THE CURSE, ITS PURPOSE, AND OVERTHROW
BY: DANIEL YORDY
SEPTEMBER 13, 2009
I want to start this letter with a phrase from Revelation 12:5: “… her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”
This line describes the normal Christian life; a life we are only now beginning to understand and live in.
The first half of Genesis, Chapter 3, is known as “the fall” of man; Revelation 12:5 is describing his return.
The fall of man did not happen in a moment. It began when the serpent opened his mouth to speak; it did not end until, maybe, the moment Cain killed his brother, Abel. I don’t know that there is a lower point than that.
But God set an incredible sign post inside the first “day” of man upon this earth, the first one thousand years.
Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
God is not a respecter of persons. What was available for Enoch has always been available for every descendant of Adam.
This event with Enoch happened 57 years after Adam’s death, and only 13 years before the end of the first “day.” God does things like this, setting a testimony, planting a sign post, pointing out His intention and purpose.
We cannot understand the revelation of Jesus Christ, the ‘apokalupsis,’ without understanding the curse. The curse is found in Genesis 3:14-24. It is exactly what Paul was referring to in Romans 8 when he said that “the creation was subjected to futility.”
Inside this curse are 7 particular things that came upon the human race. All of these things were broken in the cross of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the Christian church has continued to live under and submit to the curse. God has a purpose for the curse; it brings us to Christ. But we must understand God’s full purpose for it.
The curse is no more a part of us than a chrysalis is part of a butterfly. The chrysalis is a holding place until such time as the butterfly is ready to cast it off. Then, the purpose of the chrysalis is to be cast off, for in the casting off of that outer shell, the life that is inside the butterfly flows in strength to every part of its being.
God is a fighter and the ethos of the victorious warrior is written all through His word. God’s purpose for Satan is that we might defeat him. God’s purpose for the curse is that we might cast it off. God cannot form Christ inside of us by speaking a word, only. In the unsearchable wisdom of God, Christ in us needs an enemy to defeat and a restraint to cast off. And inside of this incredible crucible are the wondrous ingredients of affliction, of devotion, of pain, and of endurance.
Here are the 7 parts of the curse. I will share my present thoughts. I do not think for one moment that I have the full picture.
Part 1: Verse 14: “On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”
Lucifer was created as the highest of all angels. He was larger in size and glory than the greatest of all the stars. The earth was nothing more than a speck of dust to him. From the beginning he despised the very idea that God had created him to serve this lowly worm that God called “man.” Now he is bound to the earth, he cannot leave it. His only sustenance, his food, his energy, must come from one source alone, the misery and suffering of man. God gave human flesh to Satan for his food, the dust of the earth. So long as we live in a consciousness of separation from God, we are food for fallen angels. That’s just the way it is. And we escape that curse by one means alone, by living fully in the consciousness of our complete union with Christ.
The flesh and Satan’s feeding on the flesh are just like the tar baby in the “Brer Rabbit” story. You see that there is something wrong with your human nature, so you knock it about, get it under foot, bring it under control, and what do you discover? Now, you are stuck to it even more. And the more you try to suppress the flesh, the more you struggle to get it into “obedience” to God, the more stuck to it you become and the bigger deal it is.
Stop it. The cross is sufficient for us. We turn our backs on “the flesh” and give ourselves utterly to the only life we now know, the life of Christ inside of us.
The whole world lies under the sway of the evil one. (1 John 5:19) The dragon deceives the whole world. (Revelation 12:9) There is not one point of knowledge or understanding in this world that is not bogus. All of mankind is living in the matrix. We do not help anyone by trying to “fix” the world. Certainly, we see things that are false. But the moment you fix one thing that is false; it becomes something else that is just as false. I am much more concerned about the dangers coming from Christians having control of the US government than I am about “socialists” gaining control of it. (And it is not the beast that makes me weep, but dear precious believers in Jesus trying to ride the thing, trying to get it under their control.)
Part 2: Verse 15: “…and you shall bruise His heel.”
The heel that Satan bruises is the heel of the Seed of the woman, which is Christ: Christ as He walked the earth 2000 years ago and Christ as He reveals Himself in us.
The heel is the part of the body that carries the weight of the body upon the earth. Under the curse, Satan has the authority to wound the Redeemer, to wound that part of Christ’s mature body that walks upon the earth.
Revelation 12:4: “…And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born.”
This wounding is part of God’s plan. In whatever way we have ever been wounded, yes, it is by the barbs of Satan, but we are utterly in God’s hand and He with us works all things together for good. This is not a platitude; it is the determination of God.
Part 3: Verse 16: “In pain you shall bring forth children.”
Yes, there is the physical individual element of this that every woman endures when faced with childbirth. As I watched my tender wife bear our first son, I knew no man could ever hold a candle to the strength of a woman.
But that is an outward result of the curse; we are much more concerned with its larger purpose and its casting off.
Revelation 12:2: “Then being with child she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.”
When my first son was born, there were several women in the same hospital wing giving birth that day. Ours came last. We heard horrifying screams and curses. “Make it stop!” Then, when all the ladies had their babies in hand, they asked my wife what was wrong with her. She had not screamed.
My wife entered the birthing room as prepared as a new mother could be. She did not want pain killers. I was there, and though useless outwardly, I was a strength to her. But she also had a close friend there with her. They had been working together for months, practicing breathing, practicing letting go, practicing pain.
Those who were unprepared rejected the pain of the birth. My wife, though she certainly did not welcome it, understood its purpose and knew how to yield herself to it… To let it do its work and to bring herself into the flow of its rhythm… To yield, to release, to submit… And to focus on her friend and on the breathing.
This is the hour we are in. It is Jesus who holds our hand and says, “Put your eyes utterly upon Me and trust Me. Breathe in when I say; breathe out when I say. Relax when I say, and push with all your might when I say, “Push.'” And so we must. What is about to hit this world is beyond any of our abilities to prepare for it or to cope. Don’t tell me everything is going to be all right. It is not! Being in “the secret place of the most High” is where we live; but staying calm while 10,000 people drop dead around you is no simple thing. (Psalm 91).
Part 4: Verse 16: “…your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
This is not a blessing, it is not God’s ‘order,’ it is a curse.
“In Christ… there is neither male nor female… for you are all one in Christ.” Galatians 3:26-29
Yes, outwardly, women have been brutally and shamefully mistreated by men for these 6,000 years. Those who walk in union with Jesus have no part with such a thing, no matter what legalistic, poorly translated verses they come across, it’s not in them.
But that is not what this element of the curse is talking about. Notice that there is no husband in Revelation 12. Do you understand what that means, bride of Christ? What happened to your husband? He was put to death upon the cross of Jesus Christ. You have no more ties to him than any long-forgotten corpse. Name a person who died 2000 years ago and tell me what power their broken, unknown skeleton has over you or me. So it is with that old husband, Adam. He is long millennia dead and forgotten. We do not carry him on our backs.
And yet, and yet, so very sadly, for 6,000 years, and especially, for the last 2000 years, the woman, the church, the bride of Christ has lived as if she had that old dead husband chained to her back.
When Paul said in Romans 7, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death,” he was referring to an ancient Greek practice of punishment. The Greeks would take the corpse of a murdered victim and chain that corpse to the back of the murderer. The murderer was then free to go, but he could not escape the rotting, horrid, vulture-picked corpse chained to his back.
Paul was voicing the mentality, the thinking, the mindset of the “carnal mind,” of the one who sees himself or herself as a “self” walking separately from God. Paul thought he was dismissing that whole way of thinking, first, when he said, “I thank God through Christ Jesus my Lord,” and then in Chapter 8 when he made the emphatic statement that the carnal mind, the thinking that we have a corpse, the Adamic nature, our old husband, Adam, the fallen human nature, chained to our back, that that whole way of thinking is DEATH! Paul thought he was setting the believer in Christ free from that mentality.
But that is not what worked out in Christian theology. No, the thinking that we who are married to Jesus Christ, are still also married to Adam, that we still also have a fallen human nature that we cart around, that we are responsible for, that stinks, yes, but we can never get rid of it, not in this life. That whole way of thinking that Paul called “DEATH,” became central to Christian theology, in Catholicism, in Protestantism, and in much of evangelical Christianity today.
Dear Christian people make placards of our pastor with devil’s horns on his head and stand with loudspeakers declaring that we will all burn in hell. More than once in the last 3 years, my children and I have walked through that gauntlet to enter the worship service. And these people who do belong to Jesus, think they are sent to do this because my pastor does not teach that Adam is chained to our backs. They honestly and sincerely believe that anyone who does not teach that Adam is chained to our backs is not teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Amazing! Indeed, Christians are more dangerous than socialists.
I have come to the end of my writing time; the other 3 parts of the curse, the 3 most critical parts, will have to wait until next time.
But I do not want to end this on any negative note.
I will speak more later of Revelation 12:5: “And her child was caught up unto God and to His throne,” much more, but I will say this much of this, most precious of all verses in the Bible.
I am filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3), God flows out of me like a rushing flowing river (John 7), He surrounds me like a mighty fortress wall. I walk always in Him, and He in me. It is not possible for me to “go” somewhere else in the universe, or in heaven, or anywhere else, and find God more than what I walk in right now.
In all of His holiness, there is no more holy place than where I stand right now. In all of His heavenly glory, there is no more glorious place than the place I live in right now. In all of His almighty Power, there is no greater power than that which is working in me right now.
These words that I speak are not strange. They are as true of you as they are of me. I am describing the normal Christian life. If I have to “go” somewhere to find God, then God is not here, and if God is not here, then God is not.
God, open our eyes… that we might “see” that which IS and has always been.
“The expectation of God.”
These words are, for me right now, the very breath of God. Let God breathe them into you as well.
“The expectation of God.”
In all things, in all ways, at all times.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2009
In the last letter, we looked at the first four parts of the curse that came upon mankind through Adam. In both Genesis 3 and Romans 8, God says that the curse is for our sakes. But we understand that “for our sakes” has a double purpose. The first purpose is that inside the curse, we learn the affliction and the sorrow that is very much a part of our Father and which can be learned no other way; and second, that in casting off the curse, we come to know Christ as our life.
But we cannot lift a finger against the curse in the guise of Adam, a self, separate from God, trying to do what God says. That very mentality keeps us bound under the curse. To believe that we carry Adam’s rotting corpse – a fallen human nature – unable to be free from it, is a curse indeed.
It is only as we embrace our union with Christ, He in us and we in Him, that we are an empty vessel, made clean by the blood, separated from Adam by the cross, the reflection of Christ’s person in this world.
To know Him, in intimacy, in togetherness, in a shared life.
But God is a fighter, and He in us casts off the curse as the illusion and the non-thing that it is.
Here is the problem. The curse is our comfort blanket. It is warm and fuzzy; it is familiar. We are so accustomed to the curse that to think in terms of its absence is almost to be ‘non-human.’
You will discover that the strongest defenders of the curse are fellow believers in Jesus. There are whole sermons preached on how wonderful and good death is. In so many Christian funerals, death is exalted as most precious, second only to Jesus Himself.
It is never viewed as the most vicious enemy we have, more anti-Christ than Satan or sin.
Death is over-rated.
Like Goliath, shouting and beating his chest against the armies of God while they hide behind their tents, convinced that no one could go up against such an enemy – death will kill you! Yet one little boy presumes against the giant. God is with him. He does not pray. He does not cry, “Oh God, please, if it be Your will, speak to me.” No. He knows God is with him and he with God. That is enough for David. He also knows that this giant blasphemes God and that the armies of Israel shame Him. Goliath is already dead in David’s eyes.
But who are David’s opponents? His brothers… The ones who know that the present illusion is the only reality.
Death is over-rated.
“…the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:10.
“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.'” 2 Corinthians 15:53-54
Before we look at the last three parts of the curse, let me point this out. The New Testament answer to the curse of Genesis 3 is found in Romans 8:18-23 and Revelation chapter 12. These are the two “heresy” passages of the New Testament. Yet, if they are not central to our understanding of the gospel, then we do not understand the gospel. If Romans 8:19 and Revelation 12:5 are not at the center and heart of our definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then what we have is not the gospel, but only a shadow. That doesn’t bother Jesus, He is our Savior, and He brings us all the way through to Himself.
But somewhere along the line, those two verses become our central focus and we realize that the sacrifice of Jesus has nothing to do with going to heaven and everything to do with redeeming this earth and all creation.
Continuing with the parts of the curse:
Part 5: Genesis 3:17: “Cursed is the ground for your sake…”
God is favor. To be in God is to be in favor. To be surrounded by God is to be surrounded by favor. Adam lived in favor. He knew no shadow of anything else. Everything he put his hand to prospered, as Solomon says of the godly in Psalms 1.
That favor vanished with the curse. Now, everything Adam tried to do failed. He put out his hand to receive and got poked by a thorn. He worked hard to grow a bit of garden, like I do, and weeds grew and then the bugs ate the weeds!
I want to get right at something here. We imagine that because we “trust in Jesus for where we will spend eternity” we have “faith.” Yet all of my Christian life, I have expected the curse.
Faith is what we expect, not what we hope for. We ‘hope’ God will bless us; we expect the curse. And in so much Christian thinking, including the thinking I lived in for many years, to expect the curse is to “be godly” and to expect blessing is to be manipulating and using God for our selfish benefit.
And things going wrong, things not working out seem to be normal. Our whole mind, the whole construction of our thinking processes, works out to the curse. We expect it; and we speak what we expect.
And God does leave the curse upon the way of thinking I lived in for most of my Christian life – that I was a self, separate from Christ, and that I had to “hear” what God says and “do” it.
But to live in union with Christ – He is my life, I have no other life – is to live in the expectation of God.
To expect God is to expect favor. To expect favor in Christ is to expect God.
Our thinking is conditioned to expect not favor. Therefore, we are also expecting not God.
There is never an absence of faith in any human being. Every descendant of Adam is filled with faith. We are made to expect. And we receive what we expect.
Most Christians expect the curse. That’s why they receive it.
To expect not favor is to expect not God. We receive fully exactly what we expect in every direction of our lives – health, weight, finances, relationships, work – all the way through. To expect God in heaven only is to expect not God.
The curse is there for our sakes, not to live in it, but to wake up one day and to realize that if my theology has left me in the curse, maybe my theology is really screwed up. The curse is there so that we know to get out of it and into the tree of life. Not to embrace the curse, defend it, and seek to live under it.
“…who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
Revelation 12 deals with this part of the curse. Verse 16: “But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.”
I do not understand what this means. I know it is not a physical occurrence, that is, a physical splitting open of the ground. It is referring directly to the final moments of the curse upon the earth. When the earth itself turns from the dragon to the woman and sacrifices itself for her sake. It’s almost like one of the major themes of the fairy tales. Look at the fairy tales, how the curse is lifted, and you will see a reflection of the truth. God speaks through stories.
The curse sits like computer viruses in our brains. We think little thought scenarios, and we speak out of those thoughts. If we will just stop and look at those things, we realize that our thoughts and the words we speak from those thoughts are nothing other than the expectation of the curse.
As I was waking up last Sunday morning, I had a dream. In that dream I could see so clearly. This thing is so simple. All we have to do is change the way we think… To think as God thinks and to see as God sees. It is so simple. God expects Himself; He never expects anything else.
When I awoke, it did not seem quite so simple, but I know that in my dream, I saw reality, and in my waking thoughts, I am yet wrapped in illusions and darkness.
Part 6: Verse 19: “…For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
Death – physical death.
Death is not real separation from God. There is no such thing as separation from God. The ‘separation from God’ that man presently experiences is God’s blessing, it is the skin of the beast, the last part of the curse.
When the skin of the beast is removed, sinners will be sinners in all the presence of God. It is a lake of fire. It is a time of purification.
Yet death is a form of separation, a separation in our minds, in our thinking, in our expectation.
We expect to die. No matter how many times the gospel promises us unending life, we do not expect it. We expect to die.
Jesus says to Martha in John 11, “He that lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
But Martha cannot believe – “Yah, someday.” But her mind turns away.
“The wages of sin is death”
“In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”
Physical death is the penalty for sin.
God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Yet, all those who are in heaven are without their physical bodies. They are only partly there. That realm of heaven in which the saints of God live is temporary, it is passing away. Those who are with Jesus are right now pressing back towards earth. They want their bodies back. They want to live as humans again. Their present hope is focused upon us.
We are humans, we will forever be humans, that point of union between Spirit and dirt, between the breath of God and the Earth – a living soul. Forever fully the sons of God and forever fully the sons of Abraham. The idea that we will live forever in heaven is cooked up by defeated Christianity, clouded by the curse. It is not taught in the New Testament. We are made for earth and we are made for heaven. Of all God’s creation, we are the only created beings who live in both at the same time. And we are able to “go back and forth” (an inadequate phrase) to live in heaven and to live in the earth and to enjoy all the fruits and experiences of both.
This earth belongs to me and I have no desire to go anywhere else until I see it redeemed and transformed into the full expectation of God.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many…” Hebrews 9:27-28
This is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. Listen next time you hear someone quote verse 27. Notice how they drop that little word “as.” It is rather inconvenient.
“As – So.” Because of one, then the other. Christ was offered once as my sin offering. Jesus kept my appointment with death. Since I have only one such appointment; I do not have another.
Revelation 12:11: “…and they did not love their lives unto the death.”
The only way out of the tree of knowledge is the tree of life.
The only way out of the curse is Christ.
If I love having a life of my own, separate from Jesus, me, responsible for myself, then I will die.
But if He in me and I in Him is sufficient for me; if Jesus is my life and I have no other life, then, in this great paradox of God, death is swallowed up in victory.
Philippians 3:10-11: “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
2 Corinthians 5:4: “For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”
Notice the order Paul gives us in Philippians 3. For so many years I had it backwards. I thought that we had to start with being conformed to His death before we could ever fully know Him. How wrong I was.
It all begins by knowing Him – fully and absolutely. Knowing that there is no distinction, no separation between me and Him. Jesus is my life. Even when my emotions are all screwed up, even when I am caught in sin, I do not look at myself as some separate entity, bowed under guilt and shame. No. My sin is already swallowed up in His sin offering, I am washed clean by His blood, and my emotions are simply Jesus sharing His own agonies – the cup that He Himself bears – with me. As we know Him in us, we know, first the power of an endless life, then we know the fellowship of His sufferings, we share His emotions and His pain, then our union with Him in all things causes us to be made conformable to His death.
And thus death is defeated.
We groan, not to die and go to heaven, but we groan and labor, that our mortal bodies would be instantaneously swallowed up by life.
This is the goal of the believer as taught in the New Testament. When was the last time you were in a church service where the pastor led by the Spirit in you to groan for the resurrection, the transformation of our bodies? Yet Paul says this is the normal Christian life!
To defeat death… To cast if off… This is the game plan of God – the end game. This is what God is doing in those sons who insist on all that God speaks.
Delay is no more.
I will continue with the 7th part of the curse in Part 3 of this series. The 7th part, being clothed with the skin of a beast, is the most significant part of the curse.
The skin of the beast makes the curse part of the human DNA. To cast it off is to be caught up to God and to His throne.
NOVEMBER 1, 2009
Genesis 3:21: “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”
The final part of the curse is the worst part and the best part – and the most important.
Adam could not escape God. The certain knowledge of God filled his consciousness. He tried, desperately, to hide. He covered himself with fig leaves; he hid behind tree trunks – both typifying all the many ways his descendants have developed to try, somehow, to hide from the reality of God.
None of it worked for Adam. Nothing shielded him in his sin and shame from the light of a pure and holy God. To have lived his entire life in that light, his sinfulness and shamefulness, his attempting to persevere in the presence of holiness, would have been a lake of fire for Adam; that is the lake of fire – God, without any protection from Him.
God, of course, did not condemn Adam. Adam condemned Adam – that is the nature of independent self.
But God had a different plan for Adam and for his descendants. It was not His plan for them to live in the lake of fire – even those who have died without Christ are not presently in the lake of fire, no matter what the fertile imagination of Christians has concocted.
No, God’s purpose was first to redeem Adam’s seed, and then to form Christ within those whom He elected as a firstfruits out of Adam’s seed.
But that could not happen, so long as Adam was unshielded from God. Independent self, striving to exist in the full light of God, is hell.
The skin of the beast is the mercy and kindness of God.
The skin of the beast allows Adam and his seed to live long enough for Christ to come, first as our Redeemer, and then as our Life.
And so God took the skin of an animal, and He wrapped Adam and Eve in that skin.
It is easy for you to know that you are encased in the skin of a beast. Look around the room in which you are sitting right now. You are completely surrounded by all the Shekinah glory and power of Almighty God. There is no place in heaven more holy and more filled with God’s glory than the room you are looking at right now. How do you keep your head up? How do you go about your business without falling flat on your face in terror?
Very simple – you are blind. You can’t see the obvious. But even a blind man can sense when someone else is in the room. You can’t. And the reason you can’t see the obvious or even sense the presence of other persons in the room all around you, both holy and evil, is that you are more than blind, you are clothed with a beast skin.
[The beast skin is what makes the people of this world so beastly. The poet, Alexander Pope, said, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” He was speaking of man’s capacity to sin filthily and arrogantly in the very presence of Almighty God.]
James says that demons always tremble in fear, unable to separate themselves from God’s presence. We know that the only way they can hide from that Light is to encase themselves in human flesh. That is the first part of the curse. [Demons hide from God behind any human mind that sees itself separate from God, that is, human flesh. When we see God in all things, inside and out, they have nowhere to hide and they flee.]
That beast skin is God’s kindness to you.
You are not ready for His light, not until Christ is fully formed inside of you. Nor is He ready for you, not until you have abandoned all thought of independent selfhood.
Jesus was the last Adam; Adam ended upon the cross. The old man is dead. I am already crucified. Why, then, does the beast skin continue as part of my experience?
Romans 8:18-21: “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 (the skin of the beast), not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Believing that Christ is our life does not come overnight. Even when God reveals to us that He did not lie when He says that we are already dead; even when He shows us that we are NOT an independent self, struggling to somehow please Him, but that Christ is the only life we have; even when He reveals to us that He did not lie when He said that old things are passed away, and that all things are made brand new; even then, it takes days and months, and even years, for the full knowledge of Christ living in us as us to permeate every part of our thinking.
We revert back to the old way of thinking so easily. Seeing ourselves separate from Jesus, now having to line up with a God who is surely displeased with us. We wake up in the middle of the night, feeling awful, feeling certain that God has departed from us. Over and over, we have to stop in our tracks, stop all such thinking, in spite of what we feel, and think that Christ is living as me right now, that He is my life; He is one with me even as I feel so bad right now.
And every time we do that, Jesus draws us a little closer to Himself in our knowledge of Him.
So long as I saw myself as someone separate from Jesus, I could not know Him, no matter how much I wanted to. The only way to know Jesus is to see yourself utterly inside of Him. Then you will know the sweet communion of His person.
Most believers in Jesus are not ready for the skin of the beast to be removed from off of them.
This word, the “revealing” of the sons of God, is the Greek word “apocalupsis.” It means to take the cover off. The cover that conceals Christ in us is the skin of the beast. That cover is coming off.
What will be found inside? An independent self, desperately trying to please the implacable requirements of a holy God? Or will there be one who, with joy, has abandoned all sense of the independence of self, but who knows that Christ is his life, he has no other life?
But, of course, the passage from Romans 8 is talking about so much more than that. We know that out of our belly flows the mighty river of the life of God.
I wrote the first part of this a week ago. Last night, the Lord showed me the real reason for the continued presence of the skin of the beast, of this earthly blinder that keeps us from seeing and knowing all that God is and all that we are in Him.
I just finished a romance novel by Georgette Heyer. Let me briefly give you the story line.
A wealthy man of 35, kind, well-loved by family and friends, was being pressured to marry. He had once before been in love with a vivacious girl, but she had died in an accident before they were married.
The man chose to ask a friend of his, aged 29, a plain and simple girl who had been passed up by all eligible suitors, to be his wife. Her family was convinced that the only possible choice she could make was to accept.
With full respect, she refused him. She did not say why.
Meanwhile, he became involved in the life of a beautiful young runaway, who was trying to persuade her grandfather to let her marry an officer in Wellington‘s army when she was just 16. He was attempting to restore her to her family. In the process, he was accidentally shot.
In desperation, the lady who had declined his marriage offer was asked to come nurse him. She went secretly and spent several days caring for him. Finally, they were found by all who were concerned about “propriety.” Her family demanded that the wounded man marry their sister to preserve her honor.
When they had left, the two were sitting side by side, alone in a garden. They were finally comfortable together, having gotten to know one another in the midst of difficulty. Picture the most beautiful, romantic, garden scene possible. He told her that he could not marry her for obligation, but only for love. She told him that she had refused him because, though she knew they were friends, she also knew that intimate love would not have been the beginning of their marriage.
But now, they truly knew one another as friends and they both knew that they loved one another.
I finished the book and went to bed. As my thoughts turned towards Jesus, I instantly knew the purpose for God allowing the skin of the beast to remain upon us in spite of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. God speaks to us through story.
This relationship we have with Jesus is about marriage. He is betrothed to us and we to Him. That is what our union with Christ is all about.
But Jesus will not marry a woman who honors and respects Him, who is grateful to Him for His great kindness. Nor even more will He marry a woman who fears Him and who does what He says because she believes she is under obligation to do so. Nor will He marry a woman who chooses Him because of His great power and wealth and how honored He is before all creation.
Jesus wants to marry a woman who sits by His side on a “garden bench,” who is equal to Him in heart and mind, who walks through the difficult places together with Him, leaning upon His shoulder, who knows that her union with Him is because she loves Him and He loves her. Jesus will marry only a woman who knows Him in the deepest and most intimate of friendships. Jesus will marry only a woman who knows that He has conformed Himself to her, that He loves what she loves, enjoys what she enjoys.
Listen, it is not up to the woman to conform herself to the man; it is up to the man to conform Himself to His beloved. This was the sacrifice that Jesus embraced in Gethsemane – for the joy set before Him – you and me. So long as I think that I must change to please Him, my heart is not comfortable side by side with His.
So long as you and I see ourselves as beneath Him in any way, we cannot love Him with the love that He alone will marry.
Jesus says the most extraordinary thing in Revelation Chapter 3. He says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man opens the door, I will come in to him and I will sup with him, and he with Me.”
Jesus was not talking about those who did not know Him; He was talking about you and me. First we open the door to Him. Will you let Him be your sin and your shame? Will you let Him be your flesh? If Jesus could take your sin upon the cross 2000 years ago, why can He not take your self upon Himself now? Or, do we really believe that something happened 2000 years ago when we cannot believe that He swallows up our sinful flesh and all of our foolish mistakes today?
Then, it is He who comes in to us and it is He who sups with us. There are few statements more precious in the entire Bible. To sup with us is to share an intimacy of closeness with every part of our being. It is Jesus who conforms Himself to us.
And finally, we sup with Him. It is only when we surrender our heart to His love for us will we be able to return the love that alone is acceptable to Him.
Obligation and duty will always keep Jesus at arm’s length, and it will keep us encased in the skin of the beast. He cannot marry a woman who is obliged to marry Him.
Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb (the absolute foundation of our return to the Father) and by the word of their testimony (we speak Christ and all that He is in us) and they loved not their lives to the death (we forsake any thought that we exist independently from Jesus Himself, knowing that all that we are is no more nor less than Jesus Himself).”
Jesus insists that His bride come to Him while she is still blind. He will marry a woman who considers herself His equal, equal in heart, in mind, in soul and who loves Him, not for His greatness of position, or for the mercy He has shown her, but who loves Him in an intimacy of equality – who “sees” Him by faith as the One who fills her heart.
And it is out of that intimacy of union, we in Him, and He in us, that the manchild of Revelation 12:5 is born.
Faith is that which walks in the reality of all that is unseen, now, while it is still unseen.
Faith makes everything God speaks in the New Covenant personal, right now.
God put the skin of the beast upon us. It is God who will remove it. And He will do so when we “see” all that He is in us. When God removes that skin that still limits us in this world, many will be astonished and amazed at what they see. But for those of us who “see” Him now in all things, both inside of us and outside of us, we will see nothing different at all. There will be no shock or surprise.
When we see in reality, we will see the same thing that we now see by faith. There will be no difference.
This “seeing” is a miracle of the Holy Spirit; and He overshadows you right now for that purpose.
THE CURSE, ITS PURPOSE, AND OVERTHROW, Parts 1-3 [Daniel Yordy] 11-1-09 1