KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
IN SPIRIT ON THE LORD'S DAY
"I was in the spirit on the Lordís day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia" (Rev. 1:10-11).
Every word of the book of Revelation is freighted with divine significance. Each individual word, when studied with understanding, is a key to the message of the book. Each word has a spiritual meaning and is an expression of the language of God. No word in this book means what the carnal mind thinks it means, but each word, when illuminated by the spirit of revelation, unlocks something of the mysteries of God in the understanding of the spiritual mind. Then you understand how important each word is!
The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has been, by the carnal mind, a book of intimidation, browbeating, threatening, tyranny, terror, and disquietude; a book of ignorance, bewilderment, perplexity, and confusion. And yet, when understood by the spirit, it is by far the most inspirational, instructional, and kingdom impartational book in all the scriptures! I have never been more helped, had more questions answered, and got a world view and a kingdom view of my life, and the outworking of God in creation, than through the opening within my spirit of the truth of the book of Revelation.
For centuries the book of Revelation has held an interest for everybody from prophets to ditch diggers. After one fashion or another, all have believed that the book held within it the spiritual meaning behind events happening in the world. Many and varied have been the predictions and prophetical outlines based upon the things found written in this text. In every case, however, given enough time, the forecasts of the most noted teachers, and would-be prophets, have been proven wrong. This is not because all were false prophets, evil men, or deceivers, but rather it demonstrates just how difficult a task it is to interpret a writing as complex and filled with symbolism as the book of Revelation. It simply cannot be done with the natural mind!
Why are there so many different interpretations of the book of Revelation? There are three primary systems of interpretation in the church systems known as the Preterist, the Historicist, and the Futurist schools of thought. The Preterist view teaches that the whole book was fulfilled in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem and the ending of the Old Testament law, priesthood, and sacrificial system. According to this view every mention in the New Testament of the "last days" and "end time" refers to the cataclysmic events that brought the end of the Old Testament era and order, and the establishment of the new spiritual order of the church age. Others subscribe to the Historicist interpretation, viewing the Revelation as a symbolical history of events throughout the church age, from the days of the apostles all the way down to the end of the church age. These see in the symbols of the Revelation events such as the rise of the Papacy, the Holy Roman Empire, the scourge of Islam, the Protestant Reformation, The French Revolution, and many other things. Most evangelical Christians today embrace the newest of the three schemes ó Futurism. The Futurist theory teaches that the entire book of Revelation, from chapter four on, is yet future, to be fulfilled during a seven-year period of "Great Tribulation" at the end of the church age. In addition, there are hundreds of differing applications of the symbols and events within each of these three schools of thought!
Why so many views? I think the answer to this question is illustrated in a little story I read. Three people were visiting and viewing the Grand Canyon ó an artist, a pastor, and a cowboy. As they stood on the edge of that massive abyss, each one responded with a cry of exclamation. The artist said, "Ah, what a beautiful scene to paint!" The minister cried, "What a wonderful example of the handiwork of God!" The cowboy mused, "What a terrible place to lose a cow!" And then Haddon Robinson tells the story of a Colorado resident who moved to Texas and built a house with a view of hundreds of miles of range land. "The only problem is," he said, "thereís nothing to see." At about the same time a Texan moved to Colorado and built a house overlooking the Rockies. "The only problem is," he said, "I canít see anything. The mountains are in the way." The story is also told of a mole that once pushed its head out of the ground and said to a bird who was swinging and singing on the branch above it: "What are you making such a noise about?" Said the bird: "Oh, the sunshine, the trees, the grasses, the shining stream, and the white clouds on the mountainside. The world is full of beauty!" "Nonsense," said the mole; "I have lived in this world longer than you have, and I have gone deeper into it. I have traversed it and tunneled it, and I know what I am talking about, and I tell you there is nothing in it but fishing worms."
The lesson in each of these stories will cause us to stand assured of this fact: WHAT ONE SEES DEPENDS UPON WHERE HE SEES IT FROM! Everyone has his particular vantage point, perspective, position, or frame of reference. It has become my experience, however, that in order to comprehend, at least in part, the infinite depths and majestic heights of truth revealed in the book of Revelation, we must leave the customary paths trodden by natural learning and intellectual effort, to explore the realms hitherto kept secret, and walk the avenues where man's spirit has seldom soared. If we now insist that all revelation and illumination of truth must be judged by the narrowness of our past tradition, better far it is that we turn our back now on all illumination and light that comes by the Spirit and join those tradition-ridden Pharisees who could never believe that Jesus spoke aught but blasphemy when He declared in the certainty of divine wisdom, "Before Abraham was, I AM." The book of Revelation is a book that defies the wisdom of man! The natural man can never understand the things of God! Whatever viewpoint we take that originates from any pinnacle of human intellect, from any compartment of the imagination, from any kind of speculation of the carnal mind, or from the musty traditions of manís religious creeds, will completely miss the view from the lofty heights of the spirit of truth! Awe-inspiring truth fills the pages of the Revelation and it is certain none could ever understand them but by the Holy Spirit!
The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ will never be plumbed by the human intellect! Someone has asked, "Was there not a key sent with the book, and has this been lost? Was it thrown into the Aegean Sea?" "No!" answers the Spirit of Truth. The key was sent along with the book, and it has been allowed to lie rusty and unused, while all kinds of false keys and picklocks have been tried, and tried in vain, until men have come to look upon the book as an unintelligible enigma, only meant to puzzle and confuse. But the true key has all along been visible enough! And the attention of men has been loudly called to it! It is Christ who is giving the revelation. The revelation is of Christ and by Christ. Christ is the author as well as the content of the revelation. These things man can never know unless they are revealed! No human wisdom could foreknow these mysteries; no human mind could understand them. "Who do men say that I am?" Jesus asked His disciples. They answered first one and then another. "But whom do you say that I am?" Peter responded with that immortal answer, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!" And Jesus said, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven ó in the realm of the Spirit!" In like manner, we have heard what men say the Revelation means. Now it is high time to hear what the Spirit says it means!
John was in the Spirit in the day of the Lord when he received the revelation! The Spirit was his vantage point, his perspective, his position, his frame of reference. So many are looking today in the natural for the events of this book to come to pass, but John was in the Spirit when he saw the vision, and he was in the Spirit when he wrote the book ó he wasnít in the natural! He was in a realm beyond the natural, and beholding events in a realm beyond the natural. These things are written in a language that only the spiritual mind can understand! A natural mind produces a natural concept. It should be obvious that only a person who knows French is able to read a book written in French. A Frenchman is the most likely person in the world to understand the most difficult treatise in the French language. In the same way, the book of Revelation was written in the Spirit, out of the mind of the Spirit, in the language of the Spirit, and it requires a spiritual unfoldment to understand it! Only the man who lives and walks in the Spirit can receive from it. You must be a citizen of the land ó the heavenlies ó where the language of the book is known. You must read and understand it in the language in which it was written ó not the Greek language, but the language of the Spirit of God! We must be quickened by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God for the message to be comprehended. A spiritual book must be spiritually discerned!
No word given to a prophet from the Lord by the Holy Spirit can be truthfully understood or interpreted unless the same spiritual understanding is given to the reader by the Holy Spirit that gave it originally to the prophet. Godís elect in this hour is being given the ability to "Hear what the Spirit saith," and it is the same anointing wherein it was spoken and written. The book of Revelation, like any other part of the scriptures and prophecies, must be "spiritually" understood. Understanding came to the disciples of Jesus when He "opened unto them the scriptures." Before that their natural understanding was unfruitful. They didnít have a clue! They read all the scriptures and never saw Jesus there until He "opened" the scriptures to them. And it wasnít a doctrine, it was spiritual illumination that burst forth within their hearts!
The term "in the Spirit" is much more profound than it appears in the English translation. The Greek expression means "to become" or "became." What John relates here is that he became in Spirit or came to be in Spirit. He received an entrance into a realm that was much deeper and more intense than his world of outer consciousness ó beyond the material realm. He came into the realm of heaven, the omnipresent dimension of Spirit. Heaven is the home of all spiritual and celestial beings ó not a geographical or astral location, but a dimension of life, mind, consciousness, being, and reality. The purpose of the Revelation is to reveal to us what takes place when one enters into the realm of the Spirit, to live and move and have his being in the Spirit. When we enter into this new realm we experience new things happening to us. These things have repercussions, effects, and manifestations in our outer man!
Many years ago Albert Hughes penned the following words of keen spiritual insight: "The vision will be understood only by the spiritual man. The natural man will meet with many difficulties as he seeks to know the book. No human intellect or natural ability will be sufficient. Only the spiritually discerning will ever discern. The book has a language all its own, a language fully foreign except to those whose conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour. Only those in whose mind is the light of glory will ever understand these sublime symbols, this precious phraseology. Only in the Spirit is such triumph possible! Physically, John was in Patmos; spiritually, he was in the fullness of the Holy Spirit! That which John experienced at Patmos was something beyond his conversion. It was a new consciousness, a complete communion. He was in tune and in touch with the infinite so that it was with the most perfect ease that God revealed His plans!
"John was a translated man, a transformed man. Only the Spirit can do this! When this takes place in any life, we hear and see things not possible at any other time. John was told to write what he heard and saw, a most difficult task indeed! And to get others to believe you when you do write, is even more difficult. For nearly two thousand years, men have been disputing concerning what John wrote. How can men who have never seen and heard, judge the writings or the discourses of those who by the Spirit have both seen and heard? The book is a mystery certainly, but not a mystery which cannot be understood. It is a revealed mystery, revealed to those who have been enlightened. This mystery can never be known by the natural man, with all his natural powers, but it is a mystery which is blessed to those whose minds and hearts have been touched by the Divine Spirit. May that Spirit who makes all revelation understood, come to us (in consciousness) and make plain this Word, this Voice, this Vision, this Personality. May we meet with Him who was dead, but is alive again, until He makes us glad with the joy of His countenance, until our faces are lighted with the light of His eternal glory, until our hearts burn within us with the fullness of His reality, leading us ever onward and upward until we see Him face to face, and become like Him by seeing Him as He is" ó end quote.
John was in the Spirit when he received the great Revelation of Jesus Christ! Now that sounds like a mystical term. But everybody has a spirit. We are not human beings trying to be spiritual; we are spiritual beings in a human body! Spiritual realities seem so foreign to many of the Lordís people because of the dominance of the flesh. The carnal mind is so busy "carnalizing" the word of God which is spirit and life, that it thinks that spirit and life is "spiritualizing" things that were meant to be natural! We must enter with our spirit into His Spirit to grasp the depths of this book! While the hand of John was used to write the visions and revelations he received, only the Holy Spirit fully understands and can impart what John saw and wrote unto us. In our human frame we can only see the letter, the outward form of the visions John saw, and our natural mind is without understanding.
The folly of trying to interpret spiritual realities with the carnal mind is illustrated by a humorous story that is told about a Popish and Jewish debate. According to the story, in the middle ages, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave the city of Rome. Naturally, there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the Pope made a deal. He would have a theological debate with any person selected by the Jewish community. If their representative won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would have to leave Rome forever.
The Jews realized they had no choice. They looked around for a learned champion who could defend their faith, but no one was willing to volunteer. No one felt that they could equal the Popeís vast knowledge and overwhelming eloquence. Finally they picked a man to represent them ó an old rabbi named Moishe who had become half-witted and spent his life sweeping the synagogue. Being old and slightly addled, he thought he had less to lose, and he agreed. He asked only for one condition for the debate. Not being an eloquent man like the Pope, and not being proficient in Latin, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. The Pope agreed.
The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute without making a move. Then the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him sadly, shook his head, and raised one finger. The Pope waved his arms in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple.
The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay." An hour later, the cardinals eagerly gathered around the Pope to find out what happened. The Pope said, "Iíve never met a man with such keen spiritual and theological insight. No matter what I said, he had an answer that reminded me of how little I know. First I held up three fingers to assert that God was to be found through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that, even though He has manifested Himself in three ways, there is still only one God, and we both know His name. Then I waved my arms around me to show him that the greatness of God is written in the heavens. He responded by pointing to the ground, reminding me that God was in the midst of us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. I pulled out the sacramental wine and wafer to show him that Godís Son absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me that God has been dealing with sin as far back as the garden of Eden. He had an answer for everything! I cannot ask people with such deeply spiritual leadership to leave Rome. They can stay!"
Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their young, eloquent scholars had insisted was impossible! "What happened?" they asked. "Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of town. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here." "And then?" asked a woman. "I donít know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine, and it was all over."
The natural mind is just as inept at understanding the language of the Spirit, as Moishe and the Pope were at understanding one anotherís sign language in this story! When the things of God are interpreted by carnal reasoning and human intellect, only foolishness and confusion can result. We have already noticed that John was "in the Spirit" when the Voice spoke to him, and only when we get into the "same Spirit" can we understand the things he saw and recorded. The same Spirit that wrote the book must also interpret it! And when we see it in the Spirit, the truths therein have much more meaning and significance for us at this time. As members of Godís Christ, our walk is seen in the book of Revelation, including our full deliverance and victory over the flesh, sin, the devil, sorrow and death. As we are coming to understand in the Spirit and by the Spirit the book ministers to our spirit encouragement, inspiration, understanding, wisdom, power and life! When the Revelation is studied by the natural intellect, it kills. When the Revelation is studied in the Spirit, it brings life. All teaching from God must come by the Spirit! Once we catch but a glimpse of these heavenly and divine truths and supernal glories in the Spirit, we are never again satisfied with the simple-minded mythologies that have been passed to us through so many pulpits and so-called experts over the past hundreds of years. As we walk in the Spirit we peruse the pages of this book with a sense of destiny and the certain knowledge that God is really going somewhere with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future!
The seven trumpets, for example, are a striking spiritualization of the plagues the Lord sent upon Egypt in the book of Exodus. As we look at these plagues we see that they are likened unto the literal plagues upon Egypt, but we know that the book of Revelation is a spiritual book of spiritual truths and spiritual experiences to be perceived and received only by the Spirit. Can we not see by this that the spiritual plagues come upon the spirit of Egypt within each of us to bring the release of our spirit from the dominance of the carnal mind that we may march out of the bondage of the flesh and enter into the full realization of our inheritance in our promised land ó Christ! Is that truth not infinitely more blessed and meaningful than literal plagues falling on the nations of earth! Truly these plagues bring THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!
That is why the Lord Jesus repeats seven times the admonition, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith!" Those are the same significant words Jesus always spoke on earth when He gave a parable with a deep spiritual meaning. Only the spiritual mind could understand it! None of the learned elders, scribes, lawyers, rabbis, Pharisees or Sadducees could "get it"! They missed it every time, just like Moishe and the Pope, and went away shaking their heads in confusion. Once we are spiritually familiar with the message of books like Zechariah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah weíre not afraid of terms like blood, locusts, fire, and all the graphic illustrations by which God shows us the spiritual dynamics of what He is doing.
In like manner, John by the Spirit gives us graphic depictions of the spiritual dynamics of the process by which the kingdom of God comes to pass in our lives and in the earth. But these are entirely missed by the carnal understanding! You look at the stars at night and they appear as so many little twinkling dots in the heavens. But with a telescope you can zero in on them and captivate the depths of what is out there, and it becomes evident that their glory far exceeds what the naked eye can perceive. In the book of Revelation God is giving us a behind-the-scenes, backstage, spiritual view of the drama of the processes of His dealings in the lives of His people.
The plagues of Egypt were sent upon the kingdom and people that held Godís people, Israel, in bondage. The plagues in the book of Revelation are, therefore, related to Godís spiritual people ó for the message is sent to the church! It is Jesus talking to His body! The plagues in the book of Revelation represent those dealings God sends into our lives to break the bondage of Egypt, the spirit of this world, the controlling of the flesh, the dominance of the soul, the ruling of the carnal mind! God is breaking the power of every kingdom within that rules us, usurping the life of the spirit. Our Father is bringing us out of our Egyptian bondage by a mighty and an outstretched hand! And what mighty shakings, earthquakes, and cataclysms take place in our earth as He does this! He is bringing us "out" in order to bring us "in" to the fullness of our inheritance in Christ!
Charles Weller shared the following story, which he attributed to Des Walter, from Australia. There was a man from a very primitive country that came to the USA. He had no knowledge of the technology that was about him, not even how a car would work. He was given keys to a car to use in his travels across the country. But everyone took it for granted that he was a driver, so no one explained how the car worked, except to say that the car would make his traveling faster and easier. In the morning he proceeded with the keys to the car. He figured out how to get in and put the keys in the ignition. He played with the steering wheel, adjusted the seat, stepped on the pedals, but nothing happened! After considerable waiting, he got out of the car and started pushing it. It was very hard work.
Finally, he came to a hill and jumped in the car as it quickly sped down the hill. He was gaining speed and believed that surely this is what the man meant when he gave him the keys to the car, assuring him that it would make his trip much faster. But the car stopped at the bottom of the hill, and there was a hill to go up which required great effort. He was about to abandon the car when a stranger, who had seen the whole thing, came by to talk with him. The man laughed a little, listening to the plight of the man and with loving eyes said, "Let me show you how it works." He showed the man the engine and what it could do. Then told the man to get in the car and let the engine do the work. The stranger was right and the man was carried away by the power and might of the engine.
You see, beloved, the real "key" to the car was in knowing how it worked! And there is a "key" to the book of Revelation! Like the poor man in the story we have been playing and fiddling with it, trying to figure it out; but there is a wonderful "key" that opens it up and makes it work! That key is not a system of interpretation, not a method of analysis. The key is the illumination of the Holy Spirit! If you try to play football by basketball rules, you will wind up in confusion and chaos. It canít be done! Somebody gave us the wrong rules about a hundred and fifty years ago and told us we are playing basketball when we are playing football. Weíve been trying to play football by basketball rules! Weíve been trying to understand the book of Revelation by the rules of the carnal mind, by human understanding, by other prophetical books of the Old Testament, by outward world events, when the game-plan of the book is spiritual and internal! So we force this book to fit into concepts that we have been taught, and we have had to speculate, conjecture, surmise, imagine, assume, and theorize about the incredible events John saw, trying to make them fit into the rules of this natural world, when all the time it is heavenly things that are being revealed! John never saw a thing until he was caught up IN THE SPIRIT INTO THE HEAVENLIES! The Lord is giving His elect in this hour a shift in our perception, we have been crying out mightily to God to deliver us from every inherited tradition, and He is enabling us to start all over again in the Spirit until we see the glory of Godís Christ in every chapter and line of the Revelation!
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which manís wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:12-14).
We can find a parable of this in modern science. There are whole ranges of color, the scientist tells us, which our physical eyes cannot perceive. True, we can see all the colors of the rainbow, ranging from red at the one end of the spectrum to violet at the other. But now we are assured that this is only a comparatively small fraction of the colors which really exist; that beyond the red rays at one end of the spectrum there are the infra-red, beyond the violet are the ultra-violet, and out beyond these again whole unimaginable reaches of color which we never see at all, because our eyes as at present constituted cannot get hold of them. In short, what we do see is only a tiny segment of the whole! If this is true of our physical eyes, is it not also true of the inner eye of the spirit? In days past, in our babyhood walk in God, we apprehended something of eternal spiritual realities; we have seen, even if through a glass darkly, something of the marvel of the kingdom of God and the beauty of the King! But our past spiritual spectrum ó how poor a fraction of the whole! And beyond the best insights we have had in this dark, shadowed existence of time and flesh and limitation and tradition and religious teachings of the old-order church systems of man, what reaches of glory are now being opened for us in that higher world of the kingdom of heaven! All our questions are being answered here, line upon line, precept upon precept, as the Father teaches us by His Spirit the mysteries of His purposes!
Consider now, though one might study and search forever, trying to figure out the enigma of the symbols of this wonderful book of Revelation, he would never arrive at the correct interpretation, for the carnal man sees through carnal eyes, and having eyes he sees not, neither does he understand. There is therefore only one word of advice I can give. Do not try by much study to figure out the marvelous mysteries of Godís word, but CONCENTRATE ON CHRIST. HE is the truth, and beside HIM there is no truth! Our knowledge of God and the things of God depend entirely upon where we look. Paul penned these words to the saints in Colosse and they are just as true today as they were two millennia ago: "IN HIM are HID all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3). Christ Himself is the great treasure house where all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are concealed and stored up. IN HIM, and in Him alone, are to be found all the rich blessings and mighty powers and celestial realities which wisdom and knowledge bestow! This book is about the revelation of Jesus Christ ó but we will neither discover nor experience that unveiling by applying the human intellect to the written words of this book. We can only see, know, and experience His unveiling within ourselves through intimacy of fellowship and vital union WITH CHRIST! It is only in the Spirit and by the Spirit that we can see Him and know Him. The Revelation is ultimately not a book ó it is the experiencing of the very person and life of Jesus Christ within ourselves!
The book of Job is a book of deep spiritual revelation. The natural man can never understand the things of God! This truth is proclaimed in Job 32:8 wherein we read, "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Inspiration ó that doesnít speak of just a mental state, it speaks of emotion, passion, quickening, illumination, interior thinking. God is in-spiring His sons! People wonder sometimes where we get our ideas from and the depth of understanding of Godís word and purpose. Weíre inspired! Iím not talking about myself, I speak of all the elect of God who see and hear by the Spirit! You could never discover these truths by study, although study is a part of the process. The truth must appear to us in our spirits as something we see, know and understand beyond our senses, beyond the mind, beyond the seeing of the eye or the hearing of the ear. The truth appears out of the rolling discourse of Godís voice within us! That is inspiration! It is the in-breathing of God and the understanding and knowledge imparted out of His very spirit within us. The things we write and speak are inspired by heavenly light! They do not originate out of any part or aspect of the earthen vessel, but purely and completely out of the treasure within the vessel.
We have often missed the truth because we relied on our intellect to interpret to us the scriptures, instead of looking to the Teacher sent from God, to do His work, and perform His ministry. Even Spirit-filled Christians depend mostly on commentaries and books by the hundreds, written by men, and often men void of the Holy Spirit, as their source of information and understanding of the scriptures, and the spirit of truth is relegated to a back room in their minds, and rarely consulted about anything the scriptures have to say. Godís called out elect, who are walking in the Spirit in this new day of the Lord, have reinstated Him to His proper position and allow Him to fulfill the ministry He came to do. Now donít think I am against books. I am not. I have quite a large library myself! I use books. If I were opposed to writings I would not be sending out this article. Many people have been helped by what is written, but far too many saints think that through Bible study, and by searching the scriptures alone, they can come to an understanding of the things of God, and acquire a knowledge of the truth. But if we are really studying the Bible, in the light of inspiration and revelation, this is what we will find, for this is what the Bible teaches: apart from the revelation of the indwelling Spirit, there is no way that we can search out, nor understand, the things of God and His ways!
Hear what the inspired apostle said: "O the depths of riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out" (Rom. 11:33). How can we ever search out the unsearchable, or find that which is past finding out? Ah, it is the mind of man that is unable to search out and find out the things of God! It is impossible by human means or methods, but not impossible with God, for with Him nothing is impossible. There is a way, His way, and that is by the working of the indwelling Spirit of Truth!
The sons of God today are putting on a new mind, even the mind of Christ! Every son of God is relinquishing, abandoning, signing away, repudiating, disclaiming, and renouncing their own human, carnal mind! The eye is the figure of knowledge and understanding. The apostle Paul penned these meaningful words: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:17-18). The phrase, "the eyes of your understanding," reveals that spiritual sight or spiritual understanding is an ability or function of the mind. Without mind there can be no understanding! A manís understanding corresponds precisely to the condition, development, or quality of his mind.
Every created life form possesses mind and the understanding of the creature is limited by the quality of its mind. Quality of mind is, basically, an inherited characteristic. For instance, a cat thinks like a cat, knows as a cat, understands as a cat, and acts like a cat because it was born a cat, therefore possessing the brain and mind of a cat. We used to have a cat in our home. I noticed that this cat would come and sit in the living room while I watched the evening television news. While I am very interested in news, the cat had absolutely no interest at all! He couldnít care less! It is not that he didnít see the pictures flashing across the screen. He saw them, all right, but he didnít understand them, so he just curled up on the carpet and went to sleep. Politics, economics, weather, murders, war, terrorism ó none of this had any meaning to him whatsoever. It is simply impossible for cats to understand things human! Humans are of a different and higher order than cats. Cats may see men, and observe their movements, yet there is no common ground of knowledge. The cat has no comprehension of what it sees. It discerns only things pertaining to its own realm. It has positively no understanding of the ways of man, or of the meaning of his movements, or the significance of his words, or of the intent of his actions. Cat minds function on the level of cat nature, while human minds function on the level of human nature.
In like manner, God is of a different and higher order of life and nature than are humans. The mind of man functions on the level of human nature, whereas the mind of God functions on the level of divine nature. There is no common ground of knowledge or understanding between the two! Therefore, the natural man is totally incapable of comprehending that which pertains to the realm of God. For natural minds to comprehend things spiritual is equally as impossible as for cats to understand things human. And so, until humans receive of Godís Spirit, the Spirit that knows and understands the things that pertain to God, it is impossible for them to have any understanding, either of God, or of His word, or of His will, or of His ways. With what truth did Paul write to the Corinthians: "For who could really understand a manís inmost thoughts except the spirit of man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? We have now received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God Himself, so we can understand something of Godís generosity towards us" (I Cor. 2:11-12, Moffatt).
And then after men receive the Spirit of God, the depth of their knowledge and understanding is wholly in proportion to the measure of the indwelling Spirit and the growth and maturity of the mind of the Spirit within them. Jesus was a man, but God was in Him! "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). He grew in stature and in favor with God and man until He received the Spirit of the Father without measure (Jn. 3:34). In Christ dwells all the fullness of God! And therefore He had and has all the discernment and knowledge and understanding of heaven! But we faltering mortals cannot claim what Christ possessed until we have grown up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, conformed to His image, transformed into His likeness. We, upon being born again, regenerated, our spirit quickened by His Spirit, awaken to our identity as actual sons of God, yet babes: "Babes in Christ." And the understanding of newborn babes, spiritual though they may be, the offspring of God though they are, is limited in the extreme! They cannot have a deep knowledge or comprehension until they have been filled with the mind of God; until they have grown to spiritual maturity, the spiritual mind being fully developed within them!
We will never, in this age, be fully able to comprehend the boundless power of the mind of man. The natural mind, though it understands not the things of the Spirit, is capable of astonishing wonders! All the marvelous inventions of the world have proceeded from the mind of man, yet the natural mind receives not any of the things of God! As heaven is higher than earth, so are Godís ways higher than manís, and Godís thoughts higher than manís. The man who receives of Godís life is renewed in the spirit of his mind; that is, he takes on a new mind originating in the new spirit-life, so that he thinks and acts as an entirely new creation, a new man, a new kind of creature. As he follows on to know the Lord he finds that his darkened mind completely gives way to this new creation mind which is the MIND OF JESUS CHRIST. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," Paul admonishes. The mind that was in Jesus was the Fatherís mind! It is like a brain transplant. If surgeons today were able to take out your brain and transplant mine into you, you would become, in spite of a different body, ó ME! You see, all my accumulated experience, knowledge, and wisdom, or lack thereof, would be transferred to you! Because He was fully possessed of His Fatherís mind, Jesus was able to say, "I and the Father are one." "I speak as my Father speaks." "It is not I that doeth the works, but my Father who dwelleth in me." The mind that was in Christ Jesus is freely given to every man who believes into His name that he might be one with Christ and one with the Father.
Let us never forget that in those glorious ages to come it will be the mind of our heavenly Father that will rule the universe. The Father has decreed that He will rule the universe by HIM whom He has chosen; and those sons, the many-membered Son, every one will be possessed with the Fatherís mind. As the hands and the feet of a healthy body act in harmony with the head, so every member among the sons of God act in harmony with the Head, even Jesus, because ONE MIND DWELLS IN THEM ALL!
To be continuedÖ
J. PRESTON EBY
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<>J. Preston Eby
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El Paso TX 79937-1240
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