ECHOES FROM EDEN
THREE TREES IN THE GARDEN
"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow EVERY TREE THAT IS PLEASANT to the sight, and good for food; the TREE OF LIFE also in the midst of the garden, and the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL" (Gen. 2:8-9).
It is abundantly clear that different kinds of trees are used in the Scriptures to represent different kinds of men. It is, therefore, of special interest to examine further the significance of the three kinds of trees in Eden. I have explained in previous articles that these three kinds of trees are: (1) all the trees of the garden (2) the tree of life (3) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The three kinds of trees stand for THREE KINDS OF MEN. Now, we know that in the beginning there were not three kinds of men, for there was only Adam. Then came Eve, but she was one in substance and nature with Adam, so we still have only one kind of person. In the one man Adam, however, we do have three POTENTIAL, as seen in the symbolism of the three kinds of trees, to become an altogether different kind of man - either a higher and better kind, or a lower and worse kind. So in Eden, while we have only one man, we have three potential kinds of men within that one man.
The three kinds of trees in Eden are three kinds of men, three potentialities within man, or three kinds of life that may be seen in every regenerated person: spirit life, soul life, and body life. According to the revelations given later in the Bible, the tree of life signifies the life of God in the spirit, all the trees of the garden signifies the human life of man in the soul, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil signifies the realm of the body with its five senses: hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling. The spirit is the realm of GOD CONSCIOUSNESS, the soul is the realm of SELF CONSCIOUSNESS, and the body is the realm of SENSE CONSCIOUSNESS. The spirit is spiritual, the soul is emotional and intellectual, and the body is sensual. Since the fall of man in Eden man's spirit life has fled far from him and his soul and body have become united in such a way that in many instances they are referred to interchangeably in the Scriptures as "the natural man," "the flesh," or "the carnal mind."
In order to understand clearly the three parts of man which are the three lives of man, it will be necessary here to consider at length the functions of these three parts. The body is the outermost physical part and is therefore visible and touchable. It includes all the members of our body and has the five physical senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling to contact the physical world around it. These, without exception, belong to the realm of the physical. They are the five senses of the body or the five senses of the flesh. The function of the body, therefore, is a BIOLOGICAL FUNCTION.
The spirit, our innermost and deepest part, includes all the attributes, characteristics and abilities of God. This part of man is only caused to function through the process of re-generation. Without regeneration we have not yet begun our experience of spiritual life. This is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH; and which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (Jn. 3:5-7). The apostle John spoke this truth very simply when he wrote, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (I Jn. 5:11-12). Regeneration is the obtaining of God's divine life in addition to our own soulish and bodily life. The moment we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit is the very moment God's life enters into us and it is also the birth of Christ within us. The birth of Christ in us means that Christ is born once more. Christ was born two thousand years ago in the body of the man called Jesus, but every time a man is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, Christ is born once more in humanity. Hence, regeneration is the birth of Christ within us. It was the very truth of this that prompted Paul to triumphantly declare, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH WITHIN ME" (Gal. 2:20).
The Spirit is that aspect of God by virtue of which He is able to individualize Himself. The word "individual" comes from the Latin "individuus" which means un-divided. Most people seem to think that it means the exact contrary. It suggests separateness to them, as though being separate or divided from every other human being makes one an individual, but they are mistaken. Individual means un-divided, showing that each human person is undivided from humanity in that he is a perfect expression of what humanity is. Thus, in the higher realm of Spirit life God has the power of individualizing Himself, that is, the bringing forth an another expression of WHAT HE IS without, so to speak, breaking Himself into parts. God individualizes Himself as the new man within us, Christ, and so when you are regenerated you are actually an individualization of God. God can individualize Himself in an infinite number of distinct beings, or units of consciousness and expression, and yet not be in any way separate or divided. Only God can do this because He is SPIRIT. Matter cannot be individualized. It can only be broken up. Thus, if you were to tear off half a page of this article, and then tear that into small pieces you would have divided up the page. The remnant of the page would be smaller by the amount of paper torn off; and the whole page would be the sum of all the fragments. This is division; it is not individualization. Spirit, however, can be individualized, and this capacity of God is the process by which He is bringing forth a vast company of Sons in His very own image! So your see self, the Christ within, the spiritual man, the new creation, is in all truth an individualization of God. This does not, of course, mean that you are an absurd little personal god. You are person an individualization of the one and only God who was first individualized in the person of Jesus Christ. The new creation life of Christ within you is not "another Christ" or "another God," but the manifestation of the life, mind, will, nature, power and glory of the one and only true God - our Father!
Regeneration is the beginning of the new man within us. All our experiences of spiritual life are matters of the new man within us, for this life is an entirely new element, not of earth below, but from heaven above. This life gives us the wonderful capacity to communicate and fellowship with God. It is the spirit that causes us to be able to sense God and spiritual things and to contact God. The senses of the spirit are SPIRITUAL SENSES and are, therefore, the gateway to the spiritual world of the Kingdom of God.
The soul, which is situated between the spirit and the body, is our inner, psychological part which includes our human desire, emotion, will and mind. The desire is the organ for fancy, lust, inclination, drawing and aspiration; the emotion is the organ for pleasure, anger, sorrow and joy; the will is the organ for formulating opinions, making decisions and inciting actions; and the mind is the organ for thinking and considering. The senses of the soul are PSYCHOLOGICAL SENSES and comprise man's ego or self, giving him self-consciousness and enabling him to contact the psychological world around him.
THE THREE SETS OF FACULTIES
When one has a clear understanding of the three parts of man it becomes increasingly obvious that man possesses a set of THREE OF ALL HIS FACULTIES. Each part of man is a potential kind of man, complete on that level within himself. In our last Study we considered three kinds of hearts: the biological heart which is the physical heart of the body; the psychological heart which is the emotional and intellectual heart of the soul; and the spiritual heart which is the regenerated heart of the spirit. These three different hearts can act on three different levels at three different times and the Christian can act as three different kinds of persons and live out three different kinds of lives. For example, a brother can lie in bed in the morning and the only evidence of life will appear on the biological level: slow, rhythmic breathing and a pulse - the arterial indicator of the functioning of his biological heart. When he awakes and rises to wash his face and dress he may seem very affable as a person. At noon, this same brother gets angry with his wife, shouts at her, slaps her, with the sudden thought that he hates her and wishes he could divorce her and marry someone else. These actions and thoughts are products of his corrupted psychological heart, and this heart, according to the prophet Jeremiah is "deceitful above all things, and DESPERATELY WICKED" (Jer. 17:9). Who can say they do not possess such a heart? This brother who in the morning is convicted of his congenial now resembles a demon! In the evening, the same brother is convicted of his earlier conduct by the dealing of the Spirit within and sees that he has shamefully wronged his wife. He confesses his sin both before God and his wife, asks for and receives their forgiveness, kneels and prays with his wife and together they rejoice and commence to bless and praise God in the Spirit. These are now actions of the spiritual heart. Thus, within one day this brother acts as THREE DIFFERENT PERSONS, living out three different kinds of life which are, potentially, three different kinds of men. In the morning he is affable as a man, at noon he is fierce as a demon, and at night, after dealing with his sin, he manifests the likeness of God. Within twelve brief hours, man, the devil, and God are all manifested in his living. The reason he can act in such diverse ways is that within him there are the realities of three trees of Eden and the three lives of man - body, soul, and spirit. When he lives according to the life of man, he is like a man; when he walks according to the devilish life, he is like the devil; and when he acts according to the life of God in the spirit, he manifests the likeness of God. Whichever life we live in accordance with, regardless of the life, that life determines what we will live out. The tripartite situation of man which existed on that day in the Garden of Eden exists also in us today. We can say that within us is a miniature Garden of Eden with man, Satan, and God - all three - there. Therefore, the Garden concerns us today!
I cannot over emphasize this wonderful and little understood truth that each part of man's being contains a complete set of faculties. For example, let us consider the WILL of man. Within your body you have a biological will which is physical, bodily will. This will is seated in the glands, brain and nerves of the body. This is the will that causes you to breathe and move, to jerk your hand away when you inadvertently touch a hot stove, to shiver when the temperature drops, to sleep at night and awaken in the morning. None of these things are functions of either the will of the soul or the will of the spirit. They are all physical reflexes and functions of the will of the body.
Within your soul you have a psychological will which is an ego will. This is the self-consciousness and self-seeking will which is ever opposed to God and His will. This is the will Jesus brought to the cross when He said, "Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless NOT MY WILL, but Thine, be done" (Lk. 22:42). Within this psychological will is the wretchedness of sin and the power of death, in that man would do his will rather than God's will!
Within your regenerated spirit you have a spiritual will which is naught but God's will. This is the will of which Jesus spoke when He said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me" (Jn. 6:38). The location of God's will is settled in Phil. 2:13 where we read, "For it is God which worketh IN YOU both to WILL and to do of His good pleasure." Jesus Christ became man to bring us back to the blessedness of doing God's will. The great object of redemption was to make us and our will free from the power of sin, and to lead us again to live and do the will of God. In His life on earth He showed us what it is to live only for the will of God; in His death and resurrection He won for us the power to live and do the will of God as He has done. It is this life of obedience, wrought out by the Lord Jesus in the flesh, that is not only imputed to us, but imparted through regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Through His death the Lord Jesus has atoned for our self-will and disobedience. It was by conquering it in His own perfect obedience that He atoned for it. He has thus not only blotted out the guilt of our self-will before God, but broken its power in us. In His resurrection He brought from the dead a life that had conquered and destroyed all self-will. And the believer who knows the power of Jesus' death and resurrection knows that His resurrection life gives us power to live as He lived. Jesus Christ enables us, through the indwelling of His Spirit as our new spirit life, to walk not after the flesh, but according to the will of God. This wonderful potential lies within us!
Every child of God has also three sets of emotions. Within your body you have the biological emotions of hunger, thirst, pain, health, sickness, sex drive etc. Within your soul you have the psychological emotions of sorrow, hatred, greed, lust, pride, strife, fear, envy, selfishness, jealousy, aggresiveness, etc. Within your spirit you have the spiritual emotions of love, joy, peace, righteousness, meekness, faith, worship, praise etc.
Man also possesses a three-fold conscience. Within your body is the biological conscience which distinguishes between things which are cold or hot, painful or pleasurable, bitter or sweet, pretty or ugly etc. Within you soul is the psychological conscience which judges whether things are good or bad, legal or illegal, honest or dishonest, profitable or unprofitable etc. Within your spirit is the spiritual conscience which determines WHETHER A THING IS OF GOD OR NOT OF GOD. The natural man is guided entirely by his biological and psychological consciences, making all judgments upon the basis of good and evil. The spiritual man, however, discerns whether or not a thing is of God. We have learned a great truth when we learn that many things in this world may be called "good" but yet not be of God. Every thing that is "good" is not according to God's will nor a product of His life. The fleshly religious systems of our day are ever seeking after some "good" tactic or method by which to "promote" the Kingdom of God. Their methods are "good" alright, the only problem being that generally they are NOT OF GOD! The entire religious world today is walking after the psychological conscience of the soul, choosing between "good" and "evil," always choosing the "good" and thus walking in fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind. Fleshly wisdom always seems to make more sense than does the wisdom of God! Satan causes carnal wisdom to prosper because it is a denial of the life of the Spirit and the will of God by the Spirit, so that many times Christians and Churches operate contrary to the Spirit with the argument that it is "good" or that "it works!" Their method of evangelism is contrary to the Spirit, but since it "works" they continue in it. The "program" of the Church, the "organization" of the Church is contrary to the ways of the Spirit, being built generally around flesh-appeal activities of concerts, social activities, ball teams, Sunday School contests. puppet shows, or movies, speakers, ceremonies, rituals, drives, etc. etc., but they continue in it because it all seems so "good" and "it works," causing the "Church" to prosper in numbers and finances, while their spirits remain dwarfed and hideously shrivelled and stunted, if indeed they have been quickened at all! The soulish conscience will always make decisions and direct a course of action based in a knowledge of good and evil. The spiritual conscience, on the other hand, will always DISCERN THE VOICE OF THE SPIRIT and choose to WALK IN THE MIND OF CHRIST. The soulish conscience will judge upon the basis of the external form of works, whereas the spiritual conscience will discern what is behind the works, whether self-effort or the working of the Sprit of God. This explains the admonition in Hebrews where the writer says. "How much more shall...Christ...purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the LIVING GOD" (Heb. 9:14).
THE THREE MINDS
Not only do saints have three kinds of hearts, wills, consciences, eyes, ears, feet, hands, and emotions, they have also three kinds of minds. Within your body you have a biological mind called the brain. It consists of a mass of nerve fibers, in the form of thin, white strands, at the top of the head. These nerve fibers connect with other nerve fibers that stretch from the brain to all parts of the body. They carry messages to and from the brain in less time than it takes to bat an eyelash. This "computer system" of nerves enables a man to think, have consciousness, and relate to the physical world in which he lives. Special centers inside the brain control our bodily senses, such as sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Every other member of the body is controlled by the brain so that if the brain is damaged some parts may be paralyzed, or the body members may not be able to function, bringing death. The one thing you will notice about all this is that the brain is the biological organ that controls the physical senses of the flesh.
Within your soul you have a psychological mind. Paul calls this mind the "carnal mind," for it is ever minding the things of the body and the soul. Rom. 8:6-8 says, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." It is very striking that the carnal mind is equated with death. According to this verse the carnal mind and death are not two separate things - they are the very same thing. "To be carnally minded IS DEATH!" It will aid our understanding of what is meant by death if we first understand what life is, for death is the opposite of life. In the natural world we know that a dog which runs and barks is alive. Usually we can tell by its actions if a thing is alive. A stone does not act. Things happen to a stone. A stone does not of itself make anything happen, either to itself or to its surroundings. If something moves and changes and acts by itself it is alive. There are some things which are not alive that seem to act as if they were alive. The wind blows. The rain falls. The river flows. Fire burns. Each of these have movement, change and action. But these things move only when they are caused to move by some external force or law. Life, on the other hand, is an internal power that does not depend upon some other cause for its movement, change or action. Life moves, changes and acts out of its own inherent power.
When anything ceases to function - can no longer move, change or act out of its own energy - it is DEAD. Death may be either partial or complete. Part of the organism may no longer function in life, or all of it may cease to function. Suppose the case of a man who by disease or accident has been deprived of the use of his ears. The deaf man's ears, in virtue of this imperfection, are said to be "dead." That part of him is no longer functioning. If we suppose that this man then loses his sight, the beauty of the sea and sky, the forms of cloud and mountain, the features and gestures of friends, are to him as if they were not. They are there, solid and real, but not to him; he is still further "dead." Next, let it be conceived, the subtle finger of cerebral disease lays hold of him. His whole brain is affected, and the sensory nerves cease altogether to acquaint him with what is happening in the outside world. The outside world is still there, but not to him; he is still further "dead." And so the death of parts goes on. He becomes less and less alive. Finally, the lungs can no longer breathe, so the heart can no longer pump the blood and the blood can no longer transport the oxygen - the thing, for it is now a thing, is dead.
Next it will be manifest that every living thing lives and functions on a particular level, and while it is alive on its own level it is, an a true sense, "dead" to those things on all other planes of existence. A tree, for example, while it lives on the plane of the vegetable kingdom, is "dead" to the higher realm of life of the animal kingdom and all kingdoms above that. It has neither eyes, nose, ears, mouth nor hands and so does not see, smell, hear, taste nor consciously touch the whole world around it. It is alive on one plane, but dead to all others. So far as consciousness is concerned, we should be justified indeed in saying that was not alive at all. The murmur of the stream which bathes it roots affects it not. The marvelous insect-life beneath its shadow excites in it no wonder. The tender maternity of the bird which has its nest among its leaves stirs no responsive sympathy. It cannot relate to those things. To stream and insect and bird it is insensible, numb, dead. This is DEATH, this non-functioning, this irresponsiveness.
This brings us to a most wonderful and momentous realization of truth as stated by Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Jesus stated the same truth in different words, saying, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (I Cor. 2:14; Jn. 3:3). It cannot be said of the unregenerated man that he is living in contact with the spiritual world of God. Since that fateful day in Eden's garden when man was banished from the glories of the Tree of Life the natural man has been dead to all spiritual things and has positively no communion on the plane of divine life. The natural man functions and knows in this present material world of corruption and death while being completely dead to the higher realm of God and spiritual realities. And so, until a man receives of God's Spirit - the Spirit of God is that which KNOWS - it is impossible for him to have any understanding, either of God, or His Word, or His ways.
The Holy Spirit who knoweth all things has taught us in the simplest and most beautiful words that "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are TEMPORAL; but the thing which are not seen: are ETERNAL" (II Cor. 4:18). All the things which can be seen, heard, tasted, touched or smelled by five physical senses or discerned by the psychological senses of the soul are TEMPORAL and are passing away. This was already a fact in Eden's fair garden, for where is the Scripture, O man, that tells us that in distant beginning the plants were immortal, or that the beasts of the field possessed eternal life, or that the roses never faded, that the leaves of the trees never withered, or that no tool in the hand of man ever wore out? I declare to you that not only today are the things that are seen TEMPORAL, but the things that can be seen HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TEMPORAL since the day they came fresh from the hand of the Creator. The awe-inspiring wonder of the Tree of Life in the midst of God's creation is that God held out to His creation the potential to be transformed and transferred out of the realm of the natural into the Kingdom of the Spiritual. I Jn. 2:17 has always been true: "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God ABIDETH FOREVER." Can you think of any visible thing that is not passing away? Every form of life upon the earth is passing away, and even the earth itself shall pas away. The visible universe of suns and moons and planets and stars and innumerable galaxies will one day be rolled up like a scroll (Rev. 21:1) and the magnitudes of time and space shall be no more.
We know that God is Spirit but what does that mean? Well, Spirit is that which cannot be destroyed or damaged or hurt in any way. Spirit cannot deteriorate. It cannot grow tired or old. It is the opposite of matter. Matter is always deteriorating. While you sit reading this page, the paper is actually wearing out. The clothes on you back are wearing out. The building in which you are sitting is wearing out, and your body itself is wearing out - and some day all these things will be dust. True, it will take a long time according to our ideas for these things to happen but happen they will. There was a time when great cities filled with imposing buildings and splendid monuments flourished in Africa and Asia, cities of which every trace has now disappeared, for they have become one with the desert sands. This is inevitable because matter is always wearing out! "Man who is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not" (Job. 14:1-2).
This is really a splendid thing because it means that the world is constantly being renewed. It is splendid that old imperfect things should disappear in order that newer, cleaner, and better things may take their place. If clothing did not wear out, many people would continue wearing it for many years until it became out of style and saturated with dirt, instead of which we get new clothes at frequent intervals. If automobiles did not wear out we may might still be using the primitive models of fifty years ago. Who would want to eternally preserve something that is imperfect, soiled, ruined, or insufficient? Because everything of the material realm IS IMPERFECT God has, in His great wisdom and goodness, arranged it so that all things of this realm ARE TEMPORAL and are passing away.
Matter wears out, but the Spirit of God does not wear out because the Spirit is substance. Our fleshly bodies of humiliation are composed of matter, whereas our spirits are the offspring of God's divine Spirit. Herein lies the folly of those who presume that they have already put on immortality in their physical bodies and cannot die. I have known many precious and sincere brethren who believed that they had passed over the grave, but I can tell you that today all of them are both dead and buried except those who have not yet reached the age where death is a certainty. hearken, my brother, and hear, my sister, the words of wisdom and understanding from God: "The things which are seen ARE TEMPORAL; but the things which are not seen ARE ETERNAL." The Spirit here reveals the great truth that there simply is no such thing as INCORRUPTIBLE MATTER. There are no IMMORTAL MATERIAL BODIES walking around anywhere on God's earth! If they are composed of matter and visible then they are not eternal and endure. It is a contradiction of terms. Nothing that is seen by the mortal eyes of natural men can be eternal. There must be a transformation, a transferal from one kingdom to the other.
The incorruptible body of the resurrection is not a material body at all, it is a SPIRIT BODY. The words of Paul to the Corinthians must be made very real to our hearts: "There are celestial (heavenly) bodies, and bodies terrestrial (earthly): but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of terrestrial is another. So...is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown NATURAL BODY; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY. There is a NATURAL BODY and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY" ( I Cor. 15:40,42-44). It is plain to see that our present bodies are "natural bodies." The "spiritual body" supersedes the "natural body" and is called in the Greek a "spirit body." The natural body and the spirit body belong to two entirely different kingdoms. The former is visible, the latter is invisible. The former is temporal, the latter is eternal. The former is of the earth, the latter is from heaven as Paul explains: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building (body) of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life" (II Cor. 5:1-4).
Our "earthly house", our physical body, is characterized as a "tabernacle" or a better translation would be "tent-house." The transient character of the earthly body is thus revealed by this symbol. This house is to be "dissolved." "Dissolved" comes from a Greek word meaning "loosened down," as the ropes of a tent are loosened and the tent is taken down. The "spirit body," on the other hand, is described as a "building of God, eternal in the heavens." The metaphor changes, interestingly, from a "tent" to a "building," from that which can be "dissolved" to that which is "eternal." My beloved brethren! I have absolutely no desire whatever to have God embue with any eternal qualities this poor, imperfect, limited, restricted, humiliating, earthly, animal body! My hope of Sonship does not rest in preserving forever a body that must be washed and clothed, fed and rested, groomed and manicured, and powdered and deodorized. There is another body, thank God! formed of the Spirit of the resurrected and glorified Christ of God and this marvelous body is from heaven even as my present body is of earth. I declare to you that as a man puts on Christ he puts on not only the Spirit of Christ but also the RESURRECTION BODY of Christ and this body is our house from heaven. Even as our earth body has come from Adam, and is Adam's body, so our spirit body comes from Christ and is the body of His resurrection. As the pure and holy life of the Son of God is formed within us God shall also give us bodies worthy of such divine life, bodies capable of expressing all the wisdom and power of that blessed realm beyond sin and death, yea, beyond time and space and matter!
It must forever be settled in our hearts that there is no true reality any of the things that are seen, for how can we say that things which are always changing and passing away are realities? The only eternal things in the whole universe are the things which are not seen, and yet it is not that they are really invisible, for they are merely invisible to the kinds of eyes we mortals have. Eternal things are only inaudible to the ears of the natural and can be perceived only beyond the senses of the soulish man. The Holy Spirit has faithfully recorded of Moses, that grand hero of faith and spiritual vision, that "by faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible" (Heb. 11:27). In this verse we have from the history of Israel, on their way from Egypt to Canaan, the truth confirmed anew that in all God does in His great and eternal purposes, on man's part faith is the beginning and the ending. Faith is an attribute and faculty of the NEW HEART and the NEW MIND, and the one outstanding feature of this spiritual faculty of faith is its ability to SEE THE INVISIBLE! Moses "endured, as SEEING HIM WHO IS INVISIBLE." This was done by faith. In this phrase "by faith" we see that in any circumstances the first of all duties is faith - which sees the invisible One. Here is the mighty power of the new creation: it sees what others cannot see! It sees, amid the thousand things natural men see and are guided by, something infinitely greater and more real - it sees God. No wonder it leads a man to think and act differently from other men. On everything it looks at the bright light of eternity is shining. No wonder that under the inspiration of that vision it can do mighty deeds, for it sees God its helper and strength. Let me here say to every believer that just as, in any pursuit, the eye can be trained to see what others cannot see, so the spiritual eye of the new creation can be trained to see God everywhere. Abide in His presence until the heart is filled with it. You will begin to recognize HIM in everything that happens. Seek to walk in the light of His countenance. Seeing the INVISIBLE will make it easy to forsake the world and do the will of God!
Just as there are five natural senses in the natural realm, so also there are five spiritual senses in the spiritual realm. The five senses of the body and soul are able only to see, hear, taste, touch and smell natural things, but these same five senses in the realm of the Spirit are able to see, hear, taste, touch and smell all spiritual things which are invisible and incorruptible, as Paul explains: "...eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man (by any natural sense of power or perception) the things which God hath in reservation for those who love Him - but God HATH REVEALED THEM UNTO US (the "New Creation") by His Spirit; for the spirit searcheth (out) all things, yea the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:9-14). When we are born of the Spirit the five senses of God become resident and operative within our spirit. Gradually, as we are quickened to become aware of these senses, the EYES of our understanding open wider and wider to the things not seen by the natural eye; by degrees the HEARING of faith increases until every good promise of God established as truth within; in time we come into TOUCH with the Lord and His invisible presence and powers; little by little we TASTE and see that the Lord is very gracious; after a time we come to appreciate those sacrifices and incense-prayers and praises which are a SWEET ODOR to the Lord. As the natural senses can be cultivated, so can the spiritual; and the cultivation of these spiritual senses constitute marks indicating our growth in grace, our development as Sons of God, to the completeness of our new selves in the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature.
When one walks by the spiritual senses of the new creation He, like Christ, has meat to eat that others know not of and drink to drink of which those around him have never tasted. Under the curse of death and separation from God man was banished from entrance into this blessed realm of reality in the Spirit. The heavens became shut up from him. He could not see eternal things. He could see only natural things. He could not hear spiritual and eternal things. He could hear only the lower sounds of earth. He could not taste spiritual things but only such things as he could eat with his physical mouth and take into his soul of the spirit of this world, none of which contain one iota of life or reality. He could not smell the more glorious fragrance of the heavenly realms, but only those perfumes which issued forth from things of earth. Neither could he feel the glory of God's presence, but his feeling was confined to the tangible and corruptible things of earth. He was condemned to live after the flesh, for the gate of the spiritual world was closed to him.
Jesus has opened the gate, blessed be His name! He now bids us come to the place of feeding upon heavenly manna, for He says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20). The first taste we have of the Lord's table, is when we enter into our secret closet and close the door; shutting out everybody and everything, all our thoughts and desires, all sounds from the world, and all the six hundred sixty six voices of Babylon's religious systems. It is upon the door of this closet of communion in the SPIRITUAL REALM, that He comes and knocks; it is there He enters; and when we have shut the door, He spreads this table with heavenly viands; and we not only taste of the hidden manna, but we learn to feed upon it ONLY and CONTINUOUSLY; we drink of the living water more abundantly.
We cannot sit at this table with our voices clattering and every avenue of our being filled with unrest. We cannot abide at His feet and hear His voice when our opinions are rampant, and our thoughts wandering to and fro like the tramps in the alley that feed upon the refuse in the garbage cans. We cannot eat of this table while the wine of Babylon's doctrines and spirit is filling our stomachs and defiling our breath. We must turn from it all, from tradition, from the world, and from self to seek Him diligently and yield to Him in quietness and confidence. We must follow every direction He gives us if we would find this table and abide there; for we can only sit at this table of the Lord when we have commenced to partake of the grace of silence within and without. When the Lord was on earth, He told His disciples that He had meat to eat that they knew not of; and He added: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me." The Sons of God will be known first of all by the fact that they make the WILL OF GOD to be their meat and drink. And it is only as we get still before HIM, that we learn to know and do His will. Body and soul must be silenced! The sooner the better. The body man shall pass away. The soulish man shall likewise pass away. But HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD ABIDETH FOREVER. He that doeth the will of God is THE TREE OF LIFE KIND OF MAN. This hidden feeding upon Christ, the tree of life; this hidden table of communion, at which none ever sits with us but our Lord, is the King's table. Only when He is King of our lives can expect He will reveal to us His secrets, or take us into His confidence, or share with us wisdom and power. If Christ were sitting upon the throne of our lives continually, we would be sitting at His table continually.
The natural man cannot smell the more glorious fragrance of the heavenly realm, but only those odors which issue forth from the things of earth. In the Song of Solomon it is written prophetically of Christ: "Thine oils have a goodly fragrance; Thy name is as oil poured forth" (S. of S. 1:3). The very name, "Christ," means the "Anointed One." When the wise men came from a far country to search for the Messiah, they brought to Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. It did not just happen that the wise men brought these gifts to Him. Nothing ever happens; for our God is over all things. They brought to Him the gold, which symbolizes His divine nature; they brought to Him the frankincense, which is an emblem of His glory, together with the praise toward God which came through Him. They brought to Him the fragrant, but bitter myrrh, which is a symbol of His fragrance of joy, obedience, confidence and victory even in the bitterness of the suffering and death through which He would pass. Those who brought these gifts saw no significance in them; but the meaning is very clear to one who sees the symbolism in the metals, the sweet spices and gums were used in the worship of Israel.
We hardly realize how ill-smelling our own fleshly attributes are, and how many flies have gotten into the oil which the great Perfumer has commenced to put within us, until we have drawn close enough to HIM to discern the fragrance of His pure oils. It is when we smell the goodly fragrance of His humility, that we begin to detect the offensive odor of our pride. It is when the sweetness of His purity and holiness, His love and longsuffering, breaks in upon us, that we smell the vile odors of our flesh, our stiff-neckedness and willfulness, our lack of love and short-suffering. It is when we smell the perfume of His patience and forgiveness toward us, that we get the real offensive odor of our impatience and unforgiving spirit toward one another. It is when we sense the fragrance of His joy and peace and righteousness that our own confusion, temper and carnality seem so putrid and unclean. How sweet and altogether delightful are the fragrances of the heavenly realms! How beautiful the sights! How delicious the taste! How enthralling the sounds! How transforming, heaven's touch!
In the tree of life, Christ, he heavenly Father showed us in Jesus' earthly life what the life of heaven would be like when it came down into the conditions and circumstances of our human life. In His death and resurrection He took all that heaven's life is and poured it out that we might partake of its fullness. When the high priest, who, with the holy anointing oil upon him, had been ministering before God in the Holy of Holiest, came out and passed among the congregation of Israel, the fragrance of that holy oil enveloped him. No oil like unto this could be made by any man or be put upon any flesh; it could be only upon those who ministered before God, and only upon them did this holy perfume linger and ascend before God. So with those who draw close to their Head, Christ, as members of HIS BODY, the body of the High Priest, having boldness to enter into the Holiest by a new and living way which He hath consecrated, through the veil, drawing near to minister before HIM; His oils are upon them, His likeness and fragrance surround and emanate from them; and all who come near them know that they have been abiding in the presence of the Lord. It is only to those who have seen their own vileness and have turned to Him to be washed in the fountain of His blood, that His name is as ointment poured forth. It is to those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; it is to the virgins who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth; it is to that blessed company of the Sons of God who overcome all things to sit with Him upon His throne; to those who love Him above all else, that His name is as oil poured forth. Do you long to be fragrant, dear child of God? Hasten to HIM whose oils have the goodly fragrance of heaven's divine life and glory; call upon Him whose name is as oil poured forth; put off all the attributes and weakness of self, and put Him on. Put off all the Babylonish garments of man's religious exercises, and put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. Put Him on! Clothe thyself in HIM, let God forevermore hide thee away in Him. Then shalt thou be a Son, then shall those about thee smell such fragrance a has never been discerned upon thee; and they shall know that His good oils have a goodly fragrance, and that His oils are upon thee.
The very nature of our walk in the Spirit as Sons of God requires the most drastic change in ourselves. It is impossible to walk as a Son until this great change has taken place in us. We cannot hope to enter into this high and holy realm with any hope of walking in the Christ life until a whole new set of faculties has been given us and we, like children, have learned to use them and abide in them. When our minds begin to comprehend how completely the natural man is locked out of the Kingdom of God and barred from all spiritual experience because of the death that has come upon him, then we are able to understand more clearly why it was that Jesus said, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Thee is far more to that statement than any religionist has ever understood, for just as death deprived Adam of any possibility of the sight and presence of the eternal spiritual things of God's Kingdom so also does the new birth bring them back into view. The same heavens that were closed on that day in Eden so long will once again begin to open to us that we, being born again, might live in the light and reality of the Kingdom of the Lord.
That Kingdom is one with which the natural man has no correspondence at all, with which he naturally has no power of communication. Take a walk around the garden. Walk down by the cabbages and vegetables and talk about, well, anything you like. What would the cabbages think about you? What would the turnips say about you? They neither hear nor understand what you are talking about, whatever it is. Their kind of life is not your kind of life. Their faculties are not your kind of faculties. They are not constituted in your kingdom. There is no correspondence between them and you at all. They have not the capacity, the ability, the qualification, the faculty for the most elementary things you may be talking about. You may be talking about such foolish things as cars, ordinary everyday things, but they do not know it. That is how it is. There is just as great divide between the natural man and the Kingdom of God. The divide is so utter that if you and I were brought in our natural state right into the place where the Spirit of God was speaking, unless the Spirit of God wrought a miracle in us, the whole thing would be of another world. Is that not how it is? You believers go out into this world and talk about the things of the Lord and see men gape at you! It is all foreign to them! "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." And to actually enter into this Kingdom as a King and Priest after the order of Melchisedec, which is the order of the Son of God, something has to happen to us, and that means we have to be constituted anew, with altogether other qualifications and abilities and faculties for the realm of the Kingdom of God. You go out into the Church world today and begin to talk about Sonship, Perfection, the Firstfruits, being changed while we stand on our own two feet, Overcomers, the Temple People, the Book of Life Company, Saviours on Mount Zion, no Rapture, no golden streets and no harps and no white night gowns and no marriage supper on a cloud eating porkchops and I can assure you that the Christians will gape at you! It is not that they do not have the spiritual faculties of the new creation man to see and discern the deep things of God, only that they have not developed them! A baby has ears, eyes, nose, mouth and hands, but discern very, very little of the world into which he has been born. And if that baby were brought into a world where there no other human beings, he would never learn to talk nor do the thousand and one other things that make intelligent, rational human beings. Beloved, if we would grow up in the Kingdom of God there is one thing necessary: Constant fellowship and communion with the One who inhabits that high and holy realm - Jesus! Only through intercourse with HIM are we able to develop the faculties of our spirit that we may become the Sons of God. There is no other way!
Few statements have ever been made that carry a more intense message than these words of the apostle Paul written to the Roman believers: "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6). To be spiritually minded means to walk in the spiritual mind and pay no mind to the desires, thoughts and claims of the carnal mind which minds only earthly things. The three trees of Eden are three kinds of men, three potentialities within man, and three kinds of lives that may be lived out by every regenerated person: body life, soul life and spirit life. It is interesting to watch these three kinds of lives revealed in a gathering of the Lord's people where there are saints who are walking on different levels of spiritual development. When a deep revelatory word is coming forth, and the Spirit of God is probing into the depths of the hearts of those saints walking in the SPIRITUAL REALM, others seem to withdraw and appear to be bored with the service. Then if another voice begins to speak, appealing to the SOULISH REALM, with shallow sentimental preaching, peppy music, clapping of the hands, emotional appeal for people to "come forward" for this and that blessing, this second group of saints suddenly becomes alive and responds accordingly with their manifestations. And finally, as yet another voice speaks and announces that the meeting has ended and donuts and coffee will now be served, there is this third group who live in the BODY REALM, who endured all the service thus far, who now begin to respond and come alive. Each has seen, heard, tasted, touched and smelled on one of the three levels, whether of the spirit, the soul or the body.
The Sons of God are called to be THE TREE OF LIFE KIND PEOPLE. Those pursuing this calling in God will more and more know what it is to be lifted beyond the pale of natural things to behold the realm where God lives in the Spirit. It is the glory of His presence and the power of His life that changes us from corruption to incorruption, that transforms the ragged garments of our mortality to raiment which is white and glistening. God is moving in our heart and preparing us for a great change in which we shall move completely out of the tripartite nature of spirit, soul and body to live only and forever in THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT. There, beyond limitation and imperfection, we shall see Him as He is and know Him even as we are known of Him. Our vision of heavenly things has been so distorted due to our looking through physical and soulish eyes. You have sometimes seen a window made of fluted glass, and you know that if you look at the street through this window everything will be distorted. The passers-by and the automobiles will appear to be warped and distorted in absurd and ugly ways. Nevertheless, you know that these things are really quite alright in themselves, and that the distortion arises from your seeing them wrongly. The pure eyes of our regenerated spirits have had to filter through the fluted shell of our carnal minds and the marvelous things of the realm of God's Spirit have been distorted into myriads of carnal doctrines, traditions, rituals, concepts, interpretations and religious systems and exercises. This distorted vision of heavenly things is really what we know as "Christianity." It is a seeing, but a false seeing. It is knowing, but a false knowing. The Sons of God are arising to pass through this veil, to abide forever in the Holiest of all. Our Leader and Forerunner opened up this path to God, in which He first walked Himself, and then draws us to follow Him. The veil is the flesh. The veil that separated man from God was the flesh; body and soul under the dominion of sin. Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and dwelt with us here outside the veil. The Word was made flesh. Through the rent veil of His flesh, His will, His senses, His earthly faculties, His human life, yielded up to God in death, He entered beyond the veil into the Holiest. Through the rent veil He rose to the very throne of God. And this is the way He has dedicated for us. As little as He could open and enter the Holiest for us, except in His path of suffering and death, as little can we enter in unless we walk the same path of obedience and death to self. He is our way. Let us arise and follow HIM!
J. PRESTON EBY
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
All writings are distributed on a free-will offering basis.
Pathfinder Homepage | Elwin's Articles | Margit's Articles | Ministry Links | Misc Links