KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA
"And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write…" (Rev. 2:8).
Smyrna was located about thirty miles north of Ephesus. It still exists today with a population of some 250,000 people. The name of the city has been changed and it is now called Izmir. I have been there and it is a very beautiful city. Smyrna was a wealthy city that rivaled Ephesus in beauty and commerce. It had well-planned harbors with fine avenues, the sea in front and an acropolis behind. It was surrounded by seven hills and today rivals San Francisco for beauty. It was filled with pagan temples of Apollo, Asclepia, Cybelle, Emperor Tiberius, and Zeus. It was famous for its superb school of medicine.
Of the seven churches, two of them received no indictment from the Lord, nor were they told to repent. The church in Smyrna was known as the "suffering church" because of their severe persecutions, and they were not told to repent. The Lord saw their trouble and tribulation, their poverty and imprisonment, their unswerving steadfastness and great faithfulness, and they did not need to be told to repent. It was in their hearts to repent when the need arose, for the work of God ran deep in their lives. Considering all they would suffer, the Lord said to them, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Another church against which the Lord laid no charge, nor did He tell them to repent, was the church in Philadelphia. The Lord saw that they kept His word and had not denied His name, or nature. Because they kept the word of His patience, by which the kingdom of God is inherited, He gave them wonderful promises.
It is my conviction that these two churches, the church in Smyrna and the church in Philadelphia, represent the Lord’s elect and chosen remnant in the earth throughout the church age. They also correspond to the two witnesses of chapter eleven of the Revelation. We know that a candlestick represents a church. There are two churches out of the seven that received no condemnation or reproof from the Lord, and were given only great and precious promises. Of the two witnesses it is testified, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth" (Rev. 11:3-4). Two candlesticks! Two churches! Two given a special standing before God! Ah, Smyrna and Philadelphia, what a calling you have!
On the personal and individual level the two witnesses are the spirit and the word. The two witnesses speak of the awesome power and word of authority given to the Lord’s elect on the pathway to sonship. The two witness company is not the manifest sons of God, for the manchild of chapter twelve of the Revelation represents the manifest sons who are "caught up unto God, and to His throne" (Rev. 12:5). Upon the throne of the Father the manchild, the manifest sons of God, "rules all nations with a rod of iron" (Rev. 12:5). Furthermore, the manchild, the manifest sons of God, receives his authority and dominion under the seventh trumpet, where the mystery of God is finished. The two witnesses, however, receive their ministry of power and authority under the sixth trumpet and they "ascended up to heaven in a cloud." They are caught up to a heavenly place of power and authority, but not to the omnipotence and dominion of the throne! There is a glorious prophetic realm, prefigured by the two witnesses, that God’s called and chosen elect enter prior to the manifestation of the sons. Since the great move of God that came in 1948 and the years following, I have been, with many who read these lines, a glad partaker of the glory of that prophetic realm of ministry. It was indeed a heavenly realm of signs, wonders, and miracles! I have tasted of the power and glory of that realm by the prophetic anointing of the Spirit! But that prophetic and revival realm ends, and it has already ended! And after the two witnesses or two candlesticks realm the next thing on God’s prophetic agenda is THE BIRTH OF THE MANCHILD! That’s where we really are in God’s program of the ages.
Smyrna means "sweet smelling" and comes from the root word for myrrh. The myrrh plant is found throughout the Middle East and was used in the manufacture of an aromatic ointment. When bruised and crushed, the myrrh gives forth a lovely fragrance. Myrrh was used to embalm the bodies of the dead. Carefully the linens were prepared, and wound around the bodies of the loved ones, while myrrh was packed between the folds of the cloth. Thus was the body of our Lord embalmed! After the death of Jesus, the women, who had loved and followed Him on earth, brought one hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to the tomb. With what grief did they take that precious body and wind about it the linen cloths! With what untold tenderness did they lay it away in the bed of fragrant spices! Thus myrrh is a type of suffering and death, and some in the church at Smyrna were to pass through bitter persecution, severe trials, and intense testings, as a picture of that which all of God’s called and chosen elect must also pass through. Their sufferings, however, instead of destroying them, would give forth the rich perfume of heaven, the life of the spirit!
In the Song of Solomon the Shulamite’s Beloved, beautiful type of God’s corporate Son, Head and body, exclaims, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me up to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense" (S. of S. 4:6). The "Mountain of Myrrh" is a figure of the death of the Son of God, while the "Hill of Frankincense" bespeaks of His resurrection life, for frankincense was uniquely the fragrance of the Most Holy Place, the incorruptible realm of God in the spirit. Beloved, THE CROSS IS THE MOUNTAIN OF MYRRH! The cross includes all the trials, testings, tribulations, and processings the elect pass through in this earthly life on their journey into sonship to God. Do you desire to walk before God and men as an anointed king-priest after the order of Melchizedek? Then you must go up to the mountain of myrrh, the cross, and offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, and take up your cross and so partake of the sufferings and death of Christ, that your whole life shall be filled with His manifested attributes.
It is not enough to make an occasional trip up to the cross, for death must become a mountain to us, we must go there and stay until the day breaks and the shadows all flee away! It bespeaks of a STATE OF BEING. To be dead is a state of being! We must abide in the condition of the Lord’s death. Today, many zealous Christians have the wrong concept. They believe they must fast, weep, pray, wait on the Lord, confess, and struggle in order to die. That is all good, but it is not death! To tarry at an altar is easy; to pray all night is easy; even to fast for a week or a month is easy; to confess with our mouth is easy; but to stay at the mountain of myrrh for a lifetime is not easy. We could all fast and pray for a long time without any sleep, but to stay in the Lord’s death means to so identify with His death that we renounce all the works of the flesh, we repudiate all the emotions of the soul, we abandon all the imaginings, reasonings, and inventions of the carnal mind, we disclaim all the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our own will and way, and forsake all the traditions, forms, methods, and foolishness of religion, so that we simply are dead.
It is only then that the day breaks eternal and the shadows of this earth realm forever flee away! Let us open ourselves before the Lord. I do believe that we all have the sense that our Day has not yet fully broken. There has been a dawning within, but there is still so much life, light, and glory that must arise upon those called to sonship! We all realize that there are still some haunting shadows of limitation, sickness, fear, corruption, lack of understanding, and fleshliness about us. No matter how much we say that we are the elect sons of God, sons of Light, sons of the Day, kings and priests of the Most High, and all the rest, there is still the sense that we are not clearly in the Day. As long as we have such a realization we will spontaneously say, "UNTIL the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me up to the Mountain of Myrrh, and to the Hill of Frankincense!"
The more one abides in the light, the more one recognizes darkness. The more perfect one is, the more conscious one becomes of imperfections. So likewise, the more mature a saint becomes, the more he will sense his immaturity! The more alive unto God a believer becomes, the more aware he will be of death that remains. The further one walks onward in God, the greater seems to be the need for cleansing, purging, and purifying. The more one receives praise of the Lord, the more he feels the sky of spiritual life has not yet come into fullest glow. Many who have come forth from the dank tombs of religion to follow on to know the Lord, feel as if they are wandering in somewhat of a wilderness.
What then are these to do? Before the perfect light of the fullness of sonship to God can break and all shadows flee away, we must go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense and THERE ABIDE UNTIL the day breaks and the shadows flee away. In spite of those who say it is all NOW, we already have the fullness of Christ within, therefore we can manifest and walk in the fullness right now — their life gives the lie to their claims. Yet, it is true, one is always reluctant to leave the present ground of attainment and reach out further for still higher things! But we must hasten to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense and literally steep ourselves in these rich odors. Every member of God’s elect is abiding there until all the old life, the old ways, the old self-hood, the old religiousness has been so renounced and so completely yielded to Him that He will find nothing of the old creation nor of the old church order in us. Then! The day will break, there will spring up within His resurrection life, a transcendent overcoming power, a perfected spiritual perception, vital union between soul and spirit, the change of our vile body, and the abundant and unlimited outflowing of His life as rivers of living water! Until the day break! We all have such a longing deep within. There is a turn, and this is the Lord’s moving and working within us!
HE THAT LIVETH AND WAS DEAD
"I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen! And I have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev. 1:18). "These things saith He which was dead, and is alive" (Rev. 2:8).
The Lord announces Himself to each of the seven churches in a unique aspect of His nature and glory. To the church in Smyrna He presents Himself as the one who was dead, but is alive and that forevermore. The Head of this glorious company of the overcomers has already overcome! He overcame the last enemy when in the garden He said, "Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done." He passed through His darkest hour of battle, stared death in the face, and arose on the other side victorious over death, hell, and the grave! Every manifest son of God must obtain this same victory. The apostle Paul desired "that ye may know (experience)…the mighty power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named…and hath put all things under His feet" (Eph. 1:18-21).
Christ is victor! He has already overcome every enemy! He has conquered them. They are already under His feet. They have no more power over Him! He is above them all. He doesn’t get sick, because He overcame all sickness. He can’t die anymore, for He arose victor over death. He cannot sin, for He was tempted in all points like we are, and yet without sin. Satan has no power over Him, for Jesus has already has His "bout" with Satan and now holds the Universal Title over him! He overcame the world. He overcame the flesh. Yes, friends, Jesus doesn’t have any more battles to fight, any more enemies to subject, for the last enemy that anyone, anywhere, ever has to destroy is death and He has already conquered His last enemy!
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb. 2:14). It is an exciting and unforgettable thing to see an army routed and fleeing in tumultuous retreat. Who can forget the vivid accounts of Napoleon as he retreated from Moscow and dotted the snows of Russia with ninety thousand bodies of the imperial army of France. Or the armies of Hitler as they retreated across France and back through Germany to Berlin? Or the five kings of the Old Testament who fled across rock and hill as they were pursued by Joshua. Indeed, it is an unforgettable thing!
But the word — "that He through death might destroy him that had the power of death" — announces an even worse discomfiture of another army. For it seems that a grim and ghastly giant proposed to conquer the earth. He was, indeed, the conqueror of all conquerors, for all men from the beginning of time had fallen before him. Beside him Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Caesar, Hannibal, Napoleon, and Hitler all paled by comparison. In fact, each of them met him and was himself defeated. His name is DEATH! He carried a black flag and took no prisoners. He dug a trench across the continents and contemptuously filled it with the carcasses of every generation. He gathered together his hosts, an army of all the weaknesses, sorrows, fears, sins, aches, pains, maladies, and infirmities which have ever plagued the human race. It was, indeed, an awesome force to behold! There were legions of cancer and columns of heart disease; squadrons of viruses and battalions of infection. There were cohorts of malnutrition and armies of accidents. There were horsemen of fear and platoons of sin. There were squadrons of war and regiments of pestilence and plague. It was, indeed, the most fearful, the most formidable army which had ever been arrayed!
He drilled them in the snows of the north and in the jungles of the south. He pitched the tents of the morgue, and threw up the embankments of the cemetery. Most he slew with a single blow of the sword; others were taken by long sieges of evil habits. He knocked with his bony hands at the doors of hospital rooms, and at the doors of bedrooms. Presidents and prime ministers, kings and sultans, czars and dictators fell alike beneath the wheels of his war chariot. He was the victor in all battles!
None could stay his hand or stop his advance, until…until that day when there appeared in Jerusalem one whose countenance was like the morning, one who strode forward unafraid and entered into the very camp of this giant himself. Death confidently reaches out its bony hands and takes this Jesus, of Nazareth, and lifts Him up from the earth and impales Him upon a cross. He then takes the mortal spear and plunges it into His heart. Jesus, with a loud cry, gives up the ghost and dies. Blackness and death cover the land and hope dies! There is none who can stay our foe, or so it seemed that dark day when the very earth trembled and shook under the power of death!
Then — at the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, when there was but the slightest shimmering of dawn on the horizon, a token of that which was to come, suddenly out of the blackness of the tomb emerged a figure clothed in white. Out of the tomb He came, His garments glistering with light. In the midst of that darkness the Prince of Life and the King of Death had been locked in mortal combat, the like of which the world had never seen. Christ came out, not to the roar of hundreds of thousands, but He came out alone, having conquered death within Himself. Like Sampson in Gaza He tore up the gates of death and carried away the bars of the grave. Coming forth from that darksome battle in the grave, He held in His left hand the broken seal of the sepulcher, and in His right hand the key to all the cemeteries of the world! And now the whole world is standing on tiptoe, waiting with bated breath, to behold the glorious sight of the FIRSTFRUITS OF HIS REDEMPTION coming forth — the many brethren of our Lord, who are destined by God’s plan and purpose to be the next company to fully partake of HIS VICTORY!
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own rank and order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His parousia. Then cometh the end (of the making alive), when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father…for He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. And the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (I Cor. 15:22-26). Because of Christ’s victory death shall be abolished for and in all men! Yet there is an order, a progressive unfolding of this wonderful work of God. The scripture quoted above clearly reveals that precise order. Jesus Himself was the first to fully and completely conquer death so that He lives, spirit, soul, and body, never to die anymore! Then by His parousia, which is His presence, His life shall so be raised up in a firstfruits company that these, His many brethren, the manifest sons of God, shall experience the full power of His resurrection and be so changed until their mortal and physical bodies are transformed and fashioned like unto His glorious body. Then, progressively, through God’s great plan of the ages, this glorious salvation shall be ministered to all men everywhere by resurrection, restoration, and salvation. What a salvation! What a God! What a plan!
In the light of such truth as this I draw your attention to the deeply meaningful words of the apostle Peter, spoken on the day of Pentecost to the amazed multitude that gathered to witness the wonder of the mighty works wrought at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit by the risen and ascended Christ. Standing up with the eleven he said to the assembled crowd, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE THAT HE SHOULD BE HOLDEN OF IT" (Acts 2:22-24).
The thrust of Peter’s message was that God raised up Christ from the dead. He loosed the pains of death. And there was a remarkable qualification, a glorious reason behind this event! The reason is stated in these significant words: "Because it was not possible that He should be holden of it." In plain language that means that it was an utter, total, absolute IMPOSSIBILITY for the grave to hold Jesus Christ! Why? It is my deep conviction that it was impossible for death to hold the firstborn Son of God because NOTHING ELSE COULD HOLD HIM! Nothing could influence, motivate, or control Him except the will of the Father. He had absolutely no correspondence to the desires and lusts and passions and demands of the fleshly realm of this world’s bestial system!
That, precious friend of mine, is why death could not hold Jesus — NOTHING ELSE COULD HOLD HIM! Nothing in the whole world could hold Him. Sin could not hold Him, for He was "tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). His mother could not hold Him, for He said, when He was told that His mother was standing outside looking for Him, "Who is my mother?" And He stretched forth His hands toward His disciples, and said, "Behold my mother!" His friends could not hold Him. His disciples could not hold Him, for He upbraided and rebuked them for their lack of understanding. "Get thou behind me, Satan!" He said to Peter when he would have dissuaded Jesus from the predestinated will of the Father. The Pharisees could not hold Him. The traditions of the elders could not hold Him. Religion could not hold Him. The hatred of His enemies, the plaudits of His friends could not hold Him. His own desires and will could not hold Him. "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done." So it was but a natural thing that DEATH COULD NOT HOLD THE CHRIST, because nothing else could hold Him!
Therein lies the secret to life and immortality for every son of God! Paul said it this way, and it means the same thing: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:5-6,13). THAT IS WHY DEATH COULD NOT HOLD THE CHRIST! HE LIVED ENTIRELY AND WHOLLY AFTER THE SPIRIT!
What hope we have today as the called out elect of God! The fact of Christ’s resurrection is historic. The man who disputes it disputes the best established fact in history. He was seen by those who had despaired of His existence. He ate with them. He drank with them. He walked with them in a bloodless body. He talked with the despondent and broken-hearted disciples for nearly forty days. It was impossible to be deceived. He spoke, and was seen and heard on one occasion by five hundred, the most of whom were living at the time when Paul made the declaration that they knew Christ and had seen Him after His resurrection. They were eyewitnesses of His majesty! He proved His resurrection by telling them that if they would go to Jerusalem and enter into an upper room, and wait for the promise of the Father, the Spirit’s power would come. The promised outpouring took place. Tongues of fire danced over their heads, and filled with the Holy Ghost they spoke in tongues they had never learned. Mighty signs and wonders were wrought!
The Spirit’s power roared like a mighty wind and swept through, shaking the place where they were sitting. It shook Jerusalem. It shook Israel. It shook the Roman empire until it fell, to rise no more. It shook the world. The Christ returned in mighty spirit-power! He came as an indwelling Life. Men who were weak became strong. Men who were wicked murderers and devils were transformed into men of virtue and power with God. Men who were illogical became great and mighty reasoners. Men who were feeble stood up, and in their spiritual majesty tower today over all the men of their time. They are better known and have more influence today than all the Caesars put together! All history substantiates their claim. Every philosopher and potentate of their time had to recognize them so that Peter, Paul, James, John and in their degree all of these men, and many of their immediate successors, became the mightiest Powers even in a heathen empire.
Some teach that the great mark of the resurrection was the empty tomb. People travel thousands of miles and spend, annually, untold millions of dollars to get to see that empty tomb in Jerusalem. But the disciples NEVER REFERRED TO IT! They did not need an empty tomb, for they themselves were the witnesses and the proof! Christ was alive in them! The very same power and authority which He had manifested for three and a half years before His crucifixion was now manifested mightily through these men upon whom had come HIS RESURRECTION LIFE! After healing the lame man at the gate of the temple, Peter was called before the Sanhedren and the record states, "And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this." Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, "Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD, EVEN BY HIM doth this man stand before you whole!" (Acts 4:7-10).
The proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was in the very fact that HIS POWER had made this man whole! God wants a people today who have the evidence of the resurrection in their lives. The resurrection of Jesus is not a historical fact to be commemorated, but a present and eternal reality to be demonstrated! The church system did not begin to celebrate Easter until they first had lost the dynamic of the Christ in them. When the resurrection is the power of our lives we need no day, no sunrise service, no egg hunts, hats, or Easter bunnies to remind of it! Those are all the dead works of lifeless religion provided for those people who have no life within themselves. Every son of God has repented of such carnal-minded religious observances! Miracles are not the only, or major, proof of the Christ-life within us. The spirit of Christ, the nature of Christ, the mind of Christ, the love of Christ, the wisdom of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, the will of Christ, the faith of Christ — all these and much more are the infallible proof of HIS RESURRECTION LIFE!
When Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road, the record states, "And when we were all fallen to the earth, I (Saul) heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art Thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. But arise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee" (Acts 26:14-16). Years after this Paul wrote to the Galatians and said, "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, TO REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood" (Gal. 1:15-16). The preaching of the Son of God was not merely through the words Paul spoke stating that he had seen the Lord, but the preaching or proclaiming of the Son was through the REVELATION OF THE SON in Paul’s life! "To REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, that I might preach Him…" Paul had the evidence of the resurrection in his life and this evidence transcended anything he could tell about what happened to him one day on the Damascus road.
This is RESURRECTION MANIFESTED! This is RESURRECTION DEMONSTRATED! Little wonder that Paul could say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Gal. 2:20). Ah, no, the empty tomb is no proof of Christ’s resurrection! The Jews claimed that His disciples had stolen Jesus’ body and hidden it. Even sweet Mary, when she arrived at the tomb, was unconvinced by the rolled away stone. To the one she supposed to be the gardener she said, "Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away" (Jn. 20:15). Nobody paid any attention to the empty tomb for more than three hundred years after the resurrection! You could take all the billions of people who live today on this planet, and the billions who have lived and died in all the generations past, march them past the empty tomb and it would mean nothing at all to them. There is no credible evidence or power in that empty tomb! Creation is not standing on tiptoe waiting to view the empty tomb, my friend; creation is waiting, groaning, travailing to see CHRIST MANIFESTED IN ALL HIS GLORY, NATURE, AND POWER IN THE SONS OF THE RESURRECTION!
The second man, the last Adam, has been made a QUICKENING SPIRIT. Not a quickened spirit, but a quickening spirit. "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places IN CHRIST JESUS: that in the ages to come He might show (exhibit, put on display) the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:1,6-7).
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set you affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry. But now ye also put off all of these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:1-2,5,8-10). Truly it is "CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory!"
God is raising up a people in this new kingdom Day who shall be so filled with the resurrection life of Christ that they shall be changed even in the atomical structure of their bodies. The promise is sure — "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell (dwell in union, as in a marriage) in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead SHALL ALSO QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES by His Spirit that dwelleth (in union, as in a marriage) in you!" (Rom. 8:11). If merely having the Spirit of God in us would quicken our mortal bodies, millions of saints throughout the church age would not have gone by way of the grave, and many who read these lines would already have incorruptible bodies. But there is a truth and a reality beyond receiving the Spirit! The firstborn Son of God not only was filled with the Spirit without measure, He also dwelt in union with the Spirit, as in a marriage. The Spirit was LORD in Him, fully and completely LORD! When nothing else could hold Him but the life of the Spirit of His Father — THEN IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR DEATH TO HOLD HIM! Oh, the mystery of it! Oh, the wonder of it!
Christ is ALIVE! Hallelujah! But don’t talk about resurrection unless you have been raised up with Him. Don’t talk about being glorified unless the glory is shining through your life! YOU are the only witness God desires to the resurrection of His Son. And with the resurrection life of God’s Christ manifested through many sons brought to glory — who in the world needs EASTER? Thank God, the keys of death are in the right hands now, in the hands of the one the Father sent to set creation free. He is now turning those keys in the locks of the lives of His called and chosen elect. He is even now bringing a mighty release within each called one, that death might be swallowed up of victory, and mortality be swallowed up of life! There is a way of victory over every enemy provided for every man and woman who has received the call to sonship. The key is in His mighty hand, and HE IS WITHIN US UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY OF LIFE AND THE TREASURE HOUSE OF IMMORTALITY! It is not by might nor by power, my beloved, but by the Spirit of the Lord!
THOU ART RICH!
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich…" (Rev. 2:9).
The saints in Smyrna were exceedingly poor in this world’s goods, for their possessions had been seized and confiscated from them under the severe persecutions of the Romans and the Jews. They were an oppressed and poverty-stricken people, yet the Lord says to them, "But thou art rich!" Great heavenly wealth and glory are reserved for those who attain to the fullness of God. Let none who reads these words imagine that heavenly wealth means a "mansion in glory-land" beside a gold street! Indeed not! Bill Britton once gave a beautiful illustration of what true heavenly or spiritual riches are. Bill wrote:
"The crucial verse in this message is found in II Corinthians 8:9. ‘For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich.’ What a word! He was rich! What was it that made Him rich, before He became poor? Was it because He owned the cattle on a thousand hills? Of course not! He was rich before there were any cattle, or any hills to put them on. Was it because He was the owner of the Bank of Heaven?
"We so often have a perverted sense of what makes a man rich. Take for instance Mr. King. He owns a large business, and makes millions every year. He has so much wealth, he doesn’t really know how much he is worth. He has an ulcer that is eating him up inside. He can’t eat a decent meal. His wife is an alcoholic, has had a nervous breakdown, hates him with a passion, and would divorce him in a minute if she only had the courage. His son is in prison for manslaughter, having killed a child while driving drunk. His daughter is a heroin addict, living somewhere in a large city with drug pushers. Is he a rich man? Does all his money make him rich? He is, indeed, a very poor man!
" Let us take another example. Brother Green works as a janitor in Mr. King’s business. His salary is small, and he has a difficult time paying the rent on the small five room house where his family lives. He is Spirit-filled, his wife adores him, and their five children are all saved and filled with the Spirit. Three of his sons are already in the ministry. Is he poor? He is one of the richest men in town!
"What made Jesus rich? It was the very substance of what He was! Philippians 2:6 (Amplified) tells us that He was ‘essentially one with God and in the form of God, possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God.’ Yes, He was rich! But it goes on to say in the next verse that He stripped Himself of all this, and came to earth to be like one of us. He became poor. At the close of His earthly ministry, Jesus is praying to the Father in heaven. He says, ‘I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was’ (Jn. 17:4-5). Wow! He says here that He had a glory with the Father before the world existed, which He does not now have. He was rich. But when He stripped Himself (Phil. 2:7-8) He gave up that glory. Now He has something He did not have back then. A body, given to Him by His mother, Mary. Now He is asking for that glory again. It is to be glorified with the Father’s own self, nothing less. Did He receive the answer to this prayer? Absolutely! God has highly exalted Him, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess Him as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
"Everyone will agree that Jesus was rich, one with the Father in glory. There is no question about Him becoming poor when He stripped Himself and came to earth in human flesh. But the scripture doesn’t stop there! It goes on to say that He had a purpose in becoming poor. Why did He do it? Why did He leave His riches in glory, and become poor? ‘That you through His poverty might be rich.’ He did it to make us rich! How do you spell that second ‘rich’? It’s spelled the same as the first ‘rich’ in that verse. R-I-C-H. And what does it mean? It means the same as the first ‘rich’, not just to give us a lot of money. Jesus was rich — He makes us rich! What made Him rich? BEING GLORIFIED WITH THE FATHER’S OWN GLORY! What makes us rich? Exactly the same thing! Ephesians 3:19 tells us that we are to be filled with ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD!
"The plan of God is that we shall inherit all things (Rev. 21:7). We are to be joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17). One of the things Jesus has inherited by being the Father’s Son is the Father’s name (Heb. 1:4). And the verse that says we are joint heirs, also says that we are to be glorified together with Christ. But I must share Romans 8:18 with you from the Amplified Bible: ‘For I consider the sufferings of this present life are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed TO us, and IN us, and FOR us, and CONFERRED ON us!’ The next verse says that all creation waits expectantly for God’s sons to be made known. That must mean that they are not yet known, as long as creation groans and waits. In John 17 He tells us that He gives us His glory, the very same glory He had with the Father before the world was! At this time He has us covered, as it were, in obscurity.
"This is our destiny, planned for us by One who is well able to bring it about. He never promised us that we would not have suffering, pain, or grief. But He did promise that every suffering would bring us an incomparable amount of His glory! (Rom. 8:17-18; II Cor. 4:17). So don’t complain about your situation or your circumstances, just look at His glory! To get a picture of the heights to which Christ is taking us, consider this divine principle: The lower Jesus sinks in His poverty, the higher He takes us in the riches of our inheritance! You are His chosen, His beloved, and He will see you through in victory, I promise. Just cast your care upon Him, for He cares for you. He loves you, more than you will ever know. He came to make you RICH!" — end quote.
I will close this message by sharing from a word received from brother Paul Mueller.
"If we ever might have wondered who the great men of the world are, the following prophetic word of the Lord surely settles it! ‘Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me TO THE GREAT MEN, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God’ (Jer. 5:4-5).
"The great men of the world are not the wealthy, the prosperous, the leaders of business and industry, or the politicians and governmental leaders of this world; they are the saints of God who know the way of the Lord and who faithfully and obediently keep it! They shall be exalted in the heavenly courts of the Spirit by their omnipotent and sovereign Father, and eventually shall be heard and received by the multitudes of this world. They shall be given rulership positions in that great and mighty, all-encompassing kingdom of their Father, a spiritual position that they gained through much tribulation.
"During the reign of king David, after the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies, David expressed a desire to build a house for the Lord. The Lord then spoke to Nathan the prophet and gave him His word regarding David’s desire to build a house for the Lord. The Lord questioned David’s desire and reminded him that God had not dwelt in any house since He brought Israel out of Egypt, but had dwelt in tents or tabernacles. The Lord also informed David that it was God who took him from following the sheep, and who made him to be the ruler over His people, Israel. The Lord said He also was with David in battles, to cut off his enemies, ‘and have made thee a great name, like unto the great men that are in the earth’ (II Sam. 7:1-9).
"The kings and priests of God are the great men of this world! Our Father has made them to be that by the authority and power of His kingdom reign and dominion. We may be mere sons of God now, but it does not yet appear what greatness we shall have when our Father has exalted us and made us to sit with Him on His heavenly, spiritual throne, with the masses of the nations at our feet worshipping the Christ of God, of whom we are a part. Other great men are listed in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews! They, along with other God-appointed kings and priests, are the great men of this world. But I hasten to add that they are not just ‘men’ after the flesh; they are men and women of God who have kept the way of the Lord and who have become spiritually mature ‘men’ in the Spirit. They have become a part of that masculine manchild, the SON OF MAN company, whether male or female according to the flesh. They have been gloriously changed and wondrously transformed into the image and likeness of Christ, their blessed Savior, Head, Lord, and King" — end quote.
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY
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J. Preston Eby
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El Paso TX 79937-1240
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