KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
ONE LIKE UNTO A SON OF MAN
"And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man" (Rev. 1:12-13).
It has been said, and I believe it, that Jesus Christ is the greatest man that ever lived. I confess, however, that it is with mingled feelings that I say it. For you see, it is, by the very nature of the case, only a half-truth! The other half, revealed clearly in the scriptures, and made known to us in the power of the Holy Spirit, is this, that Christ Jesus possessed divine powers which every man may share, which makes every man great, which will save the world and deliver every man into the image and likeness of God. It takes the whole truth to reveal Christ’s greatness — the corporate, complete, many-membered Christ is the greatest man who has lived and shall ever live! This is the man John saw in vision while on Patmos! John beheld in spirit a picture, a representation, and what he saw was someone who was "like a son of man" or someone in human form. It was a personage that bore the likeness of a man. Yet this One he saw was something more than an ordinary man! This One had the features and appearance of a man, but there was a glory and a majesty of His person that transcended that of any natural man! This was the image of true manhood, the new man, the perfect man, man in the image and likeness of God!
With these thoughts in mind let us look a little closer at God’s purpose in man. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and let them have dominion…so God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him…" (Gen. 1:26-27). God the Creator was invisible to His creation. But now, creation was about to see what God looked like! As the hands of a great potter God began to scrape together a lump of red clay and to shape a model after the similitude of Himself. He molded and formed His spiritual characteristics, senses, and abilities into an outward form in the lump of clay. He then stamped the likeness of His own divine attributes into the red clay of that which was earthy. There was only one problem with this man — he was but a model out of the earth. He could only express that which was spiritual in the form of a symbol, type, or shadow. But God already had the solution to that problem. Just at that moment God descended within Himself into the deepest depths of spirit-substance and filled His lungs with a breath from beyond the veil — He exhaled that breath of divine life and blew it into the nostrils of the man whom He had formed and man became a zoe psuche — a living soul!
In this procreative act God came down to the clay model and by the infusion of His divine spirit interfaced the visible and the invisible, the natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, the human and the divine. He breathed into Adam the spirit-substance of Himself that made Adam higher than the animals, for the very essence that made him live was out of the very life of God Himself. Man, from that primordial beginning, had spirit-substance within him. When God breathed into him, that divine breath of God was the connection between the visible and the invisible. Heaven and earth came together in the person of a man! And now we have a unique creation that has access at all times to both the visible and the invisible. He walks with God in the spirit and can carry on an intellectual conversation with the almighty Creator. He is God’s representative in the earth, yea, in the whole universe; the visible, tangible expression and revelation of the invisible, intangible God! All that God was and all that God could do by the power of His Spirit this man manifested on the visible, physical plane. He was God’s image and God’s glory revealed in an earthly dimension so that God might be seen, touched, and known by creation!
The power which Adam had in the beginning was tremendous beyond the finite comprehension of men who are today dissipated and weakened by six millenniums of sin and death. I know that many claim that God’s proclamation to make man in His image and after His likeness was merely a prophecy, a foretelling of His purpose to be fulfilled in man in ages yet to come. But the record clearly shows, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him" (Gen. 1:27). Then some say that God did indeed create man in his spirit in the image of God, but had yet to form him into the likeness of God. But the scripture plainly contradicts this notion, too! "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him" (Gen. 5:1). Adam in his bright beginning bore the image and likeness of God without the sad effects of the fall and banishment from the Paradise of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The astonishing power of that man in the image of God was present in his life, for the first man Adam was made a living soul (Gen. 2:7; I Cor. 15:45). Adam the living soul possessed awesome abilities, authority, and dominion. Before his fall, Adam was able to freely and fully exercise this ability, since it was imparted to him by the very breath or spirit of divine life!
God made a man in the beginning. God has made and is making a new man in Christ Jesus! What was fully manifested and seen in Jesus is potential in every man. Something of that same divine spirit that was expressed in Him in all fullness is also in us. Something of that same divine likeness in which we were created is hidden in all men, for every man is spirit, soul, and body. If the spirit of man did not come from God, from whence came it? If it did come from God, is there not a substance of God in it? Those who deny that the seed of God is in every man must explain to me the origin and substance of man’s spirit! Or prove to me that the unregenerated man has no spirit! The very power of regeneration is the quickening of the spirit of man! Not the giving of that spirit, but the quickening or germination of that spirit in man!
It has been said that in Jesus Christ the divine and the human meet, but this is also true of every one of us. He is the true humanity who is the Son of man and the Son of God. It is not that He is super-human, but that we are sub-human! But inasmuch as we are human at all we are akin to Him. The first man and the second man are both man. The first Adam and the last Adam are both Adam. Those in the first man are in part what the second man is in perfection. The whole purpose of our lives is to become human in the sense in which He was human; to be changed into the same likeness from one glorious conversion to another, even by the Lord who is the Spirit. We are being transformed into a perfect man, that is, into the PERFECT MANHOOD! Christ is growing up in us, and the whole process of life in Christ is one in which "He must increase, but I must decrease." Paul said it so well, "It pleased God to reveal HIS SON in me," which precisely describes the life of sonship, for the Son of God is the PERFECT MAN IN GOD’S IMAGE! It is as the Spirit of Christ becomes manifest within us that we approach nearer and nearer to the true humanity as it was seen in Jesus, "till we all come to a perfect manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). His possession of our lives will grow, until we are fully "strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inward humanity," being "filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:16,19).
The people of God today have no greater need than the need to know the power and glory of CHRIST WITHIN. CHRIST is the image of God, the scripture says. I know these words may seem to be incredible, but they are the truth — the very first mention of the "image of God" is applied, not to Jesus Christ, but to our forefather Adam (Gen. 1:26). As we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image of God" we can only conclude that this is a spiritual man brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty, and bearing His own divine nature, character, power, and attributes. The "image of God" is the nature of God reproduced in man! Thus, man is the true image of God. And Jesus Christ is the image of God because He is the true man, man as he was meant to be! Jesus revealed to lost and fallen men their true origin, heritage, and destiny. He came to show man what man really is, was intended to be, and through redemption (buying back to the original) shall be — THE IMAGE OF GOD! Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, man was he was and man as he shall be. In Jesus Christ you see man as he was in the beginning and as he ever shall be world without end — THE IMAGE OF GOD! Of Him it is written, "Who is the expression of the glory of God — the Light Being, the out-raying of the divine — and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature" (Heb. 1:3, Amplified). Christ, and humanity in Christ, is like a ray of light that comes from the sun — man, the extension of God, emanates God!
When the Lord lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed, by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it, transform it, preserve it, infusing it with the qualities of life — holiness and incorruption. Jesus, the last Adam, the Ideal Man, came and demonstrated for us this very principle! This potential in man to rule the natural is shed forth in Jesus’ mighty works — by His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins, doing miracles, and raising the dead. He transcended by His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal realm by turning water into wine, multiplying the loaves and fishes, calming the sea, walking on water, by His transfiguration and rising from the dead. The great significance of Jesus’ mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand that He did not perform as a unique, different, higher kind of man — all His wonderful works were the example and teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD! As the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost — mankind's heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High! Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully proclaimed to His disciples, "The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall ye do!" (Jn. 14:12).
By His resurrection Jesus proved the spirit within to be OMNIPOTENT, all-conquering, all-sufficient. He met and mastered death itself by the law of the spirit of life! He took no drugs to fight infection, inflammation, or viruses. He did not depend upon health food, pure air, pure water, vitamins, or herbs to renew depleted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal His nail-pierced hands and feet, or to bind up His wounded side, so that He might remove the napkin and grave clothes and stride out of the tomb as before. Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, conquered every power of corruption and death, and stepped forth from His gloomy grave, crowned with the glory of divine life and everlasting victory — the role model for each and every man and woman of Adam’s race! Jesus’ victory over sin, sickness, pain, limitation, death and the grave was for the enlightenment of every son of God and for the salvation of the whole world! Paul writes, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE (within)" (Rom. 5:10). And again, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU!" (Rom. 8:11). Glory be to God and peace to the fainting hearts! Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith, through the revelation and demonstration of Life in God, the life resident in the SPIRITUAL MAN! This, my beloved, is sonship!
The truth is that every higher plane of life to which man attains, and especially the highest life in Christ, is the true reality of manhood — there is no becoming of anything of a different order or nature that is not man. MAN IS THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD, and as God changes and matures us from glory to glory there is the quickening and fulfilling of what man by the very essence of his nature is! The more man becomes irradiated with divinity, the more, not less, he is truly man. When I write such a truth it seems to me self-evident, yet we can only know it by the revelation of Jesus Christ. There is a true humanity which Christ came to reveal, and in Him all the unattained possibilities are secured. Man is the son of God! The whole creation is groaning and travailing till man shall be complete, the sons of God unveiled! What is the spirit of such words as these? Is it not an assertion that in the measure our sonship is lacking, man is not truly man? You see, my beloved, that divine life to which the sons of God are called is the fulfillment, not the abrogation or surrender, of our humanity! The Son of Man! What an awesome term that is!
It is not the Son of God, but the Son of man who has power on earth to forgive (send away) sins! (Mat. 9:6). It is the Son of man to whom is given all judgment and authority! (Jn. 5:22,27). It is the Son of man whom the Father seals! (Jn. 6:27). It is the Son of man who ascends! (Jn. 6:62). It is the Son of man who is glorified! (Jn. 12:23). The Son of man gives life to the world! (Jn. 6:53). The Son of man sits upon the throne of glory! (Mat. 19:28). All of this, and much more, is true of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all of this is true of every son who is a member of the corporate Son of man, the body of Christ! The sons of God are nothing but true men! "Nothing but the true man?" you ask. As if that were a little thing! As if man, with any inflow of divinity, could be, or could wish to be, anything more or different from man! As soon as we understand all this, what a great, clear thing redemption becomes! It is the buying back, the making of man to be himself — the calling up out of the depths of his being and the filling with vitality of that person which is truly HE — this is salvation!
We must see the truth as it is. Man is a son of God (Lk. 3:38) on whom the devil has laid his hand, not a child of the devil whom God is trying to save. The adversary came in, therefore he may be driven out! When he is driven out, and man is purely man, then man is redeemed. The sons of God, to all who think the thought of Jesus, are the quickened, delivered, perfected, completed man. Jesus is Himself the firstborn among many brethren. God came to reveal Himself to men and here came Christ the man, Jesus the man. If you have seen Him, you have seen the Father! No man has seen God at any time, but the uniquely begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath revealed Him, hath led Him out where He can be seen!
In Jesus we see the glory of divine manhood. We have wondered at the fact that Jesus could do such mighty works, that He could feed five thousand people from five small loaves and two fish, that He could calm the raging sea with a word, walk on water, cleanse lepers, heal the multitudes and raise the dead. It amazes us — and we think of Him as Almighty God, whom He is. But Jesus did none of these things as God! God in Christ was simply a true man again! That, precious friend of mine, is why all the laws of nature and the elements of the world and the powers of creation were subservient to Him! It was to man that God gave the dominion over all the works of His hands! Jesus was a true man, as the world had never seen man. He is the image of God, as the Son of man. The false man, Adam, is weak because of a lost dominion. But this man, Christ, the second man who is also the last Adam, is more real than any other man! Now He seeks brethren who will become in Him the real men of the earth. He could come with hosts of angels to bring His kingdom to pass in the earth. But, no! He doesn’t want angels. Angels haven’t been given dominion over anything (Heb. 2:5-8). Man, not creatures from other worlds, must be God’s kingdom on earth!
Our world today needs the new men that Christ makes. New men are the key to everything else that must be renewed. Therefore the making of new men is the first priority of the kingdom of God! Only by the making of new men can the Kingdom of Heaven come to earth! Our world desires better schools, a better press, better government, a better business world, a better economy, better living conditions, better health, better institutions, better communities. At every point we are driven to the need for new men — a NEW CREATION! Through two world wars men dreamed and talked of the coming of a better world when nations would lay down their arms and begin to build that better world. More than half a century has gone by since the last World War and it is not only the same old world, it is a much worse world. Old Adam can never build a better world! Getting rid of communism and terrorism is no sign of a new world. That is but the militarism and politics of natural men. We cannot build a new world out of men with old dispositions, old attitudes, old hearts, and old natures. The new world for which all creation groans and travails can only be fulfilled by new men with renewed minds, new hearts, and a new spirit!
Regeneration brings a mighty change within humanity — the destruction of the Adamic creation and the establishment of the Christ within. This reality was accomplished by Jesus on the cross and through His burial and resurrection, but is made experiential in each of us through the present inworking of God. In one of his inspired writings along this line Paul Mueller says, "Only God can remove this ‘man’ from us. This is His battle, not ours! By the Spirit, we know the Lord is now focusing on this ‘man’ who is the cause of the manifestation of all evil and darkness. When once we are free of this carnal nature, there will be nothing within us that can respond to the devil’s evil thoughts. Then the seed that we are shall be pure seed, identical to the Christ Seed, which shall be planted among men to establish the new creation of Christ in the earth. So shall the kingdom of God be manifest with power in all the earth, and then in the universe, that God may be all in all. And when this carnal, sinful nature is eventually removed from all mankind, Satan will have no place anywhere on this earth to plant his evil ideas and see them fulfilled. He will be a defeated foe! Then the cause of all the world’s problems will no longer exist, and mankind will live the Christ Life with peace, joy and victory.
"The new order of the fullness of the kingdom of God will be free of the carnal nature, which is the man of sin, the real anti-christ. And God is now beginning this new creation order with you and me. He will no longer tolerate the evil that has been promoted in the world by the Adamic man. The Lord is not only revealing the manifestations of this evil ‘man,’ He also is going right to the heart of the matter. The Lord will take him out of us root, stock and branches, and eventually out of all others, so that he will never again trouble the world. The true interest and purpose of the Holy Spirit of God for His elect in this hour is not the results and effects of all the evil in the world, but rather with the cause of all evil. The Spirit of God is now dealing with the cause of all unrighteousness! And all who are in harmony with His Spirit are also in full agreement with the work of the Spirit of God for this great day" — end quote.
When the patriarch Jacob was fleeing from the wrath of his brother, Esau, he went out of Beersheba, on the border of the desert, and walked alone toward a land far to the north, carrying his staff in his hand. One evening, just about sunset, he came to a place among the mountains, more than sixty miles distant from his home. And as he had no bed to lie down upon, he took a stone and rested his head upon it for a pillow and lay down to sleep. We would think that a hard pillow, but Jacob was very tired and soon fell asleep. And on that night Jacob had a wonderful dream! In his dream he saw a ladder whose steps reached up to heaven from the earth where he lay; and angels were going up and coming down upon the steps. And above the ladder, he saw the Lord God standing.
And God said to Jacob, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac your father; and I will be your God, too. The land where you are lying all alone shall belong to you and to your children after you; and your children shall spread abroad over the lands, east and west and north and south, like the dust of the earth: and in your family all the world shall receive a blessing. And I am with you in your journey, and I will keep you where you are going and will bring you back to this land. I will never leave you and I will surely keep my promise to you." In the morning Jacob awaked from his sleep and he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it! How awesome is this place! I thought that I was all alone, but God has been with me. This place is none other than the house of God; it is the gate of heaven!"
The Lord Jesus makes a striking reference to Jacob’s ladder in His address to Nathanael as recorded in the gospel of John. "And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (Jn. 1:51). What did this statement mean? It could mean nothing else than that the Lord Jesus regarded Himself as the fulfillment of that which had been symbolized in the patriarch’s vision of the ladder set up between earth and heaven. Spiritually understood it means that Christ is the ladder — the connecting link between earth and heaven, between man and God, between flesh and spirit, between humanity and divinity. The Son of man is Jacob’s ladder! Christ is, within Himself, where earth and heaven meet! Nothing ascends to God, and nothing comes from God, but in and through Him. From earth to the Father’s throne in the heavenlies the word is, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." And from heaven to earth the word is, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…" (Heb. 1:1-2). "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."
No man can come to the Father, to see and know the Father, except by the sonship that is in Christ. It is through what Jesus was and is, by apprehending the spiritual reality manifest in Him, by laying hold in faith upon the life that He is, that we penetrate the inmost heart of all existence and experience union with God. The angels of God — the messengers of heaven — have been passing to and fro between the heart of God and the heart of man in all ages. There is that within the spirit of man which will not let us rest contentedly in what is only of the earth, earthy; our angels do always behold the face of the Father; our yearnings and aspirations are ever ascending heavenward, reaching out for the kingdom of heaven. From the side of God the traffic has been no less constant. The shining ones are ever streaming down, the word of God is ever being spoken out of the heavens, the anointing is ever being shed forth. And now God has come to earth in Christ, and Christ is bringing us to the Father — many sons brought to glory! It is in Christ that heaven and earth meet, and the meeting place is man. Heaven is opened and the angels of God are ascending and descending upon the Son of man!
It is here in Christ, the Son of man, that man’s true home, long shut to him, is now opened, and all that man has lost is restored in and through the second man, the last Adam, the Son of man. Heaven, the realm from which the spirit of every man was birthed, is again opened to him. Lowered into this gross material realm, by the flesh of the first man Adam, heaven was closed and man was shut out of the Paradise where heaven and earth merge, shut up in bondage to his outward nature and consciousness, and heaven and all spiritual things of the celestial world were lost to him. But now, praise God! Heaven has been opened to man, and again he can see that bright world of Life and Light and Love, from which he has so long been banished. In Christ he is made a new creature, quickened from above, to know again the presence of God and be conscious of heavenly companions, angels of God, ascending and descending upon him.
Jacob’s Bethel is Adam’s garden of Eden, and both are our life in Christ. Oh, yes — it is a wondrous thing that in Christ, the ladder touching the earth beneath and the heavens above, we should in spirit hold direct and conscious communion with the saints of all ages, for truly the veil is rent and we are now come "unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:22-24).
We have found the gate of heaven! The gate of heaven is Christ, the Son of man! He is the ladder that brings us to the Father and to His throne in the heavenlies! God is seen and revealed at the top of this ladder! The inhabitants of that heavenly, spiritual world ascend and descend upon us in this realm where heaven and earth meet! If this realm seems dim to you, my friend, then know of a certainty that the old carnal man of the flesh must pass away and you must find your identity in the new man of the Spirit. This is the path of our transformation! As we ascend in the Spirit, we are using Christ, the ladder, to approach our Father and His throne and His world. When we ascend in the Spirit to the highest heavens, we see that it is our home where once our spirit did reside, and it is the world regained for us by the Son of man who came down from heaven. "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven" (Jn. 3:13).
Can we not see by this that Christ is our access, our ladder! Take advantage of the glorious privilege we have in Christ! Upon the Son of man we may ascend into the very presence of the Father and there learn of Him all that pertains to His will for us. There we can experience communion, by the Holy Spirit, with all the saints of both heaven and earth! We are all one spirit in Christ! The open heavens are before us! As we ascend in the Spirit, we see the throne of God and the dominion of His kingdom that is coming to earth. We also hear the new word of the kingdom that the Father would teach us, His sons. It is there that we see all things as they really are. It is there in Christ in the Spirit that all mysteries are revealed. We are changed as we ascend, and we are made ministers of His kingdom as we descend! The glory of God in Jesus Christ shall fill us to overflowing, transforming us within and without, and setting creation free!
Oh, what unspeakable glory it would have been to have stood with John that day on lonely Patmos to behold this One like unto a son of man — this greater than man MAN — the Christ of God! May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom and understanding to see that when the Bible speaks of "the Son of man," it is not referring exclusively to our Lord Jesus the Christ. The deeper truth is, all the growing and maturing sons of God are also part of the "Son of man" company, for they are bone of His bones, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit, the body of Christ. They are also the completeness of Him that filleth all in all! This One that John saw in the midst of the candlesticks is the Christ, the complete Christ. It is Jesus the glorious head with eyes as lamps of fire complete with all His many brethren all the way down to His beautiful feet burning as though in a furnace of fire! And when the voice of this glorious One rang out, it was not the voice of the man of Nazareth whose voice thrilled the thousands by the sea of Galilee, but the voice as the sound of many waters — many peoples — many sons brought to His glory!
With what eloquence did George Hawtin write of this One: "Was not Jesus the Alpha formed within the womb of Mary to come forth in manifestation as Christ, the head of the body? Should it then seem strange that the body of Christ, the Omega, should be formed in the midst of the church woman? Was not this the thing that John was seeing by revelation? John, who had known Jesus so intimately while He was here on earth, could plainly see the identical likeness, but his spirit told him that this revelation of Christ’s glory was something far beyond anything he had ever known. This was the Christ in His fullness, the Alpha and the Omega together, the First and the Last in one, Jesus of Nazareth the Head, one body with a vast family of sons, all speaking with the harmony of a mighty symphony, for the voice he heard was as the sound of many waters."
Those who are called of God to sonship, as members of God’s corporate Christ, are seen in the Spirit as the Son of man company. All that Jesus spoke of the Son of man is true of these as well as of Him! A whole year of articles could be spent exploring just that one awesome thought, but we cannot dwell there. A dear friend in California shared the following experience which beautifully expresses the truth of which I now speak, and points clearly to the reality of that One whom John beheld in the midst of the candlesticks. "Several months ago as I walked about performing my daily tasks, as I lay upon my bed at night, in times of prayer and meditation before the Lord, or caught up in feverish activity, there began to break upon me the vision of a heavenly man. There in my mind’s eye, I was beholding with unbelievable realness, the form of a man — gigantic in size — silhouetted against the dark heavenly background. The sky around him was extremely dark, and it was as though I could see through him, for the dark sky could also be seen behind him. But there, etched against the sky, outlined with a brilliant light, was that form, daily impressed upon me, constantly with me, and I began to cry out with much depth of feeling, ‘Oh, God, what is it?’ Somehow, I was made to know that in some measure I was beholding the resurrected Christ! I am certain that it was only a glimpse of that which is later to be revealed to all those of us who wait for His appearing, but it was a glimpse that lifted my sights to look beyond that which we see in the immediate earth-realm.
"As that vision was daily presented to me, I began to know within the depths of my being that that was a resurrection body — and that it was, in fact, the body of Christ which arose from the grave in a glorious victory over death. More than that, I was made to know by the Spirit that somehow, in some mysterious manner, that it is THAT BODY — that very same body that arose from the grave and ascended to the Father — that we are being fitted into! How earthy we have been, for we have looked at the divided, carnal, worldly, un-unified camp of believers on the earth and have said, ‘Behold the body of Christ.’ Never have I been more convinced of anything than this: verily we are the body of Christ in that we are the materials that are being fitted into that glorious body! But THAT MAN, the GLORIFIED MAN in the heavenlies, is the body of Christ, and it is as we are fitted into that Man that it can truly be said, ‘Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.’ The place that He has gone to prepare is the place IN HIMSELF — in that glorified, resurrected body!"
The mystery of Christ! What could be more solemn or sacred than that? The mystery is just this — as we eat His flesh and drink His blood the resurrected body of Jesus is raised up within us as the new and glorified Son of man! God is preparing a body, a perfect man, the Son of man company to minister to the multitudes of earth as ONE NEW MAN in the fullness of God! John saw this corporate Son of man, which is Jesus in and through His many-membered body, even His own resurrected and glorified body raised up within us, in the midst of the seven churches. That shows that this body of the matured Christ is gathered out of the church, out of the church age, and truly stands "in the midst" of the churches, but yet not "in" the seven churches! There is a deep mystery here. It is completely impossible to portray a divine image in the mirror of human words. Earthly illustrations can but dimly describe things that are celestial and divine.
But can we not see here the very same picture we see in chapter twelve of the Revelation of the manchild birthed by the woman? The manchild is of the woman, from the woman, out of the woman, yet not the woman! In like manner, the "Son of man" is "in the midst" of the churches, but yet is not the churches! Just as the woman goes into the wilderness while the manchild is caught up to the throne, so the seven churches bear the glory of the seven golden candlesticks in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, whereas the "One like unto a son of man" dwells in the radiant glory of the resurrected, ascended, and enthroned Christ of God! His is the glory of the Shekinah that shines in the Holiest of all! Do you see the contrast? The seven golden candlesticks have a flickering flame of fire from the oil within. But the One like unto a son of man has a countenance as the sun shining in its strength in the blinding light of which John fell at His feet as dead!
Christ is standing in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks representing something. The positioning of the candlestick in the Tabernacle in the wilderness has some relevance. You will notice that the candlestick was not in the Most Holy Place, but was located in what was known as the Holy Place, which is the area of the Tabernacle just before the Most Holy Place. This positioning of the seven-branched candlestick gives us some special truth about the church of this age. The church does not dwell in the Holiest of all — the place of all fullness. It does not walk in the realities of the third compartment of the Most Holy Place, nor in the blessings of the third feast of the Feast of Tabernacles, nor in the power of the third day of Full Resurrection Life. Look around you at the church world — can any deny that this is the truth? The church age has remained in the second compartment of the Holy Place, where the candlestick dwells; in the second feast, the Feast of Pentecost; and in the second day which falls short of Perfection!
It is not that the way into the Holiest has not been opened and available during the church age; it is, rather, that the church has not risen up to enter in! "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…" (Heb. 10:19-22). Believers of the church age have with one accord sold themselves woefully short of all the great provisions of God! Christ has entered into that which is within the veil, the absolute fullness of God! He has opened up the way for men to enter into a full and complete salvation, even the realm of sonship. Jesus is the apostle of our faith. He is the sign Son, the firstborn, the pioneer and forerunner who has entered in for us. All who are to come to sonship shall follow Him through the veil and come into that wonderful fullness of the resurrected, ascended, glorified, and enthroned Lord! Millions prefer to remain in the dim flickering light of the candlestick in the Holy Place before the veil, but a people has risen up in this great day of the Lord to follow the One like unto a son of man into the radiant glory of the Holiest of all!
It is now time, above all times, for us to mightily stress these truths! I see no possibility of any long delay until the hour of the manifestation of the sons of God becomes a reality in the earth. This manifestation is the glory, not of the indwelling Spirit as the oil in the candlestick, but of the blazing Shekinah over the mercy seat in the Holiest of all; the glory of the fullness of the Feast of Tabernacles; and the resurrection life and power of the Third Day (Hos. 6:2; Lk. 13:32). The realm of sonship is an entirely new realm beyond the attainments of any in the candlestick realm!
Many priests could minister in the Holy Place, where stood the candlestick, the table of showbread, and the golden altar of incense. But only one man, the High Priest, was called to minister in the Holiest of all where dwelt the ark of the covenant and the glory of the God of Israel. Under the old, Pentecostal, church order men ministered by the light of the indwelling anointing in the dimness of the Holy Place realm, to call out a people for the Lord’s name, to walk there in the light of the Pentecostal anointing, to eat of the bread of Christ upon the table of showbread, which is the word of God, and to offer up the spiritual sacrifices of praise and worship at the golden altar of incense before the veil.
The candlestick identifies the church with the Holy Place, for it was there that the candlestick gave its light. So you see, when we enter by the church into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, we come into a new spiritual dimension where the lampstand begins to enlighten us, so we have a new illumination or quickening by the Spirit and the Word. The Lord did indeed light our candle and enlighten our darkness with the anointing of Christ! Now, we see new and glorious things while darkness abounds throughout the world. Christ has lit our candle, which is our spirit, with His glory to dispel the darkness within us and around us. He has also bid us enter, in our great and glorious High Priest, into that which is within the veil! And He is arising upon us, as we enter in Him beyond the veil, in the brightness of His life until we shall be totally transformed from the light of the candlestick into the brilliance of Him who walks in the midst of the candlesticks, whose countenance shines as the noonday sun! It is in this light that we are being brought from limitation into fullness, from the earthly into the heavenly, and changed from the corruptible into the incorruptible, from mortality into immortality!
The Holy Place of the candlestick is a unique position: at its entrance it touches the Outer Court, and on the other side it touches the Most Holy Place. In the Outer Court we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus at the brazen altar of sacrifice, and thus brought to a personal reconciliation to God. The Outer Court is a personal experience! It is where the sinner meets God one on one and first experiences the Lord as salvation. From there we go on into the Holy Place, into the fellowship of the church, as the corporate candlestick, where we are enlightened by the Spirit, strengthened by the showbread, and brought to a spiritual life of communion, prayer, praise and worship upon the golden altar of incense. Here, our understanding is enlightened that we have come beyond the Outer Court — yet we can still touch it. We have not as yet experienced the surpassing glory of the Holiest of all realms beyond the veil — but we can also touch it, and can enter only from the Holy Place. As we then pass in our High Priest beyond the veil we step beyond the old, Pentecostal, church order to enter from glory to glory into the fullness and power of the GLORIFIED AND ENTHRONED CHRIST! This is the throne realm that John beheld when he was caught up in the Spirit from the candlestick realm and saw a throne set in heaven, and One sat upon the throne. It is here that we reign with Christ in the kingdom of God!
In the new order of the kingdom of God the elect shall bring Life to the whole creation by the power of His resurrection. God has determined to fill the earth with new creation men — matured into the likeness of Jesus Christ! God gave Adam, the first man, the power to multiply and reproduce himself. It was through Eve, his wife, that his image was reproduced and birthed into the world. In like manner, the same power has been given to the second man, the last Adam, to reproduce Himself in the earth. And God has given this second man a wife — the church — that through her His image might be reproduced and birthed into the world. But that which is birthed is not the church — it is the very image and glory of the Christ of God! Little does this world know the glory that is about to come. A manchild is ready to be born! A Son of man is ready to appear in the midst of the golden candlesticks — the churches!
This child, this One like a son of man, shall overcome all enemies, and put both sin and death forever under his feet! He shall be caught up to the throne of God, to the realm of irresistible authority and omnipotent power! The powers of the heavens shall be shaken, thrones will topple, and the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunken man! No remote corner of the earth will remain untouched by that which God is doing! God’s MAN IN HIS IMAGE shall take the kingdom, and shepherd all nations with a rod of iron! The earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord! The knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea! The curse shall be broken! All flesh shall see the salvation of the Lord! All nations and all kindreds shall come and worship before Him! Creation shall be delivered! Sorrow and sighing shall flee away! Pain and tears shall be wiped away from off all faces! Prisons will become schools and policemen will become teachers! Morticians, funeral homes, caskets, and cemeteries will all become relics of the past! Righteousness and peace shall fill the earth with joy and gladness! The nations shall beat their swords into plowshares and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more! This shall come in spite of all the unbelief of men with little mediocre minds and in spite of all their efforts against it! It shall come by the power of the Spirit of God and the authority of His sons! The mouth of the Lord hath spoken, and none can nullify it! He hath purposed, and He will bring it to pass!
For two thousand years the church has been unable to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption because it has dwelt in the twilight zone of weakness, carnality, sickness, sin and death. But the sons of God shall partake of the fullness of Christ’s resurrection life and power and glory, to become the flowing of His abundant, torrential and overflowing River of Life! The sons of God, or the Son of man company, are not just "men" after the flesh; they are men and women of God who have followed on to know the Lord, becoming spiritually mature "men" in the Spirit. They have become part of that spiritually masculine "manchild," whether male or female after the flesh. Flesh and blood has nothing to do with this! These have all been gloriously changed and wondrously transformed into the image of Christ the Lord!
Those who have spiritual insight can see the activity of Christ in His sons! They have heard the voice as of a trumpet, and have turned to see this One in the midst, and they are beholding the glory of Christ in the Spirit! Today, in this very hour, He is walking in the midst of the churches with eyes of discernment as a flame of fire, His feet of judgment burning like brass in a furnace, His voice of revelation speaking as the sound of many waters, and His glory upon His countenance as the sun shining in its strength. And we are there with Him, and in Him, by the Spirit! As the Lord walks in the midst of His people, He is proclaiming His Headship, His Lordship, and His Kingship. He is preparing a people to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom and bring that kingdom to pass in all the earth with power and great glory! Hallelujah!
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY
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