INTO DEATH AND HELL
UNTO THE OTHER SIDE
"Let US pass over unto the other side" (Mark. 4:35).
There has been a mark engraved deep into our being, a mark declaring that death shall be swallowed up in victory. Before we ascend with Jesus, however, and overthrow man's throne (the power and origin of all death), let us notice some things concerning the region wherein humanity is very active, yet held captive by its desert coastline. It is here that we see Jesus entering the ship and saying, "Let US pass over unto the other side" (Mark 4:35). We might note, He was not alone. He boarded the ship, the Sonship, if you please, with the twelve to cross the Sea of Galilee (Circuit of the Gentiles, Grk).
The Sonship, of course, is a play on words, and no great emphasis should be placed upon such things as word similarities. Nevertheless, Sonship does convey a very clear thought of that particular voyage. A ship is a vessel that carries people from one destination to another, and we can see Jesus in that little ship as a type of Himself with the Sons of God in a vessel called Sonship.
There were many other ships traveling with Him that day; but He was sailing in only one of them. (An interesting thought, isn't it? It makes us wonder if He may have already removed His candle from the midst of the others, as we note in Revelation 2:5 & 18:23).
We can also see each son as an individual ship wherein Jesus sails with him to his assigned destination, which is the same destination of all the sons collectively -- to the other side of the Gentiles' circuit. We have had, and may continue to have, many storms in our journey to the other side. At times it may have seemed that we would never make it; but we will finish our course, for the Captain of our ship is with us, and as long as we are in that ship with Him -- we will make it to the other side! This is something we can count on.
That voyage was no different from the one we find ourselves in periodically. Upon entering this Sonship, and as we approach half way to the other side, the winds of adversity always blow. The sea churns with voracity. It calls those being tossed to come and join all the others of humanity in the abyss of death. Many heed the cry of the deep, and without a struggle, they slip into its watery grave.
Some of those who find the easy path to destruction are sometimes aided by those considered to be the leaders in the body of Christ. When those esteemed to be in high places, the ministers of the word, the expounders of present-day truths, when they fall by the wayside of earthly pleasures, the easily influenced take it as a license to follow.
At times ministers will kindle their own fires, preaching another gospel, and those who are neither skilled in the written word nor the living word can fall sway to it. They can potentially be shipwrecked upon the rocky shoals of man's ideas rather than sail safely in Christ's truth.
This, however, can work for good. Not in the sense of seeing the young and immature following after and falling into the same ditch with them. But it is good for people to see that even those who can peer into the mysteries of God often have feet of clay. They are not so much different from those to whom they minister.
A lot can be learned from all who bring the good news of the Kingdom, strength and encouragement can be had at the word they impart. However, when the teachers of the word of God are looked upon as lords of the Kingdom the stars of heaven may be seen falling. When this happens, the people can learn not to put their trust in the stars of heaven regardless of how brightly they may shine during the dark hours of night. Stars that herald the dawning of the new day can help point the way and keep the seafarers on course; but they should never be anyone's hope of glory. The Sun/Son alone is the one every soul should look to with yearning expectation. Even in the night He can be found if you know were to look for Him. No other is qualified to be the Captain of our destiny.
And then there are the (1)wandering stars (planets which have no light of their own). No one should set their course by their direction; for they themselves are not fixed in the heavens. If anyone desires not to be lost at sea, then those who vacillate and compromise the word of truth are not the ones to look to during the hours of darkness. Although the wandering stars, planets, unstable ministers, generally shine brighter than the true stars of heaven, their light is reflective rather coming from within. They have no true life of their own.
I have noticed that people often look to ministries the same way those of the world look to astrology for their guidance. It is as if we make it a point to let others know what "sign" we were born under. In organized religion they are quick to say, "I was born under the sign of the Cross. I am a Baptist, a Pentecostal, a Seventh Day Adventist, a Catholic, a Jehovah's Witness, etc. Or we may hear them say, "I was not only born under the sign of the cross but also the sign of the Kingdom. The stars that make up my particular constellation are Eby, Prinzing, Mueller, Torango, Weller, Wood, and Roach." Or it may be a combination of others that various ones look to as their source of direction and safety in the world. Although we all, being members together of the same Body, minister one to the other, let us dispense from religious astrology and let our main focus be upon the Sun/Son of God. In so doing, when one or more of the stars happen to fall from heaven, our bearing is not skewed and we stay on course.
It is a necessity for people to know that regardless of whether or not those they esteemed so highly stumble for a season, they have Christ Himself abiding in their own ship, and they can continue across the storm-tossed sea of Galilee. If every teacher who appears to be irreproachable stumbles into deception, what is that you and me? We should be very concerned and help in any way we can; but why should that slow us down? If they all should be swallowed by the cares of this life, and the pounding waves of death buries them deep into the carnal world of darkness, we should continue our journey unscathed. Our lives should be a resounding testimony, as the saying goes, "For me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Praise God!
Although many will heed the cry of the deep, and without a struggle slip into its watery grave, but not likely with the Sons of God. For as with those in the sinking ship that day with Jesus, they cry out to Him who sleeps in the back of the vessel.
Have you noticed this common pattern? When the winds of hell rage across the bow of our ship, we find Him sleeping. He is ever so clam while we are churning with fear, worry, despair, bitterness, resentment, retribution, hatred, to name a few. Fortunately, He does not remain indisposed forever.
We may not sense His presence in times of adversity, for our focus is often on the problem rather than on the problem solver, however, if we would recall, when we embarked upon the perilous journey -- He boarded the ship with us. Therefore, since we know where He abides at all times, which is in the very midst of our individual beings, in the hour of desperation, we should call upon Him to save us before we are consumed by the tempest.
In our most hopeless hour He awakens, and hypothetically the first words from His mouth are -- "O ye of little faith, don't you know that I have been sent to the other side of the Gentiles? Is it so hard for you to understand that whatever the Father has told Me to do, I will do it. Don't you know that wherever He sends Me, I will go; and whomsoever I called, and remains with Me shall likewise finish the course? Do you suppose that this sea that I came to calm in your lives will devour us? Truly, don't you know who I am? Have I been in you for so long and you can't see that My Father and I, and you, are One? Can't you see that I am the Son of God, and will never forsake you?"
Hopefully our answer is not like what the twelve might have responded with that day if He had said all that: "No, we are sorry, but we can't see this. You have calmed the sea, and stilled the storm, so we know you must be sent from God, for no one can do such things, like Nicodemus said, unless he is sent from God. We can see that you are the prophet from Nazareth, like others say you are; but the Son of God, this is not so easily seen."
The reason this is not so easily seen, is that regardless of what appears, seeing Him as the Son of God comes only by inner revelation and not by outward observation. One cannot see Him as the Son through intellectual persuasion, or from logical deduction. During the entirety of His journey in the form of a mortal man, only three saw Him as the Son of God, as mentioned earlier. Other than those three brief occasions, He remained wrapped in the swaddling clothes of the grave, the flesh.
Every phase of His earthly walk spoke of death and His power over it; and before anyone could have that same victorious life, they would have to eat of Him, the one who has that power. It is impossible, however, to eat His flesh and drink His blood without the revelation of Him being the Son of God. We must see Him today as the Son of God, not just believe He is, but see Him as He is and where He is. Namely, He is the Lord in His people, and we must see Him there. He is also the Lord within us as individuals, and we must also see Him there. If we don't we will never be able to hear His voice. There will never be the communion of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and when it comes down to it, we will be like those who left Him.
Many of His disciples went back that day and walked no more with Him; but when the twelve were asked if they too would leave Him, "...Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68-69).
They knew there was something about Him that no one else had, it was Peter, however, who had a glimpse of who He truly was. In another place it is recorded, and this is perhaps of the same incident, with Peter saying, "...Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven" (Mat 16:16-17).
Can you imagine how Jesus might have felt when He heard those charged words of lightning coming from Peter. Although He had wonderful fellowship with His Father, until then, He had no other in the whole world. When Peter saw Him, He was no longer hidden from view. He was not covered in the hell of His fleshly grave of clay. For an instant, Peter saw a blaze of glory rising from the earthen tomb! The gates of hell no longer prevailed in his mind! The key of revelation from on high unlocked the carnal mind of Peter. He could see the flaming book of Life opening wide and was able to declare what he read -- Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God! For an instant Jesus had someone with which to fellowship, but for only an instant. It was probably the most fleeting fellowship in the history of mankind; for shortly afterwards Jesus told Peter, "...Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offense unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" (Mat 16:23). Nevertheless, Peter did see Him for a brief moment that day, and to him, Jesus was not in hell.
On another occasion Martha said that she believed He was the Son of God (John 11:27), but it is hard to say whether this was intellectual reasoning or was by revelation. We are persuaded, however, there was one, a certain woman of the city who was a sinner (Mary Magdalene perhaps), that did see by revelation who He was; for she, "...Stood at his feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment" (Luke 7:38).
Although she was weeping, it is unlikely that she was washing His feet with the tears streaming from her eyes; for with her standing behind Him it would have been somewhat difficult to do, but there is more. Let us notice this thought taken from a book concerning customs of that day: "In Psalm 56:8 we find: 'Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?'
"Saving one's tears in a bottle is an ancient custom based on the belief that these tears will be proof to God that the individual has wept righteously many times for a good cause. Unrighteous tears are not saved: tears of anger, for instance. But all tears weeped for the Glory of God are saved to be buried with the person as proof to God. The verse in Psalm 56 is saying, then, that Godly people do not need to save their tears, since the good works of God's people are written in God's book already.
"I wonder if the Western people think that this woman wept so long that she had enough tears to wash Jesus' feet. I believe that this woman brought her own tear-bottle and poured the tears over Jesus' feet to wash them. This was quite a sacrifice, since it is a disgrace to be buried without one's tearbottle. In fact, this woman was very penitent indeed, because she brought a costly box of alabaster, she gave up being buried with her tearbottle, and she lowered herself exceedingly by using her hair to wipe His feet. The hair is a woman's crowning glory; this woman was signifying that her crowning glory was only good enough to wipe Jesus' feet." (Light Through an Eastern Window, Bishop K.C. Pillai, Robert Speller & Sons Publishers).
This woman no longer had a need for her bottle of tears. There was no reason for her to keep her priceless tears to be buried with -- for she had seen the Son of God! He was no mere prophet to her. He was not some great man to whom she would pour her years of sorrow upon. Not at all! This was not just an anointed man of God -- He was God! He was the Anointing! And she could see it! She stood before God that day, not the wrathful God of Israel, but the God of Peace who came to save her from her sins. Knowing this, she too could now be written in the pages of His book of Life.
Seeing the glory of Christ, the Son of the living God, made it an easy matter to take her highest glory, her hair (the glory of Adam's soul) and soil it upon His feet, the most lowly part of His glory. Once she saw His splendor, she had no glory that would serve to impress Him. She could not say, perhaps as we have all said in times past, "Look at me. Look at what I have done. Look at the beauty of my glory." In the light of His beauty, all other's pale, and are worthy only to be used as a wiping-rag upon the feet of Him who is worthy.
Who among us have done likewise? How many have taken our own self-esteemed glory, or the glory men have bestowed upon on us, and made ourselves of no reputation? It is a hard thing to do, a very hard thing to soil our glory with anything. Most will not do it, not even for the glory of Jesus; unless of course, they hear His voice and truly see Him as being the Son of the Living God.
She also kissed His feet. Smith's Bible Dictionary tells us that "...the feet are often kissed to show abject submission." Who else would this sinful woman bow to in absolute, humble submission, kissing His feet? And what soul in our ranks would do the same? Only those who see Him as being the worthy One -- the Son of the Living God -- and this is not by intellectual persuasion, but by revelation from on high.
She spoke not a word that day; but her every action was as a trumpet sounding from the heavens of her inmost being, even the worship and praise to her Lord of Majesty. If we listen, perhaps we can hear the notes and words of her song in our own hearts -- "Jesus, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus calmed the stormy sea in the night, as a figure of what remains for those in the ship of the Sons before we disembarked upon the coast of the Gadarenes to liberate those in hell. It was a wonderful thing to witness the calming of the storm, and "...the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!" (Mat 8:27). Indeed, they marveled, wondering what manner of man He was, but not one saw Him as the Son of God, which was His true manner, and so it goes today with many. He calms the most fierce storms in so many lives, and when it is all done and over with, they don't know who He is in the midst of them. They continue seeing Him as someone up in heaven somewhere who comes to their rescue ever so often; but very seldom do they have the insight of who He is.
After crossing to the other side, there was the other one who recognized Him, and of all people, it was the demoniac in the Gadarenes. We would have never expected it nor chosen it; but the point is, regardless of the vessel, revelation such as this comes by spirit: "And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Mat 8:29). They saw Him for who He was, and they may have known something about the end of the ages; and if so, they were right -- it was before the time, but only in one sense. It was not time for the legion, 2000 years of demonic oppression upon the world, to be cast out; but it was time for the twelve to see what was in store for them and as well as for those of this day.
In the same way that the demons of the Gadarenes saw Jesus as the full-grown, manifested Son of God, so shall the powers of darkness in the tombs of the carnal minds of this present age see the Sons of God when the dawn of manifestation comes. They shall see and know who the Sons are. It will be the time, the day, the hour for 2000 years of demonic oppression upon the world to be cast out and salvation seen in the world.
Since the advent of Jesus, the hordes of hell have been loosed upon the earth, knowing that their days are numbered. Their end swiftly approaches, it is in sight; for have we not come near to the other side of Galilee, the Circuit of the Gentiles? Don't we know that Jesus has been sailing in His Sonship, in us? Isn't it clear that the stormy sea of the world cannot swallow us, as it has been doing with the first Adam for 6000 years? Although we cannot rush the day, don't we know that the hour is at hand to begin the work that He gave us as a sign to do? -- to root out, to pull down, to destroy, to throw down; and then to build up, to plant, to deliver; and to heal the world of so much hurt, and pain, and deprivation, even death? And can't we see where it is that this work of redemption begins? In the same places where Jesus started -- in the lowest realms of humanity, in the bowels of the earth, in the Gadarenes, in the tombs, in HELL.
Like the Dead Sea, the Gadarenes is the end of man's journey as he comes to the close of the ages wherein death has reigned, and it is in this region that the Sons begin their ministry of reconciliation and deliverance. This is where they initiate the restoration of man's long journey of death. Their work starts in hell, in the tombs of the Gadarenes. The heavy load of the fulness of death is lifted from humanity's burdened shoulders; and in its place is given righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holiness of Jesus Christ.
From this abode of death, from the lower realms of it, and like our Lord before us who set the pattern, we continue onward with the Word of Life. We walk upon the waves of the sea, crossing over to the other side as we make our way to the head of death -- upon mount Hermon, the mount of transfiguration, where the utter destruction of Adam's kingdom is instituted. This, we see in the transfiguration -- the entirety of that kingdom of death is destroyed as it is swallowed in the brilliant light of transfiguration.
Elwin R. Roach
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1. "Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever." (Jude 1:13)