Friday, July 26, 2019

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 212

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 210) by J. Preston Eby.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE (continued)       
“And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:14).

Bear in mind — the Revelation is not a re-viewing of history, nor is it a preview of future world events. Rather, it is just what it claims to be — THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST — signifying that it is a super-view of the unfolding of the spiritual life of every son of God and of every man! The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible, not because it is the end of any revelation from God, but because it carries us into the revelation process as far as any outer scripture can. After this, it becomes one’s own unfoldment and one’s inner knowing and hearing of the Father’s voice that becomes his scripture. The Bible is actually a book about the inner scripture, it is like a schoolmaster to bring us to the life and power of the Christ within, and this is as far as any book or teacher can bring us: to the realization that the revelation of Jesus Christ is a process taking place within us! Let us then reverently take our places beside the astonished prophet and watch as the Christ and His heavenly armies ride into the world of men!

No interpretation of the white horses in this chapter can be correct which does not recognize the connection between the similar vision in chapter six, though the two are not identical. The difference is that the white horse of chapter six portrays the beginning or commencement of Christ’s warfare as He rides forth in the individual lives of His called and chosen elect to subdue all things within our personal earth. He is both the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning of the process and the ending of it! In chapter six there is one horse and one Rider — He appears as “the Alpha,” that is, “the first,” riding out of the inner sanctum of the spirit of each of us, conquering and to conquer. In chapter nineteen, on the other hand, the vision shows us the end or consummation of Christ’s warfare, He appears as “the Omega,” completing His redemptive and restorative work, as both He and all the perfected sons of God ride forth to subdue all things everywhere to their reign; all those “firstfruits” whom He has conquered now ride with Him, so we see the Rider on the white horse followed by armies of heaven on white horses, going forth to subdue the nations and all things unto God and His Christ. Isn’t it wonderful!

My heart’s desire is that all who read these truths may be filled with the divine conviction that God our Father is preparing a people to share the manifest image of Christ and reign with Him in His kingdom. Herein is to be found the real meaning, yea, the vital difference between the Rider on the white horse in chapter six and the Rider of the white horse in chapter nineteen. The Rider on the white horse in chapter six is a solitary Rider, crowned with a single victor’s crown, whereas the Rider of the white horse in chapter nineteen is crowned with many crowns and is accompanied by immense and powerful armies astride a host of horses out of the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. It should not be difficult for any to understand that the solitary Rider wearing the single crown is none other than the forerunner, our Lord Jesus Christ, in His singular victory over sin, death, and hell — riding forth as the glorious Captain of our salvation to extend that victory into the consciousness and experience of each member of His elect body, the sons of God. He must complete His conquest within our mind, heart, and life before we, in Him, can press the battle onward to the rest of creation!

When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in chapter nineteen He does not come alone. Long millenniums ago Enoch prophesied of this appearing of the promised One, saying, “Behold the Lord cometh WITH TEN THOUSANDS OF HIS SAINTS (or, holy myriads of Himself) to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all…” (Jude 14,15). John with wonder beheld the scene and wrote, “The armies, the ones in heaven, were following Him upon white horses.” Christ Jesus is the Head and the Leader as He goes before; His holy ones follow in His train, for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God; and these are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Can you not see the mystery? They are represented as armies! They come forth as a body of Warriors! He has many under His command! The armies of the heavenlies are His, and He does battle with them, by them, through them, and as them, even “the called, the chosen, and faithful.” There is no infantry. There really is no cavalry, for all the horses are white, signifying that every one who follows Him is of exalted rank. It is an army of princes, a host of mighty dignities, for He rides as “King of kings, and Lord of lords!” He is the Leader, yet as He is, so are we! It is the corporate Christ! It is one new man, one glorious Head and body! It is not Christ and us — it is simply Christ! “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (I Cor. 12:12). Moreover, they have no weapons, except the sharp two-edged sword that proceeds out of HIS MOUTH, which is the Living Word of God! His Word is our Word, and we have no Word except that which He is and which we are! This is no earthly warfare, as the carnal-minded literalists purport. Oh, no! With the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, one can wage only SPIRITUAL WARFARE! Oh, the mystery of it!

In both cases the color of the horses is white, an emblem of Christ’s purity and divine holiness. Every other place throughout the visions of John it stands for righteousness and purity. And in Zechariah 14:20 this purity is connected to horses. “In that day shall the bells of the horses (that is the strength of all) ring out, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.” White also bespeaks of light — illumination. These are the qualities that characterize, not only the firstborn Son of God, but also His many brethren, the sons of God. In the messages to the seven churches, the out-called, challenging them to overcome, we read, “I counsel thee to buy of me…white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed” (Rev. 3:18). This is naught but the transfiguring glory of Christ, as it is written, “And He was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light” (Mat. 17:2). The light is the robe of divine majesty, the incorruptible life of God in the spirit emanating from the nature of absolute holiness that illumines and quickens spirit, soul, and body. This is the Spirit by which Jesus was raised from the dead, even the spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4). It shines out through these vessels of clay and transforms us into the incorruptible nature of the indwelling spirit! In this very hour every one who is called to sonship to God is beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and we are being changed, transformed, transfigured, metamorphosed into the same image, even as by the spirit of the Lord! (II Cor. 4:18).

This great army of perfected and mature sons of God in this new kingdom day who, in the fullness of time, shall take the kingdom and rise up in the power and demonstration of the Spirit to destroy the rule of the flesh, and the glory of Babylon, and the power of sin, sorrow, and death, is even now, at the time of this writing, being prepared to march forth and bring to pass this glorious victory. That all who are to be in this army may be awakened to the urgency of the hour the prophet Joel calls upon those who see and hear this word of the Lord to sound an alarm, saying, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain (kingdom): let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and gloominess (for the natural man), a day of clouds and of thick darkness (for the carnal mind), as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not ever been the like, neither shall there be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them (God’s Word is a fire); and behind them a flame burneth: the land (of the flesh) is as a garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. AND THE LORD SHALL UTTER HIS VOICE BEFORE HIS ARMY: FOR HIS CAMP IS VERY GREAT: for He is strong that executeth His word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible (for the systems of man); and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:1-3,11).

God is preparing such an army! We now want to present this army. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain…and the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great…” The trumpet blows in Zion — mount Zion. The army of the Lord is in Zion! So much of the book of Revelation is rooted in the prophecies of the Old Testament. The people who hear this trumpet and are called to battle by it are seen by John. “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1).

This company of 144,000 stands upon mount Zion in all the nature, glory, and majesty of their Redeemer. Mount Zion, the highest hill in Jerusalem, represents the very highest position attainable in God’s kingdom. Such are the ruling class in the capital city of the kingdom of our Lord, the New Jerusalem, prefigured by king David of old who dwelt on the natural mount Zion in the earthly Jerusalem. It was upon mount Zion that David built his citadel and royal residence. From there he reigned. Mount Zion was thus the center of government for the whole nation of Israel! This company, standing on the heavenly and spiritual mount Zion, followers of the Lamb, can represent nothing other than those who have followed Jesus all the way from mount Calvary to mount Zion, who suffered with Him even unto death (to self), and shall now reign with Him upon His throne forevermore! They are overcomers. Before coming to the throne, like king David, they have engaged in warfare, fought many battles, gained the victory, and possessed the kingdom. They are “the armies which are in heaven” which follow Him who sits upon the white horse, and they too ride “upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white.”

What a scene! The horse is an animal that men ride. It is like a car — it’s a vehicle. The horse in scripture is a symbol of speed and strength in war. In its spiritual meaning it speaks of the Word of God coming through His sons with STRENGTH AND SWIFTNESS IN BATTLE. It stands for THE BRINGING OF GOD’S PRESENCE AND POWER IN WARFARE. The Lord is described as the Word of God emblematically riding on a white horse; it is the image of aggressive action, of a prosperous conquest over all His foes. It means victory!

On the negative side, whenever the word horse is used in relationship with fleshly humanity it signifies human strength. Isaiah 31:1-3 informs us, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses and trust in chariots (that is, human strength and human ability), because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong…they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!.” Again, “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are fleshly (strength), and not spirit.” “For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; in returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses (human strength) and confound the riders on the horses (those who trust in human ability)” (Hag. 2:22; Zech. 10:5).

On the positive side, whenever the word horse is used with righteousness, or divinity, or the Lord, or things heavenly, it means heavenly, divine, or spiritual strength. In Habakkuh 3:14-15 the prophet, reminiscing about Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, extols the triumph of Yahweh, exclaiming, “You pierced with his own arrows the head of the enemy’s hordes…You have trodden the sea (masses of humanity, warriors) with Your horses, beside the heap of great and surging waters.” The meaning is clear — You have trodden the sea IN YOUR DIVINE STRENGTH! Egypt had abundance of horses, swift and strong, but God had horses out of the spirit world! Not literal horses, of course; they represented the STRENGTH AND MIGHT OF GOD IN BATTLE! They signify the almighty POWER OF THE SPIRIT in all His manifestations. With what simple words does the Holy Spirit teach us that the strength of the Spirit always exceeds and excels over the strength of the flesh! Thus, horses are symbols given to us that denote the nature and work of the anointing that rests upon the sons of God. Horses are figures of overcoming, invincible strength and power, signifying that wherever these horses go, WHATEVER IS IN THEIR WAY IS OVERCOME BY THEM! That is the power of God in spiritual warfare!

I do not wonder sometimes that those who only read my writing think that I am a hard and vindictive man, especially as I warn men of the error and abominable apostasy of the nominal church systems. But if you only knew, I am one of the most peaceable and gentle men in the world. I am a very quiet man (except in the pulpit), and believe that I am merciful and compassionate toward every sinner. I have only been a fighter because I have had to fight. Was Jesus Christ not a great fighter? Is He not a great fighter still? And is He not the Prince of Peace? Sometimes the greatest fighters win the greatest peace! Is Christ not God’s Lion, the Lion of the tribe of Judah? And is He not the Lamb of God? God’s Lion is a Lamb! God’s Lamb is a Lion! I call God to witness and you to witness that when I have been called upon to fight — for whom have I fought? I fought for God. I fought for Truth. I fought for Reality. I fought against the false shepherds who were taking away the key of knowledge, who entered not into the kingdom themselves, and them that were entering in they hindered. I fought them who withstood the right ways of the Lord, deceiving the people and holding them in bondage to slavish forms of empty religion and superstitious conceptions of God.

Stephen fought the devils in the Jewish system to their very faces although he knew he would die for it. He saw his Master in the heavens. Do you see your Master in the heavens? Do you see that the only Reality is that which emanates from the Christ-Spirit? Do you know Him within, in the depths of your being? Do you hear His voice? Have you proven His power within yourself? Do you know what He wants you to do? He wants you to follow in His steps, to become His salvation unto the ends of the earth! He wants you to be a warrior, to learn the powers of spiritual warfare; He wants you to grasp hold of Life, to experience it fully within yourself, and then go forth to deliver His creation from sin, sorrow, death, and hell and the demonic power which curses this world. The peace of God means war with sin and death! War with the carnal mind! War with the insipid platitudes of religion! War with fear, unbelief, selfishness, rebellion, pride, lust, ignorance, bigotry, and deceptions of every kind! War with sickness, disease, sorrow, pain, and death! He that is a friend of evil is the enemy of God. This is the kind of peace Jesus left. He made warriors of men. They went forth to fight the world and the devil, in Greece and Rome, with thirty thousand gods. They marched up the acropolis; they marched upon the Parthenon; they marched up the steps of Caesar’s palace; they threw down the altars of the boni dei; they threw down the altars of Venus; they destroyed the altars of Jove; they demolished the altars of Mercury and Zeus and Diana and a thousand more. They overthrew them without arrows or swords or guns or bombs; riding the white horse of God’s righteousness and strength they smashed them by the Spirit’s power, with the sword of Truth they trampled upon them; they triumphed and brought in a new dimension of the kingdom of God!

Oh, that is such a sublime verse where Jesus said, “ALL AUTHORITY is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Mat. 28:18-19). Do you see that? There is a tremendous power in that “Therefore,” I am with you. I will back you. Every angel in the heavens if needful will come forth and surround you. Fight! What does it matter, the puny governments and armies and courts of THIS WORLD? All authority is given to the Christ of God, and we are the members of God’s Christ! That is the great and eternal truth the Holy Spirit would burn indelibly into your mind and heart and will this day. God is calling you, apprehending you, teaching you, training you to ride with Christ the Warrior out of the heavens of God’s Spirit! Oh, yes! The hosts of God will troop over all the skies, ten thousand times ten thousand millions, if need be. Embrace TRUTH! Speak TRUTH! Live TRUTH! “I command…Go ye therefore, you poor fishermen, and tax-gatherers and discredited rabbis, go, I am with you!” If only we realized what power there is behind us!

God is raising up a sonship company of warriors that will go for the devil’s fortresses, to batter him, shatter him, and break up his kingdom. God is even now preparing an army of overcoming ones, transformed in the spirit of their mind, triumphing within themselves over sin, error, limitation, and death, who shall go forth in the power of the Spirit to pull down the strongholds of creed and ritual and religious foolishness and ignorance and set the captives free; who will beat down the prison-houses of mis-conceptions, mis-information, mis-understanding, and of sin and death, and let the prisoners go free! Satan is not a God like unto the Lord my God. He does not interfere with God’s purposes nor frustrate God’s plans. ALL AUTHORITY is given to the Christ of God — in heaven and in earth! How much authority is “ALL” authority? Oh, how men patronize and glorify the devil by attributing to him at least some of that “ALL” authority! Those who fear the devil, struggle with the devil, warn men about the devil’s power are devil worshipers. They give reverence and homage before the altar of his supposed power! They thus deny that ALL AUTHORITY is now given to God’s Christ! ALL of it! ALL of it in the heavens! ALL of it in the earth! And in that authority He is with us always, even unto the end of the age! Is He not with us today in His authority and power! That is what He is teaching every son, and demanding we experience and prove the truth of it within ourselves in every situation of our lives, as we train in His army to judge and make war and smite the nations with the sword of our mouth and rule them with a rod of iron!

I shall fight that battle against the lies of religion and for the supremacy of the Christ while there is a drop of blood in my body. I shall claim that every foot of this earth and every man upon this earth and under the earth belongs to Christ, for He made the earth and He made every man for His pleasure — to rejoice in! He tasted death for every man, and therefore, every foot of the earth, and every man on the earth and under the earth belongs to Christ my Lord. They are His by right of creation and they are His by right of redemption. No devil anywhere has any claim on even one of them, and no devil anywhere can gainsay that fact. I claim for my God this great and eternal kingdom! The church has forgotten that Christ came to establish a kingdom and that it must break in pieces and consume (take into itself) every other kingdom including the devil’s kingdom. The church has forgotten that God has given His Christ the keys of death and hell; and with the veil of tradition and carnal-minded reasoning over their darkened minds they are unable to comprehend even the simplest of truths — that the Saviour of men will never use those keys to lock men up in either sin or death or hell, but He will use them to lead all men out of the prison-house! Aren’t you glad!

The gospel which Christ preached was the gospel of the kingdom of God. The hope and aim of all His work was the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth and in all realms everywhere. When the end of His great work is come, He shall deliver up the kingdom of God, even the Father, and in it will be everything God created, for God will be ALL-IN-ALL! We who preach this gospel of the all-inclusive and all-victorious redemption of Christ preach not a gospel of limited atonement, nor of a partially victorious kingdom, nor of a Christ who was a failure — dying for men He was unable to save, nor of an almost all-powerful devil who wins the battle for souls and possesses the souls of untold billions throughout an endless eternity. Oh, no! Such a doctrine would be blasphemy! We preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, of the supremacy and omnipotence of Christ its King, and of the triumph of that kingdom in all the earth and unto the unbounded heavens. We command every man upon this God’s earth, and under the earth, and in heaven and hell and throughout the universe wherever they may be, to bow the knee and glorify God by calling Jesus Lord and serving and obeying Him with a willing heart, as it is written: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER” (Phil. 2:10-11). God shall grant it. If it takes ages upon ages, God shall grant it! 

We must have it! We shall fight it out to the end, and we will win. The omnipotent Christ within us shall win. Sin shall be abolished. Disease, pain, sorrow, death, and hell shall pass away. This victory must be fully accomplished in the firstfruits of His redemption first. The Day is at hand. Then, O Christ, and then alone, wilt Thou see the travail of Thy soul, and be satisfied. Then, O Christ, and then alone, can we be satisfied; when the last rebel has bowed at Thy feet, and the last blasphemer has confessed Thy lovely name, and there is no more fight; for there is no more devil anywhere. Hallelujah! God shall reign forever, the reality of creation! It is a living hope; this hope, that at last, every poor sinner will have heard the glad sound, and that at last every proud spirit in earth and heaven and hell will humbly bow before the Christ, and will own His sway, and there shall be harmony and peace and unity and unbounded joy and rejoicing everywhere, for God shall be ALL-IN-ALL! That is my hope.

The spirit of might ((Isa. 11:2) that rests upon the Rider on the white horse, and which shall rest upon all of God’s sons who ride with Him, is not the same kind of might known by the people of this world; it is not the might of force, of marching armies, of clanging swords, of tanks and guns and bursting bombs, for these exist only in the realm of carnal might. The might of God and of God’s Christ is spiritual might! If our eyes have been opened by the Spirit of God we will see that the nature of all our work in the army of the Lord is spiritual! The power of the kingdom is spiritual power, its citizens are a spiritual people, its ministry is a spiritual ministry, its authority is spiritual authority, its conquests are spiritual conquests, its dominion is spiritual dominion, its laws are spiritual laws, it weapons are spiritual weapons, its priesthood is a spiritual priesthood, its sovereignty is spiritual sovereignty. If you understand the truths I have just written, you understand things that have been hidden from the eyes of nearly all the religionists of the whole world! Many of the Lord’s precious people are no further advanced in their understanding than were the fleshly-minded Jews of Jesus’ day who looked for the Messiah to come and deliver them from Rome — as if being free from Rome would make them free from their real enemies — carnality, selfhood, sin, and death! The work of the kingdom is the work of rescuing men out of the power of darkness and the bondage of the flesh and the carnal mind that they may be gained for God. It is the work of imparting unto men the very life, mind, nature, and spirit of the Lord that men may be gained even more and more by God until He truly becomes ALL-IN-ALL. Thus shall the whole creation be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God!

The cry of the hour is that we become that for which we have been apprehended. We are giving notice to heaven and earth that this is not just another teaching or beautiful revelation given to thrill our hearts, but this message is given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as a witness to God’s elect that we are a “chosen generation,” a “royal priesthood,” “kings to reign,” and we are also called to form the “army of the Lord” in the earth. We are not just passing through this world, but are sent by God at a specific time, at the very hour of the very day of the very month of the very year of the very century when the army of God is destined to arise in the earth to fight the final battles for the possession of our inheritance in the kingdom of God! We shall bring to this world the unveiled glory of the Son, in an open display of a manifestation in the sons of God. For this we cry, that we would be the forthshinning of the Son, His express image, the demonstration and power of His sonship glory and dominion, upon which the nations will gaze, upon which all the philosophies and religions of the world will stare in astonishment, and be confounded, and be changed by the glory of His countenance. Oh, yes, the army of the Lord shall “shine forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners!”

By this army shall creation be set free from the prison of corruption, to see a new heaven and a new earth, to see sin and unrighteousness banished from the hearts of men, to see death destroyed from off God’s creation, to see the end of all sickness, sorrow, and pain, to see safety, peace, and happiness come to every man, woman, and child, to see (New) Jerusalem established as a praise in all the earth, to see kings reigning gloriously from mount Zion, to see every man and every nation walking in the Light of the City of God. If you don’t believe or don’t understand this testimony, then just consider — following this great battle in chapter nineteen of the Revelation — read the next and final three chapters of the book and see if the very conditions I have just described are not precisely what you see! Taken in context and sequence it cannot be denied that the glory of the Lord filling the earth as the waters cover the sea, with righteousness abounding everywhere, is the blessed and glorious result of the conquests of THE ARMY OF THE LORD! Oh, the wonder of it!

Praise God for the exalted road that leads to Zion, no ravenous beast shall tread the path that the vultures eye hath not seen. These are glorious days indeed for the army of God, a great people, there has not even been the like thereof unto the years of many generations. We have for many years been struggling in God’s great “boot camp” training for this spiritual warfare, but there is now a mighty stirring in the spirit as the army of the Lord musters for battle. Truly the white horse has been galloping triumphantly through our land, conquering every enemy within, and announcing to us that He reigns in a voice of thunder from His throne on high. May He reign and speak through us even as He reigns and speaks within us in the great Day of the Lord! The weapon of Him who rides through our land is the bow of His word sending Truth into our minds and hearts; the weapon of the army of God, however, is the sword of the Spirit, the sharp two-edged sword of the Living Word of God — a sword to smite the nations, not with the carnal force of merciless slaughter, but with the life-changing properties of TRUTH AND LIFE. The battle fought by the Christ of God is a spiritual warfare, combat between light and darkness, between spirit and flesh, between truth and error, between righteousness and evil, between life and death, between the customs and ways of this world and the principles of the kingdom of God. Ride on, O Horseman! Ride on, O Horsemen!

In the midst of all the confusion and darkness of this hour the Spirit of God is calling out a people for His name. He is training them in the school of obedience and refining them in the furnace of affliction. He is stripping them of self-interest, draining them of self-will, plucking from their hearts all the deceptive ways of Babylon, causing them to abhor the vain efforts of the flesh. These are putting on the whole armor of God, these are dwelling in heavenly places, seated with Christ; these are the armies from heaven that follow the Word of God into battle. To understand what I say you will have to come out of all former tradition. Many think of the “armies from heaven” as being those saints who have passed on to the other side of the veil, who are then joined with those sons on earth, the armies from both sides fighting as one. The truth is, however, that there is no mention of “armies which were on earth,” — all those who ride with Jesus constitute “the armies which were in heaven.” It is not that these are dead saints returning, but all who make up this company, be they alive in the flesh or on the other side in the spirit, all are out of those “heavenly places in Christ Jesus” where we are seated with Him! It is not a matter of being dead or alive, it is a matter of finding our life, our position, our very reality in the exalted sphere of HIS LIFE! From within, out of the innermost being, is arising a strong and mighty Word, the absolute truth about God and all things, beyond the superstitions, myths, folklore, fairy tales, and traditions of religion, and by which every adversary shall be silenced. “He cast out the spirits WITH HIS WORD” (Mat. 8:16). God’s Christ shall ultimately cast out all the spirits that plague and dominate the whole world of mankind! He shall do it this time just as He did when He was here in the flesh — He shall cast out all the spirits WITH HIS WORD! That’s what this “battle” is all about! This sin-weary world shall yet be governed by a glorious company of sons of God, every one in the image of Christ, every one a brother of Jesus Christ, every one infused with His life and invested with His authority, every one a son given “power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy!” The whole earth, as Eden was, shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it!

Although God “so loved the world,” still there is a special sense in which Christ “loved us” and gave Himself for us — those He is making kings and priests unto God, that we might reign over the earth. “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Rev. 1:5-6). The book of Revelation is written to kings and priests! “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).

Some time ago, in Bill and Elaine Cook’s paper, Monty Williamson shared the following beautiful testimony which speaks so powerfully of Christ’s love for His called and separated elect. “A while ago I had an experience with the Lord Jesus Christ that I would like to share. As I was waiting on the Lord in prayer, I was part of a scene that I will try to describe. I was with the Lord’s army traveling across the sky, headed for earth. We were all riding on beautiful white horses flying towards the Lord’s enemies to do battle. As I took in the scene, I realized I was in the front line of the Lord’s army. I took in the view and felt honored that I was allowed to be at the front where I could see the vistas of the earth beneath and know that I would be one of the first to join in this great battle.

“As my eyes moved to the left, I realized that I was riding beside Jesus. He smiled at me and I felt so loved and understood. I was overwhelmed that I was at His right hand as He rode into battle. I felt so loved and honored! I was shocked that I was beside Him, and questioned in my mind why I was allowed to ride there. In return, He just loved me and let me know that it was right that I was beside Him. I felt humbled and greatly loved. I savored the moment and it was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had — to be riding on a white horse with Jesus heading into battle! After a bit I began to wonder about the others who were riding with us and I felt a little sad that I was at the front with Jesus and that others were not. I was thinking that maybe I should rotate my place with others so that my brothers and sisters could share the joy of riding beside Jesus. I felt Him whisper that it was “Okay” and that I should look around.

“As I looked back, I saw the most incredible picture. I saw the rest of the army — as I looked at each one, I noted that they were all looking to the person on their left. On their left was Jesus riding beside them! As I looked closer, I realized that from each person’s perspective, each one was riding beside Jesus and saw themselves at the front of the army, riding on His right side. The same picture that I had at the first, where I saw myself at the front of the army and at His right hand, was the same vision that everyone else had. We all thought that we were riding at the front of the army beside Jesus! For everyone, Jesus was beside them having intimate fellowship with each one at the same time. My love and awe for Jesus soared! It is just like Him to be able to make each one of us feel the most loved at the same time. He is the Head and we are the body. Does any part of the body feel neglected by the head? It is the same with Jesus, our Head. He is able to make each of us feel intimately loved all at the same time. It is something very hard for the finite mind to wrap around, but it is possible with God. His love for us knows no bounds!” — end quote.

The army of the Lord is at this very moment in careful preparation. The mountains are full of horses and chariots of fire, which the King mustereth for the battle. His great command is, “FOLLOW ME!” He rides the white horse of universal conquest. He goes on from conquering to conquer. Follow the King from victory to victory, from triumph to triumph in your own life; then you, who constitute the King’s hosts, will move forward to press the same victory everywhere. During World War II, due to the urgency of the times, officers were trained in a ninety-day course. These were called “ninety-day wonders” by the enlisted men, who resented them because they were ruling, but had never been ruled over. There will be no “ninety-day” wonders in the army of the Lord! He is presently preparing “officers” to participate with Him in the closing out of the church age and the establishment of the new age of the kingdom of God. There are no short cuts — God will deal and deal with each member of His army until each stands tall and strong and swift in the wisdom and might of Jesus Christ!

You who have not yet surrendered all to Him as King of kings, you who know Him as Saviour but have not crowned Him Lord of all within, don’t you hear His trumpet pealing in your ears, sounding down through all the chambers of your soul’s castle? You who have tried to be a good Christian, involved in the religious activities of the man-made church systems, but have not hitherto heard the call to “come out of her” and come up higher into the high calling of God in Christ Jesus — why do you stand out longer? Why not draw in your colors this day, and invite HIM to the supreme place in your heart and life, and enroll yourself among His followers from henceforth, to follow Him to the heights of mount Zion; and then, when He celebrates His last victory, be among those who come with songs and everlasting joy to share the fruits of His victory and chant His praises forevermore. Amen!

To be continued…

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 211

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 210) by J. Preston Eby.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE (continued)
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war...and he had a name written, which no man knew, but he himself” (Rev. 19:11-12).

It sounds beautiful — our Lord and Captain has this wonderful name and it is just His, a secret name, a title so important, a treasure so valuable that it is not to be shared with any other. But that is not the portrait the Holy Spirit is painting! You see, this “unknown name” is just the reason this great battle of chapter nineteen is about to take place — because He has a name, or a nature, that mankind does not know! No one but those who are part of His many-membered body, made one in Him, know the full and true nature of God’s Christ.

There is a great symbolic battle described in Ezekiel, chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine. In this battle the Lord comes forth and fights against Gog and Magog and gains the victory. The Lord then explains the purpose of His great triumph, saying, “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel” (Eze. 39:7). If, then, we are going to consider the revelation that the Lord is riding into battle bearing a name that no man knows but He Himself, we shall be obliged to recognize that that is not a good thing — it is a bad thing that His name is not known! The “names” of God and Christ are never mere empty designations. They are expressions of the divine nature and character. The fact that no one has known them and still does not know them except Christ Himself means more than the names are secret. It means rather that no one knows them in their own personal experience. In other words, no human being outside of Christ experientially shares these divine qualities and attributes in the divine nature of Jesus which are represented by His name. For example, men may hear the name “Christ,” but if they have never personally experienced the “anointing” which we have received of Him, they really don’t have the foggiest notion what the name “the Christ” is about!

Therefore, the great truth that the Holy Spirit would make real to us today is that the wonderful purpose of the battle, is that HIS NAME SHOULD BE KNOWN! His name is His nature, and I am certain that every reader of these lines is aware that men in general, and believers in particular, are abysmally ignorant of the true nature of our Lord Jesus Christ! The deepest desire of our Lord is that the seed of God in every man should germinate and spring forth, producing the life and image of God in man.

As brother Elwin Roach once pointed out in one of his papers, The Pathfinder, it is most interesting to note that the only place we find names written upon people is in the book of Revelation! There is one time in the Old Testament, of course, that Aaron’s name was written upon the rod of Levi, which was symbolic of the people themselves, that is, the entire tribe of Levi. Aaron’s name — his nature, his position, his office, his authority as high priest — was written upon the tribe of the priesthood that the rod represented, and now, we see the fulfillment of that type in the last book of the Bible. Let us take a moment and notice the exclusive verses where we read about names being uniquely written upon people.

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I shall write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12).

“I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1).

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself” (Rev. 19:12).

“And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev. 19:16).

The new name is the new nature of the resurrection power and glory of our ascended Lord. It is not the name Jesus, or Lord, or Christ, or even the name The Word of God. As members of His body we have within ourselves the conscious experience of the reality, power, and authority of all those names and many more. But none of these are His new name! None of them are the secret name that no man knows but He Himself! It is the name or nature of the resurrected, ascended, glorified, enthroned Lord Jesus Christ in the heavens of the Spirit! Many would settle for the name of Jesus which means Saviour, and that is a glorious name, but it is not the name that no man knows but Him, for millions have experienced Him in that name which has been called upon them. This secret name that none of us has fully experienced yet is the name that Paul yearned to know within himself when he cried, “Oh! that I might know Him in the power of His resurrection, and in the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain to the resurrection out from among the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:10-14).

Can it be made any plainer? We have experienced Christ in many of His names, putting on more and more of His nature and character, but that name which is THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, GLORIFICATION, AND ENTRHONEMENT — that full redemption in spirit, soul, and body — we do not yet fully know that name! We will know it when we ride with Him upon the white horses! And when that great battle is ended “all shall (fully) know Him, from the least of them, to the greatest.”

HIS GARMENT SOAKED WITH BLOOD
“And He was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood...” (Rev. 19:13).

The imagery of the scene in this passage is rooted in one of the prophecies of Isaiah, wherein we read, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save! Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone: and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth” (Isa. 63:1-6).

It is strange that any should interpret this as speaking of Jesus’ sufferings on the cross, yet that is how many interpreters view it. The cross, however, does not reveal warfare, but the great love, reconciliation, and redemption of God in Christ! Furthermore, in the scene above it is not His own blood that is shed in weakness and in meekness and in sacrifice, but the blood of foes trampled in wrath. He is on His way to battle! And “every battle of the warrior is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood” (Isa. 9:5). The language is symbolic, of course. Jesus does not wield a literal sword of steel; His sword is the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. He does not go out physically killing multitudes of people, and soaking His garment with their blood. Rather, His warfare is spiritual, He slays the enemies within man, which appear as the man, but are not the man that God intends. Oh, yes! He slays men, but it is the natural man — the human consciousness, the carnal mind, the ego, self-will, lust, deception, fear, rebellion, bondage, and every sin of the old Adamic man. Wielding His powerful sword of the spirit He comes upon the world of natural, carnal-minded, sinning men, and He comes to judge and to make war! His flaming eyes picture to us the holy passion that burns in His bosom at this moment, now that He is ready to subdue the earth and establish His righteous kingdom in the hearts of all men everywhere!

He wears many diadems, royal crowns, symbolic of victories won in the past. This is not the first time He has won the battle! Spiritually, He has already overcome sin, the devil, death, and hell within Himself. And on His white horse of conquest He has already ridden into the lives of His called and chosen elect, pressing the battle, conquering and to conquer. He overcame, subdued, and conquered all who now ride with Him upon white horses, conscripting them into His own heavenly army. And therefore, many crowns that formerly belonged to them He has already placed on His own head. The battle now revealed before the wondering eyes of the Patmos seer is only the grand climax of the holy war this captain has fought throughout the ages.

The same truth is indicated by the fact that as He rides forth with His army, even before He smites the nations with His sword, His garment is already soaked in blood! This is not the blood of Calvary: for the garb He wears is the garment of battle and of victory. But it symbolically indicates that the Man from Edom, with sprinkled garments as from Bozrah, has judged many an enemy before, all through the age since all judgment was committed unto the Son, while now the final scene has come, in which He shall tread the winepress of the passion of God unto a glorious consummation. And this is also indicated by the sharp sword that proceeds out of His mouth. He shall surely not deign to fight as the princes of this world fight, with their swords and spears (guns in the modern world) in hand. No, He shall simply consume the enemy by the word of His mouth. His Word is His Sword! For it is a word of power! It is a word of judgment! And it is a word of life! It is a word that slays the natural man and quickens the spiritual man! It mutilates the flesh and makes alive the spirit! It destroys the outer man and raises up the inner man! By it the enemies are defeated. By it they are judged. And therefore, He is now come as He was pictured long ago in the second Psalm, for the purpose of treading the winepress of God and ruling the nations with a rod of iron! He shall be Lord of all!

Frankly, I never cease to be amazed at those who profess to yearn for the sons of God to be manifested, who continually quote the scripture about the whole creation groaning, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, because THE CREATION ITSELF ALSO SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD — and then when you tell them that the sons of God, who are the armies out of heaven, shall really, truly, actually, factually, completely SET ALL CREATION FREE they get all bent out of shape and call you a heretic, or ask foolish questions like, “What good is it to believe that?” They are still afraid someone might not get what they deserve — eternal damnation! I have no hesitation in telling you that if God is not going to do what He said; if the Christ isn’t going to actually draw (Greek: drag) all men unto Himself; if the whole creation and every creature is not going to be delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God; if God will not make all men alive in Christ, just as all men died in Adam; if the last enemy, death, and hell shall never be destroyed to never again exist anywhere in God’s great universe; if the devil is going to possess the souls of the vast majority of men forever, and thus be the victor; if God is never going to become “ALL in all” or “everything to everyone everywhere,” which is the meaning of that term; then I fail to see what is the purpose in all the qualifying for manifest sonship, for a glorious ministry in the age and the ages to come, for THERE IS NO MINISTRY FOR THE SONS, AND NO FINAL AND TOTAL TRIUMPH FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD! We may as well forget about sonship; forget about being kings and priests unto God; forget about setting creation free; and FORGET ABOUT BEING IN THE ARMY OF THE LORD, RIDING OUT OF THE HEAVENS OF THE SPIRIT ON THE WHITE HORSES OF UNIVERSAL CONQUEST! If no such army exists, if redeemed men are not in it, and if it shall not ride forth and fight until all flesh everywhere is slain by His sword, then let us content ourselves with our current church programs, and be satisfied that while untold billions are damned to the flames of hell forever God shall at least have His sweet little handful of saints to dance and shout with Him over the hilltops of that glory world above!

The next step in God’s great kingdom program is the ruling of the nations with a rod of iron. There are many victories beyond that before God is truly all-in-all! According to the word of the Lord there is yet an age and also ages to come! “That in the ages to come He might put on display the exceeding riches of His grace in...us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). We are now standing at a transition of ages; the church age is swiftly drawing to a close and the age of the manifestation of the sons of God is nigh at hand. This is not the end- time as many Christians are wont to think. This is an end-time, but not the end-time. Every age has its “end,” and there are yet ages to come! There was an end-time two thousand years ago when the age of the law was brought to its conclusion, and the age of grace dawned upon the earth. The true and final “end-time” the Bible presents speaks of the final consummation of all ages, the climax and end of all times and dispensations, when God’s plan of the ages is fully fulfilled. All words about THE END-TIME close with Jesus reigning supreme over everything everywhere. “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet. And when all things have been subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be ALL IN ALL” (I Cor. 15:24-25,28).

The word “subdued” means “to line up as a troop or an army in subordination or surrender.” The verb appears three times in the passage above, in verse twenty-eight. Literally from the Greek it reads, “Now when the universe shall be lined up as a troop in subordination to Him, then also Himself the Son shall be lined up as a troop in subordination to the One lining up a troop in subordination to Him, in order that God may be everything to everyone everywhere.” What a word! What a plan! What love! What wondrous love! What a victory! What a glorious consummation! The might of God’s strength which operated in Christ, raising Him from the dead, was sufficient to exalt Him to the highest pinnacle of the universe, thus insuring that all His enemies would be subdued unto Him, that is, reconciled unto Him, that every opposing power would be made subordinate to Him, that all sin and death in every realm and in every man and in every creature throughout all the unbounded heavens would be so swallowed up of HIS LIFE until God would be ALL IN ALL, bless His glorious name! The conquest of Jesus Christ and the armies out of heaven! Truly it is not just for this age, but extends to all ages and all realms. May the truth of it flood our hearts that they may, indeed, be illuminated with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!

This kind of total subjugation to God is that which is now being wrought in the “firstfruit company” of God’s elect. Have you really surrendered yourself to God? This is what God demands. In numerous places, in various ways, in different words, God says the same thing over and over again. And yet, sometimes it seems that we fail to get the message: Yield yourselves to God! Submit yourselves to Christ! Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice! Lay down your life! Present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead! Yield not your members as instruments of unrighteousness but as instruments of righteousness unto God! Put off the old man! Put on the mind of Christ! Come out of the harlot Babylon! Walk in the Spirit! Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ! Again and again, God says the same thing. The first thing a private learns in the army is submission. If we would ride with Christ in His heavenly army, that is the first thing we, too, must learn. And what He now requires of us, His firstfruits, He ultimately requires of the whole creation!

It seems that, usually, we are ready to do almost anything but surrender ourselves to God. I recall the time when the British general came to surrender to Washington. The general began with a flowery speech in which he praised Washington for his magnificent military tactics and the way he had conducted the campaigns. He was eloquently praising Washington when Washington suddenly interrupted him with these words: “Your sword, sir!” Similarly we come to offer God the flattery of our lips, the praise of our hymns. And God is saying to us, “Your sword, sir!” Surrender is what God wants! Total surrender of all our will, our ways, and our lives! It is, in fact, during the process of conquering us and taking from us our fleshly sword that His garment becomes soaked with blood! But, praise His name, He will conquer us, take our fleshly sword, conscript us, retrain us in the ways and tactics of spiritual warfare, and raise us up to ride with Him in His army. Oh, the wonder of it!

The following words by George D. Watson will help us see the unsurpassable beauty and majesty of what it really means to be SUBDUED UNTO GOD. “Before God can launch us out into the breadth and sweetness of His service, and entrust to us great things for Himself, we must be perfectly subdued in every part of our nature to His will and the disposition of His mind. We must be subdued in our hearts, in our wills, in our words, in our tempers, in our manners; subdued through and through so thoroughly that we will be flexible to all His purposes and plans. We must be subdued so that harshness, severity, criticism, sluggishness, laziness, impetuosity, and all wanting our way, even in religious matters, must be subdued out of us. Conversion will not finish this work.

“We must be subdued, not merely in our opinion, not merely think ourselves subdued, not only subdued in the esteem of our friends and fellow workers, but subdued so perfectly that the all- seeing eye of God can look us through, and the omniscient One knows that we are subdued. God must conquer the man that He can trust with His great thoughts and plans. The Holy Ghost must saturate us with a divine conquest, before He can use us to conquer other souls. The Lord will begin to subdue us with gentle means; and if we sink lovingly and promptly into His mind, the work will be done; but if we have flint or iron in our nature, and it is necessary, He will use heroic means and put us between the millstones and grind us to powder, until He can mold us without any resistance to His purpose. We must be so subdued that we can hold our tongues, and walk softly with God, keep our eyes upon Jesus, attend to our own work, and do God’s will promptly and lovingly, glad to have a place in His Kingdom.

“Oh! it is grand to be absolutely conquered by the Holy Ghost, and swing out a thousand miles from everybody and everything into the ocean of God’s presence. When we are subdued in the sight of God, He will work miracles in us, and power in experience, in healing, in finance, in service, in gentleness, and in sweetness of the inner heart life; miracles of grace that will astonish us and surprise our friends, and utterly amaze our enemies, when they come to know the magnitude of what God has wrought. Let us get subdued in every way, in everything!” — end quote.

Oh, the ineffable glory to be revealed when ALL RULE AND ALL AUTHORITY AND ALL POWER AND ALL ENEMIES AND ALL THINGS SHALL BE SUBDUED UNTO CHRIST AND GOD SHALL BE ALL IN ALL! That is the goal of the Rider of the white horse and those blessed ones who ride with Him. What expectation this evokes in our hearts!

A little seed is the beginning of a great tree. A mustard seed becomes a tree in which the birds of the air can nestle. That great day when Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, and God shall be All in All — that is the great tree of the kingdom of God reaching its perfect consummation and glory. Ah, beloved, let us take the seed of that glory into our hearts and let us bow in lowly surrender and humble submission, saying with a broken heart and contrite spirit, “Amen, Lord; this be my one thought, this be my life — to yield myself to the unutterable yearnings of the Holy Spirit that I may not rest, but ever keep my vision set on that day — the day of surpassing glory, when in very deed God shall be ALL IN ALL.” God help everyone who reads these lines, God help us all to yield ourselves to Him, that we may be in the fullest and total sense the FIRSTFRUITS OF HIS KINGDOM. This is the beginning, the power, and the glory, of the kingdom of God! Amen!

HIS NAME — THE WORD OF GOD
“And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13).

My heart leaps within me for joy as I contemplate this beautiful theme of His Name — The Word of God. It is an instructive thing to know that God has never been silent. God’s a talker! This truth is basic to spiritual understanding. Had God remained silent, we would either not exist at all, or our situation would be desperate. If God is a talker, then we had best be listeners. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son...by whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...all things were made by Him” (Jn. 1:1-3). “And God said, Let there be...and there was” (Gen. 1:3). God has always been a talker, but the writer to the Hebrews tells us that all God has ever spoken is now embodied in Christ. “God hath spoken unto us by His Son.”

The Amplified Bible says, “But in the last of these days He has spoken to us in the person of a Son...” The Greek text, however, reads simply, “God has spoken to us IN SON.” IN SON! Or God spoke to us in One who has the character that He is a SON, revealing the realm and relationship of sonship to God. It means more than the idea that God spoke through His Son; it signifies that God spoke in son, that is, SONSHIP IS THE MESSAGE! God spoke through Christ’s Sonship. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Sonship is the revelation of the Father. Therefore, it was more than the words that Jesus spoke; it was the life He lived! HE was the message! HE was the word!

Ah, dear heart, Look at His sonship, and then look at the whole realm of sonship; look at all the enChristed ones who make up the vast family of His “many brethren,” and IN THEM you see the message God is sending into the world! When you see the sons, at last you see what God is like. In the publishing world, it is sometimes said that a particular book is a definitive work. In other words, the book is a standard by which all future work will be judged or compared. Sonship is the definitive revelation of God, the standard for all time. Jesus is the firstborn of this Word Company, and the pattern and prototype of all that it says. He is uniquely and supremely THE WORD. If someone asks what is revealed in this definitive revelation, we could say, it’s all in the little preposition “with.” He is “God with us,” in union with us, one with us. It’s more than simply being present. That is the mystery!

The Greek term for “Word” in our text is logos. There are two primary Greek words from which our English “word” is translated — rhema and logos. When you study the scriptures you have to get beyond the surface or “letter” of the word and find its true spiritual meaning, intention, and reality — the “spirit” of the word. The “letter” is the outer shell or husk, whereas the “spirit” is the inner kernel, the nutritional substance. Jesus said, “My words are spirit and they are life” (Jn. 6:63). Jesus was talking about the “spirit” of the word — its inner life and power! When we talk about the spirit of the word, we are talking about the “logos” of the “rhema.” The rhema signifies a word expressed or spoken, whereas the logos denotes the inner power, intention, reality, and revelation of that word. If someone was making you a proposition and you just weren’t interested and were perhaps even annoyed by it, you might tell them, “Go jump in the lake.” The “rhema” of that word would be for them to find a nearby lake and literally jump into it. But the “logos” of that word (the inner meaning, true intention) is for them to stop trying to convince you and just leave you alone. The outward understanding of words does not really convey the true inner meaning. Nowhere is this more true than when you begin to try and understand spiritual truth that is being expressed in human terms. And this is just the reason most Christians and nearly all preachers have completely missed the true meaning and message of the book of Revelation! They focus on the letter of the word and never uncover the spirit of the word!

Nobel laureate professor of biology at Harvard University, the late George Wald, may have provided us an insight into the wonder of life in an essay he wrote entitled “Life and Mind in the Universe.” He wrote, “It has occurred to me lately — I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities — that both questions (the origin of consciousness in humans and of life from non-living matter) might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that mind, rather than emerging at a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality — the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create science, art, and technology-making beings. In them the universe begins to know itself.”

That is science, not theology, speaking. But it is also theology! “In the beginning was the Word (logos)...and the Word was God...all things were made by Him!” “Logos” is the Greek word for “logic,” “intellect,” “word.” Hundreds of years before John penned those words the Psalmist wrote, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Ps. 33:6). And before that we find the opening sentence of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). That is the traditional reading. But there is a problem here. The Hebrew word bereshit in its simple sense translates as “In the beginning of.” But there is no object in the Hebrew text for the preposition “of.” So we would have to read it, “In the beginning of God created the heavens and the earth.” Yet — that doesn’t sound right, does it? So let me ask, “In the beginning of what?” The compound nature of “Bereshit” holds the clue to the meaning of the statement. The ancient Hebrew text has the “B” of “Bereshit” written twice the size of the remaining letters of the word. And that has significance! A more accurate rendering of the verse is “(B) With (reshit) a first cause God created the heavens and the earth.” And what was that “reshit,” that first cause of Bereshit? The apostle John gives us the answer: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM; AND WITHOUT HIM WAS NOT ANYTHING MADE THAT WAS MADE. IN HIM WAS LIFE; AND THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF MEN.” Oh, yes! The “first cause” is said to be “the Word.” “And God said, Let there be...and there was.”

By the logos, the will, intent, inner power, reality, and revelation of His word God created. It was not merely a rhema, a spoken word; no, it was the inner kernel, the divine substance, the inward will, the purpose, yea, the very heart and nature of God that spoke all things into existence! It’s as though He spoke Himself into manifestation outside Himself! Ah, this solves the puzzle of the origin of sentient life able to be aware of its own existence and to explore the very mysteries and powers of creation, as well as the ability to know and fellowship and participate with the Creator! We are the offspring of God, a word out of The Word, and therefore we have mind and conscious being and spiritual identity, for we are an emanation of the One who brought us forth into being. Speech originates in thought, thought is consciousness, words are thought converted into sound, and creation is that sound converted into substance. Truly, we are created by the Word! Oh, the wonder of it!

From the earliest dawn of history there have been means of communication between men. At one time smoke from fires was the way one group connected to another, sending signs and symbols to communicate their message. Then progressively they used flags, riders on horses, books, the telegraph and then eventually radio, telephone, and television. Now it is fax machines and computers and even wireless means of communication with much of our international communication coming via satellite. But God has been into wireless communication from eternity via His Living Word! His satellite of love, wisdom, and power sends messages to us, but our dish has to be pointed in the right direction in order to receive His message! We have to point our hearts, our minds, our paradigms, our attitudes in the right direction, toward spirit and away from flesh, toward God’s speech and away from man’s words.

An abundance of scripture points to the fact that Christ, the Word, was before Bethlehem. He is just as real in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament. The great difference, of course, is that in the New Testament He became flesh. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The Word did not become a philosophy, a theory, or a concept to be discussed, debated, or pondered, but a Person to be seen, heard, touched, handled, known, and experienced! “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” That’s how Eugene Peterson describes this event in The Message. Others have rendered it to say that Jesus “tented” among us. That’s what happened when Jesus came into the world, the Living Word of God moved into our neighborhood and set up camp!

How could the Word become flesh? How could God become a man? The literal here has it, not that the Word “was made” flesh, as we have it in the King James Bible, but that the Word “became” flesh. There is a vast difference between these two propositions! If I say, “The wood was made into a chair,” it denotes an action upon, an action from without; some person or force beyond the wood acted upon the wood and the wood, by no involvement on its own part, was made into a chair. If, on the other hand, I say, “The young man became a doctor,” it denotes an action on the part of the subject. Nobody outside of the young man forced him and somehow “made” him a doctor, but he himself went to medical school, studied, burned the midnight oil, passed the exams, fulfilled his internship, and thus became a doctor. “Was made” bespeaks of an action upon the object from without, whereas “became” bespeaks of a personal accomplishment from within.

How could He who was God become a man? Look again at this statement by the inspired apostle: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:1,14). It says, “In the beginning was the Word,” and it does not say, “In the beginning was Jesus,” because Jesus wasn’t in the beginning. It was not until the Word became flesh that He was Jesus. The Son of God is not the Word — the Son of God is “the Word made flesh.” The passage quoted above tells us that only after the Word became flesh did we behold the glory of the Son, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The truth is just this — In the beginning was the Word — and there was no Son of God until the Word became flesh. People talk about the “eternal” Son of God. The Bible speaks of no such thing. The Word is eternal, not the Son. Of the Son the Father says, “Thou art my Son, this day have I BEGOTTEN THEE.” Nowhere do we read that on a certain day the Word was begotten. No! The Word was “in the beginning.” But when the Word becomes flesh — then you have the Son! The Son is the Word, yes, but the Son is more than the Word — the Son is the Word in another form — made flesh! John speaks of the eternal Word of God and then shows how the Word became flesh. From that moment on he never speaks again of the Word, he calls Him Jesus. Isn’t that amazing? Before Bethlehem He was the Word, He was God; but when He came to Bethlehem and took upon Him flesh He became Jesus, the Son of God. This is precisely the message the angel gave to Mary that blessed day in Nazareth, “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest...” (Lk. 1:31-32).

Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Also He said, “My Father worketh hitherto (has always been working) and I work.” He and the Father were working long before Bethlehem! As we have already pointed out, He was working in the very first verse of Genesis. The prophet Micah prophesied that the Christ would come forth from Bethlehem but that “His goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” His footprints were manifested in this world through long millenniums before the prints were made in His hands. Not only is Christ referred to in the first verse of Genesis, but there are also many evidences of His presence throughout the Old Testament.

There is a remarkable statement occurring in the record of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8). The expression for God is rather unusual — “The voice of the Lord God.” Then, to add to the strangeness of the verse, it is stated that “the voice of the Lord God walked in the garden.” Now, it is very unusual to have a voice walking! It reminds us of the old play on words, “Did you ever see a board walk or did you ever see a horse fly?” However this statement is not so unusual when we discover that the One who is the Living Word of God identified Himself as the “alphabet of God.” He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (of the alphabet)” (Rev. 21:6). Four times in the book of Revelation Christ so identifies Himself as the complete alphabet of God! No wonder John was able to say of the One riding the white horse of conquest, “...and His name is called The Word of God!” As you know, words are formed from the alphabet. Every word in human language is formed from the letters of the alphabet. The voice is the word made articulate. The alphabet is translated into a word, and the word is energized into a voice. Christ is thus the voice of the Lord God. Time after time throughout the Old Testament we read the prophets saying, “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying...” They were hearing the Christ!

Have you not noticed how we often connect the word word with certain people? For example, the boss is the person who has the what? The final word. The news reporter is the person we ask, “What’s the latest word? We introduce a world-famous designer by saying something like, “Here’s the woman with the word about fashion.” To connect someone with the word word is to suggest that such a person has expertise and, therefore, authority. We pay careful attention to people with expertise and authority. Now the scripture goes one step further. John, both in his epistles and in the Revelation, reveals the great truth that our Lord not only has the Word, but that He is the Word. That’s a giant step! But that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit would make real within our hearts. In the Old Testament the prophets heard the Word, received the Word, had the Word. But Jesus didn’t merely have the Word — He is the Word! He is the Truth! He is the Life! He always has been. He always will be.

Our hearts respond with reverence when we read John’s first encounter with Christ in his visions on Patmos. “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man” (Rev. 1:12-13). There was a voice walking in the garden of Eden, and John turned to see a voice on the Isle of Patmos. The voice of the Lord God in the Garden, which Adam saw, and the voice on Patmos, which John saw, are identical. The steps of The Word of God, the Christ, can be followed through the scripture record all the way between Genesis and Revelation. In Genesis, chapter eighteen, Abraham served dinner to the Lord who came and talked with him. Jacob wrestled with a Stranger at night, but at dawn he found out that it was Someone more than just a man. When the wrestling was over and after he had been blessed (through words) by this Being, notice what Jacob said: “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” It is a deep mystery, but Jacob wrestled with God, He touched God, he saw God, and he talked with God face to face! It was Christ, the Word, who from the bush on mount Horeb spoke to Moses, saying, “I AM THAT I AM...thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

It is a glorious tribute to our Lord Jesus Christ to measure the time of our calendar from His birth in Bethlehem, but actually the expression “Before Christ” is blatantly inaccurate! You cannot get before Christ in time! He stood on the threshold when time began as “The Ancient of Days,” and now He is revealed as who He is — THE WORD OF GOD that liveth and abideth forever! Yet, it is not enough to know that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God. Even the devils know that, and tremble! We also have the word logos used in I Peter 1:23, “Being born again by the Word of God...” As sons we are not born of the Son, we are born of the Word who became the Son. Can you not see the mystery? Just as the Word became flesh to become Jesus the Son, so the Word must become flesh within us, that is, become substance — reality, concreteness, solidity, form — thereby revealing our sonship! To be born of the Word, we shall speak and emanate truth because we have become truth. That is His name because that is WHAT HE IS!

You see, my beloved, you came into this world out of the bosom of the Father. Before the Creator formed you, He knew you. He didn’t know you in your present physical form as Joe Smith or Sally Brown, just as He didn’t know the Word as Jesus of Nazareth until the Word became flesh. He knew you as spirit. Paul states it so clearly when He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love...having predestinated us unto placement as sons by Jesus Christ unto Himself” (Eph. 1:3-5). Never doubt this reality for a moment — the only way God could have known you, loved you, chose you in Christ, and predestinated you to sonship before the foundation of the world is that you truly existed in and with Him before the appearing of the worlds. Nothing can be plainer than that! The question follows — If we were chosen “in Christ” before the foundation of the world — whom or what were we chosen in? Who was He then? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The truth is just this: If we were chosen in Christ before the world began, then we were chosen IN THE WORD! To be “born of the Word” is to be a word out of The Word!

Oh, yes! GOD IS BRINGING FORTH A WORD COMPANY, and He will perfect that which concerneth them, bringing it to a successful conclusion at His appointed time. His elect, His chosen, His sons are to be a certain kind of firstfruits of Himself. God is causing His Word to become flesh, substantial, to take form, to be real and powerful within us so that we do not merely speak the words of God, but that our name, as His name, should be called The Word of God! He will finish the WORD, He will complete and fulfill His WORD by bringing forth a WORD COMPANY, a seed through whom all the world shall be blessed. Ray Prinzing often said, “The message and the messenger must become one.” It is not just a word which he speaks, it is WHAT HE IS. And when we become a manifestation of the Logos, it is because from this Word we are born.

Ah, this is why HE who IS the Word of God comes riding out of the heavens of God’s Spirit upon a white horse in righteousness to judge and make war — and the armies which were in heaven follow Him, they also ride upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Those comprising this glorious army HAVE THEMSELVES BECOME THE WORD OF GOD. They are the Word Company! God fights His battles by His Word! Not just a verbal declaration, but a Living Company who were chosen “in the Word” before the foundation of the world! Yet they do speak out of their state of being! Oh, the mystery of it!

God is equipping His elect sons by revealing the power of words — the Word. Thus saith the scripture: “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? THE WORD IS NIGH THEE, EVEN IN THY MOUTH, AND IN THY HEART...” What word? “The word of faith which we preach” (Rom. 10:6-8). It is the word of power, the word of salvation, the word of the kingdom, the word of life over death. When you realize how powerful words are, by virtue of believing words that are God in you, and which can change and transform you, then you will understand just how “at hand” the kingdom of God really is. You see, the Logos — the speaking — is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” And the Word still is God! So when Jesus appeared on earth all He had to do was say, “Be made whole,” and the power of the word worked, for His word was God in expression and manifestation.

The essence of divine words is God. This is not so difficult to understand when you realize that everything in life is moved by words. There isn’t anything that isn’t done by words. The method of educating our children is with numbers and letters. With numbers and letters, configured in various forms, you raise the educational and functional level of a human being from nothing at the time of birth, to become a surgeon, a politician, an architect, a nuclear physicist, or accomplishment in a vast number of fields. We have surgeons that perform heart transplants. They are people just like you and me. The only difference is the words of letters and numbers that are ingrained within their thinking. The combinations of that learning, the disciplines of those sciences of mathematics, medicine, politics, etc., have given to them a different personality and potentiality. They have a consciousness that enables them to open you up and change out the organs of your body. Let me ask you something — would you let me open up your rib cage and take your heart out? Of course not — and I wouldn’t ask you to! And you know why — you know the knowledge contained in those words and letters which produce that skill are not in me! The words and letters used in medical school have not trained me to be a doctor.

The greatest doctor started out as a baby with no knowledge, no ability, no accomplishment, no skill. He started out with nothing in his head — just like you and me! The only difference is that someone took the time and expended the energy to instruct him and put the knowledge of medical science into that person who by the assimilation and experience of that knowledge became that reality. You see, Jesus said that the kingdom of God is no more a mystery than a man planting seed in soil. He said that if you would plant the seed in the ground and water it, while the sun shines upon it, it will produce a plant that you can neither understand nor explain. He said, “So is the kingdom of God.” If you will just take the time and effort to plant the Word of God in your mind and heart, and water it with the Spirit by exposing yourself to His presence, and give it the light of inspiration, it will grow of itself and make you something you weren’t! You will grow up into the WORD COMPANY!

Brother Carl Schwing expressed this same beautiful truth when he wrote: “The knowledge of the truth, brings forth the reality. To behold the truth, is to become the truth. To become the truth, is to establish the truth. WE MUST LIVE BY EVERY WORD OF GOD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LIVING GOD! And those words are not just words for the speaking...they give life... they are life...they create life. The Word of God is the continual progression of God...leading ever into the fullness of Himself. Even as He has no beginning or end, so it is with His Word...ever progressing, ever expanding, ever increasing...and it is, my brothers and sisters...the incorruptible seed which fell into the fertile ground of our quickened spirits, to blossom forth as the sons of God...that they might become the Living Expression of His Word...the Word that will give life to all that was, and is, and is to come. Speak, O Spirit of the Mighty God, and bring the ‘many membered’ Word together...breathe upon them till they rise up as a mighty Son-Company unto Thee. Give birth, Thou Eternal One, to the Everlasting Gospel...that Thy Sons might stand in the presence of Thy person and proclaim that Gospel ages without end. Hallelujah!”

To be continued…