THEIR EYES WERE OPENED,
AND THEY KNEW...
YE SHALL NEVER DIE?
FOR THE OCCASION
YE SHALL NEVER DIE?
O.K. folks, it's time to listen up. It is time to come to the knowledge of the truth. It's time to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches; namely, what is being said to this church called the lukewarm church of (1)Laodicea. Frankly, it is time to face reality, adjust, and be ignited by the fire of revelation.
I know the above heading alone is enough for some to read no farther in this short, clear, easy to understand article. Nevertheless, since this subject seems to have been a somewhat confusing matter to a number of those who embrace present-day teachings, we will cover ground that's been plowed before, and hopefully, break again some fallow soil. In addition, repetition is often beneficial; for I believe it to be true as one author has written: "There may be more to learn by climbing the same mountain a hundred times than by climbing a hundred different mountains."
This issue of never dying has become a driving force for quite a number of sincere saints who have laid down their lives for the groaning creation, and this concerns me. There is nothing wrong with the thought in itself. The problem is one of perspective. When the vision has been diverted, it can lead to a hopelessly frustrating journey, and their long, sought after goal is never reached.
A couple of scriptures have, no doubt, already come to mind, so let us gird up the loins of our spirit and see what is being said by them.
"And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:26).
First, to qualify and be numbered in those ranks, it is necessary to be experientially living and believing into Him, which cannot be done in the confines of the carnal mind. Second, to whom was Jesus referring when He said, "whosoever"? Do you suppose it was the person, the identity, the spiritual man, i.e., the sons of God who shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid? (Job 38:4-7). Could it have been those foreknown by God, and predestinated to be conformed to the express image of His first begotten Son? And could it possibly have been the ones He called, and justified, and whom He also glorified before there was ever a man to till the ground? (Rom 8:29-30, Gen 2:1-5).
Or are you thinking the whosoever might be the tangible, the dust laden body by which the elect of God are temporarily veiled? Could the whosoever remotely be the old carnal being which lumbers around in a proud body of dirt, that Adamic body with the pronouncement of death upon it by virtue of being joined to the walking dead man? Could it be that image which was formed from the earth, the dust which will return to the earth as it was? (Eccl 12:7).
If you do not believe it is that one, then you understand well that the "whosoever" speaks of the ones born from above, those from the heavens! They are the ones Jesus was talking about, and not those whose make up is the elements of the crusty, temporal earth that lies on the earth-plane.
But You say, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:53. And I whole-heartedly agree. I believe the same. Yet I also note the meaning of the two words, put on. They come from the Greek word, enduo. Both Thayer's and Strong's Greek Dictionaries give the definition as: "to sink into, in the sense of sinking into a garment." Therefore, the mortality must SINK into the garment of immorality. It is not that mortality suddenly becomes immortal, no, not by any means. Mortality does not forever stand up tall and strong. It is swallowed up! It sinks into oblivion like a man being pulled down by quicksand. Mortality sinks into obscurity as it is swallowed by immortality.
The true man who shouted for joy long before the sun's first advent rises in victory. He is literally turned inside out. "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Cor 4:16). Hear it again -- though our outward man perish (sinks), yet the inward man is renewed (stands taller) day by day.
Since we know from whence we came, since we know our origin, since we know our heavenly Father and substance -- can any one of you tell me why we deny the perishing of our outward man of crusty clay? Why do we hold on to these carnal vessels as if that is who we are and all we are? I believe I know why. It is because we do not like the pain of growing old, and especially the pain and embarrassment of death; but more than that -- we have heard the voice that is twists human desires together with the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. By listening to the subtle wind of the serpent, and by taking that fruit, we have taken it to ourselves unto death, and in dying -- we die.
With the lying wind of the serpent in mind, let me borrow a thought from one of our previous articles (#02.151). This will, hopefully, dispel the idea that the devil has been destroyed, is only an illusion in men's minds, and all we have to do is to realize it.
Hebrews 2:14 is the only verse I can recall which is used for believing that the devil has been destroyed. Although it was surely the case for Jesus, this verse does not say that the devil was destroyed at the time of the cross for the whole world. Let us remove our doctrinal eyeglasses for a moment and note a simple statement: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14). Did you notice the simple statement? "...That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. It does not say, that through death He destroyed him, but might destroy him. There is a difference, you know!
It would not seem possible to miss this point, but many do. While these dear ones are aging by the day, and literally dying, they say, "The devil who has the power of death has been destroyed. I will, therefore, never die. Sadly, they do not see that their words are often inspired by the very thing they say is dead; namely, the devil, the adverse spirit which sets every carnal mind against God in the interest of human reasoning, the spirit which presently works in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:2). Moreover, their claim indicates that they deny the obvious. Some, however, maintain that the obvious is merely an illusion, that death and aging are nothing more than the result of a mistaken identity, and if people would simply realize it -- they will stop the aging process and will never die. Forgive me, please, for being the bearer of sad news; but I must say -- your realizing is not real, and it is not working. That which you call illusions are becoming realities. You are growing older by the day. Your bodies are falling apart. Not even the supplements you are consuming will prevent it. They will slow it down, but being natural, the stroke of death is in them as well, and they have no power to induce immortality. The reality of your illusions continue to demand food, medications, doctors, shelters from the elements. In a nutshell -- you are dying, that is, your temporal houses, your bodies, are dying. If they are not, then you need none of the natural amenities of life. Therefore, if you are a guest in our home -- we will not set a plate for you. We will not expect you to use the shower or toilet. For you see, only a dying body needs food to sustain it, and only a dying body emits sweat and odor and has the need to use the toilet.
To help settle some dust in this arena of conflict, we will delve into a short Greek lesson. It is in reference to this Greek word, which was translated might destroy (Grk Katargese). This was shared in Part 1 of this series; but it seemed to be difficult for some to grasp what was being said. Therefore, I will be as clear as I possibly can.
According to the Analytical Greek New Testament, might destroy (katargese) is an aorist active verb in the subjunctive mood. In simple terms, The aorist subjunctive does not refer to the past. It speaks of the future. The aorist subjunctive is an action without any reference to progress or completion. (rf. Beginner's Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Harper & Row Publishers).
Simply put, the subjunctive aorist of might destroy is not a statement which declares a completed act. It speaks of an ongoing desire with no definite end in sight. Therefore, Hebrews 2:14 is not declaring that Jesus destroyed the devil in every person. However, since it was completed in Christ our Lord, we are in Him and He is in us, and He is not only the author, but also the finisher of our faith -- we can rest assured He WILL destroy in us that dark power of death. In doing so, mortality will helplessly sink forever into the grand garments of immortality.
Now that we see the mood of the subjunctive aorist, and how it relates to might destroy, the essence of the verse becomes evident. Namely, that the rendering idle of the devil is not an experientially completed fact for every man. Although it was completed with Jesus, it is not necessarily so with all others.
I pray that your spirit is not dashed or dampened by this understanding, for there is no need to be discouraged, but rather encouraged. We can be encouraged by knowing that there is a time when the serpent has no power or influence whatsoever. It is when we are caught up to the throne of God, war is waged in heaven, and the dragon is cast out (Rev 12:5-9). He will then have been rendered idle. When there is no carnal mind, Satan is found cast into the bottomless pit, having no foundation upon which to stand. He is destroyed, fired from his job, rendered totally useless. Until then, he will be seen manifesting his subtlety in religious minds everywhere.
Let me quote a couple of statements, One will be a lie, and one will be the truth: "You shall not surely die," (Satan, the serpent) and "You shall never die" (Jesus, the dove). Which one is a lie, and which one is the truth? That is easy to answer; but we may not know why one is a lie and the other the truth.
It is common knowledge, or least should be, that from Satan's very beginning his lie murdered the man and woman. At no time has he ever stood in the truth. There is no truth in him. When he speaks, it is a lie, because he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Therefore, it is easily said that his statement is the lie. And since we know Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and He cannot lie, we know He spoke the truth. But why is one a lie while the other is the truth? Both statements are primarily the same, so if one was true, why wouldn't the other be true?
The difference is in the source of the word and whether it is taken or received. When it is taken, as the woman took the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we know ourselves and we die. When we receive the blessed, broken bread from the hand of Jesus, we know Him and we live. For He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
If we take to ourselves the word, "You shall not surely die," we shall die. It matters not that we declare our aging and dying to be an illusion, we will die just the same. It matters not if we muster all the presumptuous faith possible and profess that we will never die; we will die. And it matters not if we name and claim immorality night and day upon these mortal bodies -- when we have been inspired by the subtle serpent, we heed the tempting voice, and we take from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil -- we will die!
It is simply amazing to me that mortals are attempting lay claim to immortality upon their temporal bodies. They preach it, teach it, sing it, and proclaim it, yet nothing changes. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, failed to eradicate what she called illusions (sickness, death, mortality), and that failed revelation is now purported as new revelation. It didn't work then, and it won't work today.
Nevertheless, let me say this. I will not dispute that for some, the devil, the one who has the power of death, has been (2)destroyed, or at least has lost his job and has been rendered entirely idle. If this is the case, then you will certainly never die. For you see, when the cause is removed, so is the effect. When the cause is removed, the mortal will sink into the immortal, and there will be a change. Don't expect to keep your seventy year old wrinkles forever. Let me say this as well, if you go to a funeral and see the claimant's dead body lying motionless in the velvet-lined casket, you can pretty well conclude the devil had not become unemployed and was still a very real power in the person's life. Personally, it does not bother me to hear others say that their devil has been destroyed, he has nothing to do with them, and they will never die; for it may be true. Moreover, many who say this do not have their focus on the devil. They are not expecting to see him around every corner just waiting to pounce on them.
Truly, there is a time, a day, a moment -- at the twinkling of the eye, at the change of vision -- when death is swallowed by life, and temporal mortality sinks into age-abiding immortality. There is a generation who will know this by experience, and with the vision of life we have today, I expect this to be the generation. If not, the foundation for the manifestation of the Sons of God is certainly being laid for another generation.
Incidently, the twinkling of the eye, i.e., a change of vision, does not come by a "positive confession." This vision comes when the focus of that which is seen is changed to the unseen, when that which is fitted for the temporary occasion is changed to the eternal reality. This change comes by the lightning bolt of pure revelation. It is not conjured by man. He is not the origin of it, the function of it, and he is certainly not the end of it.
FOR THE OCCASION
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While 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 things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor 4:17-18).
[temporal: proskairos, From G4314 (pros) and G2540 (kairos); for the occasion only, that is, temporary" (Strongs). Thayer's gives this: kairos 1) due measure 2) a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time, hence: 2a) a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for 2b) opportune or seasonable time 2c) the right time 2d) a limited period of time 2e) to what time brings, the state of the times, the things and events of time ]
It may not seem to be a "light affliction"; but in relation to the eternal reward, it is light. The Amplified expresses it as being a slight distress: "For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!" (vrs. 17).
What a working! What a process! What an exchange! The slight distress of our bodies of humility, our momentary natural affliction of carnality, our assorted obstacles and occasional burdens work toward and are exchanged for a glory that is beyond all measure, a glory of incalculable riches that transcend all things human! Brethren, I believe we can say that this is a fair exchange! It is well worth enduring the slight distress! When we see this, we can stop complaining about all those slight things we all suffer.
I have yet to write or teach on a subject that has been on my mind for a few years, and I may never; but if I do, it will be called: "Whiners, Criers, Moaners, and Groaners." Sort of a catchy title, dont you agree? Even so, it may be enough to make us pause to consider just how we react to our moment of slight distress.
Do we fit into one or more of these categories? Are we among the Whiners, those who are never content and see only the woes in their lives? Perhaps we fit in with the Criers? At the slightest provocation or discomfort the wailing begins. Or could it be with the Moaners we find fellowship? They moan about this, and they moan about that; they deplore this, and they deplore that; they lament over this and lament over that. Or on the better side, maybe we are in company with the Groaners.
None of the first three I have listed should be confused with the groaners. These know about the Spirit that makes intercession for us with deep groaning and cannot be uttered. There is the groaning of oppression that turns Gods ear to his people. There is the groaning that accompanies godly sorrow that works repentance unto salvation, the groaning of the prisoner, and the groaning in the spirit that genders compassion to deliver the oppressed and raise the dead. The whole creation groans to be released into the same liberty of the children of God. And we ourselves groan with within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body; for we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Such groaning is a very real, working process which is instrumental in moving us from the temporal into the eternal. But the whining, crying, and moaning of the carnal emotions and flesh should be far from those called to reconcile the world.
Notwithstanding, let us draw again our attention to the meaning of temporal, which is: for the occasion only. Since that is the case, why then, would we want to drag our carnal bodies into the realm of eternity, that which is formed only for the occasion of slight distress? First, although many believe it can be done and are attempting to accomplish that insufferable feat, it cant be done. Second, if it could be a remote possibility, those with understanding wouldnt want to do so and shortchange themselves. Regardless of how our bodies of earth are pampered, preened and pomped, those temporal elements cannot compare to the eternal, and could never survive in such a holy environment.
Let me share an undergirding thought which was related by one of Gods heralds of truth, J. Preston Eby:
"The things which are seen are temporal. The things which are not seen are eternal. Temporal is an interesting word. The word is from the Greek which means for the occasion. The things which are seen are for the occasion. But the things which are not seen are enduring. And you know, we are all here today for the occasion. Were here in Gods appointment. And were here in His purpose, His plan, fulfilling precisely what he ordained for this very day.
"For example, when youre having a party and you go buy the paper plates and the streamers and the table cloth, all these paper things that you have for a birthday party, and you decorate everything, its so beautiful. And yet it is just for the occasion. Only a couple of hours and the occasion is over, and these are all gathered up and put in the trash. Its gone. It is just for the occasion.
"If my origin had been in this world, then I would be very concerned about what happens to this part of me that is dust. But my origin was not in this world. My origin is out of that which is eternal. Praise God! And this body is for the occasion. Its for the occasion.
"God predestinated that every one of us would be here for this occasion. And I dont mean just for today. From the time that we were birthed in this world and whether God chooses that we go by way of the grave or whether we come to that transformation by which we walk into an incorruptible body right where we stand on our two feet, theres going to be a change.
"As Brother Ray said, Theres going to be a change in life-style, whether its by the grave or whether its by transformation. Even of this body, there will be a change. And where we are today is for the occasion. And what Im looking at this morning, as far as the physical, will pass away. It will pass away. But we look for that house which is from heaven, which is eternal. Im convinced that God is raising up that house within us.
"I believe that as a partaker of Christ that I am not only a partaker of the Spirit of Christ, but that I am a partaker of the very substance, the very body of Christ, and that everything that Christ is, is being raised up within me and you to bring forth the totality of the expression of Himself to creation." End quote.
With such a clear and beautiful picture so masterfully drawn, is there anyone who is still set on carrying their cumbersome baggage into the age of surpassing glory? If so, it will be good to take a moment and notice some additional points in reference to that which is for the occasion and that which is eternal, or rather age-abiding, as it is in the Greek.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man (for the occasion) is perishing [to rot thoroughly, i.e., to ruin, decay utterly. (Strongs)] , yet the (abiding) inward man is renewed day by day (2 Cor 4:16). Or it could be said this way: For this cause we faint not; for though our outward man, our temporal body, that which is for the occasion only, is perishing, decaying and wasting away, rotting, if you please, our inner man, that which is ever abiding, never dying, is renewed day by day.
You see, that mortal which was formed around us for the occasion should not be the focus of who we are, nor should it be an object we cannot lay down and let it sink into and be swallowed by immortality. Truthfully, I believe if we have a hard time in letting our bodies continue the processes of decaying, even in the grave, it is doubtful that we would feel any differently if we began to lose our identities by being transfigured. For you see, either way, we would be losing that carnal, outward expression of our temporal house which is for the occasion only. Can it be that we have fallen so in love with our physical frame that regardless of how it is changed, we wont like it and will do anything, believe anything, claim anything with feeble hopes of preventing it? Sadly, I believe for some, the answer is yes.
Again, "And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:26). The whosoevers do not consist of the tangible, dust laden body, that carnal thing which is for the occasion only.
The whosoevers are the spiritual man, they who shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid; those foreknown by God, called, justified, glorified and predestined to be conformed to the express image of His first begotten Son. The whosoevers are not the old carnal beings who strut about in this body of dirt claiming to be God who will never die.
Strangely, regardless of how far from the truth they are, they believe their own thoughts and claims can change reality. With this they believe they are the captains (gods) of their own destiny.
The corruptible, no matter how convincing it is, will never possess incorruptibility. It will put on, or sink into and be swallowed up by the garment of immortality; but it will not be immortal itself. That outward man will sink and perish, while the inward man will rise and be renewed day by day. By knowing our origin, by knowing who we are, let us no longer listen to the lying wind of the subtle serpent which presently works in the children of disobedience.
Let us not bemoan that our bodies of earth are growing older day by day; but let us rejoice that our tabernacles from above are being renewed day by day. Also, whether or not we understand the subjunctive aorist of might destroy the devil, we should know there is still the very real negative power of death in the earth, yet it has no power over the everlasting man from above. We want to always keep in mind our natural frame is not who we are, and it is for the temporal occasion only.
It is true that we shall never die; but remember who are the true "WE." Let us not mistake our identity as being our heart attack and disease prone bodies. We date back much further than earthen huts. We come from a far superior place than earth. Therefore, let us cease from naming and claiming immortality upon these temporal bodies, and with patience, let us wait for the moment, for the twinkling of the eye, for the change of vision when death is swallow by life, and temporal mortality sinks into age-abiding immortality and everlasting weight of glory; into that which is beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory which will never cease.
It matters not what we profess and claim about our mortal bodies. That is not what makes it so. God has not put His immutable plan of the ages under the dictates of every man who is a liar. If he did such a thing, it would cause me to despairingly sing the old song "Stop the world and let me off. Im tired of going round and round...." However, since I know it is not left in the temporal hands of man to usher in Gods indissoluble Kingdom, I sing with great rejoicing "I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah" (Psa 61:4).
To be continued...
Elwin R. Roach
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2. Destroy: "to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
1a) to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
1b) to deprive of force, influence, power
2) to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish
2a) to cease, to pass away, be done away
2b) to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
2c) to terminate all intercourse with one" (Thayer's)