JESUS The Pattern Son
by BILL BRITTON
The chapters of this book are made up from a series of messages written and published in booklet form in the early days of this writing ministry.
Searching for some sound scriptural key by which every revelation could be measured and tested, I discovered that the life of Jesus in His humanity here on earth was a divine pattern for the perfect end time Body of Christ.
In quoting God's command to Moses in Exodus 25:40, it says in Hebrews 8:5: "See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount". Moses, while on the mount and in the presence of God, was introduced to the pattern of the tabernacle planned and designed by God Himself. Moses was instructed to return to the people and reproduce in physical, visible form a replica of that which he had seen.
So in these last days, men are being caught up in the Spirit to the "mount of God", and in His divine presence they are seeing the glorious pattern of God's Son. This " Moses Company" of Overcomers are instructed to reproduce, by the power of the Spirit, this glorious life of the Son on this earth, in mortal bodies, in physical, visible form for all the world to see. With these "Sons of God" being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, He then will truly be the firstborn of many brethren.
These first six messages are only an introduction to this pattern. Every thing about His life, in His humanity, applies to His Body. What He was to the Father, we are to Him. His image, His glory, His witness, and much more. Unless you go on into the Gospels and discover the many glorious truths pertaining to the Body of Christ in its perfection, then you are missing the purpose of the messages of this book. The tabernacle was the "type", Jesus was the "prototype" (meaning the original hand made model of the intended construction, having everything in it that the finished product would have), the early church was the "first fruits" or "earnest", while the perfected glorious church of the end time (both in heaven and on earth, and including those who obtained a good report through faith) is the "anti type" or finished product.
Any revelation which does not fit into the pattern of the life of Jesus, can be safely discarded. Side issues, tangents, strange doctrines, heresies, and traditional fairy tales cannot measure up or fit into the purpose of God for His Son and His many membered Body. So we present to you, for your safety on this journey to Sonship, JESUS the Pattern Son. In Him, Bro Bill B.
Gods Greatest Sign
In these days we are hearing much about signs and wonders. Many of these, of course, are spurious and false . . . tricks of the enemy to deceive and mislead God's people, to magnify the flesh and glorify man, and to sidetrack us from the main purpose of God in the earth today. But not all signs are of the devil. The very fact that there is a counterfeit proves that there is a real, for no one counterfeits that which does not exist. In our time, as in the New Testament Church, God is showing forth His power and making known His Presence by many signs and wonders. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that this glorious Gospel "at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with SIGNS and WONDERS, and with divers MIRACLES, and GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST, according his own will. . " Mark 16:17 says, ". . SIGNS shall follow them that believe. . " Notice that it does not say that believers follow after signs . . too much of this is being done today. Our first job is to preach the Gospel in the power of His Spirit and let the signs follow according to His will. Verse 20 says that they went everywhere preaching the Word, and the Lord worked with them, "confirming the Word with signs following. " There is nothing in this to be ashamed of or to hide, as some so called preachers would try to make us believe. Signs are given to be seen and heard about. Daniel 4:2 3 says, "I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation."
But I would not speak of the many signs and wonders that God is giving forth in this hour, and there are many. Some would take a particular sign that has been given to them, magnify it all out of proportion, and build a doctrine and a sect around this one sign, signifying that God has thus confirmed them as THE CHOSEN PEOPLE. This attitude is wrong, and leads to grievous error. We thank God for all His signs and want to see more of them among His people the healing of the sick, casting out devils, speaking in tongues, oil in the hands, crosses of blood, fire and pillars of smoke. All of these things can tee used to the glory of God if we have the wisdom of God to guide us. But a greater sign than all these has been given and it is this marvelous and glorious wonder, God's greatest sign, that I wish to speak to you about today. . .
JESUS is God's greatest sign! In Isaiah 7:14 the prophet cried out, " Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. " Now, beloved, get your Bibles, for I want to show you that the Sign was not the virgin who brought forth. It was not the swaddling clothes he was wrapped in, nor was the miraculous birth itself the promised Sign, but rather it was the One who was born and brought into the world in such a manner. He was and still is God's greatest Sign. Now a sign is that which points to something, and this man Jesus, His birth, life, death and resurrection points unerringly to that great thing which God is doing in the earth, His eternal Purpose in Christ Jesus!
Now turn in your Bibles to Matthew, chapter 1, verses 18 23, and you will see plainly that the Sign was not fulfilled when Jesus was born. Now I said it was not fulfilled. At this time it was given. The prophet has promised that God would give them a sign. God gave them this sign when He gave them Jesus there in Bethlehem's manger. Now a sign is not fulfilled when it is given. It is fulfilled when that which it points to comes to pass. That baby lying there in Mary's arms is the greatest sign God ever gave to the earth, and it shall not fail. That which it points to shall most surely come to pass, Glory to His Mighty Name! The angels spoke to the shepherd s in the field on that glorious night, "Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. "AND THIS SHALL BE A SIGN UNTO YOU." And then they went on to tell them where to find the child. In Luke, chapter two, that old prophet of God, Simeon, came by the Spirit into the temple and there he found Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus.
Here we find hands being laid on Jesus and prophecy going forth over him at the tender age of six weeks. For Simeon took Him up in his arms and began to prophesy. Hear, my friends, what the Spirit said about Him: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and FOR A SIGN which shall be spoken against. " Yes, beloved, this child is for a sign. See what He says about Himself in Luke 11:29 30: "this is an evil generation; they seek a sign, and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of Man be (a sign) to this generation. " Now Jonah was a sign pointing to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sign was given to the Ninevites when Jonah came forth after 3 days in the belly of the whale. The sign of Jonah was fulfilled when Jesus came forth from the tomb. Jonah's sign pointed unerringly to the Truth, it did not fail. And now a greater sign than Jonah is given. Let us hear Christ speak once again through the mouth of the prophet: In Isaiah 8:18. . "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders. . " We discover in Heb. 2:13 that the One who spoke these words was actually our Lord Jesus. And He says that He is for a Sign. And so are the children (Sons) that God hath given Him, those who are to be conformed to His image, the Body of Christ, the Overcomer. Hallelujah! Thank God for His eternal plan and purpose!
Now our minds begin to wonder. . if Jesus is the Sign, and the Scriptures most plainly show that He is, then who or what is the fulfillment of that Sign? Our precious Lord does not leave us in doubt, for the Bible very plainly reveals this great mystery. This is the glorious mystery that was revealed to Paul the apostle, which he calls "my Gospel". For it was Paul who saw the wonderful truth of the Body of Christ, the "Perfect Man", the Sons of God, the many membered Man that God was making after His own image. And don't you ladies worry, for God's Man is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, bond or free . . he is made up of many members, and we are all one in Him. And if you are called into this High Calling of God in Christ Jesus, chosen of God to be made in His image, and faithful through the fiery test, then you can be a member of the Perfect Man regardless of who you are.
You see, beloved, in Genesis, chapter 1, we find that God began a creation. Even in the first day we find the substance of which man was made was present. Yes, the dust of the earth and the breath of God were there, but man had not yet been formed. The first day was the day light was given. It was the day of beginnings. In the third day there was a harvest of fruit in the earth. Then in the sixth day God brought forth His Man to rule over the earth, and on the seventh day God rested while Man ruled. Now, we know that Jesus was the light of the world .. John 1:9 tells us: "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. " Salvation, or justification, is the beginning of eternal life for us. This is pointed out beautifully in the types and shadows God gave in the Old Testament Law. At the time of the Passover, God said that this should be the beginning of months for them. Everything starts with the sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts. The death angel passes over them and the children of Israel are safe from the judgments of God. Then in the third month they are to bring forth the first fruits of the harvest, and on the fiftieth day following the Passover Sabbath comes the feast of Pentecost.
Just as the Passover was fulfilled in Jesus spilling His own precious blood on Calvary and rising from the Tomb, just so was the feast of Pentecost fulfilled when He sent back the Holy Spirit upon the waiting Church, bringing forth a great harvest in the earth, a harvest which actually is only the first fruits of what God is going to do in the seventh day at the great Feast of Ingathering. For in the seventh month, in the end of the civil year, comes the great feast which has never yet been fulfilled. .the great Feast of Tabernacles, or Ingathering, reserved for the end of this age. Friends, we are now in the sixth day when God is forming His Man, His Body in the earth, and bringing it to completion. The ministry of Apostles and Prophets is once more arising from within the Church for the perfecting of the Body, until we all come unto "a Perfect Man", unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Is there any wonder why the devil and all the forces of hell are joining forces in Communism, atheism, false religions, ecclesiastical systems, dead modernistic denominations, and much demon activity..trying to kill the Manchild as soon as he is born? Note how Herod tried to kill Jesus while still a babe. Yet God protected Him.
Everything about the life of Jesus points to the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head, as well as filling the whole Body. He is the divine sign, and that which is coming forth to rule and reign with Him in God's Eternity must follow that Sign, and fulfill it to the letter. Now open your heart, for I'm going to show you God's Sign. Knowing and following the right Sign Will keep You from being deceived in this hour of tremendous and marvelous revelation, both real and false.
See how His coming is revealed in the written Word, the Bible, even the Old Testament Law. Beware of those who would tell you that because what they have is not spoken of in the pages of that book, that the Bible is dead letter and no good to us today. Flee from them as you would from before a viper that would strike you dead. For they would do worse than kill you, they would steal your soul and destroy your hope in God. If it is not found in the Bible, it is not true. Isaiah the prophet said, "To the Law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them. " Yes, the mystery of the Body of Christ is hidden to them that are lost, but nevertheless, it is in the Word of God, and is now being made manifest to His saints; to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery.
See next how He was born of a virgin! You better believe this. It is very important, both to the nature of Who He is, and also as a Sign. For that which God is bringing forth is conceived by the Holy Ghost, and shall not come by the will of man or from the efforts of man, nor shall it come through any of the harlot systems of religion which are married to man and under man's headship. God is separating the woman now, a Church, and cleansing her even as a virgin. He will soon bring her into travail, worse than she has ever known in her young life, that she might bring forth the Manchild into the earth. The Manchild is even now a part of her, but has not yet been formed into the complete Body. "For I would have thee know, my people, that I have already sent forth my Word, and my Spirit has overshadowed the daughter of Zion, and my Life hath gone forth into her womb, so that the one of low degree hath been exalted, and my mercy hath been extended to her. Yea, for the world would look upon her with scorn, and though she hath not known a man, yet they would say, 'Look now upon her, for she is with child, and she hath no husband. Shame, shame upon her. ' But behold the handmaiden of the Lord, even the virgin whom I have chosen, saith the Lord, and see how she bears her shame with quietness of heart and joy of soul, for the promise of the Lord hath been given to her, and the anointing of the Lord doth rest upon her. Yea, for her hour doth come quickly upon her, and when her travail is over she shall rejoice when she shall have brought a Man into the world. " Glory to God!
Notice next how Herod, representing the world systems, Babylon, with the doctor of religion at his right hand, tries to kill this child Jesus, but to no avail. Hallelujah, the Angel of the Lord has been given charge over him, and safely escorts Him to Egypt. But why Egypt? Because He was the Sign, and the prophet Hosea had already spoken how God had called Israel, "my son", out of Egypt as a child. Matthew 2:15 says that Jesus had to go to Egypt "that it might be fulfilled" what the prophet spoke in Hosea 11:1. You see, before it could happen to us, it had to be foreshadowed in Old Testament Israel and fulfilled in the Sign Son. God knew that in these last days He would find us in Egyptian bondage, bound by these old earthly ecclesiastical systems of religion, ruled over by man. And, dear one, if you are to be in God's great purpose in these last days, you must separate yourself from Egyptian bondage, be free from the harlot system, and "come out of her, my people." This is God's plan, God's Pattern, so let us follow the Sign.
Oh, I know that there was a mixed multitude that came out of Egypt, and many of them still were full of lust and sin. And so it is with the Move of God today . . many are coming out of the religious systems, but are bringing a reproach upon what God is doing because of their sinful lives and their false doctrines and their greed and lust. This mixed multitude had to die out in the wilderness along with those they contaminated, but thank God there were Two Witnesses, true and faithful (Joshua and Caleb), and these went into the Promised Land to their inheritance along with God's new generation of wilderness born children of faith. Don't take lightly this part of the message, for it is very important. The Sign points plainly to an exodus from Egypt. You may say, "But if I come out of the system and earthly organization I'm in, out from under the headship of man, then where would I go, what would I come into? The answer to that is that you'll come into a wilderness where you'll think you're going to die a hundred times, where you'll think you're going to starve, or wander forever. In fact, the old carnal man will die out there in the wilderness, but thank God, He provides bread from heaven and water from the Rock! But though the natural man be in continual confusion and separation from all that he held dear. . . yet the spirit daily will grow stronger and more dependent upon Him who leads us by the cloud and the fire. "They that are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God." I don't promise a bed of roses, or that He will lead you where you would like to go, but I know He will lead you through the wilderness to a promised land of plenty, flowing with milk and honey, promised to the Seed of Abraham. But, Sons of God, you must come out of Egypt and break your alliance with and your slavery to Pharaoh. The Sign has pointed, we must follow, regardless of anything else.
Now I wish to speak plainly. I believe the glorious mysteries of God can be explained in plain and simple language. I have been so lost in the Spirit and the vision God has given me of the great Move, that I feel perhaps some of you do not fully understand the point of what I am saying. So I shall try to make it plain and simple. But unless God reveals the Truth to you by His Spirit, all of my explaining would be in vain. So pray sincerely and earnestly for spiritual understanding. For unto you that have ears to hear and eyes to see, would I make known the mystery of the Body of Christ.
You see, Jesus is a Sign. His life is a sign pointing to, and a pattern for, His Anointed Body. Those who are in His Body shall follow in His steps and be made into His image. This thing Jesus is a sign of is a body of believers, born again, filled with His Spirit, caught up into the purposes of God, and anointed for rulership. . to sit on the throne with Him. This body of people, though made up of a multitude of saints throughout the world and throughout the ages, yet is seen in the Bible as one Body, spoken of as God's Perfect Man, and the Overcomer. As we have already said, how this Body comes into existence and what happens to it can be learned by studying the Pattern, the Lord Jesus Christ. And although there will be unnumbered multitudes of people saved by the Grace of God through the precious blood of Jesus, and we do thank God for these dear ones, yet the real purposes of God are tied up in that group of saints who press their way to the mark for the prize of the High calling of God in Christ Jesus. They are the Hundred fold of the Harvest, the Principal Wheat, the Precious fruit of the earth, brought forth by the latter rain. These are virgins who follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth, who are not defiled with women (harlot churches under man's headship). These are His Witnesses in the earth whom He has anointed by the Spirit without measure. They are the ones who put Satan under their feet, and gain back the inheritance lost by Adam, and much more beyond that. They are part of the Bride of Christ, the Holy City, New Jerusalem, but they are more than just part of the City which is known as the Temple of the Living God, filled with the glory and presence of God.
Would you like to know what is next in order for the people of God today? Would you like to have true prophetic revelation? Then study the Pattern, the Sign. See how this baby Jesus begins to grow to mature manhood. Except for one glimpse of the boy Jesus at the age of twelve, we know nothing of how he managed to grow from babyhood to manhood. Yet we know that He did. And though we cannot see the progress the Body is making today, yet we know it is growing and some day will come to full maturity and to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Let us look at the boy Jesus.
Where was He? What was He doing? See Him there, He is in the Temple, His mind upon the things of God . . astounding the doctors of the Law with His Knowledge of God and the depth of His revelation: while the other children are playing their religious games in the market place. The doctors of the law cannot understand this Boy, who someday will be God's Man, and they cannot answer His searching question. See how He is about His Father's business, recognizing at least in a measure who He is and His divine calling. Yet see how submissive He is to the Woman.. Child of Grace, yet willing to obey the law and be in submission until the fulness of His time is come. Maker of the universe, yet willing to be in submission! Mystery of mysteries! How can this be? Oh, the depth of His humiliation and the extent of His stripping of Himself' Sons of God, now is the time to be searching for the Truth of God, understanding His eternal purposes, of knowing who we are and the greatness of our destiny. It is time to be about our Father's business. But also time to be submissive, to be humble and meek. The time is yet ahead when we shall sit down with Him in His throne. Now is the time to die to self, to our own ambitions and pride .. to submit to one another, even to those who do not have the calling which we have in Him. And as surely as Jesus came to the River Jordan, just as surely will the Sons of God mature and enter into a glorious ministry of life and authority. Would you like to know the kind of ministry that waits for the mature Man, the Overcomer? Time and space does not permit it here, but this truth is contained in another message beginning with the Pattern at the River Jordan and the baptism of Jesus. There we find Him receiving a special anointing, and we see the heavens opened unto Him.
The Voice in The Wilderness
JESUS walked one day to the River Jordan where John the Baptist was preaching. At this time Jesus was about 30 years of age. Something definite, something tremendous was about to happen in His life. The time had now come for this thing to happen. The time for it to come to pass was ordained of God. No matter how much Jesus might have wanted this event when He was 12 years of age, or 21, or 25, or even 28 . . . He had to patiently wait until the fulness of God's time. Then Jesus came to Jordan.
In order to fully understand the message that follows, you need to study the early life of Jesus. In the first chapter we found that Jesus was given for a sign, to point toward the Body of Christ, and as a pattern for that body of believers who should press their way into the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. In God's sight, that body of believers through the ages, form ONE BODY, with Jesus as the Head . . the Chief Corner Stone of the Temple. That one body of saints, the Sons of God, the Anointed Ones, along with Jesus their head, become God's "Perfect Man" in the earth, the Son made after the pattern and conformed to the image of the lovely Son of God. And God will have a man in the earth made after His own image and in His likeness as He originally purposed and He will defeat Satan's plan that began with the corrupting of Adam in the Garden of Eden. This Man, this Son of God, this Overcomer who shall inherit all things, is a many membered Body of blood washed, Spirit filled believers . . . anointed and dedicated to do the will of God.
Many many scriptures were given in the first chapter to confirm these marvelous truths. By taking note of the life of Jesus, from conception, His virgin birth, early childhood and the silent years, we could see the progress of the Body of Christ in our day, from the coming forth of the Kingdom truth, accompanied by great signs and wonders . . the immaturity of the early years, yet protected from the systems by the Angel of the Lord, the recognition even in childhood of the calling to Sonship, and the silent, yet growing years of this wilderness journey. And now we come to His anointing at Jordan's River.
Remembering now that everything about the Life of Jesus is a pattern for His Body, let us look at the order of events that happen when Jesus came to be baptized of John ..
1. There had been a prophetic ministry in the land for some time now.
2. In the fulness of time Jesus was ready and came forth to meet his destiny.
3. Jesus, the Pattern, was recognized by the true Prophetic ministry as God's Son.
4. Jesus submitted Himself to God's ministry for this hour.
5. In a figure, He died in Jordan's water and rose again to a new realm in God.
6. The heavens were opened unto Him.
7. He saw God the Holy Ghost in a bodily shape.
8. He received an anointing of the Spirit beyond what He had previously had.
9. He heard the voice of God announcing Him as the Son of God.
10. He was led by the Holy Spirit into a wilderness place where He battled Satanic forces hand to hand, face to face, and defeated and overcame Satan.
11. He began a 3 1/2 year ministry of love, life, and power such as the world had never seen, not even from the greatest of the prophets.
There was much more to follow, but this will be more than we can cover in this message. Before you go any further in the message, read the scriptures covering the Jordan experience. They are found in Matthew, chapter 3; Mark, chapter 1; Luke, chapter 3; and John, chapter 1. The truths contained in this message are found in the writings of Paul and other writers of the New Testament, as well as throughout the Law and the prophets; but the pattern is found in the Life of Jesus here in the Gospels.
Before Jesus came on the scene, John the Baptist had been filled with the Holy Ghost and had been prophesying and preaching for some time. Notice that though John was the son of a priest and could have found a career in the Old Order, yet he did his ministering outside the walls of that traditional old City; outside the system of organized religion which had taken over God's Temple; and outside the jurisdiction and fellowship of the religious leaders of his day who ruled God's people with an iron hand. The common people heard John gladly, but the Scribes and Pharisees came only to mock and ridicule him as a strange "so called new order" fanatic . . . and to question him. Does this pattern sound familiar? It should. This is what has been happening in our land for over 10 years. While the Son grows quietly to maturity, God has a prophetic ministry in the land crying out for the people to prepare for the Kingdom which is now at hand. The leaders of religious systems have caused many of their followers to fear God's prophetic ministry. But many feel the anointing that is upon this "Voice in the Wilderness", and are coming out of the harlot systems into an acceptance of the Truth, getting prepared for the coming of the Son.
Then one day, quietly, unannounced, without fanfare.. He came. Mature. Ready. And no one knew Him for who He really was. Except John. And this came to John through the Holy Ghost. John had known Him as a cousin in the flesh, but knowing Him as the Son of God had to be by the Spirit. Although John was related to the Son, he was not the Son, and never could be the Son no matter how perfect he became, or how mature. It had to be a new and different ministry, anointed and indwelt by the living God in a way John never was. The prophetic ministry as we know it today is preparing the way, ready to recognize and announce the Sonship ministry. But there must be an act of the grace of God to bring forth the New Man. There are many substitutes and counterfeits in the land today making big claims . . . but be not disturbed' my little ones, for the real, genuine, anointed of God is coming and nothing can stop it. Oh, it will come unannounced, quietly, with no fanfare .... recognized only by the prophetic ministry, and though announced by him, only those who have ears to hear and eyes to see will understand what John is saying. Those who have left the Harlot systems of the old order and followed God's prophetic ministry will now have the opportunity to follow the Son of God. Notice how they leave John and follow Jesus. But some do not leave John, they have heard his words, but have not understood his message. He must die and pass from the scene, but the Son must increase more and more until He is glorified and sits upon the throne. Many of the saints who have been called out of the old order of sectarian, denominational system of religion and now are following God in a wilderness path, will know the Son when He appears and will enter into a new and wondrous ministry. Many will stay with what they now have, afraid to move on, not understanding the message that they themselves are preaching. This is not my guess work, this is the word of the Lord, for it is the Pattern.
The Son will not come before his time. You cannot bring it about by your affirmation of faith. You can see by the Spirit some of the great and precious truths that shall break upon the world with His coming. But you cannot force God to move before He is read!,. No matter how much in one accord the disciples got into during the first nine days in the upper room, they could not force the Holy Ghost to fall until the proper time came, the time prophesied in the Law. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, the Holy Ghost fell and no power on earth or in hell could stop Him from coming. No matter how much Martin Luther prayed, or how hard he preached, he could not bring about a restoration of the feast of Pentecost, only what God had brought him forth for . . the restoration of the Passover, salvation by faith. At the turn of this century the Holy Ghost fell, Pentecost was restored, and all the religious leaders in the land could not stop it from spreading across the world. But no matter how hard those first generation of Pentecostal believers tried, they could not bring about the blowing of the trumpets. God has a time for everything It is now time for the Son to appear on the scene of action. And just as Jesus came in the fullness of time to Jordan, just so shall the Overcomer, the Body of Christ come forth in due time.. and no amount of unbelief or opposition shall stop it.
Notice how Jesus submitted to the prophetic ministry of John. John's ministry of water baptism was far inferior to that ministry which Jesus had, and John knew it, but before Jesus received His anointing of power, He submitted to John's ministry. In another chapter on "THE KINGDOM OF GOD", we go into detail on this question of submission. Submission is a very important thing for the Son to learn. Eph. 5:21: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. " I Peter 5:5: "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility. " One who is to receive such glory, such power and authority as we are destined to receive must be clothed with the very humility of Christ. This takes a submitting to one another, yes, submitting to God's ministry for this hour. Even though it is a limited ministry which shall decrease and pass from the scene, yet we must submit to it.
Down into the waters of chilly Jordan Jesus went. He could not do this by Himself, it took placing Himself in the hands of God's prophet, it took God's ministry for that particular hour to put Him under. Dear ones, you have the privilege of staying within the seeming safe confines of the old order religious system if you wish. But you hear me today, and you hear me well. . that old order of Pharisaical religious leaders will never bring you to Sonship. You must come outside the gate, to Jordan's stormy banks? submit to this strange new order which God has anointed for this hour, then and only then can you fully follow the Pattern. "Yea, my people, thus would the Lord thy God speak unto thee. . I have called unto thee, I have caused my trumpets to be sounded abroad in the land, but thou hast not heard my voice nor heeded my call, for thy mind has been filled with the thoughts of evil men. For I see thee that thou hast given thy mind to follow after the evil imaginations of ungodly men, yea, thou sit in the counsel of the ungodly. For thou hast given thy mind to follow the cunningly devised fables of those wicked men who make up the evil stories in those books and magazines that thou dost read, yea, dost thou not sit to be entertained and think upon those things created by the imaginations of sinful men who make up the programs and write the stories that thou dost watch on television? And does not thy soul tingle with excitement and move with the rhythm of the ungodly songs which thou dost hear on the radio, songs that have been born in the lustful hearts of the wicked? Yea, is it any wonder that thy mind cannot understand the mysteries of God, that thou art fearful of the Truth, and thou hast been led astray by blind leaders? For thou art the lawful prey of false prophets, the willing victim of the enemy of thy soul. Cleanse thyself, my people, come thou apart and meet with me, and I shall show thee that which I have prepared for thee. And I shall show thee the Way, and shall create thee after the image of thy God. " Oh, glory to God! Hallelujah!
Down Jesus went into the chilly waters. In a figure, He died and rose again into a new realm in the Spirit. Not a natural literal death this time that came later, but a death to self, a complete submission to the will of God. When He came up from this complete submersion into the will of God, things began to happen And when you have followed him into a complete death to self, a burial of the old carnal nature, completely, when you have quit sitting in the counsel of the ungodly and stopped filling your mind with the thoughts of carnal men and filled your mind with the Word of God, and received the mind of Christ . . then you will arise to a new place in God, a new realm in the Spirit . . and things will begin to happen. The Gospel records all tell us that the very first thing that happened when He came up out of the water was that THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED UNTO HIM! The significance of the wonderful and tremendous thing that happened to Jesus when the Heavens were opened to Him is contained in another chapter "THE OPEN HEAVENS." Many things happened here at the River Jordan, it was a great day in the life of Jesus, and is very significant in the growth and maturity of the Overcomer. Here Jesus saw the Holy Ghost in bodily shape, and He received an anointing which started Him out on a ministry which has never yet been duplicated. The chapter on "THE TWO WITNESSES" from the book of Revelation takes up here and shows how the Body of Christ will follow the Pattern and shake the entire world, yea, even the heavens also shall be shaken by a ministry like His.
But let us consider just now the two principal characters here at the River Jordan. First, John the Baptist .. . prophet of God: and his cousin, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God. Here we find one man, John, introducing and preparing the way for another man, Jesus. Actually, Jesus has been around ever since John was six months old. . but He was not yet mature, not ready to be manifested. Even during the days of John's prophetic ministry, Jesus was there, not recognized by even God's people, but growing to maturity. Now both of these men are Patterns, or signs of that which God is doing in these last days. Just as one man, a prophet, precedes and introduces one man, the Son, just so in these tremendous days in which we live, a group of saints, a prophetic ministry, precedes and introduces the group who enter into Sonship. John the Baptist is a type of that group of saints who are sounding forth the Trumpet call to prepare the way of the Lord, to prepare your heart for Sonship. These saints are revealed in the Bible as the Elijah ministry, and as the Moses ministry or "that prophet.' Jesus, of course, is the Pattern for the Overcomer, that group of saints who attain to the High Calling of God and come forth to destroy the works of Satan, the Kingdom which overcomes and destroys every earthly kingdom, principality and power, and puts all under the feet of the Body of Christ.
Let's look at John, this Voice in the Wilderness, for he is so much like us today. His father was ~ priest, he was born within the Old Order of the ecclesiastical system of his day. He was once a part of that city, Jerusalem, which is, of course, a type of the Bride of Christ, the Church. But the Pharisees and Scribes and the wicked High Priests took over in Jerusalem and began to rule over God's people in their own greedy way. They laid down laws and rules which they themselves could not keep. Spirituality almost disappeared from the City, the Church. But not quite. God had reached inside the walls of that legalistic system and laid His hand on a young man, and called him into a prophetic ministry. This prophet began to speak the Word of the Lord. He began to hear from heaven, and to see the purpose and plan of God. But he had to leave the City, get outside the jurisdiction of that wicked system and its power mad leaders.
Now friends, I realize that in John's day there were some good priests still in Jerusalem, honest, sincere men who wanted things to get cleaned up. But they thought the best way to do this was to work with the religious leaders, stay in the system, and try to reform it. It cannot work, then or now. Today there are many good honest ministers who realize that the religious system as we known' now is wrong and divides God's people. But they don't know what to do about it. John knew what to do. He got out of the City, went into the desert, got a revelation from God and began speaking the Word of the Lord to anyone who had ears to hear. Many stayed within the walls of the City and never heard John's voice in the wilderness. Their leaders told them that he was a fanatic and that he was dangerous. Their hearts were full of fear because of what they heard about this "new move", and they never got out to hear the message of John. But many did. They came by the hundreds to the River Jordan to hear from God through the mouth of His prophet. Some heeded the message, some did not. Some followed John in his wilderness walk and some returned to the orderly system of Jerusalem...the City of God in the hands now of a man made ecclesiastical priesthood.
Oh, my dear friends, can you not see how plainly God has made the pattern, how clearly He has painted the sign, how loudly He has sounded the trumpet call? Will you continue in the slavery of a twice dead, plucked up system of denominational bondage while God is calling for warriors to enter His glorious Army of the Overcomer? Time is so short, your opportunity is running out. . pray earnestly, fast, seek God until He touches your life with His divine anointing and calls you into this glorious Body. And then be faithful, let no temptation move you from the purpose of God in your life, to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus. Don't let the devil tell you it can't be done. Let God be true and every man a liar. The fact that no man has yet reached that place of perfection in Christ does not disannul His promise and His plan. He said it, and that's enough for me. When I look at myself, I know that it is impossible. But when I look at Him I know beyond doubt that nothing is impossible. So I just stop looking at myself, keep looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, and know that by the grace of God I am what I am, and that He will make me what He wants me to be as I yield to Him. Glory to God!
"Yea, for the Lord would sound a warning to His people; Have I not sent forth the trumpet call into all the land, and called unto my people to come out of Babylon? But ye say, 'Lord, this is not Babylon, this is Jerusalem, your own fair city, your beloved.' But I say unto you that Jerusalem has become a Babylon and my true Jerusalem which is born from above has fled from behind her bloody walls. For that which is made by hands is not my City, for my City is not made by hands. But that which you see, that which you call Jerusalem, has been made by the hands of men and I will have none of it. Yet my mercy is extended unto those within her walls and my blessings are spread abroad But my warning is unto you, my people . . Come out of her before she falls, for she shall fall, and great shall be the fall of her. Does not your history tell you that I sent men to destroy Jerusalem of Old, and all that were within her were lost. But those who had fled her gates and escaped her walls were spared. I warned them by my prophets, but they would not listen, they scorned my voice and mocked my servants and they wept in the hour of their just reward. Come out from among them, my people, come into the wilderness with my servant John. Ye shall not die, for I shall feed thee there and give thee drink. Yea, for rivers of water shall flow in the desert and ye shall know that I am God, and that I am the greet Supplier. Trust not in that which ye can see, nor in that which bath been from time past, but trust in the Lord thy God which leadeth thee in a straight and a narrow path, upward and onward to everlasting victory. Thus would the Lord speak unto a people bound with fears and doubts. Cast thyself upon Him who loves thee. " Glory to God, hallelujah! People, listen to the voice of the Lord Jesus as He speaks in the deep of your heart. Study the Word of God and He will guide you into all Truth.
Thou Art My Son
Jesus came up out of the water, dripping wet, the river water mingling with the tears that ran down His face. And how He prayed! Those pious country folk, standing on the river bank along with the well dressed religious leaders from Jerusalem could not remember when they had heard a prayer like this young man prayed as He stood there in the water with John the Baptist.
Then a strange thing happened to Jesus. (Luke 3:21 22) As Jesus prayed, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, "Thou art my beloved Son in Thee I am well pleased".
Have you never wondered WHY the voice spoke directly to Him, informing Him of His Sonship? Did it ever occur to you that God was bringing forth a milestone in the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth. Nothing happened by accident in the life of Jesus. Every detail was ordained before the foundation of the world. This was a momentous day in His life, and great things were happening in Heaven and earth. This was .... in fact, the great day of
For thirty years Jesus had been in subjection, in His immaturity. For years he had been growing, physically, mentally, and spiritually, waiting for this day of Adoption, or "placing as a full grown mature Son. " Galatians, chapter 4, tells how that the heir, (though he is Lord of all) still has to be treated as a servant and others in the household while he is a child, in his immaturity. So it was that Jesus, in fulfilling the pattern for His Body, had to go through the same process. And it was in reality, not a hypocritical sham or token. This all actually took place, and were very real events in the life of our Lord.
A Jewish lad, the firstborn of his father, was tenderly cared for and watched over not only by his father, but by all the servants as well. For they knew that this one would someday inherit all his father's possessions and become their master. But in this care there was involved a discipline. The child was not given all his father's authority, nor was he allowed to have his own way or choose his own course. He learned to do as he was told, to be obedient even to those of less stature than he was to be. CLARKE'S COMMENTARY has this to say of Gal. 1:1 .... "Though he be appointed by his father's will, heir of all his possessions, yet till he arrive at the legal age he is master of nothing and does not differ from one of the common domestics.
THE MANGER WAS REAL
The great humility of our Lord Jesus was marked by the manger in which He laid as a babe. It was no accident. It was all part of the pattern, and was very real. He was just a tiny baby born of a simple peasant girl, amid the smells and noise of a barnfull of animals. He did not lie there in robes of diety, thinking of all the ramifications of this great Plan of the Ages that was being brought forth at this time. No, beloved, all this had been stripped before He left the portals of glory. He is now clothed in the humiliating garments of His humanity. He thinks of nothing that any other baby would not think of. He was a very real baby. He does not have the intelligence to save Himself from Herod's fury, but is completely dependent upon God. In fact, speaking prophetically through the Psalmist in Psalms 22 of this very time, He said to the Father:
"Thou keptest me in safety when I was upon my mother's breasts. "This takes nothing away from the glory that belongs to our Jesus. It only adds to the luster of His brightness to realize the Depths to which He went to redeem us and give us a pattern of Sonship. His humility was real and honest. His discipline was as stern and Strict as any Jewish boy. Hebrews 5:8 says "Though He were a Son,......yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered," or by the discipline which He endured.
HE GREW IN OBSCURITY
Except for the lack of sin and the Adamic nature, and except that He was born of God and was diety being manifested in human flesh, the boy Jesus was just the same as any other boy. His young mind hungered for knowledge, and He daily learned more about God's Word and the promise of a coming deliverer, a Messiah. He was a strange one all right, to the world, for He did not have a complaining, grumbling nature, and He joyfully and obediently fulfilled His duties and tasks as instructed by those to whom He was subject. He was an example, a pattern, of what God's intentions were for children of this human race. He was the firstborn of a new creation, a new race of people, a people free from the corrupting influences of this Adamic nature. He was the sign of our inheritance!
He did not grow with a great sensational fanfare. Movies were not made, nor was a diary kept of his every word and action as a boy. He was just a boy. In submission. Being taught, and disciplined. Can God grow ? Who can teach the Almighty ? Yet this boy grew, and has taught. In His immaturity the heir was no different than the servant, tho He be Lord of all! Born from above, seed of the Father, yet walking in humility. Not knowing fully who Hewas, but a growing consciousness that He was a child of destiny. Then the day of Adoption, in Jordan's muddy waters, when the Father spoke to Him. "Thou art my beloved Son". So this is why He is different. Placed as a mature Son. Ready to take His place alongside His Father in the work of redeeming mankind. Along with this voice came an appearance. He saw the Holy Ghost in a bodily shape. This was the first time He had, in His flesh, seen God. And the Spirit descended upon Him, and remained. There was an anointing that came upon Him, above and beyond anything that humans have ever experienced as yet. All this was because He was
A PATTERN FOR US
I feel the tug in my heart to go to the River Jordan. It is something I cannot explain in words that make sense to the ordinary Christian. It is just that I know that God is drawing me to a place of laying down my life, my self nature. This is something that is true of all those who are called into this High Calling of God, to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. Jordan represents death, in baptism there is a burial of all that remains of the self life. In the coming up out from the water there is a resurrection into His divine life. The Word of God is clear. I know I shall see Him, and shall hear His voice declaring our Sonship. I hunger for the fulness of the inheritance, the anointing of the Spirit without measure. This, too, came at Jordan.
A BODY FOR GOD
At Jordan Jesus laid down His own life and gave Himself into the hands of the Father in such a way that He became a vehicle of expression for God. God may reveal His might and power in the hurricane or the lightning. He might express His creative ability in the physical universe. But only in Jesus, His Son, could He truly reveal and express His own divine nature. So the Son, as a human laid down His own rights, His own thoughts, His own will, and became a visible means of expressing that which was divine, that which was invisible. Now man can see what God is really like. He has one to truly represent Him, one to express His love and compassion and wisdom and humility, as well as His authority and dominion in heaven and earth. Here He has one like Himself, in His own Image, and He is publicly placing Him as His Son.
A BODY FOR CHRIST
The true nature of Jesus must be manifested to the world. To them He is invisible, they will not read the Bible to learn about Him. Their thoughts are continually on other things. But He seeks a Body in which He can eternally express His own Nature. They are very close to His heart. He is wooing them, drawing them, bringing them to a place of laying down their own lives and partaking of His divine nature. For you see, this Body is a corporate body, it is made up of a multitude of chosen saints. Those willing to come into His own Image. This is a difficult road. For you cannot take your old life or self into this. You must become a vehicle of expression for the living Christ. Many today are willing for God to give them power and anointing and authority so that they Night express their owls desires and ambitions. Many are willing to sacrifice greatly in order to bring their own ministries to a place of great prominence. But this is not the case with the Body. This is a laying down of our own lives, that we might manifest the life of Jesus in this mortal flesh.
We are now in a time of discipline, child training, Learning. Learning obedience, and humility, Growing in obscurity, not even knowing ourselves, the full extent of our growth, or how near mature. Forget those who boast of their maturity, who tell of their Manifested Sonship. They are impostors, voices of the flesh. Acts 5:37, tells us that at the very time that the Baby Jesus was lying in the manger, immature and helpless, there was another from Galilee who thought that he was the deliverer and persuaded much people to follow him. He perished, and his followers were dispersed, having missed the reality of what was hidden in the womb of that little virgin of Galilee. They had not heard the voice of the angel, as did Salary, nor were they overshadowed by the awesome presence of God. So they were deceived when one came offering sonship without the Cross. Those who are coming into true Sonship will not have to announce their arrival. The Father will speak with a voice "from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," (II Peter 1:17). The day of Adoption is surely coming. Be patient, children, grow in God, and then let Him speak for you.
THE ANOINTING ABIDES
"Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him .... " (John 1:33) This was the word that came to John the Baptist as to how He would know the Christ when He came. The Spirit anointed and used other men. But where the Spirit came upon Jesus, it remained. Because He was the Pattern for a body that shall dwell under an anointing that abides. The anointing of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost is a glorious experience. It is the firstfruits of what comes upon the Body. But it is only the firstfruits, and God never intended for us to be satisfied with the firstfruits. Israel came to Kadesh Barnea, on the edge of Canaan. From there they sent in twelve spies to spy out the land Numbers 13:20 tells us that it was "the time of the first ripe grapes". And they brought back a sample. It was good, yes, very delicious. But it was only a sample of the first ripe grapes, and God did not intend for them to subsist the rest of their lives on these samples of the firstfruits. They were toga in and possess the land. Make a permanent thing of these fine vineyards and harvests. God's desire is for you to have the very best, not a sample.
UPON THE BEARD
"It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments". (Psalms 133:2). Here is a description of the anointing of the High Priest, with emphasis on the precious ointment. Notice .. . the same ointment not a different or cheaper kind, but the same ointment that came first upon the Head, ran down over the entire Body. Glory to Jesus! What a promise! Jesus, our High Priest, and Head of this priestly company, was anointed of the Spirit without measure. He had wisdom, understanding, discernment, as well as authority and dominion over the works of Satan never before experienced by mankind. He was anointed with a precious ointment. But God is not using a cheaper kind on the rest of the Body. The same divine anointing of the fulness of the Spirit that came upon Jesus shall come upon the entire Body, until every enemy shall become His footstool.
This anointing does not come upon babes in Christ, as does the Baptism in the Spirit, for the "beard" speaks of a full grown mature Son. This anointing comes at the time of the Adoption, at our Jordan. Gifts are given to God's children who are willing to receive .... on His terms. And God's gifts are surely wonderful, no doubt about that. But this anointing that we are speaking of is not in the "gift" realm For gifts are in part whether they be revelation gifts such as Knowledge or speaking gifts such as Prophecy. But that which is in part shall be done away with. When? When that which is perfect is come. Not when we go to heaven, but when that which is perfect comes to us here. And come it shall! Nothing shall hinder, for it is in the eternal purposes of God. Jesus, the Pattern has established it, and He cannot fail.
HE SHALL APPEAR
With the complete death to our own self life and our own wills at Jordan comes the Adoption and an appearance of our God. For He shall appear unto His own and confirm to their own hearts this eternal relationship unto Himself. The Amplified New Testament says in Heb. 9:28 " Christ. . . will appear a second time, not carrying any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are eagerly, constantly, and patiently waiting for and expecting Him. " At His appearance there shall come a FULL salvation, a complete deliverance from every earthly bondage and demon oppression.
Some are saying that He has already appeared to them. In spirit. They have seen Him by faith. But this is not enough. Notice that Jesus saw the Holy Ghost "in a bodily shape". He physically, literally, actually saw something. Beloved, we are dealing with realities; not fantasies. It will take reality to deliver this world from the bondage of death and corruption. And this is the task reserved for the full grown Son. The world wants, and needs, reality. Strife, hatred, war on every side. They need something that will give them peace. Something that they can see has changed your life.
MINISTRY OF LIFE
From the Adoption at Jordan, Jesus entered a ministry for three and a half years that destroyed the powers of hell, and shook this world to its very foundations. He is the Pattern. Looking unto Him, we see our course set before us. "Be of good cheer," He said, "I have overcome the world."
Can you feel the tug of the Spirit pulling you to Jordan? Are you willing to go beneath the chilly waters, to die to all of your own ways? Consider carefully, for there is no turning back.
IN THE FULNESS OF TIME
Galatians 4:4 indicates clearly that there was a time element involved in the appearing of Jesus at the River Jordan. He could not decide to go at His own whim, or when He thought He might be ready. "God sent forth His Son. . . " This shows plainly the will of the Father in the time chosen for the Adoption. So it is today.: There are those who tell us it is unbelief to wait on God for this, that we must press our way into it by faith. And we are surely pressing toward the mark. But the fulness of God's plan will only come in the fulness of God's time. Be of good cheer, He is not late!
A PROPHETIC MINISTRY
There is a prophetic ministry, speaking at the mouth of the Lord, calling for a deep rooted repentance. This ministry is laying bare the secrets of our heart, and laying the axe at the root of the tree. As Jesus submitted Himself to John, so must we come to a place of submission in this hour, that we might taste the glorious fruits of full victory. Press in, saints of God, there is much yet ahead! We are just getting ready to come out of our immaturity. Sonship, full sonship, is God's plan for the mighty Body of Christ. Lift up your voice and praise Him that He has counted you worthy, and expect to hear His voice saying unto YOU .. . "Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased!
THE OPEN HEAVENS
The tanned, muscular young prophet immediately sensed the greatness of this moment. He stood knee deep in the swirling waters at the edge of the River Jordan, feet spread apart, hands on his hips, clothed in a garment of rough camel's hair, and watched the slender young man make his way through the crowd toward him. He recognized this Nazarene, radiant now and glowing with the very presence of God. All his life he had known Jesus, son of Mary. But now he was seeing for the first time Jesus, the Son of God. He was amazed at this revelation . . how could this be? Why had he not seen it before? But he knew it was so. The Holy Ghost was upon him, and he was more sure that this young man, his cousin in the flesh, was the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah, than he was that his own name was John, son of Zacharias, the priest. The hour had come at last. John the Baptist and Jesus were meeting at the River Jordan. Prophecy was being fulfilled, history was being made, and a pattern was being formed. Watch very carefully what was happening at this momentous occasion.
Friends, before you go any further in this message, please read the accounts in the four Gospels concerning the baptism of Jesus. Read carefully the following scriptures: Matthew 3:13 17; Mark 1:9 11; Luke 3:21 22 and John 1:29 34.
Now the previous two messages on this subject of Jesus as the Sign or Pattern, "GOD'S GREATEST SIGN" and "THE VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS", brings out the truth of how Jesus is the Pattern for the Body of Christ, that great company of people, God's Army that He is raising up in these last days to crush all the kingdoms of this world, and to put down Satanic rule and dominion. If you have not read these other two chapters, read them immediately. They are very important, and this message today is a continuation on theme. Jesus as the Pattern.
The one thing we are concerned with today in this message is how the heavens were opened unto Jesus, and what this means to us, let's find out what it meant to Jesus. Up to this time, Jesus had never entered into actual combat with Satanic forces. True, the devil, working through the political and religious system of that day, had tried his best to kill the baby Jesus soon after his birth. True, the angel of the Lord had protected him in his early years, leading him first to Egypt, and then to the hill of Galilee. But Jesus himself had never risen up to battle the forces of evil. Up to this time there is no record of Him ever performing a miracle, healing the sick, or casting out demons. Except, of course, in the false records of the so called "Lost books of the Bible". These books which tell of Jesus performing silly little miracles (making real birds out of mud, stretching a wooden throne to the proper size, etc. ) are ridiculous, their origin is false, and their message is a lie. It was here at the River Jordan at the age of 30 that Jesus received the power to cast down satanic strongholds and heal the sick and raise the dead. This is the same power He has for us, and we have already received the "earnest", or the foretaste of this glorious inheritance. More of this in another message. Let's look today at THE OPEN HEAVENS.
Matt. 3:16: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him. . " Mark 1:10: "And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened.. " Glory to God! Something happened here that began the fulfillment of Jacob's dream of the Ladder. You remember that Jacob dreamed as he lay there at Bethel with his head on a stone for a pillow and saw in his dream the heavens opened, and a ladder set up on the earth, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder. Jacob awoke out of his sleep in fear and dread and cried: "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gets of heaven" (Genesis 28:17). So he changed the name of that place from Luz to Bethel because Bethel signified "HOUSE OF GOD". He had actually seen, in a type, the true house of God, the fulness of the Son of Man in Christ and His people.
In I Chronicles 17:12 God is telling David that He does not want David to build Him a house. . and he tells David of the coming of Christ, and how that Christ shall build God's house. .. "He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne for ever. " Acts 2:30 verifies to us that He was speaking of Christ. In Acts 7:49 God spoke through Stephen to the Jews and said: "Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool; what house will ye build me ?" They could not build His house, for they had already rejected the head of the Chief Cornerstone. Jesus was building God's house, and he said in John 14 2, "In my Father's house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . that where I am, there ye may be also. " You know, of course, what and who the house of God is. You born again, spirit filled, God called believers who are pressing into the High Calling of God, you are the household of God. What did Jesus mean, "Where I am, there ye may be also?" Just where was He when He said this? Yes, His body was upon the earth, but more than this, He was walking in heavenly places, for unto Him THE HEAVENS WERE OPEN. He had entered into this place at the River Jordan, and shortly after had met Satan face to face and defeated him with the Word of God. AND FROM THAT DAY ON .. there was never a time when a demon spirit could hide from Him, for that which is invisible to us was visible to Him, for the heavens were open to Him. We see only that which is earthly, physical. But he saw that which cannot be seen by the natural eye.... principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, wicked spirits in the heavenlies. In Mark, chapter one, He came to Capernaum and went into the synagogue to teach. A man there cried out against him, but He did not recognize the opposition as coming from flesh, but He saw what the church people and their leaders had never seen, that this man in their midst had a devil, an unclean spirit. He cast out the spirit and delivered the man. They were astonished at Him.
In Mark, chapter five, we find Jesus coming to Gadara. As he gets out of the boat, a man ran to him and worshipped him. Many of us would be fooled by the religious attitude of this man, but not Jesus. He could see right into the heavenlies, and could see that this man was full of demons. He cast them out. John 2:25 says: "and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. " They could not even hide their thoughts from Him. In Luke, chapter seven, we find Jesus discerning the unclean condemning spirit in Simon. In Mark, chapter two, we see four men taking their sick friend to Jesus by going through the roof of the house. When Jesus said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee", the scribes began reasoning in their hearts that He was blaspheming. But immediately Jesus perceived this, and rebuked them. Nothing was hid from Him. The heavens were open.
Not only did He see these things, but seeing them He had victory over them. Never once did He lose a battle to Satan. Never once was anyone turned away that came to him. There was no disease too strong or too far gone, there was no limb too crooked, there was no eye too blind, there was no sinner too wicked. He was victorious over every devil, over every evil force. He had entered into that realm which Satan had usurped and stolen from Adam, and had won it back. Oh, Hallelujah! Glory to God! What a wonderful Savior!
As far as Jesus was concerned, Satan had lost his power and had been cast out of the heavens. Satan could not even touch the physical body of Jesus, for it was part of the Man who now walked lathe heavens, who had overcome Satan and was truly victorious over every evil force. Death could not lay hold upon Him. His life was not taken from Him. In order to die for us He had to voluntarily lay down His life. This was the heavenly path He trod. And this is the One who said to us: "Where I am, there ye may be also. "
What does this mean to us, His Body? We don't yet see all things under the feet of the son of man (Heb. 2:8), but(verse 9), "we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor. " We see the Head of this Body supremely victorious, waiting until the Body comes to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, s o that his enemies become his footstool. The Head is victorious, and crowned. But this glorious work He began will continue until His whole Body, even the feet, shall rise to the place of authority and power that He has. The smallest and weakest member of the Body, the least in the Kingdom, shall have dominion over every Satanic force, over the work of creation, even over their own spirits. "Where I am, there ye may be ... "
See how Jesus had authority over the elements of nature. See the winds and waves obey Him as He speaks. See how the fish brings the tax money to Peter at the Word of Jesus. See how the fig tree withers at His command. This is the place God ordained for man (Psa. 8), but man lost his inheritance through sin. Jesus has won it back for us and He is now building a house, creating a body of people, bringing forth a Son in His own likeness, and in His image. (Romans 8:29) (John 1:12 13). For centuries men have been more or less content to let the devil have this earth, if only they can have heaven after they die. And, thank God, He has provided salvation for lost man, and the work of the Church has been to get this message out to those who are dying in sin. But now in these last days there is coming forth a body of people, raised up by the Holy Ghost in Revival power, who are not content to let Satan rule here on this earth. They are crying out for deliverance and interceding for the Kingdom of God on earth. They don't know how this can be done, for it truly looks impossible, but because the Word of God says it is so, they believe it. The Holy Ghost is now revealing truths that have been hidden since the days of the apostles. Hope is once again springing up in the hearts of the saints, God's "called out ones", and they are beginning to see that we can follow Jesus into that which is beyond the veil, and that the heavens will be open to us, too. These are looking not to die, but to live; not for eventual victory in Heaven, but for victory on this earth. They are contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. What a glorious destiny for the House of God, the Ladder Jacob saw in his dream.
See how this ladder vision is brought out in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. You will recall how amazed Nathanael was when the Lord remarked how He had seen him under the fig tree. Actually the Lord may have been miles away at the time, and Nathanael knew that. How could this be? But Jesus said: "thou shalt see greater things than these. Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. " (John 1:50 51). In other words, Jesus was saying, "Nathanael, this miracle you have seen is nothing. You haven't seen anything yet. The time is at hand when the Son of Man shall fulfill the type of Jacob's ladder. His feet shall stand on earth, and His Head shall reach even unto Heaven; and the angels of God shall ascend and descend upon Him. " Now there is only one way by which the angels of God could ascend and descend upon the Son of Man; and that is, if the Son inhabits Heaven and earth at the same time. And such is the case. The Son of Man is the glorious and wonderful fulfillment of Jacob's ladder; and no wonder Jacob called the place "Bethel", for this is the House of God of which we speak, even the Body of Christ. The Head is in Heaven but the Body is upon earth: and according to the Scriptures the Head hath sent forth the celestial hosts as ministering spirits. ministering to such as shall be heirs of salvation, ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, this "new Man" that Paul speaks about, 'created in Himself of twain. " It is Christ in the fulness of His people. The heavens are now open to His people, the Body, even as it was to Him the Head, there at the River Jordan that eventful day.
The question arises: When and how do we come into this glorious place? By faith we have it now. We claim it in His Name! But in actual experience any honest hearted child of God will admit that the heavens have not yet been open to him, and that he does not yet dwell in that place beyond the veil where Jesus, our fore runner, "is for us entered. " (Heb. 6 :20). Some may argue that Jesus did not receive his Melchisedec priesthood until after he was resurrected and ascended into heaven. But I declare that he had a priestly ministry even during his earthly life. And we too have a priesthood ministry on this earth. Rev. 1:5 6 says: "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. " Also the Lamb "hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth. " (Rev. 5:10). Now we honestly admit that we are not yet beyond the veil, in the heavenlies. We have not yet entered into our priestly ministry in full, nor do we reign as Kings, but just as surely as Jesus came to the River Jordan and set the Pattern, just as surely shall the true Body of Christ follow that Pattern. Hebrews 6:20 says that He is our forerunner, indicating that we are to follow Him into the Holiest. By faith we enter into that place now, but in actual experienced his is still ahead of us. How far ahead I cannot say, but I feel that it is very near. For already the Body of Christ is nearing maturity, dispensationally the time is at hand. "For even now, saith God, the Son is approaching the waters of Jordan, the figurative waters of death. For there must be a dying out, a complete death to self and the old ways, that I might bring thee into thy heavenly inheritance. For my prophet, my anointed ministry for this hour is already sounding forth the trumpet call for my people to repent of their religious hypocrisy and forsake that which is dead and turn thou unto Life, to the way of the Living God. Submit thou to my Word, and to my ministry in the earth, that 1 might bring thee up out of the waters of Jordan unto a glorious freedom and victory that thou hast never known. " Glory to Jesus!
How do we come into this experience? Friends, this must come by an act of the Grace of God. You cannot think, believe, work, or even pray your way in. But you can pray, believe and be ready for Him when He comes to His people. For this day shall come suddenly, and if you are still hanging around the synagogues of Jerusalem, you will miss what is happening at Jordan. Come out into the wilderness, my people, into the glorious wilderness where you can learn to die out to self. Where He can prune your branch and bring forth Fruit in your life. For it is the fruit bearers who shall come into this glorious place in God.
Can your mind comprehend even in a measure what this shall be like, to be in the place Jesus was in? To have dominion over the elements, the beasts, the birds, even over the strongest of devils and the worst of diseases. Yes, even victory over death itself, the last enemy to be conquered. Some claim now to have already conquered death, when they are still afraid of a bad dog, or an attack of the flu. My friends, death is the last enemy to be conquered. But fall it must, before the mighty power of God working through His Church, Isis body. And Jesus said that the works that He did, we would do also (John 14:12). This power is not given for us to feed ourselves with bread from the stones, or for sensationalism to make people notice us, or to get a kingdom for ourselves. Jesus was tempted with these things, and He overcame them. And so will those who follow His pattern. Glory to God! What a destiny! How marvelous the plan of God! How glorious the path of those who walk with God! These things are being shown to us so that we will be willing to follow Him in His wilderness journey to Jordan. Willing to die with Him in the chilly waters. That we might come up from this death into a glorious ministry of Life and Power and authority such as the world has never seen since Jesus made the Pattern.
The Two Witnesses
When the young Galilean stepped into the waters that day, all Hell began to tremble. Demons, wicked spirits, emissaries of Satan, yes, even "princes'' gazed upon that simple scene and began to quake with fear. None of the Jewish people who watched the proceeding that day knew what was taking place. To them, from Scribe to fisherman, from merchant to housewife, it was just another baptism at the hands of this prophet John, the Baptizer. But the angels of God knew, and sang with joy. And Satan knew, and feared exceedingly! But why? This slender young man coming up out of the water appeared to be no great threat to the hordes of demon powers that had tormented and fought man since the Garden of Eden. But there was something different about this man. A soft, diffused light seemed to glow and radiate from His being as He gazed heavenward. He was the Son of God ... God come to earth in the flesh of man, and the satanic hordes knew their power was broken and their time short. The man Jesus was now being anointed with the Holy Ghost, and to Him the Spirit was given without measure. Heaven and earth were being united!
The previous chapters tell more of what happened here at the River Jordan, and the early childhood of Jesus. We found in the chapter on "God's Greatest Sign" that Jesus is a Sign or Pattern for the Sons of God, the Body of Christ, the Overcomer. Everything about His earthly life has its fulfillment in the life and ministry of His Body. The chapters on "The Voice in the Wilderness" and "The Open Heavens" go into more detail on the Jordan baptism.
Since we are going to deal today with the two witnesses of the 11th chapter of the Book of Revelation, I want to show how Jesus was actually two witnesses. For we shall see that those two witnesses in Revelation is really the Body of Christ, anointed and perfected, ministering the last great revival this world shall see, the real "latter rain." This may shock some of you who were expecting Elijah, or Moses, or Enoch, or someone else to be reincarnated into flesh again and walk around the streets of the literal, natural city of Jerusalem. But God's Word is very plain on this subject, and if your heart is open for truth, you will soon see what God actually plans for this end of the age.
In John 8:13 the Pharisees accused Jesus of bearing a false record because He alone could testify of who He was and where He was from. They were referring, of course, to the Law which states in Deut. 19:15that"By the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. " One witness was not enough to establish a truth or testimony. Jesus Himself reiterated this in Matthew 18:16, and so did Paul in II Corinthians 13:1. So by the mouth of His three greatest spokesmen, Jesus, Moses, and Paul, God laid down a rule of faith . . . His Word would be established by the mouth of two or more witnesses. Two is the number of witness. Because, you see, dear ones, two is the Bible number representing Christ in the fulness of His Body, the Church. For example, Adam and the beautiful bride who came from his side; the Sun and Moon, the moon, Of course, reflecting not its own light, but light of the sun; the two rows of bread on the table of shewbread in the tabernacle; the two trumpets of silver in Numbers, chapter 10, made of one piece of silver showing that Christ and His Body are all "of one" Hebrews 2:11), and that He shall sound the trumpet in these last days through His redeemed and anointed people. And other examples show that two is significant of Christ, the Head, in His people, the Body.
Now let us look in the Word of God and see whether Jesus was really just one witness, as the Pharisees claimed, or if He was Two Witnesses. Jesus answered these men in John 8:16 18, "And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law (Deuteronomy 19:15) that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of me." So what He is saying is simply this: that when you look at Jesus standing there, you actually see two God and flesh. You cannot see God, but you see Him manifest through the flesh. So by His mighty works, far beyond the ability of man, God witnesses to the truth of the message Jesus came to bring. This makes Jesus a double witness, or actually two witnesses, thus meeting the requirements of His own Law. This is further brought out in John 10:25: "Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. " And in John 5:31 32, 36 37 "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true .... But I have greater witness than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
So it is very simple. God manifests His mighty power over death, disease, demons earthly elements, and all other forces through the earthly life of this man Jesus, thus making Jesus actually two witnesses one seen, one unseen. Since Jesus is the Pattern for His Body, then we can expect God's people in these last days to set up the Kingdom of God on earth in the same manner. Is it any mystery now why Jesus said He would give us His Name? Do you understand why He said, "As my Father sent me, so send I you"? And when He said, "The works that I do, shall ye do also .. . " He had this purpose and plan in mind. So remembering this, let us now turn to the eleventh chapter of Revelation. Turn in your Bible to this chapter, so I won't have to quote all of it in this book.
Note in verse one that the command is given for John to rise and "measure the temple of God. " But verse two tells us that the rest of the Holy City is not measured at this time. Yet we find in chapter 21 that the City is now measured. Why ? First, let us find out who or what the City, Jerusalem, is, and what the Temple represents. It is very plain throughout the Bible that Jerusalem represents the Woman, the Virgin Church, the Bride of Christ. See what Revelation 21:2, 9 10, says about this: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband . . . And there came unto me one of the seven angels. . . and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. " So the City represents a people, the born again blood washed children of God who make up His Bride. Nothing could be more clear than this. But now I show you a mystery WHO is the Temple. Just as the City is a group of people, and not a bunch of bricks and stones, just so is the Temple a group of people. But who are they? Well, as the Temple is a part of the City, that building not made with the sound of a hammer, filled with the glory and presence of God, with the Holiest Place in the midst of it, just so is this Temple people a port of the Bride, that part which is anointed by the Spirit without measure, dwelling in the heavenlies with Christ, filled with His glory and presence in a way most people know nothing about this is His Body, the Sons of God, the Overcomer! But see what happens to this group . . .
In verse 1 of Revelation 11, they come to the measure. What measure? Read Ephesians 4:11 13 . . God has placed in the Church certain ministries, and though men and devils would not want them to function and would resist them bitterly, yet they shall operate unto the divine purpose of God. This purpose is to edify the Body of Christ, and to bring us (who are called into the High Calling of God) to "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. " Now in Revelation we find that at this time they have come to the measure and the Temple is ready to be filled with the glory and power of God. Not so the City. It has three and one half years of judgment and tribulation before it comes to the measure. "Judgment must begin at the house of God. " This is to make her, the City, ready to obey the Word of God (which she certainly is not doing now) that Christ might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing . . holy and without blemish. More of what happens to the City will have to be covered in another chapter. But she is to be trodden under foot, like salt that has lost its savor.
In verse 3 the anointing of power comes upon the Two Witnesses. This is the same anointing that came upon Jesus at the River Jordan when the Holv Ghost descended upon Him. But you say that we have already received that anointing when we received the glorious infilling or Baptism of the Holy Ghost. No, my friend, we only get the earnest of our inheritance. "That is, this "Pentecostal" experience that thousands have experienced is in substance the same, but in quantity only a very small measure of what Jesus had, and what is in store for those who claim their rightful inheritance in Christ. This anointing of the two witnesses is when the Glory of God (Jesus) fills the entire Temple of God (Body of Christ, the Overcomer) so that Truth and Life may flow out of the Temple to edify, strengthen and comfort those that mourn in Zion, the City of God (the Bride of Christ, the travailing Woman).
Oh, beloved, this is not fantasy or a play upon Words this is actually going to happen, and God is even now getting us ready for this glorious event. Picture, if you will, a group of people spread out across the world, sold out to Jesus, crying and travailing before God for the desperate need of the world. Suddenly, He appears! Not to everyone, but to those who are looking for Him. And He appears unto full salvation! Not to run away with us to hide from the battle in the day of the Lord, but to anoint us and fill us with His glory and power and the fulness of His Spirit! And bN' the act of His appearance this group of people are made one body, separated by many miles in the flesh, but joined to One Head, and operating under the same divine command. Suddenly the world sees Jesus again in the flesh, as He manifests himself through these thousands of saints simultaneously around the world. And if hell was shaken, if thrones and principalities toppled and fell, if the religious world was stirred, and if the common people were revived the first time God was manifested in the flesh, in one body, then think what it w~11 be win He manifests that same Life through thousands at the same time. Blasphemy? Oh no, it's the promise of God's eternal Word, and it shall not fail!
But the world does not like what it sees. If they loved Him, then they'll love you. But they hated Him, fought Him, tried their best to kill Him, and finally did. But, glory to God, power is given to this Body of people to bring judgment upon the world. Yes, the saints of God shall judge the world (I Corinthians 6:2), and power is hereby given them to do this. This is not so the saints will be able to destroy the world in anger, but that they might be able to cleanse the world of sin, purify God's people and call them out of their religious traditions and idolatry. My, what a Revival! The world has never seen the like of what shall happen here, the thing John was able to look forward and get a glimpse of. Zechariah, chapters, tells us that these people are the Anointed Ones who stand before the God of the whole earth.
Notice that the earthly ministry of these witnesses is not only with the same divine authority that Jesus had, but it even lasts the same length of time, three and a half years. Jesus had no mass form of communication, no radio, not even a loudspeaker. He had to walk where He went, no swift form of transportation. He had no printing press to get His message into the hands of the people. He never got very far from that little insignificant country of Palestine. Yet think of what He did . . . John says that "even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" concerning the works of Jesus. And now for this final onslaught God has provided us with mass communication such as radio, TV, newspapers, and with jet speed in transportation, autos, airplanes, etc. In three and a half years the whole world shall hear His Word and feel His mighty power, as God's Army marches forth under His divine anointing. More about this Army, and the battle they wage, in another chapter.
Notice that these witnesses were clothed in sackcloth. Not with their eternal robes of priesthood and kingship. No, these were not angelic beings, they were mortals, humans. And they were not in their glorified bodies, but in their bodies of humiliation, their flesh bodies. These were not resurrected saints, nor Enoch and Elijah come down from heaven to meet their appointment with death. Those men now have their heavenly bodies, their new glorified bodies, and cannot die. In fact, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:5 that it was appointed unto Enoch that he should not see death. It is appointed unto men once to die, but God can, and does, overrule His own appointments some times. Jesus says that those in heaven cannot die, for they are even as the angels in this respect. So these two witnesses are not Enoch and Elijah, for these witnesses are flesh and blood people who are brought down to death even as their Lord, and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11). They are those who overcome. They are clothed in sackcloth. Let men talk about their resurrected, glorified bodies here and now.
Beloved, it is people in human, flesh bodies who shall conquer this world and defeat Satan. If God was only interested in killing the devil, then He could have done that a long time ago. For God has always been stronger than the devil, and there has never been any doubt about who was supreme. But the battlefield is over Man, and God is leaving the devil for man to defeat. It is this old human flesh that Satan has tormented, tempted and triumphed over since the Garden of Eden. And God is allowing us the privilege of rising up through the power given us by our Lord Jesus Christ, and tearing down all of Satan's strongholds and all thrones and principalities. Thank God for Calvary and the empty Tomb! For it was here that Jesus defeated Satan and overcame for us and put all of hell's forces to an open shame. And He did this in a flesh body. Since He is the Head of the Body, it is now in order for the Body to follow in the Pattern which He has set for us. The Head is now victorious (Hebrews 2:9) and crowned with glory and honour. But we do not yet see all things under the FEET . . . (Hebrews 2:8). This is what John saw happening, and thank God, we are living in the generation when it finally happens!
"And they shall prophesy. . ." Notice that this is a prophetic anointing. By that I mean that when this Glory fills the Temple (the Sons of God group), their words shall be anointed prophecy. They shall speak the word of the Lord. Even as Jesus did, for everything He said was prophetic, it was the Word of God. Prophecy is man speaking for God. Not always foretelling, though sometimes that is so also. The Body of Christ, now anointed, acts only under the orders of the Head, the Lord Jesus. So the Head and the Body (two witnesses, even as Jesus and His Father), perfectly joined together now, shall speak, live, walk, and act under the divine anointing of the Spirit. Today we operate in the realm of the Gifts of the Spirit. We know (word of Knowledge) in part, and we prophesy in part (I Corinthians 13 :9). Our operation is not perfect. But Jesus' ministry was perfect. He had divine knowledge, all power, and every word He spoke was prophecy. For He did nothing except what the Father told Him to do or say. So He did not work for the Gifts. And when that which is "Perfect" (I Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 11:40) is come, then the gifts will be done away. Tongues shall cease, knowledge shall vanish away, and prophecies shall fail (be "cut off" or cease to flow). But Love shall continue to flow, even greater now than ever. That's why it is greater than all the gifts.
And now, filled with a compassion and love for the lost world that no man has had since Jesus wept great drops of blood in agonizing prayer and intercession, this people shall move out of the Church age realm and move into the victorious realm of the Kingdom of God. This is the stone cut out of the mountain, smiting the kingdoms of this world. Though they are in flesh bodies, walking the earth in "sackcloth" and not yet in kingly robes, yet they have dominion and power. No sickness can touch them, no plague can torment them, no locust can bite them, no devil can resist them, death can not overtake them until they have finished their testimony. Look at Jesus. Satan tried to kill Him many times, but could not touch Him until the fulness of time had come. Jesus said: "I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not; but the scriptures must be fulfilled"(Markl4:49). So until the ministry of these Two Witnesses, the Body of Christ, be fulfilled, no man can destroy them. The governments of the world would like to, but they cannot touch them. Why are they hated? Because of the ministry and judgment God has given to them. This shall be brought out fully in another message, "MEN IN SACKCLOTH". In this chapter we shall also see where Moses and Elijah fit into this picture. Notice in verse 6 that they have power to shut heaven for three and a half years that it rain not (a reference to Elijah), and they have power to turn waters into blood (a reference to Moses). This is the Moses Elijah ministry that God had promised through his prophets, and which Jesus had confirmed was coming to restore all things. It is these "Men in Sackcloth" which shall restore all things spoken by the prophets, and bring Jesus back to earth in person. Oh, Glory to God, friends, this truth burns like a fire in my heart, and I want to share it with you. Remember this, knowing all this is of no value to you if you do not make it in to the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. Paul feared, lest after having preached this to others, he might miss it himself and be a castaway, not lost in hell, just miss the High Calling. So he continued to press into it. How to make it in? Die to self. Bear the fruit of the Spirit. Hear His voice in these last days, and believe the Truth. And again, die to self. God is going deeper than the sin question now. (I said deeper, not around it). He is dealing now with our self life.
MEN IN SACKCLOTH
WHY do the scribes say that Elijah must first come before the coming of Christ?" This was the question the puzzled disciples asked the Lord (Matthew 17:10) after the scribe confused them with the prophecy of Malachi where God promised that He would send back Elijah to restore all things before the great and terrible day of the Lord. The answer Jesus gave them has a two fold meaning. "Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not. " The angel had promised (Luke 1:17) that John the Baptist would go before the Lord Jesus in the spirit and power of Elijah, to restore and make ready a people prepared for the Lord. This was fulfilled. One man, John, preceded and introduced one Man, Jesus, as the Christ, the Anointed One who had come to take away sin. But this was not the end of the matter. For Jesus, the word, was a Seed planted in death, resurrected in power, to bring forth a mighty Harvest in His own likeness (Romans 8:29). This Harvest is the glorious Body of Christ, ever growing into the likeness of the Seed, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, growing up into the Head, even Christ, from whom the whole Body is fitly joined together (Ephesians 4:13 16).
Just as God was manifested in Jesus Christ who came forth from the womb of the virgin Mary. . now in the end of the Age God has a Body of people, the Temple people which are now in the womb of the true Church, the Virgin Bride or the Holy City, Jerusalem. This Body of Christ, the Overcomer, shall come forth in mighty power to manifest the fulness of Christ in the earth. They are known as the Manifested Sons of God, and this place they occupy is the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. But before they are manifested or revealed to the world, God shall have a group known as the Elijah Moses Ministry, a prophetic ministry sent forth with mighty power and the spirit of judgment to restore all things. And as one man, a prophet, goes before one man, the Christ, just so a group of called out saints with a prophetic ministry goes before and introduces the Manifested Sons of God, the Christ ministry. In our previous message on THE TWO WITNESSES of Revelation 11, we found beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Scripture shows these two prophets to be the Elijah Moses ministry of the Body of Christ. Not just two men, but the Lord Jesus in His Body which is made up of many members. Acts 3:21 tells us that Jesus shall remain in heaven and not return to earth until the times of restitution (restoration) of all things spoken by the mouth of His prophets. By looking at the 11th chapter of Revelation we can see something of what this ministry will be like.
In Revelation 11:3 we see that this people has an anointing power. To get an idea of what this anointing is like, we must look at the life of Jesus. At the river Jordan the Holy Ghost descended upon Him, and He "went about doing good, healing ALL who were oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38). No devil could withstand Him. He could see right into the hearts of men; fish and animals did his bidding, and even the elements obeyed His voice. Trees withered at His command, a storm at sea immediately stopped, and a few loaves and fishes were multiplied to feed thousands. Dreadful diseases were healed at once, skin eaten away by leprosy restored like new, crooked limbs straightened, deaf ears unstopped, blind eyes opened, and new eyes were created on the spot. This, then, was the commanding authority of the Son of God. He spoke the Word, and it was done. How could He do this? After all, He had stripped himself of divinity and laid aside His royal robes of deity when He came to earth as a Babe in Bethlehem. But at the River Jordan He had receive d the anointing of power and authority .... He was the Christ, which means "the Anointed" of God. Here again He was demonstrating the Pattern. For just as this Anointing came upon the Head of the Church (Jesus), it must also flow down over the entire Bony of Christ (the Overcomer group), even down to the skirts of the garment (Psalms 133:2) as described in the anointing of the High Priest. The SAME Anointing. With the same power and authority. And with the same spirit of compassion and love for all men. This is the power God gave the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, and they now enter into a ministry of judgment and restoration.
There must needs be judgment upon the earth to cleanse the earth of its corrupt and rotten sin. For the prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 26:9): "When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. " Who is to judge the world? I Corinthians 6:2 says: "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" And hear me, beloved, this judgment must begin at the house of God (I Peter 4:17), for as Revelation 11:2 tells us, the Holy City (the Woman, the Virgin Bride of Christ) must be trodden under foot for forty two months. But why? Why must this judgment come to the Church? Because of her backslidden condition. Because as the salt of the earth she has lost her savor (Matthew 5:13), her qualities that preserve against corruption, and she is good only to be trodden under foot until she travails in birth and brings forth the Deliverer, the many membered Body of Christ. Because like Israel in bondage in Egypt, though she cries against her bondage, she has within her a mixed multitude that have grown satisfied with the leeks and onions and fleshpots of Egypt . . . a type of the worldly system of ecclesiastical religion. And though the multitudes feed at the flesh pots, knowing nothing else but servitude to Pharaoh and his henchmen, yet there is a remnant in her midst who cry continually to God for deliverance. And there is a Moses, raised up by a merciful God, who is in training now to be God's Man to deliver His people.
In Revelation 11:6 the signs of these Witnesses include power to turn water into blood and call down plagues upon the earth, a definite reference to the ministry of Moses. Also the power to shut heaven that it rain not for three and a half years, a reference to Elijah. Notice that Moses got the people OUT OF EGYPT. And see how Elijah got Egypt OUT OF THE PEOPLE, destroying the prophets of Baal and making the people acknowledge the Lord as God. So this is the two fold ministry of the Sons of God at this time .... to get God's people to come out of the old harlot systems of manmade religion, and then to perfect the people and get the systems out of them. But it takes judgment to do this. Note how that Moses has to make Israel willing to leave Egypt. They said to him, "Moses, leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians, for it's better that we serve in bondage than to die in the wilderness" (Exodus 14:12)
But when the ten plagues were finished, part of which Israel suffered; she was willing to leave with Moses. See how that Moses had been a part of Israel, had tried to take his place and had been rejected. and finally had tied into the wilderness where after forty long years of burning out all the self life, he had met with God at the burning bush. Then back to deliver his people, and found that they were still not willing to leave. But this time he had the power of Judgment' and he made them willing to leave. And now God says in Deuteronomy 18:18. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee (Moses), and will put my words in hi s mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. " First of all this refers to our Pattern, Jesus, who fulfilled this at His first coming (Acts 3:22, 7:37). Furthermore, this is that Prophet, or prophetic ministry (the glorious Body of Christ including Jesus the Head), which precedes the full manifestations of the Sons of God. They asked John the Baptist if he was Elijah, or "that Prophet" (John 1:21), and he said no, he was not. But we know that Jesus referred to him as Elijah, for he was a type of that prophetic Elijah Moses ministry that comes forth in the end of the age.
Jesus spoke through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 61:1 3 concerning His Ministry. But what Isaiah saw was both the ministry of Jesus in His first advent, and also Jesus in the fulness of His Body, the Overcomer, bringing forth judgment upon the earth. For in verse 2 of Isaiah 61 he says His ministry is "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn." But in Luke 4:16 21 when Jesus read this scripture in Nazareth to introduce His ministry to them, he did a very strange thing. When he got as far as "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord . . .", He stopped in the middle of a sentence, closed the book and sat down and said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Why did He not finish the part about "the day of vengeance of our God"? Because it was not yet time for that.
The day of vengeance, the time of Judgment must wait until the Body of Christ was perfected and ready to come forth in mighty power. For God determined that we, the saints, must judge the world. Isaiah 28:2 says that "Behold the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand." And he goes on to say that the Lord will be "for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment (Verse 6), and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate." And Jeremiah, seeing this Temple group, the Body of Christ, taking vengeance upon Babylon, the kingdoms of this world, says in Jeremiah 50:28, "The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion (the church) the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His Temple. " And speaking of this Overcomer, God says in Jerem1ah 51:20, "Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war. for with thee will I break in pieces the nations (Revelations 2.26 27), and with thee will I destroy kingdoms" (Daniel 2:44 45).
SO here in Revelation 11 and 12 we see this happening as the Sons of God, His great Army, goes forth conquering and rising to new heights in God. Finances, transportation, communication, or persecution are no problems to them, for nothing is impossible unto those who have received the anointing of power that now comes upon the entire Body of Christ, the first fruits of the great Harvest. They walk continually in the will of God, speaking only the words of God, bringing forth the Judgments of God until the Church is purified and perfected and the whole earth is cleansed. Something of the realms they walk in can be seen by reading the chapter on "THE OPEN HEAVENS." Past experiences cannot be used to describe the miracles they will perform, for this is far beyond anything we have ever known, there is no comparison.
Suddenly, when their testimony is finished and their ministry in sackcloth (this natural body or tabernacle of flesh) has come to an end, we see them overcome by the beast from the pit. Why? This is the pattern. Just as Jesus gave himself into the hands of His enemies, so must these saints. But this is only a stepping stone to enter into glory (Luke 24:26). For if we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified together (Romans 8:17). These, like Jesus, whose lives could not be taken from them, gave up their lives voluntarily (Revelation 12:11) and by this they become full Overcomers.
Now there comes a lull in the judgment, and the whole wicked world of sinners rejoice and make merry, while the true virgin Church travails to bring forth the full Manifestation of the Sons of God. This is in the middle of the week, after forty two months or three and a half years of tribulation. But the worst is yet to come. But let us take a look at what is happening during this lull..
Psalms 79:1 3 is very expressive concerning this time: "O God, the heathen (nations) are come into thine inheritance (Deuteronomy 32 :9); thy Holy Temple (Overcomer group) have they defiled they have laid Jerusalem (the Church) on heaps (Revelation 11~2J. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth (to destroy, they think, the hope of the resurrection). Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; AND THERE WAS NONE TO BURY THEM". These are momentous, terrible days such as the world has never seen before. The leaders of the nations seemingly gone mad in their defiance against God and His people.
Isaiah 51 has too much to quote all of it here concerning this time, but read it for yourself. In fact, turn to it right now. Notice in verse 17 that God says that We Church, Jerusalem, has been drinking the cup of God's fury, and now she had come to the place where even the Sons who have been guiding her through these terrible days, are gone. Where are they? Verse 20 says: "Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God." But why are the Sons full of the fury of God? To follow the Pattern .. see Isaiah 53, especially verses 4 and 10, where Jesus was "smitten of God, and afflicted", "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him", and "He hath put Him to grief. " This then is the suffering that must be endured to obtain the joy that is set before us, to join Him in Glory. Isaiah goes on to say that God is taking now the cup of fury out of the hand of the Church and putting it into the hands of them that afflict her, and to them that trod her under foot.
So, for the next three years and a half we find the most terrible tribulation of all, yet the church is hidden in God, in a wilderness place, and does not taste of the wrath of God anymore. Though the devil tries to destroy her, since he sees he cannot reach the Sons who have now ascended into a glorified heavenly body, yet Satan is defeated again. So he makes war against the remnant of her seed, those who are martyred and obtain salvation in the midst of this great time of trouble. But Satan is now cast out of his exalted heavenly position, the place he stole from Adam, and the Sons of God have now ascended to their original inheritance and far beyond. For Haggai 2:9 tells us that "the glory of this latter house shall be greater then of the former." And those who now dwell in this heavenly place (though their bodies still walk the face of the earth) can rejoice because the heavens are now cleansed. But woe unto them that still dwell in these earthly tabernacles during this last three and a half years (Revelation 12:12), for Satan is full of fury and great wrath, knowing his time is short. The world has never seen the vile, awful depths that sinful man will go until the devil and all his hordes of demons become incarnate in mankind during this period.
But glory to God, all this time God has a people who are walking the face of the earth in victory and power, and kingdoms and strongholds fall before them. . God shows His mighty power and His wisdom through His Church (Ephesians 3:10). And just as Satan becomes incarnated and manifested through flesh, so also Christ is manifested in His fulness in human flesh again, this time in a great Army of saints, His Overcomers. God help those dear people who are still expecting to fly away and miss all this, for there shall come a rude awakening. Those who have prepared an Ark shall enter in and rise above the floods of Tribulation and trouble. And when the flood is over, they shall come forth to inherit the earth, now cleansed from its wickedness and sin (Psalms 37). For as it was in the days of Noah, the wicked shall be taken away, and Noah steps forth from the ark to a clean world that he has to share with no one. Just think, dear ones, of a world where there is no sickness, no pain, no death, no sin, no disappointments, no thorns or thistles to hinder the fruit from coming forth in abundance. You say that can only happen in Heaven? Did not Jesus pray "on earth as it is in Heaven?" Yes, God will have victory right here on this earth, and right now He is preparing a people to enter into the great battle of the Ages. They are not playing religious games in the market places, not making merchandise of the souls of men, but they are travailing in birth to bring forth this glorious Body of Christ. Even now God has revealed His purpose in perfecting the saints through Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. Let them rave! Let them imagine vain things! They shall not hinder His plan from coming to completion. "Let Pharaoh's Army roar! Moses, my servant, shall drown them, saith God, in the same element that delivers my people out of bondage. For I shall take the weak and the foolish things of the earth and bring to nought the strong and the wise: For no flesh shall glory in my Presence, saith the Lord, but ye that do overcome shall honor Him that delivered you, and ye shall praise His Name forever, even forever and ever."
Be very humble, dear ones, and submissive to the Spirit of God. These are key words in this day. Humble and submissive. Bind them upon your heart; let them be even as your right hand and your left. For the strong and the proud and the stubborn shall soon fall in this battle. But those that are lower than the dust of the earth shall survive and shall rise to heights unknown. Yes, you shall judge the world, saints . . . but you will do it in humility and with a broken heart full of love and compassion. And in so doing, you will show forth the glory of God. Be not afraid to face the awful future in this tabernacle of clay, this natural body. For He shall clothe you with Himself, and (Philippians 3:21) shall change our vile (natural) body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body (body of Glory). Pray for one another.
The Kingdom of God
How many times we have heard the Kingdom of God mentioned, and yet how little we know about what the Kingdom of God really is. We have heard it said that the Kingdom of God cometh not with observation, the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, the Kingdom is like seed cast into the ground, and on and on. But, just exactly what does the Kingdom of God consist of? Oh, I know, you have some abstract idea or picture of a mythical something or other, way up yonder somewhere or other, in the far off distant future sometime or other. But in this message I am going to attempt to bring you a clear and distinct picture of just exactly what the Kingdom of God is.
In I Chronicles 17 God is speaking to King David just before he dies, and in verse 11 we read: "And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son; and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee; But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forevermore." Now this word was never fulfilled in King Solomon. In fact, Acts 2:30 tells us that David knew that this meant Christ not Solomon, and that this kingdom that was to be established forever was the Kingdom of God and that Christ was the King that was to sit on the throne forever. This kingdom that God promised is an eternal kingdom, with Christ as King.
Now let us look to see when this kingdom is to be set up on the earth. Some one may say that it was set up when Jesus came, but that is not what the scripture says. In Daniel, chapter two, Daniel interprets the king's dream, and in it is contained a short summary of the history of the world kingdoms from Nebuchadnezzar (the head of gold) on down to our present day of the feet and toes of clay and iron, democracies and dictatorships, the two camps which divide the world today. Now in verse 44 we read of God's Kingdom and when it shall be set up and what it shall do . . "And in the days of these kings (the feet and toes of clay and iron) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; and the dream is certain, and the interpretation is sure." Glory to God! All the kingdoms of this world, and the glory and the power of them shall fall before the mighty onslaught of the Kingdom of God!
Before we go any further, let us stop right here and think about what a kingdom is. The definition of a kingdom is a people or domain over which a king rules and has absolute authority. The kingdom of France would be that people over which the king of France has authority and rulership. The kingdom of Spain would be that kingdom over which the king of Spain had dominion. And so the Kingdom of God is that people over which God has dominion and rulership, and which are under His authority and obey His laws. But you say, "There is no such people who are perfectly led by the Spirit of God, who all their lifetime are subject to God and obey His laws, and are under His authority and dominion. " True, but notice that the Bible says that in the last days, the days of the feet and toes of clay and iron, the days in which we are now living, that God will set up this kingdom, that this kingdom shall never; be destroyed, and that it will destroy and consume all these world kingdoms�mHallelujah!
But what about what Jesus said when He was here about the Kingdom of God was at hand then? True. And it was. For Jesus was the Kingdom of God on earth while He walked here in His mortal flesh body. The Pharisees asked Him one time about when He would set up the kingdom, and He answered that "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation, for the kingdom of God is within you." Now Jesus did not say, nor did He mean to say, that the Kingdom of God was within those hypocritical sinful old Pharisees, for it was not. But the word He used was "entos", meaning "in the midst. "
And so it was. Right there in the midst of them stood the kingdom of God, the first man on earth to qualify for the kingdom. The first man that ever lived who never was in rebellion against God, and who daily lived to fulfill the will of God. Go back to Bible history, take the greatest men of the Bible, look closely at their It yes, and you will see that they missed the mark. The Prophet cried out in Isaiah 1:2, "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with inquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. "
And in chapter 53, verse 6, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way. " Look at Adam. He walked with God in the Kingdom realm and had dominion and authority and everlasting life until he fell in sin and rebelled against God, and God put him out of the Kingdom. Look at the great Patriarch Noah ... Was he in subjection to God when he got drunk and brought a curse on his son and his seed? Of course not. Was Abraham in subjection to God when he lied about his wife, and when he took a concubine and brought forth Ishmael? Was Moses walking in the Spirit when he murdered a man, and when he smote the rock instead of speaking to it? Was David not in rebellion to the laws of God when he committed adultery and murder? Yes, every one of God's greatest men fell short of the mark, and could not qualify for the Kingdom. God said, "I sought for a man to stand in the gap and make up the hedge, and found none. " Romans 3:23 says that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. " Come short of what? Of the Kingdom walk.
And then, praise God, Jesus came! And with the coming of this man, God had a body on the earth through which He could show His glory, and the power of His Kingdom, for here was one that was in complete subjection to the will of God. He kept the law of God perfectly, though He was not concerned with the traditions of men. And in Mark 1:14 we read: "Now after that John. was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe the gospel. " Glory to God the time is come when man, in the person of Jesus Christ, once again walks in the Kingdom realm, walking in absolute obedience to God. Jesus said, "I do nothing of myself, those things I see the Father do, that I do. " And He said in John 6:38: "For I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. " And in 3:29: "The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him."
Yes, the time was fulfilled and now it could be truly said that the Kingdom of God was at hand, for once again God had a domain over which He had absolute rule and authority. Yes, it could be said that the Kingdom of God was in the midst of those Pharisees, and they did not know it, they were blinded by their hatred and sin. And now we begin to see how the Kingdom of God could have been here at that time, and yet was to be set up in the last days. For when Jesus died He planted a seed that was to bring forth a great harvest in His likeness, and that when this harvest got fully ripe God would have a people on the earth who would walk 100 per cent in the Spirit, whether you believe it or not. Romans 8:2 9 tells us that in the purposes of God He has fore ordained a people who would be conformed to the image of His Son, and would come forth in His likeness, fully qualified for the Kingdom. For we could not lift ourselves out of sin and rebellion and live in that kingdom realm by our own power, and so therefore Jesus came to die for us, that by coming clown to us He might lift us up to where He is He took our place on the cross of Judgment, suffered our penalty; and gave us His life and His holiness that we might by His grace come into the Kingdom, into the Glory of God, into the place of complete subjection to the will of God.
This seed has been growing and the life of this thing has continued down through History since Calvary even through the dark ages, up until this present time. Then what are we waiting for? Why hasn't God harvested this crop ? Because the harvest has not yet come to full maturity, and does not yet look like the seed that was planted. James 5:7 tells us: "Be patient therefore brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. " So you see, the thin" that ripens the grain and brings it to full maturity is the latter rain. Latter is a word meaning last. But you say, "I thought we had received the latter rain 50 years ago, " and some folks say, "No. . . we got it 10 years ago. " Well, we got some rain all right, there's no doubt about that, but it was not the last rain, for there is another revival coming, another mighty move of the Spirit, and this move will bring the harvest to maturity and bring God's people in absolute obedience to the will of God.
Even now God is perfecting and getting ready to harvest the firstfruits of this great harvest, and these are called the first ripe fruits. They shall enter the Kingdom realm and make a place for the Bride in the time of the greatest outpouring of God's power and glory and judgment and wrath upon the world. This outpouring shall end by bringing God's true church into complete subjection to Him, out from the leadership of man's ideas, and He shall set up His Kingdom and it shall consume all the kingdoms of the world. This all is very near at hand, closer than you think. Those who try to feed you the old false traditional teaching that God shall slip down and steal all His people out of the world in a secret rapture would only have you to miss the Kingdom. No revelation of what God is purposing to do in the end of the age can be based upon that false teaching. For God would have you submit yourself to Him, that you might rule and reign in the time of the Latter rain.
You might say, "How can we get into this Kingdom?" The Scripture is full of teaching concerning the Kingdom of God. But in John 3:3 we see that Jesus says you cannot see nor enter the Kingdom of God unless you have been born again. So you must die out to yourself and put on Christ, for that is your only hope. Colossians 1:13 says we have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom. Yet in Acts 14:22 Paul tells us that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom. Jesus said the violent take it by force, and press their way into it. I Corinthians 4:20 tells us that the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. And Romansl4:17 says that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Now when you understand that the Kingdom is a people over which God rules supreme, these scriptures begin to make sense. By our new birth we have been delivered from sin, and translated into a new realm where Jesus is King. But be honest now . . even though you have been saved and perhaps filled with His Spirit, you still rebel against the will of God at times, and there are still fleshly attitudes and spirits that are not like Christ.
So, to conform us to the image of Christ and bring us into complete subjection to the Spirit of God, He puts us through the fires of tribulations and trials that we might enter into that perfect Kingdom realm. Some are not willing, but God has purposed that He would have a people, so I can tell you for sure that someone is going to make it, and I'm trusting and praying that by the grace of God, I may be one of them. Oh, I know that when a Christian dies, though he never reached perfection in this life, he will enter the Kingdom realm in Heaven where there is no rebellion to God. But Jesus prayed, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven. " Now, didn't He? What did it mean? Simply that God's Kingdom that exists in Heaven, in the lives of just men made perfect, shall be perfected and put on display on this earth, in this present world, to put to shame the claims of Satan that no one can live and serve God in perfection. Jesus did it and put principalities and powers to an open shame, bless His sweet name!
But He has purposed that His church, which is His body, shall attain to that same realm, subdue all nations and rule them with ~ rod of iron, and put every power and every principality under His feet. This is His purpose in His church and that is what He is doing at this hour. Oh, it is not a great sweeping harvest of salvation of lost souls, though that will most surely come in the greatest harvest the world has ever seen, but in the hearts of men and women everywhere, hidden away from the eyes of the world and most church people ... God is gaining control of every thought, every spirit, every attitude. Now is the day to seek the Lord for the rain to fall in your life, and to ask God to put the refining fires to work in your life, that you might die out to everything that is natural and carnal, and walk with Him in the Kingdom realm, and be made into His image. II Corinthians 3:18: "But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. " Hallelujah! Makes me want to shout! "From glory to glory."
At the beginning we could not stand to see all His glory, so He showed us dimly through a glass, until we had attained to that realm. Then He showed us more and greater glory, and so on until we are completely in His image. Martin Luther didn't see it all. He wouldn't have been able to accept all of it, but God saved more of His glory and truth for John Wesley's day. Those who were faithful and hungry for more moved on into the Pentecostal Revival up until this present day, and God makes me to know that we are now living in the generation upon whom the end of the age has come. We are the ones whom God would perfect. Oh, I know some are trying to confuse and muddle this great message up by saying that we already have everything we're ever going to have, already dead, perfected, resurrected, glorified, and they go on to say that Jesus is not coming back, that He is already come, that we will never see Him for He is consumed and His body is done away with. But I don't have time to waste on those foolish heresies, except to quote Phillipians 3:20 21: "For our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue ail things unto Himself." Now if He is already come, then what were they looking for? And if He has no body of Glory, then what will He change this vile body of ours into? What will it be fashioned like unto? Oh, friends, be not carried about with such noisy winds of doctrine, whereby men lie in wait to deceive, but grow up into Christ which is the head of this body. I'm going to have a glorified body, fashioned after His, for all of eternity. I'm going to see Him when he comes, and by the grace of God I'm going to be in the Kingdom of God here on this earth.
"Yea, for thus saith the lord, my Kingdom shall subdue, and my Kingdom shall rule, and ye shall be kings and priests my children. And in my Kingdom there shall be dominion and authority, for I have given all power unto Him who brought my Kingdom to the earth, and ye that enter into my Kingdom shall inherit all things, and shall be co heirs of all things with Christ. For all power shall be shine, even as it was my Son's. But my little ones, know thou this, that I cannot give my power unto mine enemy, and ye must put away the carnal mind, yea even the love for the things of this life, and come unto Me if ye would enter into My glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. Prepare your hearts, be thou ready, for thou knowest not of the days that lie ahead of thee. Boast not thyself, not of thy position, neither of thy power with God, for he that exalteth himself shall be abased. But humble thyself before me, and even in shine own mind, that I might exalt thee and lift thee up. Be thou ready, be thou humble, for I would show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not, and I would use thee as vessels of honor, though thou be clay, yet would my glory shine from within thee! Even now, praise the name of the Lord thy God for that which He hath done for thee, and for the place to which He hath brought thee, but know thou this, that there are greater things before thee, so prepare thy vessel, and empty thyself that thy Lord may inhabit thee, and dwell within thee in the fulness of His majesty and of His power."
God bless you and make you rich in His Wisdom.
A Prisoner of Jesus
THE APOSTLE sat in his prison cell working carefully on the scroll as he penned a letter to his friend Philemon. But this was a special letter, for it was being written under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and would eventually find its place in the Scriptures as part of God's inspired written Word. The first few words of greeting from this Apostle of God was simply: "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ. " But these words, coming from Paul himself, had great significance. For Paul had learned what it was to be a prisoner of Jesus.
He knew what it was to sit on the backside of the Arabian desert for years with the light of this new found Truth burning in his heart like the noon day sun, while a lost world perished in darkness. He learned how to be disciplined under the ministry of a local church in Antioch until the Spirit gave the word through them for him to "Go. " He had felt the harness of the Spirit about him to the extent that he was "forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia" (Acts 16 :6). He had been through the training of being bound to the will of God to the extent that when "they assayed to go into Bithynia: . . the Spirit suffered them not" (Acts 16:7). He had become so disciplined to speaking only the Word of the Lord that when in Acts 16 a young demon possessed girl followed them day after day for many days crying out after them, that Paul answered not a word until the Spirit moved upon him to speak and deliver the girl. On his way to Jerusalem in Acts 20:23 he tells how prophecy came to him from prophets in every city telling of the bonds and afflictions that awaited him in Jerusalem. But he says, "None of these things move me, " for he was committed to the will of God. He was a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and could no longer make his own decisions or choose his own course, or run his own life. He was disciplined to the will of the Spirit.
PETER ... ANOTHER SHALL CARRY THEE
In the last chapter of John, just before His ascension, Jesus spoke these words to Peter: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou west young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not."
In our youth and immaturity (spiritually) the Lord permits many things in us that He later strips from us as we become more mature in the Spirit. One of these is the freedom of our own choice, When we were young, like Peter, we girded ourselves with our Armour and went forth to battle, walking where ever we desired, where ever we saw an opportunity to do a good work for God. There was a freedom granted to us, and God graciously blessed and anointed our efforts as we prayed and sought His help. If we pastored, He blessed and gave increase. If we decided to go on the evangelistic field, He blessed and anointed and gave us souls. If we decided to teach, He blessed and gave us revelation of His Word. And though we sought for His guidance and tried to be led of the Spirit, there was not that absolute binding to the perfect will of God and the voice of the Spirit. This was in our strength, our youth and immaturity.
But with growth and maturity there came a discipline of the Spirit, a bringing us into submission to His perfect will. Sometimes because of the strength of our own wills, or the stubbornness and hardness of our own spirits, there had to come affliction and tribulation to weaken our own flesh in order to make us submit to His purposes in us. Paul prayed three times for deliverance from a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, but God would not deliver him, but in effect told Paul that He was doing this to keep him weak. For the Lord said: "My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Peter found that as he grew old in the Lord there was to be no more of the walking "where thou wouldst." But there was to be a binding of his own strength, and his girding would come from another, and he would be carried to destinations determined by someone else. This is a mark of maturity. For there is a work of the Spirit now going on to bring us to a place of absolute imprisonment to the direct guidance and will of the Spirit. What a glorious confinement! Just to know that I am bound up in His divine purposes, regardless of what He chooses to do with me and to me! It is a difficult and torturous path at times, until we recognize who our Jailer really is. We fret and worry when we think that we are bound by our circumstances, or by our associates, or by the devil. But those who are called into the High Calling of God need to come to the realization as to who controls their destiny, so that they can come into a Rest, and submit to His workings and dealings in their lives. For like Paul and Peter and those other heroes of faith. . . we are Prisoners of Jesus Christ the Lord!
MOSES MAN OF ACTION SIDELINED
"And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds." (Acts 7 :22) This man Moses ordained and predestined to God to deliver His people from Egypt's bondage, was laid in an ark or basket of bulrushes and carried by the current of the river right to Pharaoh's palace. There he was taken in and raised as Pharaoh's own grandson, taught in their finest schools, trained to lead the Armies of Egypt, and his name went abroad throughout the land as a great orator and a great warrior. As far as natural ability was concerned, there vitas no man in Egypt who was qualified as well to organize the children of Israel to rise up and escape the slavery of Egypt. None of the children of Israel in Goshen had the ability and the background and the knowledge to do the job as well as Moses, as far as their own natural strength was concerned. What was God proving ? He was not allowing any doubt as to how far the ability of natural man could go in bringing the people out of bondage. But Moses tried. Oh, how he tried! In his great ability and strength he made the Supreme Effort. And miserably failed. Just as weallhave failed to evangelize the world and conquer sin. He found, just as we all do to our utter dismay, that his own strength was pitifully weak in comparison with the task that must be done. But this was all in the plan of God, for after He had proved that the greatest of the great was insufficient for the job, then He sent His Chosen servant into the wilderness to be stripped of his strength and ability. To die out to his own will and knowledge and desires.
OUT OF THE WILDERNESS ... A DELIVERER
In his own efforts Moses had slain one of the enemy and had hidden his body in the sand. But that decaying stinking thing hidden in the earth was a testimony that this was not the deliverance God's people were after and needed. And in their perplexity today many of the ministry seem to feel "Is it not better to at least get rid of one enemy, than to pass the time in the wilderness doing nothing?" But remember, dear ones, that while his own efforts, though called and ordained of God, delivered and temporarily relieved only one Israelite, the need and the purpose of God was that ALL of God's children were to be set free, and the entire strength of Egypt to be crushed. And this could only be done after God had sent His Chosen one into the wilderness and stripped him and made him a vessel that God could use. How often we have seen big evangelistic revivals and healing campaigns, where with many "pressure" tactics men have striven and worn themselves to a frazzle trying to produce miracles or a great ministry or deliverance. Many ministers have cracked up under the strain, and many of God's people have become disillusioned and disgusted at this high pressure type of thing, as men have tried to rise up and slay the enemy before they themselves had come under the wilderness stripping and discipline of the Spirit. With what rest and what ease Moses lilted up his rod and delivered God's people and destroyed the might of Egypt, once God had brought Moses into submission. This is the work God is doing today with His true ministry.
The answer does not lie in the few sheep Moses fed in the wilderness, or how fat and productive he could make them. For the purpose of God during that 40 years was in that man, that ordained and chosen one that was now in the process of God's dealings. Some accuse this Moses company today, "What is the matter, Moses .... don't you know that Israel is suffering under the heel of Egypt? Don't, you have any compassion for them? Don't you feel the weight of their burdens, and hear their pitiful cries for deliverance? Why don't you at least wear yourself out trying to break their bondage? Are you satisfied here in this desert place with your few sheep?" Oh yes, Moses hears their cries, and feels their burdens, for he is joined to them by the Spirit and suffers their reproach. But he has tried and found that the answer is not in him, in his strength or ability. He must hear the voice of God, and he will not move until this comes. Forty years of discipline. And all this time the weight of Israel's burdens pressed down Upon his heart, and their cries for deliverance were continually in his ears. And there was a travail in his soul that finally brought him to a face to face meeting with God at the Burning Bush.
When God finally spoke to this man to go forth and bring deliverance to His people, this Moses who had been so mighty in words and deeds confessed his weakness and inability to God, and declared that he could not even speak properly and needed someone to do his talking. What a stripping of his own strength! What a binding of his own freedom! Until at last God had a prisoner who could only move at the word of the Lord. Then he was ready to bring deliverance to the nation. No longer could he come and go as he pleased, or do or say as he wished, but he was bound to the absolute will of God. Now God was ready to give into the hand of His Chosen one the greatest power and authority that had ever been possessed or used by man. He was a prisoner of the Lord.
JOSEPH FROM CHILDHOOD FREEDOM TO BONDAGE, PRISON, THRONE
One of the most notable of God's prisoners in the Old Testament is Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Jacob. In his childhood he was beloved of his father, and had freedom to move about as he chose. But he had seen a vision of the Throne, of rulership and authority, and he believed God was going to bring this to him. But this vision was not shared by his brethren, and because of this vision he was brought into a very real confinement by his brethren, into a pit with no way to look but up. Then sold into slavery, he was brought to Potiphar's house in chains of bondage. But God blessed him there in such a way that Potiphar gave him a measure of freedom and authority, and he was the means of feeding and caring for the others who were also in bondage. He may have become a little satisfied with his measure of authority and his measure of freedom and the good work that he was doing. Or perhaps he travailed before God to complete and fulfill the original vision he had seen. At any rate, God began the work of bringing him to the throne. How? By setting him free? Oh no! But by bringing him into a terrible disgrace and the losing of his reputation and the "measure" of freedom and authority. For He brought Joseph into a greater confinement than he had ever known, and for years God kept him confined in a prison cell.
Until Joseph was crying for deliverance, and trying to enlist the aid of everyone who could get a word with the King . . "get me out of this place." There was a real travail of his soul. Psalms 105:19 tells us that "The word of the Lord tried him. " But even in the darkest hour, when it looked impossible for the vision to come to pass, when it looked as though he was a complete failure and his life was nothing, Joseph never lost the vision of what God had shown him. He hellion to the word of the Lord to him. And when he was completely submitted to the dealings of God, in the fulness of time, God brought forth His Chosen vessel to feed the nation in the time of need. God was not late, neither could He be forced or pressured into moving too soon. He was right on time. And He had Joseph, His Chosen one, ready for this hour. Glory to God!
BRINGING A NATION INTO SUBMISSION
Speaking of Joseph, Psalms 105:20 22 says: "The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom. " Thank God for the day when wisdom and justice and the Law shall flow forth like a river out of Zion. When the great ones of the earth get their instruction from the Church. And thank God for the hour when princes, principalities and powers and rulers of darkness will be bound at the pleasure of the Sons of God. Today we wrestle against these powers, but we have such a small measure of authority and such little success. But on the Throne there is no defeat or resistance, for all the power of the King is behind this One who has been made ruler over all the King's substance.
For seven years there was a plentiful harvest, then came seven years of famine. The first year the people spent their money for bread. Still there was famine. So the next year they sold their cattle to Joseph for corn, and Joseph brought all this money and cattle to pharaoh. Then the people came and told Joseph that rather than die in starvation, their need for the corn that Joseph had was so great that they would sell Pharaoh their land and themselves as slaves if only he would feed them. Thus Joseph bought the people and their land, so that they were in complete submission and slavery to Pharaoh. And they were moved from one end of the land to the other, according to the will of the King, for they no longer had a will. They were slaves to Joseph's King. But as his slaves, he fed and cared for them in the time of famine.
THE LORD MUST FIRST HAVE A PRISONER
Before there can be a bringing of the world into submission to God, He first will perfect and mature the Tool He will work with You can never be in this company who rule with Him on His Throne until you have become His prisoner, and been brought into absolute submission and obedience to His perfect will. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, but you will never be used to bring others into submission as long as there is the least bit of the rebellious nature within you. But when I realize that I have been struggling with this Adam nature for 25 years since conversion, and still see a lack of submission in the deep recesses of my heart, then I wonder when and how this work will ever be done. But Joseph never knew how close the time was, and when the call of the King went out for him, he was not ready and had to get shaved and change his raiment before he could look upon the face of his King.
Today God has His ministry in a place of close confinement. Many of us would like to be out in big tent revivals, or building big revival centers, or promoting nationwide radio and T. V. broadcasts. But the Spirit has His chains upon us, and we can only move as the Spirit says move. We are learning to be a prisoner of Jesus Christ. God forbid that we take up our own wills again at this stage and have to be processed all over again. God grant that we will let Him bring our stubborn wills into complete obedience and submission. This may seem now like the wrong direction for the delivering of God's people, but this is a necessary part of the training before God will put all His power and authority into our hands.
Even the military knows better than to put dangerous and powerful weapons into the hands of an undisciplined and rebellious group of men. Look at what happened in the Congo when undisciplined savages ran rampant raping, pillaging, murdering because they had the power but not submission. The white man had put dangerous weapons into their hands, but had not brought obedience to their hearts. First the soldier must learn to take orders, to march, to obey every command. . then they train him in the use of the weapons. After he is obedient and trained, then they place the weapons in his hands. And God is not weak. He has always had the power necessary to defeat the enemy of mankind. But He has not had a people ready for this power. But in this end of the age when the consummation of all things is upon us, God, in His great mercy, is doing a work with an ordained and predestined people. . . bringing them into complete submission, digging out every bit of rebellion, every spirit that opposes God and every spirit that exalts itself. He is making us Prisoners of Jesus Christ! Let us stop fretting about the confinement, the wilderness testing, and let us submit to the dealings of God for this hour!
The Author of Our Faith
BELOVED, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3).
Ever since Jude wrote these words, we have been contending with one another over which doctrines are the best, and how very contentious we have been! And we all have used this same scripture as authority for our efforts to divide the Body of Christ and establish our particular brand of doctrine as "The Faith". But I declare to you today that The Faith Jude is speaking of here is not a set of doctrines or beliefs, but it is a living, powerful, dynamic faith that will move mountains and destroy kingdoms, bind devils and bring order out of the chaos of this present world!
HEROES OF FAITH
Turn to the 11th chapter of Hebrews and see a list of men and women who moved by faith. Here are weak frail humans like you and me, who by their faith stormed the citadels of hell, opened prison doors and set the captives free. They performed the will of God and made a mockery of Satan's hordes, many times laying down their lives in the process. . by faith! By faith they were translated and escaped the cold clutching fingers of death. By faith they built an ark prepared for the judgment that came upon the earth, and escaped the floods of God's wrath. By faith they moved in strange lands, ever following the leading of the Spirit of God, seeking the promises of God in a world gone mad with material wealth and comforts. It was by faith they defied kings, opened up the sea, brought down the walls of the city, subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, put armies to flight ... and suffered persecution beyond measure! It was not some doctrines or legalistic beliefs that gave them power to do this, but it was something placed in their hearts by the Holy Ghost.... a glorious, mighty living faith that exploded in the midst of Satan's plans like a hydrogen bomb in a village square ! These people were not victorious because they were the strongest people on earth, or the wisest, or the richest. They conquered because they moved in a realm unknown to the ungodly people of this world, they moved by that invisible spiritual thing known as FAITH. Yet for all this, and in spite of all these glorious exploits of faith, they did not have that faith that Jude was writing about, that faith that was "once and for all" delivered unto the saints.
SOME BETTER THING
After recounting the marvelous things their faith had accomplished for these Old Testament men and women, Hebrews 11:39 goes on to tell us: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE: God having provided some BETTER THING FOR US, that they without us should not be MADE PERFECT." Yes, their faith brought them to great heights in God, but it was still lacking. . it could not perfect them. It could not bring them THE PROMISE. The Word says plainly that coming to perfection, and receiving the promise had to wait until God brought us to that "better thing" which He had provided for us. Now, what is this "better thing"? What is it that is better than the faith which O. T. saints manifested in their victorious lives? The same subject is continued right on into the 12th chapter, and here we find the answer . . .
JESUS THE AUTHOR
After speaking of these faith witnesses, and the stripping of ourselves that we might run this race that is set before us .... "Looking unto JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH" . . . That word, author, means "leader" or "originator". Glory to God! The faith that was once delivered to the saints did not begin with Abel, or Noah, or Moses, or Joshua or any of the O. T. saints. Mighty though their faith was, it did not in any way compare with that which Jesus introduced into the world, that faith which He authored or originated and delivered to His Church. This is a far higher realm of faith than was ever known to man, and it was this faith that destroyed the power of Satan and put him to open shame. It was this faith of Jesus that continually caused havoc in hell's program, overthrew thrones and principalities, destroyed the power of death and hell and put all enemies under His feet! At the time Jude wrote his epistle he found it "needful" to write and exhort them to contend for this faith, for he found it lacking in their midst. Only 33 years after the resurrection of Jesus and the pouring out of the Spirit upon the Church, and already men had crept in unawares and began to destroy the purity of this faith. But this was all in the preordained purposes of God, for it was in the last days that this great faith, this faith of Jesus, should be the means used in bringing in the Kingdom of God and putting all enemies under the feet of the Body of Christ!
THE FAITH OF JESUS
Jesus was the greatest man of faith the world has ever seen. No one ever had to move by faith as He did, for in His coming to this earth He was stripped of all His powers of deity and was made in the likeness of man, "in all things" made like unto us. He was as weak and helpless as any man, yet all the powers of hell were arrayed against Him to destroy Him. So there came unto Him a faith . . . a faith that was worlds beyond anything man had known before. But it was a faith that He was making available to His own elect, His Body, after He demonstrated it in actual combat against the forces of hell and earth. It was a faith which made perfect. It was a faith that gave man dominion once again over all God's creation, and regained what Adam had lost.
DOMINION OVER NATURE
In Psalms 8, God declares that He made man to have dominion over all His creation. Hebrews, chapter 2, tells us that we do not yet see this in effect, but we do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, for by this glorious faith He obtained dominion. Then He delivered this Faith on to us that we too might rule and reign with Him and sit down with Him on His Throne. In Mark 4:35 41 we read of the story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the sea of Galilee on their way to Gadara. While Jesus slept, a great storm arose and the waves filled the ship. Those experienced seamen had never been in such a storm, and they finally gave up all hope. They woke Jesus with the news that they were about to perish. Verses 39 40: "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no FAITH?" It was not doctrines they were lacking.... it was not a set of beliefs . . . but it was that dynamic, living, perfecting FAITH! They had no control over the violent forces of nature at her worst, because this dominion only comes to man through this Faith of Jesus! Then they said to one another: "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Glory to God, I'll tell you what manner of man He is. . . the same kind of man that He is going to make of every one of us who follow in His footsteps and are conformed to His image.. A man of Faith! For when He spoke to the wind and waves, He did not speak with deity powers as God the Creator, but He spoke with the voice of faith as the Son of God, whose sons we also are. For deity powers are not available to us, but this power of faith Is available. And men are once again contending for this faith which was once delivered unto the saints. And this is the hour, dear ones, when by faith, this faith of Jesus . . . which He authored or originated .... weak frail humans shall gain dominion over the physical universe, over principalities and spiritual powers, and shall rule and reign as kings and priests on the earth! For in Mark 11:22 Jesus says: "Have faith in God." The margin of my Bible says this reads in the original, "Have the faith of God." And Jesus goes on to say that with this faith of God mountains shall be cast into the sea at your word, and you shall have whatsoever you saith! What a tremendous statement and promise! Only God could back that up! With all their big talk, no one is producing such as this today. But Jesus did . . . and He delivered this power to His own. And in these last days this life and faith of Jesus shall be manifest in mortal bodies. Look at the story of the fig tree: Mark 11:12, "And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, HE WAS HUNGRY. And seeing a fig tree a far off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves;" Matthew 21:18 19, "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away."
Notice that he came to this tree as a MAN. He came to it because he was hungry. He came in faith expecting to receive nourishment. Being disappointed in this, He spoke this word of faith . . . and the fig tree withered away. An unbearing, unthinking piece of God's physical creation . . . yet the power and force of this word of faith took effect. This faith cannot be denied! In verse 21 Jesus goes on to explain to the disciples: "Verily I say unto you, IF YE HAVE FAITH . . . " that they could not only speak to the fig tree, but also move mountains. Yes, He moved by faith, and then told His disciples that this faith was also available to them.
OVER EVERY CREATURE
Jesus demonstrated the dominion of this Faith over the creatures that dwell on this earth. Let us take an example or two. In Luke, chapter 5. we have a remarkable story of Jesus' ability as a fishermen. As He was teaching on the seashore one day, the people pressed in on Him so much that He got into Simon Peter's ship and asked him to get just far enough from the shore to where He could speak to the people and teach them. When He finished speaking He told Simon to let down the nets (plural) for a catch of fish. Simon answered that they had toiled all night and caught nothing. Furthermore they were washing their nets. Nevertheless, because Jesus requested it, Simon let down one net (singular). What happened? Fish came from everywhere and swam into that net, so that it was overloaded and broke. They got help from another ship, and filled both ships so full of fish that they sank lower in the water. This greatly amazed and even terrified Simon, for this was not the time for fishing, it was not the place, nor was it the proper procedure. Yet the fish were there. . . because of the dominion this Man of Faith had over nature. Another case .... In Matthew 17:27 we find that Peter had told the collectors that Jesus would pay them tribute. Then Jesus told Peter to cast a hook into the sea (didn't even bait it) and the first fish that came up would have a piece of money in its mouth which he should use to pay the tribute. If you think you have this faith, try that sometime when it's time to pay your taxes! God's purpose in man is that he should have dominion over all creation.
DEVILS TREMBLE AT THIS FAITH
The cases are too numerous to try to enumerate the times when Jesus took dominion over demons, afflictions, sicknesses, even death. But everywhere that He Vent devils w ore exposed and fled from their human habitations. Everyone who came to Him desiring help received complete deliverance! In Mark, chapter 5, we see Jesus coming to Gadara where there met him a man out of the tombs whom no man had been able to tame. A wild man, filled with a legion of devils. A stronghold of Satan. Perhaps you have met people, religious or otherwise, whom you recognized to be a stronghold of satanic forces, a habitation of evil spirits. Well, friends, here was a strong tower of demons, a walled city of evil spirits entrenched behind the man's helpless demonic possession. He was hardly able to present himself for help. Yet at the word of Jesus, the man of Faith, these demon powers left this vessel never to return again. Praise God! I know every preacher reading this has longed for the power to set such poor people free from their bondage. Well, friends, it comes by FAITH. The faith of Jesus. Contend for this faith. It is yours . .. He has delivered it to the saints. Now is the time to rise and lay hold upon it. Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. Now that you have heard of this glorious inheritance, the door is open to go in and possess it. Rise up, saints of God! Your light is come, and the time for the Glory of the Lord to shine upon thee is come! Never was there a day as the day in which we are living. All God's purposes in this creation are to be climaxed in this great Day of the Lord!
DEATH OVERCOME BY FAITH
Three times Jesus raised people from the dead before His own resurrection. Let me tell you, beloved, it took faith for this young Galilean preacher to stop a funeral procession with all its solemnity and its sorrow of heart as the poor widow mother was taking her son to the tombs. What criticism was heaped upon Him as He intruded upon the poor woman's grief. But His compassion reached out to her, and His faith demanded action! The criticism turned to wonder as the young man got up from the funeral bier and was delivered back to his mother. How the people laughed Him to scorn when He declared that Jairus' daughter would live. But she did. In answer to His all conquering faith. What a fool He would have been, what ignomy and shame would have resulted had not Lazarus answered His summons from the open door of the tomb. What if there had been only the sickening stench of dead flesh to greet the bereaved sisters ? Oh, but friends, with this Faith in operation there are NO "ifs". It does not fit into circumstances, it creates circumstances! By the power of this faith He arose from the tomb victorious over death, hell, and the grave. By the power of this same faith, operating through His glorious Body, shall other graves be opened and saints of all ages arise victoriously! Death is defeated! Faith is the victor! Open your hearts to receive the full measure of this faith. With the coming of the Holy Spirit we received the first fruits of our inheritance. And with this came a "measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). But God's eternal purpose for those whom He hath chosen is that we might receive "the Spirit without measure',, and with that comes this measureless faith of Jesus.
Wake up, saints! Lift up your heads and rejoice, for the time of your full salvation is at hand. You "Who are kept by the power of God through FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed IN THE LAST TIME. " (I Peter 1:5) .... The unveiling, or revelation, or appearing of our Christ is at hand.
TO THE THRONE BY FAITH
Don't listen to the voice of unbelief that would try to say that Jesus overcame because He was God, therefore we do not have a chance. He laid aside those glorious robes of deity and was made a human like us. He overcame because He moved by faith and obedience. He constantly repeated that He could do nothing of Himself, only as He received of the Father. . He received instruction from the Father through the Spirit, and by faith He moved to fulfil those instructions. Outside of faith He had no guarantee that it would work, for He had no power of His own. You who are waiting until you can see and know before you move in God . . . let me tell you that you will never come into God's best until you begin to move by faith! That "better thing" that God has provided for us to bring us to perfection. As we contend for this faith and move in to possess it, not only~we, but the saints of all ages also shall find that glorious realm of eternal perfection in Him. Yes, He rose to the Throne of God by faith.
Jesus did not wait until after death to ascend to a place of dominion and rulership. By faith he believed it was for Him here and now, and by faith he entered into it right here on this earth in his earthly life. So shall we follow Him. The children of faith shall lay hold of the throne on this side of the grave, claim our rightful inheritance, and cheat death from his prey! There are many enemies to be overcome yet, death being the last enemy to be put under our feet (I Corinthians 15:26). But our faith shall conquer them all and gain us "the promise". For the faith of Hebrews 12:2 is far greater then the O. T. faith of Hebrews 11. It is a different realm altogether, it is a realm of dominion and perfection, "without measure". Glory be to Jesus for a God who designed such a glorious victory! Fear not, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom!
FAITH WITHOUT MEASURE
I can hear some saying: "But Brother Bill, we have faith, even to having dominion over the forces of nature. Why, we prayed for rain, and it rained. We rebuked a hurricane and it veered off and missed our city. We even spoke to a raging tornado and it lifted from the earth. Is this not dominion?" Yes, this is the first fruits of what I am talking about. And we thank God for every case where God's people have overcome by their faith. I also have many cases such as these that I could report, as many as most men. But the greatest men of faith today are operating only in a measure of faith, according to the anointing of the Spirit upon them. This is not enough. Let us face the facts. With all our exploits we are not getting the job done. Some men recognize this and give up in the fight, falling back on the old false theory that we should just leave this old sin cursed world and let the devil have it. Faith will not hear to such a solution. Faith will overcome. Faith will put all enemies under our feet and deliver this whole creation from the bondage of corruption. This kind of faith will bring on the manifestation of the sons of God! It will take faith without measure to win total victory. Jesus could not have won the victory over death, hell, and the grave, putting all the forces of Satan to an open shame with only a measure of faith or a first fruits of the Spirit. He was filled with the fulness of God, the fulness of faith without measure. Just as surely as He had this, so shall it come to His Body. He is our Pattern. It MUST come! All hell cannot prevent it, neither the doubts and arguments of ten thousand modernistic preachers! Glory to God, children, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh!
DAY AND NIGHT
It was God who separated light from darkness. . "And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night." (Genesis 1:3 5) Notice first of all that when He created Light, though the light was good, it was mixed with the darkness and only God could tell the difference and divide the one from the other. Then he divided the two, and the light became brighter as it separated from darkness, while the darkness returned to total blackness. And God clearly identified each of them for what they are. As in the natural creation, so in the spiritual .. God's new creation .. Let us look now to
THAT DAY APPROACHING
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Nor forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see THE DAY APPROACHING;" (Hebrews 10:24 25). What day? What day is he writing about here, 30 years after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ? It was certain and sure, they could see it approaching, and it must have been terrible important in their lives since they were told to assemble themselves together and exhort one another because of this day. Since that day is still approaching, and is even now at hand, I want us to take a good Bible look at that day . . the Great Day of the Lord, known as
THE EVIL DAY
In Ephesians, chapter 6, the apostle is warning us about the wiles of the devil, of wrestling with principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world. "Wherefore", he says in verse 13, "take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand IN THE EVIL DAY, and having done all, to stand." This great exhortation on standing in that evil day takes us to the 13th chapter of Ezekiel where the prophet of God was telling the people how they would have to STAND IN THE BATTLE IN THE DAY OF THE LORD!
Verse 1: "And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying" . . . Oh, Glory to God! When you are walking with God, as Ezekiel was, and your heart is pure and hungry for the Truth . . the Word of the Lord WILL COME TO YOU! It is seeking a lodging place in the hearts and minds of men who are not afraid to know the Truth! They may be scorned and mocked as false . . but when the Word of the Lord comes to them, they can never teethe same again! Look at verse 2: "Say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord;" Yes, there are those who preach that which sounds good, which they would like to see come to pass, "out of their own hearts", but when the Word of the Lord comes, it will not be liked by the natural man. Verse 3 says that these foolish prophets follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! What is this that these men have been telling God's people, what is it they have not seen? Ezekiel goes on to say that these false prophets who were so accepted by Israel had been seducing the people, preaching "Peace!, when there was no peace. For God had determined JUDGMENT upon the land, but these men had not seen the true Word of the Lord, and they kept telling the people that God would not let judgment come to His own chosen people, the apple of His eye . . now would He? How much this sounds like the preachers of our day who have seduced the vast majority of God's people into believing that before Judgment, or the Great Tribulation, or The Day of the Lord comes. . that God would let them all fly away to some other place in the physical universe and escape those days that are coming upon the earth! But Ezekiel faithfully warns them, as Paul did, that they would have to:
STAND IN THE BATTLE
"Oh Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. " Hebrews says that we "see the Day approaching. " Paul told the Ephesians they would have to stand "in the Evil Day. " And Ezekiel has the Word of the Lord that God's people are going to Stand. . "in theDay of the Lord. " The prophet goes on in that 13th chapter to tell what Godwill dotothose prophets who fail to warn God's people that they will be here in the Day of the Lord, and to prepare to stand. But let's turn to the New Testament again to see what it says about this day . . .
THE DAY OF THE LORD
I Thessalonians, chapter 4, tells of the glorious hope of the Church, how that Jesus will descend from heaven into this earth realm, how that first the dead in Christ shall rise and then later we are "caught up" to meet the Lord (not "caught away" to some distant planet). This same wonderful topic is continued in chapter 5 as Paul speaks of the times and seasons when this will take place. "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. " Praise God! Here is that "day" that is approaching or coming.. And as the false prophets in Ezekiel 13, some are saying "peace and safety". . but sudden destruction comes upon them "as travail upon A WOMAN WITH CHILD! " Yes, there is a woman who at this time is in travail, and out of this travail is born a manchild who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. The "catching up" of the saints (or Rapture, as it is called), the birth of the Manchild, and the Day of the Lord(or Tribulation) are all linked together here. But notice, dear ones, in verse 4: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.... For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night . . For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ."
CHILDREN OF LIGHT
There are two kinds of people spoken of here. . Children of the day and light. . and children of the night and darkness. The children of darkness do not know that this "Day of the Lord" is coming upon them in all its fury and destruction. They continue to blithely play their religious games while the tornadic winds of God's judgments are sweeping in upon us. This Day of the Lord will be a terrible time of tribulation to them, a time of darkness and terror as the world has never known! But what about the children of Light, the children of the Day ? Are they to be here to suffer the wrath of God in the Great Tribulation? Or will they be swept up into the wild blue yonder, away from the earth and its terror? NEITHER! Someone asks, "will the Elect of God, the Overcomer, be here for the Great Tribulation?" The answer is NO! They will not be here for the Tribulation! They will be here on earth during this time, alright, but they will be here for the Day of God's Glory, the day of His Power manifested in human flesh . . the Manifestation of the Sons of God! For right here on this same ball of clay, while some are entering into the darkness of the Night of Tribulation, those who know Him in Truth will be entering into the great and glorious promises of the Bible in the brightness of God's New Day!
DAY AND NIGHT AT THE SAME TIME
This physical natural world is made up so that right now while the sun is setting upon millions of people, bringing on the blackness of the midnight hour.. upon millions more it is just rising with the promise of a new day! As in the natural, so in the spiritual. God is separating the light from darkness, and He is clearly identifying each. The Light is getting brighter, new truths are being seen by the light of God's divine revelation, new realms in God are being seen and attained to. While at the same time those who at one time seemed to have a measure of truth are denying the Light and going into ever increasing darkness of the Night. Children of the Night!
THE SUN SHALL GO DOWN
Micah 3:5 6 . . ''Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, PEACE: and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, AND THE DAY SHALL BE DARK OVER THEM!"
When the great Day of the Lord appears, the day that will usher in the greatest display of God's glory that the world has ever seen, it will only be a time of darkness and terror to these false prophets who have caused God's people to err, crying Peace, when God was calling for us to put on the whole armour of God that we might stand in the battle in that Day. Preachers are still fervently preaching, and people are still desperately and hopelessly clinging to the theory of a "Rapture" that will carry us all off this earth that we might escape The Day of the Lord. People, hear me today . . God's plan is far better! Who wants to escape the glorious Day of release from every bondage? NAho would run away from the greatest outpouring of the Spirit ever known, until (~a s elect is filled with the Spirit "without measure"? Yes, let me make this clear .. we shall be here DURING the Tribulation, but we shall not be here FOR the Tribulation, but while those who are unprepared to stand are being swept away as in the days of Noah by the floods of Judgment, we shall be entering into the Day of God's Glory, the unveiling of His power and majesty in the human flesh of His Body, the Church.
THE SUN SHALL ARISE
Hear ye the Word of the Lord . .. Malachi, chapter 4: (verse 1) "For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven. " (verse 2) "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;". (verse 5) "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the GREAT and DREADFUL day of the Lord:" Glory to God! This is a GREAT day . . a day of His power, when all our enemies are put under our feet . . (verse 3) "ashes under the soles of your feet." But at the same time it is a DREADFUL day to someone.. Not to the children of the Day, but to the children of the Night who had not put on the whole armour of God because they were expecting to "fly away", and did not think they would have to "stand" in that day. Oh, preacher friend, it is time that we
BLOW THE TRUMPET IN ZION
Joel 2:1 11: "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound a. arm in my holy mountain:" (You see, friends, it is God's people ho need to be alerted in this hour, they who are sleeping need to be awakened) . . "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 of GLOOMINESS, a day of CLOUDS and of THICK DARKNESS, AS THE MORNING SPREAD UPON THE MOUNTAINS: A GREAT PEOPLE AND A STRONG!"
At the very same time that darkness and gloominess spreads over the land during this Day of the Lord, to those who are children of the Day there is a great and glorious SUNRISE.. Isaiah 28:2 says, "The Lord hath a MIGHTY AND A STRONG ONE" .. and we find this to be His Body in the earth. Daniel said that "they that do know their God shall be STRONG and do exploits. " And here Joel sees them coming forth at the dawn of the Day of the Lord, a day of darkness and terror for the godless and unbelieving people of this world. Joel 2:11 says, "the day of the Lord is GREAT and VERY TERRIBLE: and who can abide it?" Great for the children of the Day and very terrible for the children of the Night. Verse 31 says that the sun "shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the GREAT and the TERRIBLE Day of the Lord come." Preachers, let us stop telling God's people that they can just sit down in their rocking chairs and wait for a "Rapture" to carry them off to a far away land of fantasy where they will eat their "pie in the sky" while the billions of people on earth suffer under the heel of the devil and antichrist. Let's tell them the truth that they have been saved and called for the purpose of putting all the forces of anti christ and all the hordes of hell under their feet and delivering the masses of earth from the power of Satan and the fear of death! This is our inheritance, and this is our destiny!
LET US ARISE AND SHINE!
Isaiah 601 2: "Arise, shine; for THY LIGHT IS COME, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the DARKNESS SHALL COVER THE EARTH, and GROSS DARKNESS the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and HIS GLORY shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." Who is this that is going to rise and shine as lights in the midst of darkness, in a time of gross darkness that covers the entire earth? It is none other than the glorious Body of Christ, His Elect, the Overcomer . . those Children of the Day and Children of Light who have girded themselves for this hour.
Paul teaches the Church how to walk, in order (Philippians 2:15) "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of Life; that I may rejoice in THE DAY OF CHRIST, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain."
Friends, let us believe what the Bible says and quit trying to make it mean what we want to hear. You are not going anywhere during the Day of the Lord. Read Matthew, chapter 24. The Elect of God will be right here on this earth. . . not to be deceived, nor to suffer the wrath of God. . but to be anointed with the Spirit without measure, to be the battle ax and weapons of war" (Jeremiah 51:20) with which God will "break in pieces the nations . . and destroy kingdoms." It is here on earth that the battle has been fought, and it is here the victory will be won! Glory be to our God! This is the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus! Praise God for it!
Yes, darkness faces Babylon, and confusion is her portion. Even now (Job 5:14) "They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night. " And as the light increases for those in Christ, so shall darkness blanket those who dwell in the shadow of the Harlot and her daughters. Flee from her my people, lest ye be partakers of her plagues. Ye have revelled in her delicacies, but her hour is come.
VERY DARK AND NO BRIGHTNESS
Amos 5:18, 20: "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light . . Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?" Then in verse 21 the prophet goes onto say that the Lord hates their religious activity, their ceremonies, for their worship is from the lips only, and not from the heart. These are religious people He is talking to, religious people who have rejected His Word. And in Amos 8:9 he says, "And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day." Yes, in the day of clarity, in the bright noon day of God's glory, they will not see, they will not understand because to them it is a day of darkness with no light. Zephaniah 1:14 15 tells us: "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness."
THY LIGHT SHALL RISE
Glory to Jesus, out of the midst of this dark picture there will arise a people who not only will HAVE light, they will BE the light to bring this dark world out of confusion and death. Of them Isaiah spoke when he said (58:10), "then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness shall be as the noon day." Proverbs 4:18, "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. " What can we do NOW? Ephesians 5:8 says, "Walk as children of Light. " Romans 13:12, "Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of Light. "
There is no darkness in those who are called into the divine purposes of God. The Truth of God is opening up to them in ever increasing clarity and understanding. They are knowing one another by the Spirit, and not by the recommendations of men. They are seeing the heresy and the danger of the harlot system of ecclesiastical orders. They are sounding the trumpet and sending forth the alarm to God's people to "Come out of her, my people", lest they are destroyed with her. For her false doctrines teach men to be divided from their brethren, to hate one another, and to hope for some fantasy that will never happen. But these Children of Light bring reality, and truth, and love. They are brought forth and raised up at this hour that they might set the entire creation free from the bondage of corruption and death. What a destiny! What a glorious privilege to be a part of this Company of Saints. Don't settle for anything less, beloved. Press ever forward into God's best and highest. It is for you. You can have it! Believe it, and praise God for it!