ECHOES FROM EDEN
THE GARMENTS OF EDEN
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife...and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And... unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10,21).
"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will CLOTHE THEE WITH A CHANGE OF RAIMENT. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and CLOTHED HIM WITH GARMENTS" (Zech. 3:3-5).
In the vast storehouse of truth embraced by the holy Scriptures no part nor phase thereof is in any way more outstanding or clear than the truth that man was designed by his Creator to possess a body. Man is not designed to have his spirit or soul flit about through eternity without a body. The apostle Paul echoes the sense of revulsion found in the heart of every man at the thought of being found "naked" or disembodied upon physical death. Speaking of the earthly residence of the tabernacle of flesh, he writes, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that area in this tabernacle do groan, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us FOR THIS SELFSAME THING is God..." (II Cor. 5:1-5).
The desire of the man who is begotten of God, whose spirit is a living spirit born from above, is that he should be clothed with a body at all times, and the apostle assures us that "He that hath wrought us for this very thing IS GOD." The awful doctrine of one's "soul" or "spirit," with its disembodied personality spending eternity "naked" is unbearable. The cry of the spirit is: "Not that we should be UNCLOTHED, but CLOTHED UPON!" Man was designed by God to possess a body for all eternity - and he shall. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead assures this.
In the verses we have quoted above Paul speaks of the human body as a "tabernacle" or "tent" or "clothing" to be discarded and laid aside. In I Cor. 6:19 the apostle again refers to the body as a "tabernacle" or "temple," saying, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?" Peter, also, in making reference to his imminent death described that event in this manner: "Knowing that shortly I must put off this MY TABERNACLE" (II Pet. 1:14). Hear now what Paul has to say concerning that glorious SPIRITUAL BODY which supercedes this mortal body of flesh and blood: "We have a BUILDING OF GOD, AN HOUSE not made with hands...for in this (the earthly) we groan...desiring to be CLOTHED UPON WITH OUR HOUSE which is from heaven."
There is a very sense in which the withering fig-leaf apron of Adam's own making, once he had fallen into corruption, represents this vile body of death and humiliation, while the enduring covering of the life of God's precious Lamb bespeaks the eternal garment of THE CELESTIAL BODY OF THE CHRIST.
THE TWO BODIES
Throughout the Word of God the contrast of God's SECONDS against the realm of God's FIRSTS is most beautiful, inspiring and enlightening. We find that these SECONDS are always higher, better, and far more glorious than the FIRSTS. "Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second" (Heb. 10:9). The FIRSTS in God's dealings are in every instance removed, that the SECONDS may be established. There are many comparisons of the taking away of the first and establishing of the second in the Scriptures. Ishmael and Isaac are perhaps the first example. "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman" (Gal. 4:22,23,30).
Later, Esau, the firstborn, was removed from the blessing and birthright and Jacob, the second-born, was established as heir of the promise in his place (Rom. 9:10-13). Saul, the first king of Israel, and all his lineage gave way to David, the second, and his seed forever as possessors of the throne of Israel, for the Lord declared, "I have rejected Saul from being king over Israel" (I Sam. 15:26) but of David He said, "I will settle him in My kingdom forever: and his throne shall be established forevermore" (I Chron. 17:14). The law of sin and death was abolished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the law of the Spirit of life being established (Rom. 8:2). The first covenant of the law of the Old Testament, which brought only death, has been done away and the second covenant of the New Testament, which brings life, has been established. "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if that which is done away was glorious. much more that which remaineth is glorious" (II Cor. 3:7-11). Death by the FIRST! Life by the SECOND! Condemnation by the FIRST! Righteousness by the SECOND!
The FIRSTS are always found lacking, but God's SECONDS give forth a radiant glow of the glory and the majesty of our Omnipotent God! The Levitical Priesthood of the order of Aaron has been removed, superseded by the more glorious and eternal Priesthood of the Son of God after the order of Melchizedek. "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical Priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the law also" (Heb. 7:11-12). The SECONDS of God's dealings always bring perfection!
With this wonderful truth in mind it should not be difficult in the least for us to understand the contrast between the two bodies spoken of in I Cor. 15:39-50. "All flesh is not the same flesh...there are also CELESTIAL BODIES and BODIES TERRESTRIAL: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another...there is a NATURAL BODY, and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY. And so it is written, the FIRST MAN ADAM was made a living soul; the LAST ADAM was made a quickening spirit. The FIRST MAN is of the earth, earthy: the SECOND MAN is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."
The contrast between these two bodies - the FIRST of flesh, the SECOND of spirit - is almost too much for our weak and earthbound minds to comprehend. The natural mind and natural understanding cannot grasp it. The Holy Spirit declares that "as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall ALSO bear the image of the heavenly." There are some who do not believe that Jesus Christ in His glory at the right hand of the Father now possesses a BODY. But let us pause and meditate briefly upon the words of Paul in Phil. 3:20-21: "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto HIS GLORIOUS BODY, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." The words "HIS GLORIOUS BODY" are more correctly translated "THE BODY OF HIS GLORY." If HE is fashioning US to have a BODY LIKE UNTO HIS BODY OF GLORY then HE MUST HAVE A BODY, yes, a BODY OF GLORY! Christ is not only the Spirit of glory, or a glorious Spirit, but He has a BODY OF GLORY. He is changing us and making us...not spirits...but redeemed beings, new creation men in spirit, soul, and body.
Bearing the image of the heavenly is not taking your natural body to heaven. That's what millions of Christians think, that one of these days their present body of flesh is going to fly away to heaven, there to strum a harp and walk up and down the streets of gold. Not so! my brother. HIS BODY is not a body of flesh and blood and bones, it is a BODY OF GLORY. A body of flesh is a body COMPOSED OF FLESH and a body of glory is a body COMPOSED OF GLORY. As it is written, "There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies...there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body."
The most comprehensive single paragraph of Scripture that deals with the truth that there are two distinct kinds of bodies, or two totally different bodies, is found in II Cor. 5:1-5 where we read, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this (the earthly) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (celestial body) which IS FROM HEAVEN: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle (fleshly body) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon (with the celestial body), that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."
This passage starts with assurances of absolute certainty. "for we know" is as dogmatic and definitely positive as human speech can be. The thing we thus know is that if our EARTHLY HOUSE OF THIS TABERNACLE (physical body) were dissolved, our spirit would not be "naked" or "disembodied," for there is ANOTHER BODY, a CELESTIAL BODY, a SPIRITUAL BODY, a BUILDING OF GOD FROM HEAVEN for the spirit to occupy in the celestial realm.
In veritable truth does the apostle say that in this body we groan. We groan from the hour of our birth until the time of our departure. We groan when our stomachs are empty and the pangs of hunger ravish our system. We also groan when we eat too much Mexican food and suffer the consequences. We groan when we get our teeth; we groan again when we lose them. We groan when we are children under the rule of parents, teachers etc. We groan again when we become adults and have to face the responsibilities of life. We groan because of our children and we groan when they leave home. We groan at the multiplied problems and sorrows and tragedies that fall our lot. At almost every movement of the body, we are apt to come in violent contact with some sharp object, and groan again!
We can readily see that it will not be a very great loss when we lay aside this groaning form for one that is no longer susceptible to pain, sorrow and death. So the figure of speech that is used here is the common and familiar figure of clothing. Inhabiting this earthly sphere, the spirit is clothed with a body adapted to the conditions of earth living. When the spirit has outworn and outgrown this fleshy suit of garments, it casts that suit aside for another and more glorious garment. In that heavenly realm where dwells the all-glorious Son of God the spirit does not wander naked, but the divine Tailor has already measured the regenerated spirit for a spiritual garment, a heavenly house, a celestial body prepared for it!
Can we not see by this that the celestial body, our "clothing from heaven," is not the natural body reconstructed, but a brand new, totally different body? The words of Paul must be made very real to our hearts: "There are celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. So...is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a NATURAL BODY; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY. There is a NATURAL BODY and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY" (I Cor. 15:40-44). It is plain to see that our present bodies are "natural bodies." The "spiritual body" supersedes the "natural body" and is called in the Greek a "spirit body." The natural body and the spirit body belong to two entirely different kingdoms. The first is of Adam, the second is of the Lord from heaven. The first is from earth, the second is from heaven. The first is terrestrial, the second is celestial. The first is temporal, the second is eternal. The first is visible, the second is invisible. God's FIRSTS are always lacking, and are in every case replaced by God's SECONDS. "He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second" (Heb. 10:9). God's SECOND always bring perfection! Glory!
Our "earthly house," our physical body, is characterized as a "tabernacle" or a better translation would be "tent-house." The transient character of the earthly body is thus revealed by this symbol. This house is to be "dissolved." Being one of God's FIRSTS it was never intended to remain! "Dissolved" comes from a Greek word meaning "loosened down," as the ropes of a tent are loosened and the tent is taken down, folded up, removed. The "spirit body," on the other hand, is described as a "building of God, eternal in the heavens." The metaphor changes, interestingly, from a "tent" to a "building," from that which can be "dissolved" to that which is "eternal." My beloved brethren! I have absolutely no desire whatever to have God embue with any eternal qualities this poor, weak, imperfect, limited, restricted, humiliating, earthly, animal body! My hope of Sonship does not rest in preserving forever a body that must be washed and clothed, fed and rested, groomed and manicured, and powdered and deodorized. There is another body, thank God! formed of the incorruptible life of the resurrected and glorified Christ of God and this marvelous body is from heaven even as my present body is of earth. I do not hesitate to declare to you that as a man "puts on Christ" he puts on not only the Spirit of Christ but also the RESURRECTION BODY of Christ, and this body IS OUR HOUSE FROM HEAVEN. Even as our earth body has come from the FIRST MAN ADAM, and IS ADAM'S BODY, so our spiritual body comes from the SECOND MAN ADAM and is the body of Christ's resurrection. As the pure and holy life of the Son of God is formed within us God shall also give us bodies worthy of such divine life, bodies capable of expressing all the wisdom and power of that blessed realm beyond sin and death, yea, beyond time and space and matter!
What happens when we put on immortality? What happens when we are brought into that condition or place where it is impossible for us to die? What is going to be our condition when we find death swallowed up of life and destroyed? When there just is not any more such a thing as death? No thought of it. No idea of it. No word for it. It will have disappeared entirely and there will not be the ability to die. Then what takes place?
There are a lot of so-called revelations that are set forth these days which, at first hearing sound very religious, advanced, or seemingly spiritual, but as one examines that which is set forth, there are times when we find what is being taught in some circles is not the same thing which the Spirit of God speaks into your own heart. For example, through many years I have heard a lot of folk speak of the "LIFE MESSAGE" and have been asked if I believe it. I would then have to inquire and probe into their minds and hearts to find out exactly what they meant by this term. Often I discovered that what they really meant was that they had already attained "by faith" a condition of immortality for this physical, flesh body, which they said would never die. A great number of those with whom I talked are now lying silent in their graves!
I never cease to be amazed at how much effort people put into trying to "immortalize" this earth body, the first tabernacle, the first man Adam. The Holy Spirit witnesses that "there is a natural body, AND there is a spiritual body." The order in which these two bodies are experienced is also defined: "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual" (I Cor. 15:46). Most saints don't know the difference between these two bodies! So many of the Lord's precious people imagine that the natural body shall somehow become the spiritual body, or that the first man Adam shall in some manner become the last man Adam, the Lord from heaven. Not so! Is that which is spiritual, natural? Is that which natural, spiritual? Is that which earthy, heavenly? Is that which heavenly, earthy? Is that which terrestrial, celestial? Is that which celestial, terrestrial? Is that which is corruptible, incorruptible? Is that which is incorruptible, corruptible? Is the first Adam also the last Adam? Is the last Adam the first? Ah, beloved, there are TWO BODIES, TWO TABERNACLES, TWO GARMENTS, even as there are TWO BIRTHS; the first birth and the second birth, one of flesh, the other of spirit; one of earth and the other of heaven! The first must decrease, the second must increase. The first must be "done away," the second must be eternally "established." The one must be "put off," while the other must be "put on."
Ah, hearken! my beloved brother, thou who thinkest thou possesseth immortality in thy Adam body of flesh! Truly it is written, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me SHALL NEVER DIE" (Jn. 11:25-26). And again, "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection from the dead...NEITHER CAN THEY DIE any more...the SONS OF GOD, being the SONS OF THE RESURRECTION" (Lk. 20:35-36). What do you expect it is like WHEN YOU CANNOT DIE? What would it be like for this flesh body if it COULD NOT DIE? Let us imagine one coming into that state of being, yet all natural laws still in force. If you CANNOT DIE, then there is no need to eat food, for you cannot starve to death. YOU CANNOT DIE. If you did choose to eat, you could eat anything, even the very strongest poisons, for YOU CANNOT DIE. Nothing would have the power to kill. You would be beyond the power of death. Therefore the natural laws requiring food or nutrition had just as well be taken off the books, they have become of no effect.
If there is still fire, you who cannot die cannot in any way be affected by the burning power of fire, no matter how great it might be. A furnace heated to seven times hotter than ever before would have no power. The fires of an atomic or hydrogen explosion can never hurt for you CANNOT DIE. There could be no pain or hurt to you, for fire could have NO effect. So the natural law of fire burning, of our power bodies being combustible, might just as well be taken off the books, for it has been made no effect. Natural law tells us that if we walk out into a body of water far enough we are going to go under the water and drown. Natural law says we cannot breathe water into our lungs and live. For all who CANNOT DIE drowning in water had just as well be removed from the books, for it does not work. It has no effect. If you CANNOT DIE, then you have NO NEED FOR ATMOSPHERE OR AIR to live, for even without air YOU CANNOT DIE. Nothing can kill you! If you do walk in air, all well and good. If you are in a place where there is no air, still well and good, FOR YOU CANNOT DIE. Should you walk through the most poisonous of gases, you would not be affected, for you COULD NOT DIE. Death would have lost its power, and not one thing could harm you.
For those who cannot die, death has been done away. Therefore there would be nothing to prevent such a person from going anywhere in the universe. And there would be no need for any special preparation in the way of oxygen to breathe, spaceship etc. Nothing could harm such a person and it would have become HIS OR HER NATURE to live under any circumstances. The time has come when we must see by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God that THIS EARTHLY HOUSE IS NOT OUR HOUSE FROM HEAVEN, this terrestrial body is not the celestial body , this mortal body is not the immortal body, this corruptible body is not the incorruptible body, this natural body is not the spiritual body, and this FLESH OF ADAM IS NOT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF GOD! Those who walk in the BODY OF GLORY are those who have been given immortality. The BODY OF GLORY is the BODY OF THE NEW CREATION MAN, not this bag of bones of the external, visible world. Those who fully "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," who "put on incorruption," who "put on immortality," thus putting on the BODY OF GLORY - not one thing has any power to hurt or destroy these, for THEY CANNOT DIE. Nothing restricts them in any way. They are as God throughout the universe. They are the living, working, life-giving will of God. They become so one with the Lord that they are ONE SPIRIT in all things. These are the Sons of God!
This is a presently UNEXPLORED AND UNKNOWN REALM OF LIFE so far as we are concerned. The natural mind cannot THINK ITSELF into such a realm of life as this by any kind of confession or positive thinking. It is only by the inspiration of the Spirit of God that we ever get even a glimpse of a realm so transcendent and glorious. No man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God does, and as God wills we are given understanding. The curtain is beginning to open and some are seeing that which lies before us to be apprehended, praise His wonderful name!
A CHANGE OF GARMENTS
As we continue our meditation upon the wonderful truth of these TWO BODIES, these TWO GARMENTS, these TWO TABERNACLES, the natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, I would again draw your attention to the significance of the TWO TABERNACLES spoken of in the book of Hebrews. "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly (earthly) sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the FIRST, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the SECOND VEIL, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priest went always into the FIRST TABERNACLE (the Holy Place), accomplishing the service of God. But into the SECOND (the Holiest of All) went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet manifest, while as yet the FIRST TABERNACLE was yet standing. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, BY A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE (body), NOT MADE WITH HANDS, that is to say, NOT OF THIS BUILDING (the first, physical creation)...for Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into HEAVEN ITSELF (the celestial realm, celestial body), now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:1-3, 6-8, 11, 24).
Christ came down in human form, took upon Him the form of sinful flesh, God dwelling and manifesting Himself within the limitation of a human body, THIS IS THE REALM OF THE FIRST TABERNACLE, the Holy Place. He became obedient unto death, and by death HE PASSED THROUGH THE FIRST TABERNACLE, as a spiritual experience in reality. Because flesh and blood CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD (the Most Holy Place), it was necessary that Jesus enter by a "greater and more perfect tabernacle" - a resurrected, glorified, heavenly body. That ministry, however, could not be made manifest "while as the FIRST TABERNACLE (flesh and blood body) was yet standing." Yes, Jesus passed from the Holy Place of His sanctified human body and nature into the Most Holy Place of His glorified body. When He died THE VEIL WAS RENT IN TWAIN; the way was opened up into the Holiest of All. Then through His resurrection He entered Himself into the SECOND AND GREATER TABERNACLE, not of this physical creation.
The veil that separates us from a full and complete entrance into the second tabernacle, the realm of the Holiest of All, is the veil of FLESH. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, THROUGH THE VEIL, that is to say, HIS FLESH" (Heb. 10:19-20). It is interesting that the veil has two sides, the first facing the Holy Place and the second facing the Holiest of All. In the Holy Place the veil is the wall or covering of the Holy Place, while in the Holiest of All the same veil, but the opposite side of it, serves as the covering of the Holiest of All. These two sides of the veil speak to my heart of a two-fold reality. In the side of the veil facing the Holy Place I see the rending of human flesh, both Christ's and ours as our own will and way is rent and brought to death, as was Christ's. Nowhere does the Scripture indicate that the veil is removed, only that it is "rent." It is not by the absence of the veil that we have an entrance into the second and greater tabernacle of HIS GLORIFIED BODY, but our entrance is "THROUGH the (rent) veil, that is to say, HIS FLESH." We pass from one kind of flesh, natural, earthly flesh, into another and higher kind of flesh, divine, celestial flesh.
It is not flesh that is being done away with, merely an exchange of flesh, our flesh exchanged for HIS FLESH! That the veil is not removed, merely rent, is further confirmed in Heb. 6:19-20 where we read: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that WITHIN THE VEIL; WHITHER the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." The side of the veil facing the Holiest of All bespeaks HIS GLORIFIED FLESH. In order to enter into that tabernacle it is necessary that we pass through the veil of HIS FLESH and have it CLOSE IN BEHIND US AND UPON US. Thus we admonished, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the (earthly) flesh" (Rom. 13:14). As we enter into that flesh, HIS CELESTIAL FLESH, we are clothed upon with that flesh, for we are immersed into it. Thus are fulfilled the words of the apostle: "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life" (II Cor. 5:4).
Christ Himself is this greater garment, the clothing from heaven. We must once and for all settle it in our hearts that in all the world there is NO OTHER COVERING than that which God has provided for us in Jesus Christ. In the two bodies, therefore, we see two types of wearing apparel, two kinds of garments. With this thought in mind I would now draw your attention to a most enlightening event in the book of Zechariah. "Now Joshua the high priest was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spoke unto those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And, unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a clean turban upon his head. So they set upon his head a clean turban, and clothed him with clean garments" (Zech. 3:3-5).
Prior to the crucifixion of our Lord the name "Jesus" was a common and highly favored name among the Jewish people. The names "Jesus," "Joshua," and "Jeshua" are simply the same name spelled three different ways, and all three names mean "Jehovah is salvation." As we compare Scripture with Scripture it becomes apparent that the Old Testament high priest, Joshua, the son Josedech, is a type of Jesus Christ the great High Priest of God's elect.
In the vision we have quoted above the high priest Joshua appears in the court of Jehovah, clad in filthy garments, and under the accusation of Satan. Now, in order to understand this vision, we must think like an oriental. The passage focuses attention upon the GARMENTS worn by the high priest. It is clearly seen that the garments referred to here are used as an oriental symbol. Something is being said by the action taking place. This is affirmed by Zech. 3:5 where the meaning of the change has been explained by the statement: "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee..." The high priest stands in the vision as the Representative of Israel, the people of Jehovah. Strangely enough it is he, the high priest, and not a sacrificial lamb, that is seen bearing the defilement of Israel. This, of course, means that Joshua stands as the Representative-Sin-Bearer for the people of God, as well as their priest. He is under the accusation for it is a law of God that the one upon whom the sins are laid must bear the punishment as well as the guilt and shame (Isa. 53:6; Jn. 1:29).
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, neither doth CORRUPTION INHERIT INCORRUPTION. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet (message) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED. For this corruptible must PUT ON incorruption, and this mortal PUT ON immortality" (I Cor. 15:50-53).
The words "put on" in these verses comes from a Greek word which means - TO BE CLOTHED UPON, to go into clothing, thus our being enveloped and completely enwrapped, in this case, with incorruption. Paul tells us that before this mortal can put on immortality or the state of deathlessness, it must lose its corruptibility, for he tells us that this corruptible must put on incorruption and then this mortal shall put on immortality. To be corruptible simply means to possess the ability to be corrupted. Corruption, according to Webster's dictionary, means - spoiled; rotten; morally debased; evil; depraved; containing alterations, foreign admixtures, or errors. And all those tendencies exist today and have always existed in humanity from the day of Adam's transgression and will continue to exist in humanity until that nature is taken away in the full process of redemption. Every living person has the ability or the possibility of at one time or another being corrupted.
This ability to be corrupted goes much deeper than just the natural fleshly body. It is the one living in the flesh body that is corruptible. I care not who they are, every one ever born of Adam's race is susceptible to being corrupted or turned away from that which is right and pure and holy. Religious folk, Church people, tongues-speaking Christians, and saints embracing end-time truth and Sonship and all others need not try to make us think they are not susceptible to this, for they are. So before anyone can fully put on immortality or deathlessness in the body realm, they will first have to be made incorruptible. They can never do this for themselves, only God can do it and will do it and is doing it even now in a firstfruit company, bless His wonderful name! Every victory you gain in your walk in God, every aspect of your old nature that is dealt with by the cross, every area in which you truly become an overcomer, each plane of growth unto maturity to which you attain bespeaks a further establishment of incorruptibleness within your nature and being. When the processings of God are complete in all the holy Sons of God, though having once been corruptible, they will have been made incorruptible. They will no longer have the nature to be corrupted. Self and sin will have passed from their lives never to be thought of again. There will be no word or expression for it, for it will have passed out of existence. The people I am talking about will have lost the ability to be corrupted. There will be no such thing as temptation to them. And, blessed be God! this ability to be corrupted is going to eventually pass from all people, for the firstfruit company, the Sons of God, is but the firstfruits of God creatures!
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be made partakers of THE DIVINE NATURE, HAVING ESCAPED THE CORRUPTION THAT IS IN THE WORLD THROUGH LUST (or, through self-desire)" (II Pet. 1:4). The word "nature" means - the essential character or constitution; essence. Essence means - that in being which underlies all outward manifestation, and is permanent and unchangeable. Certainly the DIVINE NATURE includes incorruptibility, it is INCAPABLE OF BEING CORRUPTED. And this fulfills the Scripture: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God" (I Jn. 3:9). There is a place of incorruptibility, it is in the fullness of the DIVINE NATURE already planted deep within the life of the new creature within.
This change from corruptible to incorruptible is not obtained by one grand leap into the middle of it, for it is line upon line that the Spirit works into us the divine nature of God, leading us from glory to glory through the transition process. The climax of this changing process now being worked in us by the indwelling Spirit of God, is "that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (I Jn. 3:2). And if we have such an hope of change, then are we also actively engaged in purifying ourselves, "even as He is pure." "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, "as we read in I Pet. 1:13. Yes, this corruptible shall PUT ON INCORRUPTION, and in so doing, completely put an end to the tyranny of sin and death. If there be no sin, there can be no death - the ultimate harvest of sin. When Christ, the sinless one poured out His life for us, He gave us an incorruptible seed of life, to dwell in us, work in us, and transform us into its glorious reality.
Receiving of His life we find it to be a RESURRECTION LIFE. The word "resurrection" is from the Greek word "anastasis" meaning - a standing or rising up. It denotes much more than our English word "resurrection" which we term to mean the re-storing to life again. The Greek word means THE WHOLE PROCESS OF ADVANCING AND RISING UP UNTIL THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE REALM IS REACHED, and our goal is nothing short than full conformation into the image of God that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.
Resurrection is the process of STANDING UP and ADVANCING - it is arising from the dust and the low realm of the earthy, to bear the image of the heavenly. Resurrection is the process of having our life LIFTED UP from the earth, to be raised to the heavenlies, to be joined in one with the fullness of the Spirit of God. The more ONE we are WITH HIM, the more we will say with Paul, "for our conversation is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20) The word "conversation" literally means "citizenship" and MANNER OF BEHAVIOUR. What a revelation to the world when we begin to manifest the behaviour of that other realm - so foreign to the flesh.
Now, if all our life is of this earthly realm, we need a body to manifest on that level. But the more our life is lifted up into the SPIRIT, and we have our manner of behaviour directed and controlled by the Spirit of God, the more it will necessitate that we begin to be clothed upon with our house (body) which is from heaven, that we might possess a body in harmony with our heavenly life. So, while it means the denying and crucifixion of the flesh, there is a "knowing in yourselves that we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance...an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven (the realm of the Spirit) for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (Heb. 10:34; I Pet. 1:4-5). Rather than clinging to this frail body, this flesh man, the more our life is taken from the earth, and lifted up into the heavenlies, the more we find our satisfaction in CHRIST ALONE, and the things of earth become strangely dim in the light of HIS WONDERFUL GLORY.
There was a day when the disciples were still looking for a resurrection at the end of an age which would bring forth a harvest of eternal life. Martha had this same shortsightedness as she stood at the tomb of her brother Lazarus. "Your brother shall rise again," Jesus told her, to which she replied, "Yes, Lord, I know that he shall rise again IN THE LAST DAY." Jesus said unto her, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE...believest thou this?" Oh, saints of God, do you not see that the Father within Jesus was the resurrection? "I live by the Father," He declared. The resurrection was not some THING that happened to Jesus, not some EVENT of which He was a partaker, not some DAY marked by the calendar. The resurrection was and is A MAN! "I AM" - there it is! "I AM the resurrection and the life." To possess the Man, to put on the Man is to have the resurrection, for the Man IS the resurrection.
I hope that all my readers are tired of repeating the theories and doctrines of the resurrection and have come to the place where you want to know the power of His resurrection working within. We want to experience its power working in us here and now. Oh that we might know the resurrection in such power and glory as this - that by HIM who now lives within the seed has been planted and there is a new and incorruptible life, a new and celestial body coming up now within our beings, for He who is within proclaims "I AM" - not shall be - "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!" Oh that we might put on Christ and have our mortality swallowed up by His divine life! The more the carnal mind reigns, the more we have of death. The more Christ reigns, the more we have of life.
Why should it be thought a thing impossible that God should raise the dead? And why should it be thought a thing impossible that a man should forever, his mortality being swallowed up by God's life? Men have come forth with numerous doctrines and theories concerning the resurrection. With natural minds they have arranged each event in order. They have debated and fought over whether there is one general resurrection in which all the dead, good and bad, rise at once, or a first resurrection of saints preceding the thousand year reign of Christ followed by a second resurrection of the wicked after the millenium. Some have the first resurrection neatly divided into several companies, each coming to life either before the tribulation period or during the tribulation. Others have dead being raised and judged throughout the kingdom age, while others have resurrection extending out into the ages to come. This is all very interesting material to the natural mind, but it really doesn't get you very far or bring you any closer to God. The thing the theologians and teachers have missed in their zeal is the thing they always miss, - THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL! In this case they have forgotten that the resurrection IS NOT A THING, OR AN EVENT, OR A TIME PERIOD, BUT A PERSON, and that person is Jesus Christ Himself!
Can you not hear that wonderful conversation between Jesus and Martha? Listen to them as they talk. Said Martha, "If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee." Jesus saith unto her, "Thy brother shall rise again." Martha saith unto Him, "I know that He shall rise again in the resurrection AT THE LAST DAY." Jesus said unto her, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE: AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH ON ME SHALL NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?" She replied, "Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."
"Believest thou this?" questioned the Son of God. "Believest thou this?" He asks today. Let us answer that question with Martha. Do we also believe that HE IS THE RESURRECTION? The importance of this understanding cannot be overestimated, for herein lies the great truth of the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. If Jesus Himself IS the resurrection, then to have HIM WITHIN is to have THE RESURRECTION WITHIN here and now.
Glorious beyond description is the fact that here and now, even as I pen these words, in the inner realm of our spirit there is being constructed an incorruptible life, a BUILDING OG GOD, an house not made with hands, a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not of this creation, eternal in the heavens. Not a mansion in the sky, not a cabin in the corner, not a white nightgown and wings with which to flit about over the hills of glory, as the Churches so ignorantly portray, but a new life, a new nature, a new garment, a new tabernacle, a new body, a body of light and glory and power, a body of CELESTIAL FLESH, a body of incorruption, a body of immortality raised up and constructed by the mighty working of THE INDWELLING POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION! When this work has been completed we will bot be found naked, even though this present wretched hunk of corruptible flesh be laid aside!
J. PRESTON EBY
J. PRESTON EBY
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