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 connection with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we are told of a remarkable river that had its source in Eden, but on flowing out of the garden divided itself into four branches. How many times throughout the Scriptures God is spoken of as a flowing stream of water! "The children of men...shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the rivers of Thy pleasures. For with Thee is the fountain of life" (Ps. 36:7-9). The Lord Jesus tells us that the water that He gives will become a fountain of living water within us, springing up unto eternal life (Jn. 4:14). He says again that whoever is thirsty may come to Him and drink, and whoever believes on Him will have relate to one thing - that God flowing from within him (Jn. 7:37-39). All these words relate to one thing - that God Himself has flowed out and is still flowing on this earth into humanity as LIFE.
The Scriptures tell us that along this river in Eden grows the tree of life. The tree of life represents Christ as our Life. The tree of life in Eden, on the one hand, signifies the partaking of divine Life by those who have been raised up into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, whereas, the river of life, on the other hand, signifies the out flowing of that Life, the pouring forth of Life from the Kingdom of Heaven unto the arid barrenness of the earth realm. It is interesting to note that the tree of life could only be partaken of in Eden. None can experience the glorious and eternal reality of what it means to be transformed into the TREE OF LIFE KIND OF PEOPLE except as they eat of Christ, being made one with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven Realm. This realm of the fullness of Life is reserved for those who go all the way with God to become ONE IN HIM. Nowhere does the Scripture state that any sinner may rush in and, by grace, eat the incorruptible fruit of this blessed tree. Jesus specified who may eat of it, saying, "He that hath ears let him hear...TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7).
Eden, the garden of God's Christ, the source of all Life, is constituted debtor to the whole earth to send forth the wonderful Life as Life-giving streams of grace and salvation. Thus, the river of life out of Eden is the profound expression of God's purpose to not only enter into the lives of His ELECT, transforming them into the tree of life kind of people, but to further bring forth in the earth a RIVER OF LIFE COMPANY, a people out of whom the life should flow! Yes, beloved, God is bringing forth His elect who shall be a RIVER OF LIFE, for He Himself in them is an ever-flowing wellspring of Life and glory. Wherever God flows out by His Spirit, there He is found as salvation and reality. To all of man's need God Himself is the supply, the only supply, and all the supply, bless His wonderful name!
In our last Study we saw that a river is a large stream of water that flows downhill through a channel, within banks. The earth of YOUR BODY and the substance of YOUR LIFE is the channel through which the stream of the Spirit of God's Life flows! In nature there is water in every part of the atmosphere, but a river is a CONCENTRATED and CHANNELED CURRENT or STREAM of water. While God's love, and life, and light enfold and embrace all things, and all people, the River of Life is that River, that special provision and flowing of GOD'S CONCENTRATED and CHANNELED LIFE, intensified and magnified as it were a thousand times. These currents of God's Spirit which flow out through the people of God are the powers of haven's own divine Life and have the wondrous ability to wash away the very power and effects and results of sin and death! Every saint of God should seek that the Lord would open his eyes to show him that we who drink deeply of Him BECOME THE CHANNEL by which God flows out to humanity. And while that measure of Life which is the tree of life is reserved for those overcomers who enter into Eden, into the fullness of God, the River flows freely and communicates the waters of salvation, refreshing, renewing and quickening to the arid barrenness of the earth realm, and the blessed invitation goes forth: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take of the Water of Life FREELY!" (Rev. 22:17).
THE WATER OF LIFE
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit the beloved apostle John identified Eden's lovely River with that which flows forth out of the New Jerusalem, the ruling city of God's overcoming people. "And He showed me a pure river of WATER OF LIFE, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come...and take of the WATER OF LIFE freely" (Rev. 22:1,17).
This wonderful River is the River of the WATER OF LIFE, God's own Life, divine, eternal, and incorruptible. All Bible truth is great and precious. No costly gem of earth can compare its value to the priceless worth of truth. In the vast storehouse of truth embodied in the holy Scriptures no part nor phase thereof is in any way more outstanding or precious than the truth concerning the Water of Life. This great and eternal verity sparkles with ever increasing splendor, surging as an inexhaustible River of Life from Eden's perfumed garden of long ago to the jasper walls of the New Jerusalem soon to come, where, unto ages of ages the Spirit and the bride shall sing the everlasting song so old and yet so new: "Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take of the Water of Life freely!" This glad song of joy shall be hymned until the day in which this River shall have so overflowed its banks that the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea and God Himself shall be ALL IN ALL.
In the manner designed by God from the creation of the world all spiritual truth runs parallel with the mysteries and marvels of the natural creation. Even in this physical realm water is without doubt one of the most precious commodities brought forth by the hand of Omnipotence. I am sure that all who are reading this article are aware that water is a substance that exist everywhere on, in and around the earth and it is absolutely necessary to life; without it there would be no life. All living things, both plant and animal, must have water. The human body is composed of two-third water. Blood and other fluids in our bodies are composed mostly of water. To maintain this high level of water in our bodies, we drink so much water that if the amount we drink each year were weighed it would amount to about a ton. The earth itself is more than two-thirds water. Much of the earth's surface is covered by oceans and seas. In other parts there are rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. Water is a chemical compound because it is made up of two different elements, or basic substances. The elements are both gases, hydrogen and oxygen, but when they are together in the proper quantity, two atoms of hydrogen to every atom of oxygen, they make water. The chemical name, or formula, for water is H2O.
As natural water is a compound of two natural elements, with godly awe I now tell you that God's Water of Life is likewise made up of the two SPIRITUAL ELEMENTS of the Spirit and the Word. How remarkable that water is used in the Scriptures as the symbol not only for the Spirit of God but also for the Word of God! Surely this shows us that both the Spirit and the Word are compounded together as the Living Water. The Lord Jesus tells us that whoever is thirsty may come unto Him and drink, and whoever believes on Him will have RIVERS OF LIVING WATER flowing from within him and then in the simplest of terms He explains that this Water IS THE SPIRIT which they that believe on Him should receive (Jn. 7:37-39). Paul, on the other hand, speaks of water being a symbol of the WORD OF GOD, saying, "Christ...loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse is but washing of water by THE WORD" (Eph. 5:25-26). In a similar usage Jesus also spoke of the water of the Word when He said to His disciples, "Now ye are clean through the WORD which I have spoken unto you" (Jn. 15:3).
On one occasion our blessed Lord had been speaking of Himself as the Bread of Life, and of His flesh and blood as the meat and drink of eternal Life. To many of His disciples it was a hard saying, which they could not understand. Jesus tells them that it is only when the Holy Spirit is come, and they have Him, that His Words will become clear to them. He says, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The Words that I have spoken unto you, they are Spirit, and they are Life" (Jn. 6:63). May I explain that it is the SPIRIT THAT QUICKENETH THE WORD! Just as hydrogen and oxygen must be joined before there can be life-giving water, so the Spirit and the Word must be joined, and received in that union, before there can be any flowing of Living Water. In these words we have the nearest approach to what may be called a definition of the Spirit. The Spirit always acts as a Life-giving power. It is of deepest importance to keep firm hold on this. His wonderful work within, of enlightening, strengthening, sanctifying and transforming, is all rooted in this: it is as the Spirit is known and honored, and place given to Him, as He is waited on, as the inner Life of our being, that all God's gracious workings can be experienced. The development of the New Creation is but the outgrowth of the Life Within.
Jesus applies this saying now specially to the Words He had just spoken about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. You will see at once that it is not just eating His flesh OR drinking His blood that gives life, but "Whose eateth My flesh, AND drinketh My blood, hath eternal Life" (Jn. 6:54). His flesh is His Word and His blood is His Spirit. "The WORDS that I have spoken unto you ARE SPIRIT AND ARE LIFE." This is the Spirit and the Word joined together as LIFE. He wanted His disciples to not be discouraged if they could not at once comprehend His Words to them. His Words are Spirit and Life; they are not meant for understanding, but for Life! Coming in the power of the unseen Spirit, higher and deeper than all thought, they enter into the very depths of being, into the very roots; they have themselves a divine Life, working out effectually with a divine energy the Truth they express into the experience of those who receive them. How often we have this experience of the Word as a Life, receiving it into our spirit, sensing it working within, deep in the inner recesses of being; teaching, strengthening, transforming, yet not really understanding the Word with our minds nor being able to even articulate it to those around us.
More often than not, when a Word is clearly understood with the mind it becomes mere head-knowledge and I do not hesitate to say that all head-knowledge is only knowledge of the carnal mind and to be carnally minded is death. As a consequence of the spiritual nature of the Word, the Word needs a spiritual nature to receive it. Not into the wind only, nor into the feelings, not into the emotions, nor even into the will alone must the Word be taken, but beyond them into the life. It is the Spirit that comes from God, the Spirit that Christ has poured out, becoming our Life, taking the Word and assimilating it into our life, that will make it become Truth and Power within us.
Man cannot drink either hydrogen or oxygen alone, but compounded he drinks both of them together as water. Can we not now see from this that a man can not receive either the Spirit or the Word independent of the other and have spiritual Life? Can we not see from this that only as the Spirit and the Word are joined within do we have the Water of Life? To take in the Word apart from the Spirit leads to legalism. To receive the Spirit without the Word leads to fanaticism. It is my conviction that the true spiritual formula is: S2W - two parts Spirit to one part of the Word makes LIVING WATER! To try and separate these two spiritual elements leads to either right-hand errors or left-hand errors. On the one side we have the left error: seeking the teaching of the Spirit without the Word. On the other side we have the right-hand and more common error: seeking to master the teaching of the Word apart from the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. The Spirit and the Word must be in each other or THEY CANNOT BE ASSIMILATED by man as Life. The Holy Spirit has for all ages embodied the thoughts of God in the Written Word, and lives now for that very purpose in our hearts, there to quicken the meaning and the power of that Word. If you would be full of the Spirit, dear ones, be full of the Word. If you would have the divine Life of the Spirit within you grow strong, and acquire power in every part of your nature, let the WORD OF CHRIST dwell richly in you. If you would have the eternal Living Word as your Light and Life, let even the Written Word be transcribed on the fleshy tables of your heart by the Holy Spirit.
Think not for one moment that any Word of God can unfold its Life within you, excepts as the Spirit within accepts and appropriates it in the inner life. How much of the Bible reading, and Bible study, and Bible preaching is there in which the first and main object is for the mind to reach the meaning of the Word? Men think if they know correctly and exactly what it means, there will come as natural consequence the Life the Word is supposed to bring. My brother, my sister, this is by no means the case! The Word and the Spirit are, indeed, the Water of Life, but one may have a whole river of earth's most pure and sparkling water; he may understand everything about the meaning of the water: its source, its chemical make-up, its multiplied beneficent uses, etc. etc., yet unless it be assimilated by something which can be quickened by it, unless there is that quickening, it ministers nothing of life. You can pour literal Niagara's of the Water of Life upon the carnal mind and it will be as barren and fruitless as if you had poured water upon a slab of marble, for the carnal mind receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can it know them, for they are spiritually discerned (I Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7).
"The Words I have spoken unto you are Spirit and Life," and for the appropriating and apprehending of them "the flesh profiteth nothing: it is the Spirit that quickeneth." It is a sad fact that the vast majority of Christians today have not yet learned this one important truth: the human understanding of the carnal mind, however intelligent, however educated, however earnest, however religious, profiteth nothing. Nothing! Multiplied millions think that in the mental believing of the Scriptures, in the acceptance of particular creeds and doctrine, and in the performance of particular rituals and ceremonies and religious exercises of the Churches they have Life; but the Living Christ, in the power of the unified Spirit and Word, as their Life, they know not at all or but precious little. Let us never take the Scripture into our hand, or mind, or mouth, without it first being joined with the breath of the quickening Spirit that it may flow in deeper than all thought and understanding, into the depths of being, into the very roots of Life. In this, and only in this, do we experience the flowing, cleansing, refreshing, revitalizing, renewing and quickening power of the WATER OF LIFE.
DRINKING ONLY FROM GOD'S FOUNTAIN
Should you find difficulty in perceiving this necessary point of truth, may I direct your attention to the fact that without water you will die within a few days, and anything that does not contain water cannot possibly meet this vital need of your body. We must realize that in all our spiritual walk we must follow the strict path of LIFE. How we can know what is of God and what is not of God? How can we discern different ministries? How can we tell which doctrine or teaching is right? There are ways to know! First of all the Christ in you must be contacted by the Christ in the ministry or the teaching. There must be a flow of Life. If there is no quickening flow of Life then you are not receiving Living Water! There are many things that are true but they are not the Truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn. 14:6). Now Truth always brings Life because Christ is the Truth and Christ is also the Life. Truth always brings Life but there are things that are true that can sometimes bring death. For example, if I robbed a bank this morning, and if someone stood up in your Fellowship next Sunday to tell how Preston Eby robbed a bank, would it bring you Life? Would you say, "Hallelujah, praise the Lord for that Word, we are blessed?" Do you see what I am saying? The word would be true but it would not minister Life. Therefore, though it would be true it would not be the Truth, for the Truth and the Life are one, the Spirit and the Word are joined together in the Living Water! There are so many things that are true, but they are not the Truth and if you live in them you will die. Truth brings Life and because we are the children of Truth we desire Life.
And now may I exhort you further to flee from those things that are true but are not Truth, as surely and swiftly as you would flee from your home if you discovered it to be a den of rattlesnakes. We have a whole crop of doom-casters in the land today who spend their time and energy in nothing else but informing God's ELECT of all the negative situations which are going to overtake our nation and the world. Many of the Lord's precious people are continually being fed a diet of messages, articles, books, and tapes about world conditions, politics, Middle-east intrigue, communist encroachment, oil crisis, economic collapse, international monetary systems, World Bank conspiracy, mark of the beast computer banking cards, world take-over by the Illuminati, ten-nation European Common Market Beast Government, strikes, riots, war, tribulation, retreat hide-outs, safe areas, depression-proof investments, food storage, self-sufficient living off the land, planetary conjunctions, nova of the sun, earthquakes, tidal waves, pestilence, erratic weather conditions, wickedness, catastrophe, antichrist, dates for the beginning of the tribulation or the end of the age and a whole catalog of other fearful and frightening events, some of which will undoubtedly happen, but many of which I tell you now are nothing more than wild and sensational speculations conceived in the darkness of the carnal minds of men who love to masquerade as end time teachers and prophets of God, bewitching the saints.
Let every child of God who has had birthed within his bosom the bright hope of Sonship turn the searchlight of sincerity and truth upon his pure heart and ask himself this one honest question: Do any of the above mentioned things minister LIFE? Does the knowing and study of them cause you to be more filled with the Spirit? Do they enable you to put on the mind of Christ? Do they work deliverance in your life? Do they work to transform you into the image of God's Son? Do they imbue you with wisdom and spiritual understanding, with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost? Do they inspire you with that ever-increasing faith by which you shall conquer every enemy and lay hold upon your adoption as a SON OF GOD? Are they TRUTH, Life-giving Truth, or are they one and all, merely things that are true, or, perhaps, may be true?
I pray that the truth and force of these questions may grip your believing heart! It is important in this hour at the end of the age that our thoughts be God's thoughts and that our words be God's Words of Spirit and Life. One of the unmistakable marks of a Son is that he speaks the Words of the Father. The mind that dwelt in Christ Jesus during His thirty-three years upon this earth was the Father's mind. For this reason He was able to say, "For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is LIFE everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so speak I" (Jn. 12:49-50). How could He do otherwise when the Father's mind possessed Him? When we walk in unity of mind and spirit with the Father, the words of our mouths automatically become the Life-giving Words of our Father in heaven.
Every man needs the spirit of revelation from God. I do not refer to that silly spirit so often found among over-enthusiastic Christians that is always clamoring to come up with some new idea or interpretation that they can call a revelation. It is not a flurry of fantastic fancies that we need, but a great spirit of wisdom and revelation given by God that will unfold to us the majesty and glory of God's eternal purpose. That spirit of wisdom and revelation imparted by the Holy Spirit gives the heart of man the ability to receive and understand the purpose of His divine mind which has been planned from before the foundation of the world. There is certainly no lack of fantastic notions among the saints which they imagine are revelations. Should I try to imbibe or believe even half of the weird doctrines I come in contact with around the country among God's people. I would now be floundering in a sea of utter confusion and my tiny bark would soon be strewn upon the rocks and reefs and shoals of some inhopitable shore.
Shipwreck is not a pleasant contemplation. Paul once bewailed the shipwreck of a saint who had become confused in his prophetical interpretations, maintaining the error (still around today!) that the resurrection was then past. Writing to young Timothy Paul said, "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; who concerning the truth have erred, saying the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme" (I Tim. 1:19-20; II Tim. 2:16-18). This man Hymenaeus was no worse an offender than are many Christians today. He had as good, or better, evidence in support of his contentions than have majority of prophetical teachers today. This man was correct in part. He merely failed to consider that the resurrection of which he spoke takes place on many levels, past, present and future. He failed to consider that the resurrection of which he spoke was only a pledge of that to come: just a beginning. And yet his offense, at least the only offense the inspired writers seems to consider worthy of recording, was of such a grave nature that Paul delivered him unto Satan to scourge, until he should stand corrected and learn not to blaspheme. He was a false prophet. He was teaching his own perverted reasonings and imaginings as the order of God's eternal purpose, and by his perversions, leading his listeners into error which derailed them from the truth and could point them only down the path of disgrace and shame. For the teaching of error, no matter how inoffensive it may appear, is like all other sin: one original error leads to many and greater mistakes, and ultimately results in utter apostasy and confusion and unbelief.
For a number of years, since 1970, many of the scientists in the political, the economical, the ecological, the social and military realms have been saying to us that none of them can predict any further into the future than 1985, because of over population, the proliferation of atomic weapons, the pollution on the earth, in the atmosphere and in the oceans (Jacques Cousteau has called it "the red tide of death in the oceans" described in the Book of Revelation), and the indication of all who are knowledgeable in these fields is that mankind is reaching a catastrophic situation.
We do not have our heads in the sands, pretending that the horizons are not dawn or that the Day of the Lord is not upon us, but we do want to able to distinguish between the multitude of voices in this hour and know the difference between the VOICE OF MAN and the VOICE OF GOD. I have no hesitation in saying that the Sons of God will not parrot the words of the scientists, the politicians, the economists, the ecologists, the psychologists nor the military leaders; rather, they will speak the WORDS OF THEIR FATHER. I do not believe the hour is dark for the people of the earth realm just because the politicians and scientists and generals say it is. Their word holds nothing at all with me, for I must know only and always as I am taught of my Father and I must speak only the Words I hear my Father speaking.
If a man comes telling me that the communists have a plan and a time-table for world domination, and that they are now ahead of their schedule, it could be true but it would not be a Word of the Lord. It would be the word of the communists. It does not then become my duty to join an anti-communist campaign and commence stomping the country warning God's people about what the communist are going to do. The Sons of God have an ear only for what the Father says He is doing and a mouth to speak only what they hear from the Father.
Some today are busy proclaiming the conspiracy of the Illuminati (World Bankers etc.) to take over the world by the end of 1981. The instruments of oil crisis, gasoline shortage, gun control, transportation and longshoremen's strikes, economic collapse and martial law are supposed to be used in the next 30 months (this is being written in May, 1979) to bring this take-over to pass. It could be true, however, whether it true or not, it is not the Word of the Lord; it is the word of the Illuminati! If you believe this word and teach others this word, then you must know that you are both believing and teaching the word of the Illuminati, and not the Word of the Lord, for what prophet among you has received the revelation of the Illuminati FROM THE FATHER? Has God revealed these things unto us by His Spirit, or has the knowledge of them been gleaned from the books and tapes of men? You see, if I accept the word of the Illuminati as being true; if I proceed to teach God's people that this fulfills the prophecies about the Antichrist; if I say that the Illuminati plans to take over the world within a year or two or three and that we will see oil crisis, gun control, strikes, economic collapse and martial law, then I have accepted THE DEVIL'S WORD as Truth and have transformed myself into a minister of Satan by proclaiming that the devil's word can be depended on, that he will surely do what he says he will do! I do not receive my revelation from the politicians, nor the scientists, nor the ecologists, nor the World Bankers, nor the communists, nor the John Birch Society, nor Walter Cronkite, nor Time magazine, nor the Wall Street Journal, for these are all clearly the VOICES OF MEN and not the VOICE OF THE FATHER. I care not one whit what the communists plan to do, nor the Illuminati, nor the devil. Satan is a braggart and a liar. He is defeated!
From time to time people ask me what I think will happen in 1982. I must answer that I don't know, for the Father hasn't spoken to me of any specific events that are to transpire during that particular year. I am confident there may be some very significant things take place in 1982, for truly we are living in momentous days and the end of age is swiftly drawing near, but I cannot speak beyond what I hear the Father saying. Anything I might speculate would be of no more value nor import than the incoherent babblings of a mad-man. Two scientists are predicting (The Jupiter Effect, Newsweek, Sept. 16, 1974) that the earth may face a devastating series of events in 1982. At that time, all of the nine planets of our solar system will be perfectly aligned on the same side of the sun. These scientists speak of the severe effect of this planetary alignment on the upper part of the atmosphere caused by the magnetic pull of this line-up of the planets on the sun, creating an increase in the magnetic activity on the sun with huge storms of sunspots and solar flares, some spreading over fifty millions miles. These would greatly disrupt weather patterns around the world by sharply altering wind directions. This in turn would give our rotating planet a jolt large enough to trigger many major earthquakes in those areas of the world under severe geological strain. It is expected that the earthquakes around 1982 could destroy large populations of the earth. Some have even theorized that the sun could "nova" in which case the earth would be completely burned to a cinder.
These predictions by the eminent men of science are extremely interesting, however, I cannot be too strong in my earnest exhortation to all who read these lines that we remember one thing well: Not one of these predictions is the Word of the Lord, and while they may be true they are not the Truth for they do not minister LIFE. However factual these things may be, yet, not one of them came down from the Father above by the spirit of wisdom and revelation to that blessed company of Sons begotten by the Holy Spirit of God. It is my firm conviction that if you have knowledge of these predicted events for 1982 you learned about them by reading an article or tract or by listening to some man relating them. Whatsoever is not of the Father is of the world and surely no one would argue that these predictions are not made from the carnal minds of unregenerate men learned in the wisdom of this present age. It is quite alright for saints to examine the evidence, to soberly watch the events that may unfold before our eyes in the days to come, never forgetting for one moment that it is indubitably the word of men and not a divine revelation from God. Let all who have a sincere desire to walk as Sons of God refrain from building prophetical interpretations, predictions, prophecies, end-time teachings or doctrines upon the ever-shifting sands of carnal human wisdom lest our house be demolished by the changing winds of time. "Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak" (Jn. 12:50). No Son of God has been called to say, "Thus saith the scientists," rather, "Thus saith the LORD!"
In Noah's day, in the days of all the prophets, and in Christ's day it was the man of God who notified the world, by the spirit of revelation from God, of the impending destruction and exactly when and how the judgment would fall. In our day, far too often I think, it is the world that is feeding the information to the preachers about what is going to happen! If your revelation of end-time events is dependent upon what comes over the wire services, or what the leaders are saying or doing, then you need a new revelation! And if God has not spoken to His people about 1982, or any other event, we need not worry about our ignorance of those things. Our only worry should be that when God does send us light that we both receive it and walk in it, lest the birds of the air steal away the seed of truth before it has a chance to sprout and take root within our lives. The Words of God are always SPIRIT and LIFE and by them we are quickened to those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. About the solar flares and earthquakes and calamities of 1982 I do not at this time know very much, but my heart sings a thousand hallelujahs, for I do know that this earth in God's good grace is yet to see a whole race of Sons of God begotten by the Holy Spirit in the extremity of the age, and the wonderful Life of Jesus Christ shall flow out from the throne of God within their innermost beings as mighty surging torrents of Life-giving water in that blest age that lies just before us.
Another popular theory circulating widely among Christians concerns a computer in Brussels, Belgium called "The Beast." This computer is reported to be three stories high and is designed to assign every individual world citizen a number which would be lasered - with an inerasable laser beam - on the forehead or on the hand: a walking credit card to be used in all future buying and selling. This would be used to totally control the people's lives under the guise of providing a convenience so we can do away with things like money and the theft of credit cards! The chief analyst of the Common Market says, reportedly, that by using three six digital units the entire world population could be assigned a number. One central authority could have every number in the world at his fingertips. Only one number would not be assigned, the number 666, which has (allegedly) already been reserved... What would the authorities do if a person objected to receiving this laser tattoo? A Common Market leader has (reportedly) answered: "We would use force to make him conform."
That is most interesting! But - is it really the long awaited "Mark of the Beast?" To hear the Fundamentalists and Charismatics, as well as many end-time saints, talking about it one would certainly think so! But, beloved, has such revelation come to God's people as WORD OF THE LORD, or have we merely supposed, presumed, speculated, guessed and assumed that a computer number will be the mark of the beast? Dare I declare this sensational theory as TRUTH to those youthful Sons of God predestined to be conformed in thought, desire, nature, wisdom, knowledge, power and word to the image of the blessed first-born Son who said, "I speak to the world those things which I HAVE HEARD OF MY FATHER" (Jn. 8:26)? I am confident that few of those aspiring to Sonship in this hour would venture to say that THE FATHER REVEALED TO THEM THE BEAST IN BRUSSELS. What they know of it has come, for the most part, from rumor and most would be hard pressed to document that there even is such a thing! Such knowledge comes from man and not from God. O brethren! We need to be very careful in these matters! We often speak too freely of things that originate in carnal minds! And often I feel that the way such speculations are so presumptuously presented as Truth only demonstrates that those who speak them understand less of those hallowed and sacred things that pertain to the Kingdom of God in this momentous hour than the Pharisees understood of how the coming of the Messiah would be accomplished in their day.
THE RIVER OF THE WATER OF LIFE
The River flowing out of the garden of Eden in Genesis and the River flowing out of the New Jerusalem in Revelation are not two different Rivers, but the one and selfsame River. Our Lord Jesus spake of this same wonderful River when He said: "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER" (Jn. 7:37-38). The word "belly" is the Greek word "koilia" which is often used for the innermost part of man, the heart. These words point back to the smitten Rock in the desert. Moses wrote under inspiration of that smitten Rock and in our Authorized Version it reads in Ex. 17:6: "There shall come water out of it," but in the Hebrew it reads, literally, "There shall come water from within Him." The "Him" is Christ, Head and body, for that Rock is Christ and it is from the inexhaustible reservoir of His divine Life that the pure and sparkling streams of Living Water flow out through the channels of His body upon earth. "Out of his belly shall FLOW Rivers of Living Water." The word "flow" is the Greek word "rheo" which means "to pour forth; to utter, i.e. speak or say." It denotes the pouring forth of A WORD. "The WORDS that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, and they are LIFE" (Jn. 6:63). Ah - beloved, out of God's ELECT, from within shall flow the speaking waters of LIFE! These "speaking waters" are the spiritual hydrogen of the Spirit joined with the spiritual oxygen of the Word - the LIVING WORD.
Many centuries ago Hosea prophesied of this day, saying, "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the RAIN, as the latter and former rain unto the earth" (Hos. 6:3). The Hebrew word used for "rain" is "yarah" which means "to flow as water" but is also the Hebrew word for "teach." Truly there has been much teaching through the years, but the mind of man has been so darkened by the blinding traditions of religious Babylon that there has been but a mere trickle of Life, and the fruitage has been dwarfed. Thank God, He is now causing His Spirit to join in union with His Word within a RIVER OF LIFE PEOPLE that there shall come forth in the earth a flowing, speaking, teaching message to all nations which will have inherent in it the quickening of Life, that the people shall come and drink of the pure steams of Spirit and Truth and a great multitude that no man number shall caused to live!
It is written of God's ELECT in the Song of Solomon 7:8-9: "I said, I will climb up into the palm tree, I will take hold of the branches thereof...let the smell of thy breath be like apples; and thy mouth like the best wine, that goeth down smoothly for my Beloved, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak." It is not at all inconsistent the members of the body of Christ should be spoken of almost as though they were the source of the food and drink which belong to the Kingdom of God. They are not the source, but they are the channel; they are the body of HIM who is the source of Life and of all spiritual food and drink, even Christ. We are His body; and it is through the members of His body on earth that He is working and shall yet do greater things than He did through that one human body in which He walked the earth during those thirty odd years.
In the second chapter of the Song of Solomon Christ is likened to the Apple Tree among the trees of the forest. There can be no doubt that the more the body of Christ feeds upon Christ, the more the fragrance of the Christ-life breathes out from their life, and the more the odor of Him upon whom they are feeding is discerned. In the natural, the breath bears the odor of that which has been eaten. It is the same in the spiritual; if any man is feeding continually upon the fruit of this one incomparable Apple Tree, the air about him will give forth the fragrance of this Divine Apple. Every thing that goes out from his life will exhale the odors of Christ dwelling in his life by the Spirit. As one learns to know the love of Christ that passeth knowledge, he is filled unto all the fullness of God.
In that company of the obedient, spiritual saints who are following hard after the Lord, there comes to be a breathing out of the Life of Christ, which can be discerned by all who come into their presence. The working of self and its activities are gone; there is rest, as such a company sit together with their Lord in the heavenly places. This rest, and faith, and love is exuded as fragrance poured forth from their innermost being. God would not have our breath ladened with the vile odors of unbelief, struggle, carnality or the filthy spirit and speech of the world. He would not have any scent go out from us that does not come from Him whi is the source of all the fragrance of Eden's perfumed garden; who is the storehouse of all the spiritual food and nourishment of the tree of life; who is the fountain of all fountains and of all spiritual drink. We must so draw from the Living Waters and so flow forth that we become like the well-watered garden of Eden where abounded the tall, beautiful palm, whose leaves are ever green, whose branches are strong and stalwart, whose fruit hangs in abundant clusters.
"Thy mouth is like best wine, that goeth down smoothly." The word "smoothly" means wine that has worked itself out; and the mouth, or speech, of God's elect is like the very best wine, the wine from which all fermentation is gone, so that there is no more working or fermenting in it. This is where self comes to an end and CHRIST LIVES. Our own desires, works and words have been put away. Our motives, actions and speech have been purged, and our every expression and speech is like the very best wine, the New Wine of the Kingdom. To the one who is following hard after the Lord, it is truly out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh. Such an one does not always go out with the set purpose of speaking to others about Christ, or some experience in the Lord; but his thoughts and heart are so full of those things which are above that he finds no joy in speaking of worldly or indifferent things.
What does it mean to have your speech so purified, that your own words are all put away? to have your words so taken hold of by God, that it is the Spirit that speaks through you even in common things? Oh, if all our words were to the glory of Jesus Christ, we should have a mouth like the best wine! How much there is in the Word about our words and speech; from Genesis to Revelation, admonition is heaped upon admonition. Is our "speech always with grace seasoned with salt" (Col. 4:6)? It is written that the mouth of a wise man is "like a fountain of life" (Prov. 10:11). Is our speech always that of wisdom, which we are told, is "as a flowing brook" (Prov. 18:4)? Too often, alas, is the speech of Christians like a flowing brook, only it is like a stream of muddy turbulent water. We are so quick to let our words go forth, to tell all we know, and more that we surmise; to express our opinions, and speak about others as though we were not compassed about with infirmities! We are so ready to criticize and set every one right about small unimportant things, as though we were the people, already perfect, and wisdom would die with us (Job. 12:2). But the speech of the wise SHALL CONTINUALLY FLOW WITH THE PURE, CLEAR WATER OF LIFE (Prov. 18:4).
Think, for one moment, beloved ones, what it shall mean for the glory of God, when all our words are like a running brook, like a flowing of Living Water, fed by springs hidden in God Himself, pure and sparkling. Words that are like such streams water every place and give Life to everything they touch, as they flow from God's Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This is the thought the Spirit would bid us meditate long upon; only as we are in the place where God can so fill us with Himself, can we know what God shall do when WE BECOME HIS MOUTH, His SPEAKING RIVER OF THE WATER OF LIFE! He shall so impart the nature and mind of Himself, He will put such heavenly thoughts and revelations in our hearts, He will fill us with own food and with the Living Water of His Spirit and His Word, that our mouth will overflow out of the abundance of our hearts and the earth shall drink of HIS LIFE.
It is true with those who have entered into the knowledge of God and of His Christ, and have the experimental knowledge that must accompany salvation, that "The wise in heart shall be called prudent; and the sweetness of His lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it...The heart of the wise instructeth his mouth and addeth learning to his lips, pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones" (Prov. 16:21-24).
If by the grace of God the truth of this holy vision can burst upon you, you will know once and for all that the Words of the Speaking River of Life go down smoothly; there is nothing of the flesh, nothing in the life or in the words to cause those who see and hear to stumble; but they go down smoothly, for, as the beloved apostle John has written, these are a "PURE RIVER of the water of life" (Rev. 22:1). There is no carnality nor impurity in such pure water, nothing that would correspond with leaven and to that which causes the wine to work. But it is manifesting out of our BEING, and speaking out of our mouth the Words of Spirit and Truth; letting the hidden springs of God flow out in streams of salvation to those who are thirsty; it is Life to all who are sleeping the sleeping death, who are dead in trespasses and sins, or thirsting in the dry and desolate activities of a Babylonish church system. God's River of Life is patient, gentle admonition and encouragement to those who hear; it goes down smoothly. There is a "judgment company" of the Two Witnesses, but the Words of the RIVER OF LIFE COMPANY do not irritate and burn, they do not choke nor distress; but like costly wine, and like the sparkling waters of Eden's pure river, they go down smoothly and impart the transforming power of the Kingdom of God!
"Let that mighty River flow,
Let it flow, and flow, and flow,
Let that mighty River flow, Oh Lord, through me;
Let it flow, and flow, and flow,
It brings Life where ere it goes,
Let that mighty River flow, Oh Lord, through me!"
J. PRESTON EBY
J. PRESTON EBY
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