ECHOES FROM EDEN
A RIVER OUT OF EDEN
"And A RIVER went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and came into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium (pearl) and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates" (Gen. 2:10-14).
In the opening chapters of the Bible we are told about the river God put in the garden of Eden. As it flowed out of the garden, it divided and went in four directions. This is a type or symbol of the life of God, flowing out from the Kingdom of God to the whole earth. The nature of God's wonderful River of Life is that it flows outward. Ezekiel once had a vision of a river that flowed out of the temple and got deeper and deeper as it flowed out to the sea (which symbolized the nations), and it healed the sea or the nations (Eze. 47). The minute the river starts flowing inward, there is death. The life always flows out from the source of life: God Himself is the wellspring; Jesus Christ is the fountain, the reservoir of this wonderful life; and the Sons of God are the channel or river by which God's life shall be communicated to the arid barrenness of the earth realm. Thank God that this river now flows! The life of Jesus Christ is flowing as a river out from the throne of God. "If any man thirst," saith Christ, "let him come unto Me and drink."
A FOUNTAIN SHUT UP
In the vastnesses of earth's towering mountain ranges there accumulates in each winter season inconceivably massive fields of ice and snow. Many feet thick and extending sometimes for hundreds of miles, these giant expanses of ice and snow lie cradled in the lap of towering mountains or nestled high up on their hoary peaks. Some time ago, while flying across the state of Washington, in awe and wonder I gazed upon the majestic peaks protruding thousands of feet above the clouds like dazzling white pyramids against the blue sky and pondered the omnipotent power that placed them there and the eternal wisdom that designed their function. These enormous stores of ice and snow seem in themselves to be devoid of purpose as they lie confined upon the everlasting hills, but if you will stay around but for a short time you will see that they are not as useless as they appear, for as the spring of the year arrives, from their interminable resources of frozen moisture, warmed by the sun and wind, streams of water commence to burst forth to rush down the mountain side. Then, flowing together with other streams from canyon to canyon, they become a torrent of precious water which eventually becomes a mighty river flowing grandly across the plains, upon its banks great cities lay their foundations, thirsty for its life-giving power. In every house the water flows to quench the thirst, to bathe the body, to water the lawns and trees and gardens and to make glad the heart of every man, while the same waters gush through the irrigation systems, causing the dry, hard soil to become fertile, filling the land with store and spreading our tables with the delicacies of earth.
In these articles on the River of Life I am endeavoring to show that the primordial river which once flowed from the heights of Eden's fair garden to the breadth and length and depth of the whole earth is but a representation of the out-flowing of God's incorruptible waters of Spirit and Truth which proceed forth from A PEOPLE who abide in the spiritual heights of the Kingdom of Heaven realm unto vast multitudes of peoples who sit in the valley of the shadow of death. The river was not reserved for Eden alone; there was truly a super-abundant overflow! The languages of earth do not contain words descriptive and meaningful enough to adequately describe the power and work of this mighty river, for it is the power and work of the eternal, incorruptible, and omnipotent LIFE OF THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. In this river GOD HIMSELF has flowed out and is still flowing on this earth humanity AS LIFE.
According to the divine and eternal nature of God Himself, God is life. But if God does not flow out, although in respect to Himself He is life, yet to us He is not life. He must flow out; then He will be life to us. Thus the life we receive from God is the flowing out of God Himself. This life flowing into us, His chosen ones, from our side, is the flowing in of God, but from God's side, it is the flowing out of God. Then, when this life flows out of us, it is again the flowing out of God. This flowing out of God began from His throne: first it flowed into Jesus of Nazareth; then it passed through the cross and flowed into the apostles; then it flowed out of the apostles as rivers of living water (Jn. 7:38); it has flowed through the holy saints of all ages, and eventually it has flowed into us. Out from us it will flow to millions more and on to eternity, flowing forever without ceasing, just as is spoken in Rev. 22:1-2 and Jn. 4:14. These incorruptible waters of God's divine and eternal life are more real and sparkling and alive than any river of earth. They pulsate with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit and vibrate with the sheer, exquisite beauty of the divine nature of our great and glorious God. Its resplendent glory is seen upon the countenances and in the lives of those men and women who have been quickened, renewed, and transformed INTO THE IMAGE OF GOD by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
It was a sad day, indeed, for man when the enemy of all righteousness suggested to him that it would be possible, yea, desirable for him to have something apart from God. For the first time a dismal shadow crossed their pure minds, making them think they could have something by themselves, apart from God, and man began his long and disastrous sojourn through the bleak wilderness of the unwatered and unfruitful kingdom of the carnal mind. Let us consider with careful attention the evil that fell like a cloud upon the human family when through lust Adam turned away from the only Fountain of eternal life. We should not be obliged to present lengthy arguments to prove that man without God is hopelessly dead to all eternal realities, pitifully helpless, and desperately carnal. Without God men are hopelessly in the flesh. They pass their time in the worthless and withering pursuits of the flesh. Their days are spent in vanity, seeking to gratify the five senses of the physical body, wherein is nothing of eternal endurance. All our physical appetites, like the grave, the dry well, and the barren womb, are totally without life. The tree of the carnal mind bears the evil fruit of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, dissension, rivalry, wrath, strife, rebellion, and heresy as naturally as an orange tree bears oranges; but the Spirit of the living God, flowing as a divine River of Life through the banks of the regenerated heart, filling it with the mind of Christ, causes to grow therein the life which bears the good fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, gentleness, meekness, faithfulness, and temperance.
We know the story of how God drove our first parents from the fruitful garden of the Kingdom of Heaven and shut them out from that blessed tree of life, Christ, and while the record does not say so, yet I am positively convinced within my spirit that it is just as true that God dammed up the waters of the River of Life so that man departed into a desert world in which he survived only by journeying from spring to spring and oasis to oasis. For long millenniums mankind trudged through this barren domain, thirsting, insatiably, yearning within for those times of refreshing that should come from the presence of the Lord.
Reference is made to the verity of this in Song of Solomon 4:12 "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. In the Hebrew, the word, "is," is omitted making the literal translation read: "A garden shut up, My sister, My bride; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed; rather, he announces it to her, draws her attention to it. This spring that was shut up, this fountain that in the misty past was sealed, is the Fountain of Life, the source of Living Water. It is CHRIST who gives us water so that we shall never thirst. It was He who cried out on the last great day of the feast: "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn. 7:37-38). "I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall not thirst" (Jn. 6:35).
Though Christ was ever the great Fountain of Life, until He died, this Fountain was closed toward humanity; from the day when Eden's gates clanged shut behind our banished foreparents, it remained sealed and was not opened until He came in the flesh and died, and was raised from the dead. All men were under the dread sentence of death, and He died that this sentence might be removed, and that all might have life and have it more abundantly. It was when He cried: "It is finished," as He died upon the cross, that this Eternal Fountain was opened.
Jesus Christ was the spring shut up , the fountain sealed. In blessed symbol of this, at the time of His death, His tomb was sealed by the Romans at the request of the Jews, because Jesus had foretold His resurrection on the third day. For three days the great Fountain of Life was sealed in the tomb, not by the Roman seal, but by foreordained plan of God. "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Mat. 12:40). Only as long as God had ordained, could the tomb contain Him. Though a stone like a mountain were upon the tomb, and though it were sealed with the official seals of all nations of earth; though all the guards of Rome and all the princes of the Kingdom of Darkness stood watch outside the tomb, this mighty, Living Stream would have gushed forth at the appointed hour! When this Fountain burst forth, all opposition of man was as straws before the ocean. Higher and higher does it rise, bringing life and blessing to all who will rest upon its bosom, and drink of its life-giving flow. Though a million worlds should come to drink at this Fountain, its waters never decrease.
It is HE whom the Father hath sealed as the source of eternal; and He was sealed that Living Water might flow out and water many gardens. We are told in the Song of Solomon 4:15 that it is "a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." The great Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven is made up of many gardens; the great Vineyard of God is made up of many vineyards, even as the great House of God is made up of many dwelling places; but there is only one Fountain that waters, and carries life and refreshment to all. The mountain of Lebanon derived its name from the white crown of snow, which it wore all the time. Streams of pure, cold water flowed down its sides or found their way through underground channels to the thirsty valleys below. These mountain streams never failed, never became stale and tasteless, warm and unrefreshing. From a higher source than any earthly mountain, from the high and holy realm of God's eternal and divine Spirit comes the Living Water with which we are refreshed and quickened unto God. This Fountain has its source in the Holy Mountain of God, it issues from the Throne of God, it comes from the everlasting hills of the heavenlies, and flows down to earth, bringing life wherever it flows, watering the wilderness and making the desert to blossom as a rose.
HE is the Fountain of gardens; every garden and every part of God's Kingdom must receive all its refreshment from Him and Him alone. All our fountains are in Him, He waters the vineyard of your life and mine. It matters not how fierce the wind may blow, nor how hot the valley is through which we are passing, if we keep the connection opened between our souls and the great Fountain of Life, the Well of living streams will ever flow from the throne of God and they never run dry, bless His wonderful name! To many, this Spring is still shut up, this Fountain is yet sealed. Jesus said: "No man can come unto Me unless the Father draw him" (Jn. 6:44), but we know that this excludes no one, for again He declared: "And I, if be lifted up from the earth, WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO ME" (Jn. 12:32).
Without doubt the apostles Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, perceived the all-surpassing wonder of this fact when he penned these words to the Ephesian Christians: "Now He that ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, THAT HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS" (Eph. 4:9-10). We know that He is "high and lifted up," and that even the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. He is ABOVE ALL, and yet ever drawing us upward unto Himself. Yet it must be remembered that He also DESCENDED TO THE LOWER PARTS OF THE EARTH, so that His life might fill ALL THINGS. Filling the heavens only with His glory is not filling all things. He has purposed to fill the lowest region with His as well. Sweeter than the dews of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion and more blessed that good news from a far country is the wonderful revelation with which He now fills our enlightened hearts, declaring that as water always find the LOWEST LEVEL, so CHRIST BECOMES THE RIVER OF LIFE FOR THE LOWEST HELL! He both descended and ascended that He might fill all things in the heights and all things in the depths with Himself. If we would be that RIVER OF LIFE PEOPLE through whom He must flow, then we, too, must be willing to flow even unto the lowest hell. I must confess that I am deeply grieved in my spirit when I meet these would-be Sons of God who look with contempt upon those who still have a passion for souls and desire to see men delivered from the power of the devil. I am aware that the hour has not arrived when God shall deal with all nations, to bring forth His salvation in them, but it is my deepest conviction that one of the sure marks of Sonship is THE SPIRIT OF RECONCILIATION.I mean what I have said, that if ever I am permitted in the good grace of God, there is not a hell in the universe to which I would not ask to be sent as a revelation of the Christ, that He might fill even that part of the "all things." There is no hell that could be more vile than the hell I see around me right here in El Paso, Texas, the hell of sin, sorrow, torment, fear, demon possession, hatred, murder, strife, rebellion, cursing, nervous breakdown, godlessness and wretchedness. We have a great deal of hell in El Paso, and there are no hells that could be worse than San Francisco, New York, London, Hong Kong and Calcutta. "Oh, but there is a hell that is full of murderers!" you say. Well, these cities today are full of murderers. "But there is a hell that is full of devils!" you say. Well, these cities today are full of devils. "But there is yet another hell that is filled with liars, and fornicators, and blasphemers. We have lots of hell beyond us, but our work is to follow Christ, to be willing, as Sons, not only to ascend the throne, far above all heavens, but to be poured out as a River of Life INTO THE LOWEST PARTS OF THE EARTH, into all the hells, and clean them out by His conquering and transforming life, until there is no hell anywhere. What father would not go to any of the hells of this world, what father would not trudge through the saloons of the Bowery or the sex-filth of Times Square in the hope that he might back to God and to the Kingdom? This is the Spirit of the Father who "so loved the world" and it is the Spirit of the Son who "descended into the lower parts of the earth" and it is the Spirit of every Son of God, born of the incorruptible seed of a Divine Hope, a Divine Faith and a Divine Love. If you would not walk across the street to see some poor soul delivered and converted by the redeeming power of Christ, don't waste your time relating to me how you have been chosen by God to help in delivering of the whole creation from bondage of corruption. The Spirit of Reconciliation must reign within our hearts. Rivers of Living Water must, even now, pour forth out of our innermost being.
The thing, however, that buoys up my heart above everything else is the Hope, the Hope that springs perennial in this breast, that I shall behold with my eyes the victory; victory for Purity and Righteousness and Peace and Joy and Love; that I shall hear a song of Universal Joy from the whole earth when they sing with all the Hosts of Heaven: "Hallelujah! For the Lord Omnipotent reigneth, and the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ." Blessed Hope! We must have it! We shall fight it out to the end, and we will win! Sin shall be abolished. Disease, Death and Hell shall pass away. "New Heavens and a New Earth," shall be, "wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Pet. 3:13). Then, O Christ, and then alone, wilt Thou see the travail of Thy soul, and be satisfied. Then, O Christ, and then alone can we, your body, be satisfied; when the last rebel has bowed at Thy feet, and there is no more fight; for there is no more rebellion anywhere. Hallelujah! God shall reign forever! And His blessed River of Life shall never cease to flow!
ONE RIVER IN THE GARDEN
You will notice that inside the garden of Eden the river is one, and that it is only after leaving Paradise that it divides into four branches. "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and came into four heads" (Gen. 2:10). ONE river in Eden! As we meditate upon this wonderful fact there can be no doubt as to its significance for in all the languages of earth ONE is the prime number and is always the symbol of UNITY or that which is UNIFIED. As a cardinal number it denotes unity; as an ordinal it denotes primacy. Unity being indivisible, and not made up of any combination, is therefore independent of all others, and is the source of all others. The number one, being the prime number, signifies BEGINNING. Hence, ONE stands in Scripture for source, unity, sovereignty, creation, and above all, God - Who is the great FIRST CAUSE and independent of all. I can assure you that every single creature and all things throughout the vastnesses of the universe stand in need of Him, and He needs no assistance from any. ONE excludes all difference, for there is no second with which it can either harmonies or conflict.
When it is written: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is ONE LORD" (Deut. 6:4), it not only excludes the existence of any other Lord but just as surely asserts that there is in God a sufficiency which needs no other. It marks likewise the BEGINNING, for all our words and works must be characterized by the first words of the Bible: "In the beginning GOD" (Gen. 1:1). Think, O reader, of the profound depths of truth that lie in these inspired words! It is an eternal never-failing principle that nowhere, in all the unbounded heavens, is anything right or enduring that does not begin with God. HE is the beginning, the source, and the unity of all things. Hear the words of the apostle Paul as he so clearly states: "For it was IN HIM that all things were created, is heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him and in Him and for Him. And He Himself existed before all things and in Him all things consist - cohere, are held together" (Col. 1:16-17, Amplified Bible).
The one river in Eden points us to the high and holy and inescapable truth that there can be no flowing out of God as Life from any one who is not walking in UNION WITH CHRIST. The river must continually be united with the vast reservoir of head-waters whence it originates, as also the head-waters must ever be united with the deep hidden springs which are their source. Separate the river from its source and it will speedily run dry. Separate the head-waters from the gushing underground springs that feed them and they will cease to flow out and soon stagnate. The springs, the head-waters, and the river ARE ONE BODY OF WATER. Only in that unbroken UNITY can the river continue to flow. The power of such unity is to be seen everywhere in nature. How feeble is a drop of rain as it falls to the earth. But when the many drops are united in one bounteous stream, and thus become ONE BODY, how speedily the power is irresistable and the sufficiency unlimited! The reason Jesus could say, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink" (Jn. 7:37), was because He was so ONE WITH THE FATHER that His life was the out-flowing of the Father's life.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love. If ye keep My commandments ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love" (Jn. 15:5,9-10). Meditate deeply upon THE ORIGIN of that life of Christ in the Father. They were ONE - one in life and one in love. The thought is so high that we can hardly take it in, and is yet so clearly revealed, that we dare not neglect it. Do we not read in Jn. 6:57: "As I live by the Father, even so he that eateth Me, he shall live by Me"? And Jesus prays so distinctly "that they may be one even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me" (Jn. 17:22). The blessed union of Christ with the Father is the revelation of our thoughts and expectations in Sonship. Some years ago the following words of a chorus were given by the Spirit:
"Bone of Thy bone and flesh of Thy flesh, we are Thine,
Out of this union with Thee in Thy glory,
Come Sons that are made divine,
Bone of Thy Spirit and flesh of Thy soul,
Following Thee we are being made whole,
Mind of Thy mind and heart of Thy heart, we are one,
Now shall Thy glory and righteous dominion,
In all the earth be known!"
The nature, the words and the works of Jesus were the nature, the words and the works of the Father who dwelt in Him. "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me he doeth the works" (Jn. 14:10). It is the indwelling Christ that fills us with the very spirit of Sonship. It is Christ within that causes the spirit to cry Abba Father. We can never be Sons of God until that only begotten Son dwells in us. We should earnestly consider the following question with prayer for guidance and understanding. Why was it that Jesus boldly and truthfully declared, "If ye had known Me ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him and have seen Him" (Jn. 14:7)? Why was it He said to Philip, "Have I been so long time with you and yet thou hast not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" (Jn. 14:9). This passage would be without any hope of understanding were it not for the verse following which says: "Believest the Father dwelth in fullness in Christ, therefore whoever had seen Christ had seen the Father and Christ never said, "I and the Father are TWO," rather, "I and the Father are ONE." It is equally true that we and Christ ARE ONE, and, when Christ lives in fullness in any human being, controlling and ordering his life, then whoever has seen that man has also seen Christ and the Father.
And if the thought will sometimes come: Surely this is too high for us; can it really be true? only remember that the greatness of the privilege is justified by the greatness of the object HE HAS IN VIEW. Christ was the revelation of the Father on earth, the out flowing of His life. He could not be this if there were not the most perfect unity, the most complete communication of all the Father had to the Son. He could be it because the Father loved Him, and He abode in that love. The Sons of God are likewise the revelation of the Father on earth, the flowing out of His life. They cannot be this unless there be perfect unity, so that the world can know that He loves them and has sent them. But they shall be it as Christ loves them with the infinite love that gives itself and all it has, and as they abide in that love.
Consider now, how absolutely glorious this union becomes when we enter into the fullness of the experience. "At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you" (Jn. 14:20). "I am in My Father," He said. We cannot doubt that! We know that the Son is genuinely ONE with the Father, completely immersed in the celestial glory. But in the same breath He continues, "And YE IN ME, and I IN YOU." Therefore, if the union of the Father and the Son is genuine and exquisite and real and vital and powerful and flowing and life-giving, then the union of the Son and the many brethren is to be JUST AS REAL AND JUST AS GLORIOUS! Recently a brother shared a chorus with us that says:
"I'm created by the Word, resurrected I stand,
I'm born in the likeness of the great I am,
Unveiling the mystery of God's great plan,
I in thee, thee in Me, we in Him!"
It was from this vital union in God that man departed when he transgressed, and through his separation from the life is in God the entire creation under his dominion was thrust into desolation. Paul is referring back to the fateful incident in the Garden of Eden when he, in II Cor. 11:3, warns the Church at Corinth to beware lest they fall into the same trap that ensnared Eve. "I fear," said he, "lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." The warning that Paul was issuing to the Church at Corinth, then, was against the possible recurrence of that which happened to Eve in the fall. His concern was that, falling victim to the same trickery, their MINDS should be, as Eve's CORRUPTED. The word translated "corrupted" in this passage is a word meaning "withered" and is used by Jude in speaking of those rebels who pattern themselves after the spirits of Cain and Balaam. Of them he wrote, saying, "These are CLOUDS WITHOUT WATER, carried about of winds, trees whose fruit WITHERETH, without fruit..." (Jude 12). If their fruit withers to the extent that they are "without fruit," it can only be said that the fruit has DIED. Eve's mind, then, was not merely corrupted into a state of impurity or mixture, but we find in the implication carried by the Greek word that that corruption is a rottenness that terminates in DEATH. Eve's mind DIED in the fall, and that to which she died was the SIMPLICITY that was in Christ!.
Now, lest we be misled into believing that her mind died to a certain NAIVE or UNSOPHISTICATED condition, let us examine the Greek word translated here "simplicity." The word is HAPLOTES, which means "singleness." That, then, to which the minds of Adam and Eve died was that condition which gives a man light, for Jesus said, "If thine eye be SINGLE, then thy whole body shall be full of light" (Mat. 6:22-23). The eye symbolizes spiritual perception. God has so structured our being that whatever we give our attention to, is the thing that governs our lives. Attention is the key. Your will lies in the directing of your attention. Whatever you steadfastly direct your attention to, will come into your life and dominate it. If you do not direct your attention to anything in particular - and many people do not - then nothing in particular will come into your life except uncertainty and confusion; you will be like a drifting log tossed by the waves. If you direct your attention to the outer world of physical things, which in its nature is continually shifting, changing and passing away, you are bound to sink into the bottomless pit of despair, loss and death. But - "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life IS HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD" (Col. 3:1-3). If the Glory of God comes first with you, and to express His will becomes the rule of your life, then your EYE IS SINGLE and your whole body, or embodiment, will be full of LIGHT and LIFE.
In the dying out to the SINGLENESS that is in Christ, our first parents died out to the glory of God, and the life that comes in union with Him. All life is dependent upon UNION. A leg that is amputated rots, but the body goes on living. "I am the vine, and you are the branches. I am the head, you are members of My body." In every aspect of the expression of God there must be union. Turning from a SINGLENESS OF HEART toward the Lord, Adam and Eve became that which is stated by James in his description of the Adamic man saying, "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). Where there had been UNITY, there was now a breach, and man's heart became divided - having the incongruous both to worship and to sin. Warfare had begun. Speaking of the fall, David wrote: "Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity (emptiness) everyone with his neighbor - and with a DOUBLE HEART do they speak" (Ps. 12:1-2). UNITY had been slain and DUPLICITY had been born, as man forsook Him the Fountain of Living Waters and hewed him out cisterns, broken cisterns of the carnal mind, that can hold no water. Due to the broken unity between God and man, the River of Life would flow no more out from Eden's lovely land.
Simplicity or singleness is the quality of being unmixed, it is the lack of duplicity, it is no longer Christ and I, it is just CHRIST, the ONENESS that God is after. The Ecumenical Movement and the Charismatics of our day speak much of Jesus' prayer "that they all may be one" (Jn. 17:21), indeed, this is the Father's will for the body of Christ. There will be disbelief in the hearts of some when I affirm that this wonderful prayer of God's blessed first-born Son has already been answered. The truth is that Jesus never had in mind, when He prayed this prayer, the idea that His body should be made one again, finally, in some far-off day, following two thousand years of apostasy, heresies, strife, divisions, shame and confusion. How clear it is in reading the words of that prayer that He asked specifically that they might continually and unceasingly BE ONE even as He and the Father are unceasingly and eternally one. "I ask in regard to them; not in regard to the world do I ask, but in regard to those whom Thou hast given Me, because Thine they are, and all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine, and I have been glorified in them; and no more am I in the world, and these are in the world, and I come unto Thee. Holy Father, KEEP THEM in Thy name whom Thou hast given to Me, that they may BE ONE as we; when I was with them in the world, I was KEEPING THEM in Thy name; those whom Thou hast given to Me I did guard" (Jn. 17:9-12, Young's Literal translation).
"When I was in the world I WAS KEEPING THEM." The King James version reads: "While I was with them in the world, I KEPT THEM." In the Greek New Testament "I kept" is in the imperfect tense: I continued to keep. The "I" is emphatic: I continued to keep them, now do THOU continue them! How very important and full of truth are the simplest words of inspiration! The only possible way this prayer could be answered is by the members of Christ's body BEING CONTINUALLY KEPT IN ONENESS, even as the Father and the Son are eternally and uninterruptedly one. Jesus never asked for a REUNIFICATION of His body, rather, an UNBROKEN AND ETERNAL UNITY. If this oneness in Christ was ever, even once, severed, or shattered, then Christ's prayer was not answered nor could it ever be answered even in eternity.
I do not hesitate to explain to you, my beloved brethren, that the true body of Christ IS ONE and always has been one in union with the Father. It is not the body of Christ that is divided - it is RELIGIOUS BABYLON that is divided into six hundred sixty six different sects, denominations, creeds, traditions and doctrines. The Babylonian religious system itself has invented the impious myth that Christ's prayer must YET BE ANSWERED by all of Babylon's factions joining themselves together, accepting everyone regardless of their concepts and "another gospel" which they preach. Thus now with all conviction and solemnity I tell you that ONENESS BEGINS WITH OUR BEING JOINED UNTO JESUS CHRIST IN ONE SPIRIT. Only in the measure we are all joined unto this one Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, in that measure we can be one with each other. "If we walk in the light, as HE is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I Jn. 1:7). The song so popular among Spirit-filled Christians, "We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord, And we pray that our unity may one day be restored," is a foolish contradiction of terms. If they ARE ONE IN THE SPIRIT then there is no unity to be restored, for UNITY IN THE SPIRIT is the highest unity in the universe.
The unveiling and revelation that is coming through the Sons of God to one another and to the people of the world will be, and is, the revelation of JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. God purposed to save the world, not by sending salvation, but by sending a SAVIOUR, who becomes our salvation. "The Lord is our light and our salvation" (Ps. 27:1). He not only sends light through some inspiration of the Scriptures, but Jesus Christ, Who is the light of the world, becomes our light. This is the realm of which it is written: "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (I Cor. 13:10). Now we understand the exhortation: "Be ye therefore perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Mat. 5:48). Christ is the perfect One, the express image of the Father, therefore the coming of the perfect is the coming of Jesus Christ Himself, the unveiling and the revelation and the manifestation of Jesus Christ.
When that which is perfect is come, when Christ Himself is come and has become our light and our salvation and our strength and our joy and our all in all, then all divisions are gone and everything that separates from one another. The unity is IN HIM. Light from the Scriptures separates because one may have more light than another, but when Christ Himself is our light and our life, it unites. There is no division in the unveiling of Christ. "Is Christ divided?" asked the apostle (I Cor. 1:13). When CHRIST IS REVEALED the army of Joel goes forward and nobody breaks ranks and nobody thrusts one another, because they have found their union in Him! As long as our union was in our state of development it was based, for example, on the same experience of salvation. But when we were Fundamentalists, rejoicing in our salvation experience of divine healing, or speaking in tongues, or water baptism, or even good "end-time revelation," is it not true that we would still quibble? When our union is in CHRIST and in HIM becoming our light, joy, and salvation, then all pride and division is gone. "If any man be in Christ" (II Cor. 5:17). This is the unity Jesus prayed for: "Father be in Me and you in Me and I in you." O, may God bring to full expression this great mystery of the indwelling living Christ! It is such a marvelous mystery that the carnal mind cannot comprehend it!
The body of Christ is a mystery. It is a marvelous temple that God our Father is in the process of building. It is a temple not made with hands. The stones of its all-glorious walls are living stones, each one born of incorruptible seed and knowing in Himself the power of Christ's endless life. The Greek passage (Heb. 7:15-17) that says that Christ is a Priest "made after the power of an ENDLESS LIFE," when traced back to its root could also be translated "after the power of a UNITED LIFE." "I and My Father are ONE" (Jn. 10:30). In that glorious body, that wonderful temple of Sons, there never has been a rift, a schism or division, for it is composed of OVERCOMERS, and from the beginning of the age until now it has been steadily rising on the foundation of the apostles and prophets as each new living stone was readied and permanently placed within its living walls. The body of Christ is unhindered by fire, by tribulation or persecution, unaffected by the squabblings of sects and denominations or those harlot systems without who vainly imagine their hollow man-made structures to be the body of Christ, but rising in the power of incorruption and bound with the everlasting ties of God's eternal Spirit, it is builded a holy and living temple for the Lord. It is from the glorious living temple that Ezekiel saw the Living Waters flowing, deeper and deeper, passing through the desolate land and emptying into the dead sea of humanity's sin and corruption, bringing LIFE where ere it went. Would you be part, dear brother, sister, God's wonderful RIVER OF LIFE COMPANY? Seek, then, above all else to be joined in eternal union with CHRIST, set your affection on things that are above, that the things of earth may grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. He is made after the power of a UNITED LIFE, and we, too, have been made after the power of a united life in Him. Seek not to flow, seek to abide. Seek not to be a river, seek to joined in fellowship, communion and union with the Fountain of Living Water. In intimacy of union with Him, as sure as the heavens are higher than the earth, so sure is it that YOU WILL FLOW IN HIS LIFE AND HIS LIFE WILL FLOW OUT THROUGH YOU!
Let it be thoroughly known that God flows as life through those who walk in union with Him in the Spirit. Our heavenly Father has never throughout the centuries since Christ died and rose left Himself without a channel through which to pour forth His life to humanity. He always has a people of His own, even if it is but one man. The stream of the River of Life has in every age flowed out through those who were walking in the Spirit. God has always accomplished His work through those who walked in the stream of His purposes. Where the stream flows, there is the work of God. This is clear in the book of Acts, a book which speaks to us of the work of God. What is that kind of work which is the work of God? Is it toiling to build larger and larger Churches, bigger Sunday Schools, more attractive programs? God's work is always in the stream of LIVING WATER. Where the stream of Living Water flows, there is the work of God. God works by the flowing of the stream of His DIVINE LIFE. If you consider the whole record of the book of Acts, you will see the picture quite clearly. On the day of Pentecost this stream of divine life flowed out of God Himself in Christ with ruling power from the throne. It began to flow in Jerusalem. From there it flowed to Antioch, and then from Antioch it turned to the West; it flowed to Asia, and through Asia it flowed to Macedonia, to Europe. From Europe it flowed to the New World, and it has flowed to every nation, and tongue, and tribe and people on the face of the earth.
Notice that there is no end, no conclusion, to the book of Acts. There are twenty-eight chapters, but in the book of Acts in heaven today may be twenty-eight hundred chapters! The twenty-eight chapters in our Bible are just the record of sixty or seventy years of history. There is an opening, but no closing, no conclusion. This is because the stream of life up to this very day, it has finally flowed into you and me, and it shall flow out through us, and from generation to generation, through age after age, until the last enemy has been destroyed and there is no more death anywhere in the universe, and God is ALL IN ALL. Where this stream flows, there is the life of God. Where there is the life of God, there is the unity of God. And where there is the unity of God there is the out-flowing of God.
I cannot even begin to explain the wonder of such a union - ONE WITH GOD! I do know that therein lies the blessed secret to victory and glory insurpassable. On one occasion Paul wrote, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:20). That word peace, in its root, is UNITY. The God of UNITY shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly! What vistas of faith and victory are inspired within as we view ourselves ONE IN HIM. Nothing can stand before, over, or against one who dwells in union with God the Almighty. Oh, praise God, He is knitting His own together in Himself in such a way that WHEN HE ACTS WE ACT, WHEN HE SPEAKS WE SPEAK, and WHEN HE SPEAKS ALL WILL SPEAK because of the UNITED LIFE in the Spirit - and not merely a unity of spirit with our brethren in the flesh, but unity with CHRIST and a unity with all who are IN HIM - that great company of elohim on both this side of the veil and the other - for it is written that "Ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the First-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator the new covenant..." (Heb. 12:22-24).
This Mount Zion, this City of the living God, this heavenly Jerusalem, this Church of the First-born, the spirits of just men made perfect, this Jesus...THIS is the voice of the many-membered Son, the voice that has the sound of many waters, MANY SPIRITS, merged into ONE GIGANTIC WATERFALL - ONE GREAT RIVER OF LIFE! Take the shoes from off your feet, oh saint of God, for the ground on which we stand is holy ground. Put away all lightness and foolishness that with heads bowed down and hearts lifted up in worship God's Holy Spirit may reveal how the life of God flowing in Christ and the life of Christ flowing through His body is ONE STREAM OF THE WATER OF LIFE. This is the river in Eden, ONE river, the flowing out of God Himself as reality and life from within those consecrated Sons of God who are UNIFIED IN HIM.
It should not be difficult to understand that this is the answer to all world's needs. For this purpose the people of God have been going through all the dealings and workings of God, particularly during the last years, in order that Christ might be fully formed in them AS LIFE. We learn to know the fullness of His power within by the crucible of experience in order that God may have a people through who He can manifest Himself WITHOUT INHIBITION, WITHOUT LIMITATION, WITHOUT ANY HINDERING OF THE FULL FLOW OF HIMSELF, SO THAT IT WILL BE THE FULL MANIFESTATION OF HIS LOVE, GRACE, POWER, LIFE SALVATION, AND DELIVERANCE TO ALL HUMANITY. A people no longer conscious of God's works - wonderful though His works are - but conscious of GOD HIMSELF. A RIVER OF LIFE PEOPLE not proclaiming doctrines, creeds, rituals, experiences, ordinances, or works, but just the Lord Himself as light and life and love, GOD manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.
The Spirit speaks of making us witnesses to the person of God, rather than the works of God (Acts 1:8). In the past, we have borne witness to the wondrous works of God. Yes, His works have been tremendous, but what we are to bear witness to in this hour is the person of God, becoming the expression and out-flowing of HIMSELF that the world may come to know the living Christ, who is manifesting Himself in and through His body in all His glory.
The blood, the sword, the fire, the cross, and the operation of the Spirit have not been working in us through these many years in order to make us ready for a mansion over the hilltop. It has been in order to prepare us to be an habitation of God through the Spirit so that the hour would come that Christ Himself, once fully formed in us, would be able to be manifested not only in His works, but in His person. Until now we have manifested the works of God, we have witnessed to what redemption has done FOR US, but now God wants us to be the revelation of Himself. The works were only to bring us to the person. The hour is upon us when there must be a full and glorious revelation of the person of Jesus through us as life.
For years we have been saying: "If the world could only see the works of God!" Well, I tell you now that we have shown them His works and it was not the answer, for far too often the works, the signs and wonders and miracles, fascinated the lustful eyes of the curious and blessed the people's flesh, but failed to impart unto them the LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD." God did not save the world by works, He saved the world by A PERSON. "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing YE MIGHT HAVE LIFE through His name" (Jn. 20:31). This life is a person - "I AM the life" (Jn. 14:6). Is it not a miracle that God is bringing us to this hour when there is that awareness within us that there must be an unveiling, a revelation, an indwelling and expression and manifestation and out-flowing of the person of God? What a marvelous work is coming in these days! As an evangelist I loved to travel through the country and tell people that there is a remedy for sin in the blood of Christ, and an enduring power in the Holy Spirit. It takes the Holy Spirit to preach the redemption of Jesus Christ. The days which are before us will excel in glory, far now we are going to proclaim the person of Christ, that men may know the hope of God in Jesus Christ. Opening their hearts to receive Him they will find they have the full effects of His sacrifice, atonement, redemption, glorification and exaltation.
God is breaking forth unto an hour of visitation and expression of Himself. In those blest days ahead at the manifestation of the Sons of God the present "in part" realm of the Church age will have passed away, swallowed up in the out-pouring of the FULLNESS OF GOD, and in that day people will find themselves moving into salvation and on into the fullness of the Spirit and on into the glory of the Lord in all its majesty, without any effort, as easily as a man is saved today, because the person of Christ is coming into focus today and He Himself is coming into expression in His chosen ones. The people's bodies shall even be changed to be fashioned like unto His glorious body as the Sons of God go forth to DELIVER THE CREATION FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION.
J. PRESTON EBY
J. PRESTON EBY
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J. Preston Eby
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