|- Terry Crisp -
* Could you explain how you interpret the term, "the manifestation of the sons of God", as used in Romans 8:19? And, according to teachings of sonship, upon whom does the responsibility to bring forth this manifestation rest?
Just to refresh our minds, here is the verse under consideration. "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (KJV) Of equal importance is the following two verses, which show the reason for this expectation.
"For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, that the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (vs. 20-21).
From this, we learn that the creature (that is, all that exists in the created realm), while it has been shackled to a state of futility, frailty and frustration, as well as to corruption and decay (all as a result of the fall), has also been given a deep-seated and abiding sense of hope, that it shall finally find its release when the sons of God are manifested. A Year of Jubilee awaits the creation of God, and the message of sonship heralds its coming!
In explaining how we interpret the term, "manifestation of the sons of God," perhaps we should start with a bit of clarification. Exactly what did Greek speaking people such as Paul mean when they spoke of something being manifested? The original Greek word used in our text is apokalupsis (Strongs #602), which simply means disclosure. In other places throughout the New Testament, it's also translated as appearing, coming, lighten, and revelation. The definition assigned to its root word (Strongs # 601) is, to take off the cover. Therefore, when we come across this word apokalupsis in Scripture, it has to do with exposing something that has been hidden from view, or with bringing into light that which has been kept in obscurity.
As it applies to our text, that which is to be manifested, exposed, disclosed or is to have the cover removed, is said to be simply---the sons of God. This could be taken different ways, but in the original language, Paul was very careful in his choice of words. He called them "the huios of Theos." Why is this important for us to note? For this reason.
Occasionally, we will come across New Age writers who will make reference to this portion of Scripture, suggesting that the revealing of the sons of God has to do with a time whenever all men are made to understand that they are the children of God, and always have been, even though they have been unaware of it most of their lives. This has been accepted as being a reasonable interpretation by some, but, in actuality, it's a serious departure from the way the apostle intended it to be understood. First of all, Paul never promoted the teachings of Universal Fatherhood (we say this without reservation, and without the fear of contradiction. The burden of proof has been on those who have claimed that he did; and, so far as we have discovered, the "proofs" provided by them have been spurious at best, and knowingly and deliberately fallacious at worst).
Secondly, whenever Paul spoke of the huios of God, he was not referring to mere children, in the general sense of the word. But how can we be sure of this? Briefly stated, there were three words in the Greek language which described the various stages of an offspring's life. Those words are teknion, teknon, and huios. Teknion speaks of an infant, or a very small child. Teknon also speaks of a child, but not necessarily of a baby (it could also refer to a youth, as is often the case). It was the more general word of the three, and was commonly used whenever specificity was not required. However, huios stands apart from both teknion and teknon, in that it very specifically speaks of a matured, fully developed son, or one who had come of age. Of the three words, this is the one that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use, whenever he spoke of those who were to be manifested in Romans chapter 8.
With this understanding established, we can now be more specific regarding that of which we are speaking. The manifestation of the sons of God is not merely the unveiling or revelation of God's children, since that manifestation has been occurring for the past two thousand years. According to John's Gospel, those who receive the Christ are given the power to become the children (teknon) of God. They, and they alone, are given the opportunity to become members of God's great family. This privilege first opened up to mankind following Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and continues to be made possible today by way of "new birth." Day by day, and all over the world, God's children are being made manifest for all the world to see---and this is not to be spoken of lightly, as if it were a small thing. They are exhibiting the evidences of His divine nature, as new born babes brought forth from above. However, what Paul was referring to here was the disclosure of God's huios, His fully matured ones. And, according to I John 3:1-3, this is something that has yet to be seen. "Beloved, now are we the sons (teknon) 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." Nevertheless, though we have yet to see these sons come forth in all of their glory, it does not diminish our hope that they shall. "For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]." As we'd said before, this heart-gripping suspense is pervasive the world over!
As a side-note, we'd like to add one other comment along this line. Romans 8:18-20 speaks of the fact that the world of creation was made subject to vanity, not according to its own will, but according to His who subjected the same in hope. And verse 21, from the J. B. Phillips Translation, says, "And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty WHICH CAN ONLY BELONG TO THE CHILDREN OF GOD!" We were once asked what was meant by such wording. Our response was that, while the manifestation of the sons of God will not be the disclosure of God's offspring in the infant stage, it does stand to reason that those who are manifested must truly and legitimately be the children of God in the first place. Do you see what we're saying by this? Only those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior, and who have genuinely been born of His Spirit, can even have this liberty to share, for "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." This being the case, it becomes the exclusive right and possession of those who are in Christ. It is not extended to those who are followers of Buddha, or Krishna, or Confucius, or Mohammed, or any other. This is why we are emphatic to say, if anyone desires to be a part of this glorious restorative company through which all creation shall find its release, then first, "YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN" (Jn. 3:7)!
Well, now that we have at least a basic idea regarding that for which we are looking, let's move on to the next part of our question: WHO is responsible for manifesting these sons?
Are they waiting on God, or is God waiting on them?
It has been wisely stated that that which we seek is not so much a manifestation of the sons of God, but rather, the manifestation of God in His sons. This is basically a difference in perspective. Just as the Book of Acts is not so much "the acts of the apostles" (as it was labeled by Bible translators), as much it is the acts of the Holy Spirit through the apostles, even so, we should see that the manifestation spoken of in Romans 8:19 will be that of God being manifested from within a people, rather than the idea of a people manifesting themselves to the world. This is not to suggest that the phrase "manifestation of the sons of God" is in any way incorrect. It is as it was intended to be written. But seeing it in the way mentioned above can be helpful, in order that we might maintain a proper spiritual attitude on the subject.
Those of us who embrace this vision look to the pattern Son, Jesus, as our example. We know that with Him, there was an appointed time for His sonship to be made known unto the world, and that time was consummated at the Jordan River, when He was baptized by John (Matt. 3:13-17).
In a manner of speaking, we could say that for the first thirty years of His life, He was a part of the greatest "undercover operation" God had ever launched. He placed His Son under the cover of commonality and normalcy, and made Him appear to be no different than any other among the sons of Abraham. So convincing was this cover that we read in the gospel according to John, "He was in the world, the world was made by Him, and yet the world knew Him not" (Jn. 1:10). He was raised in obscurity, and His true purpose for coming into the world was kept from all but a few. In fact, right up to the time of the Jordan experience, John the Baptist proclaimed to those of their day, "There standeth One among you, whom ye know not" (Jn. 1:26). It was such a well kept secret that even John was clueless about the Messiah's identity until he beheld the sign that was given him (Jn. 1:31-34). He was as much "in the dark" about it as anyone else! But once the moment arrived, Jesus stepped forward to receive the Father's pronouncement, "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON; IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." In that instant, the veil was lifted, the cover was removed, the work of God was revealed, and the Sonship of Christ was declared. Immediately thereafter, He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness, from whence He went forth in the power of the Spirit, liberating those who were oppressed of the devil. You know the rest of the story.
Since so much hinges on this pivotal point in the life of Jesus, it's important for us to consider that to which it corresponded. And what might that be? Well, in the life of the average Israelite male, there were three major events which drew broad public attention to him. The first was his Circumcision, which occurred when he was an infant, at eight days old. This was the moment that he was marked as a "covenant man" in Israel, and was celebrated throughout the community. The second was his Bar-Mitzvah, which took place as he was about to enter into puberty. The word Bar-Mitzvah actually means a son accountable, and signified the time, not only when he was held accountable for keeping the Commandments, but also when he was to become an apprentice under his father in the family business. This, too, was celebrated as a very special event in the life of the child, just as it is today. The third was what was known as his Huiothesia, or adoption ceremony (not to be confused with our modern concepts of adoption. This had to do with a natural-born son, and not one that was taken from another family). The word itself means Son Placement, and indicates the time when a male child reached what was considered to be the age of maturity (thirty years of age). The ceremony went something like this. Once the son had finally come of age, his father would arrange a ceremony for him in a part of the city that would draw the largest possible number of observers (usually around the gates of the city, or in the marketplace). Amidst a great crowd of witnesses, he would then place his hands upon the head of his son, and would initiate the impartation of power. He would speak of his son's commitment throughout the course of his apprenticeship, and confirm that he was now ready to accept the responsibilities about to be conferred upon him. He would grant him the authority to speak in his (the father's) stead, and call upon all who were there as witnesses that day to bear record that from that time forward, the son would go forth in his name. No longer was his son to be looked upon as merely an heir, under tutors and governors, but was now to be recognized as the inheritor of all that his father had promised him, and an equal partner in the family business. He and his father were one. Finally, to seal the deal, so to speak, the father would utter these now-familiar words, "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." This pronouncement would let everyone know that the son had received his blessing and full endorsement.
We would thrice underscore the fact that none of these events, Circumcision, Bar- Mitzvah, or Huiothesia, ever happened by accident, nor were they carried out in random fashion. Their timing was with purpose, and they were faithfully followed out according to their long-held traditions. No one was free to change them to suit their own personal whims or wishes, regardless of who they were. But why do we stress this? Because, as we said, these three experiences are amplified in the life of Christ, and are used for our understanding of God's enduring process. The first was when Jesus was eight days old, and was brought to the temple to be circumcised. The correlation here should be easy enough to recognize. The second was when He became separated from Mary and Joseph, and was found in the temple with the doctors of the Law. This was just prior to the time when He would have received His Bar-Mitzvah.(In the event that we should miss this parallel, we are tipped off by Jesus' words, "Know ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" There should be no doubt what was in His mind, when He uttered these words.) The third, of course, is the Jordan experience, when Jesus turned thirty years of age. These three events hold within them a great deal of significance, not only in regard to the way in which we understand Jesus' spiritual progress from infancy to puberty to maturity (and the way in which He viewed it), but also regarding the way in which we understand our own.
Long before Jesus ever came into this world, every detail of His earthly sojourn was planned by the Father. In fact, "the particulars" actually predated the foundation of the world! The Lord purposed for every event to transpire precisely when it did, and worked all things surrounding and leading up to it according to the counsel of His own will. It was not the result of chance, nor was it left to happenstance. It was foreordained in the mind of God, and occurred as a direct result of the operation of God by the Spirit. Of this we can be sure.
It is understood that while Jesus was in His preexistent state (glorified with the Father's own Self with the glory which He had with Him before the world was; Jn. 17:5), He transcended the realm of time (in fact, it was He who was responsible for framing the ages in the first place; ref. Jn. 1:1-3, Heb. 11:3). But when He stepped into this world, He was largely subjecting Himself to time's confines. Furthermore, by coming as the Son of Man, there would be nothing He could do to accelerate any of the events that were before Him. Because He came into this world in the likeness of Abraham's seed, He was forced to wait until the fullness of time had come, and all things in earth were in perfect harmonic balance with those in the heavenlies. There were multitudes of prophecies that had to line up, and types and shadows that had to merge together as one at every major juncture of His life, in order for Him to provide the proofs of His Messiahship. Therefore, the necessity of this prophetic synchronization prevented Jesus from being able to rush things along, even when He saw great needs around Him. He knew that as soon as all the conditions were met, and the set time had come, the event would ensue, according to the Father's own will.
When asked by His disciples about the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, He told them, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power, but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." (Acts 1:6-8). He also told them to "wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me..." (Verse 4). This advice would lead us to believe that, during the time of His own preparation, times and seasons were not His concern--- learning patience and obedience through the things which He suffered was. Looking back to the scene in the temple in Luke Chapter 2, and following afterward to the baptismal scene in chapter 3, we have but two verses which give us an idea of Jesus' attitude regarding the purpose which lay before Him. These say that He returned to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, that He was in subjection to them, and that He increased in wisdom and in stature, and found favor with God and with man. From this, we can reasonably assume that, during this time, He patiently cooperated with the plan of God for His life, and that He was entirely preoccupied with growth and preparation for the day of His manifestation. Since being led of the Spirit is a leading indicator of one's maturity as a son (Rom. 8:14), it was undoubtedly an essential part of His personal training and development, and He gave Himself wholeheartedly to the cause.
After Jesus received His adoption ceremony at the Jordan, we understand why the Father would say that He was well pleased in Him. By Christ's own admission, He only did that which He could see the Father doing. This tells us that He never acted presumptuously, or did anything independently of the Spirit. He did only what He was led to do, knowing intuitively what the Father would do in any given situation. (Because He had learned the Father's heart so well, He didn't have to have any special signs or epiphanies to guide Him). He demonstrated great poise and patience in the process, and flowed naturally in the work of God. When He reached the end of His earthly sojourn, He could confidently say, "I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." (Jn. 17:4). Because He was so thoroughly prepared for His calling, He carried out that calling with perfect ease, and provided an example for all who aspire to the high call of sonship.
In all of this, one cannot help but recognize the necessity of working together with the Spirit, even though we know that it is God who works within us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13; in other words, it is He who is responsible for not only giving us the ability to do what He pleases, but also for putting the desire in our hearts to do it in the first place). As individuals, our level of cooperation still factors into the equation, and has a direct effect on the way God deals with us as sons (ref. Heb. 12:5-8).
This is an expression of His love. But over and above everything else, this serves as a wonderful testimony to the wisdom and power of our God. When it comes to raising sons to maturation, our Father knows what He's doing! As we look at the success of the Firstborn's mission, there can be no doubt that Father knew exactly what it would take to advance Jesus in His spiritual development from glory to glory, and He wisely coordinated the circumstances to minister to the need. He timed all things perfectly, and brought forth the lessons that were necessary at each particular point of His life, so that His progress coincided with the hour that was at hand. Therefore, by the time that Jesus was to step out on the banks of the Jordan, this was one Son who, in every way, was ready to be manifested. His Father had personally seen to it!
What was true regarding the growth and developmental progress of the Man Christ Jesus is also true in regard to God's corporate Son, of whom Christ is the Head. Over the course of the past two thousand years, our Father has been calling this Son out of every generation, and training Him to take part in the Family business (the business of ruling and reigning with Him on the Throne). And He has been just as careful to see to it that this Son was maturing according to schedule as He was with the First Born. During the early church period, we see Him lovingly dealing with His Son, and providing Him with all the elements necessary to get Him started on the pathway to sonship. During the Dark Ages, when nothing dynamic seemed to be happening on the church scene, you can believe that He was still actively involved with His Son-training program, and speaking profound revelational truths that would sustain His Son through the coming days. On through the Great Reformation, and beyond the Outpouring that took place around the turn of the Twentieth Century, God was steadily and directly engaged in the education of His Son, shaping within Him a character worthy of the vocation to which He was called.
And during the Latter Rain movement, He made sure that His Son was growing in wisdom and in stature, by speaking plainly of those things which were prepared for those who love Him (I Cor. 2:9). Never before had Father spoken in such great detail of that place Jesus went to prepare for us (Jn. 14:2-3), the place of the adoption of sons. (The depth of that revelation, and that which has followed it, should give us some indication of just how close we are to the actual apprehension of it. We're convinced that it's nearer than we might believe!) At every major stage in history, He has seen to it that the Son's level of maturity corresponded with the times. This has been His doing, and not man's.
Therefore, when we consider all the time that has been involved in the process, all the revelation that has been imparted along these lines, and all the energy that has been invested into the whole procedure, is there any reason why we should question whether or not He is capable of bringing this Son, this many-membered Son, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ at the appointed time? No way! This thing is too big for anyone or anything to stop!
Speaking for those who hold to the bedrock principles of sonship, George Hawtin wrote, "Mankind, it seems, needs a lifetime just to learn that God is never in a hurry; neither is He ever slack or tardy in His appointed times. Oh, how often men go astray when they fail to wait until the Spirit makes His next move---a move that is always different from the one that preceded it...The saint who really trusts in God maintains confident assurance in his heart, teaching him that the immutable Lord will do exactly what He has purposed to do, and, furthermore, that He will do it in His own time and in His own way. Nothing can let or hinder Him and no power in the universe can accelerate the divine time-table, no, not even by one hour.
"It is both heartening and assuring to read such scriptures as these: 'When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son...' Gal. 4:4. The faithful saints in Israel had longed for the coming Messiah. Through lengthening ages they patiently waited, but it was not until the clock struck the appointed hour that the long-promised Son appeared among them, and even then it was not to reign, but to die. It was some thirty years later that our Lord Jesus Christ lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour is come.' What hour was this of which He spoke? Why, my impatient brother, it was the hour that in wisdom God had set before the world began. That momentous hour had been set even before time began, and human kind had waited for its coming at least four thousand years. But with the certainty of the sunrise at the exact time appointed the hour came and the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, appeared to be slain in actuality just as God had decreed.
"You have read how the Lord said to Abraham, 'At the time appointed I will return unto thee according to the time of life and Sarah shall have a son.' The Lord did not hasten His purpose because Abraham and Sarah were growing old. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Only Abraham and Sarah could see any difficulty to the fulfilling of God's purpose. They alone seemed to think the Lord had forgotten His promise, and so they tried to improvise some scheme of their own that might bring the promise to pass. Let me assure you, my brethren, that God is not slack concerning His promise as men count slackness. Therefore, let us learn that, if the Lord shows no interest in the accomplishment of anything, then it is much better to leave that thing undone. Be assured of this: when the time comes for God's purpose to be fulfilled, He will raise up His elect servants to do it. Furthermore, He will have that one groomed, prepared, well-trained and ready to accomplish the task His wisdom has decreed should be done." ---end quote.
Brother Hawtin's words certainly drive home our point. There is simply no getting around the fact that we are kept in reserve in God's "waiting room" until all things leading up to, and surrounding this glorious event are in place, and the time is at hand.
Besides, what could we possibly do to manifest ourselves? Hold a press conference to break the announcement? Take out a full page ad in all the major newspapers of the world? Ah, it takes more than mere confession, that's for sure. And it won't happen as a result of organizing a prayer and fasting chain, where we encourage one another to "muster up" the right amount of faith (not that there's anything wrong with prayer and fasting, you understand). The fact of the matter is, this is simply not something we can do through self motivation or by a simple profession by faith. It is the operation of God by the Spirit. Verses 22-23 says that "It is plain...that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realized our full sonship in Him. We are saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we do not yet possess. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then WE MUST SETTLE DOWN AND WAIT FOR IT IN PATIENCE" (J. B. Phillips Translation). Therefore, as the venerable patriarch Job once said, we must wait until our change comes (Job 14:14).
Now, we are aware that there are some among our ranks who are not clear on this point, who believe that we do have it in our power to "hasten," or speed up the time of the arrival of the Day of the Lord. Those who believe this way usually cite II Peter 3:11-13 as their support. "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." From this, it is thought that we can somehow alter the timing, and take matters into our own hands. Since we want to be fair in our treatment of this subject, we'll take a little time to address this before moving on.
As is apparent from the text, Peter's admonition has to do with what he refers to as "the Day of God," and the effects it will have on the world that "now is." Much could be said concerning these effects, and all that they involve. (If you would like to read a more thorough treatise of the subject than we can offer here, you may refer to our booklet, "Countdown to Meltdown," available free upon request). But suffice it to say for now that the Day that is to come will begin with the manifestation of God=s sons. The two things coincide. That being said, therefore, the apostle goes from talking about what the Day will bring, to the condition in which each of us as individuals ought to be found when it arrives. "What manner of persons ought YE to be in all holy conversation and godliness..." It is in this condition, the condition of holy conduct and godliness, that we should be "looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God," lest that Day should come upon us "as a thief in the night" (verse 10). You see, it is not that, by looking for the coming of the Day of God, we can somehow hasten its arrival. It is that, by looking for and hastening ourselves unto the coming of that Day, we shall be altogether ready for it when it does. Do you see the emphasis here? The hastening has everything to do with us as individuals, and our preparation for that Day, and not at all with the actual coming of the Day. To put it as plainly as we know how: WE are the ones who must hasten to the Day, it is not that the Day will in any wise be accelerated by our efforts. (By attending to our spiritual preparation, we can certainly pass the time of our sojourning here more quickly. In that sense, it may seem as if the Day had been expedited along. But, of course, that would merely be a matter of perception, and not one of actual fact.) In fact, Peter tells us that, lest we think that the Day is long overdue, that the Lord has delayed His coming, or that He is slack concerning His promises, as men count slackness, we should "account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation" (verse 15). Therefore, we may conclude that the timing of the Day is God's business; but the condition in which we are found, whenever it does occur, requires a cooperation with the Spirit on our parts. "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (verse 9).
Those who have the blessed hope of sonship know beyond any doubt that the Day of the Lord shall come as surely, naturally speaking, as day follows the night. They have come to rest in that fact (to rest in it, but not to be complacent about it). In fact, Zarah's very name ("Sunrising") attests to such faith. There is nothing that can possibly prevent it from happening, nothing that can hinder or delay it in its fulfillment. There WILL be a company of sons who come to full disclosure, who shall usher in the long-awaited Year of Jubilee for creation. There WILL be a body of overcomers, gathered out of every generation throughout the course of recorded history, to whom it shall be said, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (Isa. 60:1-3) Our faith in this is not predicated on the will of flesh, or on the will of man, but on the irrefutable Words of God. He has declared it, and it SHALL come to pass!
Our confidence is summarily expressed by the apostle Paul, when he said, "Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. God, in His foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of His Son, that He might be the Eldest in a family of many brothers.
He chose them long ago; when the time came He called them, He made them righteous in His sight and then lifted them to the splendor of life as His own sons. In the face of all this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not grudge His own Son but gave Him up for us allCcan we not trust such a God to give us, with Him, everything else that we can need?" (J. B. Phillips Translation ) This is the perspective of those who embrace the vision of sonship, who have purposed in their hearts to settle down and wait for it in patience.
All right, now. We have presented in a nutshell what we believe is the majority position of sonship on this. But how does this spiritual attitude and outlook differ from those in New Age? Here are a few of the ways.
New Age "Pharezites" emphasize human efforts, and human choice, while those who make up the Zarah company rely on the will, work and timing of God to bring His purposes to pass. New Age teaches that destiny is in our hands, and that the survival of the world depends on the decisions we make. Sonship teaches that God orders and controls the affairs of men, and that the future of the world is ultimately in His hands.
Sonship is theocentric, focusing on God as the divine Initiator of all His eternal purposes.
New Age is anthropocentric, that is to say, it centers upon man to bring all things into manifestation.
Consider the following quotes from Alice Bailey. "Today, humanity stands at a peculiar and unique middle point, between an unhappy past and a future which is full of promise IF the reappearance of the Christ is recognized and preparation for His coming is undertaken. The present is full of promise and also full of difficulty; in the hands of human beings today and in the immediate present, lies the destination of the world andCif it may be reverently saidCthe immediate activity of the Christ." (The Reappearance of the Christ, Alice Bailey, pg. 30) "The success of the effort now being planned by Christ and the spiritual Hierarchy is dependent upon the ability of mankind to use what light it already has in order to establish right relations in their families, their community, in their nation and in the world....Only through humanity itself can the divine plan work out" (Ibid, pgs.
22, 34) There is one thing that stands out to us as we've read through New Age writings. Despite their best efforts to remain upbeat, there is a certain and irrepressible anxiety that accompanies their words. It always comes out somewhere, whether they want it to or not.
There are no assurances, and no way to really know what the future holds, since everything ultimately comes down to a matter of choice. Take, for instance, these quotes from Barbara Marx Hubbard: "The Quantum Transformation will come when enough of you are ready. It is a delicate matter of timing. If the transformation begins too late, the disorder will be so great as to engulf even the self-elect in the catastrophe.
"The alternative to Armegeddon is the Planetary Pentecost. When a critical mass is in the upper room of consciousness on the planetary scale, each will hear from within, in their own language, the mighty works of God. All who are attuned will be radically empowered to be and do as Jesus did. If those people who are not self-centered align their thoughts in perfect faith, that they are whole, created in the image of God, the world can be saved...
"If enough of you act for the good of the whole, right now, the Christ within each person will be born. The world will be changed, in a twinkling of an eye. Change your minds and you can change the world, dearly beloved." ---end quote. (The Book of Co- Creation, Barbara Marx Hubbard, pg. 122) Do you see how much emphasis is placed on the word IF? For the New Ager, these two letters serve as the pillars upon which the future of mankind rests. The fate of the world is balanced atop its jagged peak, dangerously teetering back and forth every time the wind blows. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? It might go well for civilization, and, then again, it might not. There might be a cataclysmic event which will take mankind to the next level of existence, and then again, there might not. In fact, it could end in a vast nuclear disaster, wiping out the entire material world, and the evolutionary process would have to start again from scratch.
While the concept of choice also factors into the message of sonship, it does so within the circumference of God's predestinated will. God's sovereignty is never challenged, and the end is never in doubt, because it is understood that He is able to (and does!) work all things after the counsel of His own will. This takes the sweat out of it for us! However, in the New Age mindset, predestination is just another choice to be made---you can believe in it if you want to, or discard it if you would prefer. It really doesn't matter in the final analysis. This represents one of the fundamental differences between the two messages.
This bring us to the bottom line. Because of their pantheistic worldview, New Agers are virtually forced to assume responsibility for ushering in the manifestation. There is just no where else they can turn. You see, if there were no transcendent God to whom we may look, and no sovereign God who, in infinite power and might, orders and controls all things in heaven and on earth, then, naturally, there would be no other direction from whence we might expect help besides ourselves. We would be forced to look to our "Higher Selves" as being our own source of salvation, and as our only means of deliverance. How frightening a thought would that be? This is why the New Age movement is often referred to as Cosmic Humanism. While it incorporates a concept of deity into its belief system, it seeks to elevate man into that deified status. Thus, man takes on the identity of Deity, and ultimately becomes his own god. This might seem appealing to some, but in the end, it still leaves man with the burden of working out his own solutions to the problems in life. We're sorry, but if this were the extent of our hope, we would be of all men most miserable!
As we draw our response to a conclusion, we are reminded of a powerful passage from the Book of Jeremiah. It reads, "A curse on the man who trusts in man and leans for support on human kind, while his heart is far from the Lord! He shall be like a juniper in the desert; when good comes, he shall not see it. He shall dwell among the rocks in the wilderness, in a salt land where no man can live. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and rests his confidence upon Him. He shall be like a tree planted by the waterside, that stretches its roots along the stream. When the heat comes it has nothing to fear; its spreading foliage stays green. In a year of drought it feels no care, and does not cease to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:5-8, NEB) That just about says it all, doesn't it. Those who trust in man and who lean on mankind for support will remain under the curse that initially resulted from the fall. Regardless of their expectations, they shall not see good when it does come, and shall continue to abide in a dry, barren place where nothing can survive spiritually. Their teachings of selfreliance and self-determination cannot produce the utopian environment they have imagined it would, and those who subscribe to them need not expect to emerge from it.
There is no shade from the blazing heat! But those who place their trust in the Lord, and who rest confidently in Him shall be the recipients of tremendous blessing. Because they have rooted their faith in the predestination of His will, and because they have remained focused on His ability to bring all things relating to that will to pass, they shall endure the intense heat of trials and testings, and, as a result, shall yield both the fruit and foliage of eternal life. The life which comes from within them shall spread without, and will transform the very landscape around them! We don't know about you, but this sounds to us like what is to be expected when the sons of God come into their own! Not only will they survive the time of their own personal Son-training, but will ultimately produce that for which all creation awaits! Hallelujah!
Bob Torango has written an excellent series of articles entitled Deceptions of the Mind, wherein he stated, "We are not prolonging the Day, (we are) just letting it dictate to us its manifestation, and knowing that the Day will declare itself, at the set time and order.
Who amongst us could believe strongly enough for such a grand thing? How could God leave it up to us, in our own strength of faith, to make it so? The truth is, He hasn't. The Day will take care of itself and is right on time. Be still, in all of your wondering and yearning. All is well and the Master is in control. We will be found like Him, glorified with Him, and that is not a belief or a doctrine, it is a fact that we can stake our existence upon." ---end quote. Amen, Brother Bob. We couldn't agree more!
To be continued...
Special Dedication April 8, 2004 marked a special day for Tykie and me, in that we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Therefore, in honor of that occasion, I'd like to share a few words.
There are a few things in life that we rarely ever see. For instance, certain astronomical events happen only once in a lifetime, and many times that, for a brief moment in time.
Certain animals make their appearance only on particular occasions. If you miss them, you may never have the opportunity again. But I have been privileged to see that rare "speckled bird" known as the Proverbs 31 wife.
It's unusual to find a true Proverbs 31 woman these days. In fact, I think they may be on the verge of extinction. But Tykie has proven that they do exist, and that there is reason for hope in the survival of that exotic species.
I recall the first time I came across this precious jewel of a sister. She was doing volunteer work as a telephone help-line counselor for a ministry with which we were both affiliated. I worked with the traveling branch of the ministry, and was staying in the church during our annual campmeeting. While visiting the prayer and counseling room one night, I took note of the godly wisdom which she offered to one caller after another.
And I remember saying to myself, "That girl is going to make a fine wife for somebody." Little did I know what the Lord's plans were!
At that time, neither of us were seeking after a romantic relationship. Our lives seemed full enough with our service to God. But as we got to know each other better, and the will of God began to unfold to us, I realized that the Lord had been preparing her for this calling her entire life. The role of a godly wife would come quite naturally for her, since she'd already developed most of the qualities that would be required of her. The idea that God had been preparing her just for me all those years, and the fact that she'd kept herself in private reserve, left me with a very wonderful sensation!
We received a prophecy prior to our marriage, which gave some indication of the future God had in store for us. It said that even as Abraham and Sarah were given an abundance of offspring, the Lord would bless us with a spiritual seed that would be multiplied as the stars of heaven in multitude. And though we never had children of our own in the natural, we have never lacked for those who sought spiritual parental guidance at our doorstep.
We thank God for the family He has given us!
She is an example to her daughters, exhibiting the selfless submissive nature required of all who desire to please their husbands. She is an example to her sons, demonstrating all the godly qualities they should look for in a wife. But of no less importance is she an example to me, reminding me of my own soul's obligations to the Heavenly Bridegroom.
I have never asked the Lord what I'd done to deserve a Proverbs 31 wife, simply because I knew that I didn't. I've just contented myself with the fact that I've been the recipient of an extremely merciful (though unmerited) blessing, and thanked God for the experience. Why question a good thing?
If the Lord should take me from this world tomorrow, there is one thing that I can say of a certainty--- I know what it is both to love and to be loved. Thank you, Lord, for such a marvelous privilege---and thank you, Tykie, for sharing your life and love with me! The journey has been precious!
Your greatest admirer, Terry "Who can find a capable wife? Her worth is beyond coral.
Her husband's whole trust is in her, and children are not lacking.
She repays him with good, not evil, all her life long..." (Vs. 10-12, NEB) "She sets about her duties with vigor, and braces herself for the work..." (V.17).
"She is clothed with dignity and power, and can afford to laugh at tomorrow.
When she opens her mouth, it is to speak wisely, and loyalty is the theme of her teaching.
She keeps her eye on the doings of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her sons with one accord call her happy; her husband too, and sings her praises; 'Many a woman shows how capable she is; but you excel them all.' "Charm is a delusion and beauty fleeting; it is the God-fearing woman who is honored.
Extol her for the fruit of all her toil, and let her labors bring her honor in the city gate." (Vs. 25-31, NEB).
Writings in This Series: