"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
ECHOES FROM EDEN
The Book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written. The Bible is unquestionably the one Book that has exerted the greatest influence on history of any book ever produced. The Bible, however, is actually a compilation of sixty-six books, and the Book of Genesis is the foundation of them all. If the Book of Genesis were somehow removed, the Bible would appear absurd and incomprehensible. It would be like a building without a foundation, or a bridge with no support. The books of the Old Testament, narrating Gods dealings with His ancient people of Israel, would be bigoted and racist, were they not set in the context of the progressive development of Gods wise and gracious purposes for all mankind as laid down in the early chapters of Genesis. The New Testament is, if anything, even more dependent on Genesis than the Old. There are at least 165 passages in Genesis that are either directly quoted or clearly referred to in the New Testament by Jesus and the apostles, having to do with the redemptive purposes of God and the principles of His Kingdom. I do not hesitate to say that the writings of the New Testament, describing the execution and implementation of Gods wonderful redemptive purposes in Jesus Christ, is completely unintelligible except in the light of the magnificent revelation of Gods great and glorious plan of the ages, as established in the record of mans beginnings, recorded only in Genesis.
The word genesis of course means origin or beginning, and the Book of Genesis gives the only true and reliable account of the basic entities and conditions of the universe and of life. Genesis yields vital information concerning the origin of ALL THINGS and therefore the meaning of ALL THINGS! Let every man know that in the whole of the universe there is no greater truth than this one sublime truth that THE FUTURE IS BOUND UP IN THE PAST. A mans belief concerning his origin will inevitably determine his belief about his purpose on earth and his eternal destiny.
T. Russell wrote: The incomprehensible darkened and utterly deluded mind of the evolutionist believes that out of the warm slime along the shore of some primordial sea, spontaneously and without cause or guidance, protoplasm arranged itself and evolved into a microbe, or maggot, which squirmed and twisted and reproduced its own species, and then finding use for a tail, developed one. Later on, one of its still more intelligent offspring concluded that oars, or fins, would be useful, and developed them. Another, later on, got chased by a hungry brother and, jumping clear of the water, got the idea that the fins further developed would be wings, and liked the new style, so that he stayed out of the water, and then decided that legs and toes would be a convenience and developed them. Others of the family followed other notions, of which they seemingly had an inexhaustible supply, as evidenced by the great variety of animals we see about us. However, in due time one of these descendants of the first maggot which had reached the monkey degree of development, got a noble idea before his mind he said to himself, I will discard my tail, and cease using my hands as feet, and will shed my coat of hair, and will develop a nose and a forehead and a brain with moral and reflective organs. I will wear tailor-made clothing and a high silk hat, and call myself Charles Darwin, LL.D., and write a record of my evolution! The fact is, however, that the probability of life originating from accident or by spontaneous generation is comparable to the probability of an unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing plant.
A naturalistic, animalistic concept of beginnings specifies a naturalistic, animalistic program for the FUTURE. But an origin at the hands of an omnipotent, holy, loving God, on the other hand, necessarily predicts a divine purpose in history and an assurance of the ultimate consummation of that purpose. A revelatory understanding of the Book of Genesis is therefore prerequisite to an understanding of God and His meaning to the human race His dealings and purposes in OUR LIVES! Let me say it again: THE FUTURE IS BOUND UP IN THE PAST! If man had his beginnings by accident as a product of the slime of earth, then his eternal end is in the silent and lifeless dust of the ground. But if mans past is linked to the God of omniscience and omnipotence, then his future is to be discovered in the eternal purposes of the all-wise, all-powerful and all-loving Creator!
Life does exist. No one questions this fact! No one, that is, except a few philosophers who for the sake of an argument will contend that the world might be an illusion, just a dream; and that there is really nothing that does exist. How would one know? they ask in idle speculation. These silly dreamers never stop to realize that it takes SOMETHING to even think the deep thoughts they think except for the fact that they themselves DO EXIST they would be unable to even dream about the so-called illusion, or question the worlds existence! The real problem is this: Life exists. Just where, when, and how did it come into being? The Bible begins with the most simple but sublime of statements, In the beginning God created And Paul tells us that He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (Col. 1:17). Although it is impossible for us to comprehend fully this concept of an eternal, transcendent God, the only alternative is the concept of an eternal self-existing universe; and this concept is also incomprehensible. Eternal God or eternal matter that is the choice! The later is an utter impossibility by the scientific law of cause and effect, since random particles of matter could not by themselves generate a complex, orderly, intelligible universe, not to mention living persons capable of applying intelligence to the understanding of the complex order of the universe. A personal God, an omniscient Mind, and omnipotent Power, a transcendent Architect, is the only adequate cause to produce such effects. Your life, my friend, is an effect therefore Gods life is the Cause! It cannot be otherwise.
Paul saw that there was an allegorical teaching in the book of Genesis that paralleled the experience of spiritual birth in the earth. He stated that God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts (II Cor. 4:6). Just as God commanded light to shine out of darkness God has shined in our hearts. What has He radiated into our minds and hearts? The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Just as light shined in darkness, so has the invisible, unknowable, unsearchable, unapproachable, unreachable, hidden God shined in our hearts. And what has He shined? The light of the knowledge. All knowledge is not light. But this knowledge has given us light in a dark world. And you cannot know your complete identity in Christ without knowing the origin of that identity in its beginning. Go back to the beginning, for the end is the same as the beginning. We want to explore the mystery of our beginning upon this planet. When Jesus walked upon this earth, we will never understand His supernal reality apart from the understanding of the origin and true nature of all things. God is a spirit, Jesus taught.
In the beginning God proclaimed, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness (Gen. 1:26). This wonderful purpose of God to make man in His own image had been settled in the divine councils of God from eternity. The blessed Lamb had, in the determination of these councils, been slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8); the names of all the redeemed of earth had been written in His book of life before the foundation of the world (Rev. 17:8); and all the blessed sons of God, predestinated to be holy and without blame before Him in love, predestined to be CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THE SON OF GOD, were selected and chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-5). This is a profound and mysterious truth, impossible to fully comprehend apart from the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. The carnal minds of men cannot even begin to imagine in their wildest dreams and hopes the ineffable glory that is determined for man IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. Those appointed to the obtaining of this glory have been chosen in Him because Jesus Christ Himself is the outshining of Gods glory, and the express image of His Person (Heb. 1:3).
The glorious Son of God is the One in whom the unapproachable and utterly incomprehensible glory of God is made manifest. As we only know the sun by the light that shines from it, so is Christ THE OUTSHINING, the revelation OF GODS GLORY. As the light that shines from the sun is of one nature with it, so the Son is of one nature with the Father and is Himself called the everlasting Father. As the light that shines from the sun is of one substance with it, so the Son is THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS SUBSTANCE and is Himself called the Mighty God. Someone may be tempted to think that these are mysteries too deep for the ordinary Christian, and not needful for our walk in God. And they are inclined to ask, Of what importance it can be to a believer to know all this. My brother, think not thus. It is all important that we know the glory of Jesus. The more the soul is filled with that glory, the more it will see with what confidence it can count upon Him to do a divine and supernatural work within us, and to lead us to an actual living out of the glory of the Son in our lives. Oh, let us not be so selfish and mean as to be content with the hope that Jesus saves us, while we are careless of laying hold upon the great and gracious PURPOSE for which He has saved us that we may be CONFORMED INTO HIS IMAGE. If not for our sake, then for Gods sake, for the sake of His infinite love and grace, let us seek to know aright this blessed Son whom the Father has given us. Let us turn away from earth, that in the knowing of Him our own lives may be transformed, until He, who is the outshining of the divine glory, shines into our very heart, and He, to whom the Father has given such a place as Creator and Upholder and Heir of all, take that place within us too, and be to us the beginning and the center and the end of all; until He who IS THE IMAGES OF GOD so possesses our beings that we become the outshining of Gods glory and the express image of His Person.
Let us make man in our image, said the Lord, whose purposes stand forever and whose hand shall never cease from man until the very last vestige of the image of Self and of Satan has been obliterated from the universe. There is neither time nor space to enlarge on this truth at present, but hear briefly the hope God has in store when He has completed the creation of man in His image. Paul wrote to the Romans, In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the Sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in Gods purpose it has been so limited yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God! (Rom. 8:18-21, Phillips). Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God. His perfection as a man was completed two thousand years ago. He is the image of the Father. Next in order come the younger sons of God, the extension and increase of the second Adam race of New Creation men. Our redemption draweth nigh and perfection in His image is even now near at hand, bless His wonderful name! And then, in due time, dear ones, the matchless and glorious image of God shall shine throughout the whole of the universe until there shall be no more night anywhere forevermore.
The glory of God is the IMAGE OF CHRIST, and we shall be fully satisfied when we awake in His likeness. Oh that the eyes of men might be opened to clearly see that back of all things and before all things, yea, in the beginning of all things, standeth God eternal, immortal, invisible, almighty, omniscient, immutable, holy, loving, and greatest and most glorious of all, FULL OF PURPOSE! In the beginning GOD!
Genesis means, as we have stated, origin or beginning, and this, the first book of the Bible, reveals how ALL THINGS and ALL CONDITIONS and STATES OF BEING came into existence. Genesis 1:1 reads: In the beginning God created There is no doubt in my mind but that this marked the beginning of everything that now exists in all the unbounded heavens except God Himself who is before all things and by whom all things consist. The verse should be read, By beginnings, God created the heavens and the earth. Farrar Fenton, in his translation of the Bible, attempts to express this truth and renders the passage, By periods God created And, lest any one should question this, in the New Testament in Hebrews 1:10, it has the word beginning in the Greek in the plural. Anyone who knows Greek will see this, although the Bible translators fail to reflect it. It, also, should read, and, then, Lord, according to beginnings didst lay the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the words of thy hands. There were many things begun all at the same time, as the manifold wisdom of God found expression in innumerable ways to bring forth into the realm of visibility the majestic purposes of God. It was the beginning of the UNIVERSE and of TIME (Heb. 1:2). It was the beginning of every existing life-form, even unto the principalities and powers of the heavens, referred to in the Scriptures as THE HOST OF HEAVEN. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all THE HOST OF THEM (Gen. 2:1). I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him (I Kings 22:19-22). And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of THE HEAVENLY HOST and it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them (Lk. 2:13-15). It was the beginning of MAN (Gen. 1:26). It was the beginning of SATAN (Gen. 3:1; Jn. 8:44; I Jn. 3:8). It was the beginning of SIN, of CONSCIENCE, and the whole realm of DUALITY good and evil (Gen. 1:26). It was the beginning of the REDEMPTIVE purposes of God in Christ Jesus (Rev. 13:8). It was the beginning of the outworking of Gods eternal purpose to reveal the fullness of Himself, through the body of Christ, the sons of God, unto the entirety of the creation (Eph. 3:9-11; 2:6-7). There is neither time nor space to enumerate all that is included within the scope of the beginnings in Genesis 1:1, but surely it can be summed up in just two words ALL THINGS. For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (Col. 1:16-17).
The first several chapters of the Book of Genesis lay a ground-plan for the entire revelation of Gods purposes. As a piece of literature the story is sublime; magnificent in range, in profundity of design, and the unparalleled heights of spiritual understanding which it attains. Here in these chapters is the visual prophecy and seed-plot of the whole plan of creation and redemption. I can confidently say that every revelation of Himself and His purpose that God has ever given from the foundation of the world is contained in these opening chapters of Genesis. There is absolutely no revelation of the Scriptures, spoken by prophets or apostles, or revealed in the depths of the spirits of worshipping men who have come into holy contact with the presence and power of God, which cannot be found in SEED FORM, as type, shadow, parable, or allegory in the Book of Genesis. The entire plan of the ages is there portrayed. Each and every experience, situation, condition, capacity, potential and destiny of mankind, with all the principles and processes by which God shall bring man to perfection, in the image of God, is there set forth in awe-inspiring wonder. And nowhere is this more obviously true than in the account of Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden.
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
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).
The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the greatest parable in the Bible. It is supremely important because it explains the real nature of our life here on earth. It tells us about ourselves, about our state of being, and how we bring about the conditions in which we live. It is the blueprint of mans experience on earth and his destiny in God. When you thoroughly understand the Garden of Eden you will understand the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of Satan. This parable is placed at the beginning of human history, because it is the foundation upon which the whole plan of purpose of God is built. The entire revelation of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, assumes an understanding of the great principles and characteristics in the Garden of Eden.
Dont let it disturb you that I call the Garden of Eden a parable. What is a parable? Your dictionary or Bible Concordance will tell you that a parable places one thing alongside another for a variety of reasons. There are quite a number of English words which sound a little like parable; in fact they all start with the same four letters, P-A-R-A. This prefix para means by the side of. One word I would like you to think of is the very common word parallel. Its a word they use a great many times in school. In the Art Department, in the Geography Department, in the Mathematics Department, even in the Music Department, as music is written on five parallel lines, and, of course, in the English Department. If you look at the edges of this paper youll find they are parallel with each other. If you are sitting at a table it is most likely to have parallel sides. The edges to the door of your room should be parallel; the floor and ceiling ought to be parallel; the edges of the window frames should be parallel, too! So now Ive got you thinking about this word parallel perhaps it would help if we wrote the two words down like this:
P A R A B L E
P A R A L L E L
Now we can ask another question: If a parable is only a story, why not call it a story? Why use an unusual work like parable, if an ordinary word like story will do? The answer is simple: A parable is more than a story. It is a story plus, it has a bonus added to the story. It has two things that run side by side the lesson and the reality!
So thats where a parable is different; its more than a story it has a story line and then a parallel line a new idea, concept, or meaning to comprehend! Also parables may be based upon actual events. For instance, when Jesus begins His parable by saying, A sower went forth to sow if there were no such things as actual farmers, soil, and seed we would miss His point altogether. The natural and outward corresponds in principle to the spiritual and inward the one is set along side the other. Thats just what makes it a parable! So do not be distressed by the representation of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden as a parable!
There is one thing about which Gods people must be perfectly clear. The Bible is not primarily intended to teach history or biography. It is intended to teach THE PURPOSES OF GOD and SPIRITUAL REALITIES. It deals primarily with states of being and the laws of spiritual activity; and anything else is only incidental. Each of the principal characters in the Bible represents a kind of nature, character, or state of being that any of us may experience and walk in; and the events that happen to the various characters illustrate the consequences to us of walking in such realms of nature and character, either good or bad. Some of the Bible characters, such as Adam and Eve, Moses, Elijah, and Paul, are indeed historical figures. They were real people who lived on earth and did the deeds attributed to them; nonetheless they represent kinds of natures and states of being revealed in their varying hues as their lives unfolded. Other Bible characters, such as the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, or the Great Harlot in Revelation are, of course, fictional and never lived on earth as actual persons; but as parables and allegories they express inner conditions and states of being too, and always in a most effective and graphic manner.
You cannot with brush and canvas paint a picture of fear for instance; but you can paint a picture of a human being, and create terror on his countenance. You cannot take a pencil and draw sensuality, rebellion, hatred, or spiritual bondage as such; but you can take a pen and write about great crises in mens lives, about the emotional trauma, inner torment, and excruciating pain caused by tyranny, brutality, hatred, bigotry, immoral conduct, hopelessness, despair, darkness, and death men execute and perpetrate upon one another. You can describe the righteous judgments of God brought into mens lives by all these evils, as does the Bible, with the symbolic term hell fire. And the carnal mind and natural understanding is certain to think that you mean a literal human body being tortured in a physical flame! On the other hand, you cannot picture a soul abiding in the perfect peace, joy and harmony of the glorious presence of God, adoring and worshipful; but you can speak of a great choir of rapturous beings playing music upon perfectly tuned harps, and again the carnally minded people will think that redeemed souls are to spend eternity literally playing harps! The Spirit of God uses this method to impart understanding to our minds and hearts. The Spirit uses outer concrete things to express inner spiritual realities. As Paul says, These things are an allegory (Gal. 4:24).
In the Garden of Eden many people seem to think that Eve symbolizes woman as a sex and that Adam somehow stands for man as a sex. The truth goes far beyond this! Adam and Eve in the Garden represent the whole of humanity in the first Adam. They represent you and me and every man and woman who has ever lived or shall live. What happened to him happens to us. What he was we are. His experience is our experience. His destiny is our destiny. May the mighty spirit of wisdom and revelation from God give enlightenment to the eyes of your understanding that you may see and know of a truth that what was happening to Adam in the Garden speaks of spiritual realities even in the beginning of history, before history, beyond history and yet in history; it is we ourselves of whom the Garden speaks, it is we ourselves who are confronted, intended, addressed, accused, expelled, instructed, and redeemed.
GOD HIMSELF is the One who blesses and curses. It is our pre-history, truly our own. It is the beginning, innocence, guilt, redemption and perfection of every one of us. What happened to Adam there is what is happening to us here! Adam and Eve stand for what man is, how man is, why man is. They stand for man as we know him, with all his capacities and potentials, under the gracious hand of God, being brought from innocence to sin, from sin to salvation, and from salvation to THE IMAGE OF GOD.
Memories of Eden, exquisite as dreams, weave their threads of light into the traditions of all peoples. There is not a nation under heaven which does not date the beginning of our race from some distant period of purity, peace, and concord with nature and with God. The hieroglyphics of Egypt, the clay tablets of Assyria, the Edda of Scandinavia, the legends of Tibet, and the bas-relief of Rome, tell the same story of primitive blessedness. All go to prove the truth of the statement that the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and put there the man whom He had formed.
When we come to the Garden of Eden it is evident that this is more than merely a piece of real estate somewhere over in Mesopotamia! No such place has ever been found, neither the angel with the flaming sword to keep men out. No wonder that men have sought for it, but they have sought it in vain. The Garden of God is not a physical place located on this or any other planet. It is a STATE OF BEING. It is a higher existence for man than this cursed state we find ourselves in by physical birth. It is the state of being that man was in when he was first brought forth from the creative hand of
God and placed here upon earth. It represents man in the presence of God! Man with the incorruptible life of God available to him! Man as master and lord over all things! Man living above sin, sickness, pain or death! Blessed realities, one and all! And yet the Garden also represents man together with all the factors and conditions, both internal and external, of being and environment, which ultimately were to lead to his ruin and alienation from God. In one sense, man was the Garden, and yet, man was in the Garden. The Bible reveals it as a Garden within a Garden. Man both in a state of being and an environment the two corresponding. All the conditions that surrounded man were also obvious realities within the heart of man. The original man with his nature, characteristics, capabilities and potentials is what we see in the Garden of Eden. The external conditions of mans environment corresponded precisely with mans inward nature for either good or evil, life or death. This was man in the Garden! It is a Garden within a Garden, a world within a world. And the Lord God planted a Garden eastward in Eden (a pleasant land).
Some years ago Gene Edwards ministered a beautiful word on Adam and the Garden of Eden with which I heartily concur. I will share to the best of my ability the concept he shared.
In that wonderful day when the Lord God planted a Garden in Eden for the man in His image, God stood in the boundary between heaven and earth and did a most incredible thing. He stretched forth His hands of omnipotence and took this terrestrial ball in one hand as with the other He grasped the heavenly realm. He moved the two toward one another. He brought the spiritual realm, the timeless realm, the dimensionless realm toward planet earth and moved earth toward the heavenly realm. The two moved closer and closer until they kissed each other. The two realms touched - entering into union with one another. The area where heaven and earth met together and overlapped He called Eden. The place where these two realms met, overlapped, and interfaced became unlike earth and unlike heaven, that which had never existed before - not heavenly and not earthly - the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! The only thing it can be likened to is the resurrection body of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was visible, but utterly spiritual. He brought His physical body out of the tomb and appeared in a body possessing an earthly form and appearance, but it was a glorious metamorphosed body limited neither by time or space. Here in this realm where heaven and earth meet and mingle all that is visible becomes spiritual, and all that is spiritual becomes visible. Everything upon this earth which is seized upon by the spiritual is transformed by the spiritual, and there is created here the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. When you take the heavenly and the pristine earthly and join them together, what is formed by that blessed union is far more beautiful and glorious than either.
Man, formed of the dust of the ground, lay just outside this realm of the interface. God came to man there - just beyond the shining Eden, just outside the glorious spiritual-physical realm. God came to man in the lowlands of the earth realm. He breathed into the man, so magnificently formed of the earth, He breathed into him the spiritual realm, the life-giving winds of heaven, the breath of divinity. Out from the mouth of the almighty Creator came a brilliant, dazzling, sparkling effervescence like living stars that surged with divine power into the nostrils of Adam and flowed through his body and soul, permeating every cell of his being. That wind, that spirit, that breath, that celestial air, that divine and heavenly life animated the clay model, creating within a dimensionless quality, condition, and state of being. All the animal kingdom and each of the myriad life forms on earth has a "breath of life" - the air of earth's dense atmosphere. Man is the only being into whose nostrils GOD BREATHED THE BREATH OF LIFE. Man's "breath of life" is not air - it is the Spirit of the Almighty which giveth understanding - intelligence and wisdom! Only the light that God IS was more glorious than this exquisite creature - man in God's image! And the magnificent wonder is that this man could see right into the heavenly, spiritual world. The animals can't peer into that realm, the birds are unable to communicate with that realm, the fish have no knowledge of that realm - no creature on earth can see beyond this gross material realm except the man in God's image. Please mark this! Here is a physical, visible creature who can see the unseen. He is not frightened by it, nor is he intimidated by anything or any creature he beholds in that glorious realm. He is at home with who he is and who they are. He looks around and all things are open to him. He sees all, perceives all, understands all. The face of God bent down and looked into the face of man, and man looked up into the face of God, and they looked like each other! They looked like Father and son. They bore an incredible, remarkable resemblance. God stretched forth His hand, Adam stretched forth his hand, and stood up from the dust and faced his Creator. He belonged to this planet, but the winds of heaven were within him. He belonged to the heavens as well as the earth. He is the only creature which has ever been, is now, or ever shall be that BELONGS TO BOTH REALMS!
Consider with me, precious friend of mine, What is the natural habitat of man? He is spirit - his natural habitat is the heavens! He is dust - his natural habitat is the earth! Both? No! Neither? Yes! Neither. And yet, in some strange, mystical way - both. This glorious creature God created - where is his "home"? Ah - God prepared the place for man as soon as He created man. He created a place that corresponds to man's true state for man to inhabit. The earth, dear one, contrary to all that you may have been taught, is not the natural habitat of man. And neither are the heavens the natural habitat of man! The Garden - and only the Garden - and no place but the Garden is your natural habitat. That's where you belong - that is your true world, your homeland, your motherland - that unique realm where heaven and earth meet and mingle - the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! The Garden was not heaven, neither was it earth. It was a realm where God could walk, and where man could walk and talk with God. It was the dimension of the spiritual body - spirit and body, heaven and earth, visible and invisible, celestial and terrestrial, blended into one. The greatest of the glories of heaven was in that Garden - the tree of life was there. And that was man's habitat. It was not merely where man was - it was what he was.
This great truth of man's STATE OF BEING constituting the Garden of God is one of the tremendous themes which courses its way like a mighty river through the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. In the book of Revelation the Garden of Eden finally becomes the wonderful City of God - which City we are (Rev. 21:9-11; Isa. 60:2,14). "And I saw the New Jerusalem ...having the glory of God: and her light was like a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever (Rev. 21:10-11; 22:1-5).
How do you suppose the tree of life was transferred from the Garden of God to the City of God? The simple truth is - it wasn't! The Garden still exists. The Garden is in the City. The Garden IS the City. In this City two realms interface once more - the new heavens and the new earth - not two separate entities, but that place where heaven and earth are joined, the Land of the Interface! This is where righteousness dwells - the new mind and the new body. That is your world, my beloved. You and I belong to an interface. We are an interface. We are part heavenly and part earthly; part spiritual and part physical; part visible and part invisible. What is the New Jerusalem? It is the place of union with God in the interface where heaven and earth overlap. We are a colony from the heavens inhabiting the earthlies. We belong to neither and we belong to both. We are of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are in the Lord Jesus Christ. He, more than any other man, is an interface of these two realms. He is the second man, the last Adam. He reveals in Himself the true purpose of God in man. Only in Christ can one understand the true nature of all things. He is of both these realms and He is in both of these realms. He is in both and He is in neither. It is a great mystery. Oh, the wonder of it! He is a MAN seated in the higher than all heavens! We who have been born of water and the spirit are of His species. We are bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, mind of His mind, spirit of His spirit, life of His life. We belong to His realm. We walk with Him today in the Garden of God, in the City of God, in the LAND OF THE INTERFACE, for it is the only place where we can comfortably move in both realms. And yet it is not both realms - nor is it either realm - it is a combination, a union of the two - a NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS! That's what you are! You are spirit and you are body. That is our destiny - to be both in union in one! That is our habitat. And redemption progressively brings us into our inheritance in this blessed Land of the Interface. The salvation of the soul, the redemption of the body, will complete the work. Let us press on, saints of God! The full splendor and bountifulness of this precious Land lies just before us! As the crab lives in two elements - water and land - so the New Creation Man lives in two elements: the earth and also the heavens!
There is, however, a significant difference between Eden and the New Jerusalem that we do well to understand. Eden is a representation of the beginnings of Gods purposes while the City is the representation of the ultimate accomplishment of those purposes. In the book of Revelation all the dropped threads of history and type and prophecy and promise, that lie scattered throughout the earlier scriptures, are taken up and traced to their appointed consummation. That principle alone could produce untold volumes of books, but let us note in passing that even in the opening sections of the Revelation the successive promises to him that overcometh make cryptic reference to all the past. In Ephesus the overcomer shares with unfallen Adam the right to the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. In Pergamas he partakes with Moses of the hidden manna. In Thyatira he exercises kingly rule with the great king David. There are some contrasts, too. In Eden there is a serpent, and through the cunning of that serpent man was cast out. In the new Jerusalem there is no serpent, for through the dominion of Christ in man the serpent is cast out! In Eden there is the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the City there is only the tree of life! Eden is man on trial. The City is man purified and perfected. Eden is man faced with the processings of God through choices and experience, through testings and dealings, for his own learning and development. The City is man established in the MIND OF CHRIST having overcome all things. It is the long and tedious route between these two points with which we are presently concerned in the dealings of God in this momentous hour!
FROM GARDEN TO GARDEN
God placed Adam the first in the Garden of Eden, a place of light and beauty, where was every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. It was in this Garden that he listened to the tempter and transgressed, dragging the whole human race down with him into sin and death.
How interesting, then, to read in John 19:41, Now in the place where He (Jesus) was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid. There then because of the Jews preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand) they laid Jesus. Of this garden tomb we further read, When even was come, there came a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus disciple; this man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed (Mat. 27:57-60).
We find by the Word of God, that in the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden belonging to a rich man named Joseph. That this garden was carefully tended is implied by Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener. In this garden, according to a custom of those days, Joseph had hewn out for himself a tomb in the rock; and in this tomb, upon a bed of spices most fragrant and costly, Joseph laid the body of our precious Lord. Let all men take note that it was in a GARDEN, overshadowed by darkness that covered the whole land, amid the quaking of the earth and the rending of the rocks, that Jesus Christ, the second man, the last Adam, died. It was amid the opening of tombs, from which rose many of the saints who had fallen asleep, that He ROSE FROM THE DEAD! And I can declare to you that when He arose on that glad morning He brought up with Him out of spiritual death all who would believe on His Name throughout all ages; and He gave unto them eternal life. Death came through the first Adam in the Garden of Eden, and eternal life came through the second Adam in the Garden of the Cross and of the Tomb.
In order to open the way into the greater Garden of the Lord, or the Kingdom of Heaven, our Lord went through two gardens. The first was the Garden of Gethsemane, in which He chose concerning the last garden, which is the Garden of the Cross and the Tomb. In the last, He finished the work which would open the Kingdom of Heaven to all who would believe on His Name. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that He chose that the will of the Father should be done and naught else. My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt (Mat. 26:39). We sometimes think because He came to die, that there was no choice presented to Him on earth. It is unmistakable that there was a choice, and that it was made with great suffering and agony. Would He beseech God the Father to let the cup pass from Him (at the same time, choosing Gods will) if there were no choices? Would He sweat great drops of blood if there were no suffering?
The word Gethsemane means oil press. What a contrast Eden the garden of beauty, pleasure, and perfection, Gethsemane the garden of the oil press! It was essential that the second man, the last Adam should pass through Gethsemane, that He might be perfected through suffering, and thus win for man the right once more to enter into the garden where blooms the tree of life. Now it became the master Himself to enter into that awful pressure, until the last vestige of mans will had been dealt with, opening the way back into the Eden of God!
The second garden through which Jesus passed was the Garden where He was crucified and buried, the Garden of death, burial and resurrection. Truly much eternal fruit came up out of the Garden of the Tomb. It was not Jesus alone that came out of that tomb, but He brought with Him EVERY SOUL WHICH SHALL EVER RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE through Him. He passed through two gardens to open up the Greater Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven, and in these Gardens within a Garden He shall plant such pleasant plants as shall bring forth glory and honor to God. The Kingdom of Heaven on earth is a Garden enclosed; Salvation is the walls thereof and Christ is the door. Only through Him can any enter this Garden that Christ has set up on earth, and which will have its full fruition in that glorious age which is now at hand. It is to those that enter this Great Garden and became a part of it by being planted therein, that God gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called TREES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THE PLANTING OF THE LORD, that He might be glorified (Isa. 61:3).
Let us read what the Spirit said through the prophet in Isaiah 51:3. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. Of course you know that apples cannot sing, grapes cannot show forth gladness, nor can orange trees rejoice in the Lord! He is talking here about His people, a people that is being comforted while in a wilderness state as waste places, and eventually brought back to a life or existence known as EDEN, the GARDEN OF THE LORD.
Look at what the Song of Solomon says about the Garden of the Lord. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed (S. of S. 4:12). In the Hebrew, the word is is omitted, and therefore is given in italics in the King James version indicating that it is a word supplied by the translators. A better translation is: A garden shut up, my sister, my bride. This implies that His Beloved is distinct from the garden in this verse, although in other portions she is spoken of as being a part of it. A garden means in itself a girded place, an enclosure, and the word that we render here enclosed properly signifies barred, locked or shut up. It is in fact the exact word that is used in the remainder of the same verse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. We all know that the Garden of God was enclosed, shut up, locked, and barred when once the cherubim were placed before the gate in that long ago. The vision of the verse is that the King is calling His Beloved that she might come to look out upon the garden that He has prepared. This Garden is the same as Canaan, the Promised Land. A land of hills and valleys and drinketh water of the rain of Heaven, a land which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year (Deut. 11:11-12). The spiritual meaning is the Kingdom of Heaven opened up for us by King Jesus. It is Eden reopened!
Man began in a Garden. He sinned in a Garden. He died in a Garden. He was driven forth from the Garden. Jesus came. He passed through two Gardens. He opened up the third Garden. The third Garden is the first Garden. As the first Adam died in the Garden (of Eden), so the last Adam entered into death in the Garden (of the Cross and Tomb). The first Adam brought forth death out of life in the Garden while the last Adam brought forth life out of death in the Garden. But further, the last Adam now accomplishes the outworking and manifestation of His triumph over the realm of sin and death IN THE GREATER GARDEN OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN where we, the men of the Garden, have been planted as trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified (Isa.61:3). Jesus arose triumphant over the power of death from the Garden of the Tomb, but now, blessed be His name! He is rising up triumphant over sin and death within the New Creation men of the Greater Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven!
It is into the Garden of OUR DEATH that He has come. Therefore we read in Hebrews 2:14-15, 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; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. It of great importance that we see how Jesus Himself entered this valley of the shadow of death on our behalf. He became obedient unto death (Phil. 2:8), and walked its dismal valley for thirty-three years, finally ending it on the cross and passing again into life. As He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death (Heb. 5:7), His prayer was not that He might be saved from the death of the cross alone, but that He might be saved from the WHOLE REALM OF DEATH into which He entered for us. His dread was not simply that He would die, for He endured the cross with joy; but the terror that beset Him was the awful possibility that in some way He might miss the perfect obedience of a Son and so REMAIN IN THIS DREADFUL REALM OF DEATH and outer darkness. He had left His heavenly glory. He had humbled Himself, had taken upon Himself the form of sinful flesh. He descended from the high and holy realm of the Eternal God into the depth of totality of the human condition, into the depth of what man IS, into an identification and participation with the whole dreadful realm of darkness and death into which mankind has fallen. The death that came in Eden was far greater in magnitude than the death of a physical body. This realm of death that pertains to man includes the entire experience of man in his alienation from the life that is in God. This death is a CONDITION, a state of being. The power of death is sin, says the Word. Out of mans sin has arisen all the horrible reality of a realm of death in which is contained every sorrow, tragedy, pain, trouble, sickness, hatred, strife, heartache, rebellion, ignorance, fear and torment known to man. Jesus came and made this CONDITION His own and the only terror it held for Him was that He might not pass out of it. Thank God, His prayer was heard in that He feared, and by the cross His death was completed and by it He was delivered out of the realm of death into which He had willingly entered.
Surely now we can see plainly why it was so necessary for Jesus to come into this realm of death, for all nature teaches us that, except a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. When a kernel of wheat dies, ITS LIFE IS RELEASED into the body of the plant. Therefore Jesus died and, in dying, HIS LIFE WAS RELEASED that all who believe might freely partake of it and in that life BECOME THE PLANTING OF THE LORD to bring forth in the Garden of God the precious fruit of HIS OWN IMAGE.
The quality and power of this indwelling life of Christ is spoken of in Hebrews 7:15-17. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. For He testifieth, Thou are a priest forever after the order of Mechisedec. The wonderful Priesthood of Jesus is after the power of an ENDLESS life. We now come to what is implied by the word endless. This is the Greek word akatalutos which means indissoluble or permanent. The power of an endless life is the power of an indestructible life eternal life. To understand what kind of life this is we must connect it to God, the eternal One. Eternity is an attribute of God and His divine life and has its true existence only in fellowship with Gods life which is the life of eternity.
It is a great and blessed fact that God is the eternal God. Transition, adjustments, change these words seem to be constantly with us, until we fain would grasp for something that seems to be stable, solid, enduring. Much of the inner drive for change is simple evidence that man is not satisfied, has not found his completeness in Christ, for beloved NOW are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear WHAT WE SHALL BE: but we know that when HE shall appear, we SHALL (then) BE LIKE HIM for we shall see HIM AS HE IS (I Jn. 3:2). Here is stability immutability the quality of His nature remains the same, HE IS THE ETERNAL! And this is the nature of which we would be a partaker, the fullness of which we find in Christ, and through union with Him with which we shall be changed until we become changeless in the absoluteness of that which He is. He who is eternal cannot be influenced, affected, moved, changed, altered, damaged or destroyed in any way. He cannot grow tired or old. The character of God is eternal, changeless, unaffected. The love, joy, peace, righteousness and power of God do not rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. Matters not what happens or what men or devils say or do, the love of God, the purpose of God, and the power of God are steadfast, unmoved, unquenched, unaffected, without fluctuation. The eternal existence of God is certain for He is the source of all life. Death cannot touch Him for He is not dependent upon the sustaining power of another. He is Yahwey, the SELF-EXISTENT ONE.
In God there is no change, or aging, or fading; He is all that He is in an ever-fresh, never changing youth. The eternal life is that which always remains the same, because it is always IN GOD. And when God speaks to His Son, saying, Thou are a Priest forever, it not only means that the Priesthood will never cease, but it points to what is the root and cause of this; it roots in the life and strength of God. Christ is become a Priest after the POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. He is not a Priest in the House of God in some far-off heaven somewhere, but a Priest in the House of God WHICH WE ARE. His Priesthood acts as an inner life within us, lifting us up, not in theory or thought but in Spirit and in Truth, into a vital knowing of God. He breathes His own life in us. And He works it in as the power of life, a life that is pure and holy, full of vitality and strength, because it is His life.
The sole object of this indwelling and inworking life is that God may reveal His Son in us so that we know and reverence and love and serve the Father, even as does the firstborn of this family of sons. And so the one thing required of all Sons is that they bow themselves and abide and live in deep dependence and humility before the Father. However clearly we see by the eye of revelation and faith the truth of the glory of this realm of Sonship to God, however earnestly we desire it, however firmly we think we grasp it by faith, all will not avail GOD HIMSELF MUST DO IT! God Himself must admit us to His presence, and make His face to shine upon us. And as the path to Sonship, God Himself must write His law in our hearts, give us the new divine nature in such power of the Holy Spirit, that it is HE that works WITHIN US both to will and to do. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so shed abroad His love in our hearts, that to love becomes as natural to us as it is for the dove to be gentle. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so fill us with the nature of righteousness that to be righteous becomes as natural to us as breathing. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so clothe us with the mind of Christ, that to think the thoughts of God becomes as natural to us as are self-serving thoughts and desires to the unregenerated man.
Consider, dear brother, sister, is it not GOD HIMSELF who has faithfully directed all your steps, who has initiated every circumstance of your life, who has opened your blinded eyes and caused you to behold the majesty of His kingdom and glory? Is it not GOD HIMSELF who has led you out of the blinding traditions and bondages of Babylonian religion and has nurtured you and brought you to the stature in which you stand in Christ today? Truly do I declare to you that it was when we were without strength that God apprehended us and lifted us out of the miry pit and set our feet upon a rock. No more than you can SAVE YOURSELF can you make yourself an overcomer, bring yourself to perfection, or of yourself enter into the glorious victory of the life of Sonship.
What man by taking thought can add a cubit to his stature? What part by self-effort does a man take in secretion, in digestion of food, in the reflex actions of the body? Men need only reflect on the automatic processes of their natural body to discover that this is the universal law of Life. What does any man consciously do, for instance, in the matter of breathing? What part does he take in the circulating of the blood, in keeping up the rhythm of his heart? What control has he over growth or the biological changes producing maturity? How could any of us heal a wound, or mend a broken bone? Could we consciously direct conception, cell growth and division and instruct the developing fetus how to construct an eye or a hand or a brain cell? What man even came into the world by his own will? In point of fact man is born by the will of another, every organ of his body given him, every function arranged for him, brain and nerve, thought and sensation, will and conscience, all provided for him ready made. And yet he turns to his spiritual life AND WISHES TO ORGANIZE THAT HIMSELF! Oh preposterous and vain man, thou who couldest not make a fingernail of thy body, thinkest thou to fashion this wonderful, mysterious, subtle soul of thine after the ineffable Image? Wilt thou ever permit thyself TO BE conformed to the Image of the Son? Wilt thou, who canst not add a cubit to thy stature, submit TO BE raised by the Divine Life within thee to the perfect stature of Christ?
If any yet think that they can by thought add a cubit to their spiritual stature, let them observe the passive voice in these revelations of the Word of God: Begotten of God; The new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him; or this, We are changed into the same image; or this, Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son; or again, Until Christ be formed in you; or Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. There is one outstanding verse which seems at first sight to contradict all this: Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; but as one reads on he finds, as if the writer dreaded the very thought that any might misapply his statement, in the very next verse he adds: FOR IT IS GOD which worketh IN YOU both to WILL and to DO of HIS GOOD PLEASURE! (Phil. 2:12-13).
Let us go on to perfection. Put off the old man. Put on the new man. I would be a Son indeed. I press toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. All these are valid testimonies, but it is of great consequence that the heart should be led to see that at the back of all our believing, our desiring, hoping, walking, pressing, entering, laying hold upon, and all the rest, there is Gods almighty power doing its work inspiring our will, taking possession of us, and carrying out its own purpose in bringing us into the image of God. Let US MAKE MAN in our image, is the proper order.
As the child of God enters into this, the divine side of the purposes of God, he will learn to praise and to worship with new exultation, and to rejoice more than ever in the divineness of that salvation he has been made partaker of. At each step he takes, in retrospect he will sing, This is THE LORDS DOING Divine Omnipotence working out what Eternal Love has devised. This celestial song of praise will lead him even further and higher, even to the depths of eternity. Whom HE did predestinate, them HE also called; and whom HE called, them HE also justified: and whom HE justified, them HE also glorified (Rom 8:30). The calling in time is the manifestation of the purpose in eternity. Ere the world was, God had fixed the eye of His sovereign love on you, my beloved friends, and chosen you to Sonship in Christ. That you know yourself to now be in Christ, is the stepping-stone by which you rise to understand in its full meaning the word, Let US MAKE MAN in our image and after our likeness. With the prophet your language will be, The Lord hath appeared of old unto me: yes, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I DRAWN THEE (Jer. 31:3). And you will recognize your own salvation and apprehension to the purpose of God as a part of that mystery of HIS WILL, according to the good pleasure of HIS WILL which He purposed in Himself, and join with the whole body of the redeemed Sons of God as these say, In whom we also have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:9-10). Nothing in the whole universe will more exalt the grace and power of God, and make man bow very low before it, than this knowledge of the mystery OF GOD in Christ.
There is a valid reason why salvation is of THE LORD. It could not be otherwise! Man did not even choose to be. It was God who said, Let us make man. It was God that placed man in Eden. It was God who arranged all the circumstances and choices in Eden. It was God who planted the tree of life, but it was also God who planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil! It was God who created the serpent, and drew him into the Garden. It was God who placed man under the law Thou shalt not eat of it. When man sinned, it was God that drove him out from the Garden! According to the purpose of Him who worketh ALL THINGS after the counsel of His own will. I have no intention of detracting one iota from the awfulness of mans sin, and the absolute horribleness of the transgression is evidenced in all the sorrow and tragedy which have plagued mankind for lo, these six dark and frightful millenniums. Although man sinned, was it not GOD WHO DROVE MAN OUT OF THE GARDEN AND SHUT HIM UP FROM LIFE? And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:22-23).
This is why salvation MUST BE OF THE LORD! Since God drove man from the Garden, from life, it can only be GOD HIMSELF who opens up the way for man to enter back into Eden to be made a partaker of the divine life! No man may dare approach unto that blessed Domain to either enter or put forth his hand to take of the tree of life, for to do so would be presumption of the grossest kind. How true the words uttered by Jesus: No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM (Jn. 6:44). Again, And I, if I be lifted up (on the cross) from the earth, will draw all men unto me (Jn. 12:32).
When you would falter, beloved ones, in your own strength and effort to attain to the glorious life of Sonship, remember, and allow the Spirit of God to burn this truth indelibly upon the tables of your heart and mind: He who drove you out of Eden is He who now ushers you in! The initiative is on His part, therefore it must be accomplished in HIS STRENGTH and victory. Would to God that saints would cease looking at their old nature, the flesh, the circumstances, the problems, and complaining of their weakness, as if God called them to what they were unfitted for! Would that they would believingly and joyfully accept the wondrous revelation of how God, in uniting them to Christ, has made Himself chargeable for their spiritual growth and development! How all sickly hesitancy and sloth would disappear, and under the influence of this mighty motive the faith in the faithfulness of Him of whom they are in Christ their whole nature would rise to accept and fulfill their glorious destiny!
Oh my soul! Yield yourself to the mighty influence of this word: It is GOD which worketh IN YOU both to will and to do. Take time to meditate and to worship, until the glorious light that comes from the throne of God has shone into you, and you have seen that the perfecting of the image of God in your life is indeed the work of the Almighty Father. Take time, day after day, and let, in all your life, with all it has of demands and duties, of needs and desires, of pressures and claims, let, I say, GOD BE EVERYTHING. Although the work is of God, yet there is one small requirement laid upon man. We have seen that it is God who has birthed us and who is chargeable for our growth into Sonship. And yet, we find in looking at nature, that in maintaining this natural, physical life Nature has the greater share, but man has one small share. By far the larger part is done for us the breathing, the secreting, the circulating of the blood, the building up of the organism. And although the part that man plays is a minor part, yet, strange to say, it is not less essential to the well-being, and even to the being, of the whole. Man has to take food. He has nothing to do with it after he has once taken it, for the moment it passes his lips it is taken in hand by reflex actions and handed on from one organ to another, his control over it, in the natural course of things, being completely lost. But the initial act was his! And without that nothing could have been done. This indicates that in the spiritual life man also has this one small part to play: Let him choose Life; let him daily nourish that New Creation which he is by feeding it on Hidden Manna; let him forever starve the old life, the will of the flesh, the carnal mind; let him abide in compete yieldedness as a living branch in the Vine, and the True-Vine Life will flow into his soul and body, assimilating, renewing, conforming to the image of Christ. The secret to life is in eating of the tree of life. That is the glory of the power of Eden. Hear Jesus as He speaks to you, Abide in Me, while pointing upwards and saying, MY FATHER IS THE HUSBANDMAN. And let your answer be, Amen, Lord! So be it. From eternity Christ and I were ordained for each other; inseparably we belong to each other; it is Gods will; I shall abide in Him and eat of Him as my tree of Life. And God Himself shall do all the rest! Hallelujah!
unto Me! Abide in Me! These are the Words of the Voice that ECHOES FROM
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