KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE SEALING OF THE 144,000
The book of Revelation is a spiritual book, and like everything else in this book the twelve literal tribes of Israel are used as symbols. The names of the tribes are character names, and the order in which they are arranged reveal the twelve spiritual character traits which the elect of God progressively experience as we put on the mind of Christ and grow up into the maturity of His nature. These bespeak of twelve steps in our spiritual growth and development, each step representing a new level of attainment of the life, glory, authority, and power of God until we find ourselves seated with Him in His throne. Twelve is the number of divine government, therefore these twelve steps bring us to the throne of God’s kingdom to govern the world in righteousness and reign with Christ over all things! Each experience is greater than the preceding one! Each step spiritually through the tribes brings us closer to the incorruptible nature and immortal life, and the authority and dominion of the throne! In previous articles we have looked at the first seven of the tribes and now will proceed on to the eighth — the tribe of Levi.
“Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand” (Rev. 7:7). The author of the Old Testament book of Joshua takes great pains to let his readers know that all the twelve tribes of Israel received their lawful portion, or inheritance, in the land of promise. But the token of inheritance for the tribe of Levi differed from that of the other tribes. Levi had shown great zeal for the Lord at the time of Israel’s sin with the golden calf at mount Sinai. For this the tribe was given a special reward! It was entitled to live off the offerings brought to the Lord’s altar. It did not receive an inheritance of land. Its blessing was even greater: the Lord, very directly, was Himself Levi’s inheritance! Therefore He took care of them without their tilling the land. The tribe of Levi with its special form of inheritance was a constant reminder to the rest of Israel that their portion of land was important because it was the Lord that gave it to them. He was its true owner. Yet for Levi, the Lord Himself was their inheritance! They served at His tabernacle and at His altar in His presence, and were also fed and provided for from that altar! Levi is the eighth tribe revealed to us by the Spirit, representing to us the spiritual characteristics inworked into the life of every son of God. The name means “joined” or “union” and reveals to us the great truth that as we truly “hear” the voice of the Son of God within in the tribe of Simeon, we are then strengthened and enabled to move on to the tribe of Levi where we begin to live out of a sense of oneness rather than out of a consciousness of duality. Jesus came to reconcile men to God and to restore all things to their proper order — into the conscious awareness of union in Him! Some teach that the only separation from God that exists has been in man’s consciousness — we have only imagined and thought we were separated. There is an element of truth in that, but it is not the whole truth. The whole truth runs much deeper! Let us UNDERSTAND!
UNION OF SOUL AND SPIRIT
“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH; go ye out to MEET (enter into union with) HIM” (Mat. 25:6). “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor unto Him: for the MARRIAGE (UNION) OF THE LAMB IS COME, and His WIFE hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).The revelation of Christ as the Bridegroom permeates His teaching and His parables and suggests the grand truth to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. More than once He refers to Himself in His utterances as the Bridegroom. The solemn midnight cry raised by an expectant throng is, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,” and they that are ready are represented as accompanying Him to the marriage. Whatever else the “virgins” may represent, the scene points unerringly to “the marriage” which brings the Bridegroom and the bride into their ultimate union. And He suggests the true purpose of all God’s dealings with man in the parable of the wedding feast, whose opening words declare that “a certain king made a marriage for his son.”
The cry was, “Behold the Bridegroom!” This addresses the heart. It is not an historical event. It is a spiritual experience! The coming of the Bridegroom is that revelation of the Christ that causes us to know that we are united to Him; it is the conscious knowledge and the experiential reality. We cannot understand the relationship of the bride with the Bridegroom until we know UNION. We cannot be in that particular concert with Christ which the name bride expresses until we yield ourselves to be made ONE IN HIM. And this is not something which happens someday when Jesus comes crashing down through the clouds. Oh, no! This is a present reality! When I know that I am united with the Christ I am so identified with His name, His person, His presence, His life, and His interests that they are paramount with me. Few know it! A wife is one who has reached maturity, one who has given herself in a mature relationship completely and unreservedly for her lover, one who has lost her own name, residence, individuality, and identity to take his. She has left all to follow him! The result of such a union is described by the inspired apostle in these words: “…that we should be married to another, even to HIM who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4).It was to the church which is His body that Paul wrote, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning CHRIST AND THE CHURCH” (Eph. 5:31-32). It was also to the saints that Paul addressed these significant words, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to HIM who is raised from the dead…” (Rom. 7:4). Again it was to the elect of the Lord that Paul explained, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to ONE HUSBAND, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to CHRIST” (II Cor. 11:2).
In our consideration of the Bridegroom and the bride we need to remember that first of all these precious realities are fulfilled in us personally! Christ is not just in some far-off heaven somewhere; for us He is our life and our hope of glory, and it is CHRIST IN YOU. This is a phrase of inexhaustible wonder — “Christ in you.” “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVETH IN ME” (Gal. 2:20). “For He abideth with you, and SHALL BE IN YOU” (Jn. 14:17). “He shall be IN you.” In these simple words our Lord announces that wonderful mystery of His indwelling which was to be the fruit and the crown of His redeeming work. It was for this that man had been created! It was for this, God’s incarnation in the flesh, that the Spirit had revealed God unto men! It was for this that Jesus had lived and was about to die. Dwelling in them, He would prepare them to receive Himself as their true life and identity — as Bridegroom! We will never understand the deep mystery of the Bridegroom and the bride until we know that Christ is the Bridegroom and that Christ lives in us. All who give godly consideration to these simple truths cannot avoid the conclusion that the BRIDEGROOM IS WITHIN US. There is deep within the inner sanctum of each of us a place where the Bridegroom dwells and He comes out of that place and woos us into intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Himself!
Suppose someone wants to visit me. He must first find where I live! If he cannot locate my home, he will have to forfeit his visit. Although there is much talk about Christ living in us, the vast majority of Christians have absolutely no idea where it is that He dwells in us! If you know that I live in El Paso but you don’t know where in El Paso I dwell, you may never find me. We can never know Christ the bridegroom, or union with Him, until first we know where He dwells! A wonderful clue is found in these words, “The Spirit of God dwelleth in you…and if Christ be in you, the body is dead…but the spirit is life” (Rom. 8:9-10). Romans 8:9 refers without doubt to the Holy Spirit of God, but verse 10 refers to the human spirit. “The body is dead…but the spirit is life.” Of course, the Holy Spirit cannot be compared with our body. The contrast is between what is true in OUR BODY and what is true in OUR SPIRIT. If Christ is in us our body (the earth man) is dead, but our spirit (the new man) is life, quickened and energized by HIS INDWELLING LIFE!
Ah — Christ is in us, but where within us is He? In what part? What is His address? It is abundantly clear — Christ today is in our spirit! There is no need to be vague like many who say, “Oh, the Lord is in you and the Lord is in me.” The Holy Spirit has definitely revealed that Christ is in our spirit. “The Lord be with thy spirit” (II Tim. 4:22). The preposition “with” is from the Greek sun which denotes “union.” The Lord is in union with our spirit! There is a mighty working taking place within God’s elect — no more to have that duality — our spirit, His Spirit, but to be so fully merged into one with Him that HIS Spirit is mine, and MY spirit is swallowed up into His. “There is ONE SPIRIT,” says the apostle. That one spirit is neither the Holy Spirit nor our spirit — it is His Spirit joined to our spirit — for “He that is joined to the Lord I-S O-N-E S-P-I-R-I-T!”
It is a blessed day for any man when he makes the amazing discovery that Christ Himself is the Bridegroom; that this Christ is in our spirit; that the Bridegroom is thus in our spirit, His place of residence; that the coming of the Bridegroom is WITHIN! It should be obvious to every spiritually thinking mind that if the Bridegroom is within, the bride is likewise to be found within! Marriage is the conjunction of two into one. When these two enter into union, they are called one. It is no longer Miss Jones and Mr. Brown; it is now Mr. And Mrs. Brown. There is, therefore, a part of our being which must be wooed by Christ in our spirit and brought into relationship and oneness in Him. Bride in Hebrew is kallah meaning “the completed one” or “the perfected one.” It reveals the concept of a woman being completed once she is married to her husband — and, as Paul so beautifully expresses it, “YE are complete IN HIM!” In order to identify this bride within we must understand what part of us it is that must be perfected. The bride is a woman, a female. THE BRIDE IS THE FEMALE PART OF YOU! Your soul is the female part of your being; therefore your soul is the woman or the bride of Christ who is in your spirit. For a clear picture of this truth I now call your attention to the awe-inspiring wonder of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden!
The story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is the greatest parable in the Bible. I do not mean by that that there was no literalness to the garden or to Adam and Eve in it, for literal things always serve as parables of spiritual realities! The record of Adam and Eve in the Garden is supremely important because it explains the real nature of our life here on earth. It tells us about ourselves, it portrays in vivid imagery our true state of being, our testings, our fall and redemption, and our destiny in God. It is the blueprint of spiritual anatomy. Once we thoroughly understand Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden we then understand the nature of God, the nature of man, and the ground-plan for the outworking of the purposes of God through the ages. There is one thing about which the Lord’s people must be perfectly clear. The Bible is not primarily intended to teach history, or biography, or geography, or natural science. It is intended to teach divine principles and spiritual realities!
On a day in the long ago the inspired apostle Paul penned these telling words: “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:2-3). In this significant passage Eve in the garden of Eden is contrasted with two things: the bride of Christ and the mind. The mind is a function of the soul! The four-fold function of the soul is in the mind, the will, the emotion, and the desire. It was in the soul that Eve was beguiled. The vision of the bride of Christ pervades the whole of scripture, from Eden onward, with ever-increasing clearness. Eve, the mother of the human family, is the first type of this great mystery. Let us not underestimate this remarkable woman from whom the whole human race has sprung!
In that ancient shadow Adam stands as a type of the spirit, Eve is a type of the soul, and the garden of Eden serves as a type of the body where both dwell, which Adam was to “dress and keep.” Thus we see our tri-partite being symbolically portrayed in the Adam-Eve-Garden story! The Garden was the earth, the land, the locale; and Adam and Eve were its inhabitants, in the same way that our spirit and soul are the inhabitants of the physical body. It is through our “Eve,” our soulical faculties of mind, will, emotion, and desire, that we who have been espoused to Christ the Bridegroom in our spirit, can be “beguiled” and turned from our single and pure devotion to Christ, entering instead into intimate but illicit associations with the flesh, and the fleshly systems of the world and religious Babylon, thus disqualifying ourselves from being presented to Christ as a pure and holy virgin. Paul shows that just as Eve was beguiled from her singleness to God and her husband, so those espoused to Christ can be corrupted in their minds from their singleness to Christ in our spirit.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). When God created man in His own image he was ONE, not separated in the beginning into two persons. Thus he remained until the Lord separated the feminine from the masculine, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, to exist separately. Within the one man’s nature were both masculine and feminine elements, all the possibilities of both male and female, all the potential of fruit and power, wisdom and love, strength and nurture. This spiritual man, being a son of God, possessed that perfect chaste virgin within himself and could have replenished the whole earth with his kind in God’s image by a word of power!
It was not the burning self-desire of Adam that caused Eve to come forth, but the purpose of God! It was God Himself that initiated the whole process, for the record states, “And the LORD GOD said, It is not good for the man to be alone; I WILL MAKE Him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). Eve was God’s idea! “Meet” in the expression “help meet” is an old English word meaning “suitable, fit, proper.” The whole flavor of the word “meet” is to fit, join, agree, be in union, be together. No hostility here! No war between the sexes! And no division. God made a helper to properly and suitably fit, join, combine, agree, be in union with, yes, to be ONE with Adam, and he ONE with her!
When Eve had been built by the skillful hand of the Creator we read that He “brought her unto the man” (Gen. 2:22). I cannot conceive of anything more exquisite and meaningful than that beautiful type! I say to every soul reading these lines, Have you been brought to Christ where Christ is? If you do not know union with Christ in your spirit, you will never know union with Him in the sky nor in any heaven anywhere in all God’s vast universe. And know this, oh man, you cannot become “spiritual” by any self-effort! Many seek to be spiritual by doing something: by prayer, reading the Word, devotedness, keeping the commandments, paying tithe, doing good works, keeping the traditions, attending meetings; but spirituality is not to be found in any of those things! The only pathway to spirituality is to be brought by the Spirit to realize union with Christ! One can only be spirit-ual by union with spirit! Union! What was Eve’s thought when her eyes first rested upon Adam? I doubt not that she was completely overwhelmed, truly fell in love at first sight, was immediately drawn by irresistible cords of love and passionate desire to find union with him!
The allegory of lover and beloved, bride and groom, marriage and union, gives to us the highest example of the oneness which we desire to share with Christ, which we seek within ourselves, the union of our soul with our spirit. We are weary of the sense of duality and separation! We are frustrated with the unending warfare between the flesh and the spirit! We are tired of speaking in tongues one minute and flying off the handle the next! From the time we were awakened to Christ in our spirit we have struggled with this duality — our mind often pulled in the direction of the flesh, while yet our soul truly yearns for that life from above which alone would satisfy. Thank God! The spirit of Christ within is gaining the ascendancy as He woos the soul and the soul becomes more and more subdued. But the prayer remains, “that they all may be ONE…”
Long millenniums ago the aged prophet-king of Israel articulated the deepest cry of the soul-bride for her beloved, saying, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…” (Ps. 42:1-2). As a woman yearns for union with her husband, so the soul longs for reunion with Christ. The natural mind cannot comprehend what fearful loss befell the man in Eden when the woman was severed from him. All the female qualities of tenderness, patience, long-suffering, intuition, nurturing, gentleness, submissiveness, and succor were separated from his bosom and embodied in Eve. But consider also what the woman lost in strength, wisdom, courage, bravery, energy, stamina, and much more. Nature has created the fundamental urge of every human being for re-union with its counterpart — to find itself again in WHOLENESS. This complement of the sexes one with the other, and the need for union to find wholeness and experience fulfillment, is the greatest proof that the Genesis record of how the woman was taken out of the man is absolutely true and reliable! Just as there is the natural drive for union with the opposite sex, there is also within the soul the intense thirsting for union with God! The truth is, this urge exists not only within the soul — it is just as powerful in the spirit! This is the meaning of the mystery of “the way of a man with a maid,” the mystery that every human being, male and female, goes through a “mating season.” We call it dating, courtship, and engagement! In the natural, it is the man who courts the woman and is the aggressor. It is most often the boy who chases the girl! The bride of Christ (the soul) has now entered a great “mating season” of reunion with God. In His appointed times the Christ within our spirit initiates the courting in His own subtle yet divine way as He woos the soul, drawing our desires and affections unto Himself. There is to be a unification within, so that all our soul realm is swallowed up into the life of the indwelling spirit of Christ, bringing us eventually into the personal experience of THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB! him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:27-28). My reader will observe the change from “him” to “them.” We are not presented with the actual fact of the formation of the woman until chapter two; but even here we find God blessing “them,” and giving “them” JOINTLY THE POSITION OF UNIVERSAL GOVERNMENT. All the inferior orders of creation were set under their JOINT DOMINION. As Andrew Jukes has somewhere pointed out, Eve received all her blessings in Adam: in him, too, she got her dignity and position and power. Though not yet called into her individual identity, she was, in the purpose of God, looked at as part of the man. Universal dominion was not given to the male characteristics of Adam alone; it was not said, “let him have dominion,” but “let them have dominion!” There was no other creature so near to Adam and Eve, because no other creature was part of himself. What affection Eve had for Adam! What nearness she enjoyed! What intimacy of communion! What full participation in his thoughts and in all his powers! In all his dignity, and in all his glory, wisdom, and authority, she was entirely one! He did not rule over her, but with her. He was lord of the whole creation, and she was ONE WITH HIM! They were the king and queen of the universe!
There is neither time nor space to consider the myriad ghastly consequences of the fall of man, but I would draw your attention to one disastrous result. The curses reaped caused the inequality between the sexes so prominent in the human family. The beauty and equality of man and woman in the garden of Eden disappeared. Strife, guilt, shame, discord, competition, and pain took over — the way of the flesh held sway! This bespeaks of the separation of soul and spirit within ourselves, making every man indeed bi-polar! And this is the re-union God is effecting in the experience of every son of God! The wonderful goal is not just our will, our mind, our emotions, and our desires submitted to Christ in our spirit, but for our will, our mind, our emotions, our desires to be made so ONE IN HIM until there is only ONE MIND, ONE WILL, ONE EMOTION, ONE DESIRE — the marriage union restoring one new creature — Christ and us, spirit and soul — UNITED IN ONE! It is not His mind controlling our mind, but just one new mind! It is more than a “fill me” with more of God, but a being swallowed up into Him, that henceforth it is only the GOD-MAN! This is the perfect man, the image of God, male and female, spirit and soul dwelling in unity and oneness in the Garden of the redeemed body, united in one, given dominion over all things. Oh, the mystery of it!
What a glorious experience the tribe of Levi brings to us! As I pointed out in the beginning of these thoughts, Levi means “joined” or “union.” As we progress from tribe to tribe we are brought into this wonderful reality of the restoration of all things within ourselves. Only as this restoration is fully accomplished in our lives are we made whole, mature, balanced, holy, wise, compassionate, merciful, strong, powerful, and glorious as new creation men, the sons of God, kings and priests upon the throne! One can be “saved” without experientially appropriating the spiritual characteristics of all the twelve tribes of Israel. One can be baptized in the Holy Spirit, speak with tongues, get answers to prayer, move in gifts of the Spirit, live a good Christian life, and die and go to heaven without experiencing within the full restoration of all the spiritual characteristics of the twelve tribes of Israel. BUT ONE CANNOT BE A MANIFEST SON OF GOD WITHOUT APPROPRIATING AND EXPERIENCING THEM ALL! That is the true meaning of the 144,000 sealed ones!
“Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand” (Rev. 7:7). Issachar means “hire,” “wages,” or “compensation,” and he was given this name because of his mother’s exclamation at his birth, “And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar” (Gen. 30:17-18). When Leah gave birth to this goodly son she felt that the Lord had paid her or recompensed her for her service and obedience to Him. She was indeed blessed! Issachar received a rich and beautiful inheritance in the land of Israel, the fertile eastern end of the Jezreel Valley. His boundary on the north was mount Tabor and on the south mount Gilboa. The men of this tribe were known to be valiant men of might in all their families, and in all their generations. It appears that they were a laborious, hardy, valiant tribe, patient in labor and invincible in war. Can we not see by this that Leah was indeed blessed with a son who was also blessed!
In the spirit Issachar stands as a representation of the bountiful blessing of God that comes upon every obedient son. The apostle Paul in writing to the Ephesians made this wonderful statement, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:3). The source of all blessing is our heavenly Father who is spirit! This includes all temporal as well as all spiritual blessings! However, in this beautiful passage, the blessings are not temporal, physical, natural blessings for the outer earth-man, but SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS for the inner new-creation-man. These blessings are not received in El Paso, Dallas, Tulsa, or any other city or place on earth — they are experienced only in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! These are realities, graces, and powers communicated from the person and glory of THE ASCENDED CHRIST! They are from Him and out of the high and holy realm in which he dwells! In the phrase “heavenly places” the word “places” is supplied by the translators — the Greek meaning is in the heavenlies or in the higher than heavenlies. It is not a place anywhere in the universe, but a dimension in the spirit! The thought is that the spiritual blessings of God have their source and substance in the highest spiritual realms and are ministered to the Lord’s elect from thence. This glorious realm is the realm of incorruption, life, and power which lies beyond the power of temptation, sin, limitation, sorrow, sickness, and death!
The blessings most sought after by believers are not those of which Paul here speaks, but mere blessings of the corruptible realm of earth such as healing and health for the body, financial prosperity, jobs, houses, lands, food, automobiles, relationships, solution to problems, multiplied daily needs, and a thousand more earthly things. It is remarkable that during the three and a half years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, being found in fashion as a man, limited by the realm of the physical and mortal to which He subjected Himself for our sake, He never performed one act, not even one miracle, sign, or wonder on the spiritual plane of incorruption. Every miracle performed by our Lord was for the earth-man as He raised dead bodies, cleansed lepers, made the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and healing every manner of sickness and disease among the people. He walked on water, turned water into wine, and fed thousands from five small loaves and two fish. It was excellent wine, and delicious bread and fish, but, nevertheless, just physical, material, and earthly, supplying strength for a few hours to the mortal man and then cast out into the draught. Nothing incorruptible or heavenly there! And nothing for the INNER MAN!
But once Christ came forth in the power of resurrection and immortality, once He ascended on high, He ministers now from a higher and more glorious realm, and now, as on the day of Pentecost, there comes from heaven something greater far than that which blesses the outer man, the spirit of the glorified Jesus has been outpoured that we might be born from above and made partakers of the divine nature! Truly He has raised us up within ourselves, in both consciousness and state of being, and “made us sit together in THE HEAVENLIES” It is here, in the heavenlies, that He blesses us with ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS in Christ; blessings of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, of joy and peace, of love and faith, of grace and glory, of might and power, of the mind of Christ and the image of God! What surpassing blessings are these! The earthly, temporal blessings are first experienced when we are spiritual babes, but the spiritual, heavenly blessings are reserved for sons! Reading the verses where Paul speaks of these spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, we notice that he follows immediately with these words, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestinated us unto placement as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…” (Eph. 1:4-5). One will know he is moving into sonship when, in all his asking, he asks most often for SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS instead of PHYSICAL BLESSINGS!
Only the spiritual blessings are able to deliver both us and all creation from the bondage of corruption! Only the omnipotent power of God can deliver this sin and death-cursed world from self, ignorance, sickness, limitation, sin, and death! I do not hesitate to tell you that the world has not yet witnessed the power of God on the level of incorruption! As our Lord did after His resurrection, so will the sons of God do. We will be in glorified bodies and we will belong to the heavenly world, but we will appear and take part in earthly life and show forth the fullness of the power and glory of His resurrection right here on earth! This is Christ coming to be revealed in the fullness of Himself among all peoples and before all nations! Our Lord’s life on earth after His resurrection gives us an illustration of what resurrection life ultimately means. Only resurrection life and power is the fullness of sonship! “And declared to be the son of God with power…BY THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD” (Rom. 1:4). “Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption (placement as sons), to wit, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY” (Rom. 8:23).
Following His resurrection Jesus was in a place simply by willing to be there, regardless of space, time, or material obstructions. He had access to the heavenly spiritual realms and to the earthly dimensions as well. He was truly trans-dimensional! This is the destiny of all the sons of God! Since this is the truth concerning the resurrection of the firstborn son of God, it follows that this is the glory that shall be manifested when all the sons of God are glorified. Furthermore, the glory of the Lord to be manifested on this earth when all the sons of God are transformed and glorified shall be much more magnificent than it was when Jesus was glorified. Jesus was glorified to ascend and pour out the firstfruits of the Spirit; the sons of God shall be glorified to express in the earth the fullness of the Spirit and to deliver all creation from the bondage of corruption! This is the clear and plain revelation of the gospel!
Although the glory of the Lord revealed and manifested when Jesus was glorified was awesome, there is a glory coming that shall be greater by far! For it shall not be just one son glorified, but many sons brought to glory! The whole creation is standing on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of God’s sons glorified and manifested! Every created thing is waiting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the family of God. Deliverance from corruption means the abolition of both sin and death — resurrection life and the nature of God expressed through everyone and everything! Oh, the wonder of it! Imagine the glory to be revealed when all the sons of God are transformed and glorified! And not to ascend to heaven in a cloud, but to minister deliverance, transformation, and glory to the whole creation! Truly this is the promised “coming” or “revelation” of our Lord Jesus Christ! That great event will be the transformation and glorification of the entire body of Christ, resulting in a ministry of such magnitude as to deliver all creation from the tyranny of carnality, decay, and death, into the glorious liberty and victory of the very sons of God. And what a triumphant victory that shall be!
When the manifest sons of God go forth it will be unlike any ministry you have ever witnessed or read about in church history! All revivals of former days and ages will pale before the glory of the manifestation of God through His sons. When the glorified sons of God appear even to one individual, be that individual a bag lady, street drunk, store clerk, drug lord, college professor, corporate CEO, or the president or prime minister of a nation, when a manifest son appears and speaks to that person or lays his hand upon him, there will be the appearance of the revelation of the Lord such as came to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Oh, yes! The power of the Highest will come upon that man, woman, or child with irresistible glory. In the presence of Him whose countenance is as the sun, a shudder will pass through their body, they will tremble uncontrollably, weep and become instantly and completely broken before the presence of the Lord, and the veil will be removed from off their mind and heart. There will be no need for a meeting, no need for a worship service, no need for a sermon, no necessity to “bring them to a decision,” for the power of God shall illuminate, cleanse, and transform them, “down loading” as it were, a new mind, a new heart, and a new nature into the very fabric and core of their being. I am thoroughly convinced in my spirit, and I believe I have the Spirit of God, that just as God saved Saul of Tarsus in a moment of time, by the sovereign revelation of the Lord, so shall He reveal Himself to all men causing them to be born again! Their eyes will be opened to the glories of His kingdom just as they once were open in lovely Eden. Jesus came to bring life to the world! This is the life that will flow out through the sons of God! Oh, think of what it means! God gave this life for the redemption of Adam’s race and man’s transformation into the image and glory of God. Creation is waiting, waiting, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God! Though we have had twenty centuries of preaching and ministry, after the old carnal order of the church systems of man, creation waits still and the world is shrouded in spiritual darkness. The old-order methods of the church systems can never deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption, never, I say, in a million years! After two thousand years of church ministry more people are dying without Christ and without hope than ever before in the history of the world! There must be a change, a drastic change, a radical change, a new ministry, a greater glory, something unprecedented and transcendental — the power of the kingdom of God!
In vain the mind seeks to understand the process by which all men can be irreversibly changed, converted, delivered, made alive, and transformed into the image of God. Yet the simple truth is that all that is needed to accomplish such a thing is an outflowing of the OMNIPOTENT POWER OF LIFE! For this very thing God is preparing His sons! And I tell you today by the word of the Lord that there shall be a dispensation of omnipotent incorruptible life into the being of every called and chosen son of God! It is in the spiritual attainment of the tribe of Issachar that we shall receive our wages — we shall be recompensed for our unfaltering obedience and willing and total submission to every dealing of the Father in this walk of sonship to God! Our Father’s remuneration shall be His overflowing supply of divine wisdom, love, incorruptible glory, omnipotent power and authority to fulfill the sonship ministry! We know for certain that we can’t change the order, alter the course of history, abolish the multitude of false philosophies and religions, subdue the nations, deliver creation, and bring the kingdom of God to pass in all the earth by any of the tired old methods of the past. GOD MUST DO A NEW THING! GOD MUST IMPART TO US A MORE EXCELLENT GLORY! GOD MUST USHER US INTO A NEW REALM! HE MUST RAISE UP WITHIN US A NEW WISDOM AND A POWER WE HAVE NEVER HAD BEFORE! In the tribe of Issachar, where we receive the recompense of our obedience, we have truly come to the kingdom for such a time as this!
“Of the tribe of Zebulun were sealed twelve thousand” (Rev. 7:8).
The next tribe listed after the order of the Spirit is Zebulun. Zebulun means “dwelling, habitation.” Can you not see the mystery? As we progress from tribe to tribe there is an ascending scale of spiritual growth, experience, and development moving us along from step to step, from dealing to dealing, from accomplishment to accomplishment, and from attainment to attainment. God continuously and increasingly floods our hearts with light, understanding, glory, reality, and power! In the tribe of Judah (to be a praise) we receive the revelation and call to sonship. In Reuben (behold a son!) the life of sonship appears and begins to be raised up within us. In Gad (a troop) we learn spiritual warfare by which we begin to overcome. In Asher (happy) we are flooded with the overwhelming joy of the kingdom of God — unaffected, indestructible joy and confidence. In Naphtali (wrestling) we are given hind’s feet to ascend into the high places of the Spirit in overcoming victory. In Manasseh (causing to forget) we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. In Simeon (hearing) the revelation of God’s truth and purpose in us comes into focus with great clarity as we truly “hear” what the Father is saying to us. In Levi (joining, union) there is the marriage of soul and spirit within, restoring us into singleness, oneness, and wholeness in union with Christ — man as man was meant to be. In Issachar (payment, compensation) we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, endued and empowered with all that is needed to fulfill the sonship ministry — all the fullness of God!
Now we come to Zebulun (dwelling, habitation) where we no longer just “receive” things from God, but at last we enter into the high calling of God, granted an abundance entrance into the kingdom of God, to remain, abide, and dwell in the Father’s house of sons! It is here that we find our place in the new order of sonship, knowing of a certainty who we are, what we have received, what our mission is, and we recognize that now the hour of the unveiling is nigh at hand! There is a sense of urgency, yet we abide in Him and wait for God’s hour to strike when we shall receive our marching orders!
“Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand” (Rev. 7:8). As the old prophet Israel sat upon his bed pronouncing prophetic blessings on his sons by Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah, he must have sensed something special in the spirit concerning what God had in store for his two youngest sons — Joseph and Benjamin. These were the sons of his first and most beloved, the wife for whom he had worked so long, the sweet and beautiful Rachel. Rachel had been barren for many years while her rival, Leah, had given Jacob six sons! Although her handmaid Bilhah (according to the custom of those days) had given Israel two sons in her name, Rachel still longed for children of her own flesh and blood. In desperation she cried out to her husband, saying, “Give me children, or else I die!” (Gen. 30:1). In tender mercy, the Lord responded to the cries and yearning of her heart. “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bore a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: and she called his name Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me ANOTHER SON” (Gen. 30:22-24). The Hebrew meaning of the name Joseph is “may He add.” In other words, while Rachel rejoiced in God’s goodness in giving her this son, she desired at least one more! God also granted that desire of her heart, and she gave birth to Benjamin shortly before her death.
In the natural Joseph was indeed fruitful. God blessed him in Egypt and brought him to a position of eminence and power next to the throne. The Lord gave him two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, both of whom fathered tribes, and in the Bible the lists of the tribes normally mention the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, rather than the tribe of Joseph. To be exact, there are sixteen tribal lists in the scriptures after the book of Genesis, and Joseph is only mentioned three times, his place usually taken by Ephraim and Manasseh. There is evidence that when the ten-tribed house of Israel, which had been carried away captive to Assyria, migrated eventually into northwestern Europe, from thence the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh finally became scattered also into the Americas, New Zealand, Australia, and a number of other nations. In the book of Revelation, however, the tribe of Joseph has nothing to do whatever with any of that! The book of Revelation is a spiritual book, addressed to a spiritual people, and concerns spiritual realities.
In its spiritual meaning, Joseph points unerringly to the great increase that has come into the lives of God’s sons as we have progressed on this journey into God’s fullness! I realize that many speak of Joseph, and the meaning of his name (may He add), in outward terms of the multitude of his descendants or of the vast increase of the kingdom of God in the earth. But when Rachel named Joseph, she did not have in mind the increase that would come out of Joseph himself, but “may He add” expressed her deep and insatiable desire for yet another son! Her reference was to Benjamin, not Joseph! Spiritually this points us to the ultimate consummation of our sonship where the work within us is complete, and in Benjamin we stand in all the glory, authority, and dominion of our full sonship as SONS OF THE RIGHT HAND! Oh, yes! In Joseph we have come to a high stature in Christ, to a place of rich fulfillment and glorious potential, yet still we yearn for the completion, for the fullness, for the HOUR OF MANIFESTATION! Our desire is for Benjamin!
It cannot be otherwise! All things have a beginning, followed by various stages of development, formation, growth, and increase until ultimately comes the fullness and perfection. Space travel did not begin by sending a man to the moon. Men jumped off cliffs, trying to fly with crude, homemade wings. Then men flew in balloons. The Wright brothers invented the first airplane, and other types of aircraft followed until the Russians startled the world by sending their Sputnik into orbit around the earth, inaugurating the space age. Today we are sending space probes throughout the solar system, and it is only a matter of time, if God permits, until Star Trek will move from science fiction to living reality. Can we not clearly see by this how it is that every step was required in the grand and epochal work of bringing many sons to glory! Nothing ever happens overnight! But all things move inexorably forward. And each of God’s elect who reads these lines can truly see his portrait in the progression through the twelve tribes or the twelve steps to the throne of God! Each of us is in there somewhere, according to the measure of Father’s dealings and work in our lives.
When our lovely Lord Jesus came into this sin-cursed world bringing the word and power of the kingdom, He ushered in a new and glorious age. It is very doubtful that any in those days had the remotest idea that it was the Father’s intention to take the next two thousand years to complete the great work of preparing the kings of the kingdom. Jesus came to bring in the new age of the church, the seedbed in which the kingdom would grow and develop to its next stage. When the conditions are fully ripe for this next stage of the kingdom, this age will completely pass away. As suddenly as the day of Pentecost came and changed the order of God in the earth, so suddenly will the new age of the kingdom of God through God’s sons break with glory and power upon the earth!
How our glad hearts rejoice in the sacred knowledge that we are standing even now at the door of the next new age and the greater glory of the kingdom power that it brings! Oh, the wonder of it! Sonship! Sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ receiving power over the nations to rule them with a rod of iron (spiritual strength)! Sonship is the hope of all creation and the joy of the Father’s heart. The hopes and dreams of all the years for peace and righteousness and blessing and life upon the teeming billions of this benighted planet are met in the unveiling of God’s sons, the increase of the kingdom for the new age. In Joseph we stand today and look over into the promised land, for we can see it in all its fruitfulness and bountifulness, and only a few steps will bring us there! With Rachel we cry, “May He add!” Oh, Benjamin! We will soon be there!
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY
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Mark Eby for Kingdom Bible Studies.
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