KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."

  

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE

 

Part 56

THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA

(continued)

 

"Him that overcomethÖI will write upon him the name of my God" (Rev. 3:12).

God is doing a wonderful work in His elect in this hour! It is a complete work. He is thoroughly changing us from flesh to spirit, from earthly to heavenly, making us the overcomers He has apprehended us to be. It is His plan and purpose to thoroughly cleanse and transform us! As He does this, we are losing our own identity and taking on the identity of our Father, the characteristics of His holy city, New Jerusalem, and the new, creative identity represented in His new name. When this work is completely accomplished in us, we shall be fully identified with God and the realm of His Spirit.

Perhaps you have heard the question, "Whatís in a name?" A name is more than a moniker, more than a simple badge or means of identification, something by which we address people specifically and individually. In biblical usage there is much in a name! True, the names we give our children in this modern day usually have little or no significance. It has become the custom to give foolish names which do not mean anything, except a jingle of sounds. We often name our children after some favorite aunt, uncle, or grandparent, or choose a name because we like its sound or association. But in Bible times names were chosen with great care and were frequently given by prophetic utterance or under divine inspiration so that the names actually revealed the nature, character, attributes, and destiny of the person, and thus carried a message to all who spoke or used that name.

In a very real sense the "name" of a being is regarded as being a real part of the person. In a certain sense there can be no separation whatsoever between a manís name and what he is as a person. In the scriptures the innermost being of a man is expressed in his name. That is why Esau declares of his conniving brother, "Is he not rightly named Jacob (supplanter)? For he has supplanted me these two times" (Gen. 27:36). After wresting with the angel of the Lord, however, Jacob underwent a change of attitude and alteration of character which was accompanied by a change of name. Having seen the "face" or presence of God he was no longer the same man that he had been before his encounter with the Lord. Since name and character are absolutely identified there had to be a change in Jacobís appellation! The angel of the Lord, therefore, said, "Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel (Prince): for as a prince thou hast power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Gen. 32:28).

Abram, which means "father," had his name changed by God to Abraham, meaning "father of many nations," for such he was to become in very fact. His wife also was given a change of name from Sarai, which means "contentious," to Sarah, meaning "Princess," for, said the Lord, "I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be of her." There was a man, who later became a very excellent minister in the early church, possibly that rich young ruler whom Jesus loved, and told to sell all, give all to the poor, and then to follow Him. He went away very sorrowful, for he was exceedingly rich. But a very ancient tradition says that after the Lord Jesus died, rose, and ascended, he became a true disciple. He was known among the disciples as Joses, and then he was called Barnabas, meaning "son of consolation," because he became such a good man in comforting and helping others.

The inspired prophet summed up in one bold statement what it means to be a priest of God in His kingdom. "Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord: for men shall call you the ministers of our God" (Isa. 61:6). There is marvelous significance in that one word "named." Named! You shall be N-A-M-E-D the priests of the Lord. This passage forcefully reveals the great truth that all who would be priests of God MUST UNDERGO A CHANGE OF NATURE, to become priests by name, by nature, so that priesthood is not merely a title given to them but a nature lived out through them. If our spiritual minds can grasp the fact, to be named the priests of the Lord means to be natured the priests of the Lord, to so be imbued with the priestly nature until we become a priest in our very state of being.

Jesus, after teaching His disciples to love their enemies, bless them that curse them, do good to them that hate them, and pray for them that despitefully use them and persecute them, continued, "That ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mat. 5:38-48). You see, God makes no difference; He is not a respecter of persons. He loves His creation and wills only blessing and life for all men, the evil as well as the good! He has one great plan to draw all men and restore them to the glory of God. That is OUR FATHER! And we are His sons, those who share His nature, who think as He thinks and act as He acts. This is what it means to be named ó natured ó the priests of the Lord! Let us note in passing, the King James Bible says, "that ye may be the children of your Father in heaven." The Greek word here, however, is huios meaning "sons," mature sons, not little children. Mature sons are NATURED priests!

There are many names and descriptive titles of God in the scriptures. He is called Counselor, King, Shepherd, Rock, Shield, High Tower, Strong Arm, Saviour, Redeemer, Father, Yahweh, Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon, Jesus (Yahshua), and many, many others. Someone has said that there are about two hundred names for God in the Bible! The moment one begins to splinter the absolute wholeness that God is, to examine all His multi-faceted aspects and attributes, the number of splinters are as infinite as God is infinite. Each name of God, as He progressively revealed Himself, was a fresh and fuller revelation of the nature of God. One was a revelation of His Self-existence, another of His might, another was the unveiling of His grace. One revealed something more of His wisdom, another of His holiness, another of His tenderness, another of His exaltation and honor, another of His judgment, and so on.

As already stated, a name with God is indicative of the one who bears that name. Those who will be worthy to bear the name of God are the ones who have been changed, transformed, and recreated in the image and likeness of God! If we are not completely in His image and likeness there is no way that the Christ can write that name upon us. The name describes God, and it will only be given unto us when it can describe us! We must, of necessity, be like Him in every respect, if we are to be the possessors of that name. It is "him that overcometh" that receives the name, and it is by overcoming that we obtain the name! Christ obtained a name more excellent than angels and higher than all other names. He obtained the name of the Father by overcoming all things! And that is how the name of the Father is being written upon His elect in this hour, in our overcoming we are putting on the nature and character of our God.

The "name of my God" means the nature of my God. This is Jesus Christ speaking! Of the firstborn Son of God it is written, "He is the sole expression of the glory of God, the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine, and He is the perfect imprint and very image of Godís nature" (Heb. 1:3, Amplified). Again in Colossians 1:15 we find that Christ is the image of the invisible God. He bore the image of His Father, as many an earthly son does of his father. I have known boys, that as soon as one sees them it is not hard to tell whose son they are; they are so much like their father. They can look so much like dad in build and physical features; they will walk, talk, and act so much like their dad that there is no mistaking whose son they are. I look much like my dad, so much so, in fact, that once in the 1960ís in Belize, Central America I was walking across the porch of a hotel when a voice called out, "Luke Eby! Are you Luke Eby?" I was stunned to hear that call, for we were only briefly visiting Belize on a missionary journey and knew no one there. We had only arrived the day before! I replied, "No, I am not Luke Eby ó Luke is my father." By an exceedingly strange coincidence this man had known my father in Pennsylvania many years before and was now living in Belize. He recognized me because I looked so much like my father at that age. But sons on earth are never the express image of their father, because they inherit some characteristics from motherís side as well. So though they may look much like dad there is always some little difference. It was not so with Jesus! He was the express image of God! In every respect He was exactly like His Father, so much so that He was able to say, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." He bore His image, His likeness, and in this He manifested to the world what God is like!

"I will set him on high because he has known my name" (Ps. 91:14). To know His name is to become, in union with Him, the name-nature of God in every hour and in every way. To know His name is to enter in to the pure inner life of God, and exude His nature, His life, His character and all else that He is. To know means more than mere intellectual understanding or carnal knowledge. It means "intimate union" as when "Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain" (Gen. 4:1). Some people think because they use or pronounce the names Yahweh, El Elyon, Yahshua, and all the other Hebrew names they have dug out of the concordance, that this truly honors the Lord, makes the use of these names magical, procures favor with God, or is a mark of spirituality. People without a revelation from the Lord, or participation in His life, are disposed to go back and use the "letter" of that given to past generations of men of God. Some even become so radical that they re-write the Bible, inserting the Hebrew names in the New Testament text, although they do not appear in the ancient manuscripts!

The Psalmist says, "And they that know Thy name shall put their trust in Thee" (Ps. 9:10). The message is clear: "They that have experienced the inworking, the development and formation of Thy nature will confidently trust in Thee." If this has not been your experience yet ó that is, the inworking and formation of His nature within ó then you do not yet know the name of the Lord though you may be zealous to consistently use the Hebrew words Yahweh, Yahshua, and all the other name forms in the Old Testament.

Again the scripture declares that "the name of Yahwey is a strong tower." There are many precious revelations coming forth these days concerning the names of God, and the depth of meaning therein. Some immediately get caught up in the externals, with an emphasis on the mechanics ó the spelling, syllables, and pronunciation of the names ó dealing with the outward or "letter" of the Word. But it is the "letter" that killeth ó that is, there is no life in those things! They strike no chord deep in my spirit. In fact, they leave me somewhat cold and uninspired. The "spirit" of the Word gives life! The spirit is the substance, the essence and reality of His nature that the outward name reveals. As Ray Prinzing has so aptly written, "Of this we are certain, there is a walk that is Ďnot of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth lifeí (II Cor. 3:6). When certain truths are set down as a doctrine, and one receives only the letter thereof, it does not serve to gender life within, it only becomes one more burden to bear, adding to the load of traditions and commandments. But when the Spirit of God illumines the inner man, quickens the heart to receive that Word of Life within, it is not some doctrine to contend for, but it is a LIFE TO BE LIVED."

So the Lord gives this promise to the overcomer: "I will write upon him the name of my God." Is God going to literally write upon the overcomer the Hebrew letters of the name Y-A-H-W-E-H? Is this some form of tattoo we are to have burned into our flesh? Certainly not! Realizing the awesome glory and power that was given to Moses by the Lord when He proclaimed His name to him, we can well understand the significance of "the name of my God" which is to be written upon all who overcome. It is certainly not the Hebrew name of the Father, nor is it a new spiritual name that some are now using for themselves. Rather, it is the impartation of HIS CHARACTER AND AUTHORITY! Let us clearly understand the deep truth of Godís Word! When He proclaims or writes His name upon His called and chosen elect, He is in fact imparting to them His honor, His authority, His nature, and His power. It has nothing to do with letters of the alphabet or phonics!

THE NAME OF THE CITY OF MY GOD

"Him that overcomethÖI will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem" (Rev. 3:12).

One of the keys to understanding the book of Revelation is to understand why it was written. Like most of the scriptures, the book of Revelation is one of those writings that has been the subject of deep superstitious speculation which is of no benefit to those who approach it in that way. Tradition makes the word of God of no effect, saith the Lord! Nowhere in all of the scriptures are fairy tales, myths, and superstitions fabricated more than out of the book of Revelation! I grew up hearing that there was a city in space, a bright square star, discovered by some unnamed and unknown astronomer, moving toward the earth from a distant part of the universe. I grew up hearing this as the word of God!

I was taught that the word of God says that there is a city coming down from heaven, and immediately the carnal mind assumes that it is a huge monstrosity floating down from space which someday will land on the earth like a bump on a little boyís head. Having minds that are darkened by ignorance of divine mysteries, these have not spiritual understanding. Their comprehension of spiritual realities is not unlike that of the Pharisees who were offended, disturbed, and angered when Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you" (Jn. 6:53). Understanding only with carnal minds and human logic they interpreted His words as a suggestion of cannibalism! They were unable to see beyond the letter of the word to grasp the deep spiritual truth of which He spake. Just as Jesus spoke of His spirit and His word under the symbols of His blood and His flesh, so the apostle John described the heavenly origin and character of the bride of Christ under the figure of a city coming down from God out of heaven.

The bride of Christ is not a physical city of gold and stones and streets and gates. The bride of Christ is a people, a spiritual people in union with Christ. John says that this city is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. He introduces this glorious city as a bride brought to relationship with her bridegroom. A bride is one who is deeply in love with her bridegroom, submitted and joined in the intimate union of that love. That is why in the Revelation we see the woman giving birth to the manchild. No one can become a son until first he has experienced what it means to be a bride! It is brideship that gives birth to sonship! It is as we truly fall fiercely and intensely in love with Christ, submitting to His Lordship, learning His ways, and knowing Him in intimacy of fellowship and vital union, that we receive the seed of God by which we can be birthed out of this relationship into the further and higher reality of sonship to God. The New Jerusalem city is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and it is from this union of life that the manchild is birthed. Yet we cannot truly separate between the city bride and the manchild who sits upon the throne, for the throne of God is in the city and it is from that throne that the river of life pours forth for all creation! These are great and eternal realities within each one of us as we follow on to know the Lord and fulfill His purpose in restoring creation to God. Oh, the wonder of it!

In speaking of that city which is the New Jerusalem the apostle says, "Behold! The tabernacle of God is with men." This is not the first time the tabernacle of God has been with men! The tabernacle of God was with men from the time of Moses, when he built the tabernacle of God in the wilderness. You see, precious friend of mine, John was seeing in vision the fulfillment of all that the tabernacle in the wilderness and the temple in Jerusalem represented ó in the elect. IN the body of Christ THE TABERNACLE OF GOD IS WITH MEN! The tabernacle of God is with us now, for Christ is in us, and the glory of God is seen upon it! Ah, how there needs to be a great voice proclaiming this tabernacle of God in the midst of men (Rev. 21:3), because the whole world is looking up in the skies to see it coming down through the galaxies while all the time it is coming down from the high realm of the Spirit of God into the minds, hearts, lives, and bodies of men!

The name of the city of my God is New Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a compound Hebrew word meaning "founded peaceful." I will write upon you the name of the city ó I will write upon you the establishment or kingdom of peace, the rule of peace that comes through the government of God. For God to write upon us the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem, means that He inscribes in our very nature the peaceful and governmental characteristics represented by this glorious city of God!

The New Jerusalem coming down from the heavens of Godís Spirit is revealed to be a city four-square, that is, a universal city that reigns over and blesses all men unto the four corners of the earth! The best way to come to an understanding of the true meaning of the New Jerusalem, is to go back and consider its shadow, the Old Jerusalem. Jerusalem of old was the capital city of the national Israel; and as that old order was but a type and shadow of the new, therefore the New Jerusalem must be the capital city, or the ruling element, in Israel today, which is Christís kingdom and of which our Lord said, it "is not of this world." In other words, the New Jerusalem is the ruling class, the kings and priests unto God: those who have followed the Lamb whithersoever He goeth and have attained to the highest position of honor and might and true greatness in the Spirit. It comprises those who will reign with Christ upon His throne. Godís called and chosen elect, therefore, who supremely love Christ, who are submitted completely to His Lordship, who are accounted worthy to suffer with Christ and through our trials, testings, and provings grow up into Him in all things, ARE the New Jerusalem which shall rule over Godís infinite realm forevermore, and all nations and peoples shall eventually walk in the light of this city!

Thus we see that the New Jerusalem, contrary to the driveling childishness that is taught in the church systems, is not a fanciful monstrosity some fifteen hundred miles high which some day will come crashing down out of the clouds to rest upon the earth, throwing it out of balance and off its course. God made this earth complete and as it should be long, long ago. He created it a perfectly functioning reality, and "nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it" (Eccl. 3:14). Truly, unspiritual men can invent many fairy tales, and alas, all seem intent upon calculating the expanse of the city in cubic miles or cubic feet as though it were nothing more than a huge metropolis slightly more wonderful than those at present on earth! One speaker waxed eloquent about the size of the mansion each inhabitant would possess, replete with a golden bathtub and fountains and other such nonsense. Until our spiritual minds are able to grasp the great truth that the body of Christ is the temple of God and that every room or mansion in that temple is a living son of God, a literal habitation of God through the Spirit, we have understood nothing at all. Only the Spirit of God can make this a living truth in the hearts of His people!

When the glorious city of living stones is unveiled in all of its unspeakable majesty and glory, then will the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come," and the nations of earth will enter through its spiritual gates that they may partake of the leaves of its spiritual tree (the Word of God) that are for the healing of the nations. From His exalted throne of sons of God (Rev. 3:21; 21:7) in its midst the water of Life will flow and the ever green tree of Life, bearing its twelve manner of fruits, will flourish on either side of the river for the healing of all nations who hitherto walked in darkness and the shadow of death. Then shall its twelve gates be open, and never shall they be closed by day, and there shall be no more night.

In the book of Hebrews the writerís spirit is enraptured with glory, his heart exulting in praise, as he beholds in spirit the transcendent glory of the spiritual mount Zion in contrast with the indescribable dreadfulness of the earthly mount Sinai. From his mouth pours forth the prophetic pronouncement: "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: for they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: but ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of messengers, and to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:18-24).

There are beautiful pictures here of Godís dealings with His people on all levels of spiritual growth, development, and understanding. Some people get the idea that we think we are the only true people of God on earth, and that we have no love, appreciation, or concern for the Lordís people in the church systems. Such is not the case! We seek to fellowship with all the Lordís precious people, regardless of what level they are on. They are all HIS, and if we can bless them in any way, that is our joy. However ó we cannot, dare not, fellowship the false religious systems of Mystery Babylon! We do need to draw a distinction between the Lordís people and the system so many are involved in. We can and will fellowship anyone ó but we will not fellowship their carnal, man-made systems. This means that much of our fellowship with the believers about us is limited to a "one-on-one" basis, after we get past those who wonít fellowship us at all because they perceive us to be heretics!

Let us go back to the Old Testament and consider the types and shadows of Godís economy among His people. Israel of old was Godís chosen nation, His peculiar treasure above all the people of the earth. Israel was the visible expression of Godís kingdom upon earth. Israel was the whole nation composed of all who were born there, irrespective of their stature, position, station, attainments, wealth, poverty, intelligence, sickness, health ó all who were born there, from the blind beggar by the road to the king upon the throne, were citizens of Godís nation and came under the care, order, and provision of Yahweh. All who were born of the flesh in Israel were citizens of the kingdom simply by virtue of birth. In this more glorious dispensation of the Spirit, each and every son of Adamís race, who has been born again by the Spirit through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, are alike citizens of that kingdom which is no longer a dusty little country thronging with peasants and cattle who inhabit houses of clay and stone and wood, but an eternal land, a heavenly country of a spiritual order, the inhabitants of which have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever. In type the fleshly Israel represents all who, under the new covenant, are born into the family of God by spiritual birth!

Let us UNDERSTAND! Israel was the whole nation, but Jerusalem was the capital city. All who lived in Jerusalem were citizens of the kingdom, but not all who were citizens of the kingdom lived in Jerusalem! And as that old order of the flesh was but a type and shadow of the new order of the Spirit, therefore the New Jerusalem is the capital city, transcendent in glory, upon the mountain of His holiness, beautiful for situation, upon the sides of the north, the city of the great King! The New Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel today, which is Christís kingdom of blood-bought, quickened men and women of all stages of development in Life. The New Jerusalem is a city of redeemed persons, but persons who have not only been born as citizens of a heavenly country, but have moved onward to dwell in the capital city of that country, a realm of surpassing beauty and glory, the inhabitants of which are the embodiment of the glory of God, holding in their hands the priesthood, temple, kingship, and government of the kingdom, and are the light thereof.

The apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that there are two Jerusalems. "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage (to the law) with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all" (Gal. 4:22-26).

Paul has here been drawing a comparison or contrast between Hagar and Sarah, the children of the bondwoman and the children of the freewoman, which allegorically represent two covenants and the two Jerusalems. He states that there is a Jerusalem from below, which is here on this planet, the Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children; which answers to Hagar and is fleshly, natural Israel under the law. There is, moreover, a Jerusalem which is above, which exists in a higher realm, in the Spirit; and the Jerusalem which is above, being free, answers to Sarah and is the children of God through the new covenant, born from above by the Spirit. This Jerusalem is the mother of the heavenly Israel after which the earthly Israel is patterned, and this is shown in the book of Revelation in the twelve gates bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

We become citizens of the New Jerusalem by being born of the Spirit and brought into a responsible place in the family of God, by the workings of His Spirit within us. The spiritual New Jerusalem is a glorious realm in God, far more glorious and spectacular than anything of this earth has ever been. It is the free city, free from all of religionís traditions, regulations, creeds, methods, systems, and bondages of men. And when the New Jerusalem realm has come from God out of heaven to be manifested in all its fullness, with all her glorious kingdom parts fully established and spiritually fulfilled, she shall indeed be, in truth and in fact, "the joy of the whole earth."

All of Jerusalemís children are born of the Spirit, and led by the Spirit! And now in this heavenly light, power, and spirit they come to be the heavenly Jerusalemís children, that is, born from above, without the law and the bondages of religion, and in the Spirit. And is not this the city that Abraham sought for, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God? Is not this the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God, that he sought for? Is it not from among this people, born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and grown up in the Spirit, that the Melchizedek Priesthood is revealed? Ah, little wonder that the apostle declared that in relation to this Melchizedekian Order there are "many things to say and hard to be understood" by those unspiritual ears that remain unquickened and uncircumcised by the Spirit of Truth. Jerusalem is not itself kingship and priesthood ó but Godís king-priests occupy the high places of Jerusalem! Oh, the mystery of it!

One of the chief errors made by believers of almost all persuasions is the common notion that all saved people belong to the same company, order, or rank in the kingdom of God. Men like to imagine that all are going to the same place in God, that all are the bride of Christ, all have the mind of Christ, all are sons of God, all will rule and reign with Christ, and so on. To assume this is to frustrate the purpose of God in the lives of His people! Do not be deceived by the senseless prattle of carnal minded teachers and preachers, nor by the childish understanding of baby Christians. There are many justified believers who have not been filled with the Spirit of God. There are many Spirit-baptized believers who have not grown up into the maturity of the knowledge, wisdom, nature, power, and stature of Christ. And nearly all believers fit somewhere in between those who are merely "saved by grace" and those who have been completely CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THE SON OF GOD.

It should be clear to all that have eyes to see that the Jerusalem people dwell in a brighter glory than do the Israel people, even as the Spirit-filled people dwell in a brighter glory than do the justified people. The New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ. A bride is one who is no longer a babe, but has reached a degree of maturity, and has fallen so intensely in love that her only wish is to yield herself to the high desires of her husband, giving herself completely and unreservedly to him as her lover, submitting her whole life to him as her head and lord. Oh! So many of the Lordís people know so little of what it means to be the bride of Christ! But I tell you that most people who are pressing on into sonship to God started out earlier in their experience in a "brideship" relationship to Christ, intensely in love with Christ, submitted to His Lordship, and seeking only to fulfill His high desires.

There is more! Not only have we come by our walk in the Spirit to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, not only have we come to the heavenly Jerusalem, but we have also come unto mount Zion. Again we go back to consider the shadow. Israel was the whole nation; Jerusalem, the capital city. All Israelites were alike citizens of the kingdom, but not all Israelites dwelt in Jerusalem, the city of the great King, where stood the magnificent temple of God, the priesthood, the kingship, and the glory. And while Jerusalem comprised a people of surpassing honor and glory and relationship with God, yet in all Jerusalem there was only one who, with his household, dwelt on mount Zion. He was the king! Zion is the name of the ancient citadel of Jerusalem. It was captured from the Jebusites by David after he became king. From that hill David and the kings of Israel reigned gloriously, and the ark of God rested there all through the reign of David which was forty years. Mount Zion was the highest pinnacle of glory and power attainable in Israel!

That Zion, however, was only a faint shadow of THE ZION TO WHICH WE ARE COME! David was king over natural Israel. Christ is King over the Israel of the new covenant! David dwelt on the natural mount Zion. Therefore Christ dwells upon the spiritual mount Zion! And this spiritual mount Zion is composed of those who reach the very highest pinnacle attainable in Jerusalem: those who, like king David of old, are "a man (manchild) after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will." This mount Zion company is the ruling class, the overcomers who sit with Christ in His throne. They are the throne in the New Jerusalem! These are the kings and priests unto God, after the order of Melchizedek, those who have attained to the highest position of honor and might and true greatness in the kingdom of God. It comprises those who are such as have gone all the way with their Lord and shall now rule with Christ upon His throne over Godís infinite realm for evermore. Isnít it wonderful!

MY NEW NAME

"Him that overcomethÖI will write upon him my new name" (Rev. 3:12).

The name of the Son of God who came in human flesh is Jesus. That is His complete name. That is His correct name. That is His full name. The name of the eternal Word of God who stepped across the stars to planet earth to be born in the little village of Bethlehem, is Jesus. That is His complete, proper, full name. His name is Jesus! The angelic messenger appeared to Mary and announced, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mat. 1:21). Someone may object with the contention that His name was Yahshua, not Jesus. But we cannot be certain that the angel spoke to Mary in Hebrew! You see, Aramaic was the common language of the people in Nazareth when Jesus came. Therefore, it is just as possible, in fact, more probable that the angel spoke to Mary in Aramaic! In any event, Jesus is the English form of the name and is exactly the same as the Old Testament name Joshua. Joshua or Jesus ó itís the same name. And Joshua or Jesus or Yahshua means "salvation of Yahweh." So when the mighty angel Gabriel appeared, he said, "Call the child that which will be descriptive or characteristic of what He is going to be and do." The messenger said, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, or, thou shalt call His name SAVIOUR, FOR He shall save His people from their sins!" Call Him Saviour because He is going to save!

Why is so much promised through the name of Jesus the Christ? The name is the value of the person it represents. When I hear or mention a name it calls up before me the whole man or woman, what I know of him or her, and the impression the person has made on me. For example, if someone says, "Althea," I do not react, or if they call out the name "Fiona" still there is nothing. I have no close friends or acquaintances with those names. But when they say, "Lorain," immediately there is a response ó for there is the image, the love, and all the personality of my wife. That is the name of the one I love! The name "Lorain" is not any prettier or any more meaningful than Angelica or Nicole, but what the name implies to me is different. When someone says, "Billy the Kid," I see an image of a wild and murderous youth who once rode the old West and was sentenced to be hung sixty miles from our home. When someone says, "Billy Sunday," an altogether different image is presented ó I think of a great evangelist of yesteryear.

There is progression in the name of our Lord. We all know His name Jesus! But now the Lord announces, "And I will write upon him my new name." So few people know that Jesus now has a new name! Now we do not mean that He is no longer called Jesus, for His Saviourhood extends unto the ages of the ages. At the conclusion of all the ages the promise shall be fulfilled that "at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, to the glory of God the Father." "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved!" Oh, yes! His name is still Jesus. But ó He also has a NEW NAME! When He speaks to us here of His new name, He is not speaking of the handle or the word by which He is called. He is speaking of the nature and character ó a new and higher nature and character than He had on earth as a man, higher even than His Saviourhood by which we are reconciled unto God.

The new name of the Son of God is a name that is descriptive of what He is now within Himself. It is a name that is high above every name! A new identity, the greatness and glory thereof is still to be revealed unto the sons of God, and with that revelation shall come a glory in us that shall deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. Therefore, the closer we come to spiritual maturity, with the unveiling of the sons of God in manifestation, there is a new name to be disclosed. HE WILL DECLARE IT UNTO HIS BRETHREN. In bringing many sons to glory, it was an act worthy of God, "To make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I WILL DECLARE THY NAME unto my brethren" (Heb. 2:10-12).

We can go back and remember all the names whereby He has revealed Himself to this date, and rejoice in all the revelation this brings, but it is not any of those names, but HIS NEW NAME that He will write on the overcomers! What an honor, and what a reward! Think of the implication involved in this! This new name is not any name we have heard Him called, for it was after He had submitted to the death of the cross that the Father raised Him up and highly exalted Him to the right hand of His throne, and gave Him a new name that is above every name. We can only learn that name and attain to that name by becoming all that He is! And thus it is said of Christ, "His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself" (Rev. 19:12). This mysterious, uncommunicated name or nature shall be imparted to every overcomer! An entirely new revelation of Christ will then be made in them.

When Jesus was upon earth He had one nature and character. For three and a half years the disciples walked with Jesus. They saw Him feed the multitudes, calm the violent sea with a word, heal the sick and oppressed, and raise the dead even from the tomb of foul corruption. Three of them had been with Jesus on the holy mount and had seen the transcendent glory of His transfiguration. They fell down afraid, dumbfounded by the glory that was manifest, as they beheld the face of Christ shining with a brightness exceeding the noonday sun, and heard the voice of God out of the glory saying, "This is my beloved Son!" Yet ó in all this He was clothed in human flesh; he ate, drank, grew weary, used the bathroom, took a bath, slept, wept, was angered, and expressed all the other physical, emotional, and psychological limitations of a human nature.

Few people understand that Jesus was not yet perfect or perfected when he was here upon earth. Now I am not saying He was not perfectly sinless. Of course He was! I am saying He was not yet perfect or perfected. If you want the letter of the Word for that, then read Luke 13:32 where some people came to Jesus and said to Him, "Herod is seeking to kill thee." Jesus replied, "Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." If you need further proof, you can read in the book of Hebrews where the scripture says that "it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10). And again, "And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Heb. 5:9). Someone asks in what sense was He not yet perfect while He was here on earth? The Bible says, in that "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). While He was here in the flesh, He still had the imperfect nature in that sin could still be a temptation to Him.

Through His death, burial, and resurrection Jesus attained to a new nature and character!

Through His death, burial, and resurrection He came to His perfect state, His new nature whereby nothing could ever be a temptation to Him, He knew no limitation, and death was forever swallowed up in victory. This was His new name, the resurrected nature of Christ! When Jesus says, "To him that overcomethÖI will write upon him my new name," He is saying, "I will give him the resurrected nature of Christ, I will raise him up in the power of my resurrection in spirit, soul, and body!" "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection." Someone says, "All believers have already been quickened, made alive in Christ, and received His resurrection life." That is true, my friend, in our inner man, the spirit; but there is a promise of fullness, of all that His new name entails, reserved for "him that overcometh." If all believers had already experienced this there would be no such promise to the overcomer!

On that morning of the first day of the week, when there was but the slightest shimmering of dawn on the horizon, unseen by human eyes, there descended the omnipotent and supernatural hand of God, right through that stone, and touched the body of the beloved Son. Life poured into that body and it was quickened by the immeasurable and illimitable power of God. In the silent darkness of that tomb a mighty metamorphosis took place ó the body that rose was no longer a natural body ó it was a spiritual body! It was a body pulsating with incorruptible power and immortal vitality! It shimmered with a splendiferous glow and vibrated at a frequency thousands of times higher than the body that was laid there three days before. Suddenly out of the blackness of the tomb, the first human body in the history of the world that could not be tempted and that could not die, nor be affected by any earthly power, stood and quietly passed through the rock walls like sunshine through a window pane, disappearing into the morning mist. Christ came out, not to the roar of hundreds of thousands, not to great parades or waiting hands, but He came out alone, having conquered death itself within Himself. He arose with a nature beyond temptation, beyond weakness, beyond sickness, beyond discouragement, beyond limitation, beyond any carnal influence or power ó beyond the whole dreadful realm of sin, sorrow, and death! This, my beloved, is HIS NEW NAME ó His new nature, character, and being. And this is what is promised to the overcomer!

As a man groping in the black and fearful darkness of a deep cave beholds in the distance the glimmer of glorious sunlight, and takes courage to continue his way in the one direction of that light spot, assured that there lies his deliverance, so the sons of God groping in the darkness of the shadow of this mortal realm, beholding in the Spirit the glory of the risen firstborn Son, know that there is a way out of death into the glorious liberty of the sons of God! For, mark you well, He is not merely risen: He is the firstborn from the dead! And the firstborn is He that "openeth the womb" and prepares the way for all His brethren, who are His body. Thus Christ was in the womb of death, was born from death, opening the womb of death for all those whom the Father hath given Him. And it is He, standing in that spot of glorious light, whom you see from your present darkness, who calls to you, "Because I live, ye shall live also!" "To Him that overcometh will I give the crown of life." "Him that overcomethÖI will write upon him my new name (resurrection life and nature)." It is true, wondrously and gloriously true ó "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed!"

Christís new name is not a series of letters of the alphabet phonetically pronounced. It is a nature! There is a great difference between the Lord naming or "naturing" us, and the naming after natural-minded fashion. A sister told me that one time she was visiting in a place where they were talking about "getting their new names." One man said that he had received his new name, and it was Myrtle. Lord, help us!

The key to receiving His new name is overcoming. The starting point in overcoming is with the little things, the little foxes that spoil the vine. You will be defeated if you start with the giants! You must first kill your bear and slay your lion before you take on Goliath. Start overcoming the little things, those little quirks and idiosyncrasies in your personality ó those things you think, those words you speak, those attitudes you manifest from time to time, facial expressions, body movements, gestures, slothfulness, worry, sins of omission ó these little things that fall short and miss the mark of the nature of Christ. God wants us to be changed! We will never be changed just by hearing the message and giving assent to it. We must take on ó appropriate ó a whole new nature that is absolutely contrary to the human nature. Iím not talking about warring with the "old man" or wrestling with the "devil." Iím talking about so putting on a new nature until all that is contrary to that nature is put to death. Iím talking about so putting on a new nature until it becomes natural to be supernatural!

HE must increase, WE must decrease ó and it must be in that order! We do not die in order to live, we live in order to die! By accentuating the positive we eliminate the negative. By turning on the light we dispel the darkness. By the infusion of life we abolish death. Truth destroys error. Reality negates fantasy. That is the law of conformation into the image of Christ! To fill our mind with the truth of Christ, we flood our life with the word of God, and "at the name (nature) of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess." As we partake of the nature of Christ out of our spirit, every knee within us must bow before that nature and every tongue, every voice within us, must confess that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of God the Father!

To be continuedÖ

J. PRESTON EBY

 

                 
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