"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE REVELATION OF - WHICH CHRIST?
TAKING THE COVER OFF
The first thing we should note about the wonderful book of Revelation is what it is about. We're told what it is about! It isn't about the devil, or demons, or hobgoblins. It isn't about the antichrist. Now, you can find antichrist there, if you really want, and you can find the devil described in many shapes, forms, colors, and sizes. But the book isn't about him! Nor is it about Nero, the Jews, Charlemagne, the Roman Catholic Church, the Moslems, Kaiser Wilhelm, Hitler, Mussolini, Communism, the New World Order, the European Community, the Arabs, Saddam Hussein, or laser tattoos.
The very first line of the very first verse tells us precisely what it is about! It is "the revelation of JESUS CHRIST." It is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. It is the presentation to us of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His beauty, majesty, power and glory. That's what the book is about! If you read the book and fail to see Jesus Christ unveiled, magnified, glorified and revealed in all His glorious and eternal reality, then you have missed the whole message of the book!
In the Gospels you have the Lord Jesus as He walked the earth. You see Him not only in His marvelous ministry of teaching and miracles, you see Him in His humanity, in His weakness, in His humiliation, in His reproach, in His rejection, in His suffering, and in His death. But the Gospels aimed at the resurrection and ascension. The last view you have of Jesus in the Gospels is of Him ascending in a cloud, and He was received out of their sight. What happened after that? That is where the book of Revelation begins! It is the unveiling of Jesus Christ as He is! We don't need a revelation of Jesus as He was. That is history. That story is chronicled in the Gospels and has been trumpeted by the church systems for two thousand years. That Jesus is forever gone, never to walk the paths of earth again. "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth (from this time on) know we Him no more" (II Cor. 5:16). What we need is a revelation of the present glory of Jesus Christ! Where is Jesus now? What is He doing now? What is He like now? This book begins right at the beginning with Jesus alive, Jesus incorruptible and immortal, Jesus ascended, Jesus glorified, Jesus crowned, Jesus enthroned, Jesus formed in His body, Jesus reigning in and through His many brethren, Jesus manifested, revealed, and unveiled in His people, the corporate Son, and Jesus coming and coming and continuing to come from one degree of glory to another, Jesus triumphant as Lord of all!
The revelation of Jesus Christ is also the revelation of the body of Christ, for it is impossible to have a revelation of Christ the Head apart from a revelation of Christ the body. We are members of Christ, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, mind of His mind, will of His will, nature of His nature, and spirit of His spirit. The book of Revelation is about Jesus Christ raised up in, and revealed in, HIS BODY! That should not surprise us, for "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). Wherever the Head is, there is the body. If you want to find me, look for my body - I'm usually there! If you want to find Jesus Christ, look for His body! Wherever Jesus Christ appears, His body will appear. In whatever degree of glory Jesus Christ shall be revealed, His body shall be revealed in that same glory, for we are the fullness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:23). Christ dwells in fullness in His body, just as you live and move and speak and act in and through your body. A revelation of Christ apart from His body would be a travesty, an incredible absurdity. So in the book of Revelation there is the revelation of Christ in His body. It cannot be otherwise!
THE REVELATION OF - WHICH CHRIST?
We speak too carelessly of the deep and sacred things of God. One of the greatest truths ever kept hidden from the eyes of men is the truth about the revelation of Jesus Christ. I must hastily add, the revelation is not the revelation of "Jesus" - neither is it the revelation of "Christ." It is the revelation of JESUS CHRIST! Although Jesus and Christ are forever one and inseparable, yet there are distinct revelations and manifestations of each one. Jesus simply means Saviour. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus (Yashua, Yahweh is Salvation), for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mat. 1:21). This was the word of the angel Gabriel to Mary! The name Jesus reveals His Saviourship. Jesus asked His disciples one day, "Whom say ye that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!" And Jesus answered and said unto him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (Mat. 16:16-17).
The disciples knew that they had been walking, talking, and eating with Jesus of Nazareth. But it took a revelation of the Spirit for them to see that this same Jesus of Nazareth was also "the Christ, the Son of the living God." When Jesus was born, heavenly angels announced His birth to the startled shepherds, saying, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11). You see, despite the fact that a large percentage of present day believers frequently use the word Christ to refer to the Lord Jesus, very few people even know what the word means, much less understand the message behind it. Christ is not Jesus' last name! Christ is not an English word - it's a Greek word. Why translators have neglected to translate it for so many years, I don't know. But because they did not translate it, but merely brought it over into the English virtually in its Greek form, generations of Christians have missed out on its great meaning and significance. For hundreds of years western believers have ignorantly used the word Christ merely as a religious title!
The plain truth is the word Christ means Anointed. Although we generally think of the word anointed in a spiritual context, the word in and of itself isn't spiritual. Anointed simply means to pour over, smear on and rub into. When you go to the beach, you anoint yourself with suntan lotion. So there's nothing particularly special about the generic word anoint. But when you begin to talk about Jesus being The Christ, the One who has been sent by God and anointed with God's reconciling, quickening, saving, transforming power, the word becomes very, very special. It takes on great significance, not just because it's some kind of mystical, religious term, but because of the powerful, practical nature of what the anointing of God is, and can do!
Christ is the transliteration of the Greek word "Christos," which simply means one anointed with holy oil. The Hebrew "Mashiach," from which we get our word Messiah, has the same meaning as the Greek word "Christos," which is the anointed. It comes from a root word which simply means to smear or rub with oil. The first time we meet with holy oil in the scriptures is in the narrative of Jacob's experience at Bethel. "And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place! . . . And Jacob took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-el." And from that memorable morning, all through the Old Testament, wherever there was a spot of common earth to be separated unto God and consecrated, or a common object to be dedicated to holy use, or a common man to be set apart and sanctified as a priest, or a sovereign to be enthroned and crowned, Jacob's holy oil was always employed for that sacred purpose. Holy oil became one of the most impressive and important, as well as one of the most universal, of all the sacramental signs and seals in the Old Testament economy.
It continued to be so, till all consecration, and all sacrifice, and all priesthood, and all sovereignty came to their consummation in Jesus, the Christ of God - the Anointed of Yahweh! And thus it is that His Old Testament name, The Messiah, and His New Testament name, The Christ, and His English name, The Anointed One, contain and convey to us the whole heavenly history of His election from everlasting, His predestination, His incarnation, His calling, His consecration, and His complete equipment, in every way, for all the position and ministry and glory and dominion He now fills as the Son of God. When our Lord first announced Himself to Israel, He opened the book of Isaiah, and found the place where it was written of Him: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor: He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised." This, then, is the true Messiah, the true Christ, the true Anointed - the Christ of God! Even as Peter opened his mouth, and began to preach Christ to Cornelius, and to all his house, in these very words: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him."
And this is how this great name, "The Christ," came to be given to the man, Jesus of Nazareth, above all other men. Almighty God took that chosen man and anointed Him, as man had never been before, with the Holy Ghost. That is to say, God filled the man Jesus of Nazareth as full as human nature could hold of the mind, and the spirit, and the grace, and the glory, and the power of the Divine Nature. And having so anointed Him, God then presented Him to Israel, and through Israel to the whole world, as the Son of God in human flesh.
Some say that Christ is the anointing, but that is not quite the truth. Jesus the Christ is the anointed, the anointed one, and Christ is the one anointed, not the anointing. The oil typifies the anoint-ing, but the one upon whom the oil was poured was the anoint-ed. Others teach that Jesus "had the Christ" or that "the Christ was in Jesus." Those terms are foreign to scripture and make no sense whatsoever. The Christ is not something that came upon Jesus or that dwelt in Jesus - the Christ is who and what Jesus was and is! "Thou art the Christ..." (Mat. 16:16). "God has made this same Jesus both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (I Jn. 5:1). Jesus was not the oil - He was the prophet, priest, and king upon whom the oil was poured! He is not the anoint-ing - He is the anoint-ed!
While we rejoice in the wonderful fact that Jesus is the Christ, the deeper truth is that as Jesus is the Anointed, or the Christ, even so are we! Contrary to popular teaching Christ is not only the one man, Jesus - not merely one person, but many. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ!" (I Cor. 12:12). In union with Jesus Christ, the anointing which made Jesus the Christ now makes you and me the Christ. It is because "the Anointed" is in us, and we are in Him! We have received of HIS ANOINTING. "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you...and ye shall abide in Him" (I Jn. 2:27). According to this passage the anointing which we have received from Him has now become our anointing because we abide or dwell in Him. Jesus Christ is THE ANOINTED ONE and we are members of His body - therefore we are IN THE ANOINTED ONE and share HIS ANOINTING. It is not Christ as the anointing that makes us the anointed, it is our participation in the very substance of Christ - the Anointed One - that makes us anointed! He is not our anointing - the anointing which He received from the Father is now also our anointing!
The spirit of sonship from God is the holy oil and Jesus Christ is the Head that was first anointed with that oil. Many do not understand this simple truth! Therefore they try to separate "Christ" from "Jesus Christ." Jesus the Christ is the Head of this body, and the very life and reality of this body which we are. The same anointing that is poured upon the Head-Christ flows all the way down to the feet of the Christ-Body, so that every member of the body is anointed with the same anointing as the Head. The Head is not the anointing! The Head is the Anointed, and as members of His body we have received from Him the same anointing! It is impossible to separate Jesus from the Christ, or Christ from Jesus Christ, just as it is impossible to separate ourselves from the Christ of God. When we are truly apprehended of the Father as sons of God, in the same family and order as Jesus, we receive the same spirit of sonship from the Father, which is the anointing that makes us THE ANOINTED SON! Flesh and blood cannot reveal this truth to our hearts! The Father, from whom issues the spirit of sonship, must reveal it within ourselves by the Spirit! It is the Spirit that searches out the mysteries of the kingdom of God and all the deep things of God, and that same spirit must reveal these truths to His apprehended ones! As I write these lines and make a feeble attempt to set forth to the Lord's precious elect what I see in the Spirit, I sense the presence and power of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead!
There is no point in over emphasizing this fact, but we want to clearly establish the truth that "Christ" is not something Jesus possessed, but it is who and what HE IS. It is not "Christ" as something or someone separate from Jesus that we have received, and in whom we live, but it is JESUS CHRIST who is our very own reality. Let us note but a few of the many passages that make this truth plain. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3). "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). "Unto...them which are sanctified in Christ Jesus" (I Cor. 1:2). "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (I Cor. 1:30). "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (II Cor. 13:5). "For ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). "And hath...made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6). "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works..." (Eph. 2:10).
Christ means THE ANOINTED! It will be very helpful if in every place in the New Testament where the word Christ appears we would read it with the understanding that it means the Anointed or the anointed One. Anointed with the spirit of sonship we shall overcome in every area, triumphing gloriously in every situation, and will come forth in His victory over all things! Our lives have been foreordained by the Father to walk this path unto sonship. It is a path that was predestined for us in Christ Jesus before the world began. This path was established in Christ for all who are apprehended of the Father to the glory of manifest sonship. It is not "Christ" as something other than Jesus that energizes us, but it is the risen, ascended, glorified, spiritualized, and universalized Jesus Christ who is the genetics of our very own sonship! Therefore we are assured that we shall be able to attain to the same fullness of sonship as it is fulfilled in our Lord Jesus the Christ! What a word! What a hope! Hallelujah!
With this exhortation fresh upon our minds, let us think a little further about the book of Revelation as THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. Again I say, it is not simply the revelation of "Jesus," nor is it merely the revelation of "Christ." It is the revelation of J-E-S-U-S C-H-R-I-S-T! Nothing more, and nothing less. There is "another Jesus" and "another Christ" that is proclaimed today by the New Age movement, and the concept of some who call themselves kingdom people and sons of God is not far removed from this other Jesus and this other Christ.
The New Age terminology can be mistakenly taken for Kingdom Truth. They speak much of the kingdom of God within man, of Christ within man, of love, mercy, goodness, and spiritual perfection and oneness with God. The ancient serpent is wise, shrewd, crafty and subtle, and he knows that the most effectual way to instill error into the minds of the unwary is to use old and precious words and put a new meaning into them. So when his messengers, masquerading as "ministers of righteousness," seek to lead, if possible, the very elect astray, they use the old precious words, but put an entirely different and false meaning. When they talk about God and our heavenly Father they don't mean the God of the Bible, the personal God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They mean the impersonal energy that is resident in all things animate and inanimate. They talk of atonement, but they do not mean at all the redemptive death of Jesus Christ on our behalf by which we are reconciled to God by His blood. They mean the at-one-ment in which we recognize our oneness with all things, a cosmic unity, not with the Creator, but within ourselves and with the creation. Jesus has nothing to do with it at all, except as a great Teacher, a Way-shower, revealing to us the divine potential inherent in every man. They believe there are many ways to God - Jesus is merely a way given to Christians - one of many ways to God.
What do the New Age people look to for salvation? A complete or perfect union with this "inexorable principle" or "divine energy" permeating all things, which is their god! It is the same thing as Nirvana of the Buddhist, Brahma of the Hindu - an imaginary god-consciousness, into which all will finally be absorbed. And this is attained by discovering and developing your "inner self" - which "inner self" is the corrupted soul rather than the regenerated spirit! And when they talk about Christ, they do not mean at all our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the actual historic Jesus who lived and died for us, who rose from the dead, ascended up to the right hand of God, and came back again in mighty spirit-power. Oh, no! They mean an "ideal Christ, or a "Christ principle" that is in every man! They mean the "inner self" of the soul! They see God as the life principle of every man and Christ is the name that is given to man once he has awakened to his godhood. Now, it is true that the seed of God is in every man! But no man is "Christ," that is, an anointed one, until the seed of God in him is quickened, germinated, and empowered by the infusion of God's Holy Spirit! Jesus, in the New Age view, was no more the Son of God than the drunk in the gutter. He was simply a good man, a highly developed man, a "Master-Spirit" who developed the Christ principle within him and showed men how to awaken to their true inner self. According to their teaching Jesus was a man who went through many incarnations. These incarnations of Jesus took the form of Confucius, Buddha, Moses, David, and many others. These lives were his days at school, and he arrived at a state of consciousness, while manifesting as Jesus of Nazareth, where he remembered his past lives. They see no need for Jesus as the Lamb slain, for redemption, justification, regeneration, new birth, sanctification, baptism in the Holy Spirit, or any other New Testament experience. Men don't need to be saved, reconciled to God, or cleansed by the washing of regeneration - just awakened to the god within! What the New Age movement has done in America and other western nations is to combine Christian terminology with the tenets of various eastern religions, wrap them all up in a new package, and put a label on the package which guarantees everyone salvation without a Saviour! And what some in this Kingdom walk have done is create their own hybrid strain of sonship, speaking Kingdom truth deadly laced with pagan New Age concepts!
The New Age movement is a modern form of eastern pagan religion - mingled with the darkness of the occult. While they do espouse some principles that contain truth, these are at best but half-truths, which are more deadly than the outright lie! All true reality of the living Jesus Christ is missing - they know not the Lord Jesus as Saviour, nor the cleansing power of His blood, nor the quickening, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, nor the authority of His name, nor the baptism in His Spirit, nor the fellowship of His body, nor the truth of the Holy Scriptures - in short they are at best bastard sons, subtle counterfeits, and there is no light in them for the light they do have is darkness, merely their own supposed inherent godhood, unquickened and unregenerated, which is the godhood of the self, old Adam - not the true and living God! This "inner self" of all men is the "Cosmic Christ" of the New Age!
No truer words have been penned than those by Bob Torango wherein he writes, "I don't care how much it grieves some to think about having a Lord over themselves, no matter how much it makes their flesh to rebel, there is only one Lord over all heaven and earth, and that is Jesus Christ. It is not your perceived higher self, your I Amness, your shifted consciousness, your universal oneness, your metaphysical self, neither is it your egotistical, sinless, Adamless, fleshless self. Let me go down on record and say that there is only One worthy of honor and glory and adoration, only One to be worshipped and exalted, and it is not YOU. It is Him. If you cannot see Him beyond YOU, then you have a problem, and we need to talk. We don't have to exalt ourselves to feel better about our status in the kingdom. If we would only exalt Him, then He would lift us above our woeful self and bring us into His glory and crown us with everlasting joy. Isn't that enough? Do you really need to lower Jesus in rank and file in order to set yourselves up as kings? Must you continue to try to find another door, another way into God? He is the door, and it is wide open for all. Walk through Him, sit down with Him and drink the new wine and eat the bread of the kingdom. It is enough."
The book of Revelation is not the revelation of this Cosmic Christ, nor of a Christ principle, nor of the old inner self of unregenerated men - it is the revelation of the crucified, risen, ascended, glorified, spiritualized, universalized JESUS CHRIST who is Saviour of all men and Lord of all! It is the revelation of Jesus Christ as Head and body in the earth by the power of the spirit of His sonship! Remember, dear ones, that there is no truth beyond Jesus Christ! He has been given the name which is above every name in the heavens and in the earth! To Him has been given all power and all authority in heaven and in earth! Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved! He is the Head of all principality and power! He is the prince of the kings of the earth! He is the firstborn among many brethren! He is King of kings and Lord of lords! He is the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father! In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily! We are the body in which His fullness is revealed! Those who seek an ultimate truth beyond Jesus Christ, an ultimate reality beyond Him, will discover to their dreadful dismay that they have taken a fearful detour into the realms of outer darkness!
TAKING THE COVER OFF
As I write these words I am aware that God's love, wisdom, glory and power are undefinable. No one can estimate or express the limitless love, the unmeasured goodness, or the unbounded power of God in His universe. As I pen these paragraphs I am reminded of the story related by Fred Barlow about what Will Snow did the first time he saw the Pacific Ocean. Will Snow, a Zyante Indian from Northern California, forty-three years of age, in the early part of the twentieth century, had been chosen to be trained to a place of leadership among the Zyantes by the late Dr. Harry Rimmer, scientist and author. Snow had never seen an automobile, a train, electric lights, a city, anything remotely resembling civilization when Rimmer chose him for training. He simply was a native American from the deep forests of the Northern California mountains.
One day Rimmer took Snow to San Francisco, then on to the Pacific Ocean. The sight of that sea staggered the Indian's imagination. He wanted to know what lake that was. The largest lake he had ever seen was Clear Lake back in those northern mountains where Will had canoed and fished for blackfish. Rimmer replied, "Will, this is not a lake, but it is an ocean, the Pacific Ocean." Snow nodded. "How big is it?" Dr. Rimmer knew the answer - its area, its width, its depth; but how could he explain these figures to an illiterate Indian. Those facts would mean nothing to a man who had known only lakes, rivers, streams, forest.
So he suggested, "Will, you know Clear Lake?" "Yes." "Will, can you imagine ten Clear Lakes in one place?" "Maybe." "Will, can you imagine one hundred Clear Lakes in one place?" "Too much," replied the Indian. "You got that much in this ocean?" Rimmer responded, "That much would only be a drop, Will, if you took it out of the ocean." The Indian shook his head. Then he asked, "Who drinks it?" "No one; it is salty." The Indian stooped down, tasted it, spat it out with a wry face. He walked further down the beach and tasted it there. The result was the same. He waded out in it and tasted it there. Again he spat it out. By now he believed his teacher.
Later in the day Dr. Rimmer was watching Will. Fascinated, amazed by that ocean, and the scope of it, he studied it, waded in it, thrilled to it. About time for them to leave, Rimmer saw Snow go to the ocean again. This time he had a pint bottle. He bent over, filling it with water. "What are you going to do with it, Will?" The Indian held up his filled bottle. "I'm going to take it home. My people will never believe what I've seen today. I want them to see for themselves!" We smile at the ignorance of this poor Indian who thought that pint bottle could capture the vastness, the limitlessness, the surging surf, the thrilling, stirring emotions, sights, smells, and sounds of that greatest of the oceans!
Ah, can we not see by this how it is that not any single one of us contains all the greatness, vastness, glory and majesty of God, but together all the perfected and matured members of the body of God's glorious Christ do contain all the fullness of God! You cannot put all the vastness of the ocean in a pint jar of sea water, yet, within that pint jar of sea water is contained the essence of all that the ocean is. All the ingredients that make up sea water are within that jar! You have the essence of all the ocean is, but you do not have all the ocean. In like manner, every son of God contains within him all that God is, although he does not contain all of God. But there is a majesty in the whole that cannot be known in the measure! That is why Jesus Christ has purposed the increase of Himself, the enlargement of Himself, into a many-membered Son!
There can be no doubt that this is the very truth the apostle Paul was opening to the hearts of the believers when he wrote of Jesus Christ, "God...gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:22-23). "And He is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him (Head and body) should all fullness dwell" (Col. 1:18-19). "That Christ may dwell in your hearts...that ye...may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye (plural, you all together) might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:17-19).
When you walk through the dramatic, poetic and prophetic book of Revelation looking for Jesus Christ, the symbols and signs literally jump out on the stage of your mind to see a risen, ascended, victorious, conquering, triumphant Christ - Head and body. This Christ is being formed in the life of every son of God, the reality of our life, and here within His temple which we are He reigns and reconciles, transforms and matures, to be revealed in all His glory. Capture the deeper meaning of Jesus Christ. Open your spirit and eyes to see! The earthly body of Jesus of Nazareth cannot contain the magnitude of God's Christ! Let's now see Him no longer after the flesh. We now see Him as He is! Celebrate His awesome presence! Bow within yourself in honor and humility before His majesty! God hath made this Jesus both Lord and Christ! And He is now revealed through the many-membered heavenly man of new creation people! This, my beloved, IS THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!
I am reminded of the story I read once that related how one day on their way home from a gathering of saints, a little girl turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, the message this morning confused me." The mother said, "Oh? Why is that?" The little girl replied, "Well, brother Smith said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that's true honey." "And he also said that God lives in us. Is that true, Mommy?" Again the mother replied, "Yes." "Well," said the little girl, "if God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn't He show through?" Ah, dear ones, that is just the whole matter of the revelation of Jesus Christ - that He might show through!
Charles Weller once illustrated this truth from another perspective. He wrote, "I heard a story once of a brother who God told to cross his legs and sit facing a wall. When he did so, God knocked the wall down. The brother rejoiced that he could see a whole new world out there (outside of himself, for the wall was his body of the outer man holding in the inner man). God rebuked him, for it was not for him to see out that the wall was knocked down, but rather for those people who live in their outer man to see in and see the man who resides inside! How carnal we can be! I, too, identified with the brother and his idea of seeing out, which I, too, thought was spiritual; but it really was a carnal thought when viewed from God's perspective. We aren't to reveal Christ to release ourselves from corruption, rather we are to reveal Christ that creation may see Him and live!"
A missionary in China was telling of Jesus for the first time to a group of people in an inland town. When he had finished, someone spoke up and said: "Oh, yes, we knew Him. He used to live here." Surprised, the missionary said, "No, He didn't live here. He lived centuries ago in another land." Insisting that he had seen Jesus, the man said, "Not so. He lived in this village. We knew him." Then the simple country folk took the missionary out to the village cemetery and showed him the grave of a missionary who had lived, healed, served, and died in their community. And they thought he was Jesus - and he was!
When this experience of the Lord's indwelling truly becomes life to us, the world sees the difference in us. They begin to see Christ shining forth through our vessel. God has purposed from the beginning that He would live inside of man, and be glorified from that place. Christ is beginning to appear on the scene in a greater way in His saints! He is appearing as the dawning of a new Day, and will increase in glory until He is seen as the brightness of the noonday sun from the east to the west. This is the revelation of the Lord to which we are committed to attaining! This is the coming of the Lord to be glorified in His saints, to be admired in all them that believe into this Day! This is the tabernacling of Christ with man! This is the experience of the elect in this hour that is so transforming them that the glory of the indwelling Lord is showing through to the exterior!
We are standing in the hour of a unique revelation of Jesus Christ. The mystery of it is that the revelation of Jesus Christ does not mean the bringing of Christ to maturity and fullness within us, it's not adding something to the Christ that is within us. That must take place before the unveiling, but it's not the unveiling! The unveiling is an uncovering. It doesn't speak of the production or formation of the Christ, but it's the uncovering of the Christ who is already formed within!
Some centuries ago, in the city of Florence, Italy, there was a very famous man who erected a little shack down in the central plaza. For two years, he labored in secret, behind the confines of that little shack. Nobody in the city of Florence had an inkling of what was going on in that shack. Everyone knew who was in there, but they did not understand what was being accomplished there. Most people in the world are aware that there is a God, and they are sure that God is working, and most Christians would admit today that God is in us, and that God must be doing something in us, but very few of them have any idea of what is taking place! So this man labored for two years, and then announced to the citizens of Florence a day of unveiling. All the city gathered into the central plaza and with bated breath, with ardent curiosity and intense expectation, stood waiting for the unveiling. The great painter and sculptor, Michelangelo, began to tear apart the little shack. When it was all removed, there was a veiled object standing in the center. Michelangelo lifted the veil, and the whole city beheld with astonishment and wonder his marvelous statue of David.
I have stood in the museum in Florence, and I have looked upon that statue, and I tell you it's magnificent!. You can see every vein running down the legs of David, every ripple of the muscles, every detail of that exquisite body. You discern the handsome character of the man. Now then, the wonder of the revelation, the unveiling of that statue, was not in the making of it. That work was wrought in secret! When the day of the unveiling came, the work was finished. Every detail was accomplished. Every chip of the chisel had been made. Every sound of the hammer had been silenced. All the majesty and the glory of it had been produced by the skill of one of the world's greatest artists! But on the day of the uncovering, there was a revelation of that which had been accomplished! Can we not see by this that the revelation of Jesus Christ does not mean the production of Christ within us. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the unveiling of the Christ fully formed and matured in every son of God!
I want to share something with those who read these lines today that God has been speaking deeply within my heart. I, together with all God's called out ones who have been pressing on into the kingdom of God in this hour, have been greatly concerned with ministering to the Lord's people, to bring forth an increase of the Christ within us. We have wanted to see growth, we have desired to see change, we have sought to see development and yearned for maturity to come within every member of the Christ body. We have known that God is working, but our testimony has so often been that of the apostle Paul, in which he said, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12). We have confessed our lack, we have admitted our faults, we have always felt that we come short of the glory of God. And we have looked upon the Lord's dealings with the trials and testings as the work of God to mature the Christ in us, to bring us to the full stature of the Son of God. But I am hearing a word, and the word is this: GOD IS FINISHING HIS WORK! God is putting the finishing touches on the image and likeness of God in our inner man!
I know some, in reading these words, will exclaim, "Who - me? You mean God has done everything in me that He is going to do? Is this all there is? You mean I'm mature? You mean I've got all the mind of Christ? You mean all the changes are in place? You mean I have received unlimited power? You mean I'm a son of God ready to be revealed?" It seems incredible to us! But listen, my beloved, the work of God in sonship is first and foremost in the inner man, the hidden man of the heart! It is the spirit, the deep inward life that God is raising up into His mind, heart and nature. And I do believe that God has a people, gathered out of the ages, and a people walking the earth in this very hour, in whom Christ is formed! It is not the outer man, it is not old Adam, it is not the natural life that God is rehabilitating and perfecting - it is Christ in you the hope of glory! We need to get our eyes on who we are and what we have attained in the spirit, not on how good and perfect the flesh has become!
Let me make one thing very clear. When I talk about "the finished work" I don't mean the same thing that we often hear taught today. I'm not talking about the so-called "finished work of Calvary." There is no finished work of Calvary! When Jesus cried out on the cross, "It is finished!" He wasn't proclaiming that the whole work of redemption and restoration was finished. Not at all! Nothing was "finished" at the cross except His death, the shedding of His precious atoning blood. But that's not all there is to God's great redemptive, restorative, and transformative work! Paul stated it this way: "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" (Rom. 5:10). You see, we were reconciled by His death, but our full salvation comes by the working of His life! His life is His resurrection. Without His life you have no finished work!
I would never belittle nor depreciate any aspect of the great work of Christ on behalf of man. I am extremely thankful for Calvary and for the death of Christ. But if the work done at Calvary is the finished work, then we are all still lost, doomed sinners. This fact is articulated so powerfully by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:14-18 wherein he writes, "And if Christ be not risen, our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up...and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." If Calvary finished the work, then there was no need for Christ to be raised! But if Christ be not raised, we are still in our sins, and those who sleep will remain silent in their graves forever! If the work was finished when Christ died on the cross, then our old man died with Him but we received no new man by the power of His resurrection! "God...when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ..." (Eph. 2:6). "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above" (Col. 3:1). If redemption was finished at Calvary our old man is passed away, but our new man, the new creation, has not been raised up in His life, so we are left in limbo, in the twilight zone of spiritual unconsciousness! Oh, no, Calvary did not finish the work! Christ had to be crucified, buried, and raised from the dead in order for us to be fully redeemed and made a new creation in Christ Jesus! But even His glorious resurrection did not "finish" the work! He ascended! He was enthroned! He poured out the Holy Spirit that He might come and dwell within us as our very life! So without Pentecost there is no "finished work." And now we are coming to see that only in the feast of Tabernacles is there truly a finished work!
What, then, did Jesus mean when He cried, "It is finished!" It is my conviction that He could not have meant that redemption was finished! Rather, it was the whole course that He was given to fulfill in the flesh, from the moment of His conception to the hour of His death, that was finished. His walk in this earth realm as a son of God in the flesh, with His life, obedience, and ministry, was brought to an end by His death on the cross. When He arose He would be the Son of God on a higher plain! The sorrows, tears, pain, limitation, and humiliation of mortal existence would be forever over. He finished His course, He kept the faith, He was obedient to the end, and now, dying, He cries, "It is finished!" It wasn't what He was doing for us that was finished, but His own walking out of the Father's purpose for Him in the flesh was finished. The term "the finsihed work of Calvary" is but a play of words on that cry of Jesus as He died, but it is scripturally unsound and incorrect. But a particular work that God had appointed His firstborn Son to accomplish in the flesh was finished at the hour of His death. And, beloved, we have come to that very point in this hour as we await the manifestation of the sons of God! The seed of Christ has grown within us, we have answered the Father's call to follow the Lamb, we have obeyed the word of the Lord birthed within our hearts, we have endured through the years of testings and provings, we have overcome from realm to realm, and the word I hear in this hour is that same wonderful word - IT IS FINISHED! I feel I cannot be too strong in my earnest exhortation to all who read that God in this Day is finishing His work in a people who are now the sons of God.
I am not interested in eternal processing. Fifty-four years have passed since the revelation of sonship and the kingdom of God burst forth in glory upon the called out of God. Thousands upon thousands have walked with God in separation, dealings, obedience, growth and experience for many years. I have no desire to be among those who are ever learning, but never coming to the experiential knowledge of the truth (II Tim. 3:7). It's not in my heart to forever be a child, to spend all my days on this planet confessing that I have not attained, neither am I perfect, nor have I apprehended that for which Christ Jesus has apprehended me, nor yet have I grown up into Christ. Am I saying by this that I am now a manifested son of God? No way! Manifested sonship is the unveiling, the uncovering. But at some point there must be a work of God, a maturity of the Christ within, worthy of being revealed! That is what I am saying. I do believe that a people has come to a high place of attainment in sonship to God!
Through the years of our walk in the kingdom we have lived in various parts of the country, traveled extensively, fellowshipped with groups of God's elect and listened to tapes of ministry from a great many brethren. There is one thing I hear that has been disturbing. And it troubled my spirit for a long time before the mind of the Lord came clearly to me. I hear brethren saying, "Well, you know, I admit that I still have problems in my life. I still get mad. I fly off the handle sometimes. I say things I shouldn't say. I think things I shouldn't think. I do things I shouldn't do. I struggle with habits and lusts and weaknesses like all of you do. But God is still working on me!" Someone asks, "Well, brother Eby, what's wrong with that? Don't we still have the flesh to contend with? Isn't God still working on all of us?" Listen! Here's the problem. Some of those preachers I was listening to thirty years ago, and they were saying the same thing! I'm not talking about preachers out in the church systems or in some revival realm. I'm talking about kingdom preachers, sons of God, Melchisedek kings and priests, men who proclaim that they will conquer death, by-pass the grave, and deliver creation!! But they continue to zero in on everybody's problems, weaknesses, difficulties, carnality and shame, including their own, and how Christ in you is able to give you the victory. Now, that is true, and declaring it is fine when you're preaching to spiritual babes and adolescents. But thirty years of preaching that word every Sunday to the same people should be enough! How many lives will God give us to attain? How many years will we need to live in order to finally get some victory? One hundred? Two hundred? A thousand? We should not get stuck in eternal processing! There must come a day when we can cry, "It is finished!"
We don't perceive that it is finished because we see the chaff of the outer flesh man and we say, "Something's wrong - this doesn't look right! I know that Christ lives in me, I know that Christ has grown in me, I know that sonship is working mightily in me, I know that the glory of God is bursting within me, but what I see in my flesh outwardly doesn't correspond with what I know is on the inside." Ah, you're seeing the chaff that lies on the surface, but you are failing to discern the fully ripe kernel of wheat that lies within! The chaff is removed on the threshing floor at the time of the harvest. The tares are torn out of the field and burned in the day of harvest. Don't confuse the kernel of wheat with the chaff or the tares with the wheat! Just because we have this treasure in earthen vessels doesn't mean that the value of the treasure within is diminished!
The revelation of Jesus Christ is when the treasure within is unveiled, uncovered, released! The veil is the flesh and the carnal mind. The veil is the outer life of old Adam. The revelation of Jesus Christ is when the almighty Father comes to separate the chaff, burn up the tares, vaporize the flesh, surgically remove the carnal mind, once and for all delivering us from the outer life and the limitations of this gross material realm, as He did with Jesus when He raised Him from the dead! The unveiling is the removing of all those things that obstruct, hinder, distort, hide, conceal, and frustrate the shining forth of God's incorruptible glory. The revelation is the removal of the outer life, swallowing it up in victory, so that what the Master Craftsman has wrought over many years in the deepest part of our being may be revealed, released, and seen in all of its beauty and majesty! Hallelujah!
When we say that Christ is to be revealed in His body, that revealing does not come by adding things to the Christ within. Truly the seed of Christ does grow up within us, yet all the potential of Christ is within that seed and cannot be added to. How could you add anything to Christ? He is the brightness of God's glory, the express image of His person, and in Him all fullness dwells! For those who are truly sons of God, who have walked with Christ on this path of sonship, learning to suffer with Him and to reign with Him, it is not more of Jesus that we need. It is no longer a matter of more and more of Jesus - it is a matter of less and less of us! The book of Revelation is not about what is added to Christ in order for Him to radiate in fullness from our lives, but the book is about what is removed from us so that this treasure in earthen vessels may be seen.
The type for this is found in Israel entering into their promised land. Christ Himself is our promised land! In the Old Testament promised land it wasn't raising a larger army, or giving the soldiers more swords, or giving them special training that gave Israel the land. They entered only by faith and obedience! But they possessed their land by removing the enemy tribes that were entrenched in the land. It is necessary for us to dispossess some things in our lives that obscure, conceal, becloud, cover, veil, hide, hinder and prevent the manifestation of Christ through us. Dearly beloved brethren, you cannot get these carnal, fleshly, worldly and religious things out of your land by any self-effort or religious works! Only God Himself by His Fatherly chastenings, by His parental disciplines, by His husbandmanly pruning and purgings, by His refining fire and redemptive judgments can remove the veil of flesh that restricts and limits the outshining of His glory!
God's method of dealing with "self" is the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ is not the wooden cross, the old rugged cross of Golgotha's hill - it is the principle and power of the cross WROUGHT OUT IN OUR LIVES. The Lamb of God is the Man of the cross, but in the book of Revelation the Lamb is never seen on mount Calvary. The very first view we have of the Lamb is in the midst of the throne! "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain..." (Rev. 5:6). He is not the Lamb dying outside the wall of Jerusalem, He is the exalted Lamb slain in the midst of the throne! In the midst of the four living creatures (sonship, kingship) and in the midst of the twenty-four elders (priesthood) - in the midst of God's kings and priests the cross is working! It is the cross in the heart of God, the cross in the throne, the death of the outer life that comes to God's elect by the omnipotence of His Lordship!
The next setting of the Lamb in Revelation is on mount Zion. "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads" (Rev. 14:1). This again is the exalted Lamb, not now working within His elect, but manifesting and reigning through the sons of God! These have the mind of Christ and the nature of the Father plainly visible upon their foreheads - the outer life has been removed, there is the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The great truth of the rending of the veil is seen in Jesus. The veil in the temple was rent at the precise moment of Jesus' death. But the temple was merely a symbol, a shadow of the greater and true and eternal temple - Christ and His body. Where was the veil rent? "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh" (Heb. 10:19-20). The true veil that was rent was HIS FLESH, for He Himself was the true temple of God, the Holiest of all, the dwelling place of the glory of His Father. His flesh as a man was rent. His human flesh, His natural life, was the veil that covered and concealed the Holy of holies within Him in the same way that the veil in Herod's temple concealed the Shekinah of Yahweh from the priesthood of Israel. His flesh was rent that the glory of God in Him might be seen in the power of His resurrection. I do not propose to discuss here other beautiful lessons contained in the rending of the veil of His flesh, but I would point out that today we are the body of Christ, the temple of God, and the Most Holy Place is in the spirit of sonship within us. The only way that the glory of God within us can be revealed in the power of His resurrection is for the veil in us to be rent! We must have the same experience! Your veil has to be rent! My veil has to be rent! The veil of the flesh, the veil of the carnal mind, the veil of the natural understanding within us must be rent. Jesus is not only the truth and the life - He is the way. He is the forerunner who on our behalf has entered in to the Holiest of all. But only the forerunner, mark you, for we must follow in His steps and enter in by the power of His blood through the veil of our flesh. Jesus is the Pattern Son! He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession! He has made it possible for us, He has opened up the way, He has blazed the trail, He has set the example.
Every step of the revelation of Christ is an unveiling. God removes the hindrances and when they are removed we see what God has done. Some of us were in church systems, and God began to stir us. God's work was already there! God had finished a work up to that point in our lives. When He brought us out of the systems of men He burst the cocoon that we were in, so that the thing He had done in us could step out, stretch it wings, and fly away into the heavens of God's Spirit! The work He had accomplished in us was released from man's control and bondage to find expression.
We are now in the hour of the unveiling, the greatest and most glorious of all unveilings, the unveiling of God's sons! All those things you have struggled with and battled with, all the fears, limitations, and lack you have sensed that have been a wall about you and a barrier to the revelation of Christ, shall be broken asunder in this Day that there might be a manifestation of the work God has accomplished in you! The revelation of Jesus Christ has nothing whatever to do with what is happening out there in the external world. It has nothing to do with economic collapse, nuclear war, or bugs the size of Volkswagens. The world God is shaking is our world. The beast God is destroying is the beast of our nature. The locusts that come out of the abyss arise from the abyss of our own hearts which are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. The trees that are being burned up are those manifestations that grow out of our own earthiness. The tree of life, on the other hand, grows out of the river of God's Spirit! The tree of the knowledge of good and evil within us shall be consumed. But the tree of life will grow out of the river that flows from the throne of God within us!
Oh, Hallelujah! The revelation of Jesus Christ brings the end of the world, but the world that it ends is truly this world of our outer life. The sign of "the end" is what God has accomplished within us! And my brother, my sister, you will never have a work that is completed without there following an unveiling!
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
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