|- Ray Prinzing -
"And this is the age-abiding life, that they get to know Thee the only real God, and Him whom Thou didst send, Jesus Christ." [John 17 :3 Rotherham].
"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." [Psalm 24:1]. Praise God! ALL THE EARTH IS THE LORD'S, not just a twig or two, not just a mountain or two, but all of it, the very fullness thereof, "the world, and they that dwell therein." We are HIS whether we know it or not, we are His whether we like it or not, whether we desire to serve Him, or whether we are presently in rebellion to His will. Not always, however, shall man be in opposition to his Creator, for after all present travail is ended, and man has run his course of self-will and rebellion, there shall be an inflow of the love of God into every heart, and this divine love shall draw every creature back to his Creator, to serve Him with a whole heart, and to worship before Him in complete obedience to His will.
"God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." [John 3 :17]. His was not a ministry unto condemnation, but into salvation. (And let this thought be inserted here. "As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." [John 20:21]. We are sent in the same way that He was sent not to condemn, but to save. Therefore, if we assume a ministry of condemnation, and are constantly pointing the finger at another to condemn him, the question remains, who sent us? Not the Father, for He never sent His Son, nor His sons, into the world to condemn, but to bring salvation).
"We have seen and do testify that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." [1 John 4:14].
"Who will have ALL MEN to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth." [1 Timothy 2:4].
These beautiful scriptures speak of the SAVIOUR OF ALL THE WORLD, of how He came to bring life to all mankind, to have all men to be saved, and come into the knowledge of the truth. The word "knowledge" used here is the Greek word "epignosis" meaning FULL KNOWLEDGE. Not just that amount of limited knowledge gained by experience, but also that which is received by revelation to make it full knowledge, that which the holy Spirit imparts, for "the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." [1 Corinthians 2:11], and it takes the Spirit of God to give us that revelation which brings us into full knowledge.
What has this to do with the salvation of all men? Simply that the will of God which ultimately shall be brought to the full, is that every man will receive a Spirit-revelation-knowledge of that salvation. Since it requires the holy Spirit to impart such knowledge, praise God for the promise, "It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit UPON ALL FLESH." [Joel 2:28]. Thus, "all flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord." [Luke 3:6]. For this is the purpose of God to be wrought out for all of His creation, to be manifested in due time.
But first things must come first. One of the problems of our growing up process is that we never see far enough ahead, so that we always want to put last things first. Man would try to run ahead and lay hold of some climax victory without enduring all of the process which leads up to that hour. There is that in man which desires "to escape" if possible all the laborious climbing up the mountain, and he would skip from peak to peak if possible. But God moves with a divine order and purpose, which is progressively revealed and progressively fulfilled.
One man of God has stated, " All the purpose of God is wrapped up in the revelation of that purpose. Therefore the enemy would concentrate all of his warfare to make sure that revelation does not come through, and so seek to hinder God's purpose." Yes, this is the life of the ages, that we all might KNOW HIM, our Saviour, and in whatever measure the enemy is allowed to keep us momentarily from knowing, he has kept us from entering into a fuller measure of the NEW LIFE which is set before us in Christ.
Thank God, HE has a way of demolishing all hindrances. But we would pity those who would try to solidify and categorize everything into a few pet doctrines, and allow such doctrines to become a fence to bind them in, and keep them from moving onward into new revelation. There is no stopping place this side of "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." [Ephesians 4 :13].
Therefore, if first things are first, then we come to the very center of the Alpha of our salvation, Jesus Christ, for first came THE HEAD, the Foremost One of all things, "that in all things HE might have the pre-eminence." [Colossians 1:18].
Praise God! There is SALVATION when Jesus Christ has the pre-eminence. According to the progressive development of HIS in working in our life, in the measure He has pre-eminence within, in that measure we will go forward in our deepening experience.
Now-- while Christ is to be the First and Foremost One, He is not the only One to be revealed in glory and perfection, for He is bringing a whole company forth who shall be conformed to His image, and be possessors of His life. This is not something self-contained in just His own being, but this LIFE is freely given, for "the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom FOR MANY." [Matthew 20:28].
"For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both HE that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." [Hebrews 2:10-11].
Yes, a company of sons, His many brethren, the firstfruits of salvation, for "God at the first did visit the nations to take out of them a people for His name." [Acts 15:14]. Around the world, in every region and country, the Spirit is sovereignly drawing out a people, a first fruits company-- a token of all the harvest that is yet to come when all nations shall bow before Him, and proclaim Him Lord of all. Yet we also understand that in the economy of God, according to His purpose, it will be "every man in his own order." [1 Cor. 15:23]. Rank after rank, division after division, cycle after cycle, ever reaching out in the ages to come in greater encompassing measures, the Spirit of God shall gather them in.
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." [John 12:31]. Jesus spoke this as He was approaching the cross. In that hour when He was going to face the adversary head-- on, He would meet death squarely, and He would conquer death, hell, and the grave. He was going to take the keys of death and hell, make a triumph over them, and rise up in victory.
But what about this statement, "now is the judgment of this world?" For in the very same chapter, just a few verses farther on, we read, "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." [verse 47]. How do we blend these two together without a contradiction?
In that hour the Spirit of God was moving through our Lord Jesus Christ to pass sentence upon the entire bestial system that was in operation in mankind. It was a sentence against "the spirit" that motivated man's wayward course. It was not an hour for dealing with every individual in the earth, but He was dealing with the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." [Ephesians 2:2]. Thus it was the "prince of this world" that was being dealt with, and utterly cast out.
Positionally, when He dealt with this "spirit" which motivated man into rebellion, He also dealt with the entire world. But experimentally, it is taking all these ages to bring every man in his own order to a knowledge of salvation. What HE did in that hour on the cross is now being executed through all these following ages and eras of time that we are passing through.
Therefore we read, "When HE ( that is, the Spirit of Truth) is come, HE will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.-- Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." [John 16:8 & 11].
The "spirit" behind the "mystery of iniquity" has been dealt with. It was judged at Calvary, sentence was passed upon it, and its end was decreed. And now the blessed holy Spirit is working individually and sovereignly in His little flock. One by one He( God through His holy Spirit) draws us to Christ. The world-at-large is not yet caught up in this deeper process, to be purged and purified. But soon, praise God, there is to unfold anew ministration in the purpose of God, which will reach out in new ways to establish His righteousness in the earth.
History has recorded in the past where God has dealt with individuals, but it also records those times when God dealt with a whole nation at one time. We have known the grace of God reaching into the individual life of a man, to turn his steps about, and begin that process of purification which would unite him with his God. One here, one there, taking them "one of a city, and two of a family" [Jeremiah 3:14], that He might bring them to Zion, into His fullness. But soon we shall see God reach out and begin to deal with whole families, and with whole areas, yes, and even with whole nations-- to accomplish His purpose, and to prepare the way for His kingdom to be established upon the earth.
There is a marvelous progression in the 17th chapter of John, so we shall note some of the verses :
Verse 3, "This is age-abiding life, that they might know Thee..." Then observe how we come into this knowledge.
Verse 6, "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me OUT OF THE WORLD."
When He said, "that they might know..." He did not say all the world at once, but He begins to minister first to those which were given Him OUT OF THE WORLD. He called His twelve disciples, and later He sent forth seventy and then betimes He even taught a whole multitude on a hillside, but it was never a tremendous crowd, as compared to all the world. But specifically He imparted of His life to the apprehended ones which were drawn "out of the world" unto Himself.
Verse 8, "I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me."
Thank God, He drew OUT OF THE WORLD a people, they received His word-and THEY KNOW that God did send forth His Son to be their Saviour. They know in Whom they have believed. Are we among those whom He has drawn out? Have we received, and believed the Word ? This is the company with whom HE is presently working to bring them to perfection, into the fullness of His life.
Verse 9, "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me: for they are Thine."
Verse 15, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
Strange enough, man is always trying to "get out" of everything, but Jesus did not pray for that-- that we should be taken out of the world. He never asked for a "rapture" for His saints, but that we would be kept from the evil that is in this world's system, and bring us through it all victoriously. This is LIFE-- that ye might KNOW-- and if you know in Whom you have believed, know that He is in complete control of all of your situations, then you can come through them triumphantly. This little flock, this remnant is not to be removed, taken out of the world, but kept from the evil. Already "in spirit" they are out of this world, they are not a part of it, they are not controlled by its spirit, they do not operate on its nervous energy. As far as this world is concerned, "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." [1 Colossians 3:3]. But physically we remain in this world, to endure its travail and to be exercised therein, while we learn to set our affections (our mind) on things above. To be IN the world, but not of the world, and to be kept from all the evil thereof.
Verse 17, "Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy word is truth.." SET THEM APART THROUGH THY TRUTH. It is the receiving of His Word line upon line that has a tremendous sanctifying influence upon the lives of men. Now keep in mind, presently we do not have reference to all the world at large, but we are speaking of a company whom He is drawing out of the world, to give them His Word, to manifest His name unto them-- is character, His nature, all the essence of Himself, that He might receive them into one with Himself. All of this process of taking a people out of the nations, His election of grace, is to work in them a tremendous sanctification. For their sakes He also is SET APART, and therefore "both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified ARE ALL OF ONE: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." No wonder He is not ashamed to call them brethren, they are drawn out of the systems of this world, they have received and believed His Word, and are fully set apart thereby, to become ONE IN HIM.
Verse 21, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, are In Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE that Thou hast sent me." Why has all this process been going on in a remnant? Taking them out of the world, sanctifying them, "transforming them, making them one in God? That, or, for this reason, THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE." What an expanse of vision. Earlier in His prayer Jesus said, "I pray not for the world..." for then all attention was concentrated on the perfecting of His firstfruits, bringing them into oneness with Himself. But now, as this is accomplished, we begin to see the purpose for it all, that the world may behold the results of salvation's working in the remnant, and believe. Believing is a process which leads us into a new realm. If we believe into Christ, it leads us into the whole christed (anointed) realm. When the world begins to see the manifestation of restoration, and believes, it will lead them into its blessing.
We still have "this treasure in earthen vessels" [2 Corinthians 4:7], and the Christ-life within is referred to as "the hidden man of the heart." [1 Peter 3:4]. It is not yet made visible what we shall be, and therefore the world cannot see any thing upon which to base their believing. But as God completes His work in His firstfruits, and then removes the veil-- changes this vile body and fashions it anew like unto His glorious body, then shall the world see a manifestation of full redemption.
As long as one religious group is warring against another, and there are these schisms or divisions, with hatred and envy and jealously every where, the world sees this, and says, "There is no love here," and because they have enough problems of their own, they turn away from all of this religious confusion. But, when they shall finally see one in whom the grace of God has worked, bringing to perfection in every part, they will begin to believe.
"By this shall ALL MEN KNOW (it turns their believing into knowledge) that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another." [John 13:35]. Herein is a tremendous test of our development into maturity in Christ-- TO LOVE. And we also read, "LOVE-thinketh no evil." [1 Corinthians 13 :5]. The Spirit is indeed in working of His nature, until those who are called by His name shall manifest this love, and no more impute sin to any man's account, put shall demonstrate that "love covereth a multitude of sin."
"But THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do." [John 14:31].
Herein is another manifestation upon which the world can come to knowledge-- as they behold OUR OBEDIENCE to His commands, it will be a proof that we love Him. "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." [1 John 5:3]. Obedience is a beautiful manifestation of love.
This COMPOSITE BODY OF SONS, His many membered brethren company, will be a manifestation-- a living witness and example for all to see. God will unveil them, and say to the world, "See this people, whom I have formed for Myself, they are the first fruits of redemption. What I have done in them, I will also do for every man." The world shall see, and begin to believe, and start their own journey homeward (return) toward their Creator, rank upon rank, every man in his own order.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; AND ALL NATIONS SHALL FLOW UNTO IT. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths." [Isaiah 2:2-3].
"And this good news of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations." [Matthew 24:14].
There are those blinded souls who seem to think that this has already been fulfilled, that because of the radio, television, and man's many programs, they think that the Gospel has just about been given out every where. Oh, no! Listen, beloved friend, it must not be just "of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." [2 Corinthians 3 :6]. Man's creed and tradition does not make good news, and just broadcasting the "letter of the Word" will not begin to draw men unto Christ. Not until GOD'S MESSENGERS, filled with the fullness of His Spirit, carry the good news to all nations, will this be completely fulfilled. Good news, fully revealed and manifested in His perfected sons.
The Samaritan woman met the Master at the well, she found Him to be the very Source of the Fountain of living water. He ministered to her need, changed her life, and she went back to report to the men of the city that she had met "THE CHRIST." There was something so changed in the woman, that as she gave her testimony, "many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the sayings of the woman." [John 4:39]. And so they came and besought Jesus that He would come and tarry with them, which He did for two days." And many more believed because of His own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy sayings: for we have heard ourselves, AND KNOW that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." [verses 41-42] .
They began to believe when they saw what happened to the woman, and heard her testimony, but this believing led them to Him, and then receiving from Him, it says they came into a clear KNOWLEDGE, they knew that HE was the Saviour OF THE WORLD.
All the world stands in dire need for a revelation that HE IS THEIR SAVIOUR, but not until the Spirit is poured out upon all men, to quicken the "letter of the Word" which has been sown, will we see truth spring forth out of the earth, and the real harvest be brought forth. Praise God, He hath promised, "It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh." [Acts 2:17].
"ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least to the greatest." [Hebrews 8:11]. This word "know" is the Greek word "oida" meaning absolute knowledge, therefore the Wuest Expanded translation gives, " ALL SHALL KNOW ME IN AN ABSOLUTE WAY, from the least to the greatest of them."
The very magnitude of redemption is too great for us, we scarce can take it in. Yet our heart thrills to the knowledge that all men shall know Him, and it is to this end that we pour out our lives to the Lord. "HIM we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom, in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God, that we may PRESENT EVERY PERSON mature-full-grown, fully initiated, complete and perfect-in Christ, the Anointed One." [Colossians 1:28, Amplified].
TILL ALL MEN KNOW
The time of the harvest, the end of the age,
Climaxing the order of history's page.
The cycles have passed in meticulous rhyme,
And measured their purpose to move in God's time.
When seed that was planted has ripened, mature,
With some for destruction, and some to endure.
So summon the nations and can up their kin,
The hour long foretold is now to begin.
Awake the sleepers and gather them round,
Prepare ye the people, the trumpets will sound.
The harvest is ripe and the fats overflow,
The sickle is sharpened and furbished to glow.
To gather the tares, an the things that offend,
Take out of the kingdom each thorn that would rend.
And bind into bundles that all might be burned,
Decision's deep valley is now overturned.
To thresh and to shake till the answer is plain,
The plumb line dividing the tares from the grain.
Then into the garner to gather the wheat,
The called in Christ Jesus, in Him made complete.
This firstfruits of harvest is but for a sign,
Revealing God's purpose of greater design.
Till an men shall know Him, creation restored,
All nations to worship-proclaiming Him Lord
Writings in This Series: