Preston Eby -
TREE OF LIFE
the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man
whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every
tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the TREE OF LIFE
also in the midst of the garden, and the of the knowledge of good and
evil" (Gen. 2:8-9).
this world we live by symbols. We use either written symbols or sound
symbols to express every thought or feeling, to identify every person,
place or object. Words are only symbols. Names are only symbols. Numbers
are only symbols. Our alphabet is only a group of 26 small symbols that
can be organized into words - then words into sentences - sentences into
thoughts - and thoughts into knowledge. God claims the title of the
"Alpha and Omega," or the "A" and the "Z" of
the alphabet which includes all the other letters in between and can
contain and express all knowledge.
only represent the things for which they stand, not the reality itself.
Money is considered the most important factor in human life by many
because it represents power and security. Of itself, money has no value
whatsoever more than the paper or metal it contains, though through it, it
is possible to purchase the comforts and luxuries of earth. There is as
much difference between the symbol and the reality as there is between the
letters of alphabet and the great thoughts that can be woven into tangible
form through those tiny little letters. There is as much difference
between the symbol and the reality as there is between the money in your
pocket and the actual things that money can buy.
is important that we understand clearly that God has spoken to us
predominantly in the scriptures by symbols. Symbolism in its spiritual
application means that an object, animal, tree, mountain, person, action,
form of words or whatever else is involved has a deeper spiritual meaning
than a simple literal interpretation would suggest. A symbol, unlike a
type, is usually not prefigurative, but rather represents something that
already exists. Without a clear understanding of this great truth the
Bible would be the most ridiculous book ever written. Consider the
implications if Jesus had meant it literally when He said,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you" (Jn. 6:53). If
this statement had been intended literally Jesus would have become the
founder of the world's most bizarre religious cult: cannibalism! But
beyond these physical figures lies the glorious REALITY of which He spoke,
the reality that His flesh means His Word and His blood means His Spirit
apostle John begins the book of Revelation with these words: "The
Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His
servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified
it unto His servant John" (Rev. 1:1). The word
"signified" is the Greek word (semaino) which is a derivative of
the word (semo) meaning a mark or sign, or to indicate by signs or
symbols. The English word could be written "sign-i-fied"
- demonstrating that it means to communicate by means of signs and
symbols. We understand, of course, that this is exactly how the Revelation
was communicated to John and the whole book is a book of pictures and
symbols. The candlesticks are Churches (Rev. 1:20), the stars are
ministries (Rev. 1:20), the beasts are governments, the horns are kings
and dominions (Rev. 17:12), the bowls of incense are the prayers of saints
(Rev. 5:8), the great dragon is satan (Rev. 12:9), the waters are peoples,
multitudes, nations and tongues (Rev. 17:15), the New Jerusalem is the
bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9-10) etc. etc. etc. Armed with this
understanding let us look at another important symbol employed by the
Spirit in the Book of Revelation. "He that hath an ear, let him hear
what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; To him that overcometh will I
give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE which is in the midst of the paradise of
God" (Rev. 2:7). In harmony with the symbolic language of the Book of
Revelation it becomes crystal clear that the tree of life is not a
literal, physical tree but a SYMBOL standing for a spiritual
TREE OF LIFE
the beginning of man's existence we are shown man in a relationship with three
classes of trees. To understand God's plan, we must be completely
clear about these three classes of trees and what they represent. The
three classes of trees are set forth in Gen. 2:8-9, 16-17. "And the
Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom
He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every
tree that is pleasant to sight, and good for food; the tree of life
also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and
evil." Here are the three classes of trees which could be
experienced by Adam: (1) all the trees of the garden, (2) the tree of
life, (3) the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
There is a clear distinction made between a grove composed
of "every tree that is good for food" on the one hand, and the
two trees which were in "the midst of the garden" on the other
hand - the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. "All the trees of
the garden" may be spoken of as a grove, but these taken collectively
are not the "tree of life," nor the "tree of
knowledge," as shown plainly in verse 9: "And out of the ground
made the Lord God to grow every tree that is... good for food; the
tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree
of knowledge of good and evil." Thus, all the trees of the garden are
distinct from either the tree of life or the tree of knowledge. The tree
of was not of the same nature as "all the trees of the garden"
and the tree of knowledge, likewise, was not the same as those trees.
God created man He placed him before these three classes of trees, and
man's whole life was pictured as a matter of feasting upon one tree or the
other. How man would live and walk after his creation depended entirely
upon his relationship with these three classes of trees. God told man
plainly, "You may freely eat of ALL THE TREES OF THE GARDEN." He
also said, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou
shalt not eat of it." What original command, the only command, was
given Adam? To eat! Eating is receiving, and receiving is the basic
function of the human self. It is most striking that here at the creation
of man this was the only command given him, EAT! Receive! Take something into
you! And this is still the only command to man! "Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Except ye EAT THE FLESH of the Son of man, and DRINK HIS
BLOOD, ye have no life in you. Whoso EATETH My flesh, and DRINKETH
My blood, hath eternal life" (Jn. 6:53-54). "But as many as received
Him, to them gave He power to become the Sons of God" (Jn. 1:12).
is the significance of the first class of tree called "all the trees
of the garden"? It is of the fruit of these trees that man lived from
the moment of his creation and they therefore represent the realm of life
in which man lived before he fell. The record states: "And the Lord
God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life; and man became a LIVING SOUL" (Gen. 2:7). Man did
not come forth from the hand of God upon the earth as a glorious shining
spirit-being, neither did he begin his existence as the depraved, sensual,
animalistic creature he is today. Man was formed upon earth neither a
beast nor a god, but a LIVING SOUL. The realm of perfect human life, the
living soul, was a plane of life which far transcended the realm of
corruption and death which passed upon man through the eating of the tree
of knowledge. But is was also a plane of life which was
lower than, and inferior to that glorious realm of DIVINE LIFE
which was available to man in the tree of life. Thus, "all the trees
of the garden" signify the realm of man as a perfect, sinless, LIVING
SOUL. Adam, as a living soul, feasted upon the fruits of "all the
trees of the garden." These trees had no power to impart to him
either the DIVINE NATURE or the INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE of God. The divine
nature and incorruptible life were contained only in the tree of life. The
important point here is that Adam, in the beginning, did not walk in that
transcendent life and glory typified by the tree of life. The tree of life
speaks of that realm of DIVINE SPIRIT LIFE, incorruptible God life, and
Adam had been living in the reality of the tree of life He would have been
a QUICKENING SPIRIT, INCORRUPTIBLE in both nature and being, and therefore
incapable of falling into the ensuing nightmare of sin, darkness
and death. It is impossible for that which is incorruptible to be
corrupted, for that which is immortal to die, and for that which is divine
to become depraved!
assuredly the tree of life bespeaks a realm of life beyond what
Adam already possessed. Adam was a living soul so it was not necessary for
him to eat of the tree of life to be a living soul. The life offered to
man in the tree of life is a HIGHER KIND OF LIFE than the life Adam
originally knew. It imparts more than the never-ending human life which
Adam could have retained simply by refusing to eat the tree of knowledge.
This tree of life lifts man up from the realm of humanity, from the
earthly, from the physical, from the natural, and infuses him with eternal
life, divine life, the very life of GOD. This life is offered us in
Christ. According to the revelation of the scriptures Christ is not only
our life today, but He has ever been, from the very beginning, the life of
God made available to man. "In the beginning was the WORD, and the
WORD was with God, and the WORD was God. The same was IN THE
BEGINNING...IN HIM WAS LIFE; and the life WAS the light of men" (Jn.
1:1-4). "That which WAS FROM THE BEGINNING, which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands
have handled, of THE WORD OF LIFE, for the LIFE WAS MANIFESTED and we have
seen it, and show unto you THAT ETERNAL LIFE which was with the
Father" (I Jn. 1:1-2). This tree of life was known in the beginning,
not as the man Jesus Christ, but as THE WORD OF GOD. A little less than
two thousand years ago "the WORD was MADE FLESH, and dwelt among
us" (Jn. 1:14). The Word made flesh was Jesus, but in the beginning
He was known only as THE WORD: God breathed, God expressed, God revealed,
God available to man!
One of the most significant ever uttered by Jesus was made in
prayer on that dark and sorrowful night before the crucifixion. He said,
"I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which
Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own
self WITH THE GLORY WHICH I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS" (Jn.
17:4-5). Who can begin to comprehend this? Generally, when people think of
the glory of Christ they think of the glory He had while on earth: His
holiness of life, the miracles, the teachings, the love, humility,
meekness and mercy that flowed forth from His ministry. Those things
indeed characterize a great glory. Jesus spoke of it. "I have
glorified Thee on the earth" - on the earth plane. But now the
blessed Son speaks of another glory as high above the glory He revealed on
earth as are the heavens high above the earth. With the most intense
desire He petitions the Father, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with
Thine own self with the glory which I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD
WAS!" Come and hearken to what this divine message has to tell us of
the eternal glory of the Son, in whom the Father speaks to us. Come and
see how truly He is one with God, and dwells in a glory beyond that which
can be either seen or known in the earth realm! To be glorified WITH THINE
OWN SELF is to be one IN THE FATHER; to be not merely the Son, but God.
The deeper our insight into the true Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
more confident shall we be that He will, by divine power, make us
partakers of His very own glory.
find arrayed before us here TWO GLORIES. Both glories are uniquely the
glory of Christ. The one, the lesser, is His glory as He walked upon earth
as a man revealing the Father on the earth plane, in a body of flesh; the
other, the greater, is the glory which He had before the world was, and
which, having passed through death and into resurrection, He now possesses
once more. What is the difference between these two glories and what do
these mean for those apprehended unto sonship to God?
glory of an object is, that in its kinds intrinsic worth and excellence
answers perfectly to all that is expected of it. That excellence or
perfection may be so hidden or unknown, that the object has no glory to
those who behold it. To glorify is to remove every hindrance, and
so to reveal the full worth and perfection of the object, that its glory
is seen and acknowledged by all. The highest perfection of God, and the
deepest mystery of His Godhead, is His holiness. In it righteousness and
love are united. As the Holy One He hates and condemns sin. As the Holy
One He also frees the sinner from its power, and raises him to communion
and relationship with Himself. His name is, "The Holy One of Israel,
thy Redeemer" (Isa. 54:5). The song of redemption is: "Great is
the Holy One of Israel is the midst of thee" (Isa. 12:6). In the
union of the two words in the name of the Holy Spirit, we see that what is
HOLY and what is SPIRITUAL stand in the closest connection with each
other. God is spirit and God is absolutely holy - these are the two basic
elements of His being and nature. For this reason the two words are so
often found together. So in the song of Moses: "Who is like unto
Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness"
(Ex. 15:11). So in the song of the Seraphim: "Holy, Holy, Holy,
Lord God of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory" (Isa.
6:3). And so in the song of the Lamb: "Who shall not glorify Thy
name? for Thou alone art Holy" (Rev. 15:4). As has been well
said: "God's glory is His manifested holiness; God's holiness is His
one work of Christ on earth was to glorify the Father on the earth plane,
in a body of flesh and blood, to reveal what a glorious Holy God He is.
When the Lord Jesus had glorified the Father on earth, the Father
glorified Him with Himself in heaven. This was not only His just reward;
it was a necessity in the very nature of things. There is no other place
for a life given up to the glory of God, as Christ's was, than in that
glory. This principle holds good for us too: a heart that yearns and
thirsts for the glory of God, that is ready to live or die for it, becomes
fitted to LIVE IN IT. Living unto God's glory on the earth plane is
the gate to living in God's glory on the heaven plane. If with
Christ we glorify the Father, the Father will with Christ glorify us too.
Yes, we shall be like Him in His glory! Herein are the two glories of
help us better grasp a knowledge of the two realms of glory in sonship let
us look at a most important aspect of God's being and nature as revealed
in James 1:13. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of
God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted He any
man." God is not only holy by choice, He is holy by nature. The Greek
in this verse is very strong - God is simply INCAPABLE of being tempted!
One translation says, "God is unversed in evil." The
nature of God is a nature of such absolute holiness that it cannot be
tempted. The nature of God is UNTEMPTABLE! No wonder He is called the HOLY
ONE! The nature of God is therefore incorruptible and cannot be
influenced, affected, altered, changed, or ruined in any way. Thus we can
see that the divine nature contains, among others, these three distinct
characteristics: it is untemptable, eternal and incorruptible. To be truly
GODLIKE is to be in nature and being untemptable, eternal and
incorruptible. In any portion of our being where we fall short of being
either untemptable, eternal or incorruptible, in that area of our being we
have not yet become like God - we fall short of His glory. "For all
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
Herein lies the glory Christ had with the Father before the world was:
Christ, the eternal Word of God, as Divine Spirit, dwelt only and fully in
the eternal, untemptable and incorruptible nature of Godhead! "In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God" (Jn. 1:1).
GLORY OF THE SON IN FLESH
us turn to Phil. 2:5-9. "Let this mind be in you which was also in
Christ Jesus: Who, being the form of God, thought it not robbery to be
equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the
form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in
fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even
the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted
Him..." The Amplified Bible is so expressive here: "Let this
same attitude and purpose and mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus -
Who, although being... one with God and in the form of God, possessing the
fullness of the attributes which make God God, did not think this equality
with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but stripped
Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity so as to assume the guise
of a servant, in that He became like men and was born a human being. And
after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself still
further and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death
of the cross! Therefore God has highly exalted Him..."
this wonderful passage we have a summary of all the most precious truths
that surround the person of the Son of God. There is first His wonderful
Divinity: "in the form of God," "equal with God." Then
comes the mystery of Him laying aside that glory in that phrase of deep
and inexhaustible meaning: "He stripped Himself," "He
emptied Himself." The humiliation follows: "The form of a
servant," "made in the likeness of men," "found in
fashion as a man." Then comes the atonement with the humiliation, and
obedience, and suffering, and death, whence it derives its worth: "He
humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross." And all is crowned by His glorious exaltation: "God hath
highly exalted Him!" Christ as God, Christ becoming man, Christ as
man in humiliation revealing the glory of the Father in a body of flesh,
and Christ in glory as Lord of all: such are the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge this passage contains.
two glories of sonship are here: firstly, the glory He had with the Father
before the world was; secondly, the glory He had on earth. Then follows
the glory to which He has now been exalted which is one with that glory
which He had from eternity.
The great truth we want to grasp here is that Christ (the Word)
dwelt from eternity in the form, the essence, the nature and the being of
God. In that divine nature He
was eternal, untemptable and incorruptible.
But when He laid aside that glory, emptying Himself of it, taking
upon Him the form and nature of man, He, the ETERNAL ONE, subjected
Himself to the dread power of death, becoming obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross. When
the Christ laid aside His eternal heavenly glory, the UNTEMPTABLE ONE took
upon Himself all the failties and weaknesses of human nature so that the
One who cannot be tempted was found in a nature that could
be tempted and indeed He was in all points tempted like as we are.
The inspired apostle James says that “every man is
tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin” (James
1:14-15). Was Jesus truly
tempted in all points like as we are, or did He have some mystical
advantage over us, some inherent quality of divinity, some unique
spiritual power which enables Him to be oblivious to the cravings and
demands of the flesh? Anything,
to be a tempation for us, must excite something within us that
responds to the temptation. That
for which we have no desire, can never tempt us.
I used to think, as many do, that Jesus was so high and holy that
He could not be affected by the base things that allure us.
He was indeed high and holy, but not to the extent that He could
not be touched by the same infirmaties, weaknesses, and feelings that
touch us. While some may
still find it hard to believe, because of our superstitious religious view
of Christ, He knows exactly how the person feels who is tempted to lie,
cheat, curse, steal, murder, or commit adultery.
There had to be the desire in His flesh, the inclination in His
nature to answer the tempation, but, blessed be God!
HE OVERCAME IT ALL! He
was tempted in every point as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN.
As we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, so He had the indwelling
Father and by that overcame all tempation and in the one instance of his
intense desire to go His own way, He resisted even unto blood.
He was the first to do this and HE ENTERED INTO IMMORTALITY AND
Sharing our humanity, being made in the likeness of sinful flesh,
He had the same sinful nature we have.
Now do not mistake what I say!
I do not say that Jesus had the same fallen condition of Adam – I
say that He had the same sinful nature Adam has and had from the
beginning. The question
is just this – when did Adam receive his sinful nature – before
he sinned, or only after he sinned?
A sinful nature is simply a nature that sins or that is
liable to sin. If Adam had
not been created with a nature capable of sinning, how, I ask, could he
have ever been tempted? How
could he have sinned? The
correct answer to these questions reveals to our spiritual understanding
the amazing fact that the sinful nature had to precede the first
sin, not follow it. Can
we not see the simple truth that it was not the act of sinning that
gave Adam the sinful nature – rather, it was the sinful nature that caused
him to sin! It was therefore
necessary for Christ Jesus to come in exactly the same state as the first
Adam was in before he sinned and plunged the race into death.
He could not have been tempted otherwise, but He was subject to all
the temptations man is subjected to.
“He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.”
The suffering was not suffering surrounding the cross.
In order to be a perfect sacrifice He had to be perfected before He
went to the cross. It was
through the years that He lived as a man, that He suffered through
temptation. You and I
haven’t suffered much this way, because when the temptation gets too
severe we just yield to it and sin! He
couldn’t sin, for if He had, He could not have been our Capricornus, our
goat, our perfect sin-offering required to redeem the race.
So He had to resist and overcome all temptation, and this must have
been excruciatingly difficult for Him to do many times, for He had all the
desires and inclinations of the human, sinful nature to battle with.
There is something diabolical about temptation, something
satanically bewitching and bewildering.
It stirs up our senses and excites our emotions and passions.
For the time being the forbidden thing seems more important than
anything else in the world. It
weakens our powers of judgment, both moral and spiritual.
People who are otherwise very intelligent and self-controlled will
in a brief season of temptation commit wholly unthinkable follies –
which they often live to regret a whole lifetime afterwards.
It paralyzes our will. Our
many good resolutions melt like wax in the hour of temptation.
All this temptation frequently does simply by being permitted to
press in upon us. It is like
chloroform. If it gets too
close to us, it will deprive us of the very possibility of offering
resistance. But, praise God,
“God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye
are able; but will with the temptation make a way of escape, that ye may
be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13).
May God in His great mercy give us a true insight into the glory of
what is offered us in this truth – that our great HIGH PRIEST, whom we
have in the heavenlies, is One who is able to sympathize with us in each
and every circumstance, because he knows, from personal experience,
exactly what we feel and face. Yes,
that God might give us courage to draw nigh unto Him, He was placed upon
the throne of heaven One out of our midst, of whom we can be certain that,
because He Himself lived on earth as a man, he understands us perfectly,
is prepared to have patience with our weakness, and give us just the help
we need to overcome and enter into His glory.
May God give us eyes to see and hearts to understand the depth of
the mystery of which I now write. Had
the Logos, the Word of God remained in that bright glory world above, in
that spiritual dimension detached from this realm of flesh and
corruptibility, He might have been ever so desirous to help us and lift us
up to godhood: but, if He had never tasted death, how could He allay our
fears as we tread the verge of Jordan?
If He had never been tempted, how could He succor those who are
tempted? If He had never
wept, how could He dry our tears? If
He had never suffered, hungered, wearied on the hill of difficulty, or
threaded His way through the quagmires of weakness and grief, how could He
have been a merciful and faithful High Priest, having compassion on
the ignorant and wayward? But,
thank God, our High Priest is a perfect one!
He is perfectly adapted to His task, and is able to lead each and
every member of God’s elect out of this valley of the shadow of death
over into the victory and glory of perfection and incorruptibility!
rich king, who lives every day in luxury, can he, even though he hear of
it, - can he fully realize what it means for the poor sick man, from year
to year, never to know where his daily bread is coming from? Hardly. And
God, the glorious and ever blessed, can He truly feel what a poor mortal
experiences in his daily struggle with the weaknesses and temptations of
the flesh? God be praised! Jesus knows. As Adam could never have brought
us under the power of sin and death, if he had not been our father,
communicating to us his own nature, so Christ never could save us, except
by taking our nature upon Him, doing in that nature all we would need to
do, had it been possible for us to deliver ourselves, and then
communicating the fruit of what He had effected as a nature within us to
be the power of a new and eternal life. As a divine necessity, as an act
of infinite love and condescension, the Son of God became a partaker of
flesh and blood. So alone could He be the second Adam, the Father of a new
race of God-men.
point I want to make crystal clear is that when Christ left the eternal
glory of the Father to take upon Himself the glory of the Son in human
flesh, He EMPTIED HIMSELF of all His prerogatives as Diety and willfully,
yea, deliberately subjected Himself to the finite restrictions and
debilitating limitations of this physical, material world. As God He had
been infinitely rich, while as man He became inconceivably poor.
As God He had been the Omnipotent One, but as man He could do
absolutely nothing more than any mortal man except as the Father worked
through Him. As God He had been eternal and incorruptible, but as man He
grew tired and weary, weak and faint, and died an ignominious death upon a
cross. As God He could not be tempted with any evil, but as man He was
tempted in every point as is common to men. As God He was Omniscient,
possessing all wisdom and knowledge, but as man He "increased in
wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk. 2:52). As God
He had been the Omnipresent One who filled all things, but as man He lay
as a helpless infant in a manger and throughout His life could never be in
more than one place at a time. As God He had been PURE DIVINE SPIRIT,
but as man He was a physical flesh and blood human being.
glory as the Son of man was thus a far lesser glory than the glory He had
in the Father realm before the foundation of the world. He had faithfully
glorified the Father on the earth plane, making Him visible through a body
of flesh, but, when He prayed that He might be glorified with the glory
which He had before the world was, He was asking to be released from the
earthly, material, physical form He had assumed, with its human nature and
limitations and restrictions, back into the untemptable, eternal and
incorruptible realm of DIVINE SPIRIT LIFE. His yearning was to be forever
freed from the whole dreadful realm of physical limitation and
confinement. This was to shortly take place through His RESURRECTION FROM
THE DEAD AND HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN.
GLORY OF THE SON IN RESURRECTION
we speak of the resurrection of Christ, we enter a new and glorious realm
entirely, for no man other than Christ Jesus our Lord has until now
experienced the glory of such a resurrection. In the glory of this
resurrection is seen not only the glory which Christ now has in His
exaltation but also that marvelous glory which He has before the world
was. Let us consider this glory.
are three key words translated "immortality" in the Greek New
Testament. (Athanasia) appears three times, (Aphtharsia)
appears eight times, and (Aphthartos) appears seven times. These
three terms are translated severally in the King James Version as
"immortality," "incorruption," "sincerity,"
"incorruptible," "immortal," and "not
corruptible." These renderings make it quite evident in English that
the basic idea deals with that which does not perish, cannot be ruined, or
that which will never be corrupted in any fashion. The first term, (Athanasia),
is derived from the Greek word for "death" (Thanatos), so
that it speaks of that which is opposite of physical death; namely a
resurrected body which is spiritual rather than carnal. (Aphtharsia)
and (Aphthartos) are derived from the Greek word for
"corruption, ruin, destruction" (Phtheiro) which is used
of corrupted meat, ruins of ancient cities or sunken vessels, or destroyed
armies whose dead bodies litter the earth. Like (Athanasia) the alpha
prefix indicates that the word "immortality" speaks of that
which cannot be corrupted, which cannot be ruined in any manner, and which
cannot be destroyed!
do not hesitate to say that only solitary person is now
"Immortal" according to the Word of God. By this I mean that
there is only one man in the entire universe who is a life-giving Spirit
resident in an indestructible body. That man is our God and Saviour, Jesus
Christ. When Paul writes to young Timothy of the appearing of Christ in
the blazing, unapproachable light of the Shekinah, he declares Him to be
"the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of
lords; Who only (who alone) HAS IMMORTALITY..." (I Tim.
6:15-16). Please observe! Jesus only has what the Bible calls
"immortality." He, and He alone, of all the men who have lived
and do live, resides in the divine spirit realm in a glorified,
resurrection body. As the first-born Son, the God-man, only Jesus is
immortal at present. Jesus is the only man now dwelling fully and
completely in the divine nature and being of God, far beyond all
temptation, sin, sickness, limitation, change, decay and death.
Christ our Lord rose from the dead, He was raised not in corruption but in
incorruption. That which is incorruptible is forever beyond the
power of corruption, decay or death. God Himself is said to be
incorruptible and we are said to be born of incorruptible seed by the Word
of God that liveth forever. This incorruptible life now resides in our
spirits, but has not yet been manifest in our bodies. Death has no power
over the incorruptible. Thus of the resurrection body it is written:
"It is sown in corruption; it is raised in power: it is sown a
natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (I Cor. 15:42-44). Paul
declares that this corruptible must put on incorruption. The body
of the corruptible man is the body of death, but the body of the
incorruptible man is the body of the resurrection, a body beyond the power
of death. When Jesus rose from the dead, He arose incorruptible. He had no
blood as we know blood. He had forever laid aside that blood which had
been the life of His corruptible flesh and was now quickened in His flesh
by the life of God, life incorruptible and eternal.
precious saints have claimed that they have already put on immortality,
that they have by-passed the grave and will never die. I would overthrow
the faith of none, for we are now living in the generation that shall see
the long-awaited manifestation of the sons of God, but I do say that the
body of glory and incorruption is the body of the resurrection.
When the kingdom of God comes in power and glory on the earth, the sons of
God will be manifest to the world and to every nation, tribe, tongue and
people on the face of the whole earth in the glory of their RESURRECTION.
Being children of the resurrection, they will be seen as INCORRUPTIBLE
BEINGS and they will rule the world and bless all the nations of earth as
resurrected and incorruptible men. Just as Jesus had power after His
resurrection to appear and disappear, to pass right through a wall or
locked door, to disclose Himself or to hide His identity, taking various
forms, to ascend to heaven and return to the earth, to issue instructions
concerning the Kingdom of God, even to eat and drink if He wished, so also
shall the glorified and incorruptible sons of God have power. All that
Jesus was in His resurrection and glorification the sons of God shall be
in their resurrection and glorification, for they are destined to share
glory of the resurrection discloses even that glory which Christ had with
the Father before the world was. The glory He had and the glory He has are
the same glory of INCORRUPTIBLE SPIRIT LIFE.
was the firstfruit of the resurrection. "But now is Christ risen from
the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept...for as in Adam
all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his
own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His
coming. Then cometh the end (of the resurrection)" (I Cor. 15:20-24).
Paul tells us in Rom. 8:19-23 that the whole of creation is in travail to
know the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "For the earnest
expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of
God. Because the creation itself SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM THE
BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption
(placement as sons), to wit, the redemption of our bodies."
glorious realm of incorruption which lies beyond the power of temptation,
sin, limitation, sickness, sorrow and death belongs to the children of
God, but, blessed be God! it is also the hope of all creation. One
of the fundamental laws of nature is that one cannot give what he does not
himself possess, one cannot minister that of which he has not himself been
made partaker. I therefore declare to you that although the glory of the
Sons of God on earth throughout His three and a half years of ministry and
manifestation was truly marvelous beyond words to describe, yet, it was a
glory which was limited in the extreme. When Christ took upon Him a
body of flesh and the nature of man, He willfully subjected Himself to the
limitations and restrictions of that which is earthly, material and
mortal. Jesus did not walk upon earth as the incorruptible God, but as
mortal man. It was as a natural, physical, mortal man that He was tempted;
He hungered; He thirsted; He could be in only one place at a time; He knew
weakness; He wept; He slept; He suffered; He died. The incorruptible life
of the Father resided in His inner spirit, but that life was confined,
limited and restricted by the bounds of the material world which He had
taken upon Himself. It is manifest that His body was not an incorruptible
body, else He could not have died though He were nailed to a thousand
crosses! His own human nature was not the incorruptible nature of God,
else He could not have been TEMPTED in all points like as we are.
Truly He emptied Himself, yea, stripped Himself of that incorruptible
glory of the Father realm and, as man, as flesh, HE COULD NOT, even
as a Son, MINISTER THAT WHICH HE DID NOT HIMSELF POSSESS!
is remarkable that during the three and a half years of Jesus' earthly
ministry He never performed one act, not even one miracle or wonder on the
higher plane of incorruption. Every miracle Jesus did was in the realm of
mortality. Jesus raised a number of folk from the dead, including Lazarus
and the widow's son, but every person raised from the sleep of death was
merely raised up again INTO MORTAL LIFE to continue their lives in their
same old corruptible bodies. Each and every one of them DIED AGAIN!
Not one single person was raised up out of a corruptible body into an
incorruptible body. It would be impossible for the world to even contain
all the books that could be written about the marvelous signs and wonders
performed by the Son of God on earth, yet, all those works, wonderful
though they were, were entirely restricted to the plane of the physical,
material and mortal. Jesus cleansed the lepers and healed every manner of
sickness and disease among the people, but I declare to you that each and
every one of these good people got sick again and eventually died! These
were miracles within the realm of mortality, not ministrations of
INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE. These deliverances were in all reality but short new
leases on the corruptible existence of this body of flesh and blood, this body
of death. Though Christ blessed men with healing and health and these
were permitted to remain on earth for long series of years, yet He merely
lengthened out the period of their mortal existence and none could
escape the final catastrophe.
did many other types of miracles. He turned water into wine. But what kind
of wine was it? Very good wine, indeed. But just wine, nonetheless. It was
composed of the same chemical elements as is all good wine. It was
material, physical, earthly. It was consumed by flesh and blood bodies,
digested, and a portion eliminated from the body as waste. Nothing
incorruptible or heavenly here! And yet it is written: "This
beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilea, and MANIFESTED FORTH
HIS GLORY; and His disciples believed on Him" (Jn. 2:11). Yes, He
manifested forth His glory, but it was not the glory He had had with the
Father before the world was, but the lesser glory of manifesting the
Father on the earth plane, in the world of the physical and material, the
fed five thousand people from five little loaves and two small fish. How
we stand in awe before the glory of such a miracle, but remember, dear
ones, that even a wonder so marvelous as this was but a wonder on the
physical plane. Bread and fish. Nothing more. Multiplied! And what have
you? More bread and fish. Earthly bread. Earthly fish. Perishable,
corruptible elements, both. The multitude ate of it and had their bodily
hunger satisfied momentarily, their mortal bodies strengthened for a few
fleeting hours and then all the old hunger and weakness returned. Nothing
of eternal value there, nothing of incorruptible life! On one occasion
Jesus caused the boat in which He and His disciples were sailing to move
from the middle of the sea to the shore with a speed swifter than any
modern rocket. Wonderful! you say. Yes, wonderful on the earth plane,
wonderful to the fascinated eyes of poor finite mortals in their
limitation and confinement to natural law, but still no ministration of
the higher life of incorruption. Following this miracle the creation was
still groaning as it had been groaning for ages - to be DELIVERED FROM THE
BONDAGE TO CORRUPTION! Without doubt that same boat which made such a
fantastic trip across the sea has long since rotted into the earth or lies
ruined on the bottom of the sea. And the creation goes on groaning...
even the whole creation waits expectantly and long earnestly for God's
sons to be made known - waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their
sonship. For...the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to
decay and corruption and gain an entrance into the glorious freedom of
God's children" (Rom. 8:19,21). When Paul by inspiration penned these
blessed words of hope he did not have in mind a manifestation of the sons
of God on the same plane on which Jesus was manifested while on earth.
Jesus glorified the Father on the earth plane, and so do we, but this is
not the glory that we anticipate, neither is it the hope for which the
whole of creation is in travail. The creation is not groaning for another
revival, nor for another evangelistic campaign, nor for another healing
campaign, nor for a New Testament Church, nor for more apostles and
prophets, nor for more signs, wonders and miracles, nor yet for 144,000
flaming evangelists just like Jesus in His earthly ministry. For 2,000
years we have had revival after revival, healing after healing, miracle
upon miracle, and none of them has ever brought in the Kingdom of God, not
one of them has ever delivered the creation from the bondage to
corruption. Mankind continues to sin and die.
The creation continues to groan in its bondage and we ourselves,
groan within ourselves, as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. It is
not another "patch-up" job that we want but a full and complete
and eternal deliverance from the whole dreadful realm of corruption.
clearly understood that He could never deliver the creation from the
bondage to corruption so long as He remained Himself subject to this realm
of mortality. He simply could not minister to men that which He had laid
aside in coming to earth. Though He would have walked on earth for a
million years in His physical body of humiliation, gaining in favour with
the people and power over the nations through all those years, He still
would have not been able to raise even one poor mortal up out of
corruption into incorruption. It was necessary that He be resurrected
Himself by the power and glory of the Father that He might be able then to
minister even that resurrection life to a first-fruit company, that they,
in turn, might minister it to the rest of creation. For this creation
waits expectantly. The law is that one must first POSSESS INCORRUPTIBLE
LIFE before He can MINISTER INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE.
us give ear to Peter as his lips speak of the resurrection life of Christ
in his tremendous sermon on the day of Pentecost. Notice that his message
did not center in the Christ of the manger, nor in the Christ of teaching,
nor in the Christ of signs and wonders, nor only in Christ crucified, but
above all else CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD. "Ye men of Israel,"
he cries, "hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God
among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the
midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the
determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked
hands have crucified and slain: WHOM GOD HATH RAISED UP, having loosed the
pains of death...for David speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the Lord
always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be
moved: therefore did my hearts rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover
my flesh also shall rest in hope: because Thou wilt leave my soul in hell,
neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made
known to me the ways of life" (Acts 2:22-25,31).
we praise God and bless Him unceasingly for every temporal blessing
provided for us by His bountiful grace. We rejoice exceedingly in the
provision of finances for our daily needs, for those healings which have
preserved our bodies alive unto this day, for every sign and wonder which
has quickened our faith and given assurance of His wonderful love,
faithful care and gracious presence. We do not minimize the blessedness of
any of these things, yet are aware that none of these are that for which
the creation, and we ourselves, is groaning. We cannot - dare not - be
satisfied until we AWAKE IN HIS LIKENESS! The glory to which we are called
as sons of God is not the glory He had on earth, but the glory for which
He prayed when He said, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with
Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world
was." "The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them."
Paul wrote, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall
ye also appear WITH HIM IN GLORY" (Col. 3:4). And Peter declared,
"But the God of all grace...hath called us unto HIS ETERNAL GLORY by
Christ Jesus" (I Pet. 5:10).
the Spirit saith, "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is
made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
REDEMPTION" (I Cor. 1:30). Here we have the top of the ladder,
reaching into the celestial realm - the blessed end to which Christ and
life in Him is to lead. The word redemption, though sometimes applied to
our deliverance from the guilt of sin, here refers to our complete and
final deliverance from all its consequences, when the Redeemer's work
shall become fully manifest, even to the redemption of the body (compare
Rom. 8:21-23; Eph. 1:14; Eph. 4:30). The expression points us to the
highest glory to be hoped for in Christ. The word invites us to look upon
Jesus, not only as He lived on earth, teaching us by word and example, as
He died, to reconcile us to God, but as, sitting at the right hand of God,
He takes again the glory which He had with the Father, before the world
began, and holds it there FOR US. It consists in this, that there His
human nature, yea, His human body, freed from all the consequences of sin
to which He once had been exposed, is now admitted to share the eternal
divine glory. As Son of Man, He dwells on the throne and in the bosom of
the Father: the deliverance from what He had to suffer from limitation,
sin and death is complete and eternal. The complete redemption is found
embodied in His own Person: what He as man is and has in the celestial
realm is the complete redemption.
our fellowship with HIM becomes more intimate and intense, and we let the
Holy Spirit reveal Him to us in His eternal glory, the more we realize
that the life in us is the life of the One who sits upon the throne of the
heavens. We feel the power of an endless life working in us. We taste the
eternal life. We have the foretaste of the eternal glory! The resurrection
of the body is no longer a dead doctrine, but a living expectation, and
even an incipent experience, because the Spirit of Him that raised up
Jesus from the dead, dwells in the body as the pledge that even our mortal
bodies shall be quickened (Rom. 8:11-23). This faith exercises its
sanctifying influence in our willing surrender of the sinful members of
the body to be mortified and completely subjected to the dominion of the
Spirit, as preparation for the time when the frail body shall be CHANGED
and fashioned like unto His body of glory. Think you have seen some great
miracles? Our bodies are going to be the objects of the most astonishing
miracle of Divine transforming power!
can assure you, beloved friends, that this is the hope of all creation. We
rejoice in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, in prophecies,
visions, healings and miracles, but I must confess that I am saddened to
see men continually following after mere TEMPORAL SIGNS and PHYSICAL,
MORTAL BLESSINGS. I would not depreciate for one moment, nor in any
measure, the manifold blessings and gracious provisions of God on this
earthly realm of mortality. I, above many, perhaps, can testify to God's
absolute and unswerving faithfulness to supply every need in this earthly,
temporal realm in which we dwell as He provides daily sustenance for my
family and the finances to mail out tens of thousands of pieces of
literature each year. It is all the LORD'S DOING and I can bear witness
that He has never once failed, bless His name! And yet it brings distress
to my soul to see my sick brethren healed by the power of God only to
behold them smitten again later on with some other debilitating disease.
What sorrow it brings to the human hearts to see the precious men of God
who have walked in the Spirit and have so mightily blessed the Lord's
people, finally become old and pass from our midst into the silence of the
grave. I grow tired of healing the sick only to see them sick again. It is
frustrating to have to pray for the same saints over, and over, and over
again for the same kinds of problems and weaknesses. I am tired of seeing
the dead raised (I personally know several people who have been raised
from the dead) just to watch them grow old and die again. I tire of signs
and wonders which only minister to the physical man on the level of
mortality: food, raiment, money, jobs and all the rest of the corruptible
things of earth. I am weary of that which blesses men in the natural but
then leaves them to carry on their lives in corruptible natures and
bodies. What an apt word the Spirit selected when He inspired the apostle
to write: "For in this (our earthly house) we GROAN, EARNESTLY
DESIRING to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven...that
mortality might be swallowed up of life (II Cor. 5:1-5). Paul says that
the whole creation GROANS. He says WE ALSO GROAN. That mortality might be
swallowed up of life. "Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame
thing is God, who hath given unto His pledge of the Spirit" (II Cor.
shall minister His eternal glory to a first-fruit to company of sons who
shall in turn minister that same eternal glory to the creation. Do not
think, dear saints, that the ministry of the manifested sons of God shall
be a ministry of holding great salvation-healing campaigns, of merely
emptying out hospitals as the sick are healed, or raising some dead people
back to life again as Jesus did. What Jesus WAS is not the pattern for the
manifested sons of God. The pattern is what HE IS IN HIS ETERNAL GLORY. He
has planted within an incorruptible SEED which shall in due time produce
an INCORRUPTIBLE PEOPLE. The ministry of the sons of God will be to
minister INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE so that ALL THINGS may be raised up out of the
realm of limitation and death in the glorious liberty of the ETERNAL
is made unto us REDEMPTION." Beloved brethren! Let us lay aside all
presumption and purge ourselves of every form of deception. I admonish you
- do not allow any man to deceive you into believing that he can in some
way minister immortality to your mortal body. Some have professed to have
already put on immortality, to have already passed over the grave, but I
declare to you that the wrinkles in their skin, the bags under their eyes,
the gray in their hair and the unchecked ageing in their bodies give the
lie to their confession. Some have tried to teach people into
immortality, some have tried to meditate into it, others have had a
scheme for baptising people into it while others have foolishly
hoped to live forever by eating health food. Without any fear of
contradiction I can tell you that all the fruitarians and vegetarians and
food fadists of all previous generations are now lying silent in their
graves along with all who subscribed to any other method or technique for
the putting on of incorruption. There is a TRUTH in physical immortality!
But the reality of its outworking is resident IN OUR LORD – and
HE controls both the process and the time element, for HE is the One that
shall change us, we cannot change ourselves.
Jesus pointed out the impotency of man’s fleshly efforts, when He
asked, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his
stature?” (Mat. 6:27). Our
change is not a do-it-yourself project.
The word can not be broken: “HE is made unto us REDEMPTION!”
How can corruption impart incorruption? "To him that overcometh will
I give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE WHICH IS IN THE PARADISE OF GOD"
(Rev. 2:7). Let me present this Tree of Life: Christ, risen, glorified and
exalted above all heavens! Christ, in the glory He had with the Father
before the world began. HE is the tree of life in Eden's lovely garden!
The leaves of this tree are for the healing of all the nations of earth.
The Church in its hour of corruption has been claiming to do the
"greater works" of which Jesus spoke, but this is not so. The
greater works will appear when this corruptible puts on incorruption and
the sons of God are manifested in their resurrection glory. When we
consider how marvelous and powerful is this glory of the resurrection unto
incorruption, it seems to be but little wonder that these mighty sons will
bring to pass a world wherein dwelleth righteousness!
what anticipation do we wait for this glorious manifestation! Meantime we
are taught to believe: "Of God are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is
made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption." This is not meant merely as revelation, to be left for
the future; for the full development of our life in sonship we must seek
to enter into and appropriate it. We do this as we learn to triumph over
death on every level. We do it as we learn to look to Christ as the Lord
of our body, claiming its entire consecration, securing even here victory
over the terrible dominion sin has had in the body. We do it as we allow
the powers of the coming age to possess us, and to lift us up into a life
in the heavenly places, to enlarge our hearts and our views, to
anticipate, even here and now, the things which have never entered into
the heart of man to conceive.
of God! Seek to know Christ
as your redemption. Let this
be the crown of your life in sonship.
Do not seek immortality for your body first, or only, apart from
the knowledge of Christ in all His other aspects. But seek it truly as
that unto which they are meant to lead you.
Nothing will fit you for incorruption but faithfulness in every
step of the putting on of the MIND OF CHRIST.
Seek Him as your wisdom and the wisdom will lead you into the
mysteries of complete redemption. Seek
Him as your righteousness and dwell clothed upon with Him in that inner
sanctuary of the Father’s favor and presence.
Seek Him as your sanctification; the experience of His power to
make you holy, spirit, soul and body will quicken you to a power of
holiness that shall not cease its work until the bells of the horses and
every pot in Jerusalem shall be holiness unto the Lord.
Seek Him as your redemption, and live, even now, in the light of
that glory. And as you seek to experience within yourself to the full, the
power of His redeeming grace, your heart will be enlarged to see the
position man has been destined to occupy in the universe, as having all
things made subject to Him, and you shall for your part be fitted to live
worthy of that high and heavenly calling!
Writings in This Series: