the Lord says, we will do.” All of that is trying to come at God from out of the tree of knowledge. There is no life in it. God has a clear path to life; that path is Christ.
First we must hear what He speaks. Many believers read right over the verses they don’t believe. “That doesn’t belong to me, it’s for over in heaven somewhere, or it’s for some other person, but it certainly isn’t talking about me.” They do not hear what God is saying.
But God does not speak His words for us to figure out, to fit into doctrine, to define. God speaks His words for us to hear and to believe. For with the heart one believes what God speaks. We speak what God speaks. When God speaks, He is always speaking out of His view of us as we really are, just like Jesus.
There is the thought in the person who is performing obedience, “If I just try hard enough, I will become what God wants. I will get there; I will make it.” That very thought is what destroys the life of Christ. The moment a person thinks, “I will do it,” they have separated themselves from God and are living in the lie. There is no faith in separation from God.
Faith sees what God sees. Faith has its eyes on God, on the finished work. When I obey what God speaks, that is simply who I am. I am the person who loves with God’s love. The love of God overflows within my heart. It doesn’t matter what I feel, or what my natural eye sees. I do not walk by sight, I walk by faith. I walk by what God says about me, who I am.
It is normal for me to love; it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like loving. I love because I am love, and a fountain of love flows out of my heart. Sometimes I don’t “feel” like a loving person, but that feeling is just a figment of my imagination – that I don’t feel like loving. That is false imagination. I am one who loves.
In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead (you have already died, the part of you that needed to die is dead), and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
Christ is our life. What I feel at the present moment in this earthly state, in this womb of development, is not who I am. When I want to know who I am, I look at Christ because Christ is my life. He appears as me in this world.
I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus; I confess with my mouth who I am. I am love, love is in me, and God loves others through me.
Then Paul talks about putting to death our members that are on the earth. Later in this volume, I want to talk specifically about what that means – the role of the body in our transformation into the image of Jesus Christ.
Do not lie to one another, since you have (already) put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created Him (we are transformed into His image by seeing Him as He is in us), where there is neither Greek nor Jew . . . but Christ is all and in all. Colossians 3:9-11
Sometimes, to get at the heart of a sentence, we remove in-between phrases. In verse 11 Paul makes this claim. “Christ is all in me.” Christ is all there is in me!
When I look at me I see Christ. Christ is all there is; there is nothing else.
Christ fulfilled all obedience; Christ in me is the one who obeys the Father. My life is hid with Christ in God. That is who I am. I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus. He is who I am. My obedience is the obedience of faith. I do not obey in order to become, I obey because I am. I love because I am love.
Outward obedience pleases no one. The Father is pleased only by faith.
Let’s look at several more of the “just as” verses in the New Testament that tell us how we are just like Jesus. We will not look at all of them, there are many.
In John 20, right after the resurrection of Jesus as He comes into the upper room to meet again with the disciples, Jesus says to them, As the Father has sent me, I also send you.
Just as the Father sent me, in exactly the same way, so I send you.
There is a whole lot of meaning inside that statement.
Jesus was sent by the Father to seek and to save what is lost. We are sent by Jesus to seek and to save what is lost. Jesus was sent by the Father to show us what the Father is like, we are sent by Jesus to show others what Jesus is like.
The Father sent Jesus to overcome, to defeat death and the evil one and sin in this world. Jesus sends us to overcome, to defeat death, to defeat this world system that stands in opposition to God, to defeat the accuser, to cast his voice down. Jesus sends us that God might crush Satan under our feet.
Jesus was sent by God to show us the Father. We contain all the fullness of God that God might move through us and be seen in us. God is invisible, He wants to be revealed. Just as Jesus was sent to seek and to save what was lost, so God flows out of us in a river of living water, the Holy Spirit healing and bringing life to everyone we touch. Just as Jesus came into this world to defeat the enemies of God, so He sent us to fulfill and bring to completion His purpose and mission.
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be followers (imitators – KJV) of God as dear children. And walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us . . . Ephesians 4:32-5:2
In that short passage, on either side of “be imitators of God” we have two of the “just as” verses. We are to forgive just as God forgave us, and we are to love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. This is the heart of God. These words reverberate more deeply who God is than any others. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted. With these words, God is showing us who He really is.
Being like God is being kind to one another. Being like God in its centrality, its essence, its purity, is being tender-hearted. Forgiving one another, loving, giving ourselves for one another. There is no greater expression of the heart of God than these words. We are never more like God than when we are tender-hearted, especially when it is not deserved, given to those who have treated us unkindly.
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. 1 Peter 1:15
Here again, we could so easily fall into the satanic definition of God: God is an outward performer, and He is interested in outward performance. That is how our enemy views God. Sadly, he tricks so many Christians into that same definition. Seeing God as a miser, seeing God as being on their case, out to trip them up, out to prove that they are, after all, selfish. Even worse, Satan has taught foolish Christians to see God’s expectations as an outward performance that they then force on other believers, causing them to live out of a mask of falseness, completely separate from God.
They try hard to please God in outward performance. Being sure they go to church all the time, being sure they refrain from doing outward things that are objectionable. Controlling and manipulating other believers in this hideous dance of outward masks and untrue faces. Very zealous in an external means. That is NOT what the word “holy” means.
The word “holy” speaks of a vessel, a cup, maybe, that is dedicated to a particular god. This cup is for the service of this god and for its temple, not to be used for any other purpose. Holy is not talking about external performance. Holy is devotion, the devotion of the heart.
Be holy for I am holy. Be devoted to me, son, for I am devoted to you.
If we believe in our heart that God does not like us, that God is out to prove we are selfish and deceitful, then we will not come close to Him as He desires. We cannot please Him.
Only when we surrender to His devotion to us can we in turn devote our hearts utterly to Him. Why would I pull away from the things of this world? I run towards Him because He is good, and the things of this world fade into meaninglessness because the more I am devoted to His goodness, to His devotion to me, the more everything else means nothing to me. He fills me and I love Him. I live in His devotion to me, and He lives in my devotion to Him.
Christian life is a life of devotion, a life of love, of communion between a son and a Father. Should we mess up, making mistakes from time to time, it doesn’t affect the liking of the Father and His devotion to us. We arise from such mistakes, knowing that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
I walk knowing that His blood cleanses me.
Our hearts are devoted to Him because we know that He is devoted to us.
Be holy for I am holy. It comes from the inside out. Always, always, always, if you find yourself trying to work on the outside, on your flesh, understand that is how Satan works. God always works from the inside out. External force, external performance or obligation is never from God; it is always Satan’s counterfeit. God works from the devotion of the heart.
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 1 John 2:5-6
We walk in this world just as Jesus walked. How did Jesus walk? Jesus walked in fellowship with His Father; He walked in the full confidence of the power of the Holy Spirit inside of him. He knew He didn’t have to produce miracles. All He did was speak, and the river of life that was in Him flowed out of Him. The Holy Spirit did the work, bringing healing and life. He walked in utter dependence upon the Father, in one Spirit with the Father. He trusted in God.
Jesus was not a part of this world or of the institutions of this world. He had no quarrel with the powers of this world, with the Roman Empire, per se. He did have a quarrel with human manipulation and control. He had a quarrel with those who presented God in a false image, one who controls from the outside in, one who demands an outward performance.
Jesus himself delighted in people. He loved people; He loved to be with people. He loved to see the joy light up in their eyes as a hope and a future that they had lost all hope in suddenly became real for them. Blind eyes open, “My God, I can see. I never hoped that I could see.”
We could write books about what it means to walk as Jesus walked. This is who I am. But we don’t walk like Him by figuring out how He walked and trying to do it. It begins with the love of God inside of me. It begins with seeing and confessing and believing myself as I really am, that I am just like Him. I walk as Jesus walked, not because I am trying to imitate Him in some external way, but because that is who I am. I am simply being who I am. Should I fall flat on my face in the mud, should I blow it, I get up, I look to Jesus, and I keep on walking.
Whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
The life inside of me is the very life of God. My life is hid with Christ in God. When He who is my life appears, I am with Him and like Him. When I look at myself, I see Christ. Out of that faith I walk as Jesus walked; I overcome the world. I am conceived of God. The genes of God are inside me, part of my makeup, who I am. The seed of the woman is faith, faith that receives the word God speaks with joy and believes it and believes it and believes that what God said MUST BE! I don’t need to get rid of it by putting it off to heaven somewhere far away from me. I know that every word God speaks must be fulfilled in me.
We never think, “I’m not sure, maybe I won’t make it.” No, we are partakers of Christ if we keep the beginning of our confidence firm until the end. I cast that voice down. I believe that what God said about me must be so. I hold to it. I hold to no other. I believe what He said.
To Him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Revelation 3:21
This is beyond what we can comprehend. This word is a word to believe. We overcome just as Jesus overcame. We overcome death just as Jesus overcame death. We overcome the accuser, the liar, the deceiver, just as Jesus overcame him. We overcome the systems of this world, cast them down, see the kingdoms and the systems and the governments of this world fall into ruin.
We are not friends of this world system. My God, we are part of a kingdom that God has placed in this world to bring that whole mess down! We do not use the instruments of this world; we do not fight with the weapons of this world. We are not against people. We are against the system that controls and manipulates people.
To Him who overcomes just as I overcame, I will grant to sit with me on My throne in the same way that I sat down with My Father on His throne.
This place of ruling is a throne of love. It is a throne of love, of kindness, of tender-heartedness. It is the throne of God; it is our own heart.
And I saw thrones and they sat on them and judgment was committed to them. Revelation 20:4
He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be His God and he shall be My son. Revelation 21:7
This is salvation. This is the goal of the believer. This is our destiny: to be this son, seated upon God’s throne, the heir of all that God is.
This is our destiny; it’s within our reach. This is who we are.
FACING the STORM
I hope to convey some sense of what God is doing right now in the earth. Two history-changing events are happening both at the same time, the manifestation of the sons of God and the great final storm of evil. The first, though it appears smaller now, is the cause of the second. As time goes on, however, the first will grow larger until it swallows up the second.
Let me share more of the Annie Schissler visions with you.
THAT HOLY THING
As I entered His presence, He showed me something so impressive and frightening that I feared greatly. Although He specifically told me not to fear, even so, I could not feel completely at ease, for in almost unbearable pain and in great love, He tore open, as it were, His own spiritual form or body. Even though He had told me to look at it, I feared to and wanted to hide my eyes, for after this great tearing open of Himself I could see within. There I beheld something so terribly perfect in its holiness that even the word perfection seems to sully it in my memory. This living something was very much a part of Himself, yet it seemed as though He were bringing forth, in a tremendous beginning, a new being from His own person. It was the same beginning in God that He had shown me several days before, in “The Place of a Beginning.” For long eons He has waited to manifest this most Holy Thing which He is about to bring forth.
The tremendous, radiant perfection – the holy glory of this beginning that He showed me – was so far beyond expression and so filled with holiness and God-life, that I felt greatly perturbed, and trembled even though He told me over and over again not to fear. It was something too high, holy and perfect to look upon.
When He said, “The hour has now come,” it seemed that He was about to explode, not in an explosion of terrible destructive violence, but rather a pacific explosion. Then He came forth, as it were, in this explosion, and it was tremendously sweet. From this sweet, explosive breaking forth, He extended Himself over all; that is to say, He desired to manifest Himself, pouring this forth upon those of His own ones who were waiting upon Him. To me it seemed so imminent that it appeared to be right now, yet I know it was not at this moment of our time.
THE NEW LIFE and the ANGRY STORM
Of late, every time He takes me unto Himself, I am made exceedingly conscious of the coming storm of persecution that is drawing ever nearer. It is already forming and developing, gathering its forces and heaping together its strength, preparing to break forth in hellish fury at a predetermined time.
This great storm of hate and fury, with its pain and bloodshed, is timed to break forth at the very same time as this high and Holy Thing that He (the Father) is bringing forth out of Himself shall be manifested upon the earth. The two things are forming in the invisible world at the same time and at the same pace. The storm of persecution and hatred shall break forth simultaneously with the coming light of this Holy Thing that He is bringing forth; which shall be manifested upon the earth in those whom He has chosen exclusively for Himself, and in whom He shall come forth in this new beginning.
GOD’S VIEW of the STORM
In prayer, God lifted me up into Himself and again showed me the great storm of evil and persecution that is coming upon all the earth. For the first time He showed it to me as He sees it, and not as I have seen it through my own eyes. To Him this storm was a most beautiful and glorious working out of His perfect will, which was bringing forth great blessing and not the destruction I had hitherto seen. In spite of being such a tremendous storm, nevertheless, it was not evil at all, but was filled with goodness. Seeing the storm as God sees it took away all the horror I had felt before concerning it.
Before it had appeared tragic and evil to me, and its image had haunted my natural thoughts because of its evil portents and terrible power, darkness, destruction and pain. I now saw an entirely different image: the storm as it really is – a wonderful and powerful wave of His cleansing power and grace which is bringing forth rich blessings.
And finally this one:
HIS PRESENCE DEVELOPS
God placed within His own ones something that did not fully develop in all of them. The development of this living thing only came forth into fullness in those who came into a state of His continual Presence, and who were continually dwelling in Him. This development came not by works, nor by strengths, nor by the strivings of man, but only by the continual Presence of Christ in their lives.
Annie received these visions in 1971, the time of their fulfillment is now. I am quoting from I Looked & I Saw Visions of God,” edited by R. Edward Miller.
There is a strong teaching going out that we are not, in fact, at the end of this age of human folly, that the fulfillment of the Revelation of Jesus Christ happened in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and that things on this earth are just going to get better and better as we discover the Christ within and bring positive transformation to our world.
I find no relationship between this line of thinking and the reality of the world we live in, nor the reality of the offense of Jesus Christ, nor the reality of what God is working in my spirit. Anyone is free to believe what they want; I can only speak what my heart tells me is true.
Let me share part of one more Annie vision to illustrate what I mean about the offense of Jesus Christ:
THE COMING PERSECUTION
Today He showed me strange, strong pains and sufferings that shall accompany the Holy Thing that He is bringing forth, as it were, out of His own being. The tremendous storm of pain and suffering accompanying this coming manifestation shall break forth simultaneously with it and shall be provoked by that holy, new beginning – the manifestation that He is going to bring forth and place in His chosen ones . . .
The thought occurred to me that it was almost a deceitful thing which He was about to give to His own ones, for although it was so high and holy, nevertheless, it would bring forth strong provocations, terrible reactions, and much suffering, pain and persecution. The chosen ones who receive this Holy Thing from Him shall also receive the pain and suffering provoked by it, for that Holy Thing shall be tremendously shocking to those who are in opposition to God.
There is sitting upon God’s people in America especially, and upon all people in general, a darkness, a stupor, a spirit of ignorance, concerning the things that are being prepared right now by evil men for this nation and this world. Let me share with you a personal note that I sent to a friend in response to reading about this teaching that everything is just going to get better and better because God loves everybody so much.
I would like to share with you here a private letter I sent to a friend, writing without thinking of others besides him reading it.
What God is doing is the dawning of the age to come in our lives right now. The coming of the Lord is not a ‘lightning flash’ that happens on one certain future day, but as the rise of the Daystar in our hearts. But it is the dawning of the new day that causes the present age to lash back with its dying gasps.
Here are some points that weigh heavily with me:
1. There are some really nasty people right now on this earth planning some really nasty things for their fellow man. Some of these nasty people work together, and some just work on their own little projects independent of the others.
2. I am convinced that the love of God has already reconciled all men to Himself and that in the end Jesus will restore the entire creation to the Father. However, I still suspect that God is a bit perturbed when arrogant, apathetic people inflict pain and loss upon innocent people so that the first group can continue living way beyond their means. In other words, a Christian pastor who calls for the destruction of the Iranian people much more provokes God’s anger than, say, a homosexual. Yes, God still loves this pastor, and in the end will save even him, but for the present moment, it might be a different matter.
3. As the revelation of Jesus arises within us, He comes as a light that exposes every element of darkness that is in this world. Darkness hates being exposed and will strike back to put out that light. Darkness will lose, of course, but I see now that it is the arising of God’s answer in this world that causes the dark things of the ‘tribulation.’ In fact, as I contemplate the bright shining of light and the violent opposition of darkness, I am looking just at a present understanding of current events, regardless of any reading of the Bible.
4. The more we walk in union with Jesus, the more we will come into opposition to American Christianity. It is normal in history for people to get violently passionate about their religious views, and it is normal in human history for people who love Jesus to be burned at the stake by those who think they are Christians.
5. These really nasty people who are planning some really nasty things for their fellow humans are primarily Talmudic Jews – the Talmud being the doctrine of the Pharisees written down – the most anti-Christ book on the planet. The American government is filled with Talmudic Jews, or, in other words, Pharisees, the same faction that opposed Jesus.
6. Strangely, 9/11 does rule the present world. (It was meant to – every part of what happened comes out of the Jewish Cabala, occult ritual designed to cast a blanket of spiritual darkness over, in particular, the church.) All who accept the lie of the government continue with a false view of this world. At the same time, most who believe in the laws of forensic science now understand that all paths of evidence lead to Israel. And until the American people face reality and accept justice, they will continue to lash out in blind rage against innocent people.
7. The world system as it exists today is very hurtful to people in very real ways. Just one little thing is immunization – it is a growing reality that injecting that toxic garbage into an infant’s body right after birth, over and over, is a crime of hatred committed by non-thinking parents who ‘trust’ the world system without comprehension. Because the world is such a vicious creator of hurt and because it maintains its place by darkness and lies, Jesus is at war with it.
8. The good news is that we are really and truly a new creation in Christ, and that I no longer ever need walk ‘separate’ from Jesus ever again. But on the other hand, the world (and the church in the world) is in open opposition to the reality of Christ revealing Himself in us. I no longer see the cross as “You are a big problem, Daniel, and you must die.” But I do see the cross as that which stands between me and the world and between the world and me.
9. Incredibly, almost the entire Christian world is utterly deluded about how the present world really works. Knowing and desiring to speak the truth is a lonely and scary place to be. Because I am a careful thinker, I should view myself as insane, but I know what is true is true. We have lived in the Matrix more than we know and it is those held by the Matrix, whom we are fighting to set free, that are most likely to kill us for our efforts. But we ourselves – and there are others – are awakening out of that Matrix of darkness and are seeing reality for the first time. In doing so, we understand why Jesus was killed and we can also understand that the second witness of Christ will also be universally opposed.
I am not looking for a Jesus appearing in the sky, coming in a single body, to whom we must get in line to talk to Him, finding Him in this place or in that. Jesus is come, right now in me. This is the presence, the appearing, the revelation of Jesus, the person, Jesus. He is inside of me. He is my life. I walk in a growing sense of seeing Him in me at all times. It is a wonderful fellowship. It is Jesus. I visit with Him; He talks with me and He is my life.
We do not see this with our eyes. It is the same human face, Daniel Yordy, when I look in the mirror. I believe, first. I believe, based on what God says in the New Covenant. And then I ‘see’ what I believe. It is a seeing of faith, it is a seeing as God sees, it is a knowing that He is appearing in me. It is Jesus, in His full coming, who is my life. It is Jesus, present in me.
As Annie said, “The continual Presence of Christ in their lives.” It is a simple choice on our part to believe it to be true. To believe it, and to walk in the ever enlarging knowledge that Jesus, in all that He is, is the only life we have.
PRACTICING the PRESENCE of GOD
Somehow, I was placed on an email prayer list. Pray for this problem, pray for that problem. Please don’t mistake me. Every one of us needs prayer; every one of us has ongoing and very real needs.
But over and over, my spirit says to me as I look across these endless requests: “It is not prayer you need, it is Jesus.” I want to holler, “Open your eyes, it is Jesus inside of you that is your salvation. He is life itself. Know Him! My prayer is not worth a hill of beans for you right now. At this moment you need to see Jesus as He fills you right now with all of His glory and power. You need to place yourself right in the center of His light. That’s where you are, see yourself there.”
One of the most important commandments to us in the New Testament right now is Romans 6: “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
‘To reckon’ means to speak, to declare, to call it to be so, to believe it is so, to place it to your own account that it is so. To shout out loud with your voice box: “Everything in me that needed to die is already and totally dead, vanished into the cross of Jesus.” And then refuse all evidence that your natural sight wants to throw at you.
But a few weeks back, in a dream, I found myself declaring this truth, “I am alive unto God. I am alive unto God.” My spirit declared this over and over. When I awoke, I realized that I had been overlooking the more important second part of this verse.
The cross is our foundation, the base upon which we stand, but the resurrection is our life. Jesus, alive in us, is no longer referenced by the cross. I am alive unto God. Only God can show us what that means by a revelation of His Spirit.
Consider these verses:
Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it . . . The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. Exodus 25
. . . Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Exodus 34
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 1 Kings 8
. . . He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray, as He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and his robe became white and glistening . . . and they saw His glory.” Luke 9
Every appearance of glory and power in the Old Testament was Jesus. All of it was limited and confined by natural sight and by human inability to believe. What the disciples saw upon the Mount of Transfiguration was also limited by human definition, but the difference was that now the glory and might of God was personal – Jesus.
This same Jesus is my life and He fills me with all of His glory. Not the limited glory of the Old Testament. Jesus stated that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet from Adam until Jesus, but that he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist.
See Him. See Him as He is in you. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, you are filled with more glory and power than was ever seen in Bible times.
Paul shouted, “WE ARE NOT LIKE MOSES! We do not cover over our glory.”
We do not need our bodies healed, we do not need our debts paid, and we do not need ‘safety’ from the coming storm. We NEED our eyes opened, that we might see the glory and the power of the Holy One who fills us with all of His glory. Then, out of seeing Jesus as He is in us, comes all of the things that we need, like a mighty river of life and blessing and favor.
I recently heard a fellow Christian say, “Be careful, if we get to busy and don’t have time for chapel, then the devil can (do whatever the devil does).”
This kind of comment is very familiar to me from the past. But I am amazed at how differently I see things now. My first thought was to laugh. Are you kidding me? How can that possibly be? Then I realized that she would not understand if I said anything.
We are filled with all the glory and power and might of all the Holiness and Majesty of God, way beyond anything we read about in the Bible. We are surrounded by God like a mighty fortress wall, He keeps us at all times, nothing can come to us except that which He allows and all of it is for our glory.
The only possible way we can ‘see’ the devil and sin in that way, as something to be fearful of, is if we cannot see Jesus inside of us.
I am speaking to God’s sons: “God, open our eyes, cause us to see this glorious One who fills all of our humanity with His power.”
For all of you dear ones who are troubled about ‘sin’ in your life. For God’s sake, get your eyes off of the sin. It is thoroughly nailed to the cross and cannot escape. God does not want your eyes to be on the cross, but on the Savior and the Salvation that fills your being right now.
This is why Jesus said, “In that day you shall know that I am in the Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” The order in which He said it is important.
If I don’t know that I, all of me, all of my flesh and sin and humanity and weakness and debt and all of this dying body, all of me, I am in Jesus. If I don’t know that, then the rug is jerked out from under my feet and I cannot see HIM.
But the very same Holy One who came upon the Mountain in consuming fire and clouds of darkness so that those people back then were terrified and could not stand before God – that same Holy One fills me, my body, my soul, my mind, my strength, my spirit, every part of my humanity, every part of who and what I am, He fills me with a glory and a fire that so far exceeds what they were capable of seeing back then. How then can I so miss the glory of the Resurrected Christ who fills me that all I can see is ‘what the devil might do’ or some ‘sin’ that I refuse to leave upon the cross.
It is wicked to ‘weep’ over sin. Weeping over sin is more wicked than the sin itself.
See Jesus. First you in Him, and then He in you. Sin is not in that picture, except already dead upon the cross. Jesus is our life; we have no other life. How can we see anything else?
Oh, how I want to grab people and shake them and shout, “The power and majesty and glory and holiness of Almighty God fills you from the top to the bottom, from the inside to the outside. How, how, are your eyes so blind, how are your senses so dull that you cannot see the Fire and Glory that fills you.”
Yes, it is a dying body that the One who raised Jesus from the dead fills in His power. Yes, it is a weak human that is the earthen vessel that holds this Holy Treasure. Yes, my life is messy. Yes, when I look in the mirror, I see a very human face. That is the incredible wonder of this mystery. We imagine that we must see an outward glory with our natural eyes to know that we are filled with Christ.
We walk by faith and not by sight. We see Him who is invisible.
. . . that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1
It is not Jesus up in heaven that we do not see with our natural eyes, it is Jesus inside of us in all of His Ascended glory that we do not see with outward sight. But we see Him by faith and we are filled with a joy that cannot be expressed.
But now is the revelation of Jesus Christ, now we must walk in the knowledge of His Presence, His Parousia, His coming in us as we have never known before.
Practice living as if Jesus in all of His resurrected and ascended glory has returned to earth and now appears in a physical form – you. Practice living in the open consciousness of that reality – because it is true.
If Jesus showed up visibly, we would all fall on our face before His Majesty.
Jesus has shown up in a far greater way than anything we can read about in the Bible, Old Testament or New. He has appeared as you.
Preston Eby pointed out something that I had never considered before. When Jesus appeared after His resurrection to the two who were walking to Emmaus, they did not recognize Him with their natural sight. Though it was Jesus, the physical body He appeared in was structured quite differently from the one they had seen before. More than that, there were NO scars on his hands. They did not recognize Him until He broke the bread, seated across a small table from them. But when He materialized before them in the presence of Thomas, then, for Thomas’s sake, He appeared in a body that showed deeply and plainly the scars from the nails. It was a different physical appearance.
And so now, He has appeared in your body, and He has appeared in mine.
Then, He said to Thomas, “Thomas, because you have seen Me (with your natural eyes), you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Believe that He has appeared in all of His resurrected and ascended glory in us. Jesus is our life.
Christ in us is our hope of glory. Christ, appearing in any form outside of our self can do nothing for us except weep. See Him as He is in you – by faith.
Then all of these many things we so desperately need prayer for will simply vanish from our sight and He will meet them with the favor of His hand that is always flowing out from our bellies.
Practice seeing Him in you. Practice it until you see nothing else.
And here is the truth. There is nothing else. Everything we imagine to be in us that is not Jesus, is just that, our imagination. How very sad if we keep our imagination more vivid before our eyes than the Ascended King who fills us in glory.
See Jesus. See His glory in you.
VICTORY in the PHYSICAL BODY
Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, let him have dominion over the fish of the sea. . .” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over. . . every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
We have no idea the extent of the meaning of Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness. We will continue to be overwhelmed as we learn more and more of what it means through all the ages to come, the extent to which God reveals Himself to His creation through us. God who is invisible, made visible through us.
David asked, What is man that you pay so much attention to him? “I feel like a worm,” he says in another place. We see ourselves as so low. Why does God focus His attention on us?
When we were born again, our second birth followed the same steps as our first birth. But we have a different father and mother than in our first birth. In our first birth, we had a natural father and a natural mother, and we were made up entirely of the traits of our natural father and our natural mother merged together.
When we were born a second time, we had a Father and a mother as well. In our second birth, our Father is God Himself and our mother is the church of Jesus Christ, Jerusalem which is from above. The seed of God, His word, coming into union with the seed of the woman inside us, faith, brought forth the new life that we are. That life is Christ Himself. Eternal life is an intimate communion with the Father and with Jesus. Christ is our life.
Throughout the New Testament, the Spirit of God commands us over and over, “Be just like God,” in many different ways. Be perfect as He is perfect, love as He loves, be pure as He is pure, because God is taking us to His throne. We say to ourselves, “How can this be?” We come back to the question, “What is man?”
So the church, for the last 2000 years, has been convinced that man is a disaster, and that God is having pity on man. That, even though we deserve to be “in the fires of hell,” God had pity on some of us and we get to be happy forever – and that’s all man is.
But we know that God’s purpose for man from the very beginning is that God wants many sons just like Jesus.
We find ourselves at the present time not waiting till we die and go to heaven. Rather, we are in a place of development in the womb of the church, in between the conception, when we were born of God and the birthing, when we come forth in the full light of day, revealed for all to see.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:19
That word “revealing” is the word apokalupsis, taking off the veil. It is when we come forth in the full light of day as the true sons of God. This is our goal. Romans Chapter 8 is the capstone of Paul’s argument of the gospel. Verse 19 is central to that argument. There is coming a day when God will take the cover off of His sons and they will stand upon the earth!
Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:21-23
Sadly, the redemption of the body seems to have vanished from Christian thought. Yet we find it central to the gospel and to the work of God in our lives.
This development, as we grow up into Him in all things, awaiting that birthing into the full light of day, revealed in all the glory of who we are, this development is centered upon the human body. Paul shows us how important our physical bodies are in our salvation. It is in the body that the conflict of the ages comes to its fulfillment, that God proves Himself in us.
First, Paul has established every person descended from Adam under sin and in need of redemption. Those who have attempted to obey the law have demonstrated that the law saves no one. God cannot be pleased by human performance, but only by Christ in us. So now, Paul begins building the gospel with Abraham.
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. . . God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who (Abraham), contrary to hope, in hope believed. . . And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead. . , and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore, it was accounted to him for righteousness. Romans 4:13, 16-22
Abraham heard a word from God; He believed that word. He realized that his natural body could not fulfill that word. But he did not concern himself with the fact that his body could not bring forth life. Abraham was fully convinced that what God had promised, He would perform. And it is upon this faith of Abraham that the gospel of Jesus Christ is built.
. . .shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4
The “just as” verses show us how much God wants us to be like Him, to walk as He walks. This is like Jesus walked as He is raised from the dead. The life that is in us is the raised-from-the-dead life of Jesus; we walk in that same life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:5-7
This is absolute truth. I am dead. I am freed from sin. That which needed to die, that fallen human spirit, the old man that permeated my whole being with sin and iniquity, that body of sin is dead. Everything in me that needed to die is ended. I know it.
I am free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also reckon (consider, put to your account, confess, believe, call it to be so) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:8-11
This last is one of the most important commandments of the gospel.
That which needed to die is dead. God commands us here to reckon that it is so. Yes, there is a battle to fight, an overcoming. But we are not putting the old man to death. We are not “dying to self” or dragging some part of our human person towards the cross, trying to get it nailed to the cross – and it jerks loose, and we hammer it back down, and it jerks loose, and we hammer it back down!
Listen, this is not the gospel. Romans 6:11 is God’s command. That which needed to die is dead, ended – reckon it to be so, speak it to be so, and go on in your walk with God understanding that the cross is behind us. We go forward from the cross into the Holiest of all. We are not at war with our self. Christ lives in us. We do not choose between Christ and self. When we choose Christ, we choose our self, for we have no other life. We are alive unto God!!!
Paul then establishes, in Chapter 7, this principle of our death. He enters into the turmoil, the question that all of us struggle with. If I am free from sin, then why do I sin? If I am dead to sin and alive to God than why is this propensity to do what is wrong still so prevalent in me?
Paul does NOT allow us to take the path that so many Christians take, “Well, that’s just what I am, a sinner saved by grace. I’m just waiting for heaven.” No, Paul lays out here God’s plan for the body.
First, Paul establishes this principle. God gave the law, not for us to overcome sin by “doing” what God says, but so that sin would become exceedingly sinful.
Then in Romans 7:15, For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. . . But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
How do we interpret Paul’s statement “in my flesh dwells no good thing”? The Holy Spirit dwells in our bodies; Christ is revealed in our flesh. This term “flesh” has two definitions. In my “flesh,” that is, in the foolish belief that I am a self separate from God, with a life of my own, that God is one thing and I another, that I, separate from God must do what God says – in this fleshy way of thinking and living dwells no good thing.
Then in verse 20 Paul makes a difficult claim to contemplate. Paul says, Now, if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
I didn’t do it! There is something in me that did it, and it’s not me, it’s separate from me. I am not responsible. Sin did it, not me.
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (that’s me) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (warring against the law of God in me). Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord. So with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin. Romans 7:22-25
(Understand that I wrote this article on my path into knowing Christ as my life. I would reference the second half of Romans 7 quite differently were I teaching it in the present. However, I leave this description here as a step along the path by which we are led to life.)
The mind, of course, is part of who we are, our soul. Paul is referring to me. I serve the law of God. But there is this law of sin still operating against my body.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (who do not walk imagining that they are some self separate from Christ). For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
Paul then talks about those who set their minds on the things of the flesh; to be carnally minded is death, the carnal mind that cannot please God.
Those who are in the flesh (that is, those who walk under an anointing from demons, imagining that they are separate from the Spirit of God) cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. . . Romans 8:8-9
We have the Spirit of God; therefore we know that we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. Thus Paul brings us to our present state. He has established that there is still the working of sin against our bodies – but there is no condemnation, it is not us doing it. That means we just live our lives not worrying about it!
You see, God has given us a glorious task, the opportunity to share in His triumph in a very personal and real way. We have these bodies; we do not escape them every moment of our lives. We know that this body, regardless of its faults and weaknesses, is the temple of Almighty God. We also know that God’s purpose is that the life of Jesus be revealed in our bodies, in our mortal flesh.
Too many dear believers believe that sin against their bodies makes them in trouble with God. They believe they have to drag themselves to the cross over and over in order to be pleasing to God. But Paul makes it so very clear here. I didn’t do it. I am with God. I am in the Spirit. And there is no condemnation because the law of the Spirit of life has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Of course, as Paul taught this to the churches, people accused him of saying, “Let’s just go ahead and sin all we want, because it doesn’t matter.” Paul said, “You’re missing my point entirely.” Those who want to use Paul’s teaching as a license for sin are not interested in what God is doing.
Paul is taking us toward the purpose of God, this glorious experience God has for us with our body. It is in our body that the will of God is proven, that God’s power and strength and victory are demonstrated. How could we share in Jesus’ victory if we did not have a dying body?
Having a weak human body is not a curse; it is our glory – as we see God’s purpose for our bodies.
If Christ is in you (Christ who is our life, your life is hid with Christ in God), then the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:10
Yes, our body is a dying body. It still has death working against it; nevertheless, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We give it to God as a living sacrifice. We do not despise the body; we do not curse or punish it. Sin is not in me, Christ is in me. When I look at me, I do not see sin; I see Christ!
I do not look at sin when I look at me. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6 that sin is outside my body; I am not responsible for it. That doesn’t mean I don’t ask forgiveness if I offend someone or that I don’t look to God for the cleansing blood. But I walk in the certainty that I am not under any judgment against sin as long as I am walking with God in the Spirit, trusting in Him, keeping my confidence full. When I look at me, I don’t see sin, I see Christ. Because at the same time life is in my spirit because of the righteousness of Jesus. He is my life.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
The Spirit of God lives in our bodies, and He is working, working, working with the power that raised Jesus from the dead. The Holy Spirit, right now, is working to bring the very life of God into our dying body.
Now we say to ourselves, “Well that sounds wonderful, but I sure don’t see it. My body is weak, it’s tired. It’s always wanting things that God says it’s not supposed to have. It’s always tripping me up, bringing me down. I don’t see verse 11 happening in my body.”
We read again these words, Abraham, not being weak in faith, did not consider his own body, already dead. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Here is our faith. We do not consider the deadness of our body. We consider only what God says. We do not go by the sight of our eyes or by the experience of our body. We go only by what God says. We groan, eagerly waiting for the culmination of this work of God in our bodies. It is not God’s purpose that our bodies should just get old and die. That’s not what the word says.
Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead. . . Being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
God’s purpose for our bodies right here and right now is LIFE!
DO not COVER your GLORY
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1
To understand the gospel, we must be grounded in a full understanding of the divine law upon which we stand. Without knowing the Spirit law of God we live in as believers there is no way we can go forward into victory.
So many believers have the idea that, as Christians, we are fighting our way up to gain salvation. That is backwards. As sons of God, we are not becoming what God wants us to be; we are what God wants us to be. We are pleasing to God; we stand in the glory of our finished state. We stand there by faith.
We rejoice in the victory before it happens. We dance on this side of the sea before the waters open. We have our hopes up so high that nothing could penetrate to bring them down. We are fighting the victory not to get somewhere, but because we are who we are. We are fighting as sons for the glory of our Father. We are not fighting as humans in order to please God.
Because Christ died and because we believe in Him, there is therefore now no condemnation.
That word “condemnation” is not a bad feeling. Certainly, we don’t have to feel bad. Rather, “condemnation” is the Greek word katakrisis. Krisis is judgment and kata is down. There is therefore now no “down judgment.” As I stand before God right now, the accuser can accuse all he wants, but there is not one shred of evidence that I did anything. At the same time, Jesus says, “I did not do it, so Daniel did not do it.” And the Father says, “Case closed. No sin has been committed.”
I didn’t do it. Justification is more than “just as if I didn’t do it.” Before God, justification is, “I did not do it.” There used to be someone who goes by my name that did it, but he is dead! I am a new creation in Christ. I am the one who was born the second time. I am in Jesus and nowhere else.
This “down judgment” is everything that comes as a result of sin. I am fully free from every part of the curse including death. I do not have to die physically.
Who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.
It is possible, now that I am in Christ, that I could define myself as something I am not. I could define myself as a fallen human, struggling under the weight of sin. I could define myself as someone who is bad, or even someone who finds his life in this world. If I did, I would be walking according to the flesh. But there is no reason to see myself that way.
Transformation comes through changing the way we think. I am a new creation. I do not recognize any self separate from Christ. Christ is in me. In me! That is the only me that I recognize. I don’t see any other me than Christ in me, and no seductive lie can make me do so. In fact, God requires the opposite. He says, “Deny that. Deny that there is a self separate from Christ.”
I am in Christ; Christ is in me. Therefore, I walk and live in the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
To understand this foundational verse of God’s Spirit law, God has given us a story in the Old Testament. God gave us the stories of the Old Testament to enable us to understand the New Covenant that we have with God.
After these things, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman. . . and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. . .
When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Judeans who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus – the people of Mordecai . . .
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people. . . their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed. . .” So the king took his signet ring and gave it to Haman.
And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.” Esther 3:1-11
In the kingdom of Persia, there was a rule that if the king spoke a law, then even the king himself could not change that law once it had been spoken.
This rule did two things for the people. One, it made the king a little slow to speak strong words, because he knew that once it was out of his mouth, he could not take it back. At the same time, once people understood what the king had said, they could rely on it, knowing that it was certain. If they built their lives on that particular kingly word, they would not suddenly find that word jerked out from under them. They could live with certainty.
That is the same with God. When God speaks His word, it is certain and sure and cannot be changed.
The moment that the king had declared that the Judeans were to be killed on a certain date that law was set and could not be changed.
But then, Mordecai talked to his niece, Esther, who was married to the king. She went before the king and pleaded for her people. The end result was that Haman was hanged on the gallows he had made and Mordecai was exalted to the same position that Haman had enjoyed. Then, in Chapter 8, we come again to the law, the word that the king had spoken concerning the Judeans.
Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Judeans. . . Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king. . . let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman. . . which he wrote to annihilate the Judeans who are in all the king’s provinces. . .”
(King Ahasuerus said), “You yourselves write a decree concerning the Judeans, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.” Esther 8:3-8
They could not write a decree that would overturn the original decree because that decree had been set and could not be changed. They had to write a decree that would stand alongside the original decree. Verse 11 is that decree.
By these letters the king permitted the Judeans who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives – to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them. . . and plunder their possessions.
And so it happened. On the set day, when the king had ordered the destruction of the Judeans, many people came to take advantage of the first law the king had spoken, to kill the Judeans and take their property. But the king had established a second law – that the Judeans had the authority of the king to fight for their lives. On that day, the Judeans destroyed their enemies.
With that, let’s come back to Romans 8:2. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
What is the law of sin and death? The law of sin and death is the irrevocable law of God. God cannot change it. The law of sin and death is this:
The soul that sinneth shall die — In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die — The wages of sin is death.
You sin, you die. It is an absolute law of God. Once sin begins to work in a person’s life, death works as well. Sin leads to death and death to sin and it is a downward spiral that leads all the way to the grave. More than that, it is a law passed on to our children who labor under the same curse in spite of the fact that they did not commit Adam’s original sin. Sin is in their spirits before they are born again, and against their bodies bringing death even after they are born again.
You sin, you die – an absolute law! God cannot revoke it. He spoke it once, and there it stands. If that were the only law God spoke, we would be without hope.
But we know that we did die. When Jesus died upon the cross, we were inside of Him, and we died. Then, when He rose from the grave, we came alive with Him in His resurrection life.
But God has spoken a new law into the universe. This new law does not set aside the old law, which is still in operation. Our bodies still die and go into the grave because of the operation of that old law. But God has set a new law alongside the old. That is, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
The story in Esther shows us exactly what God’s intentions are. You see, there continues that voice of accusation that demands the old law be fulfilled, that demands death and destruction. But God has given us a new law that He has spoken; God has given us the right to fight back and to win, to live and not die!
We fight back on the basis of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. God is a legal God. Everything exists on the basis of unchangeable Spirit law. When we fight back against the law of sin and death, we fight from a law that is far greater, far more central to the heart of God. The law of the Spirit of life has made us free from the law of sin and death.
This is absolute. On this absolute law, I stand; upon this certainty, I swing my sword; upon this unshakable foundation I fight with full assurance of faith. I KNOW that the legal ground of God upon which my feet stand cannot shake or move. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. And on the basis of this law, we approach the battle taking place against our bodies.
This story helps us to understand, then, the confusion so many of God’s people fall into. The law of sin and death is a law spoken by God. The wages of sin is death. And so, there are many verses, particularly, in the Old Covenant, that expand on that law of sin and death. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. — See, I have set before you this day life and death, therefore chose life, for why would you die? Verses like these are part of God’s speaking of the law of sin and death, the first law.
Yes, the law given by King Ahasuerus against the Judeans continued. But on the day the Judeans fought for their lives, everyone knew that something enormous had shifted. The first man behind the working of the first law, Haman, was defeated and dead. Now, a new prime minister was in power, Mordecai, and a new law spoken by the king giving the Judeans authority to fight back was backed up by the second in command in the entire empire. Everybody knew that. The authority behind those who sought to kill the Judeans was a defeated authority. The authority behind the Judeans fighting for their lives was the authority standing at the right hand of the throne.
And so it is with us. Yes, the law of sin and death was spoken by God, but it is not the law in which we live. We live in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, having behind us the authority of Him who stands at the right hand of the Father, having defeated His enemies. His authority is behind us as we stand in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We have the right and the power to fight back.
The assurance verses in the New Testament teach us about the law of the Spirit of life, and the jeopardy verses teach us how to fight back. Both sets of verses are on the same side. Assurance teaches us where we stand, and jeopardy teaches us how we fight back against our enemy who would kill us.
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily on the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 2 Corinthians 3:7-8
What did Paul just say? Wasn’t it the Ten Commandments that were engraved on stone? Wasn’t it the receiving of the Ten Commandments that put the glory on the face of Moses? Paul is calling the Ten Commandments the ministry of death.
The story of Esther helps us understand. The Ten Commandments are part of the law of sin and death. Our enemy uses them to condemn us. Yes, the ministry of death which Moses received put a glory upon his face, but Paul says that the ministry of life which we have received, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, is far more glorious upon our face.
For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 2 Corinthians 3:9
Paul contrasts the law of the Spirit of life against the law of sin and death. He places the Law of Moses as central to the law of sin and death.
For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech, unlike Moses who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:10-14
One who reads the Old Testament in an unlawful way, not to understand the gospel, but to rule over the gospel, their mind is blocked entirely by a veil.
Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
When Moses received the law of sin and death from God, his face became so bright with God’s glory that no one could stand to look at it. It was so overwhelming that the children of Israel could not bear to have Moses walking around looking like God, with the glory of God glowing from his skin. They asked him to put a hood over his head, so they would not see God shining out of his body.
Paul said, “We are not like Moses!” We do not cover up God’s glory upon us.
If the glory upon Moses from the law of sin and death was glorious, how much more glory is upon the faces of those filled with Christ Jesus? This glory shines even through the physical body. As we behold the glory of the Lord by faith when we look in the mirror, my God, the glory that is upon us is far greater than the glory that was upon Moses.
We are being transformed into the image of His glory by the Spirit of the Lord. There is a glory that is upon our bodies, upon the skin of our face. God wants to be seen in our body. He does not want us to cover our glory.
Whose minds the god of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine on them. . . For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
The god of this age is the one who stands behind the law of sin and death. — The glory that was upon Moses was nothing compared to the glory of Jesus that is upon us.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
These bodies carry inside of them a treasure of glory beyond what we can imagine. God wants that glory to shine its way through this earthen vessel.
Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:10
He died; I died. I reckon it to be so; I speak it to be so.
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4:11
God intends Christ to triumph, not in heaven, but in our physical body. Yes, the body is dying, but just as death is working against our body, more surely than that, the life of Jesus counteracts it. The law of the Spirit of life fills my spirit. God has given me authority to fight against my enemy who would use the word God spoke to destroy me. It is God who said that the wages of sin is death, and it is God who gives me the authority to fight against the effect of the word He Himself spoke. I KNOW that the death of Jesus overrides the death of sin.
God’s purpose is not to blame or destroy the body. God’s purpose is that the life of Jesus would be revealed, shown to all, in my mortal flesh, in my dying body. God wants the glory to shine.
We are not like Moses; we do not cover our glory.
Romans 12:1-2 is Paul’s conclusion in the book of Romans concerning how the physical body fits into the gospel of Christ. Yes, the physical body is the source of our continued confusion in this world. It is where death still works against us. But it is also the temple of the Holy Spirit. And as the temple of the Holy Spirit, we do not abuse the body in any way. It is where God has purposed to win.
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
My body is holy; every part of it is pleasing to God. The life that I live in my body is holy, and I present my body in faith that it is acceptable to God. It is made clean by the blood of Jesus. It is the temple of God.
We are transformed by changing the way we think, by getting our minds out of the law of sin and death, out of the concourses of this world, and into the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus where we live. We change the way we think about the life of Christ inside of us. We believe that what God says about us in the gospel is true.
God spoke two words into the world; we do not them mix them up. Yes, God spoke the law of sin and death, but we stand fully in the law of the Spirit of life. As we are transformed by changing the way we think, we present our bodies, because God intends to prove His will in our bodies.
What is the will of God? That His will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
God commanded Adam to subdue the earth, to bring the physical body into the full glory of the Spirit of God. This is our task and our glory. The body has no shame in it. We carry this treasure of God in an earthen vessel. And we carry the face of Jesus Christ to prove the will of God in our bodies.
God will win. Not by taking us to heaven, but by proving His will, right here, right now, in this earth, in this life, in our physical bodies.
This is the battle. This is where we win. This is our glory.
CHRIST in the STORM
The disciples were crossing the sea; the storm raged; they were frightened out of their wits; and Jesus was asleep in the boat. They were obviously frustrated with Him when they woke Him. But Jesus spoke two words: to the storm He said, “Peace, be still,” but to the disciples he asked, “Why do you have so little faith?”
Jesus said during the last supper, “In this world you will have tribulation – everything that can go wrong will go wrong, but be thrilled and excited about it, for I have defeated the world.” (My paraphrase)
Moses, in Psalm 91, said of those in the secret place, “ten thousand shall fall at your right hand and it shall not come near you.” (Ten thousand people dropping dead all around you is no little thing.)
David said, “I will not fear, though the mountains be cast down and carried into the sea.”
Paul and Silas were beaten and bloody, thrown into a stone dungeon and chained with heavy shackles. During the night an earthquake hit, stones falling, men screaming in fear. Yet through all of it they sang praises, knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ was in them, they were in Him, and nothing else mattered.
One of the most critical elements of scientific mind control is to get everyone to “think positive,” and to stay away from those who speak “doom and gloom.”
As an amateur student of history, I understand that never in the history of this planet has there been such a pampered, spoiled, and conceited people as now exists on the North American continent. Arising out of that conceit comes an arrogance that is absolutely staggering. It is the sin of Sodom, not homosexuality, but the sin of arrogant violence holding the power to destroy the world over all other nations.
God never keeps His people from the storms. On the contrary, it is God who designs the storms specifically to showcase the triumph of Christ in our lives.
His strength is made perfect in our weakness. 2 Corinthians 10
Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Corinthians 4
I want to share from three more visions from Annie Schissler.
THE PURPOSE of the STORM
He showed me the purpose of this world-shattering storm of evil that is coming: to bring forth and produce the government of God in and through His own reigning ones. . .
THE ONLY COVERING: POSSESSING HIM
As I entered the presence of God, I saw the storm approaching – that great, angry, black cloud of evil that covers all – the time of great suffering and persecution that is already gathering its powers and forces together. I realized that before this storm breaks, His people must possess Him in a very intimate and personal way, a possession which can only be attained through a love relationship with Jesus. However, this love is far, far deeper than the glorious and beautiful love which flows freely in a fleeting moment of blessing; this is the state of love abiding within the heart as the one strong, constant, and unfluctuating foundation of the inner being.
I saw that such a relationship of possession formed a mighty covering power of God over His own ones, which was filled with grace and light and mighty strength . . . I was shown the enemy rushing against that covering in great fury and with much blustering; but they collided against that mighty covering of grace and light and were thrown back. They could do nothing at all against it. This covering was effective as long as the love relationship with Jesus was constantly nurtured and maintained . . .
Some – even of His own ones – who had not entered this place of possessing Him in intimacy, saw only the storm, and could not see any higher than that cloud of evil and darkness, for the storm had the power to cut off their vision of Him.
There were others, however, who learned to come into Him and to possess Him, to the extent that they knew that they were His and He was theirs. This intimate communion with Jesus, this state of constantly loving Him, this life lived with Him and in Him, was such a covering and protection that they had no fears, they were filled with security and peace. God opened their eyes to see Him high and triumphant, ruling over the storm, and they were not afraid. Because of this, the storm could not enter into them to possess them at all.
POSSESSION NOW or LATER
While I was with Him in the wonder and glory of His invisible world, He showed me His own entering into the possession which He gives them. He explained that there were two distinct times of tremendous importance in which there could be an entering into one’s possession. Now, before the storm, or later, after the storm.
Those who entered their possession before the storm became His elect ones, with a far superior place and development, in them the perfect will of God was brought forth. Occupying a place very near to Him, they became the instruments of God in His workings . . .
Through several visions, Annie sees that there are two levels of experience with God in the coming storm: those who are above the storm, and those who are beneath. God is not angry with those who are beneath the storm, neither do those who are above the storm regard themselves as “superior.” Rather, God sends His love and power through those elect who live above the storm to minister strength and direction to those caught beneath the storm.
The difference between these two levels of walking is how we see. Those who see God in themselves and themselves in God, those who see the storm as God’s perfect plan, a final demonstration of His perfect love, walk above the storm. Those who see themselves separate from God, with the requirement upon themselves to line up with His directives, will find themselves overwhelmed by the storm. In fact, though they want to cling to God in the midst of the storm, they will be strongly tempted to see the evil men and demonic forces that are the outworking of that storm as the ‘cause’ of their trouble.
The central chapter that defines how we understand our covenant with God is Romans Chapter 8. All the rest of the New Covenant flows out of the foundations established in that chapter. However, the central chapter of the fulfillment of the New Covenant as it is taking place right now in the world, is Revelation Chapter 12. God speaks to me from every verse in that chapter: this is now.
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth — And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born — And they overcame him.
Verse 12, however, is speaking of the same thing that I am sharing with you. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.
God is giving us the opportunity to walk fully in the consciousness that Christ is our life, we are utterly in Him and He lives in every part of us. To walk in the full consciousness that Jesus is the Word made flesh again in our lives, He is living as the human me, and I am not separate from Him in any conceivable way.
I find my thinking changing so drastically. Outwardly, I am still a weak human in all that it means, but inwardly, I find my thinking being transformed. The central joy of God’s dealings with me, however, is the growing intimacy of a love relationship that I am finding between Jesus and me.
And let me say this: for me, the critical difference between decades of walking with Jesus ‘from afar,’ and the present intimacy of union I am enjoying now is this – where I place myself. I see myself utterly in Him, especially my flesh and my sin, and I see Him living in every part of me. If I allow myself to behold sin instead of Jesus, that intimate union is cut off. But it is cut off only in my thinking, never in reality. What a shame, to live in that which is not!
And so, when God says, “Rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them,” He is talking about our walking in the seeing of God in all things. And when God says, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth,” He is talking about born again Christians who see themselves as separate from Jesus. He is their Savior, yes, but not their life. And when God says, “and the sea,” He is talking about those who are not born again, who cannot see God at all.
I want God to change completely the way I think, the way I see everything. I want to be, and am, seized in the fierceness of His love. I fill my thinking with the word God is speaking through me, and then confirmed through others. But, at the same time, I watch the storm. A great man of God I once knew said, “Keep the Bible open in one hand, and the newspaper open in the other.”
Over thirty years ago, when I went north into the wilderness of Canada with an overwhelming desire to know the living God, a brother shared a vision concerning me. He saw me as a ‘chicken’ scurrying around in the barn yard, but then he saw the leg of the chicken turn into the foot of an eagle.
I was highly offended by this vision, a chicken indeed! The interesting thing is that a pamphlet was written by Peter Lord in that same year. I include a portion copied directly from the following web page:
Excerpt from the book Turkeys and Eagles by Peter Lord (SeedSowers, 1977)
We are all in danger of falling into the same trap that Adam and Eve fell into. They were tempted to become something they already were. The devil said, “If you eat. . . you will be like God.” They were already like God. Made in His image and in His likeness. They could not have been any more like God without being God. God made them as much like Him as He could.
If the evil one can keep us from knowing who and what we are in Christ Jesus – new creations, saints, the people and children of God – then he can tempt us to act, by making us want what we think we do not have. The Christian does not do in order to become. He does because he is what God has made him in Christ Jesus. (Preface)
— Note: This book is a parable of an eaglet named Hagan who fell out of his nest and was raised by a flock of turkeys. The following are the concluding passages from the book – a parallel of the Christian life. —
“Hagen, you are an eagle!” said the wise old owl. “An eagle my friend. You are a descendant of the grandest and highest of all birds. You belong high up there in the sky above all other creatures. Go now, Sir Eagle, and soar. Soar above us all.”
A chill of glory and revelation ran up and down Hagen’s mighty wings. Instinctively, he knew who he was. All he had ever needed was for someone to tell him! At that moment, he recalled that he had often dreamed of flying high in the sky, above the turkeys, above the buzzards, with some majestic species.
“Look at yourself. You are not a turkey. You have a noble heart of an eagle. It is the turkeys who have told you that you were a buzzard and that you have become a wonderful turkey. You are neither! You need not live in the wood any longer. Go Hagan! You belong in the sky!”
It is true that an eagle does not take long at all to learn to fly once he has been set free. And at that moment, our dear friend Hagan had very definitely been set free! Hagan opened his mighty wings to their fullest, and with one tremendous sweep, he set sail into the skies. Nor was he afraid as he lifted his head and screeched a most terrible cry of strength, joy, and freedom. It was a cry of triumph like nothing else ever heard upon this earth.
Hagan circled the wood for one last view of the unnatural habitat which so long had held him. Having taken one last look, Hagan raised his head and saw in the far distance, and high above him, something grand and beautiful. Every fiber in his being called out, “Yonder is my home!” Unleashing again that terrible cry of freedom, he lifted his head, arched his wings, caught the wind, and soared toward the mountain peaks!
Often an eagle will sit on a rock and wait for a gust of wind to come by and then simply spread out his wings, cast himself out into space and let the wind carry him up and away. The Holy Spirit is like the wind. Are you willing to jump off the miserable rock you are on and depend on the Holy Wind? Human reason cannot see you through this. Your Father and Jesus Christ have said you are righteous. Will you believe Them? The Christian life is not climbing uphill against great odds to someday become holy. When you became His child, God placed you in His holiness. Behold Him. You are going to rise above the little storms of life that drive turkeys into hiding, but drive eagles into the presence of God!
And so I find myself at the present moment, talons gripping a tree limb, high above the ground below. One eye is on the coming storm, one eye is on the swirling heavens above. A fierce joy grips my heart, “This is my time; for this moment, I was created.” At the right moment – which moment is now – I take the fierce winds of God’s Spirit high into the heavens, riding above the storm.
It is my mission and calling, and I have felt this for over thirty years, to be a nourisher and a sustainer of that woman, my dear fellow believers in Jesus, caught in something she has not prepared for and in no way understands, but for whom God holds an infinite and a jealous love.
PERFECTION requires a WEAK BODY
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. . . For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:11 & 18
Romans 8 is the heart of the gospel, our being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We find ourselves in an in-between place, conceived of God, yes, but not yet born of God into the full light of day. We are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, because the Spirit of God is in us. However, death still works against our bodies, in spite of the presence of the Holy Spirit; therefore our bodies die.
It is astonishing that our physical bodies are still subject to death. Physical death for a Christian is hard to believe, because it is not the intent of the gospel. We are separated from the law of sin and death. Christ was made a curse for us, and we are made the righteousness of God in Christ. We are born again, conceived of God. We stand in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We presently possess eternal life from God that means immortality and all the perfection of Christ. The expectation of the gospel is that we live and not die.
But we are in this in-between place. And Paul teaches us we are in a fight.
Although we are conceived of God, we have not yet come forth into the full light of day. God has given us this awesome privilege, to share with Jesus in His victory. Having a dying body is a privilege. We share in His glory as we share in His victory, and we share in His victory as we share in His fight.
God allows us by faith in His word to battle against the law of sin and death, against the accuser of the brethren trying to keep us attached to what is dead in our minds. It is Jesus in us bringing down the enemy, bringing captive into obedience every thought to His life, suffering with Him in a body still subject to death. God does this for us because we share in His glory as we share in His victory. And we share in His victory as we ourselves win against the accuser.
God is not displeased with us; that is a satanic understanding of where we stand. Rather, God has given us the continued presence of death so that we have the awesome privilege of swallowing it up in the victory of the Lord Jesus.
We cannot know glory apart from victory and we cannot know victory apart from the fight. We could be handed all the wonders of heaven on a silver platter, but none of it is glory unless we share in His fight. That is where we stand.
Paul says, “Listen, brethren, the awesome privilege. We are debtors.” To have this treasure of Christ in earthen vessels! To have a human body, a human frame. God has so honored us by giving us the privilege and honor of defeating death with Jesus our life, of casting down the accuser with Jesus our life, of bringing an end to the world system with Jesus our life.
We have no debt to the flesh. If we imagine that we are still subject to the law of sin and death, we will die. If we live in the imagination that we are some self separate from Christ, and that the cross of Jesus is something we are always escaping from and always dragging ourselves back to – that is living in the flesh. We don’t live there; we live in the law of the Spirit of life.
Now, a believer could still be convinced that there is value in their lives in this world separate from Jesus. If they want to pursue the lust of their body and build a life for themselves in this world, yes, they will die. Their bodies will die and go into the grave. We don’t know how long they will wait until they are ready to value this privilege instead of the emptiness of life in this world.
But you see, Paul isn’t writing to those. God knows who belongs to Him. Paul here is speaking to those who yearn for Jesus, who want to be with Him in His glory. Those who in their weakness and inability cry, “Oh Father, if you are doing anything in the earth, don’t pass me by, don’t leave me out. Jesus, I want to be with you. I don’t want to be anywhere else.
My God, in that day – in that day when He stands in His glory, to be anywhere else but by His side, with Him, standing in Him in His glory is inconceivable. It is a horror that cannot even be looked at. Oh Father! To be with Him in His glory is everything. It is everything. The mud puddles, the cesspools of this world, vanish into nothingness as if they never were.
To be with Jesus in His glory – there is nothing else to look at or consider.
Whatever we go through in the sufferings of this present time is not worthy of being set against the glory that will be revealed inside of us. When Jesus stands in His glory, it will be inside the victory He wins in us.
. . .but if, by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:13-14
We must understand this – putting to death the deeds of the body. It is not literal, because we do not do anything except in the body. Even lying in bed is a deed of the body, getting up is a deed of the body, going to work, coming home again, these are all deeds we do in the body. Paul is not talking about that.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
Our old life is dead, and we are hidden with Christ in God. Christ is our life, we recognize no other life. Therefore, because Christ is our life, we turn and “put to death” our earthly members. Paul names the “deeds of the body.”
. . .fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. . . anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Colossians 3:5 & 8
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where. . . Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another and forgiving one another. . . But above all these things put on the love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:9-12
We put off the outer things because we have already put off the old man of sin who does them. Then, as we know the life of Jesus in us, as the knowledge of His love inside of us increases, we are transformed.
We bring every part of ourselves including our bodies into the sphere of salvation, seeing in our minds His nature triumphant in our bodies. We stand firmly in Him. We are not going in and out. We are not in trouble with God. The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus is the foundation on which we stand. The Spirit of life lives in us, in our spirits, in our minds, and in our bodies. He transforms our minds so that we believe God. That same Spirit is working in our bodies.
God always leads us in triumph. He leads us in triumph!
So we get angry. It is easy to think that anger is my problem, and that unless I get anger under control, God is displeased with me. If we live in that way of thinking, we will always live under the weight of not pleasing God, of living under a God who is far separate from us. We fight with this anger, it just gets the better of us, and we see ourselves in the flesh.
The working of God in our lives is from an entirely different viewpoint. We live in the mindset of one who is filled with the life of the Spirit of Christ; we know our Father. Jesus is our life; we recognize no other life. Now He, from the inside out, transforms that anger into good. Christ Himself brings out through our bodies His tender mercies, His kindness, His love for other people, the river of life that flows out of our hearts, moving through us, that God in us might bless and touch and bring life and healing to others.
This is our glory, to triumph over, to swallow up the death that still works against our bodies by Christ Himself in us.
Do you see how God has positioned us. We cannot condemn the body, even though it still dies. Paul makes it very clear that I myself am with Christ. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that Holy Spirit is right now working in our bodies to transform them with the power of the resurrection life of Jesus.
We have been given this privilege, because if we did not have death remaining in our bodies, we would not be able to share in the fight of Jesus, or to know His victory, or to receive His glory as ours personally and true.
We must have the perspective of God found here in 2 Corinthians 2:14.
Now thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
This is how God leads us. This is our present reality, not something we hope for, maybe someday.
Believe what God speaks, He always leads us in triumph.
Some pastors have changed this to read, “He always causes us to triumph,” they really are not saying, “triumph,” they are saying “win.” God causes us to win. And this is true. It is right to believe that God causes us to win.
But, you see, triumph and winning are two different things!
When you live in the life of the One who is in you, you are fighting to win. At the moment your enemy is totally defeated and you have won life for your physical body, at that moment you win. God does cause us to win.
But triumph is not winning; triumph normally comes right after the win.
Think of it this way. The Superbowl is the end game of the season. Whichever team wins is the greatest team in America for a year and will enjoy all that glory. “Joe” has trained for years; he has prepared himself. He has disciplined his body, placing his whole focus on the knowledge of the game.
It is just a few seconds before the final bell; the score is even – tied. Joe’s side has the ball; he runs, evading his opponent. The quarterback sees him and throws the ball to him. With all of his skill and training, in that moment, Joe leaps high into the air, catches the ball, and comes down on the other side of the finish line. The bell rings, and his team has won. In that moment, Joe won the victory.
That is winning, and yes, God does cause us to win. But that is not triumph.
The triumph comes moments later as Joe is suddenly grabbed by many hands. He is pushed up into the air, finding himself on his back on the upraised hands of his team mates. He sees the night sky, the lights of the stadium all around. He sees the crowds around the periphery of his vision all on their feet, shouting, “Joe, Joe, Joe,” in unison. He knows he won; he knows he brought victory. Everyone knows he won. He lies there basking in the glory that will always be his.
That moment is triumph.
The word “triumph” is a Roman word describing the return of a victorious general who is LED by Caesar through the crowds of the city celebrating a victory already won. Because the general was led by Caesar, all the glory of Caesar rested upon him.
So, you can cause to win, but you lead in triumph. Triumph is the celebration of glory after the victory has been won.
Paul makes the claim that right now, on this side of the sea before the waters open, on this side of the victory before it is completed, God leads us in the procession of triumph. We are always led in the very triumph of having won.
We do not doubt, “Shall I win? Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t.”
No, God always leads us in triumph.
Let me read you the definition of the English word “triumph” adapted from the Websters 1926 dictionary. (From my book, The Jesus Secret)
God always leads me in the imposing ceremony of honor given to a victorious general who has overcome every obstacle, defeated every foe. God always leads me into His city crowned with life, bearing His scepter in my hand. God leads me in the procession of the fruit I have produced, the great work I have done for His name. I offer all I am, all I have done, and all I have produced from His investment of power in me as an offering of praise to the glory of Jesus. God always leads me to receive the honor of triumph. God always leads me to celebrate full and total victory and success with exultation. God always leads me to exult boastfully in the victory of Christ in me.
God always leads me to exult boastfully in the victory of Christ in me!
Someone says, “Well brother, you really don’t know if you are going to make it or not.” That voice is a lie. Don’t consider it.
God always leads me in triumph. God always leads me to exult boastfully in the victory of Christ in me. Anytime I want to know whether something is God’s leading or not? If it is God’s leading, in the center of it will be a mighty boast in the victory of Christ already won inside of us. If not? Well – my God always leads me in triumph.
We dance on this side of the sea, before the waters part. We are always confident! Our salvation, our being partakers of Christ is based on the maintaining of our confidence with rejoicing firm all the way through.
So what if I struggle with anger. I am absolutely convinced that God is leading me right now in triumph celebrating the victory that I win over anything that is separate from Christ. His kindness wins against the anger I may yet experience, and I celebrate that victory even before it happens — triumph!
So, I just blew it. My son argues with me; I see red and express anger. I tell you where my faith is. Though I ask for forgiveness, I do not ask forgiveness because I am bad; I ask forgiveness because there is a river of life inside of me. That love flows out and covers any hurt I may have caused. I love and am confident, fully confident, in the victory of Christ. I boast in His triumph.
Though I might not see it with my natural eyes right now, I have the full expectation of it in this life, in this age, in my flesh, in my dying body. I see Him in His glory in me by faith. And that expecting of faith, that rejoices in triumph before the victory, is the faith of the Lord Jesus inside of us. This is the victory we presently have over this world and everything that is in it – even our faith.
God always leads us in triumph.
And so in this view, Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12, establishes this conclusion.
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Consider these words. Jesus says, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” If we want perfection, then we must have a weak body.
We must know weakness before we can know His strength because His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We carry this human body with all of its weakness, all of its infirmities, its distresses, its needs. It is our glory.
The power of Christ is made perfect in our weak bodies. His life is revealed in our mortal flesh.
We know Him in our weakness before we know Him in His power.
THE REDEMPTION of the BODY
I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Who are we?
God created man in His image and after His likeness. We do not know the extent of what that means. But we see in the New Covenant that God commands us to be just like Himself. Love just as He loves, be holy just as He is holy, forgive just as He forgives, walk just as He walks.
God created us to contain God. God is an invisible Spirit who cannot be seen, felt, or handled. God wants a body so that people can come to His body and know who He is and what He is like, how much He loves them. Jesus was sent into the world to reveal the Father to us. We don’t know what God is like, but we know Jesus, and Jesus teaches us what the Father is like and who He is.
From the very beginning, God purposed in His heart to have many sons just like Jesus. God is not satisfied with one expression of who He is. He wants many sons walking together as a living body in order to express the many facets of God’s nature and His love and His heart for His creation.
God created man as a living soul, with the heart at his center. God gave us two bodies, a physical body by which we relate to the physical world, and a spiritual body by which we relate with the spiritual realms, with heaven.
When we asked Jesus into our heart, we were born again, conceived of God, and the seed, the very genetic code of God Himself, came into union with the human seed, faith. We believed what God said, that seed birthed itself inside of our faith, and we were conceived of God.
But we have not yet been born; we are in this in-between time of development. We have not come into the full light of day when God is revealed through us for all to see. In the present, the life of God in our spirit transforms us by the renewing of our minds, by changing the way we think. We see as God sees and believe in our hearts the Lord Jesus, that what God said is true, that what God said MUST BE! We confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus; we speak what God says about us. We don’t look through human eyes at our situation, but we look through God’s eyes, seeing as He sees. We are being transformed.
But the focus of God’s salvation is on our physical body; it is in our physical body that death still resides. We are in a fight. We do not live in the law of sin and death; we live in the law of the Spirit of life.
It is extraordinary that Christians still die. We would expect since the Spirit of God is working right now in our physical body, bringing life to it, that we should live and not die. That is the expectation of the gospel.
However, the law of sin and death spoken by God is still in effect, not because God wants it to rule, but because God spoke it and cannot change it. Therefore, God spoke a new law, the law of the Spirit of life, and in that law we fight for our life. We fight for our life by expecting the will of God within the body. Though our bodies are dying, they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. The battle of our lives is the battle over the body. God intends to prove His will in our bodies.
Jesus said, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
It is no great glory to God that His will is performed in heaven. How could anything else be? Angels do God’s will automatically; they were created to do so. There is no death there, no sickness, no sin. But God intends to prove His will where it really counts – in our dying bodies. The goal of the gospel is that the life of Jesus be revealed in our mortal flesh, that we be just like Him.
God’s work is accomplished in our lives by faith; we celebrate the victory before it happens. Let’s look at the greatest jeopardy passage in the New Testament.
But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm until the end. Hebrews 3:6
The children of Israel, leaving Egypt, were stopped by the Red Sea. Seeing the Egyptian army behind them convinced them they were doomed to die. So they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us here to die?”
Yes, they rejoiced once God proved Himself, won the victory, and destroyed the Egyptian army. They rejoiced on the other side of the sea. But the moment they faced another impossible situation, they were right back to not believing God.
For who, having heard, rebelled…? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief… For indeed the gospel was preached unto us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Hebrews 3:16-4:2
That is not where God has us. God has us in front of the difficulty, the barrier, with the deceit of Satan accusing us, trying to deceive our minds into believing that God will not come through, or maybe it’s us who won’t come through.
Our victory stands upon one thing: Holding fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
We dance on this side of the sea. We are not like the children of Israel. The victory is won, yes! But God always leads us in triumph right now, and we exult boastfully in the victory of Christ in us before we see it with our eyes. We dance on this side of the sea; we celebrate the victory before it comes to pass. We rejoice in hope of the glory that will yet come through the victory.
Those that think, “Well, I’m just a little old me, I’m just a sinner saved by grace. I have this fleshy nature, and I don’t know if I’m going to get it under control, I don’t know if I’m going to make it, if I’m going to win,” stand with the children of Israel, those who fear and who don’t believe, wondering if they will make it or not.
The Spirit of God says, “Don’t be like them. Keep your confidence and expectation of hope firm all the way through.”
What is the victory that God intends to work in our lives and in our experience here in this earth? Let’s see.
This man, Jesus, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering, He has perfected forever, those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:12
By one offering He has perfected forever those who are “being sanctified,” that is this in-between place of development in the womb of the church. Conceived of God, waiting with earnest expectation for that birthing into the full light of day.
Jesus, when He ascended to the Father, sat down at His right hand. From that moment until now, He expects something that has not yet happened.
The phrase, Till His enemies are made His footstool, comes from Psalms 110, the Psalm of the victorious Messiah. It is the most quoted passage from the Old Testament: Till His enemies are made His footstool.
Jesus is expecting it to happen. The Father, when He had finished His work of creation, rested on the seventh day. Jesus, when He had finished His work of redemption and salvation, said, “It is finished,” and sat down at the right hand of the Father, waiting. The Holy Spirit was sent into the world to draw out those who are called, to teach them, to guide them, and to fill them with strength.
The Holy Spirit is not given the task to bring Jesus’ enemies under His feet. But the New Testament does present those who overcome.
And they overcame (their enemies) by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11
How does this victory come? And through whom does it come?
Are all of these things irrelevant or peripheral to the Christian life? Or does the New Covenant teach us that our focus, the groaning that works inside of us, is for this moment when the enemies of Jesus are made His footstool?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility (to the curse) not willingly but because of Him who subjected it in hope. Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:18-20
Yes, God subjected the creation to futility, to emptiness, but He did so in hope. Hope is that which sets itself on what must be.
God has subjected the creation to the curse because He has a hope. God Himself has an expectation of a company of sons who come into His liberty, bringing that freedom into the creation, setting it free, delivering it from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves . . . Romans 8:22-23
There is no peace in the creation, no acceptance of things as they are. Creation is groaning, longing, desperately crying. You see birth pangs; you see a creation reaching forward to its deliverance, knowing that it must come.
The whole creation groans in birth pangs together until now. Is there a groaning inside of you, dear believer? Is there a deep, unending longing for something you know you don’t have? Do you find yourself weeping on your bed in the night, longing to know the living God? Yes, we rejoice in the full expectation of victory, but we know we have not come into the full experience of it yet.
Eagerly waiting . . . Eagerly waiting for what? This is so very sad. So many of God’s people eagerly wait to “go to” heaven when they die. Their defining verse, when they read about hope or salvation, they immediately translate it into, “I’ll go to heaven when I die, and whatever any of this is talking about, I’ll find out, cause it’s all over in heaven somewhere, and I’ll see it after I die.”
Eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body.
This is what we want. You may not realize it, but what you want is the redemption of your body. All the things you long for, all the questions of life, everything you desire, is found in this one experience, the redemption of the body.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Romans 8:24-25
What do we hope for? We hope for the redemption of our body.
Jesus sits and waits, expecting that His enemies will be made His footstool. We groan and labor inside ourselves, longing for the redemption of our body.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man death, by Man also the resurrection of the dead… Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming… For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26
Jesus is waiting for His enemies to be put under His feet. But Paul says that He must reign till He has put all of His enemies under His feet. Both are true. Jesus is our life, and He is bringing His enemies into subjection under His feet in us and through us. On the one hand it is He doing it through us, but on the other hand, He is waiting for us to bring His enemies under subjection.
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. Romans 16:20
We are Jesus’ feet under which His enemies are made subject. Paul said that the head of the body (Jesus) cannot say to the feet (us), “I have no need of you.”
The last enemy to be eliminated is death. We battle from the law of the Spirit of life against the law of sin and death. What is the moment when death is defeated?
Satan is a slave; his master is Sin. But Sin itself is a slave living under the whip of its master, Death. Death is the antithesis of God. Death is absolutely opposed to all that God is. Death is no friend, no sweet uncle come to carry me into the arms of Jesus. Death is my enemy. Death is everything that is separate from God.
My God, death is trying to kill us! Death is our enemy, our greatest enemy.
Yes, when we die, if our physical body goes into the grave, Jesus will be there, waiting to carry us through that dark passage. For those whose hearts are devoted to Him there is no darkness at all, but only a joy and rejoicing. Nevertheless, death is our enemy. It opposes everything God is. God is life. He is light; He is love.
Death is the last enemy Jesus brings under subjection. Before death is defeated, sin will be defeated, Satan and all of his demons will be defeated in full experience. The kingdoms of this world will be defeated. And yet, still, there is one enemy standing in defiance. There stands Death, alone, still screaming defiance. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed.
To see the moment of victory over death — 1 Corinthians 15: 50-56
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed. . . For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
For our citizenship is from heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21
What is man that you are mindful of him? For You have given him all things subdued under his feet.
We don’t see all things subdued under our feet yet, but we see Jesus. We know that the power of Christ, His resurrection victory over death, is working inside our bodies. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is working in our mortal bodies. Jesus subdues all things to Himself, especially our bodies. Jesus has given us the victory over death. I have victory over death.
I quote more from The Jesus Secret, Day 119.
Death is my enemy. I do not fear death. I do not fear the cessation of breath in my physical body. I know Jesus will meet me there. But death is still my enemy. Death wants to kill me. Going to heaven when I die is not my goal. My goal is the resurrection, when my weak and lowly body is made just like His glorious body. My goal is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, my goal is all the fullness of God, my goal is the unveiling, the revelation of Jesus Christ.
. . .The goal of God, the goal of all saints, both those waiting in heaven and those upon earth, the goal of all creation as it groans and labors in birth pangs, the goal of all is the defeat of death!
Death is the last enemy that will be defeated. The moment death is swallowed up in victory and the moment I come forth into the full light of day fully clothed as the image of Jesus Christ, just like Him – that is the same moment. At that same moment when my body is transformed, God fills His temple and becomes visible in His body – the Father.
All things are focused on and moving toward this great final defeat of death.
If you are not aware that this is what the New Testament teaches from beginning to end, you must ask yourself, “Where have I been?”
Further, from The Jesus Secret, Day 119.
Death is already defeated. God tricked death by giving death His own Son. Death, in its mindless greed, reached out to swallow up the champion of God Himself. Everyone imagined death had won. But through death, Jesus destroyed death; He broke its power. Then Jesus turned, He took His mighty victory over death, and He gave it to me!
I died with Christ, I also live with Him. I know that Christ, having been raised from the dead dies no more. Christ took upon Himself my appointment with death. My appointment with death is fulfilled, I do not have an appointment with death! I keep His word, I shall never taste death.
Jesus said, “He who keeps my word shall never taste death.” Jesus said that those who hear the voice of the Son of God will live. I shall not sleep, but I shall be changed, when the dead are raised incorruptible, I shall be changed. My mortal, corrupt body must put on immortality, it MUST happen. When my body is transformed, at that moment, when the victory of God works itself completely in my physical body, in that moment, death is swallowed up in victory. Victory over death is mine. It belongs to me. Jesus gave it to me.
In John 11, Lazarus has died, and Jesus has come deliberately late so that Lazarus would already be in the grave.
Jesus said to (Martha), “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (Then Jesus made this claim) And whoever lives and believes in Me, shall never die. Do you believe this?”
The church of Christ has taken upon itself Martha’s viewpoint, “Oh, it’s just going to automatically happen someday in the future. Without any connection to us whatsoever, the resurrection will just happen and we will be raised.”
We desperately want to doctrinalize the words God speaks. We want to define them, to spiritualize them; we want to say why they just ain’t so. But Jesus doesn’t let us do that, because He says, “Martha, Martha, Martha, do you believe what I say? I say to you Martha, that whoever lives and believes in me shall not die.” And then He says, “Martha, do you believe the words I am speaking to you?”
There was one who believed. There was one who believed the IMPOSSIBLE! Her name was Mary, and she said to the angel, “Behold I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your word.” Of course it’s impossible, it is inconceivable, how could she, a little teenage girl, carry inside of her the very life of God! But she said, “Let it be to me according to Your word.”
When Jesus speaks, He is not looking for analyzers or spiritualizers or people who say why it ain’t so! He looks for those who will simply believe what He says.
Therefore, we do not lose heart, even though our outward man is perishing. (This is talking about the physical body that is dying.) But the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, that is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17
To have a human body with all of its weaknesses is the most wonderful privilege given. Yes, there are billions of people with physical bodies and almost all of them have no idea what those bodies are for, so it does them no good.
But God is calling a people who will believe what He says, who will come to Him and say, “I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your word.”
For we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary but the things that are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
We do not look at death still working in our body. We look at the things which are not seen; we have our eyes fixed on who we are, standing right now in glory. We see ourselves as God sees us, fully conformed to the image of Jesus.
Then Paul introduces here a strange passage. It doesn’t make any sense, and so people just skip over it. And yet in 2 Corinthians 5:5, Paul makes this claim, Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
Paul reveals to us the unseen realms that God has specifically prepared us for, and given us the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead as a guarantee. A guarantee that this must be!
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1
What is he saying? Throughout this passage, Paul switches back and forth between our two bodies. Our present earthly body is dying. But it is the place where God intends to prove His will, the place in which the life of Jesus will be revealed, through our physical, mortal, dying body. Yet down through the ages, Christians have died and their body has crumbled into dust. But Paul says, “Look there is a building from God, a body for you, that is eternal.”
Paul is talking here about our spirits; those believers whose physical bodies die and go into the grave themselves continue to live through their spiritual body in the heavens. Unbelievers who die with a dead spirit remain in the place of the dead, with neither a physical body, nor a spirit that can communicate with the godly side of the heavens. They exist in a place of emptiness, a place of desire never fulfilled. But those whose spirits are alive continue in the heavens of God without their physical body. They are waiting, expecting, longing, because we are humans, and we will always be humans. God intends for us always to live in both the heavens and in the earth, in both our heavenly body and in our physical body.
So Paul says here that there is a body not made with hands, our spirit.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation (our body) which is from heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:2
Jesus transforms our physical body into one like His glorious body. The model God uses for our future body is the resurrected body of Jesus that the disciples saw after the resurrection. Paul says that as believers, our hearts groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with that new body, that glorious body, just like Jesus’ body. Eagerly waiting for the redemption of our bodies. This is our goal.
If indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked (wandering around in heaven without a body of any kind.) For we who are in this tent groan . . . 2 Corinthians 5:3-4
We who are in this dying physical body, groan. That is our nature, our present being. We groan. All of our cares are found in a physical body that is dying. Our body is the source of our trouble, and our glory! We just read that.
For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed but further clothed, that mortality (that this physical dying body) may be swallowed up by life! 2 Corinthians 5:4
What is he saying? We don’t want to die, to lose our physical body. Paul says, “Here is what we groan for, this is what we are looking to God with all of our hearts for — that mortality may be swallowed up by life!”
Then Paul says that God has prepared us to experience our mortal body swallowed up by life. And He has given us as a guarantee – the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead working inside of our bodies as the proof that this is what God intends. To experience, not the dying of our physical body, but the moment when our physical body is swallowed up by life!
This is the victory Jesus has given to us. This is the goal of the believer. This is the moment when we are fully conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, the birthing into the full light of day. This is an experience beyond anything any human other than Jesus has ever experienced, our physical body swallowed up in the life of our incorruptible body, a physical body that never knows sin, never knows death or weakness or tiredness.
Jesus said to Martha, “He who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Martha, do you believe this? Do you believe what I say?”
I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your word.
THE CAULDRON of the RESURRECTION I
Is it possible you are already resurrected and don’t realize it or understand it? Your writings and audio contain some excellent material and understanding. You demonstrate Christ in you as a reality and yet as I read your teaching you are still waiting to be resurrected. Are you interested in pursuing this discussion? Have I misunderstood your resurrection ideas?
We call those things that be not as though they are. Yes, our completed state exists fully before God right now. We are becoming what we already are.
Jesus was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. Yet God did not count that reality directly for human experience until red corpuscles mixed with the dirt of this earth.
God created this earth, placed man under vanity, and gave you and me flesh for a purpose. God is after something, something that He cannot get just by speaking a word in the way that He creates everything else. That something is illustrated through a number of pictures – a butterfly pressing against its chrysalis until it is cast off, a bride coming out of the wilderness leaning on her Beloved, the life of Jesus revealed in my mortal flesh, the pain and agony of a woman crying out to be delivered of her child, His strength made perfect in my weakness.
There is certainly a large element of the resurrection that is spirit, that is, of a heavenly substance. In that part of the resurrection we do walk right now, but that is a walking by faith. Faith means we do not necessarily see it with our eyes.
But, ultimately, just as God required red corpuscles in the dirt of the earth, so the resurrection is utterly physical. It is the bringing of all that God is into the physicality of this earth. It is the redemption of the body. It is the mortal body, that is, my dying flesh that the Holy Spirit is working the resurrection life of Jesus into right now.
Now, that is an incredible statement, because I don’t, and have never seen (apart from an occasional miraculous healing) any outward sign of that working in my physical body or anyone else’s. My body is just like yours, it is getting older, more tired, and tending toward the grave.
A kingdom that is “spiritual” only has no appeal to me. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This earth is my inheritance. I want to see the curse removed from it and all demons; I want to walk upon this earth in a physical body that is completely physical, yet as fully resurrected as Jesus’ body. I want to see plants and animals released to be what they really are. I want to hear the mountains sing and the plains rejoice in His glory. I want to see the power and place of wicked men to hurt and manipulate others totally removed. I want to see centuries upon this planet with no such thing anywhere. This is an essential part of my inheritance.
I want to open the door for all to follow after into a reality that is real in all the physicality of this world and not “mystical” or “spiritual” only.
Right now we are in the womb of the church. That is the best picture of where we are. We are, already, everything that we shall be. We declare all things as they really are, though we see nothing as yet. When our spirit was made alive, we were conceived in the womb. When our body is made alive we come forth in the full light of day. Then we shall see all things as they really are. (And she brought forth a male child, and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.)
But right now, here in the womb is found the entire purpose and intention of God. We do not see anything as it really is, except that we have heard what God speaks. It is dancing in victory before we see it with our eyes, convinced that what God says is true, though we see it not, standing in faith, casting down every voice that speaks otherwise, speaking what God speaks, light in the midst of darkness, love in the midst of hate, this is the great cauldron that God has carefully prepared in order to form that most very precious thing that He can have no other way.
More than just the child in the womb, however, everything concerning God and us is found inside the point of the labor of bringing that child to birth. Pressing through the birth canal, at the place of utmost pain, is where we are.
There are two points of contention upon which God has placed everything concerning the Word that He speaks and concerning us. Both of those points of issue are regarding the inheritance. But one point of conflict is spirit and in the heavens, and the other point of conflict is flesh and in the earth. Both points of contention will be won by us by the Spirit and by faith, in very similar ways.
God demands proof of Himself in the earth. We are His proof.
But the victory in the heavens comes first. That moment of winning is found in Revelation 12; it is the casting down of the accuser both out of our heavens and out of all the heavens of God. I suspect that means Satan and his demons becoming physical and earthy. The second moment of winning is found in Revelation 11, and that is the battle over the inheritance on this earth.
Come, let us kill Him, that the inheritance may be ours. — Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. — What shall their return be but life from the dead.
Most people live in utter ignorance of the reality of how things operate upon this earth. But all that God speaks, He speaks into that which is, not into that which is carefully fabricated nonsense. Because people don’t understand things as they really are, they have no idea what God is talking about. It is a waste of time to try to explain it to most. But this is all of God. We do what God has called us to do and leave the worrying about others in the hands of our most capable Savior.
I know that there is a large segment of thinking among Christians that the kingdom is all “spiritual” and has no immediate outworking in the physical, that the wicked machinations of this world and all the hurt and cruelty just go on and on, that all that God is can be found only in a spiritualized ideal, that dying and going into the grave is the only release into the “next realm.”
Then, there are many who turn around and imagine that bringing forth “the kingdom” in the earth involves moving as present Christians into the political realms and making the world “Christian.”
By God’s grace, I receive all who belong to Jesus in the same way that He receives me. But I have no interest in or connection with either of those ways of thinking. And it is my right and responsibility before God to speak that which God has placed in my heart without coming under the shadow of other voices.
I am convinced that the strongest voice whispering in the church today is the words, “Go to sleep. Sleep. Sleep.” John says that part of the spirit of anti-Christ is to remove “Christ” from the physical reality of flesh upon this earth.
Everything wants to get our eyes off the battle, off of standing firmly upon the insistence that we are not satisfied, we will not rest, we will not lay down our weapons, until we see all hurt and every part of the curse removed from off this planet in all physical actuality. Even entering into His rest is presented to us by the Holy Spirit as a battle.
I am no more resurrected than you are. The proof is in the pudding. A resurrected body is one that does not die physically, one that never grows old nor is ever weary or sick. A resurrected body is one that can enjoy all the fruit of the earth, but is not limited or bound by the earth and can go with us throughout all the heavens as well.
I would like a better understanding of a scripture. Perhaps you can help?
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 1Thessalonians 4:16
I cannot accept the idea that this has any reference to the physically dead, the corpses buried in the ground. The difficulty is the idea of simultaneously being IN Christ and yet DEAD. To be IN Christ is to be alive. What is your understanding?
In searching for understanding on a different, though similar, question, I came across the comparison Paul gives between love and knowledge. Knowledge gets rid of love as it puffs itself up, but love does not get rid of knowledge, rather, it brings knowledge into the spirit that says, “Whatever I may know now, I can’t possibly see or understand clearly; there is so much more that I ‘ought to know’ that makes my present knowledge quite limited indeed.” 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 (My paraphrase)
It is in that vein that I write. I share as if God has given me some understanding, both because He has and because Peter commands us that if we speak, we should speak as the mouthpiece of God. But God is meek and of a humble spirit; He never “puffs” Himself up. And so in sharing whatever it is that fills my heart, I do so with the full conviction that I know so very little, I see things dimly, God is far beyond my present knowledge and will be throughout all the ages to come.
I enjoy reading historical stories, usually set in England. Death and burial often appear in those stories. To the Catholic medieval mind, where and how one was buried was a big deal. In one such story, a beloved pastor was buried with his back to the east facing his congregation so that when his congregation jerked up out of the ground, they would see him first and not be frightened out of their wits. Because the physical churches of England are surrounded by gravestones and all the motifs are about demons torturing people or corpses jerking up out of the dirt, the modern mind concludes that Christianity was a cult of death.
So I understand and share the revulsion to that whole way of thinking, knowing that it cannot be in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In reaction against that way of thinking, that exalts the natural that comes out of the limited thinking of fallen man upon this earth in his utter ignorance, many in recent years have adopted a method of interpreting passages in the Bible that seeks a “spiritualized” interpretation only. I have sat for years under many teachers of the word who give a “spiritual” and “deeper truth” interpretation only of many such passages.
But for some reason, although I believe fully in the Spirit of the Word, that is, that the Holy Spirit inside of us takes the Word God speaks as a seed of life and makes that Word our life in power, I have never really bought into “spiritualizing” the word God speaks. In other words, I see that “spiritualizing” a passage such as you refer to here is inside the same game as the historical “naturalizing,” just on the opposite end of the same spectrum. Much “spiritualizing” is little more than one more way to play intellectual games with the word God speaks, and in the end just another way to echo the serpent, “Did God really say that?”
Now, in saying that, I fully recognize and use the Bible’s own definitions of metaphors and symbols. God uses metaphors and symbols from beginning to end, and He gives us the interpretation of every metaphor and symbol He uses inside the Bible itself. Yet, for myself, I find a distinct difference between using metaphors as God uses them and “spiritualizing” the word.
And so I have to ask the question. Could there be a completely different way of understanding God and His ways than either of these two intellectual approaches? We see that whenever Jesus was asked a question, He gave an answer that seemed to have nothing to do with the question. Yet as we come to know God and His ways, we come to see that Jesus’ answer was the only possible answer to the question, that it answered the question perfectly.
Here is one from John 12. Question: We would see Jesus. Answer: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it will bear many more grains.
We know that understanding Jesus’ reply does not take us into “spiritualized” realms that dilute the meaning of His words. We know that Jesus meant that seeing Him as an individual man would do no one any good, but that if He “died,” that is, if He entered into us in our earthy condition, becoming Christ as us, the Holy Spirit would form Him in many and we would see Christ growing to full fruit both in ourselves and in one another. We understand this reality to be substantial and practical; there is nothing ethereal about it.
God’s creation has two parts, that is, everything God created is made up of one or the other of two forms of substance. One form of substance is the physical – matter, atoms and molecules, moving through space. The other form of substance is the spiritual – spirit, frequency. Spirit is a substance as real as matter. Angels are created out of a spirit substance, though we know from the Bible that they can take on themselves a physical form that is in that moment as substantial as any rock or human body. Yet, when they leave it, it vanishes as if it never was. Animals, on the other hand, are created out of physical matter, though they have a measure of spirit that ceases when they cease.
An angel, consisting of spirit substance, at the frequency of spirit, can cause that frequency to lower and thus the angel’s “body” appears at the frequency of physical matter. Then, when the angel disappears, it simply releases the substance of its body back into its normal spirit frequency. Nothing is spooky or “miraculous”; everything works in the harmony of laws created by God to govern all things. Laws of true science are laws created by God.
The Bible uses two metaphors to speak of these two sides of creation. Heaven and Earth. And so Mars, because it is physical, is on the earth side of creation. Angelic spirits of all kinds, even though they may find themselves in earth’s atmosphere, are on the heavenly side of creation. All that is spirit is heavenly. All that is matter moving through space is earthy.
Everything God created, however, is found in one realm or the other. Animals are completely physical; their spirit is tied completely to the earth. Angels are completely spiritual, that is, their substance is completely spirit, and they are tied always to the heavenly side of God’s creation. If angels materialize, they do so only temporarily; it is not their normal stat.
Man is unique.
Man is the only creature God made that is fully earth and fully heaven, fully physical matter and fully spiritual substance both at the same time. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
This is man’s substance in perfection before the fall or any sin. In other words, you and I are a living soul. And we express ourselves and communicate with others through two different bodies both at the same time. We have a physical body through which we interact with the physical side of God’s creation and we have a spirit, a spiritual body through which we interact with the heavenly side of God’s creation. Both bodies are completely real and both are completely integral to who and what we are as humans.
The human is the union between spirit and dirt. Christ is the union between God and the human. I more and more believe that the “image of God” aspect of things is centered in the heart, and that heart is a unique element found only at the juncture of God and dirt.
Then comes the fall. The fall shatters both realms, heaven and earth. It affects man by cutting him off from knowledge of his spirit and normal interaction with the heavenly elements, the heavenly side of God’s creation. Man sees only a blighted earth with no knowledge of the heavens he was created to walk in as well. If he could see those heavens, he would see that they are just as blighted as the earth, if not more so, and he would know only despair. He would see the nastiness of the evil spirits that drive him and he would succumb to horror.
But then there comes into the thinking of man upon this earth, especially after the resurrection of Jesus, in the church age, when spirit is re-introduced into the human experience by God, a philosophy, a view of God’s creation that says something along these lines.
Heaven good – Earth bad.
The most extreme is known as Manichaeism, that is the belief that a greater God created heaven and the realm of spirit, that a lesser god created the earth and the realm of matter moving through space, and that these two “gods” are at war with each other. Gnosticism is similar. Gnosticism argues that since the physical realms are tainted and evil, then Jesus could not possibly have appeared in a body of physical substance. Therefore Jesus made Himself “look like” He had a physical body, though He had nothing of the kind.
This view forgets the fact that heaven is also shattered and blighted, that it is unclean in God’s sight, and that He intends to destroy it and create a completely new heaven. Heaven is in as much need of redemption as earth.
The New Testament teaches us that we fight evil and wickedness in heaven not in the earth. In other words, we have greater enemies in heaven and in the spirit than we have in the flesh or upon the earth. Heaven is more likely to pull us down and away from Christ than earth or the flesh is.
It is a reaction against the carnality with which the gospel has been interpreted and applied in Christendom to seek a spiritualized understanding of the things God says. But I would submit that to “spiritualize” what God says comes out of the same intellectual thinking as to “carnalize” what He says. Rather, let’s look through God’s eyes and see the creation as He sees it.
You see, there is an enormous pressure all through human history to demonize the earth and to mock and ridicule the human. Not one ounce of this pressure comes from God; every bit of it comes from the evil one. Satan hates man because man is the image of God and he is not. God intends to reveal Himself through man and not through any angelic being. All angelic beings, even the greatest and most powerful, were created for an ultimate purpose – to serve the image of God, which is man. Just as God created animals to serve man, to be our beasts of burden and to work for us upon the earth, so God created angels to serve man and to work for us in the heavens.
Why? Certainly not for our self-exaltation or self-pleasure. No. Man is created to be the image of God. That is, God intends to reveal Himself as He really is through man. God is invisible, no one can see or know Him, neither in heaven nor on earth. God is not satisfied with that arrangement. He wants to be seen, to be known, to be handled, to be touched. Therefore God created man weak. We have the capacity to be filled with all that God is and to release God as He is through us to creation. But we have no ability in ourselves whatsoever. That is the nature of man. Infinite capacity, zero ability. “Without Me, you can do nothing.”
Faith is the mechanism, the door, the passage, by which infinite capacity – God – moves through zero ability – man – to touch and bring life and healing and joy to all created beings, whether in heaven or on earth, that is whether beings created out of the substance we call “spirit,” or beings created out of the substance we call “matter.” Faith is Christ living in our hearts.
Now, we know that God created all things that are spirit substance, and God created all things that are physical matter. And in the day that He created all things, He pronounced all things “good.”
Let me bring in some verses that are definitive for me, substantial underlying verses that rule our understanding of God and His ways.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. – The glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. – The meek shall inherit the earth. – He who overcomes shall be My son and shall inherit all things.
There is a strong belief in “deeper truth” circles that the physical side of the universe, physical matter moving through space, is a problem with God, that it is the source of our trouble, and that God intends to dispense with it as soon as He can. There is the belief that when God finishes with the earth, there will be heaven only, there will be no physical matter anywhere in the universe. The universe will revert to spirit substance and we, as overcoming saints, will exist before God as spirit beings only and never again know anything of the physical matter side of God’s creation.
I would contend that this belief is as much nonsense as corpses jerking up out of the dirt on “judgment day.” It is the statement “heaven is our home,” something God never says anywhere in the Bible. Because, you see, I am as much the seed of Abraham as I am the seed of God.
Heaven is the same as earth as regarding good and evil. A good man who brings good out of his heart can live on the same street on earth as an evil man who brings evil out of his heart. The problem is not the street. In the same way, evil spirits and good spirits fill heaven and often live and work side by side. Again, the problem is not “the street.” To say that heaven is good and earth is evil is to miss the whole point of what causes something to be of God or not of God. Spirit substance is not “more holy” than physical matter. In fact, it is man only who is created like God. Angels, though they are of spirit substance and are heavenly creatures are NOT like God. God fashioned the physical human body with Himself in mind – an essential part of man, His image. He did not think that way when He formed angels. In fact, Hebrews indicates that, while God was thinking of Himself when He formed man, He was thinking of man when He formed the angels as the servants of those who are the heirs of salvation.
God says that He intends to create a new Earth. That means to me that He intends to create once again a physical side to the universe, that is, physical matter, atoms and molecules, moving through space. This is not a “spiritual” earth, that is, it is not an “earth” made out of the substance of spirit. The substance of spirit is heaven, not earth. Earth is the substance of physical matter moving through space. All the universe that is seen by the naked eye and by present human instruments is physical matter. None of what is seen out there is spirit or “heaven.” In fact, the part of heaven with which we have to do is right close around the earth, in the atmosphere, not out there somewhere. The belief that the stars and planets are literally “heaven” and not a symbol of the heavens has led to most pagan religion on earth. (Continued in Part II)
THE CAULDRON of the RESURRECTION II
The testimony of the Bible is that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. The accusation that the realms of physical matter are low or “down-pulling” or a hindrance to achieving a knowledge of God, this is simply not found anywhere in the Bible (1 John 1:1-2), rather it is imposed on the Bible from outside. Nowhere does Paul say that the flesh is our problem or that God wants us to “get rid of the flesh”; he says that walking according to the flesh is our problem. There is a huge difference between those two things. In fact the whole plan of God is found in the extraordinary difference between those two ideas. The victory of Christ in us is Christ revealed in the flesh, not Christ revealed in spirit only. John says that it is the spirit of anti-Christ that claims that Christ is spirit only.
We know that the terms ‘eternal’ and ‘eternity’ were absent from the thinking and context out of which Jesus and the Apostles wrote and spoke. Those concepts came into the church hundreds of years later. Then we have the ridiculous mistranslation which the King James has too many of, “Time shall be no more.” Time is the measurement of the movement of matter through space. Hence, no time means no physical matter in God’s re-created universe, no planets spinning, no water flowing, no wind blowing, no children playing happily, no family sitting around the table together enjoying the abundant harvest of the earth.
It is clear that John wrote, There shall be no more delay, but that when the right time is come, the mystery of God – God manifest in the flesh – will be completed. Revelation 10 (My paraphrase.)
Jesus and the Apostles wrote continually out of the concepts and understandings of a series of future ages of time. That is, an unending succession of distinct periods of time, ages that have a beginning and an end. Everything they said and wrote came out of that understanding of the future.
Let me blow us away with this thought. God is eternal. That means He is. To say “God was before His creation,” or to say, “God will be after His creation,” is to speak blither. God is and nothing else. Time words have no meaning when describing God.
God is normal. Eternal is normal. Time, then, is possibly the most fantastically bizarre thing that God ever invented. If eternal is normal, how on earth could something begin or end? The creation of time is a far greater demonstration of God’s incredible abilities than the simple extension of normal eternality.
Eternal is easy for God. The creation of time is one of the greatest proofs of His ability to do the impossible!
In other words, I do not see the purpose of banishing any physical matter moving through space from God’s re-created universe. Are we to be offended if God likes both sides of His universe, if He likes the physical side just as much as He likes the spiritual side? Does not God love animals and the earth as much as He loves angels and the heavens? Do not God’s bowels yearn over all the works of His hands? Is it not His intent to bring victory and resolution and the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ into every part of His creation – into all things?
Let us assume that God does, in fact, recreate a fully restored physical side to the universe, stars and planets, rivers and hills, plants and animals, fire and air, all functioning in perfect harmony according to the laws of physics instituted by God, without the presence of sin.
If the resurrection is spirit and heaven only, with no reference to physical matter, as an overcoming son of God (I speak that by faith), I am forever banned from that side of God’s creation. I will not, in fact, inherit the earth, walk its gardens, or explore its mountain streams. I will never taste its fruit. By that belief, I am cut off from half of my inheritance. More than that, God can never reveal Himself through me to any part of His creation on the physical plane.
In fact, the idea that God would reduce His creative exuberance by eliminating time, His most bizarre and incredible invention, and physical matter and thus eliminating all the many types of created beings He could form in those realms just does not speak to me of the God I know and see.
Let me bring in another defining verse from Isaiah. Of the increase of His government there shall be no end.
I do not take this to mean, “of the increase of His control over us there shall be no end,” that is the very opposite of God’s nature. He does not “control” us; He walks in harmony with us and we with Him. It means that God is as He shows Himself to be, reckless in His exuberance to create. God loves to create, to fill the universe with created beings of all kinds, sizes, shapes, and functions. To increase the number of His children without end. Any “sane” creature would cry “Stop – enough,” when God is just getting started creating. He is always too much.
Now, by the belief that the resurrection places us in the heavenly realms of spirit only, as I reveal God to creation, I can do that only in heaven. My ministry in future ages will be only on the heaven side of God’s creation. I will never walk the planets or minister Christ to those whom God creates in the physical realms. I will never be able to give a cup of cold water, to place my hand on someone’s shoulder, to take them by the hand and show them Christ.
No, that belief has banished me from half of God’s creation and from half of my inheritance.
But if God wanted to show Himself through His image in heaven only and not within the physical parts of His creation, why on earth did He create us as His image as humans? Why did He create us perfect with a physical body through which we could reveal God to all the physical creation and with a spiritual body through which we could reveal God to all the heavenly creation? Why, then, did God make man different? Why are we the union of God’s Spirit and dirt?
Was dirt evil in the day that God created it? Quite the contrary, the only evil upon the earth was the evil found in the heavenly creatures, spirit beings, one of whom materialized into a physical form. In fact, the extraordinary thing is that in the day that Adam was created, evil was found in heaven only, in the realm of spirit only, there was no evil on the physical side of the creation.
So the idea that the spirit side of the creation is “better” than the material side of the creation clearly does not hold up. The truth that “flesh” is passing away refers to that which comes out of the tree of knowledge, man anointed by demons, not to that which is made of physical atoms and moves through space.
God intends to reveal Himself in the earth; Jesus will win in this age on this earth in my body. God is proving His glory within the physical part of His creation. This is Christ. Anti-Christ is that which limits Jesus to heaven, that is, to spirit form only, and denies His appearing in physical matter.
The driving point of the mystery of all that is God in creation is God manifest in the flesh, that is, in the focal point of all physical matter – the human body. To walk in heaven, I must have a heavenly body. I do. To walk in the realms of physical matter, I must have a physical body. I do.
I walk in both bodies at the same time. I am human; I am the revelation and image of God on earth and in heaven, both at the same time – and forever! This earth is my inheritance; I will not be robbed of it. In the same way, heaven is my inheritance, and it belongs to me fully. I own it and more, as Paul says.
Having laid this basis of understanding, let’s return to your original question concerning this statement of Paul to the Thessalonian church.
God centers the entire gospel of Jesus Christ around the redemption of the physical body, that it will be transformed into one just like the glorious body of Jesus after His resurrection. God says in so many ways that this is the goal of the gospel – the defeat of death and the resurrection of the physical body. As far as I am concerned, to cut the resurrection of the physical body out of the New Testament is to engage in the prolific practice of almost all Christians – gleefully cutting as many verses out of the New Testament in as many ways as they can.
But I will concede this point. There is one passage that supports the understanding of the resurrection as a “spiritual” body only. It is this passage in 1 Corinthians 15, plus a few more verses either side of these.
All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies . . . for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Verse 44, – it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body – does support the understanding of the resurrection being a spiritual body against the limited physical view of historical Christianity.
This brings us to our definition of God. I am discovering a critical truth about God more and more in recent months. God is contradiction. Let me explain.
The human mind in its present state, particularly the Christian religious mind, cannot stand contradiction. We reject it and do not allow it into our theology. We demand a “summa theologica,” that is, a clear, easy-to-understand, easy-to-grasp explanation of everything with no inconsistencies or obvious contradictions. We do not allow God to say things that oppose each other to our minds.
It is God’s order for His church that each of us should give that portion to the church that He has given us; it is not a “fault” to stay within those things God has made real to us personally. But when the motive for refusing to teach certain things God does say is control over the congregation that is evil working in the church. And that control thing works all too much in “deeper truth” circles.
Here is how we reject God’s prerogative to say things that we have decided God ought not to have said. We accuse our brother of heresy.
And this is the problem with following the revelations of the Spirit we receive apart from the Word God speaks that was written down upon the page. We are so limited and earthy in our understanding that we can’t stand the idea that God would say two things that to us completely oppose each other. Jeopardy and assurance is one such contradiction that I have explained elsewhere.
Here’s how it works. Some, receiving a revelation of the Spirit of God through these statements of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, then find it impossible to receive or accept other statements God makes that speak of an actual transformation of our physical body, that we will continue forever in a body that corresponds to the physical side of God’s creation, that we will be sent by God to reveal Him to all the physical realms He will yet create – as well as to be sent by God to reveal Him to all the heavenly realms He will yet create.
At some point along the road, we decide which side of contradictory verses we intend to take. Then we spend the rest of our lives twisting and pushing and making all those other verses say something other than what they actually say, something that agrees with the contradictory verses we chose. And we call our brothers “heretics,” who have chosen the other verses and who twist and push and force the verses we have embraced, trying to make them say something other than what they actually say.
This is a game. It is religion. And I have stopped doing it. I used to do it. I hated it like hell even while I was doing it. I made a firm decision never to twist what God says again, by God’s grace. To understand it as He means it, yes, but never to force it to fit my view of what God ought to have said.
God does not make sense. To want a God who makes sense is to want a god who is not God, a god who is created in our image, not the other way around.
I believe what God says as He says it. I know that some passages are mistranslated and misconstrued. I also know how God uses symbols and metaphors. But I have no need to practice mental strangulation to force a verse that does not fit my “revelation” to say what I want it to say. I will not do that to these verses in 1 Corinthians 15 that fully support a spiritual take on the resurrection, and I will not do it to 1 Thessalonians 4.
But I will point this out. Paul was dealing with questions that deeply concerned new Christians then and now. What is the resurrection? What will happen to us? How does it work? What will we look like? Today’s church, however, has mostly abandoned the resurrection, replacing it with the rapture – everyone going to heaven at once. Paul gave answer to those questions that brought the thinking of the Corinthian church out of the carnal limitation of life as it is known in this present age and into a grasp of the power of the Spirit and how God actually works, by sowing Christ into weakness, that is, by Jesus living as us in this world, He would transform us from the inside out.
I can embrace this truth that Paul shares here with all of my heart as he speaks it, without needing, at the same time, to exclude the resurrection from the physical side of God’s universe, whether in the next two ages of time, that are the ages of the ages, the greatest of all the ages, when salvation and the ministry of Christ come to their full completion, or whether in the ages to come after that when all of creation is made brand new, a new heavens and a new earth.
There is also a claim that the new heavens and the new earth have already happened. This is true – as a seed, but only as a seed. Jesus, the Lamb slain before the beginning of creation, did not save us until the red blood cells of a human Christ mixed with the dirt of this earth. Just as with all things that God does, the new heavens and the new earth begin with the planting of a seed. But the planting of the seed must never be confused with the completion of the finished state.
This teaching of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 also refutes completely the idea that the new heavens and the new earth are already as completely manifested as they ever will be. On the contrary, they are planted as a seed, and that seed does its work in our lives, pressing up out of the soil, transforming the dirt into living tissue, and bearing the full fruit, all that was in that original seed. But it is the plant, the life of the church in the present age that has a different body to the original seed. The fruit that comes out of the completion of the plant is identical in every way to the seed that was planted, just many more of them.
Also in this passage, Paul says that the LAST enemy to be defeated is death. Death is not “spiritual” only, it is first physical. Physical death was the condemnation of God against sin.
Gnosticism wants to claim that all that God speaks is proven in spirit only, that it makes no difference what is manifest visibly upon this earth in the flesh. That the death and sorrow and cruelty and emptiness of this earth will just go on until all that is physical and therefore “bad” just vanishes.
It is this belief, spirit only, that John opposed all through His epistles. It is anti-Christ, and I oppose it as well. I oppose the idea that I presently know all that God meant by the resurrection. I hate that whole way of thinking.
I will not rest until I see God manifested in all of His fullness in my human body of flesh right here on this earth. I will not rest until I see God move through me in mighty rivers of living water that actually and permanently heals and transforms this physical planet, that bring all that is upon it into the glory and experience of God. I will not rest until I see the curse lifted from off this planet, the animals free, the plants shining His glory, the rocks singing His praises without restraint or shadow. I will not rest until I see Hades empty and heaven clean and all the evil of the spirit realms bowing under the love and kindness of Jesus, and all creation free and rejoicing in the proof that God’s Word wins, that He triumphs over all who oppose Him, and that Jesus, gathering all that exists into Himself, turns and gives all things back to the Father.
So let’s get back to this verse in 1 Thessalonians that you are asking about. First, what do I do with this verse? There are clearly metaphors here, but I will not spiritualize it. I will do the only thing God wants us to do with every word He speaks. I will believe it – as God says it, regardless of my understanding.
God says it; I believe what God says with all my heart. The Word God speaks is planted in my heart by the Holy Spirit and the power and genetic code of my Father that is in that Word brings forth all the fulfillment of everything God meant when He spoke it into my experience upon this earth. This word is spoken into the earth and into this age, it must be fulfilled in this earth and in this age.
But I am convinced of this. Those who have died, who have lost their physical bodies and who exist in the heavenly realms, in their spirit body only, are not complete. They are in Christ, but they are DEAD! They are not all there; they are missing part of themselves. The writer of Hebrews tells us that they are waiting for their completion upon us who are here walking this thing out upon the earth. I believe that they will, once again, walk upon this earth in bodies that are compatible with physical phenomena.
Though many sons of God in the resurrection will prefer to walk mostly in the heavens, as they wish, yet when they come upon the earth, they will be perfectly normal and compatible with the earth. Other sons of God may wish to walk mostly upon the planets and within the physical side of God’s creation, yet when they visit the heavens, they will be perfectly normal and compatible with heaven. And all will walk in the Spirit, in the heavens, all the time, whether they are upon the earth or wherever they find themselves in God’s exuberant unlimited-ness.
I believe that I will live in heaven in my spiritual body and upon the earth in a body compatible to the earth, that I will go everywhere and anywhere in all of God’s creation as I wish and God wills (what I wish and what God wills are always the same). I believe that all the glory and fruit of the new heavens, after God through us cleans all the darkness and evil out of heaven and out of that which is spirit by bringing it into submission to Jesus, belong to me. I believe that all the glory and fruit of the new earth, after God through us cleans all the darkness and evil out of the earth and out of that which is physical matter by bringing it into submission to Jesus, belong to me.
I believe that God sends me forever into all the heavens that we create together and fill with beings – as His glory and revelation. I believe that God sends me forever into all the realms of physical matter, upon all the planets we create together and fill with beings – as His glory and revelation. All the creatures of the spiritual realms will know God by knowing me, and all the creatures of the physical realms will know God by knowing me.
That is the glory of man, the glory of Christ. That is what human means.
You see, the future is utterly fascinating, mind-blowing to the extreme. God is never dull. He is adventure beyond measure.
But those new heavens and new earth, the age that is to come, all the purpose and victory of God in Christ will come out of a single point, a “pinch,” when all the contradiction is met here upon this planet, in a final showdown, a final answer to everything that opposes God and to every voice that questions what He says.
It is the point where the Lamb overcomes the Beast, where Christ proves anti-Christ false, where love trumps hate, where light banishes darkness, where the mystery of godliness overturns the mystery of iniquity, where undeserved forgiveness is extended to the basest of cruelty. It is the love of God and the wrath of God ever entwined, the absolute purity and the deepest compassion, judgment and mercy met together. It is the revelation of God through us.
It is the resurrection from the dead. It is God proving Himself in our mortal bodies. It is God filling His temple with all of Himself.
What that looks like, I do not fully know, but I believe it with all of my heart.
REST versus PASSIVITY
Passivity — Bad. Rest — Good.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. The Hebrew word that Isaiah used here for ‘wait’ is not a passive, maybe someday, kind of waiting. It is not putting off until tomorrow what God has already said belongs to right now. Rather, it is the same meaning as to braid a rope. They that are entwined together with the Lord shall renew their strength.
That entwining is filled with great workings and passion, yet it is complete rest.
Jesus said, “He that thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
Paul used the word ‘groan’ instead of thirst. He said that we groan and long for the physical body to be swallowed up in the life of God. The defeat of death in our physical bodies is the focus of the Christian’s travail.
We are well into the transition between the age of human folly and the age of the liberty of the sons of God. There are three foundational truths we must keep in our minds and hearts as we walk through this time of great contradiction.
1. We see glory as it has never been seen before. Nothing in the experience of man on this earth can compare to what we see and are a part of. We cannot even look back to Jesus as He Himself walked this earth, for we know Him that way no longer. He is in us to do a new thing. Every word God has spoken through His covenant with us we know in full reality; we will see it fully in our experience.
2. We have not been this way before. We live in both heaven and earth, but, although we know much about living in the earth, we know very little about living in the heavenlies at the same time. Each of us is entwining ourselves and being entwined into that full revelation of Jesus Christ as He intends through us. Although there are similarities, yet each one of us must find that particular revelation of Jesus that we are.
3. This is all God’s doing. It is God who determined right from the start that I would be just like Jesus, conformed to the image of His Son. I can accomplish nothing of myself. All of my groaning and all of my thirst is a pointless waste of time – except God.
And so we find ourselves between passivity and rest. They look very similar but they are very different. The one will cause us to be left behind, the other places us directly in the grip of a passionate and wild Being who gets His way and who always accomplishes His purposes.
Paul said, speaking of our pursuit of the resurrection of our bodies, “That I might apprehend that for which I have been apprehended.”
I love the Greek word that has been translated ‘apprehend.’ It is better translated ‘seized.’ That I might seize that for which I have been seized. The word ‘seized’ means “caught in a powerful and certain grip.” I have been seized by the intention of God. I am utterly in the grip of His will. Then, out of the certainty of the grip of God upon me in all of my ways, I myself seize hold of every expression of His life in me.
This is rest; this is the entwining of God.
But passivity is different, though it can appear similar. Passivity says, “Well, since it’s all up to God and not up to me, I will simply live life as it comes and God can do whatever He wants to do whenever He gets around to it.”
We certainly live life as it comes, simply and with all joy, giving thanks in all things. That is an essential part of our rest. But the problem with that attitude all by itself is that it has eliminated my direct involvement with a passionate and determined God.
We live in the Matrix. We have lived in a false understanding of reality. Our earthly focus has kept us from walking in the reality of the heavenlies in which we presently live. The shattering of our earthly seeing requires both faith and violence. Rest is not passive. We are coming out of unreality. That is not a passive process.
At the same time, I read those who have decided that since they have discovered the reality of Christ in them, there is no more spiritual warfare. The devil is just an extension of God performing His will in the world and we don’t worry about him anymore. I read of those who go for months without a sense of God’s presence and power and that is just part of accepting Christ living as us.
First, I cannot comprehend anyone who accepts living without the immediate sense of God’s presence, His power, and His peace.
Spiritual warfare is now, for me, on a whole different level than it once was. I used to fight the shadow of darkness attempting to stand between me and the knowledge of His glory by pleading the blood of Jesus. That level of warfare was for a season. Now I fight that shadow by placing myself utterly in Jesus and seeing Jesus in every part of me – and by deliberately moving over to seeing all things through God’s eyes.
The difference in my own experience is this. I have never accepted ‘brass heavens,’ and I have never understood anyone who willingly did. Sometimes, I would battle for some days, crying out to God for mercy, pleading the blood, before the darkness fled and His overwhelming peace flowed in. Now, I stand firmly against the darkness, drawing my mind out of seeing the lie of the darkness and placing my mind fully upon this confession of faith: “Christ is all there is in me.” Often, when the assault is most severe, the darkness will persevere for an hour or two before its hold breaks and it flees.
But I am no longer in any way asking for ‘mercy’ from a position of fault. Rather, I stand in the certainty that all of my weakness, He already carries within Himself, and He lives utterly in every part of me in the present moment.
God placed Satan in this world for His own purposes, yes. But God’s purpose for placing Satan here is to teach us to fight. God’s intention, the sons He has determined to form, can only come about through a very good fight. That’s just the way it is.
I have no doubt that spiritual warfare is a far bigger deal now than it has ever been. And not only for our own liberty, though our own liberty is absolutely essential for all creation. But we also stand in intercession for others now, agreeing with what the Lord Jesus is already doing and by that agreement, we release Him to do what He is already doing.
I find it so easy to depart from rest and to get into the thought that I must ‘press through.’ Let me share with you the progression that my mental state then takes. It always begins with an earnest desire to connect fully with the great thing God is doing in the earth right now. I cry out to Him, “Oh God, oh God. Do it in me.” Then I become anxious about having missed God, somehow. (This is where earnestly seeking God falls away.) Then I begin seeing that maybe I missed it here or there in the past. Then I begin feeling a need to repent, both for past mistakes and for present indifference. Then I find myself no longer seeing myself in Christ and Christ in me. I am now a lost sinner in need of God’s mercy.
Then I wake up! I wake up because I know that I know that I know, from long years of wandering around in that wilderness, that there is NO LIFE TO BE FOUND THERE.
And I must bring myself back into the utter REST that we must walk in, that every part of me, especially my mistakes, Jesus carries utterly inside of Himself. And right now, He is living in every part of the human me.
And in that certainty, I find gladness, joy unspeakable, and the sweet love relationship with my Savior that alone will carry us through.
I am seized by the will of God – as you have been. I am caught in the determined intention of a God who has been plotting these next few years of human experience long before time began. All of His focus has always been upon this present time in human history. Here is where He shows His stuff! Now is when He proves His will!
God will have His way. And He will have His way entirely inside of and dependent upon human faith. God is a risk-taker. He has determined to triumph in my weakness and in yours.
And here is the secret. Here is the door. Here is the way in which you will experience the very birthing of God Himself in you.
I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your word.
Could it be that Mary, a little, simple-hearted, teenage girl, is the one who shows us the way into all the revelation of God?
Every word that God has ever directed towards the hearing of man upon this earth, let it be fulfilled in me, according to my appointed portion in the New Covenant.
A woman giving birth has no real control over the pangs that have gripped her body. The life inside must come forth. But a woman who is prepared will cooperate with that pain, rather than fight against it. If a woman is encouraged to press before it is time it will wear her out without results. This is that fruitless ‘pressing through’ that I spoke of that takes us from rest and places us outside of the present knowledge of Christ.
When our first son was born, we were in a hospital surrounded by passive women who had not prepared themselves for their moment of birthing. When the pangs of labor hit them, one by one, they screamed in terror and demanded drugs, NOW! Their children were born into this world stoned out of their minds. I was so proud of my precious wife (I better say no more).
But when the water breaks, and the time is come, then the woman who is prepared gives herself to those pains and she presses with the pressing already taking place within her.
This is the rest of God. This is the birthing we are now in. The pangs of labor have seized us. Let us embrace those pangs in all of their workings, resting utterly in the reality of the life of God that is being birthed from out of our beings.
This is the work of God: believe in Jesus.
WEAKNESS versus PRETENDING
Therefore I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. — When I am weak, then I am strong. — His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Paul – who claimed that his take on the gospel was the only one that was correct.
What must I DO in order to be saved. The man who did not continue with Jesus.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said that we must do what He says in His teachings. James said that we must be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves.
The New Testament is rather confusing. Christians have a habit of picking one or two verses on a topic and ignoring all the rest. They rely on their pastor or their denomination to tell them which verses to consider and which to ignore.
Most of the time they consider the least important and ignore the most.
For most Christians, none of this is an issue, because their goal is to go to heaven when they die and since that takes no faith at all – everyone dies – they don’t give it a thought.
But hidden throughout the New Testament is a promise, a view, a vision of those who overcome, who triumph over sin and death, who see Christ revealed in them. God is determined to win in this age, and therefore He gives that hope to those whom He has chosen.
Through the strength of my adult years, from age 20 to age 41, I lived under a word of “doing” and “obedience.” Alongside that word was a revelation of ‘Christ in you,’ with a vision of overcoming all things, but through the last several years before I left that fellowship, ‘doing what He says’ had triumphed over ‘Christ revealed in us.’
Why did I leave that fellowship? Two specific reasons.
1. I hate wearing masks; I’m no good at it.
2. I had no hope. I was no good at ‘doing what He says’ and if that’s what it took, then no way could I ever ‘make it.’
Christianity is all about wearing masks. There are no more experienced pretenders on this planet than Christians. We exhort one another all the time to do what God says in His word. This week, my boss exhorted us to step aside in our classrooms, and let Christ teach through us. “Don’t rely on your own gifts and abilities, but rely on His.”
Now this sounds really, really good. The problem is, it’s really, really not.
This exhortation comes out of a very definite belief. “I am bad; Christ is good. If I am seen, that’s bad; if I step aside and let Christ be seen, that is good.”
We were taught and we believed that Christ is something we are not and that we ourselves are human, fleshy, and bad. We imagine that if Christ is seen, we are not, and if we are seen, Christ is not.
The more we are involved with other believers, the more pressure is on us to ‘act’ a certain way. And act we do.
Here was my problem. I was never ever able to “die” so that Christ was seen and not me. Never. The problem was that I was still around. Always.
But those who are really good at pretending, at convincing themselves and others that it is not ‘them,’ but Christ, we call elders and pastors. And the strongest humans of all we call ‘apostles.’ An apostle then becomes the one who is most convinced that he can never be wrong, and is most capable of convincing others that he is never wrong.
As I said, I’m just no good at all that.
Over the last few months, for the first time in my life, I have begun to come out of pretending. In my classroom, I am learning to just be me without one ounce of condemnation or pretending. When I am frustrated with a student, I holler at them. I will be the first to admit that I’m no good at any ‘political’ approach. When I am wrong, I apologize without pretense. When I see an opportunity to say something hilarious, I do so.
I just be myself.
Christ is in ME. Christ is in me!
Sin? If there is sin, I didn’t do it. The one who did it is dead, crucified on the cross of Christ long ago.
My weakness? Jesus carries me in Himself. All of me. And He has never once offered to put me back upon myself.
The New Testament presents to us an expectation of performance. Young adults are filled with the belief that they can do what God says. They give years of effort to it.
But the great focus of effort with the ‘doing’ word is directed towards teenagers. We tell them to ‘act their age.’ (In other words, we adults have an expectation, and you need to ‘act’ or pretend in order to present an outward appearance of our expectation.) There is a strong belief in most adults who work with teenagers that teenagers are completely fleshy, that they are a disaster waiting to happen, that without great manipulation and control constantly placed upon them they will go in the wrong direction. They are often treated with open disrespect.
The church in general loses 70 percent of its teenagers. With that data, we increase the pressure of expectation and the loss rate rises. Teenagers standing at the back of the chapel, not entering into worship are to be targeted. They must know that they are losers, unless they come up and pretend once again.
Oh, how we pretend. Pretending is what the Christian life seems to be all about.
But I do NOT do all things to the glory of God. I’m no good at that. I have caved in too many times.
At the time of my greatest failure, in the middle of icy winter, I packed all of our belongings in my van and parked it. I put my family in our little car and we left everything behind. We drove for five thousand miles, having no real idea where we were going or why. We just knew we could not stay. And although those were the bleakest weeks of my life, I’ve been a complete failure many more times than that.
And I had failed. I had arrived at the pinnacle of all my hopes and dreams. I was now sitting in the circle of elders in the greatest thing God was doing in the earth, at the height of the power and glory of His kingdom. And I sat there, with the dawning realization that the only way that I could ever move like them was to pretend as I had never pretended before. And the dawning realization that every single person in that circle was doing little more than pretending. When I saw the raving madness in the eyes of the brother who was trying to convince me why he was an elder and another was not, I knew that we had to go.
I hear the exact same arguments and I watch the exact same pretending in the school in which I teach. It is not as all-consuming, no, only because here we move in a limited relationship with each other.
So why, then, does God fill His word with the expectation of performance? “All that God says we will do?”
I believe there are two reasons. First, God is giving us a prophecy of who we really are, conformed to the image of His Son, right now before Him. Second, so that we will utterly and absolutely fail.
Failure is the only way you will ever know Jesus. (This is what Romans 7 is all about.)
At a certain point in one’s life, the realization comes slowly, bit by bit, that if I must be a “doer of the word and not a hearer only” in order to please God, then I am without hope.
How many times through the years did I cry, “God, can you not save me from the wretchedness of my inability?” With brokenness and tears. With an open, desperate heart. Over many years in a life of radical commitment to the kingdom of God, pouring out my strength in service to others. And God never once answered me. Not once.
Dear believer. If I could but convince you. Failure is your only option.
Only when you are weak can you ever be strong.
When I read messages from those who teach the ‘obedience’ gospel, when I read them at their strongest protestation of God’s requirements and the damnation that belongs to those who don’t measure up, I have only one question to ask them. “When are you going to admit to yourself that you are barred out by the very words that you proclaim?”
“You are fake, sir!”
I deny that I have a self separate from Jesus. When I am myself, Christ IS revealed in me. I know that this sounds desperately heretical. Blasphemous, even. That’s why they crucified Jesus.
I am just like Him; He reveals Himself in me. I don’t have to ‘get out of the way.’ That idea is ridiculous anyway. There is no such thing.
Christ is in me. I am weak – and Christ is in me.
THY PEOPLE shall be WILLING
In previous chapters, I quoted from a number of verses, connecting them in a way that might be unfamiliar to many Christians. I said a lot of things, and I’d like to pose this question for your consideration. All of the verses I included have always been in the New Testament, and many more like them. All of these passages and teachings have always been there. So we must ask ourselves this question:
What is central and what is peripheral?
Many of the verses I referred to have played a peripheral role in the life of the church, rarely referred to, and if so, only in passing. Maybe something God will do in the future, but it has very little to do with us now.
I have said over and over that the major focus of Christianity for the last 1900 years has been going to heaven when we die, that everything in the New Testament we don’t understand will be fulfilled over there.
But what if we have had this completely backwards? What if that which has been peripheral is actually the center of the gospel, and what has been thought central to the gospel, the fact that God’s people do die and continue in heaven without their physical bodies, incomplete and waiting. What if that part of truth is actually peripheral? On the outside and not the main focus of the gospel?
You see, it takes a complete change of our thinking. As I include verse after verse from the New Testament, you begin to think, “Hey this is talking about some stuff I have never considered before.” And we have to ask the question, “Where have we been?”
You see, either Romans 8:29 is the central, driving, defining verse of the New Covenant – from the beginning God determined that I would be just like Jesus, conformed to the image of His Son – and everything else in the New Testament comes in to support that main verse to show how it is fulfilled in our lives, or not. Or not. But you can see how so many verses just seem irrelevant unless Romans 8:29 is the defining verse of the New Covenant.
Understanding must come bit by bit, over time; it has taken all of our lifetimes to be rooted in the thinking that the goal of the believer is to “go to” heaven when we die and all of the doctrine that goes with that. Until our minds are completely changed, so that a simple word like, “He that lives and believes in Me shall never die,” becomes simple, obvious truth that is central to the gospel of Jesus.
We are renewed in our minds. We change the way we think.
The history of Christian thinking is the history of an echo. Let there be light. — “Did God indeed say.” He that believes in Me out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. — “Did God really say that? He didn’t mean you, He didn’t mean now.” He that lives and believes in me shall never die. — “Did God say it that way? He didn’t mean it. He meant ‘shall never go to hell.’ Go to hell, not die.”
All the way through the history of the Christian church, Christian theology has been built out of combining the first four words of God with the first four words of the serpent. Yes, the truth of God is all through Christian theology, but so are the words of Satan, equally accepted as received truth. “Yes, God spoke, but He didn’t really mean what He said. Yes, God said that, but if you believe it and preach it, you are in heresy.”
God said that the whole creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, and along comes the echo and says “If you believe that, you’re obviously into some weird cult doctrine.” God says, Be perfect even as your Father is perfect, and you will find all Christianity arguing why He does not mean what He says.
Satan’s four words, “Did God indeed say,” fill Christian theology. That is why you can look at Christian theology and the history of Christian thought and you can find truth, it is there. But it is truth with an echo, always with the echo. Did God really mean it that way?
I leave you with that thought. It is something seriously to consider.
That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tested by fire may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ (at the unveiling, at the revealing, the apocalypse of Jesus Christ, when the cover is taken off.)
Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:7-9
Up until now, we have been talking about the redemption of the body. Here Peter brings in the salvation of our souls – our mind, our will, our emotions. That topic comes in the next volume of Our Path Home — Into His Image, the salvation of our souls. It is the in-between time. We were born again, our spirit was made alive, and now we are looking forward to the moment when our physical body is swallowed up by the life of our resurrection body.
But in this in-between place in the womb of the church is the salvation of our souls. The renewal of our mind, filled with His thoughts, our emotions filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the believing that comes through our will, seized in the will of God. This is what God is doing inside of us.
Of this salvation, the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you. 1 Peter 1:10
Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
When we look at ourselves and at the history of the church in this world, we find that in spite of the truth of the gospel, extraordinarily, in a way that doesn’t make any sense, Christians still die; our bodies die and go into the grave. That doesn’t seem to be right when we read the words of the gospel, and yet it happens. The sad thing is that the church has used this “fact” to redefine the gospel to fit what their eyes see. But the clear expectation of the gospel is that the body live and not die, that our physical, mortal body is to be swallowed up in life. The wages of sin is death, yes, but we who live in the Spirit of life have the authority to defeat the law of sin and death and to bring the resurrected life of Jesus into the full experience of life in our physical bodies.
And yet — and yet, we still die.
Christians are dying right now. And many Christians who are alive today, the life of their physical body will cease, their body will go into the grave, and they will continue with the Lord without their bodies, incomplete and waiting, waiting for the redemption of the body.
And so we ask, how is this going to be changed? When will full victory come? Is there coming a power to us? We know that the word God speaks must be fulfilled in this life in this age in our physical bodies, it MUST BE. Otherwise God is a liar and He ceases to be God, and we know that cannot be so, and so we stand firmly on the absolute truth that His word must be fulfilled.
But we look at our own Christian experience. Many dear believers get excited about the truth of overcoming death, and the years go by, they get old and die, and their bodies go into the grave.
Then we look at 1 Peter 1:13 . . . rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The definition of “grace” in its essence means the enabling Presence of God Himself in Person. We go boldly before the throne to seek grace to help in time of need. Paul says I minister through the grace that is upon me – the enablement of God that enables me to move with God out of me as He has called, that lifts me up above the limitations of my human person and becomes the power of God through me doing the things God has called me to do.
God has called us to defeat death. Peter here says, very plainly, that there is coming a grace, an enablement, and he says, “Set your hope fully upon it.”
We are expecting that as God wraps this thing up at the end of this age, there is coming a moment when God will give us an enablement He has not yet released, an enablement that comes as part of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We set our hope, our expectations fully upon that grace. There is coming an enablement that gives us the power that we need.
We don’t know fully how the manifestation of the sons of God will dovetail in time with the resurrection, or with the unveiling of Jesus Christ, or with the birthing of those who are fully in the image of Jesus Christ, when we come forth in the full light of day.
We know that the last enemy to be defeated is death, and therefore all the other enemies have already been defeated. There is no way that death can be defeated while sin and Satan are still running loose. Full resurrection cannot happen while sin and Satan and the world are still moving in defiance of God. But the Bible does indicate that there will be a time period in between the grace that comes and the resurrection. That grace, that enablement, will give us what we need to walk this thing through to the finish; it will come before all these things are defeated.
God gives us what we need; we set our hope fully on that expectation of grace.
Much of the gospel is based on Psalm 110.
The Lord said to My Lord, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power; in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries. He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; therefore He shall lift up the head.
For verse 3 I prefer the King James: Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.
Thy people shall be willing.
This is a central part of the grace that is even now coming upon the church of Jesus Christ because we are at the end of the age. The Beast of Revelation 13, modern human government, stands fully open upon the earth. The image of the beast, television news, spews out its deceit and lies. And all people, including Christians, get their understanding of the world from the image of the beast as it teaches them. They give their honor and allegiance to the beast. Right now that beast is moving to bring death and destruction upon the earth. Those who rule this planet intend to reduce the population by billions.
God’s grace is coming upon His people like it never has before.
Psalm 110 is speaking to us of the moment, the time period of the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the Living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” Revelation 7:2-3
We need to know the importance of being sealed in our minds. Right now, with the building of microwave towers across this land, we live in a bath of microwave radiation. The technology has long been there for those who control the microwaves to make you think the way they want you to think.
With the radio identification chip coming to be placed in the bodies of every person on this earth, there exists the technology to use those chips to control people’s thoughts.
That is the extreme importance of this sealing. Our minds must be sealed to be protected from the evil intentions of the militaries of the kingdoms of Satan, especially from the Pentagon.
There is a grace right now, even as we watch the power of evil openly show itself upon the earth. The veil covering that evil from being seen is being ripped off. It is standing openly in all of its violence and evil. It doesn’t need to hide any more. We see the US government proudly proclaim that it tortures people, and we see Christians who have lost all knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ saying, “Amen.”
At the same time, right now, all over the earth, God is sending forth a grace, an enablement, a believing, a faith in His word. Right now, all over the world, there are sons of God, men and women, who find any desire for life in this world just vanished. All that they want is to be with Him in His glory. They are tired of Christian teaching that puts chains and shackles around God and what He is able to do inside of us.
When they read in their Bibles, He that believes in Me out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water, they want to know what Jesus means by that. They want to taste that river flowing through them.
When God said that we are filled with all the fullness of God, they want to know it; they want to see if for real.
When God says that by the blood of the Lamb we will overcome our enemies, they want to experience full and final victory.
When God says, I will crush Satan under your feet, they want to know what it means to have the enemy of Christ solidly under their feet. They want to prove God; they want God to prove His word in their lives and in their bodies.
Right now there is an anointing, an enablement, a sealing that is coming upon the minds of God’s people. All over the earth, Psalms 110:3 is being fulfilled right now. Your people shall be willing in the day of Your power. There is a willingness. All over the earth sons of God are stepping up, saying “I am with you, Jesus. I don’t care what it costs, do it in me, do it in me, do it in me.”
Behold I am your servant, let it be to me according to your word.
There is an anointing of enablement, of power, of grace, that gives us the ability to face death in our bodies and to defeat it. There is a grace that enables us to stand with Jesus as He moves through us to triumph over His enemies, to prove that the naysayer, the echo that comes along and says “God didn’t really mean that,” to silence it forever, to show that when God speaks His word, that word is fulfilled in this life, in this age, in these physical bodies, through us His people, on this earth, right now, right here, in me!
Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.
You’re reading this and you think, “Oh God, Oh God.” Reach up your expectation of faith. Let your hope rise, let your hope rise, let your hope rise. This willingness is for you. It is for you, if you want it.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.
What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you just keep on thinking about him. You . . . have crowned him with glory and power. You have set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.
Don’t ever again look at yourself and think of yourself that you are miserable, that you are nothing, and that you are worthless. Those thoughts come from Satan; they do not come from God. There is within you life, the very life of God, the very Christ of God, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
And God has chosen you to stand with Jesus in His glory. To be ready, ready and able and willing in the day of His power as He comes to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe.
The question for each of us right now is: Do I believe? Do I believe?
Because you see, the strength and the power is not in me, it doesn’t need to be in me. God has made me weak. The power is in the word God speaks.
We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.
Behold I am Your servant, let it be to me according to Your word.
OUR PATH HOME, Volume II, WHO ARE WE? Chapters 1-18 [Daniel Yordy] 2009 and 2011 1