TREASURES OF TRUTH, VOLUME 5
THE GLORY SON TO BE REVEALED
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
GOING ON TO PERFECTION
CHRIST THE INCORRUPTIBLE SEED
THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE
THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE, Part 2
THAT I MAY ATTAIN
GOING ON TO PERFECTION
Man’s journey to the celestial realm will always be punctuated with revelation and repentance, – revelation that we might catch a glimpse of the glories beyond us and repentance that we might attain them. No height of God has ever been manifest without a sovereign revelation from God’s infinite mind, and no height in God has ever been attained without the repentance that revelation demanded.
Once we came under conviction of sin. We were in the world and belonged to the realm of the ungodly, but through the sovereign revelation of the Lord we saw ourselves as sinners in His sight. The unveiling of Christ as the Savior of all mankind was a revelation to our darkened hearts. To attain the salvation, which is in Him, we repented of all things of which we were convicted and found rest and peace in Him. We sang the songs of praise and thanksgiving, rejoicing in our new-found joy. Peace like a river attended our way. We sang of happy rest, of joy-bells ringing in our hearts, and of the blessed assurance we had. The songs of redemption echoed among the thousand corridors of our beings and we were always willing to tell of the change that had been wrought since Jesus came into our hearts.
It was not long, however, before revelation and conviction followed again and again. We heard of a Baptism of the Holy Spirit and we met its higher demands that we might receive its cleansing fire. Various demands of sanctification were made of us and we responded with repentance to the conviction they brought us. On and on God has led us throughout our lives bringing light upon light and conviction upon conviction. Repentance followed repentance always consummating in greater victory and greater freedom in Him.
It is a number of years now since the great revelation shone in a blaze of glory and conviction in our hearts. Let us never forget that, though we had been justified by faith and baptized with the Spirit, practically all of our spiritual existence had been lived in the shallows and misery of church tradition, grievous, slavish tradition that had increased in darkness and density from time immemorable. While our spirits sang songs of freedom and liberty, we were bound in chains and fetters of a midnight hour and knew not that we were in prison. It was a happy day, indeed, when by a sovereign act of God light transcending the light of any earthly sun pierced the heavy darkness of our tradition and shone like a searchlight into our gloomy prison cell. We rejoiced in the light and the revelation of God, wondering in ourselves why it was we had walked in darkness so long while thinking we were in bright light. We could not understand how we could have been so bound while thinking we were free. The light of revelation did not stop with one brief searching gleam. It has shone on and on increasing in light and heat as we approach the fullness of the day. Tremendous demands have been made upon us. We have seen institution after institution disappear. We have been called upon to lay aside understanding after understanding, tradition after tradition, doctrine after doctrine, until we wondered at times if there would be anything left of the temple we had built.
One day during the earthly life of our blessed Lord His disciples took Him on a sightseeing tour of the old temple at Jerusalem. They remarked with evident pride, “Master, see what manner of stones are here!” They were proud of the glory of that ancient place of worship, filled as it was by tradition and history of bygone days. They loved and honored it and almost worshipped the ground on which it stood. Never, never, they thought, would anything ever disturb the peaceful rest of this ancient monument of worship. Their minds must have been greatly puzzled and their faces darkened with astonishment when the Master quietly told them, “I tell you there will not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.” As John the Baptist declared, “The axe is laid to the root of the trees,” so Christ was foretelling the hurling down of the rocks of their past traditions. The axe was to be laid not the trunk of the trees nor yet to the branches, for then it might have grown again, but the axe was to be laid to the root of the trees that they might never spring up. Never more would the beasts of the earth harbor in their shade or the birds of the air in their branches.
The stones of the temple were not be carefully removed to allow for modification or rebuilding. They were to be thrown down to the ground and carted away as useless, for the end of that era had surely come. However well an institution may have fulfilled a purpose, once God is through with it, it is washed up and finished. It is ready to vanish away. Our prerogative is to go on with the light – not to build again the things that are destroyed lest we become transgressors.
There need be no question in the mind of anyone but that we have come again to the end of an old era and we are standing at the threshold of a new one. The last decade has certainly been filled with wonderful things. Too numerous to mention have been the things God has taught us as we have walked in the light of His ever increasing truth. Our minds have often been staggered by the wonderful things we have seen and heard and our ambitions have been raised as we have looked forward to the promised land of the Spirit and have seen the innumerable and wonderful glories that lie just beyond the veil of the flesh. We are undoubtedly standing at the threshold of a new era in God, a new realm in the Spirit, and a new level of experience. When we come to a time like this, many will refuse to go on. There is some strange thing inherent in all men that makes them desire to exchange their moving tent for a fixed abode. They begin to feel that they have journeyed far enough and that the effort to go on into the new and more wonderful realm is too great a strain. What will I do with all the grand and marvelous things I have grown to love and adore, we ask. The truths we have learned, the government of the churches, the order and discipline, will we have to leave these as an established fact and go on? We would like to be partakers of the more excellent way, but we cannot bear to think that in that way prophecy shall fail, tongues shall cease, and knowledge shall vanish away. We become reluctant to admit that all our prophesying of the past was only in part, all our knowledge was only in part, so we cling to that which is in part and refuse to let the perfect come.
All the institutions of the past have been but a means to an end. In the mind of God they have not been the end itself. It is the body of Christ, which is the end God has in mind. All other things are just a means to bring it about. Once the house is built you dismiss the carpenters, brick-layers, plumbers and electricians and from there on the house itself enters into its ministry of being a home for a family or whatever other purpose was in the mind of the builder. In like manner, once the body of Christ is come to fullness, there must be a passing away of all the gifts and ministries that built it so that the body of Christ itself becomes a ministry to the world and to the universe.
There is a strange and foolish tendency in man to begin to rejoice more in the tools and professions of the trade than in the object we are building. The building is not to create workmen, but the workmen with their gifts are to create a building. The church is not found to create prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and a multitude of other ministries, but the ministries are created to found or build the church. Once that work is complete, the ministries that have built the body will decrease that the body may increase and become a ministry of life to the entire world. If you will take time to think and meditate about this, you will note that there has always been a tendency to leave off putting the emphasis on the building and to start putting the emphasis on the builders. We have been afraid to complete the building lest we run out of a job until finally we were running the job for the sake of our ministries instead of having our ministries function to complete the job. We get to thinking that the church is for the ministries rather than the ministries for the church. Personally I am not in the least sorry that I am coming to the end of the ministry as I have known it and as it has been known in the past to become a part of that ministering temple that is to fill the whole earth with the light of life. I am not sorry at all that, when that which is perfect is come, all that is in part will be done away. Neither am I sorry that the spectacular gifts calculated to awaken the dead are to give place to the wisdom and knowledge of God that flows as endlessly as the river of life itself.
There was a great deal of difference between the voice that called Lazarus from the tomb and the voice that unfolded the wisdom of God to that same Lazarus as they sat at the supper table some says later. The one was the prophetic voice calculated to call a man from the darkness of the dead. The other was the voice of eternal wisdom and understanding flowing from the mind of God to renew the mind of man. We are now experiencing this very thing. In 1948 God thundered to us by the prophetic voice as we lay sleeping the sleep of death in the denominational cemetery. The thundering, spectacular, prophetic voice was heard and reheard by our dead, dull ears. Startled and trembling we arose from the dead and came forth bound hand and foot with the grave clothes with which tradition had bound us. There were more spectacular prophecies, commands and teachings as we were loosed from one bond after another and let go free. Those spectacular things are fast fading away because their usefulness is nearing fulfillment and the hour is fast approaching when we will live in the realm of the renewed mind.
While our minds have been in the process of being renewed since the day we were called from the grave, yet they are only in the process of being renewed. The day will come when our minds will be influenced no longer by the corroding influences of corruptible flesh, for our minds are becoming one with His mind. The power of the flesh over the mind is fading away and falling off, while the power of the spirit over the mind is increasing and waxing great. While our minds are under the control of our physical senses, our bodies are dying because “they that are in a sensual state cannot please God,” (Good-speed), and if we live after the flesh we die. But when our minds are renewed and come under the control of the Christ within, then even our bodies are changed by the renewed mind so that corruption begins to put on incorruption and mortality, immortality. It is only as we are renewed in the mind of Christ that we live forever. I used to think it would be wonderful to go to the cemetery and raise the dead to life. The truth is it would be terrible, for all we would do would be restore their corruptible bodies and inflict upon them the necessity of another funeral. But those who become partakers of the renewed mind partake of the true resurrection, for then the life is in them and they cannot die.
It is difficult for me to see how the act of raising a man from the dead could be called a resurrection at all because the one who was raised would be receiving life from without. But those in whom resurrection dwells are not only raised from the dead, but have life from within so that they can never die. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” That was because He possessed life within that even death and the tomb could not extinguish. He could only die by laying His life down, but He could live again because death has no power to destroy life that is inherent within. It can only take away life that is borrowed from without.
I cannot say enough nor can I speak too highly nor with greater respect for the things that God has done in the last number of years, but I must admit, and I freely do, that though the things we have seen have been most wonderful, yet we have been seeing through a glass darkly and not face to face. Wonderful though the prophecy has been, it has been all in part and not complete. We are thankful for the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, but we have known only in part and the fullness of perfection has no yet dawned upon us. This partial wisdom has been pointing us with trembling finger to the fullness of the wisdom of God, which belongs to the celestial realm. These feeble prophesyings of the past, many of which have failed, have been but whisperings of a better realm, a better day, and a prefect order. Like breezes blowing over the sea bearing the rich fragrance of another land, so the tiny prophetic winds have born the rich perfume of the celestial realm, stirring our hearts to seek a better country, a land beyond the veil of the flesh. This wisdom and these prophesyings have been useful instruments to point us to the desired haven of the celestial, but in that haven they will be lost in the fullness of perfection. No more shall we know in part, for then we shall know even as we are known. No longer shall prophecy endure in that wonderful realm, for why should that which is partial endure when the fullness of another day has come? Prophecy shall fail; tongues shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. These things are all in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. We are standing at the threshold of the perfect realm, the realm of the Holy of Holies, the realm of the celestial. We are passing from the spiritual to the celestial, from the realm of the soul to the realm of the Spirit, from the Holy Place to the Holy of Holies.
I wish I could say with assurance that all who have come thus far will go the rest of the way and enter into the glory prepared for us from the foundation of the world, but I have no such assurance. Rather I fear that some have already turned aside, having loved too dearly the things that belong to this present age. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. It is far too easy to put on a false front, refuse to call a spade a spade and face up to things as they really are. Be it far from me to be the instigator of a system of do’s and do not’s. Doing this and refusing to do that, will not commend us to God in any way. Nevertheless, only a fool would deny that those who have begun to feel the touch of the celestial realm find nothing but repugnance and disgust in the trivial nonsense and humbug that belongs to this age with all its fleshly desires. How can one whose soul has basked in the sunlight of the celestial world and whose feet have wandered in the fields of God enjoy for even a moment the corrupt products of the most carnal minds on earth? I do not believe it can be done. There is something wrong somewhere. An hour of feeding on the husks of the carnal mind causes the soul to be drained of spiritual life. The face of Christ grows strangely dim and prayer loses it power.
The word of God is replete with instance after instance of people who came to the very border of a vast new experience and then turned away because the cost was more than they could bear. Did not Israel fail to enter the Land of Promise through unbelief and turn back from Kadesh-Barnea to die and rot in the wilderness? Did not the two tribes and a half remain on the wilderness side of Jordan instead of going into the Promised Land with their brethren? The parable of the sower and the seed describes with great accuracy how people miss the best things of God, failing on every level to partake fully and enter in. We are told of Demas, who departed from his calling because he loved this present world, and of John Mark, who departed and went not with them to the work. Paul the Apostle warned us of our danger in these words, “Let us therefore fear lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest any of you should seem to come short of it.” At this hour we are standing at the threshold of the incorruptible. But mark well the truth of these words! If you sow to the flesh you reap corruption; if you sow to the Spirit you reap life (incorruption). There is no possibility at all of one’s partaking of incorruption and of the flesh at the same time. Light has no fellowship with darkness, Christ has no fellowship with Belial, and flesh and spirit are separated by an impassable gulf. The one is carnal and belongs to this age; the other is spirit and belongs to the kingdom. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, neither can corruption inherit incorruption.
Man is a triune being – spirit, soul, and body, or spirit, soul, and flesh. Your soul is your true self. You are a soul. You live in a temple of flesh, a body we call it, and rightly so. Your spirit is like unto the Spirit of God. It came forth from God in the beginning and at death it returns to God who gave it.
1. Your body or flesh is the realm of sense-consciousness.
2. Your soul is the realm of self-consciousness.
3. Your spirit is the realm of God-consciousness.
When your mind is controlled by your body through your physical senses, you have a fleshly mind which is the same thing exactly as a carnal mind. Carnal means fleshly. If on the other hand your mind is controlled by the Spirit, you have a spiritual mind. The result is as follows: to be carnally minded is death. To be spiritually minded is life. If you live after the flesh, you shall die; but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
With a simple knowledge like this we should have no trouble at all in understanding what things belong to the flesh and what things belong to the Spirit. The things that gratify our five physical senses must necessarily belong to the body, and the things that are outside the realm of the body and the fleshly mind must necessarily belong to the realm of the spirit and the spiritual mind.
A man cannot love the Father and the world at the same time. Neither can he walk in the Spirit and walk after the flesh at the same time. The two are diametrically opposed. The one is the antithesis of the other. It is impossible to serve two masters, for you either love the one and hate the other, or you cling to the one and despise the other. It is impossible to serve God and Mammon. (Mammon was the Syrian god of riches and worldliness personified.) Let us consider for a moment why it is impossible to serve God and to serve Mammon. Riches and money belong to this present world system. I do not know of anything that money can buy except things for the use of the physical man – food, clothing, and shelter; things to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. The more money we have, the more inclined we are to serve Mammon. Benevolent god of the flesh that he is he bestows more and more of his benefits upon those who serve him. Even when money is used for charity, it is still powerless to do more than relieve the physical needs of man. And I am sorry to have to admit that I know of very, very few people who have been brought into the kingdom because they have had physical benefits bestowed upon them. Gifts have a strange way of creating ingratitude. You can never promote spirituality in the poor by giving gifts to them. You may make some progress yourself because of the blessing of liberality, but for the one who receives the gift to receive spiritual life thereby is well nigh impossible.
There was an occasion when Mary poured ointment of great value upon the head of Jesus. The covetous Judas, who always served the god Mammon, criticized the good woman for her deed, saying. “This ointment could have been sold for three hundred pence and the money given to the poor.” It sounds good, wise, and charitable. But that is the way our deceitful hearts work. It made Judas look good, gracious, thoughtful for the poor, charitable, and kind. It made Mary look bad, careless, uncharitable to the poor, and wasteful. The truth behind the thing was exactly opposite to what it appeared. Judas cared not for the poor but was thinking of the extra pennies he could have stuffed into his own purse. Mary was anointing the Son of God for the death He was to accomplish for the whole world. Jesus in His great kindness set the situation in its true light. “The poor you have with you always, but Me ye have not always.”
If you bestow temporal gifts upon a man, you impoverish yourself and make him your servant, but if you bestow a spiritual virtue upon a man, you enrich him and at the same time enrich yourself, for after you have imparted a virtue such as wisdom or knowledge to anyone, he now has the wisdom you possessed and you still possess it yourself yet in greater measure than before. It is, I think, impossible to impart our knowledge to another without having our own understanding increased. That is when it is more blessed to give than to receive.
It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven because he has too much ability to cater to his flesh. He need not withhold any pleasure from himself. He can have a great deal to eat and he can eat a great deal. He can wear any clothes he wishes: He can live in any kind of lavish circumstances he wishes. He can say to his soul, “Take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Thou hast much goods laid up in store for many years.” But he does not know that his love of the flesh has blinded his eyes to the great eternal things. He does not know that to live after the flesh is to die. Neither has he learned that to mortify the deeds of the flesh is to live.
It seems to me that the time has come to arouse ourselves out of the complacency into which we have drifted. “Let us therefore fear lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” Let us lay aside every weight and the besetting sins and get down to patiently running the race that is set before us. Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God. The prize, which we seek, is greater than all prizes. All other experiences in God have been but preliminary to the one we are now to enter. It will do us no good to have successfully navigated the rushing rapids of the river if we now allow ourselves to drift complacently in the shallows.
The thing I fear most is the eternal tendency of Christians to settle down in an old established order, or gain one great level of experience and, having fallen in love with it, to remain on that level, content to go on as God moved in the beginning, gathering as a group for worship, singing, praying, prophesying, teaching, and then going home to dinner. I tell you, a new order is with us if we will take God’s way. The thing we need to fear is the possibility of a promise being left us of entering into His rest and any of us coming short of it. A promise of rest, a life in the Spirit, has been left us, a promise of the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. If we will enter beyond the veil of our own flesh as Christ entered beyond the veil of His flesh, we shall enter into the realm of the renewed mind. Once we come to this desired place, it should be very evident that all the vast amount of ministering that has been used to bring us here will not be needed, but we will walk in a new realm. We will minister to the world on the plane of the renewed mind. The renewed mind will produce a renewed body, and the former things will have become old and useless and will be done away.
To further illustrate what I mean we will take another example from life. When we are children, we are ministered to by our parents in a multitude of ways. Every effort is made by them to bring us to physical and mental maturity. They use playthings, picture books, blocks, textbooks, teaching and correction to produce the kind of man or woman they desire. It would be a foolish parent, indeed, who continued to use these things beyond the realm of their usefulness. When the child becomes mature, all the things that were used to bring about maturity were done away. When we were children, Paul says, we were under tutors and governors till the time appointed by the father, but, when the child comes forth as a full-grown son, all these things are done away. What I mean to show you is this: the ministry we have known in the past is not a permanent thing. The things we have been taught are permanent, but the means of establishing them are not permanent. Reluctance to see this vital point will throw us completely off the track and cause us to end up in the same old merry-go-round into which all denominations have drifted. They all wanted to continue forever the wonderful things God had given them, and when God wanted to make the first things old and give them something new, they would not drink the new wine because, they declared, the old was better. No man having drunk old wine straightway desires new wine, for, he says, the old is better.
Am I not right in saying that the churches of the Reformation died right on the revelation that brought them to life? Is it not true that the old Pentecostal tarry meeting, once attended by such unbelievable glory, is now but a dead empty shell? Its days are over and gone and God has moved on, but the people won’t have it so. They must still have their empty shout even if there is never a known result. Is the same not true about the healing meeting? There was a time when God came forth with mighty physical signs healing the sick and performing mighty wonders, but is it not true that the hour for this is past because we are approaching the incorruptible? Yet people will not have it so. They must play with healing meetings. But healing meetings are a thing of the past and they will never return again. Their usefulness has been fulfilled and God has moved on to bring His true church to the realm of the renewed mind where this vile body of our humiliation is transformed to be fashioned after His glorious body. What benefit is there in the healing of the flesh? If we live after the flesh, we only die. But if we through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the flesh, we shall live.
Once the house is built, there is no need of a carpenter. Having established this point in our minds, let us now come to our own special revelation and teaching. God has given special gifts and ministries for the formation of the body of Christ. But take heed to this warning, for it is true. The hour is at hand when all the tools God has given us to build the body are going to be done away, because their usefulness is fulfilled. Prophecy shall be done away, tongues shall cease, knowledge (on our level) shall be done away. Even teaching itself exists no more on the plane of the renewed mind, for you will have no need that any man should teach you. When that which is perfect is come, then all those things that are in part shall be done away. When the body of Christ is complete, there is no need of ministries.
We are indeed at a critical hour. We are no smarter than people who have preceded us. We can make the same mistakes they made. We can settle down now and just keep going the rounds as we have done for the last number of years, and refuse to forsake those things that we might embrace the better things that lie before us. You may say you do not believe it, but the tendency is ever prevalent among us, and I greatly fear lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest any of us should seem to come short of it. The ministering of the outer court is not the ministering of the Holy Place and the ministering of the Holy Place is not the ministering of the Holy of Holies. The methods of denominations are totally useless in this order of the Spirit into which we are now coming, and the methods of this order will be all out of date in the realm of the celestial where we are going. It should be evident to any person that, if such valuable aids as prophecy, tongues and knowledge are to fail, cease and be done away, surely there is no hope at all of retaining the foolishness of preaching. Preaching is almost a thing of the past right now. It has been valuable in bringing about the purpose God ordained for it, but, as soon as that purpose is fulfilled, God will discard it immediately and cast it aside. Many will continue to use it after God has discarded it, but that can only be because they have missed the way.
It seems a remarkable thing to me that, after the veil in the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom opening the way into the holiest of all, a blind and stupid priesthood patched it together again so that they could continue to use it and keep the old order going. This they did for some forty years after God had signified that He was finished with that order. Finally God used the armies of Titus the Roman to destroy not only the veil of the temple but the temple as well. The same sort of spiritual denseness was evident in the wilderness. Moses had made a serpent of brass and put it on a pole that the Israelites might look unto it and be healed of their serpent bites. But after the plague of serpents was past and gone, Israel preserved the brazen serpent and burned incense to it up to the days of Hezekiah when at last that good king destroyed it. (2 Kings 18:4).
Man has always been reluctant to let go the thing that has been a blessing to him and launch out into the unknown. He fears the unknown and dreads to leave the shelter of the place he has become accustomed to. Man fights to the last breath to stay in this corruptible body, not truly believing that to depart from it and to enter the realm of the Spirit would be much better than remaining in it and having to live after the demands and dictates of corruptible flesh. We sing, “I’m longing to go,” but we fight like tigers to stay. We sing, “I’ll leave without saying good-bye,” but our good-byes are many and tearful.
The day Israel crossed the Red Sea, they were through with the bondage and slavery of Egypt. They ate no more of the garlic and onions of the land nor satisfied their stomachs at the flesh pots. They entered a new realm, an entirely new order. They ate manna that came from heaven and drank water that God gave them, but the very day they crossed over the Jordan River the manna ceased, and the old familiar pillar of fire was gone forever. Even their faithful leader, Moses, was taken from them. The watery veil of Jordan had parted to let them through to a land that had been promised to Abraham some hundreds of years earlier, a land flowing with milk and honey, a land where they would no longer be strangers and wanderers, a land that was their possession.
I seem to hear the voice of Jesus calling us today: “Come, ye blessed of my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the ages. I was hungry and ye fed Me, naked and ye clothed Me, sick and in prison and ye visited Me, thirsty and ye gave Me drink.” How literally true this is for hungry and thirsty we find Christ’s body at the end of this age.
May God grant us wisdom and understanding that we may not fail to enter beyond the veil of our own flesh. It seems very easy to do since God has revealed what the flesh is. To live after the flesh is but to sicken and die. The flesh is so trashy that, once you see what it is, the veil of the flesh falls apart and the glories of the celestial realm open to our amazed vision. The end of all flesh is come before God. Let us not fear to enter the Holiest of all. Let us rather come with boldness beyond that veil of our flesh. The only thing we need fear is “that a promise of entering into His rest being left us, any of us should seem to come short of it.”
Let us therefore fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it! I think it is an excellent thing to stand still once in a while and do a little checking to see what progress we are making. Paul once wrote, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” It is very possible to hear and hear multiplied wonderful things, make them part of our theology, tell others about them, preach them and write about them, yet never actually set our course to attain the desired haven. There is actually nothing in the universe that can hinder you from attaining the desired haven of sonship providing your heart is fixed and set on attaining the goal. It matters not how many winds of fate blow against your frail bark. 1h& final destination depends on the set of your sail.
In Acts 27:13 it is said, “And when the south wind blew softly, they thought they had attained their purpose.” Isn’t that just like us all? When the south wind blows, we think all is well, but when the contrary winds blow, we are in dread and fear and we think God has forgotten us and had hidden Himself, leaving us to face the tempest all alone. But not so; He is always there. The winds were contrary that night on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 14:24) when the disciples despaired of life as a mighty tempest roared upon them, but through the tempest came the Son of God making each billow a highway for His blessed feet and manifesting forth His glory in a way that would have been utterly impossible were it not for the contrary wind.
Paul’s journey to Rome was beset by contrary winds (Acts 27:4). It was contrary wind that landed him on the Island of Crete, and it was his landing on this same island that heralded a revival that turned many heathen to Christ. It was a contrary wind that blew the rebellious Jonah into the center of God’s will making him a submissive and useful servant of the Lord. If the weather had been calm, he would have sailed happily to Tarshish far from the mind and will of God. But because the winds were contrary, he found himself returned as it were from the dead, proclaiming mighty anathemas against a wicked city, and, because of the power of his message, he saw one hundred twenty thousand souls in forty days turn unto the Lord. I suppose he hated the wind while it blew and thought God was dealing harshly with him, but today he shines as a glorious sign of the resurrection and the wonderful deliverance from hell and the grave through the goodness and mercy of God. “Salvation is of the Lord,” he proclaimed, and how thankful I am today that it is of the Lord and none other. Salvation is of the Lord, not only for Jonah, but for you and me and the whole world besides.
Contrary winds of cruelty and hate took Joseph to Egypt to be sold into slavery that he might become the wise deliverer of two nations of people. Contrary winds of famine and death drove Jacob and his sons to Egypt to find refuge and hope in that land of plenty, “all these things are against me,” wept poor distraught Jacob. But they were really all for him, and had he known God as Paul did years later, he would have proclaimed, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Contrary winds of suffering and desperate illness blew upon poor Job until in his bitter distress and frustration he cursed the day he was born, but ere the wind had ceased his joyful lips were proclaiming, “I have heard of Thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee…” Oh, the value of contrary winds.
Do you realize, my brother and sister that God is more interested in your spiritual welfare than you could ever hope to be? It often appears that God is not concerned. It seems that you are walking alone, but the truth is that He never leaves you and He never forsakes you.
It is a most unfortunate thing that many people have been led to believe that for a Christian to suffer tribulation of one sort or another is sure evidence of the displeasure of the Lord. How often the sick have been told that their suffering was a sign of God’s displeasure, and how often those who enjoy good health have taken it to be certain evidence of the pleasure of God toward them. Why have we so often reversed the truth? Is not the exact opposite of this more often the truth? Have you never read that “whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth?” And again, have we never read, “If ye be without chastisement whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons’?” These scripture plainly teach that those people who have set their faces toward the goal of sonship are in for a rough voyage. They will have chastisement, trials, tribulation, affliction, persecution, reverses, sickness and misunderstanding. They will know what it is to be rejected. They will hear their good evil spoken of. They will know what it is to be despised by those who should love them, and to be scorned and set at naught by their brethren. They will know lonesomeness and experience fear within and without. They will know what it is to be betrayed by their familiar friends, but fear none of these things, for they are absolutely necessary to your sonship.
It is the trial of your faith that worketh patience. You do not possess the wonderful virtue of patience just by kneeling down and asking God to give it to you. You become a possessor of patience by having your faith tried and crushed, and tried and crushed again and again. You receive it by seeing your prayers go unanswered and your hopes deferred until your heart is weary and sick with longing. It is in the midst of such tribulation that the Spirit whispers, “The Lord is good to them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be that there may be hope, he giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him; he is filled with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off forever; but though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His tender mercies.” Lam. 3:26-32
What wonderful perfection of truth is contained in these words, “Let patience have her perfect work that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Here is a whole world of truth compressed into one line and we seem to have missed it altogether. If patience has her perfect work, we will be both perfect and entire, and wanting nothing. How different that is from the words spoken to Belghazzar long ago, “Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting*”
The writer of the book of Hebrews was dealing with a people beset by difficulty like our own, a people who had caught a glimpse of “better things”, but a people who were continually falling back because they could not let go their ancient traditions. As sheep return to their folds, so these people returned again and again to their forms and ceremonies and all their ancient Hebrew tradition. My own soul often grows weary as I read inspiring letters from people who are tasting the good things of God and the powers of the age to come, but who in the end insist on dragging in the doctrines, the forms and the ceremonies that have been our lot for centuries. They try so hard to find room in this new realm for gifts and ministries, baptisms and laying on of hands, church membership and program. They cannot understand that these are the things that are in part only, belonging to an imperfect age, but that an age of perfection is at hand. The emphasis is no longer on doing, but on being. It is no longer on miraculous gifts, but on sonship; no longer on the dispensation of grace, but on the dispensation of the kingdom of God.
There remaineth a rest for the people of God, and he who has entered into His rest has ceased from his own labor as God ceased from His. Heb. 4:9–10. Because the apostle saw that many of the Hebrew Christians were being hindered by their former ways of religious life and were failing to enter into the better things of the new realm, he rebuked and chided the people with longing and hope that they – would forget the things behind and lay hold of the things which were before them. “Let us therefore fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them…” Heb. 4:1–2. And again, “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief,” Verse 11. Laboring to enter into rest may seem a strange paradox, but when one realizes the strangle hold church tradition has upon the people of God, we can well see that our greatest labor will be in delivering ourselves from the bondage and strangulation of our own traditions. It was with a measure of shock that I read this no te in my diary, written forty years ago, “I am frustrated by the fetters of organization and bound by the blindness of visionless leaders.” It has taken a lifetime of labor and great revelation of the Spirit of God to deliver my soul as a bird from the snare of the fowler and to break the bondage of man’s opinions.
It takes a lifetime to “deliver them who were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” It was Mark Twain who said, “Loyalty to a petrified opinion never broke a chain nor freed a human soul.” Oh, that God’s people in this tremendous hour would seek to come to the unity and oneness with Christ that only sons of God can know! Then would their chains of tradition fall off and their cruel bondage and servitude cease.
“Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection.” It is impossible to go on to the perfection of sonship until we leave the principles behind. Baptisms, repentance, laying on of hands and spiritual gifts are first principles, the very kindergarten of Christian experience. We should long ago have passed beyond them to the more excellent way. Well do we remember our first day at school when the teacher began to instill upon our childish minds the first principles of our education? We were taught the names of the letters of the alphabet and the sound that each letter made. We learned to put two or three letters together to make little words and that if three crows sat on a tree and one flew away only two were left. And so the lesson went until we were ready to leave the principles of our education and go on to something higher up. How much progress would we have made had the second year been naught but a repetition of the first year and the third year but a repetition of the second? We would never have been ready for college if we had stayed in grade one. Yet this is exactly what the church system does continually. Year after year, decade after decade, we hear a tedious repetition of age-old topics until our minds are filled with petrified opinions that become chains and prison bars to all spiritual progress. When we ought to be teachers, we have need that one teach us the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. Heb. 5:12-13.
In the wonderful but little understood book of Ezekiel the flight is ever upward. Whithersoever the spirit went, the wheels went, and all activity depended upon the spirit that was in the wheels. Ezek. 1:16-20. What was the story of the Exodus but the story of the liberation of the redeemed, the liberation from bondage, flesh pots and traditions? But they, being terrified of the unknown wilderness, in their hearts turned back to Egypt. Be not like them who at the very gates of Paradise turned back in unbelief, but let us go on to perfection.
CHRIST THE INCORRUPTIBLE SEED
A little seed lay in the ground
And soon began to sprout.
“Now which of all the flowers around,
It mused, “shall I turn out?
The lily’s face is fair and proud,
But just a trifle cold;
The rose, I think, is rather loud,
And then, her fashion’s old.
The violet is all very well,
But not the flower I’d choose;
Nor yet the canterbury bell;
I never cared for blues.”
And so it criticized each flower,
This supercilious seed,
Till it awoke one summer hour
And found itself a weed.
Probably this little verse will bring an amused smile to all who read it, but if you give yourself time for mature thought and meditation upon the message it carries, you may find your mind wandering over the hills of memory far back into the distant past. Perhaps your unwilling memory will hear again for one brief moment the cruel and bitter criticism that fell from the lips of God’s people as they worked themselves into disquiet and agitation over the faults and shortcomings of other Christians. You may perchance remember the days when you yourself wasted your precious time preaching sermons on dress and outward show and many other things which in the final analysis have nothing whatsoever to do with the inner man of the heart, but only garnish the outward appearance of a sepulcher that is full of dead men’s bones. When meditating upon the worthless-ness of the filthy rags of outward reform, one cannot but remember with sadness how pitifully often those who spent their time criticizing others about such things eventually ended their own lives more like noxious weeds than beautiful flowers in the garden of God, and only God can know in how many instances they ended their lives without any true faith or grip upon the eternal things that in God’s sight are of great importance.
My true purpose, however, in quoting the verse above is that we may remember the unalterable and indisputable fact that, of whatsoever sort a seed is as it lies in the ground, of that same kind will it also be when it comes to maturity, and when the harvest ripens and the new seed appears in the ear, it will be of the same sort and variety that lay in the ground at the beginning. Nothing can possibly alter this immutable law. It is just as definite and indisputable as any of the divine laws of God’s great universe. Far, far back in the beginning of visible things the edict fell from the lips of God, all-wise, almighty, and immutable, that kind MUST produce after its own kind.
In these the closing days of the dispensation of grace we find ourselves living in an hour of sacred and unbelievable importance, for God is preparing His glorious sons for their manifestation. The sonship message seems to permeate the very air we breathe till Christians who never before were awakened to its truth are beginning to long for sonship and to look with a groaning creation for the manifestation of the sons of God. Well may our hearts rejoice for this awakening and may the lines that follow on these pages provoke us to thoughtful prayer and meditation, because many people glibly talk of sonship while having no real knowledge of the truth of the message, nor any understanding of its sacred glory.
For many years I have become more and more aware that Satan has a most abominable and obnoxious way of endeavoring to make commonplace the wonderful things of God until the holy and sublime revelations that would make angels tremble are held in less esteem by preachers and people than the common earth and dust upon which they daily tread. Familiarity always breeds contempt and nowhere does it breed faster than among religious men who grab and grasp after the things of God, having no knowledge of their greatness nor of the eternal price which Jesus Christ paid that they might become ours. As Moses in ignorance approached the burning bush, so in impiety do these approach. The irreverence, impiety and lip-devotion of which I speak is the dreadful, miry bog into which the preachers of Babylon have dragged the sacred truths concerning the gifts of the Spirit. They claim gifts and publish miracles and healings, seldom because they have a compassion for the sick or because they want a true manifestation of spiritual gifts, but because men and women today are so body conscious and fleshly minded that they would turn themselves inside out if they could get rid of their sickness and enjoy physical well-being, while many other proud and unconsecrated souls would love to possess a spiritual gift to flout before the eyes of a gullible public. Cursed be the spirit of Balaam that makes merchandise of the things of God and would willingly make use of a spiritual gift in the hope of some temporal gain!
Only recently the newspapers carried this advertisement for one of Babylon‘s preachers: “Come and see Reverend . .. demonstrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit!” Accompanying this impious humbug was his bold-faced picture, mouth open as usual, and holding a microphone in his hand. I do not say these things from mere personal bitterness, but let it be thoroughly known to all who read these pages that such as this is not the way to sonship. It has nothing whatsoever in common with the sonship message and it not the way of Christ.
During the last few weeks the Spirit of God has impressed my mind with the fearful reality and truth, which I now tell you. In the days of Elijah there were eight hundred fifty prophets of Baal in Israel. The whole nation was steeped in the rottenness of Baal worship and given over to it. The Spirit of God has already witnessed regarding our days, saying, “Behold, I send Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord.” Whether the Elijah spoken of here is one or a company of men I am not in a position to say, but I know that he is coming, and, when he comes, he will bring these modern prophets of Baal into the most terrible judgment. Their miserable craftiness and sleight of hand will be over, for it will be proved before the eyes of all the people that these fakers had no power to call down God’s fire on any sacrifice, nor had they the true manifestation of spiritual gifts.
The days in which we live are far more perilous than any among us even dare to think. The darkness that covers the earth and the gross darkness that fills the minds of the people have deceived all men so that they readily believe that wrong is right, Belial is Christ, false gifts are true gifts, that false prophets who stand in the pulpits are the servants of the Lord and that the false corrupt thing which calls itself the church is actually the bride of Christ. But the day is not far off when the dreadful error of these things will be revealed. Even at this moment in the deserts and lonely places of the earth God is preparing His beloved sons who will be in the deserts until their showing unto Israel.
Let us flee as far as we can from the awful spirit that possessed Simon the sorcerer, who seeing that by the laying on of the hands of the apostles the Holy Spirit was given, offered them money that he might also be given this power, that upon whomsoever he laid his hands they might receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter, looking upon him with indignation and disdain, being full of the Holy Ghost, said, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perchance the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Acts 8:18-23 It is a fearful thing to desire any gift of God in the hope of personal gain or exaltation. Should many of these money-hungry prophets of modern Baal come into the presence of any genuine spiritual gifts, they would either repent of their wickedness, as Simon the sorcerer did, or fall dead in their sins as did Ananias and Sapphira.
We speak not inadvisedly nor loosely when we affirm that we are living in dangerous and terrible days. Of what more dreadful hour could you conceive than an hour when the sacred and holy things are cast as precious jewels in the swine pen of fleshly manifestation, when every modern Uzzah is putting forth his hand to steady the ark of God, (2 Sam. 6:6,7), and every Philistine is lightly lifting the mercy seat to peer with uncircumcised eyes into the ark of the Lord, (1 Sam:6:19), when every Nadab and Abihu is offering their strange fire, (Num. 3:4), and the sons of Sceva who know not Christ are crying over him that is possessed of the devil, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches that you come out of him.” Acts 19:14 Why halt between two opinions? If God is God, then serve Him. Turn now from these vanities, for it is time to seek the Lord and be known of Him. Let us steadfastly refuse to associate ourselves with that crowd whose hearts and motives, though unclean in God’s sight, continually take refuge in their supposed signs and wonders as though already saying, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name have done many wonderful works?” God has plainly declared He will say unto these, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Mat. 7:23
Darkness now covers the earth and gross darkness the hearts of the people. They do not know what makes them stumble. The situation in the world and in the professing church system is far more serious than any of us care to think. The world has become possessed with a reprobate mind until it is exceedingly corrupt and filled with terrible violence. So corrupt has it become that wisdom and sanity have fled from the earth. Worse still, the people of God are allowing themselves to be swallowed up by greed and confusion, hiding Babylon‘s goodly garment, not in their tents, but in their hearts. It is time for those who would know God to find a place of stillness before Him that their lives may be disentangled and rescued from the mass of unspiritual corruption into which countless millions have now fallen. The antichrist spirit is engulfing the whole earth, that all mankind should worship the beast and give honor to him.
Before the Spirit of the Lord can lead us into the fathomless depths of His eternal purpose, it becomes necessary that we be brought face to face with the present hopelessness of our own condition. It was for this very reason that the inspired writers of the scripture, while always extolling the goodness, mercy and loving kindness of God, never failed in all their writings to vividly portray the picture of human depravity and the desolating, degrading power of the carnal mind. The sooner our eyes behold the putrid stagnation of the lukewarm Laodicean church system, the more quickly we will flee from it, nor shall we, as Lot‘s wife, look back again. When we see that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing, then with haste we will flee to Him who is the source of all righteousness, wisdom and honor. What part have godly men in a system that says, “I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing?”
When the truth of the absolute necessity of the new birth dawns like a ray of sunlight upon the heart of the self-righteous man, he counts all his righteousnesses as filthy rags and flees away to God that Christ may be born within him. The reason men remain a lifetime in sin is because the sinfulness of sin has never been made real to them. Unto the church of Laodicea it was written: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich…” Rev. 3:17, 18 It is hard to tell a rich man that he is poverty stricken. It is almost impossible to disturb the composure of one who thinks he has need of nothing, who never surmises for a moment that he is miserable and wretched, poor and blind and naked. Yet such is the condition throughout the world and the entire realm of professing Christendom. I well remember a precious old lady who, having grown hard of hearing, imagined that her family intentionally spoke in subdued tones so that she would not hear their conversation, but, when after much difficulty she was persuaded to go to the doctor to have her ears washed out, then she wondered why everyone in the house was shouting so. That is just the way God’s people are in this the hour of Laodicea. They are blind but think they can see perfectly. They have grown deaf to the true voice of God, yet they are positive there is nothing wrong with their hearing. They are full of religion and talk loudly of signs and wonders, but do not know that they are lukewarm in their love and relationship to God. Their works abound on every hand, but they are unaware that God has neither sent them nor required these labors of them. It is time, oh, child of God, to seek the quiet of the wilderness where every voice of man is hushed and no one has opportunity to speak but God.
Long ago the prophet Elijah had fled to a cave in Horeb. He had become an exceedingly unpopular man in Israel, for he had slain eight hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal. He had proved that the Lord was God before both King Ahab and all the ten tribes of the house of Israel, but now the harlotish queen Jezebel, full of rage and devilish fury, was after his head, his life, and his blood. “So let the gods do to me, and more also,” said she, “if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 1 Kings 19:1. So Elijah had fled to Horeb. Now Horeb is called the mount of God. 1 Kings 19:8. Perhaps those who glibly talk of Elijah’s sagging faith have forgotten that it was in this very Horeb that Moses stood before the burning bush as he kept the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, in the desert. Ex. 3:1. And it was to this very place, this mount of God, that Moses had led the children of Israel. Here they murmured for lack of water, and here in Horeb he smote the rock and living water for all the hosts gushed forth in abundant supply. Ex. 17:6. It was at Horeb, the mount of God, that the Lord spoke face to face with the people out of the heavenly fire as Moses stood between them and the Lord. Deut. 5:2-5. Many other wonderful things transpired at Horeb, because Horeb was the mount of God. If we should be inclined to speak of Elijah’s lack of faith in fleeing from the wicked Jezebel as so many are prone to do, let us remember that it is not his fleeing from Jezebel that needs to be emphasized. The thing of importance is that he was fleeing to the mount of God. How precious in the eyes of the Lord it would be today if thousands more like Elijah would flee from the harlot Babylon, who seeks their very spiritual life to take it away, and in fleeing from her would be found fleeing to the lonesomeness of the mountain of God!
So Elijah fled across that great desert of Sinai, which in our time has echoed the doleful tunes of war so recently, and, coming to Horeb, the mount of God, after forty days without the food of men, he sank down in a cave and lodged there. Then the Lord said to him, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Do not think, my brother, that God was rebuking His son. Would God that all of you who read these lines would flee to His lonely mountain, and would God also that you, as Elijah, would flee because of your knowledge that, as Jezebel the harlotish queen sought his life, so the harlot of Babylon is seeking your life, draining you of revelation and spiritual understanding, throwing down the sacred altars and trampling underfoot the things that pertain to life and godliness. Come, my brother, alone to the mountain of God. What place have you with the harlot and her prophets? Come where you will hear God speak to you as He spoke to Elijah in the long ago; for there is a place where He dwells, but you will never find it amid Babel’s confusion of fire and earthquakes and wind, exciting and tempting as all these things may be. We must flee from it all if would hear God’s voice and learn His will.
“And He said, Go forth and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13 It was here in the mount of God at Horeb that Elijah received the greatest revelation of his life. Here it was that final preparations were made for his departure from this earth. Hazael was to be anointed king of Syria, Elisha was to be anointed prophet in his stead, and he himself was to be caught up to heaven in a whirlwind to be numbered among the blessed few of whom it could be said, “He was not, for God took him.”
I write these things because I know it is impossible for men to receive the transforming message of sonship until they have left the noise of Babylon with all its flimsy surface teaching. The church system has gone a whoring after the spectacular. The corrupt phrase, “food, fun and fellowship”, bespeaks the mind of a system whose people walk after the flesh. Breakfasts and banquets are made a prominent part of the system and without their fleshly attraction the thing would fall apart. Surely these are the things to which Peter referred when he spoke of “revelings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” 1 Pet. 4:3. And lest you who walk God’s way should be caused to wonder at your lonely estate, he is quick to add this comfort: “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” Verse 4 Seeing then we have cleansed ourselves from the bondage of corruption and useless tradition, and have fled to our Horeb, the mount of God, let us open our ears to the voice of the Lord as He reveals His transforming message to our hearts.
At the beginning of this article we pointed out that of what kind the seed is as it lies in the ground will determine what the seed is in the harvest, whether it be wheat, or barley, or some other kind. Nothing can possibly alter this divine decree. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption, mortality cannot inherit immortality, neither can flesh and blood inherit the kingdom of God. If we through labor and travail and endless years of ascetic severity are going to try to fashion the corruptible after the incorruptible, we will find to our consternation in the end that we are just the same as we were in the beginning. The leopard cannot change his spots, and, even if he could, his offspring would still be a leopard with spots. The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, and, even if he could, his offspring would still be the same color as he is. It is well nigh impossible to tell the difference between a turnip and a rutabaga seed, yet if you mix a pound of each together and cast them into the ground, each tiny seed will unerringly produce its own kind.
How then can we who are born in sin and shapen in iniquity, being by nature the children of wrath, ever hope to become the sons of God? Such a hope as this certainly demands something far more than the worthlessness of self-reformation. If sonship is, indeed, the hope of all creation and if our sonship in Christ is the hope and design of God Himself, then there must be some very definite and unfailing way by which God produces sons in the very image and likeness of Christ. There is a way, blessed be God! There is nothing complicated about it. It is as simple as life itself, as simple as growth or ripening or maturity. Though life is simple, it is simple only to God, for none but He can ever produce it. Man cannot now, and never under any circumstance will he be able to produce even the simplest form of life. God has reserved the realm of life Himself.
There are many things which our spirits know though it seems we know them not, for the veil of the flesh has hidden them from our eyes, but, if we were taught them by another, we would recognize their truth at once, for the babe of truth would go leaping in the womb of our spirit and we would say, and truthfully, too, that we knew it all the time. But a truth is never a truth to the heart until the Spirit of God draws aside the curtain and shines His light into the dark recesses of the understanding. Then and only then does the heart stand still or go, perchance, to leaping for the wonder of the revelation that has burst upon it from the presence of the Lord. The disciples who walked to Emmaus had talked for several hours with Jesus. Their hearts had burned within them as He opened the scripture and, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them all the things concerning Himself; but, though their hearts burned within them, they knew not who their strange guest really was. But, when He blessed the bread and broke it, their eyes were opened, and they knew Him. This is the way revelation and understanding comes to your heart. Christ blesses the bread of life and breaks it to you. Then the eyes of your understanding are opened. Then you know that all the while you had been standing in the presence of life and God and truth though you knew it not. It is like shining a strong searchlight into the darkness of a cave or pressing the light switch in the darkness to find yourself standing in a room that is flooded with light and full of precious jewels. Jacob, who lay with his head on a pillow of stone, awoke in dread from his vision, saying, “Surely God is in this place and I knew it not.” This is a revelation so essential to us all.
As I waited before God, the infinite and hidden truths of sonship began to be opened before the eyes of my understanding. I had been praying and making requests before God when suddenly my words ceased in the midst of my prayer, for I beheld a truth face to face which, if known before, had not been revealed to me, but which now came alive and was quickened as never before by His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God in His own inimitable way had shone His light of revelation on these inspired words from the pen of the apostle Peter: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” 1 Pet. 1:23. If in the wisdom of God we can sound the fathomless depths of truth that filled the apostle’s inspired mind when he wrote these words, I believe we shall have in our possession the explanation of many things that have remained secret and have been hidden from our understanding for centuries. If the Spirit of God will give us understanding concerning this incorruptible seed, then we will also understand what Paul meant when he proclaimed that Christ in us is the hope of glory. Then, too, we will discern as never before why it is that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Then we will know the meaning of Paul’s words when he spoke of the hidden man of the heart, and we will know as never before how literal is the truth, “It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13
In this passage of scripture (1 Pet. 1:23) so full of meaning Peter has told us the deepest and most profound truth concerning our sonship in these strange, remarkable words of inspiration: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word (Logos) of God that liveth and abideth forever.” Have you wondered what it is that really and actually takes place in that blessed hour of the new birth? The simple yet infinitely wonderful truth is this: God by His Spirit actually plants the Christ seed in the believer’s heart. That seed is incorruptible and indestructible. It cannot die. It is the Logos, the Christ that lives and abides forever. Thus at the very moment of the new birth the incorruptible seed, the living word, the Logos, the Christ, is implanted in the believer’s heart, and from that moment on it grows and grows and develops and develops until its life consumes his old self completely. The process and growth of the incorruptible seed continues until he can say literally and in absolute truth, “It is not I, but Christ.” In all my life I have not seen a more glorious truth than this! In the light of it all else fades into insignificance and nothingness. For centuries we have been like the inhabitants of Bethlehem who, though Christ was born among them, knew it not.
All natural things have spiritual counterparts. There is the living word, the written word, and the created word. Thus all things created by God, (and all things were created by God), though they be but natural things in a temporal world, shout out their spiritual truth. Paul wrote, “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Rom. 1:20. The long journeyings of the children of Israel in the wilderness, together with their trials and wars in Canaan, were “ensamples unto us upon whom the ends of the ages are come.” 1 Cor. 10:11
Since then these things cannot be spoken against, much less denied, our minds would be extremely dull should we now be unable to see a likeness between our natural birth in the flesh and our new birth in the Spirit. Who among those who read these lines is so ignorant of the simple facts of life that he does not know that in the order of natural generation it is when the male seed is placed in the female’s womb that a new life begins, a new man, a new person*. Yes, a new creation is begun then and there. Who among us does not know that the implanted seed grows and grows and develops until it becomes a new human being in the image of his parents; and who among us does not know that one day after a certain length of time there is an unveiling when new life, yes, that new person, who until now was completely hidden by his mother’s flesh, shall be unveiled and made manifest. This simple story of human birth is not only known to us all, but it has been experienced by us all, though at the time in our embryo state we knew absolutely nothing of it. We only learned it when the story was complete and we were old enough to understand.
We said above that all natural things have spiritual counterparts. It is never good or wise to press all the points in any type, and we should never draw too close a parallel between physical things and spiritual things, yet the lesson is there wide open to our understanding if we will but ask God to help us to see it. It must therefore be impressed upon your spiritual mind, oh believer, that, though that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, yet the similarity of what has taken place is too obvious a type and simile to be missed and left unheeded. It was this very truth that filled the inspired mind of Peter when he told us that in our new birth we are not born of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, and that this incorruptible seed was the Logos, the Christ, the Word that was in the beginning, (John 1:1), who created all things and from whom all things everywhere were created.
Let there be, therefore, no doubt in your mind that the word of God spoken of here, which Peter calls incorruptible seed, is the Logos; and the Logos in its truest meaning is none other than Christ, the creator of all. “In the beginning was the Logos (word),” said John, “and the Logos (word) was with God, and the Logos was God.” This, my brother, this, my sister, this, oh believer, is the seed that is placed in your heart when you are begotten of Him or when you are born again. And this, oh child of God, is the beginning of the new man, the beginning of the new creation, the birth of the new creation, the hidden man of the heart. This is the very starting point and commencement of your eternal sonship in Him.
How completely shoddy is the error that would encourage men to seek for sonship! You need not seek it, my brother. You need not seek it my sister. It has been implanted in you by the overshadowing glory and power of the Holy Spirit. Sonship is begun. It actually began when you were born of the Spirit. The more, therefore, you will allow your old nature to be a partaker of the cross the more place there will be for the growth and maturity of the new man, the Logos, the Christ in you. This is the hope of glory. I think we now know better than before what Paul meant when in his exultation he declared. “… though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. Then continuing the grand exultation in verses 17 and 18, he added this truth: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” The things seen and visible are the things that concern the old you, your former sinful self, but the things which are unseen are the things which concern the glory of that new life which is forming, even the Logos, the new creature, the Christ in you the hope of glory.
There is no story in all the Bible more familiar to our hearts that the story of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ which, according to the inspired account given by the beloved physician Luke, reads thus: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin expoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: Therefore also the holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God … for with God nothing is impossible.” Luke 1:26-35, 37
We have said above that the parallel between the natural birth and the spiritual birth should not be made too close or exacting, but whereas this account is the inspired story of the incarnation that is the birth of Jesus Christ as a man and in the form of flesh, it therefore has a natural element about it; yet, because it is a virgin birth and is completely independent of any human father whatsoever, it is therefore a sign of our own sonship in Him. The heart of the young virgin must have bounded for joy at the message that God’s Son Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, would be born through her, but her understanding of how God could accomplish such a wonderful thing in her virginity was as dark and limited as is our understanding as we search lo know how that promised hope of sonship can ever be realized or accomplished in us. We long for sonship, ’tis true. Our hearts ache to be able lo say, “It is no more I but Christ that liveth in me”, but how this intrinsic glory is to be accomplished we seem never to grasp. In our ignorance and blindness we grope about trying to do all manner of things in the futile hope that by our mighty works we will prove ourselves sons of God; but all in vain. Oh, what ignorance some men leach – that through miracles and spiritual gifts we shall attain to sonship in Him!
Truth can only be found when we diligently inquire of Him. Thus it was that, when the young virgin heard the glad news that God’s Son should be born of her, she inquired with all sincerity, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” To this the angel answered, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35. Child of God, can you not plainly see that it was the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit that implanted the Christ seed in the womb of the Virgin Mary that she by divine conception might bring forth the Son of God in flesh and blood? Does it then seem strange in the least or impossible lo you who look for sonship in Him to hear that the same Holy Spirit who overshadowed the virgin long ago, placing in her womb the Christ seed that He might be born of flesh and blood, should now again in this the end of the age overshadow you to place in your heart the incorruptible seed, the Logos, that liveth and abideth forever? But the Christ seed in you shall never be separated from you as the Christ-child was separated from the virgin. He shall live and abide forever, coming to such spiritual maturity in you that you shall say at last, “It is not I, but Christ, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” These things are indeed no preposterous myth nor have we lost our reason in the glory of them. These are words of truth and soberness. Believing, then, that the incorruptible seed of Christ, God’s Son, was sown in our hearts when we believed on Him, we have but to yield ourselves to God, gladly embracing His cross where death to self is accomplished that all that is old may die and we might live together with Him.
It is not for me to know who shall believe or disbelieve these precious truths, but let all who be of faith assuredly know that the moment your soul embraces the indisputable fact that you are born of the incorruptible seed of Christ, the Logos of God, your whole understanding of sonship will undergo a change and be enlarged and enlightened. Henceforth it is Christ in you that is the hope of glory. It is not Christ in heaven, Christ in the world, or Christ in the virgin, but, wonder of wonders, the incorruptible seed has been placed in you, there to mature into full sonship until the measure of the stature of Christ is attained.
The price which the all-wise God paid for such fullness of redemption as we have in Him was not an insignificant price of corruptible things such as silver and gold. Because our heavenly Father was preparing incorruptible things for incorruptible purposes, He therefore paid an incorruptible price. The blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God, which was shed for the redemption of the world was incorruptible blood. All other blood is corrupt and corruptible, but the blood of this Man who was born of a virgin is the blood of the Son of God of whom God spoke saying, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thy holy One to see corruption.” The blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary as a sacrifice for the whole world was presented before God in the holy of holies in heaven. There it abides in incorruption to this day, and there it ever shall be, incorruptible forevermore, better blood than that of bulls and goats, better blood than that of Abel, blood of which you and I shall all partake, blood of which the heavenly choirs shall eternally sing in chorus, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and has redeemed us to God by His blood out of every kindred and tongue and nation.”
Thus it was that Peter, thrilling to the message God had revealed to him, wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold from your vain conversation… but the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” 1 Pet. 1:18. This is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. It is the incorruptible blood that cleanses and purifies the heart. It is at that time when the blood is applied by faith to the heart that the Holy Spirit, overshadowing your spirit, implants the incorruptible seed of Christ, the Word, and the Logos within that the spiritual gestation of sonship has begun.
In Phil 3:18 Paul speaks of certain people who are “enemies of the cross of Christ.” Immediately upon reading this, our minds conclude that it must be the sinner and the unconverted who are the enemies of the cross, but, my brother, hide not in such error, for the real enemy of the cross is the Christian who withholds himself from the cross that the old man, the old self, may be kept from death. Refusing to be identified with Christ in His cross, the old nature flourishes and the new nature is choked and restricted. Such a man is not only an enemy of the cross, but an enemy of his own sonship as well. See now how Paul places the cross and sonship together by saying, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Gal. 2:20. The Christ seed, the incorruptible Logos, though planted in your heart, can never grow to mature sonship without the corresponding crucifixion and death of the “I”. The “I” must be crucified that the “not I” may come to maturity. This is the hope of sonship and the only hope of glory. Therefore he who withholds the “I” from the cross is an enemy of the cross, and the Logos, though once planted within, can never come to maturity and manifestation until the “I” is crucified that Christ may flourish and mature. Therefore we who dwell in this tabernacle do groan that that which is mortal in us might be swallowed up by His life, even the incorruptible seed which was planted in us when we were born again. 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.”
The Christ seed is the incorruptible seed of the word of God. Christ Himself is the new creature and the head of the new creation. God forbid, therefore, that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world; for in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Let the word of Christ (the Logos, the incorruptible seed) dwell in you richly in all wisdom until the outward man is wasted away, the Christ is unveiled, and the Son is manifested in all his glory. This is the beginning of our sonship and herein lies the hope of glory.
THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17. Throughout the word the Holy Scriptures, shining with the clearness of the sun at noon, set forth the blessed hope of an entirely new relationship between God and every man who through faith has been brought nigh to Him by the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. It would seem to be almost impossible for any word of inspiration to set forth the perfection of that new relationship more clearly than does the scripture quoted above. This scripture shows in the plainest possible language that all men in Christ are both new creatures and new creations as well. They are new creatures because they are new creations from the Father’s mighty hand. Furthermore, with the coming of this new relationship to Christ these new creations make the blessed discovery that the passing away of their old selves is accompanied by the passing away of every old thing that pertains to their former unregenerate state, and with the coming of the new creation new hopes, new ambitions and new loves are born.
It is doubtful if any Christian on earth has fully understood as yet how great is the transforming upheaval that works within the soul when men and women in godly sorrow repent of their sins and through the operation of the Spirit of God in their lives are born again, born from above, renewed, regenerated and recreated. The all-powerful, incorruptible Christ seed, which liveth and abideth forever, being placed within their spirits, develops and matures – first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full com in the ear (Mark 4:28) until from the incorruptible Christ seed, planted in the fertile womb of the spirit, there comes forth a new creation in the glory of the Father and the image of Jesus Christ. All of us, especially that honored company of women to whom God has granted the blessing of motherhood, know that the period of time from the day the child is conceived in the womb to the hour of his birth and manifestation to the world is a time important and momentous. During the days of gestation, there in the darkness of the womb a completely new human being is being formed in the likeness of the parents who conceived him, a life that will not pass away. In the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry a full display may be seen of the development of the human fetus from the time of conception to the hour of birth, or manifestation. It is a display capable of greatly solemnizing the spiritual mind as one realizes that these remarkable developments of the natural man from the implantation of a corruptible seed to the birth of a corruptible body are in fact typical representations of the implantation of the incorruptible seed in the believing heart to the time of the birth and manifestation of a son of God in the image of the Father.
We poor humans, restricted as we are in understanding, are still woefully incapable of explaining the wonders of a natural birth. Our minds are baffled to explain “how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child.” Eccles: 11:5. The clever minds of men of science may be able to trace the progress of that development and discuss the many wonders of it, but they can neither explain its process nor reproduce its substance. The very fact of our ignorance of these natural and corruptible things explains as nothing else can the significance of our Savior’s words to Nicodemus, “If I have told you of earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12. But let those who long for eternal realities rejoice in this wonderful fact: “The Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:6. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11. It is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:9, 10 Therefore with all truth it must be said that those blessed people who with open hearts receive the revelation of the Lord are possessed of a greater understanding of spiritual things than men of science and learning have in natural things. Men and women who walk in the Spirit become wiser than all their instructors. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. He giveth understanding to the simple, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. “He giveth widsom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:6. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Prov. 9:10
Think, O reader, of the profound depths of truth that lie hidden in these inspired words: “The knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Oh that God’s people could be exhorted to flee from the commandments and doctrines of men to look away to heaven until the Spirit of light from God comes streaming down from above, bringing the knowledge of the wisdom and glory of God from the face of Jesus Christ! “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. He declared the Father’s glory to certain humble ones who loved Him while He walked among men in the lowly realms of earth, and He declares the Father’s glory in this the end of the age to men who love God and who open the gates of their believing hearts to the Spirit of revelation and understanding from above. There is little or no hope for the man who demands that all truth and revelation must fit into the mould of his tradition and the crucible of his doctrine. How often do God’s people reject the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world by the seemingly wise, though silly, interrogation, “Have any of the rulers believed?” John 7:48. But this people who know not the laws are accursed. John 7:49. To put new wine in old wine skins is foolishness. Of how much greater foolishness is he guilty who thinks to confine an expanding revelation in the old wine skin of religious tradition!
When it pleases God, who separated us from our mother’s womb, to reveal to our spirits His Son from heaven, there is henceforth no place left to confer with flesh and blood, or even to go up to those who were apostles before us, (Gal. 1:16,17), but rather to go, as Paul did, to some Arabia of God’s own choosing where the light of the ages can stream down forever into our famished spirits, bringing the knowledge of the glory of God from the face of Jesus Christ, our Lord. 2 Cor. 4:6. We will always find well-meaning people who condemn the truth made real to us by the Holy Spirit because it does not comply or agree with the truth as they imagine it ought to be; but those who walk in the light of the Holy Spirit, as He shines as the sun in strength upon the path of the just, are not at liberty to give ear to the thousand plaintive voices that call them to return to the apparent safety of the old way with its multitude of followers.
How often we hear the statement in advertising, “Can two million people be wrong?” Or “Can fifty million users be wrong?” The same childish prattle is carried into the world of religion and doctrine. I still recall an article published in a denominational magazine under the caption, “Can twelve million people be wrong?” Yes, indeed, twelve million people can be wrong! So also can six hundred million! But, even if they were right in some experience of the past and they rejoiced in the true light that once shone upon them to transform them, the fatal fault conies when they refuse to budge from their old camping ground, covering their eyes against the ever increasing light that shines more and more till the day is full. Do not proudly boast, O man that you are exactly the same as you were forty years ago. Repent rather that you have become a stagnant pool where the river of life has ceased to flow. I am the same person who was born in the pioneer town of Souris, Manitoba, in the year 1909, but today, though I am the same person, I am by no means the same as I then was. What a dreadful tragedy it would have been if after seventy-four years I was just the same as I was that morning they told my mother she had borne a son! I am the same person in whose penitent heart the Holy Spirit in 1926 implanted the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever and ever; yet I am not the same. What a dreadful tragedy that would be if I, fifty-seven years after my conversion, were just the same as I was that night when the angels in heaven rejoiced that a sinner had come home! Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, no more laying and re-laying those foundational doctrines of repentance, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, and physical healing. There is more, much more, beyond for each and every life that becomes hidden with Christ in God. With the eye of my spirit I see nine men struggling with a violent demon at the foot of a mountain, unable to cast him out; but a little higher up three others of their company are beholding Him whose garments are white and glistering and whose face is shining as the glory and brightness of the sun. Matt. 17:14-21. Away from their vision has passed the form of Moses, that giver of God’s holy law, and the figure of Elijah, who represented the prophets who prophesied of Christ. Vanquished forever is their childish hope of building tabernacles to house the glory of a message, for now they see no man save Jesus only. It is not our adherence to Moses and the law nor our steadfastness toward Elijah and the prophets that is so important, but our relationship to the Christ of whom they spoke, saying that of the increase of His government there should be no end. We shall be satisfied when we awake in His likeness, and when we do, yonder violent demon in the regions below will be found to hold no power at all.
The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) Spirit. The first Adam was given power to produce only corruptible seed, full of death, and dying. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, the Lord from heaven, is given power to produce incorruptible seed, full of life, and living. From the corruptible seed placed in the womb of Eve by the first Adam has come forth a world of corruptible men in Adam’s likeness; but from the incorruptible seed of Jesus Christ, the last Adam, placed in the womb of the repentant spirit, comes forth that incorruptible new creation which liveth and abideth forever. Often in my writing I have tried to explain that the natural life, the corruptible life, is not life at all. It is really death, as Paul so forcefully taught. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” When Jesus said, “He that hath the Son hath life”, He was speaking of that incorruptible life which He is and which liveth and abideth forever. When He said, “He that believeth on Me shall never die”, He was not teaching us that He would merely extend our corruptible existence forever so that we would never go to the grave. He meant that He was planting a new life within us, even the incorruptible life, which He is, a life that could never end though we entered a thousand graves. The life He gives, the life He is, is the life of the ages. It is as endless as Christ Himself, for He is that life. It begins in our spirits the moment we believe, as Jesus said: “I give unto them eternal life (i.e., the life of the ages), and they shall never perish.” John 10:28. That life, which begins in the spirit of man when Christ comes in to him by faith, extends more and more until corruption is swallowed up by incorruption as in type the yolk of an egg is swallowed up by the developing chick within, until in the end it is “not I, but Christ.” Even now at this very moment the life that we live in this body of flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God; and that faith assures us fully that the uncorruptible seed, sown by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, shall issue forth in incorruption, immortality and eternal life, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Death is corruption, as we pointed out above. Life is incorruption. As the rush cannot grow without mire (Job 8:11) and as dung is fertilizer to the budding fruit trees, so, in a manner beyond my understanding, the incorruptible Christ seed, planted in the corruptible earth, which we are, bears its fruit in immortality, incorruption and life eternal.
I am wearied a little because so very often it becomes necessary to momentarily break away from the excellent glory of these sublime truths while we explain again and again that none of these things can be grasped at all by the intelligence of the intellect or the understanding of the natural mind. As the light of the world flooded the eyes of the man that was born blind when once the hand of Jesus touched him, so the rays of eternal truth, shining as suns from afar, burst in glory upon the fields of our spirits, kissing the hills with revelation and flooding the valleys with the light which He is. “I am the light of the world,” said the Savior. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. Darkness and death abide together, the former deceiving, the latter slaying. Light and life are twin sisters, the one revealing, the other giving life.
It gives sadness just to know that by far the greater number of God’s own blood-bought people still live in the outer darkness of the natural mind, though every one of them will testify that in the day they first believed the Bible became a new book. Their understanding was enlightened; their relationship toward God underwent a mighty upheaval; life itself wore a different face after they found the Savior, but, alas, all too often they were content to bask forever in the glory of the new light that had been revealed. As time went by, the settling down process began. The new things became old and the extraordinary became the ordinary and commonplace. They soon imbibed the doctrines of the people among whom they dwelt and quite unknowingly settled down behind the high fences of their denominational creeds and their sectarian beliefs. I am not trying to curry the favor of those who read this article when I tell them with a sadness which God alone has placed in my heart that within the denominational walls men walk in craftiness, handling the word of God deceitfully lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them. They handle the word of God with deceit because they want their sheep to remain within the constricting confines of their fence, and not go wandering off from their fold to follow yonder shining light that streams from God’s throne afar. Thus do they waste their lives contending for their faith and for their way of looking at things, meanwhile condemning the experiences of other men as being of the devil, or refuting the truth that has transformed the life of another.
“No man hath seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father. He hath declared Him.” John 1:18. What the eye has not seen nor the ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man God reveals by His Spirit. 1 Cor 2:9–10. These great edicts notwithstanding, Christians and sinners alike are loath to believe that their natural minds are useless tools, deceitful instruments, and distorting instructors in all that concerns the spiritual realm. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14. Let us therefore leave off forever this vanity that would have us believe that the natural mind can understand spiritual things. How dare we assume that by wearying the flesh with much study the truth of God can be found? As in a mirror face answers to face, so natural ways of looking at things only produce natural reflections. Christians seem determined to refuse and reject the lesson that only the Spirit searches out and reveals the mysteries of God.
If you seek God, you will find Him; but in finding Him you will discover that He is not as you thought He was or how you thought He was. You will find that He is in no way confined or restricted by any tradition, doctrine, or imagination of men. Utter trust in God means utter abandonment to God. There is a holy abiding place where Christians may forever dwell where with fervent spirits, holy awe, utmost consideration and perfect reverence they can declare with complete abandonment, “I care not! Thy will be done!” When you can say with utter abandon, “Lead me, Lord! I care not where,” then He will lead you. Ten or twenty years may pass before you are aware that He has led you, but you will find at last that your path has been the path of the just, leading you to the perfect day. When you can say, “Lead me, Spirit of God, I care not how,” then some glad morning your happy soul, awaking as a sleeper from his dream, will have made the blessed discovery that the storms, shipwrecks and the fires have been the messengers of God to guide you to His desired haven, and your lips will be saying with Jacob, your friend, “Surely the Lord is in this place, though I knew it not.” Gen. 28:16.
“One ship drives east, another drives west
By the selfsame wind that blows;
Tis the set of the sail and not the gale
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life.
‘Tis the set of the soul that decides the goal,
And not the calm or strife.”
There is a wicked trait in human nature that always has us believe that solemn words of exhortation do not apply to us but are directed to someone else. But the “truth I write concerning revelation is directed to everyone. However great the insight which God has given you, you must humbly and honestly admit, “I know nothing yet as I ought to know.” If you love God with all your heart, your one great interest will be to love Him more and more: and His great delight will be to manifest Himself more and more unto you. The true secret of revelation, or illumination, if you prefer the word, is simply an ever increasing love and an ever increasing devotion to your Father in heaven. “If any man love God, the same is known of Him,” or, if any man love God, God knows that man. Jesus our Lord told us in the plainest possible words that our love for God was the secret key that would unlock the gates of spiritual understanding. “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him. Judas said unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him.” John 14:21-23. Christ is the light of God. Christ is the word of God. “The entrance of Thy word giveth light.” No wonder the Lord has declared that to fervently love Him is the very fountainhead of all revelation, illumination, and spiritual understanding.
I am not same as I was forty years ago. I am not the same as I was twenty years ago, nor five years ago, nor am I the same as I was yesterday. Neither will I be tomorrow as I am today. “The path of the just is as the shining light that shines on and on until the day is full.” Without light there is no growth; without revelation there is no spiritual progress. Let us then lay aside every weight and every imperfect tradition that by an ever increasing communion with God we may lay hold on the perfection He has set before us.
With this brief but fervent appeal let all who read seek that illumination which the Holy Spirit gives to make wise the simple and increase in strength the fainting heart that we may consider with renewed understanding the wonderful power of the incorruptible seed, Christ, the Logos of God, who liveth and abideth forever. The foregoing paragraph was written yesterday. In it I said, “I am not the same as I was yesterday, nor will I be the same tomorrow as I am today.” And now I must testify that this is even so, for today I see truth concerning the incorruptible seed, which yesterday had not been revealed to me. It is this: Our Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray, saying “Our Father, which art in heaven.” No man on earth is truly my father except the man by whom I was begotten. Therefore, I cannot call God my Father until I am begotten of God. Man is begotten of God that moment in which the Holy Spirit by His power divine places the incorruptible Christ seed in the repentant sinner’s heart. The incorruptible life planted there liveth and abideth forever. God is spirit and only those who are born of His Spirit can call God their Father and only those who are born of Him can say, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”
“How can a man be born when he is old?” This was the question that puzzled the learned but perplexed Nicodemus. “Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” he questioned in disbelief. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” the Savior replied, “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The good man Nicodemus was greatly mystified, because the natural mind receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. Such things seem foolish to him, but the Spirit gives light, illumination and understanding and sends us away, not only believing but receiving as well.
To those of us who realize the darkness, the death and the hopeless void of man’s unregenerate state it is scarcely necessary to observe that we, who were without God and without Christ, were both as hopeless and as helpless in our corruption and death as was the dark, void earth before the wonderful day when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep and the voice of God rang through the darkness, saying, “Let there be light,” and there was light. We have not been saved because we were worthy nor because we were good or wiser than other men. We were saved because the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be the first to put our trust in Him. When in God’s wisdom the appointed time came, the Spirit of God moved upon the darkened waste and trackless void of our beings even as He moved upon the formless earth from which we were taken in the beginning. The wind of God, which is the Spirit, bloweth where it listeth. Its breath of life, overshadowing a man, breathes into his spirit the power of an endless life. By the power of that same Spirit the incorruptible seed is placed within the believing heart and we are born from above, begotten of God and born anew. The light of God shineth out of the darkness. The fragrance of the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the valley becomes the perfume of our life. The fruits of the Spirit begin to bud and bloom as old things pass away and all things become new.
How wonderful is the wind of God, how matchless the breath of His eternal Spirit! How complete is the change that is wrought by the power of an endless life; how wonderful the assurance within as His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and, if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ!
“Breathe on me, Breath of God;
Fill me with life anew
That I may love as Thou dost love,
And do as Thou wouldst do.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine;
Till all this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
“Breathe on me, Breath of God;
So shall I never die;
But live with Thee that perfect life
Of Thine eternity.”
There is a remarkable similarity between the inspired statement of Gen. 1:2 and the words of Jesus in reply to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” The divine record gives this statement of truth concerning the earth before the creation of Adam and the Garden of Eden: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” The earth is old-very, very old. It was old and dark and void long before Adam or the account of Genesis 1:1. The former creations that had once dwelt upon it had long since passed away and now all was as void as the moon while darkness, ice and fearful cold surrounded it all in a mantle of death. Not only was the earth without form and void and covered with darkness and cold, but it was useless, hopeless and helpless as well. It could do nothing to change its deplorable state. There was no power within itself to change or transform its timeless wastes or its hopeless future. If help or change should ever come, it must come from without and from elsewhere; otherwise it was doomed to abide in darkness forevermore.
O that the eyes of men might be opened to clearly see that back of all things and before all things, yea, in the beginning of all things, standeth God-eternal, immortal, invisible, almighty, omniscient, immutable, holy, loving, and greatest and most glorious of all, full of purpose! Thus it is written, and thus it was, that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep; and God said, Let there be light, and there was light,” and by the mighty moving of the Spirit of God the earth was born again, begotten anew. Darkness fled away to its secret hiding place. Icy mountains melted and flowed down before the light of His presence. Timeless snows, released from the vise-like grip of some former curse, transformed themselves into bubbling streams of live-giving water. Flowers appeared on the earth. The time of the singing of birds had come. The fig tree brought forth its fruit, and the vines with the tender grapes gave a good smell. The breath of God, the wind of the Lord, passing over its wastes, had brought forth life where once was death, and the earth was born anew.
“How can a man be born when he is old?” questioned the puzzled Nicodemus, and Jesus, seeming almost to quote the first two verses of the book of Genesis, replied, “The wind (the Spirit) bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The Holy Spirit, like a wind of God, moves over the shapeless void of our corruption. “Let there be light,” is the fiat of the Lord, and the light of God, which is Jesus Christ, and life eternal, the incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever, enter the darkened void of a soul dead in trespasses and sins. The Christ seed, incorruptible and eternal, is planted in the repentant heart. A new creation has begun, for he is begotten of God, and Christ henceforth dwells in his heart by faith. Let the redeemed of God now thrill with joy to the inspired words of Paul: “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” The glory of God is the image of Christ, and we shall be fully satisfied when we awake in His likeness. When the incorruptible seed is planted in our hearts by faith, we are begotten of God, and “every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1. And “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” John 5:18
Your understanding will be greatly enlightened when you are able to grasp the simple truth I now bring to your attention. A child is begotten the moment he is conceived in his mother’s womb, but the child is born when he comes forth from his mother’s womb to be manifest to the world. This is a type, an allegory, of the spiritual process at work in the believer’s heart. We are begotten of God when we believe. The incorruptible seed of the word of God, the Christ seed, the power of an endless life, is planted within the believing spirit. There it grows and matures in the darkness until death is swallowed up of life, until it is “not I, but Christ.” Then comes the day of manifestation when that which was conceived in faith, that which was begotten, is fully born and manifest to the world. This is what the Bible calls the manifestation of the sons of God-a man child come forth from the travailing woman, a son in the image of Christ, who shall rule all nations with a rod of iron.
The Holy Spirit had a very definite purpose in mind when in wisdom He employed these two enlightening terms-begotten of God and born of God. Believers are begotten the moment they fix their faith in Christ. At that same moment of faith, without their understanding or knowledge of what is taking place, the incorruptible seed, the Christ seed, the quickening Spirit, the power of an endless life is placed within the believing, penitent spirit they are begotten of God and the Christ life has begun. Time and again I have taught that all natural things have spiritual counterparts. Therefore you have only to consider that brief history of your own development from the moment of your conception in the womb of your mother to the hour of your birth and manifestation to the world to understand almost perfectly the divine process by which the Christ seed, the incorruptible seed, is placed in the womb of the believing spirit, there to gestate and develop as a chick develops in its shell until corruption is swallowed up of life and in truth it can be said, “It is not I but Christ.” Then will follow the birth and manifestation in resurrection and incorruption of the vast family of newborn sons, not as individuals only, but as the many membered body of Christ as well.
Christians have always been puzzled by the seeming contradictions found in the first epistle of John. We find it difficult to understand why the writer said in chapter 3 and verse 9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God,” while in a number of other places he makes it clear that Christians both can and do sin; and for this cause he makes the provision that, “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), and “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 John 1:9. But this seeming contradiction vanishes the moment we make a sensible distinction between the two progressive phases of our redemption, which John speaks of as being begotten of God and being born of God. In 1 John 5:18 this distinction is very clear. We read, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but (please notice this distinguishing conjunction, but) he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” We who are begotten of God and are as yet in the stage of spiritual gestation are often tempted and at times overcome simply because the old Adamic nature is still larger and stronger than the new nature, and the corruptible still wars against the incorruptible. He that is begotten of God keepeth himself. He must do so by the grace and power of God or he will fall into sin as others have done. Times without number we fail either to keep ourselves or to seek the grace of God to keep us. But, Christian Brother and sister, you will find endless spiritual strength and power to keep if you will ask the Holy Spirit to make vivid and real to your heart the indisputable fact that at this very moment the incorruptible seed, the Christ seed, is developing within your spirit, your life and your body as well. He who has this divine understanding keepeth himself in the blessed knowledge that the divine Christ life begotten within him will issue forth in a birth and manifestation in the glorious image of Christ.
We may not be wise in drawing too many parallels between the natural and the spiritual, but we would be lacking, indeed, if we could not see some definite similarity, yes, even an allegory, between the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through that earthly vessel, the virgin Mary, and the formation of the Christ in us by the impartation of the incorruptible seed. See now with what reverent and holy awe the Virgin Mary regarded the great thing God was doing as the physical form of the Son of God was being prepared within her for His birth and manifestation to the world. “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” she cried, “and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.” Luke 1:46-55
We cannot be wrong in affirming that each and every statement made by this holy, rejoicing woman because of that great thing God was performing can also be made with equal truth by us in whose spirits the incorruptible seed has now been planted. God did great things for Mary when within her physical womb He placed the seed of Him who was to be called the Son of God. I am not wrong in saying that a greater thing by far is now in progress in that the incorruptible Christ seed is now by faith gestating in a multitude of human spirits, swallowing up death with life, corruption with incorruption, and mortality with immortality. Our spiritual understanding of the great thing the Holy Spirit is performing in the hearts of all who are begotten of God causes us to keep ourselves. “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not.” Do you not think that Mary kept herself in all holiness and purity, knowing as she did that the Christ was being formed within? Could any imagine that she would defile her body by uncleanness or lend her ears to unholy or unspiritual conversation? Would any venture to believe that she feasted her eyes on corruption and filth as Christians are wont to do today? No, indeed, she did not! She kept herself because of her joy and anticipation of the life that was forming within.
O, that God’s people would seek Him until the Holy Spirit illumined their minds, giving them a mighty understanding of the great things now transpiring in the spirits of all who are begotten of God! Every man who has this spiritual understanding will keep himself with utmost joy, knowing that, when God’s process is complete and all that is death and corruption within is swallowed up by the life and immortality which He is, his sonship will be complete and a man child will come forth to rule all nations with a rod of iron. It is not in me to understand all the mysteries being wrought by God, but he must be a blind soul who cannot see the association between what we have been saying and the great revelation given to John, who said, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, (heaven is the spiritual realm); a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered … And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.” Rev. 12:1–2, 5
Soon, very soon, there is coming a time of birth and manifestation. At this present hour we are begotten, but not born; but in that wonderful day of manifestation the saying will be wholly true, “He that is born of God cannot sin, for His seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” It is not my intention to leave the impression with anyone that it is wholly wrong for us to say we are born again, though strictly speaking we are not as yet born, but begotten. I do say, however, that a correct understanding of the two terms – begotten and born – will greatly assist us to comprehend the wonderful power of the incorruptible seed now growing to maturity in the believer’s heart, and the yet greater wonder that will be when the babe who now leaps in the womb of the human spirit shall issue forth in the power of an endless life.
The first epistle of John is a most remarkable revelation of the progress of the believer from that heaven blessed hour when by simple faith the incorruptible Christ seed is placed within and we through repentance and faith are begotten of God unto the wonderful hour of manifestation when sonship is complete and we stand on Mt. Zion in the very image of Christ Himself. The King James version (which I generally use) somewhat obscures this vital fact by saying in chapter 3, verse 1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God,” and again in verse 2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God”. Since the original Greek word was teknon, meaning children, and not huios, meaning sons, the passage should read, “Beloved, now are we the children of God.” See Emphatic Diaglott, Weymouth, and others. Even in the natural realm there is a vast difference between children and adults, or between little boys and mature men. This difference is symbolic of the contrast between spiritual children, spiritual young men, and spiritual fathers. John himself emphasizes this cardinal distinction by saying, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.” 1 John 2:12–13. The moment we are begotten of God, we are God’s children regardless of our age in the flesh. From spiritual infancy we progress in spiritual wisdom, spiritual stature and favor with God. This process continues until we reach the stature of full grown men in the image of Christ as Paul also wisely said, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:13
With this understanding fresh in mind Weymouth’s translation of 1 John 3:1-2 is capable of giving us an enlarged comprehension concerning the great spiritual work now in progress within. “See what love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called God’s children: and that is what we are. For this reason the world does not recognize us, because it did not recognize Him”. Notice the words here, “and that is what we are.” God’s children – that is what we are. The fleshly part of us is still here. We are still corruptible and in the natural we are still the children of the/irst Adam. But a miracle has taken place. The germ of never-ending life is growing within. The incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever, has been planted in our hearts by faith, and the process of maturing from infancy to adoption and full manifestation is in progress. The blessed and wonder-filled hours of gestation are passing swiftly by and we are now maturing from infancy to full sonship in Him.
Then John by the wisdom given him by the Holy Spirit continues to enlighten our pure minds with the words, “Beloved, we are now God’s children, but what we are to be has not yet been manifested. We know that if He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And anyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself (keeps himself) as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2. Weymouth. Though we know we are now God’s children, the glory of what we shall be has not yet appeared, but we know that, when He appears, we will be exactly like Him.
My heart is often saddened when I contemplate the multitudes of Christian men and women who vainly imagine that sonship may be attained through mighty works, spectacular gifts, or miraculous ministries and manifestations. O nonsense! Nonsense! Nonsense! Childish, foolish, misguided nonsense! Have you never heard that Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.“ Matt. 7:22–23. This solemn truth applies to almost all the great men of our day with their signs and wonders and mighty works which they do in the name of the Lord. Spectacular ministration has nothing to do with that sonship for which creation groans. Most of this spectacular exhibition is the product of man’s misguided will and not the work of Christ or the Spirit. But take courage, O thou afflicted, for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. Isa, 54:1. Have faith in God, O man unknown, though thou be unhonored and unsung, for the Lord our God, who reserved to Himself seven thousand in Israel, has reserved in our day a people who are known of Him. There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, but to none of them was he sent but to a woman of Sarepta. Many lepers were in Israel in the days of Elisha, but none were healed saving Naaman the Syrian. The Queen of Sheba shall arise in the Day of Judgment to condemn this generation, because she came from afar to hear wisdom of Solomon; but, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. It is Christ in you that is the hope of glory. It is the power of and endless life working within your being.
THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE
Through the divine power of our Lord Jesus Christ God has given unto us “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.” 2 Pet. 1:3. He who has called us to glory and virtue has given unto us exceeding great and precious promises by which all who are called of God may become partakers of His divine nature. We who have been called by Christ have escaped the corruption that is in the world because we have been begotten of incorruptible seed by the word (Logos) of God that liveth and abideth forever. 1 Pet. 1:23. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word (Logos) of the Lord endureth forever.” 1 Pet. 1:24-25
Our new life, which is in fact the only true life in all the universe, is the life that comes from Him – nay, better far might I say that our true life is that life which He Himself is. In God’s living word it is recorded, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:4–5. In the economy of God death and darkness are synonyms, but the life is the light of men. Wheresoever the Spirit of God moves, the mighty voice of creation is heard to cry, “Let there be light,” for God Himself is life eternal and incorruptible, and the life is the light of men. This is the true light “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9. The eternal God, immortal, incorruptible and invisible, dwelleth in the light, which no man can approach – a light which darkness cannot comprehend. All the light and intelligence of this world system is naught but thick darkness and horrible gloominess when compared to true light which Jesus is, and all forms of life which we now see and know are death, corruption and the tomb when compared to that life incorruptible, immortal, invisible and eternal, which He Himself is.
Sweeter than the dews of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion and more blessed than good news from a far country is the wonderful revelation with which He now fills our enlightened hearts, declaring that man, born in sin and altogether shapen in iniquity, may now partake of the divine nature because infinite grace and limitless power has placed within the womb of our spirits the incorruptible Christ seed that we in truth may be begotten of God. O joy of all joys! How good to know that we who once were born of the corruptible seed of the first Adam, placed by our earthly father in the womb of our earthly mother, may now through His divine power be born anew of the incorruptible seed of the last Adam, the Logos, who liveth and abideth forever. See with what wisdom it has been written, “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven… And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” 1 Cor. 15:47,49. The heavenly secret sealed up in the treasure house of these inspired words none but the Father Himself can unfold, and while heavenly angels, excelling in wisdom and understanding, desire to look into these things, we who once were born of corruptible seed are now reborn of that incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth forever.
Sometimes it is not the best of wisdom to draw too close a parallel between things that are natural and things that are spiritual, for earthly minded folk delight to drag all spiritual things down to the realm of their natural understanding, distorting and confusing truth that only the spiritual mind can comprehend. Let us, however, hear the word of the Lord on this matter that we may have a better understanding to see more clearly how by the use of natural things, which we understand, the Holy Spirit reveals things that are as high above our understanding as heaven is higher than the earth. “For,” saith God, “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa. 55:9. As the rain that comes down from heaven makes the earth bring forth and bud, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so the word of the Lord that goes forth from His mouth as life-giving water accomplishes that which He pleases, and prospers in the thing whereto He sent it.
Thus it was that Paul, writing of the heathen, showed that that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Hun from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Rom. 1:19-20. We should therefore understand that, while this statement condemns the unbelief of the heathen, it is also teaching us to see how things that are spiritual and invisible may be clearly understood by looking at the natural things God has made. So true is this that Paul says even His eternal power and Godhead may be seen by the things which God has made. Rom. 1:20. Is it not true that a connoisseur of art is able to recognize almost at a glance the work of Rembrandt, De Vinci, or Michael Angelo? Cannot a critic of music recognize immediately the styles of great musicians? The work of every man and every woman, though unknown to themselves, proceeds after a pattern peculiar to them. So also you will notice that every work of God, whether He be creating a universe or creating men, follows a pattern peculiar to Him. Thus, when He makes a week to contain seven days. then every week He makes will have seven days though those days be twenty-four hours or one thousand years in length. When the immutable Father brings forth a creation by placing a seed either in the earth upon which we stand or in the earth which we are, whether it be the seed of a flower or an oak tree, the seed of an animal, a bird or a man, He is working according to a pattern from which He will never digress. Which of all the living things has He not brought forth after this pattern?
The pattern of God does not end with things which are visible and natural as Paul by the Spirit has plainly said: “The invisible things are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” We must tread softly here and speak with infinite reverence, for, though the statement above is entirely true, it is impossible to grasp the metaphor, the allegory or the type until our eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit and our minds are enlightened with the light of life that streams from Him. “What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11-12
With my head bowed and my heart awed in deepest reverence I shall now try to explain that, when our God and Father ordained that a new creation should be brought forth in the image of Himself, to be born, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, He followed the same wonderful pattern that infinite wisdom had devised to produce all living things from a seed. First He must bring into the world the holy and incorruptible One who was to be called the Son of God, for He Himself was to become the seed of an entirely new creation of incorruptible sons of God. The Father decreed that through the medium of a virgin’s womb He would bring into the world the incorruptible seed, the life germ from which would spring an entirely new creation – a creation of twice born men, born again of the incorruptible seed of God’s Christ. Then, true to the pattern of sowing and reaping, that seed must fall into the ground and die; “For,” said Jesus, “except a corn (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” It is the outer shell that dies – not the incorruptible life within. The incorruptible life is the Christ seed, springing forth, first the blade, then the ear, and afterward the full corn in the ear, to become the wave sheaf of Leviticus 23:10 as the incorruptible life of Christ appears in God’s many sons, and each of these in his turn, crucified with Christ and falling into the ground in death, bring forth an abounding harvest of incorruptible sons of God.
When the virgin in her amazement asked, “How can this be, seeing I know not a man,” the angelic reply was this: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of the thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35. This was to be the divine method of bringing into the world that incorruptible Christ who is Himself the seed of a new creation of incorruptible sons of God. Here as always it can be easily seen that the Father is following His usual pattern of creation. The Holy Spirit was to move upon the earthly form of this virgin woman that she might bring forth the firstborn of an entirely new creation. However much the truth may tax our understanding, the fact is that this firstborn Son of God was to be the germ seed of an entirely new creation of incorruptible men, born not after the flesh, but reborn of His Spirit.
How very important and full of truth are the simplest sayings of inspiration! Who can fathom the depths of truth set forth in the words of our Lord: “I am the vine; ye are the branches.” “I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “I am the bread of life. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” But, when He said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit,” He was describing the pattern and the divine process by which that incorruptible life which He is would be released from its confinement within God’s Christ that millions of believing mankind might through faith in Him be born of incorruptible seed and live forever and forever. No fact in life is better known than this certainty: If there is to be a harvest, we must first sow the seed. Furthermore the knowledge is clear to us all that even one seed planted in the ground will in a few seasons multiply to a very great harvest to satisfy all the world with its life giving bread.
Therefore our Lord said, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The natural creation tells us emphatically that, as long as the wheat is left in the granary, there will be no increase. Lying there in security, its life remains locked up within itself, producing nothing and bringing forth nothing. The life existing in every kernel remains locked up within its tiny body because there has been no death that would release it from its shell, and, because there has been no death, there is no increase, no blade, no ear, no sheaf, and no harvest. Well does the farmer know that his own livelihood, together with the well-being of the people, depends upon his planting those seeds in the ground. Well he knows that the death, which occurs in the body of the seed, will release the life germ that will yield an abundant harvest. Can you not hear Paul saying, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened (made alive), except it die.” 1 Cor. 15:35–36. Here again we see the pattern clearly stated, both for the natural and for the spiritual realm. If the corruptible life contained in the kernel is to be released that it might yield a great harvest, then the kernel must die. There is no other way. Is it not therefore abundantly true that, if the incorruptible life sealed up within God’s Christ was to be released that there might be a bountiful harvest in incorruption, then God’s Christ must die, and die He did. He must be planted in the earth, and in the earth they placed Him in Joseph’s new tomb.
For three days and three nights our Lord lay in the heart of the earth. His loving friends, it seems, had forgotten that He had said, “After three days I will rise again.” But His enemies had not forgotten, and they set a watch to make sure He would remain in the tomb. Forty armed men were appointed to watch over the dead! They rolled a great stone against the door of the cave and sealed the stone with the governor’s signet to make certain no one would molest it. O fools and slow of heart to believe, did they not know that the life confined in that kernel of wheat was life incorruptible and immortal? Had they dragged the Rocky Mountains over the door of His tomb that would have been no deterrent to incorruptible life. And Mary Magdalene, poor dear, unable to believe in a literal resurrection, came early in the morning in company with other devout women to anoint His dead body with oil and sweet spices and embalm Him in death forever. But the stone, much too great for little women to move, was already rolled away, and, looking within the tomb, she saw no dead body lying in shrouds and death. There in the tomb an angel spoke as though surprised at her great sorrow. “Woman, why weepest thou?” he gently asked. She replied, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where now she had not so much as a dead Christ upon whom to pour her sweet spices? So with blinding tears and deepening sorrow she turned to go away, and Jesus stood before her; but she knew Him not. One sentence He spoke and one question He asked, just as the angels had done. “Why weepest thou?” O how hard it is for our benighted minds to understand and grasp the truth! We are so absorbed with this realm of death that we cannot see that beyond the sable pall is life incorruptible, immortal, and eternal. Why are we so slow to grasp the revealing truth, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit?” Can you now see from the things we have stated the absolute necessity of the death of God’s Son? How else but by death could incorruptible life be released that they who dwelt in death and corruption could through faith partake of the power of an endless life? O what a death! O what resurrection! O what a harvest! O death, where is now thy sting? Thou canst not slay incorruption! O grave, where is now thy victory? Thou has but released the power of an endless life!
We flounder a bit in our understanding of all these things. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Psa. 139:6. Only faintly now we see as through a glass darkly, but as time passes by and the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and shows them unto us, we begin to understand. The events that transpired at the cross are very full of meaning. Not one thing happened on that day of days that had not been ordered of God, and all things loudly proclaimed their truth that enlightened souls might understand.
As our Savior bowed His head in death, He said. “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit,” and, having said this, He gave up the ghost. The body without the spirit is dead, and with the death of the body came the release of the Spirit of life, eternal, immortal and incorruptible. And the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent; the veil of the temple was rent in twain, and many graves of the saints were opened, and after His resurrection their bodies rose and came out of their graves and entered into the city and appeared unto many. Matt 27:51-53. When Jesus rose from the dead, He did not rise alone. How could He since it is written, “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit?” The first fruit (the wave sheaf) of the resurrection must rise with Him. One seed was planted in death. A whole sheaf comes forth in resurrection. That one sheaf was a kind of first fruit of the mighty resurrection, which will eventually encompass all things in its incorruptible power. One kernel was planted in the ground. One sheaf came up in resurrection, that one sheaf being full of individual kernels, each in itself an incorruptible seed. Isaiah saw much more than national restoration when by the Spirit he cried, “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they rise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isa. 26:19
In the twenty-third chapter of the book of Leviticus we have one of those wonderful Old Testament types so hard to understand until we see the anti-type in the New Testament. Among the offerings to the Lord was the offering of a wave sheaf after this manner: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then shall ye bring a sheaf’ of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.” Lev. 23:9-11
As we read the above passage, we must remember that the harvest is the resurrection. But the harvest was divided into three distinct parts-the firstfruits, the great ingathering, and finally the gleanings. One sheaf from the firstfruits of the harvest was to be brought to the priest and waved before the Lord. This passage, like many others, has often baffled my understanding, but now I see some definite significance in it. The simple act of waving is common among men and it is used daily on many occasions and in many different circumstances. A wave of the hand may mean a farewell or it may herald some glad home-coming, as we so often see when ships are coming into the harbor. Again it may be a sign of victory or accomplishment. You will notice three remarkable things connected with the offering of the wave sheaf. First, it was just one sheaf from a great harvest. Secondly, it was offered on the day after the Sabbath, which would indicate the resurrection day, and, most important of all, it was connected with the offering of the he-lamb (verse 12), which lamb is God’s Son who taketh away the sin of the world.
The wave sheaf, waved in victory before the Lord, signifies that the first part of the resurrection is accomplished. Its anti-type is found in the blessed fact that, when Jesus our Lord arose from the dead, He did not rise alone. Only Matthew records the sacred wonder that the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after His resurrection and appeared unto many. Matt 27:52–53. They were the first sheaf of the firstfruit of the resurrection. They were a sheaf waved in victory before the Lord, signifying that a great and mighty harvest of incorruptibles would rise in ages yet to come, never to die any more.
These resurrected saints who rose with the incorruptible Christ did not return to their tombs again; neither could they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels. Luke 20:36. These are they of whom Paul spoke when he said, “When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.” Eph. 4:8-10
I dearly love the beautiful story recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It tells of two sad and disappointed disciples, walking and communing with broken hearts of all the astonishing things that had so recently happened in Jerusalem. As they walked, the story recounts, Jesus of Nazareth drew near and walked in company with them, but their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. Jesus Himself was the subject of their conversation, as they related the story of His betrayal, His crucifixion and death. Shaking their heads in abject sadness, they sobbed out their heart-breaking disappointment in these pitiful words: “But we trusted that it had been He which would have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which Were early at the sepulcher. And when they found not His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that He was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but Him they saw not. Then said He unto them, O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:21-27
Ought not Christ to have suffered? O poor, foolish world! How dare you insist that the death of the Christ was a tragedy! I tell you it was no tragedy, for God, the Creator of all, together with all He has created, shouts aloud and afar from the wonder filled passage, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” “Ought not Christ to have suffered?” enquired the resurrected Jesus. How else but by death could He release the incorruptible seed to the millions who would in future believe? Had He not died, the incorruptible seed would have been forever locked up within Himself, but the moment He died, His eternal Spirit – yes, His eternal life – was released to go abroad into the hearts of an innumerable multitude of believers who would drink freely of that wonderful fountain of life which He is. It was not until Mary broke the alabaster box that the perfume of the ointment filled all the house where they were sitting; and it was not until that alabaster box of His earthly body was broken in death upon the cross that His Spirit was released to the Father to be sent forth by Him into every believing heart, bringing eternal life, incorruptible, immortal and unfading. My soul sings a thousand hallelujahs that I, too, am drinking of that exhaustless fountain of eternal life. And those who drink shall never thirst again, but the water that He gives is a fountain within them, a well of water springing up into life incorruptible and eternal.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39. They could not receive His Spirit until He was glorified, and He could not be glorified until His Spirit was released by death. With what wonder and admiration do we see Him, only a few minutes after He had revealed Himself to the two disciples at Emmaus, appearing to His disciples, who sat behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. “Peace be unto you,” He said in greeting. “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” And He breathed on them and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” John 20:19-22. It was right here and at this very moment that they were born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible. Christ Jesus, the Word of God, came by His Spirit to dwell, not with them, but in them in the power of His endless life. He liveth and abideth forever because He Himself is incorruptible, and His incorruptible life, released to us by His death and burial in the earth, is freely implanted in every believing heart to swallow up death with life and to bring forth at last that wonderful harvest all glorious in incorruption. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor. 4:7-8
No words of mine can fully reveal the wonderful glory reserved and kept unfading in store for those who have been thus begotten of God. You will do yourself a great injustice if you try to make these spiritual truths fit the cold calculations of your natural mind. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. By faith we understand! Heb. 11:3. “The things of God knoweth no man, but God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit.” Never try to convince an argumentative Christian. All he will do is present his earthly way of looking at things and you will – end up depressed and thoroughly in the flesh yourself.
Even our blessed Lord Jesus incurred nothing but the wrath of His hearers when He attempted to answer their questions regarding the bread of life. Indeed, by the time the discussion was through, though they found no words to answer Him, they accused Him of blasphemy and sought to take His life. Only by the Spirit can spiritual things be discerned. Indeed, I have made the disappointing discovery that from a crowd of perhaps twelve thousand people, who respond loudly with their fervent amens, probably only twelve of them are able to grasp the truth and spiritually understand. Long ago, speaking of the blindness of Israel, Paul said, “Even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it (the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is (where the Spirit is Lord), there is liberty. But we all, with open (unveiled) face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:15-18. “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought.” 1 Cor.2:6
In one of my writings some time ago I made this statement: Jesus did not die that I might live. He died that He might give His life to me. No truth in the New Testament is more outstanding than the truth that the “I” must be crucified, and from henceforth it is “not I, but Christ,” God’s people are much too flippant in rendering their lip service to these immortal truths. Everywhere we hear preachers talking about the crucifixion of self; but how good it would be if God’s dear people would pause with fasting and prayer, earnestly requesting that the Holy Spirit would illumine the truth of it to their hearts! Does not nature itself preach this message? Does nature not prove the statement of Jesus, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit?” You have been begotten of the Spirit, my Christian brother. When you believed, the incorruptible seed in the very person of God’s Christ came to dwell in your heart. Christ in you is your hope of glory. He dwells in your heart by faith (Eph. 3:17) that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge. You are begotten of incorruptible seed, and that incorruptible seed is Christ, the Word of God. Christ can dwell in you only because He was crucified. This treasure we have in earthen vessels because His incorruptible life was released when the corn of wheat fell into the ground and died. When He bowed His head in death, He committed His eternal Spirit to all who would believe, that each might freely partake of the power of an endless life.
Now, lest this should seem too much to believe (though I know you must believe it), give ear to Peter, that God-given shepherd and feeder of the sheep, as He explains the mighty Pentecostal outpouring that came fifty days after the crucifixion of our Lord.
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shall make me full of joy with Thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither His flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witness. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Acts 2:22-33
The mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the corn of wheat, released His life to the Father and the Father poured forth that eternal Spirit, the incorruptible seed, the power of an endless life into the waiting, thirsting hearts of all who believed. I am not trying to confuse regeneration with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I am only trying to show how the death of Christ released His Spirit that every member of His body might be born of incorruptible seed and know the glory and power of an endless life.
Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular. You are the body of Christ and members of the family of God. Through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, you have been made partakers of the divine nature. O blessed and sacred truth, how can this pen of mine proclaim thy matchless worth? Yet Thou hast proclaimed it, and the ear of faith hath heard that we who once were born in sin have now been begotten of Thee! We who once knew only corruption now feel the pulsating life of Thy incorruptible seed, and we who once were “of the earth earthy” are now members of the family of God. We are the body of Christ – O Lord, Thou hast said it – and members in particular of the Christ body. “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16), that we might know the love of Christ and be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19); yea, and more also that we might attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Eph. 4:13. “This priceless treasure we hold, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar—to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down, but we are never knocked out! Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. We are always facing death, but this means that you know more and more of life.” 2 Cor. 4:7-13 (Phillips Translation)
I do not wish to leave this area of our discussion without pointing out an eternal principle that applies to each and every one who has been made partaker of that incorruptible Christ seed. Let us not be flippant in our thoughts and our deliberations concerning the body of Christ. God has blinded the minds of most Christians to the true knowledge of the body of Christ simply because they have approached it roughly as Moses approached the burning bush, refusing to remove the shoes from their feet that Christ might wash them. They have come with head unbowed and heart unsanctified. They have come with lives unseparated from the flesh and its lusts, and they have stood in harmony and hand in hand with the harlot daughters of Babylon. They think they see, but weary themselves to find the door. They say, “We see;” therefore their sin remaineth.
The body of Christ is a mystery. It is a mysterious temple that God our Father is in the process of building. It is a temple not made with hands. The stones of its all-glorious walls are living stones, each one born of incorruptible seed and knowing in himself the power of an endless life. The body of Christ is the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The body of Christ is “My Father’s house” in which are many mansions. Perhaps we would understand better if we should read, “In My Father’s House are many temples,” because we already know that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit and God dwells in us. There are many of these temples in “My Father’s house.” The Father’s house, the house in which by God’s grace I myself am a mansion, is the habitation of God through the Spirit. That, my beloved friend, is the mystical body of Christ.
In that glorious body, that wonderful temple of sons, there never has been a rift, a schism or division, but from the beginning of the age until now it has been steadily rising on the foundation of the apostles and prophets as each new living stone was readied and permanently placed within its living walls. The body of Christ is unhindered by fire, by tribulation or persecution, unaffected by the squabblings of sects and denominations or those harlot systems without, who vainly imagine their puny group to be the body of Christ, but rising in the power of incorruption and bound with the everlasting ties of God’s eternal Spirit, it is builded a holy and living temple for the Lord.
The body of Christ is the fullness of Christ. The body of Christ is Jesus, God’s first perfected Son, joined together with all that vast family of sons, who through the ages have been born again of the incorruptible seed, which He is. He became God’s incorruptible seed, and we who are born of Him have been born of incorruptible seed. He is made after the power of an endless life (Heb. 7:16), and we, too, have been made after the power of an endless life. I cannot explain such marvelous grace. My mind is still to earthy and small to comprehend the fullness and power of words like these: “Of His fullness have all we received and grace for grace.” Jesus, our elder brother, He who is the first-born Son, the Head of the mystical body of Christ, was made a priest after the order of Melchizedek. He was not made after the order of a carnal commandment as Aaron but after the power of an endless life. And we, too, God’s younger sons, are made priests and kings after the order of Melchizedek, not after the order of Aaron to slavishly obey a commandment which our old nature could never keep, but after the power of an endless life. Yea, “ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Since, then, we are the body of Christ, and we are born of incorruptible seed, and the power of an endless life is within us, I must now explain – and may the Holy Spirit give understanding – that, wonderful as is the truth that we are born of incorruptible seed, and glorious as is the fact that the power of an endless life is within us, that life must remain sealed up within us even as it was in Jesus until we, like Him, embrace the cross. When death worked in Jesus the Christ, then life worked in me; and when I am delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, then life works in you. With this truth firmly in mind we can much better comprehend the meaning of Paul’s words, which I now quote and which clearly show how the things which lead to the destruction of the old self are the things that cause the incorruptible life within us to fully possess us and be released to work life in other members of the human race. “We have this (incorruptible) treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power (the power of an endless life) may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” 2 Cor. 4:7-12
From reading these inspired words of Paul we can easily see that, just as the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus released the eternal Spirit, so now also the same divine principle is working in us who have received His life. For, as Paul said, it is when death works in us that life works in others. No word that I can say or book that I can write can possibly show with greater clearness the absolute necessity of crucifixion and death to self. In my book, The Meaning of the Cross, I have explained the eternal fact of our crucifixion, showing that it was accomplished by the great wisdom of God when before the foundation of the ages He placed all men in His Son and then led Him to the accursed tree, where we were crucified with Him. He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin that he should no more spend his time to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. The sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us; and the glory to be revealed is none other than that incorruptible life which we have received of Him by faith and which will be manifested in wonderful glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
It is a great regret to me and an almost unmentionable shame that many who in our day profess to be the ministers of Jesus Christ will dare to assert that God wants His people to have the best of everything this corrupt age has to offer. They tell the people that God never wants them to be poor, but to be filled with all the good things of this world. He never wants them to suffer either in flesh or in spirit, but all the luxuries of this life are to be theirs and in general, as the common saying goes, they are to live “high on the hog.” I shall not speak further of this other than to say that all such teaching emanates from and is the product of the carnal mind of man and not the Spirit of Christ. Let no man deceive you with such vain words, for it is true now as in ages past that “they who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Tribulation, today as always, works patience; patience works experience, experience works hope, and hope makes not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. Rom. 5:3-5.
Still in the hearts of the crucified these words echo more and more with truth: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Gal. 6:14. No man should be moved by affliction, “for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” 1 Thess. 3:3. God has a wonderful intention in appointing His people to great suffering. Suffering weans us away from the natural realm with its corruption and death. It reveals how weak and shoddy the flesh with all its weakness is. It causes us to relinquish our childish grip on natural things with all their weak and beggarly elements that we may lay hold on life, our joy and crown eternally.
This treasure of incorruption we have in earthen vessels. The vessel itself is not the treasure. The treasure is the Christ life within the vessel. The alabaster box in the hands of that devout woman of Bethany may have been very beautiful indeed, but the treasure was the ointment within. When our Lord Jesus Christ was here on earth, mankind recognized Him only as a man. Some knew Him as the carpenter’s son, the son of Joseph and Mary. Others saw Him as an ordinary Jew, and others called Him a deceiver and a man possessed with demons. But others had flashes of revelation as one might through a rift in a curtain catch a glimpse of the coming scene. Thus it was with Peter, who with a conviction as fresh as the winds of heaven affirmed, “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Nathanael, too, upon hearing the words of Jesus, affirmed with heavenly assurance, “Master, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.” John 1:49. And Thomas, who with questioning mind had walked and talked with the Savior for three years and more, now for the first time seeing beyond the shroud of His human flesh, with wonder starting from his eyes and with fingers pressed against his trembling lips burst forth with astonished joy, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28. what shall we say of John, the Baptist, who cried with a voice that even today is echoing among the eternal hills, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” John 1:29. How good to hear that loving woman tell how she wept until He spoke her name! “Rabboni!” she cried as she fell in worship at His feet, and she, who had known Him only as Jesus of Nazareth, now knew Him as God’s Son, the resurrection and the life. Yea, He was life itself. The incorruptible life, long hidden within the alabaster box of His human flesh, had now at last burst its bonds in death to manifest itself in the magnificent glory of the resurrection. The corruptible had put on incorruption, the mortal had put on immortality, and death, that had reigned since Adam, was swallowed up in victory, and all creation was shouting in triumph, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
O twice born men, who through faith have been begotten of His incorruptible seed, behold, I show you a mystery! That same incorruptible life, that sprang forth from His tomb with such glory that even His body, which was crucified in weakness, was raided in power, is now working in you and me. Dwelling side by side with other men and with the unbelievers of this world, scarcely would any notice the difference between us and them. It is not the beauty of the alabaster box that fills the house of this world, but the fragrance of life eternal, the incense of incorruption, the aroma of an endless life when we become identified with His cross. His life now works in us. It is incorruption. It is resurrection life. This treasure we have in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (2 Cor. 4:7), always bearing about in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body (verse 10) when that life shall burst forth in glory and resurrection, never to taste death any more. The incorruptible life within us is the Christ life. It is inseparable from Him. He who hath the Son hath life. There is no other life than this. All else is death.
Have you considered the words of Paul, “You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God?” Col. 3:3. Surely now our minds can grasp the message he is trying to teach us. Life at this moment is hidden in Christ and He is hidden in us, yet His life is our life and that life is incorruptible. The apostle did not end his inspired statement here, but continued with these revealing words: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Col. 3:4. When Jesus the Christ arose from the dead, He rose, not in corruption, but in incorruption; not in mortality, but in immortality; not in weakness, but in power; not in dishonor, but in glory; not a natural body, but a spiritual body. See 1 Cor. 15:43–44. And we, because of the incorruptible seed which is in us, shall soon, very soon, appear with Him in glory, for as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Cor. 15:49.
There was a day when our Lord Jesus was preaching and ministering in Caesarea Philippi, a little town nestled at the foot of Mt. Hermon, which is Mt. Zion. Deut. 4:48. It was here that Peter had uttered those memorable words, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matt 16:16. It was here that Jesus had forewarned them that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things of the chief priests and be crucified and that the third day He would rise from the dead. It was here that Peter had rebuked Him, saying, “Be it far from Thee, Lord: This shall not be unto Thee,” and Jesus, turning to him, replied, “Get thee behind Me, Satan; thou art an offence unto Me.” Offensive indeed are the exhortations of those who would spare us from the cross, for without the cross there can be neither incorruption nor glory. “Whosoever will save his (corruptible) life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose His life for My sake shall have it.” It was here at Ceasarea that our blessed Lord had said, “The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” Matt. 16: 27–28. “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was as white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him. Then answered Peter and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and, behold, a voice out of the cloud which said, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” Matt. 17:1-5. Luke in his gospel adds the significant fact that Moses and Elias appeared in glory, and that Peter, James and John also saw Jesus in His glory. Luke 9:31-32.
The indescribable wonder of the vision of transfiguration depicts in radiant splendor the ineffable glory, which saints will attain with Christ in His kingdom. It is a manifestation of the glory that comes when the incorruptible seed, now lying in the earth which we are, shall burst forth in the glory and power of an endless life. This is the glory that will unfold when He appears and we appear with Him in glory.
It was after six days, that is, six days after the events recorded in Matt. 16, that Jesus led His disciples up the towering mountain of Zion (Hermon), the mountain that Peter calls the holy mount. 2 Pet. 1:18. This statement is typical and very significant, because it is after the six days of man’s labor and travail, six one thousand year days after man’s transgression, that the Lord’s Day will come. In it man will do no labor. It is the millennial Sabbath, the long awaited kingdom of God. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has recorded for our learning that it was after six days that Jesus appeared in glory. The six days of labor since Adam are almost at an end. Five thousand, nine hundred and eighty-three (and perhaps more) years have already passed by. The seventh is at hand. Soon the sun will set forever on man’s dreary six days of labor and the bells of heaven will ring in the seventh day, the kingdom, the Lord’s day. Then will the angels chorus the hymn, “This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psa. 118:24. “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Verse 23
When He appeared in glory, so the three evangelists say, His face did shine as the sun, His garments were white as the light, He was transfigured before them, and the proclamation went forth from the Father, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.” For this reason Paul wrote to tell those of us in whom the incorruptible seed now dwells, “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Nothing can be more certain than this and nothing more wonderful. Peter, who wrote with such assurance, telling us we are born of incorruptible seed, showed in no uncertain way that, because we are born of incorruptible seed, we are therefore heirs of an incorruptible inheritance. Thus with the certainty of a man inspired he wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undeflled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Pet. 1:3-5
“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” 1 Cor. 15:35. “Behold, I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” 1 Cor. 15:51-53. This is the first resurrection. This is the harvest at the end of the age. This is the resurrection of the in Christ company. They are raised incorruptible because long ago through faith in Him they were begotten of incorruptible seed that liveth and abideth forever. They live because He lives. Since Christ has appeared, they now appear with Him in glory. With the sounding of the last trump of the great tribulation great voices in heaven were heard, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them that destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Rev. 11:15-19
And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away. Christ has abolished death by the power of His endless life to bring to light life and immortality forevermore. Amen!
THAT I MAY ATTAIN
We are thankful for the opportunity that is offered us to send out the message of the hour through this book. Many hundreds of people are being reached with the newness and freshness of a message that we truly believe to be the message God has given for the closing days of this dispensation. But writing, like all other human forms of communication, always has its limitations and inadequacies, and I freely admit that every time a new book goes out there is a measure of sadness and disappointment in my heart because I know that many things that should have been explained were not explained. And then there is always the knowledge that the truth has been cast as bread upon the water or as seed upon a field, some of which will spring up and bear fruit in earnest hearts and some of which will be cast away before ever it brings forth at all.
It is because of the desire to speak with each one individually and thus bring a more personal message to every reader that I am writing this message. The truth contained herein burns in my heart and I hope that while you read it you will grasp a new lease on God’s life and come to a new experience in Him.
We are now living in the most momentous hours imaginable. In fact, it is beyond the power of human imagination to see and understand the greatness of the things that are happening all about us and to fully comprehend what God is beginning to do in His people. There is an awakening among the elect of the Lord that supersedes human knowledge. As at certain times of the year God puts into the minds of birds to flock up in preparation for migration to another realm or zone, so He is putting into the hearts of a chosen people the desire to ready themselves for the sonship He has prepared for them from the foundation of the world. He is putting into their hearts the very life and glory of the coming kingdom, and they are finding that they have lost all desire for the fleeting things of this present age.
We are now seeing before our very eyes the things that must precede the glory of the coming kingdom and the universal reign of Christ. We are seeing the rise of both spiritual and political Babylon. We are hearing a message such as has not been on the earth heretofore, and we are seeing a people being prepared of God for sonship who are to receive the glory of the kingdom with the Lord Jesus Christ and reign in splendor with Him in the glory of their Father in the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world.
I desire by God’s help to impress upon your minds that the sons of God who are being prepared to reign in the kingdom with Christ are not just ordinary Christians with ordinary experiences. There has been a great fault among Christian people of all ages. They have always been prone to try to make the word of God fit the measure of experience they had instead of making their experience fit the demands of the word of God. They have claimed to be filled with the Spirit of God when all they had was a tiny earnest of their inheritance. They have insisted that they were born again, though to this day they have not been able to see or understand the kingdom of heaven, and though we are plainly told that “that which is born of God cannot sin, for His seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God,” (1 John 3:9 and 5:18) still we go on sinning and insisting that we are born of God. Some men claim to have the gift of tongues because they can speak five or six different languages all of which they learned by natural courses, and so on and on it goes endlessly. Enquire of any denomination you wish and they will all have their own explanation of the new birth, or what it means to walk in the Spirit, or what it means to be in Christ, or what it means to be a son of God, but they all, every one, fall far short of the glorious experience the word of God actually describes. All this confusion of ideas and doctrines of men was permitted by the Lord for the age which we have just passed through, but we are about to see a new age, even the age of the kingdom of God, and we must prepare ourselves for that.
As I have sought God through the years with prayer and fasting, waiting and searching, a great conviction has come over me that God’s people are being prepared for an entirely new realm of experience in Him. I am not referring to some imaginary realm to which men may think they have attained and about which they console themselves, thinking they are holier than the rest. I am speaking of a realm, which is in truth the realm of God, the realm of the heavenlies, and the realm of the kingdom. Furthermore I am convinced that many are due to attain to the glory of that new realm now while the rest of mankind and the rest of the Christians go on as usual in the old realm and on the old planes.
I am very sure that many who are reading these lines have experienced in truth that the present age with all it holds is slipping away. It is not only passing away in general but it is falling away from you personally and in particular. The things you once loved have become a bore to you. The things you rejoiced in have become old and sour and a heaviness to your spirit. The glamour of crowds and meetings, preachers and programs, has passed away and you are hard pressed to be interested in them any more. You find yourself losing interest in money and bank accounts, in the temporal progress of this age, and in many other things you formerly held dear. All this change is of God, and He is preparing His people for the glory of a new realm. He that has wrought us for this change is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Cor. 5:5. See also Phillip’s translation.
Now there is no use whatever in a man’s trying to imitate Jesus. The world is full of imitators and copy-cats who never rise beyond imitation. But Jesus Christ was a Son of God, the Son of God, who, while He walked the lowly earth in the likeness of men and in the fashion of men, yet lived in a realm unknown to men, unfamiliar to men, and independent of men. Though He lived on earth in flesh, yet He dwelt in heaven in Spirit and was able to say, “No man hath ascended to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Paul taught us that our citizenship is in heaven, but I fear we have forgotten that we may freely walk in that realm as citizens, and have chosen rather to build our kingdoms and glories here as citizens of this present world system.
We can see and point out some very important examples of Christ’s heavenly citizenship, which show us as nothing else can that all the time of His earthly ministry He lived and moved on the plane of a son of God. He lived in higher realm. He lived in the realm He preached about, even the realm of the kingdom of God. We cannot be too emphatic in saying that the glory of the realm of the kingdom of God cannot in any way be compared to the purely earthly realm that is part and parcel of the dispensation of the grace of God. While eternity’s praise is not enough to extol the grace of God, we must admit that the age itself has been very human and lacking in the glory, government, judgment, justice, and power of God and filled with human ways and human ideas, a thousand divisions, and much sin. When Jesus was here, He lived and moved in the realm of the kingdom which He preached, and I would like you to see that in every respect and in every phase of His life He proved Himself to be living in the realm of the kingdom and totally independent of every part of this world’s system.
Let us notice first that He was completely independent of that one thing to which we are always in bondage—money, the currency of this world system. I often wondered why it was that, though Jesus knew that Judas was thief, He allowed him to carry the money bag and, though He knew Judas was stealing the money, He said nothing about it. Now I know it is wrong to steal, but the point we should see is that in the realm where Jesus actually lived He did not need money and did not care whether there was any money in the bag or not. He was no more in need of money than a robin, an eagle, or an angel. He lived in a realm where God was all in all and everything belonged to Him. It was a realm higher than the realm of men. Judas by his thefts was trying to lay by in store for this realm, but Jesus was not living in this realm nor for it, but independent of it and far above it in the realm of the kingdom.
Again I have wondered why it was that at one time Jesus sent His disciples out to preach the message of the kingdom without scrip and without purse, without two coats and without a sword, but later on He said, “When I sent you out without purse and scrip and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing.” Then He said, “But now he that hath a purse let him take it and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one.” Luke 22:35–36. What was the difference? Why did He tell them to do one thing one time and another thing later on? The difference is just this: When He sent them out at first, they were sent out to proclaim the kingdom, a realm beyond the bondage of this age, but when they were sent forth the second time, they were being prepared to preach the gospel of this age, which is the gospel of grace, a very inferior gospel and a very inferior age in which they would have to depend on purse, scrips, and other earthly things. When for us He laid down His own life, did He not rise again the third day and ascend up to heaven in the sight of His people? He lived in a different realm. He lived in the realm of the kingdom, which He preached, which He will soon come to establish, and of which you and I are to be a part.
There is abundant evidence both in the spirit and in the natural that we are at the very doors of a new age, even the kingdom age. We are without doubt going to be called upon to relinquish our hold on all the things of this age – our striving for comfort and ease, our security for old age, and all the other things that make us conformists to this present world system. Not only are we going to be called upon to relinquish our hold upon natural things but we are going to have to bid farewell to all the systems of a Babylonish church order. Let us not forget that the kingdom, which Christ and the apostles proclaimed is still ahead of us, and it is into the glory of this kingdom with all its freedom of earthly systems that we are now about to come.
Then again, when Jesus fed the five thousand, did He enquire of Judas whether or not there was enough money in the purse to buy food for the crowd? Positively not! Without a thought of money He provided food in the wilderness from the super-abundance of the resources of the kingdom in which He lived. And when one day at the wayside well He requested water of a Samaritan woman while His disciples had gone away to buy food, He Himself gave water to the woman, water of which if anyone drink, he shall never thirst again, but the water should be in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. When at last His disciples came with the food they had bought with money from the bag, He would not eat, but said, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.” Neither food nor drink nor money was any consideration to Him, for He dwelt in a realm superior to our realm, even a realm, which He is now preparing us to enter.
In the realm of the kingdom where Jesus dwelt, He proved that He was not in bondage to taxes nor in straits to pay them. Taxation has been a bondage to the nations of all ages and in our day has become a relentless epidemic that will as readily rob you of the hopes of a life-time as a thief will rob you of your wealth or a cancer will rob you of your life. Yet Jesus was not in bondage to Roman taxation, first because He said, “Then are the children free,” and the second because the taxes He paid He did not owe, but He paid them from the boundless resources of the kingdom of which He was a part. See Matt. 17:24-27.
But money and taxes are not the only bondages of this present age. With a little thought it will become plain that every modern convenience which is invented to make life easier brings us further into bondage until the whole civilized world staggers beneath the load of increasing debt and mounting usury.
Jesus was not in bondage to methods of travel. While He rode in a boat, He showed His power over the waves by walking upon their watery fields, and when He came into the little ship, both ship and passengers were immediately at the other side of the lake. He was not in bondage to the methods of learning common to this age, for He knew letters, never having learned, and amazed the doctors and lawyers with His questions and answers. He was never in bondage to houses or places to live. He was never sick or hurt and, when it came to death, He laid down His life voluntarily that He might take it again.
The things of which we have spoken show only one side of the picture of His life, for though He proved He was not in bondage to anything in this age, He also proved time and again that He was in absolute contact with God and that He lived and moved and had His being in the realm of the kingdom of heaven. Did not the heavens open at His baptism? Did not an audible voice speak to Him from heaven? Did not angels minister unto Him in the wilderness? Did He not talk to Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration and make His enemies fall flat on their backs at a mere word? John 18:6. Did He not heal all sick that came to Him without ever a failure, and raise dead men back to life, rolling away grave stones and stopping funeral processions?
In my heart I am sure that the curtain is ringing down on the church age. Paul’s gospel of grace has run its course and fulfilled its mission in the same manner as the gospel of Moses ended with the coming of Christ. There is to be a rising into the heavenly realms in the end of this age, an invasion of the realms of principalities and powers. They will be cast down to the earth and will have much wrath because of the shortness of their time. Even now men and woman are rising into those new realms and the satanic hosts are filtering down nearer and nearer to the earth. Soon the world will be utterly filled with their delusions. The union of spiritual and political Babylon will take place very rapidly, for they already have much in common. The tribulation will soon be over and the kingdom will be here.
There is a change taking place in the hearts of the elect of God. The mind of Christ is beginning to overtake us and when it does, immortality and eternal life will overtake us as well.
The ways of God have no end. He is inexhaustible. The darkness of one day grows into the glory and light of the next. The cold of winter loosens her frigid grip so that from her icy storehouses waters flow to form the sparkling pools from whose bosom vapors rise to realms celestial to fall again in snow and rain like unto the living Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God to accomplish that which He pleases. The feeble caterpillar which crawls along the ground, trod upon by the foot of man, is destined to flit on starry wings in a heavenly atmosphere no longer hampered by terrestrial things but transformed as though by God’s Spirit from a creature of dust and gluttony to one which has put on a somewhat heavenly tabernacle. In like manner God hath made man a little lower than the angels that he might suffer death, and, being thus proved, that He might crown him with glory and honor in heavenly realms of the Spirit and place him over the work of His (God’s) hands forever.
Let heaven and earth be called to witness the infinite love God bestowed upon us when He made known to us the secret of His will, His will being that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He would gather into Himself all things in heaven and earth. The promise that we should be heirs of the world is left to man, for when God put all things under him (man), He left nothing that is not put under him. As yet we do not see all things under man. But what do we see? We see Jesus Christ, the great Head of the body, the firstborn Son in this vast family of sons. We see Him already far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world (age) but also in the world (age) to come. Where He sits we shall also sit after our testing and preparation is complete. Therefore take courage in “seeing Jesus”, for where He sits we shall also sit in the near future.
The promise of such eternal things is left to man, but not indeed to man who is wayward and sinful. Neither are such promises to Christians who are filled with their own ways. If our earthly life of toil and suffering is permitted to work for us, it will produce a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory for us. We must not look at the things which are seen in our toil and tribulation, for they will but cause our hearts to sorrow in heaviness; but as we know that all things are working together for our good, we look at the things that are not seen, for it is the unseen effect of our tribulations that produces in us and for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. I would to God that all men everywhere might see that everything everywhere is working tirelessly and endlessly to produce sonship in those who are the called according to His eternal purpose. Everywhere! Everything! Temptations, tears, heartaches, unfaithful friends and brethren, loss of property, loss of business, perils, hateful neighbors, fiery furnaces, dens of lions, rugged crosses and isles of exile! All things! All things! All things, too numerous far to mention, are working for the good of God’s elect, and are adding, though unseen now, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory to us.
Your disappointing failures often constitute your greatest successes, for God is not interested in your successes but in your faithful stewardship. A kingdom so vast as that, which is to come, can not be entrusted to any who are not faithful stewards. It is not your apparent success that will determine your right to reign, but your faithfulness in the trust committed to you whether it be large or small. Seeming success or failure means nothing to God. Faithfulness means everything! With God defeats are often victories. If your heart is right, they are always victories. The very thing that seems to completely defeat God’s plan is the thing that brings it to pass. Was it not so with Joseph? He dreamed a dream in which the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His father interpreted the dream to mean that the whole family would bow to him, and he thoroughly rebuked him for his dream. He dreamed again and the sheaves of his brethren bowed down to his sheaf, and they hated him for his dream and sold him into slavery in Egypt saying, “Now we will see what will become of his dreams.” But it was their hateful action and the consequent apparent defeat of the plan of God that eventually brought his dreams to pass. His brethren that hated him and cast him out came and bowed before him and did obeisance. The full intent of God’s heart and mind is clearly seen in Joseph’s words: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” (Gen. 50:20)
It is impossible to imagine the crushing load of grief and sadness that overwhelmed the disciples when Jesus died. Long speeches are not always the most eloquent ones nor are much weeping always the sign of the greatest sorrow. Never was heartache more truly manifest than in the two disciples who walked to Emmaus nor grief more eloquently spoken than in their plaintive words, “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel,” Luke 24:21. When will we ever learn that the visible and evident always sells us short? It is the invisible and unseen that tells us the truth. In the painful travail and bloody sweat of Christ the disciples could see naught but the death of their hopes and the birth of their fears, but He who seeth the invisible “saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied”, and knew that by His knowledge He should justify many. Isa. 53:11. For as many as have been cursed by Adam’s sin shall be blessed by Christ’s righteousness, and in paradox we may truly say that all who have died through Adam’s life will live through Christ’s death. For so hath God declared: “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for Thy sake we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter; Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Seeing then that God has planned to rule the universe through the sons of God whom He has chosen and predestinated to share His glory, our whole desire and effort must be to conform our lives to His will that we might know God.
It is one thing to know God by the hearing of the ear. It is another thing entirely to know Him because we have seen Him by the Spirit. “He that is of God hath seen the Father.” John 6:46. Job was a perfect and an upright man. He feared God and eschewed evil. On several occasions God vindicated Job’s righteousness, saying that there was none like him in all the earth – a perfect and an upright man. After the loss of all his earthly possessions he still held fast to his integrity and did not charge God foolishly. Good as this was it did not fully satisfy the Almighty, for His intention clearly was to bring this good man to the place of sonship. He must be changed from a mere acquaintance of God to one who knew Him by seeing Him. Any suffering is light and small in comparison with this great blessedness. Therefore Job was called upon to suffer still more, and suffer he did – days and days of endless pain, hours and hours of ceaseless nagging from friends who meant well but who were terribly wrong. In their zeal they heaped taunts and reproaches upon his head, thinking his afflictions proved that God had forsaken him. Well might they have learned together with all the children of God that “whom the Lord loveth He correcteth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” It was not the wordy argument of his friends that produced sonship in him, neither was it his own lengthy defense, but when all men had ceased to talk and their words of human wisdom were ended, then God spoke to him. The questions God demanded of him Job could not answer and he realized he had spoken without wisdom. Then in repentance that only God can give this good man cried from the depths of his night of sorrow, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” He saw God! That is what made the difference. That is what made this perfect man see that he was perfect only in the light he had – which was the hearing of the ear – but now a new and better light had dawned and he saw God with his eye, and all his former goodness dwindled to dust and ashes.
God has always been pleased when we believe Him without seeing any outward signs. This has always been His will. A man who cannot believe without seeing does not really believe at all, for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The point I wish to make clear, however, is this: Walking by faith without seeing must eventually produce walking by sight, for it is when we see Him that we come to know Him. “We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:3. “Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him neither known Him.” 1 John 3:6
Isaiah had been a mighty prophet of the Lord in Israel, but it was not until King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord. Isa. 6 It was when the prophet saw Him, high and lifted up, the smoke of God filling the temple while cherubim chanted, “Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God of hosts” that this mighty man of God saw his own uncleanness before God. With the same penitent voice that we heard in Job Isaiah cried, “Woe is me, for I am undone! For I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” Just to know God afar off is wonderful. Just to hear of Him by the hearing of the ear is benefit and blessing incomprehensible. Even this is sufficient to transform a life. But to draw nigh to God and see Him is to be changed into that same image and to be cleansed from all unrighteousness. When the prophet saw himself in the light of this Sun of Righteousness, he cried out in the shame of his uncleanness. Then and only then did the seraphim come with a live coal from off the altar of God and lay it upon the prophet’s lips, saying. “Lo, this hath touched thy lips and thine iniquity is purged and thy sin taken away.” Then in the light of this new revelation of God he heard God speaking to him in an audible voice.
“Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him.” The crying need of our hearts is to see Him and thus know Him. Then shall we be at last free from our inbred sin. The experience of seeing God is an experience we have all thought of as far off in some future generation, but I want to show you a mystery. We can see God now just as Job and Isaiah did. Though our experiences may differ, yet the result will always be the same-freedom from sin. In the midst of this turmoil Job cried, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and He shall stand in the latter days upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” He was positively sure in his own mind that in some distant future day he would see God, but what he did not know was that God at that very moment was leading him into the coveted experience. Within a few days he would shout with ecstatic joy, ‘Wow mine eye seeth Thee!” Job 42:5. It is easy to put off spiritual experience for the millenniums to come, but God would like to have us enter them now.
“That I may know Him” was the ceaseless longing of Paul’s heart. Phil 3:10. Too many sermons are preached about God, but too few people come to know Him personally. You can never know people by hearing about them even from their closest friends. You must see them, know them, and understand them personally. However vivid a description may be given of an individual, you could still pass him on the street without knowing who he was or even live in the same house with him without knowing he was the person in question. So also it is with God. You will know many things about Him by hearing, but you will only know Him when your eye sees Him. “No man can see God and live,” but that does not mean that he will give up the ghost and die. It means that he will never live the same any more, but will live as God lives in the Spirit.
Books are written by the score on how to pray, but we really don’t learn to pray that way. We learn by praying. Multiplied sermons are preached on how to imitate Christ, but God is not interested in your imitation. A parrot may imitate a man’s voice but it is still a parrot, or a monkey may imitate a man’s actions but he still remains a monkey. So also a carnal man may imitate God and try to be like Christ but he is still a carnal man. The only thing that satisfies God is the dying of the old man and the formation of the new, the Adamic nature being supplanted by the Christ nature, the corruptible being swallowed up by the incorruptible, the mortal by the immortal. “He who is of God, he hath seen the Father.” John 6:46. To see Him is to know Him.
To know God is to become acquainted with His ways. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. Most of us never know anything about God except what acts we see Him do. Men love to feast their eyes on healings and miracles, but you will not come to know God by witnessing His acts however great they may be. To know the ways of God is another matter. Two million Israelites knew about the acts of God, but only one man knew His ways. The multitudes knew God by the parting of the Red Sea, the manna on the ground, the water that flowed from the rock but Moses knew the eternal purpose God had in mind when He created the worlds, when He called Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. He knew why God had raised up this rebellious people and what the ultimate end of it would be in the ages to come. He had seen God face to face and had spoken to Him face to face and was carefully making all things according to the pattern God had showed him in the mount.
The opinions we form by hearing about people are usually found to be wrong after we have come to know them personally. This is also true concerning God. When you come to know Him, you will find Him very unlike the description given by theologians. You will come to know that much that they teach is only rubbish because it is contrary to the nature of God. It certainly was so with the Jewish theologians and doctors of the law. When Jesus came, He smashed their theories to bits and tore the robes of their ecclesiasticism to ribbons. He ate with sinners, cast the devil out of the Syropheonician, let a sinful woman wash His feet, forgave a thief, healed on the Sabbath, ate with unwashed hands, called the best religionists of His day bars, hypocrites, serpents, snakes, children of the devil, whited sepulchers, and a generation of vipers. They thought that they knew God, but they didn’t. He was more pleased with the sincerity of sinners than with the ritualism of scribes and Pharisees. When you come to know Him, you will find that it is the same now as it was then. He is outside the modern church and is knocking at the hearts of individual men and women for admittance. Rev. 3:20. If you want to know Him, you will find Him “outside the camp”.
A man who knows God can answer questions about God because he knows God. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” 1 John 1:3. These are the words of a man speaking from beyond the veil of the flesh, from the holy of holies, the presence of God. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
“Hereby we do know that we know God, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.” It is not the Ten Commandments, which are in question here, but the keeping of God’s divine will and command however it may be expressed. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” God’s will and commandments in this age of the Spirit are being manifested by the leading of the Spirit. It is even as Jesus said: “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do, for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth, and He will show Him greater things than these that ye all may marvel.” John 5:19-20. The sons of God must be always acquainted with the voice of the Holy Spirit that they might be led by the Spirit in every detail. Then can it be said they know the Father and keep His commandments. He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
“That I may know Him,” cried Paul in the longing of his soul. “That I may know Him,” patriarchs and seers of all ages have prayed. That I may know Him is the echo of ten thousand longing souls as the lengthening shadows of this dispensation of grace stretch across the weary earth and the millennial dawn with rosy steps advancing in the eastern clime comes stealing o’er the meadows of our hearts.
I hope we are all tired of repeating the theories and doctrines of the resurrection and have come to the place where we want to know the power of His resurrection. We want to experience its power working in us here and now. There will come a day when all men, good and evil, will rise from the dead, but the resurrection for which we look and long is not an event but a person. “I know that he shall rise in the resurrection at the last day,” said Martha, but Jesus replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whosoever believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” Oh that we might know the resurrection in such power and glory as this – that without dying we could put on life] Oh that we might put on Christ and have our mortality swallowed up by life divine. The more the carnal mind reigns, the more we have of death. The more Christ reigns, the more we have of life.
It is sad to me to know that, though Christ has died once for all men, yet we continue to die because we insist upon it. He has borne the sins of all mankind, yet we continue both to sin and to bear the judgment that He has already borne. Why can we never believe Him? Why can we never accept such glorious promises as this? “Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb. 9:26-28. Death came by sin, and Christ appeared to abolish death. Christ abolished the law. 2 Cor. 3:13. Christ abolished the ordinances. Eph. 2:15. Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light. 2 Tim. 1: 10.
Oh that we might know experimentally the power of His resurrection! Paul’s desire to know Christ and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable to His death, was that he might attain the resurrection of the dead. Phil. 3:11. He admitted that as yet he had not attained it but declared, “I follow after; if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” To apprehend means to lay hold of. Thus he says, “If I may lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me,” that is, the resurrection. Phil. 3:11–12. He declared he had not yet attained what he wanted, but he said, “This one thing I do: forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forth unto the things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13, 14
So, you see, this life in Christ was the prize he wanted to attain. He was straining every spiritual nerve to receive it. Whether or not he ever attained is more than I know. Perhaps he had to die in faith without receiving that perfect prize. His exhortation in verse 15 is this: “Let us therefore as many as be perfect (Weymouth-mature) be thus minded.” However foolish such things may appear to the natural mind, let all who are mature be thus minded.
The natural mind with its natural way of looking at things never did and never will understand the things of the Spirit of God, for “they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2:14-16. The natural man cannot comprehend the incomprehensible. His faith can never revel in the impossible. He is hermetically sealed on the natural side of things. The spiritual man lives in a different world. While his physical body walks the earth, his spirit roams the elysian fields of the realm above and basks in the sunshine of his heavenly citizenship. He is in the world but not of it. He is prone to speak of the things that pertain to that spiritual world and is counted a fool by the natural man. He is like a man from another world who speaks freely of the things he knows, but to those who do not know his words are idle tales. No man will attain the prize of God by troubling his head about what other people think, for the thoughts of man are not the thoughts of God. Therefore let all who would attain the power of the resurrection forget everything that pertains to human learning and knowledge and press toward the goal set before us. The world by wisdom knew not God, so why am I obliged to hear its wisdom? Yea, the wisdom of man is foolishness with God.
Why should it be thought a thing impossible that God should raise the dead? And why should it be thought a thing impossible that a man should live forever, his mortality being swallowed up by God’s life? We have all been taught to believe that death is sure and certain, but if we can find even one man who escaped death, then death is not certain. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, did not die. He escaped death. In fact, it is written, “By faith Enoch was translated that he might not see death.” Heb. 11:5. Elijah did not die, for he was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. And who dare say that John the apostle died when Jesus declared, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” John 21:21-24. And hear the inspired words of the apostle Paul: “Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep (die).” 1 Cor. 15:51
Said Jesus, “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.” John 6:49, 50. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If a man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” John 6:51. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep My sayings, he shall never see death.” John 8:51. However fantastic or impossible such truths may appear to the natural man, my heart goes on longing to know the power of His resurrection. Should I never attain, I know I shall but sleep and stand in my lot at the end of the age with those who have attained. In this flesh of mine God shall some day be seen-God who is life and cannot die. “If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,” sobbed Martha. Of course he would not have died if Jesus had been there. How much less should we die when God’s Son dwells within, He who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light that no man approacheth.
Men have come forth with numerous doctrines and theories concerning the resurrection. With natural minds they have arranged each event in order. They have debated and fought over the theories of pre- and post-millennialism. Some have had all the dead, good and bad, rising at once. Others have divided them up into companies. This is all very interesting material, but it really doesn’t get us very far or bring us any closer to God. “Tis true there will be a great day of resurrection, but the thing the theologians have missed in their zeal is the thing they always miss – the most important point of all. in this case they have forgotten that the resurrection is not so much an event as a person, and that person is Jesus Christ Himself. Can you not hear that wonderful conversation between Jesus and Martha? Listen to them as they talk. Said Martha, “If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee.” Jesus saith unto her, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Martha saith unto Him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” She replied, “Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
“Believest thou this?” questioned the Son of God. “Believest thou this?” He asks today. Let us answer that question with Martha. Do we also believe that He is the resurrection? The importance of this understanding cannot possibly be overestimated, for herein lies the great truth of the power of His resurrection. If Jesus Himself is the resurrection, then to have Him is to partake of the resurrection here and now, for if a man eats of this bread, he shall never die. John 6:50. This, indeed, is the life of Jesus being made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor. 4:11. Again, “if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Rom. 8:11
There is abundant truth in Rom. 8:13. “If we live after the flesh, we shall die.” Is it not true that all Christians, practically speaking, live and move and have their being after the dictates of the natural? The result is they all die. “But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” To live in the Spirit is to live on the plane of the resurrection. All our natural ways of looking at things must go if we are to enjoy this heavenly citizenship. It is those who are led by the Spirit who are the sons of God. They alone can begin to enjoy the power of the resurrection.
I have been staggered by the truths contained in 2 Corinthians, chapters 4 and 5. We are all accustomed to reading these passages from the King James version and have unconsciously built our theories around each verse. I wish, therefore, to quote a few verses from chapter 5 from Goodspeed’s translation. “For I know that if this earthly tent that I live in is taken down, God will provide me a building in heaven to live in not built by human hands, but eternal. This makes me sigh with longing to put on my heavenly dwelling, for if I do I shall never be disembodied. For I who am still in my tent sigh with anxiety, because I do not want to be stripped of it, but to put on the other over it so that what ix only mortal may be absorbed in life. It is God Himself who has prepared me for this change, and has given the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Cor. 5:1-5
The death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are the very heart of the Gospel. The death of Jesus alone would be small consolation for any of us, for “if Christ be not risen, ye are yet in your sins and all who have fallen asleep in Jesus are perished.” The fact that He is alive and ever liveth flows out from the heart of the whole plan of the Gospel and redemption. The resurrection must not be limited to the physical rising of one man even though He was the Son of God. It is more by far than a physical fact. When he died, He died for me personally and He died for you personally. Because of this I was with Him in what He did and accomplished and so also were you. Did not Paul declare, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above?”
It is an eternal fact that both our death and our resurrection are accomplished in our identification with Him. If by the Holy Spirit we can see this truth, our struggles to attain will be over. For the thing we wish to attain has already been attained. The thing you are searching for is your possession. The thing you long for you possess. A perfect and complete work was accomplished by the Christ of God. It is finished and nothing can be accomplished by a struggle. I am not trying to persuade you to live in lethargy and empty faith, but our only struggle will be manifest in our effort to receive by faith what has been eternally done for us. If we can believe the debt has been completely paid, we will no longer spend our lives struggling to pay it. Even a sinner must discover that –
Jesus paid it all;
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.
If we can believe that Jesus died for us, then there is no possible reason why we should die. But we all unconsciously or consciously go on making preparation for death. If we believe that Jesus rose again and we rose again with Him, then we can present ourselves to God as living men risen from the dead. When he died, we died. When He rose, we rose. When He ascended, we ascended. When He was seated in the heavenlies, we were seated with Him in heavenly places. It is of faith that it might be by grace.
I know it is impossible to see such a truth as the above with the natural mind, but though eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him, yet He hath revealed them to us by His spirit. I humbly beg of you to see that it is quite impossible to understand any spiritual truth without the revelation of the Spirit. Until the Holy Spirit moves, the earth is without form and void and darkness is upon the face of the deep. Only let God say, “Let there be light,” and light will push its golden fingers through the gloom and darkness of your minds. The struggling of a drowning man is often the thing that hinders his rescue. So also our strugglings and labors hinder us from entering into His rest.
Our hearts are often filled with unbelief because of the errors tradition has taught us. Human beings are always prone to form doctrines that seem to fit in with the general experience of mankind. Because the vast majority of Christians live after the flesh, we are inclined to discredit the possibility of any living after the Spirit. Because “all seek their own”, we are inclined to think that none can seek the things that are Jesus Christ’s. Because we see nothing but death working in men, we do our best to spiritualize any scripture that dares to imply that life could work in us instead.
There are certain times and seasons when God brings to life truths that have been allowed to lie in grave clothes for ages and dispensations. As a seed lies dormant in the winter months and then bursts into life in the warmth and rain of spring, so also has the truth of God been allowed to lie in death throughout the wintry night of the past six thousand years now at last to burst into a fruitful harvest in the millennial spring. Did you ever notice the eternal truth of this scripture, spoken first by Isaiah and repeated by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch two thousand years ago? “In His humiliation His judgment was taken away and who shall declare His generation, for His life is taken from the earth.” Acts 8:33 For almost twenty centuries people have believed that the humiliation of Christ referred only to His rejection by Israel at His first coming, and they have thought that the taking of His life from the earth referred only to His death on the cross. But the unfolding revelation of this hour teaches us that the whole church age has been a time of Christ’s humiliation and a time of humiliation for the people of Christ. The children of God have known only humiliation for centuries and all true judgment has been taken away from the earth. It is also true that His life is taken from the earth and, in truth, it has been taken away from the earth for all these centuries that have passed, for, while men rejoiced in spirit, their bodies were on the journey to the grave. But the winter of night and death is almost over. It is time for the flowers to appear on the earth and the singing of birds to come. It is time for the humiliation of Christ to be ended and His life to be restored to the earth. It is time to know Him and the power of His resurrection, for His kingdom is at hand.
The hour is at hand for mortality to be overtaken by immortality. The hour has come for corruption to be overtaken by incorruption. The time has come for death to be swallowed up of life. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, and then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.
Christ Himself is the resurrection and Christ is the life. All who believe in Him, though they were dead, yet shall they live, and all who live and believe in Him shall never die.
TREASURES OF TRUTH, Volume 5, The Glory Son to be Revealed [George R. Hawtin] ~ BOOK 1