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 tree of the knowledge of good and
evil" (Gen. 2:8-9). "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is
become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his
hand, and take also of the TREE OF LIFE, and eat, and live forever:
therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden" (Gen.
wonderful Tree of Life in Eden was, as it is said of Christ, "in the
world" but "not of the world." The life-giving fruit of
this tree was accessible to man but had absolutely nothing to do with the
realm of earthiness, for it was heaven's own divine life brought into
man's world and made available to him. In the Tree of Life God invited man
to find Him as the source and center of life, that in union with Him God
would be at once both the indwelling power of life and the environment in
which man would live, and move, and have his being. By eating of the Tree
of Life man would be full of light, abounding in heavenly wisdom and
knowledge, fearful in power and dominion, ethereal as a spirit and shining
in the image of God. The fruit of this wonderful Tree would indeed make
men radiant with the resplendent glory of God as was Jesus, the second
Adam, at the transfiguration, whose face shone as the sun and His raiment
was as the light. The mighty power of this Tree would raise man up beyond
any possibility of sin, corruption and death into the incorruptible divine
life demonstrated by Jesus when He arose from the dead in a body of
glorification. In this Tree of Life the effulgent perfumes of the heavenly
realm would be fragrance and life to man's nostrils. He would taste
spiritual realities and touch spiritual things. The wisdom and power of
God Himself would be wide open to him and he would walk in the presence
and glory of celestial realms. The gates of that realm would never be shut
by day or night. The heavens would be opened over his head would walk in
the glory and presence of God Almighty.
was the glory of the Tree of Life in Eden! Let me present this Tree:
"In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God...in HIM WAS LIFE; and THE LIFE was the light of
men" (Jn. 1:1,4). This life-giving Tree, the LIVING WORD OF GOD,
Christ, was from the beginning "in the world" but yet "not
of the world." when Eden's gates clanged shut behind our banished
foreparents, that blessed Tree of eternal life was never again seen by the
wondering eyes of mortal man until the day in which Jesus stood upon the
earth and declared: "I am the LIVING BREAD which came down from
heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread
which I will give is MY flesh, which I will give for the LIVE OF THE
WORLD" (Jn. 6:51). Christ WHO IS OUR LIFE has come and has been
planted as the Spirit of Life in the garden of the Kingdom of Heaven on
earth, that all may come and eat and drink and have life.
this article we want to take a look at some of the principles of life. For
three hundred years the scientific community has been rent with
discussions about the origin of life. Thus far only two theories have been
advanced by science in order to explain the origin of life. One theory is
that matter can spontaneously generate life, the other that life can only
come from pre-existing life. The first theory is called by scientists Spontaneous
Generation. The theory of Spontaneous Generation teaches that life is
capable of springing into being of itself; that at some time in history,
billions of years ago, the necessary synchronization of chemical elements
accidentally took place and life spontaneously generated itself. The
second theory is called by scientists The Law of Biogenesis. This
law demonstrates that during all of recorded history life has only come
from pre-existing life.
as in former times, people are asking the questions, "What is life?
How did life on earth originate?" The United States government
continually spends a considerable amount of money in order to study this
question. Nearly all of our space probes are concerned with the question,
"Does life exist out there?" During our Apollo flights, science
was interested in looking at the moon to determine if it might contain
some form of life. Even now, as further Mars investigation is taking
place, the question is still being asked, "Will life be found
there?" Yet all the evidence that science has received to the present
time indicates that no physical life, as we know it is present anywhere in
our solar system except here upon earth. One might ask the question,
"What is life? Is it possible to define life?" At the present
time the scientists tell us that the answer concerning the origin of life
is not available, yet most scientists still emphatically deny that life
came to earth through a creative miracle of an all-powerful God. Instead,
they declare that natural law produced the first life. To believe this,
one would have to admit that Spontaneous Generation produced the first
life, whereas the great principle of biology, the Law of Biogenesis,
teaches that life comes only from life. That natural law could produce
life is a violation of all the known facts of biology today. Many
indications today point to a time when life was not present on earth -
when the earth was only a mass of some 100 inanimate elements. According
to scientists, certain combinations of these elements had to be QUICKENED
in order for life to become present on earth. But if one begins with dead
matter, life must appear by quickening dead matter, whereas biology
postulates that life had to come from some other life. We know that life
is not now being originated on earth and that all the life forms today
spring from pre-existing life forms of the same kind.
human power has as yet been able to produce life out of inorganic chemical
substances. One of the famous attempts that was hailed by the press as a
success, was the attempt of a young Russian biologist. He succeeded in
producing, or rather, organizing five low forms of life in his test tube.
The fact that they were of the lowest forms known did not damage the
wonders of his accomplishment, as that is just what the scientists would
expect to get from inorganic substances. He arranged his chemicals in a
certain order in the test tube, subjected them to considerable heat, and
eight hours later he had a group of very small one-celled animals (infusoria)
living in the tube.
announcement startled the world of biology, and his formula was revealed,
many other biologist tried to follow his experiments. But, alas, nobody
except the discover seemed able to make it work. All that the others got
was a mass of chemicals, no more alive than they had been when they were
in containers on the laboratory shelves. So they suggested that the
discoverer repeat the experiments under observation so the rest could
watch and see what mistakes they had made, if any. The young scientist
suggested instead that they go through with the experiment while he
watched them, and he could then correct any error they made. The
last stage of the technique was to impregnate the mass with a gas before
the mass was subjected to heat, and as the experimenters proceeded to do
this, the inventor of the method said, "There is your trouble,
gentlemen; you are using chemical carbon dioxide. You must use gas
that has been generated by rotting vegetation!" That,
of course, pricked the bubble; the balloon collapsed. Gas generated by
rotting vegetation is simply teeming with the spores, or eggs, of a
multitude of living creatures, and all this fellow had done was to incubate
them in his test tube. He had created life no more than the farmer does
when he puts eggs in his incubator to hatch out by artificial heat! So we
see that all attempts to get the living out of the dead have failed. And
it is now recognized on every hand that life can only come from the touch
of life. There is no other way!
the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God seize upon our hearts and
impress indelibly upon our minds the wonderful truth that all the things
that are seen in the Natural World are but pictures and images of the
GREATER REALITIES in the Spiritual World. And in this understanding of the
impassable gulf that exists in the Natural World between the inanimate and
the animate, the dead and the living, lies the revelation that in the
Spiritual Realm there is also a great uncrossable gulf between the realm
of Spiritual Death and Spiritual Life, between the Carnal Mind and the
the background material concerning the passage from the Natural World to
the Spiritual World presented
in this article, I have leaned considerably upon Henry Drummond’s book
(out of print), NATURAL LAW IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD.
us at this point fix vividly in our minds the picture of two great
Kingdoms of Nature, the inorganic and organic, the dead and the living, as
these now stand in the light of the Law of Biogenesis. What exactly is
involved in saying that in the Natural World there is no such thing as
Spontaneous Generation of life? It is meant that the passage from the
mineral world to the plant or animal world is hermetically sealed on the
mineral side. It is simply impossible for the mineral to produce any life
or raise itself up into the Kingdom of the Living. What is the difference
between a stone and a plant? They have much in common. Both are made of
the same atoms. Both display the same properties of matter. Both may be
very beautiful. But besides possessing all that the stone has, the plant
possesses something more – a mysterious something called Life. This life
is not something which existed in the stone only in a less developed form.
There is nothing at all like it in the stone. The plant is possessed by
something new, an original and unique possession added over and above all
the properties common to both. When from vegetable life we rise to animal
life, here again we find something original and unique. It is an entirely
different quality of life as high above the plant life as the plant is
high above the dead stone. From animal life we ascend again to SPIRITUAL
LIFE. And here also is something new, something still more unique. He who
lives in the Spiritual Life has a distinct kind of life added to all the
other phases of life which he manifests – a kind of life infinitely more
marvelous than animal life. The Spiritual man is, in fact, living in a
realm of life more distinct than is the animal from the plant or the plant
from the stone.
natural man belongs completely to this earthly order of things. He is
endowed simply with a high quality of the natural animal type of life. He
has flesh as the animals have flesh. He has blood as the animals have
blood. He has a heart and circulatory system as the animals have hearts
and circulatory systems. He has a digestive system, as do the animals,
feet for walking, a brain, nervous system, etc. etc. The natural man lives
and dies, as do the animals. Paul pointed out the contrast between the
natural man and the spiritual man in Romans chapters six through eight. In
Rom. 8:5 he exposed the yawning gulf between those who live after the body
realm (which is the flesh) and those who live after the spirit. He taught
that "they that are after the flesh do mind the things
of the flesh: but they that are after the spirit the things
of the spirit." It all depends what we are AFTER. When I was a
young man I met a beautiful young lady by the name of Lorain Walker. I
decided that I wanted her to be my wife. For a year and a half I dated
her, pursued her, spent every moment I could with her, proposed to her –
and got her! At that point in my life she was what I was AFTER. This is
the idea Paul has in mind when he speaks of being AFTER the flesh and
AFTER the Spirit. We manifest whether we are a natural man or a spiritual
man by what we are after, what we are actively pursuing in our lives.
man who is forever worrying about the welfare of the physical man
will always have in mind ways and means of catering to him – how he can
provide a better old age pension, how he can get a better home, newer car,
fancier clothes, how he can provide more to see and hear and taste and
feel and smell. He expends all his energies to try to make sure the
physical man will never be in need. He is always mindful of the physical
flesh and all that does is for the physical flesh. He does nothing more
than the animals do. He lives his life out on the same plane as does the
animal kingdom. He pursues the corruptible things of earth, the things
that make for bodily comfort and pleasure, and does not mind the things of
the spirit. A man or woman who cares much about the
pleasures of the body such as eating and drinking and sexual passion,
holding in high esteem such corruptible things as houses and lands,
fine clothes, bodily adornments, bank accounts, and luxuries of all kinds,
will never, as long as his life is wrapped up in the pursuing of those
things, attain to the glory of sonship to God. It is not that such things
are wicked or abominable before God, for He has promised to add "all
these things" unto us as we seek first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness. But I declare to you that to the natural man who is
pursuing all these things they are enemies of the spirit because
they never give you leave to seek God without distraction. Carnally minded
men, whether they be people of the world or professing Christians, are
filled with delusion that those who hold in low esteem the corruptible
things of earth, turning instead to the eternal values of the spirit, are
living lives that are not worth living. But such persons do not know that
the opposite is true, for "she who liveth in pleasure is dead while
she liveth" (I Tim. 5:6).
moment we grasp the meaning of the scripture, "They who are after
the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, "at that moment
we can understand what the carnal mind is. The carnal mind is the fleshly
mind and the flesh mind minds fleshly things and none of the
fleshly things of earth have one iota of LIFE in them! "To be
carnally (fleshly) minded is DEATH" (Rom. 8:6). Not only in his
relation to that spiritual man, but to the whole Spiritual World, the
natural man is regarded as DEAD. He is as a stone compared to an organism.
The Natural World is to the Spiritual World as the inorganic to the
organic. "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art DEAD" (Rev.
3:1). "To you hath He given life which were DEAD in trespasses and
sins" (Eph. 2:1). It is not possible to know God or experience God
through any of the physical senses of the body, or through any earthly
thing. Those who dwell in the earth realm and live unto the physical world
abide in death.
man who has set his heart and affection on things ABOVE has come to the
place where he not only holds in low esteem the things of the earth
and of his own body, but he despises them as well, even hating
them, for he has learned that these are barriers to his quest after LIFE
and REALITY. Jesus knew this great truth when He said that a man could not
be His disciples unless he hated his brothers and sisters and father and
mother and even his own life also, being willing to forsake all to
find CHRIST. In the world today there is a small minority who spend their
lives minding the things of the spirit. The welfare of the inner
Spiritual man is foremost in their thoughts, for they seek to partake of
THE MIND OF CHRIST. They esteem the realm of the flesh as less than
nothing, as common dung, seeking always to be one mind with the Father.
These, being after the Spirit, mind the things of the Spirit. The
Spiritual man has partaken of a life that transcends the physical - a new
and distinct and supernatural endowment. He is no longer of this world. He
is of the timeless state, Eternity. He is, even now, a son of God and it
doth not yet appear what he shall be. The difference then between the
Spiritual man and the Natural man is not a difference of development, but
of generation. It is a distinction of the quality of life. The life of the
Natural man is of so poor a quality that it is not even life at all, for
it is filled with the corruptible mind of the flesh and the power of
death. And he is absolutely helpless to do anything about it!
inorganic world is staked off from the living world barriers which have
never yet been crossed from within. No change of substance, no
modification of environment, no chemistry, no electricity, nor any form of
energy, nor any evolution can endow any single atom of the mineral world
with the attribute of life. Only
by the bending down into this dead world of some living form can these
dead atoms be gifted with the properties of life, without this direct
contact with life they remain fixed in the inorganic sphere forever. It is
a very mysterious law which guards in this way the portals of the living
world. And if there is one thing in nature worth pondering for its
strangeness it is the spectacle of this vast helpless world of the dead
cut off from the living by the Law of Biogenesis and denied for ever the
possibility of resurrection within itself. Here we stand in the presence
of the uncrossable gulf – the gulf of all gulfs – the gulf between death
THE UNCROSSABLE GULF
Word of God contains an explicit and original statement of the Law of
Biogenesis as it applies to the Spiritual life. In the vision of the
Spiritual World presented in the scriptures, the first thing that draws
the attention is a great gulf fixed. The passage from the Natural World to
the Spiritual World is hermetically sealed on the natural side.
In the Natural World the door from the inorganic to the organic is
shut, no mineral can open it; so, the door from the Natural to the
Spiritual is shut, and no man can open it; the door from the earthly to
the heavenly is shut, and no power of earth can open it. This world of
natural men, of carnal minds, is staked off from the Spiritual World of
God by barriers which have never been crossed from within. No organic
change, no modification of environment, no mental energy, no moral effort,
no improvement of character, no religious exercise, no ritual or ceremony
or tradition can endow any single human soul with the attributes of
SPIRITUAL LIFE. The Spiritual World of God and His sons is guarded from
the world next in order beneath it, the world of the carnal mind, by a Law
of Biogenesis - "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the
Kingdom of God... except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he
cannot enter into the Kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:3-7).
is not said, in this statement of the Law, that if the condition be not
fulfilled the Natural man will not enter the Kingdom of God. The
word is, cannot. It is not that God arbitrarily shuts out the
Spiritually dead from the kingdom of the Spiritually living. There
is a scientific Law involved here. Paul by
inspiration pointed out this Law: "The natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor.
2:14). It is not simply that the natural man does not receive the
things of the Spirit, but he cannot. It is as utterly impossible
for the carnal mind to know Spiritual things as it is for a stone to
spontaneously generate life. The entrance of the Natural man into the
things of the Spirit of God is simply a scientific impossibility!
Law is: Except a mineral be born "from above" – from the
Kingdom just above it – it cannot enter the Kingdom just above
it. And except a man be born "from above," he cannot enter the
Kingdom just above him. There being no passage from the lower Kingdom to
the higher, whether from inorganic to organic, or from natural to
Spiritual, the injection of a LIFE is a necessity if a stone or a plant or
an animal or a man is to pass from a lower sphere to a higher sphere. So
long as wheat is wheat it is can never be anything more than wheat.
But when man makes bread out of the wheat, the bread rises up into
man and is transmitted into man, becoming man.
The man eats the wheat and gains two pounds of human flesh.
Whence came the two new pounds of humanity?
Why, from the wheat! Yet
wheat no longer pertains to the vegetable (plant) kingdom, it is now
raised up into the human (animal) kingdom.
It is human. The
wheat now walks, acts, and thinks on the human plane.
The earth will never possess the Kingdom of God so long as eternity
shall endure. It must be the other way about. The Kingdom of God, the
higher Kingdom, must possess the earth. Though the Kingdom of God is
within me, yet I cannot possess it. It must possess me, or it will never
been known. If I try to possess Christ, I will be as barren in the future
as I have been in the past, but if CHRIST POSSESSES ME, then I will be hid
with Christ in God and God will raise me up to find my existence in the
realm of His divine life and glory.
we consider these thoughts may God Almighty grant that His Spirit may
instruct us in the way of truth and understanding. Let us open wide our
hearts and minds before the Lord that He may reveal the eternal truth of
this subject to our hearts. The principle by which, in nature, the
inorganic is raised up into the organic, and, in like manner, in God's
economy, the natural man is raised up out of death into the life of the
Kingdom of God, is stated simply by the Lord Jesus in Mat. 13:31-32:
"Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of
Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in
his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown,
it is the greatest among herbs." Let us UNDERSTAND! How are the
inorganic, non-living mineral elements of the earth raised up into the
organic Kingdom of living things? You begin with a seed. Within the seed
is a germ of life. The seed containing the life is planted in the earth,
in the Kingdom of the dead. Once buried in the earth, with all the right
amounts of water and air, and the right temperatures, the seed germinates
and the life within the seed begins to grow. Finally the shell of the seed
bursts and there takes place a release of the life from the seed. As the
life is released it immediately seizes upon the chemical elements
in the earth, converts them into food, and then builds up living tissue
out of matter that never lived! The inorganic chemicals become
organic tissue! The dead is converted into the living! The lifeless
elements of the earth are transformed into the substance of the living
plant. This is one of the most amazing facts in nature, though it is
happening every minute all around us! Now we can see clearly what the Lord
Jesus meant when He said that the Kingdom of heaven is like unto a mustard
seed, which is the least of all seeds, but when it is sowed in the field,
and becomes grown, it is the greatest of herbs. The plant stretches down
to the dead world beneath it, touches its minerals and gases with its
mystery of life, and brings them up ennobled and transformed to the living
sphere. In like manner, the breath of God, blowing where it listeth,
touches with its mystery of divine life the dead souls of men, bears them
across the bridgeless gulf between the Natural and Spiritual, endows them
with its own holy and eternal and divine qualities, and produces within
them these new and marvelous faculties, by which those who are born of the
Spirit are said to see the Kingdom of God and enter the Kingdom
futile in the face of such truth as this is any form of self reformation!
How worthless and unprofitable the empty rituals and the vain and lifeless
traditions of Babylon's religion! Place a lifeless rock in the dead earth
and nothing will happen. Administer lifeless ceremonies and dead doctrines
to a man dead in trespasses and sins and likewise nothing will happen.
However thorough the self reformation may be, however beautiful the
traditions and doctrines of religion, however impressive and inspiring to
the soulish nature of man the rituals and ceremonies, the music and the
programs, it leaves us without life and hopelessly dead to the glorious
realities of the Spirit of God. Well did faithful Paul bear witness to the
life-giving work of the Spirit in the lives of the Ephesians when he said,
"You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and
sins...but God, who is rich in mercy, even when we were dead in
sins, hath QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST... and hath raised us up
together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus"
BY THE TREE OF LIFE
is this wonderful and mysterious quality which constitutes Spiritual Life?
What is this strange new power which can raise us up out of the realm of
darkness and death and give us eternal life and glory as sons of the
living God? The answer is brief – it is Christ! "He that hath the
Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life"
(I Jn. 5:12). Yes, beloved brother, sister, Christ is our life and He is
the only Tree of Life in the Garden where we have been planted by faith.
"The Garden," which always has the significance of the Kingdom
of Heaven, has been re-established on earth by the redemptive work of
Christ Jesus. When Jesus rose from the dead and sent forth His Spirit into
the hearts of men on the day of Pentecost, the Garden of Eden was
re-established in the earth and the Tree of Life was once more planted on
earth in the midst of the Garden. The life of Christ by the Eternal Spirit
was again made accessible to man by faith.
Is it not sadly true that there hangs over our lives that ominous
and gray cloud of our own mortality?
It frustrates all of our plans; it dampens our hopes; it diminishes
our joy. And yet, Jesus, by
His tremendous resurrection, blasts through that darkening cloud and lets
in the glorious blue sky of eternity.
He would have us know that we shall live forever.
I want you to know that is a blessed thought.
How it fills my heart with excitement to think that when we look up
into the night sky and see the magnificent galaxies, that we can know that
when these galaxies have turned to blackened embers, we who have been
seized upon by the resurrection life of Jesus Christ, shall not yet have
begun to live. We shall live
fully and forever.
this higher life of God reaches down into the earth which we are,
seizing upon the earthly elements of our natural life, quickening,
changing, transforming, raising us up into the blessed Kingdom of the
Spirit, is first to be seen in the life of Jesus as He came into this
earth realm. In the very beginning God formed man of the dust of the
ground, made him a living soul, and placed him in a garden, in a condition
and state of being, with the Tree of Life set before him. God's distinct
objective was to infuse man with His own divine and eternal life, lift him
up by quickening and transforming power into union with Himself, that he
should become like Himself. Man was to be a body for God to dwell in. The
closest and most intimate union, the indwelling of love: this was what the
Holy One longed for, and looked forward to. What was very feebly set forth
in type in the temple in Israel became a divine reality in the person of
Jesus of Nazareth: God had found a man in whom He could rest, with whom He
could enter into union, whose whole being was opened to the rule of His
will and nature and fellowship of His love. In Him there was a human
nature, and a body of flesh, to be possessed by the Divine Spirit. The
Divine Spirit would enter into that human nature, that body of flesh, and
so possess it that it would be quickened and raised up into union with God
in His very own plane of life and glory. His Sonship on earth was the
planting of the Divine Seed of the Father's life into a human body and
nature, to seize upon it, to bear it across the bridgeless gulf between
the Natural World or men and the Spiritual World of God, to perfect the
Son of man and bring His humanity into perfect fellowship and unity with
Himself. His resurrection was the entrance of human nature, free from all
the weakness of the flesh, into the life of Deity, the Divine Spirit-life.
His ascension was admittance as Man into the very glory of God; the
participation by human nature of perfect oneness with God in glory in the
unity of the Spirit. All this was fulfilled in the first-born Son, and
yet, with all this, the work was not yet complete. Something was still
wanting. Such God would have all men to be! And such all would be, as they
accepted of this Jesus and His Spirit as their life. Man is powerless to
carry himself across the impassable gulf between corruption and
incorruption, the carnal mind and the Spiritual mind, death and life. But,
blessed be God! Jesus has opened up the way.
bring a dead natural man with his carnal mind of death up into the higher
Kingdom of Divine Life necessitates the implantation of the incorruptible
seed of God into man's earthiness. The point I want to make very clear is
that the New Creation is more than the eternal and incorruptible life of
God from heaven. The New Creation is that life planted in the earth,
seizing upon the earth, changing and transforming the earth, raising it up
to find its existence in the higher Kingdom of Divine Life. Jesus is the
pattern. We know how the Word, who had from eternity dwelt in the bosom of
the Father, entered upon a new stage of existence when He became flesh.
When Jesus rose from the dead and ascended up into the Father realm from
whence He had come, He was still the same only-begotten Son of God, and
yet not altogether the same. For He was now also, as Son of man, the first
begotten from the dead, clothed with that glorified humanity which
He had perfected and sanctified for Himself. In His resurrection and
ascension He was no longer only the Mighty God, but He was the Mighty God
whose Divine Life and Nature had laid hold upon the humanity of man and
had raised it up into identification with Himself. The Son of man became
the Son of God. The whole wonderful work of Christ in redemption was not
merely to deliver man from the law and its curse of death, but to BRING
HUMAN NATURE ITSELF UP INTO THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE DIVINE LIFE, TO MAKE US
PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE. This is the work of the Tree of Life.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man
took and sowed in his field."
now at this very moment the life that we live is this body of flesh we
live by the faith of the Son of God; and that faith assures us
fully that the incorruptible seed, sown by the overshadowing power of the
Holy Spirit, shall issue forth in incorruption, immortality and eternal
life. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this
mortal must put on immortality. Death is corruption and Life
is incorruption. As the rush cannot grow without mire (Job. 8:11),
as the reed cannot grow without water, as the mustard seed cannot grow
without earth, so, in a manner beyond my understanding, the incorruptible
Christ seed, planted in the corruptible earth which we are, bears
its fruit in immortality, incorruption and eternal life; the NEW CREATION.
The seed cannot become a tree without the earth and the earth cannot
become a tree without the seed. The tree is neither the life in the seed
nor the elements of the earth. The tree is the elements of the earth
QUICKENED AND MADE ALIVE by the transforming power of the life in the
seed! Such is the New Creation. The New Creation is neither the eternal
God nor is it man. The New Creation is CHRIST, the God-man, humanity
admitted into the full glory of the Divine, human nature received up into
union with the eternal Spirit. The Kingdom of Heaven on earth is composed
of redeemed men who are putting on the divine nature and the incorruptible
life of God.
now at this very moment the divine life is at work within us, changing,
transforming, lifting us up into the higher Kingdom. The life of Christ is
not something outside ourselves. I am wearied a little because so very
often I hear God's precious people singing such songs as "Oh Lord,
Send the Power Just Now," or "Jesus is Passing This Way." I
rejoice that there are indeed those special "times of
refreshing" that come from the presence of the Lord but I can assure
you, beloved brother, sister, that you will never know the glorious
reality of sonship to God so long as you live in that consciousness and
mentality of "times of refreshing." The consuming desire within
my heart in this the end of the age is that God's chosen people might with
me become aware of the abiding presence of God. The message of life
and triumph that even in this dark and evil hour reverberates through the
yielded spirit of every saint separated unto God by His Holy Spirit is
this: It is possible for saints here and now to live with the constant and
full assurance that even as the almighty Father indwelt and continually
permeated the life of Jesus of Nazareth, so does the Divine Spirit of
Christ live and abide within those who are separated unto the Lamb to
follow Him whithersoever He goes. As the years have passed since I first
heard the call of the Spirit unto the blessed realm of sonship to God,
there has come to me an ever increasing assurance that I am dwelling and
walking in HIS PRESENCE, for He is not momentarily passing my way but has
been impregnated into my earthen vessel as the incorruptible seed of the
Word of God which liveth and ABIDETH FOREVER.
is no longer far away; He is no longer without; He is here. No
longer need saints say, "Who shall ascend into heaven to bring Christ
down from above, or who shall descend into the deep to bring Christ up
again from the dead?" The Word (Christ) is nigh thee, even in
thy mouth and in thy heart. How exceedingly wonderful are the words of
scripture: "Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is
in you?" (II Cor. 7:5). “Your
bodies are the members of Christ” (I Cor. 6:15).
"At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in
Me, and I in you" (Jn. 14:10). “We
will come unto him and make our abode with him” (Jn. 14:21-23).
"I am the vine, ye are the branches" (Jn. 15:4).
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20).
"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His
blood, ye have no life in you. Whose eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood
hath eternal life; for My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink
indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me
and I in him" (Jn. 6:53-56).
would say to you again that the life of Christ, the life of sonship, is
not something outside ourselves. The idea is not that Christ is in heaven
and that we can stretch out some mysterious faculty and touch Him there.
This is the vague form in which many babes in the Christ conceive the
truth, but it is contrary to Christ's teaching and to the analogy of
nature. Vegetable (plant) life is not contained in a reservoir somewhere
in the skies, and measured out spasmodically at certain seasons. Animal
life is not bottled up somewhere in the blue beyond and dropped down to
earth now and then when it is time for an embryo to be formed. The life is
in every plant and tree, every animal and fish and fowl, inside its
own tissue and substance, and works there as a mighty power to form even
that which is contained within the life. The life is permanently fixed and
rooted in the organism. Life is not one of the homeless forces which
promiscuously inhabit space, or which can be gathered like electricity
from the clouds and dissipated back again into space. Life is definite and
resident; the Spiritual Life is not a visit from a force, but a resident
tenant of the spirit of man. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a...
seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field." The life of
sonship is not derived from the occasional touch of Jesus as He
"passes this way," nor from the weekly reviving or refreshing
that comes to our weary souls as we gather together in our church
meetings. Thank God for the fellowship and encouragement of those of like
precious faith, but I declare to you that the life of sonship can only be
known as we become sensitive to the reality of CHRIST ABIDING WITHIN,
conscious of His Spirit speaking, His hand guiding, and His power
continually transforming the spirit, the mind and the body into the image
of Him who created them. With my poor and puny ability I cannot make the
truth of Christ's indwelling life to be a living, transforming reality to
your heart. None but the Spirit of God can perform this wonderful and
divine act of illumination. He alone can take the things of God and show
them unto you. Nevertheless, I can confidently assure you that, the moment
the grand and glorious fact of His indwelling life grips
your heart and fills your mind, the reality of His divine indwelling will
immediately begin to transform your life. Yea, and I shall further add
that the knowledge of His abiding life will also begin to change your
mind, quicken your emotions, and renew your body as well.
speaking in tongues and the gifts of the Spirit are the evidences of the
baptism in the Holy Spirit, so the redemption of our bodies from the power
of decay and death is the evidence of the manifestation of the sons of
God. "We ourselves too, who have and enjoy the first-fruits of the
Spirit - a foretaste of the blissful things to come – groan inwardly as
we wait for the redemption of our bodies from sensuality and the grave, which
will reveal our adoption, our manifestation as God's Sons" (Rom.
8:23, Amp. Bible). This change in our bodies shall not come by the mighty
working of Christ crashing down through the clouds over heads, but by the
divine inworking of His indwelling life.
Centuries ago the apostle Paul penned these wonderful words of
consolation and faith: "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, immortally) your mortal bodies BY HIS
SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU" (Rom. 8:11).
Phil. 3:21 Paul says that Christ "shall change our vile body, that it
may be fashioned like unto His glorious body." The Amplified Bible
reads: "Who shall transform and fashion anew the body of our
humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and
majesty." This phrase, body of humiliation, is a more correct
rendering of the Greek. I must confess that it is indeed humiliating to be
found in a body like this! It is humiliating to find it necessary to chew
mints to keep the breath from offending those around us. It is humiliating
to be so weary from traveling and ministering that at times it is
difficult to sit up and fellowship with God's precious saints. It is
humiliating to get laryngitis in the middle of a Convention where hundreds
of saints have gathered to receive the teaching of these glorious kingdom
truths. It is humiliating to be bald at twenty-four years of age and gray
at thirty! It is humiliating to sense weakness, to feel the labors of
years taking their toll, to see new wrinkles in the face, flabbiness of
skin and muscle here and there, reminders, one and all, of the earthiness
and mortality and corruptibleness of these fragile bodies. I will never
forget an incident in Canada some thirty years ago when I had traveled day
and night for two days to get to a Conference where I was scheduled to be
one of the speakers. When I arrived my clothes were disheveled, I need a
bath and my eyes were bloodshot. The
Conference had already started, and not knowing where I was to stay, I
slipped into the building to find someone to direct me.
I later learned that when I entered the building a number of
saints, not knowing who I was, thought a drunk had staggered into
the meeting! Body of humiliation! "Who shall transform and fashion
anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His
glory and majesty." Glorious anticipation, this!
tells us again in I Cor. 15:51-52 how this marvelous change shall come
about. "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we
shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trump." The Greek word for the "moment" is ATOMOS. This
passage is the only place in the Greek New Testament where this word is
used. ATOMOS is the word from which comes our English word ATOM. The word
carried the meaning in the Greek of that which is UNCUTTABLE or
INDIVISIBLE because the Greeks believed that the atom was the smallest
particle of matter that existed, therefore it could not be divided, cut,
split, or reduced in any way. The translators have taken this to mean that
our bodies shall be changed in "an atom of time," that is, in an
instant of time so brief that you could not make it any quicker, or reduce
the time in any measure. But does not this word ATOMOS indicate that we
shall be changed in the ATOMS of our bodies, in the very structure and
substance of our physical being, in the ATOMICAL STRUCTURE of our bodies?
"We shall be changed in ATOMS, in ATOMICAL STRUCTURE, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump!"
we yearn for this change, yea, groan inwardly for the transformation to
take place. I continually meet up with brethren who believe that they have
already put on immortality and incorruption, that they have already passed
over the grave and cannot or will not die. I must be very honest and frank
with you, my beloved brothers. I have not one whit of a desire to live
forever IN THIS BODY OF HUMILIATION. There is no more repugnant thought,
no more frightful possibility, than the idea that I might live forever in
this body of humiliation! The thought of such limitation, the suggestion
that I might have bathe, brush my teeth and use Scope throughout eternity,
the hint that I may retain this same form, that I might be as I am
unendingly, falls as far short of what I comprehend of a body made like
unto His body of glory and majesty as does hell fall short of heaven!
The body of the resurrection shall resemble this vile body no more
than does the mustard tree resemble the chemical elements of the earth
which were raised up into the substance of the tree by the mighty working
of the subtle and mysterious life-force sown in the earth as a seed.
of God! If we would be fashioned like unto Him, co-sharers of His glory
and power and wisdom as the God-man, we must not simply rest content with
the faith that trusts in the cross and its pardon; we must follow on to
know the fullness of the New Life, the life of glory and power in human
nature, injected into man through the resurrection of Christ from the
dead, of which the Spirit of the glorified Jesus is the witness and the
source. Now, practically everything in relation to our sonship depends
upon the clearness with which this great truth that I have stated is
recognized. The Holy Spirit of God inspired the message of these words in
Rom. 5:9-11: "Much more then, being now justified by His
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we
were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,
much more, being reconciled, we SHALL BE SAVED BY HIS LIFE... and... we
joy... in our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the
double provision of Christ is here clearly set for: reconciled by
His death; saved by His life.
Christ’s death is the atonement, reconciling men to God, granting
a full and free admittance back into Eden’s lovely garden from which our
disobedient foreparents were once banished.
But Christ’s life is the Tree of Life in the garden, the
source of the life which shall work in us the complete transformation into
the divine nature. Sin,
sickness, sorrow, fear and death are all part of a power in our
life; let us fully understand that it can only be met by another higher
power. The power of sin and
death works all through our life. The
death of Christ, which is the atonement, reconciles us to God, but only
the life of Christ can come against the power of sin and death and deliver
our life from destruction. Reconciliation
places us, in God’s eyes, back in Eden’s garden; but the Tree of Life
is the power that delivers my life from the dominion of son and death.
He redeemeth my life, by His life, from death!
Christ’s life, not His death, living in our life, absorbing it,
impregnating it, transforming it causes us to live.
This is the meaning of that profound sentence in which Paul records
the first great work of salvation and pointedly distinguishes it from the
second great work of salvation, saying, “If when we were enemies we were
reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
shall be saved by His LIFE,” says Paul.
Paul meant no disrespect to the atonement when he said, “We whall
be saved by His life.” He
was bringing out one of the great facts of salvation.
If God gives atoning power with one hand, and power to save the
life from destruction with the other hand, there is no conflict between
these. Both are from God.
If you call the one justification and the other glorification, God
is the author of them both. If
Paul seems to take something from the one work and add it to the other, he
takes nothing from God. Atonement
is from God! Reconciliation
is from God! Power to conquer
sin and death is from God! Christ
is all in all, the beginning and the end.
When the thing we want is deliverance from the guilt of sin,
condemnation, let us appropriate the gift God has given us to remove our
guilt – the DEATH of Christ. “In
whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of our
sins” (Col. 1:14). When the
thing we want is power to redeem our life from sin, corruption and death,
then let us apply the gift which God has given us for our life, the LIFE
of the Son of God. “He that
hath the Son hath life.”
an Israelite was bitten by flaming serpents in the wilderness, he never
thought of applying manna to the wound.
The manna was for his life.
But he did think of applying the brazen serpent.
The manna would never have cured his snake bite; nor would the
brazen serpent have kept him from starving!
Suppose he had said, “Now I am healed by this serpent, I feel
cured, and I need not eat this manna anymore.
The serpent has done it all, and I am well.”
The result would have been, of course, that he would have died.
The man, to be sure, was cured, delivered from the judgment of his
rebellion against God, but he has to LIVE, and if he eats no manna his
life must languish, go to destruction, die.
Without going to any trouble about it, simply by the inevitable
processes of nature, he would have died.
The manna was God’s provision to redeem his life from
destruction, after the serpent had redeemed it from judgment.
And if he did nothing to stop the natural progress of corruption,
in the natural course of things, he must die.
Now there is no contradiction between these two things – the
manna is from God and the serpent is from God.
But they are different gifts for different things.
The serpent removed the judgment, but could not sustain life; the
manna gave life, but could not deal with the sentence.
To apply this to the case in hand: The death of Christ, on
the one hand, is the brazen serpent.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must
the Son of man be lifted up (on the cross)” (Jn. 3:14).
Christ’s life, on the other hand, is the manna – the
bread of life. “This is the
bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not
die. I am the living
bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he
shall live forever. And the bread that I will give is My flesh,
which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:50-51).
all the wealth of scripture truth nothing is more certain or clear than
the fact that our sins are not forgiven by bread, nor are our lives
nourished and supported by death. Our
life is not made incorruptible and eternal by Christ’s death, nor
transformed from day to day from the power of sin and death by the
atonement. Our life is not
redeemed from destruction by the crucifixion of Christ, nor is it brought
to perfection from day to day by the death of Christ.
But we are saved, as the Holy Ghost saith, “by HIS LIFE.”
We cannot live upon death. And
after, by the atonement, we are forgiven, and have entered by faith
through the gateway into Eden’s fair garden, the Kingdom of Heaven on
earth, having acceptance before God, we shall then be saved, delivered,
changed, transformed, perfected and fully glorified BY HIS LIFE.
The atonement gives us the right to enter back into Eden, but only
the tree of life can make us live! To
sum up, therefore, it is one thing to be reconciled by the death of
Christ, and quite another to be saved by His life.
If reconciliation and justification could make men to be CONFORMED
TO THE IMAGE OF THE SON OF GOD then all the baby Christians in all of
Babylon’s harlot religious systems would be well on their way to sonship.
The death of Christ can make one a justified believer, bringing him
to life, but only the mighty working of the indwelling life
of God’s Christ can enable us to put on the mind of Christ and be
transformed in thought, desire, emotion, nature and body into His
likeness. He redeemeth my
life from destruction. How?
By His life. This is
the power of a full and complete salvation!
Unspeakable are the blessings of the high and heavenly realm of
God’s incorruptible life which flow to the soul form the union with
Jesus in His glorified life.
may be serious differences of opinion about the promises of Christ's
coming again. To one it is plain as day that He is coming very speedily in
person to reign on earth, and that speedy coming is his hope and stay. To
another, loving the Lord and His eternal purposes no less, the coming of
Christ bespeaks the full and glorious revelation of Christ in and through
His glorified many-membered body on earth. There is much interest in the
study of those things which must shortly come to pass in the earth: The
coming of the Lord, the great tribulation, the manifestation of the
antichrist, the mark of the beast, one-world government, the World Church,
the millennial kingdom, the two witnesses, the place of the United States,
Russia, China and the European Common Market, etc. etc. etc. How often
God's chosen ones get more caught up in the understanding and exposition
of all these things than in the putting on of the mind of Christ in
union with HIS INDWELLING LIFE. It is by abiding in Christ the Glorified
One that the believer will be quickened to that truly spiritual looking
for His coming, which alone brings reality within. It is not our analyzing
of the schedule of so-called end-time events, nor the correctness of the
views we hold, nor the earnestness with which we advocate them, that will
prepare us for the momentous things that lie ahead, but the abiding in
Him, the heavenliness that shows that the Coming One is indeed already our
life. Thus only can our being manifested with Him in glory be what it is
meant to be - a transfiguration, a breaking out and shining forth of the
INDWELLING GLORY that had been waiting for the day of revelation.
Blessed life of the ages! We have the possession within our earth of its
hidden power, and we have the prospect before us of its fullest glory. May
our daily lives, in all we think and say and do, be bright and blessed
proof that the hidden dwells within, daily preparing us for the glory to
be revealed. May the eternal and incorruptible fruit of our redeemed life
within be our power to live to the glory of the Father, our fitness to
share the glory of the Son.
Writings in This Series: