|- George R. Hawtin -
We are thankful for the opportunity that is offered us to send out the message of the hour through this book. Many hundreds of people are being reached with the newness and freshness of a message that we truly believe to be the message God has given for the closing days of this dispensation. But writing, like all other human forms of communication, always has its limitations and inadequacies, and I freely admit that every time a new book goes out there is a measure of sadness and disappointment in my heart because I know that many things that should have been explained were not explained. And then there is always the knowledge that the truth has been cast as bread upon the water or as seed upon a field, some of which will spring up and bear fruit in earnest hearts and some of which will be cast away before ever it brings forth at all.
It is because of the desire to speak with each one individually and thus bring a more personal message to every reader that I am writing this message. The truth contained herein burns in my heart and I hope that while you read it you will grasp a new lease on God's life and come to a new experience in Him.
We are now living in the most momentous hours imaginable. In fact, it is beyond the power of human imagination to see and understand the greatness of the things that are happening all about us and to fully comprehend what God is beginning to do in His people. There is an awakening among the elect of the Lord that supersedes human knowledge. As at certain times of the year God puts into the minds of birds to flock up in preparation for migration to another realm or zone, so He is putting into the hearts of a chosen people the desire to ready themselves for the sonship He has prepared for them from the foundation of the world. He is putting into their hearts the very life and glory of the coming kingdom, and they are finding that they have lost all desire for the fleeting things of this present age.
We are now seeing before our very eyes the things that must precede the glory of the coming kingdom and the universal reign of Christ. We are seeing the rise of both spiritual and political Babylon. We are hearing a message such as has not been on the earth heretofore, and we are seeing a people being prepared of God for sonship who are to receive the glory of the kingdom with the Lord Jesus Christ and reign in splendor with Him in the glory of their Father in the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world.
I desire by God's help to impress upon your minds that the sons of God who are being prepared to reign in the kingdom with Christ are not just ordinary Christians with ordinary experiences. There has been a great fault among Christian people of all ages. They have always been prone to try to make the word of God fit the measure of experience they had instead of making their experience fit the demands of the word of God. They have claimed to be filled with the Spirit of God when all they had was a tiny earnest of their inheritance. They have insisted that they were born again, though to this day they have not been able to see or understand the kingdom of heaven, and though we are plainly told that "that which is born of God cannot sin, for His seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God," (I John 3:9 and 5:18) still we go on sinning and insisting that we are born of God. Some men claim to have the go of tongues because they can speak five or six different languages all of which they learned by natural courses, and so on and on it goes endlessly. Enquire of any denomination you wish and they will all have their own explanation of the new birth, or what it means to walk in the Spirit, or what it means to be in Christ, or what it means to be a son of God, but they all, every one, fall far short of the glorious experience the word of God actually describes. All this confusion of ideas and doctrines of men was permitted by the Lord for the age which we have just passed through, but we are about to see a new age, even the age of the kingdom of God, and we must prepare ourselves for that.
As I have sought God through the years with prayer and fasting, waiting and searching, a great conviction has come over me that God's people are being prepared for an entirely new realm of experience in Him. I am not referring to some imaginary realm to which men may think they have attained and about which they console themselves, thinking they are holier than the rest. I am speaking of a realm which is in truth the realm of God, the realm of the heavenlies, and the realm of the kingdom. Furthermore I am convinced that many are due to attain to the glory of that new realm now while the rest of mankind and the rest of the Christians go on as usual in the old realm and on the old planes.
I am very sure that many who are reading these lines have experienced in truth that the present age with all it holds is slipping away. It is not only passing away in general but it is falling away from you personally and in particular. The things you once loved have become a bore to you. The things you rejoiced in have become old and sour and a heaviness to your spirit. The glamour of crowds and meetings, preachers and programs, has passed away and you are hard pressed to be interested in them any more. You find yourself losing interest in money and bank accounts, in the temporal progress of this age, and in many other things you formerly held dear. All this change is of God, and He is preparing His people for the glory of a new realm. He that has wrought us for this change is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Cor. 5:5. See also Phillip's translation.
Now there is no use whatever in a man's trying to imitate Jesus. The world is full of imitators and copy-cats who never rise beyond imitation. But Jesus Christ was a Son of God, the Son of God, who, while He walked the lowly earth in the likeness of men and in the fashion of men, yet lived in a realm unknown to men, unfamiliar to men, and independent of men. Though He lived on earth in flesh, yet He dwelt in heaven in Spirit and was able to say, "No man hath ascended to heaven but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." Paul taught us that our citizenship is in heaven, but I fear we have forgotten that we may freely walk in that realm as citizens, and have chosen rather to build our kingdoms and glories here as citizens of this present world system.
We can see and point out some very important examples of Christ's heavenly citizenship which show us as nothing else can that all the time of His earthly ministry He lived and moved on the plane of a son of God. He lived in higher realm. He lived in the realm He preached about, even the realm of the kingdom of God. We cannot be too emphatic in saying that the glory of the realm of the kingdom of God cannot in any way be compared to the purely earthly realm that is part and parcel of the dispensation of the grace of God. While eternity's praise is not enough to extol the grace of God, we must admit that the age itself has been very human and lacking in the glory, government, judgment, justice, and power of God and filled with human ways and human ideas, a thousand divisions, and much sin. When Jesus was here, He lived and moved in the realm of the kingdom which He preached, and I would like you to see that in every respect and in every phase of His life He proved Himself to be living in the realm of the kingdom and totally independent of every part Of this world's system.
Let us notice first that He was completely independent of that one thing to which we are always in bondage-money, the currency of this world system. I often wondered why it was that, though Jesus knew that Judas was thief, He allowed him to carry the money bag and, though He knew Judas was stealing the money, He said nothing about it. Now I know it is wrong to steal, but the point we should see is that in the realm where Jesus actually lived He did not need money and did not care whether there was any money in the bag or not. He was no more in need of money than a robin, an eagle, or an angel. He lived in a realm where God was all in all and everything belonged to Him. It was a realm higher than the realm of men. Judas by his thefts was trying to lay by in store for this realm, but Jesus was not living in this realm nor for it, but independent of it and far above it in the realm of the kingdom.
Again I have wondered why it was that at one time Jesus sent His disciples out to preach the message of the kingdom without scrip and without purse, without two coats and without a sword, but later on He said, "When I sent you out without purse and scrip and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing." Then He said, "But now he that hath a purse let him take it and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one." Luke 22:35,36. what was the difference? Why did He tell them to do one thing one time and another thing later on? The difference is just this: When He sent them out at first, they were sent out to proclaim the kingdom, a realm beyond the bondage of this age, but when they were sent forth the second time, they were being prepared to preach the gospel of this age, which is the gospel of grace, a very inferior gospel and a very inferior age in which they would have to depend on purse, scrip’s, and other earthly things. When for us He laid down His own life, did He not rise again the third day and ascend up to heaven in the sight of His people? He lived in a different realm. He lived in the realm of the kingdom which He preached, which He will soon come to establish, and of which you and I are to be a part.
There is abundant evidence both in the spirit and in the natural that we are at the very doors of a new age, even the kingdom age. We are without doubt going to be called upon to relinquish our hold on all the things of this age--our striving for comfort and ease, our security for old age, and all the other things that make us conformists to this present world system. Not only are we going to be called upon to relinquish our hold upon natural things, but we are going to have to bid farewell to all the systems of a Babylonish church order. Let us not forget that the kingdom which Christ and the apostles proclaimed is still ahead of us, and it is into the glory of this kingdom with all its freedom of earthly systems that we are now about to come.
Then again, when Jesus fed the five thousand, did He enquire of Judas whether or not there was enough money in the purse to buy food for the crowd? Positively not! Without a thought of money He provided food in the wilderness from the super-abundance of the resources of the kingdom in which He lived. And when one day at the wayside well He requested water of a Samaritan woman while His disciples had gone away to buy food, He Himself gave water to the woman, water of which if anyone drink, he shall never thirst again, but the water should be in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. When at last His disciples came with the food they had bought with money from the bag, He would not eat, but said, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of." Neither food nor drink nor money was any consideration to Him, for He dwelt in a realm superior to our realm, even a realm which He is now preparing us to enter.
In the realm of the kingdom where Jesus dwelt, He proved that He was not in bondage to taxes nor in straits to pay them. Taxation has been a bondage to the nations of all ages and in our day has become a relentless epidemic that will as readily rob you of the hopes of a life-time as a thief will rob you of your wealth or a cancer will rob you of your life. Yet Jesus was not in bondage to Roman taxation, first because He said, "Then are the children free, " and the second because the taxes He paid He did not owe, but He paid them from the boundless resources of the kingdom of which He was a part. See Matt. 17:24-27.
But money and taxes are not the only bondages of this present age. With a little thought it will become plain that every modern convenience which is invented to make life easier brings us further into bondage until the whole civilized world staggers beneath the load of increasing debt and mounting usury.
Jesus was not in bondage to methods of travel. While He rode in a boat, He showed His power over the waves by walking upon their watery fields, and when He came into the little ship, both ship and passengers were immediately at the other side of the lake. He was not in bondage to the methods of learning common to this age, for He knew letters, never having learned, and amazed the doctors and lawyers with His questions and answers. He was never in bondage to houses or places to live. He was never sick or hurt and, when it came to death, He laid down His life voluntarily that He might take it again.
The things of which we have spoken show only one side of the picture of His life, for though He proved He was not in bondage to anything in this age, He also proved time and again that He was in absolute contact with God and that He lived and moved and had His being in the realm of the kingdom of heaven. Did not the heavens open at His baptism? Did not an audible voice speak to Him from heaven? Did not angels minister unto Him in the wilderness? Did He not talk to Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration and make His enemies fall flat on their backs at a mere word? John 18:6. Did He not heal all sick that came to Him without ever a failure, and raise dead men back to life, rolling away grave stones and stopping funeral processions?
In my heart I am sure that the curtain is ringing down on the church age. Paul's gospel of grace has run its course and fulfilled its mission in the same manner as the gospel of Moses ended with the coming of Christ. There is to be a rising into the heavenly realms in the end of this age, an invasion of the realms of principalities and powers. They will be cast down to the earth and will have much wrath because of the shortness of their time. Even now men and woman are rising into those new realms and the satanic hosts are filtering down nearer and nearer to the earth. Soon the world will be utterly filled with their delusions. The union of spiritual and political Babylon will take place very rapidly, for they already have much in common. The tribulation will soon be over and the kingdom will be here.
There is a change taking place in the hearts of the elect of God. The mind of Christ is beginning to overtake us and when it does, immortality and eternal life will overtake us as well.
The ways of God have no end. He is inexhaustible. The darkness of one day grows into the glory and light of the next. The cold of winter loosens her frigid grip so that from her icy storehouses waters flow to form the sparkling pools from whose bosom vapors rise to realms celestial to fall again in snow and rain like unto the living Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God to accomplish that which He pleases. The feeble caterpillar which crawls along the ground, trod upon by the foot of man, is destined to flit on starry wings in a heavenly atmosphere no longer hampered by terrestrial things but transformed as though by God's Spirit from a creature of dust and gluttony to one which has put on a somewhat heavenly tabernacle. In like manner God hath made man a little lower than the angels that he might suffer death, and, being thus proved, that He might crown him with glory and honor in heavenly realms of the Spirit and place him over the work of His (God's) hands forever.
Let heaven and earth be called to witness the infinite love God bestowed upon us when He made known to us the secret of His will, His will being that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He would gather into Himself all things in heaven and earth. The promise that we should be heirs of the world is left to man, for when God put all things under him (man), He left nothing that is not put under him. As yet we do not see all things under man. But what do we see? We see Jesus Christ, the great Head of the body, the firstborn Son in this vast family of sons. We see Him already far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world (age) but also in the world (age) to come. Where He sits we shall also sit after our testing and preparation is complete. Therefore take courage in -seeing Jesus", for where He sits we shall also sit in the near future.
The promise of such eternal things is left to man, but not indeed to man who is wayward and sinful. Neither are such promises to Christians who are filled with their own ways. If our earthly life of toil and suffering is permitted to work for us, it will produce a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory for us. We must not look at the things which are seen in our toil and tribulation, for they will but cause our hearts to sorrow in heaviness; but as we know that all things are working together for our good, we look at the things that are not seen, for it is the unseen effect of our tribulations that produces in us and for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. I would to God that all men everywhere might see that everything everywhere is working tirelessly and endlessly to produce sonship in those who are the called according to His eternal purpose. Everywhere! Everything! Temptations, tears, heartaches, unfaithful friends and brethren, loss of property, loss of business, perils, hateful neighbors, fiery furnaces, dens Of lions, rugged Crosses and isles of exile! All things! All things! All things, too numerous far to mention, are working for the good of God's elect, and are adding, though unseen now, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory to us.
Your disappointing failures often constitute your greatest successes, for God is not interested in your successes but in your faithful stewardship. A kingdom so vast as that which is to come can not be entrusted to any who are not faithful stewards. It is not your apparent success that will determine your right to reign, but your faithfulness in the trust committed to you whether it be large or small. Seeming success or failure means nothing to God. Faithfulness means everything With God defeats are often victories. If your heart is right, they are always victories. The very thing that seems to completely defeat God's plan is the thing that brings it to pass. Was it not so with Joseph? He dreamed a dream in which the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His father interpreted the dream to mean that the whole family I would bow to him, and he thoroughly rebuked him for his dream. He dreamed again and the sheaves of his brethren bowed down to his sheaf, and they hated him for his dream and sold him into slavery in Egypt saying, "Now we will see what will become of his dreams. " But it was their hateful action and the consequent apparent defeat of the plan of God that eventually brought his dreams to pass. His brethren that hated him and cast him out came and bowed before him and did obeisance. The full intent of God's heart and mind is clearly seen in Joseph's words: "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." (Gen. 50:20).
It is impossible to imagine the crushing load of grief and sadness that overwhelmed the disciples when Jesus died. Long speeches are not always the most eloquent ones nor is much weeping always the sign of the greatest sorrow. Never was heartache more truly manifest than in the two disciples who walked to Emmaus nor grief more eloquently spoken than in their plaintive words, "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel," Luke 24:21. When will we ever learn that the visible and evident always sells us short? It is the invisible and unseen that tells us the truth. In the painful travail and bloody sweat of Christ the disciples could see naught but the death of their hopes and the birth of their fears, but He who seeth the invisible "saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied", and knew that by His knowledge He should justify many. Isa. 53:1 1. For as many as have been cursed by Adam's sin shall be blessed by Christ's righteousness, and in paradox we may truly say that all who have died through Adam's life will live through Christ's death. For so hath God declared: "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. -
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for Thy sake we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter; Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Seeing then that God has planned to rule the universe through the sons of God whom He has chosen and predestinated to share His glory, our whole desire and effort must be to conform our lives to His will that we might know God
It is one thing to know God by the hearing of the ear. It is another thing entirely to know Him because we have seen Him by the Spirit. "He that is of God hath seen the Father. - John 6: 46. Job was a perfect and an upright man. He feared God and eschewed evil. On several occasions God vindicated Job's righteousness, saying that there was none like him in all the, earth-a perfect and an upright man. After the loss of all his earthly possessions he still held fast to his integrity and did not charge God foolishly. Good as this was it did not fully satisfy the Almighty, for His intention clearly was to bring this good man to the place of sonship. He must be changed from a mere acquaintance of God to one who knew Him by seeing Him. Any suffering is light and small in comparison with this great blessedness. Therefore Job was called upon to suffer still more, and suffer he did - days and days of endless pain, hours and hours of ceaseless nagging from friends who meant well but who were terribly wrong. In their zeal they heaped taunts and reproaches upon his head, thinking his afflictions proved that God had forsaken him. Well might they have learned together with all the children of God that 'Whom the Lord loveth He correcteth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. - It was not the wordy argument of his friends that produced sonship in him, neither was it his own lengthy defence, but when all men had ceased to talk and their words of human wisdom were ended, then God spoke to him. The questions God demanded of him Job could not answer and he realized he had spoken without wisdom. Then in repentance that only God can give this good man cried from the depths of his night of sorrow, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." He saw God! That is what made the difference. That is what made this perfect man see that he was perfect only in the light he had-which was the hearing of the ear-but now a new and better light had dawned and he saw God with his eye, and all his former goodness dwindled to dust and ashes.
God has always been pleased when we believe Him without seeing any outward signs. This has always been His will. A man who cannot believe without seeing does not really believe at all, for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The point I wish to make clear, however, is this: Walking by faith without seeing must eventually produce walking by sight for it is when we see Him that we come to know Him. "We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure." I John 3:3. "Whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him neither known Him." I John 3:6. Isaiah had been a mighty prophet of the Lord in Israel, but it was not until King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord. Isa. 6. It was when the prophet saw Him, high and lifted up, the smoke of' God filling the temple while cherubim chanted, 'Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord God of hosts" that this mighty man of God saw his own uncleanness before God. With the same penitent voice that we heard in Job Isaiah cried, "Woe is me, for I am undone! For I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. - Just to know God afar off is wonderful. Just to hear of Him by the hearing of the car is benefit and blessing incomprehensible. Even this is sufficient to transform a life. But to draw nigh to God and see Him is to be changed into that same image and to be cleansed from all unrighteousness. When the prophet saw himself in the light of this Sun of Righteousness, he cried out in the shame of his uncleanness. Then and only then did the seraphim come with a live coal from off the altar of God and lay it upon the prophet's lips, saying, "Lo, this hath touched thy lips and thine iniquity is purged and thy sin taken away." Then in the light of this new revelation of God he heard God speaking to him in an audible voice.
"Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him." The crying need of our hearts is to see Him and thus know Him. Then shall we be at last free from our inbred sin. The experience of seeing God is an experience we have all thought of as far off is some future generation, but I want to show you a mystery. We can see God now just as Job and Isaiah did. Though our experiences may differ, yet the result will always be the same-freedom from sin. In the midst of this turmoil Job cried," I know that my Redeemer liveth, and He shall stand in the latter days upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." He was positively sure in his own mind that in some distant future day he would see God, but what he did not know was that God at that very moment was leading him into the coveted experience. Within a few days he would shout with ecstatic joy, "Now mine eye seeth Thee!" Job. 42:5. It is easy to put off spiritual experience for the millenniums to come, but God would like to have us enter them now.
"That I may know Him" was the ceaseless longing of Paul's heart. Phil 3:10. Too many sermons are preached about God, but too few people come to know Him personally. You can never know people by hearing about them even from their closest friends. You must see them, know them, and understand them personally. However vivid a description may be given of an individual, you could still pass him on the street without knowing who he was or even live in the same house with him without knowing he was the person in question. So also it is with God. You will know many things about Him by hearing, but you will only know Him when your eye sees Him. "No man can see God and live, " but that does not mean that he will give up the ghost and die. It means that he will never live the same any more, but will live as God lives in the Spirit.
Books are written by the score on how to pray, but we really don't learn to pray that way. We learn by praying. Multiplied sermons are preached on how to imitate Christ, but God is not interested in your imitation. A parrot may imitate a man's voice but it is still a parrot, or a monkey may imitate a man's actions but he still remains a monkey. So also a carnal man may imitate God and try to be like Christ but he is still a carnal man. The only thing that satisfies God is the dying of the old man and the formation of the new, the Adamic nature being supplanted by the Christ nature, the corruptible being swallowed up by the incorruptible, the mortal by the immortal. "He who is of God, he hath seen the Father." John 6:46. To see Him is to know Him.
To know God is to become acquainted with His ways. He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. Most of us never know anything about God except what acts we see Him do. Men love to feast their eyes on healings and miracles, but you will not come to know God by witnessing His acts however great they may be. To know the ways of God is another matter. Two million Israelites knew about the acts of God, but only one man knew His ways. The multitudes knew God by the parting of the Red Sea, the manna on the ground, the water that flowed from the rock but Moses knew the eternal purpose God had in mind when He created the worlds, when He called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He knew why God had raised up this rebellious People and what the ultimate end of it would be in the ages to come. He had seen God face to face and had spoken to Him face to face and was carefully making all things according to the pattern God had showed him in the mount.
The opinions we form by hearing about people are usually found to be wrong after we have come to know them personally. This is also true concerning God. When you come to know Him, you will find Him very unlike the description given by theologians. You will come to know that much that they teach is only rubbish because it is contrary to the nature of God. It certainly was so with the Jewish theologians and doctors of the law. When Jesus came, He smashed their theories to bits and tore the robes of their ecclesiasticism to ribbons. He ate with sinners, cast the devil out of the Syro-Phoenician, let a sinful woman wash His feet, forgave a thief, healed on the Sabbath, ate with unwashed hands, called the best religionists of His day liars, hypocrites, serpents, snakes, children of the devil, whited sepulchres, and a generation of vipers. They thought that they knew God, but they didn't. He was more pleased with the sincerity of sinners than with the ritualism of scribes and Pharisees. When you come to know Him, you will find that it is the same now as it was then. He is outside the modern church and is knocking at the hearts of individual men and women for admittance. Rev. 3:20. If you want to know Him, you will find Him "outside the camp."
A man who knows God can answer questions about God because he knows God. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." I John 1:3. These are the words of a man speaking from beyond the veil of the flesh, from the holy of holies, the presence of God. "God is light and in Him is no darkness.”
"Hereby we do know that we know God, If we keep his' commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." It is not the ten commandments which are in question here, but the keeping of God's divine will and command however it may be expressed. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." God's will and commandments in this age of the Spirit are being manifested by the leading of the Spirit. It is even as Jesus said: "The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do, for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth, and He will show Him greater things than these that ye all may marvel." John 5:19,20. The sons of God must be always acquainted with the voice of the Holy Spirit that they might be led by the Spirit in every detail. Then can it be said they know the Father and keep His commandments. He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
"That I may know Him," cried Paul in the longing of his soul. "That I may know Him," patriarchs and seers of all ages have prayed. That I may know Him is the echo of ten thousand longing souls as the lengthening shadows of this dispensation of grace stretch across the weary earth and the millennial dawn with rosy steps advancing in the eastern clime comes stealing o'er the meadows of our hearts.
I hope we are all tired of 'repeating the theories and doctrines of the resurrection and have come to the place where we want to know the power of His resurrection. We want to experience its power working in us here and now. There will come a day when all men, good and evil, will rise from the dead, but the resurrection for which we look and long is not an event but a person. A know that he shad rise in the resurrection at the last day," said Martha, but Jesus replied, A am the resurrection and the life. Whosoever believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die." Oh that we might know the resurrection in such power and glory as this -- that without dying we could put on life!
Oh that we in might put on Christ and have our mortality swallowed up by life divine! The more the carnal mind reigns, the more we have of' death. The more Christ reigns, the more we have of' life.
It is sad to me to know that though Christ has died once for all men, yet we continue to die because we insist upon it. He has borne the sins of all mankind, yet we continue both to sin and to bear the judgment that He has already borne. Why can we never believe Him? Why can we never accept such glorious promises as this? "Now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Heb. 9:26-28. Death came by sin, and Christ appeared to abolish death. Christ abolished the law. 2 Cor. 3:13. Christ abolished the ordinances. Eph. 2:15. Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light. 2 Tim. 1: 10.
Oh that we might know experimentally the power of His resurrection! Paul's desire to know Christ and the fellowship of' His suffering, being made conformable to His death, was that he might attain the resurrection of the dead. Phil. 3:1 1. He admitted that as yet he had not attained it but declared, "I follow after it' that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." To apprehend means to lay hold of. Thus he says, "If I may lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me," that is, the resurrection. Phil. 3:11,12. He declared he had not yet attained what he wanted, but he said, "This one thing I do: forgetting the things which are behind and reaching forth unto the things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of' the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13,14.
So, you see, this life in Christ was the prize he wanted to attain. He was straining every spiritual nerve to receive it. Whether or not he ever attained is more than I know. Perhaps he had to die in faith without receiving that perfect prize. His exhortation in verse 15 is this: "Let us therefore as many as be perfect (Weymouth-mature) be thus minded." However foolish such things may appear to the natural mind, let all who are mature be thus minded.
The natural mind with its natural way of looking at things never did and never will understand the things of the Spirit of' God, for "they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned. Bui he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind Of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.- I Cor. 2:14-16. The natural man cannot comprehend the incomprehensible. His faith can never revel in the impossible. He is hermetically sealed on the natural side of things. The spiritual man lives in a different world. While his physical body walks the earth, his spirit roams the Elysian fields of the realm above and basks in the sunshine of his heavenly citizenship. He is in the world but not of it. He is prone to speak of the things that pertain to that spiritual world and is counted a fool by the natural man. He is like a man from another world who speaks freely of the things he knows, but to those who do not know his words are idle tales. No man will attain the prize of God by troubling his head about what other people think, for the thoughts of man are not the thoughts of God. Therefore let all who would attain the power of the resurrection forget everything that pertains to human learning and knowledge and press toward the goal set before us. The world by wisdom knew not God, so why am I obliged to hear its wisdom? Yea, the wisdom of man is foolishness with God.
Why should it be thought a thing impossible that God should raise the dead? And why should it be thought a thing impossible that a man should live forever, his mortality being swallowed up by God's life? We have all been taught to believe that death is sure and certain, but if we can find even one man who escaped death, then death is not certain. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, did not die. He escaped death. In fact, it is written, "By faith Enoch was translated that he might not see death. " Heb. 11:5. Elijah did not die, for he was taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. And who dare say that John the apostle died when Jesus declared, "if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" John 21:21-24. And hear the inspired words of the apostle Paul: "Behold I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep (die).I Cor. 15:5 1.
Said Jesus, "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die." John 6:49,50. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If a man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. " John 6:5 1. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep My sayings, he shall never see death." John 8:5 1. However fantastic or impossible such truths may appear to the natural man, my heart goes on longing to know the power of His resurrection. Should I never attain, I know I shall but sleep and stand in my lot at the end of the age with those who have attained. In this flesh of mine God shall some day be seen God who is fife and cannot die. "If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died," sobbed Martha. Of course he would not have died if Jesus had been there. How much less should we die when God's Son dwells within, He who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light that no man approacheth.
Men have come forth with numerous doctrines and theories concerning the resurrection. With natural minds they have arranged each event in order. They have debated and fought over the theories of pre- and post-millenialism. Some have had all the dead, good and bad, rising at once. Others have divided them up into companies. This is all very interesting material, but it really doesn't get us very far or bring us any closer to God. 'Tis true there will be a great day of resurrection, but the thing the theologians have missed in their zeal is the thing they always miss - the most important point of all. In this case they have forgotten that the resurrection is not so much an event as a Person, and that person is Jesus Christ Himself. Can you not hear that wonderful conversation between Jesus and Martha? Listen to them as they talk. Said Martha, "If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee." Jesus saith unto her, "Thy brother shall rise again." Martha saith unto Him, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day-" Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection and the 1ife: he that, believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and' whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" She replied, "Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
"Believest thou this?" questioned the Son of God. "Believest thou this?" He asks today. Let us answer that question with Martha. Do we also believe that He is the resurrection? The importance of this understanding cannot possibly be overestimated, for herein lies the great truth of the power of His resurrection. If Jesus Himself is the resurrection, then to have Him is to partake of the resurrection here and now, for if a man eats of this bread, he shall never die. John 6:50. This, indeed, is the life of Jesus being made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Cor. 4:1 1. Again, "if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." Rom. 8:1 1.
There is abundant truth in Rom. 8:13. "If we live after the flesh, we shall die." Is it not true that all Christians, practically speaking, live and move and have their being after the dictates of the natural? The result is they all die. "But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." To live in the Spirit is to live on the plane of the resurrection. All our natural ways of looking at things must go if we are to enjoy this heavenly citizenship. It is those who are led by the Spirit who are the sons of God. They alone can begin to enjoy the power of the resurrection.
I have been staggered by the truths contained in 2 Corinthians, chapters 4 and 5. We are all accustomed to reading these passages from the King James version and have unconsciously built our theories around each verse. I wish, therefore, to quote a few verses from chapter 5 from Goodspeed's translation. "For I know that if this earthly tent that I live in is taken down, God will provide me a building in heaven to live in not built by human hands, but eternal. This makes me sigh with longing to put on my heavenly dwelling, for if I do I shall never be disembodied. For I who am still in my lent sigh with anxiety, because I do not want to be stripped of it, but to put on the other over it so that what is only mortal may be absorbed in life. It is God Himself who has prepared me for this change, and has given the Spirit as a guarantee." 2 Cor. 5:1-5.
The death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are the very heart of the Gospel. The death of Jesus alone would be small consolation for any of us, for "if Christ be not risen, ye are yet in your sins and all who have fallen asleep in Jesus are perished." The fact that He is alive and ever liveth flows out from the heart of the whole plan of the Gospel and redemption. The resurrection must not be limited to the physical rising of one man even though He was the Son of God. It is more by far than a physical fact. When he died, He died for me personally and He died for you personally. Because of this I was with Him in what He did and accomplished and so also were you. Did not Paul declare, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above?"
It is an eternal fact that both our death and our resurrection are accomplished in our identification with Him. If by the Holy Spirit we can see this truth, our struggles to attain will be over. For the thing we wish to attain has already been attained. The thing you are searching for is your possession. The thing you long for you possess. A perfect and complete work was accomplished by the Christ of God. It is finished and nothing can be accomplished by a struggle. I am not trying to persuade you to live in lethargy and empty faith, but our only struggle will be manifest in our effort to receive by faith what has been eternally done for us. If we can believe the debt has been completely paid, we will no longer spend our lives struggling to pay it. Even a sinner must discover that –
Jesus paid it all;
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain:
He washed it white as snow.
If we can believe that Jesus died for us, then there is no possible reason why we should die. But we all unconsciously or consciously go on making preparation for death. If we believe that Jesus rose again and we rose again with Him, then we can present ourselves, to God as living men risen from the dead. When he died, we died. When He rose, we rose. When He ascended, we ascended. When He was seated in the heavenlies, we were seated with Him in heavenly places. It is of faith that it might be by grace.
I know it is impossible to see such a truth as the above with the natural mind, but though eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him, yet He hath revealed them to us by His spirit. I humbly beg of you to see that it is quite impossible to understand any spiritual truth without the revelation of the Spirit. Until the Holy Spirit moves, the earth is without form and void and darkness is upon the face of the deep. Only let God say, "Let there be light," and light will push its golden fingers through the gloom and darkness of your minds. The struggling of a drowning man is often the thing that hinders his rescue. So also our strugglings and labours hinder us from entering into His rest.
Our hearts are often filled with unbelief' because of the errors tradition has taught us. Human beings are always prone to form doctrines that seem to fit in with the general experience of mankind. Because the vast majority of Christians live after the flesh, we are inclined to discredit the possibility of any living after the Spirit. Because "all seek their own", we are inclined to think that none can seek the things that are Jesus Christ's. Because we see nothing but death working in men, we do our best to spiritualize any scripture that dares to imply that life could work in us instead.
There are certain times and seasons when God brings to life truths that have been allowed to lie in grave clothes for ages and dispensations. As a seed lies, dormant in the winter months and then bursts into life in the warmth and rain of spring, so also has the truth of God been allowed to lie in death throughout the wintry night of the past six thousand years now at last to burst into a fruitful harvest in the millennial spring. Did you ever notice the eternal truth of this scripture, spoken First by Isaiah and repeated by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch two thousand years ago? "In His humiliation His judgment was taken away and who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth," Acts 8:13. For almost twenty centuries people have believed that the humiliation of Christ referred only to His rejection by Israel at His first coming, and they have thought that the taking of His Life from the earth referred only to His death on the cross. But the unfolding revelation of this hour teaches us that the whole Church age has been a time of Christ's humiliation and a time of humiliation for the people of Christ. The children of God have known only humiliation for centuries and all true judgment has been taken away from the earth. It is also true that His 1ife is taken from the earth and, in truth, and has been taken away from the earth for all these centuries that have passed, for, while men rejoiced in spirit, their bodies were on the journey to the grave. But the winter of night and death is almost over. It is time for the flowers to appear upon the earth, and the singing of birds to come. It is time for the humiliation of Christ to be ended and His life to be restored to the earth. It is time to know Him and the power of His resurrection, for His kingdom is at hand.
The hour is at hand for mortality to be overtaken by immortality. The hour has come for corruption to be overtaken by incorruption. The time has come for death to he swallowed up of life. For this corruptible Must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall he brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.
Christ Himself is the resurrection and Christ is the 1ife. All who believe in Him, though they were dead, yet shall they live, and all who live and believe in Him shall never die.
Writings in This Series: