BY: LARRY HODGES
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.“ – John 15:15
As we continue toward the consummation of this age, God, it seems, continues to unfold and reveal ever more and more to us concerning the mystery of His will and purposes in Christ. It is not merely that He unfolds things which have been hid from ages past but that He unfolds His very own heart concerning these matters. And it is just here that His only begotten Son is found and to be admired. His Son, revealed in us as He is revealed in the heart of the Father.
So much is being said and heard these days concerning “sonship,” “the kingdom,” “the remnant” and so forth, and almost all that we’re hearing is valid and has a place. Those who have been in “this way” have been led in strange and trying ways – some for many years. It has occurred to me more than once, and I have even said so from time to time, that the ministry others of this hour and myself have, is not really a revelatory one, but merely a confirming one. We confirm to others what God has already spoken to their hearts.
Often these days we find we are ministering to those who already know as much, if not, in some cases, more than those bringing the message to them; but they quite often do not realize it. What I’m attempting to say here is that there is an awful lot of knowledge out there among God’s remnant people at this time. That’s good. It’s evidence that those whom God has anointed to speak to them concerning the message of the kingdom have performed the job committed to them – as well as the Holy Spirit’s having done His work in them.
But it is not knowledge, which shall bring us into that intimacy with the Father through which union with Him is obtained! Yes, knowledge plays a part – an important part. But all knowledge can do, or ever was intended to do, is to kindle in us a greater desire for Him. No outward method, whether it be preaching, teaching, books, tapes, etc., can ever bring one to an inward reality. Inward realities come only through the inworkings of the Holy Spirit of God and as such require a birth. They do not come any other way.
They do not come because we simply believe certain things to be true, or because we constantly quote the particular verses relative to those things, or even because we confess with our mouths what we say we believe. Such things as kingdom realities become real in us only because the Spirit of God has wrought within us that reality. No other way.
Most of us realize by now that the things we see concerning the kingdom of God came to us not by intellect but by the revelation of God’s Holy Spirit. Such things can only be seen by such an administration of the Spirit. Yet, often the very things, which came to us upon the golden platter of revelation, we sometimes attempt to pass on to others upon the tin plate of knowledge.
The message committed to us, the gospel of the kingdom, is a spiritual one and must be declared in the very spirit it announces. It cannot be given out as so much information. Because this is true, it places those of us who minister this message under demanding requirements. It is not seemly, it is not proper nor what could be called “kingdom protocol” to declare such a spiritual message, a message of such a caliber and nature, in anything other than the nature that such a message extols and unveils.
More than that, it places those who really hear it under the same divine necessities. It is not enough to hear it, to know it, or even to be able to relate it to others. Its realities must be displaying themselves in us at least to some degree. If we are only repositories of those doctrines concerning the kingdom, we may well fall short of the mark required of those who become part of the firstfruits company.
Two things, to my mind, aside from what I have just spoken of above, are absolutely and without equivocation, necessary to our coming into the reality of sons manifesting Christ to the world. They go hand in hand, for I cannot see us holding to one while spurning the other.
First, that crowning finishing work of God’s agape Love radiating out from the innermost depths of us. It is that Love which will, in the lives of those who can be reached by nothing else, reach out and break their yokes of bondage, allowing them to bow the knee to Christ Jesus.
This Love has alchemical value in that it can change the base nature of corruptible, fallen mankind and begin to change such a nature into the pure gold of His deity. No one will ever convince me this is not true, for I have seen this Love at work in me over the last more than 32 years, changing me from what I was to what He desires in me. If it has worked that in us from Himself, it will work the same in others through us. But first, through a laid-down life, through the given life of Christ, it must become a reality in us and not just doctrinal theory.
Let me say that we ought not despise to the day of small beginnings where Love’s blossoming flower is concerned. Rather, we must welcome the beginning trickles, for the transforming power of this Love is such that even in its beginning stages, as small as that may be, it is still able to reach forth and cover the shortcomings of others.
It is able to see the trespasses of others against itself, forgive those trespasses and freely cover their sins. This is the sons being made comely in His comeliness. It is the White Stone, which is the evidence that this one has been completely set free. We must never fear that the flame will continue to grow as it is allowed to work its influences, unto a vehement all-consuming flame before which nothing of Adam can continue to stand. “And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” –Obadiah 21
Why do I say that this Love must be ours in reality before we can come to the birth of sons? Because the sons of God will be His exact representatives. They will represent Him to the world in just the same way Jesus did while He was upon earth. He was able to say, “If you’ve seen me, you have seen the Father.” Meaning, whatever character or nature you see in me is in the Father. Meaning, whatever I’m willing to do, the Father is willing to do. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh; He was Emmanuel, God with us.
There was no possibility that Jesus taught one thing, was on one particular mission, while the Father taught another thing and was about another mission. That would have been confusion. Yet, we meet those in this hour who are teaching part of the kingdom message concerning sonship, but they not only do not teach that God will ultimately restore all men to Himself, they actively fight against it. It must be said again; only those who accurately represent the Father’s heart shall be included as sons. And this is not doctrinal disputation; it is heart attitude. It is the outworking of that golden flower of Love within.
It is here that the second thing I see as absolutely necessary comes into view. It has not so much to do with doctrine as it does with heart attitude. It is the willingness to see all men saved through Jesus Christ. To my heart and mind, nothing speaks more definitely or more clearly of the heart of the Father than this particular truth. If God is truly sovereign as we know He is, and He is able, as He says, to do all His will, then nothing, not even man, can eternally frustrate or impede His will.
We read in the New Testament, “God is not willing that any should perish…” This is the express will of a sovereign God who can do whatever He wills. It is not as though He does not will that any should perish but cannot help the fact that billions are perishing. For He goes on to state, by the Spirit of Truth, “…but (He is willing–implied) that all should come to repentance.” Are we who believe that God can do what He sets out to do, to believe that He wills that all should come to repentance but somehow cannot do it? Is He therefore reduced to merely wishing it were so?
I believe one of the lies that has propped up the bigger lie of eternal torment is the lie concerning “the golden gift of man’s free agency.” Look for it in your Bible. It cannot be found there for it has never existed. Man in his fallen condition is not free; he is a slave to sin. The idea of man’s free agency is the invention of men who are yet unwilling to believe that God is able to do whatever He wills to do. Fallen man is absolutely blind concerning the things of the kingdom of God and cannot make an intelligent decision concerning it, because he has no information about it. He cannot make a spiritual decision about it, because he is dead to spiritual things.
The fact is, fallen man must be brought, or in some cases like my own, dragged to Christ and only after his eyes have been mercifully opened to spiritual things does he even have a glimpse of such things. How is it that fallen man is to exercise this supposed free will when the Lord has said that no man is able to come to Him except the Father draw him? “No man can come to Me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.“ –John 6:44 The truth is, God never intended to save all who should be saved during their short life-span on earth. The last 2,000 years were meant only to be used only to bring forth a firstfruits company during which God should “... first visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.“ – Acts 15:14
Then, when He had successfully done this, He would raise up that people of which the Tabernacle of David was a type; a people in whom there was no veil of fallen nature which could hide or obscure the nature and character of Christ within the opened temple (Rev.11:19) of God.
From whence comes this virtually apologetic God who must ask, almost “pretty please,” for men to accept Him? I’ve never been able to locate Him in Scriptures and it was not such a God who came to me that night in the cab of a United Van Lines furniture truck and just simply saved me! He needs no one to agree with or accept Him. He is able to apprehend those He has predestined to salvation at a particular time.
Consider the apostle Paul who began his career as Pharisee Saul. Saul was breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. Sorry, not a good candidate, it would seem. So what does the Lord do? Does He send one of His most polished diplomatic ambassadors with just the right converted Jew Scriptures? Not at all. He knocks Saul (Paul) to the ground and tells him to go into the city where (after three days of blindness and no food) he will be told what he must do.
I hear the sound of sovereignty here, but it is definitely not man’s. This was pretty rough handling according to much of today’s teaching concerning the business of salvation, but observe the life it brought forth in the apostle called Paul. There has been none like him since.
Man never was a free moral agent. At best he is a free moral chooser. An agent is one who acts. Man cannot, nor has he ever been able to do whatever he decides to do. Oh, he can choose to do anything he wishes, but if God overrules, he cannot do it. Consider the men who decided – even took an oath – that they would not eat until they had slain Paul. God ordained that a lad should overhear and relay this message to Paul so that he might escape their designs. He over ruled their wills. If they had been free agents, they would have had no trouble carrying out their desires on Paul.
Can man resist God? Yes, the Bible teaches that man can, for a time, resist God. Jesus wept over Jerusalem saying, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” – Matthew 23:37 It is clear here that God wanted one thing and Jerusalem wanted something else, and God’s purposes were, for a time, resisted and even blocked.
But which of us is willing to say that we believe God will never be able to obtain His desire for the Hebrew nation? Yes, it sometimes requires a long time, even an age, perhaps even ages, but in the end He will do all His will. In the case at hand, “all Israel shall be saved.“ (Romans 11:26) The fires of God, during these past 2,000 years, have been burning the fuel of but one thing – self-will. When it has been consumed, the nation of Israel will then be enabled to bow the heart and the knee to Him whom they hung upon a tree, and all Israel shall be saved. It matters not to God whether He is dealing with an Individual or with a nation; He will have His will and way in the final outcome. How could man’s free moral agency and God’s foreknowledge co-exist together?
Man does need not be a free agent in order to be judged. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” –Proverbs 23:7. “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” – Matthew 5:28 God is able to judge men according to their hearts, according to their choices. They don’t have to be able to do what they would if they could. They merely have to be willing to do it if they could.
There is room in God’s universe for only One Sovereign – Himself. The idea that man’s will could somehow thwart God’s is too ridiculous to the logic and wisdom of the cross to even consider. But the notion has been invented and widely taught that God has established what is called, “man’s inviolable free moral agency.” That is, man has a free will and God, being the gentleman that He is, will not, almost cannot, violate that will. That creates another sovereign and a situation in which two so-called sovereigns resist each other. It is the impossibility of the irresistible force meeting the immoveable object. We are supposed to believe that an all-wise God with all His foreknowledge has created this.
But a mere superficial reading of the Scriptures reveals to us that God is found quite often violating man’s supposed free will. Are we to take His dealings with Pharaoh as anything other than violating the man’s will, as God time after time hardened his heart? “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.“ – Proverbs 21:1 What of the men who took an oath to slay Paul? Did not God violate their free will to slay Paul?
What of God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon? The man became lifted up because of pride and bragged of his kingdom and God dealt so severely with him that finally, after seven years, he changed his mind about things and gave all the glory to God, whom he said, “…doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say to Him, ‘What doest thou?'” – Daniel 4:35 “For God hath put in their (ten kings who have power for one hour with the beast) hearts to fulfill His will and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled” –Revelation 17:17 Do the above Scriptures sound at all as if God is not able to do whatever He desires and even to overrule the contrary desires of men? There is nothing taking place on earth or in heaven of which God is not in perfect and complete control. But let us not be so silly as to suppose that God does not permit us the freedom of will to make choices such as, “Which socks shall I wear today?”
Perhaps you wonder why I speak of the restoration of all men as being absolutely essential to one’s entrance into full sonship. As I said, nothing more exemplifies the Father’s heart than that His creation, which He subjected to the vanity of sin with complete foreknowledge, should finally secure all the glory His Son has purchased for them at Calvary. It is not possible to accurately represent God’s heart without this message! This is an immutable fact. I have had people, even friends, become angry with me for making this statement, but the statement is nevertheless true because the message of the restitution of all men is the clearest declaration and testimony of that agape Love which God is. Remember, this message nowhere claims there is no torment, no punishment, no lake of fire for those spurning Jesus Christ and His salvation. It merely states the truth concerning such torment – that it does not last eternally but has both a purpose and an end.
Let me say here that everywhere we go we find more and more people open to this glorious message and speaking of it. It is not only “out of the closet,” it is running throughout the earth. Soon, those who are still found resisting it will begin to realize they are in the minority and may then want to give it renewed consideration. As I said in the last issue of TSL, Kenya, Africa now has it, Nigeria, Africa and many other places in Africa has it, England has it, France has it, “this gospel of the kingdom (the aeonian gospel of the kingdom) shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end (of the age or aeon) come.” –Matthew 24:14
Another example of just how this message is spreading can be seen in the following. Quite recently a fellow minister left a message on our answering machine for me to call him. When I did, he related that while he was in Venezuela he had met a particular minister, whom I do not know, from here in the States. This brother, he said, had shown him a copy of one of Jane Leade’s books (her books are filled with the restitution of all things) and he said the brother would not give him the book but that he had been quite impressed with the contents and wanted to know if we would send him a copy also. Of course I told him we’d be delighted.
When I related this incident to another brother who later came by our place here, he said that he knew both these brothers and could not believe that either of them would even look at her writings. They sounded to me as if they loved them and recognized the worth of Jane’s writings. What I’m hearing from all this is that God is working in men’s hearts to bring about that unity and oneness which He desires and which men have been attempting to manufacture for 2,000 years. He is beginning to bring it to pass as men begin, through the message of the restitution of all men, to see the heart of God as He truly is. When they see His heart, all enmity in them is slain, and only unity and true Love among Christ’s followers prevails.
Oh, nothing is more needed by us than the inward working of such a message made real in us by God’s Spirit. For years I have taught that God would conform a people to his image and nature. Then, after hearing this message of the final reconciliation of all men, and deciding it would cost too much to teach it, God asked me one evening, “How are my people going to become conformed to My image and nature if they only know what tradition has told them I’m like?” I realized that we all become like what we worship. I also realized that people who believe that God will, with foreknowledge, send 98% of His own creation, which He says in Romans 8:20, He subjected to the vanity of sin, to unspeakable torment forever, would never be conformed to His true image while believing such a preposterous lie.
Will all come into this understanding and its inward benefits during this age? We are nowhere led to believe that. The “fearful and unbelieving” (Revelation 21:8) in the Church (!) will not enter into that City whose only light is God Himself. But many will.
Often Betty and I correspond with someone for years and during the course of that correspondence we come to think that we know them. We think we know what they look like, what they are like. Don’t ask me how that comes about; I do not know. Then, often, we have had opportunity in our travels to actually meet them, to turn concept into reality. Never have they been as I had conceived them to be.
There is always some difference in height, weight, and facial features, but most especially, in personal substance. We have never been disappointed, but always pleasantly surprised because the reality has always been far better than our concept. Richard and Maryin Lane of Bedford, England were a striking example of this to my mind. These two precious children of God could never have been as delightful to us in concept as they actually were in reality. Nor could we ever have known and enjoyed them in concept as we were able to do in reality. It is often that way with our conception of our heavenly Father!
Pentecost is about concept. Tabernacles is about reality. Therefore, we must move from the scaffolding to the building itself, from the framework to the substance. This will entail tremendous, and in many cases, traumatic change on our part. For some, many of them ministers, the cost will be seen as being too great to truly pay.
Jesus makes a statement to some Jews who believed on Him, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.“ – John 8:31–32 When these disciples heard this they answered Him what I consider to be an astounding reply. “We be Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage to any man…” What did these men think Rome was even then doing in Israel? It was ruling over them, putting them in bondage to Rome! What did they consider the captivity of both Assyria and Babylon to have been? Obviously not bondage, for they had never been in bondage!
It is to me one of the most amazing statements in the New Testament as it reveals the profound blindness of man. But lest you think we Spirit-filled Christians are any different, let me say to you, “We are not.” We don’t use the same words but we have the same blind mind-set in very many cases. “We are Spirit-filled Christians (and therefore Abraham’s seed), we praise God and even dance before Him at times. We are free! We are surely not in bondage whatsoever!”
Ah, but we are. The reason we have not realized it, is that we have so long (6,000 years and all of each of our lives) been under the treason and tyranny of the rational, reasoning mind that we have come to think of it as acceptable. It is not!
There is another mind into which every son must be birthed and sealed. It is the mind of Christ, that one, lone mind which is in perfect and total conformity with the Father’s mind. To be otherwise- minded is death. I do not here speak of having the mind of Christ in the sense that we have the Holy Spirit resident within us, but of having an entirely new habit of thought and of being cognizant of and aware of the heart and thoughts of God. As we have borne the image and mind of the earthly, so shall we also bear the image and mind of the heavenly.
Those coming forth at this time – those consisting of the feet-members of the Body of Christ – are leaving the realms of death (carnal, reasoning, rational mind) for the realms of life. Death is being put under His feet.
None of us knows how long the Inkhorn Ministry of writers will be allowed before the Father of Spirits brings it to a pre-ordained conclusion, and no doubt some will continue in their own momentum even after that conclusion. But, I believe it is profitable to all of us that we not receive the precious truths and words now being given as the mere words of men about the Word of God.
If we are merely reading what someone such as, say, Preston Eby thinks about things, or what Elwin Roach (I am convinced that Preston and Elwin both actually convey to their readers the very heart of God) or Larry Hodges or what any other man thinks about things, then let us readily admit that there are smarter men in the earth and let us apply to them instead. But if God truly is speaking to us through these gifts, as we believe He is, then let us treat what He communicates to us as the bread of His presence by which we are meant to live, and truly feed upon it that it may bring us to that final place of desire which cannot be denied. May God richly bless and encourage you, together with us, through His Spirit-breathed views of His own heart concerning us.
REALITIES [Larry Hodges] 1