Thursday, May 17, 2018

Echoes From Eden Part XIII by J. Preston Eby

DRESSING THE GARDEN

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed... to DRESS IT AND KEEP IT" (Gen. 2:7-8,15).

As we have noted in a previous study, the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is the greatest parable in the Bible. It is supremely important because it explains the real nature of our life here on earth. It tells us about ourselves, about our state of being, and how we bring about the conditions in which we live. It is the textbook on spiritual and psychological anatomy. It is the blueprint of man's experience on earth and his destiny in God. When you thoroughly understand the Garden of Eden you will understand the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of satan. This parable is placed almost at the beginning of the Bible because it is the foundation upon which the whole Bible is built; and all the rest of the Bible, to the end of Revelation, assumes an understanding of the Garden of Eden. Indeed, there is only one Bible section before it, and that is the basic first chapter which gives the fundamentals of the creative processes of God.

The book of Genesis begins with man in the blessedness of the garden of Eden, and ends with a man "in a coffin in Egypt" (Gen. 50:26). The Bible, however, opens with man in Eden's fair garden and ends with man, the temple and habitation of God, in that blest Paradise, the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Before our eyes can see the glory of God, they must become blind to all things that only seem to be. Before our ears can hear the voice of God, they must become deaf to every earthly voice that clamors for our attention. Before our minds can embrace the depth of eternal wisdom we shall have to strip ourselves of the shallowness of human wisdom and all the limited surface understanding and darkness of the carnal mind.

When we come to the Garden of Eden it is evident that this is more than merely a piece of real estate over in the Middle East. No such place has ever been found, neither the angel with the flaming sword to keep men out. The Garden of God is not a physical place located on this or any other planet. It is a STATE OF BEING. It is a higher existence for man than this cursed state we find ourselves in from birth. It is the state of being that man was in when he was first brought forth from the hand of God and placed upon earth. It represents man in the presence of God, man walking in fellowship with God, man living above sin, sickness, fear and death, man as master over all things!

Blessed realities, one and all. The Garden, however, also represents man together with all the factors and conditions, both external and internal, of environment and nature, which were to ultimately lead to his ruin and alienation from God. On the one hand, man WAS the Garden, while on the other hand, man was IN the Garden. The Bible reveals it as a "garden within a garden." It is a world within a world, a universe within a universe. It is man himself in both a state of being and an environment – the two corresponding.

This great truth of man's STATE OF BEING constituting the Garden of God is one of the tremendous themes which courses its way like a mighty river through the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. Consider now how great are the words of the prophet: "For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" (Isa. 51:3). Of course you know that apples cannot sing, grapes cannot show forth gladness, nor can orange trees rejoice in the Lord! He is talking here about His people, a people that are being comforted while in a wilderness state as waste places, and eventually brought back to a life or state of being known as EDEN, the GARDEN OF THE LORD.

Again Isaiah prophesied, saying, "Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching His Vineyard. My well beloved hath a Vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it... and He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem... judge, I pray you, betwix Me and My Vineyard. What could have been done more to My Vineyard, that I have not done to it? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My Vineyard... I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briars and thorns... for the Vineyard of the Lord IS THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, AND THE MEN OF JUDAH HIS PLEASANT PLANT" (Isa. 5:1-7). And yet again, in mercy, the Lord comforts His people, declaring, "The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be A WATERED GARDEN, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isa 58:11).

When the Lord declares that HIS PEOPLE is His Vineyard and His Garden we should understand that His purposes are the same now as they were in the beginning when He placed man IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN TO DRESS IT AND TO KEEP IT. In the scriptures the Garden of God always represents the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The thought is not only of the Lord's great Garden; but the life of every child of God is a garden within God's Garden. And what a Garden it was! in that long ago beginning when man stood in the holy and beautiful environment of the presence and glory of God. “And the Lord planted a Garden,” which does not mean He laid it out like an Italian garden with borders and walks and fountains, flourishing with foliage, blossoms, fragrance and fruit.

He planted it. I dare take that word and express it another way.  He packed it with potentiality. And all human history has come out of that Garden.  Moscow, Calcutta, Cairo, New York, and San Francisco have all come out of that Garden. God put man in the Garden, the most favored environment and state of being in the whole earth, and what had he to do?  DRESS IT AND KEEP IT.  He was to keep it, to guard it, to prune and work it, that it might bring forth much fruit.  God took one man by the hand, the offspring of God, to be of the Kingdom of God on earth.

In the beginning Adam failed to dress and keep the garden of his own soul, and what a pitiful thing it is to see that men through the long millenniums since that day have also wretchedly failed and the world has endured a long night of sorrow and pain. The Shulamite, in the Song of Solomon, at the outset of her relationship with her Beloved confessed her own neglect, saying, "They made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept" (S. of S. 1:6). Though the Lord may let us tend a portion of His great Vineyard, though He may let us minister to other souls in different ways, there is a part of the Vineyard of the Lord which He actually gives to each one of us; and that is the vineyard of our own lives.

He would have us care for and guard our heart above all that we treasure and protect, for out of it are the issues of life. It is this hidden place of our innermost being that must be watched and tended more than all that appears on the outside. We cannot judge the condition within, by the exterior; for many times, the outward appearance is either better or worse than appears before the face of God. We must guard and protect the roots and hidden fibers of our beings, our thoughts, our impulses, our desires. Adam was a son of God (Lk. 3:38) and was placed in the garden of Eden to dress and to keep it. Can we not see by this that all who would be sons of God must put away everything that is not of God that is hidden and unseen, as zealously as we put away the defects that appear on the outside, which humble us when they are seen by others?

Ray Prinzing has beautifully expressed it this way: In our daily overcoming, it is not a going out to fight other spirits, but TO KEEP OUR OWN SPIRIT PURE AND CLEAN.   There are so many things these days to stir up and agitate our spirit, until it becomes defiled, unless we place that guard over against the things without – and seek to maintain a meek and quiet spirit before the Lord.   The whole teaching of God is, “My little children, KEEP YOURSELVES…” You are the area that is under attack by the enemy because God has purposed that you shall be an overcomer.  We are right back to the beginning instruction of the Lord – Genesis 2:15, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and TO KEEP (guard) it.” Your spirit has been placed into an earthen vessel, and your first charge is to keep that vessel pure unto the Lord, to be “meet for the Master’s use.” And we need to beware lest anything come in that would defile. Thank God, we do not fight this battle alone, but “GREATER IS HE THAT IS WITHIN YOU,” who shall become our strength, our shield, our victory. Paul gave clear instruction to Timothy (2 Tim. 1:14), “That good thing which was committed unto thee KEEP BY THE HOLY SPIRIT which dwelleth in us.” – end quote.

My brethren, if we cannot tend the garden of our own soul and life, we must not think that the Lord will entrust us with the oversight of greater gardens. How can a man rule over other men's souls, how can he judge angels, how can he rule the nations with a rod of iron, how can he exercise dominion over the vastness of universe, yea, how can he rule over ALL THINGS as God hath spoken – if he cannot rule his own spirit? "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32). There are literally thousands of men and women running about over the face of the earth doing what they call "The work of the Lord," but it is distressing to see that the vast majority of them were never called nor commissioned by the Lord of the Vineyard in the first place. I am convinced that the first work in the Lord's Vineyard, which He entrusts to us and calls upon us to do, is to care for our own lives and to first partake of the fruit.

Vast multitudes who are caught up in the works of the religious institutional realm, often ignore their inner state of being. In our day every concerted effort is being made to occupy the minds and time and actions of the people of God so that they never concentrate on Christ or come to any real knowledge of Him. Their lives are so crammed and cluttered with the manifold programs of the church system that they will finally awake to the fearful knowledge that they do not know Him. How busy we were in that realm trimming all the vines around us, but our own inner nature was not dealt with.  That is the condition that produces the tragedy of men and ministries like Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert – and thousands of others less known.  So it is not at all a strange phenomenon to find that hundreds, yea, thousands of men and women who truly desire to serve God, have over these past several years been drawn aside by Him, to the backside of the desert, as it were, while He now purges and purifies within.  It has meant much bewilderment, frustration and perplexity, until they being to see that God IS more concerned with their own vineyard, to deepen and perfect HIS LIFE WITHIN THEM.

Paul Mueller has written: “The principle purpose which is uppermost in the mind of the Father at this time is the growth and coming to maturity of His chosen remnant. Every other purpose under heaven is secondary to this purpose during this exceptional time. Therefore, it is essential that all who are members of this Christ body, the sons of God, should concentrate on their own spiritual maturity. Strive not to do the religious works of man, but seek rather for the fullness of Christ in your own heart and life. There is no other purpose under heaven that can equal this grand and holy purpose of the Father. Put away all the desires and appetites of the world and of the flesh, and seek only to please the Lord. And if you really care for the masses of the world who know not God and His wonderful grace and mercy, then you will seek for His fullness in your life. If you have really heard the groans of a creation that is suffering under the burden of sin and shame, you will cease all your religious activity, which is really only the works of the flesh, and will follow hard after the Lord.

Let us seek to please God as Enoch did, and we will witness a glorious manifestation of His life that will set every captive free. God, in His great wisdom, has linked all of creation’s needs and travails with the glorious transformation of the bodies of the sons of God into bodies like unto Christ’s body. And it is quite possible that when this glorious transformation does occur, the stones, the trees, shrubs, and grass of the field, as well as all animals life, will lift their voices in praise to Him who has fulfilled His word and satisfied the inherent hope within every created thing” – end quote.

This story is told of a little boy who couldn’t play outside because it was raining. His father, who was trying to take an afternoon nap on the sofa, became annoyed, “Go to the other room, son; Daddy wants to sleep. Find something in there to play with.” “Like what?” “Anything,” snapped the father. “There isn’t anything,” replied the lad. Grabbing the newspaper, the man tore out a page with a large map of the world printed on it. With scissors he cut it into dozens of odd-shaped pieces like a puzzle. “There, see if you can put it together, and don’t bother me till you’re done.” The father settled down on the sofa thinking his problem was solved, but ten minutes later there was a tug on his shirt. “You can’t be done yet!” But there on the floor was the neatly constructed world. “How did you do it?” he asked. “Easy,” said the son. “A man’s picture was on the back, and when I got the man together right, the world was right.” Ah, yes – when God gets HIS MAN put together in the fullness of Christ all the problems of the world will simply fall into place! Let us not expend our energies trying to get the world straightened out and ordered aright in this hour. Let us give ourselves to apprehending that for which Jesus Christ has apprehended us – to grow up into a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Then the whole creation will fall into place. Let us not sell creation short!

Israel of old was ordained by God to be a kingdom of priests unto God and unto all the nations of earth. But the men of Israel forgot the vineyard of their own souls and it became neglected, overgrown with thorns and thistles, with noxious weeds; the soil was rocky and unfertile. How easy it is to just lose ourselves in the flurry of activity commonly called "the Lord's work," and give our attention to everybody else, involving ourselves in their needs and problems, rather than facing up to OURSELVES. And while it is true, HIS LOVE AND LIFE flowing through us will give us compassion for others, with its various avenues of service, nevertheless there is a divine principle in the Kingdom of God – a PRIORITY established that we must first tend to our own vineyard. I do not hesitate to say that over the past few years there has been an increasing emphasis by the Holy Spirit, as a TRUMPET thundering out the message, declaring that God is not concerned with where we are GOING (heaven, golden streets, mansions etc.), but He is first interested in what we are BECOMING – OUR STATE OF BEING IN HIM, before all our doing. Is this not because the ministry of the sons of God, soon to arise, shall be a ministry out of BEING, rather than out of GIFTS?

A "gift" will function through the most unclean of vessels; the Corinthians were a classic example of this, and we see abundant evidence of this fact all around us in the religious activity going on; but the holy sons of God SHALL BE LIKE HIM and shall rule and reign out of that incorruptible STATE OF BEING, and then, and only then, shall there be a reign so glorious and life-giving that every enemy shall be subjected and even death itself shall be swallowed up in victory throughout all God's creation! This goes hard on all those involved in man's program, and I suppose all the arguments and persuasions in the world will not awaken Christians to the fact that the vast majority of the activities of the church today are but the works of MEN, but I can assure you that when men stop long enough to quiet themselves BEFORE THE LORD, He inevitably turns their attention from "works" into our BECOMING what He want us to BE.

The blessed age to come shall be governed by those saints who have become OVERCOMERS, who have arrived at maturity of sonship, who have come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Not those who tend the Father's Vineyard negligently, shall be in this company; not those who pamper their flesh and let it overrun their lives, shall be in this company; not those who examine their vineyards only now and then shall appear on Zion's Holy Hill; it is those who dwell in their gardens and tend them day and night, those who ever keep them before their eyes, that shall be well-pleasing to the Owner of the Vineyard and shall be given dominion over all things. You can count on it!

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Two Glories

Quoted from Echoes From Eden by J. Preston Eby

The Two Glories - Chapter 4.

One of the most significant ever uttered by Jesus was made in prayer on that dark and sorrowful night before the crucifixion. He said, "I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self WITH THE GLORY WHICH I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS" (Jn. 17:4-5). Who can begin to comprehend this? Generally, when people think of the glory of Christ they think of the glory He had while on earth: His holiness of life, the miracles, the teachings, the love, humility, meekness and mercy that flowed forth from His ministry. Those things indeed characterize a great glory. Jesus spoke of it. "I have glorified Thee on the earth" - on the earth plane. But now the blessed Son speaks of another glory as high above the glory He revealed on earth as are the heavens high above the earth. With the most intense desire He petitions the Father, “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which

I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS
!"

Come and hearken to what this divine message has to tell us of the eternal glory of the Son, in whom the Father speaks to us. Come and see how truly He is one with God, and dwells in a glory beyond that which can be either seen or known in the earth realm! To be glorified WITH THINE OWN SELF is to be one IN THE FATHER; to be not merely the Son, but God. The deeper our insight into the true Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more confident shall we be that He will, by divine power, make us partakers of His very own glory.

We find arrayed before us here TWO GLORIES. Both glories are uniquely the glory of Christ. The one, the lesser, is His glory as He walked upon earth as a man revealing the Father on the earth plane, in a body of flesh; the other, the greater, is the glory which He had before the world was, and which, having passed through death and into resurrection, He now possesses once more. What is the difference between these two glories and what do these mean for those apprehended unto sonship to God?

The glory of an object is, that in its kinds intrinsic worth and excellence answers perfectly to all that is expected of it. That excellence or perfection may be so hidden or unknown, that the object has no glory to those who behold it. To glorify is to remove every hindrance, and so to reveal the full worth and perfection of the object, that its glory is seen and acknowledged by all. The highest perfection of God, and the deepest mystery of His Godhead, is His holiness. In it righteousness and love are united. As the Holy One He hates and condemns sin. As the Holy One He also frees the sinner from its power, and raises him to communion and relationship with Himself.

His name is, "The Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer" (Isa. 54:5). The song of redemption is: "Great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee" (Isa. 12:6). In the union of the two words in the name of the Holy Spirit, we see that what is HOLY and what is SPIRITUAL stand in the closest connection with each other. God is spirit and God is absolutely holy - these are the two basic elements of His being and nature. For this reason the two words are so often found together. So in the song of Moses: "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness" (Ex. 15:11). So in the song of the Seraphim: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory" (Isa. 6:3). And so in the song of the Lamb: "Who shall not glorify Thy name? for Thou alone art Holy" (Rev. 15:4).  As has been well said:


"God's glory is His manifested holiness; God's holiness is His hidden glory."

The one work of Christ on earth was to glorify the Father on the earth plane, in a body of flesh and blood, to reveal what a glorious Holy God He is. When the Lord Jesus had glorified the Father on earth, the Father glorified Him with Himself in heaven. This was not only His just reward; it was a necessity in the very nature of things. There is no other place for a life given up to the glory of God, as Christ's was, than in that glory. This principle holds good for us too: a heart that yearns and thirsts for the glory of God, that is ready to live or die for it, becomes fitted to LIVE IN IT. Living unto God's glory on the earth plane is the gate to living in God's glory on the heaven plane. If with Christ we glorify the Father, the Father will with Christ glorify us too. Yes, we shall be like Him in His glory! Herein are the two glories of sonship.

To help us better grasp a knowledge of the two realms of glory in sonship let us look at a most important aspect of God's being and nature as revealed in James 1:13. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted He any man." God is not only holy by choice, He is holy by nature. The Greek in this verse is very strong - God is simply INCAPABLE of being tempted! One translation says, "God is unversed in evil." The nature of God is a nature of such absolute holiness that it cannot be tempted. The nature of God is UNTEMPTABLE!


No wonder He is called the HOLY ONE!


The nature of God is therefore incorruptible and cannot be influenced, affected, altered, changed, or ruined in any way. Thus we can see that the divine nature contains, among others, these three distinct characteristics: it is untemptable, eternal and incorruptible. To be truly GODLIKE is to be in nature and being untemptable, eternal and incorruptible. In any portion of our being where we fall short of being either untemptable, eternal or incorruptible, in that area of our being we have not yet become like God - we fall short of His glory. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Herein lies the glory Christ had with the Father before the world was: Christ, the eternal Word of God, as Divine Spirit, dwelt only and fully in the eternal, untemptable and incorruptible nature of Godhead! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn. 1:1).

THE GLORY OF THE SON IN FLESH

Let us turn to Phil. 2:5-9. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him..." The Amplified Bible is so expressive here: "Let this same attitude and purpose and mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus - Who, although being... one with God and in the form of God, possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God, did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity so as to assume the guise of a servant, in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself still further and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!


Therefore God has highly exalted Him..."


In this wonderful passage we have a summary of all the most precious truths that surround the person of the Son of God. There is first His wonderful Divinity: "in the form of God," "equal with God." Then comes the mystery of Him laying aside that glory in that phrase of deep and inexhaustible meaning: "He stripped Himself," "He emptied Himself." The humiliation follows: "The form of a servant," "made in the likeness of men," "found in fashion as a man." Then comes the atonement with the humiliation, and obedience, and suffering, and death, whence it derives its worth: "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." And all is crowned by His glorious exaltation: "God hath highly exalted Him!" Christ as God, Christ becoming man, Christ as man in humiliation revealing the glory of the Father in a body of flesh, and Christ in glory as Lord of all: such are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge this passage contains.


The two glories of sonship are here: firstly, the glory He had with the Father before the world was; secondly, the glory He had on earth. Then follows the glory to which He has now been exalted which is one with that glory which He had from eternity.


The great truth we want to grasp here is that Christ (the Word) dwelt from eternity in the form, the essence, the nature and the being of God.  In that divine nature He was eternal, untemptable and incorruptible.  But when He laid aside that glory, emptying Himself of it, taking upon Him the form and nature of man, He, the ETERNAL ONE, subjected Himself to the dread power of death, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. When the Christ laid aside His eternal heavenly glory, the UNTEMPTABLE ONE took upon Himself all the frailties and weaknesses of human nature so that the One who cannot be tempted was found in a nature that could be tempted and indeed He was in all points tempted like as we are. The inspired apostle James says that “every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin” (James 1:14-15). Was Jesus truly tempted in all points like as we are, or did He have some mystical advantage over us, some inherent quality of divinity, some unique spiritual power which enables Him to be oblivious to the cravings and demands of the flesh?

Anything, to be a temptation for us, must excite something within us that  responds to the temptation.  That for which we have no desire, can never tempt us. I used to think, as many do, that Jesus was so high and holy that He could not be affected by the base things that allure us. He was indeed high and holy, but not to the extent that He could not be touched by the same infirmaries, weaknesses, and feelings that touch us. While some may still find it hard to believe, because of our superstitious religious view of Christ, He knows exactly how the person feels who is tempted to lie, cheat, curse, steal, murder, or commit adultery. There had to be the desire in His flesh, the inclination in His nature to answer the temptation, but, blessed be God! HE OVERCAME IT ALL!  He was tempted in every point as we are, YET WITHOUT SIN. As we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, so He had the indwelling Father and by that overcame all temptation and in the one instance of his intense desire to go His own way, He resisted even unto blood. He was the first to do this and

HE ENTERED INTO IMMORTALITY AND INCORRUPTION.


Sharing our humanity, being made in the likeness of sinful flesh, He had the same sinful nature we have.  Now do not mistake what I say!  I do not say that Jesus had the same fallen condition of Adam – I say that He had the same sinful nature Adam has and had from the beginning.  The question is just this – when did Adam receive his sinful nature – before he sinned, or only after he sinned?  A sinful nature is simply a nature that sins or that is liable to sin.  If Adam had not been created with a nature capable of sinning, how, I ask, could he have ever been tempted?  How could he have sinned?  The correct answer to these questions reveals to our spiritual understanding the amazing fact that the sinful nature had to precede the first sin, not follow it. 


Can we not see the simple truth that it was not the act of sinning that gave Adam the sinful nature – rather, it was the sinful nature that caused him to sin!  It was therefore necessary for Christ Jesus to come in exactly the same state as the first Adam was in before he sinned and plunged the race into death. 


He could not have been tempted otherwise, but He was subject to all the temptations man is subjected to.  “He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.”  The suffering was not suffering surrounding the cross.  In order to be a perfect sacrifice He had to be perfected before He went to the cross.  It was through the years that He lived as a man, that He suffered through temptation.  You and I haven’t suffered much this way, because when the temptation gets too severe we just yield to it and sin!  He couldn’t sin, for if He had, He could not have been our goat, our perfect sin-offering required to redeem the race.  So He had to resist and overcome all temptation, and this must have been excruciatingly difficult for Him to do many times, for He had all the desires and inclinations of the human, sinful nature to battle with.

There is something diabolical about temptation, something satanically bewitching and  bewildering.   It stirs up our senses and excites our emotions and passions.   For the time being the forbidden thing seems more important than anything else in the world.  It weakens our powers of judgment, both moral and spiritual.   People who are otherwise very intelligent and self-controlled will in a brief season of temptation commit wholly unthinkable follies – which they often live to regret a whole lifetime afterwards.  It paralyzes our will.  Our many good resolutions melt like wax in the hour of temptation.  All this temptation frequently does simply by being permitted to press in upon us.  It is like chloroform.  If it gets too close to us, it will deprive us of the very possibility of offering resistance.  But, praise God, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13). 


May God in His great mercy give us a true insight into the glory of what is offered us in this truth – that our great, whom we have in the heavenlies, is One who is able to sympathize with us in each and every circumstance, because he knows, from personal experience, exactly what we feel and face. 


Yes, that God might give us courage to draw nigh unto Him, He was placed upon the throne of heaven, One out of our midst, of whom we can be certain that, because He Himself lived on earth as a man, he understands us perfectly, is prepared to have patience with our weakness, and give us just the help we need to overcome and enter into His glory.  

May God give us eyes to see and hearts to understand the depth of the mystery of which I now write. 

Had the Logos, the Word of God remained in that bright glory world above, in that spiritual dimension detached from this realm of flesh and corruptibility, He might have been ever so desirous to help us and lift us up to godhood: but, if He had never tasted death, how could He allay our fears as we tread the verge of Jordan?  If He had never been tempted, how could He succor those who are tempted?  If He had never wept, how could He dry our tears?  If He had never suffered, hungered, wearied on the hill of difficulty, or threaded His way through the quagmires of weakness and grief, how could He have been a merciful and faithful High Priest, having compassion on the ignorant and wayward?  But, thank God, our High Priest is a perfect one!  He is perfectly adapted to His task, and is able to lead each and every member of God’s elect out of this valley of the shadow of death over

into the victory and glory of perfection and incorruptibility!

A rich king, who lives every day in luxury, can he, even though he hear of it, can he fully realize what it means for the poor sick man, from year to year, never to know where his daily bread is coming from? Hardly. And God, the glorious and ever blessed, can He truly feel what a poor mortal experiences in his daily struggle with the weaknesses and temptations of the flesh?

God be praised! Jesus knows.

As Adam could never have brought us under the power of sin and death, if he had not been our father, communicating to us his own nature, so Christ never could save us, except by taking our nature upon Him, doing in that nature all we would need to do, had it been possible for us to deliver ourselves, and then communicating the fruit of what He had effected as a nature within us to be the power of a new and eternal life. As a divine necessity, as an act of infinite love and condescension, the Son of God became a partaker of flesh and blood. So alone could He be the second Adam, the Father of a new race of God-men.

The point I want to make crystal clear is that when Christ left the eternal glory of the Father to take upon Himself the glory of the Son in human flesh, He EMPTIED HIMSELF of all His prerogatives as Deity and willfully, yea, deliberately subjected Himself to the finite restrictions and debilitating limitations of this physical, material world.


As God He had been infinitely rich, while as man He became inconceivably poor.  As God He had been the Omnipotent One, but as man He could do absolutely nothing more than any mortal man except as the Father worked through Him. As God He had been eternal and incorruptible, but as man He grew tired and weary, weak and faint, and died an ignominious death upon a cross. As God He could not be tempted with any evil, but as man He was tempted in every point as is common to men. As God He was Omniscient, possessing all wisdom and knowledge, but as man He "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk. 2:52). As God He had been the Omnipresent One who filled all things, but as man He lay as a helpless infant in a manger and throughout His life could never be in more than one place at a time. As God He had been PURE DIVINE SPIRIT, but as man He was a physical flesh and blood human being.

Christ's glory as the Son of man was thus a far lesser glory than the glory He had in the Father realm before the foundation of the world. He had faithfully glorified the Father on the earth plane, making Him visible through a body of flesh, but, when He prayed that He might be glorified with the glory which He had before the world was, He was asking to be released from the earthly, material, physical form He had assumed, with its human nature and limitations and restrictions, back into the untemptable, eternal and incorruptible realm of DIVINE SPIRIT LIFE. His yearning was to be forever freed from the whole dreadful realm of physical limitation and confinement. This was to shortly take place through His RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD AND HIS ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN.

THE GLORY OF THE SON IN RESURRECTION

When we speak of the resurrection of Christ, we enter a new and glorious realm entirely, for no man other than Christ Jesus our Lord has until now experienced the glory of such a resurrection. In the glory of this resurrection is seen not only the glory which Christ now has in His exaltation but also that marvelous glory which He has before the world was. Let us consider this glory.

There are three key words translated "immortality" in the Greek New Testament. (Athanasia) appears three times, (Aphtharsia) appears eight times, and (Aphthartos) appears seven times. These three terms are translated severally in the King James Version as "immortality," "incorruption," "sincerity," "incorruptible," "immortal," and "not corruptible." These renderings make it quite evident in English that the basic idea deals with that which does not perish, cannot be ruined, or that which will never be corrupted in any fashion. The first term, (Athanasia), is derived from the Greek word for "death" (Thanatos), so that it speaks of that which is opposite of physical death; namely a resurrected body which is spiritual rather than carnal. (Aphtharsia) and (Aphthartos) are derived from the Greek word for "corruption, ruin, destruction" (Phtheiro) which is used of corrupted meat, ruins of ancient cities or sunken vessels, or destroyed armies whose dead bodies litter the earth. Like (Athanasia) the alpha prefix indicates that the word "immortality" speaks of that which cannot be corrupted, which cannot be ruined in any manner, and which cannot be destroyed!

I do not hesitate to say that only solitary person is now "Immortal" according to the Word of God. By this I mean that there is only one man in the entire universe who is a life-giving Spirit resident in an indestructible body.

That man is our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

When Paul writes to young Timothy of the appearing of Christ in the blazing, unapproachable light of the Shekinah, he declares Him to be "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only (who alone) HAS IMMORTALITY..." (I Tim. 6:15-16). Please observe! Jesus only has what the Bible calls "immortality." He, and He alone, of all the men who have lived and do live, resides in the divine spirit realm in a glorified, resurrection body. As the first-born Son, the God-man, only Jesus is immortal at present. Jesus is the only man now dwelling fully and completely in the divine nature and being of God, far beyond all temptation, sin, sickness, limitation, change, decay and death.

When Christ our Lord rose from the dead, He was raised not in corruption but in incorruption. That which is incorruptible is forever beyond the power of corruption, decay or death. God Himself is said to be incorruptible and we are said to be born of incorruptible seed by the Word of God that liveth forever. This incorruptible life now resides in our spirits, but has not yet been manifest in our bodies. Death has no power over the incorruptible. Thus of the resurrection body it is written: "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (I Cor. 15:42-44). Paul declares that this corruptible must put on incorruption. The body of the corruptible man is the body of death, but the body of the incorruptible man is the body of the resurrection, a body beyond the power of death. When Jesus rose from the dead, He arose incorruptible. He had no blood as we know blood.


He had forever laid aside that blood which had been the life of His corruptible flesh and was now quickened in His flesh by the life of God, life incorruptible and eternal.


Many precious saints have claimed that they have already put on immortality, that they have by-passed the grave and will never die. I would overthrow the faith of none, for we are now living in the generation that shall see the long-awaited manifestation of the sons of God, but I do say that the body of glory and incorruption is the body of the resurrection. When the kingdom of God comes in power and glory in the earth, the sons of God will be manifest to the world and to every nation, tribe, tongue and people on the face of the whole earth in the glory of their RESURRECTION.

Being children of the resurrection, they will be seen as INCORRUPTIBLE BEINGS and they will rule the world and bless all the nations of earth as resurrected and incorruptible men. Just as Jesus had power after His resurrection to appear and disappear, to pass right through a wall or locked door, to disclose Himself or to hide His identity, taking various forms, to ascend to heaven and return to the earth, to issue instructions concerning the Kingdom of God, even to eat and drink if He wished, so also shall the glorified and incorruptible sons of God have power. All that Jesus was in His resurrection and glorification the sons of God shall be in their resurrection and glorification, for they are destined to share His glory.

The glory of the resurrection discloses even that glory which Christ had with the Father before the world was. The glory He had and the glory He has are the same glory of INCORRUPTIBLE SPIRIT LIFE.