"ARISE" is a journal to be published on a quarterly basis. Its aim is to serve as a vehicle for the expression of the Body Of Christ as it relates to present truth. The articles provided are mostly from those of us fellowshipping in the Tampa, Florida area. "ARISE" also publishes pertinent articles of similar concern from those abroad consistent with our general purpose and calling. So now receive the word with all readiness of mind and examine the scriptures every day to see if it is really as we say.
This fourteenth issue of "ARISE" features:
I. "The Creativity Of Redemption" is an excellent article provided by friend and well-respected Bible teacher, Brother Ray Prinzing. Ray and his wife Doris have been ministering for many years and are an inspiration to the body of Christ. They reside in Boise, Idaho.
II. "God's Kingdom - Is It Now?" is provided by the author of the
ARISE publication. He with wife
Melissa and daughter Nicole reside in Valrico (Tampa), FL.
III. "The Highway Of The Lord" comes from a good brother and able minister, Chuck Weller. He and his wife Joyce live in Hilliard (Columbus), OH. They minister kingdom principles to the church.
IV. "Martha Working/Mary Sitting" comes from a close friend and good teacher, Brother Romeo Corsini. He and his wife Christine and three girls reside in Brandon (Tampa), FL. Meetings are held on a regular basis in the Brandon area.
V. "From Creation To The Consummation" is made available from our dear friend, Brother Jack Jacobsen. This is the second of sixteen chapters collected from his dissertation for a doctorate of philosophy degree. Jack and his wife Marjorie has taken residence in New Port Richey, FL.
VI. "Be Still And Know" is provided by Brother Bruce Gosey. The poem is especially dear to Melissa and I as she had the words "Be Still and Know" during her recent labor. Bruce and his wife Linda live in Cape Coral, FL and are active participants of Present Truth Ministries.
VII. "Put On Thy Garments" is a beautiful inspiration provided by Sister Frances Shufflebarger. She resides in the West Chester, PA area.
VIII. "Rocket Peterson" art work on the back cover is provided by
a good friend, Chuck Yex. He with
his wife Morida and little girl Moriah live in St. Cloud (Orlando), FL area.
We gladly bring the "good news" of Jesus Christ and trust the articles herein bless all those that read. As God continues to unfold the Christ in our midst, we in turn share Him with others. We pray that you give diligence to shew yourself approved that ye may be perfect and thoroughly equipped for His kingdom.
We are the happy parents of a beautiful little girl, Nicole Anna. She was born on May 21st at 12:03 a.m in Clearwater, FL. She weighed 7 lbs, 7 1/2 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long. She has dark brown hair and dark eyes. She was born as my wife entered her 42nd week. Our "cup runneth over" with joy!
In His Service
Timothy D. and Melissa Carroll (**Please note new address on front page)
"A R I S E" is free to all as God's way is "Freely you have received, freely give". We trust God to lay it upon the hearts of those He chooses to provide the means for printing and sending out this journal. Please write if you are interested in receiving the journal on a regular basis. Additional copies available upon request. Notification of change of address is appreciated.
Fellowship meetings currently held every 1st and 3rd Saturday evening in Brandon,
Contact numbers list: (813) 653-3711; (813) 653-1604; (813) 651-0334.
The Creativity Of Redemption
"This people have I formed for Myself; they shall shew forth My praise." (Isaiah 43:21).
Redemption-- the Greek word is "apolutrosis" and literally means: a loosing away. It bespeaks of that whole process of apprehending an individual and loosing them from self, the flesh, sin, the world, etc. and making them a new creature in Christ Jesus. It is more than just paying the initial purchase price (to redeem, buy back), for it includes what is done after this transaction-- the making new again of that which had been corrupted, spoiled, and laid waste. Redemption is a process, and it includes the CREATIVITY of our Redeemer, as He makes "all things new." (Revelation 21:5).
The Word opens with the statement, "In the beginning God created..." (Genesis 1:1). Significant that the word "beginning" is actually in the plural form in the Hebrew text. It signifies the beginning of many things, as God laid out His plan for the ages, and while we do not comprehend it all, we do find there is the beginning of TIME, of PURPOSE, and of the FORCES which He would use in His divine interplay of good and evil throughout all the ensuing happenings.
God Himself has no beginning, He always was, always shall be-- He is ETERNAL in the fullest sense of the word. He "inhabiteth eternity." (Isaiah 57:15). But in His great wisdom and design, "the worlds (during the successive ages) were framed-- fashioned, put in order and equipped for their intended purpose-- by the Word of God." (Hebrews 11:3, Amplified). God has a plan to be worked out through the ages, and He fitted the ages for the accomplishment of that plan.
Having created the substance He would use in His plan, we read, "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in that He rested from all His work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:3). Literally, the margin gives, "created to make." Having created the "raw material" that He would be using, there would then follow the MAKING of that which He had purposed. Young's Literal Trans. reads, "prepared for making." HIS WORK CONTINUES, though when God set in motion the purpose of the ages, He so divinely and wisely ordered it all, that HE RESTED in the knowledge that its final outcome would be victorious, and to His praise. He knew when He began, that the end was secure. And well it could be stated, "There hath not failed one word of all His good promise." (1 Kings 8:56). For, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth." (Isaiah 42:4). And all things are progressing "according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." (Ephesians 1:11).
"For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." (Isaiah 45:18). We especially note that, "He created it not in vain." Vain, Hebrew, tohu, meaning: void, empty, vanity. This is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:2, "And the earth was without form, and void." Herein is a powerful truth-- HE DOES NOT CREATE SOMETHING TO BE VOID, empty, in vain. Therefore, it becomes obvious that something took place between the first and the second verse of Genesis 1. Something transpired that made it void, for God does not create it void, that is the result of some vital happening. There is much that is hidden from our understanding of what transpired in past ages-- but whatever took place, God retained control, and uses it all to further His plan.
In the outworking of His purpose, "creation was made subject to vanity." (Romans 8:20), not voluntarily on the creature's part, but "BY REASON OF HIM who hath subjected the same in hope." BECAUSE OF HIM, the Greek reads. He is the First Cause of all causes, regardless of the instrument used to bring it about. And He shoulders the full responsibility for the outworking, because it is HIS WILL AND PURPOSE that are being accomplished.
In parable form we see this truth again, in Jeremiah 18:4. "And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so that he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." MARRED IN THE HAND OF THE POTTER! It was not caused by some force outside of the Potter's hand, it was IN HIS HAND-- He was controlling the forming, shapening, molding. That there was a hard lump in the clay, a rebellion factor that had to be dealt with, does not take away from the fact it was still in HIS HAND. Nor did He cease to work the clay just because it was presently unyielding. Full well He knew what to do to bring about a pliable state so that He could complete His purpose. He had sovereign control over it all, and His CREATIVE WORK continued unabated until He had formed a vessel to His praise.
The Amplified reads, Romans 8:20, that the creature was "subjected to frailty - to futility, condemned to frustration - not because of some intentional fault on its part." Creation did not choose to be blind, etc. but GOD has a purpose in the interplay of good and evil, and He takes full responsibility for its final result. No wonder we also read, Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." Literally: to give you an end, and an expectation. For ultimately God will end all the negatives in your life, and give you a positive expectation-- bring you into the fulness of His righteousness, and His more abundant life.
"Howbeit that was not first spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." (1 Corinthians 15:46). As long as we remain with this natural body, it is self-evident that God has not finished His creative work in us, for He has yet to change this body of our humiliation, and fashion it like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. The vessel continues to be MARRED-- scarred and ravaged by disease, the aging process, death and decay, etc. but it remains in HIS HAND until He has made it like unto His own. Bless His name!
The prophecy is, "Let us make man in our own image." (Genesis 1:26), and He has not wavered from that purpose. We might be marred internally with a spirit of jealousy, envy, hate, etc. Our minds might be very marred with a multitude of erroneous thoughts, self-will, impure motives and negative attitudes, but we still remain in the hand of the Potter, for Him to purge, cleanse, and make us new creatures, possessing His life, to glorify His name.
We do well to beware lest we "charge God foolishly, i.e. with foolishness." (Job 1:22). God is in control of both light and dark, good and evil, and He uses it all with such wise design and purpose, that we are constrained to say with Paul, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out." (Romans 11:33).
Not yet do we see the completed project, as the writer to the Hebrews states, "But we see Jesus..." (Hebrews 2:9). HE is "the Firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29). In Him we have a glimpse into what we shall become, as old things pass away; and all things become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17). BECOME signifies a process, and thus we are being loosed from the old, making the transition, and coming into the new, A NEW MAN in Christ Jesus.
That the process of redemption includes our following the way of the cross, the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, we know. "Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto A FAITHFUL CREATOR." (1 Peter 4:19). Regardless of how severe the processings which are needed to conform us to His image, He truly is a FAITHFUL CREATOR, and when He has finished His workings within, we shall be found to His praise. "For Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:11). amen.
................ Ray Prinzing
God's Kingdom - Is It Now?
What is the kingdom of God? This can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that the kingdom of God is one of sonship. It is a life that belongs to one having God as Father. It is a life which is in obedience to the will of God. It is a life that has not been conformed to this age but rather another. It is a life that is independent of every earthly system, tradition and practice. The kingdom of God is a life that is from a source other than our own, it is a life far above any other, it is a life from above.
Jesus demonstrated clearly that his life belonged to another realm, another sphere, another plane of existence than that of other men. It was a life that belonged to the kingdom, the kingdom of his Father, the kingdom of our God. "And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee..." (John 2:1). Cana, in Hebrew, means: to acquire, attain, erect, to procure, possess, provoke to jealousy, purchase, recover, redeem, etc. Although the Lord came to possess the Spirit without measure at the time when he was baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan, it was at Cana that he also came "to acquire" something. The scriptures state that it was at Cana that our Lord "manifested forth his glory" and that at Cana "this beginning of miracles did Jesus." Therefore, in the place properly named, Jesus erected his ministry. It was here that Christ demonstrated that he was the true vine which would produce the true wine which is able to make the heart exceedingly glad and joyful.
Although I think the religious person normally cannot see beyond the miracle of this story, beyond the sign in which an evil generation seeketh after, it is the spiritual person who will be "provoked to jealousy" of that glory which Jesus openly declared. Likewise, we also learn from the story that the disciples came "to acquire" something as well at this place named Cana, for it reads "...and his disciples believed on him." An interesting thought: was it the water having been turned into wine which caused the disciples to believe or were they provoked because of what Christ actually possessed behind the miracle. Hopefully it is not the miracle which provokes us.
Paramount to our subject are the words of Jesus, "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.." (Matt. 6:33). The kingdom of God is a realm which we are to seek first and foremost. To seek something FIRST is to put it at the very front or beginning, before all else. I am sure everyone reading this article understands the meaning of the word 'first'. In fact, most have probably spent time during their education process at a grade level called 'first'. Some may have spent more time at this level than others, nevertheless, it was the very beginning of their formal schooling.
So what did Jesus say that we are to put at our very front? What should be our main focus, our primary center of attention? What should be first and not second, third, fourth, or last? FIRST...... THE KINGDOM OF GOD! I opened with the question, "What is the kingdom of God?" Indeed, it is one of sonship, one of a 'father-to-son' relationship, one of a life that belongs to another, one of a life born from above. I am reminded here of that ever so common yet misunderstood story of Nicodemus. In chapter 3 of John, we find that this teacher of the Jews was impressed with the work of the Lord and enquired, "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." This Pharisee, unspiritual as his sect was, had made a keen observation, he saw that God was with Jesus, he recognized the authority of the realm of God at work, he was able to see the kingdom of God! Thus, the next statement, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." In other words, Nicodemus was already a man that was born again, a man that had a divine intervention from a life higher than his own, a life birthed from above. This explains the response Jesus had given him. It was a rather simple response given to the statement presented to him.
Like many of his day, Nicodemus was expecting a physical kingdom to be established for the nation of Israel. At this point, he takes literally what was intended to be figurative. His response was, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" Little did he remember the words of the priest and prophet Ezekiel that Israel could not enter the kingdom unless they receive a new heart and spirit. (ref. Ez. 36:22:32). "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Clearly, a spiritual renewing or regeneration is imperative to both see and enter the kingdom. Christ stated, "except a man be born...of the Spirit". If seeing and entering the kingdom of God requires an act of Spirit, a life higher than our own, it would only be reasonable to conclude that it must necessitate the intervention of Spirit, of God's Spirit. This idea is aligned with the words of John, "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Jhn 1:13). Therefore regarding the kingdom of God, we must first come to learn that men are utterly helpless in their spiritual regeneration just as they can do no more to accomplish their physical generation. It is the sovereign work of God's Spirit.
In consideration of the latter part of the verse, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS", my thoughts immediately are of Jesus when seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain and his disciples came to him and he taught them what is commonly called the "Beatitudes". In particular, he said, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matt. 5:6). Today, it is common to find many who have latched to the words of Jesus when he spoke to Nicodemus that ye must be "born again", making it merely a doctrine and a present day fancy. Yet, how many have honestly sought God's kingdom and righteousness? How many hunger and thirst after righteousness? Lie, steal, cheat, yet "born again". Nonsense. Nay, we submit ourselves with a broken spirit and contrite heart, desiring to be filled with HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The question at hand is, God's kingdom - is it now? Several have debated over whether the kingdom is present or future while others contemplate with the idea of a "kingdom now but not yet" theology, warning that too much emphasis on the present without recognition of the future is dangerous. The notion that our knowledge regarding the kingdom of God at best has to remain incomplete and partially flawed is not entirely correct. If God permit, we can know the things of the kingdom for "God hath revealed unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (I Cor. 2:10).
First, let's look at the kingdom as a PRESENT reality. The apostle Paul said that God, our Father "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13). There is really no need to debate the point any further, nor should we be required to write a thousand page treatise to solidify our position. Simply put, God HATH delivered us from the power of darkness and HATH translated us into the KINGDOM. By nature, we were the children of wrath, subject to the spirit of the world, walking according to the age of this world. This was our nature, our being, our self, our true identity at that time. As the thought life from our unregenerate spirit controlled our minds, so we were. "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..." (Prov. 23:7).
Alas, God by his gracious love chose to deliver us from the power of darkness, to reconcile us from the wickedness that was dominating our mind and HATH TRANSLATED us INTO THE KINGDOM of his dear Son. Paul before King Agrippa said that he was to be made a minister and witness for the Gentiles "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." (Acts 26:18). Everyone, before receiving God's grace, is in darkness and under the power and dominion of a kingdom other than that of his Son. However, after the grace awakening, the authority and dominion of another kingdom begins to rule our hearts and another King begins to reign in our spirit!
The kingdom of his Son is best understood by the life which Jesus lived while on earth. The inspired George Hawtin writes, "The life which Jesus lived on earth was the greatest parable ever known. It was a parable of the kingdom of God. He fully demonstrated by His divine life and power all the blessings that were to follow in His kingdom. The evil things which we have learned to live with and accept as part of our very existence He conquered, putting them beneath His feet. He delivered those who believe from every sickness known to man! The word of His mouth makes the lame man to leap as an hart. Hear Him as He commands deaf ears to be unstopped and blind eyes to see. Listen as His wisdom puts all His enemies to silence, causing them to say, "never man spake like this man!" Stand in awe beside the tomb of the dead while He who is the resurrection and the life calls, "Lazarus, come forth!" Weep with the forgiven woman to whom He said, "Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more." Feast as He feeds the hungry multitude with enough and to spare. Rejoice as He preaches, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Stand in awe as He stills the raging storm even as He stilled the fevered brow. Weep with His friends as He died. Rejoice that He liveth again soon to return on the clouds of glory to reign, no more in humility and rejection in tiny Palestine, but in power and wonderful glory over all the earth." - endquote.
Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ does rule and reign as a King today. He was born a King, and remains King, eternal. He is King today! This thought is agreed to even by many of our Pentecostal brethren. In fact, some have embraced a 'Kingdom Now Theology' acknowledging the Lord's reigning as King today. The problem, however, is they insist that the 'kingdom is soon coming'. This is a clear contradiction to the meaning of kingship. A king is a king because of his reign, his authority, his dominion. His dominion is his kingdom. He rules in his kingdom. His subjects are part of his kingdom. You can not have a king without a kingdom. Jesus is either a King now or he is not. And if he is king now, he must also have a kingdom now. There is either a kingdom or there is not. Scripture either states that God HATH TRANSLATED us into the kingdom of his Son, or He hath not. Clearly, He HATH translated us.
Jesus preached, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17). He did not say it was soon coming, perhaps in two thousand years. In Matthew, chapter 24, he spoke of things that were to be fulfilled, things that are often used by theologians to support their "pre-millenialism" eschatology. They often toil and labor over their sequence of events regarding the time of a "so-called" rapture, a great tribulation, a marriage supper in heaven, a final battle of Armageddon, the setting up of a millennial kingdom, the losing of Satan, a final creation of a new heaven and earth. etc. Yet Christ clearly taught the disciples regarding several of these things, making this statement, "Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till these things be fulfilled." (v34). It is not my intention here to write concerning the signs of the time and end of an age. Suffice it to say that the verse is worthy of consideration as I leave the idea with you for the Holy Spirit to guide into all truth.
The Pharisees demanded of Jesus when the kingdom of God should come and he answered them, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21). While many Christians chase present day ministries who exploit supernatural signs, unaware that a majority of it is after the working of Satan "with all power and signs and lying wonders", the Lord gave us some invaluable insight regarding the kingdom of God here. First, it does not come with observation, causing us to say it is here or it is there. Second, it is in your midst.
Jesus said regarding the THEY that would know of the coming of the kingdom, that their answer would neither be "Lo, it is here! or Lo, it is there!" It is not localized, either in a single person or place. There is no reason to get an airline ticket for the next charismatic healing crusade or so-called "holy laughter" campaign, for behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Granted, the assembling of the saints is uplifting and should be exercised as God sees fit, this I both practice and encourage. But to run here and there as if there is something in somebody somewhere that isn't already at your disposal, I say regarding such teachings, beware! Likewise, we ought not find ourselves trying to get to a place having a physical throne located somewhere in the city of Jerusalem,...... "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there!" We also are not looking for the kingdom to be established abruptly by a sudden explosion of power through the return of Christ to this planet...... "Neither will it come by observation." Timothy warned us of such fables.
Obviously, I support the notion and teach that the kingdom of God is present, is now, is at hand! Neither you nor I need to die in order to go somewhere to experience the kingdom of God. "for, behold the kingdom of God is within you." Certainly, we teach such wonderful and precious truths of God, yet I am compelled to remind each reader that we ought first and foremost to thirst and hunger after His kingdom and righteousness. Let us always be prayerful not only to teach the kingdom but first we ought to DO for it is said of Jesus concerning the kingdom that he began both "TO DO and teach" (Acts 1:1).
The kingdom was evident in the lives of the apostles. They laid hands on people to receive the Holy Ghost, they prayed for those that slept and saw them raised from the dead, they prayed for the sick and saw them healed, they prophesied the word of God and foretold of things to come, and they spoke mysteries in a tongue known but unto God. They moved and lived in a realm apart from others. But as with the miracle Jesus performed in Cana, likewise all such miracles should never be the primary objective or center of attention. There is much abuse in this area today; many false claims bearing no evidence. There are supposed healings that never occur, prophecies that remain incomplete, and outbursts of laughter pretending to be holy when it is only a spirit of mockery. The church has become a house for every fowl and unclean spirit to lodge and take their abode. I say this to the shame of the ministry. Yet, even with all of this, there is still the authentic, the genuine. I disagree with a dispensational approach that the supernatural, along with apostles and prophets had their end with the apostolic church of yesteryear. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever." (Heb. 13:8). If Jesus healed yesterday, if Christ raised from the dead yesterday, if the Lord manifested his glory yesterday, then also today and forever!
Yet the evidence of the kingdom is much more than the supernatural. In fact, many have been given gifts and have no reality whatsoever of the kingdom in their life. Paul wrote, "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Rms 14:17). The evidence of the kingdom is that of righteousness, that of peace and that of joy. How can we know if others are in the kingdom? In fact, how ought we to know if we are living in the kingdom of God? The best answer I can give is, "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit..." (Matt 7:17). If the fruit is evil, then it comes from a corrupt tree, which will be cast down into the fire and "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN." The kingdom is that of RIGHTEOUSNESS, of PEACE, of JOY....all in a Spirit that is HOLY!
The kingdom of God is within you. Once enlightened by the Holy Spirit of truth and empowered from On High, the kingdom is ignited in your heart. The Spirit that indwells the individual believer empowers him to now have a kingdom life-style. Permit me to say that if you haven't lived the kingdom life-style every step along the way, I would not necessarily say that you haven't experienced His kingdom. Unfortunately, our fundamental brethren would answer that you were never really saved. (I question how King David, a man after God's own heart, fits their dogma). In fact, even in your short falling, "thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee..." (Jer. 2:19). However, this is not the path one should entertain, for scripture also says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7).
Now let's look at the kingdom of God as a FUTURE event. I certainly recognize the future aspect of the kingdom of God. It is a kingdom without end, it is a kingdom in which the saints of the Most High will possess, it is an everlasting kingdom of our Lord, and it is an ever increasing government of peace. (ref. Luke 1:33, Dan 7:22, II Pet. 2:11, Isa 9:7). It is the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Yet John wrote, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ..." (Rev 1:9). He was a man who suffered tribulation in the present and a man who experienced the patience of Christ now. Likewise, the verse also speaks of the kingdom of Jesus Christ without projecting it out into the future.
I agree that the kingdom must await its full manifestation for God's appointed time. I also know that we cannot add one cubit to our stature by excercising our efforts and thoughts to manifest it fully now. Yet it is significant to understand that the kingdom of God is an ever expanding kingdom. There is only one kingdom. There are not two different kingdoms, one present and another yet to come. The kingdom of the future is an extension of the kingdom of the present. The kingdom of tomorrow is rooted and grounded in the kingdom of today. The kingdom of the future is an outgrowth of the kingdom that is now!
The still small voice in the old testament becomes a loud voice from heaven
in the new. And that voice is saying "Now is come salvation, and strength,
and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" (Rev. 12:10).
Has Christ provoked you to jealousy concerning the kingdom of God? Has the glory of our Lord gained your attention long enough to cause you to run after him? Thirst after the Lord and his righteousness. For it shall be the sons of God who will order and govern the world in the kingdom age. Every son will be empowered with the Spirit from above to its fullest degree and from this holy realm of Spirit the law and government of the Lord will flow forth with a harmony that will encompass the earth with perfect peace and fill it with the knowledge of the Lord.
The Highway Of The Lord
Isaiah 35 speaks of the highway of the Lord. My father was in the construction business in New Jersey after World War II and built many of the highways in the state. Highway construction, if done correctly, is a costly project. Most people do not realize the material that goes into a highway.
The cost must be counted before the construction can be done. Roads are built based upon certain parameters. What are the weights of the vehicles that will be traveling on the road? Michigan's highways are a mess. Why? They allow semi-trucks to haul with heavier than normal loads by adding extra axles. If you have not traveled in Michigan lately, you have not seen the trucks with 42 tires instead of the normal 18 wheeler. The more axles distributing the weight of the load is theorized to reduce the wear on the highway. The potholes suggest otherwise. The roads were built for certain payloads. If we alter the weight, the road, already laid, cannot and will not handle the extra weight. On the other hand, if the highway is constructed correctly, it can carry the weight it will be designed to transport. The key is that when the road was built, the vision for the highway could not interpret or conjecture the future needs of the country.
Route 1 which runs from Maine to Florida was designed with "circles". These were the precursors to the four leaf clover exchanges of today. The cars would approach the circle, get in the flow and then spin off at the lane they wanted. The system worked fine, but it was not designed to handle the great number of cars as we have today. Vision is important. God is building a highway. He counted the cost before He began. Revelation 13:8 in the KJV reads: "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The word "foundation" is "katabole" (said: katabolay) in the Greek. It means a "throwing down, disruption" and also "injecting or depositing semen in the womb." The word "from " is "apo" in the Greek and is a preposition that can be translated: from, out of, off of, by, at, in, since. "Apo" means a separation from the whole, where the union of the two is destroyed, a distance between.
God designed the Highway, His only begotten Son, who is the WAY (John 14:6). As we know, in the Beginning (Genesis 1-3, John 1:1-3) Christ (our pre-existent Savior) created the heavens and the earth. Nothing that was created was created without Him. When He separated, that is, when His thoughts created and extended out of Himself and produced spoken creation of the heavens and earth, it was empty. It was like a womb that was empty and needed to be filled. God knew there would be this need.
The world existed in darkness, void of Life. God knew there would be a disruption by the separation/creation. Therefore, in order to eliminate the darkness, His Son was slain from, out of, in the creation. Thus, the blood of His Son was shed before the world (Greek: cosmos) began so that life could be planted in the creation. The Highway was made before sin entered in. The Highway extends through the land of sin and is untouched by it. The Highway started before sin began and continues after sin ends. (While we speak in a linear fashion, we do know it is circular). Yet, this Highway was made manifest in the creation only about 2,000 years ago (Romans 16:25).
In counting the cost, many facets have to be taken into consideration. Where
is the highway being built? Is it in the sandy soil pines of south New Jersey
or the Cascade Mountains of Washington? The location determines how far down
the engineer has to dig in the earth to create the base. Within the earthen
vessel is the Light (John 1:9), the Son of God. God wants to get down to the
base, the bedrock, the solid foundation to build upon. But before God could
do that, He had to bring about the manifestation of the King's Highway on the
earth. So, His Son proceeded to be lowered into the earth, a seed placed in
the womb of the woman. Jesus came forth as an expression of God, coming forth
out of darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. It is upon Jesus, the
chief corner stone, that the highway of God is built. He is the foundation.
The foundation has to be sure. It cannot be corrupted or ruined. In a normal
highway, a drainage system is provided to direct water off the highway. The
water is good for a highway in that it removes the "film" left by
the tires. But standing water is bad for a highway. In colder weather it can
contract or expand which causes the highway to crack. The very thing that is
good for the highway is also bad if it is left there. The very washing of the
water of the Word of God in your life is good, but if you do not let it remove
from you that which is bad, it will remain and bring death, judgment.
Drainage is done before any real construction has begun. God has made a provision through His Son to bear our sins, to drain away that which so easily besets us and destroys us. The base for the highway is 12-18 inches normally. The variance is due to the location-swamp or bedrock mountain. The base has gravel in it and just a little clay. All highways have to have some "humanity" in them. Jesus was the Son of God, but His humanity helped Him to identify with us (and us with Him).
It is interesting to note that after the base is created that the next step is crushed stone. Chips off the old block! The Highway that Jesus is, is a way of life. But He is not alone. He seeks to make others lively stones (1 Peter 2:5). He wants others to become what He is (John 1:11) and has given us the power to do what He has done (Romans 8:19-21). He is the head, the first course of the highway. We are the body, the second course of the highway. He is crushing us now so that we can be used to reveal the highway of Himself in this earth. Crushed. Yes, it takes Gethsemane, which means oil press, to release the anointing, the life. As a side note Gethsemane comes from the root "gameo" which means married. Yet, it even goes further for in scientific terms we get gametes or chromosomes or life seeds from this root word. God is looking for crushed stones, those who will be broken in order to be part of the road others can walk on. Gametes are one-half of the chromosomes. They need the other half. Jesus is the head of the body and He needs the body as we need the Head. Crushed stones. The foundation of the Lord's highway.
On top of the base and the crushed stone is placed the rebars of the reinforcing rods. These rods are generally placed about eight inches apart for very good strengthening of the highway. These rebars are the structure, the ministry, the bones around which the flesh is placed. Without proper ministry (five fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 revealing the Kingdom of God), the church will not be founded properly. The rebar is for reinforcing. It reinforces the purpose of the construction - to make a highway. The rebar is not an end in itself and neither is the ministry for its own glory. But rather ministry is part of the whole, no better than any other part, but subservient to the manifestation of the Highway. Rebar is made of steel. Steel is made of two minerals: iron and others (depending on what is desired - manganese, nickel etc.). Iron is very hard but brittle. It can rust, rot so to speak. But steel has the strength of iron, the inability to rust and tensile strength. These rebars are the core of support for the rest of the highway.
Now, weather permitting, the highway is coming to the next step of creation. Concrete is poured onto and over the rebar. There are "spacers" so to speak placed within every so many feet. This area is to allow the concrete to expand and contract as needed based upon the weather. Oh, my friends, hear and understand. The body of Christ, the Highway of the Most High, must be flexible. Flexible enough to be ridden on. Flexible enough that the cold or hot weather do not destroy the Highway. Flexible enough to expand and contract as needed. Built solid on truth. Built flexible enough to manifest the Lord's Highway to life in whatever circumstance that is revealed.
The mixture of cement to quartz is dependent upon the strength of the highway that you want to construct. Did not God say unto Abraham that God would make Abraham's seeds as the sands of the sea (Genesis 22:17)? This highway is strong enough to encompass all mankind. The concrete has to cure; that is, the concrete has to be allowed to harden. The Highway can't be used unless there is concrete. The Spirit cannot be seen unless it has flesh on it! Jesus was a quickening Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45) who was "made flesh." The concrete, that body, has to be hardened to the darts of the enemy. The concrete has to be so hard that anything can be driven over it and it will not break up because it is made to carry any load, through Jesus Christ who strengthens us. This Highway to Heaven runs through swamps, over the plains and through the mountains. It makes the low places high and the high places level. This Highway is a leveler. No one is greater than any other and the road is so easy to walk on that no man, not even the wayfaring man can mistake the road.
The concrete is allowed to cure. It is almost ready to be used but two more things have to be done. First, the road is brushed. Not brushed clean as you might think. But the road is smooth from the poured concrete. It has to be roughed up a little bit. If it is too smooth that which rides on it will not be able to grip the road and would "slide off." So the road surface is roughened a little. The concrete is hard. Nothing is going to penetrate it but the concrete must be rough enough that whoever rides on it can feel secure. Now, in some states, a cursing/sealing liquid is placed on the surface. This, to me, signifies the sealing of the Spirit of the Lord upon the person. When you walk in the Holy Spirit no matter who rides on you - a car with chains on the tires, or off-road tires, etc., you can be the bridge to get them wherever they need to go. When you are truly sealed in the Lord, identified with Him in the crucifixion and resurrection, anyone can ride on you without touching you. The sealing keeps you from being hurt by the vessel on you; yet, you feel the burden of the vessel. You carry the vessel, even as Christ carried you over troubled waters.
Pitch is important. Pitch is the slope of the Highway. If there is not enough pitch, the water, snow, ice, etc. remains which will lead to cracking the highway. God has designed this highway with a great enough slope that all things which seek to attack the highway will wash away. No sin will hold on this highway.
The first few verses of Isaiah 35 clearly show that God's plan is to heal and heal completely - spirit, soul and body. Two sets of threes are mentioned: weak hands, feeble knees and fearful hearts; eyes of the blind, ears of the deaf and lame legs. The first set is stated for those in the faith. Their hands are weak because they look at their flesh and not their God and therefore cannot do the work of God. Secondly, they are deceived by the carnal mind and corrupt religious systems in thinking that they cannot walk this walk until they "get to heaven." Thirdly, their heart is weak because they have not exercised their faith and strengthened themselves in Christ. God is bringing people to the highway, that corporate body of Christ, to open their eyes spiritually, unstop their ears so that they can hear spiritual things and heal their legs so that the Adamic nature will no longer cripple them. These last three are for the unsaved, those who have not come to the Lord.
As one reads the Amplified Bible in Isaiah 35:8 it states: "And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yes, the simple ones and fools shall not err in it and lose their way." As you can see from this verse ALL people shall use the Highway. No one is going to lose their way on this road. Previous verses state that it was built in a desert. Yes, the desert of the Adamic nature, that carnal nature, that fallen nature. Christ shall be manifested and in the middle of the sea of humanity there are a people now coming together by the Spirit. They are willing to be the road, the revelation of Christ to any person who walks on them. They have been so dealt with by the Spirit of God that the only desire they have is to be so pure, so holy that nary a person, not even a fool, can miss the brightness of the road set before them.
No matter whether a simple person, fool or wayfaring person, no one shall fall off this road! The Highway will be so visible, so different from its surroundings, that any one that enters onto it will be changed, redeemed. Once on it the Scripture says everyone, "shall not err in it and lose their way." The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was for all, and He will deliver all as He is manifested through the Highway, the body of Christ. "No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come upon it; they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk on it." The Scriptures declare that Paul fought with beasts at Ephesus. These were not animals, but people whose nature was corrupt. No beast on this Highway. No lions either. No other kingdoms can be established on this Highway, it reveals only His kingdom. No lion nature is here. The ransomed of the Lord shall come. Who are the ransomed of the Lord? All who have been birthed in Adam, shall be made alive in Christ (Romans 5:18, 1 Cor. 15:22, 1 Timothy 4:10).
A few years ago Michael Landon, a man of Jewish descent, said all he desired was to find and meet Jesus Christ. He designed a weekly program called Highway to Heaven. It showed for a few years and it was quite wholesome to say the least. But it was about an angel that would help people in their needs. The angel was creating the opportunity for the person in need to rise above their situation. In Scripture, with careful study, you will see that an angel means a divine messenger. We get the word evangelist, apostle and others from it. God is seeking a body in order to place His head upon it. He is seeking a spiritual people, people not of this world to be conformed to His image. He needs us to present a Highway to heaven to the world. It is in dire straits. Will you form with me, a body fitly framed together, a highway of the Lord that this dry desert of a place, this earthly realm might see a way unto Him?
For years you and I have tried to build the Lord's highway. It is time for us to realize that this walk is by THE faith of the Son of God (Galatians 2:20) and we cannot do it except by the power of the One who has purchased our vessel. Don't build the Highway, He will. Just BE the highway and see who travels on it!
Martha Working/Mary Sitting
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her." (Luke 10:38-42). Poor Martha. She was being mindful of the flesh and never saw an end to it to be able to sit and enjoy the Lord.
In life, there are many opportunities to feel neglected, unappreciated, depressed, condemned, overlooked, rejected, alone and unhelped. All these are demonstrations of the flesh being minded. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit." (Romans 8:5). All the things that bring you down, that cause you to stop to notice what the flesh is experiencing, are designed to separate you from the spirit. The flesh wars against the spirit. "For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. " (Galatians 5:17). These things are designed to take control that the flesh might dictate your nature. Husbands and wives are constantly challenged to choose the flesh over the spirit. Employers and employees are very often in the clutches of the flesh. Any relationship will have the warring activities between the spirit and the flesh. Yet we are admonished to walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. Easily said.
How many of us are continuously aware of the Lord each time the flesh wants to rule? The flesh wants to keep us from that which is better. Finish the dishes, set the table, prepare the meal; after all, all these things are important!
So how do we do it? How do we overcome the flesh when it is obviously the dominant nature. I can be certain that of the two natures, the spirit and the flesh, the flesh is frequently more dominant because it is selected more often. Isn't it true that the more you practice something the better you become at it? "As he thinks within himself, so is he." (Prov 23:7). So, how do we overcome the flesh?
Pretend. Live our lives as if we are joyful. It sounds as if I am saying to lie. I am not. I am saying stop identifying with the flesh and identify with the spirit. In the spirit we are satisfied and content because our fulfillment is the Lord. Our source is the Lord and not what comes from the earthly realm. From the earthly realm will come those who would overlook you for a raise at work when you deserve one, or from your children when they live their lives as if they had no clue about all that you might have done for them, or those who ridicule you at school, in public, or from your spouse who might not seem to be appreciating you as you would like, or even from yourself who might be thinking that you have had a rough life and deserve to be pitied, or when you find yourself "needing space to find yourself", causing you to be willing to desert your family or your responsibility just to allow yourself to demonstrate your self-centeredness. All these things are nothing else but the flesh determined to tear you down and bring you to a place of submission under it. Pretend. Live your life as if you are content. Live your life as if you are worthy. For indeed you are! You are spirit and your spirit is made perfect after the likeness of God. Refuse the suggestion of the flesh that things are not as complete as you would like. Your will is not key here. The Lord's will is key and in the Lord's will all things are complete in him.
Jesus died on the cross and said, "It is finished." For our sakes he laid down his life that it could be raised again, having first released his spirit, dividing it from his flesh. We all walk after the flesh. I do. And yet I do know the truth which is the solution: to walk after the spirit. In order to be spiritual, the solution is not to subjugate the flesh to torture, to sacrifices, to offerings, to beatings, to starvation. The flesh is to become angry, be mean spirited, seek vengeance, gossip, criticize, condemn, ridicule, lie, be self-centered and selfish. The spirit is other things: kindness (a kind word turns away wrath), purity, honesty, righteousness, favoring another...etc.... all the things that we know are good. The spirit can feed the flesh; the flesh cannot feed the spirit. The spirit feeds the flesh spirit while the flesh feeds the flesh more flesh. That is how it becomes more dominant. Spirit begets spirit and the flesh wars against the spirit. To be spiritual don't deprive your flesh but rather fulfil your spirit. It's not enough not to sin because sin has been dealt with. We must now entertain the spirit by praising and praying until the spirit is in control and not the flesh.
Our perspective is important if we are unsatisfied or hurt or abused or offended. If we are paying attention to those things then we are being mindful of the flesh because it is the flesh who has been offended. We are being mindful of the flesh and not considering the fact that God put us in the specific situation. If this is not so then we cannot thank God in all things. You are not rejoicing in the Lord in all things. If God put you there, which he did, then you must consider yourself an instrument of the Lord and he is to do his will using you. Having already considered that it is God who placed you where you are, whether at odds with someone or tempted to wallow in your own self-pity, then you should be willing to be used of the Lord.
Are you miserable at work? You are not content in the Lord. The work place must be seen as an instrument the Lord is using to provide you with that which you need to be able to live your life: to pay your bills, provide for yourself and family to live in the Lord. You are the Lord's slave, not your job's slave. That's not saying quit. It is saying , "Do not allow the negative situation to dictate how you go about behaving and thinking." When we allow our flesh to feel for us all those negative things then we will be forced to carry it around and spend much precious time minding the flesh when we could be using it to solve our way out of the negative. You then would be allowing the instrument to be your source instead of God. Your source, being that you are mindful of the flesh, will be disappointing and all these other sad, negative things. There is room to go to those who are offending us and deal with it but first we must find the peace of God to know that he is our contentment so that we can continue whatever the outcome. Then we can go to them in peace. Because nothing in the Lord changes. Whether you like me or dislike me, am I not as fulfilled in the Lord as before? Whether I get a raise or not, am I not as responsible and as instrumental in the Lord? Whether at odds with my spouse, am I not obligated still to be who I am to her? The Lord has not changed and my relationship to him has not changed. I am obligated to him first, then to the "dishes."
Jesus Christ fulfilled all the needs of the sacrifice to make us worthy of all of God's kingdom. We have no business subjugating ourselves to a martyr's syndrome as if to add to what Christ did. Some of us know this, others of us feel we would be pretending to live like that; yet, I tell you, I would rather have someone pretending to be nice to me than not. We are worthy! The trick is walking about knowing we are worthy and still be humble. All it takes is being grateful. Show me a man who is grateful and I will show you a man who is humble. If you are busy being worried about how you have been offended in the flesh, if you are busy being disillusioned, hurt, offended by the fact that you are not being appreciated, you are being mindful of the flesh and all that says is that you are not grateful enough to the Lord for what he has done and your focus has been dimmed.
The world says be fulfilled and you will be joyful. The spirit says be joyful and you will be fulfilled. This is why I say pretend because you are pretending the truth. You are joyful. If you don't feel like it, just keep pretending and you will. As a man thinketh so is he. The joy of the Lord is your strength which is your fulfillment. It is important to become natural in the spiritual qualities and that we can only do by practice. You cannot learn to be joyful because you already are. It is something you must discipline yourself to do in order to realize it. Remember, we are complete in him. As spiritual persons we are to be pretending because it is the way to fight the onslaught of the flesh. If the flesh comes to you saying, 'Oh, I'm depressed, I'm angry , I'm upset, I'm neglected, deprived, unappreciated, we either buy it or reject it, accept or deny it. Are we not saying that God has deserted us when we agree with the flesh? It is never true. I do not believe that God has deserted me when someone mistreats me or unjustly accuses me. Job found that he did not deserve all the horrible things that had happened to him; he also came to know that he was not to blame God. "Naked I came and naked I shall depart." I am in God's hands. Let his will be done. What can you do to me that has not been given to you to do? You have no power to do anything to me that you have not been empowered by God. Jesus told that to Pilate. "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above:" (John 19:11). If God therefore sees fit to have this done to me there is then a purpose and there is a good. But I must first be able to see God in it.
Only God will judge me. Let no man look upon me and say, "You must be
a terrible person because you're being afflicted. You are not liked by some,
you are not given a raise, you've been unjustly accused, you're not appreciated,
you weren't considered, you've been ignored." I will let only God be my
judge. I will not even judge myself. (I judge myself when I permit these things
to depress me and weigh me down.) After all, he is the one who died for me.
My eyes will look up to his spirit and yearn to know his will during these "flesh-bursts",
knowing already that I am worthy in his eyes because of his son Jesus. I know
my unworthiness without him; but I know my worthiness with him.
Elisha said to his servant, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. (II Kings 6:16-17).
Key to our perspective is our faith. Our faith must be constantly active to protect us from our own flesh that would be defeated by those who act out of their flesh. Our faith must tell us that God's faith does not fail us. Perhaps we are too busy and therefore too irritable, causing our flesh to react. Let us remember to be grateful that we might be humble. Let us remember that we are here for the Lord, not for ourselves. Let us look for the Lord's voice that comes to us with love and peace and joy and kindness and meekness and goodness and patience and forgiveness and healing and deliverance. If these things are not found in any situation we should turn to the Lord for our answer. Neglect not the spirit and your flesh will be dealt with accordingly.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed." (Psalm 103:1-6). The objective is to succeed in that which God set you out to become and you will: He promises! Therefore, let not your failures or the failures of others toward you set you back by causing you to pay attention to them long enough to be distracted. Once you recognize the flesh in yourself or another, "choose you this day whom you shall serve!...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15).
We have the refreshment of the Lord to revive us. We don't need to take a break from everything and everyone to find a solution. The Lord is our reward. The trouble is when we expect others to live up to their spirituality before we ignore their flesh. Let's face it. The Lord is absolutely active in our lives and it is he who puts all things in our way. "Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; and said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men...and now I say to you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (Acts 5:34-35,38-39). Consider the Lord. You can't fight him. Lean not on your own understanding. Stop asking so many "why's". Start learning the value and deliverance of letting go and letting God without fear. I know that it is not easy to walk about ignoring the flesh. I know that it sounds unrealistic but that's the point. The flesh is unrealistic. It's not the true thing. We look on the things that are not as though they were. Because the spirit is far more true than the flesh. 'Fall afresh on me. Convince me of my excitement in you even though I don't feel it or believe it, O Lord'. We must learn to separate ourselves from our flesh while we're living in it. Ignoring it is the way. But while ignoring it, we must also look to the Lord at the same time. He has taken care of the sin. Let us be grateful and joyful. Pretend and you'll become.
This world needs more confident people in the Lord, not more legalists who are too busy trying not to do 'bad things'. We need more people who keep pressing on toward the mark, toward the high calling, ever ready to ignore the serpent's lies and declare, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." Psalms 121:1. Ignore the earthly pull of the flesh and all its negative suggestions and look up to the freedom and deliverance of the Lord. All things pale and are petty next to him. The flesh is a powerful being, able to deceive and to capture into bondage but the joy of the Lord is our strength and it comes in fulness; nothing can withstand it.
From Creation to the Consummation - Part II
While Adam and Eve were in their state of innocency, one day a voice probably spoke to Eve from among the branches of the tree of knowledge. It was the voice of the devil in the form of a serpent. The time for testing had come. "Has God said that you shall not eat of any tree in the Garden", the devil asked Eve. Is it possible that God has held back something from you? Is there an experience that He does not want you to share with Him? The devil used suspicion against God as a means of temptation. He wanted them to think God unreasonable and to mistrust Him. Eve said that of all the trees in the Garden, they could eat. There was only one tree which God forbade them, the tree of knowledge. Eve told the serpent that if we eat it or touch it, we shall die. When the serpent told her that if she ate it, she would be as God, knowing good and evil, she could no longer resist, and so ate of it and persuaded her husband to do the same. And the result was that man fell from the state of innocency and went into a state of conscience; a conscience which accuses them of their sin. Bible references for this event is found in Genesis, chapter three, and the main characters are Adam, Eve, and the serpent.
The main events are the temptation, the fall, the fig-leaf aprons, the Promise and the curse, the coats of skin and the expulsion from the Garden. As we think of the instrument used by Satan to tempt Adam and Eve, we should look at the Hebrew word for that being. The Hebrew word is nachash, which means a literal snake. In its original state, it could have been very appealing to the eyes. Since we do not know of anything about it's pristine state, the snake is repulsive now. And, if the serpent was beautiful when God first made it, then it would be logical for the devil to use a beautiful instrument to approach Eve. The Bible, in Genesis 3:1 speaks of the serpent as more subtle than any beast of the field. The Hebrew word for subtle is aruwm. This Hebrew word denotes cunninginess, craftiness, and deception. It is interesting to point out that in the mythology of the Babylonians and the Persians that the serpent was recognized as the enemy or the force of evil. In Babylonian belief, the power of darkness and chaos was Tiamat, who was the opponent of the god of light. Tiamat was represented as a gigantic dragon also known as Rahab and Leviathan. To the Persians the serpent was the emblem of Angra-Mainyu, the hostile god. To the Israelites, the serpent remained a symbol under which he was popularly conceived.
It was a bronze serpent, which Moses elevated on a pole for the bitten Israelites to gaze at for their healing. The type was that of Christ who would come to take away the sin of the world. All through the Scripture, the serpent is conceived as being associated with evil and that one day, all evil would be destroyed by the Power of God the Mighty Creator through His Son, Jesus. John, the Baptist, in Matthew 3:7 said to the Pharisees of his day, "O generation of vipers (snakes), who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matthew 3:7b. In Revelation 12:7-9, we read these words: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." His fate is summarized in Revelation 20:2, where we read these words, "and he (an angel) laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years."
And, of course, in the same chapter in verse 10 the devil is finally cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and with that final judgment, we hear no more about the serpent or any more sign of that instrument. Before we leave the subject of the serpent, let us make note of what we read in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness". So Paul, the writer of this Epistle, must have accepted the idea and thought that the Devil used one of the created beings as his instrument to approach Eve and beguile her into sin.
Let us examine the temptation in the light of the Word of God as given in 1 John 2:15-17. This Scripture speaks of the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Eve was allured to the fruit on the tree of good and evil by the eye-gate. Her eyes looked at it as being good. Her first step in the fall, was to look and keep looking at that which God had forbidden. Sin begins outwardly through our five physical senses and then touches the soul of man. Then her flesh lusted after the forbidden fruit. This could mean her entire being became wrapped up with the temptation. Finally, the pride of life---she could be as God. This would make her knowledgeable and elevate her to a new position...to be as a god because she would be on the same level as her Creator, God.
In that 6th verse of Genesis 3, we read at the end these words, "She gave also unto her husband; and he did eat." The Hebrew language, according to Dummelow in his Bible commentary, states that she gave this fruit to her husband not in malice, but with a sincere view to his advantage, that she persuades the man to eat of the fruit. The result was a triple lowering of man. First, he came forth by the Word of God to be very high spiritually in his original form. Through the entrance of sin, he was lowered into a natural, soulish (self-conscious) realm and ended into a state of having a carnal mind, humiliated body and to end in death. All these things were hid from them as the devil through the serpent was leading them into the temptation and the fall. The pattern of the fall can be stated simply: the serpent first asks the question, "hath God said?" Temptation begins always with a question or a doubt of what God has said. Secondly, temptation appeals to the benefit of the individual, the serpent said, "if you eat, you will be as gods". The individual will be elevated, better, higher, smarter, and so forth if he gets involved in receiving knowledge outside the Word of God or outside the Will of God. And so as one churchman once said, "they lost Eden and they gained a conscience." (Newman)
The results of the fall are evident; their nakedness and their knowledge that they lost their original position with God. They were now not God-conscious anymore, but self-conscious. From a state of being selfless and holy to a state of selfish and defiled. Because man became aware that he had lost that original glory and was now naked; their eyes, man wanted to cover himself. The Bible says in Genesis 3:7b, "that they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons". There is a Jewish legend that at the moment of the fall, all the trees lost their leaves except the fig tree. And so the old controversy began, man, since the fall, has tried to cover his shame and to soothe his conscience with his works of righteousness (aprons). One prominent lodge uses a white apron to cover themselves as a sign of righteousness during their ceremonies. This is a memorial and gives credence to man's first attempt to cover his sin with his own works of righteousness.
By God, we have the restoration of man which was begun soon after the fall. Genesis 3:8, says that Adam and Eve heard the Voice of God in the cool of the day. The literal translation of the term is in the evening breeze when the heat of the day is tempered with a cool breeze. Adam and Eve heard the voice of God and hid themselves. Scripture tells us that God called to Adam with the question, "where art thou?" Genesis 3:9b. God seeks man and not man seeking God. The major difference between the true Gospel and other "religions" is that, when man is in disharmony with his Creator, it is the Creator Who takes the initiative to approach the sinner, rather than, as in false religions, for the sinner to approach the true God. As God and man rehearse the events which led to the fall, we see how natural man will always be inclined to blame the outward incitement to sin rather than the inward incitement to sin. Man will put the blame on someone or something else rather than himself. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. Questions have risen from many sources as to why the fall. Did God know when he made mankind that they would sin? One source quotes Romans 8:20 and 21: "for the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him 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 children of God." And since we read in Revelation 13:b, "whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world", that God allowed sin so that from this tragedy would come the promise of the Saviour.
Judgment did follow the disobedience of man. The serpent is judged first. He must crawl on the dust and eat dust, woman will bear children in pain and be in subjection to her husband. The man is to labor by the sweat of his face and both of them are told that they shall experience physical death as well as all life and the land is cursed with thorns and thistles. All of this is recorded in Genesis 3:14-19.
Lastly, man is removed by God's Order to leave the Garden lest he would eat of the tree of Life and live forever in his state of sinfulness. And so man forfeits his wonderful home and surroundings all because of his disobedience; a terrible price for his sin.
God does leave hope for man. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15. This is called in theology the Protevangelium. This is the first proclamation of the Good Tidings of the FINAL victory over sin, death and the power of the Devil. In Hebrew the word "bruise" is shuph. It means literally to "lie in wait for", suggesting the idea of a prolonged conflict but with an element of expectancy. Here are set up two contending forces headed by Satan on the one hand and Christ on the other, which are to flow until the serpent's seed is finally and eternally consigned to the Lake of Fire.
This is God's Covenant of Grace, which will come later through His Son, Jesus. Adam and Eve were the first to hear the good news of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. While they did not know about God's Plans of salvation through Jesus, yet they knew that God had a plan and that plan would triumph in the end. And to give man a foretaste of what that Plan involved, God slew an animal and clothed man with the skins of the slain animal, perhaps a lamb.
What a picture God gave man. Blood would be shed, and man would be clothed in God's righteousness. Naturally, all of this came about when Christ died the atoning death on the Cross, His blood was sufficient to atone for the sin of the world and by His righteousness are we clothed and thus made ready for Heaven and to be in God's Presence to enjoy Him forever.
One Biblical scholar makes mention of an interesting fact that since paternity is established by the blood type of the father with the blood type of the child, that Jesus carried the blood type of His Father. Medical science stated that the child gets the blood type from the father and not the mother. Since the Blood of Jesus was efficacious for the sin of the world, it may have been the Blood type of His Father, Almighty God, which was shed on Calvary to atone for the entire world. And so it was not the amount of the Blood which was shed, but the quality of the Blood, the Blood of the Father through His Son, Jesus. To substantiate this proposition, the Bible says in II Corinthians 5:19, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." Praise His Name!
And so the account with man in new surroundings with the birth of children. The Garden is "off limits" and God insures that man will stay out of the Garden by placing an angel with a flaming sword to protect that area and especially the Tree of Life. And with Adam and Eve in their new surroundings and with ensuing progeny, life takes on new responsibilities and challenges and soon God begins to make arrangements for a new dispensation. As God moves man into the future, He is ever mindful of keeping the "true seed" alive to eventually bring forth the promise which was given in Genesis 3:15.
To be continued.................Dr. Jack E. Jacobsen
BE STILL AND KNOW
Be still and know that I Am God, and I will be glorified,
among the nations and in the earth,
among all those for whom... Jesus died.
For every matter and purpose under heaven...
there is a season and a time,
And of these it is not for you to know,
the only need to know... is Mine.
Through My Son... I created... all the ages of time,
through Him I arranged them in an order.
You cannot by worrying... make them any longer,
nor can you make them any shorter.
Did I not tell Abraham, every nation would be blessed,
through him and the promised Seed,
That through Christ I would meet... each and every need.
Concerning Christ Jesus did I not say,
I have begotten You... You are My son,
Ask of Me for the nations and the ends of the earth,
and You shall have them... for you it shall be done.
He has asked... and I have given,
Himself a ransom... for all... did He give.
And though through one man all men died,
through one man shall all men live.
It shall be each man in his own order,
Christ the firstfruits... then those who are His at His appearing,
Then and only then shall the end come,
there is a set time... are you hearing?
Do not think that I Am slow... to do what I have promised,
for a day with me is as a thousand years,
a thousand years a day,
I AM not slow but rather long-suffering,
for it is not My will that any should perish,
I will fulfill in perfect timing... exactly what I say.
Yes... every knee shall bow... every tongue confess,
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
This shall be done by the Spirit called "Holy",
and the power that He alone affords
................ Bruce Gosey