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Three Trees in the Garden 1


A PEOPLE WITH A PURPOSE ANTICHRIST ECHOES FROM EDEN RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS Eternity The Coming World Government The True Basis of Redemption The Mystery of His Will All Things Reconciled By Man Also Becoming God's Will The Wages of Sin is Death God is Love (Eby) The Church Triumphant Definition: World, Aeon Definition: Eternal Not in Our Stead, But for Us Christ - Our Advocate & Ransom Til All Men Know The Secret of Job That I May Attain The Harness of God "Ebb & Flow" and "The Cascades" The Garden of Eden Eternal Life God is Love (Walters)


- J. Preston Eby -

 

THREE TREES IN THE GARDEN

 

 

"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 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).

 

One of the many Oriental symbols which, when understood, opens the door to a storehouse of marvelous truth is the word TREE. It has pleased God, on the unveiling of His great plan and purposes to couch His truth in Semitic symbols which are so natural to the Asian mind. Both the Old and the New Testaments are full of a pictorial symbolism which, when understood, is far more expressive than a thousand words in many instances. However, the symbolisms of Scripture also force those who would understand to plunge far beneath the surface to see its more profound meanings. Two things are absolutely essential to the understanding of the great truths of God contained in symbols. One is to search out and understand Asian customs and the characteristics of the Hebrew mind. The other is the SPIRIT OF REVELATION from God!

 

           Jesus employed this method of teaching – using symbols. In fact, the scripture says: "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in PARABLES, and without a parable spake He not unto them" (Mat. 13:34). The word "parable" is translated in the Old Testament from the Hebrew word (mashal) which means "a similitude or likeness." In the New Testament it is translated from the Greek word (parabole) meaning "a pithy and instructive saying, involving some comparison and having perceptive or admonitory force." Another Greek word translated "parable" is (paroimia) which is "a symbolic or figurative saying which shadows forth some didactic truth."

 

           It is interesting to note exactly when Jesus began to use this method of teaching. So abrupt was the change in His form of teaching that His disciples asked Him why He did this. Jesus answered, "Because it is given unto YOU to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to THEM it is NOT GIVEN" (Mat. 13:11). It has pleased God to set forth much of His deeper truth – the mysteries of the Kingdom – in such a manner that it becomes revealed to the Spirit-anointed mind while at the same time remaining concealed from others. And so it was that Jesus often closed His public teaching with this statement: "He that hath ears to hear, let HIM hear!" May God give us ears!


TREES REPRESENT MEN

 

           Trees are used to represent men all through the Scriptures. In Isa. 61:1-3 the trees represent God's chosen ones at the end of this age. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me...to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called TREES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, the PLANTING OF THE LORD, that HE might be glorified." In Ps. 1:1-3, speaking again of God's elect people, the Spirit declares: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly...but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a TREE planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Again in Ps. 92:12-13: "THE RIGHTEOUS shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be PLANTED IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God."

 

           Pointing to the day when the Lord shall come forth to deal with all the nations and bring His glorious Kingdom to pass in all the earth, the Spirit says: "Say among the nations that the Lord reigns; the world also is established, that it cannot be moved; He shall judge and rule the people righteously and with justice. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice...THEN SHALL ALL THE TREES OF THE WOOD (the people) sing for joy before the Lord!" (Ps. 96:10-13).

 

           Of wicked and impious men David said, I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree" (Ps. 37:35). Jude described certain apostates in the early Church in these terms: "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness … these are spots in your feasts...TREES WHOSE FRUIT WITHERITH, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots" (Jude 1:4,12).

 

FRUIT AFTER ITS KIND

 

           The word "tree" makes its first appearance in the Bible in Gen. 1:11. "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind...and it was so." At first glance it would seem that this is simply a declaration that God is the creator of fruit trees, but such is not the case. It is true that God is the creator of all things, including fruit trees, but this verse has much more to it than merely a declaration of origins. The statement of particular interest is that the FRUIT TREE is to yield fruit "after its kind." This is, of course, a statement of scientific fact and natural law. Apple trees produce apples and orange trees produce oranges and so on. But if we stop there we fall short of what all this means in the symbolic language of Scripture. For this "after its kind" law is a fact not only in the physical world, but in the SPIRITUAL WORLD as well!

 

           Jesus spoke of this "after its kind" principle when he said to Nicodemus: "That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH, and that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT" (Jn. 3:6). Jesus explained to Nicodemus that in order to enter the Kingdom of God human beings have to be born again – becoming the offspring of a NEW STOCK.

 

           James has a great commentary on this principle in the third chapter of his epistle, as he comments on the unbridled tongues of men: "Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives? Either a vine, figs? Neither does a fountain yield both salt water and fresh! Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good life his works with meekness and wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. Such wisdom is descended not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish, for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom which is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easily entreated, full of mercy and GOOD FRUITS, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. The FRUIT of righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace."

 

           Finally, Jesus says, "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. WHEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM" (Mat. 7:16-19).

 

THREE TREES IN THE GARDEN

 

           It is abundantly clear that different kinds of trees are used in the scriptures to represent different kinds of men. It is, therefore, of special interest to examine a little further the significance of the three kinds of trees in Eden. I have explained in previous articles that these three kinds of trees are: (1) all the trees of the garden, (2) the tree of life, (3) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The three kinds of trees stand for THREE KINDS OF MEN. Now, we know that in the beginning there were not three kinds of men, for there was only one Adam.  Then came Eve, but she was one in substance and nature with Adam, so we still have only one kind of person. However, in the one man Adam we do have three POTENTIAL kinds of men! Adam was a particular kind of man, yet he had the POTENTIAL to become an altogether different kind of man – either a higher and better kind, or a lower and worse kind. So in Eden, while we have only one man, we have three potential kinds of men in that one man.

 

           It is plain to all who see with spiritual eyes that the tree of life represents CHRIST who IS our life. Christ has been manifested on earth as a man, the second Adam, and Christ is THE TREE OF LIFE KIND OF MAN! "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). All of those who make up that blessed company of men and women who are "in Christ" are the TREE OF LIFE KIND OF PEOPLE, the kind Adam could have been if he had appropriated his POTENTIAL upward in God.

 

When Christ comes into us, He comes within as the all-sufficient Spirit to make us all that we must be as God-men. Soon, now, there shall come that long-awaited manifestation of the sons of God to this sin-cursed world. Creation shall be set free from its bondage to corruption. We shall behold the glory, wisdom, and power of the Son of God manifested in all fullness in a many-membered body right here upon this earth. These sons are even now putting on the fullness of His divine life in spirit, soul and body. They are being transformed into His image, filled with His wisdom, quickened by His life. How the whole creation groans and travails for this! The work of preparation is even now in full swing; Paul tells us that this is when Christ shall come "to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day" (II Thes.1:10). Let us believe it, beloved; for He comes to be glorified in all them that believe (for it) in that day! Hallelujah!

Here I would share some inspired and challenging words from a brother we labored with some years ago. He began with the beautiful text from the Gospel of John, chapter six. "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; he that believeth on Me shall never thirst … it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." In order to understand the great mystery that Jesus is seeking to reveal to us in these verses, you need to understand the word, "quickeneth," that is used in the King James translation. It is an old English word that the King James translators used to describe the original wording in the Greek scripture, which meant "to give life," or "that giveth life," or "that is the source of life." So what Jesus was really saying here is, "It is the Spirit that giveth life," or "It is the Spirit that is the source of your life." The next thing we need to understand in order to comprehend this great mystery is that when Jesus said, "It is the Spirit that giveth life," or "is the source of your life," He was not talking about the Holy Spirit of God alone, but He was talking about your own spirit, for, "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Cor. 6:17). Your own quickened, regenerated, recreated, born-again spirit – which is the Son of God dwelling in you – is the source of your Life.

The next thing we need to understand, to comprehend this mystery, is the meaning of the word "profit" Jesus used here when He said, "The flesh profiteth nothing." Now the profit on any investment is always the increase. It is that which was not, which is created out of the investment’s creative powers of that which one starts with. If I invest a thousand dollars, and it brings back two thousand dollars, then the second thousand dollars is the increase, the profit, that is literally brought forth out of the creative powers that were in the first thousand dollars to increase itself, to double itself, when properly invested. Therefore, this word "profit" is a creative word. It implies the power to create, to increase one’s self, or to reproduce one’s self. Therefore, when Jesus said, "The flesh profiteth nothing," what He was trying to get over to us is that there is no creative power in the flesh — in anything that is physical and material in this earth. It cannot increase itself, it cannot reproduce itself; in fact, it can’t even sustain the life that it has, for if our spirit was to depart from our flesh body, it would immediately begin to deteriorate and go back to the dust from whence it came. When Jesus said, "The flesh profiteth nothing," He was revealing to us that every visible, carnal, natural, material, physical thing in this world, including our own flesh body, is not creative. It has no power to increase itself; it doesn’t even have the power to sustain its own life. All it can ever be is the visible manifestation or expression of the Life of Spirit, and of the creative power that is in Spirit.

On the other hand, when Jesus said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth," or "It is the spirit that giveth life," or "is the source of your life," what He was seeking to reveal to us is that the spirit is creative, that our regenerated spirit has creative power. Therefore, the great mystery and the great truth that Jesus was seeking to reveal to those who can receive and understand it is that it is our own spirit that is the source of our life, that we carry the source of our life around in our own beings; and therefore, our own spirit being the source of our life we are not dependent on anything outside of our own being for our life. For you see, when you are a source, you are the beginning. A spring from which a river comes out of the earth and flows into the earth is the beginning of that river. It is the source from which the water of that river comes. And therefore that’s what Jesus was trying to get over to us – that since we have been born of the seed of God, and since Christ, who is the beginning and the end, is that regenerated, recreated, born-again spirit that is within us, it is your spirit that giveth life, or that is the source of your life, and being a source within itself, is therefore not dependent on anything outside of itself for its life. For when you are a source, you are the beginning; therefore you are not dependent on anything before you or anything after you, or anything outside of you for your life. The truth that Jesus teaches us is that we carry the source of our life within our own spirit and we are not dependent on any fleshly thing outside of our own spirit for our life. It is because Jesus came to the revelation of this truth and the reality of it within Himself that He could step out into the world and say, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." Knowing that He carried the source, the beginning of His life within His own spirit, He could say, "I am the beginning." Knowing that the creative power that was in His spirit to bring forth His final destiny, and that that destiny was under the control of the creative powers that were within His own spirit, He could say, "I am the end." 

When Jesus said, “The flesh profiteth nothing – it is the spirit that quickeneth, that is the source of your life,” He was revealing to us the great truth that the source of our life is not in the flesh, not in the visible, not in the carnal, physical, material things, or anything that is of this natural world; but all those things are but outward manifestations of the creative powers that are in the life of Spirit, and that the source of our life is in our own spirit.  Now the problem with all of God’s people, you see, is that they have not known this great truth.  They have thought that they are dependent for their lives on the carnal, material, physical things of the flesh of this world – natural money, natural housing, natural clothing, natural food, natural body, natural abilities, the laws completely dependent upon them that if we were cut off from them – if we lost our job, lost our money, lost our housing, lost our food – we thought that we would die!   For you see, this is the great life that the devil deceived man with through the fall.  When man lost the consciousness of his spiritual nature, and degenerated down into the consciousness of the carnal, natural nature, the devil convinced man that he was dependent upon the visible and the physical and the natural for his life – natural money, natural job, natural business, natural body, natural housing, natural  clothing, natural possessions, natural food – natural, natural, natural!  We have been so convinced that that is the source of our life that we have been scared to death that if we were cut off from that source of life, we would die.

Jesus, in our text, when He was out in the Wilderness with his people, and needed bread, by-passed the natural resources, by-passed the wheat field, by-passed the flour mill and sat down on the ground, and through the operation of that spiritual law of faith, drew right out from within His own spirit enough bread to feed five thousand people.  For you see, beloved, there is a source of life, and all that pertains to life, including bread that sustains life, which is not dependent on the natural resources of this world.  It is the original source of life – SPIRIT.  The Bible makes it very clear that all life, and every manifestation of life that is in this universe, originally came right out of Spirit.  Thus the apostle Paul says in Heb. 11:3 that through faith we understand that the worlds were framed, by the Word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  Therefore, the Bible says that everything in this world which is visible and physical – in the beginning, originally, was not made of something visible or tangible already existing – which does not appear – but was made of the resources that came originally right out of Spirit, by the spoken word of faith.  Therefore, you see, Jesus, as who was not subject to the laws of nature, neither underneath them; and therefore not dependent on the natural resources for bread, but could by-pass them.   He was a spiritual Son of God who was sovereign over all physical laws, and therefore could go right back to the original source of bread and draw it right out of His own spirit.

Do you notice how easily Jesus did this?  The scripture says that Jesus instructed His disciples, “Make the men sit down.”  You see, when you get bread from this source, you don’t have to get it standing up, with a plow or a sickle in your hand, laboring and sweating, as men have for six thousand years, since they’ve been under the curse; but you can sit quietly down and bring forth all things sitting down.  The men sat down, and Jesus sat quietly down with them.  The record states that Jesus just quietly took the loaves of bread, and when He had given thanks, he distributed it to the disciples – as much as they would.  You see there was no shortage here.  Everyone got to eat as much as he wanted, as much as he would!  And Jesus did it so smoothly and so easily – He simply sat down, gave thanks, and began to hand it out.  He didn’t have to go through all the soulish and natural things that we do today, in order to work up a little faith.  He didn’t have to go through a thirty-minute praise service, dance around in the spirit for ten or fifteen minutes, speak in tongues, prophesy, and then say, “In the name of Jesus, let there be bread!”  This great truth that we’re seeking to share with you, that it is the spirit – the Spirit of Christ in your own spirit – that the source of Life, had become so real to Him that, moving in the spiritual law of faith, He could draw it, effortlessly, right out of His own spirit.

Out of the experiential knowledge of this great truth Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.” Simply because He knew that through coming into the world and shedding His blood to cleanse us of our sins, and make us clean vessels, so the Holy Spirit could recreate us, regenerate us, birth us again, restore us to the consciousness of our true identity, grow us up in the Spirit to that place of manifested sonship that He was at, whereby through Him in us, we might go back to the original source of Life, and of Bread, and of Reality, for He is the Bread of Life to us; not this natural world system, neither the natural resources of this natural world system.  It is the Spirit that createth Life, the flesh profiteth nothing.  Jesus said it this way: “That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of the spirit is spirit.”  He set before us two ways of life.  You can live your life in the flesh, or you can live your life in the Spirit. You can walk in the flesh, or you can walk in the Spirit.  You can draw your existence out of the natural realm, which passes away, or you can draw your existence out of the spiritual realm, which liveth and abideth forever.  You can live your life according to natural law, or you can prepare your mind and heart to live your life according to Spiritual Law.  To you today, as to men of old, Jesus says, “Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but labour for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life.”  You see, beloved, the problem with us is that we have spent all of our life laboring for the meat that perishes; working in business and labor for the natural meat, wearing ourselves out, growing old and weary, our hair turning gray, sweating and toiling always for the meat that perishes, and often have not spent a balance of time and effort laboring for the spiritual meat that will endure when all the natural meat has perished.  Yes, the bread that Jesus fed the five thousand was natural bread, although he drew it out of the realm of Spirit.  But by learning and knowing and moving in that realm of the truth source of Life He was able to go on and by the same law of faith overcome all natural things and, finally, conquer even the last enemy – death – and stride victoriously out of the tomb!  Therefore it is time for all who have received the call to sonship to begin to labor for the Spiritual Meat that shall endure into everlasting life, when all the natural meat has passed away! (end quote).  That Spiritual Meat is Christ – the glorious Tree of Life!

"All the trees of the garden" represent the realm of life, the living soul, in which Adam lived before the fall. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man become a LIVING SOUL" (Gen. 2:7). Man did not come forth from the hand of God on earth as a glorious shining spirit-being, neither did he begin his existence in Eden as the depraved, sensual, animalistic creature he is today. Man stood in Eden as 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 carnal knowledge. But it was also a plane of life lower than, and inferior to that glorious realm of DIVINE LIFE which was available to man in the tree of life within.

Christianity today has no need greater than the need to know the power and glory of the CHRIST WITHIN. CHRIST is the image of God, the scripture says. I know these words may seem to be incredible but they are truth – the very first mention of the "image of God" is applied, not to Jesus Christ, but to our forefather ADAM. "And God said, Let us make MAN IN OUR IMAGE, after our likeness: and let them have dominion … so God created MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GOD created He him" (Gen.1:26-27). As we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty, and bearing His own divine nature, character, power, and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. Thus, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best and fully expressed in the man Christ Jesus who shed upon mortals the truest reflection of God and lifted man's sights higher than their poor thought-models would allow. Jesus revealed to men their true origin, heritage and destiny. He came to show man what man really is, was intended to be, and through redemption shall be – THE IMAGE OF GOD. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. In Jesus Christ you see man as he was in the beginning and as he ever shall be world without end – THE IMAGE OF GOD. Of Him it is written, "He is the expression of the glory of God – the Light-being, the out-raying of the divine – and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God's nature… (Hebrews 1:3, Amplified). Christ, and humanity in Christ, is like a ray of light which comes from the sun – man the outcome of God, reflects God. 

Contrary to popular teaching man has never LOST the image of God, although the image has been obscured, distorted, marred and corrupted by the usurpation of the carnal mind, the outer man. A lost image is NO image. The true likeness cannot be lost in divine reflection. It would be like fire without light. The out-raying image of God is like the Word of God. To destroy the Word of God you would have to destroy God Himself, for God and His Word are ONE. To destroy the image of God would necessitate the destruction of God, for God and His image are ONE. The apostle Paul confirms man 'I', as God's image in his remarkably significant words to the saints in Corinth: "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he I-S THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD" (I Cor 11:7). 

After having created the SPIRITUAL MAN (man in God's image) in Gen. 1:26, we find a further work wrought upon this man in Gen. 2:7. "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life; and man BECAME a living soul." Reading this passage we have the definite assurance that, as man has first been "created" on the sixth day a spiritual man, the image of God, a further work is being carried forth by the same almighty Creator and the man is now being "formed" into another expression: "FORMED of the dust of the ground," and so BECOMING a "living soul" -- manifest in the earth realm. The first is the "created" man, the second the "formed" man. The first is a "spiritual" man, the second a "physical" man. The first bears the image of the "heavenly," whereas the second bears the image of the "earthly." The first is known unto God in the SPIRIT, the second is manifest to creation in the MATERIAL WORLD. But I do not hesitate to tell you, my beloved, that both of these men are but aspects of the very SAME MAN! 

The next point we have to note is the nature of the fruit that Eve ate.  Over the years various interpretations have been given as to what kind of fruit the innocent couple partook of.  There is a popular notion first spawned by the Hebrew Sages, that it was an apple that Eve ate.  Others maintained that it was the grape, the potent fruit of the vine.  Others were convinced that it was the fig.  And still others argued in favor of the bread-providing grain, while some even believed they could prove that it was the pomegranite.  Indeed, with the spread of the Bible to exotic lands, there were those who claimed the banana to be the only conceivable fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  But the Bible knows nothing about any of this childish prattle!

Gene Edwards once dramatized the encounter with the tree of knowledge in this way.  “Adam’s teeth were just about the pierce the skin of the fruit of the Tree of Life when he heard his wife call out to him, ‘Adam, come here; I’ve discovered something wonderful.   I have found the most wonderful tree in all the Garden.’  Adam walks toward his wife who is a distance away, but yet very near to the center of The Garden.  There stands this beautiful, black, brackish, glowing tree that glows in light that’s dark.  It radiates – as the sun radiates light this tree radiates darkness.  Wonderful, beautiful, glowing dark radiates out from it.  There is something senuous that causes one to swoon in the presence of this tree.  Just to be near it is to be intoxicated and there is a sense of the quickening of the mind.  Out of the glowing darkness the serpent appears, dancing melodiously, his body swaying hypnotically back and forth.  Looking to the right and to the left, then drawing near to Adam, he says in a haunting melody, ‘If you eat of this tree you will not die, but rather you will be AS G-O-D!’  Adam understand now why he has been forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – for he will be as God.  Adam pickes up the fruit.  It becomes more radiant.  Its sensuous odor permeates the whole atmosphere.  Even without eating it Adam is intoxicated by the fragrance.  He looks into it and seems to see all understanding of all things.  A strange power moves through him.  He lifts it to his mouth in the most tragic act of universal history the last moment of sanity this earth will know for eons disappears as Adam buries his teeth in the fruit.  The juices, the intoxicating exotic nectar flow into his mouth and quickly enters his bloodstream.

“They are standing there in the midst of the Garden.  Adam has eaten.  He feels the hypnotic power of the fruit pulsating through his body – and truly the serpent hasn’t lied – he now understands and knows as God knows.  He knows evil as God knows evil – except that Adam knows it instinctively and experientially, whereas God knows it by His omniscience.   Adam is not capable of handling such knowledge, whereas God has power over all things.  Adam knows good as God knows good – God knows good because he IS GOOD; Adam knows good by contrast because he has discovered its opposite.  Adam’s eyes have glazed over and become milk-white, glowing with a mystical transluscence.  He is as one drugged, he has lost all touch in this moment with the spiritual, heavenly realm.  And in his mad delusion he dreams that he is God.  Great, compelling thoughts course through his mind that seem so legitimate and reasonable – and yet in the light of another day will be totally meaningless.  Thoughts spiral, his mind chases off into places he has never been; it is free now to roam through all kinds of conjectures and rationalizations.

“Whereas man had always moved by revelation he now moves by logic.  He had always understood by spiritual perception; he will now live by natural rationalization.  He had always been guided by deep intuitiveness; now he will have to use his intellect.   His emotions which were totally balanced and harmonious have now gone wild.  His mind has gone, by any previous standard, mad.  His will has grown stronger and it has grown weaker – much more self-will, but less concern for creation and less will to resist evil.  His love has turned to lust.  Need is turning to greed.  Joy has turned to pleasure.  Fellowship with God has degenerated into religiousness.  He has become unresponsive to the spiritual realm and his understanding of spiritual things has been turned to superstition.  Death is turned loose in the universe.  Sin now reigns supreme in a fallen world.  You may think you have just heard the saddest story ever told, but it is about to become far, far sadder.  The story intensifies in its tragedy.  Man’s genetic code has been infected, altered, fractured.  Out of his loins will come a mutation, a degraded, fallen, biologically different species, and will fill this planet.” – end quote

The fruit that Adam and Eve ate that fateful day in Eden was the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   Note this very carefully.  What kind of tree is specified?  It is the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil; and so the meaning is obviously allegorical.  No such tree grows literally on the earth, even as no such literal trees as the “tree of life” or the “tree of the living soul” grow on earth.  The truth of the matter is Adam and Eve did not eat an apple or a pear or whatever kind of fruit that grows on natural trees.  What kind of fruit, then, did they eat?  What they ate was the fruit of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil.   If an apple tree produces apples and a peach tree produces peaches, is it not then reasonable that this particular tree called the knowledge of good and evil would produce good and evil?  What think ye?  This was no tree like we know of trees today.  When Adam and Eve partook of the produce of this tree it thrust them immediately into the throes of the dreadful conflict between good and evil. 

Ray Prinzing wrote: “With the partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil man entered into a state of duality and conflict which would last for ages, until Christ has subdued all things to His control.  God had warned them against partaking of this ‘mixed fruit,’ but man, in his own self-will, yet under the purpose of God, proceeded to eat of the fruit of the tree, and found himself in the midst of the conflict from that time onward.  Producing his Cain and Abel, his Jacob and Esau, his Ishmael and Isaac – and out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing (James 3:10).  Such duality produces conflict, and conflict destroys our inner rest.”

Not only did the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represent a state within man, it represented a message, a word, a knowledge.  The KNOWLEDGE or WORD or UNDERSTANDING or TEACHING or MESSAGE or REVELATION of good and evil!  The fact that it was a knowledge of good an evil bespeaks its composition.  It was a message that Adam received, a wisdom from a realm within his consciousness, that caused him to be enlightened in an area he had never experienced.  It was the tree of natural understanding.  Natural understanding is a realm of incredible darkness and deceit.  The voice of the serpent spoke words of death concealed in deceit.  The deceit was all in the interest of Self-knowledge.  The fruit of this tree also contained a seed.  It was by the knowledge of good and evil that the original corruptible seed was planted in Adam’s heart.  The knowledge of good and evil was not all bad.  It was pleasant for food, delightful to look at, and was desired to make one wise. 

In contemporary terms it would run something like this.  When we look at the fruit eaten by Eve, it is described in Hebrew in purely positive terms.  Ki tov ha-etz L’ma’ achal” – the fruit was good for food, ridiculously low in cholesterol, calories and fat content.   Ta’ava hu L’einayim” – lustful for the eyes – it was beautiful packaged, an esthetic delight, worthy of a gourmet’s table.  And finally, “Nehmad ha-etz L’haskil” – it was good for the mind, probably protein-rich to strengthen brain cells!  It is very difficult to deceive someone if the message being taught is not attractive.  The items that we purchase in the stores, we most often buy because of the attractiveness of the package or the allure of the taste.  The fact is, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is being offered week after week across the pulpits of the churches!  There are vast multitudes today who are not conscious of the fact that they are eating of the same tree Adam and Eve partook of in the garden.  And it has been much too recent, beloved brother, sister, that you and I have eaten of that tree!

Adam's sin in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lay in his walking after the flesh (sense realm) instead of the Spirit. It consisted in his making the outer, physical, material, sensual man his center, identity and existence rather than the inner man of Spirit. The remarkable thing is that he perceived not that all that pertains to the material world is illusionary, transitory, corruptible. Sensual treasures are laid up "where moth and rust doth corrupt." Mortality is their doom. Death breaks in upon them, and carries off their fleeting joys. The sensualist's affections are as imaginary, whimsical, unreal and short-lived as his pleasures. Covetousness, fleshly passions, gluttony, drunkenness, immorality, fame, fashion, vanity, worldly wisdom, political power, military might, envy, hypocrisy, revenge, hate, and so forth, pass away with the works thereof. Stripped of its coverings, what a mocking spectacle the flesh is! When the almighty Creator counseled the first man and his wife, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," He gave precisely the same instruction in wisdom and prudence that the apostle Paul offered long milleniums afterwards when by inspiration he wrote, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:5-6,]3). Life is in the SPIRIT WITHIN, and with what joy and satisfaction do we now entertain the precious promise, "therefore brethren we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, YE SHALL LIVE. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ..." (Rom. 8:12-17). 

George Hawtin has eloquently expounded on this thought, and I share a few of his valuable insights. "Well did the apostle Paul know that the vast mass of humanity was 'at home' only in the REALM OF THE BODY. They belonged entirely to an earthly realm where things are visible, audible, and touchable. Their minds seldom mounted higher than things physical, and when for a few moments they did rise to walk upon a spiritual plane, they were not really 'at home' there, but waited for the moment when they could LAPSE BACK to the NATURAL AND NORMAL, for that is where they were 'at home.' So, while men are 'at home' in the body, they are 'always absent from the Lord' (II Cor. 5:6-7), absent from the spiritual world of true reality. HEAVEN IS CLOSED TO THEM. Their minds dwell in the realm where men buy and sell, plant and build, marry and are given in marriage. They dwell in a realm of eating and drinking, of finding pleasure for the body, amusing their minds with silly things of the world, absorbing, listening to, or looking at some fictitious thing that serves only to amuse the natural man, keeping his heart away from the realm of eternal reality." 

My heart burns within me and my spirit is flooded with joy unspeakable and full of glory as these sacred and wonderful truths find lodging and substance within my consciousness. With what clarity I see that when Adam stood between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in that long ago Eden, his future condition was to be shaped by the tree-identity (consciousness) he pursued. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit" (Rom. 8:5). It is all a matter of what you are AFTER! These are the two trees: spirit and flesh, life and death, truth and error. Every man who ever lived has had his center, his identity and his existence in one of these two trees. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are not fossilized relics from some ancient age. They are living, breathing, enduring, ever-present realities throughout all generations, and each of us in God's great today is living by one or the other of these two trees in every thought, word and deed. The tree of life (spirit) invariably ministers incorruption and immortality, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (flesh) unfailingly leads to death. 

Again I would share significant and enlightening words from the able pen of George Hawtin. In his excellent paper, THE PASSING AND THE PERMANENT, he explains, "Now, since the flesh lusts against the Spirit and is at endless conflict with it, then anything that seeks to make you earthly and fleshly-minded is a great evil. The things that belong to the realm of the flesh are passing away. Even the flesh itself is passing away. Anything that is passing away is not real. It is like a bubble that floats prettily in the air only to burst never to exist again. It is like the darkness that disappears with the dawn and has no certain dwelling place. It is like a flower in the field that blooms for a moment and disappears, a vision of the night, a fleeting shadow, a moment of joy, a passing sorrow, or a sudden pain. When such things have passed by, no one knows where they came from or whither they have gone. Those, however, who indulge themselves in the things that belong to the body grow to think that nothing is true or real but what is bodily and can be touched or seen or eaten or drunk or enjoyed by the passions of men. Unwittingly they change true riches for false; things that are unseen by mortal eyes for things that are seen. They exchange things that are spirit for things that can be touched, tasted, and felt by the body. The soul now begins to think that these things which belong to the body are real and therefore becomes fleshly minded The carnal or earthly mind is an enemy of God and an enemy of all things spiritual. 

"It is small wonder then that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God; for all things connected with the natural belong to time and change, while all things belonging to the spiritual are eternal and changeless. So then all who would come to know the WISDOM OF GOD, and the REVELATION of the Lord, must turn their spirit from the realm of the physical and changing, the corrupt and mortal, and fly away into the realm of the pure, eternal, unchanging, and immortal. It is only there that rest and truth are found, and, abiding there in the Spirit, even the body itself begins to be lifted from corruption to incorruption and from mortality to immortality. We said a moment ago that when the soul comes into the realm of the flesh, it becomes carnal and fleshly minded because it is dragged into the realm of the body. Inversely then, when the soul and spirit dwell in the secret place with God, they lift the body till it also becomes incorruptible, immortal, and eternal. While the spirit and the body are united and dwell together, one must always be in subjection to the other. Either the body will be servant to the spirit or the spirit will be servant to the body. One will be the servant and be ruled. The other will be the master and rule. We cannot avoid this conclusion. Either the flesh will rule the spirit, or the spirit will rule the flesh. Since, however, the flesh is like the mortal and changing, and the spirit is like the immortal and unchanging, then the spirit is the one who should be the master. If the spirit is the master, it will save the flesh by lifting it to the realm of God and immortality, but if the body is master, it will ruin the soul by dragging it to the realm of the carnal, the mortal, the changing" – end quote. 

When the Lord God lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed, by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it, transform it, infusing it with the qualities of Life--holiness and incorruption. Jesus, the last Adam, came and demonstrated for us this very principle. This potential in man to rule the natural by the spirit is shed forth in Jesus' mighty works--by His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins, and raising the dead--He transcended by His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal realm. The great significance of Jesus' mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand that He did not perform as a unique, different kind of man--all His wonderful works were the teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD. As the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost--mankind's heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High. Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully proclaimed to His disciples, "The works that I do shall YE DO ALSO; and greater works than these shall YE DO" (Jn. 14:12, Paraphrased). 

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a tree, whose fruit, if man ate of it, would cause him to live in the consciousness of good and evil.  Good and evil were one tree, not two trees.  Mankind has made the terrible mistake of thinking that good and evil are not of the same tree, that being evil is different than being good.  However, both good and evil are the knowledge and wisdom of that one tree.  We are still operating in the same tree, whether we are a little good or very good, a little evil or very evil.  So people either do not care that they are evil, or else they try to be good.  At that point they get into an even greater delusion for they think that because of their good they have gained some merit or are in a right standing or state of acceptance before God.  They would not do that if they understood the great truth that both good and evil are in the realm of death.  Both are of the tree of sin and death, in a knowledge of God that has to do with good and evil, but nothing whatever to do with REALITY AND LIFE.

As someone has written, “Man is a horns-and-halo personality.  He is capable of killing or curing, hurting or healing, maiming or mending, bludgeoning or blessing.  From his lips flow forth both lies and truths.  His hands are equally skilled at cracking safes or setting bones.  His feet have scaled the highest mountains, but they have also taken him to the lowest depths of depravity.  His imaginations have soared to the heavens, as in the case of Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ or Milton’s ‘Paradise Regained,’ or they have scraped the pits of the nether world in vulgarity, pornography and sexual deviancy.”  Pick up any newspaper any day in the year and the headlines will read like this: “Prominent Physician Kills Wife,” “World War Threat Seen by Statesman,” “Murder of Ten Children Sent to Electric Chair,” “Bank President Emblezzles Millions,” “Hollywood Star Divorces Ninth Wife,” “Police Break up Drunken Orgy,” “Two Children Murder Infant,” “Prominent Government Official Commits Suicide,” “Two Killed in Teenage Gang War,” or, to change the tempo: “Steel Magnate Leaves Millions for Peace Foundation,” “City Purchases New Recreation Area for Underprivileged Children,” “Thousands Pack Arena to Hear Evangelist,” “Doctors Find Cure for Cancer,” “Record Number of Citizens Attending Church,” “Thousands View Remains of Noted Humanitarian,” “Religious Film Breaks All Box Office Records.”

Earth is clearly a battlefield between the forces of good and evil.  Each of us in his appointed place is an active participant in that battle on one side or the other.   And most of us have, at one time or another, been on both sides!  There are people outside the Christian community today who have very high ideals and moral standards.   They live exemplary lives, far above the lives of many who profess to be Christian, and even above some who claim to be Spirit-filled.  Then there are those in this world who live a degraded life; they appear to be the dregs of humanity.   But there is an amazing paradox in all these things.  There are lofty lines and noble thoughts in both prose and poetry that have been expressed by men who were as immoral as it is possible to be.  Some of the greatest talent in the arts is in people who lead immoral and dissolute as well as undependable lives.  But through those miserable and perverted lives shone through thoughts and works which were beautiful beyond compare.  Good and evil!   This is the knowledge and state of all mankind.  It is impossible to find a wholly wicked person; some good necessarily clings to him.  On the other hand, it is difficult to find an entirely good person, for somewhere deep in his or her life lurks the darkness of a wicked heart waiting only for the right conditions to suddenly erupt in some sordid expression, which catches everyone by surprise.

God told Adam and Eve that in the day they ate of it they would surely die. There was death in the tree. The spiritual mind has no trouble whatever in understanding that Paul was speaking of that very same tree when he wrote to the Roman saints, saying, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is DEATH; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God... if ye after the flesh YE SHALL DIE: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:5-13). Ever since that fateful day in Eden man has been feasting on the tree of the flesh and the carnal mind. When our foreparents were banished from Eden's fair portals they were cut off from access to the tree of life and for four long millenniums mankind trudged through the slime of corruption and death without hope and without life until the day which Christ stood again upon the earth declaring, "I am the LIVING BREAD which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever!" (Jn. 6:51). But nowhere does the Scripture indicate that man was ever cut off from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fall of man is more than an historical event in the past, it is a constant and present reality. The past is absolutely meaningless unless it relates to the present.

Let all who read these lines thoroughly understand that when we discuss the Garden of Eden, the Serpent in the Garden, and the fall of man, it is not with any idea of drawing an historical sketch. The past is meaningless unless it relates to the present. It is because we see repeated all around us, day after day, generation after generation, the same carnal, fleshly attitudes and activities that brought about the original fall, and in the repetition of these attitudes and activities there is the tragic and dreadful departure from REALITY and the LIFE of the Spirit of God, even among the Lord's own people who dwell in the Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. So obvious and incontrovertible is this fact that I do not hesitate to say the Garden of Eden is not so much a past event as a present and continuing event. It is a crisis leading to a process---a continuing unfoldment. This is the tragic effect of man's first departure from God. It happened back there in the past.. . but it continues to happen because the spirit of Adam is within us all! It is, then, for our own instruction and learning that we draw on the lessons brought to us by that past event, which though it occurred long millenniums ago, still finds a place of relevancy not only in our modern society but among all who name the name of Christ and, sadder to say, within those who have received the call to sonship and have gone "without the Camp," as well. 

Seeing, then, that the three kinds of trees in Eden represent three potential kinds of men, I want to point out that they also represent the three potentialities WITHIN MAN. Adam once walked as a living soul when he abode in the undefiled life in which he was created. Man now walks in the corruptible realm of the carnal mind as he follows after the lusts and desires of his flesh. Men are able to walk as spiritual men only after Christ's life has been impregnated within by the renewing of regeneration. These three states of being are the three trees of Eden, and all three are INNER POTENTIALITIES and INWARD REALITIES.  The man who is born of God is a tripartite being - spirit, soul and body. The spirit (which is dead or unresponsive to God until regeneration) is the realm of GOD CONSCIOUSNESS, the soul is the realm of SELF CONSCIOUSNESS, and the body is the realm of SENSE CONSCIOUSNESS.  These three parts of man, indeed, these three kinds of men, are revealed in the three kinds of trees in the garden.

When one understands that the man who is born of God is a triune being, then it is easy to see that such a man possesses a set of THREE of ALL HIS FACULTIES. This is a most wonderful truth, not generally understood. For example, let us look at the heart. The scriptures give almost endless detail concerning the heart. The Bible makes the heart to be the secret of life and expression. "AS A MAN THINKETH in his heart, so is he," is a widely quoted proverb (Prov. 23:7), but few there be who actually know what is meant by the word "heart." This saying, like "Let Jesus come into your heart," is used again and again by persons who have not the slightest idea where the biblical "heart" is located. Yet, if we compare scripture with scripture, it is quite clear that the word "heart" is a Hebrew word picture for the inward soulish nature; the seat of the volition, emotions, and intellect which we might call the "control center" of the inner being. It signifies the center or inner part or seat of thing. Therefore the Holy Spirit says, "My son, attend to My words; incline thine ear unto My sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thine with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:20-23). The heart is used to describe that area of man's soul life which determines how he will think, what he will do, or what he will become. The heart is thus the nature, the genetic code contained in the soulish life. In man's soul the heart is the central power. As the heart is so the man. The desire and the choice of the heart prove what a man is already, and decide what he is to become. Just as we judge of a man's physical character, his size and strength and age and habits, by his outward appearance, so the heart gives the real inward man his character; and the hidden man of the heart is what God looks to when rendering a judgment in regard to man. 

THE THREE HEARTS

           Man does not have more than three main parts in his whole being. As human who have been born of God's Spirit we have a spirit, soul and body. We do not have a fourth and separate part such as the heart. However, each of our three main parts has a heart! I do not hesitate to tell you that it is a fact that you actually have THREE HEARTS! Firstly, within your body you have a biological heart. This heart is the hollow pear-shaped muscular organ located in the left of the middle chest that pumps the blood through your body. It is about the size of your fist and weighs from ten to twelve ounces. The life of the flesh is in the blood, therefore all the physical senses are dependent upon the faithful work of the heart. When your biological heart stops beating your body is dead.

 

            Secondly, within your soul you have a psychological heart. Psychological comes from the Greek word "psyche" which means "soul" or “mind.”  In looking at this psychological or soul heart, let us bear in mind that the soul of man is now polluted because of the fall. When Adam transgressed the satanic (fleshly) spirit possessed him so that the whole nature of man became defiled and took on a satanic character. God, by His indwelling Spirit, reproduces Himself within the regenerated man "after His kind." It is equally true that satan has reproduced himself within the unregenerated man "after his kind." The spirit within a man is revealed by his words, actions and mental attitudes. The seed of God is known, and the seed of satan, which is "The Spirit of Disobedience," produces another kind of fruit whereby the child of the devil is recognized. While God is omnipresent, filling all things with Himself, yet He is perfectly formed and expressed as a life and nature through His children in whom He dwells. Likewise, satan is perfectly formed and expressed as a life and nature through his children in whom he dwells and is revealed to be "the SPIRIT that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2).

 

           The fallen man and the serpent are today so ONE that you cannot distinguish between them. I will go into this in detail in future articles on THE SERPENT, but suffice it to say that it is most enlightening to read the words of Jeremiah who said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that "the heart is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). We should not find this so amazing a passage of Scripture if it were not for one important thing. Jeremiah did not list an exception, saying, "The heart is deceitful above all things, PERIOD! Since Jeremiah spake by the Spirit of God this could not possibly have been a slip of the tongue or something uttered before it was thought through. If the heart is deceitful above all things, it naturally follows that there is nothing more deceitful. The heart of man, then, is the MOST DECEITFUL THING IN THE WORLD!

 

           A friend has shared the following inspired observations: “There is no doubt whatever in my mind that Jesus had this very scripture in mind when He spoke the words recorded in Mk. 7:15-23. ‘There is NOTHING,’ He said, ‘from WITHOUT A MAN that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, these are they that defile the man.’ Having said that, He uttered the statement that so often followed His teachings when there was contained in them a MYSTERY. ‘IF any man have ears to hear, let him hear.’ If we will be honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that we have fostered and taught for generations a concept that directly contradicts the words of Jesus Christ, for we have, indeed, declared that there IS something from without a man that can enter into him and defile him. We have called him satan (an adversary), and so he is! We have called him a murdered and a liar, and so he is! We have had much truth about him – but the one thing we have NOT known about him is his LOCATION! We have said that he was without – Jesus said that he is within! If there is NOTHING from without a man (and in the Greek that reads: ‘not one thing’) that entering into him can defile him, then we must conclude that satan's activity is not primarily without but within.

 

           “As we continue to read this passage, we hear Jesus say, ‘For FROM WITHIN, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, coveteousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come FROM WITHIN and defile the man.’ Every sin category imaginable is contained in this discourse. Everything that a man could ever think or do that is evil is said by Jesus to come - not from outside of man but from within! In our consideration of this passage, there is one all important phrase that we must be careful to note, for it is the key to the true nature of satan and the heart of man. Jesus said, ‘For from within out of the HEART OF MEN...’ It is imperative that we notice the grammatical number of the two words here. The word ‘heart’ is singular being in the Greek in the genitive SINGULAR case. The word ‘men’ however is plural being in the genitive PLURAL case. We have, then, ONE HEART – but many men! This heart is the heart of the corruptible soul life, the self, the inward nature of man inherited from fallen Adam, one great nature shared by all the inhabitants of the earth, the very heart of Adam shared with his many-membered body!” – end quote

 

There is nothing holy or God-like about this soulish heart. There lie scattered throughout the Bible no less than forty titles for this heart. Let us run over their names. It is: a stony heart, a trembling heart, a hypocritical heart, a deceitful heart, a proud heart, a backslidden heart, a fearful heart, a deceived heart, a rebellious heart, a whorish heart, a despiteful heart, a bitter heart, an uncircumcised heart, a beast's heart, a hard heart, an obstinate heart, a presumptuous heart, a warring heart, a fretting heart, a haughty heart, a desolate heart, a despairing heart, a discouraged heart, an erring heart, a hating heart, a mischievious heart, a mad heart, a fainting heart, a divided heart, an exalted heart, a veiled heart, a blind heart, a naughty heart, a lying heart.

 

           Over the soulish heart of every unregenerated man or woman there hangs an impenetrable veil of outer darkness that keeps men blinded to the glory of all spiritual thing. Even in reading of the scripture the veil is over their eyes, and they sit in blindness and outer darkness until a totally NEW SPIRIT and NEW HEART is given them. Then and only then does the light shine upon them. This is what Paul was saying to the Corinthians when he wrote of unregenerate Israel that "their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away" (II Cor. 3:14-18).

 

           Thus far we have seen that the body of man has a heart known as the biological heart and the soul of man has a heart that can be called the psychological heart. There is yet the third kind of heart, the spiritual heart, which resides within the spirit of every man, although in a state of spiritual death or unresponsive to God until our spirit is quickened by His spirit. 

 

The heart is the organ of our inclination and affection toward things. All our inclination, affections, delight and desire are functions of the heart. Before we were regenerated, our soulish heart was inclined toward sin, loved the world, and desired the things of the flesh; toward God, however, it was cold and hard, without inclination and without affection; toward the things of God and spiritual things, it had no delight and was void of any desire.

 

           The prophet Ezekiel, foreseeing the days of this remarkable regeneration, prophesied, saying, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Eze. 36:26). When a man is regenerated by the Spirit of the Almighty he receives both a new spirit and a new heart. The new heart is contained within the new spirit, for it is the heart of the Spirit, which Spirit is the Spirit of the Lord. God Himself is Spirit and God Himself has a heart. The Spirit of God spake through Jeremiah, prophesying of these last days, saying, "And I will give you pastors according to MINE HEART, which shall feed you with understanding and knowledge" (Jer. 3:15). On another occasion the Lord said to Israel, "And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which thing I commanded them not, neither came it into MY HEART" (Jer. 7:31). These verses show that God has a heart. His heart is a SPIRITUAL HEART, the seat and center of His own divine nature from which proceed all His thoughts, attitudes, desires and actions. When we are born of God's Spirit we inherit GOD'S HEART. This is the spiritual heart, a heart of the same nature and quality as God's own heart and becomes the heart of the NEW CREATION MAN. This is an altogether new heart, one that we did not possess before. The new creature which God has created in Christ Jesus is a new creature because the Lord has given him a new Spirit and a new heart! Glory!

 

THE NEW COVENANT AND THE NEW HEART

 

           The new spirit and the new heart bring us into a new covenant relationship with God. The object of a covenant is to define and settle the relationship between two parties who enter into it, and to secure the fulfillment of their commitments to each other. Hear now what the Lord says about the new covenant and the new heart: "But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel...not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead out of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people" (Heb. 8:6-11).

 

           Let us meditate deeply upon this new covenant and its wonderful provisions. The fault, weakness and unprofitableness of the old covenant stood in the fact that it was merely an external law given to men with desperately wicked hearts who were completely without strength to perform that which was demanded of them. Here is the difference! The new covenant stands in the power of an INNER LIFE. The former is impotent, the latter is mighty. The promise of the new covenant is to convert the external law into an inner life, to put it so in the heart that it shall be the inmost life, so that, as naturally as the heart wills and lives and acts on earth, it shall will and live and do what God demands. Why does an acorn so spontaneously grow up into an oak? Because the law of the oak is written in the heart of the acorn. The life of every creature on earth acts with delight in accordance with the law of its creator, that is, its inner nature. God and His holiness, Christ and His Holy Spirit, if they belong to us, must be as near to us, as essentially within us, as truly inherent in our own life, as our own thinking, willing, and doing. And so God promises that He will put His Law in our minds and write it in our hearts, in such a way that it shall be our inner nature, our very life, and we shall act according to it as naturally as we think or live. Yes, He will do it! So that we can say, even as His first-born Son said, "Thy law is within My heart; I delight to do Thy will, O God."

 

           God does not change His laws to suit man's wicked heart. He gives man a new heart which is in harmony with His law so that the heart of the converted man loves the law of God. Yea, he so loves the law of God that he need no longer receive the command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," for his regenerated heart already overflows with love for his Lord, and such a command would be both superfluous and dishonoring to him. Therefore the law is said to be done away. No longer need he be commanded to love his neighbor, because the love of Christ in his new heart causes him to love all mankind. Such a man need not be told, "Thou shalt not steal," because the very thought of robbing those he now loves is repulsive to his pure heart. He would freely give and give again that his neighbor might be blest, but he could take nothing from him by stealth or guile.

 

           In these evil days, when all the world and most Christians are eagerly making the lusts of the flesh their plaything, it is my heart's desire and earnest prayer to God that those elect saints who read these words will lay hold of them by faith. The Holy Spirit, through the power within your NEW HEART, will conquer that old heart of deceitfulness and wickedness and change you from glory to glory until you reach that same image of Christ if you earnestly walk in the life and power of the new heart. How easy it is for any of us to reveal in the glory of this blessed hope of sonship that shines before our eyes like a diamond in the sun, only to turn around and become absorbed with our business, our toil, our earthly pursuits and pleasures, thus neglecting the hope and failing to ENTER INTO the promise! If we are hearers of the Word only and do not experientially lay hold upon the promises and make it part of our very existence, we are deceiving ourselves as James has pointed out: "For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was" (James 1:23-24). Such a man is a forgetful hearer, and I see no promise that such a sluggard will ever attain to the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. Look into your new heart, my brother, my sister, and you shall see the image of Christ. Let us continually yield ourselves to the PURPOSES OF THE NEW HEART (Acts 11:23; Heb. 4:12).

 

WALKING IN THE NEW HEART

 

           It is the spirit that quickeneth. It is the spirit who overshadows our being, forming the Christ-life within. At the time of our regeneration THE CHRIST LIFE, planted within by the creative energy of the Holy Spirit, is the only pure and holy and undefiled thing within our beings. The body is still flesh and the soul is still corrupted. The body is yet mortal and the heart of the soul is yet deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. The most zealous saint on earth will have to admit, if he be honest, that though he has become alive unto God in the spirit, this wonderful new life is concealed within a womb of flesh and carnality. Simple proof of this fact is easily gained by observing some of the thoughts and desires that pass through your mind and emotions in unguarded moments. The object is to bring the soulish heart to death so that the soul may live solely as the expression of the spirit. The body, likewise, must become the temple of the spirit as we are admonished in I Cor. 6:15-20.

 

           It is a great truth I declare to you when I say that whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, all these things without exception will be found in the new spirit and in the new heart. When Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God," He was not speaking of carnal heart changed by some scheme of self reformation into a good heart. The only change that can come to a man is TURN FROM the soulish heart UNTO the spiritual heart, for the only heart on the face of the whole earth that can be pure is the spiritual heart! Some translators have changed the word "pure" to "clean" - that is, "clean in heart." But the word "clean" is not adequate. It is wonderful to have a clean heart, and the spiritual heart is a clean heart, but a pure heart is something more than that. We may be clean, but mixed, and therefore not pure. To be pure means not only to be clean but to be single - unmixed. You can take a cockapoo dog, which is a cross between cocker spaniel and poodle, wash him and groom him and he will be "clean," but he can never be pure. He is clean, but he is mixed in his nature. To be pure in heart means to not only have a clean heart but to have an "unmixed" heart. To be mixed does not mean just to be dirty, but to have more than one aim and goal.

 

           This is the problem with many of God's precious people. They think they have nothing wrong with their hearts because they are clean and without condemnation. But they are not truly pure, because they have more than one goal, more than one aim. Yes, they are aiming at God, but at the same time they aiming at several other things. They may be aiming at God and the prestige of a doctor's degree. They may be aiming at God and the building of the largest or most beautiful Church building in town. They may be aiming at God and material prosperity with its luxury of fine home, cars, clothes, etc. They may be aiming at God and the promotion of "their ministry" with the recognition it brings. Our hearts, brethren, must be purified until we have only one purpose and quest in life – the Lord Himself! Only then can we stand among that blessed company of the pure heart who SEE GOD.

 

No greater tragedy can ever overtake a man than that, after he has been saved by God's grace, cleansed by the blood of Christ, made a partaker of God's Holy Spirit and given a new heart, he should then mingled his affection with things on the earth and not set them entirely on things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. What a tragedy that he should forget that his old self, yea, his old heart is to be reckoned as dead, and his true life is hid with Christ in God to appear and become manifest as Christ becomes manifest in his believing heart! Listen, my brother, and hear, my sister! The children of God are so busy! They are running here and there as though the Lord could not get along without their officious help. One would think that the Lord is not as interested in His own Vineyard as they are. They are organizing, and bringing together all kinds of machinery to run the Lord's business; they are inventing intricate and clever systems to get men saved, and to entertain them so that they will remain saved (?). Everybody feels that they should be "doing something for God." This sounds reasonable to the natural mind; so men mingle the thoughts, schemes, ideas. plans, purposes and ambition and zeal of the SOULISH HEART with the new inclinations and affections of the SPIRITUAL HEART; consequently christians rush about in every direction like ants on an ant hill, doing this and doing that, going here and going there, organizing this and organizing that, promoting this and promoting that, praying, preaching, planning, toiling, giving their money, working themselves into nervous wrecks, even neglecting their families and homes, cultivating the vineyards of others and letting their own experience remain on the surface. They find no time to wait upon God in earnest prayer, to sit at His feet in yielding submission and sweet communion, to learn of Him. They spend no time in learning to KNOW the Lord of the Vineyard!

 

There is clearly a difference between what is related to the human soul and what is truly spirit.  The word the Bible uses for flesh is PSYCHE which is also the word for soul.  What is soulish is fleshly.  The “sins of the flesh” are the mental/emotional things such as anger, jealousy, hatred, pride, selfish ambition, emotionalism, etc.  What we have to remember is that many of the so-called “spiritual” things that we do are in fact fleshly and sensual.  Listening to Handel’s Messiah may be just as fleshly and sensual as drinking beer in front of the television set.  Multitudes attend religious concerts and programs to be entertained and experience sensual enjoyment – they aren’t worshipping God at all.  And in worship services, the “inspiration” we get from stirring songs, the beat of instruments, clapping hands and rousing sermons can be just as sensual and self-centered (soulish) as the inspiration we get from a football game.  Some religious sects deliberately attract the overly emotional.  In religious meetings their preachers work on the emotions of their congregations, encouraging outbursts of emotional response.  “Is this alright?  Is this good preaching?  Somebody say something!  Come on, help me now!  Somebody say Amen!”  They “work it up” – generate increasingly energetic and noisy displays of soulish emotion.  But Jesus Christ set no such example.  Nor did any of the early apostles.

 

Religion today is THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.  If you have watched the T.V. Evangelists, have you ever wondered what is taking place?  Eldon Purvis explained it this way: “The stadium, or auditorium, fills up with people, then the minister comes out with his silk suit and flashing rings and starts walking back and forth.  He will start with a word from the Bible, then with the Bible in his one hand, he will walk or run, waving his hands, from one side of the platform to the other.  He will get everyone singing and finally he shouts, ‘Say Amen, brothers and sisters.’  They all shout ‘Amen’ and ‘say it again’ is his response.  The suggestion is made to hold hands and pray for whatever he suggests – don’t forget Uncle Joe in the hospital.  The time comes for the silver and gold while something is working on the SOULS OF THE PEOPLE.  The standard conclusion is… the spirit is moving… but what spirit?  Oftentimes the above reminded me of a rock concert where the crowds go mad and wild.  Put that same preacher in a room with ten people and he finds himself powerless.” – end quote

 

No man can walk this path of sonship apart from the cross.  When the blessing of God comes, when the power and glory of God arise upon us, what happens?  We speak either out of the life of God with no self-consciousness, or self takes the credit for what we have received and struts about like a peacock, with its tail all spread out, parading flesh before men.  Self will assume the title of “Reverend,” “Head Elder,” “Senior Pastor,” “Bishop,” “First Apostle,” “the Prophet,” “General Overseer,” or “God’s man of faith and power for this hour,” subjecting the people to his dominion for prestige, power or gain.   I do not hesitate to tell you that men who have never denied self and who know nothing of the work of the cross have been blessed by God with gifts and self has usurped these gifts and used them for its own ends – building vast empires of flesh in the name of the Lord.  These men of reprobate minds presumably serve God but are dedicated to material gain.  They promote what they term a “faith message” or a “life message” with joy, peace, miracles, blessings, healing, prosperity, glory, fame, power, and anything else you can invent which would appeal to the lusts of the flesh, and make life on earth one continuous glorified “Disney World” experience.  In the name of Jesus Christ, and under the banner of spiritual ministry, they separate the simple, God-fearing saints from their money. These religious racketeers, wearing the masks of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, promise blessing, healing, miracles and prosperity – BUT NOT WITHOUT A PRICE. Their “prayer request” forms are attached to their “offering” forms, subtly suggesting that if you GIVE you will GET. Their clever promises and adroit manipulations have led tens of thousands of distressed and needy souls to send in their meager incomes in hope of a miracle in return. The apostle Paul bluntly describes these crafty promoters of greed and warns the godly against their message and methods in these forceful words: “ . . . men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that GAIN IS GODLINESS: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain . . . and having food and raiment let us therewith be content. But THEY THAT WILL BE RICH FALL INTO TEMPTATION AND A SNARE, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL: which while some have coveted after, they have ERRED FROM THE FAITH, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (I Tim.6:5-11). Again, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose GOD IS THEIR BELLY, and whose glory is in their shame, who MIND EARTHLY THINGS." (Phil. 3:18-19).  The flesh, the soul, the self is the greatest enemy of the spirit and all that is spiritual. 

 

All the way to glorification this inner antagonist is present. This is why every revival God has ever sent through the ages ended in apostasy. Satan – not the Devil with horns and pitchfork – but that inward Devil of fleshly wisdom, sense-knowledge and carnal zeal – has a subtle way of identifying himself with every move of the Spirit of God, so as to corrupt it from within. Many years ago F. J. Huegel wrote: "Students of the great Welsh Revival (1900-1903) say that the wonderful stream of Divine Life little by little lost its saving efficacy, as another stream from a very different source, naturally very filthy, began to mingle with the River of Water of Life proceeding from the Throne and from the Lamb. 'Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them' (Job 2: 1). Beware of false fire. Beware of the counterfeit glow. When the soulish takes the place of a pure working of the Holy Spirit, you have a 'revival' whose fires, though they purport to be from Heaven are more likely to be from Hell. There are any number of 'doors' through which Satan may enter to get control of revival. An undue stressing of the emotional; excitement which grieves and suffocates the Holy Spirit who works quietly; a glorying in the evangelist rather than in the Saviour he preaches; dap-trap methods; self whatever the form in the ministry itself, obstructing Christ, veiling His cross and His glory; these are some of Satan's keys." – end quote.

The same sad story has been chronicled for us in our generation by George Hawtin in his excellent booklet, MYSTERY BABYLON. Speaking of the events that surrounded the great Latter Rain outpouring of the Spirit in 1948, he says, "The spirit of Babylon goes much deeper than sects and denominations. It is a mystery the spirit of which seems to be deep-rooted in the heart of man. It is like an octopus with many arms reaching in all directions. If it cannot catch you with one of its arms, it will enfold you with another. It is like a demon which, being cast out, will return with seven other demons more powerful and cunning than itself. You do not have to look for the spirit of Babylon in some great and powerful denomination: you will find it in your own heart if you look close enough. Mystery Babylon is in the forehead.

"Perhaps it was a miracle. I do not think it was chance. I learned that men could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So I sought and found this blessed new experience in God, and joys flowed like a river as the Comforter came in. But here again the arms of another daughter of Babylon began to enfold me. Was I going to join their church? Was I going to preach for them.? Was I going to take out papers and credentials? This time I was persuaded, and I did, and for seventeen years thereafter I was a faithful slave of the organization, speaking its language and building its visible tower. But I was never fully satisfied, though I loved the work, I loved the people, and I loved the students of my old Bible School. Many dozens of them went out to minister far and wide and many found their way to distant and foreign lands. I am sure their rewards will be many, indeed. All the while there was a longing for a freedom which I did not know, a relationship with God that I did not have. Many times I taught the people that some day God would send a revelation of truth, but the very denomination we had so faithfully built would not be able to receive it When finally that revelation did come, they were not able to receive it, and those of us who did receive were vomited like Jonah from the belly of the denominational whale, thrown up upon dry land, for we had sickened his stomach.

"God does not leave you in a dry land for long if you are bound to be one with Him. Should my life be very long on earth, I shall never be able to forget the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power that came to our classroom as we waited on God that glorious 13th of February, 1948, when God began to do a new thing that was destined for a time to shake the church all over America. How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs on earth went sweeping up the sky steeps while angels stood at heaven's gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued. Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the mercy seat. People came for thousands of miles to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life and it looked for a time as though the walls of Babylon were to be broken down and the whole church would come marching to Zion.

"But the Babylonian captivity was not over yet. As I look sadly in retrospect now, I can see with great clearness that the great and blessed move of God was not two years old before the sectarian spirit began to show its ugly head and men began to hide the Babylonish garment in their tents together with the silver and the wedge of gold. The old Babylonish garment was well hidden deep beneath the earth of the tent, but it was there nonetheless, and the whole move was becoming more and more enfolded by another tentacle of the great octopus. Stricter and more rigid became the teaching and the discipline. There was to be no fellowship with anybody who was not within the confines of our ever narrowing circle. We were the true church. We were the elect. We stood on the foundation and all other men stood on sinking sand. No man must cast out a devil unless he followed us. No teaching was worth the time it took to tell it unless it originated with us. We were the most spiritual people in the world. We were going to reign in the kingdom and even now we were beginning to reign. We had the gifts of the Spirit, and we were going to 'call the shots' in the tribulation. The elders were no longer fathers, but men who were to carry out the will of those who were lords over the heritage of God. Everything was cut and dried and firmly enfolded in the arms of another of the harlot daughters of the Babylonian system. We boasted of the gifts of the Spirit, but what had become of them? Where were the healings? Where were the miracles? Where was the faith, the gift of languages, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge? The only thing that was left was prophecy and it became a weariness to the flesh, flowing continually from the mind of man and scarcely ever having any fulfillment. Prophecy that has no fulfillment comes from one of two sources: from the mind of Satan or from the mind of man, but never from the mind of God. How often I have listened to people fumble for words as they prophesied thus giving the lie to their words having been inspired of God. How is the faithful city become a harlot!" — end quote. To this faithful testimony I would add — again the sons of God came and presented themselves before the Lord, and how clearer can it be that SATAN CAME ALSO AMONG THEM!

The entire religious world is today walking in fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind. Fleshly wisdom always seems to "make more sense" than does the wisdom of God! Satan causes carnal wisdom to prosper because it is denial of the life of the Spirit, so that many times Christians and churches operate contrary to the Spirit with the argument, "It works!" Their method of evangelism is contrary to the ways of the Spirit, but since it works they continue in it. The "program" of the church is contrary to true spirituality, and is built generally around flesh-appeal activities of ceremonies, concerts, social activities, sports, Sunday School contests, puppet shows, movies, special speakers, sensationalism and other carnal tactics and techniques, but the organizations continue in it because "it works" and causes the "church" to prosper in numbers and in finances, while their spirits remain dwarfed and hideously shrivelled and stunted, if indeed they have been quickened at all! It must be remembered that if anyone or anything prospers on principles other than the life of the Son of God, that person or thing is being prospered by the Devil and not by God!

Turn with me to two verses of scripture in Gal. 3: 3 and Phil. 3: 3-4. "Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" "We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit… and have no confidence in the flesh.” The flesh is the name by which the Word designates our fallen condition — Satan in man. Well did William Law write these words of keen insight: In this antagonism of the flesh to the Spirit the flesh has TWO DISTINCT STRATEGIES. On the one hand, the flesh lusts against the Spirit in its committing sin and transgressing God's commands. This is the evil of the flesh. On the other hand, its hostility to the Spirit is no less manifested in its seeking to serve God and do His work! This is the good of the flesh. In yielding to the flesh, the soul sought itself instead of the God into whom the Spirit could have raised it. Self-effort and self-development prevailed over God's life. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts its power, refuses to let the SPIRIT ALONE LEAD, and in its effort to be religious, wants to serve God independent of the Spirit and is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the Spirit. It is because of this cunning deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes place what Paul speaks of to the Galatians; "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Unless the soul is brought into absolute submission to the Spirit, the surrender to the Spirit being very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be kept up in great dependence and humility, what has begun in the Spirit, very early and very speedily passes over into confidence in the flesh.

Right where the flesh seeks lo serve God, there it becomes the strength of sin. Do we not know how the Pharisees, with their self-righteousness and carnal religion, fell into pride and selfishness, and became the servants of sin and the children of the Devil? Satan has no more crafty device for keeping men out of life than inciting them to a religion, even a serving of God, in the flesh. He knows that the power of the flesh can never conquer sin nor please God, that in the flesh and the serving of the flesh no one will ever become a son of God, for those who become sons not only defeat the Devil in the wilderness of temptation, but also deny their owns souls, wills, plans, abilities, desires, ambitions, hopes and dreams to declare: "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me; for I do always those things that please Him. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (John. 8: 28-29; 5: 19; 14: 10).

Child of God, if you feel that something is lacking in your life, if there seems to be a barrenness, if you yearn to be filled with more of God's fullness and to put on the mind of Christ, do not try to work harder for the Lord than you have ever done before; do not try to occupy your time in self-appointed tasks in His Vineyard, or in caring for all the needs around you. Let the conviction sink deep into your heart that your greatest need is for GOD to do something for you. YOU are the one who is in need of having something done, and not God. He is not in need of your sacrifices, for every beast of the forest is His and the cattle on a thousand hills. If He were hungry He would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are His. It is the sacrifice and service of surrender, of communion, of thanksgiving and worship which alone are acceptable to Him. It is not in the life of someone with whom you think God is using you, that something needs to be done; but in your own life there is dire need and shortage, which only God can remedy as you enter into the secret place of the most High to sit and receive at His feet.

 

           Without exception, this barrenness and void in our lives is a sure proof that we are in great need of God's dealing hand. Therefore, let us leave everything that we can leave; let us drop the busy overseeing of those about us, and let us get still before God that He may speak to us and work in us, and for us, to His glory. Then shall we go forth with the presence and power of God upon us, and while we shall be used of Him with those around us, we shall have learned to watch for His movings and dealings upon our souls, and to always yield for Him to work in us first. Thus shall our hearts become truly pure, unmixed with the carnal zeal and scheming of the soulish heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall SEE GOD - at work!"

 

           What a marvelous and incomprehensible potential, this: to see God! Now, we know, of course, that God has no corporeal form. "No man hath seen God at any time" (Jn. 1:18). Therefore, there is no question of "seeing" God in the ordinary physical sense in which one might see a human being or a mountain or an airplane. If one could see in this way, He would have to be limited, and, therefore, not God. To "see" in the sense referred to here, signifies spiritual perception, and spiritual perception means just that capacity to apprehend the true nature of GOD'S SPIRITUAL BEING which most christians so sadly lack. We live in God's world, but we do not in the least know it as it is. Heaven lies all around us – it is not a distant locality afar off in the skies, but all around us now – but because we are lacking in spiritual perception, we are unable to recognize it; that is to say, we are unable to experience it; and, therefore, so far as we are concerned, we may be said to be shut out of Heaven. We do contact a tiny fragment of it, and that tiny fragment we know as the spiritual experiences we have received, but even that little bit, we see for the most part, all awry, distorted by the dimness of tradition and the outer darkness and wearisome senility of doctrines and methods of the Babylonish Church system.

 

           Heaven is naught but the biblical name for the REALM OF GOD'S SPIRIT, the invisible and omnipresent realm of Spiritual Reality. And it is all around us. We are one with it by virtue of our Spiritual Life. We touch Heaven as we touch God, we dwell in Heaven as we dwell in God and we experience Heaven as we experience God. Heaven is eternity, but what we know here and now, with our spirits imprisoned within these walls of carnal minds and bodies, we know only serially, in a sequence called "time," which never permits of our comprehending an experience in its entirety. All true Christians have touched Heaven when they touched God, but all of our experiences have been limited by this physical world. We have known and seen God through experiences, but no limited by experience can enable us to SEE GOD AS HE IS or to know Him as He is. Men speak of the experience of salvation, the experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the experience of healing, or of a vision, or a dream, or a miracle, or a revelation. We rejoice in each of these blessed experiences, each one bringing an "experiencing" of something of the life and glory of God, yet in none of them do we truly see God AS HE IS in the unbounded fullness of His glorious and eternal reality.

 

            Remarkable, the words penned by the beloved apostle John: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall SEE HIM AS HE IS" (I Jn. 3:2). He than hastily adds: "And every man that hath this hope in him PURIFIETH HIMSELF, even as He is pure" (vs. 3). The pure in heart shall SEE GOD, and every man that hath the hope of SEEING HIM AS HE IS purified himself. To purify oneself is to "unmixed the heart" so that there is no mixture of that which is soulish and that which is spiritual. It is to depart from every goal and aim in life except the Lord Himself, to cease all activity except that which is produced by the spirit, to have an eye single to God's glory and the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. All things must low before the will of God.

 

           So many saints are very much in the position of a blind man in a beautiful flower garden. All around him are glorious colors; but he is quite unaware of them. If we suppose him to be also devoid of the sense of smell, we shall see what a very small part of the glory of the garden exists for him. And if we further suppose him to have no hands, we shall see how the garden practically does not exist for him at all. Yet it is all there, if he could but sense it! Have we not all been condemned to a far greater tragedy in that we have been planted by the power of a new spirit and a new heart inside the very portals of the Kingdom of God and have walked in the very midst of the eternal glories of Heaven, but our hearts have been so mingled with the clatter of this world that our eyes have not been able to see them, our ears have been dead to their sounds of joy, our nostrils unable to smell their fragrance, our hands unable to lay hold upon the eternal glory.

 

           The closer we come to the Kingdom, the more will those destined sons of God know what it is to be lifted beyond the pale of natural things to behold the glory of the realm where God lives in the Spirit. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8). The mixture is even now being removed from the hearts of a first-fruit company and many are being enabled to SEE HIM in a new and living way. It is beholding Him that changes us from glory to glory, from corruption to incorruption. The new spirit and the new heart are THE TREE OF LIFE, for they are naught but Christ living within. It is the glory of His presence that transforms the ragged garments of our mortality to raiment which is white and glistening. Fantastic changes lie ahead for all who separate themselves unto God. Tremendous changes will transpire as soul and body come under the dominion of Christ, for mortality shall be swallowed up of life. This corruptible shall put on incorruption and this mortal shall put on immortality. Oh glorious victory! The sons of God shall arise into that blessed realm beyond time, and space, and matter, and the carnal mind, and realize and walk in the fullness of God's glory forevermore. Oh glorious and wonderful realm! It is the realm beyond the veil where we may enter and tread the highways and fields of our heavenly citizenship. It is the realm of the Son of God. It is the inheritance of the sons of God. It is REALM OF THE TREE OF LIFE. The sons of God are the tree of life kind of men, and these are they who shall become the government of the world in the blessed age and ages before us, a government of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. From the life of those who enter that realm shall flow forth such glory and blessing that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea and nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain.

 

Other Writings in This Series:

The Garden
In The Midst of the Garden 1
In The Midst of the Garden 2
The Tree of Life 1
The Tree of Life 2
Three Trees in the Garden 1
Three Trees in the Garden 2
A River out of Eden 1
A River out of Eden 2
A River out of Eden 3

 

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