ECHOES FROM EDEN

 

Part XVII

 

DOMINION IN THE GARDEN

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth...and God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and SUBDUE IT: AND HAVE DOMINION...and the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed" (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:8).

More and more we are becoming aware of the wonderful fact that the book of Genesis deals largely in typical representations, that is, figures of spiritual realities, brought forth in the language and form of the physical world, the old creation, but pointing to that which is higher and grander, the NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS. One cannot read Paul's epistles under the illuminating light of the Spirit without perceiving that he saw far more in Genesis than the mere letter. The creation with him is the figure of another work, which God accomplishes in every man who experiences the redeeming, transforming power of Christ. Says Paul, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, HATH SHINED IN OUR HEARTS, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:6). And again, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17).

It should be clear to all who have the eyes of their understanding enlightened that the apostle is showing how, just as God began to work upon this earth, when all was dark and without form and void, and worked upon it, step by step, bringing order out of chaos, light, warmth, life - vegetation and animal forms - until finally the image of God, the man created in righteousness, was seen to rule it all; so it is in the life of man, darkened, unconverted, unregenerate, without form and void, lacking understanding and order, living out his life in emptiness and spiritual destitution, without God and without hope in the world. What form or shape can be given to such purposelessness as a life lived without the Lord? Darkness hangs like a shroud over the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins, and man stumbles blindly through life knowing neither from whence he came nor where he is going. But then! comes the life-giving wind of the Spirit of God, breathing upon the void, and the Word of God pierces the darkness with this command: "Let there be light!" and there IS light. It is when God says, "Let there be light," that the Spirit illumines our minds with the light and the glory of Himself, and it is only when the blessed Holy Spirit moves upon our lifeless souls that we are suddenly awakened from our long sleep of death in sin and life springs forth within. Then, step by step, from one stage of development to another, the creative processes of God continue in the apprehended ones until as a new creation in Christ the new man within us is brought to maturity and rules every faculty within and every power without.

Though many have a vague notion that Genesis contains types, few have any idea of the immense extent or depth of this hidden wisdom. The student of history reads Genesis in the understanding of the natural mind and finds it interesting and informative, historically; the faithful Christian finds in it that which blesses and strengthens his faith and righteousness; but the overcomer in Christ finds it to be the greatest of all books as the portrait of his own spiritual unfoldment into the fullness of God. But it must be read in the Spirit if the reader is to get the lesson it teaches. It is the will of God that the eyes of our understanding should be enlightened, that we might know what hope God had when He formed us. And in this book of Genesis, diligence and prayer and God's Spirit will bring to light worlds of truth infinitely beyond the conception of the carnal mind; and humble faith will discover realms of wisdom and knowledge and glory as complete and wondrous in the Word, as science with all her researches has found in the material universe.

THE DOMINION OF MAN

Genesis, like all the other books of the Bible, has its own unique purpose in the revealing of God's plan. Its first and foremost object is to show us GOD'S ORIGINAL THOUGHT AND PURPOSE in creation. In the letter we shown a physical man given dominion over the physical earth. In the Spirit we see a spiritual man given dominion over the spiritual world. The burning desire within the heart of God is that we might know what purpose He had when He called us. He desires that we know the rich inheritance He has in His saints, and that we may grasp the greatness of the power He manifested toward us when He raised up Jesus Christ from the dead to set Him at His own right hand, PUTTING ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET. It is God's will that we should know that He has quickened us and made us alive in Him that we might share His glory and sit with Him in heavenly places, far above every principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, both in this age and in the ages to come. It is God's will that we should know that this magnificent display of grace has been manifested toward us so that we who have now been made partakers of it may in the ages to come show forth the exceeding riches of His grace to all those who as yet have not partaken of it. For this, I avert, is the meaning of the words of the apostle in Eph. 2:6-7: God "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might SHOW (reveal, exhibit, put on display) the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Jesus Christ." God's GRACE PUT ON DISPLAY in countless ages yet to come! People foolishly talk about the ending of the grace of God, or the ending of age of grace. You might as well speak of the DEATH OF GOD as to speak of the ending of His grace! WE have been saved entirely BY HIS GRACE; why, then, should we confine His power, or for one moment think that it cannot bless the inhabitants of the ages yet to come? Truly, as the Scripture affirms, HIS MERCY IS FOREVER.

In order to understanding God's ultimate purpose for man we must return to His original order. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE..." (Gen. 1:26-27). In this text the fall is shown not to be man's normal state. Man today, like Adam, may be far off from God, yet in his heart, as in Scripture, a witness will be heard, saying that this distance is through self-will. He may live in sin and sorrow; but deep in his conscience he knows that such a life is in opposition to the will and purpose of his Creator. Therefore is God's creation, in His image, shown BEFORE THE FALL, to confirm the voice that speaks to every human heart, and which declares that though all men walk as Adam, sin and death are not part of God's eternal order, but a mere temporary arrangement in the working out of God's great plan. Man's proper place is seen IN CHRIST, the last Adam, prefigured by the first Adam before he fell. Adam, ruling all creatures, and all things, is the type of man in Christ, as God makes him.

Man in Christ, man in God's image, is God's government in the Kingdom of God. Was not this magnificent purpose burning in the heart of the Most High when on the sixth creative day He proclaimed the wonderful decree: "Let us make man in our image...and LET THEM HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). In this shadowy type we behold a vivid portrait of God's purpose for man, that when man comes fully into GOD'S IMAGE he shall be, first, the ruler of things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the seas, and the creeping things; next, the things upon the earth, typified by the cattle, and all the earth; and lastly, the things of heavens also, typified by the fowl of the air. One may find it difficult to embrace so great a truth from so small and insignificant a type, but it was upon this very Edenic type, as reiterated by the prophet David in the eight Psalm. that the writer of the book of Hebrews enlarged when by the Spirit he wrote, "For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, what IS man, that Thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him (man) a little lower (Gr: for a little while lower) than the angels; Thou crownest him with GLORY and HONOR, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S in subjection under his feet. For in that He put ALL in subjection under him, He left N-O-T-H-I-N-G that is NOT put under him!" (Heb. 2:5-8).

You won't quite grasp that at first. Its too overwhelming! To be crowned means to be given KINGLY RULE. To be crowned with GLORY and HONOR is to be given such rule as Christ Jesus has NOW, and of that rule we read, "Whom He hath appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time - that is, He made, produced, built, operated and arranged them in order. He is the sole expression of the glory of God - He is the perfect imprint and the very image of God's nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the UNIVERSE by His mighty word of power...taking a place and rank by which He himself became as much superior to angels as the glorious Name which He ahs inherited is different from and more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, You are My Son, today I have begotten You, that is, established You in an official Sonship relation, with kingly dignity?" (Heb. 1:2-5, Amplified Bible). And again, "Who is the image of the invisible God...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...and ye are complete IN HIM WHICH IS THE HEAD OF A-L-L PRINCIPALITY AND POWER" (Col. 1:15-17; 2:9-10).

All who come to God's image are destined to share that awesome dominion, seated together with Him, far above all principality and power. But - "We see not yet all things put under him (man). But we see Jesus...CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR" (Heb. 2:8-9). Verse ten shows that Jesus is the Captain, the Leader, the One who goes before leading the way - bringing many Sons to the very same glory that God has crowned Him with!

The reason so many people fail to attain to the great heights of the Spirit is because they are unable to see God's purpose, and therefore they have no particular incentive to seek the great heights that are in Him. So many Christians are far too taken up with carnal ideas and childish notions about mansions in the skies and harps and white night gowns and sitting on clouds eating chops with nothing to do and all eternity to do it in, to be able to see the true purposes of God!

SUBDUING ALL THINGS

That man should bear the image of God and have dominion over all things is the first announcement of God's intention regarding man and the first announcement of His purpose, and locked up in that wonderful declaration is a universe of meaning that does not reach the eye and that the mind has never understood. Furthermore, after God announced that man should have dominion over all realms, He then commanded the man, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply (reproduce the image of God), and replenish the earth and SUBDUE IT" (Gen. 1:28).

The word "subdue" here is the Hebrew word KABASH which means "to tread down; conquer; subjugate; bring into bondage." Allow me to stir up your pure minds to think for a moment - what was there in the earth that needed to be TREADED DOWN, CONQUERED, SUBJUGATED, and BROUGHT INTO BONDAGE to Adam? When the Lord gave Adam this command to TREAD DOWN and CONQUER, sin had not yet entered into man's experience, nor any of sins results. There was no sin, sickness, trouble, nor sorrow. There was no death. What, then, was there for Adam to conquer? Now, notice further the responsibility laid upon Adam in Gen. 2:15, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it to KEEP it." The word "keep" here is the Hebrew word SHAMAR which means "to guard," as you can see in chapter 3:24 where this same word is used of the Cherubims which God placed at the east of the garden to guard it from man after he sinned. "So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to KEEP (or guard) the way of the tree of life."

It seems to me that if Adam was to guard the garden against something, there surely must have been things that were not in harmony with man in God's image. Would not divine sense, or human sense, or common sense indicate that if Adam was to tread down and conquer things upon earth, it is self-evident that there were things that were overtly hostile to him. It should be crystal clear that we have had a false notion if we have been among those who think that in the beginning EVERYTHING WAS HARMONIOUS in God's creation. How could they have been when we read of one, that ancient serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who was already in the earth IN THE BEGINNING, of whom it is written, "The devil sinneth FROM THE BEGINNING...He was a murderer FROM THE BEGINNING, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him; for he is a liar AND THE FATHER OF LIES" (I Jn. 3:8; Jn. 8:44, Amplified Bible).

I must confess that I used to believe, as many folks do, that in the beginning Adam walked upon earth surrounded by the beasts of the field, the lions, tigers, dinosaurs, dogs, snakes, scorpions, and creeping things, and that all these were so naturally peaceful and docile that Adam was able to romp and tussel playfully with them all, without hostility or fear. Not so! These are but typical representations, figures of spiritual things, but the principles in the earthly things must correspond in nature to the spiritual things. Adam was told to SUBDUE the animal kingdom, to CONQUER and SUBJUGATE the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and everything that moves upon the earth! If the tigers just naturally ambled up to Adam. wagging their tails, lovingly licking his face, what need would there have been to subdue them? If the serpents were not poisonous nor dangerous, why would it have been necessary for Adam to guard against them or tread them down? If the lions were not wild and ravenous, how could Adam conquer them? If the dogs were not ferocious, why the command to subjugate them?

And beyond all this, it is evident that in nature all creatures are not savage by nature. But even the domestic animals must be trained and guided. Proofs abound on every hand that God's creation needs rule, like "the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth nust be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee" (Ps. 32:9). Good as the ox is to labor, he needs a lord; man, therefore, is given to subdue and guide him. Dogs, tame and friendly as they may be, need a leash and the restraining hand and command of man. Have weak children never been knocked down and injured by friendly dogs? Have beautiful flowers never been trampled and crushed by them, which were set as plants to cheer the hearts of men? Can it not seen by this that God committed to Adam the wisdom, power, and responsibility to RULE over the kingdoms around him? Before him lay the whole earth, the seas, the heavens, all filled and swarming with creatures, myriad life forms, each declaring by type and shadow that man was to exercise dominion over every realm BENEATH AND ABOVE that God had created, and as creating bowed in obedience to his godly mind, and the dominion in his spirit, that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a Son in the image of God was but a prefiguring of the day when a whole FIRST-FRUIT COMPANY OF SONS IN GOD'S IMAGE would reign over THE REGIONS BENEATH, and over ALL THE EARTH, and over THE HEAVENS ABOVE until everything everywhere, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, would be in submission to their godly minds and wills.

Ah! let us meditate deeply upon the power and authority that God has given to the body of Christ. I make apology for declaring to you the truth that each creature of the earth typifies a reality in the realm of the Spirit, good or bad, positive or negative. This can be seen clearly in the words of Jesus when He says in Lk. 10:17-19, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give you power to TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, and over all the power of the enemy."

Spake He of the serpents and scorpions of the fields? Nay, my brother, He spake of spirits possessing the nature typified by serpents and scorpions, hidden and cunning, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the thoughts and desires and ambitions of the carnal mind, full of deadly venom. There is a revelation in all nature, in light and darkness, summer and winter, rain and drought, in fruits and harvest, in storms and sunshine. There is revelation in the lives of men, yea, even in beasts and birds and creeping things, each saying something TO US, and OF US. Every law and wonder of nature speaks to our souls of other higher things, and as the growth of seeds was to the spiritual eye of Paul a witness of development of the CHRIST LIFE WITHIN US, so the serpents and scorpions and beasts and birds of earth and heaven above witnessed of higher things to Jesus, all figuring some of the countless forms of SPIRITS.

The dove is the well known figure of meekness, purity, perception, love and constancy, and so was a fit symbol for the HOLY SPIRIT who at Christ's baptism came "like a dove" and abode upon Him. The other fowls of heaven, as the law of Moses shows us, clean and unclean, each bespeak a kind or quality of spirit, expressing in their natures those characteristics that originate in the spirit realm. Hence, in the Scriptures unclean birds are type of evil spirits, as John the Revelator shows in Rev. 18:2, "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of DEVILS, and the hold of every FOUL SPIRIT, and a cage of every UNCLEAN AND HATEFUL BIRD." I know the Lamb, the meek and sacrificial nature of the Son of God, which is oppressed and afflicted, and yet openeth not its mouth; but I have known also the nature of the beast, wild and ravenous, that spirit, so obvious in the world, which stomps and rends and breaks in pieces and devours, of whom Peter warns us, saying, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a ROARING LION, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8).

Man was created for the Holy Spirit to indwell, to bear the image of God, but all these unclean spirits - the spirit of the devil, and the myriad spirits which characterize the kingdom of darkness - find expression in man as he FAILS TO EXERCISE DOMINION OVER THEM. There is one more thought that should be mentioned here. The birds of heaven represent those spirits which have to do with the UNDERSTANDING, the mind of man. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not..." (II Cor. 4:3-4). The beasts of the earth are those spirits affecting the WILL of man. Serpents, scorpions, and the creeping things of earth represent those spirits connected with the EMOTIONS of man. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name they shall cast out devils...they shall take up serpents" (Mk. 16:17-18). Then follows the lowest realm of all, the dragons, fish, and sea creatures, those spirits finding lodging and expression in the BODIES of men.

All these, hostile to the image of God, Adam was commanded to SUBDUE, TO TREAD DOWN, CONQUER AND SUBJUGATE! The Spirit today is teaching us that when the Bible speaks of something being "under our feet," this is a symbolic phrase meaning that the thing has been put in subjection to us, we rule over it, it does not rule over us. We find that there have been so many spirits which have ruled within us - and as His Kingdom takes its rightful place in our lives, these are subdued and brought to nought. In the soul-realm we have the dominant spirit of self-will, impulses of evil which rise up out of the heart, emotions of fear, anger, hostility, bitterness, hurt, etc. which usurp unlawful sway over our lives, fleshly appetites and desires, and then there are those religious spirits of iron-clad dogmas and creeds, traditions, sectarianism, and commandments of men.

Behold, I give you power to TREAD on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Lk. 10:19). The promise belongs to YOU and to ME, for it is the Kingdom of God that the Lord has given authority and power over the power of Satan's kingdom. It is a wonderful day for a believer when he becomes conscious that God NOW GIVES HIM DOMINION in Jesus Christ, that he may become an overcomer over ALL!

WALKING IN DOMINION

I now wish to share with you what I believe to be the most startling statement in the Word of God, and doubly startling because Jesus Himself said it. In the tent chapter of John, Jesus was preaching and He got along very nicely until He came to this point: "Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I SAID, YE ARE GODS? If He called them gods, unto whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified...Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn. 10:31-36).

On what ground did Jesus reason when He said to those sinful Jews, "I said, YE ARE GODS...and the Scripture cannot be broken." This takes us back to the creation of man when God said, "Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS," when God breathed into man the breath of life, and the living Spirit of God came into his life and nature, when dominion over sin, sickness, demons, and death was native in the life of man.

The startling thing in Jesus' statement is not that Jesus said to those who were His disciples, who accepted Him as their Messiah and Lord, who had experienced the power of His salvation, but these words were spoken to those who rejected Him and hated Him. To such Jesus said: "Ye are gods." That reveals the divine potential in man, to be ultimately realized. If you are going to quarrel with anyone about that statement, you will have to quarrel with the Lord! Jesus said, "Ye are gods." And the Scripture in Heb. 2:7-8 says of man, "Thou didst set him (man) over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." And the original man, clothed in the likeness of Christ, was ruler in earth, and sea and sky. There was a dominion in his spirit that even the animal kingdom recognized, that the birds knew and the fish understood, and all powers, visible and invisible feared. Man was God's king - God's king upon earth.

If we want tangible evidence of the wreckage that sin made in the world, we do not have to go further than our selves to discover that when the CHRIST DOMINION is gone, there follows the unleashing of every carnal and devilish thought, attitude, and action. A king without a kingdom, a king without kingliness of character, a king robbed of his power. Man fell from his high place, from his glorious position; he lost his dominion. Man has been weakened to such a degree that instead of ruling the animal world, the ANIMAL NATURE rules within him! The elements rule him, control him. Sin and self choketh virtue from his soul, and Satan laughs him to scorn, while unclean spirits parade about the stage of his mind and body. Because of the weakened state of our being through sin, we have become subject to the varied laws of nature about us. We get in draft and catch cold. We develop pneumonia. The waves toss us about, we get sea-sick. The terrors of life frighten us, the pressures fray our nerves, and our hearts fail. ALL OF THIS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WAS MEANT TO BE REVERSED, AND IN CHRIST IT IS REVERSED. By Christ's indwelling, man is restored to his former state. Oh, no, we haven't experienced it all yet, but this is what salvation is - a progressive deliverance from sin and self and the kingdom of darkness - unto the mind and dominion of the Christ. Christ, coming into a man's life by the Spirit, exalts his nature into divine dominion. The rulership of God and the power of Christ in his life makes him once again God's prince and king in the world.

Real salvation is not mere forgiveness of sins or the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Christ's salvation is intended to bring again into the nature of man that which was lost thorough sin. Once again trough the divine operation of the Spirit of God, ministered in our hearts by Jesus Christ, His overcoming Son, the divine Spirit that rules in the soul of Jesus now rules in the hearts of those who are being joined to Him as Sons of God, bringing dominion. And lest we be discouraged in observing that thus far WE HAVE NOT ATTAINED TO THE FULLNESS OF THIS DOMINION, Paul calls our attention to the fact in Heb. 2:8 that though "we see not yet ALL THINGS put under him (man), WE SEE JESUS," the one overcomer, who entered again into the divine fullness of God's estate for man, become to man forever God's divine inspiration and pattern OF A REAL MAN AND A SON OF GOD. My heart is longing these days, since God commenced to teach me of His wonderful purpose by the Spirit, that you and I in very truth begin to lift up our heads knowing that OUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH, even the full and complete inworking of HIS TRIUMPH!

This is my conception of the life of Sonship. This is what my heart reads in the blessed Word of God. This is the way my spirit interprets the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is the revelation Jesus brought from heaven for a world that is down. Rise, saints, rise up to victory! You are destined to RULE!

"And oft there cometh the wise Lord God, Master of every trade,

And He tells men tales of His daily toils, and of Edens, newly made,

And they rise to their feet as He passeth by, Gentlemen, unafraid."

PREPARATION FOR UNIVERSAL DOMINION

The dominion intended for man is a UNIVERSAL DOMINION. David, speaking by the Holy Spirit, asked, "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what IS MAN, that Thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3-4). Then in answer to his own question he continues, "Thou madest him to have dominion OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS (the heavens, the moon, and the stars in vs. 3): Thou hast put ALL THINGS under his feet" (Ps. 8:3-6). In Heb. 2:8 we see that all things are NOT YET under man because MAN IS NOT YET READY. He is now in the process of coming into the image of God. He is in the process of coming into SONSHIP, and when that process is complete, he will take his place of lordship and dominion to carry the will of God into all the universe. We are on our way to His glory, not to strum harps and sit on clouds and walk on golden streets shouting hallelujah, but in God's image and likeness to take our place as lords of God's creation, carrying His almighty will into the uttermost universe.

Since the dawn of history, man has marveled at the mystery and grandeurs of the heavens. On a clear night, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, can be seen as a star-studded ribbon circling the sky. But what secrets lie hidden in the celestial realm of outer space? Consider the awesome size and complexity of the cosmos that is revealed by modern science. Our earth is a massive sphere some 8,000 miles in diameter; yet our star, the sun, has a diameter 100 times larger than the earth. Viewed from afar, our solar system - the sun and nine revolving planets - would appear as a disc in space nearly eight thousand million miles across. Already such numbers stagger our imagination.

Perhaps we can better visualize such incredible distances by an analogy: If we compressed our solar system so that our sun (which is actually over 800,000 miles in diameter) was reduced to the size of a quarter (one inch in diameter), then Pluto, the most distant planet in our solar system, would be the size of a grain of sand located over 400 feet away! And the nearest star? Again on a scale where our sun is the size of a quarter, the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be another quarter 500 miles away! And in between would be the vast emptiness of space. Yet our sun and Alpha Centauri ARE ONLY TWO OF 100 THOUSAND MILLION STARS in the giant pinweheel of stars known as the Milky Way, and our entire galaxy could be easily lost in the endless expanses of space, for common as blades of grass in a meadow! As man reaches out to explore the heavens, will he ever find the end? So far, using the largest and most sophisticated telescopes, astronomers have probed the universe to a distance of over one hundred thousand million millions miles. If we could ride on a beam of light at the speed of 186,000 miles a second, it would take some ten thousand million years to travel this distance! Still, astronomers have been UNABLE TO FIND THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE. Perhaps it is endless; no one knows. With this in mind, how great are the words of the prophet: "Of the INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT and peace THERE SHALL BE NO END" (Isa. 9:7).

Such all-embracing majesty is far too vast for my feeble understanding, yet I know by the Spirit that man was created for the explicit purpose of RULING IT ALL. Rulership over the universe does not mean merely the visible, physical universe of stars, planets, and galaxies. It is a dominion over ALL THINGS contained in that universe: every creature, every being, every order of angels, devils, principalities, powers, thrones and dominions. "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (I Cor. 6:3). The real reason behind the present gigantic efforts of man to explore the universe in this space-age is that there lies buried within the subconscious mind of man the hidden knowledge that he was created to rule the universe. Out of this subconscious awareness has evolved today's technological world, and now, unregenerated men are shooting rockets to the moon and Mars farther planets, boasting that he is going to use these as a launching pad to soar to the systems beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to take over and rule what he has not fitted himself to manage. Man has not yet proved his ability to rule this planet, much less worlds beyond. Man with his history of greed, lust, strife, treachery, wars, bloodshed, deceit, and perversion has now stockpiled enough nuclear weapons to not only blow this earth to smithereens, but twenty more just like it! And man has never yet devised a weapon of was tht he has not used. Shall the Creator commit into the hands of corrupt, depraved FALLEN HUMAN NATURE the rulership of the universe? NO. Man is reaching out to rule that which he has not qualified himself to rule - and before it has been made lawfully his! But what man does not know is that IF, through Christ, he first QUALIFIES for the trust, it has been God's intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars and Venus, but THE WHOLE VAST, LIMITLESS UNIVERSE under his jurisdiction!

How can a man rule universe if he cannot RULE HIS OWN SPIRIT? "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32). A fit preface; for in a universe, or in a world, or in a man the work is one; and, indeed, man is himself a world, a universe, with realms within him vast and abundant. Darkness and light, and a great deep, and earth and heaven and hell, and principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, as in him. Passions move him as the storms, volcanic fires rage or smoulder in him, wars are fought, battles rage, kingdoms rise and fall - ALL WITHIN MAN. That we might understand this world, this universe, which lies within man, God has written the same design on the giant canvas of the outer world. This is man's proving ground. When he has learned to rule his INNER WORLD, he then qualifies for ruling the OUTER WORLD.

So God, omniscient and omnipotent, has established here upon a School for the training of those destined to be the future rulers of the universe. This School is known as "the body of Christ." None shall ever rule who have not graduated from this School! And what a great Teacher we have! The educators of this world have discovered some vital principles in teaching. They have learned, for instance, that a student remembers far more of what he sees than he does of what he hears. That which falls upon the eye leaves a greater impression upon the mind than does that which strikes the ear. Therefore, the increased emphasis today on visual education. But there is another principle greater yet which declares that a person retains more of what he learns from experience than he does of what he learns by the seeing of the eye. This great fact lies behind the old adage: EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER! God, the greatest of all Teachers, understood this principle long before man discovered its truth. I have learned a great fact about God's method of teaching: He teaches about five-percent by THUS SAITH THE LORD and about ninety-five-percent by EXPERIENCE. I do not mean to minimize the Word of God, nor the Spirit of Prophecy, but I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that you will never become a Son of God, you will never in a billion years learns HOW TO RULE by hearing the Word of God alone. The Word must be inworked, and in God's School of Dominion you can only learn to rule by experientially LEARNING TO RULE!

One begins in God's School of Dominion in the first grade. You start with the ABC's. God opens the class and says, "Now children, we are going to learn how to rule. To rule means to govern, to control, to be master over the thing that is ruled. You can never rule anything until first you overcome it WITHIN YOURSELF. To "overcome" means to come up over that which is over you. When, within yourself, you rise up above the circumstance, the problem, so that it no longer controls you, you are then ready to begin to control it, to no longer be the victim of circumstances, but the master of them. Now, little ones, let us learn how this works!"

At this point our Teacher takes us from the classroom to the workshop. What a wonderful Teacher He is! He puts us right to work, thrusting us into a situation where we can apply the principle we just learned about "overcoming." How gracious He is! To begin with He doesn't give us a really big problem, just a little one: a difficult boss, or a nagging wife, or an obstinate husband, or some unpaid bills, pressures, kids, broken down car, hateful neighbors, gossiping brethren, sickness. From time to time everyone finds himself in difficult - indeed, miserable - circumstances. The job is too demanding, the relationships on the job are difficult, trouble is brewing in the home, money is tight, you have lost your job, you dislike the community in which you live, sickness strikes, the children are fighting, or other pressures mount. When one or more of these thing happen, we are plagued with the malady that I call THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME.

How many times in these problems I hear people say, "If it wasn't for this nagging wife of mine, I could really have the victory," or "If it wasn't for this drunken husband, I believe I could really walk in the Spirit," or "If I didn't have to work on this job where everyone drinks and tells dirty jokes and fornicates, I could really be spiritual," or "If I just lived in a Christian Community where everyone is spiritual I could really be a Son." Indeed? This is nothing but THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME. You see, if ever we are to walk as Sons of God with dominion we must first RECOGNIZE GOD AS THE AUTHOR OF ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND LIFE SITUATIONS and see that all of them are the proving ground for these appointed to rule and reign with Christ! How can we rule if we never learn to RULE! How shall we rule out there in coming ages if we cannot rule here and now in our petty every-day problems? How can we overcome DEATH, SATAN, AND THE DARKNESS OF THE CARNAL MIND if we cannot overcome right where we are in our daily distresses? No, every dark situation may not immediately change, every problem may not be instantly solved, every adverse circumstance may not be altered, but we can COME UP ABOVE THEM in the Christ-mind, into the pure air of God's presence and power, and there is a blessed realm there where the things of earth do not rule us, depress us, upset us, frustrate us, anger us, control us, defeat us, nor AFFECT US IN ANY WAY, for CHRIST BECOMES OUR LIFE!

Learn this and you will know a great truth: Christ is not depressed, upset, anxious, frustrated, nor defeated. And CHRIST IN YOU is not either! And YOU IN CHRIST are not either! This is the first step in overcoming: To rise up above the problem in the CHRIST SPIRIT until the problem is no longer a problem to you by virtue of the indwelling of His love and joy and peace.

Man's first instinct under pressure is to run, to extricate himself from the situation. When we run from the problem we immediately FLUNK THE TEST. When we fail to overcome "in" the problem, our nature in that area is left weak, undisciplined, and undeveloped. Oft time, so they can appear "spiritual," men divorce their wives, wives divorce their husbands, parents abandon their children, people move from place to place, from job to job, from church to church. Often people pray like this: "Lord, deliver me from this job where everyone is so filthy and the boss so hateful; give me a job with the Full Gospel Business Men where everyone is spiritual and praise God and speaks in tongues!" Ah, we seek an "environment" that is "conductive" to our "spirituality," little realizing that in that environment where all is so beautiful and harmonious we only appear to be spiritual because there is nothing to cross us, nothing hostile, in short NOTHING TO OVERCOME! You can run from the problem, my brother, you can seek an environment where nothing is adverse to you, my sister, you can even have faith where God will just "solve" all your problems and pour down the healings, prosperity, and blessing; yes, you can do all this and be a Christian, even a good Charismatic Christian; but I do not hesitate to tell you that you cannot do this and BECOME A RULER!

There are steps to the throne. Your next step to the throne is before you, right where you are, in your present situation, problems and life circumstances. All the pressures upon you will either rule you, dominating your mind, attitudes, emotions and actions, causing you to be depressed, frustrated, upset, negative etc., or you can utilize the OVERCOMING SPIRIT OF SONSHIP WITHIN to soar up above the problems, putting them under your feet, transformed into STEPPING-STONES TO THE THRONE! Ah, beloved, a blessed secret I have discovered: The things I once saw as liabilities in my walk in Christ I have now begun to recognize as assets - glorious opportunities to LEARN HOW TO RULE, blessed provisions of God by which I may appropriate the triumph of the life of the Son of God within.

I have some good news for you, my friends! As soon as you conquer the situation you are in right now, God has a bigger mess arranged for you! Oh, yes, this is God's School of Dominion, remember? In this School we learn to rule by RULING. So God places us in His great Workshop and gives us the required circumstances in which to rule! He is a great Teacher. Ultimately we shall rule over things. And how shall we learn to rule over all things? Simple. By learning to rule over A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S! Each adversary must be faced - and conquered. There is no other way! Jesus did not conquer temptation by cloistering Himself in a monastery, shut up from those things that could temp Him. Jesus conquered temptation by being tempted in all points like as we are and putting each one under His feet! He overcome Satan by facing Satan. He triumphed over death by grappling with it in the faith and power of God. In short, He subdued all things by SUBDUING ALL THINGS. Glory!

The journey to the throne of the universe begins in that small and undistinguished place where you are. It is impossible to over-emphasize this foundational and fundamental truth: The Kingdom is within you. It is here, Oh child of the Most High, that the magnificence of the all-encompassing, all-enduring, everlasting Kingdom of God has its beginning. God Almighty, full of wisdom, longsuffering, and faithfulness is preparing a people in the lowly estates of this present evil world who will reign with Christ in His throne, first from sea to sea, then from planet to planet, and finally from universe to universe. Make no mistake about it, my beloved ones! These present hours of preparation in the lowest parts of the earth are fraught with infinite importance and eternal significance. It is HERE AND NOW that preparations are to be made! The enchristed who are to reign in glory with Him are being prepared. Think not in your heart, my friend, that you may pass your life here, careless, indifferent to the purposes of God, suddenly to awake one fine morning to find yourself sitting with Christ governing the universe, because such a thing will not be.

If you wish to live in the joy and victory of the Son of God, here is the great key: Enter into the love of God. "But," you say, "there is a man who makes me so impatient; he does trouble me and vex me with his stupidity. And there are those ungodly neighbors; how they have tempted me in times past and done me harm! And there is that business man who is trying to ruin me. And there is that relative; how she hates me and constantly stirs up trouble in the family." Take them all, and your wife (or husband) and children and everyone around you and say, "I understand it; the life and love of Christ is my sphere of being, love is rest and rest is love, and where there is love nothing will be disturbed. I shall overcome in HIS LOVE."

This present time is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord over the endless vastnesses of infinity. He is raising us up to sit with Him in the higher than heavenlies. And the place which He is preparing for each one is not only world to come, and a Kingdom of life and light, but a place IN HIM, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, Spirit of His Spirit, nature of His nature, life of HIS LIFE!

J. PRESTON EBY

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