Sunday, February 24, 2019

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 183

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 183) by J. Preston Eby.

THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES (continued)
“And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:10-11).

The word “seat” here signifies authority, or the rule of one in authority. It might be translated “throne,” and has been so translated in other places. A throne in the book of Revelation occurs frequently as a symbol of dominion, as the center whence the authority of the king or ruler emanates throughout the entire kingdom or nation. Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees, “Ye sit in Moses’ seat.” They administered the law of Moses as rulers of the Jews. Jesus said to the church at Pergamos, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is.” The typical and symbolic church at Pergamos was dwelling where Satan’s throne was located. The Greek word here is clearly “throne,” but the translators of the King James Bible softened it down to “seat.” Let us not be afraid of the phrase. In the place where the church at Pergamos dwelt was Satan’s throne! Let us understand the mystery! First, let me give you the location of Pergamos. The modern city of Izmir, in Turkey, which was ancient Smyrna, is the great city where tourists go because the airport and the hotels are there. It is a fascinatingly beautiful city. You go about sixty-five miles south to reach Ephesus and about seventy miles north to reach Pergamos. These three were, in New Testament times, the royal cities, and they vied with one another. Smyrna (Izmir) was the great commercial center, Ephesus was the great political center, and Pergamos was the great religious center.

Satan’s throne, Jesus said, was established in Pergamos, that is, the center of cultic worship. This religious system had started in Babylon, but eventually its priesthood moved out of Babylon, making their way to Pergamos, and the Babylonian religion found a new home in Pergamos. Can we not see by this that in the book of Revelation Pergamos equals Babylon! Babylon and Pergamos are both symbols of the same thing — RELIGION! In the New Testament times Pergamos became the center or the headquarters of all pagan religion. Satan was the authority and power behind this religion, and he set up his operation in the center of learning and the healing arts, along with idolatry, controlling peoples’ souls, bodies, and spirits. This was Satan’s throne in the typical city of Pergamos, which is also Mystery Babylon the Great! Religion in Pergamos was big business, it was a false system, it deceived the people and dominated their lives, and it was idolatrous. It was there, in false religious systems, that Satan’s headquarters were located! Not that Satan’s headquarters were actually in Pergamos, per se; there was no building into which you could walk and find Satan’s office with him sitting behind the desk running things. Oh, no! These are pictures of spiritual realities and they signify that THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF SATAN LIES IN RELIGION!

This ought to settle the question for those who think that Satan is in hell at the present time! He has never yet been in the hell that men talk about. But he does have headquarters, and we may think his headquarters are in the drug world, in the sex and pornography industry, in the military establishment, in the harlot’s house, in terrorist organizations, in the bar-room, in Hollywood, in the abortion clinics, in gangs, murderers, child molesters, or even in political machines. Not so! These all represent the works of the flesh, not the power of Satan! In John’s day the Holy Spirit used the symbol of Pergamos, the center of religion, to identify the location of Satan’s activity and throne! The great fact is just this: wherever the centers of carnal, man-made religious systems are, there you will find Satan’s throne!

Earlier in his visions John described this scene: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea…and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Thus we learn where this beast obtained his “seat,” or his “throne,” that is, his rulership, dominion, and authority. He received it from the dragon, that is, from Satan. Another beast came up out of the earth, and the first beast gave his authority to this second beast, so that the authority of the second beast is also the authority of the throne of the dragon. This second beast out of the earth, or out of the soulical religious powers of man, signifies the apostate church systems of man, and for long centuries this religious beast, known as Christendom, exercised her assumed authority over the peoples, nations, and kings of the earth. She became extremely idolatrous, her doctrines were corrupted with hideous errors, her rituals empty, her sacraments powerless, her power carnal, her spiritual life stagnated and dead. Thousands were tried for so-called heresy, pronounced guilty by the beast or false church, and executed by the civil governments which were subject to the authority of the bestial religious system.

The “seat” of the beast — where is that? Let us understand! Satan’s throne, ever since the serpent started his religion with Eve when he hissed, “Hath God said? God doth know!” is still in all the false forms of carnal, man-made religion, even so-called Christian religion! Adam and Eve died because the religious realm to which they subscribed through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil sounds like a deeper revelation but in reality HAS NO LIFE! It is mere “knowledge,” the “letter” of the word, the commandments of men and traditions of the elders substituting for the living word of God, form without essence, law without life, ritual without reality, words without power.

The firstborn Son of God understood this very clearly by the mind of the Father! He never condemned the prostitute, the fornicator, the tax-gatherer, the thieves or murderers. He never demonstrated holy anger against the Romans, nor even against the Roman gods, the world, or the wicked. It was the religious leaders that He denounced with scathing invective! His anger was focused on the hypocrisy of the so-called carriers of His Father’s word! He condemned those who appeared clean on the outside, but inside were full of greed and spiritual wickedness! Those who gave tithes and fasted and prayed and loved the best seats in the synagogue to be seen and esteemed of men, He rebuked! Those who distorted the word of God, who turned the truth of God into a lie, who misrepresented and maligned the nature of His Father, and loaded people down with religious burdens and obligations, creating a fa├žade of self-righteousness, He called a generation of vipers — a brood of snakes!

Ah, we blame war, drunkenness, greed, crime, immorality, drugs, and a thousand other evils on Satan — yet the clear testimony of scripture is that these are all the “lusts of the flesh” and the “works of the flesh.” They are — flesh! On the other hand, Satan’s activity throughout the whole of scripture is in a religious realm, in a spiritual dimension! What a cunning deception has been foisted upon mankind as Satan has concealed his true identity in the dark shroud of religion! Oh, yes, Satan is religious! In the book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible, there was a day when the sons of God came and presented themselves before the Lord, and the record states that “Satan came also among them.” If we can lay aside the tradition of the preachers, theologians, and church creeds and listen instead to the word of God, we will clearly see that Satan didn’t come before God in company with drug lords, pornography peddlers, cruel dictators, psychopaths, atheists, prostitutes, or mafia leaders — instead he came with the sons of God! And he was very religious!

The ultimate test for God’s sons will be right there! There is a realm, a realm high in the spirit, a realm reserved for the sons of God — and before any of us step from our wilderness of testing to appear as a manifest son of God in the earth, we will meet Satan there in that high realm of the spirit. It is in the heavens of God’s Spirit that the manchild encounters the great red dragon! That is what the temptation of Jesus, the firstborn Son of God, was all about in His wilderness experience. He wasn’t being tempted to lie, cheat, steal, cuss, or commit adultery. Oh, no! “If Thou be the Son of God” do thus and thus. The temptations involved mis-using His sonship authority or taking a short-cut to power. To Mother Eve Satan said, “Hath God said? Why, God doth know…your eyes will be opened, and you will be as God!” A high revelation in a high realm of the spirit. That is what Adam’s fall was all about! Adam did not fall from grace, nor did he fall into some gross sin of the flesh — he fell from SONSHIP! And it was a supposed HIGHER REVELATION IN A HIGH REALM OF THE SPIRIT that caused the fall. It wasn’t another woman or pornographic pictures that Satan was showing Adam; Satan was preaching! He was explaining “higher” ways of God that Adam did not understand! He was peddling religion! And Eve was deceived! Deception has to do with truth versus error — religion. There is a very fine line between the highest truth and the darkest error, between divine sonship to God and our own self-godhood as taught by all the streams of what is today called “New Age,” and between the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the “God” who is preached from almost all the pulpits of the world today!

In the typical and symbolic church of Pergamos, Satan’s “throne” was situated in the city of Pergamos which means “strongly united, elevated, height, citadel.” Spiritually, Satan’s throne, which is also the seat or throne of the beast, is in the high places of the carnal mind — even the religious mind! “I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is.” I know where you dwell, where you are comfortable in your religious system, where you are satisfied to settle down and comfortably remain. I know that you love the pageantry, the beauty, the forms, the sacraments, the rituals, the programs, the history, the traditions, the excitement, the entertainment, the activities. But that place where you dwell is the throne of the beast!

This authority or seat or throne of the beast is to suffer the wrath of God! This wrath is called a “bowl of passion,” or plague, and is poured out upon the assumed authority of the apostate church, for, by the assumption of carnal “church authority” the beast has usurped the authority of the Spirit of God and the dominion of the Son of God in the lives of God’s people! When the true gospel, in the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost, is poured out through the ministry of the manifest sons of God, it will indeed be as a “plague” upon the carnal church systems and in contrast to the glorious light revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, the little light in the systems of man, which is actually darkness, will be perceived as “great darkness,” for “if the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” The beast will feel the sting of the plague, and men, that is, the carnal-minded rulers of the church systems, will “gnaw their tongues” in pain, or find it exceedingly painful to even speak the old carnal creeds, rituals, and commandments of the old church order now being judged. Accordingly, the judgment which they are made to suffer is advisedly to “eat their own words” — or, to use the seer’s expressive phrase, to gnaw their tongues in distress!

Under the fourth and fifth bowls we find two very contrasting realms, and God uses them both in His processings. Under the fourth bowl, men are “scorched with great heat,” as the desperate leaders of Babylon “turn up the heat,” and then under the fifth bowl the meteoric blaze is passed. Poured on the throne of the beast, darkness spreads over his kingdom, and men suffer the pain of “absolute darkness.” It is that “outer darkness” of which Jesus spoke, where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It is not a place on some far-away planet somewhere, but the inner condition of awakening to discover that the realm you dwell in, which you thought was the very tabernacle of God and the light of truth, is in fact Satan’s vast domain and is far, far away outside the kingdom of God!

The Old Testament type for this plague is found in Exodus 10:21`-23. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Someone has called this plague of darkness the most serious of all the plagues that came upon Egypt, since Ra, the Egyptian sun god, was the chief of all the gods. When the sun was blotted out for three days, it meant that Yahweh had conquered Ra! Certainly the darkening of the land for three days proved that Yahweh was more powerful than Ra. The Egyptians described Ra as the supreme judge and father of the gods, for it was from him that all the gods and goddesses were created. The Egyptians also worshipped many other sun gods and goddesses that were proven to be ineffective. The great emphasis that the Egyptians placed on the sun and on light in general reveals that this one plague of darkness must have devastated the entire Egyptian population since a major portion of their gods were out of commission and unable to provide the light they needed. Surely the mighty power and omnipotence of Yahweh became a reality to all the Egyptians who had trusted in their gods!

Darkness is the absence of light, and this fifth plague reveals to all the inhabitants of spiritual Pergamos, spiritual Egypt, spiritual Babylon — the beast’s kingdom — that there is no true “light” in any of their carnal doctrines and man-made observances. It is my deep conviction that through the ministry of God’s called and qualified elect there will shed forth such a mighty revelation of truth and reality until the power that the doctrines of men and traditions of the elders hold over the people will be drawn off, plunging the whole system into thick darkness. The beast’s kingdom is worldwide, and the darkness brought in by this bowl of God’s passion is co-extensive with his empire. From the throne to the uttermost limits of religious Babylon everything is shrouded in the mantle of deep, dark, starless night. Isaiah prophesied of this when he said, “Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2). Joel prophesied of it when he said, “The day of the Lord cometh, a day of darkness, of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. The sun shall be turned into darkness…” (Joel 2:31). In this great day of the Lord a dreadful pall of doom is destined to settle over the entire kingdom of the beast, which has been built up by his throne in the heights of man’s carnal mind. This kingdom includes all the “earth-dwellers,” the carnal-minded, soulical-centered Christians — followers and worshippers of the beastly religious orders. The effect of the outpouring of this bowl of God’s dealing is the producing of such torment and anguish as can only be adequately described as the “gnawing of their tongues from pain.”

Ah, God knows exactly what DARK CAVERN to place men in, with no outside energy which they can draw from to help maintain their state and standing. It is the “outer darkness” of which Jesus spoke, outer darkness being the region of spiritual darkness that leads away from the true spiritual light which Christ is. Ray Prinzing pointed out, “It is significant that wherever you find reference to ‘outer darkness’ you also read of ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth,’ as if to indicate the shivering in the cold until the teeth chatter. All this brings more meaning to the word, ‘If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.’ We weep for them, yet we thank God for this understanding of how He uses the COLD, THE DARKNESS to draw out this thermo energy of self-resistance, and the hour of final victory will come, with a full restoration into God. While the wrath of God is love’s severity, yet it remains purest love, seeking the ultimate good for creation, and so it continues to apply the strokes of chastisement. Repentance will come in due time, but how great is the need for the inworking of His judgments, until that submission comes.”

For long centuries men have loved the shades and shadows of the darkness of religion rather than the light of Life, supposing that the little light they possessed was all the light there is, and the true light. But when God leaves men in darkness long enough, they come to hate the darkness, for it draws out of them all the beauty, warmth, strength, and life of light, and they are brought to the end of themselves. Without light we all operate in the dark. In the dark there is no sight, no vision, no comprehension of the realities about us. It was fitting, therefore, that the first thing God created was light. Darkness is not sin, although sin does darken the world by obscuring the light like a cloud. Can we not see by this that darkness is ignorance, error, and unbelief. The light of God is the light of Life. Ignorance — the lack of understanding — error, and unbelief are anti-light and anti-life.

It should be obvious to every believing heart that the darkness that fills the beast’s kingdom is not a literal darkness like that in Egypt in the day of Moses, but truly spiritual darkness. Hear it! “Understanding is a WELLSPRING OF LIFE unto him that hath it.” Certainly one reason so many millions of Christians are living in carnality and immaturity, far beneath their privileges in Christ today, is because they neither know who, where, or why they are. Truly a great and dreadful darkness is upon the kingdom of Babylon! This condition is explained by Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:17-18). In this passage we learn, among other things, this one simple truth: Darkness IS IGNORANCE. In its spiritual meaning, to be in darkness is to be in ignorance! Ignorance is a condition of the mind, in which the mind lacks understanding. The inspired apostle tells us that men have their “understanding darkened” because of the “ignorance” that is in them! It means that either they don’t know much, or the information they have been given is incorrect! And it is this condition of spiritual ignorance that causes the whole world of men, and vast numbers of the Lord’s precious people, to walk in darkness, alienated from the abundant life that is in Christ! Oh! How many of the Lord’s people walk in spiritual darkness, or spiritual ignorance, because the teaching they have been fed by those who are supposedly the messengers of God is not the truth at all! Men are in darkness because the blindness of their hearts has kept them from the glorious Light of Christ penetrating into their lives!

It is that which comes forth from the heart, the understanding of the carnal mind, which interprets the things of God on a carnal level and misses the deep spiritual truth and reality altogether! Oh! How the churches today are groping about in the darkness that covers the kingdom of the beast! All the dead, carnal church systems were built up by men who were saved by receiving just enough Light to know Jesus as Saviour and Blesser, and then, out of the overshrouding gloom yet untouched in the vanity of their minds and the darkness of their carnal hearts they proceeded to build upon the foundation of Christ every kind of grotesque structure of tradition, doctrinal error, man-made organizations, ritual, form, legalism, license, fleshiness, and worldliness: great towering edifices of hay, wood, and stubble! The carnal and childish interpretations of men put upon the word of God, out of the blindness (lack of spiritual understanding) of their hearts, has created a great ignorance among God’s people, and they are alienated from the glorious flow of divine, heavenly, spiritual, and incorruptible Life by the blindness that causes them spiritually to see men as trees, walking!

It has always, from the very beginning when the serpent whispered to Eve, been the adversary’s policy to misinterpret truth, to distort and carnalize the word of God, in order to hinder mankind from seeing the great beauty and majesty of the purposes of God for His creation. The more absurdities the adversary can get interwoven into man’s doctrines and concepts respecting God, the church, eternity, the final destiny of man, judgment, hell, heaven, the “end-time,” and a hundred more, the better he will succeed in separating men in their consciousness from reality. Thus for centuries the great adversary has been working most successfully and has covered and hidden some of the most precious and glorious truths under the most specious and repulsive errors, and the progress of the Lord’s people has been correspondingly stunted. But, thank God! we are now living in the time when the veil of ignorance is being dissolved, when the darkness of the beast’s kingdom shall be penetrated by the holy city descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: whose light is like unto a stone most precious, and the Lamb is the light thereof; and the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it, and there shall be no night there. Isn’t it wonderful! It’s all in the book, my friend — in the book of Revelation! The people of God are being drawn by the Spirit to look away from the creeds and systems formed for their enslavement during ages past, and to open their hearts directly to the spirit of truth that leads to the living God! Therefore lean no longer upon thine own understanding! Judge neither after the sight of the eyes nor the hearing of the ears, but seek that Living Spirit of UNDERSTANDING that comes from God alone!

Have you ever prayed that God would open the eyes of your understanding that you might truly and correctly and fully know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints? Ah, how much better this would be than to pray for temporal blessings for the outer man, for the heart of the Father is truly pained when He beholds His called and chosen ones neglecting their devotion to His highest purpose while they diligently pray and seek for earthly blessings. If we but seek, God will bless us with ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS! Walk no longer in the vanity of your mind, having the understanding darkened, thereby alienating yourself from the life of God through ignorance! Never spend your days seeking the things of this carnal life, or a golden mansion in some far-off heaven somewhere, for they make themselves wings and fly away and have no power to reveal Christ in you or to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption! Every son of God who is pressing forward to lay hold upon the prize of the high calling of God in Christ is COMING OUT OF THE DARKNESS HANGING LIKE A PALL OVER THE KINGDOM OF RELIGIOUS BABYLON, OUT TO WHERE THE SUN OF DIVINE LIGHT SHINES IN ALL ITS BRILLIANCE AND THE AIR IS PURE AND RAREFIED WITH THE LIFE OF GOD! It is indeed wonderful!

The prophet Isaiah penned these words for God’s elect, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth (Heb. “land,” God’s people, the earth-realm), and gross darkness the people (of God): but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee!” (Isa. 60:1-2). The darkness that has covered the minds of God’s children is truly gross darkness, and there will be sorrow, tears, and gnawing of the tongues when they do see — thank God! The reason there is darkness today is because of the false doctrines and dark traditions of the church systems. No wonder God’s people are full of unbelief, filled with doubts, and overwhelmed with fears. No wonder they magnify the works of the devil and declare him more than they declare God! No wonder they think the devil is winning the battle and is soon to take over the earth with his antichrist! No wonder they shudder with fear in the face of all the events happening in the outer world and all the dark conspiracy theories propagated by the doom-casters who call themselves “end-time” teachers! No wonder they are waiting for the Lord to come and evacuate them off of planet earth! They know not the DAY in which we are living, because of the incredible darkness that has covered the kingdom of the beast! They are held there in the thick darkness, receiving death and feeding on darkness all about them.

Without doubt, it is going to get even worse! If we would grasp the full warning of John’s vision, we must bear in mind that the Darkened Kingdom exists now, in our very midst; that it is a Kingdom of Darkness already, though not as yet has fallen upon it the consummating end. Since, then, it is possible for any one of us to be drawn into that Darkened Kingdom, to share its blindness even now — though most of those who read these lines have already been there and have escaped — let us thank God for His merciful revelation of its real nature and its awful end! Let us heed more earnestly than ever the inspired warnings to “cast off the works of darkness” and to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” but rather to “walk in the light as HE is in the light,” so that thus “we have fellowship one with another.” Truly this bespeaks the fellowship of sons!

Isaiah prophesied of such a condition of darkness upon the Lord’s people, saying, “Go, and tell this people, Hear ye (the word of the Lord) indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not” (Isa. 6:9). Following this the prophet speaks of the “plague” that is sent by the Lord to bring an even greater darkness upon His people, saying, “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isa. 6:10). Then Isaiah asked the Lord, “How long must it be this way? How long must they be held in this thick darkness?” And the Lord’s answer was: “Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate…and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land” (Isa. 6:11-12). Ah, this is how God brings Babylon down! If He were to allow them to hear and see while they remain comfortable in their habitations, it would only cause them to feel that God was BLESSING THEIR ORGANIZATION AND HONORING THEIR DOCTRINES AND THEIR SYSTEM and the thing that God wants to kill (the witch Babylon) would be healed. No, the darkness must continue until they cry out in desperation, until they gnaw their tongues for pain, until the whole land is forsaken, until the whole kingdom is utterly desolate — until no one can even STAND to dwell in it any longer! I once heard a brother put it this way: You will stay the same until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of the change! When this work is finished in God’s people, then will they hasten to run to the light!

Oh, wonder of wonders! The great truth that the Lord is now revealing within the hearts of His elect is the truth that the “sun” which is “darkened” in our text is the sun of the old religious heavens we have lived under, the light (rulership, authority, dominion) of that old world of man, of man’s thinking, man’s interpretation, man’s philosophies, man’s orders, man’s programs, man’s ways, and all the rest, is smitten and darkened in the lives of God’s people until they can no longer see even the little light that had illuminated their pathway. It is not just the people’s desire to imbibe of those things that is taken away, but the rule of the hierarchy — their authority — their power is broken! What we see here is the doing away of the old creation and the bringing forth of the new. It is the dominion of God’s government coming and being established in the midst of all His people which evokes the darkening of the old heavens! As Isaiah prophesied, at the same time that the glory of God is arising upon His chosen and separated elect, the old light goes out and the kingdom of the beast is cast into gross darkness! The type for this was first seen in the land of Egypt when God sent the plagues for the deliverance of His people. “…and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt…but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Is it not remarkable that while there was dense darkness over the whole land of Egypt, yet there was light in all the land of Goshen where the children of Israel lived! The light of truth and reality is arising upon the elect of the Lord in this hour, while incredible darkness is settling down upon the religious systems of man! That is the mystery.

Do not fear the darkening of the old heavens you have lived under, my beloved, for while thick darkness covers the old past orders of our lives, so that nothing of that realm can function or exert authority over us anymore, yet our gracious and wise heavenly Father has provided wonderful light — a new mind, a new consciousness, a new understanding, a new heart, a new spirit, a new identity, a new nature, a new calling, a new purpose — the scintillating light of truth, life, reality, and power in the spirit! Oh, yes! There is light in all the dwellings of the new creation that we are! There is the pure white light of the glorified Christ in our spirit! Just as the darkness over the land of Egypt was designed by God as an instrument to deliver His people out of the bondage of Egypt, so the darkening of the old heavens of our natural lives, all those things, people, systems, and realms which exerted authority and dominion over us, and guided us on our journey, is the hand of God moving to deliver us from the Egypt of this present world system. This is God’s work in His elect in this hour — but it is yet to come upon ALL HIS PEOPLE WHO DWELL IN SPIRITUAL EGYPT! Oh, yes, He will lead all of them out by a mighty hand!

God is today doing a marvelous work among the apprehended sons of God who are learning to live and walk in the heavenlies. At the same time darkness has descended upon the earth-dwellers, and gross darkness upon the peoples. We are indeed living in momentous hours! The great Babylonish image seen by Nebuchadnezzar is old and is now standing but shakily upon its unsubstantial feet of iron and clay. A spirit of stupidity has fallen upon the leaders of the world, and upon the ecclesiastics of the religious orders, and a spirit of deception upon its peoples, and the devil has come down with great wrath, knowing that he has but a short time. Oh, yes, he knows! Men, nations, and churches have become “lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof; from such turn away” (II Tim. 3:2-5).

God has called you, and raised you up, my brother, my sister, as a light this very day, that you might dispel the darkness and remove these heavens that men have been dwelling under, establishing something completely new in the earth, a new heavens in which the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in His rays. Oh, yes! Bring forth in your life a new likeness, the image of God; and a new light, the glory of God, that you may declare HIM who is supreme throughout all the earth and that He may reign in every heart. Behold the dawn! But the popular churches are still lost in dreams. They have not yet awakened. They know not of the dawn! But we who are of the day, and who are not lovers of the drunkenness of false doctrine nor sleepers of the night, have a higher heritage. “We are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep as do others” (I Thes. 5:5-6). We who have received the love of the truth are heirs to a higher calling. We have privileges, and we have duties to perform. We must be about our Father’s business! There has been a parting of the ways. God has called upon us to forsake the shame and error of the harlot systems of man, to look up, to arise and shine. Our light has come! The glory of the Lord is rising upon us! The day is at hand! The night is far spent. We must go forth and lead the way for all who will follow!

THEY REPENTED NOT
“…and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:11).

Our text says that men “repented not.” Now what does this mean? Does it mean that God is going to pour out His fury upon the world of sinful mankind, and instead of realizing that God is punishing them for their wickedness, and repenting, they continue on in their sins? Does it mean that all the humanists, communists, thieves, murderers, and prostitutes will stand up in defiance of God and curse Him to His face for tormenting them? This term appears only five times in the book of Revelation. Once it is used in relation to the symbolic woman Jezebel in the church in Thyatira, of whom the Lord said, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not” (Rev. 2:21). Twice the term is used under the sixth trumpet, and twice when the bowls are poured out in chapter sixteen. All of this is very significant! You see, we are prone to apply this to that wicked old world out there, outside of ourselves, but the book of Revelation is addressed to the church — it is not addressed to Russia, China, Africa, Hindus, Buddhists, witches, serial killers, prostitutes, drug lords, or terrorists! Jezebel was a condition and a people in the church, she was told to repent, and repented not; then the Lord told her exactly what He planned to do about it!

Just as the seven last plagues are drawn from the imagery of the plagues poured out upon the Egyptians by the hand of Moses, so also this expression, “they repented not,” is rooted in the Old Testament account of the Egyptian plagues. In that case it was the Pharaoh, standing for the whole nation, who repented not. Now it doesn’t state it in those exact words, instead the writer uses the term “hardened his heart.” Again and again Pharaoh hardened his heart until all the plagues had run their course, and at last he did permit the Israelites to depart out of Egypt! This term does not signify a permanent condition, but reveals that at this point in God’s dealings the plagues have not all been poured out nor have they finished their work. But all the judgment is designed to bring about the determined end — the deliverance of ALL God’s people from the kingdom of the beast! Each plague adds something, contributing its part toward that final goal — yet in the process there are multitudes not yet ready to flee out of Babylon, so they “repent not.”

In ancient Egypt the physical act of repentance was not too clear, but a complex procedure was devised. While the Egyptians do not seem to have had an actual word for repentance, they quite literally considered it to be a “swallowing of the heart,” which we would call a change of heart or mind, which of course it is. So much is clear from the famous Book of the Dead, consisting of 189 spells, which every wealthy Egyptian of the New Kingdom placed beside him or herself in the coffin. To the Egyptians of the 14th century B.C., the heart was the seat of good and evil; a light heart was good, and a heavy heart was evil. Moses, of course, was familiar with that concept, and when the scripture says that Pharaoh “hardened” his heart, as he does after most of the plagues, the Hebrew reads, literally, “he made his heart heavy (kaved),” meaning he made it evil.

As an Egyptian approached death, his or her greatest wish was to live on into the next world, and for that he or she had to pass a number of crucial tests. The first one was to have one’s heart weighed against a feather. If the heart was not heavier than the feather, one could pass on to the next test, to be introduced to Osiris, the Pharaoh of the Underworld. During the weighing procedure, the supplicant made a lengthy confession, recorded in spell No. 125. He or she had to declare that they had not committed any of the 42 basic transgressions against the gods, against Pharaoh, or against their fellow men. The whole procedure was carried out by the jackal-headed god Anubis, representing the dead, and the result was recorded by the ibis-headed god Thoth, the scribe. If the heart was too heavy, and there was a suspicion of untruth in the declaration, the supplicant was likely to be swallowed by the Ammut monster and never to see life again. But there was an alternative. It was the opportunity to have a “swallow of the heart,” to change one’s heart, that is, to make repentance! Ah, is that not what all men need — A CHANGE OF HEART! And God’s dealings with Pharaoh through the plagues upon the land of Egypt were designed to ultimately bring about that very change of heart, which is also what the plagues in the book of Revelation are all about! Can you not see the mystery?

When Moses told the Pharaoh that Yahweh required that the people of Israel go into the wilderness to worship Him, and requested that they be permitted to journey three days into the wilderness to pay their homage to God, Pharaoh was not of the frame of heart to comply with such a request, and he said, “Who is Yahweh, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Yahweh” (Ex. 5:2). But Yahweh had a far different view of this, and He said, “In very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Ex. 9:16). Therefore every time Pharaoh’s heart softened a little, and he was about to consider letting Israel go, GOD would harden his heart some more, BECAUSE GOD HAD A PLAN and was using Pharaoh in that plan — to reveal His power and to cause His name to be declared in all the earth! And the fact that God’s name is being glorified even in this writing today, 3500 years later, is living proof of the omnipotent hand of God in that day so long ago! He who had no desire to honor God at all, became an instrument whereby all nations around were caused to give God the glory as they heard of the happenings in Egypt. The more the wrath was built up, the greater the victory God wrought through it all, and it became a praise unto Yahweh. God will be the Victor in all His judgments, and even though Pharaoh let the people go he still didn’t repent for he pursued them and drowned in the sea. The message is just this — the old Adamic mind cannot repent — but it will be destroyed! A change of mind, a change of heart — a new mind and a new heart will I give you, saith the Lord!

Many deep spiritual truths of scripture remain locked up to man and cannot be understood with the natural mind. In the Revelation we see three series of dealings by which Christ is revealed and God’s people are brought to perfection — the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls. It is significant to note that in connection with the first series, the seven seals, no statement is made concerning men “repenting not.” The reason for this is abundantly clear! The loosing of the seals represents the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, as the pattern for all His many brethren. As we behold the mighty work of the Father in Jesus, bringing Him to His full sonship, we see the pattern and process of His unveiling within each of us. There is no repentance required in the unveiling of Jesus Christ! The mighty raising up and manifestation of His life within will indeed evoke repentance in soul and body, but the spirit of sonship needs no repentance! Therefore, the only repentance in the book of Revelation is on the part of the church, in its immaturity, imperfection, and carnality, as revealed in chapters two and three. This repentance is shown on the part of God’s firstfruit company who are brought to perfection and the full stature of Christ under the sounding of the seven trumpets, and later on the part of the rest of the Lord’s people who are purged, purified, and perfected through the pouring out of the seven bowls.

While it is true that every son of God must repent, it is also true that there is a part of each of us that cannot repent and will not repent! Truth has been revealed, and the truth is that “human beings” never become spiritual. The spiritual progress we make is to “die” to our human identity, our ego, our natural life, our Adamic consciousness, and be made alive to the new creation life of Christ within. No human being has ever been spiritual or ever will become spiritual, because the Adamic man is flesh and blood, and flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God! We are not trying to save our humanhood, nor can we put it under the laws of God and make it righteous, for the word of the apostle Paul is incontrovertible: “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).

Perhaps Aesop said it best in the fable. A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die, too.” The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in mid-stream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown. But the frog has just enough time to gasp, “Why? Why did you do that!” Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…” The old earthly, human, natural, carnal, Adamic mind and nature must be put off, for it cannot repent nor can it be redeemed. Adam can only go to the cross! And when we read that men “repented not” it signifies the resistance and rebellion of that old mind, that old nature, that old man that must be put off. The plagues are sent to effect this separation in the lives of God’s people! Think of it!

Our repentance means that we no longer identify with the first man, the earthy, but we consciously identify with the second man, the spiritual, which is the Lord from heaven! We are putting off the old man, including that old religious soulical power, and are putting on the new man of the spirit. The old man that we are putting off cannot repent, will not repent, therefore we die to that man and are raised up into the new man, even Christ. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. To try to change, or improve, or save the old earthy man is an effort in futility. It cannot be done! And that is the great truth and the deep mystery the Lord is revealing to us when He tells us that men “gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:10-11). That is old Adam talking! That is the soulical religious nature reacting! It simply means that ADAM CAN’T REPENT! One fact only dominates the life of man upon this earth, and Paul articulates it when he says, “in Adam all die.” By the word “Adam” Paul means everything “human,” everything natural, everything earthy; he means himself, his natural identity, his history, his language, his institutions, his works, his innate religiosity, his hopes and dreams, his abilities, his world, and over “Adam” hangs the inevitable sentence of death. Adam comes to an end, he passes out of existence, he dies, he ceases to be. And Adam gnaws his tongue for pain, and blasphemes the God of heaven, and repents not — all the way to the cross! He is typified by the thief who was crucified with Jesus, who complained, accused, and repented not right to his death!

God is in the process of raising up in us the new creature, not a revamped, remodeled, renovated old creature, but an entirely new creation. It is not really a new creation, for it has existed all the while within our spirit, but it is new to us, and new to mankind, because it has been hidden deep within us and we have all walked only in the consciousness of the outward Adamic mind and life. The old has to go until there is nothing left of it at all, and has been replaced with that which to us is entirely new. The new creation is not a remodeled version of the old one, for the new is spirit and life whereas the old is flesh and corruption. “Behold, I make all things new,” saith the Lord! When God is finished everything in the heavens and in the earth will be absolutely new, there will be no place for the old. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” (Rev. 21:1). “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind” (Isa. 65:17). God has no notion of salvaging the old nature (earth), or the old religious realms (heavens), it is necessary to have a new nature and a new spiritual life that comes from God! He has no program by which the old can be remodeled for use by Him. He has no program for it at all! It is condemned, my friend, destined to pass away, not even to be remembered anymore! Drunkenness, hatred, murder, strife, war, drugs, thievery, rape, adultery, homosexuality, gangs, tyranny, gossip, slander, godlessness — passed away, and remembered no more! Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Judaism, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age — passed away, and remembered no more! What a word that is!

In our understanding of redemption, it is important that we recognize that there is no redemption for the Adamic man, that is, the earthly, soulical nature and life. God has not asked the Adam man (the natural man) to consecrate himself to God, because that is the worse thing that could happen! The Adam man tried to make his nature pleasing to God when he sowed fig leaves together to cover his nakedness in the ancient mists of Eden. But that does not please God, because that Adam man was sentenced to death, and die he must! His offspring, Cain, personifying the innate soulical religious nature, tried to worship God by the offering of that which grew out of the earth — man’s own good works, efforts, programs, methods, etc. — but that did not please God either and was entirely rejected by the Lord. That is why God sent the “second man” and the “last Adam” — to replace the “first man” and the “first Adam.”

Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is an entirely NEW CREATION; old things are passed away, and behold, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW! Can you not see the mystery? God did not save the old Adam, He replaced him. We are redeemed and saved by having the old Adam brought to death within us, and being raised up in consciousness and experience into the new Adam. So when Christ sends His Spirit, He does not come to the natural man, for the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit! He comes to the inner man of spirit! “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” It is His Spirit joined with our spirit that raises up the new creation man within us! Therefore, he is a spiritual man! And yet, most of Christianity deals with the natural man, because they want him to live before God. In order to get him restored they lay the laws on him, try to get him to conform, to change his behavior, force him to go through the motions, to act righteously, and train him to serve God! It reminds me of what Flannery O’Connor said about one of her characters in the novel A Good Man Is Hard To Find: “The old woman would have been a good woman if only someone had held a gun to her head every day of her life.” And, my, how religion does that as they lay the threat of eternal hell and damnation upon every soul who fails to “walk the walk”!

But the problem with dressing up and training old Adam is illustrated by the story I read once in a tract. A young boy, on a certain occasion, was walking with his father through the streets of Manchester, England. His attention was suddenly drawn to a man standing before the door of a building, announcing loudly, “Come in, ladies and gentlemen, and see the great American pig!” Having his curiosity aroused, he paid his entrance fee and entered the building. There, sure enough, was an amazing pig performing feats and giving evidence of an intelligence no pig had ever before exhibited. At the command of his trainer, he would pick out, from the alphabet lying on the floor, the letters “G-O-O-D P-I-G.” He would also walk about on his hind legs and shake hands with those who stepped up to greet him. This pig had been washed and scrubbed until he was perfectly clean and he was dressed in a beautiful garment. Of course, he commanded the highest admiration and no one could deny that he was well-educated and well-behaved in every respect. But in spite of his remarkable culture and his attractive appearance, HE WAS STILL A PIG — better off, perhaps, than most other pigs — but yet, after all, only a pig and a pig to remain, however advanced his learning! And there is no doubt whatever that given the opportunity, he would head, fine clothes and all, right straight for the first available mud hole! Ray Prinzing expressed this same precious truth when he wrote, “A NEW CREATION SPECIES IS NOW IN FORMATION! The new life is HIS, for He is the Source of all the new! ‘It is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved — He has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with Him in Christ Jesus in the heavens’ (Eph. 2:5-6, Phillips).

A brother once related the following experience: “I asked a man who came to me if he wanted to receive Christ into his life. He said, ‘Well, I — I’ll talk to you later about that. You know, I’m going to try to do better.’ I think I shocked him by saying what the Spirit inspired me to say, ‘You are a liar. You are not going to try to do better because if you are honest you know you have tried before, haven’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ he admitted. ‘How did you come out?’ ‘Well, I didn’t do it.’ ‘Neither will you this time. And I have news for you — God is not asking you to do better! However God is calling those whom He has redeemed to allow HIM TO LIVE IN THEM.’”

Leo Tolstoy once said, “Everyone thinks of changing humanity, but nobody thinks of changing himself.” He was right. But maybe the reason we think so little of changing ourselves for good is not because the task is difficult but because it’s impossible. Perhaps you know from experience that trying to change yourself doesn’t work. You’ve read the self-help books to no avail. To conform yourself to the image of Christ is an impossible goal! Trying hard to act like a son of God by gritting our moral teeth and upping our soulish willpower — all this sounds sensible. But all it really amounts to is an exercise in “will worship.” When we think we can make a spiritual breakthrough in our own strength, we have begun to worship our own will. And as the apostle Paul points out, our human will too is under the grip of sin! Anyone who has struggled with the power of an addiction can testify how weak our will truly is. Spiritual progress is possible only through the power of the indwelling spirit as Christ is raised up in our life. Are you relying on your own resources to be conformed into the image of God’s Son? It’s time to face the facts. This is a battle you can’t win! But Christ has already won it for you — He overcame within Himself all things, even death itself — and now His life is being raised up in you from victory to victory! This is what the church world doesn’t know, and this is the purpose of the seven last plagues — to bring all God’s carnal children to the end of themselves — to find, at last, the reality beyond religion!

There is a song we sang in the Pentecostal church when I was a child. One line of it says, “O Lord, send the power just now, and baptize everyone…”

In bringing this message to a close I would like to change the words of that song to express the great truth revealed through the vision of John on Patmos. “O Lord, send the plagues just now, and purify everyone!”

Amen, and Amen!

To be continued…

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 182

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 182) by J. Preston Eby.

THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES (continued)
“And the third angel poured out his bowl upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments” (Rev. 16:4-7).

When the third angel pours out the third golden bowl of God’s passion, the third plague causes the rivers, streams, and springs to become blood also. No one drinks sea water, so the sea is turned to blood that men might understand that everything of the flesh realm is full of death and corruption. But here it is the fresh water, all the sources of water for drinking and for washing are turned to blood. And God gives it to religious people to drink!

This is reminiscent of the first plague that God miraculously brought upon the Egyptians through the hand of Moses — the turning of the Nile River to blood. One historian gives us the following background. God had expressly told Moses that he was to meet Pharaoh in the morning when Pharaoh went to the river. We don’t know the precise reason that motivated the Pharaoh to visit the Nile each morning, but based on other evidence it could have been to bathe, to offer his devotions to the Nile which he esteemed as a god, or to see if the river was beginning to rise to signal the beginning of the flood season. The Nile has been described as the “bloodstream of the god Osiris” and was certainly esteemed as the source of life for all Egypt. Therefore, for Yahweh to contaminate the very water which was so precious to all life in Egypt was certainly an embarrassment to the gods of the Nile and the gods of life in general. There can be no doubt that this plague gained the special, undivided attention of Pharaoh! Not only was the lifeblood of his people polluted, but also he and his servants were forced to see the contamination occur firsthand right while he was actually worshipping and giving devotion to the river!

The results of the plague were devastating, for all the water that was in the river was turned to blood. Because of this, the fish died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water, and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt (Ex. 7:31). Even the water that was in their stone and wood pots had turned to blood! The plague lasted for seven days. This plague was an affront to the Egyptian gods Osiris, Sothis, Isis, Khnum, and Hapi. Osiris was one of the most prominent and important gods in Egypt. He was not only the god of the dead (represented as a mummified king) but also the god of the Nile, whose death and resurrection explained the annual rise and fall of the river. We won’t take time to go into it here, but the various roles of the Nile gods clearly reveal that the Egyptians deified the Nile River and magnified its waters as the source of all life. Yet, with the simple extension of Aaron’s rod over the Nile, the life source of all Egypt was supernaturally contaminated! The Egyptian gods could do nothing to bring pure water to the people, and certainly Khnum, the guardian of the Nile, failed the people by allowing the water to become blood!

Here in the spiritual visions of John on Patmos it is not the literal springs and rivers that flow through earth’s mountains, plains, and valleys, of course, but the symbolical rivers of man’s human life and man’s fallible word rather than God’s divine life and heaven’s living word! How many times throughout the scriptures the life of God is spoken of as a flowing stream of water! “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men…shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures. For with Thee is the fountain of life” (Ps. 36:7-9). The Lord Jesus tells us that the water that He gives will become within us a fountain of living water, springing up unto eternal life (Jn. 4:14). He says again that whosoever is thirsty may come to Him and drink, and whoever believes into Him will have rivers of living water flowing from within him (Jn. 7:37-38). All these words relate to one thing — that God Himself has flowed out and is still flowing out on this earth into humanity AS LIFE! Just as the Spirit of God and the Word of God make up the wonderful “River of Life” in the closing chapters of the Revelation, and flow out from the throne of God bringing life to all, so the “spirit of the world” and the “word of man” comprise the carnal “rivers” and “waters” of the earth-realm which flow out of the carnal minds and hearts of natural men. This plague falls upon the soulical rivers and the human well-springs of imaginations, carnal knowledge, and worldly wisdom that flow within our earthly, natural, human life and experience.

“Rivers,” on the one hand, suggest the flow of these ideas and beliefs as they are taught, published, propagated, and assimilated into the minds, hearts, and behavior of mankind. The “fountains of waters,” on the other hand, represent the sources of the ideas, concepts, philosophies, teachings, precepts, creeds, doctrines, traditions, ideologies, customs, laws — all the intellectual, moral, political, cultural, scientific, educational, and religious influences of this world which are the sources from which men draw their life, their natural joy and refreshment, their mind-sets, their image of themselves, their understanding of the world, their vocations, lifestyles, hopes, dreams, ambitions, and relationships. Collectively, these waters flow through school and college classrooms, seminars, television programs, books, court rooms, political propaganda, church pulpits, cultural traditions, and a hundred other places. Different belief systems moving in intellectual, moral, legal, business, and religious channels constitute the outflowing of these “waters” as “rivers.” Individually, these rivers and springs are the very thought patterns that run through the minds of men that have become polluted through worldly and false teachings. If ever a dealing of God was needed, it is here!

The earthly-minded people of the bestial world system prefer to look to the “waters” that flow from worldly political, commercial, educational, and religious institutions. They look to these sources for life, contentment, and fulfillment, particularly to the religious systems with their impressive ceremonies, elegant pageantry, time-honored traditions, and static creeds and doctrines. They are like the apostate Israelites who preferred to drink from the Nile River along which Egypt flourished and the Euphrates River along which Babylon flourished. They “rejected the waters of Shiloah which flow gently,” which waters correspond with the “river… the streams whereof make glad the city of our God, the tabernacle of the Most High.”

Where there are rivers there is a flow of life with vegetation, crops, food, birds, and animals of many kinds. Religion is a flow of life in the soulish dimension of man. There was a time in our life when it was a blessing to us to live in that realm, it was a lamp unto our feet, and important to us in our progress from the Egypt of the world to our promised land of the fullness of Christ. We received a certain level of life from that realm! We were encouraged, strengthened, and edified through the preaching, teaching, singing, clapping, worship, sacraments, activities, ceremonies, traditions, programs, etc. But as we follow on to know the Lord there comes a time when the Father shines a greater light upon our pathway and soon we find that all the streams and fountains which once gave us life, are turned to death for us! Once they were water to us, but now they are — blood!

Even a child can understand that the River of Life is not a literal river of natural water which, if a man steps into it, or drinks of it, will magically confer upon him physical immortality. Just as the river of God is spiritual, so in the Revelation the rivers of earth are soulical. The river of God is the spirit of the word, the rivers of earth are the letter of the word. The river of God is essence, the rivers of earth are form. The river of God is living reality, the rivers of earth are lifeless shadows and deceptive illusions. The river of God is truth and life, the rivers of earth are cold, dead facts, containing no quickening life or power! And now may I exhort you to flee from those things which are true but not Truth, as surely and swiftly as you would flee your home if you discovered it to be a den of rattlesnakes!

We have a whole crop of doom-casters in the land today who spend their time and energy in nothing else but informing the Lord’s people of all the negative situations which are going to overtake our nation and the world! Many of the Lord’s precious people are being fed a steady diet of messages, articles, books, and CDs about world conditions, politics, the situation in the Middle East, oil crisis, economic collapse, one world government, conspiracies of the Illuminati, Counsel on Foreign Relations, World Trade Organization, World Bank, European Union, Beast Government, the Antichrist, mark of the beast, cashless society, strikes, riots, war, terrorism, great tribulation, “safe areas,” food storage, living off the land, planetary conjunctions, tsunamis, erratic weather conditions, global warming, wickedness, catastrophes, end of the world, and a whole catalog of other fearful and frightening events which they imagine fulfill the prophecies of the book of Revelation, some of which will undoubtedly happen, just as they have happened historically through the ages, but most of which I tell you now are nothing more than wild and sensational speculations conceived in the darkness of the carnal minds of men who masquerade as end-time teachers and prophets of God, bewitching the saints. The natural mind, my beloved, is certainly one of the well-springs and sources of the earthly “fountains of waters” from whence flow the “rivers” of carnal ideas, concepts, teachings, prognostications, and imaginations of which the “inhabitants of the earth” drink and find a certain level of excitement, exhilaration, refreshment, and fulfillment!

Let every child of God who has had birthed within his bosom the beautiful hope of sonship turn the searchlight of sincerity and truth upon his pure heart and answer these very important questions:

Do any of the afore-mentioned things minister LIFE?
Does the study of them cause you to be more FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT?
Do they enable you to put on the MIND OF CHRIST?
Do they work DELIVERANCE and OVERCOMING POWER in your life?
Do they inspire you with ever-increasing FAITH by which you shall conquer every enemy and lay hold upon life and immortality?
Do they flood your life with PEACE and JOYFUL EXPECTATION in Christ?
Do they TRANSFORM YOU INTO THE IMAGE OF THE FIRSTBORN SON OF GOD?
Do they imbue you with SPIRITUAL WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING, and with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost?
Are they QUICKENING, LIFE-GIVING TRUTH, or are they, one and all, merely things that are true, or, perhaps, may be true, or may not even be true at all!

I have no hesitation in telling you that all these streams of teaching are naught but carnal rivers flowing through the earth-realm! Some will be dismayed by the statement I am about to make, but quite frankly, I care not one whit who anyone thinks the Antichrist is, or when the Great Tribulation will begin, or how long it will last, or what technological or economic development may bring the mark of the beast, or what the Illuminati or the New World Order conspire to do, or what significance the latest recession, assassination, governmental collapse, earthquake, tsunami, or terrorist attack has in the light of Bible prophecy, or any other event that men’s hearts are failing them for fear in looking after. That may all be interesting information, but it is for the “earth-dwellers” to concern themselves with. I have no time for such trivialities and even less interest. None of this is of any significance in the kingdom in which I now live, none of it flows in the waters from which I now drink, and holds nothing for me anymore. It all seems quite childish, speculative, and boring. I have higher matters to attend to and greater and more enduring things to pursue in the kingdom of my Father! I am no longer a citizen of this world, for I have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, and am seated with Him in the higher than all heavens, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, praise His wonderful name! I’ve been “raptured,” and it had nothing to do with pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib, as man’s river disseminates it. And to one and all I say, “COME UP HITHER!” There is a river flowing here that makes glad the city of our God!

Now, while it is abundantly clear that there is no spiritual life in any of the springs, streams, and rivers of man, they seem to be life to those who drink from them, for they are refreshed and strengthened in their carnal life by this “water.” By the symbolical changing of all this “water” into “blood,” men are brought face to face with the fact that there is no true life in it and that, in very fact, it is naught but death. It is made death unto them! It bespeaks the revelation of the complete corruption of all the sources of natural human wisdom, knowledge, and understanding from which men draw in all the various departments of life.

“And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord…because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments” (Rev. 16:5-7).

This is the only place in the Revelation where the altar is said to speak, though we have heard before of a voice from the horns of the altar (Rev. 9:13). In Revelation 8:5 we find the altar connected with the prayers of the saints, and as a result of their prayers fire is taken from off the altar and cast into the earth. The fire is a symbol of purging and purification, and the voice from the horns of the altar comes also as a result of the prayers of God’s elect and releases a mighty deliverance in the lives of God’s called and chosen remnant. Here in our text the altar is emphasizing that God’s judgments in the midst of His people are true and righteous, that is, they are just and purposeful. The message is just this — God is doing what He has to do in order to correct what is wrong in His people, and what He does is just and redemptive, bringing deliverance and restoration.

Another strange statement is that because they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, God is giving them blood to drink: for they are worthy. That last phrase simply means “for they deserve it!” We don’t like to think of God giving people what they deserve, but in this case that is exactly what He is doing. Shed blood signifies death. That is what they deserve to drink, death to themselves. The reference is to the fact that the church systems have slain, both figuratively and literally, the righteous men and prophets sent to speak the words of God to them through the ages. Thousands have been the martyrs slain by the church systems in ages past and even in recent times! They chose to drink from the human sources of this old world. Thus they wickedly rejected the living streams of water flowing out from God’s chosen vessels! So now He is causing them to drink a full dose of the death they have chosen! Let them drink blood! Oh, yes! They deserve it! It is not vindictiveness — it is correction! The Spirit is revealing to them the awful depths of the death that flows in the streams of man! And it is for their good, for their deliverance, and ultimate perfection!

Commenting on this passage Ray Prinzing wrote: “Truly we can bear witness, ‘He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He’ (Deut. 32:4). Moffat’s translation reads: ‘Steadfast — He rules aright, HIS METHODS ARE IN DUE ORDER, a God trusty and wholly true, upright and honest.’ While Ferrar Fenton adds the thought, ‘ALL HIS LINES ARE STRAIGHT.’

“What a declaration! His work is perfect, all His lines are straight. His methods are in due order, all that He does is RIGHT! Therefore it rightly follows, ‘All His ways are judgment.’ Everything He does is to bring about a restoration and setting right that which has been perverted, distorted, defiled, etc. HE IS OUR GOD OF SALVATION! Were He to draw a line in your life, it would be a straight line — and that means you would be brought into alignment with that uprightness. ‘I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a Father to Israel’ (Jer. 31:9). All of His methods, His workings, are in proper order, proper time, perfect sequence, as He steadily draws you to Himself.

“So long has Christendom programmed their doctrines with a negative view, that to read of the pouring out of the plagues brings a shudder, a fear, for all they see is calamity and distress, while actually God has promised the opposite. Full well He knows the propensity of humanity to do evil. He knows of the self-will and rebellion, that we have ‘turned every one to his own way.’ But He also has promised, ‘I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them’” — end quote.

THE FOURTH BOWL
“And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with the great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues…” (Rev. 16:8-9).

Under the fourth trumpet, one-third of the sun, moon, and stars were stricken with darkness, so that one-third part was dark. But here, under the fourth bowl, or plague, the thing John saw was an angel pouring the contents of his bowl on the sun, as a result of which the heat of the sun is increased to such an extent that men are actually scorched by it, burned, suffocated with solar heat, and in misery and torment are provoked to blaspheme. Yet in their cursing they are forced to acknowledge that the Almighty is in control! He has “power of these plagues.” Truly, this is all the work of God by His Spirit! They know in their hearts that it is God, but the flesh doesn’t like it and grows angry!

The plague is called “great heat.” Men fret and groan under heat from the sun when it is 90 to 115 degrees, but the picture painted here is of heat much more severe than anything we have experienced! In the symbols of the vision the words “sun,” “heat,” and “scorched,” are used literally; but in applying the symbols to the work of God they must be used figuratively and spiritually. The fourth plague compounds the severity of judgment upon the natural man. Sick with ulcers, the stench of death in their nostrils, parched with thirst, the “earth-dwellers” find to their dismay that they are not yet at the end of God’s dealings!

This is the fourth angel to pour out his bowl, and it is significant to note what happened on the FOURTH CREATIVE DAY as God arranged the cosmos in that long-ago beginning. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and the night” (Gen. 1:14-18).

The truth of the great lights in the heavens includes many wonderful examples of that which is taking place in the realm of the spirit. The sun, moon, and stars of the heavens exist in a realm where God is absolute Sovereign and Lord, far above the sin, confusion, sorrow, strife, pain, and death of earth. Therefore, in their highest meaning, in their spiritual meaning, the sun, moon, and stars are used to represent HEAVENLY, SPIRITUAL RULE AND DOMINION. The prophet said, “The heavens do rule.” That is the great truth revealed when at the moment of creation the almighty Creator proclaimed of the lights of the heavenly realm, “Let them be for light upon the earth…the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” The primary thought is that of rulership and dominion!

The God of heaven rules over all, and can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold the wondrous truth that God’s elect sons are destined, with their sovereign and glorious Father, to become the CONSTELLATIONS OF THE SPIRITUAL HEAVENS, THE LUMINARIES AND RULERS IN GOD’S SKY! As the glory of the Lord arises upon His chosen ones they pierce the gloom of earth’s dark night of sin and sorrow and bring deliverance, life, and order out of the chaos of man’s failure and despair. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:3). Can we not see by this that those who rule and reign with Christ in His kingdom are indeed THE SUN, MOON, AND STARS IN THE HEAVENS OF THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD!

The sun in prophecy is the most exalted ruler in any order. We find that God, the supreme Ruler, is called in the scripture a “sun.” “For the Lord thy God is a sun and a shield” (Ps. 84:11). Also, our elder brother, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, is called “the sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). Furthermore, we find in reference to men, “He that ruleth over men…shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun ariseth” (II Sam. 23:3-4). David the king was called “the light of Israel” (II Sam. 21:17). This same meaning is found in II Kings 8:19 where we read, “Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for David His servant’s sake, as He promised him to give him always a light.” This is exactly the same promise we find in Jeremiah 33:17 where the Lord says, “David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” Our Father has told us, “heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool” (Isa. 66:1). Heaven is His throne, or may we say, His throne is heaven! “Heaven” bespeaks rulership and dominion, the “lights” of the heavens are the individual rulers who occupy the heavenly thrones of authority and power! The “earth” is that which is “ruled” by the heavens — that which looks to the sun, moon, and stars for its direction.

The divine pattern in all these things becomes clear once we understand the great truth that there are revealed in the wonderful book of Revelation two heavens and two earths! The blessed Seer of Patmos beheld these in rapt vision and recorded what he saw in these inspired words, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1). There is an old heaven and there is a new heaven! There is an old earth and there is a new earth! The old heaven and earth pass away, but we look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Pet. 3:13). It should be clear to any thinking mind that the old heaven with its sun, moon, and stars, is not our natural solar system or the star-studded universe we behold in the night sky. That is not the old heaven John is writing about! Rather, it is the old order that men have lived under, the old world of human consciousness, worldly society, and man-made religion with all its luminaries — the “lights” or personalities and institutions that govern, control, dictate, constrain, inspire, and direct men’s thinking, understanding, ways, will, desires, ambitions, and conduct in the world of humanity.

These two heavens — the old heavens of man’s order, and the new heavens of God’s rule by the Spirit, are both presented throughout the book of Revelation and we must be keen in discernment to understand which is in view in any scene. Let me put it this way. One way to recognize whether it is the old heaven or the new heaven is to observe the action taking place. The heavens that are being darkened, smitten, falling, rolled together as a scroll, and passing away with a great noise certainly are not the new heavens, for only the old heavens pass away and the new are established in righteousness and glory and power forevermore! It is the heavens of God’s kingdom where sons reign upon the throne and from whence the seven spirits of God are sent forth into all the earth! It is the new heavens of the Spirit of the Lord from which the holy city, New Jerusalem, descends (Rev. 21:2). It only stands to reason the new Jerusalem would descend from the new heavens! So those who are looking up into the sky to see the New Jerusalem coming down are certainly wasting their time and energy! It is out of the new heavens of God that a great voice is heard saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3). And these men are not the old men of the old earth, but the new creation men of the new earth! All through the book of Revelation grand and glorious things take place in, and out from, the heavens of God’s Spirit! The seven angels that blow the seven trumpets sound forth their messages out of the heavens of God! And the seven angels having the seven last plagues likewise come out of the temple of God in the heavens of the Lord. Can we not see by this that the “sun” upon which is poured out the “plague” cannot be the sun of the heavens where we dwell — it can only be the sun of that old heaven that is destined to pass away!

There is an application of this reality both corporately and individually, for what happens in a collective way with all the people of God also takes place in an individual way in each of our lives. If you would understand the scope and magnificence of the mighty working of God in your life, my beloved, consider the message of the radiant constellations of the illimitable heavens above and know that all the power and glory and wisdom and working so marvelously illustrated in their shining configurations is in fact and in truth wrought out in the deepest recesses of your own being. If you will give prayerful consideration to the statement of our Lord that the kingdom of the heavens is within you, you cannot avoid the conclusion that man is a copy in miniature of the universe, and every thing that exists or takes place in the vast expanses of the cosmos, also exists and takes place in the inner constitution of man. The powers and forces and laws that make up the nature and constitution of man are the same as the powers and forces and laws that on an infinitely larger scale are called the universe, and every reality in the outer heavens expresses itself in the consciousness of man, and reflects itself in the experience of man, enabling man to know the universe by himself, and himself by the universe.

Scientists are probing two unseen worlds. One is a world too vast and far away to be seen by the eye, and the other is a world too small to be observed by the eye. I want to give you three words in this connection, together with their meanings. First, we find the word MICROCOSM. This word means a little world; anything regarded as a world in miniature; man, viewed as an epitome of the universe. This word comes from two words in the Greek language. One is MIKROS which means little or miniature. The other is KOSMOS meaning world, in the sense of an orderly arrangement. Thus we have the meaning of LITTLE WORLD. The word MACROCOSM, on the other hand, means the great world, or the universe. It also comes from two words. One is MACROS meaning great, and the other is KOSMOS meaning world. We noted above that the word MIKROS carried the meaning of “man viewed as an epitome of the universe.” The word EPITOME means, among other things, a condensed representation of something. The word MICROCOSM, then, gives us the meaning that man is a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION OF THE UNIVERSE, or man is ALL THE UNIVERSE IN MINIATURE! What it really means is that the two heavens and the two earths in the book of Revelation are both realities within man — and the outward physical universe of sun, moon, and stars is just the picture or the type of how these function on the spiritual plane.

Now let us return to the fourth plague poured out upon the “sun.” There is an interesting connection between the plague poured out from the fourth bowl and the one that follows from the fifth bowl. The fourth bowl is poured out upon the sun — the source of light and heat. But then the fifth bowl brings absolute darkness — suggesting the absence of the sun! Let us understand! God has ordained that all spiritual truth and reality in the heavenly world be typified and pre-figured by the physical creation in the natural world. The apostle Paul made mention of this when he wrote, “Because that which can be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” (Rom. 1:19-20). Thus, natural things and events of the physical creation symbolically portray and typically point to spiritual realities. Natural law is both a reflection and a portrait of spiritual law in the spiritual world. And nowhere is this truth employed more effectually by the Holy Spirit than in the vision John is given of the fourth and fifth plagues!

The figures speak of the sun first becoming hotter and actually scorching men with fire. This is not the picture of an excessive heat drought as is now sometimes experienced. The sun itself is first smitten, then it emits rays that scorch and burn men. The next scene is one of such total darkness that men are gnawing their tongues in pain as a result of the darkness. How utterly graphic these scenes are! These two visions have embodied within them knowledge of modern science which was still unknown to men at the time of John’s vision! This is indeed one of the many “internal evidences” of the book’s DIVINE INSPIRATION!

Our solar system, just one of millions in the Milky Way galaxy, is approximately seven billion miles across. It consists of our sun (a medium-size star) with nine planets, the largest of which is Jupiter. Our sun, by the process of atomic fusion, is an energy-producing instrument. It was made by the Creator for a specific job, which it has been performing since the fourth day of creation. When producers of energy can no longer export the same amount they generate, then “something must give.” In the case of stars, they either blow up (supernova) or they suffer an atomic collapse (nova). Novas and supernovas are occurring all the time, with approximately thirty observed each year in our galaxy alone.

These calamities are brought to pass by entropy, which is the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity. The law of entropy dictates that everything in the universe is running down. According to this law, stars like our sun were composed of solid hydrogen in the beginning. In the fusion process, which changes hydrogen to extreme heat and sunlight, hydrogen is converted into iron and other metals. When the inner core of the metal builds to the point where the energy produced cannot escape in an even flow, huge atomic explosions covering millions of square miles occur, hurling atomic matter and gases millions of miles outward. Such activity precedes the death of a star. It is thought by some scientists that the critical stage is reached when 50% of a star’s hydrogen is consumed.

The question immediately arises as to where our sun stands in relation to these events. The “burning” questions are: “How much longer will the sun remain stable?” “When will it start on its way towards a higher surface temperature and more brilliance?” Scientists believe that approximately one-half of our sun’s supply has now been consumed, and increasing sunspot activity is taken by some scientists as a sign that our sun could nova at any time. Should our sun nova at some future date earth would experience a period of increased brightness and heat, followed by incredible darkness. However such literal events are merely of academic interest, since no one on earth would be around to worry about them. About our only physical hope of escaping such a calamity would be to move to another planetary system!

A nova stage is reached when the heat factor builds to a point where atoms are stripped of their shells. Like a runaway atomic generator, the remaining heavy hydrogen is consumed within a period of seven to fourteen days. Subsequently, the entire mass, originally 900,000 miles across, would be compressed into a ball no more than fifteen miles in diameter. The gravity would be so intense that no light could escape. Whether my reader can understand all the science of this does not really matter. The point of importance here, as it relates to the fourth and fifth plagues, is just this. The literal picture in the two plagues is that of the “nova” of our sun! DURING THE RUNAWAY PERIOD (SEVEN TO FIFTEEN DAYS) JUST DESCRIBED, OUR SUN COULD BECOME UP TO SEVEN TIMES HOTTER THAN NORMAL. THIS WOULD BE FOLLOWED BY TOTAL DARKNESS!

 John’s vision, however, doesn’t indicate that our literal, physical sun up in the heavens, ninety-three million miles from earth, is going to nova — getting brighter and hotter, scorching men with fire until they blaspheme the name of God, who has power over these plagues; and then dying, collapsing into a black hole, throwing our planet into such total darkness that men would literally gnaw their tongues for pain, and further blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pains. Oh, no! The vision is a symbol, a type, a picture, a parable of great spiritual dealings and workings of God!

In our next Study we will consider the great darkness to fall upon the seat of the beast’s kingdom. In closing, let us look for a moment at the scorching of the sun. We have seen that throughout the scriptures the sun is used as a symbol for rulers, authorities, and lordships. What the sun is to this world, such are the ruling powers to a kingdom. In our text the kingdom is the beast’s kingdom — the kingdoms of this world! Governments, church systems, institutions of various kinds, that exercise authority over men’s lives. Power being given to them to “scorch with fire” denotes a cruel and tyrannical oppression over the lives of the people. As religious Babylon comes under the judging hand of God, its corruption exposed, the blessing and presence of God fleeing, so that every living soul, every moving of God within the system is dead, its streams and fountains of waters, that is, its message and ministry, turned to blood — full of death — the religious leaders of Mystery Babylon will strike out at the people in an effort to keep them in line and prevent their escape! This type also is drawn from the captivity of Israel in Egypt, for the “scorching sun” answers to the taskmasters of Egypt with the whips in their hands, who mercilessly beat the Israelite slaves to make them work harder and to keep them from escaping!

Ah, do not preachers do this today when they fear the people are going to leave them? I’m sure that many who now read these lines, when the Lord was calling you out of Babylon, before you actually left, did you not feel the whips on your back and scorching sun burning your flesh! The leaders in Babylon magnify their authority over the people, crack their whips, reminding them not to “touch God’s anointed,” threaten them, prophesy judgment upon them if they dare to question the anointing and authority of the leaders, lay more laws and commandments upon them, preaching at them and abusing them from the pulpit, scorching them with heat from the sun-ministry over them! As the Lord moves mightily to deliver ALL His people out of religious Babylon, you can believe me now or believe me later, but the taskmasters will become much more harsh, the tyranny more severe, the burdens heavier, the restraints more binding, the church rules more demanding — until the flesh cries out in pain! Oh, even then the people won’t be ready to leave yet, for there are three plagues yet to come to finish the work, but the judgment of God to release them will be right on target!

To be continued…

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 181

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 181) by J. Preston Eby.

THE SEVEN ANGELS WITH THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES (continued)
“And the second angel poured out his bowl upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea” (Rev. 16:3).

Here we are given the picture of the second angel pouring out his bowl, not upon the earth, but into the sea, the lowest realm of man’s life, the body realm where lies the root and source of all evil. Something strange and astonishing happens to the sea! Before we consider that, let us reiterate that throughout the scriptures the sea is a type, individually, of the inner storms and turbulent nature of the Adamic man; and corporately, of the raging, restless, surging masses of degenerate humanity, tossed to and fro by these inner storms and turbulent motions of the natural mind and the flesh. The prophet Isaiah penned these inspired words: “The wicked are like THE TROUBLED SEA, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isa. 57:20-21). Jude also described so-called believers who walked as natural men when he said, “These are RAGING WAVES OF THE SEA, foaming out their own shame” (Jude 13). John, in the Revelation, had a vision of a great whore sitting on many waters. The angel revealed the meaning of the “many waters,” saying, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, ARE PEOPLES, AND MULTITUDES, AND TONGUES” (Rev. 17:15).

No man can dispute the fact that it is this restless, turbulent, raging carnal heart of man that inspires every imaginable evil and devilish perversion, religious, economic, or political, and has filled the world with ever increasing confusion, immorality, faithlessness, falsehood, fraud, hatred, violence, greed, cruelty, wars and rumors of wars, bloodshed and oppression. Ah, the sea is the lowest realm on earth, and this vast sea of fleshly-minded humanity represents mankind at his lowest point — as bad off as man can be!

Here, however, God is not dealing with the outer world of wicked mankind, but with His own people. The book of Revelation is sent to the church! It reveals to His servants the things He intends to do and unfold in their lives and experience! It begins in the first three chapters with a carnal, imperfect church. Eventually there emerges a firstfruit company of overcomers, a people out of the church, a people qualified to be “caught up unto God and His throne” and to stand with the Lamb “upon mount Zion.” This is not the whole church, for these are a “manchild” birthed out of the church-woman and a company of 144,000 overcomers who have been “redeemed from among men.” Yet, in the closing chapters of the Revelation, we behold the entire community of God’s redeemed people purged, purified, and perfected — the bride has “made herself ready” to whom it is granted to be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white” and she is joined in union at “the marriage of the Lamb.” All the various companies of God’s people are revealed in the glorious CITY OF GOD, THE NEW JERUSALEM! And that, my beloved, completes the journey from the CARNAL CHURCH to the GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING, FOR IT IS HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH! That is the whole message of the Revelation — God’s dealings with His people to bring them to perfection and fullness in Himself!

This is without doubt the “sea” within the Lord’s people, the flesh nature, with all its agitating, surging emotions, powers, and propensities. One thing is certain — God has complete power and full authority over even that lowest realm within every saint of God! The word of the Lord declares, “Thou rulest the RAGING OF THE SEA: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them” (Ps. 89:9). Many centuries ago the Spirit of God inspired these beautiful words of promise, “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high IS MIGHTIER THAN THE NOISE OF MANY WATERS, yea, than the MIGHTY WAVES OF THE SEA” (Ps. 93:3-4). Praise God! He rules the inner raging of the sea and He stills all its tempests! The unstable nature within, so quickly moved by the storms created by the carnal mind, the torrents of passion, the streams of vain imaginations, the waves of frustration and fear, the winds of doubt and unbelief, the turbulent emotions of fleshly zeal, anxiety, and temptation — all are quieted by the Lord, the Spirit, who arises within in peace, joy, righteousness, confidence, understanding, faith and strength to rule the raging of the sea! And then follows the calm, the state described by Paul — “that we be no more tossed to and fro with every wind…but may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15). The Spirit of God within is great peace, overflowing joy, unfailing love, unwavering righteousness, and omnipotent power. It is only necessary then to gain the conscious awareness of the presence and life of God as the true essence of our being, to know that this life is the law of our reality. As we come to know the spirit of our life in Christ all inner and outer tempests are stilled, the sea is calmed, and the dragon in the sea vanishes over the horizon. Oh, yes!

Yet, here under the second plague, something different is set before us. The “plague” falls into the sea of men’s lives and the sea becomes as the blood of a dead man. What word is this! The whole sea is turned to blood, and that, not pure, fresh, flowing, living blood, but blood like that of a dead person, putrid, foul, repulsive, and vile in the extreme, spreading its deadly odor, as it were, over the whole world. The outpouring of the first bowl produced virulent ulcers on the followers of the beast — outward eruptions of internal uncleanness — revealing to all the corruption of the human heart even in those who name the name of the Lord. It outwardly revealed even the uncleanness of the religious systems of man. Have you not seen it? Now, however, wonder of wonders! the dealing hand of God probes even deeper, He pours out the judgment upon that inner corruption to begin to deal with the inward condition which is the cause and source of the boils. Think of it! The pouring out of the second bowl reveals more than the outward manifestation of inward corruption — God so overwhelms His people with the death within, so enveloping them with the stench of rotting, coagulated blood so terrible that it can only be adequately described by the picture of the whole ocean reeking with rotten blood. As horrible and offensive as this seems, it is indeed wonderful!

At last the Lord’s people see that lower nature for exactly what it is — unmitigated DEATH! The whole realm of “this present evil world” is but a dead man, a world of dead men with no life at all in them. There is no life in anything of the world system! This comes as a great and wonderful revelation to anyone who bears the mark of the beast and pays homage to his image, for all who esteem the bestial system of this world with its politics, its military, its charities, its science, its education, its economic institutions, and its religious systems, views it all with pride and wonder. Such people join its lodges, support its military machine, engage themselves in its politics, congratulate themselves for being “committed” and “involved” in its various institutions, and pride themselves in being “patriotic” citizens. This is where millions of believers walk today in the church systems. How tragically have the Lord’s people walked as natural men in a natural world as they fill their lives with natural aspirations, neither knowing nor caring to know that they could walk as sons of God in heavenly realms far above the earth and the sea!

The natural man belongs completely to this earthly order of things. He is endowed in his human consciousness simply with a high quality of the natural animal type of life. He has flesh as the animals have flesh. He has blood as the animals have blood. He has a heart and circulatory system as the animals have hearts and circulatory systems. He has a digestive system as do the animals, feet for walking, hands for working, a brain, nervous systems, etc. The natural man lives and dies as do the animals. Paul pointed out the contrast between the natural man and the spiritual man in Romans chapters six through eight. In Romans 8:5 he exposed the yawning gulf between those who live after the body realm (which is the flesh) and those who live after the spirit (the offspring of God). He taught that “they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit.” It all depends on what we are AFTER! When I was a young man I met a beautiful young lady by the name of Lorain Walker. I quickly decided that I wanted her to be my wife. For a year and a half I dated her, pursued her, spent every moment I could with her, proposed to her — and I got her! At that point in my life she was what I was AFTER! This is the idea Paul has in mind when he speaks of being “after” the flesh or “after” the spirit. He also refers to it as “minding” the things of the flesh, or “minding” the things of the spirit. I think that anyone can see that whatever a person is “minding” is what they are really AFTER! When you see Christians all caught up and expending their time, efforts, and energies in the programs of carnal church systems, in worldly human institutions, in political parties, and all the other natural pursuits of “this world,” you can know that they are worshippers of the beast. We manifest whether we are a natural man or a spiritual man by what we are after, what we are actively pursuing in our lives.

The man who is forever worrying about the physical man will always have in mind ways and means of catering to him — how he can provide a better old age pension, how he can get a better home, newer car, fancier clothes, how he can provide more to see and hear and taste and feel and smell. He expends all his energies to try to make sure the physical man will never be in need. He is always mindful of the physical flesh and all that he does is for the physical flesh. He does nothing more than the animals do. He lives his life out on the same plane as does the animal kingdom. He pursues the corruptible things of earth, the things that make for bodily comfort and pleasure, and does not mind the things of the spirit. A man or woman who cares much about the pleasures of the body, eating and drinking and sexual passion, holding in high esteem such corruptible things as houses and lands, fine clothes, bodily adornments, bank accounts, and luxuries of all kinds, will never, as long as their lives are wrapped up in the pursuing of those things, attain to the glory of sonship to God.

It is not that such things are wicked or abominable before God, for He has promised to “add all these things” unto us as we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. But I declare to you that to the natural man who is pursuing all these things they are enemies of the spirit because they never give you leave to seek God without distraction. Carnally minded men, whether they be people of the world or professing Christians, are filled with the delusion that those who hold in low esteem the corruptible things of earth, turning instead to the eternal values of the spirit, are living lives that are not worth living. But such persons do not know that just the opposite is true, for “she who liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (I Tim. 5:6).

The moment we grasp the meaning of the scripture, “They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh,” at that moment we can understand what the carnal mind is. The carnal mind is the fleshly mind and the fleshly mind minds fleshly things. And the great revelation out of the sea turned into the blood of a dead man is that NONE OF THE FLESHLY THINGS OF EARTH HAVE ONE IOTA OF LIFE IN THEM! “To be carnally (fleshly) minded is DEATH” (Rom. 8:6). Not only in his relation to the spiritual man, but to the whole spiritual world, the natural man is regarded as dead. He is as a stone compared to an organism. The natural world is to the spiritual world as the inorganic to the organic. “Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Rev. 3:1). “To you hath He given life who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). It is not possible to know God or experience God through any of the physical senses of the body, or through any earthly thing, or any earthly institution, be it called a church, a sacrament, or something else. This reveals the folly of all “sacramental” religion! It is just as impossible for a man to enter into Christ by having his physical body dipped in a tank of water, as it is to have Christ enter into him by putting a wafer in his mouth and swallowing it. The natural is a sea full of death, and life is found only in the spirit!

In the world today there is a small minority who spend their lives minding the things of the spirit. The welfare of the inner spiritual man is foremost in their thoughts, for they seek to partake of THE MIND OF CHRIST. They esteem the realm of the flesh as less than nothing, as common dung, seeking always to be one mind with the Father. These, being after the spirit, mind the things of the spirit. The spiritual man has partaken of a life that transcends the physical — a new and distinct and supernatural endowment. He is no longer of this world. He is of the timeless state, Eternity. He is, even now, a son of God and it doth not yet appear what he shall be. The difference then between the spiritual man and the natural man is not a difference of development, but of generation. It is a distinction of the quality of life. The life of the natural man is of so poor a quality that it is not even life at all, for it is filled with the corruptible mind of the flesh and the power of death. And it is only when you stand upon the shore of that sea that John saw, the sea that has become as the blood of a dead man, and view the men and the whole bestial system of the world that lives and thinks and functions at that level — it is there and then that you will truly comprehend the horribleness of that realm of death that the masses of God’s people never see or understand until the second angel pours out his bowl, uncovering it to them, revealing it within them, causing them to see it as it really is, to be repulsed by it, and cry out mightily to God for a great deliverance!

We are living in an hour when God is moving powerfully in the hearts of the people He has called to live in the heavenlies of the spirit. While the rest of his people go on more or less happy and unconcerned, content with their empty carnal lives and worldly religious pursuits, sinking deeper and deeper into the world’s morass of immorality, confusion, and corruption. But I have good news for you my friend — there is coming a mighty change! When the second angel pours out his bowl into the “sea,” into the midst of the Lord’s people, they will awaken and smell — not the coffee, not the roses — they will smell the putrid stench arising from the sea which has become to them as the blood of a dead man! This plague will fall suddenly into their natural life and phenomenally disturb their comfort zone! It is a quickening, a revelation! Once they are quickened by the Spirit of God there is a revelation of corruption — the knowledge of just what is in the natural man, the carnal mind, the flesh nature, and the whole spirit and system of the world — the clear and perfect understanding of what these are, how they work, their utter futility and worthlessness in light of the Truth and Reality that the Spirit brings. Christians in general will never let go of the valueless things of the world until once they see them for what they really are — an abhorrent cess-pool of the blood of DEAD MEN!

Oh, what a wonder this is! Do you suppose the millions of believers living out carnal lives in the political, economic, and religious systems of man, will ever come out of Babylon apart from the divine intervention of the Holy Ghost? Such a thing will not be. But God has promised — God has revealed — in John’s wonderful vision on Patmos — He will send His plagues, His stripes, His woundings, His dealings, into the strongholds of Babylon and the slaves will not be comfortable with the things they were comfortable with before! In the old order of things believers have been at home with the worldly atmospheres, carnal understandings, and fleshly activities; but now the Lord will stir them, arouse them, awaken them, draw nigh and speak into them His living word and all the peace, pleasure, joy, and security of the earthly, natural, carnal life will flee away as dew before the rising sun. Once wooed by the Spirit, once awakened to the beauty and glory of life in the spirit, the earthly state of being will be perceived as a base and vile abomination compared to it. As the second plague falls, all contentment with the vast sea of natural life is taken away so that the carnal mind is bereft of all satisfaction in the worldly pursuits it formerly enjoyed and trusted in with unrestrained abandonment.

EVERY LIVING SOUL IN THE SEA DIES
“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea” (Rev. 16:3).

It is time to consider with prayer and meditation the great truth the Holy Spirit conveys in these marvelous symbols. Today when I read this phrase — “every living soul” —I heard something in the spirit that I had not heard before I took up my pen to write. These are beautiful symbols of spiritual truth — not literal events in the outer world. There will never be an ocean turned into a grave of death, nor will there ever be the horrible scene of billions and trillions of shoals of dead, bloated, and stinking sea creatures floating on the surface of bloody waters.

It came to me so powerfully — the precise terminology of the Holy Spirit of inspiration. He did not say, “every living creature,” nor did he say, “every sea creature,” nor did he make mention of “all the fish” in the sea. Rather, the Holy Spirit specifies “every living soul.” This is so very expressive and full of meaning! “Living” is in the Greek text zao. This word is used of various living things, but is most often used in reference to divine life. Jesus is called “the Son of the living (zao) God.” Our blessed Lord informed the sinful woman of Samaria of the “living (zao) water” that He would give to her. Jesus said that He Himself is the “living (zao) bread” that has come down from heaven, and that if a man eats of this bread he shall live (zao) for ever. “The just shall live (zao) by faith,” Paul wrote. Throughout the book of Revelation the word is used several times of the God who liveth for ever and ever; of Jesus who was dead, and now liveth; the seal of the living God; living fountains of waters; and of those who live and reign with Christ a thousand years.

There is clearly the quality of SPIRITUAL LIFE embedded in the word, yet in our text it is used in conjunction with the word “soul” — psuche — the soulical life of man. Can we not see by this that the phrase signifies a spiritual work of God which is joined with the soulical life of man — the deposit of divine life into the carnal state of nominal Christians! And who among us can deny that this is just what we see working in the lives of believers and in all the carnal church systems of earth! Walk into any church service on a Sunday morning. In spite of the liturgy, the vestments, the crucifixes, the ritual and ceremony, and all the rest, who can deny that the Lord is present. Can we deny that they have been truly saved by grace, have a love for the Lord, have experienced something of His goodness and power, and are possessed of a zeal to work for God, bless and help people, and bring men to Him? Yet — in spite of their experience, love, faith, and commitment, is it not also true that the religious world is walking after fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind as they seek to serve God and do His works? The whole program can be seen to be that of the living soul — God’s life joined with the soulical activities of men!

The entire religious world is today walking in fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind. Fleshly wisdom always seems to “make more sense” than does the wisdom of God! The adversary causes carnal wisdom to prosper because it is the denial of the life of the spirit, so that many times Christians and churches operate contrary to the Spirit with the argument, “It works!” Their method of evangelism is contrary to the ways of the Spirit, but since it “gets results” they continue on in it. The “program” of the church is contrary to true spirituality, and is built generally around flesh-appeal activities of ceremonies, rituals, concerts, social activities, contests, sports, puppet shows, movies, dramas, special speakers, sensationalism, and other carnal tactics and techniques, but the churches continue in it because it draws a crowd and causes the church to prosper in numbers and in finances, while their spirits remain dwarfed and hideously shriveled and stunted.

I would draw your attention to the wise admonition of the apostle Paul. “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit…and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3-4). The flesh is the name by which the Holy Spirit designates the natural man, human reasoning, the carnal mind. Well did William Law pen these words of keen insight: “In this antagonism of the flesh to the spirit the flesh has two distinct strategies. On the one hand the flesh wars against the spirit in its committing sin and transgressing God’s commands. This is the evil of the flesh. On the other hand, its hostility to the spirit is no less manifested in its seeking to serve God and to do His work! This is the good of the flesh. These two together are the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In yielding to the flesh, the soul sought itself instead of the God into whom the spirit could have raised it. Self-effort and self-development prevailed over God’s life. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts its power, refuses to let the spirit alone lead, and in its effort to be religious, wants to serve God independent of the spirit and is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the spirit. It is because of this cunning deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes place what Paul speaks of to the Galatians: ‘Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?’ Unless the soul is brought into absolute surrender to the spirit, the surrender to the spirit being very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be kept up in great dependence and humility, what has begun in the spirit, very early and very speedily passes over into confidence in the flesh.”

It is right there where the flesh seeks to serve God, that the “living soul” is formed. The quickened spirit is alive in every child of God, but when the soul, inspired by the spirit, turns and usurps the work of the spirit, the hybrid is formed — a mixture of soul and spirit! Do we not know how the Pharisees, with their self-righteousness and carnal religion, fell into pride and selfishness, and became the servants of sin and the children of the Devil? Satan has no more crafty device for keeping men out of life than inciting them to a religion, even a serving of God, in the flesh. He knows that the power of the flesh can never conquer sin nor please God, that in the flesh and the serving of the flesh no one will ever become a son of God, for those who become sons not only defeat the Devil in the wilderness of temptation, but also deny their own souls — their own minds, wills, emotions, desires, plans, talents, abilities, hopes, dreams, and ambitions, to declare with the firstborn Son of God, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me; for I do always those things that please Him. The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works” (Jn. 8:28-29; 5:19; 14:10).

If there is one lesson a son of God needs to learn it is this: If I am to deny self in my relationships with others, to conquer selfishness, anger, and lack of love, I MUST FIRST LEARN TO DENY SELF IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! There the soul, the seat of Self, must learn to bow to the spirit, where God dwells. Listen, my brother, my sister, to the voice of the blessed Spirit of God: It is confidence in the flesh that motivates men to busily and craftily work for God rather than seeking the Lord until He works! It is self doing what the spirit alone can do; it is the soul taking the lead, in the hopes that the spirit will second its efforts, instead of trusting the spirit to lead and to do all, and then waiting on Him. Oh, brethren! How we need to watch this! All that is not of Life, of the Spirit, is merely the good of man — soulish. The deep mystery is that God does in some manner honor what the soul does, when it speaks His word or inspires men to seek after the Lord. God honors both His word and the faith evoked in men’s hearts! And it is this working of God through man’s efforts in spite of their soulical energy which shows us what the living soul truly is — the mixture of soul and spirit, the spirit working, honoring the spiritual content of the soul’s self-effort! Think of a man with a zeal to preach, not truly called of God, but out of soulish zeal he goes out proclaiming what he perceives to be the gospel. He mixes even his truth with error, preaching hell-fire and eternal damnation, warning men to turn to Jesus for salvation. Men do cry out to the Lord, and He honors their cry, and their faith, moving in their hearts, and they find forgiveness, peace, and deliverance from sin. This is the living soul — the life of God working through the soulical zeal of man! We all know it happens! If it didn’t happen, there would be no born-again people in any of the church systems of man! This is not the pathway of sonship to God, but it is the way of Babylon!

How much of our religious exercises have been soulish! I can tell you of a truth that most of the “power” in the modern “revival meeting” is nothing at all but soul power. Have you not noticed yourself that in many church services, revival meetings, and crusades a kind of atmosphere is first created psychologically to make the people feel warm and excited? A chorus is repeated again and again to warm up the audience. The people are feverishly urged to “get into the spirit” of the meeting. Some stirring stories are told. Special music is sung. The people are instructed to stand up, sit down, say “Amen!” and “Praise the Lord!” When the atmosphere is thoroughly heated up, the preacher will then stand up and preach. If he does his job skillfully he can anticipate a large “altar call.” These are methods and tactics, but they are not the energy of the Holy Spirit! Many preachers today think they have power (including some who call themselves sons of God), but they are merely employing psychological soul power to influence people and manipulate congregations. Many have become experts at manipulating people and audiences. One dead give-away: If the preacher has to have organ music playing softly in the background while he makes an appeal — he is working in soul power!

The Bible Schools of Babylon’s religions offer a course for ministerial students called homiletics. Homiletics is the art of preparing, writing, and delivering sermons. The sad truth is that the vast majority of religious activities is just that — an art. You can go to school and learn how to do it! How to prepare sermons. How to speak persuasively. How to use gestures. How to tell jokes. How to preach. How to counsel. How to stir people with sentimental stories about death, repentance, hell, heaven, needs, miracles, etc. This all seems so desirable, so good! But I say to you that you can learn these very same psychological techniques, apply them in the business world, and go out and sell vacuum cleaners! The fact is, all really successful salesmen use these same proven procedures of presentation, sentimentalism, and pressure to sell insurance, security alarms, automobiles, real estate, and thousands of other items daily! They don’t need any Holy Spirit to do that! All that is necessary is some good human personality coupled with some good proven techniques and one can persuade people to buy almost anything! These are means and methods, but they are not the power nor work of the Holy Spirit. They are no more spiritual when used religiously than they are when employed commercially. Yet God does meet men in their lives right where they are even when they turn to Him as a result of such soulish methods! That is the mystery of the “living soul.”

How prone we are to consider a person possessing unusual talent, dynamic personality, and great natural ability, reasoning with the carnal mind that with such talent and qualities, why, if God could just get hold of him and USE ALL THIS ABILITY in the service of the Lord, what mighty things he could accomplish for the kingdom of God! Oh, yes, we can always locate some good flesh for God to anoint! And in our haste to pour God’s Holy Anointing Oil upon man’s flesh, we forget that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; and base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE” (I Cor. 1:26-28).

A brother shared the following experience which is so familiar to many who read these lines. “I remember visiting a church which allowed the visiting ministries to take up their own offerings. On this particular occasion a servant of God and his wife were conducting the special meetings. There was no denying that the hand of God was resting upon the brother. He was quiet, deep, and had a heavily anointed prophetic ministry. However, his wife’s anointing was somewhat different. Very different. She was loud-voiced and boisterous. The worship, praise, singing, prayers, and prophecy seemed to be anointed, during her ministry. Then suddenly she announced, ‘Now we are going to take up the offering.’ Apparently she noticed the look on the faces of the people. Perhaps they resented this intrusion into the worship of the Lord. She then said, ‘You say, Why are we doing this in the midst of the anointing? Well, we can turn that on any time we want to.’ Need I say more? This is a favorite trick. Get the people ‘high’ on the Lord, or all worked up with the leader’s self-anointing, and then while the tide is high make a plea for money. God in the past has allowed man to go on in his own way, and moved and blessed in spite of it. The days are coming, however, when He will no longer tolerate those who try to manipulate His Spirit for their own profit. Sooner for some, and later for others, but they will be judged severely” — end quote.

And may I add — when God withholds His blessing from all the soulical religious activities of man, when He no longer honors anything about it, when His presence and His working and His moving flees from the midst of all the administrations of religious Babylon — that is when EVERY LIVING SOUL DIES IN THE SEA! None of man’s craftiness will work any more — there will be no more “life” active in anything that is soulical! That, above all else, will be the judgment!

There is no life in methods, techniques, or formulas. How much better it would be if the Lord’s servants would expend their energies, like Mary of old, at HIS feet, learning to know Him and to know His ways. How much better it would be were the time spent on our knees, low and humbled before God, that He might place within a deep distrust of the flesh. How I pray that God would truly reveal to all those apprehended to sonship that the one great hindrance to the life of sonship is the power of the flesh and the efforts of the self-life! Open our eyes, we pray Thee, to this snare of the adversary! May we all discern how secret and how subtle is the temptation to have confidence in the flesh, and how easily we are led to try and perfect in the flesh what has been begun in the spirit! May we learn to trust Thee, our Father, to work in us by Thy Holy Spirit both to will and to do only those things which THOU ART DOING!

In this day, after receiving the Father’s call to sonship, after partaking of deep and vital dealings of the Spirit of God, I have had to totally repudiate all soulish wisdom of the carnal mind, all fleshly tactics of Babylon’s kingdom, to bend low beneath the disciplines of the Father of sons, to travail mightily that God would bend me, break me, bind my soul power, bridle my Self, and block all that would proceed from my carnal mind. If I have learned anything of the ways of the Father I have learned this one thing: He who would be a son of God must be able to clearly distinguish what is done from his soul power and what is done from the indwelling spirit; further, he must confess and utterly forsake all that pertains to his own soul power, nailing it to the cross of Christ, that ultimately his own faith, as well as that of his hearers, may be found to stand solely in the power of God and not in the wisdom of the flesh. This is the only route, my dear brother, my precious sister, into the glorious and eternal reality of sonship to God! All the good works of the soulish realm can never, in a billion years, deliver creation from its bondage to the tyranny of corruption. Only the omnipotent working of THE LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD can accomplish this! “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” Think on that!

It is a dangerous day to be involved in organized religion! I’m not trying to be rude, crude, or vindictive in any way, but there are a lot of things going on right now in the midst of God’s people that are highly esteemed and getting the attention of the whole world, but it’s just the drunken harlot riding her scarlet-colored beast through the wilderness of this world. It’s almost a circus atmosphere in the Charismatic and Pentecostal scene, drawing the crowds, catering to soulish excitement, with all kinds of theatrics and showmanship, and men look at the lying signs and wonders going on about them, and pay no attention to the deep and eternal work of God to be wrought within. The subtleness and power of the individual soul is the root and source of the wanton harlot riding her beastly system — it is all the domain of the LIVING SOUL. The first man Adam was made a living soul. The last man Adam was made a quickening spirit. If a man is not walking in his religious life in the power of the quickening spirit, then without doubt he is walking in the energy of the living soul! That is the mystery.

Observe, then, how our text clearly states that “every living soul in the sea (of humanity) died.” What can it mean? The “dying” of the living souls reveals the cessation of the spiritual work of God through the instrumentality of the systems of religious Babylon! While in former times God honored His word no matter what unclean vessel it passed through, HE WILL NO LONGER DO SO! Whereas God formerly permitted the flesh of man to be anointed, HE WILL NO LONGER ALLOW IT! God will no longer bless, honor, or in any measure anoint man’s fleshly efforts to serve Him and build His kingdom! God will no longer respond to the prayers for the moving of His Spirit within and through the carnal methods and promotions of man. There will not in that day be any more “living soul,” for God will withdraw the zao from the psuche — its end comes, and every living soul in the sea of humanity dies! In all the world there will not be any manifestation of divine life within the precincts of Babylon’s works! The “plague” will be poured out into the sea of humanity and all religion and all religious systems will be full of death, emptiness, and corruption!

This is not a judgment to kill people, or literal flesh. These are word-pictures of spiritual realities! God is going to bring to death the hybrid manifestation of His Spirit accommodating man’s folly and foolishness. He will withdraw His presence and forever write “ICHABAD” upon the systems of man — “the glory has departed!” Every union bears fruit, and the fruit of Babylon will be destroyed. It is of utmost importance that all of God’s elect see this great truth, for once we grasp it, we understand the severity of the Father’s dealings with the spirit and works of religion in the lives of His people, and we will be neither surprised nor shocked when we see the anointing and moving of His Spirit depart once and for all and completely from the courts of Babylon! The power of Christ comes as a plague to kill each and every “living soul” in the sea until God is not seen moving from any realm anywhere except from the heights of mount Zion and from the high places of the heavens of His Spirit! The move, manifestation, and power of God will flow only from God’s firstfruits company! As it was in Cana of Galilee in that day when Jesus attended the wedding, when the wine made by the hand of man has run out and come to its end, then Jesus Himself will arise and bring to the scene the REAL WINE OF HEAVEN!

I now prophesy to you by the word of the Lord that this is precisely why, in that day, “Many nations shall come, and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Mic. 4:2-3). The nations will come to the mountain (kingdom) of the house (the elect) of the Lord that has been established (elevated) in the tops of the mountains (kingdoms), exalted above all other kingdoms and above all churches and movements of man; they will come, I say, because there will be NO OTHER SOURCE of help or hope or life or light anywhere! The “living souls” will all be dead, there will be no more visitations of God, no more expressions of His life, no more exhibitions of His authority, no more movings of His Spirit, no more manifestations of His power, no more revivals, no more answers to prayer — no life in evidence anywhere in the lowlands of the religious world of man. What an awesome thought! No recourse, no blessing, no remedy from any source — the glory has departed.

“Come up hither” is the message now being heard from Zion’s holy hill! This message of truth and life is a proclamation of a new and greater manifestation of the rule and government of God in the earth. “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end,” the inspired prophet assures us. That increase of the kingdom is from purpose to purpose, from dealing to dealing, from one stage of growth, development, and manifestation to another, and from one age to another. I declare to you today that we are now standing at the end of an age, and the Lord is introducing A GREATER MANIFESTATION OF HIS KINGDOM by separating His elect unto Himself. The old “church order” is fastly drawing to a close, and the day for the manifestation of the sons of God is rapidly approaching. The next step in the unfolding of God’s kingdom plan for the world is even now dawning.

We have progressed from the age when God has been meticulously forming His body of sons by establishing His rule in their minds and hearts, to the age when that body shall begin to fulfill the great and grand purpose for which God has prepared them. We have come to the time when the kingdom shall accelerate into a further and greater manifestation of the rule and dominion of the kingdom over all nations and over all mankind, answering the cry of the groaning creation to be delivered from the bondage of corruption. The Lord is inaugurating a new age, and is setting forth a new order with a new understanding, new wisdom, new methods, new power, and new requirements for this new day of greater light and glory. As wonderful as the workings of the Spirit were in the past, they are not good enough for this new order of manifest sonship! Even though we have made some progress, with outpourings of His Spirit and glorious manifestations of the gifts, we must have something more from God to be able to rule the nations and deliver creation from the bondage of corruption!

Two thousand years ago the firstborn Son of God declared, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Mat. 11:13). God spoke to an age through the law and the prophets who gave the word of God to Israel until John the Baptist came on the scene preaching repentance and the kingdom of God. This means that the prophets and the law revealed God’s will for that age and were in effect until John showed up in the wilderness and began his ministry. The Lord ended the previous age by removing His blessing, presence, and authority from the previous order, and then spoke a new order into existence purely by His word. And by a similar unrecognized word of authority, Father shall conclude this age of the formation of His body of sons and inaugurate the new age of the manifestation of the sons of God on earth. When the Lord changed the order two thousand years ago, did He send a mighty cataclysmic upheaval and judgment to at once eliminate all the Old Covenant priesthood, laws, rituals, sacrifices, feast days, synagogues, and religious forms? Did He move to completely wipe them out and abolish it all from the face of the earth? No — not at all! Remnants of the old Jewish order remain in the earth to this day as an abiding and unimpeachable testimony to the blindness of unanointed, uninspired, unspiritual religion! God removed every vestige and particle of His presence, unction, power, and glory from that passing order and there is no spiritual or religious death more stark, barren, grim, empty, and desolate in any religious system of earth today than in Judaism!

When Father changes the order in this day, replacing the old church order with His manifest sons, kings and priests after the Order of Melchizedek, will He then eliminate and obliterate off the face of the earth the Catholic order, the Baptist order, the Methodist order, the Lutheran order, the Episcopalian order, the Presbyterian order, the Mennonite order, the Pentecostal order, the Charismatic order, the Word of Faith order, and all the other church orders of man? Not by any means! They will perish in due time, but first He will simply remove what is left of His blessing, presence, and anointing from that order! It will be just as the heavenly messenger announced to John: “Rejoice over her (Babylon), ye heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down…and the voice of harpers and musicians (spiritual praise and worship), and of pipers (prophets), and trumpeters (announcers of new things in God), SHALL BE HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE; and no craftsman (spiritual ministry), of whatever craft he be, SHALL BE FOUND ANY MORE IN THEE; and the sound of a millstone (grinding flour for bread — the word of God) SHALL BE HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE; and the light of a candle (the little light left in Babylon) SHALL SHINE NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE; and the voice of the Bridegroom (Christ the Head) and of the Bride (the true church) SHALL BE HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE…” (Rev. 18:20-23).

For a season they will continue on with their fellowships, activities, programs, ceremonies, rituals, crusades, and religious works. For a season, until the time appointed of the Father, all will continue to function without Father’s authority or the precious anointing and working of His Spirit. Thank God! There is a remnant, a chosen company, a firstfruit, a people with a purpose, called to be the sons of God, who have now been awakened to this new day and enter into its purposes by the Spirit of God. These have already received the call to come out of the Babylon system, because a new and greater manifestation of the kingdom of God is at hand. This call has come from the SPIRIT HIMSELF, confirmed by many thousands of saints in all parts of the earth, in practically every nation under heaven. It is not a matter of the interpretation of scripture, to prove from holy writ that this is the time for God’s sons to be manifested and for the kingdom of God to come in great power and glory. It is a matter of HEARING FROM GOD! Those who reject this vision reject the voice of the Lord from the heavens.

Now God has called us to “come out of her,” to depart from all our religious backgrounds, to repent of our doctrines, creeds, and beliefs; to repent of our denominationalism and our non-denominational denominationalism; to repent of our carnal religious methods, our dead works, and all the baggage we have brought with us into this kingdom walk, from the systems of man. Only as we repent, and follow the Lamb up Zion’s mount, becoming invested with a new mind, a new vision, and a new reality, can we enter into this new and higher and more glorious dimension of the kingdom of God revealed through sons.

This should aid us greatly in understanding the fact that the next three chapters of the Revelation set forth in detail the fall of Babylon. The whole system of Babylon will collapse and go up in flames! The work of the seven last plagues is designed to prepare God’s people for that collapse. Do you think for one moment, dear one, that if God does not completely remove His blessing from Babylon, the people of God will ever leave her? No way! But every blessing and moving of God in her will die. In that blessed day God will have His man, His corporate man, His new creation man, His man in the image of God, His many-membered son, His man in the measure of the statue of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST, full of faith and the Holy Ghost, full of incorruptible life, full of heavenly light, full of infinite love, and full of divine, omnipotent power — and upon HIM shall the glory be seen!

“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 nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isa. 60:1-3).

To be continued…