the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
THE KINGDOM COMES
In our last Study I wrote of the great truth that the Kingdom of God does
not come by law or legislation — it comes by regeneration and transformation into the image
and likeness of God. Some of us
have surely noted in scripture that God does indeed use law to govern the
unregenerate and ungodly. Paul
states this as plainly as it can be stated in I Timothy 1:8-10.
“Now we recognize and know that the Law is good, if any one uses it
lawfully — for the purpose
for which it was designed; knowing and understanding this: that the Law is not
enacted for the righteous — but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and
sinful, for the irreverent and profane, for those who strike and beat and even
murder fathers and strike and beat and even murder mothers; for manslayers, for
impure and immoral persons, those who abuse themselves with men, kidnapers,
liars, perjurers and whatever else is opposed to wholesome teaching”
Let it be thoroughly known and understood that the law God has ordained
to govern those outside of Christ is not God’s
law, but man’s law.
Every nation, every state and province, every city, town and community is
regulated by the law of man. Under
the Old Covenant the law of God was given to only one nation out of all the
nations of the world, the nation of Israel.
God’s law was never given to any Gentile nation or people anywhere on
earth. And that law was given to Israel only under the Old Covenant. The
law given to Israel completely and forever passed away when the New Covenant was
ratified by the blood of Jesus. It
is no longer in effect for Israel nor has it been passed on to either the New
Testament Church or the Kingdom brought by Jesus.
“The law and the prophets were
until John: since that time the
kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth
into it” (Lk. 16:16).
To these words of Jesus the apostle Paul adds his testimony:
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of
Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the
dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were
held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the
letter. For sin shall not have
dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is
written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written
in the book of the law to do them. But
that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The
just shall live by faith. And the
law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we
might be justified by faith. But
after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Rom. 7:4,6;
6:14; Gal. 3:10-12,24,25).
LAW RESTRAINS EVIL
A man who keeps his bulldog tied to a fence has no right to brag that the
dog has never bitten the mailman. How
could the dog bite the mailman?
If the owner wants to brag about his dog, let him set the dog free; then
everyone (including the mailman) will know the dog’s true nature.
There you have the difference between the law and the Kingdom of God. The law merely restrains
evil men (like the chain on the dog) from the ability to do their evil —
the Kingdom of God transforms the nature so that men become
righteous. Human government is
an instrument of restraint, not a
fountain of love and grace. It
prohibits, forbids, restricts, regulates, sets limits, restrains, and, if it is
not strictly limited itself, oppresses. The
instruments of governments are sheriffs, police, marshals, bailiffs, detectives,
guards, and soldiers.
They use pistols, shotguns, nightsticks, tear gas, handcuffs, cells with
bars, machine guns, cannon, bombs, and other assorted immobilizing and
death-dealing weapons. Government is the enforcer of man’s laws, it is not an
instrument of the Kingdom of God. In
itself, this is no reproach against government.
Men are given to wrongdoing, and it has been the considered judgment of
the wise down through the ages that there must be a public force to maintain law
and order by restraining and punishing those who do wrong.
And God Himself has ordained it so!
A brother once wrote: “While I was pastor in a certain city, a man who
had been a Christian for twenty years approached me after one of our services.
‘I enjoyed your message,’ he said with a smile, ‘but I really need
more hellfire-and-damnation sermons to keep me in line.’
The man had been a believer for years, and yet he had not matured enough
to take responsibility for himself. He
wanted to be told what to do and when to do it.
Is God pleased by such an attitude?
Would the father of a twenty-year-old man be pleased to hear his son say,
‘Dad, I need to be kept in line’?
“As a teenager, I participated in a ministry to the inmates of the
Louisiana State Penitentiary. During
my visits to the prison, I became friends with an inmate who claimed to be a
Christian. But each time the man
was paroled he would immediately commit a crime and return to prison. One day I asked him why he couldn’t stay on the outside.
His answer astonished me. He
said, ‘I can’t handle life on the outside, man.
It scares me, all those decisions. No,
back here they tell me when to get up, when to eat, and when to go to bed.’ He had to have the restraint of law and order over his
life” — end quote.
Learn this, O man, and you will understand a great truth. There are people in this world
that must be ruled by law, and God has ordained it so.
When God instituted His first law He said, “If you do not live by it,
you shall die.” You have to
understand that the law of God began in that long ago beginning in the garden of
Eden, for that is where the first rule was laid down and the first penalty for
breaking that rule was experienced. God
has still ordained that the world be ruled by law.
The vast majority of men, at this time, must be ruled by law.
The Lord has established in the world two orders of government, one order
is for the lawless, the other is for
the righteous. The order for the lawless is law,
and the order for the righteous is the spirit.
“Knowing this, that the law is not
made for a righteous man, but for the lawless
and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners” (I Tim. 1:9).
“There is therefore now no condemnation — no adjudging guilty of wrong — for those who are
in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. For the law of
the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has
made me free from the law of sin and
death...for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”
(Rom. 8:1-2,14, KJV & Amplified).
Evil can be dealt with only in one of two ways — it must be restrained,
or it must be remedied. Human government is ordained by God for the restraint of evil. “Let
every person be subject to the governing (civil) authorities.
For there is no authority except from God; and those that exist do so by
God’s appointment. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has
appointed and arranged — in divine order. And
those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves — receiving
the penalty due them. For civil
authorities are not a terror to people of good conduct, but to those of bad
behavior. For he is God’s servant
for your good. But if you do wrong
you should dread him and be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.
He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (His punishment) on the
wrongdoer” (Rom. 13:1-4, Amplified). Words
cannot be plainer. Thank God for
our judicial and law enforcement officers who restrain the wickedness and
violence and injustice of the criminal elements in our society!
That is precisely what God has appointed human government to do.
There are a great many people who must be governed by a strong hand
without their consent. When it
comes to the restraint and punishment of evil the governed lose their right to
be governed with their consent. They
remind me of a very clever cartoon of a little boy who disputed that point with
his mother. He had been studying in
school about the right of the governed under our Constitution to consent to all
government above them, and it had gotten into his mind.
He had stolen apples, and his mother had warned him, but it had no
effect. So she was spanking him.
The little man turned around and said, “Mama, I object.
Our glorious Declaration of Independence says that all just government
must rest upon the consent of the governed, and I do not consent!”
There are a great many children who will not consent, and they have to be
governed whether they consent or not. There
are a great many people who will never, short of God’s salvation, consent to
do right. You have to govern them
with a strong hand. We all need God
to rule us one way or the other.
Government speaks of ORDER. Without
government there would be only chaos. Do
you know the difference between a mob and an army?
The difference is discipline. Order
is the difference. An army is
orderly. An army moves in
governmental order, under submission to chains of command.
An army is controlled by an inward state of being.
A mob is not controlled by anything.
A mob gets out of hand, burning buildings, looting, lynching.
There is no order, no inward law of responsibility.
There is only one way to bring a mob under control — by the law, by force.
They must be subdued by tear gas and bullets and carried away in paddy
wagons. They must be restrained. If there is a remedy
it must come later, through different means.
It is for this very reason that wicked
men are shut up in hell, reserved under chains of darkness, awaiting a
day of deliverance and release. God
restrains wicked men until according to His purpose He can save them.
With the release of the mystery of iniquity into the Adamic race, the
wickedness of man soon became great in the earth, and by Noah’s day we find
that “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil
continually” (Gen. 6:5). God
allowed man’s sin and violence to go a certain course for a certain length of
time, knowing full well just how far He could allow man to express these evil
inclinations, and just where to draw the line.
At the appropriate moment the spirits of these wicked men were put in
prison, as society today puts a criminal in prison; the flood swept them away
into hell and hell restrained the Antediluvians from committing more wrath upon
But God only restrains until He
That is precisely why Jesus, after His death and resurrection, went to
PREACH to these spirits in prison, the spirits of the men who had been disobedient
in the days of Noah. To them He
carried the word of reconciliation, showing not only that Christ had died for
their sins, but that He was risen for their justification.
If perchance our minds are numbed with the wonder of such a thought, let
us consider the record of this great event from Weymouth’s translation.
“Christ also once for all died for sins, the innocent One for the
guilty many, in order to bring us to God.
He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit, BY WHICH
HE ALSO WENT AND P-R-E-A-C-H-E-D TO THE SPIRITS THAT WERE IN PRISON, who in
former times had been disobedient, when God’s long-suffering patiently waited in the
days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons — eight
in number — were brought safely through the water” (I Pet. 3:18-20).
Despite the crafty and deceptive efforts of some to twist and explain
away the plain meaning of this passage, it reveals that Jesus, after His death
and resurrection, went and preached, not to men in the flesh, but to SPIRITS in
prison; not to angels, not to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or any of the other Old
Testament saints, but to those men who had been DISOBEDIENT to the preaching of
Noah in the days preceding the flood! And
what did He preach to these long-departed spirits?
Well, I Peter 4:6 certainly answers this question!
The passage is only a few verses further on from the one under
consideration, and as Peter continues speaking of the same subject we are
informed, “For this cause was the Gospel
preached also to them that are dead,
that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to
God in the spirit...” The message
is clear — though these were dead so far as their flesh bodies were concerned, and
lived on only in the spirit, but not in the flesh, THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED UNTO
THEM that they might be judged, or dealt with, the same as men who were alive in
the flesh. Please notice, precious
friend of mine, it was not doom or gloom or judgment or eternal damnation that
was preached to these, but THE GOSPEL, the GOOD NEWS WHICH IS THE POWER OF GOD
UNTO SALVATION, was PREACHED even to these spirits
in prison, the disobedient ones!
It is written in the plainest of plain language.
But there are some people who will not understand plain speech.
They do not believe that Christ went down into hell to preach the gospel
to dis-embodied spirits of wicked and rebellious men; they think He went
somewhere down in the heart of the earth to rescue Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and
all the Old Testament righteous people out of a place called Paradise and take
them up to heaven. He may have done that, but there is not one shred of evidence
for it anywhere in the pages of God’s wonderful Book. The Bible nowhere says that.
He went down into the lowest hell, and He was there on business!
Wherever He went He did business for God.
He went there to begin His new age deliverance ministry among a group of
spirits that had been imprisoned there for two thousand three hundred and fifty
years. He went and preached to the disobedient
in the days of Noah, who were so bad that God could not wait for them to
die, and another generation to arise, but in order to re-establish some order on
the earth He had to sweep them all off the earth into hell.
The fact that they remained there so long indicates the depth of their
wickedness. They were ignorant and
rebellious and would not learn of God. They
were hateful and violent and perverted and murderers, boastful and vile in the
extreme, and would not obey any law of God or man. And, blessed be God! it was
the Gospel that was preached to them,
informing them of the death and resurrection of God’s Son, who was given as a
propitiation for them, and that God had faith in the blood of His Son to deliver
them from the bondage of sin and death and hell into the glorious liberty of the
children of God. There is no other reason to preach the Gospel (Good News) to anyone, anywhere! He led captive a host of captives, He brought under His
dominion a vast company of men who had been captives of the devil, and carried
them through the gates of hell to a glorious ascension into the realms of
God’s Spirit (Eph. 4:8-10). Hallelu-yah!
The law is done away in Christ. For
the man in Christ the only law is the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus
which makes us free from the law of sin and death.
I said earlier that there are only two ways in the universe, in the
wisdom of the Almighty, to deal with evil — it must be either restrained
or it must be remedied. In Christ is found the eternal remedy. In Christ men are forgiven, cleansed, changed, transformed,
and made whole by the power of His Life. But
for every man outside of Christ the law remains.
I say for those who do wrong, if they do not embrace God’s government
of grace, then the next thing to do is give them the law.
This club is not administered by the sons of God, for the sons of God are
not God’s policemen, neither God’s bailiffs nor His prison guards.
Sons are not called to that ministry.
I would have a real problem being a sheriff or a policeman.
Jesus never administered the law, He never enforced any of its demands,
nor inflicted any of its penalties. His
whole administration was one of mercy, forgiveness, love and restoration.
The sons of God are on the side of the remedy,
not the side of restraint or punishment. I have no condemnation of those who serve in law enforcement.
It is ordained by God! But
sons have a different calling, a higher calling.
Sons are always on the mercy and deliverance side, for that is the order
of the Priesthood of Melchizedek which is the order of the Son of God. God has committed unto us
the word of reconciliation and the ministry of reconciliation.
But to human government God has committed the ministry of restraint.
The law administration must in God’s due time pass away before the
all-conquering Light of Life. There
will never be enough law enforcement officers to stem the present overflowing
tide of evil in the world! This
darkness can only be dispelled by the blazing light of God’s Christ. And His light is now arising in His elect at this junction of
ages to dispel the darkness. We may
expect tremendous things from His bountiful hand during this new Day!
PRIESTHOOD OF LIFE
As we follow on to know the Lord in this new and living way, it is with
confidence that the Spirit of the Most High will direct our steps and open our
understanding. We are at the point
in history, at the breaking of the dawn of a new age, when only God can lead us
step by step into the NEW ORDER He has prepared for us.
No man but Jesus has trodden this way before.
Only HE can teach us the path of sonship, and direct our steps on the
highway to Zion, for there are no other manifested sons to lead the way.
I do not say that the words of Jesus which are contained in the four
Gospels are the only words that God has ever inspired; for I believe that God
inspired all the holy prophets from the beginning of the world before Christ
came. I believe that He inspired
apostles and prophets and teachers after He came.
I believe that God still inspires men and women who walk with Him in
intimacy of fellowship and vital union today.
I believe that inspiration is as continuous and perpetual as God; God’s
inspiration will never cease. “There
is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them
understanding” (Job 32:8). If I
believed anything else, I should realize that I were talking in direct conflict
with my own experience.
I desire to speak with perfect frankness, for I do not wish to be
misunderstood. I do not believe
that God’s elect today is bound either by the example of Jesus Christ in the
flesh, or of the first twelve apostles, or of the New Testament Church. While Christ certainly left us an example, that we should
follow in His steps where the great principles of sonship are concerned, if you
attempt to bind me to the exact modes of Jesus Christ and to follow in His
example in all things, I will not do it. Jesus
the Christ was born in a stable and laid in a manger, was He not?
Am I to go away and have my next baby — my wife will never have any more babies, but if she had
any more babies — am I to go away and hunt for a stable in which our baby is
to be born? Am I myself
disqualified from manifested sonship because I was born in a bedroom in a brick
house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania? Because
my Lord Jesus Christ in the days of His flesh had no place to lay His head, am I
to sleep in the open air on the mountain tops and out in the deserts, just
because I want to follow the example of Jesus?
Because God by His boundless grace through many years enabled me to
travel and speak in homes, halls, conference rooms and
church buildings, am I going to say, “The firstborn Son spoke only on
the mountain sides, and by the lakes; if the people are to hear me, they have to
all come to the mountain.” That
is not it at all. We are to follow
Christ in the same Faith, in the same Hope, in the same Love, in the same
Nature, in the same Wisdom, in the same Patience, in the same Obedience, in the
same Vision, in the same Relationship with the Father, in the same Power, in the
same spirit of Forbearance and Mercy and Compassion for humanity, and with the
same Courage in fighting sin and sorrow and death.
If you tell me that I am to follow the example of the apostles, I say No,
I will not do any such thing. The
apostle Paul, for instance, went away and shaved his head at Cenchrea
for a vow. How undesirable
it would be for me to go away and shave off the little hair that is left on my
head just because I want to follow the example of Paul!
The apostle Paul did a number of things I would not care to do.
He rather boasted that he did not have a wife.
There is no doubt that he was a widower, because he would not have been a
member of the Rabbinical Council, and would never have been an official witness
at the death of Stephen, consenting to that death, unless he had been a Rabbi of
rank. A member of that Council must
needs be a married man. I agree
with some of the Bible scholars, that the apostle Paul was probably a widower at
the time he wrote the epistle in which he writes about the virtues of not having
a wife. But I am a married man and
have no leading of God and no desire to be otherwise.
Am I to follow Paul, or the Spirit?
I am not going to follow in the footsteps of Peter, because I think we
may learn a few things, and keep away from doing some things that Peter did.
I hold, and I teach, and I will teach, that the example of even Christ
Himself is not to be wholly followed. It
is not as many as are led by what Jesus did two thousand years ago, who are the
sons of God; but “as many as are led by
the Spirit, they are the sons of God.”
We are not to have enforced poverty because Jesus made Himself poor.
We are not to gather around us twelve disciples because He had twelve
disciples. We are not to work at
getting ourselves assassinated because He was hung on a cross by a mob.
If we are LED BY THE SPIRIT to offer ourselves in a martyr’s death,
gladly will we do so; but we shall not seek it as a means of following in
Jesus’ footsteps. We are not to
expect to have a ministry that lasts only three and one half years, nor to
ascend into heaven before our disciples just because He did.
We may never spit in the dirt and make clay to anoint a blind man’s
eyes. We may never go to a
Convention and with whips chase out those who sell books and tapes (although I
have been tempted!), as Jesus did those who sold doves and pigeons in the temple
in Jerusalem. May I wax bold to add
that there is not even any need to try to duplicate precisely the way the
Churches were structured in the early days, or the way their ministries
functioned. The order of sonship
and the priesthood of Melchizedek are not concerned with orders of eldership,
whether we meet in a home or in a conventional church building, how the chairs
are arranged, nor even with orders
of the so-called “five-fold ministry.”
It is not a priesthood after the flesh.
It is an outflow of life
after the Spirit. It does not
concern itself with outward form; it breathes forth as an essence. Jesus wasn’t a Son because He had twelve disciples, or
preached off the bow of a boat. He
was a Son because He manifested and ministered the LIFE OF THE FATHER.
In the religious systems the order, the method, the technique, the
organization, the creed, the liturgy is all-important.
And in the so-called “New Testament Churches” it is no different —
they just have a little different system, one from two thousand years
ago, they are trying to reproduce.
But in the Melchizedekian Order THE ONE WAY IS THE LIFE OF THE LORD.
We must live and move and have our being
in the life of the Spirit. Forget
the outward forms! This is why
there are no patterns, no methods, no
precedents of any kind established in the New Testament for the ministry of
manifested sonship. Jesus never did
the same thing in exactly the same way twice.
When He healed blind Bartimaeus He merely spoke the word, “Go thy way,
thy faith hath made thee whole,” and he received his sight.
But when He healed the two blind men in the house He touched their eyes
in addition to speaking a word. And
when He healed the man born blind from birth He spat on the ground, and made
clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
and commanded him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.
So what is the best way, the right way, the sonship
way to heal a blind man? No one
can tell you — not even Jesus! What
is the best way to preach the Gospel? No one can tell you, although the seminaries think they can!
What is the best way to hold a meeting?
Again no one can tell you. Jesus
never had a song leader or worship director, never by singing, clapping, or
worshipping “created an environment” for the Father to manifest Himself in
their midst. Yet, if you were to ask me what the right way is, I would
have to say that I do not know. I
really do not know what is the right way to do anything.
I do not know the right way to meet humanity’s needs, or solve the
saint’s problems, or bring people into the present truth.
In the Bible you cannot find THE
RIGHT WAY to minister or to do the work of the Kingdom.
This is because the Kingdom of God comes by the dispensation
of the Spirit. It does not come
by outward observation — by forms, methods, or techniques.
What ever you do in the Kingdom, what ever way you use, wherever you go,
it must be by the Spirit. The
Spirit is never traditional, predictable, or static — He is always original, always fresh, new, and
transcendental. He may never repeat
what He did yesterday, or the way He did it.
In these last years, wherever I have gone, I have never paid any
attention to the way.
Regardless of the way people meet, or don’t meet, or minister, or serve
the Lord, or walk with God, it does not mean anything.
The real question is: Are they led by the Spirit?
Is there the flow of His Life? Is
there the manifestation and quickening of Himself?
What is GOD doing? And HOW
is HE doing it? I look to see what
God IS DOING, rather than trying to introduce some “order” for God to move
One of the most intriguing descriptions of the unique character of the
High Priesthood of Jesus is found in Hebrews 7:17 wherein it is stated, “Thou
art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
The order of Melchizedek is an order of “King-Priests.”
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of
the Most High God...first being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that...King of Peace” (Heb. 7:1-2).
There were the Levitical priests of Israel and they were of the Aaronic
order. But when the Kingdom of God
came through Jesus, the priesthood of Aaron was terminated and replaced with the
MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD. Jesus is a
King-Priest after the “order” of Melchizedek.
Aaron was made a priest after the law of a carnal commandment, but Jesus
is made priest after the power of an
endless (indissoluble) life (Heb. 7:16).
The order of Melchizedek is the ORDER OF LIFE.
May the Lord have mercy upon all who cherish the hope of sonship that we
may be delivered from anything other than the life
of this priesthood. Christ
Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, which is after the
power of an indissoluble life.
He is the High Priest of this order, and there can be no High
Priest apart from a priesthood.
The writer to the Hebrews tells us that the order of Melchizedek is the order
of the Son of God. Just as the
firstborn Son is the High Priest of the Melchizedekian Priesthood, so are the
other sons of God the body of this glorious Priesthood of Life. They are kings who reign by life and priests who minister
life. Of these it is written,
“Thou hast made us unto our God kings
and priests: and we shall reign on the
earth” (Rev. 5:10). It is this
dual order of King-Priest that identifies these overcoming ones as pertaining to
the order of Melchizedek. We must
learn this one lesson, that the Melchizedek Priesthood is known only by the
OUTFLOW OF HIS LIFE. Then we will
enter into the Holiest of all to abide there in His presence until we come out
from His presence with the heavenly and eternal bread and wine to minister to
creation’s needs. The order of
Melchizedek is not in any way related to so-called New Testament Church order.
It is more than that, it is something of life, the order of life, the
order brought forth by life, something living, vibrant, imperishable,
incorruptible, immortal, celestial, divine, sovereign, transcendental.
We are conscious that God is bringing something new and glorious into
being. The church order has never
produced one manifested son of God. God
is bringing something into this earth that is far, far beyond anything we know.
He is birthing a manchild, a priesthood, a kingship, a
government, a brand new order. It
will make right everything that has been wrong.
It will make everything as God planned it to be.
It will bring righteous judgment, it will bring mercy, and wisdom, and
deliverance, and power and glory to creation beyond our fondest hopes and dreams
or wildest imaginations. IT WILL
SET CREATION FREE. The great
contrast in the book of Hebrews is between the law
and the order of Melchizedek.
The Kingdom of God can never come by law, for law brings bondage, the
consciousness of sin, and death. The
Kingdom of God is the REIGN OF LIFE which brings deliverance, liberty,
righteousness, peace and joy.
A dear sister in Christ, Michelle Sperber, has graciously given me
permission to share one of her beautiful parables which speaks so eloquently of
this Kingdom order and ministry of Life. She
writes: “There was once a Kingdom down by the sea by the name of Peace.
It wasn’t a big Kingdom, but it was a happy one; and all the people
rested in the Knowledge of Good. The
King whose name was Teachable Spirit was married to Queen Tender Heart, and they
had two beautiful girls, Harmony and Grace, and two boys, Trusting and Loyal.
“Every day Harmony and Grace would
sing songs to the little ducks that would gather by the pool on the right side
of the castle while Trusting and Loyal taught dancing lessons to the chickadees.
Now when the chickadees heard the lovely songs, they were filled with so
much joy that they would flap their wings so hard that they would exhaust
themselves. New Vigor, Trusting’s
faithful companion, would transform them when they fell to the ground, and they
would be enabled to learn the dance which they yearned to do since Trusting and
Loyal began teaching. The dance was
called ‘Together.’ The dance
received such wide acclaim that all the animals of the Kingdom desired to learn
it, so before long, every animal, big and small, came to Trusting and Loyal to
be taught ‘Together.’ Even the
fishes of the sea were compelled to leave their habitation to learn the new
dance and everyone was empowered to overcome all natural limitations.
“But in the neighboring Kingdom, the mother of Teachable Spirit, whose
name was Bondage Law, ruled. There
was no singing or dancing in her Kingdom — only arguments and quarrels, sadness and misery.
Her Kingdom was called Tyranny. No
one who heard of it would dare pass through, for armed guards with iron teeth,
that could bite a man in ten pieces, prevented any from entering.
Now, Bondage Law was very unhappy with her daughter-in-law, Tender Heart,
and her grandchildren, Harmony and Grace, were a real disappointment to her.
She plotted day and night how to change her family and most fervently,
how she could kill Tender Heart.
“One day after consulting with Fear and Torment, Bondage Law visited
her innocent family. She planned on
overcoming Tender Heart having Fear and Torment as able task masters.
When Bondage Law arrived at the castle, her son Teachable Spirit was out
riding his horse, Easy Going. Fear
and Torment took Easy Going by such surprise that he reared up and threw his
rider to the ground. Teachable
Spirit’s neck was snapped and he died instantly.
When Tender Heart, who was looking over the balcony, saw all that had
happened to her husband, grief overcame her; and in that moment her heart left
her. It was taken away by Sorrow and was brought into the darkest
room of the dungeon. A black veil
was draped over the now stone heart which once was a vibrating, living one,
while an invisible flashing sword prevented anyone from coming near it.
“A proclamation went out over the land that King Teachable Spirit was
dead and that Queen Tender Heart’s name had been changed to No Heart.
No Heart, with the insistence of her mother-in-law, Bondage Law, who was
at her side continuously, changed the name of the Kingdom to War.
For you see, now that Tender Heart had lost her heart and name, Bondage
Law ruled both Kingdoms of Tyranny and War.
“Now on the day of the King’s death, a dove whose name was Hope was
sent from the realm of the most high with the message that the Kingdom of Peace
could be restored if the black veil was lifted.
There was only one possibility that this could happen, for only the
entrance of a king could cause the sword to cease flashing.
The invisible sword would cut asunder anyone who was not a king.
So the dove flew into the Kingdom of War, that had every man now against
each other, looking for one who could marry the Queen.
There was no one to be found, even though those were the days that kings
were such not because of what family they came from, but because of their
nature. He who overcame his natural
tendencies became a king.
“Hope saw that there was none on earth who fit the qualification but
she remembered one in heaven whose name was Goodwill.
Upon thinking of him and then calling his name, he immediately appeared.
Dressed in the armor of charity, loving kindness, and meekness, he was
ready to follow Hope into the neighboring land of Faith.
It was in the land of Faith that an army could be prepared to do battle
against the inhabitants of Tyranny. The
plans were quickly made with General Integrity and Major Honor.
All the overcomers were gathered together, mustered with Brave and
Courage, the 100th Battalion’s squad leaders.
“They all marched under the Banner of Love, and because they had such
power not a weapon was lifted against them — all enemies fled
at their sight. The Hands of Glory
came from the invisible realm to assist Goodwill as he boldly entered the
dungeon. Goodwill rejoiced at
seeing the Hands of Glory, for it was written in the Book of Books that only the
Hands of Glory could remove the veil. In
the twinkling of an eye, the black veil was lifted.
The stone heart that had stopped its beating became a vibrating,
pulsating giver of life again, immediately returning to its home in Tender
Heart. A shout of victory came
forth in one voice from all the inhabitants of the Kingdom. All were made whole again by this one act.
“Goodwill had compassion even on Bondage Law and because the Hands of
Glory were with him, he had the power to change her name.
‘Bondage, you shall no longer be Bondage Law, but you shall be called
Law of Life,’ he announced with Forgiveness, his best friend.
‘All those who need to be set free from the law of sin and death will
be sent to you, Law of Life, and your Kingdom will be called Righteousness.’
“And it came to pass that one year later, King Goodwill and Love
Fulfilled bore a son. It was Law of
Life who inspired his name, Joy, and gave him a Kingdom.
It was in the Kingdom of Joy that all three Kingdoms of Righteousness,
Peace and Joy became one. An
invitation was sent into all the world beckoning everyone to come to the Kingdom
of Happily Ever After, and King Joy issued this one command: ‘All passports
must be obtained in the Land of Faith and upon arrival to the Kingdom, this
proclamation shall be heard:
TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST
AND ON EARTH, PEACE AND GOODWILL TOWARD MEN!
WELCOME TO ETERNAL LIFE!’”
Let it be thoroughly known and understood by every man and woman who
names the name of Christ that the only purpose of the law is to give the knowledge of sin. “Now
we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under
the law: that every mouth may be stopped,
and all the world may become guilty before
God. Therefore by the deeds of
the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by
the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:19-20).
The law imparts the knowledge of sin by contrasting the weakness of the
flesh, what we are and do by human nature, with the pure and holy and righteous
nature of God. The law is weak
through the flesh, Paul said. Man
is chained and locked in to the law of sin and death.
Mankind doesn’t have to learn
how to sin, that’s all he knows how to do.
Mankind doesn’t have to learn
how to die, that’s all he can do — you’re born and you sin, you sin and you die.
No one taught you how to steal, no one taught you how to fly off the
handle and say ungodly things, no one taught you how to lie, no one instructed
you how to be filled with lust and passion, no one gave you lessons on how to be
greedy and self-centered, no one told you at two years of age how to claim your
turf and kick and scream if anyone stepped on it.
You’re born with it. It’s
part of the make-up of the natural man.
The law has never, ever, saved any man anywhere from being a sinner.
If by nature you are righteous, you need no law.
Law is irrelevant to the righteous man.
New creatures do not need old laws.
On the other hand, if you by nature are unrighteous, the law can in no
way help you. All it can do is
proclaim your guilt and punish you. It
has no power to make you obey.
Christians are always interested in what is going on in the world.
They are always trying to legislate a righteousness of God upon those who
don’t even know God. But I have
news for you. Legislation —
law — does nothing more than make sin exceedingly sinful (Rom. 7:13).
God is not the one who is laying law on the world in this hour.
God never did lay the law on the world.
He only gave the law to His people Israel, and He gave it to them to teach them what sin is. The
law never did and never could take away sin.
The Lord brought the law to its result, its fulfillment, its completion,
its conclusion and its end in Jesus Christ.
“For Christ is the end of the law
for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4).
We must understand that when Jesus came as the firstborn among many
brethren He concluded the law, He met the law’s every righteous requirement by
the power of divine life, and Himself became
the righteousness of God, available to us now by the spirit of sonship.
New creation men are partakers of the nature of Christ, they are no
longer natural men under law. If
you are under the law you are not a son. If
you are the son of God, you are not under law.
The problem the church world has today is that they are out trying to
change the behavior of unregenerated men by laying the law upon them!
Most Christians glory in death. They
find death and condemnation glorious. For,
you see, the law, even the ten commandments that people would like to see posted
in every classroom, court of law, and government building, is, according to
Paul, “the ministration of death and
condemnation, written and engraven in stones” (II Cor. 3:6-9). But God has no law for the world in this hour.
Oh, yes, there is still the restraining law of human government, but GOD
by the ministration of His Spirit
has no law for mankind. “For
if that which is done away (the law) was glorious, much more that which remaineth
(the Spirit) is glorious” (II Cor. 3:11). God is working with His people, His elect, His chosen, His
seed that He has destined before the foundation of the world
to become His sons. He has
delegated all responsibility for law and order to the kingdoms of this
world. The only law in His
Kingdom is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus!
That is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God.
The church world today is following some really strange paths, trying to
lay upon the world the law that God gave Israel under the Old Covenant, which
law was never, ever, given to the world, and which was even less ever given to
the Church, and which is now abolished. It
is a gross stupidity, it is blatant idiocy, it is an incredible absurdity to try
and establish the Kingdom of God by law! You
see, rather than telling those who are getting abortions that we are working to
get the law changed, we need to be
preaching peace by Jesus Christ so that men will come to know the love of God
that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
Our business is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and bring
transforming power into men’s lives. As
sons of God it is not our business to
legislate how much a man can drink, where he can drink it, how much a man can
smoke, whether he can carry a gun, or to set penalties and punishments for any
number of sins. These issues are somebody’s business, they
are just not OURS!
Christians love to jump on these “legislative” and “political”
bandwagons — but you won’t
find Jesus on any of them! Jesus
did not come to lay the law on the world, God sent not His Son into the world to
condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Salvation — that
is the business of the Kingdom of God. May
all who cherish the beautiful hope of sonship say today with the firstborn Son,
“Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” God
does not send His sons into the world to tell the world what they can and cannot
do, and what the penalties will be if they do or do not do it — He
is bringing SAVIOURS up on mount Zion, and it is by salvation that the mount of
Esau will be judged and the Kingdom shall be the Lord’s (Obadiah 21).
That is God’s strange work.
Yet, there are brethren who insist that the Kingdom of God will be an age
governed by the law of God.
By this they mean laws given by Moses. At
the very least they mean the Ten Commandments.
Let us examine this theory. We
shall suppose, for the sake of argument, that I have a friend in Central America
who owns a large banana plantation. His
name is Carlos. Carlos has raised
bananas all of his life and has become independently wealthy with his
enterprise. Now, let us further
suppose that, because of our close friendship, Carlos decides that he would like
to come and live near us here in El Paso, Texas.
He purposes to sell his
banana plantation in Guatemala and move to El Paso, where he intends to purchase
a large tract of land — to put in a banana plantation! I warn my friend, “You cannot raise bananas in West Texas.
We are in the middle of a desert and during the winter the night
temperatures dip into the 20’s. The bananas will die either from thirst or from freezing.
There is no way you can have a banana plantation in West Texas!
My friend, however, is unconvinced and implacable. He has never been in a desert, nor has he ever in his life
seen freezing temperatures. His
entire life has been spent in Guatemala and his whole world has been bananas.
He believes he can devise a way to make his project work.
So he moves to El Paso lock, stock, and barrel.
Soon he has purchased a large ranch nearby and the time comes for him to
plant his banana trees. The trees
do grow for a while, but the leaves are yellow and the plants stunted. Then, one fair October night, the final catastrophe strikes —
the first fall freeze arrives in all its fury. The poor man walks out and views the devastation.
His whole crop is a failure. All
his toil has been for nothing. This
year he will have NO BANANAS! Carlos,
however, is an incurable optimist. After
all, this is but one try, and perhaps next year will be different.
But next year is not different;
again he loses his crop and doesn’t get even one banana.
Now, let us suppose that Carlos plants a banana crop every year for fifteen
hundred years and each year the result is the same — no bananas!
Would he then, I ask, be justified in trying just one
more time? The answer is
Thirty-five centuries ago at mount Sinai, amidst flaming fire and quaking
earth, God gave Israel the Law. Under
the leadership of faithful servants of God, the nation of Israel at times seemed
fairly enthusiastic in their effort to keep the Law and enjoy the blessings that
it provided. Doubtless, in every
generation there were individuals who endeavored earnestly
to maintain their covenant relationship with God upon the basis of
keeping the Law. But
they all failed. To keep the
Law was beyond the ability of any member of the fallen race!
God knew this; but He wanted the Israelites to try to keep the Law, for
He wished to demonstrate the need for a mighty change within their heart and
nature. The Old Covenant failed,
not because the law was faulty, but because of the weakness of the flesh. Israel lived as a nation under that Law for fifteen hundred
years. And in those fifteen hundred
long centuries not one single Israelite was ever able to perfectly keep that
Law. Not one! Not one in fifteen
hundred years! NO BANANAS!
And now, O fools, and slow of heart to believe, you come to inform me
that God will establish His Kingdom by PLACING THE WHOLE WORLD UNDER LAW!
Hear it! Oh, my friends, hear
it! “Now we know that what
things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty
before God...for by the law is the
knowledge of sin...for ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF
GOD” (Rom. 3:19-20,23). Have Paul
and I said enough to STOP EVERY MOUTH? The
Law bore absolutely no fruit in fifteen hundred years. Would God now be justified in trying
it one more time in the Kingdom?
Dearly beloved brethren, only the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ
Jesus has the power to make mankind free from the law of sin and death.
Only as men are raised from the dead by the power of the everlasting
Father who raised up Christ from the dead, can any man fulfill the righteousness
of the law by walking in newness of life. Let
us not be so stupid as to believe that the manifested sons of God will be
dispensers and enforcers of law.
The terrible truth is that the law is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that mysterious tree in
the very precincts of Eden that brings naught but the knowledge of sin and death
to all who reach forth their hand to partake of it.
But, thank God! there is another tree, the Tree
The wonderful Tree of Life in Eden was, as is said of Christ, “in the
world” but “not of the world.” The
life-giving fruit of this Tree was accessible to man but had absolutely nothing
to do with the realm of earthiness, for it was heaven’s own divine life
brought into man’s world and made available to him.
In the Tree of Life God invited man to find Him as the source and center
of life, that in union with Him God would be at once both the indwelling power
of life and the environment in which man would live, and move, and have his
being. By eating of the Tree of
Life man would be full of light, abounding in heavenly wisdom and knowledge,
fearful in power and dominion, ethereal as a spirit (Jn. 3:8) and shining in the
image of God. As George Hawtin once
pointed out, the fruit of this wonderful Tree would make men radiant with the
resplendent glory of God as was Jesus, the last Adam, at the transfiguration,
whose face shone as the sun and His raiment was as the light.
The mighty power of this Tree would raise man up beyond any possibility
of sin, corruption and death into the incorruptible and divine life demonstrated
by Jesus when He arose from the dead in a body of glorification.
In this Tree of Life the effulgent perfumes of the heavenly realm would
be fragrance and life to man’s nostrils.
He would taste spiritualities and touch celestial things.
The wisdom and power of God would be wide open to him and he would walk
in the atmosphere and glory of celestial realms.
The gates of that realm would never be shut by day or night.
The heavens would be opened over his head and he would walk in the power
and majesty of God Almighty.
This was the glory of the Tree of Life in Eden!
Trees in scripture are often used to represent men, and the Tree of Life
represents a wonderful person — one with ENDLESS
LIFE, DIVINE LIFE, CELESTIAL LIFE. It
is written of Melchizedek that he had neither beginning of days nor end of life,
but abides a priest continually (Heb. 7:3).
It states that “he liveth” (Heb. 7:8).
And again it says that the order of Melchizedek is “after the power of
an endless life” (Heb. 7:16). Furthermore,
it is revealed that the order of Melchizedek IS THE ORDER OF THE SON OF GOD.
Other scriptures confirm these mentioned, but I point these out to
emphasize the fact that life is one
of the chief signs of the order of Melchizedek.
Therefore, it is my deep conviction that the Tree of Life in the garden
of Eden represented the MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD, and upon the disobedience of
Adam and Eve they were banished from the Garden and Cherubim with a flaming
sword which turned in every direction were stationed at Eden’s gate to guard
the way to the Tree of Life. In
their unclean and corrupted condition they could not partake of that great
Priesthood which both ensured eternal life and ministered eternal life.
And thus it has been through long millenniums, the Melchizedek Priesthood
has been guarded and kept secret and untouched until another Priest after the
order of Melchizedek, even Jesus the Saviour, should arise and clear the way for
partaking of that glorious life. Of
course, there are some qualifications and requirements, even now, for partaking
fully of that blessed realm. The
Spirit saith, “To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE, which is in the midst of the Paradise of
God” (Rev. 2:7). Not everyone
eats of it, only those who are prepared
to eat of it. The promise is not of
eternal life shouting and dancing up and down the streets of Glory-land, but of
attaining to the power and glory of THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.
Hebrews 7:11-15 tells us that we cannot be perfected by the Levitical
priesthood. In the order of Aaron
there was a continual succession of priests, one dying and another taking his
place. One by one they grew old and
died: the eye, often filmed with tears, was closed; the heart stood still; the
hands crossed meekly on the breast. Aaron
died on Hor, and all his successors in mystic procession followed him.
The office remained, but the occupants passed.
That characterized the whole system; it bore the mark of change and
weakness and death. It could not
effect anything that was really abiding and permanent, much less anything that
was eternal. And it was all because
of sin. Every High Priest of the
order of Aaron had to offer sacrifice first
for his own sins, and then for the people’s.
The whole inner life of the
worshipper was what the system was, subject to sin and failure and decay.
Therefore another Order of priesthood must arise.
Jesus is the High Priest of this new Order. The glorious statement is made that another priest arises
after the similitude of Melchizedek who is made “after the power of an endless
life.” This brings us to what is
implied by the word “endless.” This
is the Greek word AKATALUTOS which means INDISSOLUBLE. It was in the power of an indissoluble
life that Jesus was constituted a priest after the Order of Melchizedek.
As the writer to the Hebrews has pointed out, on earth Jesus was not a
priest. He would have needed to be
of the tribe of Levi in order to be a priest during the days of His flesh on
earth, because that priesthood at that time was still in force. Nor could He at that time have been a priest after the order
of Melchizedek! On earth His life
was dissoluble, or He could not have died for us.
Now His life has become “indissoluble”; and now He cannot die.
The mystery of the Melchizedekian Priesthood is the mystery of ETERNAL
Christ Jesus Himself is the Eternal One, who abideth Priest forever.
His priesthood is unchangeable, for His priesthood is an everlasting one,
ever living, ever active. What a
contrast to all the Levitical priests, on whose graves this epitaph may ever be
inscribed: “Not suffered to continue by reason of death.”
How different is our High Priest, after the Order of Melchizedek!
Death tried to master Him; but He could not be holden of it.
“He continueth ever.” “He
ever liveth.” “He is a priest
forever.” WHEREFORE HE IS ABLE TO
SAVE COMPLETELY THEM THAT DRAW NEAR UNTO GOD BY HIM.
Save us completely! What a
thought! Full salvation — spirit,
soul, and body!
Nothing left untouched, untransformed.
It is by virtue of His QUALITY OF LIFE that He is able to start the work
of redemption and also bring it to its completeness.
Because He is of an endless — indissoluble, incorruptible — life,
He can bring all that He ministers unto into this same endless and incorruptible
Praise God, the Melchizedek Priesthood BRINGS PERFECTION. Jesus lives in the Spirit as High Priest in the power of an
endless life. And Christ dwells
within us in the power of an endless life.
Each work He does within us He is able to do in the power of an endless
life. Nothing can stand before that
transforming life. What hope this
evokes within us! He breathes His
own life into us. He works within
us AS A LIFE, as our own life, so that it is our very nature to radiate the
glory and power of God. His life as
our life within us is the power that must triumph over all the powers of sin and
What a glorious path is marked out for us!
THE SONS OF GOD ARE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD.
THEIR PRIESTHOOD IS AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEK.
The High Priest of this Order has run on before and entered the veil into
the Holiest of all. And we are running also and are entering that veil.
Something marvelous, amazing and stupendous is about to happen, beloved,
as we press on into God. God shall surely and truly usher us into the fullness of the
Order of Melchizedek. Through
His flesh we too shall enter fully the unseen and eternal realm of God and learn
of its mystery. Having entered this
realm, we shall deliver creation from the bondage of corruption.
Therefore I say that the great Melchizedekian Priesthood Ministry will be
functioning to the full when the priests of this Order have fully put on
immortality and incorruption (I Cor. 15:53).
This will be the great manifestation of the sons of God that all creation
“groaneth and travaileth in pain” for (Rom. 8:18-25).
The Lord is in the process of bringing His overcoming remnant into THE
POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. It is
greater than the forgiveness of sins, greater than the new birth, greater than
Pentecostal power. It is greater
than power to speak in tongues, prophesy, heal the sick, cast out devils, and do
signs and wonders. It is greater
than witnessing power, apostolic power, and even greater than power to raise the
dead. Soon, very soon, those powers
will no longer be needed because the manifested sons of God shall arise in the
power of the Melchizedekian Priesthood which is the power of an incorruptible
life, to deliver creation from the bondage
of corruption. A world is
coming where there is no limited measure of the Spirit, no “in part” works
and manifestations of power in the gift realm.
There will be no need to heal the sick, cast out devils, multiply bread
and fish, or raise the dead — it is an eternal realm where
everlasting life will flow fully and freely to all creation.
Death is not the grave or the coffin — DEATH IS THIS WHOLE REALM IN WHICH WE HAVE EXISTED EVER SINCE THE
TRANSGRESSION IN EDEN. Mankind
groans to be delivered, not merely from sin and sickness and trouble and the
grave, but out of death, out of the DEATH REALM altogether.
We can only speculate what it will be like to be in the full power and
glory of incorruptible life. God is
moving to bring His holy remnant into the fullness where Christ Jesus now
dwells. No Christian alive has ever
come to this. There will be a full
and complete severing from the earth realm, from the carnal mind, from fleshly
passions, from lack and immaturity, from the death realm with all its claims.
God wants a free, heavenly, celestial people right here on earth, a body
of sons totally detached from all that is earthly, limited, and temporal.
It is possible to move into a resurrection
realm that places us beyond time, beyond the thinking and power of the
world, beyond human nature, beyond the bondage of health, security, and death
itself. Is that not the greatest
power God can give to mankind — to make him an eternal, spiritual being in the very glory
of God? And God’s order to
accomplish this is very simple — Jesus Christ; then His body, the manifested sons of God;
and finally all creation. Jesus
ministers this power to us; we minister it to creation.
THIS IS THE POWER AND GLORY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
To be continued... J.
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 basis.
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