|- Terri Crisp -
By reading this story it is our hope you will understand the journey to which God is calling you to. Discover some of the problems you may encounter along the way as you embark on your journey as you go deeper into the understanding of the Kingdom of God. Welcome to the journey.
"EBB & FLO" & "THE CASCADES"
A two part allegorical journey toward "Deeperville."
EBB & FLO PART 1
Ebb and Flo were simple country folk. Ebb ran a bait and tackle shop in their home town of Shallowsville; Flo worked part-time at the local diner down on the town square. They enjoyed a good life together, sharing a common faith, and the typical experiences of the average Christian family.
Ebb and Flo were decent, clean living hard working, moral citizens...the kind of folks anyone would like to have as neighbors. Flo took every Saturday afternoon off to visit the sick and the shut-ins, while Ebb closed up the shop early on Monday evenings to meet with a men's group, in order to pray about the needs of the community. Both of them were outstanding church members, even winning awards for perfect attendance in Sunday school. In fact, Ebb had taught the adult Bible class at their church for as long as anyone could remember. They did little odd jobs and repairs for the widows and the elderly in their area, and helped out the homeless as much as they could (not even a stray dog or cat was turned away)! On top of all that, they faithfully supported a missionary couple who had come through the church a number of years ago, whom god had specially placed on their hearts. They had a genuine burden for those who had never heard the Gospel, and wanted to do their part in spreading the "Good News".
Not only was this true, but they were civic-minded, as well, and actively involved in the issues of the day. Why, they'd volunteer for near about anything, as long as it had a good cause! Ebb even ran for Mayor once, because he wanted to make a difference in their community. He had some strong convictions, and felt that it was time to "put God back in government", as his campaign theme stated. They were thoughtful, charitable, wholesome individuals, always "on the go", who made it their business to help wherever they could, whenever a need arose (one of Ebb's favorite sayin's was, "I'd rather burn out for God than rust out for the Devil").
Despite everything they had going they still felt something was definitely missing in their spiritual lives. For years, it seemed as if they had just about reached their limit in God. Whenever they would begin to press forward in their experience, and seemed to be gaining a little ground, something would always pull them back. It was like there was an invisible barrier before them, which restricted them from going any further. They were sometimes up and sometimes down, sometimes in and sometimes out, but never feeling like they'd gotten much ahead. Needless to say, this back and forth type of motion was extremely frustrating They couldn't quite put a finger on it, but they knew that there had to be more in God than what they'd obtained. (Part of the problem may have been in what they'd been led to believe. Since they'd received the baptism of the Spirit a number of years ago, they'd been taught that what they had was all they could expect "on this side of glory". The next great event to take place in their lives, according to their teachers, would be the rapture. Not only was this preached to them on a regular basis, but this mentality was constantly driven into their heads by the lyrics of the songs they sang at church every service. The emphasis was almost always placed on things like seein' Grandma, getting your "mansion", and walking on streets of gold. There ain't much wonder why they felt disturbed, now, is there?)
One day Flo was looking through the Shallowsville Gazette, when an advertisement in the paper caught her eye. A brother by the name of Fuller A. Abundance, and his wife, Gloria, from Deeperville, were having a tent meeting out on the edge of town. "How interesting", she thought to herself. "Non-denominational, all races welcome" Maybe Ebb would like to go.
That night after supper, the Lord reminded Flo of the advertisement. "Ebb?", she said. "Yea, Flo". "I noticed there's a tent meeting a'going on just outside the city limits." "Done heard about it", replied Ebb. "When Bro. Shore delivered the mail this morning Sister Tide came in right behind him. To hear them tell it, this preacher and his wife have been causing quite a ruckus down there, disturbing the "public peace". "Is that a fact?", asked Flo. "Don't know. Just repeating what I heard. One thing's for sure, though. They're preaching things nobody "round these parts ever heard before". "Well," she said, "I had a notion to go tomorrow night. Wondered what you thought about going with me". "Hmmmm. Eh, might as well," said he. "Only one way to find out what's goin' on, and that's to go see for yourself".
The next night was anything but ordinary It seemed like from the moment they drove onto the tent lot, the very air was charged with an excitement and expectation. It was an electrifying experience, to say the very least! The preacher's wife, Gloria Bundance, led the congregation in a few lively choruses, then introduced them to a new song. The worship was free and spirited, without the limitations to which they were accustomed. Many even appeared to be caught up in the Spirit, having lost all consciousness of their natural surroundings. And yet, their voices seemed to harmonize, like the sound of many waters. It was as if they were gonna go right through the roof! And talk about prophecy! Why, it just flowed like a river! Ebb and Flo had never experienced it on this wise before!
After awhile, a hush fell over the service. It was a sacred silence, an almost overwhelming moment of intensity and reverence, while the whole congregation waited on the Lord for direction and guidance. It was clear that no one man was in control of the services. Everyone wanted to hear from God that night, and it didn't matter through whom He spoke.
Finally, it was Brother Bundance who stepped to the front. He was a plain man, with tender eyes and a broken voice. He wasn't much to look at in the natural, possessing no beauty that you would desire him. But anyone could tell that the Lord had given him a special "something" which separated him from other men...an inward beauty, which radiated like beams of sunshine from his being!
He was not an eloquent speaker. His message was spontaneous and unrehearsed. And as far as his delivery was concerned, it was plain and nondescript (at least, according to the world's standards). Ebb and Flo could certainly say they'd seen better performances. But there was an unction and an authority in his words that captivated their hearts, causing them to give him their undivided attention. It was as if the man just disappeared, and God was speaking directly to them!
According to Bro. Bundance, the Lord is stirring up a divine discontentment among many of His people these days. The reason for this is because there's a third dimension in God, a place which is beyond the born-again experience, and beyond the baptism of the Holy Ghost, reserved for those who've determined to go all the way to perfection. A simple study in scripture shows that when God speaks of completion, He does so in threes. So, since it's obvious that the church as a whole is still in the "in part" realm (1 Cor. 13: 9-12), and in many ways immature, it's a place that the body of Christ has not yet seen before, though the Forerunner of us has already entered into it, and demonstrated it to us throughout the gospels (Heb. 6:20). For the most part, he brought this out from the New Testament, where Jesus appeared for the third time in His human form (the first two times, of course, were 1) during His infancy, and then, 2( when He was entering into puberty, being found in the temple with the teachers of the law). This third experience was the place where, at the river Jordan, the heavens were opened to Jesus, and the voice of the Father declared, "Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased" (Luke 3:21-22). Just as His first appearance was during the time of His circumcision, and His second appearance was around the time of His Bar-Mitzvah, this event corresponded to the third major event celebrated by ceremony in the life of a young Israelite male, the ancient Hebrew adoption ceremony. Unlike our modern concept of adoption, where a child born to one set of parents is simply placed under the legal custody of another (perhaps receiving full rights to possessions, but never able to bear the image of his adoptive parents), the adoption in olden times carried a different meaning altogether. It was that time when a Jewish father would publicly recognize his son as having come to full maturity (being 30 years of age), ready to go forth in his father's name, and assume the responsibilities of the family business. This made for a very strong presentation by Brother Bundance, and was very convincing But he also illustrated it in several ways from the Old Testament, so as to confirm what he said. For example, there were the three places the Israelites sojourned, in order that they might possess their promised inheritance: Egypt, where the process of their salvation experience began; the wilderness, where they received the earnest, or guarantee of their inheritance; and ultimately, Canaan, where they received the fullness of it. Also, there were the three annual feast days which they were required to keep, and during which the Lord had promised to meet with them; First, Passover (where they were originally required to partake of the slain lamb); Secondarily, Pentecost (the Feast of Firstfruits) where they experienced the beginning of the harvest cycle, and the assurance that there was more to come; and finally, climaxing the harvest season with the feast to end all feasts, the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the Feast of Booths, or Ingathering. Brother Bundance had lots to say about that!) Then, there were the three divisions in the Tabernacle of Moses, based upon the pattern shown to him in the holy mount: The court of the tabernacle (where the sacrifice for sin was offered upon the brazen alter); the Holy Place (where the priests ministered before the Lord in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks); and last but not least, the Holy of Holies. This was the place where once, in the end of the year (during the Feast of Tabernacles, we might add), the high priest was privileged to pass beyond the veil, and meet with God face to face before the mercy seat. There are many other places which could be cited. But within these three examples, there are countless scores of types and shadows depicting this singular truth. There's a place in God, the likes of which the church and the world have never even witnessed, apart from the life that Jesus manifested in the days of His flesh! It's that place which Jesus went away to prepare for us (John 14:2 ), that realm of glory reserved for a firstfruits company at the end of the age, the place from whence the saints shall rule and reign with Christ in the age to come (Rev. 20:6)! It's what Jesus meant when He spoke in His parables of "the hundredfold" blessing (Matt. 13:23), and "the full corn in the ear" (Mark 4:28). And it's what's referred to in scripture by the apostle Paul as "perfection" (1 Cor. 13: 9-10; Heb. 6:1), "the third heaven" (11 Cor. 12: 3-4), "Mount Zion" (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 14:1), or "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13)! The thing that excited Ebb and Flo the most, though, was that it's not an experience that's simply reserved for God's people after they die, "in the sweet bye-and-bye", on some far-removed planet called "heaven", but that there'll be a people who are alive and remain when the appointed time of it's fulfillment is come, and will manifest it here on earth. This is the hope planted deep within the hearts of all men, whether they are aware of it or not; and this is the hope for which all creation groans (yea, even the true fulfillment and embodiment of the greatly anticipated Year of Jubilee!) As the Phillips translation puts it, the whole creation is standing on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own (Rom. 8: 18)! It's very deliverance from the bondage of corruption and decay depends on it! Hallelujah!
As you might imagine, this caused quite a stirring in the hearts of Ebb and Flo! It was as if "the deep calleth unto the deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts" (Psa. 42:7), that is, the deep things of God beckoned to the depths of their spirits (1 Cor. 2:10), confirming the things which they'd felt for so long, and enlightening them to the e hope of this calling. Now they understood why they were so dissatisfied with their present experience! They were to set their sights beyond the usual mark, and "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, which is in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14)! A lesser hope would never suffice!
Few words were spoken between them on their way home that night. There was just too much to think about, and feelings which words could never express. Besides, they didn't have to say a word to each other...the look in their eyes said it all. The breath of god, as it moved upon the face of their "deep", had taken on the force of a hurricane...and by this time, they were caught right in the midst of the storm (boy, were they ever seasick!) Talk about turbulence!
That night, a very strange and unexplainable thing happened. As if this sea-tossed couple had not been through enough already, the Lord saw fit to drive them right on over the edge. And how did he do this? Why, He gave them both the same dream! In it, they were wrestling with the angel of the Lord by the brook Jabok (which name, incidentally means, "to empty, or make void"), just as Jacob did in the book of Genesis (chapter 32). The angel desperately sought to escape their grasp, but they refused to turn him loose. Finally, after struggling "til the break of day, and having exhausted all of their energies, the messenger turned to them and said, "What is thy name?" Looking at one another, and realizing the obvious implications of his query, they said in unison, "Ebb and Flo, for as God has set bounds upon the waves of the sea, saying "thus far, and no more" (Job 38:11), "even so has He limited us". "Thou shalt no longer be known as Ebb and Flo," the angel said, "but spiritually, as Brother and Sister Cascade". For thus saith the Lord, "as living waters cascade down the mountainside, ever moving, and ever increasing in strength and velocity, so shall it be for thee. Thou shalt go forward, and shall not go back; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it". With that, the night vision ended.
The next morning they told each other the dream. There was little doubt in either of their minds that the Lord was speaking to them through it...and there was little doubt to either of them as to what He was saying However, it was Ebb who first had the courage to actually verbalize it. "Flo, I feel the Lord is saying that it's time for us to break free from all that's held us back in the past. We've gotta move from Shallowsville, and go on with Brother and Sister Bundance to Deeperville. There's things that the Lord has ordained to reveal to us there, things that We'll never be able to see from here". The sound of those words had a most sobering effect on Flo. "Ebb", she said, "Do ya realize what that would mean? We'd have to give up everything we have here. And besides, we have no idea what we'd find, once we got to Deeperville. We've never been there before. After all, the only thing we have to go on is what the Bundances have told us about it." After a long pause, Ebb answered her. "Yea, that's true. There's a whole lot to consider. But, the way I see it, why should we sit here "til we die? If we don't go now, we may never find any sense of spiritual satisfaction again."
That settled it. Right after breakfast, they went down to the tent, and told the Bundances of their decision. They were delighted to hear it! They said they were just about ready to head back home, anyway, and would enjoy the company; and besides, they could sure use some help in getting the message out along the way. So the timing was perfect! Now, telling the Bundances was the easy part. It was the next part, however, that they were dreading How would they ever break the news to the townsfolk?
As it turned out, they didn't have to. Word had already gotten around, even before they had time to announce it. Seems that the town busybody, Sister Ima Speculator, had noticed their strange behavior, and called Iva Hunch. Iva's English cousin, Sir Mizer, just happened to be there visiting when she called, and so they told him about it, too. Between the three of them, they put two and two together (Ima said she didn't want to say "I told you so", but knew all along it would come to this). Now, you would think that since these sisters had such a bad reputation for spreading rumors in the past, no one would pay any mind to them. But it just so happened that their suspicions were right this time! They had the whole town in an uproar!
As might be expected, a committee immediately assembled from the church, and came by to pay Ebb and Flo one of them "special" visits. When they arrived, everyone was awkward to begin with. This was natural, since it was obvious why they were there. But it was their pastor, Brother Seymour O. Former things, who finally broke the ice. Now, Brother Seymour was a fine man. He had helped them greatly in the past; and for this, they had a great respect for him. But he was vehemently opposed to this "new" doctrine, saying that it didn't matter how much Bible Brother Bundance quoted, if it didn't line up with the traditional teachings of their church, it had to be of the devil. Brother DeadLetter agreed, and said they were twisting the scriptures to say what they wanted, spiritualizing away things that were to be taken in a natural sense. Brother X. Plainaway said that they were overreacting to the message, that they'd been under a lot of stress lately, and were suffering from a form of temporary insanity. They just needed to come in for some counseling sessions, that's all. And poor old Bro. Pess I. Mystic, bless his soul, why, he yelled "til he was plumb blue in the face!" He just kept saying that everyone knew that deception would be on the rise "in the last days" and so he feared they'd done gone and gotten themselves mixed up with some weird New-Age cult group that thought they were God! Meanwhile, Sister Spookendyke was steadily walking around the house, rebuking the devil in a loud voice, with Sister Lotta E. Motion following right behind her. She just jerked and cried the whole night long! (They had every dog in the neighborhood howling. They all tried to persuade them otherwise, and they were all just as sincere as they could be; but it was to no avail. Ebb and Flo were thoroughly convinced that what they were doing was the right thing to do, and the right time to do it. So they just went on to bed, and left their company to fuss among themselves.
Having put that behind them, they were faced with the next heart-wrenching experience, and that was, packing for the journey. They'd already considered the fact that they only had enough room to take what was of absolute necessity with them; everything else had to be discarded. But that's easier said than done! Things that no longer fit them, things they no longer used, and things they'd just saved for sentimental reasons had to be left by the wayside, as they downsized for the move. You can't imagine what this is like, unless you've experienced it for yourself. It's a painfully difficult task.
Finally, the truck was loaded, and they were on their way. As they were driving past the city limits, and crossing over the Bridge of Transition, they were determined not to look back. While they would certainly miss the fellowship of their long-time friends and neighbors, they had no regrets. New adventures awaited them in a new land, and they were thrilled with the opportunity to move forward in God.
Meanwhile, life went back to normal in Shallowsville.
...At least, for the time being........................
Continuing Adventures with the Cascades
(Otherwise known as "Ebb & Flo" Part 2)
At long last, the Cascades were on their way to Deeperville. What a liberating feeling this was! New sights, new sounds, and new prospects all lay before them, giving them the incentive to press on in the spirit! By this time, they knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that their departure from Shallowsville was ordained of God. Nothing could make them question that now!
When they first embarked upon their journey, they traveled in tandem with their dear friends and mentors in the present truth, Bro. A. Bundance and his wife, Gloria (As you may recall, it was the Bundances who first introduced Ebb & Flo to the message of Sonship). Throughout the summer months, they helped out in the tent meetings, and assisted in every way they could. It was a highly rewarding experience, to say the least! They'd learned So much from these humble servants of God, both in Spirit and in Word. And they'd met so many wonderful people along the way! But after the tent season was over, Bro. Bundance said that they were to split up for a while, and meet up together again, once they all got to Deeperville. The Lord had some things He wanted to teach the Cascades; and He wanted to deal with them without the aid of flesh and blood!
Now it was just them and the Lord, with a wide open road stretched out before them. Since they had no alternative but to trust Him completely for their guidance, they decided that they might as well just lean back, and enjoy the ride. And enjoy it they had! They had been blessed by the scenery while driving through Profundity County. The mountains were exploding in full colors of autumn...brilliant crimsons and golds, like flames of fire leaping up against a canvas of blue. And the valley of visions was so lively and vibrant, they could barely contain themselves! Truly, those were "Kodak" moments! Suddenly, however, and without prior warning, the truck in which they were traveling started sputtering and backfiring "Wonder what that could be?" asked Flo. "Don't know exactly. Reckon it Could be a number of things", Ebb replied. "We'll have it checked out in the next town we come to". He no more but got those words out of his mouth, when they noticed a little sign along the side of the road, saying, "Town of Peculiarity dead ahead". "What an odd name for a town", Flo said. "Ain't no telling what a body might find there". "Well, ya might as well brace yourself, cause we're about to find out", replied Ebb. "Like the sign says, it's dead ahead!"
Their first impression was that there was nothing really so peculiar about the town. By all appearances, it seemed normal enough (with the exception of the fact that there were no speed limits posted, no stop signs, and no law enforcement anywhere to be found). Turning off of Main Street, and Driving down Novelty Boulevard, however, they were fascinated by all the different types of buildings on display. No two structures were alike! Finally, after a brief inquiry, Ebb & Flo stopped in at what appeared to be the only Gas Station and restaurant in town (a place called, "The Pluralization Station"). And not a minute too soon, either! the old truck was making such a bodacious racket, it sounded like it was about to give up the ghost right then and there!.
Pulling around to the garage area, Ebb got out and explained the problem to the attendant. The attendant replied, "Why don't you folks go into the diner, an stretch your legs for awhile. Maybe even grab ya a bite of lunch, while you're at it. I'll let ya know just as soon as we got'er figured out." "Good idea", said Flo. "That'll give us a chance to read some more on this book the Bundances left with us."
As they entered the lobby, they were impressed by the friendliness of the staff. Everyone was smiling and pleasant, with that warm, down home hospitality you'd naturally expect from a small town diner. they went out of their way to make Ebb & Flo feel welcome, like they were genuinely glad they were there!
Once the waitress seated them, and went to get their drinks, Flo pulled their little book out of her handbag. Handing it over to Ebb, she said, "Hon, You've just gotta read this for yourself! While you were driving this morning, I was reading a little ahead on my own, and I came across some things I knew was really gonna bless you. Why, it's a confirmation to everything we were talking about, when we were coming through the valley of visions!" He had just begun to read a page she had highlighted for him, when a kindly gentleman approached their booth.
"Pardon me, but I couldn't help noticing the subject matter of your reading material. It appears that you might share some common interests with our townsfolk.
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am the proprietor of this establishment, Bro. Onemore Strangebird."
"Nice to meet you there, Bro. Strangebird. We're the Cascades. We were just passing through this part of the country, when our truck started acting up. We're having it looked at right now".
"Where you folks aheading interrupted a high-pitched little voice from across the aisle. "Deeperville", replied Flo. "We're meeting some friends there, who've gone on ahead of us." "Well, you've come to the end of your journey. you've arrived!" "But", she said, with a bumfuzzled sound in her voice, "we thought the sign said, "Peculiarity". "Don't matter what it said. It ain't nothing but an illusion. In fact, everything you see round you is just an illusion; it don't really exist at all. That's just one of the things you'll learn around these here parts. Only those things which you want to believe are real. Everything else is just a figment of your imagination. You see, this is one of the ways in which you get in touch with your "creator" side. You believe it, confess it, and it comes into reality. Hey! Hey! hey! Kinda like that hamburger commercial that says, "have it your way"! You can "special order" anything to fit your desire". "uh-huh. Right. And what did you say your name was?", asked Ebb. "Bro. Gullible. Bro. Waytoo Gullible." "Yeah. That's kinda what we thought."
Just about that time, a funny little lady seated in the booth directly behind them turned and said, "Why, Hello, there, Honeys! My name's Imalittle Spacey. Not trying to eavesdrop, but I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. Who is it that you're supposed to meet in Deeperville?" "A wonderful couple in the Lord, Bro. A. Bundance, and his wife, Gloria. Do you know them?" "Ah, yes, honey. Know'em well. Years ago, We used to meet with em over on the mountain of spices. That is, until we came into a greater revelation. Bro. Bundance just never could receive it, bless his little heart." "And What exactly was this revelation?" Ebb asked. "Why, I like to call it, "Regenerative perfection". It's the belief that If you didn't get it right in one of your lives, then you can learn from those mistakes in this one. Furthermore, it helps you understand how you got the way you are in the first place. See, not everyone is aware of it, but our spirits have the ability to look into any of our past lives, all the way back to the state we were in before the foundation of the world. It's Kind of like having a rear-view mirror in your spirit, if you know what I mean!" "Pardon me if I seem a little slow. But that sounds a lot like the Hindu teaching of soul migration, or reincarnation." "Well, I wouldn't want to call it that, honey". "You don't have to. As the old saying goes, "a rose by any other name is still a rose."
"Sister Spacey", exclaimed Bro. Strangebird, "Don't you think that's a little Too D-E-E-P for our new friends? After all, they have just gotten here, and they haven't even had a chance to look at the menu! Besides, we wouldn't want to frighten them away before they get to know us better, now, would we?" "Why, I Never...!" said she in a huff, as she jerked around in her seat. "I was only trying to be helpful...and just look what it gets me!"
While Sister Spacey was still muttering to herself, Bro. Strangebird apologized for the outburst. "I'm so terribly sorry for the interruption. Now, as I was about to say, we were planning a little meeting after lunch...a small, informal gathering of sorts... with a few friends who see things...uh, shall we say, a bit "differently" from those who are still stuck in "mud" of the "old order". We would be honored if you would join us."
"Well, seeing how we're kind'a stuck here ourselves until our truck gets fixed, I don't reckon there'd be any harm in our sitting in. That's mighty neighborly of you to ask us".
As Bro. Strangebird walked away, Flo nudged Ebb in the side. "Are you sure this is what we ought'ta be doing I mean, I really don't think we're on the same page with these people", she whispered. "Whata ya mean, "Same page"?! " he said. "I don't think we're even in the same book! But, somehow, I think God's got us here for a reason. so let's just see what He's got in store for us!"
Once the lunch tables were cleared, the diner was rearranged to accommodate the service. The Chairs were lined up in rows, and the meeting came to order. After singing a few choruses, they opened the pulpit for ministry.
Bro. E. Zen Zion was the first to stand, and to approach the podium. Raising his hands high above his head, he said with all the emotion-packed enunciation and enthusiasm of a carnival barker, "Ain't we gla-a-a-a-d we're not all bound up in tradition like other folks? While others are still praying and reading their Bibles, going through the dead motions of religion, we're mo-o-o-ving on in the spirit! Say amen!
"Ah, yes, My brothahs and my sistahs! Once you come to realize your true identity, you don't need to pray anymore. I ask you, Does God need to pray? And if he did, who would he pray to? C'mon, now! You've gotta understand, you're all there is, baby! There ain't no God outside of you! So get used to the idea! You are the great "I AM"! You are the everlasting Father! And the soonah you start acting like it, the soonah we can get this show on the road! The whole Creation's waiting to see it's Maker, so get ready to stand to your feet, and let 'em get a good look at'cha! Somebody bettah Say Amen, or I'm gonna explode!"
Well, that got the crowd off to a roaring start! It triggered an overwhelming avalanche of "amens" around the room! As the cascades cautiously eyed the place, they noticed different individuals poised on the edge of their seats, like antsy runners in a fifty-yard dash, ready to make a run for the front. Why, before the first speaker even got sat down good, a couple of 'em took off running at the same time! It was Bro. Kookand Krackpot who reached the microphone first. "I hear folks who don't know no better talking about wanting to go to heaven and see Grandma. Well, if grandma is in Christ, and Christ is in you, then Grandma is in you, too! Why, for that matter, She's in all of us! Somebody look over at your neighbor and say, hello, grandma!!! Or, better yet, why don't some of you just start talking to yourself! It's all the same!!!" Ebb and Flo just looked at each other, and shook their heads.
While Bro. Krackpot was busy greeting "grandma", Bro. Dazedand Looney seized his moment. "God woke me up this morning, and said that the thing that keeps "the Christ consciousness" from coming to us more than it does is that we think too much. Yessiree, That's right! We think too much! He even gave me a couple of scriptures to prove it. Matt. 24:44 says, "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh". Did ya get that? And over there in Matt. 6:25, Jesus did say, "Take no thought", now, didn't he! So the thing we gotta do is "think not!" We gotta stop thinking so much, and just open up our minds for a visitation! Whoooh, yea, man! You'll be amazed at what'll happen when ya do! Can ya say, "Amen" to that?
Through the course of the afternoon, they heard from all kinds of folks, on all kinds of different topics. They heard the testimony of three old spinster sisters, Ibel, Eve, & Annie Thing, who claimed to be speaking from the "woman side" of God. (They were promoting a sort of "spiritual feminism", saying that the elect overcomers of revelation, the rulers of the age to come, would all be women). Sister Iva Nothergospel got up and "blessed" the congregation with her "expanded" concept of the body of Christ (according to this doctrine, all of creation is co-existential with the Creator, and was originally made from the same "stuff" God himself is made. Therefore, every living thing, i.e. beasts, birds and bugs, must of necessity be "cells" in that great mystical Body, a part of "God immanent". you can naturally imagine where those thoughts led! She concluded her remarks with an impassioned appeal for vegetarianism, a prayer for the release of our persecuted "brethren" in the poultry plants and slaughter houses around the world, and a plea to stop using pesticides as a means of "crucifying our Lord".) It seemed like every speaker that got up tried to come up with something a little wackier than the one before them. It was almost like they were competing to see who could produce the greatest shock-effect! There were some, who, like Bro. Y. B. Normal, were heavily into angelology, enumerating the names and responsibilities of the various angels, or "spirit-guides", that had come to em most recently. then, there was one old brother by the name of Bro. U. B. Bizarre, who would jump up right behind every one of em, and refute the idea of the existence of angels altogether. There were some who taught that there is no such thing as the devil, saying that it's all in your mind, and others who taught that the old serpent really lives in your belly (the Buddhists call this, "kundalini")! There was talk of UFO's & Pyramids, possessing immortality now, "Kingdom celibacy", food fads, "energy balls", transcendental meditation, and the mysterious purpose of the pineal gland. And, of course, there was the ever-present visionaries and dream-weavers, who seemed to be able to manufacture some deep "spiritual" interpretation for every dream they had (even the ones they experienced after a trip to "Big Bubba's Brown Bean Emporium")! On and on they went, with this ridiculous Babylonian gibberish! The absurdities came from every imaginable perspective! But the One line which was repeatedly parroted throughout the meeting was, "You can Throw away your Bibles now, "cause you're the Living word made flesh! Everything you say is "˜thus saith the Lord!" this was almost like their mantra!
Finally, Bro. Strangebird cut into the service. "May I have your attention, please? we have some visitors with us today, Brother & Sister Cascade. Please Give them a warm welcome! I wonder if they have anything they'd like to share with us?" As the applause died down, Ebb reluctantly rose to his feet. "I hope I'm not out of line by saying this; and I ain't meaning to step on anybody's toes. but if I was preaching what ya'll are preaching I'd throw My bible away, too, 'cause what we've heard today ain't nowhere to be found in it!
"Now, don't get me wrong. We recognize your sincerity. we believe that many of you have a genuine love for God. In the short time we've been here, we've met some mighty precious folks in this town. But somewhere along the line, you've gotten off track!
"If Paul would instruct Timothy not to go beyond that which is written, then that seems like pretty good advice for the rest of us to follow, too. You see, the Scriptures serve as "guardrails" of sorts, to keep us from winding up in a ditch...and as we've come to find out, there's some mighty "deep" ones to watch out for these days! Ya' know what I mean?
"Now, it occurs to me that the primary problem here is that you've left your first love, the Lord Jesus Christ. Somehow, He's faded from your focal point, while you've become preoccupied with these wild and foolish notions! Beloved, this should never have happened!
"It also seems that there's a general misunderstanding concerning the significance of the Feast of Tabernacles...and in particular, what the Day of Atonement is meant to represent to us. True, it does speak of the "at-one-ment... or, the bringing about of a state of oneness between God and man. But that oneness does not, by any stretch of the imagination, suggest that we ever have been, or ever will become God! Perish the thought! No, it simply means that we have been restored into right relationship with God through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. It means that He has been teaching us how to be led of the Spirit in all things, to acknowledge Him in all our ways, that He might direct our steps in perfect synchronization with His Own. And it also means that when He has brought us to full maturity in spirit, and positionally placed us as His sons. there will appear on the scene a totally new creation, unlike anything that has ever been witnessed before, save for Jesus, who is called the Christ. The relationship He had with the Father is exactly what He had in mind for us, when He prayed, "Father, make them one, even as we are one". He in us, and us in Him, that we might become God's very own "combine", so to speak, his "international harvester", his "new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth" (Isa. 45:15), specifically designed for the purpose of reaping the harvest of all the earth! Now, that's what The feast of Tabernacles is all about, in an abbreviated sense. And that's something worth shouting about, if you ask me! The bringing forth and maturing of a firstfruits company, that they might, in turn, bring in the harvest of all men, and every nation under heaven! O beloved, Let us pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest, that this glorious vision might be hastened in it's fulfillment!
"We've heard it said that there's something greater for us to attain than "Christ in you, the hope of glory". According to those who've said it, that would still constitute a duality (Christ, and you); and all duality is to be eliminated. But my response to that would be that they obviously don't understand what is meant by the term, "unity! You see, the Scriptures specifically teach that before the fall ever occurred, Adam walked with God. It doesn't say that he walked by himself, as the Person of God, and it doesn't say that he talked to himself; it says that he walked with God. And Amos 3:3 asks the question, "Can TWO walk together, except they be agreed?" (Obviously, the answer to that is No!) Common sense tells you that it takes two to walk together, does it not? And it" takes two to make a conversation. So, while there were actually two walking together in the garden, Adam walked in such absolute step and harmony and agreement with God, they were considered to be one in Spirit. And that's exactly what Jesus came to demonstrate for us, during His earthly sojourn! He walked with God as the son of God, revealing all that lies in store for us, when we come into the fullness of our spiritual inheritance!
"Beloved, it's an established fact, according to Scripture, that we shall become one with God. This is what Jesus prayed, and we have no reason to doubt whether his prayers will be answered. But trying to read more into "one-ness" than what was originally meant can be both dangerous for the reader, and demeaning to the Creator. the Most High God, being the builder and maker of this new creation man (of whom we are a part), will always have the preeminence!
"Now, I don't want to belabor the point. But for a person to desire something more for himself than what our precious Lord Jesus demonstrated to us in the simple account of the gospels reveals one of two things to me; either that person has never really comprehended the glory and honor that is to be bestowed upon those who attain unto manifested sonship; or that there's something very dark and insidious behind that desire. I'd like to believe that the former is the case with you folks, and not the latter.
"I'd like to mention One more thing, before I sit down. To say that the problem with mankind is simply a case of "mistaken identity", and that the solution to that problem is merely to awaken to one's true "godhood" (by annihilating all sense of self-consciousness and personality), is to say that everything Jesus and His disciples taught concerning the need for repentance of sin, redemption, and the new birth is outdated, antiquated, and obsolete. In fact, it would mean that it was never even true in the first place. It would mean that Jesus really never understood the problem, and so, He was not qualified to provide the answer! It would be to say that He was completely out of touch with the issue!
"You see, this so-called "solution" you are suggesting is not a new idea at all. In fact, it had been promoted some six hundred years before Jesus even came on the scene, through the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (better known as Buddha). The doctrine was known as "Anatta", which simply means, "no self". The discipline by which this goal is said to be attainable is called Samadhi. And "the ultimate state of enlightenment", or the Buddhist's "heaven", is called nirvana. According to Siddhartha, nirvana can be achieved, when all sense of personal identity has been extinguished, and nothing but a "God-consciousness" remains. This, by his estimation, would be the equivalent to the Christian's salvation. No need for a sacrifice, and no need for a Savior. Just accept the fact that you are God, and beside you, there is no other. That's all there is to it! Now, You would think that if there was any truth to that, Jesus would have given His full endorsement to it during the days of His flesh. And you would have expected Him to have adopted those teachings, since it was already in circulation at the time. It surely would have been a lot less painful for Him, than the route that He took! But instead, He said that all who had come before Him were thieves and robbers...and That included Buddha! Think about that, the next time you're tempted to promote any of his ideas! By entertaining them, you make your mind a den of thieves!
"Friends, You can stare at your navel all day long, trying to go "within" yourself. You can rack your brain, trying to remember your past, in order to find healing and "wellness" for your "inner child". you can chant the "sacred name" from dusk til dawn, hoping to annihilate all sense of self-consciousness. Or you can even enter into some mindless, zombie-like state of transcendental meditation, in an effort to become one with "the Force". but I can assure you, brethren, none of these things will get you one bit closer to the Kingdom of God! The Christ of the gospels is the pattern Son; and it's time we got back to measuring the pattern! Who He is, and the life which He exemplified, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And no man will ever come to the Father, except by Him!
"I realize that some of you might think that I've made an idol out of Jesus. In fact, You may even accuse me of worshiping a Man. But I'm not ashamed to say that I love Him, that He's everything to me. He raised me up, when I could not save myself, when I was dead in sin; and regardless if you would admit it now or not, He did the same for you. Today, He stands in heaven for us, as the representative for all mankind. And His bodily presence assures us that the time will come when these vile bodies of ours, these bodies of humiliation, shall be made like unto His glorious body, to the Praise of the glory of His grace! therefore, I would urge any of you who has left his first love to return unto Him, for He loves you like no other! Let us readjust our sights on HIM, "looking away unto Jesus", as the Scriptures say, who Alone is the Author and finisher of our faith! Halleluuuuuu-jah!"
A few brave souls dared to give him an ovation. Some quietly wept. The rest sat in stunned speechlessness, as if they'd been doused with a bucket of cold water. Finally, Bro. Overly Tolerant spoke up. "C-c-c-Careful, now, sonny. Let's not get judgmental. After all, that's only your opinion... And there's enough of them in this room to go around! Since there's no absolute standard for truth, it's entirely possible that all of us could be right. Can't we all just get along?" Bro. Mainly Lawless seconded the motion.
Just as Ebb was about to respond, the mechanic walked through the door. "Your truck's ready", he announced. "Your problem was Just a little water in the Gas line. We got it all taken care of now, though, and you're ready to roll". "Thank God", said Flo. "No", exclaimed Bro. Krackpot, with that strange little look in his eyes, "Thank YOU!"
As they headed down the road, they discussed the day's events. "Well, the town sure lived up to it's name. "Peculiar" describes it perfectly."
"Ain't that the truth. sad thing is, most of em are such nice folks. You know, they could be a real blessing if they were to get turned around. one thing's for sure, though. You and I'll never forget this place. And we'll sure enough never forget That "sweet-potato" Gospel, Huh? "Sweet-potato" gospel? What in tarnation are you talking about?" "You know, the teaching we heard back there that I Yam that I Yam"! "Ebb Cascade," she said, "You're off your nut!"
Now, The Moral of the story is this...
Dear friends, Tykie and I hope that you have enjoyed our little story. We have certainly enjoyed sharing it with you! It would be more comical to us, however, if it were purely fictitious. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You see, the ideas purported in the city of "Peculiarity" did not originate from my imagination, as a product of my "creative juices", but are things we have actually heard people say. We simply gave them an "environment" where they could come alive!
We realize that some folks may be offended by the names of our characters...but we promise you, these are not their real names! Seriously, though, folks... it's not our intention to offend anyone. And while we do view the ideas mentioned in our story as being outrageous and absurd (not to mention offensive to God, and insulting to our intelligence), we are not saying that everyone who endorses them are necessarily kooks and crackpots! Some have simply repeated something they may have heard another say (perhaps, because of it's seeming novelty); while others simply may not have taken the time to think these concepts through to their logical (or, should we say, "illogical") conclusions! (In any event, however, we would offer this admonition. If you believe something long enough, you will eventually begin to resemble it! So take heed, lest you find yourselves depicted in these pages!)
We would have you to understand the purpose of this story, however. By writing it, we are not in any way suggesting that we need to live in fear of new age beliefs, "whistling in the dark", as it were, always going about frightened that something is going to reach out and grab us. Nor do we need to go around in a constant state of suspicion, always thinking that everyone is trying to "slip one over on us" . But we do need to be aware of what they are, and recognize the dangers that they pose. They have the potential of beguiling us of our reward, by subtly taking our eyes off of Jesus! And that, dear friends, is something dangerous!
I recently came across something in my studies, which had previous escaped my attention. I was reading a book by the late Alfred Edersheim, entitled, "The Temple: Its Ministry and Services", when the Lord quickened this thing to me. If you are familiar with the book, then you know how he spoke of the general activities involved with the Temple, as well as the special ceremonies which took place during the feast days. Edersheim, in my estimation, was one of the foremost authorities on these subjects. Well, I was reading what he had to say about the post-Mosaic ceremony known as, "The Pouring Out of Water", which occurred on "the last, the great day of the Feast" of Tabernacles. If you recall, it was on this day that the priest drew water in a golden pitcher from the Pool of Siloam (which, by interpretation, means, "Sent"), and made his way toward the altar. I won't go into all the details here, but his intention, once he reached the altar, was to pour that water into a small silver basin which would channel it alongside the altar to it's base. The outpouring of this water was in allusion to Isa. 12:3, which says, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation", and signified the highly anticipated outpouring of the Spirit, of which the Jews were in expectation. At the height of the ceremony, however, after the water had been poured out, and a sacred moment of silence ensued, Who should lift His Voice in the temple, but the One to Whom the service really referred! It was Jesus Who stood to His feet and cried, saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn. 7:37-38). What a tremendous impact this must have had! There would have been no better time for Him to have said it; for this would have been the only time when everyone in the courtyard would have been quiet enough to have heard Him clearly. And, based on what He said, the implication would have been unmistakable! He was identifying Himself as the true "Pool of Siloam", the Sent One of God, through Whom all blessings flow! And He would pour out His Spirit, just as He'd said through the prophet Joel, upon ALL FLESH, ultimately resulting in the conversion of all men! Praise God for the vast and far-reaching scope of the vision!
As important as this is, and applicable in it's time, the thing that the Lord wanted to point out to me was the fact that it was but the second of a two-part ceremony. The first part actually occurred on the first day of the feast, and was known as, "the Joy of the Pouring Out of Water", or "the Illumination". While it did not employ the use of water, the idea of outflowing was nevertheless present. And there was a definite correlation between this ceremony, and the times in which we live. Allow me to explain.
At the close of the evening sacrifice on the first day, the worshipers assembled themselves in the Court of the Women, where great preparations had been made. Four golden candelabras had been set up, each having four golden bowls upon them. Once lit, there was not a courtyard in all of Jerusalem that was not flooded with light! It seemed to just "spill over the walls" of what was referred to that night as "the House of Water Pouring". The Chassidim and "the Men of Deed" danced before the people with flaming torches in hand, leading them in songs of praise; while the Levites stood upon the fifteen steps leading down from the court of Israel, according to the fifteen songs of Degrees in the Book of Psalms.
At the top of the steps stood two priests, with trumpets in their hands. At the time of the cock-crowing, they sounded three blasts upon their trumpets, and descended five steps. On the tenth step, they blew yet another threefold blast, and continued downward. Finally, as they entered the court itself, they sounded another three-fold blast, which was sustained, while they advanced across the court toward the gate which opens from the way of the east ("the Gate Beautiful"). Once they reached the Eastern Gate, they turned around to face the Holy Place (which was west of them), and said, "Our fathers, who were in this place, they turned their back upon the Sanctuary of Jehovah, and their faces toward the east, and they worshiped toward the rising sun; but as for us, our eyes are toward the Lord". This was, no doubt, in reference to the 8th chapter of Ezekiel, where the Lord took the prophet into the sanctuary by way of vision. As he journeyed inward, he beheld greater and greater abominations taking place, until finally, he came to the inner court. It was there that he witnessed twenty-five men between the porch and the altar, with their backs to the temple, and their faces toward the east. By this, the Lord told Ezekiel, the house of Israel had provoked Him to anger. They had put the branch to the nose (an oriental sign of disrespect)!
Now, again, I won't try to go into all the symbolism involved here, but a few things do require comment. First of all, it is my conviction that "the Joy of the Pouring Out of Water" accurately describes where we are, in a prophetic sense. We have come to a unique time of illumination, as we enter into the Great Feast. The light of truth is spilling over every wall, and into every court in the city! The Lord is opening the eyes of our understanding into matters we have not seen before, in order to bring us unto full maturity. And, considering the fact that all of this being acted out in "the court of the women", strongly suggests that it has to with the renewing of our minds, or salvation of our souls, at that! What a wonderful thing we are experiencing!
Before we progress too far into Tabernacles, however, there is one matter that must be settled. And that has to do with the direction some have been heading.
That the two priests (the number of witness) blew nine blasts upon their trumpets (and trumpets always signify the declaration of a message), witnesses to the fact that we can expect a concluding message to come at the close of the inaugural day. The number nine, figuratively speaking, suggests finality or judgment; hence, we have a word of judgment that shall finalize the phase through which we've come. In light of what we've considered above, therefore, what would you say is the message that must needs be proclaimed at this time? Turn your hearts and minds toward the Lord, and turn them away from the East! Turn your backs upon every teaching that is associated with it, and realize that it has nothing to offer but dishonor to your heavenly Father! In fact, it's the ultimate form of disrespect! It's like thumbing your nose at God!
Beloved, it is absolutely impossible for us to enter into the fullness of the Spirit, while looking toward the East. That is to say, as long as we are looking into Eastern philosophies and religions for our answers, or even trying to incorporate slight aspects of them into the message of the Kingdom, there can be no apprehending that for which also we have been apprehended of Christ Jesus! Hear ye the word of the Lord!
As it was in Ezekiel's day, we believe that the Lord is placing a mark upon those who sigh and cry for the abominations committed in the house of God (for these abominations are the reasons why the glory has lifted). This mark will also serve as a seal in our foreheads, signifying that we have received, and are walking in the mind of Christ. Allow us to say that those who stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion will not be double-minded, having a mixure of Eastern concepts and ideas in their thinking. They will have a pure word, undefiled by men. And they will be uniquely equipped to execute the plan of God during the Day of the Lord!
We thank God that we are beginning to hear a very clear and certain sound of the trumpet, by priests who are able to make the distinction between the holy and the profane for the people.
And we pray that this little story might likewise serve as a trumpet sound to our brethren, who have been tempted to look toward the East for their understanding. Tabernacles is a time of repentance, of afflicting our souls before the Lord. It is a time of turning from that which has caused the glory to depart from Israel, and a returning to the altar. It is there that we behold the Sacrifice, and there that we behold the Savior.
It has been said that there is a fine line between truth and error. That line becomes even finer, the deeper we go in God. But we would encourage each and every one of you to search out the difference, and settle it in your heart. Draw a certain line of demarcation between the two, so that no one mistakes where you are coming from, and no one can possibly be misled thereby. Only then can we proceed in Spirit, and get on with the business of God! Whoso hath ears, let him hear! Selah!
Writings in This Series: