KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal…” (Rev. 4:6).
Before we consider the sea of glass, I would like to point out that throughout the scriptures the sea is a type of the raging, restless, surging masses of unregenerate humanity, tossed to and fro by the inner storms of the turbulent nature of the carnal, Adamic man. The prophet Isaiah penned these inspired words, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isa. 57:20-21). Jude also described the natural man when he said, “These are raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame” (Jude 13). The beloved John, banished on the Isle of Patmos, had a vision of a great whore sitting on many waters. The angel that spoke with him revealed the meaning of the many waters, saying, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Rev. 17:5).
John also saw a vision of a beast rising out of the sea, a beastly expression coming up out of the midst of the multitudes of raging, restless, seething humanity, the sea of man. The natural sea is a great deep, an abyss (Gen. 1:2; 7:11; 8:2; Deut. 8:7; 33:13;). The Psalmist wrote of this abyss of fleshly men, “They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart is deep (an abyss)” (Ps. 64:6). To the enlightened mind of David the depth of iniquity of which the human heart is capable is so great that it is beyond the ability of man to comprehend! The heart of man is an unfathomable depth, or, as Jeremiah observed, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). While John the Revelator saw the beast (outward manifestation) rising out of the sea (abyss, depth) of humanity (carnal mind), Jesus expressed the same truth thus, “For from WITHIN, O-U-T O-F THE HEART OF MEN, proceed all these evil things!”
Yet God, blessed be His wonderful name, has a remedy for the raging of the sea of fleshly emotions and devilish passions within man! The word of the Lord declares, “Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them” (Ps. 89:9). Long centuries ago the Spirit of God inspired these beautiful words of promise, “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high IS MIGHTIER THAN THE NOISE OF MANY WATERS, yea, than the MIGHTY WAVES OF THE SEA” (Ps. 93:3-4). Praise God! HE rules the inner raging of the sea and HE stills all its tempests! That unstable nature within, so quickly moved by the storms created by the carnal mind, the torrents of passion, the streams of vain imaginations, the waves of frustration and fear, the winds of doubt and unbelief, the turbulent emotions of body and soul — all are quieted by the Lord, the Spirit, who arises from within in peace, confidence, truth, and faith to RULE THE RAGING OF THE SEA. And then follows the calm, the state described by Paul, “that we be no more tossed to and fro with every wind…but may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:14-15). The Spirit of Life within is great peace, overflowing joy, unfailing love, unwavering righteousness, and omnipotent power! Oh, yes! It is only necessary then to gain the conscious awareness of the presence and life of God as the very essence of our being, and to know that this life is the law and substance of our reality. When our consciousness is imbued with the Spirit of Truth — not merely the letter of truth, but the Spirit of Truth — all inner and outer tempests are stilled, the sea is calmed, and the dragon out of the sea vanishes over the horizon!
When John beheld in holy vision the unveiling of Christ — Christ the Head and Christ the body — he also saw “a throne set in heaven” with God’s Christ upon the throne. It is then that we read, “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal…” As surely as the raging sea represents multitudes of restless, clamoring, surging, sinning humanity, so does the exquisite sea of glass before the throne of God represent an assembled throng of quickened and transformed saints IN WHOSE HEARTS THE PEACE OF GOD RULES. This great sea of redeemed men is calm and serene, tranquil and quiet, transformed “even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Furthermore, the sea-dwelling beast has been dealt with! The inner nature of man has been transformed, satan is bound, and the sea is now calm. In contrast with the hurricane and the tumult of winds and waves, we now perceive the effectual dominion of God — the peace and rest of the divine nature, undisturbed by earth’s changes and storms. The sea of glass illustrates the ineffable calm of the divine nature — a mighty deep within of holy, divine love and purpose, of understanding and confidence, of righteousness, peace, and joy, upon which no wind blows, no tempest strives, no violent currents disturb its unfathomable depths.
Just how did this crystal sea become what it is? John envisions this sea of glass twice. In both of these descriptions, they are symbolical views of both a people and a state of being. They have been as individual grains of sand — for glass is melted sand. John beheld this sea of glass mingled with fire — having come through the furnace of afflictions. As the Lord says, “Behold, I have refined thee…I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (Isa. 48:10). These have been perfected through their fiery trials! “Tried with fire…and now they have been…found unto praise and honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:7). In the image and likeness of Christ, they are bonded together in a divine union of life. John sees the whole redeemed company not as millions of individual grains of sand, but as one body, even as a crystal sea of glass!
Glass is sand that has been heated in the fire and is melted and flows together until each grain of sand loses its individual identity as sand. These myriads of grains of sand are melted together into one piece of glass. This shimmering sea that John beholds is composed of a vast throng of the Lord’s people who have passed through the fires of tribulation, trials, testings, and provings, and have overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil by the power of His indwelling life. They can never again be affected, moved, tossed, disturbed, agitated, distracted, disquieted, bothered, or tempted by anything in those realms, for they have fully and forever overcome! They are standing in their eternal victory over the fleshly, beastly nature of the carnal, human identity, and the spirit of this world, as well as the false religious image of the man-made church systems.
A sea of glass like unto crystal! The figure is a striking one, and later on in the book of Revelation we find the overcomers standing on the sea of glass mingled with fire (Rev. 15:2). These have harps and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb — the song of deliverance, the song of the overcomer! Here we see a picture of a people who are neither going through the sea, nor being tossed by it, because they are standing on top of it. The message is clear — the crystal sea speaks of the nature in which they stand, and their walk has become stable and transparent! The fact that what is underneath their feet is solid, brilliant, and clear reveals to us the great truth that they are rooted and grounded in the pure, perfect, and holy nature of the Christ within.
The sea of glass mingled with fire represents the purification that is necessary for every son of God who enters the throne zone. It is not possible to partake of the realm of God’s sovereign, unlimited, omnipotent power and authority until we have passed through the crystal sea mingled with fire and been purged from all carnality and self-hood by the quickening radiance of Christ’s own pure and divine life. By the regenerating power of the living water which Christ is we lose the scent of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Every son of God is today passing through the sea of purification, into the state of transparency, which gives us access to the throne room of God!
It is here that all the fickle emotions of the soul and all the relentless passions of the body have been put under our feet until they toss us no more. There is a great calm! There is substance — a solid foundation — under our life and our walk, for we cannot fail to observe that God Himself possesses the same attributes as the glassy sea which surrounds His throne. The sea before the throne is the very nature of God established within a people until they stand and walk in the power of it. The sea is the emblem of mystery in many of the apocalyptic writings. But here we are told that the mystery which surrounds the nature of God is no longer mystery to those who are able to see Him as He is. The sea of glass is crystal clear with the light of truth! The glassy sea is thus a beautiful figure for the perfect revelation of the grace, righteousness, and glory of God.
Those who stand upon the sea of glass have escaped from the imprisonment of self into the mind of Christ. They have lost themselves so completely in the life of God that there is no longer any distinction between “I” and “Christ.” They have reached the good beyond the good; the right within the right; the truth of which the truth we have known is but the shadow. They have been lifted out of the tossing sea of human passion and carnal understanding into the eternal calm of Christ-consciousness. These love without fear of losing, and worship without ceasing that which is the living God reflected in our own being — our very reality and state of being being the homage we render unto Him who is the source and substance of all.
This is what every man is searching for who is tossed by the raging waves of the sea of humanity! It is what the greedy man wants when he goes out to make himself rich; he does not want the money and the things money buys, but that of which the wealth is the symbol, that something for which his soul is craving and will not be denied, even though he is seeking it in the wrong way. It is what the evil man wants when he spreads havoc and ruin in the path of his ambition and lust; he is looking for heaven in the hallways of hell. It is what drives every man to be a workaholic, or a pleasure seeker, or a drunkard, or an adulterer, or a money grabber, or a tyrant over men, or seeker of fame, power, popularity, or one who loses himself in the carnal programs and promotions of man’s religious systems. Man is so constituted that he can never stop seeking until he has found the eternal calm of the perfect and pure reality of God. If you try to rest in anything less you will be spurred on again and again by your own spirit and swept upward from height to height until you enter upon the great peace on the shores of the crystal sea!
All who attain to the heights in God are moved to climb the steep and winding path that leads from the valley of the shadow of death to the everlasting heights of divine life and nature. As we scale the heights of mount Zion we become what we seek! We shall never enter upon the realization of any reality which is external to ourselves. Knowing is being, and apart from being there is no knowing of the things of God! Only those who can stand upon the glassy sea, are those who walk in the spirit and come off victorious in the conflict with the beast of the flesh and the carnal mind. That means waging war with the foul and degrading desires of the flesh and the deceptive illusions of the old Adamic mind — even the “good” religious mind! When the sea waves toss your little ship to and fro in the storms of life, lift up your eyes to the throne in the midst of which is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Understand that that throne is here now — the power and dominion of the Christ within ourselves is strong and mighty enough to cause us to enter into our full heritage in God! To follow Jesus to the heights of victory; to be privileged to gaze upon that infinite crystal sea, the manifested life, light, love, righteousness, and power of Christ in our very own spirits, is the vision John saw and has shared with us. The reality is far greater than the symbol!
I’m sure it would be thrilling to stand upon a literal, physical sea of glass and play a harp while waving a palm branch. But that would change nothing within us! How much more glorious to stand in that eternal calm where all warfare, strife, struggle, fear, temptation, and failure have forever ceased — far, far above our own soulish efforts, yet deep within our spirits even now! When shall we behold that glorious expanse of righteousness, peace, and joy? When? Only when we ourselves become the perfectly manifest life, light, and love of God, eternally at one with Him, and with all that is His image and likeness. This alone is real; all else is but seeming. There is nothing beyond the crystal sea but the throne of God!
THE FACES OF THE LIVING CREATURES
“In the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature was like an ox, and the third living creature had a face as a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle” (Rev. 4:6-7).
The four living creatures had four faces in the likeness of four different creatures. These represent four aspects of kingship, and are the four “faces” of the corporate Christ which reveal the qualities of His dominion and His appearance when He is doing a specific work at a particular time. Each of the faces reveals the work of Christ in His body of sons as well as His work through His son company in the earth. They are, furthermore, the four-fold manifestations of Himself to all mankind!
The four living creatures had the face of a lion, the face of an ox, the face of a man, and the face of a flying eagle. The lion speaks of strength — power, authority, and dominion — for he is the most powerful of all the big cats, and is known as the king of beasts, the king of the forest — by virtue of his awesome prowess! The ox is symbolic of servantship, for he is the largest and most useful of all domestic animals and is historically a beast of burden, a servant to man from time immemorial. The face of a man indicates intelligence — understanding, knowledge, and wisdom — for this is what distinguishes man from all the creatures beneath him. Adam was made in the image and likeness of God, revealing in his face the attributes and character of God, and was thereby given dominion over all the works of God’s hands. The eagle speaks of exaltation, for it is a heavenly creature, one who flies high in the heavens and lives, makes its home, and raises its young in the highest peaks of the mountains. These four faces reveal the intrinsic qualities that define God and His sons in the ministration of kingship!
The picture presented here in the faces of the four living creatures is that of God’s called and chosen elect who have been completely conformed to the image of the Son! They have grown up into His nature and character in each of these four areas! They have been made like unto Him in His spiritual strength and kingship; they are made kings to reign with Him upon His throne. They receive the highest position in the kingdom because they have done as their Lord taught them. Instead of exalting themselves in self-importance, they humbled themselves as the ox, took their place as servants, to love unconditionally and serve and bear the burdens and bless those to whom they were sent. The face of a man indicates that they have put on the mind of Christ and have matured in the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom of the ways of God. The face of the eagle shows that they have ascended into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, high into the heavens of God’s Spirit, freed from the limitations of the flesh and the shackles of men, and follow only and always where the Spirit leads. These living creatures portray a life that is completely yielded unto God and His purpose, and whose transformation into the image of the Son is full and complete!
With the face of a lion Christ reveals and manifests Himself as the “lion of the tribe of Judah.” As the lion of the tribe of Judah He is the mighty, victorious King and Lord of all who reigns in righteousness and faithfulness. Judah is the royal tribe of Israel, the portion of the Lord’s nation to whom the reigning scepter was given (Gen. 49:8-10). As He reigns, Christ and His body shall subdue every enemy! He shall bestow on all the inhabitants of the world and upon all realms everywhere the blessings and benefits of His kingdom of righteousness, life, and peace. This symbol speaks of KINGDOM AUTHORITY. Wherever the firstborn Son of God went, He demonstrated the authority and power of the kingdom of God! Sin, disease, the very elements, devils and death all obeyed His word! Jesus’ sonship ministry was only a “firstfruit,” a sample and proto-type of the kingdom authority and power and blessing that shall subdue every enemy and restore all things into God. And now, through His many brethren brought to glory, the further “revelation of Jesus Christ,” more of His kingdom authority shall be revealed in us to set creation free and establish His rule in every heart and life of mankind.
There is a further truth concerning the manifestation of Christ as a lion. As the lion devours its prey, so Christ becomes a lion to His people. The lion of Judah is King over all the beasts of human nature. He springs to unscaled heights and to unfathomed depths, and nothing escapes His grasp. He reveals Himself as with the face of a lion to all who receive the call to sonship and to the throne, to devour the bestial nature within them and fully redeem them from carnality, sin, and death. Oh, yes! The lion will consume all of your flesh nature and break every bone of old Adam’s body. There will be nothing left of the old human identity! In order for this company of overcoming rulers to be fully transformed into the image of Christ, each of them must experience Christ as the lion of the tribe of Judah who is devouring all our flesh and carnality. The lion of the tribe of Judah raised up within all the sons of God who are called to kingship is the first of the living creatures in the midst of the throne! This is the authority of His Spirit within our spirit, raised up to bring the strength of Christ to ascendancy in our lives! This is the power of His life expressed through us! His authority and power by His Spirit and His Life are the lion in the midst of the throne — the manifest KINGSHIP DOMINION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
Now let us look further at this lion of the tribe of Judah who reigns in strength from the throne in the hearts of His chosen ones. Some people tell me today that the manifest sons of God will not go about personally touching men, healing the sick and emptying out the hospitals, performing mighty signs and wonders, casting out devils, raising the dead even out of the mortuaries where they have been embalmed, and so transforming men’s lives on a massive scale that even the maximum security prisons can open their doors and let the inmates walk out free. They tell me that that is not what sonship is! Well, if that is not what sonship ministry is about, what is it about? The sons of God are manifest for the express purpose of setting creation free from the BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION! I wish someone would explain to me how you can set all mankind free from the bondage of corruption without healing the sick, emptying the hospitals, casting out devils, raising the dead, and bringing total redemptive power into all men’s lives. Anything short of this will leave this old world right where it is!
Jesus was Himself the demonstration of the power of the kingdom of God on earth! The miracles that Christ wrought while on earth in flesh were His Kingdom Credentials. His miracles announced to the Jews that He was the promised Messiah, the One of whom the prophets wrote. After John the Baptist was arrested and imprisoned he sent messengers to Jesus to inquire, “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Jesus told John’s inquiring disciples, “Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Mat. 11:2-6). The signs and wonders wrought by Jesus, the firstborn Son of God, were tangible evidence of the power that would reside in the kingdom — power that would be seen, felt, and experienced!
The miracles Jesus did set forth the nature of the blessings that would exist when the kingdom of God has come to earth as it is in heaven. Jesus on another occasion said, “If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then the kingdom of God is come unto you!” Jesus clearly shows the relationship between the kingdom and His miracles. Without miracles the kingdom cannot be revealed! Miracles are the manifestation of possessed power, and Jesus is the firstfruits, the firstborn, the first example, and the pattern for all the holy sons of God who shall reign with Him in the kingdom. And while we have now received the firstfruits of the Spirit, and have in fact experienced a foretaste of this miracle power of the kingdom, when we have completely put off the Adamic mind, and have fully matured unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and the Father witnesses to our sonship, declaring out of the heavens before men, “These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased,” then shall all the sons of God be manifested in power and great glory, and shall go forth doing even those “greater works” that Jesus promised His brethren. Only God can teach us these things! Truly He is training us in this very hour in the ways of His kingdom. We have a poster on the wall of our office which says, “We Do Not Believe In Miracles — WE RELY UPON THEM!” Through experiencing the power of God daily in our lives we are learning to walk in the power of the kingdom of God! Aren’t you glad!
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy: and He healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan” (Mat. 4:23-25).
Jesus’ power was unlimited, unceasing, and unstoppable! He took the time to do all those things. He didn’t have any mass healings — He prayed for, and spoke to, and ministered to, every single one of those people individually. He touched them and imparted His life to them and healed them and blessed them. Multitudes came to Him and He had to make time for every one of them — and I don’t have time for the things that clutter up my life today! So what did Jesus do? He sacrificed His life doing nothing but demonstrating the power of the kingdom of God that restores men to wholeness again. No sickness could stand in His presence! No demons could resist His command! The very elements obeyed His voice! Death fled at His word! There was a funeral procession and a widow’s son of Nain lay dead, and weeping they passed by Jesus, and the dead could not stay dead! Can you imagine the expression on those people’s faces when that boy sat up on the bier! If this isn’t sonship ministry, then what is?
Jesus was the firstborn of God’s vast family of sons. He came into the earth to reveal the glory of sonship and the power of the kingdom of God. In Him we see what it means to be a manifest son of God! When the storm on the sea was great, and the wind was violent and the waves contrary, and their lives were in danger, all He had to do was speak, “Peace, be still!” and the wind ceased and the waves went to rest in the bosom of the deep. All nature cries out for the manifestation of the sons of God! Can you imagine a world where all natural disasters of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, and so on are subject to the authority of the word of the sons of the living God? That is what Jesus came to show us! The purpose of sonship is to remove the curse from off all the creation! What a world that will be!
When He needed money to pay taxes, and had none, He sent Peter to get it out of a fish’s mouth. When the multitude was fainting with hunger, He multiplied the loaves and fishes of one little boy to feed five thousand men. That is the kingdom principle of supernatural supply! There was never a need that He could not meet! Can you imagine a world where the poor, the impoverished, the down-trodden, the starving, the men and women with thin, emaciated bodies and sad sunken eyes, the little children with bloated stomachs, and the tormented and dying are finally ruled and governed by a vast company of sons of God who have come to unleash on the whole world of mankind the power of the kingdom revealed in Jesus Christ? If that doesn’t sound like sonship ministry, then what does? Jesus always had the power, the wisdom, and the means to take care of them all. This is the power of the kingdom manifested in the Son of God, and it is the power of the kingdom to be revealed through all the sons of God! For this all creation earnestly and expectantly waits! THIS IS THE STRENGTH, AUTHORITY, POWER, AND DOMINION OF THE LION IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE! Hallelujah!
With what joy and holy wonder do I tell you today that this is the power that will again be manifested on earth through the ministry of Christ’s many brethren, the sons of God! What a calling rests upon the firstfruits! How humbly we should seek God, how fervently we should cry out to the Lord, that His work be completed in us to bring this sonship ministry to pass in the earth! How we praise God for the in-part ministry of the church age — it has been glorious beyond words. But none can deny that the ministry of Jesus has not been fully duplicated in all the power and glory of the kingdom of God! Who among us can raise his hand and tell me that in him, or in his prayer group, or in his church, or in his movement, or in his crusade the miraculous sonship ministry of Jesus has been reproduced in all its fullness and power? Just think about it! Were we to make such a claim we would all be found liars. After two thousand years of the meticulous formation of the Christ body, creation still groans and travails, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God who shall deliver creation itself from the bondage of corruption!
The greater ministry of the sons of God will allay every disturbing element; break the power of sin and death; put down every wrong; still every clamoring tongue; calm every raging sea; touch every inflamed sore of society; banish all ignorance by the power of truth; unite into harmony every quarrelsome crowd; convert every sinner; convince and transform every terrorist; heal every excruciating pain and suffering; pilot every tossed soul into the harbor of rest; banish all fear, malice, bigotry, and hatred in the melting fire of divine love; bind every demonic power; sweep away every false religion; heal every sickness, disease, and torment; fill to the full every lack and void; impart life more abundant to all men everywhere; and give joy unspeakable and full of glory until the whole earth is full of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, and all creation pulsates with the scintillating life and light and love of God!
The Lord has absolute power over all nations and all mankind and is the architect of all the ages of time and the destiny of world history. The coming of the firstborn Son into the world was a mighty manifestation of omnipotent power! By the power of the kingdom resident in Him the whole course of human history was altered and the direction of multitudes of lives was changed as men repented of their sins and were reconciled to God. By the power of His indwelling life the lives of multiplied millions of people have been wonderfully transformed. All through the centuries since that time the seed of the kingdom has been working in the earth, bringing forth a harvest of blessing and righteousness among men. The object of all this working and dealing is to bring forth in the earth a company of fully redeemed, transformed, and matured sons of God who shall be so conformed into the express image of the firstborn Son, and so quickened in spirit, soul, and body, by the power of His resurrection, that the manifestation of sonship shall be fully produced in them in the power of the kingdom. This, fully this, and nothing short of this, is the hope of all creation!
The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power! (I Cor. 4:20). The fullness of the kingdom authority and power of God is that power which is coming first to the elect to transform them fully into the image and glory of Christ. That is how it came in the days of the first Son. The power of God came first in the life of Jesus to raise up within Him all the nature and glory and authority of the Father, before showing it forth through Him to bless and deliver and restore men to God. The Father spent thirty years of Jesus’ life developing in Him the understanding, wisdom, discipline, maturity, overcoming victory, authority and power of sonship. Today we are experiencing the power of God within and God must first finish the work of perfecting and maturing His sons, before showing them forth to creation. It is our turn now, and we who have been called to sonship are in our Nazareth growing in wisdom and in stature and in the ways of the Father. The truth we should now know is that when God’s sonship company is ready, fully developed, prepared, and matured, this kingdom power will flow out from them unrestrained and uninhibited — power to the full extent! THE LION IN THE THRONE SHALL ROAR WITH A MIGHTY VOICE AND SUDDENLY LEAP FORTH TO THE PREY!
When this idea of power is used in the New Testament the Greek word is dunamis, from which we get our English words dynamite and dynamo. It speaks of God’s power as explosive, His divine energy and ability to move and change all things. The other use of the word power is in terms of authority. The Greek word for this is exousia. It speaks of authority inherent in a role or office. Simply put, dunamis is the ability to do something, exousia is the right to do it. The President of the United States possesses in his office the authority needed, for instance, to defend the national and international interests of the United States. This authority is given him by the Constitution of our nation. The word that is understood in the church world is “ordained.” When a church ordains a person to teach or preach, they have empowered that person so that they have the right to act in that place. They are given authority to teach and preach and do the work of the ministry.
In the Old Testament, the king had a ring and a scepter. His seal was on his ring and at the end of his scepter. When the king gave someone his ring or his scepter, they had the king’s permission to operate in his name. Anything the king’s seal was affixed to, the king had given his approval to. His seal was his signature. Only the most trusted, those who had been proven to have the king’s best interest at heart, were trusted with this seal. Those trusted men were given authority to operate in the king’s name! God has men He has entrusted to operate in His name! He has set His seal in their forehead! Those who receive the seal of the living God in their forehead have come into total submission to His will and way.
It is important to understand that ability or force does not always win out in the area of ruling and reigning. The privilege, the freedom, the right, the authority of exousia always wins out over the force or power of dunamis. The words of Jesus make this truth crystal clear. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” (Lk. 10:19). True, the King James Bible states that Christ has given us “power” to tread on serpents and scorpions, but the Greek word is exousia meaning authority or jurisdiction. When Jesus speaks of the “power” of the adversaries, however, He uses the word dunamis meaning power. Ah, all our adversaries have is POWER, but what the Lord gives us is AUTHORITY! The Lord gives us authority in order to deal with all the power of the enemy!
I mentioned this recently, but will use the following illustration again, as it illuminates the truth so beautifully. Consider an automobile moving along the street. Although with its engine, transmission, and gasoline it is full of power, yet a traffic policeman has authority over it. When he blows his whistle and raises his hand the mighty engine must slow to a whisper and the car must stop. That is the difference between power and authority! Power is always subject to authority! The Son of God gives us authority over all the power of the adversary! As we understand these two terms by the light of the Spirit, it becomes clear that authority without the power to act is worthless, and the power to act without authority is worthless. An army without a general has no direction, and a general without an army has no force. These two realities must be brought together within us if we are to have both God’s power and God’s authority operating in our lives. You cannot have one without the other! Should you have one without the other you will fail.
This is what made Jesus’ sonship ministry so mightily effective! An example of this is when Jesus dealt with the demon in the synagogue in Capernaum. “And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits and they come out” (Lk. 4:36). Jesus obtained both power and authority in His life! Jesus had the Father’s authority within Himself, and He had the power to execute His authority. One without the other is ineffective. When the people witnessed the power and authority used together they were all amazed. The unclean spirit had power but no authority. When One with authority showed up, the spirit had to obey. His power was subject to authority. When people witness those who have obtained God’s authority and power to act in a given situation, they stand amazed. We have all been witnesses to this at times and in certain situations when the Spirit has moved through men to accomplish miraculous things. But God’s power and His authority will yet come together in all fullness in the manifestation of the sons of God. THIS WILL BE THE UNVEILING OF THE LION IN THE THRONE!
Authority depends entirely upon our standing, position, and rank. With the position there is authority; without the position, there is no authority. A president-elect has no authority to run the government of the United States until he is sworn into office, until he has been installed into his position. A policeman without his uniform and not standing in the assigned post has no authority to direct traffic. A general taking leave from his duty has no authority to command an army. Likewise, our heavenly authority depends solely upon the reality of our calling and position in the order of God. All the authority of the sergeant or lieutenant who commands soldiers depends not only on his uniform and position, but also on his submitting to his superior. If he rebels against his superior and refuses or fails to obey orders, he will lose his official rights. In like manner we must not only be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, but we must also walk in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and obedient to the will of the Father. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God!
The ones who receive power and honor from the Father, who are seated together with Christ in the heavenlies, and are submitted to HIS LORDSHIP, are then in the position to accomplish great and mighty things in the kingdom of God! We have experienced a measure of power and authority in the church realm by the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. But there is yet to be an official installation of the sons of God into the realm of HIS FULLNESS, just as Jesus received at the river Jordan. When the Father witnesses from heaven before men, “These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased,” then shall the greatest drama in the history of mankind begin! The manifest sons of God shall go forth in the fullness of the power and authority of the Spirit to subdue the nations and deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. For this very thing the Father is preparing us in this hour!
The kingdom of God is the authority and power of the Father manifest first in the personal lives of His elect, then in the world around us, unto all times and the ages of this world, and finally in the whole universe. The kingdom is the power of God that changes everything in its reality, function, and influence, as determined by the Lord in His great and glorious program of creation, redemption, and the restitution of all things. The power of the kingdom of God shall eventually change us in our consciousness and experience from human to divine, from earthly to heavenly, and from mortal to immortal; then it shall in like manner change the world around us, including all the nations of men and the earth itself, and then it shall change the vast universe unto the endlessness of infinity. THE WHOLE CREATION SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION! I wonder sometimes whether we have yet fully understood the enormous, fathomless implications of that word! The elect of the Lord today is experiencing the unfolding power of the kingdom of God within; it is the power of the kingdom that is consuming everything within us that is foreign to the life, nature, ways, and will of the Father. Christ is taking His throne and is now reigning in our lives! And He must continue to reign in us until He has put every enemy under His feet! THIS IS THE MIGHT OF THE LION IN THE THRONE!
The lion of the tribe of Judah within us is the dominion and authority of God being formed in our lives. It is the spirit of kingship! It is the omnipotent power of Christ manifest within us as He reigns on the throne of our hearts to transform us into His image and stature. As we truly seek the fullness of His kingdom with our whole heart, we experience the power of His kingdom to purge us of all iniquities and present us faultless before His throne. We shall first be presented before His throne, standing upon the sea of glass mingled with fire, as a people fully prepared, equipped, and qualified to ascend to His throne and sit and reign with Him upon His throne (Rev. 3:21). When His power has cleansed us of all that is foreign and contrary to His nature, not only will He have taken His great power to reign in us, but He shall then proceed to reign through us. He wisely withholds the fullness of the authority and power of His kingdom until He has thoroughly changed us into His very own image and likeness.
Jesus rose from the dead and appeared on earth in the sight of men in the body of His resurrection, which is the spiritual body of incorruption and immortality. With this clear and obvious demonstration of the power of the kingdom of God, all doubts and fears were removed from the minds of His disciples. Now they knew that He was the King of kings! Now they knew the reality of His message of life and glory! In Him they saw the fullness of the power of His kingdom! He was now forever above and beyond the bondage of corruption, free from the limitations of this mortal body and this physical, material realm, and free from any possibility of ever dying again.
And now, in the end of this age, Christ’s many brethren shall come to that same fullness of His kingdom. In them the kingdom of God shall come with power, even the power of His resurrection! Then shall creation see a race of men upon earth who dwell in a realm above sin, sorrow, limitation and death, for in them the bondage of corruption has been completely broken. Then shall creation see the manifestation of the sons of God, just as Jesus’ disciples saw Him manifested in all the glory and power of resurrection. Christ was revealed to His disciples, and He is still revealed only to His disciples, His very own brethren. But the manifest sons of God shall be revealed unto all creation! It is the Lord’s own people who now hunger and thirst after Christ as life. But it is the creation that waits and longs and travails to behold the manifestation of the sons of God! Christ is now our hope of glory, but Christ revealed in His many brethren is the hope of the groaning creation! Christ is now our life, but His life in His sons shall become the life of creation, delivering all men from the bondage of corruption, raising them up into a wonderful place in the liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:19-21). Oh, the wonder of it!
For those who entertain the notion that the “revelation of Jesus Christ” is just the ordinary living out of the Christ life in the every-day experience of believer’s lives, let me tell you plainly that the world has been blessed for two thousand years with beautiful spiritual men and women who have walked in high places in God. Love and grace and mercy and power have flowed out of the lives of many godly saints throughout the age. But none of this has delivered creation from the bondage of corruption nor raised it up into the glorious liberty of the children of God! God has a greater plan than these dear folk are capable of grasping. Jesus personified the kingdom of God! From the time of His birth until the moment of His ascension He revealed within Himself all the powers of the kingdom of God. We can understand absolutely nothing about what God intends to do for creation through His sons until we SEE JESUS! In Him we see what the power of the kingdom is, and what it can do, and what it shall do for all mankind. He is the firstfruits of kingdom dominion! We are also becoming a firstfruits of His kingdom by virtue of our calling in Christ.
The power of the kingdom was manifest in Jesus’ virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His revealing the nature and purpose of the Father on earth, in the power of His word, in the signs and wonders and miracles He wrought, in the transformation of men’s lives He effected, in His transfiguration on the mount, and in His resurrection from the dead. The glory that was manifest in His wonderful life, in His outward works of power, in the impartation of salvation into men, in the glory of His transfiguration, and in the power of His resurrection was the result of His inner condition. The power within Him was such that the scintillating brilliance of His Father’s glory radiated from within and shined through His garments on the holy mount. The Amplified Bible states that Jesus “became resplendent with divine brightness.” It is the same divine brightness that blinded Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus and totally transformed and revolutionized his life!
I do not hesitate to tell you that it is that same divine brightness that shall out-shine from within us just as it did with Jesus, and that is the power of the kingdom of God! If you think the kingdom is merely establishing righteousness on earth by some display of divine force for a thousand years, you have completely missed the power of the kingdom! Oh, yes, the kingdom will bring righteousness to the nations — but much, much more! The fullness of the power of His resurrection is what we long to experience; it is that same power for which the whole creation groans and travails, by which all things, and all men, and all creatures, and all worlds, above and beneath, shall be given an entrance into the holy, righteous, divine, incorruptible, immortal, eternal SPIRITUAL WORLD OF GOD!
Hallelujah for the lion in the throne!
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY