TREASURES OF TRUTH, VOLUME 6
THE BODY OF CHRIST-THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
THE MYSTERY OF THE TRUE CHURCH OR THE BODY OF
THE BODY OF CHRIST. ONE LIKE THE SON OF MAN
THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS IS
MY FATHER’S HOUSE
MY FATHER’S HOUSE, THE TRUE TEMPLE OF THE LORD
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUE ECCLESIA
THE MYSTERY OF THE TRUE CHURCH OR THE BODY OF CHRIST
When the renowned poet, Sir Walter Scott, lay dying, he said to his servant, “Bring me the Book.” “But, Sir Walter,” replied the servant, “there are twenty thousand books in your library. Which one do you wish me to bring?” “There is only one Book,” replied Sir Walter; and without hesitation the servant brought him the Bible.
No book ever written can be compared to the Bible, for this is the word of God. It does not merely contain the words of God. The Bible is the Word of God. The mighty Lord Himself is the Author divine, inspiring each truth, each sentence, and each word. It is a book free of errors, whether historical, scientific or prophetic. It is free of all contradiction and in its original state completely perfect. The created word, which includes all creation, the written word, which is the Bible, and the living word, which is Jesus Christ, are a threefold word, speaking with sublime harmony of the purpose which God designed in Jesus Christ long before the ages began. No other book ever written can compare to this whose depths are fathomless and whose truths are inexhaustible. None can uncover the past with such accuracy or with so few words, and none but this can draw aside the darkling veil that shrouds the future to reveal its secrets with an accuracy as certain as history itself. Not one jot or tittle of it has failed or will fail until all is fulfilled. Think not that our heavenly Father is distressed because of the blatant rantings of atheists. Well He knows they are but fools who in their hearts declare, “There is no God.” Nor does He rouse Himself to disprove the error of the evolutionist whose childish defiance seeks to rob the Creator of His creation and the Almighty of His power. God wrote this Book and breathed into its pages light and understanding to all that fear the Lord, but darkness and death to all who doubt His goodness and fear Him not.
Centuries ago the Psalmist questioned, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psa. 11:3. We are living in a day when “darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.” These are dark ages of doubt, fear, confusion and misunderstanding. Men in our day allude to the middle centuries as the dark ages, but they do not seem to know that darkness beclouds their own understanding, hiding from their eyes the glorious revelation for these closing days of time. When the Spirit of God spoke, saying, “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people,” Isa. 60:2, He was speaking of the day in which we now live. The earth of which He speaks is the world as a whole. Terrible is the darkness and confusion that in our day holds mankind in its chain. The world is groping in darkness and misunderstanding to such an extent that all things in it are out of course. Millions starve while plenty abounds. Strong nations cry, “Peace, peace,” though their guns are never silent and blood flows like rivers to the sea. People cry out for more and more knowledge only to find, as they did in Eden, that their knowledge brings death and sorrow, trouble and confusion. But, alas, dark and forbidding as is the darkness that covers the earth, it is but early twilight compared to the gross darkness that covers the people.
Perhaps you will ask this question, “To whom does the prophet refer when he speaks of the people?” There is only one answer that can be given. The people referred to here are the people of God, for whether they be Jews, Israelites, or Christians, darkness, yea, gross darkness that can be felt, covers them all. As far as I am concerned, and I think God has given me some wisdom for these last days, the grossest darkness of the hour hangs like a thick cloud over that whole system, which we in our ignorance refer to as “the church”, but which the Bible unerringly brands as Mystery Babylon the great, mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. Rev. 17:1-7 Such gross darkness enshrouds this confused system that those who dwell within its precincts cannot see their way. The blind lead the blind and both fall into the ditch. Her prophets preach for hire. Her shepherds fleece the sheep. Her healers heal for prominence and gain. The cry of her hireling ministry is gold, silver, and dollars! Money, money, money, money! No project is ever undertaken for God without the subtle appeal for cash. While the Church of Rome pleads for money to relieve the distress of the world, her own coffers bulge at the seams with an estimated five hundred billion dollars. The radio, the television, the mails, and the meetings are loud and unashamed in their wanton appeals for more and more money for this work and that, for this orphanage and that, for this missionary and that until all who listen should surely know that modern religion is empowered by the financial system of this evil world and not by the Spirit of God.
Against the black and forbidding cloud of darkness that covers the earth and the gross darkness that covers the people it is my purpose in this article to show that God has reserved to Himself in our day a people who is completely different, a people who is wholly His. He has a people who dwells in the light which Christ Himself is, elect according to the foreknowledge of God, sanctified by His Spirit, obedient to their heavenly Father, and sprinkled with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. Unto them He calls, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.” S. of 8.2:10-13.
May the Spirit of the living God lay His finger of inspiration upon all that is true, enlightening the eyes of our understanding, giving us abundantly of the wisdom of God that we may be able to discern and easily differentiate between that virgin church without spot or wrinkle, which Jesus Christ is preparing for Himself, and that bawdy harlot system, full of names of blasphemy, who which her multiplied sects and denominations now proudly boasts, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” Rev. 18:7. One would certainly think that God’s people would readily see the difference between the virgin and the harlot, but such is not always the case. Would God that the eyes of all men could now see the hidden mystery of Christ and the true church! Would God that all men could see that this hidden mystery, this pearl of great price, has nothing in common with that tradition-ridden system which men in all walks of life believe to be the church. So thoroughly do they believe this vast system of denominations to be the church that they willingly follow it all their lives, giving their time, their talent, and their abundance of wealth to the upbuilding of that which, being increased in goods and having need of nothing, has made herself drunk with the blood of the saints and thrust Christ Himself outside her doors.
Tradition is an exceedingly powerful force. Tradition in my opinion is neither wholly good nor wholly evil. Whately said, “Tradition, as held by the Romanists, is subordinate to scripture and dependent on it as some parasite plants are dependent on the tree that supports them. The former cling to the latter and rest upon it; then gradually overspread it with their own foliage till by little and little they weaken and then smother it.” This is true, but it need not be said only of Romanists. It is true of every religious denomination in the world of whatsoever sort or brand it be down through all ages unto the present time. This I declare to be true without any exception to the rule. The same Whately said, “To follow imperfect tradition in order to avoid erring in our own judgment is but to exchange one danger for another.” “I am well satisfied,” said Thomas Arnold, “that, if you let in one little finger of tradition, you will have the whole monster, horns, tail and all.”
The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47 The English word church, as I think the reader knows, has come from the Greek word ekklesia (ecclesia). Ek – means out; kaleo means call. Ekklesia therefore means the out-called or the called out. The English word church, therefore, means the called out. It is concerning this true church, the sacred mystery of God that I wish now by the help of the Spirit to write.
In the preceding paragraph we quoted the words of Whately concerning the power of tradition to smother and destroy the truth, and I must state with the greatest possible clarity that nowhere in all the world has tradition held more deadly sway than in the church system. In the quotation written above Mr. Whately makes this significant comparison: Tradition … is dependent upon scripture … as some parasite plants (are dependent) on the tree that supports them. The former (the parasite) clings to the latter (the tree) and rests upon it, then gradually overspreads it with its own foliage till by little and little they weaken and smother it.” I once stood admiring a great oak tree with stalwart trunk and spreading branches; but this oak tree was different from the other trees in the forest, for in spite of its great size and beauty it was completely dead. Its life had been smothered out by an ivy that had grown up from the ground, encircling the tree and the branches as a boa constrictor encircles and crushes its prey, until it had smothered the giant oak and spread its own foliage in its place. That is what tradition has done to the church. The foliage of tradition has spread itself over the church until the true is lost in the untrue, the real in the unreal.
At the beginning of the dispensation of grace the world was visited by events so momentous in their power and glory that all things were changed from that time onward. In the eternal realm before the ages were formed, and ages before man first saw the light of earth’s day, the almighty Lord set in motion His omniscient and immutable purpose for the ages, which were to follow. As a year is filled with days and a day is filled with hours, so eternity is filled with ages and ages with dispensations. Let it be thoroughly known and devoutly believed that our all-wise heavenly Father planned the events of each successive day from the very first age unto the ages of ages far beyond the comprehension of man.
The eternal purpose of Him who purposed all things after the counsel of His own will is being worked out one step at a time in each succeeding age-day in like manner as people who read these lines have often planned in advance the work for each successive day of the week. Is it not so that many of the wives and business men now reading these lines have plans in mind for today and tomorrow and perhaps for each day of the week?
Whether consciously or unconsciously we all plan ahead, daily and even hourly working toward some human goal. Ask any little boy on the street what he wants to be when he grows up to be a man and in nine cases out often he will give you an answer. His answer may be but a notion and naught but childish imagination, yet the fact that some purpose is in his little head shows that he is the offspring of that wise heavenly Father whose almighty power worketh all things according to the counsel of His will so that we should be to the praise of His glory who first fixed our hopes in Him. If you remove purpose aionian and eternal from your understanding, then your sheltered harbors become whirlpools and all your mighty rocks become misty clouds. Your eternal treasure house of hope is left full of gaping holes where thieves break through and steal, and you yourself are left as hopeless as a crow in the ocean or a pelican in the wilderness. Dare we know that a little bird would plan a nest to rear her young and that a puny man would spend one-third of his life schooling himself for a work he purposes to do and still imagine the infinite, the all-wise, the almighty and immutable could be purposeless? I trow not, for whatsoever you see of purpose in God’s creation, whether birds or beasts or men, that purpose is there because they are creatures of Him who purposed all things according to the counsel of His will.
There is nothing that opens the wellsprings of love, of faith and understanding, in the human heart like the knowledge of His purpose. What infinite joy, what satisfaction and assurance soothes each troubled soul when for the first time in our lives our all-wise heavenly Father is seen to be a God of purpose, knowing the end from the beginning because He planned the beginning and planned the end! He created all things and made all things and brought all things into being that His glorious purpose might be fulfilled. It was this triumphant knowledge that filled the heart of the apostle Paul when he wrote these immortal words to the ecclesia at Rome: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Rom. 8:28-31
You will probably ask me the question, “Did God plan the fall of man?” I answer with assurance, “Most certainly He did.” You may ask again, “Why would God plan a thing like that?” The answer is very simple. It is this: He had a purpose in the fall of man, a purpose lost to our sight because tradition has blinded our eyes, but that purpose was so far-reaching and glorious that it is the very foundation of a perfect universe to be unveiled when the plan of God is complete. Hear now what the Spirit of God says concerning this tremendous truth. Paul, writing to the Romans, drew aside the veil to give mankind a clearer view into the mysteries that lay hidden in God’s mind from the foundation of the ages. This is what he clearly stated: “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Now take particular notice of the inspired words that follow. “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him (God) who has subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” Rom. 8:18-21
A Chinese proverb says, “Never pass beautiful scenery in a hurry.” Let us apply this principle to these verses, for here lies one of the most beautiful scenes in all the Bible. God has a purpose in suffering and suffering came by the fall; and, when the purpose is revealed, all the dreadful suffering of all the ages, which I admit is beyond the power of description, will be unworthy of mention compared to the glory that has been heaped upon us as a direct result of it. There is a purpose in suffering, in pain, in sickness, in bereavement, in heartache, disappointment, separation and betrayal, and these all came as a direct result of the fall, which is our subjection to vanity. Name any suffering you wish; then lift up your eyes to God with love and trust and He will tell you that your suffering is for a magnificent purpose that only He at present understands. He will show you that suffering is God’s fire that melts the rock, releasing the precious gold that will form a priceless vessel in the Father’s house, which is in truth the body of Christ and which in truth you are. “Why did God allow this tribulation, this pain, this calamity?” you ask. Have faith to wait and see, after He has tried you, you shall be as gold. We have a high priest who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Beautiful, isn’t it? But have you not read that this same high priest that had been through the grinding mill and the burning fire, and every priest in His kingdom of priests, every vessel in His holy, living temple which we are, will be found to be a precious stone because it is a tried stone, disallowed of men but chosen o/God? 1 Pet. 1:7.
“Why can’t I be like other people, Lord,” so oft I cry;
“I see the careless multitude go laughing, passing by.
Why must I bear this burden till it seems that I must die?”
Then the answer comes, “Have I not chosen you?”
I cried, “O Lord, why am I made a laughing stock to foes?
“Why can’t I lightly turn aside from other people’s woes?
“Why is it that from year to year I bear the worldly blows?
Then the answer comes, “Have I not chosen you?”
And some day, when I’m crowned within that home beyond the sky,
I’ll ask, “Why am I honored thus?” while countless ages fly;
He’ll smile and answer sweetly with the love-light in His eye,
“My child, it is because I’ve chosen you.”
Thus it was that at the beginning of the dispensation of grace the Lord began that special phase of His aionian purpose, the calling out of a people who would be in the image of Jesus Christ, members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones, the ecclesia of God. Never did He call them to become members of one of man’s denominations. He called them to be members of Himself, of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. Therefore it is written, “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things in common… And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:42-47
It is my earnest prayer to God that our eyes may be enlightened and our understanding made keen by the Spirit of God so that we may grasp the truth that, when the Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved, He was forming and adding to that true ecclesia, that called out company, which was to form the body of Christ. This is the true and only church, the great mystery of this age of grace. There was then none other church but this. There is today no other church than this. Man has organized his multiplied imitations of God’s church, giving each group some special name to add to the ever increasing confusion of saint and sinner alike, but God recognizes none of them as His. He wraps the whole mass of confusion into one great bundle and describes this abominable mystery of man’s making as a woman sitting on a scarlet colored beast, full of names, denominational names, sectarian names, which the Spirit declares to be names of blasphemy. This confused harlot, the mother of many daughters, sits arrayed in purple and scarlet and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication; and upon her forehead is a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. Rev. 17:5.
This is the subtle foliage of church tradition, which Satan has spread to bury and smother the true ecclesia, but the Lord recognizes none of it as His. He is still admiring that spotless virgin church which has been rising in the heavenly realm throughout the centuries and which He has kept separate and holy unto Himself, as pure today as in the beginning. In the very beginning the Lord added to the true church daily such as should be saved, and I have confidence to believe that every day since then during all these long centuries of time He has been adding daily and hourly to that same mysterious church such as should be saved.
The book of Romans is the center and heart of all the writings of Paul, and, if I may draw the likeness, all his other epistles are like expository sermons, enlarging on the great truths laid down for our learning in that remarkable epistle. When Paul, therefore, wrote to the church at Ephesus, he enlarged greatly on that mystery, the true and only church, the body of Jesus Christ, which is being prepared by God to govern the world in the kingdom age to come, to restore all things and make them one in Christ in the dispensation of the fullness of times, and then to govern the universe in the ages to follow. This one true church, which He has been forming through the centuries, is no after-thought in the mind of God. Surely even mortal man of finite understanding can comprehend that an ecclesia ordained to such universal works of restoration and government in the ages to come must of necessity be the object of special care and preparation in the hands of an all-wise Father.
In the book of Ephesians the burden of Paul’s message was to show clearly how important the true church is in the plan of God. Therefore, after briefly stating his own calling as an apostle in verse one, praying that the grace and peace of God would rest upon them in verse two, and giving thanks to God in verse three for the abundant spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we dwell, he then begins a sermon concerning the high and holy calling of the true church, a disclosure so great that no man could believe or understand it except the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from on high were his teacher and instructor.
In verse four the importance of the calling of the true church is greatly emphasized by the remarkable truth stated in these words: “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” I exhort all to read those lines of inspiration with diligence and prayer because the truth written therein will give you an entirely different outlook concerning all things. You will see yourself as God saw you in His plan. You will see the wonderful love and wisdom of God, and grasp, at least in part, the vast importance of your calling in Him. You, blood-washed saints of God, are the true ecclesia, the called of God. Furthermore, I am sure that, by meditating in the Spirit upon these words, you will discern the difference between that true mystery which is the ecclesia of God and that other mystery, the false hodge-podge, headless confusion of human denominations and organizations, which is Mystery Babylon the great. And, seeing the difference by the Spirit, may God grant you grace to wholeheartedly “come out of her” and come unto Him. “Come unto Me,” saith Christ, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
So important to the plan of God is this mysterious ecclesia, the true church, His body, that He chose each member of it before the world was founded or ever begun. Before the stars were rolled out in their orbits or the sun and moon took their watch in the heavens, the all-wise Father brought forth the plan of the ages, rejoicing the hearts of the sons of God till the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy. He chose the members of His ecclesia before the foundation of the world and ordained that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
Now consider of how great importance the purpose of God for His church must be that He with infinite care and unerring foresight would plan in minute detail every purpose concerning it long before the worlds were formed or the ages begun. Consider further how great the plan must be that He would foreknow, choose, predestinate, and call each and every man and woman who in the will of God would carry into fruitfulness the intrinsic details of His immutable purpose. Would God that I had the speech of angels and wisdom that could unfold to each spiritual mind an understanding of the infinite glory that God is preparing for all His creation and for His own glory and infinite joy! Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for them that love Him, but He does reveal them by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. Before the worlds began and before the ages were formed, yea, before Adam walked in His beautiful Eden, our all-wise heavenly Father foresaw not only the day when there would be a garden of Eden in the earth, but a day when the earth itself would be a garden of Eden in our universe, and a greater day when our universe would be a garden of Eden in the great sidereal realms beyond, and yet a day still further on when all things everywhere would be restored and inhabited and governed by the hosts of the redeemed. In that day all creation shall walk and work, increase and prosper. There is no need of the sun to shine by day or a moon by night, for the Lord God giveth them light. They shall walk in the light, which He is, and He shall be their dwelling place. God Himself shall be their Father and they shall be His sons.
My puny mind, even when touched by the finger of inspiration, is completely incapable of describing the glory, which God has prepared for those who love Him. That eternal realm will not be a heaven after the pattern of human tradition, which in visages a sort of static heaven with nothing to do but play harps and shout hallelujah, but a realm of restful labor as world after world and universe after universe is brought into the sweet harmony of the everlasting Father. Is not this what Paul is saying when momentarily he is swept beyond the bounds of our present heavenly calling to cry aloud with the trumpet voice of inspiration that “in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him?” Eph. 1:10. Can we heap blame upon the head of this faithful apostle and accuse him of digressing from his subject when his heart was filled to overflowing with the unspeakable knowledge that the restoration of the entire universe was in fact God’s basic reason for the calling of this mysterious and glorious ecclesia? And does not the abounding revelation and the magnificent hope he sets forth of things to come make the calling of this elect ecclesia an object of infinite reason and a wealth of divine understanding? Is it not wisdom, in the light of such universal restoration and peace, that God should call, predestinate, and choose before the foundation of time or ages those harbingers of His message of restoration, those workers in His vineyard of peace, those sons of His high calling? Need I say that this is the wisdom of the Infinite, the knowledge of the Omniscient, the power of the Almighty, the truth of the Faithful, and the hope that maketh not ashamed?
When for a brief moment my eyes descend from the glory of these celestial hills, I am filled with a sadness that is unspeakable, for there on the plains of human understanding I see a multitude of tradition-bound men, many thousands of them saved, indeed, but bound by the chains of tradition to human systems. They struggle to get men saved before it is eternally too late, never understanding the truth that no man comes too late, never understanding the truth that no man comes except the Father draw him, John 6:44, and failing to comprehend the words divine, “All that the Father hath given Me will come to Me.” John 6:37. They do not realize the depth of the meaning of Paul’s words, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. 15:22-26. They may frantically try every method they wish, but they will not hasten God’s plan or His purpose. Those who are to come in during this age will come in as God calls them. Those who are to come in the kingdom age will come in ax God calls them. Those who are to come in the fullness of times will come as God calls them. Every man will partake of the resurrection in his own order. As young men are called to arms by groups and classes in times of war, so God has decreed that every man in his own order will answer the call and be made alive.
Let the saints of God abandon the smothering theories of tradition. Let them break the chains placed upon them by a harlot church system, a system that owns neither husband nor head. Let them cast off the shackles that bind them as galley slaves to the doomed and sinking ship which mankind in ignorance calls the church. Why should you give your substance to the harlot woman who is of the earth earthy? The Spirit of God is calling you to lift up your eyes to the heavenly hills to behold the pure virgin who sits in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, both in this age and that which is to come. Darkness now covers the earth, but shame on us that gross darkness covers the people — the people of God, not the people of the world! Why should the people who once walked in the light of the Lord now sit in gross darkness? Because they have embraced the tradition of the harlot! They have been wedded to a system and have not sought to become one with that heavenly Christ, the head of the true ecclesia whose dwelling is in heavenly places.
Do I not speak the truth when I say that times without number evangelists who serve in the bondage and tradition of the church system, after seeing many men repent of their sins, seek the cleansing of His blood, and rejoice in a new found joy, have straightway said to these new converts, “Go now and join the church of your choice.” Forthwith men and women, who on Sunday rejoiced together in the love of Christ, found themselves on Monday divided and scattered by the demon of denominationalism, ready to tear each other’s eyes over doctrines and creeds of human origin. Why did not these men who call themselves evangelists tell their converts that the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit had already made them heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ? Why did they not teach them that in one Spirit they were all baptized into one body, even the mystical body of Jesus Christ, who is the Lord and head of us all? The moment He cleansed us in His blood and placed His regenerating Spirit within us, then and there we became members of the only true church in the whole universe, but these tradition-bound men turned our innocent eyes away from the church of the firstborn, whose names are in heaven, and pointed us to the mother of harlots and her many daughters, telling us to embrace whichever one we chose. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” saith God almighty, “but he that is joined to an harlot is one flesh.” 1 Cor. 6:15-17. Why, oh why, dear child of God, can you not see the heavenly? Even because your eyes have been directed to the earthly. Why can you not see the heavenly virgin? Because those who ministered to you have exalted the harlot, which is of the earth earthy.
Many thousands of well-meaning people are desperately trying to unite in one all these harlot systems. They hope that by so doing they can present a united front to the world. They want Catholic and Protestant to hold dialogue and meetings together to iron out their differences, vainly imagining that by such methods they are bringing to pass the prayer of Jesus, “That they all may be one.” Are we so blind that we do not see that, when the mother of harlots is united with her harlot daughters to form one world-wide system, they will still be harlots and not the true church, though they now abide in one house? The understanding needs but little enlightening to perceive that such a union as this can never possibly become the virgin church or the mystical body of the Son of God. Oh, what gross darkness covers the people that they could ever imagine that such a thing could be acceptable to God, or that they who gather in the harlot’s house could ever be the children of the living God! The fearful doom of this abominable system is clearly stated in Rev. 17:1-18. Let us turn with repentance from all these vanities. Jesus Christ is the head of the true church. Make Christ and Christ alone your head that you may be one with that which is true. Turn in repentance from these earthly systems. Their tradition is as a thick smoke to blind and darken the eyes, ever hiding from our understanding the glorious fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He reconciled us and cleansed us in His blood and made us His own. He brought us peace through the blood of His cross, we who were once enemies of God by wicked works, and, having cleansed us by His blood, He put His Spirit within us. We became members of His body that He might present us holy, unblameable, and unreprovable in His sight, if we continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which we have heard and which was preached to every creature under heaven. But, sadly, many are moved away from such wonderful hope in Christ to waste their lives in the service of earthly systems. They are coaxed away from their fidelity to Christ to join the harlot in her perfumed bed of adultery, so aptly described by the scene of the young man’s encounter with the adulteress in Proverbs, chapter seven.
The true and only church is a special company, elect of God before the foundation of the world. The church is a people who have been called by God to be especially His. They have been called out of the world and all the world’s crude systems and they have been called unto Christ. Our hearts should greatly rejoice in the words of wisdom that flowed from the inspired mind of Paul when, writing to the church in his day, he exhorted, “Be ye followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” Eph. 5:1, 2 When the Spirit of God called us out, He called us to be especially His. He intended that right there and then we would become followers of Him and Him alone. He never intended us to become followers of men or of sects or of denominations, but followers of Him. He fully intended that we should walk with God and learn of Him. He desired that we should be led of His Spirit and, being thus led, should grow up into full sonship in Him. He desired to lead and feed us as a shepherd that we might grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, but, instead of following Him and making Him our Lord and head, we were instructed in the doctrines and traditions of men.
We made the precious things of God a raging battle ground, a never ending doctrinal war. As a result we became stunted in our spiritual growth, weak and powerless in our spiritual lives. The weaker we grew the more involved we became, and the more involved in tradition we became the less power and spiritual life we had. What a hateful deception it really is! Yet, because it is dearly loved by the carnal mind, men and women cling to this false system as though their lives depended on it.
For decades we fervently sang, “Dare to be a Daniel; dare to stand alone,“ but it seems few people have ever learned that our relationship is with Christ and without Him we can do nothing at all. We would do well to consider Abraham, who walked before God and was perfect. He depended on no religious system to keep him straight. He leaned on no man to ensure his strength, but his strength and faith were made perfect because he knew Him whom he believed. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him; but I trow he would not have been walking with God at all had he been a member in good standing with some sect or denomination of his day. What does it mean to you, my brother, to hear the words, “Enoch walked with God”? What does it mean to you to hear that Christ was faithful in all His house, (which house are we if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end)? How greatly Paul adds to our courage and faith in Christ when he manifests the very secret of his life in these words: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12. Well did this saint of God know that the secret of victory, of spiritual growth and understanding, was in knowing Him. The precious text does not say, “I know in whom I have believed,” but with tremendous force and emphasis it says, “I know whom I have believed,” and therein lies a great difference. It is one thing to believe in Christ as the sectarians do. The devils believe also and even tremble. Jas. 2:19. It is something entirely different to believe Him. Paul was not believing in some doctrine. He was believing Christ, and that is what I, too, am doing. Would God thousands more would cast off the yoke of slavish dependence upon that false church system to lay hold of the promise for ourselves, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
After Paul explained the infinite care and love of God in that He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4), he then tells us that we were predestinated to be sons of God. Adoption means the proclamation of a son. It is very clear that our adoption (sonship), our redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of our sins are all wonderful manifestations of the grace of God. God is the God of all grace. He is full of grace and truth. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is an attribute of God. It is part of Him. He can never be separated from grace nor grace from Him. Just as certain as our God is holy, omniscient, and almighty, so certain it is that grace is His inherent nature. If God could die, grace could die also; but, as God is eternal, so also is His grace eternal. Full well did Paul speak of the eternal aspects of His grace when he wrote, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” The great work of the true church, which is to be fully accomplished in the ages to come is not the theme of our message now, but I know of nothing that will awaken our understanding or inspire us to make our calling and election sure like a simple knowledge of God’s purpose for the true ecclesia in the ages which are yet to come. With this in mind we quote the mighty words of Eph. 1:7-10 that all men may hear the declaration of God almighty Himself concerning His work of restoration in the ages to come and what part the true, faithful, and holy ecclesia will have in that great purpose.
“It is in Him, and through the shedding of His blood, that we have our deliverance – the forgiveness of our offences – so abundant was God’s grace, the grace which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the tunes are ripe for it – the purpose, which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yea, things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him.” Eph. 1:7-10 (Weymouth Original)
See now with what infinite care the Lord God, our Father, is preparing His ecclesia for His ministry in the ages to come. They are elect according to the foreknowledge of God. They were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. They were sanctified by the Holy Spirit and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. All this and much more is contained in Peter’s greeting to the strangers scattered over the world when he opened his letter with these words: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied.” 1 Pet. 1:2. What a wealth of divine information is contained in these few words of inspiration! What a pity it is that we have become so familiar with them that we rhyme them off without even a serious thought as to the depth of their meaning!
Oh, that God’s people would awaken to their high and holy calling and to a reverent understanding of the place given them in Christ before the world began. Oh, that the eyes of their understanding could be enlightened to see the hope of the ages to come – a hope hidden in the heart of God from the foundation of the world, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, but is now being revealed to those who walk in harmony with Him, turning aside from that tradition-ridden system that deadens the hearts and befuddles the minds of men and hides from them the truth as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Must it be so that those who are elect according to God’s foreknowledge can see no more to their high calling in Christ than the excitement of a healing meeting? Can we see not more in the church than a hodge-podge of religious denominations? Is there no more to unity than that false, counterfeit thing called ecumenism, which vainly imagines that dialogue between the mother of harlots and her daughters is the coming together of the body of Christ? Do you fancy that the Pope of Rome, who sends his emissaries to Warsaw, Belgrade, and Moscow to hold dialogue with the leaders of Communism, and who at the same time sends his bishops and priests to hold dialogue with Pentecostal people, has any more sincerity toward one than the other? Oh, slow of heart to understand, can you never discern that “he who sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,” is the antichrist? Turn from these false ideas of church unity and lift your eyes to the hills of God that by revelation you may behold the hidden mystery of the true church, the ecclesia of God that even now is seated with Him in heavenly places as the Lord predestinated from the foundation of the world.
Those precious elect ones whom God has chosen in Christ He has sanctified by His Spirit. Sanctification is too great a truth to more than mention here, but sanctification is the work of setting aside holy things for holy uses. It is the Holy Spirit who changes our lives. It is the Spirit who separates us from the world and who separates the world from us. It is the Spirit who reveals our carnal nature. It is the Spirit also who reveals that God placed our carnal nature in Christ, together with ourselves in entirety, and that we were crucified with Him when He was crucified. It was this that Paul declared when he said, “I am crucified with Christ.” Gal. 2:20. And again: “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
The burden of the prayer of Jesus Christ as recorded in John, chapter 17, is not a prayer for the world (verse 9), but a prayer for the separation and sanctification of all those whom God had given to Him. “I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled … I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:9-17
Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Jas. 4:4. Those who imagine themselves free to partake of the world live in a lie. Sanctification first makes holy, then separates unto God all holy things. It has neither part nor lot with worldliness. It holds nothing in common with that mixture of good and evil found in ecumenism and it has no place of agreement with the present wretched trend of thought that makes Him who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens nothing more than a long-haired mendicant who wandered about like a hippy, refusing to work or pay taxes and forever clashing with the establishment. These things Jesus did not do, and it is nothing but blasphemy against God’s Son to pretend that He did. All such people may have a Jesus, but it is another Jesus. They may have a spirit, but it is another spirit. And they may have a gospel, but it is another gospel. 2 Cor. 11:4. There is no place for worldliness, for filth or corruption, in the true ecclesia; and I shall also add that in the true ecclesia none but the sanctified dwell or have a part. “I pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world,” prayed Jesus, “but that Thou shouldst keep them from the evil.”
The elect of God, the true church, is a people sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 1:2. “If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Heb. 9:13–14. “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7. His blood speaketh better things than that of Abel. Heb. 12:24. We are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Rom. 3:24-26
It is the Spirit of God that sanctifies. It is the blood of Christ that cleanses from sin. If you will consider the above passage with care and meditation, you will see by the statement, “whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past,” that it was God Himself who had perfect faith in the blood of His Son. God – not man – had perfect faith that all the sins of the world would be remitted by Christ’s righteousness. You will see also that God offered the blood of His Son, not to propitiate and appease Himself, but to propitiate and appease mankind. God does not need to be appeased; He is appeased. God does not need to be reconciled; He has always been reconciled. Nowhere in all scripture is it intimated that God must be reconciled or appeased. Instead, it is written, “We pray you in Christ’s stead, Be ye reconciled to God.” I can neither describe nor portray the faith God has in the precious blood of His Son to fully pardon the sins of mankind and reconcile man to God. The blood of Abel could do naught but cry from the ground for vengeance because its shedding brought death; but the blood of Jesus Christ proclaims peace to all because its shedding was for the life of the world.
We are living in the end of this age. This hour finds the world and all religion immersed in the most appalling confusion and disorder ever known. The confused ideas and crude notions put forth and propagated as truth would certainly make a man of God blush for shame. Those who have read my article, Belshazzar’s Feast, will be more alert to see the devilish way in which the things of God are being desecrated and dragged into the realm of the worldly, the bawdy, and the unclean. Even the wonderful Christ Himself, holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate from sinners and higher than the heavens, is pictured as an unwashed hippy who begged and bummed and slept in the hedge, continually clashing head on with the establishment. This the meek and lowly Jesus did not do, but taught men to render unto Caesar the things which were Caesar’s and to God the things which were God’s. He paid His taxes, healed men and fed them from His Father’s store, and gave His life a ransom for all.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians in these solemn words: “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Cor. 11:3–4. I am convinced that in these last days many thousands of well meaning but deluded people are receiving, not the Christ of God, not the Spirit of God, not the gospel of God, but another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel. Let us turn our eyes to Him lest we, as Eve, be beguiled by this devilish mixture of good and evil.
The abounding truth concerning the true church, the ecclesia of God, would fill more volumes than man could write. Therefore I shall conclude this chapter with these statements of truth: The church of the living God is a people called out, a people chosen in Christ before the ages began. They are washed in the blood of Christ. They are sanctified, set apart, and made holy by the Holy Spirit. They are begotten unto a living hope. They are born anew by the Spirit. They are partakers of the resurrection. They are a people kept by the power of God. They are a people in preparation for manifestation and to be revealed as God’s sons to a waiting, groaning creation. In times past they were not a people; but now they are the people of God. In times past they had not obtained mercy; but now they have obtained mercy. They have partaken abundantly of the grace of God. They are children of God and members of His family. God has ordained that in the ages to come they will be used to manifest the immutable aspects of His grace and wisdom to the entire universe. Eph. 2:7. Their calling is high and holy, and they will reign with Christ until all things in heaven and earth have bowed the knee to confess that He is Lord of all.
“You are therefore no longer mere foreigners or persons excluded from civil rights. On the contrary, you share citizenship with the saints and are members of His family. You are a building which has been reared on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus Himself, in union with whom the whole fabric, truly bonded together, is rising so as to form a holy sanctuary in the Lord; in whom you also are being built up together to become a fixed abode for God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:19-22 Weymouth
This is the true ecclesia of God. It is farther removed from that many headed monstrosity of man’s building than day is removed from night, east is removed from west, or Christ is removed from Belial. The ecclesia, the true church of God, though still a pilgrim and a stranger in the earth, sitteth together with Christ in heavenly places, far above all power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in that which is to come.
“Until the day break and the shadows flee away I will get me to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” S. of S. 4:6–7
Arise, my love, and come away.
THE BODY OF CHRIST OR ONE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN
The human body has nine hundred muscles, one thousand miles of blood vessels, three hundred main arteries, one million five hundred thousand sweat glands, and the lungs are composed of seven million seven hundred thousand cells. At seventy years of age the heart has lifted by its throbs five hundred thousand tons of blood. The nervous system has three trillion nerve cells. The blood has thirty million white corpuscles and one hundred trillion red ones. Each minute in every man’s body some one hundred and fifty million radio active carbon atoms go pop releasing a total energy of twenty-one billion electron volts. The heart beats about seventy times a minute, forty-two hundred times an hour, one hundred thousand times a day, thirty-seven million times a year, and two billion times in sixty-five years. To make a machine resembling the human brain would take a space the size of Rockefeller Center. It would take three lifetimes to wire it, one third of the electric energy of New York City to drive it, and the Hudson River to cool it. All the multiplied marvels of the human body God has formed of the dust of the earth. Each new day His wisdom brings tens of thousands of such wonderful organisms into His world, and ere the close of day with a sort of sacred wastefulness from His creative store He lets as many others fall back into the dust from whence they came.
But God is forming another body of which the marvels of the human body are but a feeble type, a body not made with hands nor yet of dust and clay, but eternal in the heavenlies. He does not raise it up in months nor let it fall back into the dust of the earth at the close of day. With divine inspiration the apostle Paul for our edification wrote the words of truth that show God’s intention throughout the dispensation of grace to bring the body of Christ to the complete and full stature of His Son. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by (in) one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” 1 Cor. 12:12-14
What body does Paul refer to here? It is Christ’s mystical body, the true church. And now in simple humility we ask, “What is Christ’s body?” The overwhelming truth that should well nigh cause us to tremble is simply this: The body of Christ is the fullness of Christ. Is not this the sublime and solemnizing revelation of Paul’s words quoted above? “As the body is one and has many members — so also is Christ.” And when Paul puts forth the words of 1 Cor. 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular,” is he not showing exactly who these members of Christ really are? Ah, yes, indeed He is. This body of Christ, of which the preachers are forever speaking, but about which they know so little, is in truth the fullness of Christ. The spiritual body of Christ is the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” of which the apostle wrote in 2 Cor. 5:1. It is the house of which Jesus spoke when He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2, 3
Before we further develop the truth concerning the body of Christ, we must turn aside for a moment that we may learn how great is our need for divine revelation to comprehend such truth. Let every man who reads forever understand that the things of the Spirit of God are only spiritually discerned. They can never, never, never be understood, comprehended, grasped, or perceived until the Holy Spirit of God shines the light of their truth into the heart, bringing the knowledge of the glory of God from the very presence of Jesus Christ, until it may be truthfully said that “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” Rom. 1:19
We are living in a day of much learning and the pitiful thing about it is that men and women mistakenly imagine that the letters of degree that follow their names are a certain evidence of their knowledge of the things of God. It is for this very reason that so many preachers are anxious to flash the title Doctor before their names. Whether the title belongs to them or not is of no importance to me, but let it be thoroughly known by every man who reads these lines and let this truth be burned indelibly into every heart that none of these things commends us in any degree to God. These titles are no evidence of divine commendation nor are they any evidence whatsoever of spiritual understanding. Indeed, if my own observation is correct, I am led to believe they are evidence of the very opposite. The wisest men of earth, whether they be Einsteins, Edisons, or Socrates, though words of wisdom crown their heads and knowledge lies on every hand, fall a thousand fathoms short of the simplest spiritual understanding because their minds are hermetically sealed in this natural realm, and in that realm of natural understanding they must forever remain until God is pleased by His grace to reveal the eternal things to them.
Many centuries ago, when the people of Israel were offering their gifts and sacrifices according to the command of God, there lived a king upon the throne in Jerusalem, the sweet singer of Israel, a man after God’s own heart, the psalmist who has enlightened millions with his songs of revelation. One day as the glory of God filled his being, he took his harp and sang these words: “Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: They cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: Burnt offering and sin-offering hast Thou not required.” Psa. 40:4-6. Mine ears hast Thou opened! Mine ears hast Thou opened! Whatever is he saying? Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire! Mine ears hast Thou opened! Had not God commanded sacrifice and offering? Yes, indeed, He had. But, while the multitude went on endlessly in a tradition that had become completely meaningless to them, David was listening to the voice of God, for God had opened His ears to hear the revelation of dispensations yet unborn. It was not the ears of his head that had been opened, but the ears of his heart, the inner ear of his spirit that alone can hear the voice of God.
In this fantastic age of invention man has contrived remarkable instruments to pick up and mature sounds and pictures and even colors out of the silent atmosphere. How my heart thrilled one morning as I listened to the giant radio telescope from Jodrell Bank, England, broadcasting sounds from outer space made by planets before the dawn of time. Wonderful beyond description as these instruments of science are, there is only one instrument that can ever hear the voice of God and that is the ear of the spirit within. There is only one eye that can see God. It is the eye of the spirit. And the only intelligence that can know God is the waiting, longing spirit unto whom God reveals Himself.
The natural man is like Dr. Saul of Tarsus of whom Festus said, “Much learning doth make thee mad,” for this Saul, learned in all the tradition of the law, of the strictest sect of the Pharisees, marched with a band of armed men to Damascus to take captive the followers of Christ and bring them bound in chains to Jerusalem to be tormented and put to death for their belief in Christ. We will surely say that a man of such great learning should have known better than to indulge in such persecution as this. Could this man of letters not see that Jesus Christ was indeed the fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures? Could he not understand that the shedding of the blood of Christ was the anti-type of every Old Testament blood sacrifice? Could he not see that Jesus was the seed of Abraham, and the child that was born of a virgin of whom Isaiah prophesied? Isa. 7:14. But this, my friend, is the darkness of the natural mind of which Saul, being born again, wrote, saying, “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. So it was that in the blindness of his heart and the darkness of his understanding he rode in wrath and bitterness to destroy the Christians at Damascus and erase the name of Christ forever from their midst. But, as he rode, the thing he least expected happened. The blazing light of revelation shone into his spirit, a light so exceedingly bright that even the light of the sun was as the dimness of a candle. The light that had enlightened David now illuminated Saul. Mine ears hast Thou opened. He heard the voice of Christ speaking to his heart, to his spirit, and to his mind. “Who art Thou, Lord,” he cried; and the voice responded, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”
Oh, what a difference, what a change, what a transformation is made by revelation from above! How quickly we begin to abandon our old ideas! How willingly we seize the eraser to erase from our names the letters of human approbation in which we vainly glory as with tearful joy we repeat, “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!” Can you not hear this Saul of Tarsus, this man who was so thoroughly transformed that even his name was changed, as he testifies to the Galatians, “When it pleased God who separated me from my mother’s womb to reveal His Son in me, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” Gal. 1:16. What indeed could flesh and blood with all its human learning add to him? Nothing! Nothing! Much less than nothing! It is written, “As heaven is higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Do not seek for revelation. Seek only the face of Christ. If you seek revelation, your mind may be filled with the grotesque doctrines that possess so many of God’s children in this hour. I am amazed and saddened by the jejune notions published and proclaimed as revelation, which are not revelations at all, but the vain imaginations of distorted and twisted carnal minds that have a craze for publicity and a hankering for the spectacular. Seek revelation and you will get ideas galore, many of them inspired by Satan. Seek Christ and you will see the glory of God in His blessed face.
In the days intervening this hour and the magnificent glory of His kingdom it is impossible to over-estimate the value of our personal relationship to Him. While thousands are seeking experiences, you should seek Christ. While other men seek for spectacular gifts, you must seek the giver of every good and perfect gift. While others try desperately to practice gifts they do not really possess, you must abide in Him, for the branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the vine. While carnal Christians try to show love, yea, love that they do not have, let the Christ who dwells within you manifest forth the love that comes from God only. And, while many talk of sonship, hoping by their great works to manifest themselves as sons of God, you walk in the Spirit, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.
How regrettable it is that so many who speak of sonship do not have the Spirit of His Son who cries, “Abba, Father”! How sad that so many preach a coming kingdom who do not possess the spirit of the kingdom nor allow the king to reign in their hearts! Ah, my friend, seek His blessed face. Come into vital communion with Him. Walk in Him. Abide in Him. Draw your wisdom from His mind dwelling in you and His voice in speaking through you. Identify yourself fully with the cross that you may say in truth, “I am crucified with Christ”. Identify yourself with the resurrection that you may say in truth, “The life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This kind of association with our Lord Jesus Christ causes Him to open His mind to us that we might know all truth and revelation that is necessary in these vital hours of preparation.
In revealing His truth, the Lord always seeks to take us from the finite to the infinite, from the small to the great, from the cradle to the throne. “The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” As the earliest rays of dawn herald the coming of the fullness of day, so the babe that was born in the manger of Bethlehem heralds the coming of the fullness of Christ that finds it completeness at the end of this age when Jesus, the only begotten Son, is no longer the only begotten, but the first begotten of a vast family of brother sons who will fill the earth with God’s glory in the kingdom of God that soon will encompass all the earth. There was a time when my oldest brother was the only begotten son of my father, but after we three younger brothers were born, he was no more the only begotten, but the first begotten. “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Every man who hath this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1, 3 What a revelation of truth that is!
I pray God, the Father of all wisdom and understanding, that the eyes of every saint may be enlightened by the Spirit to give them a vision of the true and mystical body of Christ. Then will they be able to discern the fallacious notions of carnal Christians who love to pretend that their little group, around which they have built a fence, is the ministering, functioning body of Christ. During the last twenty years the doctrine has gone out as never before, deceitfully propagating the error that the Babylon of confusion and error we see all about us is in truth the body of Christ. Your severest task will be to free yourself from all such binding traditions that you might see the truth of His body and what your place in Christ really is.
The Holy Spirit often uses simple methods to acquaint us with the deepest of eternal truths; and, if you can receive it, you will sometimes find that evil things have a sort of spiritual parallel. If, for instance, there is an antichrist, there must of necessity be a Christ, the first being the complete opposite of the latter. When God through the prophet Daniel undertook to display to the world the sinister fact concerning the ever present mystery of Babylon that was to rise and consume the whole earth in a confusion of politics, religions, nationalities, languages, sects, and denominations, He caused the king of Babylon himself to be confused by a terrible dream that disturbed his sleep and made him afraid. In the dream that so disquieted his mind he saw an enormous image, the image of a man. Never had such a man as this appeared before. His head was of gold, his breast and his arms were of silver, his belly and his thighs were of brass, his legs were of iron, and his feet, upon which the whole body depended, were the weakest conglomeration imaginable – iron and clay mingled together. Dan. 2:32–33
When Daniel came in before the king to show the dream to him and to interpret it for him, he began his interpretation with these significant words: “Thou art this head of gold.” Dan. 2:38. Then, continuing with the other parts of the image, he interpreted the silver shoulders and arms to represent an inferior kingdom that was to follow him, (Media-Persia), then a kingdom yet more inferior as brass that would bear rule over all the earth (Greece), and after that a fourth kingdom vastly degenerated in glory, but with the strength of iron (Rome). And I think we will not be wrong in saying that the fifth kingdom, represented by the feet and toes consisting of iron mingled with miry clay, is merely a degeneration of the fourth kingdom, the despotic, dictatorial iron rule of political Rome mixed up with the miry clay of modern democracy, and the despotic papal rule of religious Rome mingled and mixed with the miry clay of Protestant sects, groups, organizations, and denominations. Thus were all the varied aspects of the mysterious Babylon system portrayed by the image of a man. Do not fail to see that each and every part of that system in all its varied ramifications is but one system, one image, one man, one Babylon, whether it be the golden head, the silver shoulders, the brass belly, the iron legs, or the iron-clay feet. These are not five different systems, but five different aspects of one and the same system.
It should not surprise us to find that, all the while this great system of confusion is consuming the ages, the God of heaven is preparing Himself a body in the image of Christ for eternal dominion, the head of which is not Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, but Jesus Christ whom God ordained to be King of kings and Lord of lords. The members of His sacred body will not be the kings of Media-Persia, Greece, or Rome, but sons of God, begotten of God and perfected in the lowest parts of the earth, cleansed by His blood, partakers of His Spirit, baptized in one Spirit into that one body, even the body of Christ.
I am possessed with an almost unspeakable desire that you, my reader friend, should be torn away from the mass of tradition foisted upon you by Babylon‘s golden image, for only then will your eyes behold the beauty and simplicity of the body of Christ. Then will your eyes be opened to see that you and Jesus Christ are members in particular of one and the same Christ. If now you see Christ as one and yourself as someone entirely different, then you are undone indeed, and every word I can say and every teaching I can give concerning the body of Christ will be wasted upon you. May the revelation of the Almighty reveal to your spirit that just as Nebuchadnezzar, the golden head, and Julius Caesar, the iron legs, were integral parts of the same image of Babylon, so our Lord Jesus, the first begotten Son of God, the head of the whole body of sons, together with you and me, the sons of God belonging to the feet company, are integral parts of the same body and fullness of Christ. When the Holy Spirit presented the image of Babylon to the world, He used the symbol of a man. It is not strange then that, when God would portray the image of the fullness of Christ, He would portray that many membered Christ as a huge man — a man so huge that he is described as a mountain, as we shall presently show, a body so huge that it includes in its composite self every man and every woman of this age who has come to sonship in Him. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” And, if we are sons, then are we God’s heirs and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh, that every eye might see and every heart understand the significance of that oft repeated term, in Christ! “There is now therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 8:1. “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus.” 1 Cor. 1:30. “The dead in Christ shall rise first.” 1 Thess. 4:16. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation.” 1 Cor. 5:17. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh.” I am not at all disposed to believe that sonship is the undisputed heritage of every Christian. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. Many believers sadly never mature beyond infancy and never partake of any salvation beyond that which Jude describes as the common salvation. Jude 3. Whether I am right or not, I have become convinced that to be in Christ is to be partaker of a very special experience of abiding in Him. “At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. 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 to 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 14:20–21, 23 Those who have come into a unity and an identification with Christ such as this have much more than the common salvation spoken of by Jude. They have become partakers of that so great salvation spoken of by Paul. Heb. 2:3.
In the natural world nothing is accomplished by commanding a man to grow. No man by taking thought can add a cubit to his stature, but in the spirit it is the opposite. Men can grow in Him if they have the desire. Therefore it is written to all who long for spiritual maturity: “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet. 3:18. Every reader must be aware that of the many Christians with whom he is acquainted the vast majority are content to be partakers of the common salvation only. They are satisfied to be justified by faith and accept any crumb that may fall from the Master’s table. If at last they arrive in heaven and not in hell, they are perfectly satisfied. An abundant entrance means nothing to them. But there are others who cannot live except they live and move and have their being in Him. They cannot abide except they abide in Him. They fear any decision that is not directed by His Spirit. The will of God is their meat and drink, and to love Him is better than any sacrifice or offering.
A number of years ago a very simple incident occurred in my life that was to add a great deal to my understanding of the fullness of Christ and the completeness of His body. It has helped to unfold the mystery of our place in Him. It was my lot one morning to fly from the city of Seattle, Washington, to the city of Victoria, British Columbia. As I remember it, the morning was rather unpleasant, for a complete cloud cover obscured all the sky so that no sun shone through to the earth below. The great plane with its human burden sped on its silvery wings up and up through the clouds until we suddenly burst into the glorious sunshine far above the sullen shadows of earth below. The clouds, now far down beneath us, had the appearance of a mighty ocean, a vast sea in the turmoil of a storm. It was impossible to see through them to the earth below and one could not possibly know whether he was over earth or ocean. It was at that moment I beheld a sight so indescribably beautiful that no scene in all my travels has ever surpassed it. Far to the west the mighty Olympic mountains like mystic towering giants were thrusting their magnificent snow-capped peaks through the rolling storm clouds until their mammoth heads stood two thousand feet or more out in the glory of celestial, radiant sunshine, far above the clouds, the rain, the sleet, and the snow. The beauty of that sight was almost beyond imagination and I think perhaps even in eternity I will not forget it. I am sure you know that those beautiful sunlit peaks, lifting their hoary heads into the heavenlies, were actually and in truth standing with their feet in the valley far, far below – so far below that they were out of sight, hidden, and obscured by the stormy clouds that hung like a mantle about their massive breasts. It is true beyond any possibility of denial that the mountain I saw in glory and heavenly sunshine far above the clouds was one and the same mountain that was standing with its giant feet far below in the lowly valleys of earth. If you, my friends in Christ, can see this picture, then you will see a vision of what the body of Christ really is. The Head white as snow, even now is in the heavenlies at God’s right hand far, far above the storms and strives of earth while we, the feet of that same mountain, even the mountain of the body of Christ, are standing in the valleys of earth inseparably joined to the Head in heaven. As the mountain above the cloud was the same mountain that stood on the ground, so Christ through His undivided body of sons is now declaring, “Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.”
Like some tall cliff that lifts its awful form
Swells from the deep and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
“As the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” 1 Cor. 12:12. At the commencement of this article we described how the human body, composed of millions of cells and having many members, is one body. So also the spiritual body of Christ has many members and those members are people begotten of God, sons of the Most High. They are grafted by one Spirit into one vine, members of one body, rooms in one house not made with hands. The body of Christ is composed of tens of thousands of sons and yet it is but one Christ – not one in heaven and many on earth, but one mountain whose head is in heaven and whose feet are on earth. In truth we can say that this vast family of sons, who, though a multitude, is but one body, may now be called the only begotten Son of the Father.
Well did the prophet Daniel describe the fall of the false but powerful system of Babylon when he said, “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Dan. 2:34–35
That great mountain, Oh saints of the Lord, is none other than the mystical body of Christ, the true ecclesia, the true church, the chosen sonship company who follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth, who, being led of God’s Spirit, are sons of God and joint heirs with Christ. These are they who are not defiled with women (sects and denominations). In their mouth is found no guile and they are without fault before the throne of God. “But in the last days it shall come to pass that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and the people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.” Micah 4:1-5 See also Isa. 2:2-5.
Thus hath the Lord spoken of the stone cut out without hands, even the mystical body of Christ, that in the latter days it should smite the image of Babylon that now holds all nations and peoples in its grip of deception. On its corrupt feet of iron and miry clay shall it be smitten till it fall and be broken to shivers to become as the chaff of the threshing floor that the wind driveth away. And the stone that smote the image shall become a great mountain that will fill the whole earth. From the things, which we have spoken it should be easily seen that this great mountain is none other than the true ecclesia, the sons of God, the fullness of Christ manifested in His many sons.
In this hour of telling forth the glory of the Lord I feel as the writer of the book of Hebrews must have felt when over and over again he left off speaking of the high calling of God and the so great salvation to warn his readers of the dangers that lay all about them. There is a danger today that scarcely existed in the days of the apostles. In their day sectarianism was almost unknown and, whenever its ugly head was raised, it was smitten with apostolic sternness and authority. 1 Cor. 1:11-15. But in our day partisanship and sectarianism is rampant and increasing every hour. It has become such a confusion of tongues that the name of God is blasphemed among the unbelievers because of its abominable heresies and divisions. Cursed be your divisions, your sects, and your denominations! They have torn asunder the body of Christ, crucified afresh the Son of God, and displayed Him to the ridicule of the whole world. What part have you, O Son of God, with those who by their divisions, often advanced for personal gain, tear asunder the body of Christ? You speak of sonship and pretend that you have attained, yet you worship the image of confusion – if not the golden head, then the silver shoulders, the brass belly, the iron legs, or the crumbling feet. Do you not know how dangerous a thing it is for you to remain in this camp, declaring by your very seat in the congregation of a sect that you are a sect worshipper and a member of the Babylon system? Do you not know that suddenly, while you are unaware, the mystical stone, cut out without hands, will smite this giant image of which you are a part and it shall crumble as dust and be no more? Is it any wonder that the Holy Spirit spake by John and said, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partaker of her plagues.” The invitation of the hour is not to the sinner to come to Christ. The invitation is for the Christian to come out of Babylon and cease from the worship of its ungodly image.
Has it ever occurred to you how strange a thing it was that, immediately after Daniel had interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the king had bountifully rewarded him for his service and promoted him to the office of Prime Minister, it is said, “Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, …and set it up in the plain of Dura?” Dan. 3:1. Then, calling together all the princes and governors, the captains and judges, the treasurers and counselors, the sheriffs and all the rulers of the provinces, he had a herald shout the message to all people and all languages that they should fall down and worship the golden image of Babylon, and, failing to do so, they would be cast into the burning, fiery furnace. The worship of this abomination was not done without show. The bands and orchestras were present replete with cornets, flutes, harps, sackbuts (trombones), psalteries, dulcimers, and all kinds of music. Verse 5. And all mankind was instructed that they must fall down and worship the abominable image the moment the band struck up the tune.
Among that vast throng of head-nodders and yes-men assembled before the image there were but three lonely men who remained standing, refusing to dance to the devil’s tune or to bow down at Babylon‘s abominable altar.
The average, I fear, is no better today. My friend and brother, all unknown to you the image of Babylon‘s confusion is daily before you, complete with all the fanfare of pretty choirs and all manner of musical instruments. There among her congregation you yield yourself to regimented worship with the docility of a robot. Like a puppet on a string you willingly bob, you stand, you sit, you sing, you praise, you dole out money at the command of the puppeteer in the pulpit, and then you call that church, you call that Christian, you call that sonship, you call that worship, you call that assembling and insist we must not forsake it. What it really is is Babylon. It is worshipping at the shrine of an image that the sons of God will soon smite on the feet and destroy.
“But,” you ask, “if we come out of this, as you say we should and as the Bible says we should, where will be go?” The answer to that question is clear and unmistakeable. Centuries ago in anticipation of your question God gave the answer in these simple, certain words: “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Heb. 13:13. It will be a reproach; make no mistake about that. It will mean the burning, fiery furnace of ridicule and misunderstanding, but the fire will deliver you from your bonds and your thongs, your strait-jackets and your handcuffs, Dan. 3:25, and the form of the Son of God will be seen, for God is walking with you. You will neither be harmed nor hurt nor burned, nor will the smell of smoke remain upon you. “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. … Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” Heb. 13:10, 12–13. It will be a happy day for any man when by God’s gift of revelation he discerns between the false church and the true, the image of Babylon and the reality of Christ. You will not have much longer to decide.
As it was in the day that Lot went out of Sodom, so shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall come, and unto those who have heeded the warning, let the further exhortation be given, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
It was given to Daniel to see the image of the false, Dan. 2, but it was given to John to see the true. Rev. 1:10-18. John was a young man when he walked in Judaea and Galilee with Jesus of Nazareth, the one he loved above all else and all other. Though John wrote more of the love of God than any other man, he was not mild by nature. He and his brother James were the men the disciples nicknamed Boanerges, meaning sons of thunder. These were the men who said of the Samaritans, “Shall we call down fire on them as Elijah did?” But the years of association of this son of thunder with the Son of God had wrought a change in him that naught but the transformation of regeneration can possibly explain. He had seen Jesus carry His cross, and he had seen Him die upon it. Grasping the meaning of the cross he had taken up his own, willingly borne it and died upon it so that the John of Patmos was scarcely the “Boanerges” of yesteryear.
What a difference there is when we associate with Jesus! What a transformation takes place when we glory in His cross and identify ourselves with it! Nothing was so despised in ancient times as the cross and nothing was so detested. To the Roman it was capital punishment, the place for felons to die. To the Jew it was a stumbling block and to the Greek it was foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is both the power of God and the wisdom of God. It was a fitting symbol for us sinners, a fitting place for our serpent natures to die and eternally perish in our identification with Him. How well is our rebellion, our carnality, our sin and our beastly nature typified in that serpent of brass which Moses hung upon the pole that all men who were bitten by serpents might live by beholding that which was crucified. “And Moses made a serpent of brass and set it upon a pole, and it came to pass, if a serpent had bitten any man, when he behold the serpent of brass, he lived.” Num. 21:8-9
Is it any wonder, then, that this man who through life was so thoroughly identified with Jesus and His cross should now begin his book with these words: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” As Daniel saw Babylon portrayed as the image of a man, an idol before which all men should worship, so now John saw the completeness of Christ as a man – not the image of a man, but one like unto the Son of man. God grant us all the spirit of wisdom and understanding that we may see that this wonderful mystery which John beheld was in truth the fullness of Christ as He shall appear at the end of this age in which we now live. According to the record John was in the Isle of Patmos in banishment because of the witness of the truth. In Weymouth’s vivid translation the record reads like this: “I, John, your brother and a sharer with you in sorrows and the kingdom and endurance of Jesus, found myself in the Island of Patmos for my loyalty to the word of God and the truth told us by Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was inspired by the Spirit and heard behind me a loud voice like the blast of a trumpet. It said, Write the vision in a book, and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. I turned to see who it was that was speaking to me; and then I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the center of the lampstands one resembling the Son of man, clothed in a robe, which reached to His feet and with a girdle across His breast. His head and His hairs were white, like white wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were like flames of fire, His feet were like silver-bronze when it is white hot in a furnace, and His voice was as the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and a sharp two-edged sword was seen coming out of His mouth; and His face was like the sun shining in its full power. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead, but He laid His hand upon me and said, Do not be afraid: I am the First and the Last, and the ever-living One. I died; but I am now alive for evermore, and I have the keys of the gates of death and of Hades.” Rev. 1:9-19 Weymouth
It seems presumptuous that I should attempt to explain a glory and a wonder so great as this. It was D. L. Moody who once said he had never preached a sermon on John 3:16. Its truth was too great for him to explain, so he just quoted it and let it speak for itself. But it may be that, if we now with much humility behold the vision as it was given to John on Patmos, God will of His kindness open our eyes that at least part of its meaning may grip our hearts. The blind man, when he heard the call of Jesus, cast aside his garment and ran to Him. In these sacred moments, when our eyes would behold the Lord, we may find it necessary to cast aside the shoddy garments of our church theology, our human ways of looking at things, and come running to Him that our eyes may be opened to see the truth as God sees it and not as tradition explains it.
The one like unto the Son of man is the fullness and the completeness of the Christ. Jesus of Nazareth was the seed that fell into the ground and died. The vision John saw was the fullness of the harvest at the end of the age. The lonely voice that had stirred the towns and cities of Judaea and Galilee was no longer the voice of an individual, but the voice of many, sounding as many waters and as a trumpet in its glory and strength. Jesus of Nazareth was the head of the body; the man John saw was both the head and the body of Christ. Jesus of Nazareth was the first born of many brethren; that which John saw on Patmos was both the first born and the many brethren. The fullness of Christ of which Paul wrote is Jesus with His many brethren, “Behold, I and the sons which God has given Me.” Heb. 2:13. It was of the fullness of this body of sons that Paul spoke when He said, “Whom he did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Rom. 8:29. Weymouth puts it, “Those whom He has foreknown He has also predestinated to share the likeness of His Son, that He might be the eldest in a vast family of brothers.” It is this vast family of brothers that is the fullness and completeness of the Christ. It is this vast family of brothers that God for two thousand years has been preparing as the mystical body of Christ. This family of brothers consists of the sons of God complete at the end of the age and prepared to govern the world in the kingdom of God to come. The marvelous vision that John saw of one like the Son of man is the representation of Jesus, the first born, together with His many brethren. This is the fullness of Christ. This is the body of Christ. This is He of whom the Holy Spirit spake, saying, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee. And again, behold I and the children (brethren or sons) which God hath given Me.” Heb. 2:12–13. It was in truth “I and the brethren” that John beheld as “one like unto the Son of Man,” Rev. 1:13, whose voice was as the sound of many waters (many people).
One day some Greeks came to Philip, saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” Philip and Andrew went and told Jesus of their request, but Jesus, instead of presenting Himself to them, left them to ponder this strange paradox: “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified… Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:20-24. Jesus Himself was the interpretation of this. He was the corn of wheat that fell into the ground and died, but the much fruit at harvest time is the family of many sons of God, complete in one great body at the end of the age. So go and tell these Greeks, Philip, that, if they really want to see Jesus in all His fullness, they will have to wait until harvest time when in all His completeness He stands amid the candlesticks with eyes like a flame of fire, head and hairs as wool as white as snow, His voice as the sound of many waters, a two-edged sword issuing from His mouth, His face as the sun shining in his strength, and His feet like fine brass as if they burned in a furnace. Thus shall appear the great body of sons at harvest time.
How different is the abominable lifeless image of Babylon from this revelation of the fullness of Christ! How different the head and how different the feet! How different the worshippers who fall before it!
Because we share in the body of Christ, Paul says we are bone of His bone; we are flesh of His flesh. We are baptized into His body and we have become partakers of His divine nature. It was this wonderful reality that John saw on Patmos as one “like unto the Son of man.” In the light of all this reality is it any wonder that God now calls His sons to come out of Babylon with all its organized worship? Images are not far removed from idols. They are both objects of false worship. It is the image of Babylon that the church system worships today and not the Christ who, when He comes in the fullness of the harvest, will in one hour destroy that system.
My heart rejoices that Daniel, who saw the image of Nebuchadnezzar, was later given a vision of the true Son of man, a vision that was in such accord with the vision of Patmos that one would think he had been sharing the scene with the apostle John. This is the awe-inspiring description of what he saw: “I raised my eyes and looked, and, lo! there was a man clothed in linen, his loins girded with the fine gold of Ophir, his body flashing like a topaz, his face like lightning, and his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and legs gleaming like burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.” Dan. 10:5, 6 (Goodspeed)
The hour of the fullness of this revelation is at hand. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Cleanse your garments, therefore, and lay aside every weight that you may be accounted worthy to be found in Him without spot or blemish, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit, a son among a vast family of sons who form the mystical body like unto the Son of man.
THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS
No man who ever lived labored more faithfully than our Lord Jesus Christ and none was ever endued with so great an anointing as He. Mighty were the signs and wonders that followed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, yet even that bountiful outpouring was given by measure, but of Jesus Christ it is written, “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” Time and again I have marveled at the wisdom with which He spoke. The trickiest questions His scheming enemies could devise were answered with the greatest simplicity, but in such a way that His adversaries were put to shame and ventured not to interrogate Him further, fearing lest the last remnants of their refuge of lies would be swept away by the eternal wisdom of His answers.
In the Archko Volume, page eighty-eight, the following statement concerning Jesus Christ is attributed to the writings of the learned Gamaliel, at whose feet Paul was instructed. “He turns nature into a great law book of illustrations, showing that every bush is a flame, every rock a fountain of water, every star a pillar of fire, and every cloud the one that leads to God. He makes all nature preach the doctrine of trust in the divine Fatherhood. He speaks of the lilies as pledges of God’s care and points to the fowls as evidence of His watchfulness over human affairs. Who can measure the distance between God and the flowers of the field? What connection is there between man and the lily? …Thus, beginning with a flower, He reasons upward to the absolute and then descends and teaches lessons of trust in a loving Father. The lessons of trust in God reassure the anxious listener and create an appetite that makes him long for more.”
The reverent heart is made to wonder at the unmistakable authority He always manifests in the face of the most incredible challenges. See Him at the wedding feast and marvel as He changes water into wine. Listen to the sobs of a desperate father, who brings before him a maniac son whose demon possession has rendered helpless even those disciples who had been given power over demons. With sadness He rebuked them, saying, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto Me.” One sentence of command, one word of life fell from the lips of Him who had created worlds and tears of sorrow were turned to pearls of praise as the happy father embraced a transformed son.
One day they brought Him tidings that His friend, Lazarus of Bethany, was sick unto death, but Jesus, knowing aforetime, remained yet four days beyond Jordan that there might be no doubt in any mind concerning the certainty of Lazarus’ death. “Lazarus is dead,” He told His disciples, “and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there to the intent that you might believe.” Then, coming to the grave, the sobs of heartbroken sisters and weeping friends fell upon His ears, till Jesus Himself lifted up His voice and wept with them – not because of helplessness, but because they did not yet believe that He was the Christ, the Son of God. Though they had seen His power and He had taught them so much, still their hearts were dull and their minds slow to grasp the vision of who He was. “Take away the stone” was His word of command; but they, fearing He could do no more than view the rotting remains, objected, “By this time he stinketh!” “Said I not unto thee that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” He asked; and they, taking way the stone, heard Him command the rotting, dead man, “Come forth!” And he who was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes. John 11
All power in heaven and earth is at His command. Of this the Roman centurion was fully aware when he came bowing before Him, saying, “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” And Jesus, bless His name, instead of shrinking back in unbelief as others might have done, looked about Him in amazement, saying, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,” and, rising to the occasion without the slightest effort, He issued the command, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” Matt. 8:5-13
Follow Jesus through His life and you will see His authority everywhere. The boisterous waves cease their raging at His command to become a peaceful glassy sea. “Stretch forth thy hand,” He commands the withered, and life divine floods back into drooping muscles as life-giving blood surges through once shriveled veins. To the leper He says, “Be clean,” and his loathsome disease departs from him. “Take up thy bed and walk” is His command to the frail and palsied man and he, filled with the strength of youth, leaps up at the command. Of the furious mob who came to take Him He demands, “Whom seek ye?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” was their reply. “I am He,” was the fearless answer that fell from His lips divine, and they, hurled backward by a force they could not see, fell prostrate and helpless at His feet. As if to doubly manifest their powerlessness in His hand He demanded again, “Whom seek ye?” And they, trembling and afraid in His presence, replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” “I have told you that I am He,” He said. “If therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way.” Can you imagine such heavenly authority as this – that He whom they expected to be their cringing captive, helpless as a lamb in the mouth of a lion, would be heard issuing His omnipotent commands, orders which they, His enemies, dared not disobey?
In Pilate’s report to Caesar, vividly describing the uproar of the mob at the time just preceding the crucifixion, this statement is found: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” cried the relentless rabble. The vociferations of the infuriated mob shook the palace to its foundations. There was but One who appeared to be calm in the midst of the vast multitude. It was the Nazarene!” Archko Volume. Page 140.
Does it not seem incredible that Christ could be so endued with God’s mighty power that even creation would do obeisance to Him, that He should speak words of omniscience such as no man ever spoke, heal every disease known to mankind, trample beneath His feet the strongest demon, raise the dead back to life, calm the fury of the boisterous waves, and cause an angry mob, who came to take Him, to fall in helplessness at His feet, and in the face of all these wonders they would yet remain blind as to who He was? It would appear that His own disciples remained in some degree of darkness. Nothing can display with greater certainty the extent of the blindness of the natural mind. Even today the same shadow remains, showing as nothing else can that no man comes to Christ except the Father draw him.
Through much study in the word of God and through many years of personal experience I have become thoroughly convinced that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain, and except the Lord reveal the deep and hidden things of God, they will forever remain unknown to us no matter how excellent our teachers or how diligent our instructors.
One day in Caesarea Philippi, as the disciples of Jesus gathered around Him, He asked them this question: “Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” And they said, “Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” It is evident from these answers that the natural mind can come to any number of conclusions, but, however well considered those conclusions may be and however good the reasoning behind them, the real truth remains a hidden mystery until the Spirit of God unfolds it through the enlightening power of revelation. Each answer they gave had reason on its side. John the Baptist had baptized in water. So did Jesus’ disciples. John had enormous crowds, and so did Jesus. Thus their reasoning was that this Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead. As to Elias – had not the prophets foretold that Elias would come? Certainly some of the works of Elijah were clearly seen in the ministry of Jesus. And Jeremiah, the prophet? Was it not he who sighed, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears,” (Jer. 9:1), and was not this mighty Jesus a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief?
Yet He was none of these. Then said Jesus, “But whom say ye that I am?” And Peter, speaking from a heart overflowing with revelation, fervently affirmed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It was not by much learning that such mighty truth had been revealed to this lowly fisherman. He was an unlearned and ignorant man. It is doubtful that he could read or write, much less that he had learned of Christ’s Sonship through poring over ancient volumes or sitting at the feet of some Gamaliel. The eternal message he uttered that day had not been revealed to him through the instruction of Jesus. The truth that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, had come flooding into his soul as a light from heaven. A light, shining in dark places, had revealed what eye had not seen nor ear heard nor had entered the heart of man. Well did our Lord know whence these words of truth had come, and for our profit and the enlightenment of all who should afterward believe the Savior pronounced this blessing upon his head: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 16:13-16
Beloved reader of these lines, ponder, if you will, this solemn inquiry: Has the Holy Spirit ever revealed to you that Jesus is the Christ? Is He just Christ because someone told you so? How sad I feel when I find men and women, not excluding some of those who profess to be born again, to whom Jesus Christ is little more than a good man who lived two thousand years ago! When I hear people refer to Him whom angels adore as “the man upstairs” or “my Jewish friend” and other such demeaning terms, then I know for certain that all they have known of Jesus is what flesh and blood has revealed to them. When “My Father, who is in heaven,” reveals that Jesus is both Lord and Christ, neither heaven above nor earth beneath can find terms grand enough to express our adoring adulation of Him. If you have seen Him even through a glass darkly, you will be as Isaiah, who wrote in the sixth chapter of his prophecy, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” If we see Him in this way, we will cry as Isaiah did, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because 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.” Any man who sees the glory of God so longs to be rid of the filth of his sin that he cries, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”
It saddens my heart to know that most of the preachers today have never seen that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. They know Him not as holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens. They know not in their hearts that from Him everything comes, by Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends. They know not that through Him God hath reconciled all things unto Himself or that He hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. They have not seen that God the Father had such faith in the blood of His Son that He declared remission of all the sins of the past. Rom. 3:25. They treat Him not as one close at hand, but as a God afar off. Ah, Jesus, Thou blessed Christ of God, Thou art He whom angels adore. Thou art He who has redeemed us and has prevailed to open the book of life and the seven seals thereof.
I learned to know a name I highly treasure.
O, how it thrills my spirit through and through.
O wondrous name beyond degree or measure.
My heart is stirred whene’er I think of You.
Many centuries ago our beloved Lord said to a throng of religious men who stood before Him, “I have come in My Father’s name and ye receive Me not. Another shall come in his own name; him ye shall receive.” Paul must have been mindful of this very truth when he wrote to the Corinthians in these words: “I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” 2 Cor. 11:3-4. Another Jesus, another spirit, another gospel! These money-grabbing radio and T.V. preachers who use the gospel as a gimmick to promote their worldly programs are total strangers to the gospel Paul preached. They preach another gospel. Indeed, they may use fine and polished sentences. Their sermons may sound good to people who, like Eve, have been beguiled by the serpent, but their gospel is not the gospel of the kingdom and it is not the gospel of grace. It is another gospel. To Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Daniel said, “Thou art this head of gold.” Babylon‘s image has a head of gold. All its wealth is the wealth of the world. That is why the radio and T.V. preachers are always begging for your money. They glibly ask their listeners for millions in donations and willingly resort to every sordid trick and sob story to persuade the people to give more and more money. The main thrust of their program is neither the gospel nor the preaching of it, but the need for more and more money to carry on their programs, which neither fatten nor fill a hungry soul. All the while they preach this foreign gospel, sin increases in all its avenues. Murders multiply. Thefts and robbery increase. Rape runs rampant. Adultery becomes universal. Drunkenness curses the nation and drugs scourge and darken the minds from the highest to the lowest as evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
The gospel they preach is not the gospel of grace or the gospel of the kingdom. It is another gospel. It is the gospel of Babylon. The Jesus they preach is not the Christ of God, but another Jesus of their own making. They use His name in vain, because they know of no other name that would attract such unusual interest. They feign the power to heal in His name and would have the world believe they have no failures, but if all the people were healed who they claim were healed, there would not be a feeble one among our tribes.
The covetous, self-exalting spirit is not the Spirit of God. It is another spirit – the spirit of that golden-headed monstrosity called Babylon. By it millions are deceived to flock to the standards of covetous men. If you will listen to them talk, you will seldom hear the worship of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, but the adulations of one who purports to be God’s man of the hour or some specially chosen vessel, commissioned to bring the gospel to the whole world in the last days. If their human effort were taken away, their programs would disappear in a month.
Thomas was a blessed man of God, a chosen disciple of the Lord. He always was a bit of a doubter, unwisely demanding proof that he could see with his eyes or understand with his natural mind. For three wonder-filled years he had followed the Lord. He had heard His wisdom unfolding the mysteries of God. Standing by Jesus’ side, he beheld the marvels of His power. Oftentimes he had watched the lame walk or had seen the miracle of a leper cleansed. He had heard the dumb glorify God as the string of his tongue was loosed. His eyes had seen the raging waves become as calm as a crystal sea. Many times this Thomas had felt the touch of the Lord’s hand on his own. He had watched the Lord die in the cross and stood in awe at the fearful darkness that spread its terror over the land. He had felt the terrible earthquake as all creation struggled and groaned with the dying Savior. He remembered that Christ had said that He would die and after three days rise again from the dead, but alas, for all this the dimness of the natural mind still clouded and befogged his understanding. Thus, when the glad heralds proclaimed that Jesus was alive and had been seen of many, with stubborn determination he vowed, “Except I shall see the print of the nails in His hands and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Don’t judge him too harshly, my brother. Why should he believe when until that very day death had always kept his prey? It is true that Lazarus and others had been raised back to their mortality by the miracle of Jesus’ power, but now, alas, alas, it was Jesus Himself who was dead and who was there in this dread hour of loss that could hope to raise Him from the dead? Our blessed Lord always knows what is best for smoking flax and bruised reeds. He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Then that very night, appearing among them like some phantom maturing from the shades, Jesus Himself stood in their midst. It was to Thomas He addressed His words of grace and kindness, for none as He knew the dreadful ache in His servant’s heart. “Reach hither thy finger,” He bade a man bowed down with doubt and fear. “Thrust thy hand into My side,” He said to him whose faith was almost gone; and Thomas, deigning not to draw near or touch Him, but starting up in the amazement and glory of the revelation, saw by the Holy Spirit what he had never fully seen before. Jesus was both Lord and Christ. “My Lord and my God,” he gasped; and nothing more could he say. He saw now what before he had not known, for God had made this Jesus, whom the rabble had crucified, “my Lord and my God.”
Only days ago I read a book about Jesus. The author had done a tremendous amount of research and I am sure that many of his conclusions were correct, but he ended the book with these words of darkness: “Jesus of Nazareth was a man; nothing more and nothing less.” Had that man’s words been born of revelation, he would have cried aloud with the wondering Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
In these last days the Lord God Almighty is calling out a people for His name. He is not concerned about bringing all the world to the light just now. That He will do in His own time and in whatever age He has ordained it. Long ago He shed His blood for the world. His blood is eternal life and that life is for all the world. When God the Father saw the sacrifice of His Son and the power of His life-giving blood, He “declared His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past.” Rom. 3:25. Since God the Father had such abounding faith in the blood of His Son, we must conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. The law is not made void through the operation of faith. Nay, by faith the law is established. Let us therefore abandon all our carnal reasoning to see Jesus as God sees Him, both Lord and Christ. If we are to see Him at all, we must see Him by revelation.
My heart is greatly burdened in this, the end of the age, that God’s people should not become absorbed with the doctrines and fancies of men, lest we, as others before us, make the word of God of no effect by our tradition. Let our fervent prayer be, “Open mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Lord and Father, I know my eye has not seen. I know my ear has not heard, for it was never tuned to the wave length of heaven. I know my heart has never understood eternal things. “My soul is night; my heart is steel! I cannot see! I cannot feel!” Come, Holy Spirit, and reveal Thyself. Take the things of Christ and disclose them to me. It is the Spirit that quickeneth. The flesh profiteth nothing. Where the eye has failed, where the ear has become unhearing and the mind has become unthinking, O Christ, manifest the hidden things to my searching spirit, yea, the deep and mysterious things that eye cannot see nor ear hear, neither can enter into the heart of man.
Let this, then, be your prayer and let it be mine, for the natural man can never grasp the things of the Spirit. But now the Sun of righteousness, arising with healing in His wings, gives light to our blind eyes. Its virtue will unstop the deaf ears and remove the covering of darkness cast over the minds of God’s people. It will touch the simple with understanding and to those who have no might it increaseth strength.
Reverence for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding. Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get wisdom and, with all thy getting, get understanding. If our God will be gracious and in loving kindness will anoint our eyes and draw back the curtain of night, then in the words that follow we will see that pearl of great price, for the sake of which the heavenly merchantman has sold all other pearls that He might obtain and bring to perfection that one which He has chosen in this age of grace.
THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS
The ministry of our Lord on earth was almost over when He called His disciples to a large upper room, furnished for the occasion. He knew that the hour for His departure out of the world had come. Already Satan had put the act of betrayal into the heart of Judas Iscariot, and Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hand and that He came from God and went to God, took a towel and girded Himself and began to wash the disciples’ feet. “Dost Thou wash my feet?” Peter asked. “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shall know hereafter,” was the wise reply. “Thou shall not wash my feel,” Peter protested. “But if I wash thee not,” said Jesus, “thou shall have no part in Me.”
Thou shall have no part in Me! No part in Thee if Thou wash me not? O Christ, what words are these? Thou hast washed my heart and cleansed it white as snow. Thou hast washed my hands that I do no evil before Thee. Thou hast washed my head and anointed it with the oil of gladness above my fellows; but O, my feet! Day after day I tread earth’s sordid pathways. Though I am not of the world, I am still in it. I have abandoned Babylon and all her daughters, but her dust still clings to me. Wash my feel, O Christ! Prepare Thy people for a higher realm. Make my feet like hinds’ feet that I may dwell high in the mountain of God. “An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come lo Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isa. 35:8-10
So Jesus washed Peter’s feet; and verily I say to you that all who will have part in Him to become members of that mystical body, the body of Christ, must be washed by Him from every last grain of earthly dust. Many thousands have been washed, but how often our feel are soiled with the things of this present life! I dare not detract anything from His salvation, for he that believes in Christ is certainly justified from all things, but there are many vain talkers in the world who speak much about the body of Christ while in their hearts they are saying, “Thou shall never wash my feet!” They are determined to secretly cling to those earthly things that forever identify them with this present evil world.
I cannot give it up, this little world I know;
The innocent delights of youth, and things I treasure so.
My Father’s heart is kind; He will not deem it ill
That my small corner of the world should please and hold me still.
Yet those innocent delights are the things from which Christ would now wash you that you might have a part in the glory of the temple, which is His body.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled.
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. So Peter yielded himself to the washing that he might have a full part in Him. And now that Christ had washed them all, the mysteries of a higher realm began to unfold before their wondering eyes as Jesus began to tell them of a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Their hearts were greatly troubled because He had warned them of troublous times that lay ahead. He told them that He would be crucified and for this they mourned. He said that He would rise again, and because of this they were astonished beyond measure. He had shocked them by His warning that one of them would betray Him and this had filled their hearts with consternation. Now, to add further to their sorrow, He had told Peter, who seemed to be a pillar of strength, “The cock shall not crow twice till thou has denied Me thrice.” Now, therefore, with a heart filled with understanding He comforted their troubled minds with a hope never before revealed to mankind: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions.”
Here now we must ask the Spirit of the Lord to lift the hidden things from before our understanding and reveal the things that since the world began have been kept secret. If you are one of the many who find comfort in believing that “My Father’s house” is heaven, and the many mansions are the houses on golden streets in which you will dwell for eternity, we shall have no quarrel about that, but truly I tell you that the house of many mansions, of which He spoke that day, is something far more than houses in the sky. “My Father’s house” is not my house, but an eternal abiding place, which our God is building for Himself. His house is a temple not made with hands, built not for time but eternal in the heavens. That house not made with hands (may God reveal it) is the mystical body of Christ. Every stone in it is a living stone, a redeemed person who has partaken of eternal life, whose feet have been washed from the grime of all of Babylon‘s system and whose steps no longer lead to the harlot’s house. Every stone in this temple is a living stone. Every living stone is a redeemed person, made alive with His life, which is eternal.
Listen to the words of Peter in later years as he presses this golden truth home to the hearts of understanding saints. “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 2:3-5. This superb gem of revelation vividly reveals just what the Father’s house really is. It tells us that the living temple is made of living stones, each stone a living person, and, though they are so many, yet they are one house of many living stones. It was for this our Savior prayed, requesting of God, “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me. And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:21-23
I stand in amazement and wonder, marveling at such words of life as these. The Christ within rejoices in them and my own spirit bows in adoring contemplation of them. Such truth belongs to the eternal realm and can never be explained to the satisfaction of the natural mind, no, not in ten thousand years.
Only the Holy Spirit can manifest the glory of the relationship between the Father and the Son, and how can we know except by the illumination of inspiration that our own relationship to the Father is as His relationship to the Father? “Thou in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.” I shall not try to explain this further, the Holy Spirit alone can make it clear. Let us therefore humbly bow before the God of glory, earnestly requesting that He would make known this heavenly mystery, hidden from all previous ages, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27. “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things . . . Ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” 1 John 2:20, 27
Now when Paul wrote to the saints in Corinth, he often expressed surprise at their lack of spiritual understanding. We dare not imagine the pain he would feel if he were faced with the ignorance, the blindness and the unbelief to be found in the twentieth century church, which is without doubt the church of Laodicea. In 1 Cor. 3 the apostle carefully explained the wonders of Christ’s temple not made with hands, saying in verse 9, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Solomon built a magnificent temple of stone. He overlaid it with gold and adorned it with silver. All manner of precious stones were in it. So wonderful was it that the queen of Sheba, beholding even the ascent to the house of the Lord, was breathless at the sight. But the temple built by Solomon was only a fleeting foreshadow of the living temple which Christ would build in the age of grace — a temple not made with hands. Not of dead stones, but of living stones. Not covered with glittering gold, but overshadowed by God. Not adorned with silver, but founded on redemption. Not fashioned with glittering, precious stones, but by the eternal jewels of His gifts and graces.
It is with an expression of shock that Paul demanded of the Corinthians, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16. And again, “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” 1 Cor. 6:15. And with still greater emphasis, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in You?” I Cor. 6:19. It is very evident that Paul is manifesting genuine surprise, if not incredulity, to discover that the people who have been Christians for years, who prided themselves in spiritual gifts, should still be totally ignorant of their true relationship to Jesus Christ. “What?” he asks in amazement, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” Do you not know that God dwells in you? Do you still imagine that He dwells in stone temples, made by the art of man’s device? Do you not know that “My Father’s house” is a house of many mansions and that you, God’s saints, are that house? You are that temple not made with hands. What? Do you not know that you are that mystical body of Christ and members in particular? Has God not made it real to you that every individual who is joined to Christ in the Spirit is an abiding place or a room in that heavenly mansion? That, I am sure, is the meaning of the scripture, “In My Father’s house are many mansions (abiding places).” The house is made of many living stones. Every stone is a redeemed person and every living stone is a separate abiding place in which the Spirit of god dwells.
“My Father’s house” is the temple of God, a building of the Lord, a house not made with hands. It cannot be either temporal or transient as was the temple of Solomon, which was destroyed and left without one stone upon another. The temple which is Christ’s body is eternal in the heavens. It is not earthly nor does it belong to the earthly realm, but to an heavenly. It is not of corruption, but of incorruption it is not of mortality, but of immortality.
These are solemnizing truths. These are unspeakable words almost unlawful to utter. I cannot approach such truth with lightness or glibness of heart nor hear them without awe. I stand amazed at them, being aware that these heavenly precepts are being spoken to men who were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. Beheld what an amazing manifestation of amazing grace that is that mankind, born in sin and conceived in rebellion, should now, exonerated from their sins, be sons of God and joint heirs with Christ, members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones, and placed as living stones in a living temple, the habitation of God through the Spirit, the holy house not made with hands from which God in ages yet unborn will govern the entire universe in righteousness.
Oh, that men and women would cease from their elation that demons are subject to them or that they were eyewitnesses to a healing or a miracle and rejoice rather that their names are written in heaven. It was to her eternal credit that the queen of Sheba traveled the dusty desert roads from a far country to hear the wisdom of Solomon and to stand in breathless awe at the sight of the glittering temple he built. But a greater than Solomon is with us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God is building a temple of living stones, even stones of fire. Every stone is living. Every stone is speaking. Every stone is breathing the breath of eternal life. The living stones in this temple are the members of the body of Christ. They are sons of God and members of His family. By adding them to Himself God is expanding Himself, as a man by fathering many sons expands his family and himself. By God’s family of sons, the holy temple, the Lord will fill the universe with Himself, for the saints are the fullness of Him who filleth all in all.
The knowledge of this sublime truth will make you holy. No one can ever thus see his place in God and yet remain in carnality. Should one claim to see these truths and yet remain as he was before, then he has not seen by the Spirit, but by the natural mind only. Be gone all lightness and frivolity! Away with all sin and pride! Cast off all self-seeking and fleshy imagination. What? Know ye not that ye are God’s temple and that His Spirit dwells in you?
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Eph. 2:19. This meaningful passage of truth deserves the earnest prayer and consideration of every saint of God. There was a time when you were a complete stranger to Christ and a foreigner to His kingdom, having no part in His promises, but by His Spirit He brought you nigh. By His blood He cleansed you. The Holy Spirit was imparted to do the work of regeneration that you might know the power of the new birth. It is not the old you that now exists. Through the miraculous power of God you have become a new creature, a new creation in Christ. You have been born into His family. You have not been adopted into it, as we so often hear it said. You have been born into it and thus you have become a member of the family of God by a spiritual birth. We should never confuse adoption with the new birth. Adoption is a heavenly rite by which a young son of God is proclaimed of age, responsible, and capable of being heard and doing the Lord’s will and purpose. Jesus was the Son of God when He was born, but on the day of His baptism a thunderous voice from heaven declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.” That was the rite of adoption. Paul says Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. That is adoption.
The house not made with hands, the temple of the Lord, “My Father’s House” is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:20-22. What could be clearer than these verses? Do they not vividly demonstrate what the Father’s house really is? Does not Paul’s use of the word groweth in verse 21 indicate that God’s temple is a living organism, composed not of bricks, but of living beings, sons of God, ever growing, ever maturing and ever being added to as new sons are born into God’s family to take their place in a living temple? This house not made with hands is not only being built by God, but is growing in numbers, growing in maturity and in spiritual understanding and wisdom.
As I write these lines our Canadian Parliament has just gone down to defeat. Carnal, worldly men devoid of the wisdom of God strive to run the affairs of the nation without prayer, without inspiration, without morality and without God. They have no chance of success, and, when a new Parliament is elected, the same godless crowd will face each other across the floor, promoting more sorrow and confusion until the whole Babylonish mess of corruption finally falls. This confusion of man’s making will not endure always. For two thousand years our God has been preparing a living temple, a house not made with hands. His Spirit abides in every living stone and His mind rules over all. From that holy temple He will govern the world when the times are ripe for it. Then the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. Thanks be unto God that corruption is almost at an end. The stone cut from the mountain without hands will soon smite the image of Babylon on its unworthy feet. Six days shalt thou labor, O man, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Lord’s millennial day. In it none of the works of man will be found, but the Lord shall reign in Zion, for it is God’s Sabbath day.
Weymouth in his beautiful translation renders the above passage, Eph. 2:19-22, in these devout and meaningful words: “You are therefore no longer mere foreigners or persons excluded from civil rights. On the contrary, you share citizenship with the saints and are members of His family. You are a building which has been reared on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus Himself, in union with whom the whole fabric, truly bonded together, is rising so as to form a holy sanctuary in the Lord; in whom you also are being built up together to become a fixed abode for God through the Spirit.”
The Scripture is one composite whole. Every part of its structure depends upon every other part, for this reason Paul says, “In union with Christ Jesus, the whole fabric, truly bonded together, is rising to form a holy sanctuary for the Lord.” We are being built together to become a fixed abode for God through the Spirit. In the light of this, how true are Paul’s words: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph. 4:4-6
I do not have the ability to make this truth any plainer than Paul made it when he first wrote it, but surely the devout mind can see with some measure of clearness what infinite pains the Holy Spirit has taken to reveal God’s purpose for the saints in this age of grace and more especially their ministry in the ages to come. We earnestly pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened that you may know the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us. Often we talk and sing about our inheritance in God, but I am afraid it is seldom indeed that anyone takes time to explain the exceeding riches of God’s inheritance in His saints.
Would God that all the saints might see God’s purpose as one complete whole. The purpose for man is the same today as it was when the Lord said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness, and let us give him dominion.” Never for one second has the immutable Father deviated from that purpose. Even the fall of man in the garden is part of the unchanging, unvarying purpose. The blessed Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world was not slain in case man should sin, but because the creature was to be made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who subjected the same in hope. Rom. 8:20 Well did God know that, after His creation had suffered a while, He would establish, strengthen and settle it. The blessed Father knew that, when the prodigal had returned in penitence from the swine pen of his transgression, there would be a fatted calf to nourish him, a best robe of righteousness to cover him, covenant rings to be placed on his fingers, and shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace to be placed upon his feet. There would be heavenly music and dancing, for this, the son that was lost, is found and he that was dead is alive evermore. God’s inheritance in His saints is that they should be His eternal dwelling place, the habitation for God in the Spirit, for God shall dwell with them and in them. They shall serve Him day and night in His temple. In this temple the stones are living. They are the sons of God whose service will restore the whole creation to find its one head in Christ.
The book of Hebrews, that incomparable revelation in which the author rises to inexpressible heights of inspiration, has this to say concerning the house which the Lord is preparing: “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Heb. 3:6, 6 Whose house are we! O may the Father of light reveal the fathomless depth of that truth to our hearts! The Revised Standard Version says here: “And we are His house.” On that sad night, when Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, for the first time ever He began to reveal the mystery of the Father’s house and, though they understood not what He was saying, He left them with this blessed and holy promise: “I go to prepare a place for you.” For centuries in our lack of understanding we have made that statement to mean that somewhere in heaven beyond the blue in a city of gold Christ was preparing us a mansion in which we could dwell. We are so earthbound in our thinking! Man is continually imagining after the earthly. He imagines heaven to be not much different from earth. He thinks eternal life is little more than an extension of time, though eternal life has nothing to do with length of days. The holy temple, which He is building, the Father’s house, is not being made for you or for me, but for the Father. We ourselves, the redeemed of the Lord, are that habitation for God in the Spirit.
It is not possible to explain these truths to human satisfaction. The things that eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man must be revealed to us by the Spirit. Abraham centuries ago had a vision of the new Jerusalem bride of Christ, the city that hath foundations whose builder and maker is God, but do you think for a moment that he was able to impart the truth he saw to his nephew Lot? It is possible that even his wife Sarah did not see nor understand his vision. Abraham alone saw the city that hath foundations and followed hard after it, but he died in faith before he reached it. Even now in this far off day that Holy City has not descended from heaven. Neither will it do so for another thousand years or so more. Nevertheless, there is nothing more certain than this: The day will come when that city, which was seen afar off through the eye of faith, will be seen coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
In the messages of Christ to the churches a special promise was always given to him that overcometh, but to the church at Philadelphia He gave a promise that is worthy to fill every page of this booklet. May our Lord give us the Spirit of revelation to understand what He said. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.” Just think of that! I am sure that thousands of saints will rejoice to know they are living stones in the wall, but here is a promise, given to overcomers, that they shall be pillars in the temple of God. It is beyond me. I cannot explain it. These things are too wonderful for me. The pillars bear the weight of the superstructure. It is a high and wonderful promise. Blessed be the name of the Lord. One day, when Paul was writing to the Galatians, he made mention of James, Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars. Gal. 2:9. Even in that far off day these men had overcome through the blood of the Lamb, and even then they were beginning to minister as pillars in the temple of the living God.
It is Christ Himself who is preparing our place in Him. He alone knows the place prepared from the foundation of the world. It is not a question for us to decide. He divideth to every man severally as He will. Long before the ages began, He foreknew us all and predestinated us to our place in Himself, and, having done so, He prepared our trials and furnaces of affliction that we might be vessels perfectly fitted for the master’s use. How thankful I am that it is Christ who is preparing my place in Him! “The Lord looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men… He fashioneth their hearts alike; He considerith all their works.” Psa. 33:13, 15. “My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth… Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfected; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there were none of them.“ Psa. 139:15–16. Selah. Just think of that! He had the print of every member of His body, His holy temple, when as yet none of them existed. God is not unlike men in this regard, for they, too, go to much expense to prepare blueprints and plans for their earthly mansions before ever a sod is turned. Should it then seem strange that our all wise Father should know our fashion and appoint our place when as yet we were not on the earth?
He tells me of the years that went before me,
When heavenly plans were made for me to be;
When all was but a dream of dim conception
To come to life, God’s verdant glory see.
If Abraham, a man like you and me, could see the Holy City afar off, dare we think that our Lord, the Father of eternity, would not have seen the glory of His own temple long millenniums before the foundations were laid?
When the fiery Stephen was giving his apology before the Christ haters of his day, he, being anointed mightily by the Holy Spirit, spoke of David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord. This the Lord refused, but Solomon built Him an house. This statement is immediately followed by a pertinent fact, which we today must never forget. “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool: What house will ye build Me, saith the Lord; or what is the place of My rest.” Acts 7:49-50. There is only one temple recognized by the Lord. It is the temple of His body, the greatest mystery of the ages. This is the true temple made without hammer or the sound of instrument. For two thousand years it has been rising on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and it will not be long before the flaming words of the prophet Malachi will be fulfilled: “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appearth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal. 3:1-3
“God, who made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands as though He needed anything.” Acts 17:24-25. This passage contains a special message for the sons of God in these last days. Never since the days of Noah have we seen such times as these. This is an evil day. It is the evil day. It is an hour when both the world and the professing church apparently believe that money solves every problem. To hear radio and T. V. evangelists speak, one would conclude that money, money and more money will bring the whole world into the truth. It is an abominable lie! John the Baptist never mentioned money, yet he shook the world. Money has never saved a soul and never will. Can you imagine Martin Luther begging for money to further his reformation? Can you imagine John Wesley or George Whitefield putting any confidence in it whatsoever? You will always know a false man by the time he wastes on his program begging for money. The love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon and Daniel, interpreting his dream, said to him, “Thou art this head of gold.” I am not trying to be funny or cynical, but Babylon has always had a head of gold. The whole Babylon system, both the world system and the church system, depends on money. The Beast of Revelation is the world system. The harlot of Revelation is the church system. That is why John saw the drunken, harlot woman riding on the back of the Beast. That is where she has always ridden. It is the world system that sustains the organized church system. These preachers are just as ready to receive their funds from the world as anywhere else. In fact, they depend not on the power of Christ or the mighty power of Pentecost to carry on their work but upon the currency of the world. It is an awful indictment, but it is true.
I cannot waste time trying to rectify the errors of the harlot system, which the Bible calls Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. To preach to them is not my calling at all. My calling is to minister to the temple of the Lord, which is rising to form a fixed abode for God in the Spirit. Where better, then, can I look for help than to the inspiration of God’s word and the towering words of the apostle Paul that are so wonderfully applicable to us in this the end of the age. Let us see for a moment what exhortation he has for the saints, who are members of Christ’s mystical body, the temple of the Lord. Let us lend an attentive ear to Paul’s teaching concerning the temple of God and our association with idolaters, remembering as we read that we ourselves are the temple of God of which Paul speaks. Please notice the opposite mentioned here. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 2 Cor. 6:14-16
You may say to yourself, “But the people I associate with are Christians. They are not unbelievers.” My brother, there are many preachers who wave the Bible over their heads and shout, “I believe this book from cover to cover!” But go and ask if they believe Eph. 1:10 – “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him” – and you will soon discover whether they are believers or not. Ask them if they believe Col. 1:20. Then ask them if they believe the all inclusive promise of Acts 2:38, 39, where Peter promised that men of all ages would receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as they did at Pentecost. Ask them if they believe Rom. 8:20, 21 or a dozen other passages and you will find out that the very men who make such proclamations of faith are, in fact, unbelievers.
I am not anxious to condemn them; but to you the word is spoken, for God has said, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:17–18. We are indeed intensely interested in the temple of the Lord, and it has been abundantly demonstrated that the temple of the Lord is the true body of Christ. Furthermore it is perfectly evident that the sons of God are the members of the body of Christ, the house not made with hands. Are we then so foolish that we will overlook this earnest exhortation of Paul, in which he gives promise that those, and only those, who come out of the Babylon system will be sons and daughters of God? At any rate that is definitely what the apostle said. “Come out from among them… and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” I am totally at a loss to know how we can longer dilly-dally in the face of such a stern command and such a glorious promise.
The feet of the image of Babylon are partly iron and partly clay – a very weak mixture to say the least. The entire Babylon system is now rising to its dizziest heights. I will tell you what will happen. This present pope, Pope John Paul 2nd, or the pope who follows him, will complete the work of forming a world church. The progress now being made in many quarters in gathering together Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Moslems into one drunken harlot system under Rome is nothing short of phenomenal. After this has been accomplished, the pope following will receive power from the beast system of world government to force everybody to worship the church beast whose deadly wound was healed. All manner of signs and wonders will be present to deceive the people insomuch that the image of the beast will speak and call down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Rev. 13:12-18. Fearful things are coming and I warn you that they are coming upon the very people who now believe they are going to be raptured out of all tribulation. The day is near at hand when the terrible cry will go forth in all the land, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and has become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.” This sordid condition exists at the present time. The church system is rising to dizzying heights in preparation for its unspeakable fall and with it the monstrous beast of the political system is also rising in its godless dominion over the very souls of men, but it shall come to its end and none shall help it.
Even now as I write, unknown to the multitudes in the world and in the church, a world government is already in place. The colossal world wide banking system, controlled by the Rothschilds and Rockefellers, govern both the communist and the so-called free world. Let us make no mistake about that. They have power to bring about crises, wars, strikes, rebellions and revolutions, depression or inflation whenever they will. Is it any wonder then that at this moment the Spirit of Christ is calling to His sons, “Come out from among them and be separate… and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord almighty.” If Christ is speaking to you, then obey Him and leave all the results in His hand.
Revelation and understanding can never flow in the heart of the disobedient. It is when we “come out” that Christ comes to sup with us and from His lips we learn the unspeakable mysteries of His kingdom. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil 2:12–13
The end of all things is certainly at hand. The temple, which is His body, has been in the process of building during the entire age of grace. It will be completed and ready for its glorious millennial ministry at the end of this present age. The sons of God are the body of Christ. They are members of Christ. He is the head Son; they are the body of sons. He is the eldest and firstborn of a vast family of brothers (Rom. 8:9, Weymouth), all of whom are sons of God and members of His family.
It is my opinion that the apostle John was transported over two thousand years of time from his imprisonment on Patmos to the day of the Lord at the end of the age when that great family of God’s elect sons would be complete. The vision John saw on Patmos of the complete body of Christ was so incredibly magnificent and so far beyond his comprehension that, when his eyes beheld it, he fell as one dead, and I suppose, if the angel had not strengthened him, he would have died. The most glorious revelations of God often make their appearance when we least expect them. It was a dreary night for Jacob as he journeyed in fear from Padan-aram (Gen. 28), but what an unexpected glory overshadowed him when in his restless dreaming a ladder appeared before his eyes with angels ascending and descending upon it. Perhaps even then he heard the words of Jesus, “Henceforth you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Was the truth then made plain to him that an hour was coming in a far distant age when the Son of man, Christ the head and Christ the body, would be a ladder with its feet on earth and its Head in heaven, the Head and the body together, one glorious Christ, one celestial ladder, joining heaven to earth in one glorious kingdom of God? At the end of this age the hand of God will be stretched forth to remove the dark veil of the years; then a ladder will be seen reaching from earth to heaven. It will be the Christ of God, the head and the body perfectly one. Upon that ladder heaven will have access to earth and earth will have access to heaven.
Like some tall cliff that lifts its awful form
Swells from the deep and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the stormy clouds are spread,
Eternal sunlight settles on its head.
Thus it was with John, in exile on little Patmos, a place of few inhabitants and always swarming with pirates, but he writes: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; …And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Rev. 1:10-18
Throughout the preceding pages our endeavor has been to show that “My Father’s house” is the habitation of God through the Spirit. It is the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It is the temple of the Lord. It is the mystical body of Christ. It is not a temple of cold hard stones as was the temple of Solomon, which was at best only a figure of the true, but a temple of living stones, in which every stone is a born again member of a living temple, which is His mystical body. This is the living temple of which Paul wrote, saying, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” This is that body of which Paul said, “The body is not one member, but many.” And again, “The body, being many, is but one body, and every one members one of another.” Such wisdom is too great for me. It is high; I cannot attain unto it, but in spirit I understand and my whole being cries, Amen.I see and I know! In spirit we see a temple rising from the lowly earth to the vaulted skies and that, I am sure, is what John saw that never-to-be-forgotten moment on Patmos when in the Spirit he was carried away to behold for the first time that which eye had never seen, nor ear heard, neither had entered the heart of man. It was the temple of Christ‘s body – not the Christ as He was at first, but Christ the first and the last together.
John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. Perhaps you will insist that the Lord’s Day means Sunday. Others will insist that it means Saturday and I have no argument with you whatsoever. It very well could have been either of these days that the vision took place. I would like to point out, however, that the great prophetic statements of scripture always have two or more fulfillments. First they have some present and local interpretation, but if you look a few millenniums into the future, you will discover a larger and more wonderful interpretation than was at first believed. It is like a seed planted in the earth that springs forth, first the blade, second the ear, and third the full corn in the ear. Or it is like unto a protoplasm placed in the womb that grows and matures, we know not how, from an infinitesimal speck to a fully formed human being, ready to come forth from the womb to manifestation and maturity. Those who believe in God should never curse themselves and destroy their understanding by holding tenaciously to some tradition of the elders, but should remember rather the words of Peter when he said, “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Pet. 1:20. There is always a greater and more important revelation further on.
John was in the Spirit. This is a fact of extreme importance. The realm of the Spirit is a realm beyond the reach of the natural. Spiritual things are all about us to such an extent that we live and move and have our being in them, yet the natural man can never see them until the Spirit draws aside the dusky curtains of our mortality and opens our eyes to the things of the eternal world. It was this way with the servant of Elisha as in fear and trembling he saw the hosts of Syria surrounding them, but what a small flight it was to the spiritual realm when in answer to Elisha’s prayer, “Lord, open his eyes,” he saw the mountains and hills filled with the hosts of the Lord.
Little did John realize in the lonesomeness of Patmos that Christ in His glory was so near. He did not imagine that he was to see in the Spirit what no man had ever seen. This same John had seen Christ, the First, but now he was to see Christ the First and the Last in one glorious manifestation of sonship. He was to behold Christ the head and Christ the body in one. My souls sing Amen! And in these far off days I know the full glory of that revelation is nearer to us than it was to him.
The voice John heard was as the voice of a trumpet speaking. No Roman fanfare proclaimed the coming of Christ to Bethlehem, but gentle angelic voices announced to a few elect and humble people, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” In the end of this age Christ our Lord shall appear again, and nothing is clearer than this: His coming will be with the sounding of the trumpet of God and the towering voice of the Archangel.
For two thousand years the body of Christ has been forming in secret in the lowest parts of the earth (Psa. 149:15), the head, the body, the hands and the feet. All this has been in silence and very often in persecution and in prison, but now the body of sons is almost complete and ready for the manifestation. The Alpha is joined to the Omega. Christ the First is one body with the Last. That is what the trumpet voice was saying to John and that is the mighty message for the age to come.
The voice John heard came from behind him so that he had to turn himself about to see from whence this mighty voice arose. I may not say for certain, but perhaps it is significant that John was looking in the opposite direction when the Lord spoke. How often our expectations are in the wrong direction! Almost always we find it necessary to turn ourselves about before we can see the revelation of Christ.
The candlesticks are the churches. Rev. 1:20. That is all that needs be said about them. The wonder that caught John’s eye was not the candlesticks, but someone who was standing in the midst of the seven candlesticks. It was Christ the Alpha and the Omega, Christ the head and Christ the body. As the seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal in Elijah’s day were somewhere in the midst of Israel, so the sons of God are in the midst of the candlesticks as the kernel is in the husk and the spirit in the midst of the body and so the true body of Christ today among the outward forms of the churches. Was not Jesus the Alpha formed within the womb of Mary to come forth in manifestation as Christ, the head of the body? Should it then seem strange that the body of Christ, the Omega, should be formed in the midst of the church woman? Was not this the thing that John was seeing by revelatio
The personage John saw was like the Son of man. He was in truth the very image of Christ. John, who had known Jesus so intimately while He was here on earth, could plainly see the identical likeness, but his spirit told him that this revelation of Christ’s glory was something far beyond anything he had ever known. This was the Christ in His fullness, the Alpha and the Omega together, the First and the Last in one, Jesus of Nazareth the Head, one body with a vast family of sons, all speaking with the harmony of a mighty symphony, for the voice he heard was as the sound of many waters. Waters are symbolic of peoples and multitudes. That is why the sound of their voices was as the sound of many waters – many people, many sons, all with one glorious message for the redemption of the world. “I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the First and the Last. I am He that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and death.”
This one like the Son of man was clothed with a garment from the head to the foot. It was one garment for one body of many members. It was the robe of righteousness, the robe of royalty, the robe of the priest, for these have become a kingdom of priests. The robes of Aaron were robes of glory and beauty. How much more shall the robes of the Alpha and Omega display the power and the glory of God’s Christ! His golden girdle is the girdle of truth. All that He is and does is in truth. Everywhere about us today we find deception as evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. Men in high office have become inveterate liars. International policy is often calculated to deceive. Solemn agreements are signed without any intention of keeping them, but the world is soon to see a governor whose garment of righteousness is girded with the golden girdle of truth. Demosthenes said, “What we have in us of the image of God is the love of truth and justice,” and Horace Mann remarked, “Keep one thing forever in view – the truth; and if you do this, though it may lead you away from the opinions of man, it will assuredly conduct you to the throne of God.”
His head and His hairs were white like wool as white as snow. White hair is symbolic of omniscience. It is the crown of spiritual wisdom, long experience and understanding. He learned obedience by the things He suffered. He was tempted in all points as we are. The long night of man’s evil rule taught Him the intrinsic value of justice and wisdom. He knows every end from its beginning. He knows every thought afar off. He needeth not that any man should ask Him or tell Him. In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.
His eyes were a flame of fire. All He shall look upon will be flooded with heavenly light. Since the transgression in Eden long ago, man’s eyes have been fallen. They have no power except to receive light and reflections from without, but in the beginning the eyes of man were intended, not only to receive light, but to give light as well. For this reason it is said, “His eyes were as a flame of fire.” Daniel’s vision of the Christ was as fearfully intense as John’s. His awesome revelation is stated in these words: “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and His face as the appearance of lightning, and His eyes as lamps of fire, and His arms and His feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of His words like the voice of a multitude.” Dan: 10:5, 6. Is this not a most astounding, unspeakable vision of Christ, the Alpha and the Omega? His eyes were as lamps of fire. The purpose of a lamp is to give light. In the glory of Christ’s kingdom, when this vision will be a reality in the whole earth, it shall come to pass that all that is looked upon by the sons of God will be flooded with the light of pure understanding. Even in our fallen state the eyes can tell us many stories. The boxers watch the eyes of their opponents to see where they intend to strike. Lawyers watch the eyes of men suspected of crime for signs of deception. Our eyes manifest innocence, jealousy and reproach as well as trust and happiness and much, much more, but this is a fleeting shadow still flickering in our fallen state. Then shall our eyes be as lamps of fire, giving truth and light and direction to all mankind.
His voice was as the sound of many waters. We mentioned above that the waters represent peoples. Rev. 17:15. The body of Christ is not one member, but many – a multitude. This is Daniel’s description of His voice. “The voice of His words was like the voice of a multitude.” I do not know how anything could be clearer. If Jesus is the firstborn of many brethren, who are in the image of Christ, why would not the voice of this Alpha and Omega be the voice of a multitude? It could scarcely be anything else. John was not seeing Christ as He was at first. He was seeing Christ as He is at last. He sees Him in triumph, shouting, “Behold, I and the sons which God has given Me!”
Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When we read, “With it He will smite the nations,” our first thought must not be vindictiveness as so many preach. This sword of the Spirit does far more than kill. It pierces to the dividing asunder of flesh and spirit and discerns the thoughts of men and the intents of their hearts, and more often than not it brings repentance rather than judgment. The mighty outpouring of God’s word at Pentecost caused men to be pricked and cut and pierced to the heart until they cried, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” And the answer of the word was quick and clear: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost … Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:37-41. When Stephen preached the word, they were cut to the heart, and to Paul the Spirit said, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” It is true that to the unbeliever the sharp sword of the Word of God will someday condemn and kill, but the first and primary meaning must always be that it will pierce and cut and prick the conscience, bringing repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ.
His countenance was as the sun shineth in its strength. Daniel, in corroboration of this statement, said, “His face was as the appearance of lightning. The prophet Ezekiel said, “The earth shined with His glory.” Ezek. 43:2. In the light of this glorious revelation of what the body of Christ really is, I do not wonder that, when John saw the glory of the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, he especially noticed that the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of the Lord did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof. Rev. 21:23.
There is in verse 15 a beautiful statement, which I have purposely left to the last. Daniel describes it thus: “His arms and His feet were like in color to polished brass.” Dan. 10:6. In the beginning of this chapter we spoke of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples and of Peter’s protest, “Thou shall never wash my feet!” “But,” said Jesus, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in Me.” The feet are as much a part of the body as the heart or the head, but we need not be reminded that the head appears first at birth followed by other vital parts of the body and finally the feet. Centuries ago a baby was born to Rachel. He was the last of the twelve sons of Jacob. When that child was born, his mother died. She called him Benoni, meaning son of my sorrow, but Jacob named him Benjamin, which loosely translated, means this: Son of my right hand born in the extremity of the age. We who are coming into sonship now in the extremity of the age are the feet members of Christ’s body, the last to be born into God’s family of sons. “Blessed are the feet of him who bringeth glad tidings of the gospel of peace.” The gospel of peace is the gospel of the kingdom.
It is all very glorious and I marvel not that John, upon seeing it, fell as dead at His feet and Daniel, seeing the same things, says, “There remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me to corruption, and I retained no strength.” Dan. 10:8. Such a sight as this is too much for mortal eyes, but its glory destroys corruption and mortality and awakens the saint to incorruption and immortality and eternal life. Such in the words of a man is the glory of “My Father’s house,” though seen afar off as through a glass darkly. Thus in the faltering words of man is the picture of “My Father’s house,” God’s living temple, the body of Christ.
One day, as I read the vision which John saw of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the bride, descending from God out of heaven, I was amazed to read these words: “And I saw no temple therein: Rev. 21:22. Taken aback, I asked, “Whatever has become of the temple of His glory, which He has been building with such meticulous care throughout the entire age of grace?” Then I saw and understood the infinite words of truth, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” This is “My Father’s house.” This is the temple not made with hands. This is the body of Christ. From this temple of sons our God will rule the universe. Again in spirit I hear Paul say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:19-22. Again I hear our Savior pray, “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou has loved Me.” Amen.
MY FATHER’S HOUSE
“What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!” Psa. 8:4-9
Before we attempt to explain truth so sublime as is contained in these beautiful words, it would be well to pause that our hearts may be searched to see if we are ready to receive such divine revelation as God’s Spirit would bestow. The closer our walk with God and the further we go in the deep things of God the more we are faced with the indisputable fact that it is impossible for man to receive any truth from God unless that truth is revealed to the heart by a revelation of the Holy Spirit. “For 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. Again it is written that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath 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 It is not by the spirit of the world that God would give us understanding that we by earthly wisdom and scholarly attainments might unlock the hidden things of the Most High, “for 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
Men were always in conflict with Jesus of Nazareth because they belonged to the earthly realm while He belonged to the heavenly realm. The only things that were real to them were the things that could be seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched, while He saw the invisible, hear the inaudible, and clearly understood the incomprehensible. Because of the plane on which He dwelt, He knew that the things that are seen by natural eyes or heard by natural ears are only temporal, but the things, which are not seen, are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:18.
Before our eyes can behold the visions of God, we must be done forever with the opinions of men. We must be ready to throw all our human notions and church traditions on the dung heap, for “what things were gain to me” must be counted loss for Christ. Though we, like Paul, may have been brought up at the feet of some learned Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), instructed in all the traditions of the fathers, and found blameless in the light of our own understanding, yet, in that very moment when light brighter than any earthly sun shines into the darkness of our natural mind, we will count all but dung and refuse in comparison to the more excellent glory of God’s eternal purpose. We could without difficulty make an impressive list of righteous men who abhorred their very existence and deplored their corruption in that moment when a ray of light from on high burst upon them. We could tell of Job, a man perfect and upright who feared God and shunned evil, of whom even God Himself testified that there was none like him in all the earth. Yet, when all his arguments were done and the dissenting voices of his counselors fell silent, God spoke, and, when He spoke, all the understanding and wisdom of Job shriveled and withered into the dusts of nothingness, for he found he could not answer one question in a thousand and his own righteousness was such that he abhorred himself in God’s sight and repented in dust and ashes. Job 42:1-6
Oh, how quickly will men dismount the hobby horses of their traditions, how willingly will they cast their prided doctrines on the dung hill, and how gladly will they discard the trinkets of their teaching in that blessed moment when a ray of light from the celestial realm shines through the darkness of the natural mind! You, my friend, now reading these lines, are not exempt, nor am I who write them, for the understanding of the Almighty will come to give us light and, where the understanding of God bursts upon our spirit, we will wonder how it was that we could have been so blind or so content with the emptiness of our knowledge of Him. The proud in wisdom will be abased when they see in light eternal that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God.
As a little boy I was raised on a farm far out on the western prairies. We were pioneers in the truest sense of the word. We were homesteaders forty miles beyond the end of the steel. There were no telephones, radios, autos, or superhighways. Our transportation was horses and wagons and our first habitation was a seven by seven tent. As time went by, a little village grew up twelve miles from our farm home. Finally the railway came in and there were many signs of bustling progress. But what was my great delight when one day my younger brother and I were treated to a trip to a distant city! There our wondering eyes saw things we had never known existed. The electric lights, running water, the great buildings and beautiful stores, the dazzling array of electric signs and things to numerous to mention, though commonplace now, were then a new and living wonder to us. At last the day came to return to our country home. It was midnight when the train pulled into our little town of Alsask and, had I not been able to read the name clearly printed on the railroad station, I am sure I would have thought we had got off at the wrong place. Instead of brilliant lights and flashing signs a little kerosene lamp in a brass bracket offered its pale and doubtful glow. The station itself seemed to have shrunk to one third its size since we last saw it two weeks earlier, or had the old one been moved away and a new and tiny one brought in to replace it? The whole village must have been asleep except the mailman who loaded his bags on a little cart and trundled off through the frosty night to the Post Office. As the big engine puffed off into the darkness, we toddled off through the snow to the little hotel where, I still remember, we paid one dollar for a bed.
How quickly falls our castle of cards in the light of greater things! How soon our paltry religious world with its little “church” ritual withers away in the blessed light of celestial realities and the vaunted strongholds of our traditions crumble into nothingness in the light of the heavenly vision. For as heaven is higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. But His rain, falling down from heaven, causes the earth, which we are, to bud and bring forth fruit, and His word of truth, falling with the light of revelation upon our darkened hearts, fills us with the understanding of the Almighty until from the dust and ashes of our desolation we rise to sing, How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
We are going to need more than human understanding to give the correct answer to David’s question, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that Thou visitest him?” How sadly often have I heard this text used to prove that man is nothing but a useless worm and that it is a never ending wonder that the Lord even notices him or pays any attention to him. Whether we believe it or not, this, alas, is the attitude of almost all the existing church system and almost all her ministers of whatsoever sect or faction they may be. I am afraid that comparatively few people have ever noticed that, when David by inspiration asked, “What is man?” he immediately proceeded to answer his own question in that strange veiled manner so common to divine revelation. “For it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” Prov. 25:2
“What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” Bear with me a moment and we will paraphrase this question to allow our minds to be lifted from the rut into which tradition has cast us. Let us read it this way. “What hast Thou in mind for man? What is Thy purpose concerning him?” Why did God make man in the first place? Why has He so marvelously visited the sons of men with such abounding grace and longsuffering? If we can begin to think in these terms, then the very attitude of our lives will be transformed. Instead of seeing mankind as a sort of troublesome mystifying nuisance unworthy of God’s notice, we will behold eternal purpose in God’s creation of man and in all His continued loving-kindness and tender mercy toward him.
We may be eternally thankful that David did not leave the question without an answer. The same Holy Spirit that provoked the question of his heart inspired the answer of his lips. “What is man that Thou art mindful of him,” he mused, “or the son of man that Thou visitest him?” Then the answer sprang like a prophecy in his spirit, and, as we read his inspired words, we may well see that they blaze with a wonderful graduation of truth that portrays each progressive step in the history of man from the day of his creation until that blessed day when he, a member of the body of Christ, sits enthroned as the Lord of the universe. Thus in the eighth Psalm does David by the Spirit trace with unerring accuracy each progressive step which God from the beginning purposed for mankind in that day when the divine fiat went forth: “Let us make men in our image and after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen. 1:26
What is man that Thou art mindful of him? Or, what hast Thou in mind for man?
First; Thou madest him a little lower than the angels.
Second; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor.
Third; Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands.
Fourth; Thou has put all things under his feet. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through of the paths of seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!
The superb wisdom of God has ordained that all things in His creation must develop from the finite to the infinite. The majestic oak must begin as an acorn. The towering redwood of five thousand summers must serve its term as a sapling. The mighty Amazon must begin with its tributaries. So sons of God, ordained to the throne of the universe, have their beginning as enemies of God, the children of wrath fulfilling the desire of the flesh and of the mind, without God and having no hope in the world. “But God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”. Eph. 2:4-7. And, lest we should doubt His almighty ability to manifest His grace in ages to come, He twice reminds us that we, too, were saved by grace and by grace alone. See Eph. 2:5,8. Since God’s grace so abundantly reaches us in the despair and desolation of our sin in this age, why should it be thought a thing impossible that the God of all grace should in coming ages extend His mercy and His kindness to all creation through Christ Jesus? However much some may try to defend their ancient tradition of condemnation and despair, let it be known that God has declared that in the ages to come He will show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:7.
The second chapter of Hebrews begins with these words: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Heb. 2:1. The things, which we have heard! What things does he mean? Have you ever seriously asked yourself that question? What things have we heard to which we are to give such earnest heed? Oh, that God’s people would meditate upon His word and earnestly enquire of Him, for I think that, the moment God’s true purpose for mankind is revealed to any man by the Spirit, that man like blind Bartimaeus will cast away every hindering garment to go running after Jesus. What man is there who will not follow God when once God’s infinite purpose is made known to his heart? The gospel being preached by the church system today is not the true gospel, but is largely morbid poppycock founded upon Roman tradition. It shows neither the purpose of God in creating man nor the purpose of God in redeeming him. It has no promise for the saints but an idle heaven and no future for the sinner but a blazing hell. It proves Satan to be stronger than the Almighty, giving him the lion’s share of all God’s creation. It makes him wiser than the omniscient One in that he outsmarted Him. It offers no purpose for the fall of man, considering not at all that “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Rom. 8:20-21. Why, the sufferings of this present fallen state are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18), 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, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor. 4:17–18.
What then are those things to which we should give such earnest heed? are they not the things of which the apostle spoke in Hebrews, chapter one, and of which he continues to speak in the remainder of the entire book of Hebrews? If you would understand the book of Hebrews, you must first understand that wherever the son is mentioned more is implied than the blessed Jesus of Nazareth. You will have to comprehend that the son referred to here includes that vast family of sons who are coming into His image and likeness of whom the blessed Jesus of Nazareth is the exalted and glorious representative head. For as we, being many, are all one body, so also is Christ. Thus it is that the sons of God become the Son of God, for in one Spirit are we all baptized into one body; therefore, if you can understand this magnificent truth, you will see that the whole body of sons has become the only begotten Son of the Father. In one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, one body of what? One body of sons and one body of Christ. Did we not say above that mighty oaks from acorns grow? Did not Jesus say, “I am the vine; ye are the branches?” And is it not infallibly true that we have all grown up into Him which is the head that there may be one body of sons and that one body the only begotten of God? We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. We have been all made to drink into one Spirit and thus have we become one spirit with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. What a miracle of divine grace is this that as the water mingles with water, so spirit mingles with Spirit that man may be one spirit with the Father!
Here then in order are the things to which we must give earnest heed: First, God who spoke in time past by the prophets is in these last days speaking by His Son. Second, God hath made the Son better than the angels, for by inheritance He hath obtained a more excellent name than they. Heb. 1:4. Third, to which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son. Heb. 1:5 Fourth; When He bringeth His only begotten into the world, He saith, “Let all the angels worship Him.” Verse 6 Fifth, He maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire, but unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, oh God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. Verses 7, 8 Sixth, to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on My right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Verse 13
My head and my heart, my soul and my spirit bow down in the dust of humility at the mention of such marvelous grace as God has bestowed upon us in that we should be called the sons of God, and truly it is said, “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but 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 3:2-3
In the blazing light of such humbling truth can we not now understand what the apostle meant when he said, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard lest at any time we should let them slip”? I am sure that, once such sublime hope becomes part of the inner spirit and we can see the hope of sons of God, then there will come a radical transformation in every life. The hope that is set before us of entering into such glory will fade every trial into nothingness. Every unsurpassable mountain will become a mole hill, every difficulty a stairway to the stars. Every fiery trial will be a light affliction and every loss of natural things a gain in the Spirit, and we will find ourselves citizens of heaven while yet we dwell on earth. Instead of groaning over tribulation, we will take pleasure in affliction, in persecutions, in distresses and in loss, for that which is a loss in the natural is a gain in Christ, transforming the sons into the image and likeness of the only begotten Son of the Father. In our weakness we will be strong, for His strength is made perfect in weakness.
I do not persuade men to conform their lives to a creed that they may attain heaven when they die. Let those preach thus who will, but let us who have the hope of sonship burning within our breasts count everything but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, for whom we now suffer the loss of all things and do count them but dung that we may win Christ and be found complete in Him.
Not only did the apostle exhort us to give heed to the things we have heard, but he was also preparing our hearts for things, which he would yet tell us. It is of great significance that he now takes up an exposition of the words of the prophet David, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. Thus he says, “For unto the angels hath He not put into subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one (David) in a certain place (Psalm 8:4) testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.” Heb. 2:5-8. It is unfortunate that we become so accustomed to rhyming of the scriptures that we seldom pause to let the Holy Spirit reveal their truth to our hearts. For this reason it is often beneficial to read from an unfamiliar translation of the scripture that our understanding might be changed and enlightened. Now Weymouth in his translation makes Heb. 2:5-8, the passage quoted above from the King James version, to read like this: “It is not to angels that God hath assigned the sovereignty of that coming world of which we speak. But, as we know, a psalmist has exclaimed, how poor a creature is man, and yet Thou dost remember him, and a son of man, and yet Thou dost come to him! Thou hast made him/or a little while lower than the angels; with glory and honor hast Thou crowned him, and hast set him over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put everything in subjection under his feet. (Psa. 8:4-6). For this subjecting of the universe unto man implies the leaving of nothing not subject to him. But we do not as yet see the universe subject to him (man). But we do see Him, who was made for a little while lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of His suffering of death crowned with glory and honor that He by the grace of God might taste death for every man.”
The plain and indisputable teaching of this passage of scripture is that man, who was made lower than the angels, shall at last through the wisdom of the Father and the boundless grace of Christ be crowned with such glory and honor that he shall be set over all the works of God’s hands, and that everything shall be under his feet. Indeed, the passage you have just read distinctly says, “This subjecting of the universe to man implies the leaving of nothing not subject to him.” The apostle follows this almost unbelievable statement with these words: “We do not as yet see the universe subject to him (Weymouth translation), but we do see Jesus… crowned with glory and honor.” Now what is so significant about the fact that we do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor? It is simply this: In seeing Him crowned with glory and honor, we are beholding the beginning of the fulfillment of this wonderful passage, for He (Jesus), being the head of that vast company of sons who are now coming into His image, has already been crowned. Thus there can be no greater surety in either heaven or earth that we too shall now follow Him into that same glory as sons of God and joint heirs with Christ. Since the first Son, the Prince, Captain, and the Head of all the sons, has been crowned with glory and honor, we have the perfect assurance that we also who are sons and members of that same body of sons, we who are the shoulders, the hands, and the feet of that same glorious Christ, the only begotten of the Father, will enter into glory and honor with Him when our turn comes. “For it was fitting that He for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should perfect by suffering the prince leader of their salvation. For both He who sanctifies (Jesus Christ) and those whom He is sanctifying (you and me) have all one Father; and for this reason He (Jesus) is not ashamed to speak of them (us) as His brothers; as when He says; “I will proclaim Thy name to my brothers: in the midst of the congregation I will hymn Thy praises.” (Psa. 22:22), and again, “I will be one whose trust reposes in God” (Psa. 18:2), and again, “Here am I, and here are the children (sons) God has given Me.” Psa. 8:18. Heb. 2:10-13 (Weymouth)
Words fail me to express such eternal wisdom, kindness, grace and power as God does here display. Such promise gives me no feeling of pride or exaltation, but of sober and terrible humility, “for I have heard of Thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
There is a spirit of sonship. It is the Spirit of His Son – the spirit of reverence and fear, the spirit of adoring contemplation, the spirit that is willing to suffer in the flesh and thus be done with sin. The spirit of sonship willingly embraces tribulation, affliction, poverty, pain, and misunderstanding, knowing that Jesus was perfected by the things He suffered. So also will those younger sons by affliction be transformed into that same image. In one Holy Spirit all are being baptized into one body. Thus in the unity of that one body the many sons of God are becoming the Son of God that God may forever proclaim, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” I make these points in humility because many today vainly boast of sonship, but, alas, they do not have the Spirit of the Son of God. Many preachers are laying claim to what they call the sonship message who themselves have never caught a glimpse of what sonship really means. I have heard men boast about what we are and what we are going to do as sons of God. Silence, O man! Silence! For you know not of what you speak. Imagine not in your vain heart that a boisterous public ministry, accompanied with much noise and glamour, and loud proclamations of healing and miracles, whether real or unreal, has anything in common with the spirit of sonship. Dare any man boast or be light and frivolous about such a sublime truth as this? Why, even Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest, but He that said unto Him, “Thou art My Son: today have I begotten Thee,” Heb. 5:5
There are far too many who understand with the head and not with the heart. They have never learned that it is with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness. Eternal truth can never be displayed to natural minds because God is spirit and the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned. Long Ago the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians, saying, “When for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and have become such as have need of milk and not strong meat; for every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” See Heb. 5:11-14.
Only by revelation of the Holy Spirit can the depths of God’s wisdom be explored. The world abounds with men and women who preach the kingdom of God, but who themselves do not possess the spirit of the kingdom. There are literally millions compassing land and sea to make proselytes to the church who have never learned by the Spirit what the church is. The question “what church do you belong to ” upon the lips of millions screams the ignorance of every man who asks it, for they imagine that the church is something made with hands, a denomination, a sect, or even a building, but they know not that the church consists of those who are joined to Him and Him alone. During the last twenty years preachers by the hundreds have been circumscribing little groups of people and calling them the body of Christ, but the body of Christ does not consist of visible groups whether large or small just because they adhere to a certain line of teaching. The body of Christ consists of those who have drunk deeply of His Spirit. They are the mystical company neither known nor recognized of men who in one spirit have been baptized into one body.
What God’s people need today is not a repetition of the revivals of yesteryear. They need to separate themselves unto God. They need to set aside two or three weeks for fasting and prayer, humbling themselves before God to empty themselves of themselves and all their human notions. They need to lay their doctrines and beliefs on the altar and to lay all their past as well as their future in His hands. When you fast, do not fast for something. Do not fast for a gift, or for power, or even for revelation. Do not fast for a revival or anything else, but fast that you may be so emptied of self that henceforth He may lead you. It is not what we want that counts. It is what God wants that is important. Men never seem to cease from begging God for things they think they need or things they imagine should be. But God will not give you things. He will give you what you need and strip you of much you imagined was necessary. The life of every man will undergo a great change if there is honest fasting before the Lord.
Now the Lord dwelleth not in temples made with hands. The tabernacle in the wilderness, built with such intricate direction from God, was only a figure of the true tabernacle, which is the body of Christ. The temple of Solomon, so replete with typical observance, was but a frail prefigure of that wonderful spiritual habitation which the Lord is now building – a temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Let us seek the inspiration of God and the revelation of the Lord that our eyes may be opened to discern spiritual truth. Let us look beyond the phraseology commonly used by preacher and priest that we might begin to understand the true meaning of scriptures which we have read and re-read, often without thought, for the better part of our lives.
Hear now with the ear of the spirit the words of the apostle Paul who calls the true church the household of God, the true church of the Lord, the true and eternal habitation of God, of which Christ is the true corner stone. In the book of Ephesians he writes: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:19-22. Wonderful as these words are, their meaning comes with even greater force when we read from the less familiar words of Weymouth’s translation. “You are therefore no longer foreigners nor persons excluded from civil rights. On the contrary, you share citizenship with the saints and are members of His family. You are a building which has been reared on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the corner stone being Christ Jesus Himself, in union with whom the whole fabric, truly bonded together, is rising to form a holy sanctuary in the Lord; in whom you also are being built up together to become a fixed abode for God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:19-22. (Weymouth) These are the words of divine inspiration proclaiming to the heart that is attuned to God’s voice that God has no temple but the holy saints of the Lord, no habitation but the true and mystical body of Christ, no house but that house not made with hands, which is eternal in the heavenlies. The word household simply means a number of persons dwelling under one roof. Thus the saints of the Lord have become the household of God, and we are members of His family. We are not strangers and foreigners excluded from civil rights, but we are members of His family and of His household, sharing all the blessing and benefit of His paternal care until that hour when we come to maturity or come of age as joint heirs with our elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are, I suppose, benefits in being a member of any family, and there are blessings in belonging to almost any household, but the eternal benefits of belonging to the family of God and being a member of His household are better left without description, for the frailty of man’s words would seem only to decrease the endless bounty of such a wonderful relationship. Those who are members of God’s family are God’s heirs. They are joint heirs with Christ to all the things that God had in mind for man when first His edict went forth: “Let us make man in Our image and after Our likeness, and let us give, him dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.” Gen. 1:26. Which things are an allegory, for the fish represent the things under the earth, the cattle the things on the earth, and the birds the things that pertain to the heavenlies.
God in these last days has spoken to us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things. Heb. 1:2. Even now, while we read this promise, 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 Jesus Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him that we may be glorified together. Rom. 8:16, 17. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male or female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Gal. 3:26-29. “Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all.” Gal. 4:1. But the time of maturity is at hand and the years of childhood and adolescence are past. It is time to enter maturity and the age of spiritual responsibility where children are no more children, but sons of God. There is a wonderful maturity between the words of Gal. 4:1, “the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant”, and the words of Gal. 4:6,7, “because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son in your hearts, crying, Abba, Father (our Father). Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son: and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Lest we should let the truth slip from our hearts, we will emphasize this truth. We who have been begotten unto a living hope through faith in Christ Jesus are begotten of God, even as John wrote, “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself and the wicked one toucheth him not.” 1 John 5:18. Peter also by the wisdom given unto him 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.” 1 Pet. 1:3. Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Head, was begotten of God the Father, but so abundant was God’s grace toward us that we, too, have been begotten unto a living hope. “For of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Jas. 1:18. “And every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” 1 John 5:1
Surely our spiritual understanding will grasp the truth that we, being members of His household, are in truth the household of God, and we, being members of His family, are the family of God. But now we must learn also that we, being members of His body, are not only members but one body in Christ and every one members one of another. The body of Christ is the completeness of Christ. It is the fullness of Christ. In its unity the sons of God become the Son of God, for in one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. It is right to believe that we are complete in Him, “for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Col. 2:9–10 Wonderful is the glorious fact that we are complete in Him, but what shall we say when our spiritual understanding begins to grasp the revelation that He is complete in us? For God “hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fllleth all in all.” Eph. 1:22–23. The words of Weymouth’s translation are most remarkable. “God has put all things under his feet, and has appointed Him universal and supreme head of the church, which is His body, the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself.” Thus the true church, the true body of Christ, becomes the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself. Is it any wonder, then, that David by the Spirit mused, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained: what is man, that Thou art mindful of him?”
Moses was faithful in all his house (tabernacle) as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we…” Heb. 3:5–6. A house, as we well know, is a dwelling place or an abiding place. It may be a hovel or it may be a mansion, but it is none the less a dwelling place. Therefore, to make the truth live that we might easily grasp it, we are here called the house of the Lord, as it is written: “I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.” 2 Cor. 6:16. It is important that we understand that we are the House of the Lord. We have become so accustomed to calling church buildings made of brick and stone the house of God that we are amazed when we are shown that these are nothing but buildings, which will fall into discard and be left without one stone upon another. The true house of God is a spiritual temple, which temple you are. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” 1 Cor. 6:19. “For the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool: what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord; or what is the place of My rest?” Acts 7:48–49
Long ago our Lord told an earnest disciple, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head”, but in the ages since that day He has been building with infinite care an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, after a pattern devised by God long before man breathed the breath of life or became a living soul. Even Jesus referred to Himself as the temple of God when He said to the unbelieving Jews, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up…, but He spake of the temple of His body.” John 2:19,21. Is it any wonder, then, that we, the sons of God born in the extremity of the age, should also be told that we are the temples of God? “Know ye not,” said Paul, “that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16.
During the few final hours our Lord spent with His disciples before the crucifixion He told them many things they could not understand, for their eyes were clouded with tradition and their spirits dulled by their fleshy mind. If they could not understand the fact of His death nor what the rising from the dead would mean, how could they understand truths that were far beyond the comprehension of most Christians even in our day? He had said 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?” How then could men such as these understand the sublime truths of John 14?
“In My Father’s house”, said He, “are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you.” You will have to discard your tradition if you are to understand what He meant, for He was not describing some distant heaven with houses and lawns and flowers as we have so often heard, but something far more wonderful than that. We have already learned that God’s people are the habitation of the Lord. Therefore the true and mystical church, which is being formed by the craftsmanship of God, is the Father’s house of many mansions. Every room in that house is an individual believer and every believer is an abiding place for God. God dwells in them all, for we have become the habitation of God. Even now, while we live and breathe, He is preparing our place in the body of Christ; yea, He is preparing us for our place in Christ that we might be the completeness of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself. In Revelation chapter 22 the bride of Christ is described as a holy city, great and high, with gates that are never closed, into which the nations in ages to come will bring their glory and honor. Is it any wonder, then, that the bridegroom company should be described as a house of many mansions, the habitation of God through the Spirit?
The great King Solomon, when preparing to build the temple at Jerusalem, made this remarkable statement: “Who is able to build Him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I, then, that I should build an house, save only to burn sacrifice before Him?” 2 Chron. 2:6. But the beloved John, seeing the end of the matter, proclaimed, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Rev. 21:3. Rejoice, Oh house not made with hands, for in thy many membered mansion the Father dwelleth!
MY FATHERS HOUSE THE TRUE TEMPLE OF THE LORD
Man, like his Maker, has always been a builder. As a boy builds with wooden blocks a model of his father’s skyscraper, so little earth-bound man has tried to build a model of his heavenly Father’s temple. If he had known that the model he built was nothing more than a model, all would have been well, but, not being able to see into the realm of the Lord, man has built his temples and his towers, vainly imagining that the mime (farce) he was building was the finished product that God desired.
In a beginning, for with God there are many beginnings, the Lord uttered the decree, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” No man that has ever walked on the earth has yet remotely fathomed the depth of purpose laid up in that one mighty edict. As centuries have passed, man has embraced many theories about himself. The theologians, erroneously so called, of the church system see man as a sort of lost cause, ‘gone completely astray in every sense of the word from the path God had planned for him so that even the Almighty Himself was hard put to it to salvage from the wreckage even a remote few of the billions who would come into the world.
I despise the hateful teaching that has crept like a plague into the understanding of men, leaving them with the distorted and ridiculous notion that one day, back in the Garden of Eden, God’s plan went all wrong, that it took a turn of events that the Almighty never intended and that had not entered the mind of the Omniscient at all. We are given to understand that, whereas the whole plan backfired and exploded in God’s face, the Lord was hard pressed to quickly devise a scheme to salvage a handful of these benighted souls from the awful calamity that had unwittingly befallen both them and their Maker. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and nothing could be more dishonoring to the wisdom of the omniscient God. Times unnumbered we have heard well-meaning but grossly ignorant men explaining to their gullible congregations how that after the fall of man a council was held in heaven to enquire by what means man could be redeemed from the awful catastrophe that had befallen him. With my own ears I have heard them tell how, after this plan and that plan of redemption was advanced by angels without hope of success, Jesus volunteered to go to the earth to die for man and this plan was accepted by the Lord. I greatly fear that my own mind is so intolerant toward such childish human notions that it would be safer to make no comment at all, for such human device leaves God in the untenable position of having no more wisdom, understanding, or forethought than fallen men. Indeed, it leaves Him with much less wisdom than Satan himself, who could thus come unobserved into the garden of God and, with a moment’s trickery and persuasion, hopelessly undo, and that forever, the thing that God had planned.
However man can profess to believe that God is omniscient (all-wise) and in the same breath propagate a teaching that clearly makes Satan much wiser than He, I do not know. Nor can I understand how one could believe that God is omnipresent (everywhere present) and still imagine that something could transpire in His absence. How could one embrace the truth that God is omnipotent (all-powerful) yet still believe that Satan overcame Him, or that God is immutable (unchanging) yet had to change His purpose to fit a calamity which He had not foreseen? Oh, the foolishness and ignorance of the inconsistent carnal mind! Oh, the blindness and degradation of human tradition! Poor little earth-bound man, puny in strength, unwise in mind, changeable as the wind, confined entirely to that which is immediately present, has forgotten that the Almighty God, omniscient in wisdom, plans the end before the beginning. His immutability can never swerve from its divine course because of things unknown, for there is no unknown with Him. His almighty power irresistibly carries forth the edicts of His infinite mind; neither is there angel, principality, nor power that can let or hinder Him. He is the omnipresent, and should I “make my bed in hell,” He is there.
“Oh Lord, Thou has searched me and known me. Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising. Thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee. For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I awake, I am still with Three.” Psa. 139-1-18
Did ever such a river of life flow from the mind of saint or seer, philosopher or prophet, that could more adequately describe the one true God, omnipotent, omnipresent, immutable, omniscient, eternal, full of grace, truth, and love? Oh, the depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! Who hath understood the mind of the Lord? Who hath been His counselor? Who has given anything to Him for, which he must be repaid? From Him everything comes; by Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends. To Him be glory forever and ever more!
Every man that names the name of God, and even those who never call upon Him, should seek after the Lord if haply He would reveal Himself to them. Verily, verily I tell you that, once He begins to unfold the greatness of His power, the un-searchableness of His wisdom and understanding, the immutability of His purpose, the extent of His kindness, the length and breadth, the depths and heights of His love, you will find a regeneration taking place in your life that you never could have otherwise known. The blinding traditions of men that have so long chained you in outer darkness will begin to fall as scales from your eyes in the light of what He really is. No longer shall the liberating truths of God be confined by the narrow and egotistical interpretations of human theology that bind men in chains and lay upon them burdens too heavy to bear, for He who lives within does plainly declare that, as He is, so are we in this present world. 1 John 4:17. No longer can he whom the Son of God has thus set free subject himself to the ball and chain of human organization. He will cast it far from him, for he will see it to be the shadowy specter of outer darkness that it is. Denomination and human organization are to the believer what a plaster jacket is to the body. Breathing is checked. Activity is greatly limited. Presently the whole frame is weakened until it becomes entirely useless and dwindles away. This is the faithful witness of the Word of God and of history as well. If some will say, “In unity there is strength”, we must answer that the only unity God knows is the unity that comes, not when minds are one with each other, but when minds are one with Him. All other unity is human, carnal, earthly, and doomed. It is like the disgusting spectacle of ecumenism, for there everyone throws away all that may be precious for the sake of presenting a grotesque image of togetherness before the eyes of men, even an image that will have power to speak and cause all who will not worship it to be put to death. Rev. 13:14–15
The temples of the Old Testament, built by the artifice of men, were only typical at their best. The kings and priests of the Old Testament were but a shadow of nations of kings and priests to come, eternal priests after the order of Melchizedek and eternal kings after the same order, of whom Jesus Christ was the fore-runner, Melchizedek was King of Righteousness, for that is the meaning of his name, and King of Salem, which means king of peace. Jesus is the prince of the kings of the earth, for He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father. Rev. 1:5–6 The magnificent temple built by king Solomon in Jerusalem, in spite of all its transcending splendor, was at best but a fleeting shadow of the temple of His body which will one day, and that right soon, lighten the whole world with its glory, and the universe as well. The seven flickering lights of the holy place were at best frail representations of the sevenfold light of God’s Spirit that shall make needless the sun as it shines in that temple not made with hands. The blood of beasts that flowed like rivers in sacrifice for the sins of the nation, could never take away sin and was but a herald of the blood of Christ which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, blood incorruptible and eternal that was offered once and for all to take away the sins of the whole world. “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin,” (Heb. 10:4), for in them there is a remembrance of sin made every year, but now, once in the end of the age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 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.
Naught of the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty sinner peace,
Or wash away his stain.
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.
More than a thousand years before Christ, the Lord God of heaven gave to His servant David a pattern for a temple that would be typical of His mystical body, the true church, which is that true temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Any man who has read the word of God will have noticed that only seldom does the Lord give minute details of anything. Being a God of truth, He seldom produces facts to prove His case, but merely states things exactly as they are. Such, for instance, is the case in the vast and sweeping statement, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It is only when men try to tamper with His statements that they get themselves into a world of difficulty. Important as was the creation of the earth, yet in my opinion it stands as almost nothing in comparison to the creation of that mystical heavenly temple, not made with hands, which is forever to be the habitation of God through the Spirit, the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, the dwelling place of the Lord.
In order to better display how priceless and important is the temple of His body, the Holy Spirit has seen fit to portray in minute detail almost all things concerning both the wilderness tabernacle and the magnificent temple at Jerusalem. The movable tabernacle, so important in all Israel‘s wilderness wanderings, represented the formation of the body of Christ here on earth. The permanent temple in Jerusalem represented that enduring day when journeying is done and the government of the whole world shall go forth from the living temple, which is His body, His holy habitation. “For I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I shall be their God, and they shall be My people.”
“Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch and the houses thereof and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers and the inner parlors and of the mercy seat, and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit”. 1 Chron. 28:11–12. Furthermore, David said, “I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God, the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things to be made of silver, and brass for things to be made of brass, and iron for things to be made of iron, and wood for things to be made of wood; onyx stones and stones to be set, glistering stones and of divers colors, and all manner of precious stones and of marble stones in abundance.”
1 Chron. 29:2, 3 From his own treasure he gave three thousand talents of gold of Ophir, seven thousand talents of refined silver (verses 3,4), and to this the chief men of Israel added much more. (Verses 6-9) But David himself was not permitted to build the temple because he was a man of war and a bloody man. Therefore the task was committed to Solomon, his son, to whom the Lord appeared to grant him wisdom above all that had been before him, and such as exceeded all the kings of the nations about him. 2 Chron. 1:7-12.
The preparation made by Solomon for the building and glory of the temple of God staggers the imagination, for in the history of the world no other building of such surpassing splendor has ever been built. Seventy thousand men were employed to bear burdens, eighty thousand men were employed to hew timber in the mountains, and thirty-six hundred men were placed as overseers. 2 Chron. 2:2, 18 Hiram, the king of Tyre, sent to Solomon a man “skilful to work in gold, in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber; in purple, in blue, in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men…” 2 Chron. 2:7, 13–14. Such was the skill and wisdom of this unnamed artificer that one must immediately recognize him to be an outstanding type of the blessed Holy Spirit in whom is all wisdom and understanding of the omniscient God to build, not a temple made with hands, but a temple not made with hands, even the living temple of his body.
To gain a better understanding of the glory of that typical temple built by Solomon, it is necessary to peruse in detail the first seven chapters of the book of second Chronicles. There one will read of a house that was garnished with gold, magnificently studded with all manner of precious stones. Even the nails that held the timbers were of pure gold. The cherubims whose wings extended twenty feet over the Mercy Seat were also of pure gold. Silver was in such abundance that it was as stones in the street. 2 Chron. 1:15. When therefore one remembers that gold is a symbol of deity, silver is a symbol of redemption, brass is a symbol of judgment, and wood is a symbol of humanity, how glorious in type and symbol was this magnificent building whose wood (humanity) was overlaid with gold (deity), whose altar of sacrifice was of brass (judgment), and whose silver (redemption) was as plentiful as the stones.
Solomon began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign, five hundred and ninety years after the exodus from Egypt, one thousand and twenty years after Abraham came out of Mesopotamia into Canaan, one thousand four hundred and forty years after the flood, and three thousand one hundred and two years after the creation of Adam. It would be impossible for anyone, however skilful, to describe the magnificence of Solomon’s temple. History records that the dazzling splendor of it could scarcely be believed even by those who saw it. According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, the foundations were laid deep in the ground. The materials were strong stones and such as would resist the force of time. These were to unite themselves with the earth and become a basis and sure foundation for the superstructure, which was erected over it. The foundation was to be so strong that it would support with ease the vast superstructures and the precious ornaments whose own weight was to be not less than the weight of those other high and heavy buildings, which the king designed to be both ornamental and magnificent. They erected its entire body, quite up to the roof, of white stone. Its height was sixty cubits, its length was the same, and its breadth was twenty cubits. The entire building was enclosed with cedar to which were fixed plates of sculptured gold, so that the whole temple shone and dazzled the eyes of those who entered by the splendor of the gold that was on every side of them. The whole structure of the temple was made with great skill of polished stones laid together so very harmoniously and smoothly that there appeared to the spectators no sign of any hammer or other instrument of architecture, as if, without any use of them, the materials had naturally united themselves together that the agreement of one part with another seemed rather to have been natural than to have arisen from the force of tools upon them. Doors of cedar overlaid with a great amount of gold led to the holy of holies, and before the doors hung the magnificent veil of blue and purple and scarlet of the brightest and softest linen with curious flowers wrought upon them. Solomon made all this for the honor of God with a great variety of magnificence, sparing no cost, but using all manner of liberality in adorning the temple. It exceeded all description in words, “Nay, if I may say so, is hardly believed upon sight.” (Josephus)
2 Chron. 9 gives a remarkable account of the visit of the Queen of Sheba. In verse 4 it is recorded, “And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers and their apparel; his cupbearers also and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her; and she said to the king, it was a true report that I heard in my own land and of thine acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit, I believed not their words until I came and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me; for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.” King Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom, and all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom that God had put in his heart. 2 Chron. 9:20-28
Such is the meager and faltering description of the magnificent temple of God, built by the skill of human hands. Though such exceeding splendor has never been equaled before nor since in any building made by human hands, yet it is only dust, a thing that was to pass away. It is no more than a shadow of things to come, a meager representation of that true temple not made by the art of men’s hands, even the temple of His body, spiritual, eternal, and not made with hands. The stones of the true temple are not of polished granite, but every stone is a living stone, men and women tried and tested and polished by the vicious storms of life, fitted with such exactness of unity that none can tell but that they have been knit together and grown together from one foundation, Jesus Christ. The gold of this heavenly temple is not the molten gold from the bowels of the earth, but the true gold which is divinity itself, for we who have escaped the world’s corruption are made partakers of the divine nature. All is God, God is all, and He is all and in all. Every human board is overlaid with the gold of deity, for just as Christ, who was in the form of God, took upon Himself the form of man and was made in the likeness of men, so we who were in the form of man have taken on the nature of God and are being made in His likeness and in His image. Long ago three men were cast alive into the midst of a burning, fiery furnace, bound hand and foot, in their hats, their coats, and their hosen. But, when the servants of the king looked into the furnace expecting to see naught but ashes, their astonished eyes beheld a fourth man whose form was the form of a Son of God. That is what is transpiring now. Amid the blood and fire and vapor of smoke forms are changing, hearts are being regenerated, spirits are being transformed, that we might rise free from our chains in His likeness and in His image.
Through millenniums and whole dispensations the gladsome hope of awaking in His likeness has filled the hearts of the people of God. From the desolating dusts and ashes of their fiery furnaces their shouts of triumph are rending the very heavens. Through tears of sorrow, of loss, and of bereavement Job triumphantly exulted, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and He shall stand in the latter days upon the earth, and after my skin worms destroy this body, in my flesh shall I see God.” In my flesh dwelleth no good thing” said Paul, and truly he said it, but from the dust and ashes of our crucified selves comes forth that which is incorruptible and immortal. The flesh is like the raging lion that roared against Samson, threatening to destroy him on the spot. But through the Spirit Samson destroyed this ravening beast whose only strength was in his own flesh. By the power of the Spirit he tore him as one would have torn a kid and, stamping him into death, he hurled him aside, but told no one of his victory. When many days later he turned aside to see the car case, he found it filled with sweet honey which he took up in his hand, and, as he ate thereof, his heart conceived this wonderful riddle: “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” Judges 14:5-14. When the roaring lion of your carnal self is crucified, there is honey in that dead lion, and I think Paul knew it when he said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life which / now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.
Now when Solomon was preparing to build the temple, even as he gathered the material and contemplated its magnificence, he uttered this wonderful truth from his heart: “Who is able to build Him a house, seeing the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I, then, that I should build Him an house save only to burn sacrifice before Him?” 2 Chron. 2:6. Centuries later that inspired deacon of God called Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost and standing before his murderers, declared, “Solomon built Him an house. Howbeit, the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool. What house will ye build Me, saith the Lord? Or what is the place of My rest? Hath not My hand made all these things?” Acts 7:47-50
For three wonderful years the Lord Jesus Christ had instructed His disciples in words of truth and wisdom such as even Solomon had never known, but, as His short earthly ministry drew to a close, He still had many things to tell them that they were not able to bear. John 16:12. The slowness of the human heart to understand is almost inconceivable. How well do these words fit us all! “Oh fools and slow of heart to believe!” We are so full of our own childish interpretations, so plagued with our pet doctrines, so enamored with our traditions that we can understand nothing as we ought to do. 1 Cor. 8:2. If we are ever to understand the truth as God would have us do, we will find ourselves unlearning almost all we thought we knew. The things we think we know for certain and the revelation of the Lord just do not agree together, for the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. I have no hesitation in saying that practically all of the commodity we call theology is nothing more or less than a vast conglomeration of human ideas, passed on as tradition from century to century.
If you will read the Gospel of John, chapters thirteen through seventeen, you will discover that these chapters comprise one marvelous discourse. While there can be no limit to the truth contained therein, yet the whole sermon is one incomparable teaching, showing as nothing else could do, that the dwelling place of God is in His people, and that the dwelling place of His people is in God. “I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one” (17:23) is the very theme of the whole discourse. “That they all may be one as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they may be made one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” Chap. 17:21
The dwelling place of the Lord Jesus was in the Father, and when He said, “Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am,” the indisputable meaning is that they (we) also should dwell in the Father and that the Father should dwell in them (us). The hour has come when we must give up the shadow and grasp the reality. Century after century Israel offered sacrifice of bulls and goats upon their altars, but it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could ever take away sin. But when once in the end of the age Jesus Christ appeared to take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, then all the former shadows were done away, for what need is there of shadows when the reality has come? When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. Then He taketh away the first that He may establish the second. Heb. 10:8,9. We are now at the end of the age and not at the beginning. We are at the time when all shadows and types are to be done away, for all which they fore-shadowed is at hand. When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When Jesus entered into the temple, He found it was no longer a house of prayer, but a den of thieves. Crafty-eyed, smooth-talking old cattle dealers, eager to make a quick drachma, had herded their cattle into the temple to sell to the people for sacrifice. Cages of pigeons and turtle doves were on sale for the poor who could afford no better while greedy old money changers had set up a veritable banking system right in the house of God. They were doing a roaring trade in the house of the Lord, but methinks even those crafty old merchandizers could have learned much from the modern money-mongering evangelist as he stands extorting endless thousands of dollars from gullible people in the name of some trumped up program for the conversion of the heathen, to buy a gospel tent, build a temple, purchase a Sunday School bus, or any one of a thousand other crafty schemes that he has no intention of carrying out. Well did Peter say, “Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Pet. 2:3. Theirs is the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive of which Paul warned. Eph. 4:14. If Jesus were here today, He would do again what He did then. He would seize a scourge and chase these covetous corrupters helter-skelter from His presence. “Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise,” He warned. And, if He thus cleansed the typical house, what will He do in the true? He will thoroughly purge His floor and gather the wheat into the garner.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you; and, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” John 14:2–3. “Where is He?” we may ask, to which He replies, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father?” Vs. 10. And again in verse 11, “Believe Me that I am in the Father,” That is where He is. And this is the place He is preparing for those who will become one with Him in the Spirit. This is our hope and eternal resting place. Let us not forget, however, that when Jesus said He dwelt in the Father, He also added that the Father dwelt in Him. John 17:21-23
The interpretations of poor human beings are always childish in the extreme, for we know nothing yet as we ought to know. 1 Cor. 8:2. We have tried to picture heaven as a place of many mansions, full of temples and lawns, fountains and flowers, where idle inhabitants while away eternity walking golden streets and shouting hallelujah. I must frankly confess that I know very little about heaven, but of this I am sure: My Father’s house is not another name for heaven. It is in truth the dwelling place of God, for it is written. “I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I shall be their God and they shall be My people.” My Father’s house is a house not made with hands. It is the eternal habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph. 2:22. My Father’s house is a house of many mansions, for every true believer is a mansion in which God dwells. Every true believer is an habitation of God, and all these fitly framed together in the Spirit grow to a holy temple in the Lord.
“He is our peace — He who has made Jew and Gentile one, and in His own human nature has broken down the hostile dividing wall, by setting aside the law with its commandments, expressed as they were in definite decrees. His design was to unite the two sections of humanity in Himself so as to form one new man, thus effecting peace, and to reconcile Jew and Gentile in one body to God by means of His cross — slaying by it their mutual enmity. So He came and proclaimed the gospel of peace to you who were so far away, and peace to those who were near; because it is through Him that Jew and Gentile alike have access through one Spirit to the Father. You are therefore no longer mere foreigners or persons excluded from civil rights. On the contrary, you share citizenship with the saints and are members of His family. You are a building which has been reared on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus Himself, in union with whom the whole fabric, truly bonded together, is rising so as to form a holy sanctuary in the Lord; in whom you also are being built up together to become a fixed abode for God through the Spirit.” Eph. 2:14:22 (Weymouth. How could a description of the Father’s house be clearer than this or how could its truth be more eloquently stated? We are the building, which is rising on the true foundation to form a holy sanctuary for the Lord, the fixed abode for God through the Spirit.
Many centuries before the New Testament writing revealed the true nature of God’s eternal habitation, king David sang these words: “Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed … until I find out a place for the Lord and an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob … Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; Thou and the ark of Thy strength. Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let Thy saints shout for joy…. For the Lord hath chosen Zion: He hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest forever. Here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. . ..” See Psa. 132. Thus on the foundation of the apostles and prophets the Father’s eternal house of many mansions, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph. 2:21, 22. During the dispensation of the law both the temple and the tabernacle were referred to as the house of God, but after Pentecost the house of God is that spiritual house, the true church, the true believers, and the true body of Jesus Christ. “Every house is built by some man; but He that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of hope firm unto the end.” Heb. 3:4-6
Nothing can be clearer than this, that we are the house of God. We are God’s workmanship. We are God’s building. We are God’s Temple. We are the Father’s house of many mansions in which a place is being prepared for those who believe in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. It was to this house that Peter referred when he said, “Judgment must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Pet. 4:17. And it was likewise to this eternal house that Paul referred when he said to Timothy, “But if I tarry long, that thou mightest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.” 1 Tim. 3:15. What dynamic words are these! One would need to have an extremely natural mind to think that such living words referred to a building made of brick or stone. But, alas, that is the fathomless depth of ignorance to which the professing multitudes have sunk. One can almost hear the shock of surprise and unbelief in the voice of the apostle Paul when the desperate ignorance of the Corinthian church dawned upon him. “What?” he cries. “Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Cor. 6:10, 20
It was a tragic day, indeed, for the church at Corinth when those noxious weeds of sectarianism were sown among them, for the moment any Christian begins to follow a man, a sect, a system, or a denomination, at that very moment, his spiritual understanding begins to depart from him. There is one church and there is one foundation, even Jesus Christ, the Lord. He is the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, and other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Christ. 1 Cor. 3:11. See then the awful pit of carnality into which the Corinthian church had fallen, for, instead of knowing the voice of Christ and building on that sure foundation, they had become followers of men. Every one of them was saying, “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas, and I am of Christ.” 1 Cor. 1:12. The result was that they were all divided and all carnal and completely unable to receive anything but milk. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it; neither yet now are ye able, for whereas there is among you envying and strife and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men? For while (as long as) one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal?” 1 Cor. 3:1-4
Would God that all who read these lines would wake from their slumber of death, for, though the seeds of sectarianism were sprouting in the church in Paul’s day, stunting the growth of the believers and filling them with division, throttling revelation and making all strong meat indigestible, in our day that tiny, fertile, noxious seed has grown to a mighty spreading tree in which the unclean fowls of the air find their resting place. In our day denominationalism and all forms of sectarianism have become so popular that every man is expected to be a firm adherent of a denomination or sect of some sort. Those who read know of what I speak, for whether you apply for a job, enter a hospital, join the army, or become a civil servant, the question, “What church do you go to”, is always demanded of you, and if you insist that you are just a follower of Christ, they glance at you as though you were some impossible fanatic who had taken complete leave of his senses.
How hateful in the sight of God are all these names of blasphemy. Rev.17:1-3. How numerous have these Babylonish harlots become! Well might Paul cry again, “What I Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body, for two, saith He, shall be one flesh, but he which is joined to the Lord is one spirit. 1 Cor. 6:18. There is a natural fornication and there is a spiritual fornication. He that commits fornication with a woman sins against his body. 1 Cor. 6:18. But he that commits spiritual fornication with these harlot sectarian systems sins against his spiritual body, which is the body of Christ, the temple of the Lord. Therefore doth the Holy Spirit declare, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Cor. 3:16, 17. Surely we must have noticed that all these warnings by the faithful apostle Paul follow his scathing rebukes of their sectarianism.
Let not God’s people be longer deceived by these sectarian systems, for they are not the true church, They are not the true body of Christ. They are not the Temple of the Lord. They are filled with division, unbelief, strife, unrighteousness, all manner of human tradition and program, knowing neither the purpose of the Lord nor the knowledge of His will. “Therefore, be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness, and what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel, and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols; for ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people, wherefore, come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you and I will be a Father to you and you shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:14-18. Therefore flee this city of destruction without delay, never looking back.
In the midst of all the confusion of the religious systems, which are but the work of men’s hands, there is a temple rising upon the mighty Rock, Christ Jesus the Lord. It is a temple not made with hands. It is not a figure of the true, but it is the true. Every living stone is being prepared in the dark quarries of the earth by that master craftsman who proceeded forth from the Father, even the Holy Spirit of God. He is preparing the living stone to present every man faultless and flawless before the throne of God’s majesty with exceeding glory. Each living stone in God’s living temple has been disallowed and disqualified by men, but chosen of God, and “ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet. 2:3-5
That God no longer dwells in temples made by hands there can be no doubt, for, when Solomon had made an end of building the temple, the singers with one hundred and twenty priests stood by the altar, and, when the singers and trumpeters were one, the cloud and glory of the Lord filled the temple so that none could stand to minister. 2 Chron. 5:12. We need not hesitate to say that this event when one hundred and twenty priests stood of one accord and praised God as His glory filled the typical temple is a type of the day of Pentecost when one hundred and twenty believer priests were all together and of one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind, and they (the people) were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and the fire of God sat upon each of them. In Solomon’s day the typical temple made with hands was filled with the glory of the Lord and the fire consumed the sacrifice, but the priests were not filled. At Pentecost it was the living temple that was filled and the fire sat upon each of those blessed living stones (Acts. 2:14), for His new habitation was His people. Even Pentecost was but an earnest of our inheritance, for the living temple was not then complete. Only the living stones were being filled. But the temple has been slowly rising for two thousand years and the day of its filling and dedication is at hand.
What a weight of blessing and spiritual understanding would come to you who read these lines if you would ask God to reveal to you what the true church really is! Then you would soon discover that all these visible organizations are naught but dust and ashes. They are the works of men’s hands – nothing more. They have become false Christs to the people. Displacing Christ, the one true shepherd, they have become false shepherds, which lead the sheep in their own ways to enlarge their folds. They compass land and sea to make proselytes, vainly imagining that all they do in God’s name is for God’s glory. But amid the raging strife of false shepherds and sheep stealers there are those whose ears are deaf to every voice but the voice of the true shepherd. They are dead to every realm but His realm, for they look for a city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. For ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.
“And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Rev. 21:22. When the worshipper considers that the truth of the temple not made with hands fills the thought of the New Testament, well might he enquire the reason for this strange statement! / saw no temple therein. Has the work of God for all ages been in vain, or do we now behold such depth of meaning as only God Himself can devise? Here, at last, is the end to all our longing, here the answer to every prayer. Man at last is one with his Maker. As the seamless robe of Jesus was knit together, they, too, are knit together in one Spirit, they have grown to a holy temple in the Lord. It has come to pass as Jesus prayed, “I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be one in Us, that the world may believe.”
“For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house, which is from heaven; if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked… He that hath wrought us for this self same thing is God who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. “And I saw no temple therein; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Rev. 21:22
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUE ECCLESIA
No man that has ever lived and no revelation that was ever given has been able to remotely comprehend the vastness of the wisdom and love of God’s purpose toward us who believe. It is God who filleth the vastness of the eternal heavens. It is God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. Some time ago I looked in amazement upon an astronomical chart showing what was termed to be “The Sun’s Neighbors”. My poor finite mind was staggered with the thought that thousands of other suns were often more than forty million light years away from our sun. Light traveling one hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second would take forty million years to travel the distance. Such things are too wonderful for me. Though only about six thousand stars are visible to the natural eye, the mighty telescopes show that there are enough galaxies in the heavens to give one to every man who has ever lived. Yet the heaven of heavens cannot contain God!
The time has certainly come for us poor earthworms to raise our sights to the glories He has prepared for us that we might see and know that the body He doth prepare is a spiritual habitation for Him whom the heavens cannot contain. I pray unto God the Father that exceeding grace may be granted unto you that by the Holy Spirit’s revelation you may know what inspired His eternal call to you, though you be the least of all saints.
The plan and purpose of God for the entire universe was finished in minute detail before the foundation of the earth was laid. With infinite care He charted the course of mankind, knowing in Himself what the end of all labor and travail would be. Inasmuch as God has foreseen the course that every man will take, either in faith or in unbelief, He has foreknown those who will share the likeness of His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and has by His foreknowledge predestined them to be placed as sons of God in the image and likeness of that firstborn Son in every respect – not physical, for we know no man after the flesh, but spiritual, for we know Christ only after the Spirit. Therefore did David say, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness”, and the beloved John said, “As He is, so are we in the world.” Paul by the wisdom given unto him declared them to be “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh”, and Peter affirmed, “We have become partakers of His divine nature.” He, being the firstborn among many brethren, is not ashamed to call us His brethren. Such was God’s gracious will and pleasure, and such is the splendor of His marvelous grace, for with such treasures He has enriched us in the Beloved One. This is grace and wisdom as fathomless as God Himself. Should any man speak of the grace of God, let him know that to partake of His body and blood, to drink of His spirit, to partake of His divine nature, and to have His name written in our foreheads is grace beyond the understanding of any man. Having cleansed us from the vileness of our sins through the righteousness and sacrifice of His blood and having given to us the Spirit of His own dear Son, we now cry as did our elder brother, “Abba Father!”
The glorious sonship of which we now partake is in strict harmony with the infinite plan of God – a plan laid before the world began unto His praise and glory. By this plan God shall govern the entire universe in the ages which are to come, for everything in heaven and in earth must become subject to Him that He might be Lord of all. Everything shall be beneath His feet and everything will bow the knee and do Him honor. In His own mind He has planned the restoration of the entire creation that it may find its one head in Him. God has chosen this company of sons beforehand to carry out this great restoration. The design of His will He is unfolding to them that they might be acquainted beforehand – even now – with the immutable intentions and purposes of God, and might know what hope He had in mind when He called them. It was the hope and unchanging purpose of God that they, being adopted and placed as God’s sons and having learned both good and evil, should no more come under the dominion of evil but be in the image of God and with Christ their captain restore all things to His righteous government. It was not Adam alone that God intended should be in His image, but man, and thus it shall be, for the purpose of God no circumstance shall alter. Unto you, therefore, who were first to fix your hopes in Christ and to understand the purpose of God for the ages to come special grace has been given, and the Holy Spirit of God has sealed you as His own, the Spirit being a small foretaste of complete redemption which is a state more glorious than Adam possessed – a state exceeding the glories of the transfiguration, a redemption specially designed by God for the manifesting of His glory that the predestined restoration of the entire creation might be accomplished.
Let increasing thanks be continually rendered to God/or the faith that is rising among His people as they embrace His purpose and conform their lives to that predestined plan of God. Let continual prayer and intercession be made to God that by the spirit of wisdom and revelation a divine insight might be given us into these most glorious mysteries. The inner eyes of the understanding must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit that we may see why He called some first and acquainted them with His will for coming dispensations.
Unto the elect first God reveals His will and purpose and shows them that the Almighty, who possesses all, hath an inheritance in His saints. The purpose of universal government in them He first made manifest when He raised His first-begotten Son from the dead and set Him far above all principality and power, all might and dominion – above every name and sovereignty in this age or in the ages to come making Him supreme head of all things everywhere, including His body which is the completeness of Him who fills the universe. To join that forerunner, even Jesus Christ, our Head, we have been made alive and quickened by the Spirit. We have rejoiced in a foretaste of that same resurrection. Once we were servants of the prince of the power of the air and were the sons of disobedience motivated by the same evil spirits now at work in the world and among those who, though they have believed, are still governed by their lower nature. It was through the grace of God and His intense love wherewith He loved us, though we were completely dead in our sins, being foreigners to divine citizenship, hateful to God and hating each other, that we have been made partakers of resurrection life and have received a foretaste of complete redemption, even now sharing His life, being raised with Him and seated by faith with Him where He sits, high above all principality and power and every ruler and authority, where all things are under His feet. In these heavenly realms in the Spirit we sit enthroned with Him, His purpose and will being that in coming ages He might display the transcendent riches of His wisdom and grace to all creatures when they behold and understand the goodness of God which was displayed in us who first believed and were seated with Him.
This glory is all of grace. No meritorious work of man has helped us to partake of it. Our heavenly enthronement with Christ was given us in Him before the world began. Even the faith by which it is received is the gift of God. Let no man boast or pride himself in works or think himself above another, for we are all God’s workmanship, designed before the world began. For His glory He predestined us to perform His work and fulfill it. Let us not forget that we were an uncircumcised and an unholy people, that neither God nor the things of God had any part in us. Because we changed the glory of God into images of four-footed beasts and creeping things, we were given up to uncleanness. Because we worshipped the creature and not the creator, we were given up to vile affections. Because we did not want to retain God in our knowledge, we were given up to a reprobate mind to do those things, which were not convenient. What merit have we then to offer? None! Yet God’s grace is shown to be the greater, for without works His grace has been brought nigh to those who were far off, bringing them near to Him and enthroning them in heavenly rulership with Christ, our Lord and elder brother.
So through the grace of God those who had nothing have attained and those who had much merit have fallen short. His grace then puts all men on equal footing, destroying every dividing wall, those who have the law having no advantage over those who trust in His mercy. By His grace, then, the great divisions are united and the enmity is slain, bringing peace to all, for it is only in Him and through His grace that we have access to the Father and mutual citizenship in the heavenly realms. Through God’s mercy and His predestining purpose we have become foreigners to the course of this age, and have been placed as sons of God. We are members of His family and our citizenship is in the heavenly sphere. Foreigners are excluded from the civil rights of other countries, but we, having become members of the family of God, share citizenship with Christ in the heavenly realms of the Spirit.
When Christ departed from the world, He declared, “In My Father’s house there are many mansions (abiding places). I go to prepare a place for you.” The Father’s house is the mystical body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit. “For I will dwell in them and walk in them and I shall be their God and they shall be My people.” This mystical body of Christ, the Father’s house, the habitation of God through the Spirit, is rising on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in union with whom the whole body, bonded together by the Spirit, is rising to form a holy habitation for God in the Spirit. We as living stones are built up a spiritual house where sacrifices acceptable to God are offered. This is precious to those who believe, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to all who believe not and are disobedient.
The formation of the mystical body of Christ to be a habitation for God was the great secret locked up in God’s mind from the beginning of the world, and this is in harmony with His purpose to govern the universe when the time is ripe and the spiritual habitation is complete. As the law of God went forth from the temple in Jerusalem to govern the nation, so shall the law of God go forth from this heavenly habitation, which is His body, composed of His elect sons of all ages, to govern the entire universe. Christ, the Head, who is seated far above all principality and powers and might, all rulers and every name that is named, has made us live together with Him and has prepared to enthrone us with Himself far above all powers that the will of God shall go forth to the universe from this heavenly temple till all things everywhere are under His feet and He is Lord of all.
The plan for the government of the world was concealed in the mind of God from the beginning of time. It was first unfolded in a revelation given to the beloved apostle Paul that all races, both Jews and Gentiles, with all their hostility abolished in Christ, should share common citizenship in the Father’s house, the body of Christ, which is the habitation for God through the Spirit. Thus the laws and ordinances of a foreign world have no effect whatever upon our mutual heavenly citizenship. Every rivalry is forgotten and we are fellow-citizens of the household of God. Had we been mindful of that country from which we came out, we might have had opportunity to have returned; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called our God, for He hath prepared for us a city. Even the patriarch Abraham went looking for that city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
In the preparation of this heavenly habitation He left us not without a plan for its erection. When He ascended on high, He gave gifts unto men and ministries whereby the mystical body of Christ might come to perfection. Thus to some He gave the ministry of apostles, to some prophets, to others evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Upon these five ministries rests the entire work of bringing the body to perfection, for they were given to equip His people for serving and to build up the body of Christ till we all come into the unity of the faith and the oneness of the knowledge of the Son of God, reaching the perfection of the full stature of Christ. Who can over-emphasize the importance of such ministries upon whom rests such sacred enterprise? Those ministries in truth proceed forth from God. They are sent of God and speak the words of God. Who cannot see the wisdom of Satan in distorting these five ministries in that he has filled the church system with false apostles, false prophets, false teachers, false pastors, and false evangelists, all speaking contrary things and none having any idea of the plan that lay concealed in the mind of God for the building of the habitation of God through the Spirit? Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this testimony: “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” Jesus Christ warned us long ago that in the same field where good seed was sown the enemy would sow weeds and tares, and in the field where His apostles were sent forth to labor, to minister and teach, a false ministry would arise, speaking all manner of perverse things in their lust to draw away disciples after themselves. He warned the world that false teachers, false apostles, false prophets, and even false Christs would arise. As sure as His word is truth and His prophecy much more enduring than this world that is passing away, all things have come to pass as He foretold and even now are evident before our very eyes. The world today is treated to the sickening spectacle of seeing a harvest field choked with tares, but the awesome tragedy is not that the field is choked with tares, but that the people actually think the tares are the true wheat. The greatest tragedy is not that mystery Babylon exists, but that the people of God actually think that the monstrosity that is Babylon is the true church. They speak of it as the church. They religiously attend its gatherings as the assembling of the church. They reverence it as the church and pay their money to it as the church. But it is not the church. It is a monstrous confusion, a Babel of ideas and doctrines. It has nothing in common with the church of which I now write, no likeness to the church, which Jesus described, and no communion with the church which was founded by the apostles. It is an abominable enormity full of false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, false pastors, and false Christs who for the most part are nothing superior to the very prophets of Baal, who were the preachers and prophets of a pagan, backslidden, distorted Israel, worthy only to be destroyed by the fierce judgment of Elijah. Is it any wonder that the Almighty God has declared, “I will send Elijah before that great and terrible day of the Lord?” The ministry of Elijah is as badly needed now as it was in the days of Jezebel, that queen mother of all harlots and lover of false prophets.
The true Ecclesia, the true and holy church, is separate and distinct from this confused and drunken harlot that straddles the whole earth. The true church is the company whom Jesus described when He said, “My sheep know My voice and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27. If any man will prayerfully read the tenth chapter of John, he will clearly see the vast gulf between the false church and the true, the false followers and the true, and the false ministries and the true. The true church is the habitation of God, and it is the true and almost invisible ministry that God hath set that is perfecting it upon the true foundation.
Just as the ten tribes of Israel became lost to the eyes of the world after the Babylonian captivity, so also the true church has largely become lost to human view since the captivity began in the days of Constantine. God still knows what has become of the ten tribes of Israel, and God still knows the members of His true and holy church. This pearl of great price, though remaining hidden and buried from the prying, curious eyes of an unbelieving world, stands far beyond the comprehension of a church system that has worshipped and honored the works of its own hands. It is still known and loved of God as a treasure hid in a field. Century after century, year after year, day after day, and hour after hour it is the object of His continual care as He strengthens, establishes, and keeps each precious member. In His love He causes them to grow in stature by secretly feeding them the milk of the Word, the bread of life, the strong meat of revelation, and the rich corn and wine of the coming kingdom. With loving paternal care He unerringly brings them to sonship. The chastening rod of correction falls upon them until they suffer such dire loss in all things of the world that their sinking souls seem to be beyond hope of recovery. But in the greatness of their distress they learn to sing with the joy of God in their hearts, “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Beneath the rod of His correction they learn to know true values. They come to know the transient nature of all earthly things,. They see them rise like a green bay tree, which, after it is grown, has no known value. They see them grow like the grass which today is and tomorrow is withered with the east wind. They see all earthly things as the flower of the field which blooms today but tomorrow is cast into the oven to wilt with the burning heat of summer. He makes their gold and silver canker and lose its value that men may see that only in Christ are true values to be found. Men of earth have no understanding of true value. They are much like Jonah who was very angry that God had destroyed the gourd, which grew up in one night and upon which he bestowed no labor, but was unable to see the value of one hundred twenty thousand souls whom God had spared from judgment by his preaching. Such is the understanding of carnal man.
Those blessed people whom God is creating to bear the image of His son must sooner or later learn that they can depend only upon the Lord. Our heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom knows how to teach His children that the man or woman who puts his trust in man will be utterly disappointed. He will soon learn the meaning of the words, “Cursed be he who maketh flesh his arm, but blessed is he who maketh God his strength.” The life of the great apostle Paul was lived beneath the shadow of the cross of Christ, but let no one think that this was a glorious experience for the flesh, for it was not. He knew the bitterness of unfaithful friends. Hear him as he says, “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,” and “At my first answer no man stood with me.” He knew what it was to weep as he warned God’s people of false teachers. He was betrayed by friends and delivered up to prison and to the stocks. By the time the earthly life of this man of God was ended, God had taught him that only Christ was all in all.
Have you often wondered why it was that the further you went in your walk with God the fewer friends you had? You may have wondered times without number if perchance you were walking the wrong road because your companions in travel were so few. Why did Jesus say, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword!” Is He not the Prince of Peace? Did He not say, “They that take the sword will perish with the sword?” Certainly He did. But all who would be sons of God must learn that peace between the flesh and the Spirit can never be, not even for a moment. They two are mortal enemies ever warring against each other, never declaring an armistice, never proclaiming a truce, never enjoying peace. The flesh is an implacable enemy of God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, so that they who are in the flesh cannot please God. Cain, who was of the wicked one, slew Abel, who was of the Lord. God hated Esau, who was after the flesh, and loved Jacob because he was after the Spirit. Joseph’s brethren hated him because his father loved him. Ishmael, who was the son of the bond woman, mocked Isaac, who was the son of the free woman, and thus the war goes on forever. Jesus said He would divide a house against itself, two against three and three against two. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matt. 10:35. This is a conclusion, which is unavoidable, not that God rejoices in division, but that wherever men will walk with God they will always find opposition from those who walk after the flesh. How many million times have children seen the glorious light of revelation from heaven only to be opposed and hindered by parents who see nothing at all but the traditions of their fathers! How often has a wife embraced the glory of Christ’s salvation only to find herself at sudden and bitter variance with a Christ-rejecting husband! How often have we seen men who loved God and longed to walk the green field of God’s ever expanding truth only to be hindered and thwarted by the pettiness of a worldly minded wife who could never see beyond the circle of her friends and the luxuries of her home. The faithful followers of Christ will never find it necessary to pick quarrels with the worldly-minded. They will always find the Cains ready to murder, the Ishmaels ready to mock, the Shimeis ready to curse and throw stones (2 Sam. 16:5-7), the Absaloms anxious to rebel, the authorities waiting to plot their destruction (Dan. 6), and the high priests and religious leaders ready to crucify. They will be misunderstood by the people who profess to know God and hindered by those who should give them help. But all this is for their great eternal benefit, for it will cause them to come to know Him separate and apart from all people and all things, and that is a blessing of untold value. Once a man learns by experience that it is impossible to put confidence in any human being, then for the first time that man will begin to throw all his weight upon the Lord. Then will he lean on the Lord. He will learn that those who put their trust in the Lord are never disappointed or ashamed. Experience will teach him as David was taught that, “when my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” He will learn not to trust in the advice of men, for earthly minded men, even though they be Christians, do not know the mind of the Lord. All who have learned to reject the mind of men have at last reached the place where they can let the mind of Christ dwell in them richly. The mind of man will always lead astray, for it knows only earthly counsels, but the mind of Christ is omniscient, and brings into the innermost being all the counsel of God.
In the light of these things can we not clearly see the universal benefit bestowed upon God’s sons because, when all earthly dependencies are taken away, we grasp like a drowning man for things eternal that we may depend on them forever? When our tried and trusted friends fail us and turn away from us, reject us for no apparent reason, even becoming our bitterest enemies, then the pain and travail of this most bitter experience causes us to flee away to Him who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Experience has taught me the bitter pain of seeing men turn back just when the mountain peak was in sight. I have felt the traitor’s kiss and have seen the toil of years vanish as a whiff of perfume in the breeze. But these apparent tragedies are not tragedies at all, for they teach us to put our trust only in the faithfulness of God, and by such temptation we are abundantly able to succor all others who are tempted in like manner. It was for this very reason that Jesus Christ was tempted in all points as we are, and of Him Paul has written, “We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4:15. It is only because He has suffered all the temptations known to the human family that He can now be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to God.
Bitter though it may be for a man to learn that he cannot trust in men, nor put his trust in leaders regardless of their strength, yet there is still a lesson to learn which is even more bitter, but more essential. You must learn above all things that you cannot trust yourself. The greatest enemy is the enemy within the gates, the fifth columnist, the quisling, the traitor within. It is always human and natural for us to say like Peter, “Though all men deny Him, yet I will not,” or “Though all men forsake you, yet I will never forsake you!” But all who will be sons of God must learn by experience that they can no more trust in themselves than they can trust any other man. Your flesh is just as weak as your neighbor’s. Furthermore, your flesh is just as much the enemy of the Spirit of God as the flesh of any other man that ever lived. Well did Paul say, “When ye think ye stand, take heed last ye fall.” Only the flesh has the audacity to think it stands. The spirit is ever fleeing away to take its refuge in the Lord, knowing that He alone is a rock and a fortress. The righteous runneth into it and is safe. While I trust in myself. I am just as capable of sinning as any man on earth. I am just as capable of being deceived, of falling into error, of being snared and destroyed by a lust of flesh. Bitter has been my disappointment in many men I deemed worthy of trust, but bitter as gall has been my disappointment in myself, for I have/own by experience that I am not a whit different from any other man. It is the mercy of God that we are taught these things that we should no longer trust in man or in ourselves, but in God who giveth liberally of His grace and strength to all men who will forsake the arm of flesh and trust no longer in themselves, but in Him who maketh us after the image of God.
The moment we begin to see that we cannot trust ourselves, then our self-righteousness begins to disappear. When we realize that we are made of the same substance as the worst of God’s enemies, we lose our power to criticize those who are our enemies. There are far too many men in the world who, like the Pharisee, thank God that they are not like other men, but far too few Christians who, realizing they are like other men, bow their heads and beat their bosoms crying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
By these methods then does the Almighty God deal with His elect and chosen though they be hidden from the eyes of a gazing world. It is this hidden gem that is the true church. This is the pearl of great price. This the treasure hid in the field. Men of the world and Christians likewise look on the vast fields of tares and imagine in their ignorance that it is wheat. They look on the pastures teeming with endless flocks of goats and they say, “Behold the sheep.” They look on the assemblies of Babylon with all her confusion of doctrines and traditions, her sects and creeds, her endless ceremonies, her bitterness and strife, and say, “Behold the church”, knowing not at all that the true church is one of God’s greatest mysteries. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, for circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Rom. 2:28–29
As the true church is a great mystery and her members are known to God alone, so also is the true ministry a great mystery known and set by God alone. The ministries named by Paul in Eph. 4:11 are not to be confused with the vast array of reverends, right reverends, very reverends, doctors of divinity, priests, cardinals, bishops, and popes, together with a host of lesser lights in existence today. These for the most part are no more New Testament ministries of the church than the prophets of Baal were the true ministries to Israel and Judah. They are part of the confusion of Babylon. When, oh when, are people going to realize this fact and withdraw from all such confusion, settling in their hearts that he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit, but he who is joined to an harlot is one flesh?
The true church and the true ministry are like the tabernacle in the wilderness whose boards of wood and gold were joined by five hidden bars, also of wood and gold. This is the true church with its hidden ministry, seen and known of God. Though the tabernacle in the wilderness had a value of $1,500,000 in gold, silver and precious stones, yet all was covered with badger skins so that no one knew the treasure beneath it. This is the true church; this is the treasure hid in the field. There is a ministry today known unto God. It is for the perfecting of the mystical church till we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure and stature of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us then approve ourselves as the servants of Christ in patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left; by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report, as deceivers and yet true, as unknown and yet known, as dying and behold we live; as chastened and not killed, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
When the body of Christ is complete in the Spirit, I will have one faith, for all men moved by the same Spirit speak the same thing. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God searcheth all things and reveals to us the deep things of God. There in one Spirit are we all of one mind, one faith, one body. The work of perfecting the body is given to these ministries. They will continue till we all arrive at oneness in faith and oneness of the knowledge of the Son of God, – till we attain maturity in Christ and are no longer babies but full grown men in Christ. This is the sonship and adoption for which the whole creation is groaning. This maturity is the fore-ordained purpose of God. It is the beginning of righteous government and the reign of Christ on earth. In it is the hope of all creation – that they might be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. With this maturity the will of God begins to be done on the earth as it is done in heaven. With it all nations come under a blessed and righteous government. It is the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus Christ who prayed, “That they all may be one: as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they all may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou has sent Me.” This is the body through which God will reign in the millennial kingdom when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters the cover the sea. This is the body that will subdue all enemies and bring all things under His feet. The last of all enemies that shall be destroyed is the most notable – death itself. Then, when death is defeated and all things are under the feet of Christ, He shall be subject to the Father that God may be all in all. By man came death. By man also comes the resurrection of the dead. Oh, the depths of the wisdom of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
These five ministries will exist until unity is gained, until the full measure and stature of Christ has been attained and we no longer resemble babies, for the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all. Neither shall we resemble mariners on the sea, tossed to and fro with every changing wind of doctrine that blows. The things cleverly preached by unscrupulous and cunning men to draw away disciples to themselves will have no effect. Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, let us hold with love to the truth, growing up into union with the Head, even Christ. Let no shifting device move you from the purpose devised in God’s mind before the world was, for the purposes thus ordained of God, though long in fulfillment, are sure and steadfast, God counting those who have fallen asleep in death while waiting as though they still lived; for He will raise the dead in Christ to join the living when the time conies.
As the body of Christ comes into maturity, every muscle and ligament in it will begin to contribute to its growth. Thus shall those other ministries – too numerous to speak of now – come into being and operation, that the body may be built up in love by that which every joint supplieth, by the effectual working in the measure of every part. Since such a hope is left us of entering into His glory, let us no longer walk in rebellion and perverseness of our mind; for while some seek freedom and liberty that their own thoughts may be established, they become slaves to their own corrupt ways of thinking and in bondage to every hateful doctrine and commandment of men that robs them of their place in Christ’s body where there is one faith, one Lord, one Spirit, one baptism. The understanding of the natural mind is darkened and insensible to the revelation of the Spirit of God. Man, thinking he knows God’s plan, goes about to establish it and finds himself to be fighting against God. If our understanding of God’s purpose is darkened, we are bound to live as the Gentiles live. By reason of our deep-seated ignorance we become subject to human programs and doctrines, supposing that gain is godliness. Man’s ways are always opposite to the ways of God. Man honors the rich; God blesses the poor. Man loves great crowds of followers; God chooses the remnant. The Jews demand miracles and the Greeks insist on philosophy; we preach Christ crucified – a thing revolting to the Jews and to the Greeks sheer nonsense, but to us who are saved the wisdom and power of God.
The man who bears about with him this hope of partaking of a heavenly citizenship has a tremendous price to pay. He must begin at once to put away his carnal nature and his earthly inclinations. There is no good thing found in the carnal nature. All its influences are misleading and blind us to the true purposes of God. Love of crowds, love of money, love of programs, love of eating and drinking and all manner of luxury spring from the carnal nature and are at strict enmity with the will of the Lord. Anger, wrath, evil speaking, corrupt communication with each other, together with all malice and unrighteous judgment must be put away. There must be a renewing of the spirit of our minds. The judgment of the sons of God must not be with bitterness, malice, and unrighteousness, for God’s judgment is with longsuffering and righteousness.
To become a son of God and be a member of the body of Christ a walk in the Spirit is of greatest necessity, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God. The Spirit leads us to walk in love. Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness and all such like are the opposite of love and should not be named among the saints of the Lord. Neither should we practice foolish talking nor low unclean jesting, for this is not conducive to grace and sonship. To be a son of God is to be a partaker and ruler in the kingdom of God; but let us be assured that unclean persons, idolaters, railers, drunkards, and extortioners shall have no part whatever in that kingdom. Let us do none of these things, neither let us speak evil one of another as some are given to doing. Evil speaking comes from evil surmising, and evil surmising comes from a corrupt mind. The wrath of God falls upon the disobedient because of all these things. How much more shall it fall upon the members of the family and household of God if we walk in their ways! In times past, when you were children of darkness, you walked in darkness, but now that you are light itself no darkness should come from you. The darkness you see in the world coming from carnal Christians should not be allowed to find reflection in you. The light that proceeds forth from the sun of righteousness is the light that should glorify our faces. It is the light that makes manifest the works of evil, and that which is made manifest should be reproved.
Since we are given such understanding of the will of the Lord, let us walk circumspectly and as befits our call from heaven, redeeming the time, for the days of preparation are few and we are encompassed with evil. If we are led by the Spirit of God, then are we the sons of God. To be filled with wine is mockery, but to be filled with the Spirit is to walk in the Spirit. This, at least, was God’s intention and purpose when He filled us — that, having received of the Spirit, we should walk in the Spirit, not fulfilling the lusts of the carnal mind, but, being led by the Spirit, we should be manifested as the sons of God. Woe to us that, after being filled with the Spirit, we have walked after the lusts of our former nature. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is manifested in all goodness and righteousness and truth, proving what is acceptable to the Lord.
The life of the Holy Spirit manifests itself by an overflowing life of praise – speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Eph. 15:19. The fig tree does not bear olives nor the vine figs. Neither doth a fountain give forth fresh water and brackish. Let it be, therefore, that the mouth that speaks psalms and hymns and songs in the Spirit will refrain itself from evil and its lips from speaking guile. Otherwise its sacrifice of praise will be a putrid odor and its prayer an abomination to the Almighty. The life in the Spirit will manifest itself by thanksgiving for all things, for all things are working together for good to those who love the Lord and to them who are the called according to His purpose. It is the carnal nature that complains and frets over the difficulties of the way that grieves over losses and crucifixion. The things God takes from us are the things that hinder us in the Spirit and in our progress toward sonship. Therefore let us not mourn our apparent afflictions nor turn back when we are forsaken, 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 on the things that are seen, but on the things that are not seen. For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal. Therefore, knowing the end of our calling, let us give continual thanks to God, for all things are working together for our manifestation with Him.
The life in the Spirit is manifested further by submission. Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God. This is the order of the coming government of the universe. Without it there can be no kingdom. Children must obey their parents. Wives must obey their husbands, Husbands must love their wives and themselves submit to all authority God has placed over them. The world is full of false ministries. To them we should neither give heed nor submission, but the Spirit of God will reveal His true servants. To their kind and loving authority we may safely and joyfully give heed. Likewise must ministries be in obedience and submission to Christ, for “surely the Lord will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets to His servants, the prophets.” Let us, therefore, follow the example of Him who came not to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him, whose words were not His own, but the Father’s, and whose works were those given to Him to do. These three things, then, manifest a life in the Spirit: praising, thanking, and submitting to authority. Without them there is no hope of sonship.
All our submission and all our authority must be in the love, which the Spirit gives. He who said, “Wives, obey your husbands,” also said, “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them.” He who said, “Children, obey your parents,” also said, “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath lest they be discouraged.” There is no room in God’s program for disobedience. Neither is there room for carnal despots, Paul who said, “Be ye followers of me,” said also that He was a follower of Christ. As dear children let us walk in love, for he that walketh in love is made perfect. An obedient wife is a crown of glory to her husband, and an obedient church is bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. She will extol His glory in the coming ages and the nations will bring their glory and honor into her. Let every person obey those who have the rule over them, and let those who rule love those who are subject to them. There can be no Spirit-filled life without obedience to authority. The mystery of this obedient and Spirit-filled church is most glorious, for she is made bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. She has partaken of the divine nature and has drunk of His Spirit.
In the armies that war against flesh and blood on earth the warriors must first learn discipline, submission, and obedience to all authority from the supreme command to the most inferior officer. Much more those who now wrestle to attain the mastery over the spirits that now govern the world and are masters of the air and the heavens surrounding us should learn obedience. Satan and all his forces of darkness are not in hell, but are princes and rulers of the air above us. The disobedient and unsubmissive church has killed her apostles and prophets and put the elders from their seats of oversight. Wives have been disobedient to their husbands and children to their parents; therefore, no weapons of warfare have been given us. We have no armor to withstand the evil, no girdle of truth, no breastplate of righteousness, no gospel of peace, but division, no shield of faith, no helmet of salvation nor sword of the Spirit. The prayer and supplication of the disobedient is not heard.
The great warfare against the powers of the devil is about to begin in desperate earnestness. It will be accompanied by the evil day of great tribulation when the sons of God with Michael the archangel shall wrestle against the principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places until that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, with all his host shall be cast down into the earth. Then shall these mighty warrior sons of God, these obedient and submissive children, be caught up to literally sit in heavenly places with Christ, having cast Satan out of the heavens.
This great and terrible warfare will be the beginning of the great day of restitution when all things everywhere shall finally bow and confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. How unsearchable are the plans and purposes of God! How inexhaustible His resources! From Him everything comes. Through Him everything exists. In Him everything ends. Glory to Him forever! Amen and Amen!
TREASURES OF TRUTH, Volume 6, The Body of Christ – The House Not Made With Hands [George R. Hawtin] ~ BOOK 1