Reach for the Stars!
by Bill Britton
The chapters of this book are made up from a series of messages written and published earlier in booklet form, which we considered so vital to present truth, that we decided to put them in permanent book form.
The theme of these messages is moving on to deeper depths and higher heights in God. We must continually reach for greater truths if we want to go on in Him. We must be willing to be pioneers of faith, daring to tread in realms of the Spirit that are unknown to the natural man. There is no limit in God, so we must break down the limitations that have been imposed upon us by the mind of man, and dare to believe for the fulness of the Spirit in our day.
To know Jesus Christ in a greater way, and to bear His image and have His Life working in us, and to know our place in His Body� this is the burden of this book. I realize there are many doctrines being promoted in these last days, both good, bad, and indifferent. I do not quarrel with those who spend their time publishing certain doctrines, but the reason I do not indulge in this is that they are not relevant to our purpose and desire, and that is� to know Christ!
The message of Sonship, being conformed to His image, is not just another doctrine of this temporal passing order. It is eternal truth that shall not pass away with the ages. To know Him in depth, and to manifest Him in His fulness in our lives, is the goal for which we are aiming� the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!
The poem in chapter one was given by the Spirit back in 1957 when I had climbed to the top of a tower on the highest peak of Mt. Magazine, the highest mountain in the Midwest, located at Paris, Arkansas. As my vision was greatly enlarged in the natural by ascending to high places, so the Lord showed me the same principle working in the spiritual realm. Herein is the theme and burden of this book.
The revelations brought forth in this book are not the ultimate of God. No such claim is made. But as we eat of His Word, and digest the Truth, then He will draw back the Veil and reveal more of the glory and beauty of the Christ. If you are of His fold, you will hear and recognize His voice, and you will know that you are being introduced to deeper truths.
And now, may God bless you as you open this book, with your Bible near at hand, to carefully and prayerfully consider these things that our dear Lord has given me to share with His Body. May the Spirit of Revelation and wisdom in the knowledge of Him be yours at this time! In Him, Bro Bill Britton
Reach for the Stars
There have always been men who walked in a realm beyond the limitations of their time and generation. While most men feel that they have to settle for the status quo, and seem satisfied with whatever is made available to their generation, there are some who are spiritual pioneers, who "reach for the stars".
Enoch was such a man. The Bible says: "Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:24) Now this may not seem like such a great thing to some of you, but let me remind you... Enoch did not live in a day when men were walking with God. It had been almost a thousand years since Adam had walked with God in the garden. After the fall, men had only the promise of death. The earth was filled with violence, and the ungodliness of men was a stench that reached to heaven. There were no churches in every village and hamlet. There was no saviour yet who had died for the sins of men. Saints of God were almost unheard of.
Yet in the midst of this, Enoch believed that he could reach beyond the limitations of his generation, and walk with God. Hebrews 11:5 says that Enoch pleased God. It also says that he was a man of faith, and by faith he was translated that he should not see death. This was something unheard of. Adam had been dead for more than fifty years. Tho men lived many years, yet no one had hope of escaping death. But by faith Enoch believed that he could. And he did.
The First Prophet
Enoch was the first one we read of who had a "thus saith the Lord". We read in Jude 14 that "Enoch prophesied, saying Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all". Now Enoch was only the seventh from Adam, and he lived in a day when we can hardly find a half dozen saints, let alone ten thousand. Yet he looked far beyond his own day, and saw into the great Day of the Lord when the saints of God would execute a great victory over evil in the earth.
I realize that today we are living in a time of evil, a time of death. War, famine, and pestilence will take the lives of millions. The outlook is very dark. But don't hold me down to this death realm, for like Enoch, I believe there is a greater place in God than men are seeing in this generation. Like Enoch I am laying hold of the Life of God, and "reaching for the stars". Glory to God!
Noah Found Grace
Noah had never heard Enoch prophesy. He had never heard Adam tell of the wonders of the Garden of Eden. He was born at a time when the wickedness of men was so great that it was causing God to repent that He had ever made man. There seemed no hope for mankind. The word of the Lord had been spoken: "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth. Judgment seemed inevitable. Noah had no one to encourage him in the ways of righteousness, nor a five-fold ministry to help perfect him. He lived in a day of wickedness and judgment.
But Noah would not settle for the lot of other men. Genesis 6:8 says: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord". "But Noah�!" There have always been those who stand out from others by their refusal to conform to the ways of the world. And this man was an outstanding example. Ezekiel 14:14 lists him as one of the three who could deliver their souls by their righteousness. Hebrews 11:7 says that Noah was a man of faith, and that he believed the warning of God concerning things not seen as yet, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. And it was not only himself he was interested in saving, but the Bible says that he prepared an ark "to the saving of his house", as well as the inhabitants of the beast realm.
Let Me Go On in God
I know this is a day of wickedness and judgment. I realize that the word of the Lord has gone forth against this generation of religious and moral decay. But I have had a warning from God; "Build an ark!" There is deliverance from judgment. Not only for myself, but others also who have never heard from God. For when the Ark is ready, they will come in. I realize that even the preachers are preaching that righteousness and perfection cannot be reached in this life. But I have heard from God that I can find grace in the eyes of the Lord. Let me alone. Let me reach for the stars. I refuse to be held down to this realm of sin and judgment. I am pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. If you cannot receive such a word, walk where you must. But let the pioneers of faith press on in God. They cannot stop until, like Noah, they step out into a new earth, full of the righteousness of God.
Give Me a Double Portion
Elisha was a young man, the son of a judge. He was a strong, husky young man, and a hard worker. He had a good future, and no doubt would have been able to have a nice farm and a fine family. But one day while he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he with the twelfth, the prophet of God came by where he was working and cast his mantle over the boy. His life was immediately changed. He had heard the call of God for a higher calling. He left his oxen and began reaching for the stars.
Elijah was the greatest prophet of that day, but he was very unpopular with the government. In the natural it was not an easy choice for Elisha to make. But God had chosen wisely. He had picked a man to succeed Elijah. This was a large calling, and required a man of daring faith. Elisha was that man.
His ministry did not start in a blaze of glory. He began by being a servant to the man of God. He washed the dishes, the clothes, the prophet's feet. He carried the wood and built the fire and did all the other necessary but menial jobs while Elijah spent his time seeking the face of God. This is where many men fail their calling. When the ministry turns out to be less than spectacular, they decide to go back to their "oxen". But Elisha kept plugging ahead on his way to the stars. If it took faithfulness, he would pay the price. Whatever it took, he had a spiritual stubbornness that made him determined to go all the way. He had heard from God. Nothing else mattered.
Ask a Hard Thing
Elisha received no encouragement in following Elijah. Everywhere he went the sons of the prophets tried to discourage him. His answer was: "Hold your peace". Even Elijah tested him three times, but his answer was: "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee". He had no elders in the church to give him a word of encouragement or to pray him over the obstacles. He could not run home to mother and dad for a few days to rest up and relieve the tension. All he had was his determination to see this thing through and receive that which he felt belonged to him by virtue of his call in God.
Finally they are across Jordan. He has just seen a tremendous miracle by the hand of the prophet. It is time to get his inheritance. The question comes: "Ask what I shall do for thee". Can't you just hear this young man's humble answer as he stands before that great man of God? Here was Elijah who had stood before King Ahab and judged the nation of Israel for her sin. Here is the one who had spoken the word that withheld the rain for three and a half years, and then had stood alone against 400 prophets of Baal and defeated them with a mighty demonstration of the power of God. Ask, says the prophet. The young Elisha looks at him. What do you think he asked for? "Let me be just half the prophet that you have been, and I'll be satisfied"? No, no. His faith reached for the stars as he cried out "I want TWICE what you've got"! Glory to God, what a request! You know the story. He received so much of the life of God that he caused iron to float, poison pots to be nutritious, the dead to be raised to life again, and the ditches to be filled with water. He healed the leper, fed a multitude on a few loaves of bread and a handful of corn, and caused the widow's pot of oil to flow until all her debts were paid. At his word barren women brought forth sons, and he captured an entire army single-handed. And when he finally goes to be with the Lord, his body still has so much of the life of God in it, that a dead corpse that is accidentally thrown in the grave on top of him comes to life and goes running off.
Don't Fence Me In!
Praise God, with examples like that in the Word, I am encouraged to ask largely of the Lord. We are dealing with One who is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above what we can ask or think! Do you think you can bankrupt heaven? Well think again. Think with the mind of the Spirit, and come up with a heart full of living faith. Rise above your circumstances. Don't be bound to the limitations of your generation. You don't have to stand and stagnate in the status quo. You can reach into that which God hath prepared for them that love Him.
God has had men who have quenched the violence of fire, stopped the mouths of lions, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, and subdued kingdoms. He is not going to stop with that. He is looking for pioneers of faith who dare to reach for the stars. He wants a people who will break forth upon this world with such a manifestation of His glory, that all creation will be set free form the curse of death that is upon it. Be that man! Be that woman! Let faith and courage flood your soul! Look beyond the earthly limitations. Reach for the stars!
"Climb The Highest Hill"
Abram climbed the highest hill to talk to God one day;
To find the will of God for him; to hear what God would say.
The plains of Jordan, the hills, the valleys, all lay beneath his view;
And then God spoke, "You see this, Abram? I'm giving this to you!"
"Because you heard the voice of God, and hearkened to His call;
You left your home, possessions dear, your family, your all�
Now look, my son, what I shall give to him who's true to me:
Look north, and south, and east and west� as far as thou canst see."
"The day is clear, the mountain high; thine eye is sharp and keen;
The fertile fields, the wooded hills, the rivers fresh and clean�
All is thine that thou dost see, with faith this day to claim;
The vision God hath given thee, shall stand� in His great Name!"
Like Abraham of long ago, who heard the voice of God,
I, too, have felt His mighty Hand, and on His Mountain trod.
His promises I have believed, my vision searched afar;
O'er hill and valley, and ocean deep, to the bright and distant star.
I've seen the green and fertile fields, the Harvest waiting long;
I cried, "O God, make me a reaper with hand both firm and strong!"
I heard the question ringing back in answer to my prayer:
"What can'st thou see? Thy vision clear determines how thou shalt fare"
"Can'st thou see the power of God to heal the sick and lame?
The blind, the deaf, the demon-bound made whole in Jesus' Name?"
I cried, "O God, I'll trust thy Word I'll never doubt nor fear it;
And claim for MY inheritance the fulness of thy Spirit!"
I say to you this day, my friend, as Abraham of old;
Believe God's Word, His promise true, more precious than fine gold.
For nothing comes to him whose faith is empty, weak, and blind;
For fear and doubt and unbelief will only serve to bind.
Oh, set thy people free this day, we beg of thee, our Lord!
Our inheritance to see and claim, according to thy Word.
The fruitful trees, the waving grain, the fish in every river�
All are mine to claim and have, from Jesus Christ, the Giver!
The Bones of Joseph
Twelve men, Israelites from each tribe, took their turns in carrying this strange Egyptian coffin through the blazing sun of a long wilderness journey. And, now finally, with the floodwaters of Jordan piled up in a heap to their right, they hastened across the dry river bed into a wonderful land, long ago promised to their forefathers. And as they stepped out of the river into Canaan, they still carried that coffin containing the bones of a man of God, a prophet and ruler in Egypt, who had at his death hundreds of years before prophesied of this very event.
Mystery in a Coffin
Forty years previous to the crossing of Jordan, Israel had passed through the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses, and had been delivered from the tyranny and bondage of Pharaoh. And now, with Joshua as their leader, they were entering into that which had long been promised by the Lord God. There was still much conflict ahead of them, and yet there was a jubilation, a note of victory among them. They were home at last. Their feet were finally in the promises of God. Their hearts had been there for many years, but now they were actually walking in the fulfillment of the words of the prophets. There were many cities to be taken, many enemies to put under their feet. But they had a feeling of being "home".
But why, for forty years, had they continued to go through the hardship of carrying this coffin with a dead man's bones? With the wilderness they had been in, it had been no easy task. Why didn't they leave Joseph in Egypt in his royal tomb, or at least bury him somewhere in the wilderness? Herein lies a mystery that has a definite relationship to the glorious message of Sonship and end-time events. When you catch the same vision for this end of the age, that this prophet of God had for his day, then your heart will thrill with the glory of what God is about to do!
By Faith, Joseph�
God has always revealed His secrets unto His servants, the prophets. And Joseph was a prophet, a Seer, one who could see future events by the eye of the Spirit. And he saw an event coming that overshadowed all the glory of his rich and fruitful life of testings, faithfulness, and victories. He longed to be a part of that which was yet to come, and because he saw it coming and hungered for it, he made provision for himself to be in it.
Chapter eleven of Hebrews is commonly known as the "Faith" chapter. It tells of the Old Testament heroes of faith, and generally gives the outstanding thing about their lives. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain"; "By faith Enoch was translated"; "By faith Noah� built an ark"; and in a few words a short synopsis of those men's lives is given. But in verse 22, when it speaks of Joseph, it does not speak of his coat of many colors, nor of his purity and victory in the case of Potiphar's wife, nor of the prison testing, nor does it even mention that he sat on Egypt's throne and saved the nation from starvation. But his faith dealt with something far greater than those things. "BY FAITH JOSEPH, WHEN HE DIED, MADE MENTION OF THE DEPARTING OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: AND GAVE COMMANDMENT CONCERNING HIS BONES". What a strange thing to record about a man in this great faith chapter. There must be a tremendous truth here that we have not seen before! Let us look into the Word.
The entire 23rd chapter of Genesis is taken up with but one subject, the transaction of Abraham buying a cave from the children of Heth for a burial grounds for his wife and family. This is an important and sacred place to Abraham. Perhaps you can believe that all this has no meaning, that God put this chapter in the Bible just to fill up space and make more work for printers and readers, but I am convinced that "every word of God is pure" and that everything put in this Bible is important.
Sarah was dead. And Abraham was now about to establish his burial place, for himself as well as future generations. He refused to accept it as a gift, for he wanted it signed and sealed so that future generations could not deny that this place belonged to him and his heirs. Abraham, the Bible says, was a prophet. And seeing a glorious event coming, he wanted to be ready for it. He was willing to pay the price for it. Others could not see why Abraham was so willing to pay such a price. But then the children of Heth had not heard from God as Abraham had. And so today many cannot get excited about what God is speaking concerning Sonship and Glory, because they have not heard from God nor caught the vision of these truths. But Abraham wanted this cave, which was located in what would someday be the land belonging to the tribe of Judah, just a few miles south of Jerusalem, the Holy city.
According to Genesis 49:29-31, Abraham's cave at Machpelah was where not only Abraham and Sarah were buried, but also Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah. This matter seemed to be very important to these saints. And now, way down in the land of Egypt we find Joseph giving instructions for his bones to be taken out with the children of Israel when God brings them out of Egypt. "GOD WILL SURELY VISIT YOU, AND BRING YOU OUT OF THIS LAND UNTO THE LAND WHICH HE SWARE TO ABRAHAM, TO ISAAC, AND TO JACOB. AND JOSEPH TOOK AN OATH OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, SAYING GOD WILL SURELY VISIT YOU, AND YE SHALL CARRY UP MY BONES FROM THENCE." (Genesis 50:24)
Rage all you want, Pharaoh. Determine that you will destroy this people, it will do you no good. There's a coffin full of bones here in Egypt that says you will fail. For hundreds of years, while the children of Israel wept in their tribulations and chafed under their bondage, there has been a prophet's bones patiently waiting for the day when they will leave here for the promised land.
At the edge of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh's army waiting till morning to begin the slaughter, the people complained to Moses that they would perish. But they carried a coffin that said they were all fearful liars. If necessary, the waters will part to let them escape, for the Word of the Lord has gone forth through the lips of His prophet, and these bones must reach their final resting place. For forty years the mixed multitude bitterly complained that they would never reach the promised land. And because of their unbelief, the complainers were right. Their bones bleached in the desert. But someone must go in--the Word of the Lord has gone forth, and this coffin full of bones that they have carried every step of the journey continues to testify to the faith of Joseph that it shall be so.
Moses Made Sure
"AND MOSES TOOK THE BONES OF JOSEPH WITH HIM:" (Exodus 13:19). He was taking no chances. The Word of the Lord has been spoken, and an oath had been taken. Moses knew that the impossible task before him could only be met through the word of the Lord. His strength and abilities were as nothing in the face of the problem, but this coffin of bones was his insurance. Joseph, the prophet of God, had spoken the word. And Moses stood on the Word of the Lord. "Look not about thee, my little ones, at the circumstances that would overwhelm thee, nor at the enemy that would destroy thee, for have I not said, and will I not fulfill my purposes in thee? Let it not be a small thing unto thee that I have spoken unto thee. But rest thou in my word, and let thy foundation be upon the Rock. For my Word shall hold thee up, and the enemy shall not prevail though he rages against thee." Glory to God's great Name!
Let the rebels take up their stones, the bones of Joseph say that they will not find their mark. Let the complainers spew out their doctrine of defeat. While they talk of death and discouragement, there is a coffin in the midst that speaks of life and victory in a land that flows with milk and honey. Let them talk of going back to Egypt, the voice of the prophet that still dwells among them says that they must go on. Ever onward and upward to new heights of glory, and revelation. Stop in the wilderness if you must, and camp under your palm trees. Call it Canaan if you will, but hear the Word of the Lord out of the bones� There is a land of promise with spiritual riches beyond our imagination, for those who will dare to go on with God!
Why Must the Bones Go?
It is true that these bones in the camp of Israel on the wilderness journey were a sign and a prophetic witness that God would bring them into the land of promise. But Joseph had much more in mind when he prophesied concerning his bones. Why did he want his bones in Canaan instead of Egypt? Egypt had been good to him, he was a ruler and could have a royal tomb. His wife and sons were buried there. Why did he make sure that they would cart his bones all through that wilderness back to the land of his youth? Herein lies a mystery, the answer to which will thrill your heart with the prospect of what God is about to do in His Sons.
What difference could it possibly make to Joseph where his dead body rested? He was a very spiritual man, and as long as he knew his spirit would be with his God, why was he so concerned about his flesh? It was far more than just a sentimental gesture. There was a deep spiritual significance. Joseph was a prophet, a Seer, one who sees future events. And he saw a glorious even taking place more than seventeen centuries after his death. He saw the glory that would come to those who would be able to participate in this great event, and he wanted to be a part of it. Hear me beloved, for this concerns you today. The Spirit of God showed this man a glory that was coming. But there was something he had to do. He made arrangements for his body to be buried just north of the city of Jerusalem, in a cave purchased for that very purpose. He made provisions to be in the place where he could participate in this great event and partake of the glory.
Just what was this wonderful event? It is found in Matthew 27:51-53� "AND, BEHOLD, THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS RENT IN TWAIN FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM: AND THE EARTH DID QUAKE, AND THE ROCKS RENT AND THE GRAVES WERE OPENED, AND MANY BODIES OF THE SAINTS WHICH SLEPT AROSE, AND CAME OUT OF THE GRAVES AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, AND WENT INTO THE HOLY CITY AND APPEARED UNTO MANY." Glory to God. What a world shaking, history making thing was taking place! Jesus had been crucified, had paid the penalty for our sins, and the third day had risen from the tomb. Then, following his resurrection, graves of many of the saints were opened and they came into the city. Now notice carefully� Not all the saints arose, but many. It does not say who they were, but I am confident that I know the names of some that were mentioned in Hebrews 11. "They went into the city." So the graves were somewhere outside the city. It does not say where the graves were, but I know of one that was located in a cave somewhere north of Jerusalem which I am confident you would find empty if you went there today. They "appeared unto many". It does not say they were recognized, but they were seen. Not as spirits or ghosts, not as dried up piles of bones rattling down the streets of Jerusalem. But they were seen in their bodies, their new bodies, their resurrected, glorified bodies. And nowhere does it say, and it would be a violation of scripture and reason to even imagine that these saints returned to their old graves and died again or returned to dust. Lev. 23:10-12 gives us, in type, a picture of the resurrection of Christ. It was a single "Corn of wheat" that fell into the ground at the death and burial of Jesus (John 12:24). But it was a "sheaf" or "handful" that was waved before the Lord as a type of resurrection. At this time in history, one man died for all mankind, but "many" of the saints arose with Him in resurrected bodies to witness of the power and promise of God.
Was Joseph There?
I believe with all my heart that the prophet Joseph was among those who walked the streets of Jerusalem that day, as well as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why else did the Spirit lead them to make their burial place certain, almost on the outskirts of that city where all this was taking place? So what is the result? Many bodies of saints, including all the New Testament church who have gone on to be with the Lord are still in the grave today, waiting for the resurrection. Then shall they be clothed upon with life, and then shall death be swallowed up in victory! This is our inheritance as saints, and we are happy about it. But there are some who will not have to wait until the final trump for their corruptible to put on incorruption. So far they have been enjoying their glorified bodies for almost 2,000 years. Why? Because they were saints, "set apart", and because they were men and women of faith. Look at Joseph. While he had the authority, he made them take an oath so binding upon Israel that in spite of the difficulties involved, they had to carry his bones through 40 years of wilderness wanderings until they could put him to rest in the cave. By the eye of the Spirit he not only saw the departing of the children of Israel from Egypt, but he also saw a greater event and made sure that he would be near enough to be a part of it.
What About Today?
The important thing about this whole message is, how does it affect us today in this end of the age revival? Oh, beloved, I want you to see the glorious thing that God is about to do in the earth in our time. The saints who arose with Christ were the firstfruits of the resurrection. They are living proof that the harvest is actually going to follow. We do not have to fear that this glorious promise of life after death is only a myth or fable. Jesus Himself with many of the saints actually arose and walked the streets of Jerusalem in their new bodies, and were seen by the people. This was the firstfruits, but the harvest was to wait for many centuries. Joseph did not have to wait, he could be in the firstfruits company, because of his vision, his desire, and his faith.
God has promised that the "latter house shall be greater than the former". His end-time church is going to arise in the power of the Spirit to a degree never before known on this earth except for Jesus himself. What a glory shall cover this earth as the waters cover the sea! But God has much to deal with His church before she is ready for this glory. Some poor people have been seduced into thinking that perhaps tonight they will all blithely fly out into space and leave all their problems behind. But God has other plans for His Church. She is going to come into perfection right here on this earth, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but it will be through much tribulation.
But some are hearing the voice of God now. They are catching a vision of a "firstfruits company" that shall be willing to die to self and become a sign, and ensign to the rest of the Church and this victory is not a myth or fable, but a living reality. This "Joseph company" is making provision for themselves to be in the place in God where they will be ready at His appearing. You can wait till the last ones come in if you want, but as for me, I have heard His voice and have caught the vision of great things for this hour. And by His marvelous grace I want to be among those who bread through as pioneers in this realm of the Spirit. Someone is going in. What some are claiming thus far as the inheritance falls far too short of the glorious promises of God. You can be satisfied with heaven and a mansion if you want, and if that is the extent of your vision. But I tell you, there is something far greater for those who will dare to believe.
How Big is God?
What a foolish question that would be. There is no way to measure His greatness. There is no limit to our God, nor to His plans for His elect. There is not space here to even tell a portion of His riches in Christ Jesus to the saints. This message is only to alert you to the glorious truth that there is a "firstfruits company" of people who shall very soon enter into that "inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time". How is this glorious inheritance going to be revealed? In living vessels. God was revealed in Jesus Christ. God was manifest in the flesh in Jesus Christ. No one had ever really seen what God was like until He unveiled Himself in Jesus. His love, His compassion, His wisdom and power and authority were fully expressed in Jesus.
Christ in You
And now we see that the plan of God is for Christ to have a body of believers through which He can express Himself and reveal Himself to the world. The general run of the church people have not had the faith to believe for anything more than just getting into heaven by the skin of their teeth, and maybe getting "a Cabin in the corner of gloryland". But in these last days there is again arising a bunch of spiritual pioneers who have dared to believe that God is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think". They have heard the promise of God that He is going to have a people who have been conformed to the image of the Son of God. They have believed that Jesus is able to bring MANY sons unto Glory, just as He promised in Hebrews 2:10. We are not worthy, but He is able. So we put all our hopes in Him. In fact, the Word is plain that our only hope of glory in Christ in us. Hallelujah!
Oh, dear ones, let the bones of Joseph speak to your heart. All through this wilderness journey we have the witness that a firstfruits company shall break forth in life and power. Believe it! Let it work in you! Be a part of what God is doing in our day. Let faith spring up within you for greater things than you have ever dared to believe for. "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!"
Jabez, Enlarge my Coast
There are many of you perhaps, who never heard of the man called Jabez, or if you read of him in the Bible it may have meant nothing to you. But this Old Testament character, as a type of the End-Time Sons of God, is very important to us today, and it behooves us to know what the Word has to say about him.
This man is mentioned in only one place in all the Scriptures. It does not tell us where he came from, who his father or mother were, nor does it give the names of any children. Yet in two verses in the official genealogies we learn more about this man than the hundreds of others listed with him: (1 Chr. 4:9, 10) "AND JABEZ WAS MORE HONOURABLE THAN HIS BRETHREN: AND HIS MOTHER CALLED HIS NAME JABEZ, SAYING BECAUSE I BARE HIM WITH SORROW, AND JABEZ CALLED ON THE GOD OF ISRAEL, SAYING, OH THAT THOU WOULDEST BLESS ME INDEED, AND ENLARGE MY COAST, AND THAT THINE HAND MIGHT BE WITH ME, AND THAT THOU WOULDEST KEEP ME FROM EVIL THAT IT MAY NOT GRIEVE ME! AND GOD GRANTED HIM THAT WHICH HE REQUESTED.
Born In Sorrow
The first nine chapters of this book are concerned almost entirely with the listing of names and recording of births. Suddenly, right in the middle of all this, God stops the records and tells us of a man named Jabez. His name means: "Causing pain", and his mother said she called him that because she bore him with sorrow. Now didn't all those listed cause pain when they were born? Yes, of course that's part of the curse. But God points out that here is one that was brought forth in special travail and in great sorrow. What a picture of our Lord Jesus, the "man of sorrows", and of His Body who are conformed to His image. The baby Jesus was not yet two months old when the prophet of God took him up in his arms and spoke by the Spirit to his mother and said that because of this baby a sword would pierce through her own soul also. None of us know the sorrow and shame and reproach this innocent young girl had to bear to bring this baby into the world. She was accused of casting away her virginity and shamefully violating her pledge to Joseph, her espoused, before they came together, she was "found with child of the Holy Ghost." Notice that "SHE WAS FOUND WITH CHILD". Who is going to believe her fantastic story of a visit by the angel Gabriel, and of her receiving seed for this child from no less than God Himself? Only God, who bottles up our tears, knows how many were shed when the scorn and reproaches began to fall upon this lovely young virgin. Sorrow. Yes, she knew sorrow, and shame, and the vile gossiping of wicked tongues. It cost something to bring this man Jesus into the world.
And it's going to cost you something, dear one, to be an overcomer, and a part of this great army of God. Do you think you will be honored and acclaimed by the world, or the religious systems, or even by those close to you? Be not deceived. You will wet your pillow many nights in your loneliness and in misunderstandings, crying out: "Why Lord, Oh why does it have to be thus?" Yes, a sword shall be thrust through your own soul also, when you see friends and loved ones turning away from the Truth. And when they classify you as having been deceived and seduced by man, it shall pierce you through, tho you know in the deep of your heart that you have heard from God and the seed you have received is nothing less than the pure Word of God.
A Manchild is Born
Jesus is speaking to His disciples in John 16:21 where He said: "A WOMAN WHEN SHE IS IN TRAVAIL HATH SORROW, BECAUSE HER HOUR IS COME: BUT AS SOON AS SHE IS DELIVERED OF THE CHILD, SHE REMEMBERETH NO MORE THE ANGUISH, FOR JOY THAT A MAN IS BORN INTO THE WORLD." Yes, there is great travail in bringing forth this manchild. But it shall produce the greatest joy this world has ever known. Jesus was the "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief", but Hebrews 1:9 says that God anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows. Hebrews 12:2 says that for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame. He who knew the greatest sorrow and travail of soul, also knows the greatest joy among all those who are His brethren. Upon Him was heaped the greatest shame and reproach possible for He bore ALL our sins to Calvary, and to Him belongs all the glory and honor and praise. Bless His wonderful Name! And hear me today, beloved� tho the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ shall suffer the greatest sorrow, travail, grief, and innumerable reproaches in bringing this Manchild company into existence, yet they shall know a joy that is absolutely beyond description with our weak human vocabularies. Those who enter into the actual experience of the Feast of Tabernacles, who taste of the realities of which that feast is a type, shall discover that it is a feast of Joy. For in Lev. 23:40 we are instructed to "rejoice before the Lord your God", throughout the seven days of the feast. And Deut. 16:34 says: "Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days �and thou shalt REJOICE in thy feast." Hallelujah! Sons of God weep through the night, for in the morning thou shalt have joy and laughter, and tears and sorrow shall flee away. Let your heart travail before God, for this that He would do must come forth in sorrow. But know this, that with travailing shall come a glorious complete victory, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it! Look up, Jabez, thou man of sorrow, for joy is set before thee!
Born in Obscurity
History knows nothing of Jabez. He was God's man. He was great only in the eyes of the Lord. Who was his father? Who was his mother? Was he the father of a great nation? What did he accomplish in life? No one knows. He is simply one of God's "Are-Nots". 1 Cor. 1:28 tells us that God hath chosen the "things which are not, to bring to nought things that are": "FOR YOU SEE YOUR CALLING BRETHREN, HOW THAT NOT MANY WISE MEN AFTER THE FLESH, NOT MANY MIGHTY, NOT MANY NOBLE, ARE CALLED". God chooses. And God chose Jabez. A strange unknown to the Jewish historians, a Holy Ghost interruption and interjection into the midst of their man made order. This is the picture of God's Manchild in the end of the age. Just as their pattern, Jesus, was an unwanted and unwelcome intruder to the religious orders of His day, disrupting their ecclesiastical systems by a mighty manifestation of the power and glory of God. Just so, His Body shall bring a mighty deliverance to the sick and oppressed of the nations of the world, but they shall never be accepted by the religious systems and ecclesiastical order. Never. It is not the great ones, the mighty, the noble that He hath called, but rather the humble and simple people who are willing to accept Him as Lord and believe His Word. Quit trying to be somebody, dear ones! Like Jabez, be willing to be a nobody, one of God's "are-nots", that you might be chosen of God. Care not that you are not blazing a bright trail across the pages of history, doing great exploits that make men wonder, and making a name that men will exalt and long remember. Desire only to be in the perfect will of God, glorifying and exalting our wonderful Jesus!
A Higher Calling
"JABEZ WAS MORE HONORABLE THAN HIS BRETHREN." Here was a man who sought after God, who desired only His will. And the Word says that there was a difference recognized between him and his brethren. Same father, same mother. But a difference. A vast difference if you please. Jacob and Esau were twins, and being the elder Esau had the advantage and in many personal traits he was the more admirable. His father Isaac loved Esau and intended to give him the blessing. But Jacob was one who hungered for the blessing of God, and he respected not personal traits, advantages and traditions. He wanted that blessing, and purposed to have it. Esau cared little for spiritual blessings and birthrights. The Word of the Lord was not sacred to him. He was strong, he was self-sufficient, he could take care of himself. His own skill, his works would make a way for Him. But the Bible says that God loved Jacob and hated Esau. God made a difference between them, even before they were born.
There was a difference between Joseph and his brethren, the sons of Jacob. He knew it, and they also knew it and hated him for it. He had a calling of God on his life that they did not have. He hungered after the things of God, while they devised ways of getting rid of him. "He was more honorable than his brethren." This difference between him and his brethren took him in strange places, on perilous journeys, through many testings and trials until it brought him to that place of finding the purpose of God in his life and fulfilling the Word of the Lord. He sat upon the throne and ruled with his King.
Beloved, regardless of what man may say, there IS a higher calling. There IS a difference between the Elect of God and their "brethren". God has chosen. Know that "whosoever will may be saved". But we are not dealing in this message with the "Whosoever will" of God. We are dealing with the Jabez company, the Chosen. One of the most violent criticisms of the Sonship message is that some fear we are trying to make ourselves better than others. "All are the same" they cry. But the Bible says that all are not the same. Some press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, while others are willing to settle for a "heaven to gain and a hell to shun". And it is not a matter of making yourself better than others� for Romans 9:16 is plain: "SO THEN IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, NOR OF HIM THAT RUNNETH, BUT OF GOD THAT SHEWETH MERCY." There is no boasting in this for you sir, for this is the election of God.
But there is something you can do to keep yourself available to be chosen of God. You can keep your heart clean, desiring only Jesus and His will for your life. Eliab was the eldest of eight sons of Jesse. He was a strong, handsome young man, with many advantages. But when the prophet of God was sent to the house of Jesse to anoint the next King of Israel, and would have anointed Eliab� God spoke to him that he was in error because he was looking upon the outward appearance, while God looked upon the heart. And He saw something in Eliab's heart that disqualified him for the throne. Oh, he was from the right father, he was in the right family. But his heart was not right. So Samuel had to wait until they sent for David. He was the youngest, the least likely, just a stripling. But his heart was right. Hear me today, dear ones, there is a High Calling of God in Christ Jesus, and it is for those who have a right condition of heart. Jabez had the right kind of heart. He desired and hungered after the things of God. And he was more honorable than his brethren. Don't blame it on me, but I tell you there IS a difference. God made it so. And it led David to the Throne. So shall it be with God's elect. Out of the man-made ruts of denominational and sectarian systems, a glorious army of saints arise to be caught up in the divine purposes of Almighty God following the pattern Son. "Come out of her, my people" sounds forth the Spirit in thunderous tones, and there is a people who are hearing the first soundings of that trumpet and coming forth to be His alone. They will not be loved by those who refuse to hear the call of God. They will be misunderstood, rejected, and lied about. In 1 Sam. 17:30, we see David turning away from his own brother because of the scorn and opposition he received in moving toward the purpose of God in his life. It seems like those who are Christians, and preachers, should be the first to encourage you in going on with God into a higher calling and greater glory. But it is not always so. Some of your greatest opposition will come from those from whom you expected encouragement. But dare to press on into God! There is a difference, and others cannot understand why, but God knows, and our conforming is to His image alone.
As Jabez prayed, there was evidenced an intensity, an anguish of soul in the first word of his prayer. "Oh!" he cried, out of the very depths of his being. This was no "Now I lay me down to sleep" type of prayer. This was not something read out of a prayer-book, or a prayer memorized from the "good old days". In the travail of his soul and his great desire to win a glorious victory in this spiritual battle, he laid his heart bare before God. Beloved the day for "playing church" is over. God has tolerated much foolishness in the past, and "winked at our ignorance". But now He is calling forth an army who will rise into the heavenlies and put the enemy to flight. Our call is to build up and edify the Body of Christ, that they might tear down the strongholds of Satan and defeat the powers of darkness. This will take a people who are willing to come to grips with the realities of life.
One thing we know about Jabez's activities--he was a man of prayer. He knew God in an intimate way, and he believed in prayer. He called upon God because he had faith that God was able and willing and that the answer would come. The things he desired were impossible in the natural, so he went to the one who could and would do the impossible. Oh, beloved, dare to believe and ask for the impossible. For it is the impossible that we must have to meet the need of a dying world. We must have the power of the supernatural, for the natural man cannot meet the tremendous needs facing us today. But let me add a word of caution. Some dear misguided folks are getting so supernatural these days that they don't seem to need prayer. They have no use for the Bible, the written Word of God. They claim to be walking in heavenly places, so why should they be so earthly as to pray and read the Bible like the rest of us poor folks have to do? Why should they pray to Christ in heaven, lifting up their hands, when they have the Christ within? Why should they read what they call the "dead letter" of the written Word, when they claim that they have the living Word within, and what they speak is as inspired as what Jeremiah or Joel spoke? The trouble with that is it doesn't work and it isn't working in them. Of course, their failures to give life to their claims can be spiritualized away (if you have a strong stomach and a slightly seared over conscience and don't mind violating the plain teachings of Scripture).
Actually, their claims are a large part of their downfall, for one error leads to another. And when a boastful claim is finally exposed by Scripture, they have to propound another error in order to explain away that Scripture. On and on. There is no claims, but he knew how to think big and ask largely. Those who are coming into true Sonship are not found making big claims about themselves, their ministry, or their spirituality. They do not need to make claims, for that which God is bringing them into is so much greater than anything they could ask or think or boast about. And just a glimpse of even a part of this glorious inheritance humbles their hearts, for they are made to realize how little they deserve it, and that it cometh not by their works or their knowledge. A revelation of the Grace of God floods their souls like a mighty tidal wave sweeping in upon a parched land! Oh, how good God is!
It's You I Want Lord
"OH THAT THOU WOULDEST BLESS ME INDEED", Jabez cried. And when we get a revelation of the grace of God, how it makes our hearts fill up with praises to our wonderful Lord! How our mouths are filled with laughter and our tongues with singing! No one else can satisfy the desire of our soul, it takes Him alone. The things of the world hold no charm, the ambitions of life fade into insignificance before the ever increasing brightness of His glory. Hallelujah! Hast thou sacrificed earthly things for the Lord thy God? Hast thou done without for His name's sake? Why does they heart ask if the Lord hath seen? Is not His eye ever upon His own? Dost thou think that what the Lord thy God hath prepared for thee is any less than that which thou has given up in this world? Nay! But know thou this day that thy heart shall be amazed at that which the Lord shall do for those who follow on to know Him in His fulness. So let thy heart desire only Him, and let thy mouth speak only of His goodness, so shall the way be open for an abundant entrance into the Kingdom which the Father hath prepared for His own! Glory to God in the Highest!
"That THOU wouldest bless". Jabez wanted the perfect will of God. Before he asked for anything else, he asked for that which the Lord would desire. This is the attitude of the true sons of God, those today who are finding that the great desire of their hearts is to do always that which pleased Him. Jesus, the Pattern, was a perfect example of this. In John chapter 8, verse 29, Jesus spoke: "AND HE THAT SENT ME IS WITH ME: THE FATHER HATH NOT LEFT ME ALONE; FOR I DO ALWAYS THOSE THINGS THAT PLEASE HIM". Most church trouble usually starts when someone doesn't get THEIR way. But in Sonship, they don't care to have their own way, and knowing that He is on the Throne and is going to have His way in spite of what man will do, brings a wonderful rest and delivers from all strife.
Enlarge My Coast
Now we come to the heart of his request, Jabez found that as he moved in the purposes of God for his life, there was a necessity for enlargement. One time this place was large enough, but no longer. His growth in God brought fresh and increased vision, and moved his horizons back. Ever onward and upward is the direction of those who are hearing the voice of God in our generation. For we find we have not reached the ultimate in God, we have not found the end of "the unsearchable riches of Christ". When you quit pushing back, the horizons close in upon you and become high walls that hold you bound in man's sectarian ways and beliefs. When you stop enlarging your place in God, then you begin to shrivel up into a tiny dried up memorial of better yesterdays.
There is a promise of God in Deut. 19:20 that "THE LORD THY GOD SHALL ENLARGE THY BORDER, AS HE HATH PROMISED THEE". And there is a challenge to us in Isa. 54:2 as the prophet makes clear our responsibility to act upon the promise of God--"ENLARGE THE PLACE OF THY TENT, AND LET THEM STRETCH FORTH THE CURTAINS OF THING HABITATIONS: SPARE NOT, LENGTHEN THY CORDS, AND STRENGTHEN THY STAKES." When a movement becomes stationary, it turns into a monument and the picture is not pretty to those who see by the eye of the Spirit. But somehow, there has always been a remnant, an elect whose hearts heard the call of the Spirit to move on into greater things in the progressive purposes of God. History is a strange thing, how it repeats itself in principle. Yet it seems there are so many who cannot learn from it. They have fallen into the same snare of their forefathers. And the Elect of God have continued to "come out of her". A Revival becomes a movement. Leaders arise. Horizons are set. Borders are recognized. Stakes are driven. Theology becomes static, experiences become doctrine and theory. The movement organizes and becomes another denomination. With God preaching the funeral and the heavenly host acting as pall bearers, the burial is complete. But God calls life out of death, draws forth a living organism out of the organizations of man, and the march is on again! Glory to God, brother, you can't keep those who have heard the voice of the Spirit from pressing into the One who has called them into a life of progressive reality.
The Bed is Too Short
Isa. 28:20 says: "FOR THE BED IS SHORTER THAN THAT A MAN CAN STRETCH HIMSELF ON IT: AND THE COVERING NARROWER THAN THAT HE CAN WRAP HIMSELF IN IT." What a miserable night you'll have trying to fit into a bed that once had room to turn around in. What has happened? Has the bed shrunk? No, the man has grown. If he doesn't grow according to the natural processes, he becomes a monstrosity, and a freak. How the church world is flooded with spiritual freaks who have failed to grow, and now cannot find their way out of their baby beds. Many are so tangled up in their "coverings" that they are smothering to death.
Notice that the bed is shorter than a man can stretch on� it is not too short for babies. Our little baby is perfectly happy with sleeping in a bed in which I would be absolutely miserable. In fact, my 200 pounds would probably break it down if I tried to get into it. I once preached for a dear brother who lived in some Sunday School rooms in the church, and his living quarters were quite limited. He and his wife had a small room converted into a bedroom for themselves, and their three small children all slept in another room in a baby bed and two small bunk beds. When I arrived, they put the baby in the bed with them, put their little girl in the baby bed and� guess where I slept? Right! In the youth bed which was far too narrow and over a foot too short. For me, that is. It was just the right size for the child. Nothing wrong with the bed. Just that it was not built for a man. And I had grown to a maturity beyond where I could be satisfied with that which had suited me fine in days gone by. Oh, dear ones, recognize what has happened to you. You have been feeding on the good Word of God, and your growth has gone beyond the static theologies and methods of yesterday. Quit trying to stretch the old cover to fit you, and stop trying to cramp your growing spirit into the old beds where others seem able to sleep on in their graveyard peace. All you will be able to do is rip the covers and kick the slats out of the bed, and they won't like it at all. I'm speaking, of course, to those who are growing to maturity in Him. Know where you are in God. Enlarge your coast, push back your limitations, stretch out your horizons and lengthen your cords. God is on the move, and so are His people, His own, His Elect!
A New Coat Every Year
There's a beautiful story in the Bible about the Spirit bringing forth a Prophet to judge Israel. He started with the barren woman. Then He brought a tiny baby into the picture. But the baby grew, a steady progressive growth. The story is told in the first three chapters of first Samuel. And in chapter 2 verses 18-19 we read: "BUT SAMUEL MINISTERED BEFORE THE LORD, BEING A CHILD, GIRDED WITH A LINEN EPHOD, MOREOVER HIS MOTHER MADE HIM A LITTLE COAT, AND BROUGHT IT TO HIM FROM YEAR TO YEAR, WHEN SHE CAME UP WITH HER HUSBAND TO OFFER THE YEARLY SACRIFICE". What a lovely picture of motherly love. Tho she had given him to the Lord, yet there was still a care for his needs, and a constant remembrance. Also what a picture of growth. For why did Hannah bring a new coat every year? Why did she not make one tough enough and sturdy enough to last several years? A man who has reached the end of his growing period may wear a coat for several years. I have two winter suits which I bought while I was still working for an insurance company in Oklahoma several years ago. My summer suit was bought for me by a church on the East Coast nearly three years ago. And they still fit, and as long as they hold together I don't intend to buy any more. But my boys have to have new clothes every year, and it seems that my dear wife is always working on a dress for one of the girls. Because they hardly get a coat or pair of shoes broke in good till they're growing out of them.
And Samuel was a growing boy. And his mother was wise enough to know that. So with loving hands she made him a new coat every year. One that would fit him, and meet his growing needs. Would to God that religious leaders of today were as wise. They seem to think that once they have received some experience and established some doctrines and written down their statement of fundamental beliefs, that God will never speak again or that His people will never receive any more from God or grow beyond their limited little boundaries. In the natural, parents are brought each fall to the shocking realization of the facts of life. School starts, and the barefoot boy goes to put on his shoes only to discover that he can't get his feet into them� And the winter coat that was so warm last winter and is not near worn out, suddenly seems to have shrunk until the sleeves come halfway to the elbow, and the button cannot stretch to the button-holes. What has happened? Your boy is growing, mother. And you might as well make up your mind to get him some clothes that fit, or you'll never get him to the schoolhouse. For he'll go to the woods and play hookey rather than face his fellow students with his overalls halfway to his knees and buttons popping all over. Yet in the spiritual, some of God's people who have seen the truth and have grown in God seem to think that they can continue to wear the trappings of a Revival 40 years in the past. And those who continue to try to stir up the dead ashes of a move of the Spirit that God gave 12 or 15 years ago should learn something from Sister Hannah. She knew that this thing had to be enlarged continually to take care of the needs of God's Prophet.
For he was not going to quit growing just because of something good and beautiful that had been given to him last year. And this truth, dear ones, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hallelujah to His great Name!
Thine Hand with Me
Notice that with every enlargement in God comes a renewed attack by the forces of hell, and a greater need for the next part of the prayer of Jabez: "ENLARGE MY COAST, AND THAT THINE HAND MIGHT BE WITH ME." Don't you know, Jabez, that it's the hand that holds the rod and administers discipline? Oh, yes, but you see, sir, His rod and His chastisements comfort me. They make me to know that I'm His son. So I long for His hand to be with me, in fact I need it for my perfection. God gave the 5 ministry gifts known as the "hand" ministry, for the perfecting of the saints. Appreciate them, and be glad for them, beloved. For though the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers mentioned in Eph. 4:11 may be used of God to administer discipline at times, it is for your edification and good. But God's hand is not only a chastising hand, it is also a protective and giving hand.
Thou Openest Thine Hand
In Psa. 145:14-16 we read these inspired words: "THE LORD UPHOLDETH ALL THAT FALL, AND RAISETH UP ALL THOSE THAT BE BOWED DOWN. THE EYES OF ALL WAIT UPON THEE: AND THOU GIVEST THEM THEIR MEAT IN DUE SEASON. THOU OPENEST THINE HAND, AND SATISFIETH THE DESIRE OF EVERY LIVING THING. Now, there is so much in this portion of the scripture that we couldn't possibly get to it in one message. But the one thought that I want to draw your attention to is contained in these words: "THOU OPENEST THINE HAND". Notice that it is His hand, and that He has the power to open it. And when it is opened, the desires of all creation are satisfied. Romans chapter 8 gives us the time element for the fulfillment of this promise: "FOR I RECKON THAT THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY WHICH SHALL BE REVEALED IN US. FOR THE EARNEST EXPECTATION OF THE CREATION WAITETH FOR THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD. BECAUSE THE CREATION ITSELF ALSO SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. FOR WE KNOW THAT THE WHOLE CREATION GROANETH AND TRAVAILETH IN PAIN TOGETHER UNTIL NOW, AND NOT ONLY THEY, BUT OURSELVES ALSO, WHICH HAVE THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, EVEN WE OURSELVES GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY."
Yes, all creation is groaning for the full opening of God's hand. And we ourselves groan for this, also. No one longs for this glorious day any more than those who are true ministers of Christ and have been placed as members of the "hand" by the Spirit of God. And the true Body of Christ, like Jabez, earnestly desire the ministry of the hand of the Lord. This ministry, when fully opened and manifested or unveiled to the world, will truly satisfy the desires and longings of every living thing.
Not a Clenched Fist
God knows that we have had too much of closed fist type of ministry. The Body of Christ in general has suffered much from being beaten down by a clenched fist ministry that cared little for their needs and desires. And this has not been limited to denominations and sectarian ecclesiastical orders. Many are the non-denominational or "independent" preachers who have made merchandise of the people of God and used them for their own gain. The closed fist is a grasping hand, always taking from the people, but never able to give. Never satisfied, never full, but eternally grasping for more until the people are drained and empty. And then the clenched fist becomes a club to beat them into a discouraged defeat. And something else. The clenched fist is a fighting hand, always full of strife, never able to make peace. How often we have heard them say in a harsh, belligerent voice: "I'm going to contend for the faith". Yes, they're contentious alright. What they really mean is, that if you don't line up with their ideas and measure up to their standards, they will beat you into line. God open YOUR hand and deliver us from the closed fist of man.
The Open Hand of God
God has a ministry that is willing to open and give to edify the Body. This giving does not always involve finances. Many of God's true ministers have no money to give, but they give of themselves. The open hand is a giving hand. Some have learned the truth and beauty of Prov. 13:7: "THERE IS THAT MAKETH HIMSELF RICH, YET HATH NOTHING: THERE IS THAT MAKETH HIMSELF POOR, YET HATH GREAT RICHES". God is the greatest giver we know of. He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus gave Himself because of a giving heart of love for us. If men of God could only learn this fact and learn it good: that you don't lose anything by giving. I have seen pastors who were afraid to give a good offering to an evangelist or missionary, afraid for the money to leave the church, thinking it would hurt his own offering. Yet he sat in that church almost starved out, wondering why the people were not more generous with him. I'll tell you why. Like begets like, and he had brought forth a church full of stingy people and imparted his own stingy spirit to them. God has a giving hand.
An open hand is a helping hand. Many people have no time for anyone but themselves and perhaps those they feel will return the favor. But believe this if you can� there IS a ministry in the land that wants to help you. Their only purpose of existence, and their only desire in the ministry is that they might be a blessing to you, the Body of Christ. Jesus always had time for one who was in need. The multitudes told Zaccheus that Jesus had no time for the likes of him. But Jesus stopped in his journey, brought this man to a place of repentance, and then went home for dinner with him. The disciples told the children to run on and play, for they were too important and on too great a mission to be bothered with the problems of children. But not Jesus. He stopped all his great activity, and took the little children up in His arms and blessed them. Glory to God, isn't He wonderful? A lowly beggar sat by the road begging for alms. One day he heard a loud commotion of a great multitude of people. He was told that it was Jesus. He was on His way to Jerusalem where in a few days he could die on the cross for the sins of a lost world. But when the beggar cried for help, the multitudes told him to be quiet. Jesus had a great multitude thronging about Him, and the needs of the whole world on his heart. He has no time for the likes of you, they told the beggar. But they didn't know the extent of His helping hand. For while Calvary waited, and the whole multitude was kept standing in perplexed silence, Jesus called for the blind beggar and gave him his heart's desire. He was God's great giver. How many times God has blessed a man with a gift and a ministry that has caused the multitudes to flock about him. The adulation of the public does something to a man. It either brings him to a recognition of his weakness and helplessness and drives him to God in humility, or else it turns his head and causes him to start thinking that he is something big and important after all. And sometimes men who were once humble and helpful get so "big" that they no longer have a helping hand. Oh, they can perform very nicely on the platform, they are full of beautiful oratory and can "operate their gift" amazingly. They are like an actor on a stage. But the open hand, the helping hand, is gone. God's hand is a helping hand.
It is also a hand of fellowship. It is an open hand I offer you in fellowship when I want to shake your hand. The clenched fist is no sign of fellowship. It is a symbol of domination, of conquering. But an open hand, offered in fellowship, is a hand of equality. Too long we have had a clamoring for position in the ministry. Too long there has been a constant struggle to see who was going to be "top dog". There seems to be a gentlemen's agreement that someone has to be "boss" and the question is, who is going to be shrewd enough to make it to the top? Every religious system is filled with political maneuverings in high places, with underhand scheming and conniving, and with a constant undercurrent of struggle. What for? To "work your way up" to a position of authority over other men. Every flattering title, such as Reverend, Bishop, Presbyter, Superintendent, Overseer, His Holiness, His Imminence, Father, Cardinal, Pope, etc. etc� (Some of them good scriptural terms if used in their proper relationship and setting) is the result of just such a closed fist ministry. Why can we not have an open hand of fellowship, of equality, of harmony and unity where no one minister desires to lord it over his brethren? Well, we can. And God is now restoring just such an open hand ministry. Praise God!
When I have to discipline my children, I don't do it with a clenched fist in their faces, but I do it with an open hand applied to a place God made for just such a purpose. Two years ago when our baby was just a year old, I was preaching in a little country church in Kansas for a week. Suddenly in a service one day she got real rebellious and hard to manage. No amount of persuasion could control the situation. I finally took her out in the vestibule, rolled up her diaper and applied my hand vigorously to the fat of her little leg until it was good and red. Well, she never had a spanking before, and it came as a real shock to her. I took her back inside, but had to return with her the second time to the vestibule and repeat the performance. It was not pleasant to me at all, but it was a real revelation to her. And it worked. And from then on, when correction was needed, all I had to do was to lay my hand alongside her leg. No spanking was required for quite a long time. Just the remembrance did the work. How like the Lord's dealings with His children. If we will learn our lesson, he can guide us toward maturity with far less chastisement. Some of us are so slow to learn. And some don't seem to remember very long. But He is so tender with us. He doesn't beat us in the face with a clenched fist. Now I love my children very much, and when I correct them I don't do it with the intention of injuring them or permanently damaging their bodies. My family has been a great inspiration to me, and I feel a great responsibility to them, and if there is anything that gets next to me real quick is for someone to try to hurt one of my children. One time we were living in the rear of a church when a drunk man falsely accused one of my boys of hitting his car with a small rock. He caught the boy between the church and the building we were living in, and began beating on him. I heard the boy screaming and ran out to find them both there, with blood coming out the boy's mouth. (It wasn't serious, but I didn't know it then). Well, I tell you folks, I like to think that someday, Jesus will perfect me to the place of being gentle and kind, and longsuffering, etc. But that day it was just the grace of God that kept me from stomping that fellow into the ground. I got pretty excited, and it was just the Lord that kept me from getting involved in some real violence that day. I was ready to use the clenched fist and the only reason I didn't was that the Lord prevented me from it. And I wonder when the Lord sees His own dear children being abused and beaten so much if He doesn't feel like taking some measures against these closed fist ministries that are drunk on their power. Discipline is something God administers with an open hand. Yes, like Jabez, we are crying "That thine hand might be with me". But let it be thy open hand, Lord. Then shall we be edified and satisfied.
Keep Me from Evil
In the next part of his prayer, Jabez deals with a very important part of God's nature and character, a characteristic that many today seem to have forgotten. Hear me today, friend, and learn this well� our God is a God of holiness, and those who are truly going on with God in this or any other hour are saying with Jabez: "KEEP ME FROM EVIL, THAT IT MAY NOT GRIEVE ME!" Sin grieves the heart of God, and it also grieves the sons of God. When someone tells you that they now have a revelation that lets them drink beer and whiskey, indulge in illicit sex and others lusts of the flesh, you can be sure of one thing� their revelation is from the pit, and that's right where it's dragging them. For true revelation from heaven will set your face toward a life of holiness. Oh, I know we make a mess of it, and our own efforts of righteousness turns out to be as filthy rags. That's why we cry with Jabez� "Lord YOU keep me from evil". I cannot attain holiness by my own efforts, it must come by the grace and mercy of God. You must do it, Lord. But this is the cry of every heart who is truly going into sonship. Keep me from evil. Jesus walked in an ugly, dirty, world, a world that was full of sin and rotten to the core, but sin could not touch Him. He loved sinners, but He hated sin. He sat down with them and partook of their food and fellowship, but he could not partake of their sin. He loved to be with people, but their sin grieved Him. And He gave all that He had. His pure holy life, that He might deliver us from sin and death. To get a revelation on what sin does to the heart of Jesus, when He sees it in His children, is one of the greatest motivations to drive us to the cross of Christ and make us turn our back on the tempting forces of earth. God gave instructions to engrave in gold the words: "HOLINESS TO THE LORD", and put them on the forehead of the High Priest. Much can be said on this, and will be said in a later message, but know thou this, child of God� sin grieves God, and the true sons of God are, like Jabez, crying out against it.
And God Heard and Answered
The closing words of our text is "AND GOD GRANTED HIM THAT WHICH HE REQUESTED". And God granted. Praise God for His marvelous grace! Thank God that we have One who is ABLE to grant. Nothing is too hard for Him. There is nothing you can ask for that He can't give. There is so much we don't deserve and so much we can't earn. But it doesn't come by works or righteousness. It is only the grace of God. When we can see this, and confess it, you will find that it will open up a channel through which He can bless you like you've never been blessed before. If we expect blessings because of what we are or what we've done, then He is limited so much as to what He can give us. But if we accept on the basis of what HE is and what HE has done, then the limitations are done away. And He delights in blessing us abundantly.
"THAT WHICH HE REQUESTED." He got what he asked for. Perhaps like I have often done, he may have wondered why he didn't ask for more. For God could have done even greater things for him, if he had asked. Learn from Jabez, beloved, and ask largely that your joy might be full. For truly, this man of God, one of God's unknown and unsung heroes, is a wonderful picture of the Elect of God, His Overcomer Body of end-time Sons. Take heart, saints, for he has your picture and description already written in the pages of His eternal Book!
The Incomparable Christ
More than nineteen hundred years ago there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which He lived; that was during His exile in childhood.
He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous, and had neither training nor formal education.
In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the billows as if pavements, and hushed the sea to sleep.
He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His service.
He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries of the country could not hold the books that have been written about Him.
He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined.
He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students.
He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under His order, made more rebels stack arms and surrender without a shot fired.
He never practiced psychiatry, and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near.
Once each week the wheels of commerce cease their turning and multitudes wend their way to worshipping assemblies to pay homage and respect to Him.
The names of the past proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone; but the name of this Man abounds more and more. Though time has spread nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and the scene of His crucifixion, yet He still lives. Herod could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him.
He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the living, personal Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
A Corn of Wheat
"We want to see Jesus! We want to see Jesus!" This has been the cry of humanity ever since the Greeks came to Philip in John 12:21 at the Passover feast. The answer of Jesus in verses 24-25 was that "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." And in verses 32-33 it tells us that he is discussing his death: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die."
Jesus knew that the Life that was in Him was the answer to the needs of the world. But He also knew that working in one physical body, with geographical limitations of being able to be in only one place at a time was not the answer. He knew that for all the world to see Jesus, He would have to be glorified, lifted up from the earth realm, and His Life planted in humanity so as to bring forth a great harvest in others. Plain and simple, this is what He is saying in John 12:23-33. Simple arithmetic bears this out. If He came back to earth and gave each person 6 minutes for a private conference, it would take him more than 100 years (working day and night, 7 days a week) just to see the people in New York City alone. In fact, he would never finish, for new people would be born faster than he could interview the present living ones. If every person living now on earth were to spend one hour alone with Jesus, it would take 400,000 years for Him just to see those now living! Even if he preached to an audience of 1,000 every hour, 24 hours a day, it would take 400 years for the present population of the world to hear him. Can you imagine standing in line for 400,000 years just to get one hour with Jesus? I know this sounds silly, but I must shock you and awake you to the truth of the real plan of God!
Jesus was a Divine Seed. He was that Living Word, planted into humanity, that brings forth a harvest in His own likeness. John 1:4 says "In Him was life", implying that outside him there was no life. This is true. The earth produced a vegetable life, and there was an animal life also. There was even a human life in the world. But all this "life" was only a mortal (or dying) life. There was no divine life outside Jesus. He only has immortal life, eternal life, and this is the life that He is imparting to humanity through His death, burial and resurrection!
In order to reproduce himself, he had to find soil that would receive him. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not, but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:11-12). Angels could not receive or produce this life, for angels are spirits, and this life had to be planted in earth, in the Adamic soil. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels" (2 Cor. 4:7). Praise God, He found that soil, that earth which would receive the living Word and bring forth in His likeness. Rom. 8:29 says: "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
The reproduction of this divine life is brought out plainly in 1 Cor. 15:45-49. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Heb. 1 and Col. 1 tells us that Jesus was the express image of the Father, the "image of the invisible God". Not physically, for the Father has no physical body. He is Spirit, invisible, and omnipresent. It was the nature of the Father that Jesus expressed on earth in the sight of men. Man could not understand the nature and substance of God in His omnipresent, invisible form. So Jesus became His image and expressed Him in a physical, visible body, in a language we could understand. "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." (1 John 1:14). And in 1 John 1:1-2 we read: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us)".
Now the Father is saying: "Son, you gave me your body as a vehicle of expression, that I might reveal myself and unveil my glory to this world. Now you have laid that life down, and have given that body over to death, that out of death I might bring forth a body for you, through which you can express yourself, and which will bear your image in the earth." "A body has thou prepared me" (Heb. 10:5). "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular" (1 Cor. 12:27). "But now are they many members, yet but one body" (1 Cor. 12:20). A many membered body for Jesus, for the expression of the Christ life in humanity! Glory to God what a plan!
He Bought a Field
Jesus gave us a parable in Matt. 13:44, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field." Now this story is not about you finding salvation, and buying it. You did not buy your salvation, it was the gift of God. The kingdom is like a treasure hid in a field. That earthen field is you. The kingdom is in you, but hidden, veiled by flesh. Jesus found it, and "for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross" and bought that field. He paid the price, in full. He not only bought the hidden treasure, he bought the field also. He purchased your earthen vessel, and he has an eternal plan for it. "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your Body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:20). Your body has been purchased, as well as your spirit. What is he going to do with this earthen body of ours? According to Phil. 3:21, he is going to change this body and make it like unto his body of glory. Not do away with it, or leave it in the grave, as some erroneously teach. But he will take this very earthly tabernacle we now live in, and change it into a glorious and eternal temple. "We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed." (1 Cor. 15:51).
To see the price he paid for this field, turn to 2 Cor. 8:9� "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich". What a powerful scripture! Rich, yet making himself poor. Selling all that he had, to buy that field. So that the treasure in that field might be redeemed and uncovered, unveiled, revealed, manifested. Phil. 2:6-8 (Amp) tells us that Jesus was essentially one with God and in the form of God, but emptied himself, stripped himself of all his heavenly glory, made himself poor, so as to suffer the awful poverty of death. Why? In order to plant that divine life in the earth of humanity, so that we might grow up into his likeness, bear his image, and share that eternal glory that he has with the Father. That we might be rich. That we might be what he was before he became poor! Glory to God!
A Living Harvest
Let me read you our text again in John 12:24 in the Amplified Bible: "I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain, never becomes more but lives by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest." When Jesus came into this world, he alone had life. There were no others capable of producing life. 1 Cor. 15:45 says that the first Adam was a living soul, but of the earth earthy. No life in him, just as earth or soil cannot produce a harvest without seed. But the last Adam (Jesus) was a life giving spirit. But that life remained in the seed until it was buried in the earth. The seed alone had life, there were no others like it.
When Jesus walked this earth, he manifested the realm of Sonship. But he was alone in that realm. There were no other sons, no one else with the divine life of God, no one who could understand him or fellowship with him. "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." (John 1:10). "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" John says. Even John the Baptist, who had received divine revelation on the identity of Jesus, began to have his doubts as he sat in jail. He sent messengers to get more proof and reassurance. His enemies did not know who he was. They thought he was everything from and illegitimate troublemaker to a devil, but they would not receive him as Son of God. His friends thought he might be a reincarnated prophet, at least a good man with love and compassion. But they knew nothing of Sonship. By divine inspiration, the disciples received the revelation that he was the son of the living God. But they did not understand the realm of Sonship.
One time, in Luke chapter nine, a village of the Samaritans refused to receive Jesus. James and John were furious, and asked the Lord if he wanted them to call fire down from heaven and burn up those wicked people, as the prophet once did. But he rebuked James and John. They did not understand the realm of Sonship. They still lived in the realm of the prophets. But the realm of Sonship was much higher. It was not a destroying power, it was a life giving ministry. They could understand the Prophet, for he walked in the same life and the same spirit they walked in. But here was a New Creation Man, a Son of God. Nothing else like it on the earth. And they couldn't understand it. It was a lonely life, living in a world where he was the only inhabitant. But his determination was to populate that realm of Sonship with many others, brethren in his own image. Even Peter could not fellowship him on this high plane of the God-Life of Sonship. Immediately after Peter received the revelation that Jesus was the Son of God, in Matt. 16:16, we find him in verse 22 rebuking Jesus because of the message of the cross. Jesus turned to him and said "thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." He could not even communicate with Peter on the realm of Sonship.
Oh friends, let me tell you that this higher dimension of the Spirit is a lonely place at present. Not many can understand what you are going though, what you are hearing from God. Just as Jesus had to find his fellowship with the Father alone, rising many times before day and going into the mountains to pray, just so there is a place the sons walk in today that only God can understand. And the further we go in Sonship, the more unexplainable this place becomes to those who are NOT in it.
But thank God, there is a harvest coming from this divine seed, this firstborn son of God. This new world, the world of Sonship, will be fully populated. Jesus will have fellowship with those who have suffered as he suffered, who have become joint heirs with him of all he possesses. This is the purpose of God of planting this first Corn of Wheat into the earth of humanity. The full harvest will bring forth on various planes. There will be a 30 fold harvest, a "doubles portion" or 60 fold, and a "fulness" or 100 fold. At present we are looking for the firstfruits of the harvest, that body of sons who shall be manifested to deliver the creation from the groaning bondage of death. All of this from that one Corn of Wheat! Praise God!
The Harvest Reaped
There will be no reaping of the harvest, no gathering it into the Father's barns, until it has come to it's full maturity. Many who do not really believe in mature Sonship try to quote the part of a verse in 1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God," but they fail to go on with the rest of the verse: "And it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is". No, the truth of the harvest does not do away with the literal personal return of our Lord Jesus to this earth. We shall see him. "Unto them that look for him shall he appear". And the fact that we are babes in Christ, children of God, and sons growing up into full maturity, does not do away with the fact that this harvest must come to full maturity before it is reaped. "Behold, the husbandman (God) waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it" (James 5:7).
Jesus said in Mark 4:28-29, "The earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come." When the farmer first sees the blade come up from the ground, he is not disgusted with his crop and ready to plow it under. He knows that it is perfect to it's present stature, and that given time and the right conditions, it will continue to grow until the full corn appears. The sun shines, then the clouds appear. The thunder rolls, the lightning flashes, and the rains fall. Then the sun reappears, and completes the work of maturing the corn. But there is no reaping until that which appears in the field bears the exact image of that which was planted. Not only the image, but also the life-giving qualities.
So we have His life within us. But we still remain attached to this earth realm. Not cut loose and brought into the higher kingdom realm yet. "We shall all be changed" not yet fulfilled in us. Paul says, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality�" (1 Cor. 15:54). He indicates here that this has not yet been done, as long as we dwell in this mortal or dying realm. There is yet a reaping. A reaping of the fully matured harvest. And it shall bear the exact likeness of the One who was planted, that first Corn of Wheat. So that if you were to see the first Seed and a harvest seed together, you couldn't tell the difference. John, on the isle of Patmos, couldn't tell the difference. God took him by the Sprit into the new age, and twice he fell down to worship one who was in the image of Christ (Rev. 19:10, 22:8), and both times had to be told not to do it, that the messenger was only one of the saints. "Worship God". That first corn of wheat is the only one who has ascended back into Deity, as well as giving his life and image to humanity. Worship Him! Praise Him forever!
What is Sonship Really Like?
After twenty chapters of describing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John finally summarizes it all up in John 20:31� "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have LIFE through his name".
So this is the heart of the Gospel. He has done all these things to show us what the Anointed One is really like. For we are part of him, bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, members of his Body. And that we might see the realm of Sonship in action, for this is the place we are to dwell. We must know how to act. We must know what our privileges are. So he shows us what a Son of God is like. And that through his name, we might believe our way into this same Life!
This is the Gospel. This is the good news for humanity. We will be like Jesus. We are to bear his image. To sit with him on his throne. To share his glory, and his inheritance. Oh yes, this has made good theology, but was never brought into a realm of reality. Somehow, someday, somewhere beyond the blue we would see him and be like him. But here on this earth? In front of the heathen of this world? No one seemed able to believe for such as this. But it is so anyhow. Men's doubts and fearful arguments will never prevent it from coming. Praise God! He has decreed it. It is according to his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord!
There will be a harvest. The harvest will produce a multitude of sons in the image and with the life of the Son of God, until the knowledge of His glory covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. Heaven is real, and will be entered into by those for whom it is prepared. The body of that first-born Son has not been destroyed, and He shall be seen again. But let me say to you that He will be seen on this earth by the nations of the world in His Body of Sons, and they will know that they have seen the Christ, the Son of the living God. And the Kingdom of God shall come to this earth, the will of God will be done here, and this shall be as great as any heaven you've ever dreamed of.
Greater Works Shall Ye Do
Jesus healed the sick, cast out devils and raised the dead to demonstrate the privileges of him who walks in the Kingdom realm, above the limitations of this earthly life. Blind eyes were opened and the lame made to walk without any failures, to show that there is nothing hard for the New Creation Man. He has shown us the way. He has fully demonstrated Sonship. All the things that He did had divine purpose. He triumphed over all the powers of darkness and put them to an open shame. The battle is won. For those who walk in His footsteps and bear His image in the earth, there is nothing hard about casting out devils or raising the dead. The New Creation Man has absolute dominion over all the works of God's hands. All creation bows to his authority. He who walks entirely in the Spirit and is no longer bound to the earth, knows no limitations. He who no longer draws his life and strength from earth, but is cut loose and gathered into the Father's barn, cannot be touched by Satan. Satan knows his limitations. He had the promise from God in the garden of Eden that "dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life". So as long as we bear the image of that one (Adam) who is of the earth earthy, we are Satan's rightful food. But as we put on the image of that heavenly one, that life-giving spirit, we no longer are the Serpent's Meat. He no longer has the right to attack us, and he can find nothing in us. When the sons of God have then ministered this life to the world, until the Adamic nature is no longer in evidence, then shall the glory of God cover this earth, and Satan will stave for lack of the old carnal nature to feed upon. Praise God!
Jesus healed multitudes of people in Palestine during his short visit to this earth. But he did not come to heal all the sick or raise all the dead. If this was his purpose in coming to earth, then we'd have to say that he failed, for many were still sick and lame and blind when he left. Many lame were still gathered around the pool of Bethesda and sitting at the Temple gate long after his ascension. But his purpose is coming and walking in the realm of Sonship, was to demonstrate this realm to those who would follow him in here, to open the way for them, to make a way though the Veil, and to plant the life of the Son in us. Glory to God!
"Lift up your hearts and rejoice, oh ye people, for your redemption draweth nigh! It is even at the door. The day is at hand when you shall rise up into a throne that you have never known before. The blessings of heaven are upon you, the grace of God dwelleth in you, and this world will know. For their sakes I'm anointing you and sending you forth, and for their sakes you shall go. I have a surprise for this world, and one they will never guess. For though they have forsaken and rejected and despised me, yet their hearts I'm going to bless. And the surprise is that the life I will bless them with is already in the earth. Yet, it is hidden in the hearts of those who are truly mine, who have tasted of the new birth. For I am going to rip aside the veil of flesh, and reveal and unveil my glory from out of my living temple. How surprised they will be to discover that my glory has been in their midst all the time, veiled in flesh, unknown to those who had only carnal eyes with which to see. But ye, my people, my beloved indeed, have need to rejoice. For you are my battle-axe and weapons of war. With you will I tear down the throne of nations, and the power of Babylon. Not in your own power, for you have none. But in the power and wisdom of your God. For the thrones of this earth, and the kingdoms of this earth have been built by man with the wisdom and strength of Adam. And they shall be destroyed by man who has learned to enter into the wisdom and strength of the eternal God. That destruction shall be eternal. For never again shall carnal man build kingdoms and thrones. Never again shall the flesh rule over my creation. For my kingdom, built by my Son, shall continue forever, and shall rule over creation through all ages. Ye are mine, and I am yours, saith the Lord of heaven and earth. Rejoice, rejoice, and again I say rejoice!"
How Beautiful are the Feet!
Everything about the "new creation man" is described in detail in the Bible. It is hidden in language that the carnal mind cannot understand, known only by the Spirit. But it is there, in specific detail, so that God's elect will not be led astray or deceived by counterfeits or substitutes. However, knowing these things in your mind, having sat under ministries that preach these truths and mentally assenting to them, does not guarantee that you will become a part of that new creation. These truths must become a part of you, and become a living reality in your life. The Word must abide in you.
The scribes and Pharisees in Jesus' day had a theory that I am in agreement with. They believed that there would be a prophecy in the scriptures concerning any major messenger from God that came forth in their day. In other words, they felt that they had a right to judge any move of God by the Word, and that Moses and the prophets would have foretold of events and persons who were to have a great impact on Israel. Now this is a good theory. Jesus said: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not." (Matt. 23:2-3). Tho they knew the letter of the Book, yet they could not do the works of God, for their spirits and their lives were not right. And if your spirit is not right, it is dangerous to try to interpret the divine will. You may read the same Book as others, but you will not see the same truths.
So the Pharisees had the theory, but it produced no life or divine activity in them. When the Wise Men went to Herod to find out where the Christ was to be born, he called the scribes and chief priests together and asked them. They gave him the answer without hesitation (Matt. 2:5), for they knew that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. But were they on the scene, waiting for it, when it happened? NO! They knew what the Book said, but it had not produced any living faith in them. So they missed the greatest even of their lifetime.
Mystery of Bethlehem
Nathanael was one who knew that Christ was to come from Bethlehem. He also knew that there was no prophecy indicating any good thing from God coming out of Nazareth. So when Philip met him and told him that they had found the Christ, he was excited until he found that it was Jesus of Nazareth. Disappointed, his answer was: "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth"? (John 1:46). "Come and see" was Philip's answer, and Nathanael's spirit was right (John 1:47), so he was willing to look. And he found the Christ. Immediately his theological arguments went "out the window", and he confessed that in spite of his lack of understanding the scriptures, this man was the Son of God and the King of Israel.
Actually, Jesus was from Bethlehem, as we all know now. But they didn't know it then. And Jesus obviously didn't bother to set the record straight. It was one of those "blessed stumbling stones" that kept everyone out except those led of the Spirit. It gave those legalistic minded scribes, priests, and Pharisees a way out, a "back door" to escape and justify their rejection of Jesus. God will always give you a way out, if you cannot hear the voice of the Spirit.
In the seventh chapter of John, at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, there was a great controversy over Jesus. Some thought He was God's Man because of the works that He was doing, and the anointing that rested upon Him. But others rejected Him, strangely enough, because of the Scriptures. Verse 40 says: "Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him." And the Pharisees said in verse 52: "Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet."
One time Jesus told them: "Ye have not His Word abiding in you; for whom He hath sent, him ye believe not. Ye search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me". (John 5:38-39). In Hebrews 10:7 the words of Christ are quoted from the Psalms: "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me), to do Thy will, O God." So the first coming of Jesus is described in detail in the Book. His nature, His characteristics, His works, everything about Him is pictured in the O.T. Law and prophets. But only if you have eyes to see by the Spirit.
Who are You, John?
The news of the birth of John the Baptist, with all it's strange events listed in Luke Chapter 1, was noised throughout all Judaea. His father was Zacharias, a well known priest whose lot was to burn incense on the golden altar in the Temple. So John was not a stranger to Jerusalem. And when (In John 1:19) the Pharisees sent priests and Levites out to the River Jordan to ask John "Who art thou?", they didn't mean for him to say "I am John, son of Zacharias the priest." They all knew that. They meant, "Where do you fit in with the fulfillment of prophecy? Where is the Scripture that describes your ministry to Israel?" They knew that with the impact that John was having upon Israel, after 400 years without a prophet, he would be spoken of or described in the scriptures if he was from God. They asked him if he was the Christ that the prophets said was to come, and he answered: "I am not the Christ". Then they asked him if he was the Elijah ministry that Malachi prophesied would come and restore all things. His answer was: "I am not." Then they said: "Art thou that prophet?", referring to a prophecy by Moses in Deut. 18:15, but he answered, "No." In the fullest sense he was absolutely correct in all his answers, tho he did come, as one individual, in the spirit and power of that great last day Elijah ministry, which Jesus himself acknowledges in Matt. 17:11-13, and Matt. 11:14.
"Well then," they said, "If these scriptures do not refer to you or your ministry, just who are you, and where are you described in prophecy?" And he told them: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." (Isa. 40:3). So the coming of John was spoken by the prophet, and even Judas Iscariot was described in Psalms, also speaking of the curse that came upon his children. (Psa. 109:8-9, 54:13-14, 41:9).
The New Creation Man
So the theory of the Pharisees was correct. The Word does describe major prophetic events. And if it was so specific, and in such detail, concerning the first advent of Christ (and other persons connected with Him at the time), how much more will there be a description of the Second Coming and the New Creation Man, that many-membered corporate Son. So if the restoration of that glorious Church is to be a reality in our day, we should be able to look into the Word and let the Spirit show us where we fit into the picture. If it shows us so clearly the glory of the Head, surely it will have something to say about the rest of the Body. For He is one with His body.
The Word is very plain that this new creation Man is a many-membered Body, with Jesus as the Head. The world is waiting for the manifestation of this Man, God's corporate son. There are some things that must happen on this earth in connection with the coming forth of this body of the Overcomer. Isa. 52:7 says: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Now notice several things in this verse: First of all it is "him", a singular and masculine. Not a bride, but a man. Notice that the beauty of this One will be seen in his feet. Praise God! And he has a word for Zion. God reigns, and the watchmen see eye to eye, when God brings again Zion (vs 8). "How beautiful are the feet of HIM". The same thing is said in Nahum 1:15: "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!" Masculine and singular. Now turn to the New Testament and see where Paul quotes this scripture in Romans 10:15, but giving us the fuller revelation of what God is saying: "As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!"
One New Man
Now Paul was not ignorantly misquoting a scripture. The Holy Spirit is revealing here that we all are a part of that which God is bringing into One in these last days. "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him." (Eph. 1:10).
In the gathering of all things together, there will be those who will still be living on the earth at the time. Just as Jesus was designated as Head of this Body, these will be known as the feet, the part of the body in contact with the earth. When the High Priest went through the Vail on the Day of Atonement, into the Holiest Place, he was barefoot. He wore no shoes. Description of the garments of the High Priest are given in detail in the Law, but no provision is made for shoes. The place where he stands is holy ground.
There are three parts of the High Priest visible as he passes through the vail, his head, his hands, and his feet. And his robe or garment hides his feet until they start walking. What a picture of the manifestation of His glory! We see it in Jesus Christ, the Head. And we see it in a glorious hand ministry in perfection. We also see it, finally, in that company of overcomers who carry the entire Body through this vail.
Head and Feet
There is a special relationship between some members of the Body. Turn to that familiar scripture in 1 Cor. 12:12-27. He plainly says here that just as our body has many members, yet is one body, so Christ is not just one man, but is made up of many. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
Certain members have a special relationship with certain other members. Notice in verse 15 that the foot and hand are mentioned together. You see, the foot especially needs the hand ministry, because it is the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers that bring this foot company to perfection here on earth. Verse 16 talks about the ear and the eye, and throughout the Bible we find these two members mentioned together: "Eyes to see, and ears to hear". There is a ministry of "seeing" in the Body, revelations, visions, etc. But this ministry must be subject to the "hearing" of the Word of the Lord in order for true faith to come. Notice in verse 17 that hearing is mentioned along with smelling. There must be discernment or "smelling" in the Body in order to separate the precious from the vile, and to know the true Word of the Lord from the many voices of Babylon. "The eye cannot say to the hand (vs. 21) I have no need of thee". There are those who would say: "I am an eye in the Body. I can see the program of God, I can get my own revelations and search out truth for myself. I do not need the hand ministry". But let me declare to you, beloved, that the greater your revelations and visions, the more you need the divine government of the Body. You must be willing to submit to the ministry and authority of God anointed apostles and prophets and pastors, etc. This business of the "eye" staying at home alone and reveling in it's great revelations and vision is not in divine order, and is a dangerous thing. If a foreign object gets into the eye, it takes the hand to get it out, as rough and calloused as that hand seems to be.
The Feet are Needed
Now we come to the crux of this message. Verse 21 says that the Head (Jesus) cannot say to the Feet (a company of saints living on the earth); "I have no need of you". Col. 1:18 and Eph. 1:22 confirms that Jesus Christ is "the head of the body". In a normal birth, the head is the first and the feet are the last to be born. So it is with this Manchild, the New Creation Man. We have come to the hour when the feet are being brought forth into the fulness of His glory. But it must be done to a company of saints still living here on the earth. "We shall not all die", the apostle tells us. There is a change coming, and something is going to happen to us right here on the earth.
It is this feet company that I want to write about today. The Word is full of this truth, giving the nature, characteristics, and activities of this great people If the scriptures had so much to say concerning John the Baptist, Judas, and the first coming of Jesus, is it strange that there would be so much written about the people who come to the end of the age and bring forth the manifestation of the Sons of God? We have many times read over scriptures that spoke of the Feet, and never gave it a thought. We never realized that God was speaking to us of a company of people that we were to be a part of. Now let us open our hearts for divine revelation, and look into God's Word to see what He has to say about the Feet of this Body of Christ.
Washed from all Earthly Filth
The great need for those who live here on this earth is that they come to a life of absolute perfection and purity. There can be no true and full manifestation of His glory out of a people who are loaded with sins and bad spirits. The feet must be washed. In chapter 3 of Zechariah, we see Joshua the high priest standing before the Lord in filthy garments, and the devil standing there to accuse him. But Joshua is cleansed and made holy and able to properly minister. He is a type of that "Branch" (vs. 8) that shall come in the last days, and (vs. 9) God says He will remove the iniquity in one day. Did not Jesus say: "I am the vine, and ye are the branches"?
"I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word." (Psa. 119:101). There cannot be a full keeping of His Word until a people living on this earth have refrained from every evil way, and are walking in perfection. Someone may say: "But that is impossible". Impossible with God? He has promised it. Jesus commanded it: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". (Matt. 5:48). The picture is given in John chapter 13 where Jesus washes the feet of His "church". Jesus warned Peter that if his feet were not washed, he would have no part in the glory of this Kingdom. He also told him that it was only the feet that needed washing. For it is just the people who live on this earth that need cleansing. There is no purgatory for the dead. The saints who have already gone on do not need a perfecting work done on them while up there in heaven. It is the ones here on the earth, the Feet, that we are concerned about getting cleansed. He will wash them, by the Word, until He refrains His "feet" from every evil way. Speaking of His church on earth in Eph. 5:26 he says: "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish". That sounds like a perfected company, doesn't it?
Washed by the Word
You see, there is to be a people in the last days who come into a greater knowledge of His Word than anyone who has walked this earth, except Jesus. Even Paul said: "Now I know in part." The part shall be done away, and the perfect shall take over. For if we are to be perfectly washed and cleansed, we need a perfect understanding of His perfect Word. This New Creation Man shall be clean, perfect, no longer bearing the image of that earthy Adam. And to bring us to that, we need a strong cleansing agent. His Word, clearly understood, is that agent. Psa. 119:105 says: "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Why not a "lamp unto my eyes"? Because God is telling us here that the part of the Body of Christ that needs the light of the Word, is that feet company that is living on the earth at the time this Body is manifested in His glory.
In Nehemiah chapter eight, we see a tremendous picture of Israel being brought into a knowledge of the Word of God. Now notice several importance things: First of all, it was taking place in the "seventh month" (verse 2), on the first day of the month. This was the time for the "blowing of the trumpet" for the Feast of Tabernacles. This is very significant. Since Passover speaks to us of Justification and Regeneration experience, and the Feast of Pentecost is symbolic of the Holy Spirit coming upon the church, the Baptism in the Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, etc., then this last great Feast of Tabernacles in the end of the year speaks to us of another great realm of the Spirit for His Church. It is the time of the fulness, the "ingathering".
It is at this time that there is a great impartation of understanding the Word. Notice also that this is a post-captivity book. That is, the remnant of Israel had come out of Babylon to rebuild the Temple and the City of God. Isn't it strange that during the 70 years the people spent in Babylon, they did not understand the word? They had the Book. But they did not receive understanding of it until they had come out of Babylon. What about the majority of Israel who had remained in Babylon? We have no record of the word being made alive to them. When Babylon fell, they fell with it. It was those who had come out of Babylon that God took into a realm of revelation of His Word. Verse 7 says: "The Levites caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the Book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." Verse one says that the people had gathered themselves as "one man". Let me say to you that until that "one man" has come out of Babylon and been gathered together "unto Him", that there will be no fulness of the word revealed, nor shall the watchmen see eye to eye. However, we are even now moving toward that place, and as a result there is a glorious light from the Word breaking upon us. We are now seeing truths that have been hidden from ages and from generations. The people wept (vs. 9) when they saw how far short they had come of God's perfect plan. But Nehemiah told them not to weep, that it was a holy day, and for them to eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to others. "The joy of the Lord is your strength" he said. And truly this is a day of joy. It is a day when His Word is coming forth in power and clarity, and the scriptures are being made alive to us. The doctrines and traditions of Babylon are being blown away as chaff before the fan, to be burned in the furnace of fire.
Teaching the Nations
Not only shall this feet company be cleansed by the washing of water by the Word, but out of them shall flow a fountain of living waters to bring life to this world. The nations shall sit at His "feet" to learn wisdom. "Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand; and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words." (Deut.33:3). We find a story of a demon possessed man in Luke chapter 8. This man represents this lost world who is ruled over by the powers of darkness. You know the story of this man of Gadara. He met Jesus, God's New Creation Man, and was delivered from the rulership of Satan. Now where did the people find this man when they came running out from the city? "Sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind." (vs. 35). This world will feel the impact of this last day New Creation Man (the harvest of Jesus the Seed). This world will be set free from the bondage of corruption, and the rulership of principalities and powers in the heavenlies. Then the world will sit at His "feet". That is, they will learn from and be governed by a people living on the earth who have come into the fulness of Christ
Turn to Luke 10:38-42, and see two women, representing two kinds of churches. One was very busy rattling pots and pans, doing works. She was on the "servant" realm, and "troubled about many things". She did not have time to "sit at His feet". And she was disturbed at those who did. "Why aren't you working to increase your Sunday School? Why can't you get busy and get some programs for your women, a fellowship for the men, and something to hold the young people? You've got to get a building fund started. You must start fighting Communism, pornography, and racial prejudice. You must join the Ministerial Alliance and start working toward ecumenical harmony. You've got to "cook up" something to show your ability as a cook." Pots and pans. Sure I believe there's a place for pots and pans. But now the Christ is here, and there is something far more important. Something eternal that shall not be taken away. All these other programs and efforts shall vanish, but there was one sitting at His feet receiving something that would never be taken away. And there is a church today willing to lay aside all programs and activity just to sit at His "feet" and learn from Him.
Feet Like Brass
Daniel saw a vision of a man (Dan. 10:5-6) whose arms and feet liken in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. What he saw was a prophetic vision of God's New Creation Man, a multitude, complete, with Christ as the Head. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John sees the same one. In chapter 1 verse 15 it says: "His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters." In Rev. 2:18 we read: "These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass." Then in Rev. 10:1 it says that his feet were as pillars of fire.
Now all these scriptures speak of His "feet" in connection with brass, fire, and a furnace. Fine brass, polished brass. Now brass is a symbol of judgment, as seen clearly in it's use in the Tabernacle. This tells us that this feet company will go through a judgment, and will come out of the furnace polished and clean. There is to be much tribulation for those who press into the fulness. None of Adam can go into that kingdom. So whatever comes your way, rejoice in it. Stop whining and crying, and begging God to go easy. Quit worrying about what great sin you've committed to cause Him to be so hard on you. This furnace of fire is a necessary thing for the "feet" to come to their place in God.
A People of Praise
"In all things give thanks", the Word instructs us. This seems hard to do sometimes. But this anointing of Sonship just naturally brings forth a spirit of praise. This feet company shall be the greatest people of praise the world has ever seen. They are a people who know the supernatural joy of the Lord in the midst of sorrow and tragedy. For this Feast of Tabernacles is a "feast of joy", and the people are commanded to rejoice throughout this feast. "My foot standeth in an even place; in the congregations will I bless the Lord." (Psa. 26:12). In Psa. 22:22, Jesus speaks and says that: "in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee". (Heb. 2:12). "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." (Psa. 122:1-2). "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." (Psa. 100:4). So the gates or entrance into the city of God is praise. And this is where the "feet" shall stand. This indicates that in these last days, as a people on earth enter into His fulness, they will enter a realm of praise higher than anything man has known. I realize that Miriam danced on the banks of the Red Sea, and that the children of Israel praised God with a loud voice on high many times. I know that Paul and Silas could sing and praise God in the midnight hour in prison. But neither the Old Testament saints nor the Early Church have ever known the heights of praise that God is now bringing His people into. It is the feet company that enter the City through praise. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph. 5:19).
And in Psalms 149 we read of a people who are joyful in glory, and who sing aloud upon their beds. "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand". (vs. 6). With this they go forth to execute vengeance against sin, to bind the devil and principalities and powers. This honor is for his saints (vs. 9). So praise the Lord, saints of God! It is your privilege, and your strength!
Feet Protected by Heaven's Host
There is a special promise given to the feet company in Psalms chapter 91. In verse 11 there is a promise of protection to the Son of God that even Satan recognized. "For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways". In Matt. 4:6 where Satan was tempting Jesus to prove He was the Son of God, he applied this scripture to Jesus: "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down (from the pinnacle of the temple), for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." But tho Jesus knew the verse in Psalms was speaking of Him, yet He wouldn't fall into Satan's trap. He didn't have to prove He was the Son. God had already spoken it! He stood on the Word, not on some sign He could produce. A true son of God does not have to run all over the country claiming and proving His sonship. God will speak for him. When the chips are down, the real goods will be there.
The glorious thing about this scripture is that it is addressed to the Head of the Body (Jesus), but it has reference to protection for the Feet. "Lest thou dash thy foot"� It certainly was meant for Jesus while He was walking here on this earth, in the likeness of humanity. But it's meaning now is for those in the "feet" company, those who are alive on this earth. Angels are not protecting the saints in heaven from harm or danger. It is those on the earth who are in need of the angelic host. And the promise is ours! It did not say: "Lest thou bump thy head on a tree", or "Lest thou break thy arm in a fall". But it is "Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone".
Divine Intervention for Sons
As the Sons of God give themselves over completely to the Father, putting aside their own desires and wills, so the Father intervenes on their behalf, that nothing but the perfect will of God overtake them. Day and night, 24 hours a day, for He does not sleep. Psa. 121:2-3 says: "My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he that keepeth thee will not slumber."
This book, and many more, could be filled with the testimonies of how God has had His angels watching over His children. Many great experiences of deliverance from danger and harm could be recounted. A teenage girl, a close friend of our family, was in Japan with her missionary parents. A man attempted to attack her, and when she resisted him, he shot her in the heart at a point blank range of six inches. Her blouse had a hole burned in it, and her skin over her heart was red from the explosion of the pistol. But the bullet lay harmlessly on the floor. A modern day miracle of protection. In the courtroom, where the man was tried for assault with a deadly weapon, the defense attorney tried to argue that it was not a deadly weapon or the girl would have been killed. Whereupon the prosecuting attorney fired the pistol into a thick bundle of cardboard (the only time it had been fired since the assault), and proved that it was deadly, and the only reason the girl was not dead was a miracle from her God. A modern day book of Daniel. We have printed her entire testimony in another pamphlet, "The Powerless Bullet". "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." (Psa. 34:7).
This feet company must come through to overcoming victory. God has ordained it. In Prov. 3:23-26 we read: "Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken." Glory to God! There is a rest for God's people who dwell here on this earth, and it is this feet company who shall enter into it. Hannah prophesied in 1 Sam. 2:9 that: "He will keep the feet of His saints".
When we have learned this valuable truth, then we will come to a glorious peace, and a dominion unknown by others. In Luke chapter 8 is the story of a group of fishermen who got caught at sea in a storm. They came to the end of their strength and ability, and were sure that their end had come. Other ships had gone down in storms like this, and other men had lost their lives, and they felt sure they were ready to perish. But there was a Son of God on board that ship who had committed His life entirely to the Father, and was quite willing to accept anything the Father chose for Him. He was the only one not disturbed by the adverse situation, therefore He was the only one who had dominion over the situation. He was, in fact, so undisturbed that he was sleeping in the midst of the worst of the storm. When they awoke him, he simply took command of the situation and, for their sakes, rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. In amazement and wonderment they cried out "What manner of man is this?" He's the manner of man He wants all His sons to be. Undisturbed by any adversity, living above every human circumstance, and in complete control of every situation. The Sons live in confidence and rest, with faith that the Father is watching over with care and tenderness, and knowing (like Elisha), that every mountain of adversity is full of the host of heaven. "Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone". This does not mean that the Sons will not have problems or persecution or tribulations or afflictions. It means that every problem or obstacle is only there to be overcome. "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me".
And in the great battle of the ages facing this "feet company" of the Body of Christ, this promise of protection by the angelic host will be more meaningful than ever before. Those who walk in the realm of sonship, in the fulness of the spirit, will know in the fullest measure the value of this provision. The angels are, as Heb. 1:14 tells us, "all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation."
All Enemies Under the Feet
David sang a prophetic song in 2 Sam. 22 and Psa. 18, and I will quote the portions dealing with this feet company: "He (the Lord) bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under His feet. God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them. And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise; yea, they are fallen under my feet". For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad." This beautifully harmonizes with what Malachi prophesied concerning those that feared the Name of the Lord in Mal. 4:3� "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts".
Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter 6 that our enemies are not flesh and blood, but principalities, demons, wicked spirits in the heavenlies. And these are the enemies which shall be trodden under the "feet" of Christ. The least of those who walk in this Kingdom realm here on this earth shall have complete dominion over every devil. Cancers, narcotics, arthritis, hate, lust, fear, and even death shall not stand before them.
Treading on the Dragon
Back again in Psalms 91 and verse 13 we read the rest of the promise to the "feet". Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet". Now I'm sure you are aware here that he is not talking about natural snakes and lions. These are symbols of the demons and spirits of darkness. They shall be under our feet. Paul says in Rom. 16:20 that: "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly". The promise in Gen. 3:15 was that the Seed of the Woman was going to bruise the serpent's head. Obviously, Paul was saying that this was still a future event with the Body of Christ, and that the seed spoken of was the saints of God. Well, it looks like I'm mostly just quoting scriptures here, but when the Book is so clear on such a tremendous revelation, you don't have to do much preaching.
Joshua gives us a beautiful picture of the work of Jesus and the sons of God in putting all enemies under our feet. In Joshua chapter 10, we see the defeat of the five kings, the meaning of whose very names describe the self-life, and the spirits that operate there. First Joshua sealed them up in a cave, then he brought them forth and had his captains put their feet on the necks of the kings before he slew them. This was to demonstrate that even the captains of Joshua's army had dominion greater than the greatest of their enemies. And beloved, before the ultimate end of Satan and his hordes, there will be a manifestation and demonstration of the absolute authority of the Sons of God over every enemy. In other words, woe unto them that dwell on the earthly carnal realm, for Satan is come down to you having great wrath. But at the same time there will be a people who have entered into a new dimension in God, and who walk in the heavenlies and sit on His throne. This "feet" of the Body of Christ, while still in the earth, are not of the earthy nature, but have entered into the fulness of God. They shall demonstrate the power and dominion of their God, "putting their feet on the necks of the enemy". "Till His enemies be made His footstool". (Heb. 10:13).
But We See Jesus
Hebrews chapter two gives us to understand that this present "world" or age has been put in subjection to fallen angels, but that the age God is speaking of is to be in subjection under the "feet" of the Son of Man. This was the promise of God given in Psalms chapter eight, but Heb. 2:8 says: "But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus� crowned with glory and honour." The fact is, that all things are under the Lord Jesus Christ. He said in Matt. 28:18 that "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." So He is in complete control. But the work will not be complete until all enemies are under His "feet", that is, the saints who are living here on earth in visible physical bodies. This is the victory He has ordained, and is moving toward. I realize that most preachers cannot see the possibility of such a glorious victory, and therefore teach that none of the saints will ever reach that state of perfection and dominion on this earth, so must be caught up into heaven to receive their rewards and their glorified bodies without ever having overcome all their enemies in this body. That is a doctrine of fear and defeat, and does not fit the character of our God at all. Dominion will not and cannot come without perfection. For as long as the enemy has any hold upon us at all, there will be no entering into the fulness of God. Jesus said that Satan came and found nothing in Him, therefore He had a perfect dominion over all that He encountered. So shall it be with His sons, those who come in His likeness and are conformed to His image.
The Place of My Feet
The glory of this people of God is spoken of by the prophet in Isa. 60:13-15: "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations." Can you believe that? It's in the Word!
Sure I know that Heaven is glorious! I still believe in heaven and hell. I know where the saints are, and I know where the sinners are. But all the glory of Heaven is going to be manifested on this earth. "I will make the place of my feet glorious". Did not Jesus pray: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven"? My friends, let me tell you something: God is calling an end to this wicked age wherein man has rebelled against God and Satan has run rampant through the earth. But God has not given up on His creation, not even this physical ball of mud we call earth. He is going to make it glorious. God has a surprise for the people of this world, and He is just about ready to spring it on them. Glory to God! What a Savior!
Did you know that the Body of Christ will rule and reign on this earth? Were you aware that a living physical people were going to overcome all enemies, and that even the nations of the world would be subdued under them? Read Psa. 47:3 where it says: "He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet." So the feet company of this glorious Body of Christ shall bring the nations under subjection to the rule of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! But first we must be brought completely in subjection to Him.
The Feet and the Throne
"And He said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile". (Ezek. 43:7). Hallelujah! Here God is saying that He has a throne, and dwells, in that feet company. Yes, God will have a people in whom He rules supreme right here on this earth. Glory! The people living on this earth have been defiled with sin, and sad to say, even those who are called by His holy name have not escaped. But He is bringing them out of all sin, setting up His throne in them, ruling over them completely, and dwelling in them. Praise God!
We have thought much about the throne of God, mostly from our desire to sit with Him on His throne, and rule and reign over the earth. But there will be no ruling for the sons of God, the feet company here on earth, until He has set up His throne in them. For until you have submitted completely unto the Lord, He will not put the world in subjection to you! I know that His throne is in the heavens. I know His will is done in Heaven. But I look for that time when His throne will operate in a "feet" people, a people on the earth, and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Then shall we see the world, with all it's chaotic systems, brought in subjection to God and His sons. Then shall the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. Praise Jesus!
Entering the Inheritance
Moses brought the people of Israel across the Red Sea, took them to Sinai and set up a divine order for that unorganized bunch of ex-slaves. He gave them the laws of God, and began to teach them to walk in the ways of God. Through the ministry of Moses, God gave them Manna from heaven and water from the Rock. He sustained them 40 years in the wilderness and brought up a new generation that lusted not for the leeks and garlics of Egypt. He thoroughly dealt with the rebellion of that old generation, until He had a people that walked in obedience and faith.
But Moses never brought the people into their promised inheritance. That was left to Joshua. In Joshua 12-3 we read: "Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses."
Notice that the promised land lay before them, their inheritance was in plain sight. But the only part God had given them was that which the sole of their feet tread upon. This is a striking picture of the Body of Christ. Heb. 6:12 tells us that there are those who "inherit the promises" through faith and patience. But Heb. 11:13 says that those who died in faith did not receive the promises, but saw them afar off. Heb. 11:39-40 says that those who died did not receive the promise, but needed a people called "us" in verse 40 to come to complete perfection. The "us" is that feet company that Paul spoke of in 1 Cor. 15:51: "We shall not all sleep". They are those who walk the earth at the time of perfection. They are the "feet" that tread upon the inheritance right here on the earth.
In other words, plain and simple, everything that God has promised the entire Body of Christ as their inheritance must be entered into by a living people here on this earth. Someone may say: "What about heaven?" Did not Jesus pray that the Kingdom of Heaven would come to earth? And it will. What about resurrection life? 1 Cor. 15:54 says that when a people right here on this earth has put on incorruption and immortality, then shall be brought to pass the scripture dealing with victory over the grave. Everything that the Body of Christ is to inherit, must be entered into and manifested by the "feet" of the Body. They must tread upon their inheritance. "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you."
Caleb claims his inheritance in Joshua 14:9 by reminding Joshua the promise Moses had made to him: "And Moses sware on that day, saying Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God." As one of the twelve spies at Kadesh-Barnea, Caleb had entered the promised land at the time of the first ripe grapes (Num. 13:20). He had tasted of the "firstfruits" of the land (Rom 8:23, Eph. 1:14 Ampl.). He had put his feet on his inheritance. Now he could claim it and enter into it. There are those today who have been sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, the earnest of the inheritance, the firstfruits of the Spirit. They have tasted the heavenly gift (Heb. 6:4-5) and the powers of the world to come. Now, as Caleb, they are saying: "Give me this mountain". They are ready to do battle to obtain the fulness of this Kingdom. They are the feet company, and the plan and purpose of the entire Body waits their treading down all enemies on this earth. We know that in ourselves we are not able to do this, that we are facing a powerful enemy. But look at the glorious promise in Deut. 11:23-24: "Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours." Remember the ringing challenge of the Apostle Paul in Phil. 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Lift up your heads and rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh! The feet of Christ is about to enter into the fulness of His inheritance. Glory to God!
There is a great wilderness to be crossed. Israel had 40 years of it. But in all that time we read in Neh. 9:21 and Deut. 8:4 that their "feet swelled not." They never suffered so much in the heat of that desert wilderness that they could not maintain their walk with God toward ultimate victory and entry into the promised inheritance. Yes, they had a wilderness, a "Waste howling wilderness"(Deut. 32:10), but the Bible makes it plain that the wilderness was overcome by the feet.
There is a Babylon system to be overcome. We know that God has already decreed it's fall, and as far as God is concerned, it is already overcome. But He is going to let His "feet company" tread down Babylon. This Babylon system shall be destroyed by a people manifesting the fulness of the Spirit right here on this earth. Isa. 14:24-25 says: "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand; that I will break the Assyrian (Babylon) in my land, and upon mountains (sons) tread him under foot; then shall his yoke depart from off their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: "Not only is God going to cast Satan out of heaven, but He is going to defeat him right here on the earth. God will "tread him under foot", that is, let a people living here on earth manifest a complete victory over Babylon and every work of Satan.
Jeremiah declares this victory over Babylon in chapters 50 and 51. Listen to these verses: "The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His temple." (50:28). Remember beloved, that you are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16, 2 Cor. 6:16). "Make bright the arrows; gather the shields (faith); the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of His temple" (51:11). Their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon. The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail." (50:42-43). Here is Joel's Army, set in battle array against Babylon. See Joel 2:1-10.
And now we see the people who destroy Babylon: "The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms. And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord." (51:19, 20, 24). Glory to God, this mighty feet company shall tear down all of Babylon's glory!
In Isa. 26:1, we read: "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks". Now we understand that this is not a natural city spoken of, that this is the people of God, the Bride of Christ, the Holy City. But notice in verse 5 that he speaks of another city, even Babylon: "For he bringeth down them that dwell on high (Babel); the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy." Who are the "poor" who shall tread down the "lofty city"? In Luke 4:18 Jesus said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor." And in Luke 6:20 Jesus said: "Blessed be ye poor: for your is the kingdom of God." Yes, it is that glorious "feet company" in the last days who hear the everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom, and who press their way into that Kingdom, that shall tear down Babylon's walls and set her captives free! Don't expect an angel to come from heaven to perform this great task. This victory and this honor has been given to saints of God living here on this earth. And I can assure you that the saints who went on by way of the grave shall rejoice with the "feet" in this glorious triumph. (1 Cor. 12:26). Notice what it says in 1 Cor. 12:23: "And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness". Yes, how beautiful are the feet!
Death is Defeated by the Feet
We know that the Bible tells us that: "We shall not all die". This is truth, absolute and final. But how does it come about? Does the Bible teach anything about death and the "feet company"? Yes, it does. Notice in 1 Cor. 15:25-28 the declaration of victory over death: "For he (Christ in His glorious Body) must reign, till he (God the Father) hath put all enemies under his (the Christ) feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he (God) hath put all things under his (the Christ, the Son of Man, Heb. 2:8) feet. But when he (God) saith all things are put under him (the Christ), it is manifest that he (God) is excepted, which did put all things under him (the Christ). And when all things shall be subdued unto him (the Christ, the Son), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (God) that put all things under him (the Son, the Christ) that God may be all in all".
So God has declared that not only is death defeated by His Son, but that it shall be put under his "feet". So people living here on the earth shall clearly manifest a victory over death. It is one thing for a young man or woman who has not even yet come to full maturity, to declare that they have overcome death, and to claim divine health in their body. But let me see one in whom the aging process is clearly visible, one who shows the effects of the death principle working in their bodies. And let that one so come into His life, that the process is reversed, the stooped shoulders straighten, the gray hairs regain their life and color, and all signs of dying disappear. Yes, I know that the "strong man of the house" is bound in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and a new master takes over in that house. But it takes a while to "spoil his house", to carry out his furniture, install new furniture, and manifest the victory for all to see. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption." God is going to let the whole world see and know that He is God. He is doing this through His Church.
Crossing Over Jordan
The third chapter of Joshua is the story of Israel crossing Jordan into the promised land. No reason for me to quote the entire chapter here, as you can read it in your Bible. But notice verses 11-17 where it tells us: "Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest), that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan."
Glory to God, what a scripture! What a tremendous day in Israel! The waters were rolled clear back to Adam. It makes it very plain that no waters of Jordan were rolled back until the "feet" of those who bare the ark of God (His glory and His presence), were dipped into Jordan and come to rest on dry ground in Jordan. Now we all know that the River Jordan is a Bible symbol of death. Jesus was baptized here, showing death and resurrection. There was no entering into the fulness of the Inheritance until this river had been conquered. They did not have to cross Jordan at Kadesh-Barnea to spy out the land and partake of the firstfruits. And we do not have to die completely to the self life to get the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and partake of the firstfruits of the Spirit. But to come into the land of promise to settle for good, there must be a crossing of Jordan. This means a death to self, and a defeat of natural death. There has to be a priesthood that bares His glory, His presence. And the "feet" of that body of priests have to come to rest in Jordan. Then shall all Israel defeat death, cross Jordan, and enter into their Inheritance. And not before. Oh, friends, perhaps you cannot believe for such a glorious body of people as this sons of God company, this Melchisedec priesthood, but you better hope that there is such a thing, for your inheritance depends upon it. The promise was given to Abraham, it was paid for by Jesus on Calvary, but it yet remains in heaven veiled from our view, until it is revealed in the last time (1 Pet. 1:5). We are now living in the day of that unveiling or manifestation.
Notice in Luke 24:39-40 that when Jesus wanted to convince His disciples that He had returned to them in resurrection reality and power and glory, He showed them His "hands and his feet". He did not say "Look at the scars on my head made by the crown of thorns". But He said: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself". And in this day of His appearing, He shall manifest His "feet", as well as His hands or ministry, and declare that He has returned in resurrection power. The world is going to know, because of the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19), that Jesus has really returned to this earth in flesh, and not just as a spirit or vision.
The Feet Anointed
This feet company, or sons of God being raised up in these last days, must be anointed with the precious ointment or anointing that came upon the Head of this High Priest (Psa. 133:2). We know that Jesus was anointed with the Spirit without measure, that He had the seven spirits of God (Isa. 11:2), but what about the rest of the Body? Paul says that we only have a "measure" of faith, and knowledge "in part". Is it possible that God has ordained for a people living on this earth to be anointed with this "precious ointment" that the Head received? Yes, glory to God, it is! In John 12:1-5 we see the story of Jesus having supper at the house of Lazarus. Mary and Martha, his sisters, are there. Martha is still rattling pots and pans, still on the serving realm (vs. 2). But Mary took costly ointment, worth three hundred pence (vs. 5), and "anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment."
Now three hundred is the number of divine deliverance, as shown in Gideon's army, Noah's Ark, Moses' Tabernacle, Solomon's shields, etc. What we see here is that the "feet company" of this glorious Body of Christ receives a special anointing for the deliverance of groaning creation. (Rom. 8:21-23). Mary's hair speaks of the submission of the true Church to this anointed company of sons.
Did you notice, dear ones, that "the house was filled with the odour of the ointment"? Let me tell you that the decaying stench of a dying putrefying world will be changed when this feet company puts all enemies under the Body of Christ. The stench of hate, fear, deception, lies, murder, pain, torment, death, riots, war, etc., will be replaced by the fragrance of this precious ointment. The fragrance of His presence, His glory, His truth and His love shall fill the whole earth! Glory be to God! Praise Jesus! He shall bring this about through His Church, His triumphant, victorious Church. His "feet" shall enter into every battlefield of human life, and put down every enemy. They shall walk on the tops of the mountains. "He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places." (Psa. 18:33). Praise God, how beautiful are the feet! We give glory to God that we are privileged to live in this great hour of the manifestation of the sons of God, the shining forth of God's glory through His many-membered Son! Look up, children of God, your redemption draweth nigh! Jesus is coming! And how beautiful are His feet!
He Will Restore
There is to be a restoration! Praise God! Of this there is no doubt. No devil in hell, no theological disputer, no fearful doubter can destroy that truth. The very return of Jesus to this earth depends upon it. For we read in Acts 3:21 that Jesus must remain in heaven "until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets". That word restitution means: "to restore", and that same Greek word is used only one other place in the Bible, in Acts 1:6 where the disciples asked Jesus if He was going "to restore" the kingdom at that time.
Notice that the King James translation does not say that Jesus returns after all things have been restored, but at "the times of restitution". Since no one translation gives us all the beauty and power and truth contained in the original language of scripture, let us look at a few other translations to get a more complete picture of this scripture. In the AMPLIFIED New Testament we read: "Whom heaven must receive and retain until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke". Yes, it is to be a COMPLETE restoration! WUEST Expanded translation of the New Testament says: "it is a necessity in the nature of the case for heaven indeed to receive (Jesus) until times when all things will be restored to their pristine glory". Yes, praise God, His creation had a pristine glory which we know nothing about, for we have never seen it. But it shall be restored! The MOFFATT New Testament says that the Lord will send Jesus Christ back to earth, "who must be kept in heaven till the period of the great Restoration." Yes, we are living in the last days, the times of The Great Restoration. And it is not done in one minute, or one day, but it is a PERIOD of restoration. WEYMOUTH'S New Testament calls it "the times of the reconstitution of all things." KNOX says "when all is restored anew". RIEU says: "until the whole world is re-created." The N.T. in Basic English says: "when all things are put right". The LIVING LETTERS translation puts it: "until the final recovery of all things from sin". So by the mouth of eight more witnesses have we established the truth that there will be a time when all creation will be restored to it's original glory, and that this will be a complete work, and that all things will be made right. And during this time of reconstruction or restoration, Jesus will return from the invisible realm of heaven where He now is, to the visible realm of this earth where He will be seen in His body.
The Need for Restoration
First of all, we see a terrible lack of things being right, or in divine order. There is a divine order for creation, for life on this earth. There is a proper order for animal life, vegetable life, and human life. But all things are out of order, in terrible chaos. The curse must be lifted, every enemy put under our feet. Divine order for the universe must be restored. All creation is groaning and crying for release from the curse of decay and death. And everything hinges on that body of Sons that are to be manifested in a perfect state of divine order. Books could be written about all that is to be affected by this great restoration, and the manifestation of the Sons, but I must limit this message to the restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ, His Body in the earth.
Compare the condition today of the Church in general (or that which calls itself the Church), and the picture found in Ephesians 5:25-27: "Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Glory to God, what a Church! A blemish speaks of a flaw in the basic structure of the material or garment. A spot is dirt or filth from the outside that has been imposed upon the garment, even if the basic structure of the garment itself is perfect. A wrinkle could be in a clean and perfect piece of material, and speaks of the lack of perfect straightness in it's setup or structure. Today we see all these things in the church systems, even the best of them. But His Church in Ephesians has been washed, cleansed, and sanctified. When men speak of "coming out of the Church" today, and that the "Church age" is about over, they are talking about the systems of men, and not about this glorious Church without spot or wrinkle. For this is His Body, and it is eternal. The true Church is not an "age", it is a spiritual organism, manifesting Christ through the ages. We are being brought INTO this Church, not out of it. The systems of men are passing away, and there is to be a great restoration of His Church. The whole creation cries out for it.
Romans 8:18, 22 tells us that there are sufferings in this present time, but they are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY that is to be revealed IN US! It goes on to say that all creation waits for the manifestation of the Sons of God, BECAUSE at this time creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, and restored to it's pristine glory. It says inverse 23 that we also who have the Holy Ghost groan within ourselves, waiting for this to take place. Now if there was a perfect and glorious Church already in the earth, we would not be groaning by the Holy Ghost in us for it to be brought into being. There is a great need for restoration. This is an indisputable fact. No scripture is available that tells us about a need for the Church to escape from this earth in a "rapture". Jesus prayed (John 17:5): "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
The Promise of Restoration
He promised it to Abraham. In Hebrews 11:8-9 we see Abraham going out in obedience to the call of God, into a land of promise, always looking for a city built by God Himself. He was not satisfied with the earthly conditions as he found them in his day. But God had given him a promise, praise God, and it says that Isaac and Jacob were heirs with him of the same promise. They saw the promises of God afar off, were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They declared plainly they were seeking a country.
The promise of this glorious kingdom was given to David. 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 tells how God spoke to David through the prophet and promised to establish a kingdom and a throne. God promised that His House would be built and established. He said nothing about this being done up in heaven somewhere. He promised that this would come through the seed of David, of his sons. Hebrews chapter 2 says that we don't "yet" see this throne or dominion established on this earth, but we see it fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
The Restoration was promised to the prophets. EZEKIEL saw it in the glory of a restored Temple. When he went to Babylon with the Captives, the temple at Jerusalem was in smoldering ruins. No hope that their enemies would ever allow them to get strong enough again to rebuild the Holy City and the Temple. But there in a captive land, Ezekiel had visions of God, and he saw the temple restore, and the glory of God returning to it in a greater way than ever before. He saw a restored ministry, ministering unto the Lord in the Holy of Holies, wearing their garments of glory.
HAGGAI, who was a prophet of the restoration following the Babylonian captivity, saw that the glory of the latter house would be greater than the glory of the former. ZECHARIAH, another prophet contemporary with Haggai, saw the cleansing of the Priesthood, and the casting down of the accuser of the brethren. JOEL was allowed to see the harvest restored, and the glory of God's great Army. The world had never seen the like of such a people as Joel saw in the Spirit. DANIEL saw the glory of the "Son of Man", and saw him overcome all the forces of this world system with it's powers of darkness. Daniel saw the restoration of that glorious Manchild company to a place of dominion and authority. ISAIAH saw the glory of Zion, and the blessings of the Kingdom age under the government of our Lord and His Christ. JEREMIAH saw the fall of the Babylon system. In Jeremiah 50:28, 46 we read: "The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His temple. At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations." Jeremiah saw the Sons of God as the weapon God would use to destroy Babylon� 51:19-20� "The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of His inheritance; for the Lord of hosts is His name. Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.
Restoration of Our Inheritance
Jeremiah saw the return of Israel from Babylon, a wonderful picture of the restoration of the Church. In chapter 32 of Jeremiah we see a story of how God gives the prophet a promise of the land being restored. He tells Jeremiah to buy a piece of land, although it is going to be unoccupied and worthless for 70 years. He tells him to take the evidence of the purchase and seal it in an earthen vessel as proof of his possession. This is to be a sign that the land of promise, the inheritance, shall again be possessed in it's fulness by the people. Verses 14-15 says: "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." And in verse 42� "For thus saith the Lord; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans (Babylon)".
So now we see that God says that it is He that has subjected the creation to this vanity, and that it is He that shall restore. So it does not depend upon you or I, friend, although God in His grace has been pleased to use us as instruments in His plan.
And now we see the spiritual fulfillment of this parable or promise given to Jeremiah, in the New Testament in Ephesians 1:13-14� "After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." To get a richer and fuller picture of that verse we go to the Amplified New Testament where it says that we "were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance--the first fruit, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage--in anticipation of it's full redemption and our acquiring complete possession of it, to the praise of His glory".
Notice that the deed to Jeremiah's possession in the land of inheritance was sealed and placed in an earthen vessel. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us that "We have this treasure in earthen vessels". So we see that the New Testament explains that the Holy Ghost has been put in an earthen vessel, and this has been sealed as a guarantee of our receiving the fulness of our inheritance. Now Pentecostal preachers may object to the idea of a restored and perfect Church (though I don't know why they should). They may preach against an Overcoming Army putting all enemies under their feet on this earth. They may warn their people against listening to preachers that tell them they can be and will be filled with all the fulness of God. They may doubt and scoff, but every time they speak in tongues, or give an interpretation or prophecy, or any other manifestation of the Spirit by which they have been sealed, they are manifesting the guarantee that all the above is true, and that God will bring it about in the fulness of time. So preachers (and all you pentecostal people as well), if you don't believe in the restoration of the inheritance, and our obtaining full possession of our promised land, then don't be a hypocrite� quit speaking in tongues or manifesting the "guarantee". The vessel is sealed, and you can't get away from it. Glory to God! No wonder I get edified and become so happy talking in tongues. What a promise! What a glorious Redeemer!
The Purpose of Restoration
The primary purpose of the restoration is the vindication of God's wisdom in making Man as He did. He has an eternal purpose in Christ, and the bringing about of this purpose involves the restoration of God's glorious Church. In Ephesians 3:10 we read that Paul was given grace to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ and to make all men see the fellowship of this mystery, "to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God."
In Ezekiel 32:16-38, we hear God telling the prophet how that His people had failed Him and profaned His name among the "heathen". Therefore He let them be captured by these same heathen, and go into captivity. What a picture of mankind, God's crowning creation, profaning His image in the sight of the fallen angels, principalities and powers, demons and devils. So God has permitted mankind in general to be taken captive by the powers of darkness, and thus we see the reason for the world being in the awful condition it is in today, subjected to death, sorrow, pain, sickness, and sin.
But then we hear the promise of God to bring them out of that captivity, to restore them to their former glory, and even beyond that. But He makes it plain that Israel did not do the restoring, nor did they deserve it. He did it, in order to sanctify His name and His wisdom in the sight of the heathen, the powers of darkness. He says (verse 36): "Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate; I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it." So we see that Israel is restored while heathen are still round about her. There will be no ultimate binding of Satanic forces and powers until God has restored the Church His Body to a greater glory than it has ever known before. Satanic powers shall see this done, in spite of all their efforts to stop it, THEN shall they be put under feet, defeated and bound forever. Praise God, what a Plan!
This Church, His Body, is the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:23). He deserves a Body that is strong, victorious, pure and glorious. He will not have an eternal Body that continues to do things "in part" (1 Cor. 13:9-10). But the perfect must replace the part. The glorious must replace the spotted. This will come about during the times of Restoration, at which time Jesus shall return to this earth realm, first of all to be seen by and manifested in His sons in this earth. I do not pretend that this short message shall in any way fully explain the ultimate of God's program and plan for the ages to come. I am only dealing with the Restoration of the Church and creation, at which time the Lord shall return from heaven (Acts 3:21).
The Nature of the Restored Church
This Church will be reproductive. It has the power of creation, the power to reproduce itself. And this shall be done, until all the world has been re-birthed into the image of Christ. Today we see an imperfect Church, receiving an imperfect seed from an imperfect Ministry, and bringing forth imperfect Children who are all their life time subject to death, as well as to chastisements and scourgings to bring them into Sonship. Of course we know that the true Word of God is perfect, but if the Ministry were preaching that perfect word, they would all be speaking the same things. And this shall be done. For God will restore His Church till it is without spot or wrinkle, having no blemish. And He will restore His ministry until we have a ministry that brings forth the Word without error or mixture. I realize that's hard to believe, but it's going to be so just the same. Then when a perfect ministry puts a perfect and pure Seed (or Word) into a perfect Church, then the world will be evangelized completely with converts that are birthed out of darkness right into the likeness and life of God. So now God is interested in restoring the true Church and the true Ministry, and the evangelizing of the world will come naturally� or should I say supernaturally?
Will Wee See the Restore Church?
This restored and perfect Church, His Body, is expressed on earth in local assemblies. These are assemblies where there is no division, no sectarianism, where all see eye to eye. These are places or gatherings where we can worship God as He intended us to worship. Scattered across the face of the earth, these assemblies have perfect unity, edifying one another, loving one another. The old system of churchianity, the Babylon system of sectarianism, is fallen. No more will people gather to the old harlot. She is finished. Her flesh is burnt with fire.
What we see now are local assemblies or gatherings with imperfect people not yet fully delivered from the Adamic nature, preaching imperfect revelations while working under an imperfect order. Yet all the time, these imperfect ones are crying to God for divine guidance, and moving toward a Great Restoration of all that is perfect and pure. And I'm for them! Call them old order if you will. Stay at home, read your Bible or watch your T.V., and keep declaring that you will not be a part of that which is yet imperfect. As for me, I am joined by the Spirit to those whose hearts are pressing on in God, and when the Restoration is complete and the Church is perfect, I expect to be a part of that also. We are NOT part of the old harlot system of religion. We are pressing on to the fulness of God. If you have divine revelation, don't keep it to yourself. No man liveth unto himself. Be a part of what God is doing. Give us your strength and fellowship. Let us go on together.
That which God is bringing forth will be perfect, it will be sinless, deathless, and gloriously victorious! The restoration of this glorious Church, of God's Kingdom to this earth, is what brings back the King! You want Jesus to come again? Then open your heart for all that God is doing in this hour. Malachi chapter 4, and Matthew 17:11 tells us that there is a ministry that shall come and restore all things. Matthew 6:10 lets us know that God's Kingdom shall surely come to this earth life, to this physical realm. Believe it! It's truth, and it's Life! There will be a full Restoration! Glory to His great Name!
Not only is there to be a restored and perfect Church, but the true ministry is to be restored also. We had it in Jesus Christ. In Him we see a Shepherd King who had a heart for God's people, and authority to do something about it. This is the ministry that God will restore to His Church. And true worship will be restored. There has been a trend back to true spiritual worship by the saints who are pressing toward Sonship, while at the same time the Apostate church has gone in the opposite direction with programs, entertainment, formality, jazz bands, and even rock and roll dances in the church to attract the people. But the world has yet to see the true worship as God has planned for His people to enter into. This will be part of the Great Restoration.
There will be a restored Righteousness. All forms of self righteousness will disappear. All sin and uncleanness will be removed from His Body. Then shall that scripture come to pass: "Be ye holy, even as your Father in heaven is holy". And with this will come a restore Dominion over all the works of God's hands. God prepared this from the beginning, but man lost it. And thank God that it was lost on that realm of the soulish man. For it shall be recovered, or restored, on a much higher plane of a life-giving spiritual realm.
Praise God that we are living in the times of this Restoration. It is the greatest Day in the history of Man. Even those who have gone ahead by way of the grave are coming back to take part of this great program of God. This is not some form of spiritism, but it is just plain Bible fact that when Jesus returns to this visible earth realm, those that are passed on will He bring with Him. Glory to God, what a reunion! We have always pictured this as some sort of gathering in the sky, somewhere about a million miles or so out in space, I suppose, but I have good news for you� It's going to be far greater and more glorious than that! Not only you and I, but all creation as well will be thrilled with what God brings about in this great and glorious Restoration! It is at hand. The Word of God, as well as the witness of the Spirit, makes us to know that this is not for some other generation. It is now! It is here! Be ready! Prepare yourself! Cast aside all doubt and fear! Flee from the bondage of Babylon! "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land."
Not as a Servant
Paul sat chained in the dirty Roman prison, but his thoughts were on things above. They had him where they wanted him on the earth realm, but they could not bind his spirit. His was the spirit of an eagle, and it soared in the heavenlies of divine revelation. Circumstances might be a nuisance as far as earthly creature comforts were concerned, but he would not let his circumstances affect his relationship with Jesus Christ. Stripped he was of earthly wealth and possessions, but he was richer by far than any of his captors. While in the prison he wrote: "Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the UNSEARCHABLE RICHES of Christ!" It was while in prison, when the devil thought he had the voice of this great apostle stilled, that he wrote words under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost that would live forever and bless millions.
Oh, sons of God, hear me today! You need not be in bondage to your circumstances. No matter what earthly force seemingly has you bound, be it your health, finances, unsaved husband or wife, a dead church, geographical isolation from other saints, or any other thing� these things cannot bind your spirit unless you submit to it. You can rise above any situation! Look at John on the Isle of Patmos. Banished from society, exiled on a lonely island, left to die, seemingly no further ministry. He might be tempted to feel that all his opportunities were behind him, that there was nothing at all he could do as far as the work of the kingdom was concerned. No churches to go to, no people to preach to, no sick to heal. Nothing. Have you ever been there, preacher? Well, remember that the high point of John's earthly experience in God came AFTER he got into such circumstances as these. Babylon could put him on an island, separate him from the people, but Babylon could not chain his spirit. Here he soared to heights hitherto unattained. Cheer up, saints of God, no prison can hold that one who cares only for fellowship with Jesus, whose heart is not tied to things of this earth.
One day, in the prison cell, Paul had a visitor. Whether he was arrested on some minor charge and put in jail for a short while, or whether he came to see Paul by some other means, we do not know. It is likely that he was put in jail for awhile. He was a runaway slave, and quite possibly a thief. He had fled from his Christian master in Asia Minor, and found his way to Rome. Here he met Paul, whom he had no doubt met before, as Paul had been a guest in the home of Philemon, and had preached the Gospel there. In fact, Philemon was one of his converts, and owed his very life to Paul.
I want you to take a good look at this slave boy, wild, daring, and rebellious. I don't know what he expected when he came fact to face with this mighty man of God in that prison cell. But I'm sure he didn't expect what he got. His life was about to be changed., the course of his future was to be turned completely around. What a picture! A runaway sinner boy, fleeing from a Christian home, now finds himself locked up in a jail cell with the greatest soul winner of that day. There in that cell, where his congregation of one can't get away from him, Paul begins to deal with the powers of darkness that were driving that young man across the face of the world.
Here in the book of Philemon, Paul's letter to a brother in Christ, we find the story of the conversion of Onesimus, and his return home to Colosse. His name means "profitable", and the important thing to notice that this young man who once failed to live up to his name and became very unprofitable, now is changed and becomes profitable to both Paul and Philemon.
Here are the Sons
Oh, beloved, I want you to see yourself in this picture. Read the book of Philemon, just one chapter, but power-packed with truth and revelation. Not just the life story of a young servant, but the life story of the sons of God, and our changed lives from meeting our great Apostle, Jesus. Notice in verse 10 that Paul says he had begotten Onesimus in his bonds. If Paul had not been in that jail cell in Rome, he might never have run across this man in that vast city. And Jesus had to strip himself, be bound to an earthly existence, in order to come to us where we were and redeem us. In 2 Cor. 8:9 we read: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." Glory to God, what a declaration! But the Holy Ghost inspired the writing of it, and it has to be so. It means that Jesus gave up what He was in his pre-existent glory, to become what we were, that he might make us what he was. He who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Philippians chapter 2 says that Jesus emptied Himself, took upon Him the form of a servant, was found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient to the death of the cross. Yes, He came a long ways, that He might find us and send us back where we belong, back to Father's house. Praise His wonderful Name!
Verse 11 in Philemon says that in times past Onesimus was unprofitable. Is this true of the sons? Oh yes, dear ones. Of all the things that God created, only Man has rebelled and failed to do His bidding. Unprofitable? After breathing His own life into a hunk of dust, God found no fellowship with sinful man, and had to buy him back from the clutches of sin. "Ye are bought with a price". And the price He paid was far more than we were worth. But He paid it. He saw something in us that He knew was going to eventually be profitable to Him. "Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me."
The Glory Ahead
What is it that God is going to do with us that will cause us to be profitable to Him? He tells us in Romans 8:17-18, "And if we are His children, then we are His heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ--sharing His inheritance with Him; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory. But what of that? "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time, this present life, are not worth being compared with the GLORY that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us, and conferred on us!" (Ampl. N.T.) Hallelujah! What a destiny! He is bringing forth a company of sons described in Rom. 8:29 (Ampl.) as being those whom "He also destined from the beginning to be molded into the image of His Son and share inwardly His likeness." He "so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son". He gave one Son, the unspeakable gift, and He is getting back "many sons", for the One Son that He gave to the earth is "bringing many sons into glory." Praise His Name! This is profitable. Many sons for the One. All in the image of the first born of these many brethren. So that which was once unprofitable is now profitable. All because of Jesus, the one who was willing to be bound to earth's prison for awhile, that He might bring us to Father's house. Glory to God! Let me stop and shout! What love! What grace! What a Redeemer!
The Road Home
Paul says the he would like to have retained Onesimus there in Rome, that there was work for him to do there. But first he had to send him back to Colosse to have a reunion with Philemon. From verses 13 and 14 we get a picture of Onesimus returning to Philemon with this precious letter, this word from Paul, then with a burning heart and persuasive voice, he begs Philemon to let him return to the scene of action where Paul is. Of course, Philemon is more than willing, for as Onesimus returns to Paul, it is as tho Philemon himself is going to work with Paul.
Yes, there is a catching up into glory for the sons, a going beyond the Veil. This brings a reunion with the Father such as mankind has never known. Adam never knew this glory to which we return. For when Onesimus was in the house of Philemon before he fled, he had been there as a servant. That was his relationship to Philemon. But when he returns (verse 16), he returns "not now as a servant, a brother beloved." Not only is he returning home, but his status has changed, and this because of Paul's ministry to him.
Mankind left the presence and fellowship of God from the Adamic realm. Adam was as high as man had ever risen. But through our Lord Jesus we return back to God in the Christ realm. Members of the Body of Christ. Adam never knew this place in God. 1 Cor. 15 is very clear on this. "The first man Adam became a living being, an individual personality; the last Adam, Christ, became a life-giving Spirit." (Ampl.). "The first man was from out of earth, made of dust, earth-minded; and as is the Man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven, heaven-minded. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us also bear the image of the Man of heaven".
So back to the Father we must go. But not any longer as servants. But now as sons of God, and brethren of that One who was the first-born of many. A different life, a new nature, a greater authority. No longer bearing the life and image of Adam, but now living the life of Christ. No more of the lower nature of sinful man, but partakers of the divine nature. The time ended when we are lower than angels and subject to the attacks of principalities and powers, but now sitting on the very throne of God, ruling with Jesus Christ. No longer working for rewards, but receiving the inheritance of the Son.
From Servant to Son
Our status with God has been undergoing a change. We are moving "from the guttermost to the uttermost". From the lowest hell to the highest heaven. From sinful humanity to sons of the Most High. Let me take you through some of the steps of this change.
Romans 5:10 says that "When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son." Enemies. This is a poor relationship to have with Almighty God. But this is what we were when we were in sin. Jesus said: "he that is not with me is against me." There is no neutral ground. Sinners would like to feel that while they do not serve God and have no part with Him, that they certainly are not enemies of God. But this is what the Bible says we were.
But God tells us to love our enemies. And while we were yet sinners, His enemies, God loved us so much that He gave His Son to reconcile us unto Himself. People are sometimes puzzled as to why it takes the death of one man to obtain forgiveness and eternal life for another. It is the law of reproduction. It takes the death of the seed in order to reproduce itself in a harvest. Jesus was that Seed of Life. He had not fallen to sin as Adam had, so death had no part in Him. As long as that perfect Man walked around on earth, he would not die. Not by disease, nor by old age, accident, or murder. The angels had charge over Him to keep Him from any accident. He said: "No man taketh my life from me." The death process was not working in Him. He was a life-giver )1 Cor. 15:45), and a demonstration of the life of Sonship. But He was the only one who had attained to that place. Those of us walking in the Adamic life, flesh and blood, could never come to this state alone. So the seed was planted. Jesus said in John 12:24: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit>' Verse 33 lets us know that this discourse is dealing with His coming death.
What happened when Jesus died, when the Seed was planted? That divine life of the Son of God was planted in the earth of humanity, so that all those who receive Him are given the power, or privilege, of becoming sons of God. Even to those whose faith takes them into His nature.
When we were enemies of God, we were servants of sin. Rom. 6:20 says: "Ye were the servants of sin". We yielded our members to obey sin, and became servants of sin. But thanks be to God, Jesus redeemed us, and we became servants of God. "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God" (Rom. 6:22). Well, glory! This is far better than being a servant of sin, and an enemy of God. In fact, it is a wonderful privilege to be able to serve God, just to obey His voice and do that which pleases Him.
As soon as I was converted, I found a desire and hunger to do something for Jesus. They used to talk about how Jesus might come before the service was over, and in my heart I would be saying: "Oh, Lord, not tonight, wait until I have a chance to do something in the Kingdom. I've never preached the Gospel, or been to the mission field, or led many souls to Christ� in fact, I just have not done anything worthwhile for you. So please wait until I can lay up some rewards for heaven." That's what a servant usually thinks of, the rewards he is going to get for his labor. I don't know what the Lord must have thought of us. The evangelist trying to scare folks into the altar with the threat of a rapture, and me all the time praying against it.
But I did love to work for God. Pass out songbooks. I became the official songbook distributor. I saw to it that no one had an excuse for not singing. Then I was promoted to janitor, get to church early and build the fire in the coal stove. Carry out the ashes, dust the benches, stay till the last one was gone so I could lock the door. Doesn't sound like much, but it was my job, and I tried to be faithful to it. No pay involved, except the privilege of being a servant of God. Praise God. Then it was passing out literature and inviting people to Sunday School, street services on the public square in our city, holding services in the jail, the T.B. sanitarium, CCC camp, brush arbors, country school houses, and anywhere else I could get an audience. Let me tell you, dear ones, that being a servant of God is a thrilling experience. But it is not God's best. He has something even better for us.
In Luke 17:10, Jesus is giving a parable of a servant doing what he is commanded to do. "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." The mark of a servant is obedient faithful service. Working FOR God. He does not have to know why he is doing it, only that he has been commanded to do so.
Friendship with Jesus
Those servants of God who are faithful and obedient are eligible for a promotion. Servant to Friend. In John 15:15 we hear Jesus saying: "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you FRIENDS; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." While the mark of a servant is obedience, sometimes blind obedience, the mark of a friend is revelation. They do not work FOR God, they work WITH God. The light of divine illumination has broken upon their hearts, and they have come into knowledge of the plans and purposes of the Master Builder. While the laborer, the hold carrier, the ditch digger, simply do what the foreman tells them to do, the Architect and his friends can look at the blueprints and the drawings and see the plans for the finished product, and know what it will be like when it is completed.
In these last days we find an hour of great revelation breaking upon us, when you do not have to be an Apostle Paul or a John on Patmos to know what God is bringing forth. It is a sad fact, tho, that even in this day of light there are so many who have either become so satisfied with a servant's role, or become blinded by Babylon's bondage, that they cannot see that there is a greater place in God waiting to be entered into. Lives of ordinary people like you and I are being transformed and changed into His image, from glory to glory, as we behold His face. Glory to God, what a thrilling time to live in. Friendship with Jesus, fellowship divine.
Another Step to Take
Friendship is not God's highest or best. Rom. 8:29 says: "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." And in Heb. 2:11: "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren (Psa. 22:22), in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee". Here is the revealing of God's plan for those who overcome. A body of Sons, a harvest from the divine Seed of life, the 100 fold, the Manchild, the Overcomer who sits with Him on His throne, the many membered Christ, the Melchisedec order of Kings and Priests who rule on this earth. Praise His Name!
Someone may say: "But Brother Bill, I've heard you say these things before." Yes, and you're going to keep on hearing me say them as long as you read our literature, hear the tapes, or the radio, or get close to where I'm preaching. Some people tell me that they will not read anything but the Bible. No use to come and hear me preach, then, because I'm going to be preaching on the same truths that I'm writing. What they really mean is that they are so super-spiritual that they don't need the rest of the Body, and have no use for anyone else's revelation but their own. Well, I have news for you� I still need the other members of the Body of Christ. And there are many people who consider themselves very ordinary members who have no idea how much they have influenced my life and ministry as I drank at their fountain. Much literature comes to me in the mail, every day, more than I could possibly read. But I search each paper and message for that anointing, that word of life. And that which has a word from God does a work in me. Most of the papers and magazines are just junk. Plea letters, "preachers" who have learned how to "milk" a mailing list, wanting me to send them an offering or pledge to this or that. Or many times it is someone with a mimeograph machine or printing press who is hung up on a tangent of some kind or other, or perhaps some sincere person who has a desire to run, but has no message. I have to wade through all this to get to that few who have been touched by the Spirit of God and called to write the revelation that is breaking over the land in this hour.
In the Fulness of Time
There is a beautiful picture of the Sonship message in Galatians chapter four. Verse 1 tells us that the heir (and remember that YOU are an heir of God) is "lord of all". That means he is master and ruler of everything God has. But this lordship and rulership comes when he is fully matured. Until maturity, as long as he is a child, he is treated as a servant and is under tutors and governors. His life is governed by someone else. Any parent knows better than to let a small child govern his own life. We love the child too much for that. But when that child reaches full maturity, he comes into his inheritance. Verse to tells us that there is a "time appointed of the father."
Verse three says that we are in bondage under the elements of the world as long as we are children in our minority. But Jesus came to redeem us and bring us to full sonship. And praise God for verse 7: "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." It is not God's desire that we just be servants and receive rewards for our labors here on earth. He wants us to have His own life and nature in us to the extent that we bear His image, do His will because we have His mind, and receive the inheritance.
Verse 5 says that the purpose of the redemption of Christ was that we might receive the "adoption of sons". This word adoption used here does not have the meaning that we usually apply to it in adopting someone else's child. It is the Greek word: "huiothesia", meaning the "placing as a son". It means for a man to take his own child who has grown from babyhood, through childhood, to a mature manhood, and officially setting him in as a partner with the father in his business and possessions. "Joint heirs with Christ".
Jesus tells us in Rev. 21:7 that "He that overcometh shall INHERIT all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be MY SON." This is the mark of sonship, to inherit all things. It was necessary that Jesus die, in order to make this will and this inheritance effective for us. (Heb. 9:16).
We see the beautiful picture of the inheritance of the Son in the relationship of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 25:5-6. To his sons by the concubine, Abraham gave gifts and put them in a different place or location than Isaac. But unto Isaac, the Son of promise, "Abraham gave all that he had." Oh, beloved, hear me now� there will be gifts, blessings, and heaven for the "whosoever will" of God. But the inheritance of all that He has and is will be reserved for that Son of promise, the Overcomer, the Manchild who bears His image and receives His fulness. And he will dwell in a different place (in the Spirit) than those on a lower realm. Ezekiel chapter 44 is very plain that some are allowed to minister to the house, but are never allowed in the Holy of Holies where the Sons of Zadok enter. Don't you want to be God's best? Then press your way in to full Sonship. Paul says in Phil. 3:14: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
But Above a Servant
So Paul sent Onesimus back home to Philemon. Not as a servant. As a brother beloved. But not to stay. I am convinced that Philemon sent him back to Paul, but now on a different plane than when he first went to Rome. Are you hearing what the Spirit is saying in this inspired letter? Jesus redeemed us to bring us back to God, not just back to the Adamic plane in the Garden before sin entered. Above that. All the way up to the Christ realm, to the image of the Son, partakers of the divine nature. Beyond the veil, where Jesus Christ has already entered as a forerunner for us. But not to remain in the invisible realm of glory. But to have that glory bestowed upon us, and then return to where the needs are. For Onesimus this meant a physical geographical journey from Rome to Colosse and then back to Rome. But what I'm talking about is beyond geographical realms. It is a journey to a place that cannot be measured in miles, or time to make the trip. Many people are wanting to get away from this world where the problems are. But God is wanting a people who will come into His glory, and bring that glory into this world of problems until every need is met and every enemy is conquered� Including that last enemy, death.
These are His sons. While the mark of the servant who works FOR God is his obedience; and the mark of the friend who works WITH God is his revelation of God's mysteries; the mark of the son who works AS God is his inheritance. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God' And if children, then HEIRS; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (Rom. 8:16-17). Furthermore, here is a secret� everything the servant has, the friend has also, and more. For to qualify for the higher realm, the friend must first have the qualifications of the servant realm (John 15:14). And all that the servant and friend have attained to, are incorporated by God's nature into the son. So you lose nothing by going on to a higher plane.
From Behind the Veil
But what about that return to the battlefield, to the place of ministry? Many talk about entering into a Melchisedec ministry, but they don't want to be where any ministry is needed. They want to stay in heaven where there is no sin, temptation, sickness, or any other need. There is a great work yet to be done on this earth, a great victory to be won. And we are to be a part of that work and that victory! Glory to Jesus! Doesn't that make you happy?
When Onesimus returns to Rome to work with Paul, he does not return as a servant, on orders. He comes this time as a brother beloved. On a legal basis equal with Paul, freed from being a slave in the household. He has been formally and legally cleared of the charges laid against him because of his crime. And when we go behind that veil, with the blood of Jesus to put on the mercy-seat, there is a death to the Adam life. A new life emerges from behind that veil, until there is a manifestation in fulness of His life in His sons. All creation groans for this to happen, saint and sinner wait for this day of the manifestation of the sons of God. Everything works toward that day. "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." In the Feast of Passover, the blood is sprinkled on each individual doorpost, and sin is covered by the blood. "We are accepted in the beloved". The Judge does not look at our sinful natures and our sins, but He sees the Blood, and the penalty of sin is lifted. In the Feast of Tabernacles when the High Priest goes behind the veil, all sin is removed from Israel. Sin is not covered, it is removed. A new nature, in the image of the Son.
Shake the Nations
Can you imagine the effect on this world for a company of Sons to come forth bearing the fulness of Jesus Christ? While He limited His ministry to a small insignificant nation in the mid-east, He will not work in His entire Body to cover the world and topple Satan's kingdom. Here the Rock cut out of the mountain strikes the image of Babylon and destroys it. The purpose of His first coming was not to preach the Gospel in every nation or to heal every sick person in Israel. Had this been His purpose, then He failed. But what He came to do was to produce the life of the Son on a human level, then plant it in the human race to bring forth a harvest of Sons in His own image.
Up to now we have prophesied according to the proportion of faith we had. We fought satanic powers with the measure of the Spirit we were able to obtain. Some opened their vessels for a greater flow of the Spirit, and had a greater ministry than others. But the best have fallen far short of the goal. Those who have the greatest ministries and have reached the highest heights in God are the first to realize their lack and their weakness in the light of the Son of God. It is the really small man who has nothing, that thinks he has arrived and has all there is to attain to in God. God help us to press on in Him.
Ungodly men, with their police tactics and their political powers, have fought the Gospel and tried to stamp out the name of Christ in the earth. What a shock for them when God unleashes on this earth all His sons, His heroes of faith, from Abel to now. No iron curtain will hold them out. Now they turn the missionaries away, simply by refusing them a visa. Bibles have to be smuggled into the iron curtain countries sometimes at the risk of many lives. Children are growing up without ever hearing about Jesus. The only church that most know anything about is the false picture of Babylon. While the vast majority of the world worships at the shrine of atheism, heathenism, and devil worship. Even so-called Christian America openly and brazenly worshi0ps sex and materialism, with religion only a once a week digression.
Picture the panic of this sinful world when Jesus returns to destroy the systems of this world and it's whole Babylonish structure. This time not just in one body, as in Palestine, but now in thousands of sons spread all across this globe. The world systems will have no peace, there will be no let-up in this war, no compromising truce with the devil. The merchandising forces of the earth who had traffic with Babylon, will weep and howl as they see that wicked system go up in smoke. It is during the time of great panic and crisis that the sons go forth in power. In fact, it is the word of the Lord that brings about the crisis.
Don't expect peace on earth under the present systems. The word of the Lord is against them. They will never bring about the Utopia or "Great Society" that mankind hopes for. This only comes as Jesus, working in His Body, takes control of the affairs of the nations. This is why we come back from behind that Veil. It is at this time that the trumpet of Jubile begins to sound, releasing men from all prisons, all bondages. Praise God! Sons will walk the streets of Moscow, Havana, Peking, Warsaw, Calcutta, and no one will know3 how they got there. Jails will not hold them, political forces will not prevent them. No devil will stand before them, unbelief and ignorance shall vanish at their word. Divine order and the beauty of holiness shall replace the ugliness of Babylon and it's confusion. The harvest of the earth shall be reaped. (Rev. 14:15-16).
Yet More to Come
Can you believe for this? Whether you do or not, it's coming. It is not for some other century, some future generation. It is now. We are facing the hour. Yet I haven't told you the half of it. Paul writes in verse 21 of Philemon that: "Thou wilt also do more than I say." There is more going to take place than what has even been revealed. He will "Do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
Today He is the Life that works in us. Today we are imparting that life to others also. While some speak and impart death, defeat, and confusion, we impart life and revelation and peace. "Such as I have give I thee." The message of Sonship is not some futuristic hope, it is a now message, a word of life for today. It is working a transforming change in us. You are different for having heard it, better for having believed it, and changed more into His image for having spoken of it to others. Don't put me off till tomorrow. I must have His life today. I know that greater things are ahead of us than the human race has ever seen. But I can't wait till then to start knowing Him in a fuller way, and enjoying His life in me. I can't wait until I know and understand all the mysteries of God. I must tell you what I know now, be it ever so little. I don't have all the answers yet, cannot give you the ultimate truth on all major and minor doctrines. My part, in fact, may be very small. But it is the part He has given me to share with you. And I must share it today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Yes, there is a tomorrow. A bright tomorrow for those who enter His glory, but a horror for the satanic hordes who face their defeat and ruin. But the mysteries of God for tomorrow will be revealed to and understood by those who are faithful to receive that which is being revealed now for today. Take courage, saints of God, for our God is on the Throne! He rules all forces. Nothing can stay His hand. Bless His wonderful Name!
The Two Kingdoms
Each operation in the Kingdom of God has it's satanic substitute and counterfeit in the kingdom of Darkness. For each realm of the Spirit of God, there is a corresponding realm of demon activity. The chart (link at the end of this chapter), will illustrate this truth. Turn and study this chart and it's scriptures, then return to this page and read the remainder of the explanation.
Our chart study is to show how that in each stage of development of the Christian, from a Babe in Christ, to a mature Son, there is a similar realm in the kingdom of Darkness. There is an opposite force operating, trying to draw aside the child of God. To the unspiritual eye, this realm of darkness is sometimes hard to distinguish from God's true Kingdom. God has given the Christian a "witness of the Spirit" that he might know the voice of God. Jesus said: "Another they will not follow", and "My sheep hear my voice".
The motivating power of operation in God's Kingdom is the power of LOVE and FAITH; and the opposite of these are HATE and FEAR, the operating forces in Satan's kingdom. Now just because a person, or even a minister manifests Hate, Bitterness, Jealousy, Malice, Resentment, or any other form of hatred does not mean that they are unsaved or demon possessed, or in the kingdom of Darkness. It just means that they are allowing themselves to be motivated by the forces of darkness. 2 Timothy 1:7 says: "God hath not given us the spirit of fear�" So when a minister uses fear to keep his people in bondage, no matter how necessary it may seem, he is yielding to the powers of darkness.
Just as there is a True Church in God's Kingdom, known as the Virgin Bride, the Holy City, New Jerusalem, there is also a False church in the kingdom of Darkness, known as the old Harlot, that wicked city of idolatry, Mystery Babylon. While the one operates under the power of the Spirit of God, bringing forth Life, and out of which the Overcomer Manchild will come, the satanic opposite or counterfeit operates under human wisdom through satanic influence. Both are made up of people, without which neither could be effective. Many precious people are unwittingly locked up behind the prison walls of that great city of Babylon, and the call of God goes forth to "come out of her, my people". That old Harlot, which is a system of religion so popular with man, is so decked out in beautiful garments (self-righteousness and good works), that the people are furious and horrified if a prophet of God raises his voice against her. They cannot see her faults, and her deadly danger to the souls of men. No Christian can come to Perfection, be filled with the fulness of God, and become on spirit with Christ while joined to that old system.
Babes and Teenagers
There are several steps from Babes to mature Sons of God, and each realm has it's counterpart of substitute in satan's kingdom. Of those who believe in Jesus Christ and call themselves Christians, the largest number by far would come under the heading of "Babes". Carnal, divided, not able to eat the Meat of the word. Yet saved by the grace and mercy of God. They are not Babes because of just having been recently saved. Time has nothing to do with it. Hebrews 5:12 says that Babes are those who have had nothing more than just spiritual "milk", and are not able to eat the "meat" of the Word. 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 tells us that they are Babes because they are divided, carnal (natural minded), full of strife. As far as their spiritual development is concerned, there is not too much good you can say about them. But as babes, they are alive.
The opposite of this in satan's kingdom are those who are sinners only because they have rejected Christ as Saviour, and are devoid of salvation faith. Nothing much you can say bad about them. These "moral sinners" are usually good people in the natural, pay their debts, solid citizens, patriotic, civic leaders, etc., etc. They may even attend some church (usually a dead carnal church), hold some office in the church, or even teach Sunday school. They might even go to seminary and take up a career as a "man of the cloth" and stand behind the pulpit. But they are dead in sins and trespasses, do not know the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus, and are fastened solid in satan's kingdom. Only the Cross will bridge the gap between death and life. Their good works and good intentions will never translate them from the power of darkness to the Kingdom of Christ.
The next realm of Christians (see chart) are like "teenagers". Full of life, want to be doing something, and so sure they know more than anyone else. Zealous of good works. A very commendable attitude, and fortunate is the church which has a good number of these folks. They are hungry for God (aren't teenagers always hungry?), and unless some modernist or sectarian preacher holds them back or fills them with fear for the true things of God, they will eventually go on into the deeper blessings of the Lord. They will grow, if you give them a chance, and they are fed the right diet. We see a great "charismatic revival" taking place now where thousands of eager Christians are finding that there is more for them in Christ, and they are growing right out of the dead churches that have held them back for so long. Dead traditional theological concepts and doctrines are having no more effect on those who have begun to taste of the power of the Holy Spirit.
The opposite of this realm are those who are "hungry for sin", lusting after the world and the thrills of sin and the flesh. They try everything and go everywhere to find the satisfaction their heart desires and cannot find. Many of these will also go on to a deeper realm in sin, to demon possession. For the life of sin is empty. There is no real satisfaction in it. The young people of America are prime examples of what I'm saying. Trying everything, narcotics, liquor, sex, perverted sex, the hippie life, atheism, riots, crime, and even murder. But nothing fills the void in their lives. The lust continues to drive them, but is never satisfied.
The Spirit Filled
Those who press on in God's kingdom are filled with the Holy Spirit through submission to Jesus Christ. The Spirit filled realm deals with those who walk and live in the Spirit. Being "filled" with the Spirit". (Ephesians 5:18). This is not just a one time Pentecostal experience. The Corinthian church had that. They spoke in tongues, and "came behind in no gift" (1 Corinthians 1:7), but they were also "babes" and "carnal" (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Those who are one time filled with the Spirit, or "baptized in the Holy Ghost", should go on to practice the Presence of God in their daily lives. This is the Spirit filled realm. Letting the Spirit control our lives. To manifest Him in all our activities. A person who is walking in this realm of the Spirit radiates the very Presence of Christ. They are possessed by the Spirit of God. It is a realm of the supernatural. In fact, the supernatural becomes a way of life to these people. At one time the ranks of the Pentecostals populated this realm, but now so many of the Pentecostals have drifted back into the realm of Babes, carnal, full of strife and divisions, wrapped up in self-righteousness and with a natural form of religious worship. The Pentecostal experience has become a doctrine, learned in Bible school and taught in churches as their own private property. But thank God, there is still a Spirit filled realm, and there is still a people who walk with God in this realm.
The opposite of this is the realm of the demon possessed. When we think of this state, we mostly think of someone having a fit, or a crazy man going around killing everyone. But let me say carefully that all the demon possessed are not in prisons or mental institutions. Many sit in their regular pews in church, causing confusion and troubled in their own way, and seldom recognized for what they are. There are "religious demons" who possess people, and their form of expression is to dominate or rule in the church, or to continually stir trouble. There are also those who have been possessed by wicked spirits who crave various expressions. There are demons of murder that drive people into killing others for no reason at all. It is their means of expression. Other demons, or spirits, crave sex thrills. Those possessed by these spirits have a lustful spirit about them that drives them continually. There are alcohol demons that drive men to drink. The world says that a real alcoholic is "sick". And he is. He is possessed. He needs help from outside himself, he needs deliverance. There are homosexual and narcotic demons that, once allowed to possess a person, are almost impossible to shake off, unless that person is washed in the Blood of Jesus and possessed (filled) by the Spirit of God. A lying spirit will cause a person to tell a lie even when unnecessary. They become a "compulsive liar". Each demon or spirit desires expression according to it's nature. They are allowed to enter a person through submission to satan, by weakness or evil desires. Space does not allow us to say all that needs to be said about this realm of the enemy. Far too many people are trapped in this prison of darkness. God hasten the day when the Manchild shall rise up and bind the "strong man" and spoil his goods, tearing down his house.
Ministers of the Supernatural
"It is more blessed to give than to receive". And if it was glorious to receive the Holy Spirit, and to walk in the radiance of His Presence daily, how much more glorious to be able to minister that power and Life to others. God has provided a place in the Spirit where the members of the Body of Christ can minister the supernatural power of God. Paul told one church that he came to them "in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power". Hebrews tells us that the Lord confirmed the Word with "signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to His own will." Paul spoke to the Galatians of those "that ministereth the Spirit to you". No natural man has it in his own power to work the miracles of God. But Jesus demonstrated this as a normal way of life for the son of God. Walking on water, drying up a fig tree, multiplying the loaves and fishes, cleansing the leper, healing the sick and raising the dead were samples of that which operated in His life and flowed from Him like a pure River of Life. We have just about delegated the healing power to big nationally known evangelists, and about forgotten the rest of the manifestations of the Spirit. But this supernatural realm of ministry is available to the Body of Christ, and to be manifested by the members in particular. Books could be, and have been, written about this realm of the Spirit. But we must go on to show you a higher place.
We will not get into satan's counterfeit of Mediums and Sorcerers, except to show that there is such a place. Having taught the subject of Cults and Spiritualism in a Bible School, I did much research on this subject. It is easy for me to get off on this and leave no space for anything else. There are scriptural references given on the chart, showing different ones who operated under the power of satan and did supernatural things. Fortune tellers, palm readers, Indian "advisors", as well as Spiritualist mediums all operated under a satanic anointing. These people have no power or authority of their own, except as they are anointed by Satan or visited by a "spirit control". This is not the "highest" (or should it be "lowest"?) order of the kingdom of Darkness. There is one more step to come to that "son of perdition" who shall reveal Anti-christ to the world.
On God's side we see that there is a higher order than just to be used of God in supernatural gifts of the Spirit. The Sons of God, confirmed to the image of Jesus Christ, when fully matured and anointed, are those who have more than just an operation in the Gift realm. They have the "Spirit without measure" (John 3:34). They are able to use all His authority, operating "in His Name", because He has given them His Name. They are One Body of people who reveal Christ to the world in His fulness. They have come to the time of the "Adoption", or the "placing as full grown sons". God can trust them with all authority, sitting on His throne, because they operate only under the mind of Christ. The carnal mind has been removed. Not until the Overcomer has reached this realm will this world be delivered from the bondage of death. This is why all creation groans for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8). I'll say no more here, for many of our books and tracts deal with various phases of the Sonship realm.
The Adepts are those who are so "one with Satan" that they constitute One Body who are given all Satan's authority and reveals Anti-christ to the world. This will be the greatest operation of the kingdom of Darkness ever known. This is the "son of Satan". It is a company of people, just as God's "perfect man" or "Manchild" is a company. The world is quickly being prepared for the manifestation of this body. They have a powerful operation indeed, but thank God they are destroyed by the brightness of His coming, as He is revealed in His Sons. The mighty battle of the ages, fought in the heavenlies, with the chaos in the earth realm only reflecting that which is going on in the heavenlies. There have been only a handful of men who had this kind of satanic authority down through history, which goes far beyond the operation of a Spiritualist medium or sorcerer.
The Lord Jesus Christ is King over the Kingdom of God. Those in the realm of sons will be Kings also, made in His image. The mark of His Kingdom is the Cross, or the Crucified Life. Dying out to self, laying aside all the self life for His sake. This is the mark of those who ascend into the hill of the Lord. The way of the Cross seems hard sometimes, and almost unfair in this modern world. But it leads home to the glory of God. If you want to wear the Crown, you must face the Cross.
The mark of the Beast, of course, is 666. Six is the number of man, and three being the number of completeness, this shows the completeness of man under sin. When you find a man who continually puffs up his flesh, making much of the human abilities and character, then you are seeing the mark of satan's kingdom. This is the mark, in fulness, the adepts will have.
Armies of demons do the work of Satan, and will stand ready to obey the Adepts when they come to power. The armies of Angels will work hand in hand with the sons, watching over them "lest they dash their foot against a stone". No accident, no sickness, no injury or harm can come to them. Death will have no power over them. God will manifest His power on this earth realm, to vindicate His Name. Praise God! This has only been an introduction to this study, but I trust that it will help you to see where you are dwelling in the Kingdom, and help you to see that there is a higher place in God for you. God bless you, and give you an honest heart to seek for His highest and best. "Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
The Tree of Life
The prophet Joel saw in a vision the stripping and then the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. He describes in detail some of the things that take place during the process.
In chapter one of Joel we see how the vine is laid waste, the fig tree is barked and the branches thereof made white. It is a desolate scene, all creation is groaning, even the beasts of the field. Joel calls upon the ministers to weep and repent.
Then in chapter two we see the Day of the Lord approaching, and a trumpet being blown in Zion. The great army of the Lord goes to battle against the corrupt systems of this world, and in the last part of this chapter we find a glorious restoration taking place in Zion. It identifies the time of this restoration as being the "last days". Some tremendous prophecies are made concerning the outpouring of the Spirit in these times.
Matthew's Tree of Life
In chapter 13 of Matthew we find a record of seven of the parables of Jesus. Looking closely we find a progressive picture of the stripping and restoration of the Church. Let us quickly and briefly look at these parables.
Parable #1� The Hundredfold
The chapter begins with a parable on the sowing of good seed. The climax of this parable is brought out in verse 23: "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty".
Here in it's most glorious aspect, we see good seed being sown into good ground, and bringeth forth good fruit an hundredfold. This is a picture of the Christ, God's Body and representative in the earth, the Perfect Man. He moves about the earth, dwelling among those who are burdened with the cares of life, or cursed with unbelief or shallowness of heart. But in the midst of the barrenness of others who cannot or will not receive the word of God, He receives the word, understands it, and brings forth fruit an hundredfold. His fruitful life becomes an oasis of life to those who are hungry for God, and the multitudes flock to Him for teaching, healing, and comfort. He is God's Tree of Life.
Notice that there are others who receive the seed and bring forth fruit in varying degrees of fruitfulness. They have not reached the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, yet their lives are fruitful. We find this in the lives of His disciples.
But the Tree of Life, the pattern of all fruitfulness, is found in the life of our Lord Jesus. He is the firstborn of all those who shall come forth in His image. He is the example we are to follow, the beauty of perfectness toward which we should aim, and His elect cannot and will not settle for any less.
Parable #2� Tares in the Wheat
We find the second parable in verses 24-30, and it deals with a man who sows good wheat in his field, but under cover of darkness an enemy sowed tares among the wheat. For awhile, no one knew about the tares, but when the rains came and the wheat began to grow, the tares also showed themselves.
"An enemy hath done this". This is not the result of the good seed. Tares come from an outside source. But they find their way right into the midst of the good wheat. But the Lord said: "Leave them alone". Their end is to be burned. They will not escape the judgments of God. But for now, let them grow as one crop, for when wheat and tares are both fully ripe, then shall the difference be manifest, and it shall be easy to separate them.
This is a picture of the Early Church, the first pentecostal church. It was a mixture of wheat and tares. See it in Acts chapter 5, with Ananias and Sapphira. And in Acts 11:12 we see how there were those in the church who "contended" with Peter because he ate with uncircumcised men. Notice how that even after the disciples at Antioch had sent liberal offerings (Acts 11:29) to the brethren in Judea by the hands of Paul and Barnabas during a time of famine, yet those same Judean brethren came to Antioch (Acts 15:1-2) and had a lot of "dissension and disputation" with Paul and Barnabas, trying to bring the people into bondage over circumcision. And even with Paul and Barnabas, notice in Acts 15:39 that "the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other." In Galatians 2:11, Paul says: "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed." And in chapter 3 of that book he says: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" And again he says to this (New Testament) church: "I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain". And to another church Paul writes: "It hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, that there are contentions among you." (1 Cor. 1:11). Also, to that same church he writes: "Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye yet carnal, and walk as men?" (3:3) Lest you think that the Jerusalem church was perfect, I point you to Hebrews 5:11-12 where it says that the church there was "dull of hearing", needed to be taught again the first principles, had need of milk and not strong meat.
Now I realize that God worked mightily in the Early Church. I point these shortcomings out only to show you that it was far from a perfect church. Even Lev. 23:17 shows us that in the Feast of Pentecost (typical of the formation of that Early Church) the two wave loaves were to be baken with leaven (a type of sin and imperfection). For it says: "they are the firstfruits unto the Lord". Yes, this New Testament tree had some fine foliage on it. It looked a lot like the Christ. They had some individuals in that Early Church that bore much fruit, and gave their lives for the Truth. But as a Body, this tree had not the perfectness of that original Tree of Life. And God's plan always has been involved in the formation of a Body of people, not individuals. If you don't believe this, look at Abraham, seemingly a great individualist. But notice that God's promise was not for something great for him personally, but rather that he might be the instrument for bringing forth a nation or body of people through which God would be glorified.
All of God's great "individualists" were used of God only that they might minister to the "Body" of people, or to the "church" of their day. Even Noah prepared the ark, not for himself alone, but to the "saving of his house". Now you preachers who are preaching "individualism" to the exclusion of the formation and perfection of this End-time Church, let me warn you that you will find yourself outside of God's plan for this end of the age. You had better lay down your life of individualism, and urge God's people to assemble themselves together under God-anointed ministries for the perfecting of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Parable #3� Birds in the Branches
Now we see the organized church, man's order come to God's house. The fruit is withered, the foliage is gone, branches are exposed and we see that they are full of birds. Now birds are symbolic of devils that steal away the Word of God (vs. 4, 19).
This new church began to form after the passing of the New Testament apostles, as there began within the church a struggle for power. Men began to organize churches, districts, countries, into ecclesiastical orders, with themselves as the head. The framework was still there. Men were still dying as martyrs, converts were still being made. But gradually the church was losing that which made it obnoxious and unacceptable to the world. Soon it became the state church of Rome, the most prominent and strongest religion in the world. It became the greatest among herbs. It's limbs stretched skyward. But the birds were coming home to roost. Heathen priests changed their robes, but not their hearts, and moved in to take over the altars of Christianity.
Parable #4� Whole Loaf Leavened
Now we see a desolate church. Corrupt, no apparent life to be seen. Matt. 13:33 tells how a woman hid leaven in the meal until all the meal was leavened. That is, every bit of the meal became so leavened that it could be used also as leaven.
This is a picture of the church during the dark ages, under the corrupt and devilish popes and their harlot mistresses. No fruit, no testimony to the world, rotten within and without. Held together only by cruel persecution and torture. No doubt there were individuals during this time who loved God and had the reality of the Spirit. But the Body was dead, the meal was leavened, the tree was corrupt. It looked as if there was no hope.
But Job 14:7-9 declares "For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground: Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant". So, praise God, there is hope for this church, and now we look at the next picture in Matthew 13.
Parable #5� Treasure Hid in a Field
Here in verse 44 is what looks like only an old field, full of cockle-burrs, stumps, dead trees, weeds and stones. Not much to desire here, seemingly. But we find a man selling all that he has and buying that field. Why? Beloved, he has learned a secret. There is a treasure hid in that field. With the field goes the treasure. He does not hesitate nor consider the cost, for that treasure is precious to him. It must come forth!
This is the church of the Reformation. It is not yet bearing fruit as in the beginning. It does not look like much. It's treasure is still hid. But the treasure is there. And the branches of this tree are reaching up and out, stretching forth into every nation of the world. God is again moving by His Spirit, bringing about a restoration to His Tree of Life, as prophesied by Joel. Men will die for this treasure, suffer torture, for they feel in their spirits a glorious life once again flowing up into branches. Nothing can stop this move of the Spirit. It will continue on until God again pours out the New Testament power of pentecost and floods the earth with the glory of this life. Many men are a part of this part of the restoration, Luther, Calvin, Know, Whitefield, Wesley, Spurgeon, Finney, Moody, etc. They lead us up to a new realm in the Spirit and a new parable.
Parable #6� Pearl of Great Price
While we find the man in verse 44 found a treasure hid in a field, he was not seeking the treasure. He simply "found" it. But in verse 45 we see a man seeking goodly pearls. He knows they are to be found. So he is seeking. But he does not expect what he finds. It is far greater than he anticipated. It was "of great price". He "sold out" to obtain this Pearl.
This is the Holy Ghost anointed church of the Twentieth Century. At the turn of this century there were men who knew that God had something more than was visible. They were seeking for "goodly pearls". But what they found was so great, it changed their entire lives.
And with the coming of the Holy Ghost anointing, the power of healing, gifts of the Spirit, and the restoration of the ministries of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, the Church began to move quickly toward perfection and the completion of the Restoration. As in the Early Church (to which it is comparable), it was endowed with the Divine government and ministries of Eph. 4:11. Tho there are still visible upon the earth the stumps and trunks of the desolation of the past, yet now there comes into being a Body of people called out of man's organized ways, anointed by the Spirit, moving toward the green foliage state that was evident in the Early Church. And more than that, there is appearing the tiny buds that signify the coming of a fruit similar to that in the life of that first perfect Tree of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ. Some who once had the anointing have fallen back to the organized deadness of man's ways, but not all.
Now we come to the last stage of the restoration of this Tree of Life. In this seventh parable of Matt. 13, we find the net is full. The net is finally brought to shore, and there is a divine and final separation. The bad are cast away. The good are gathered into vessels. Into vessels. Here we see a glorious manifestation of the Divine life of Christ coming forth in local churches. For those who have been chosen and ordained by the Divine purpose of God to be conformed to the image of the Son of God are now gathered together. So that covering the earth like the waters cover the sea, each locale has a body of people that assemble themselves together and worship God in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit as Jesus bore it in that first tree.
Many will fight this, many others will simply not believe. Because of their unbelief they will miss the glory of God's great end time plan, but they will not hinder it from coming to pass. Some do not want to be in the net because there are bad fish there also. I realize that our efforts to bring about divine order in the church today are not perfect. There are bad fish in the net. It looks at times as tho we had more confusion than unity. But it is God who shall send His angels to cast away the bad.
This is Sonship
The term "Sonship" confuses some who are familiar with only their own particular brand of churchianity. When I speak of "Sons of God", I am referring to those mature ones who have come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. I have sons of my own who once were little darlings of diaper-age. But they grew past that stage, kept growing, until now they are almost as big as their daddy. And my father-heart glows with every new accomplishment, every additional inch of stature. It is a natural thing that I should want to see them come to full and complete stature of a man.
So it is with out God. He desires that His sons grow up into Christ in all things. Mature saints of God, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, having the authority of His Name, shining forth with the brightness of His glory, manifesting the express image of His person. He shall have all this, and more, to the exalting of His great Name before the nations, and to the praise of His glory! Too long has the Name of Jesus Christ been a by-word to be cast down in disgrace. Every tongue shall confess Him to be Lord!
Christ the Head
Everyone will agree that many times the Bible speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ as being Head of the Church, the Body of Christ. But many seem to disagree as to whether that Head should have a weak, confused, fearful, divided body, or whether that body should be strong, united, and perfect and glorious to go with that perfect Head. Some teach that He will somehow take a weak and divided body here on this earth and take it off to heaven and suddenly do something magical to it up there to make it a glorious body without spot or wrinkle.
But I am going to declare to you today, whether you believe it or not, that Christ will not settle for a corrupt, divided, emaciated body here on this earth. Eph. 3:10 says that "NOW unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known BY THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God."
Here and now, in the realm of time, God will have a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. And this will not be just in theory, a mystical hazy abstract far-off dream or something. It will be a visible operation, made up of human beings anointed with the fulness of the Holy Ghost and walking in the resurrection life and power of their risen Lord.
This will be God's Tree of Life, the seventh tree in the illustration, the tree made after the pattern of the Son. It will be equipped with spiritual armour enough to put all the devil's forces to flight. It will shine forth with all the glory of the Father, for the Son himself shall be part of this great Company, in fact, He is the Captain, the Author, the Finisher, and the Head.
What about you? Will you be part of this last great Tree of Life on the earth? Don't cast it aside in disbelief. This will not help your position at all. It is coming forth in glorious manifestation. Nothing can stop it. God's Word in final on that. So dear ones, make your calling and election sure, that you might be found faithful in that hour.
Look to the Hills
The hills of Judea rose majestically out of the brown earth, and lifted their snowy peaks toward the clouds, while the eagles rested on the highest of their rocky crags. The young Israelite gazed with fond pride on this peaceful scene.
But to the ordinary Israelite, these hills meant more than just beautiful scenery. They spelled out his security, and safety from dreaded invaders. Let the Assyrians come, he thought, when their warriors and chariots came charging through the valleys, I will simply take my family and flee to the hills. When the enemy is gone, I will return and replant my crops. He lifted up his eyes to the hills, his place of refuge and safety.
From Whence Cometh my Help?
But there were some in Israel who were not just ordinary citizens. They saw by the eye of the Spirit. And they were aware of the weakness of trusting in natural resources for help against such cunning, vicious, and determined enemies.
The prophet of God warned the people in Amos 6:1: "WOE TO THEM THAT ARE AT EASE IN ZION, AND TRUST IN THE MOUNTAIN OF SAMARIA".
Jeremiah was even more bold in Jeremiah 3:23, when he said, "TRULY IN VAIN IS SALVATION HOPED FOR FROM THE HILLS, AND FROM THE MULTITUDE OF MOUNTAINS: TRULY IN THE LORD OUR GOD IS THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL." This scripture may seem to you to conflict with the Psalmist, but this is only because Psalms 121:1 has been so misunderstood, misquoted, and misinterpreted down through the years.
I will Lift Up Mine Eyes
How many times have you heard saints get up and testify, saying: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help"� Oh, how religious this sounded, and how full of faith. But how exactly opposite to the truth of the Word.
For this scripture in Psalms 121:1 is not a statement of faith, but a question. The Revised Standard Version as well as the Amplified Old Testament both word it in the form of a question: "From whence shall my help come?" Then the answer is given in verse two: "My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." The commentaries of both Adam Clarke and Matthew Henry also confirm this. And in the margin of the Schofield Bible it is worded thus: "SHALL IF LIFT UP MINE EYES TO THE HILLS? WHENCE SHOULD MY HELP COME? MY HELP COMETH FROM THE LORD!"
The Arm of Flesh
How we like to put our trust in something we can see or touch. Our job, our bank account, our doctor, or even our friends. Oh, so many hills all about us to run to in time of trouble, a great multitude of mountains. And how solid and firm they seem. But chapter 16 of Revelation tells of the seven vials of God's wrath being poured out upon the earth, and verse 20 says: "And the mountains were not found."
There is something much better than natural help, or "hills", to have around in times of need and trouble. And that is a trust and confidence in the divine protection, provision, and leadership of the Holy Ghost! As Romans 8:14 says: "FOR AS MANY AS ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD." To the natural man this seems very weak, flimsy, and insecure. But then, the natural man is not coming into Sonship. Hallelujah!
The Arm of the Lord
The ministry of Moses, the man of God, ended in a blaze of glory as he prophesied glorious promises to the children of Israel just before his death. In Deuteronomy 33:27 he said: "THE ETERNAL GOD IS THY REFUGE, AND UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS." Now this man knew something about leaning on the arm of the Lord. He had delivered two million or more slaves from the hand of the tyrant Pharaoh, and had left the world's mightiest nation in shambles. All without any "hills" to trust in. He had brought them across a sea without a bridge or a ferry boat. He had fed them for forty years without a commissary, farm, or even a deep-freeze. There had been plenty of water in the midst of a dry desert land. Now he could speak with authority when he said: "UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS". He had proved God, and found Him faithful.
The Pot of Manna
When Moses was admonished to build the Tabernacle, he was instructed to gather a pot of the manna that fell from heaven and put it into the ark of the Covenant in the Holiest Place. This was a symbol and remembrance to them of the divine provision of God for them through the wilderness journey. Praise God!
We are now in a time of training for the great and terrible day of the Lord. Those "terrible trials" we seem to be going through are only for the purpose of teaching us to trust in God and rely upon His grace, instead of depending upon the natural resources and abilities. For in that day when the forces of Anti-christ put the pressure on God's people to either bow or starve, the only ones who will survive are those who have learned His divine provision. They have learned not to "look to the hills" for safety and protection.
Training Camp Experiences
The training and discipline God is putting us through now may seem hard to bear (remember, you have not yet shed blood for the sake of the Gospel, and most of you have not even been stripped of all your earthly possessions). But this training will yield a good fruit, if we are exercised thereby.
Bed, Springs, and Mattress
God had given me many examples of His timely provision, and His supernatural care for His own. One of the most amusing incidents that happened to me took place soon after the birth of our oldest daughter. My wife was in St. Louis with our two babies, while I was finishing up a summer of evangelistic meetings.
The summer being ended, I went back to Springfield, Missouri to get ready for the fall term of Bible School, and to find an apartment for the family. I found the apartment, but there was no springs or mattress for our bed. And when I had paid the rent, I only had $11 left with which to buy the springs and mattress. After searching the town over, first in the better stores, then in cheaper stores, then finally in a second-hand furniture store, I discovered that my $11 would not begin to buy either springs or mattress, let alone both of them. I was distressed. I stood on the corner of Walnut and Campbell, wondering where to go from there. And there on the sidewalk, while people passed by, I silently looked to the Lord for direction and guidance.
Go to the Auction!
As I stood there with my eyes closed, a voice seemed to speak to my heart: "Go to the auction". Auction? What auction? And then, before my eyes came a vision of a small sign which said: "AUCTION EVERY TUESDAY". Where had I seen that sign? And then I remembered. It stood in front of a farmhouse on the west edge of the city. I had often passed, but never stopped. And this was Tuesday. Would it do any good to check out this leading? I got into my little red panel truck and headed west. Something said: "Faster!" I stepped on the gas. "Faster!" I sped to the farmhouse at the legal speed limit. As I drew near I could see a long line of cars on both sides of the road, and I knew they were having an auction. I parked the truck and started toward the farmhouse. Something said: "Run!", and I ran up the road, then up the driveway toward a barn where a crowd of people were gathered, while other folks looked at me and wondered why the hurry.
Going� Going� Gone!
As I neared the crowed, I could hear the auctioneer but could not see him. He was saying: "Alright, I have a bid of $10, anyone say $10.25? Going for $10� anyone bid 10 and a quarter?" I heard myself yelling: "Yes", as I ran toward the crowd. The crowd turned to look, startled, then began to open a path for me. The auctioneer looked disgusted at this interruption, and the crowd laughed as they saw my appearance, all out of breath. The auctioneer put his hands on his hips and said: "Did you bid $10.25?" I caught my breath and answered: "Yes sir, what are you selling?" The crowd really laughed then, and the auctioneer looked more disgusted than ever. He pointed to his left and said: "I'm selling this bed, springs, and mattress. Now do you want to bid on it?" I didn't even go look at it. I just told him that, yes, I would bid $10.25. Then a lady bid $10.50 and I raised it to $10.75. I knew that was my limit, for if she bid $11, I could go no higher. But she did not bid again, so he sold it to me. I asked if I could pay for it immediately, and he directed me inside the barn to a cashier. By the time the tax was added on, my money was gone. I then pulled the panel truck into the driveway, and loaded on my bed, springs, and mattress. By the time they had made another sale, I was driving joyously down the road praising my Jehovah-Jireh, the glorious God of Provision!
The Folding Machine
A few years ago, after getting into the publishing ministry and printing many thousands of tracts and booklets, we found that we desperately needed a folder. Folding by hand was nigh on to impossible. But there was no money for a folder. However, one Friday a salesman came along, and when he learned my need for a folder, he promised to bring one out the following Monday to demonstrate. I took this as from the Lord, and agreed. I was to look at his folder, and then decide whether or not to buy. But Friday night I asked the Lord to show if I was to buy it, and how. Saturday morning our son, Steve, went to the post office. He returned with a card from REA railway express, saying we had a package. Believe it or not, it was a table-top folder, just like the one I was to look at, only a different brand. God had spoken to a brother the week previous to mail it to me from California. God will not let me reveal our needs, but He does our talking!
How Many Hills?
Yes, there are cattle on a thousand hills, but they all belong to God. How many hills are you looking to, and trusting in? Maybe you have an "ace in the hole", but before your training is over, God will take it away.
For that which God is training us to enter into, there must come an entire reliance upon Him. This sometimes is a hard lesson to learn. One widow learned it by making a cake for Elijah. Elijah had learned it sitting by a brook, watching the ravens fly in. Peter had a lesson by looking into a fish's mouth. He also got a lesson while sleeping between two soldiers in a prison. Paul and Silas had learned it in a Philipian jail.
The Plymouth Car
I must be a slow learner, for I have been getting many lessons. One time I was in desperate need of a car. I began to fast and pray. Finally in desperation I went to a car dealer, agreed on a Plymouth, and arranged for a loan. But when I went back to close the deal and pick up the car, the Lord gave me a warning signal that this was not of God. So I called the deal off. I felt bad. So close, but still no car.
The very next day, just at supper time as the family were sitting down to the table, the phone rang. It was a long distance call from another state. "Bro. Bill", they said, "God told me you needed a car. There's a Plymouth there in Springfield that belonged to a friend of mine. I bought it from him, and am sending you the title. It is now your car, you can go over and pick it up." Suddenly I felt like eating, and joined the family for supper. Praise God, He's tearing down my hills!
In the Name of Jesus
A story too long to tell here concerns a demon possessed murderer who came to my home one night to kill me. He was a brute of a man, and I was a young preacher in a terrific struggle against demon power in the church. He got into the house on a pretense, and then at an opportune time, he made a grab for me. Suddenly, somehow, I had my hands on his head, and was speaking in tongues. The demon seemed to be bound, and he could not touch me again.
No one was home but me, and our oldest boy who was then just three years old. This man walked about the room, ranting and raving, cursing and talking crazy. He walked over to the big chair where the little boy lay, asleep, reached down and took hold of his ankles.
I could see his intentions, and it seemed that I could see Steve smashed up against the side of the wall. I said: "In the Name of Jesus, turn him loose!" The man turned loose as tho the baby's legs were hot. I then woke the boy up, carried him into another room, put a flashlight into his hands, and sent him out into the night with instructions to go to the church. The little lad headed down the dark dirt street of the fishing village toward the church, while I turned back to my problem "visitor". Needless to say, God protected us, and gave us a mighty deliverance. Hallelujah! The very next day, this ex-convict went completely berserk, was captured and subdued and eventually placed in an insane asylum. I felt bad that I had not been able to deliver the poor man from the evil spirits, but at any rate, I had learned something. I had learned to depend entirely upon the Spirit of God in an emergency.
The Mountains Crumbled
I found myself one time nestled into a lovely little valley of contentment, surrounded by a large number of protecting hills. Not literal hills, but the kind we have been talking about.
I had a good job, a regular income, a beautiful home, a radio broadcast, a good reputation, and a growing spot in the civic life of the city. Just been elected President of the PTA, on the Board of Directors of the T.B. Association, officer in the Lion's Club, Sect. Treasurer of the little League Association, LUTC, Red Cross, etc. etc. We loved the little city of about 50,000 population where we lived, right on the Gulf of Mexico. Nice climate, fine neighbors. How many hills can you have in one place?
Had I stayed in my little nest, I would not have been led into this publishing ministry, and you would not be reading this now. But God began to deal with me about leaving this place. My wife and I had never had it so nice since we had been married, and I was not quite willing to hear the voice of the Lord when He spoke about leaving and going out by faith. Going� where? I didn't know. I didn't have any contacts, no churches asking for revivals. After all, I was preaching on the radio and in various churches in that area. Why should I have to leave? Too many hills.
My back had been hurt some years before, and was now growing progressively worse. I was wearing a brace, and at times was almost disabled. But still I stumbled on.
Then Steve took down sick. A constant low fever, one leg drawing up shorter than the other, and we took him out of school. He was 9 years old. The doctors finally confirmed it as a positive case of Rheumatic Fever. The child crippler. We were told to keep him in bed, quiet, to prevent damage to his heart. My heart was crushed.
That night I knelt by his bed, after everyone was asleep. I travailed before God, and came to a place of absolute submission to His will and purpose for my life. He took me over every phase of my life� the job, the home, the broadcast, Little League, the civic jobs, the prestige� everyone of them went on the altar that night. But, you see, God had a mighty powerful leverage on me. My little boy was lying there, crippled by this horrible disease. Around midnight I had nothing left.
And then God spoke: "Lay your hands on him, and rebuke that thing". I did so, then went to bed. The next morning I said: "Honey, let's take him back for another examination, I believe God has healed him". And I told the doctor about how I had prayed for him, and asked for another complete examination. After a thorough exam, the doctor said: "Mr. Britton, there's not a thing in the world wrong with this boy, he's as healthy as any child I've ever had in here, no Rheumatic fever, no cold, no nothing. But just to make sure, we'll have another blood test made."
My Help Cometh
Back to the laboratory we went to get some more blood. I asked them to check it 40 ways, for I wanted to be sure. That afternoon the doctor called and said: "Good news, Mr. Britton, everything is negative, no fever nor anything else. You can put him back in school tomorrow, and he can run and play and do anything any other child can do." Since then he has had a normal, healthy life, and has been on the baseball, basketball, and tennis teams in highschool, with no more sickness. Not long after that I resigned my job, we sold that home in Florida, and moved out into new channels, looking only unto our Lord and provider. As we drove north in the car, God completely healed my injured back!
He is Faithful
Many have been the times He has proven faithful to His unworthy servants. Like the time a large piece of lumber fell out of a tree and struck little 2 year old Rachel in the stomach, narrowly missing her head. We rushed her to the emergency room of the hospital, and waited there for a long time while they unsuccessfully tried to find a doctor. Finally, we decided God did not want us there, so we left without treatment. Her condition looked serious for some time, then one day in church, her mother reached out in faith for her healing, and in that moment she was perfectly healed. There was an immediate change, and there has been no after effects. Praise His wonderful Name! Many more times has God met us, teaching us not to look to the natural, the hills, but to depend entirely upon Him. This is the heritage of the Sons of God!