“And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that had been slain…and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:9-10).
When the fifth seal was opened John heard the voice of the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held, crying out loudly, “How Long, O Lord, until Thou dost judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” The way this is worded in most of our Bible translations it sounds like a cry for revenge. But I do not hesitate to tell you that there is no such cry heard in heaven! And most assuredly not from the people of God who have had their natural-minded, carnal, soulical heads chopped off! Furthermore, if this is the revelation of Jesus Christ, they are not saying, “Lord, just how long is it going to be until you really zap those people who have opposed us and who continue to walk in an earthly, fleshly, and religious mind-set?” That is not the revelation! We’re not saying, “O Lord, how long until you get fed up with this foolishness and really give them what they deserve?”
We must constantly remember that also this fifth seal, as well as all the others, represents a vision. And therefore we are dealing with symbolism. As soon as we lose sight of this fact, we are apt to ask all kinds of carnal-minded questions. Forgetting the fact that we have a vision here, bespeaking a spiritual reality, we might, like most religious folks, conceive of these souls under the altar as glorified souls in heaven, and no more. Yet the question might be raised, do these saints in the glory of the heavenly temple cry out for vengeance? Is it not true that before they were thus “slain” they walked in the spirit of sonship as expressed by Jesus when He said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 5:44-45). How then is it possible that now they invoke the wrath of God on them, and that too, after they have lost their old carnal mind! Is there then still carnality in the state where one has put on the mind of Christ? The question we must ask is this: what is really the meaning, what is the reality of the outcry of these souls under the altar? What is the essential idea of this symbolism? As we shall presently see, they do not cry for fleshly vengeance, but for the MIGHTY PASSIONATE MOVING OF GOD WHICH DEALS WITH THE NATURE OF MAN! This is in harmony with the whole book of Revelation, for the entire passage is visionary and symbolic.
We are the souls under the heavenly, spiritual altar who are crying out to the Lord, asking Him to bring forth true and righteous judgment, to vindicate through us and because of us, the mighty work He has wrought in our lives in preparation for the glorious manifestation of our sonship. Most all Bible students have misunderstood the cry of these souls from under the altar because of the faulty translation of the Greek word ekdikeo as avenge — that is, retaliate with vengeance. The first and primary meaning of the word, however, is “validate.” In every language words carry various shades of meaning, they do not generally mean just one thing in one way. Let us always remember that it is usage that best determines the meaning of a word!
Now let me ask you. Have you ever felt yourself to be in the beautiful presence of Christ? Have you ever seen anyone in the spirit of the Christ who so loved the world, who gave Himself for the world, who reconciled the world, have you seen anyone in the spirit of that Christ threaten their tormentors with judgment, wrath, and personal revenge? Does the Christ who prayed in the agony of Calvary, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” now threaten vicious retaliation against those who oppose and persecute us? The very thought is an absurdity! It is Jesus Himself who taught us to love our enemies, bless them that hate us, and pray for them which persecute us. That is the spirit and law of the kingdom! And now — shall those whose self-life has finally been completely slain within them by the very testimony of Jesus Christ pray for Him to avenge their blood on them that dwell in the earth realm? I don’t think so! In the light of these great truths it should be clear to every spiritual mind that the Greek word ekdikeo must carry here its primary meaning of VINDICATE.
Let us now consider some synonyms of the word “vindicate.” It means to exonerate, justify, substantiate, confirm, authenticate, attest, and validate. Vindication is the proof of the value of ones innocence, cause or correctness. Vindication is furthermore a validation! What these souls under the altar are crying out for is not revenge, but for God to make the price they have paid worthwhile, to show to those who dwell in the earth realm the true value and meaning of their lives, to validate their call, attainment, and place in God BY MANIFESTING THROUGH THEM THE POWER AND GLORY OF CHRIST TO DELIVER AND TRANSFORM CREATION. “Validate our blood on them” is the heartfelt cry of their hearts! Blood stands for life, for the life is in the blood. Validate our lives on them — let there be a transforming manifestation and ministry of life out from us by which all men will see and know that we have paid this price to truly be sons of our Father in order to be the salvation of God unto all the ends of the earth!
What a mighty word we have received from our Father! What deep dealings, what extreme processings, what intense preparations, what severe strippings, purgings, and refinings, what profound and crucial experiences, and what marvelous transformations we have passed through! And yet the world knows us not. For most of us even our next door neighbors are no more aware that we are sons of God than the people in Nazareth were aware that Jesus was the firstborn Son of God. We are in that same position Jesus was in just before His showing unto Israel. Jesus experienced thirty years of unfolding revelation and mighty workings of the Father in His life, yet those outside of Him perhaps thought Him strange, but they had no idea of who He was, or what He was going through, or why. He had never preached a sermon, had never performed a miracle, never healed the sick, never cast out a devil, never raised the dead. But when He came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit the Father began to validate who He was! We know that we have received the call to sonship, we have received the spirit of sonship, we have experienced the testings, trials, processings, and even the scourgings that come to every son, yet we seem to have no more power or impact on the world around us than anyone else, regardless of what spiritual level they are on. We feel weak and helpless before the staggering needs and momentous challenges that lie before us, for the whole world lies in darkness under the bondage of sin and the curse of death, and yet in our deepest hearts we know we have heard the Father’s voice, we have answered His call, we are following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, we have taken up our cross, we are paying the price, and we are the sons of God!
These souls under the altar had pleaded that their cause be at once vindicated, and had asked how long it would be before it should be done. “How long, O Lord, holy and true, before you judge our cause and vindicate our lives…” The reply is, that the desired vindication would not at once occur, but that they must wait until other events were accomplished. “It was said unto them that they should rest yet a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” What words are these! Nothing definite is determined by the phrase “a little season,” or a short time. It is simply an intimation that this would not immediately occur, or would not take place until all their brethren had paid the same price and attained the same place. This answers a question I have often been asked through the years. Many have inquired whether the sons will be manifested individually, one by one, as they attain to sonship, or whether the sons will all be revealed together at the same time. The answer is clear — the Father will not validate any of us until all of us have come to perfection and full stature in Christ! Should any who read these lines suppose they have now attained to the fullness and are about to be manifested, you will certainly “rest a little season” until the rest of us have caught up with you! The apostle Paul stated it so succinctly, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the sons of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer (pay the price) with Him, that WE MAY BE ALSO GLORIFIED TOGETHER” (Rom. 8:16-17). The work of God must be completed in all the sons of God before the hour of manifestation arrives!
The cry of the souls under the altar is for vindication, a validation of the work of God in their lives. The revelation of Christ has been raised up within them, the seals have been removed, the flesh man, the carnal mind, the soulical life, and all that they have held dear in the outer world, and in the religious realms, has been brought to death, and the word of the kingdom has been established within as their only hope, reality, and destiny. The word of the kingdom and the revelation of our call to sonship has been planted in the earth over the past sixty or more years. There has been in this world a mighty declaration and proclamation by the prophets of God of the purposes of God in His called and chosen elect! Those who have had ears to hear have been filled with great hope and faith and vision to lay hold upon the purpose of God to bring forth in the earth, in this new day of the Lord, the greatest manifestation of God the world has ever witnessed, through the manifestation of the sons of God. We have been faithful to declare a word that has not yet been brought forth into evidence.
This word of the kingdom is a word that is growing by leaps and bounds. It is not growing because of the promotions of men, or the organized efforts of a movement, but by the mighty working of the Spirit of God! More and more people are receiving the call to sonship! The door that has been opened in heaven for sons to ascend to the throne realm has not been closed! God is still forming, preparing, and equipping a body of people, many sons brought to glory, to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption and restore all things into God again.
There are some in our ranks, however, who believe that the work is finished, they have arrived, the new day is fully here, they are even now the manifest sons of God, there are no more heavens to pass through, no more processing to be accomplished, no further word or working, they now stand upon mount Zion in all the splendor of this high and holy realm of fullness and kingship to which they have come. I have been in meetings where these pseudo-sons have formed themselves into a mutual admiration society, doing nothing but proclaiming to one another how great they are, and how high is the realm to which they have attained, while they polish one another’s halos and prune one another’s wings. According to them there is no need to wait for another day, nor even to rest for a little season — this is the day. They have arrived. The word they have is no longer fragmentary, but the full revelation of God to which nothing can be added. There is nothing more to seek, nothing to wait for, nowhere else to go in God. Tabernacles is now fulfilled in them, they have passed beyond the veil and have now stepped out from behind the veil to be manifested to creation. They are no longer climbing the holy mount of Zion, for they now are mount Zion. They don’t need to climb anything for they have gone as high as they can go in God. The throne is theirs and they are even now reigning as Christ in the kingdom.
It is always a fatal mistake for any man, regardless of who he is, to imagine that he has attained to a realm in God while he is yet unable to manifest out of that realm. That mistake will make him proud and bigoted in his delusions of grandeur and so set in his ways that when God does indeed move on he will refuse to move with the cloud. My prayer is that we will get beyond the declaration, and lay hold upon the manifestation. That is the deepest cry of my heart in this significant hour! No man’s experience is complete in any realm until there is the manifestation of the reality wrought in him. There has to be a validity, an evidence, an infallible proof of the word of the Lord through us. There has always been evidence in the history of God’s movement from realm to realm. Whenever God has sent forth a word announcing a new day, a new age, a further unfolding of His purpose, He has clearly defined by a word of power that new realm in God, that new place of attainment in the order of His kingdom.
When God has spoken that the time has come to do away with the old, and press into the new; to throw the old order out, and begin to walk in the new order; to step out of the dying age, and enter into the reality of the new — He has always validated that word by mighty signs, wonders, and miracles. Every new move of God from the foundation of the world was attended by glorious manifestations of miracle working power! This new order of manifest sonship will be no different!
Mighty things took place when Noah proclaimed with power the destruction of an evil age and a corrupt world, condemning the world and saving his household. Mighty were the signs that attended it! The rain itself was a miracle of unprecedented proportions, with the breaking up of the fountains of the deep, and a deluge of water that swept the face of the whole earth. These signs and wonders were the validation of God’s promise!
Abraham received a word from the Lord to leave his country and his father’s house and go to a land that He would show him. God promised to make his name great and to raise up to him a seed in whom the promise would be fulfilled, and through whom all the families and nations of the earth would be blessed. In order to validate His covenant with Abraham He gave a sign — a son born in his old age when both his and Sarah’s bodies were as good as dead. The birth of Isaac was a supernatural birth! The miracle of Isaac was the validation of God’s promise! Think, too, of the signs, wonders, and miracles when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage! And then as Joshua led the people into their promised land, consider the waters of the Jordan piling up like a wall, the walls of Jericho falling down, the sun and moon standing still, and all the other wonders of that new and glorious day! In each case the Lord was bringing a new day, a new stage of His dealings in the earth, and the wonderful miracles and signs were the validation of His promises to His servants! And then when Jesus came into this world to again change the age, He came as “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” (Acts 2:22).
And then the day of Pentecost came and the apostles of God went forth who by “the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost” turned the world up-side-down! The record states, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming (validating) the word with signs following” (Mk. 16:19-20). These signs were the proof that Jesus had risen from the dead, ascended to the throne of the Father in the heavens, and come again within His many-membered body in mighty spirit power. The signs and wonders wrought by the apostles were the foundational proof that Jesus was not just another false Messiah. Jesus wasn’t the only one in His day saying that he was the Messiah! There had been many before Him proclaiming themselves as the promised One. There were others, contemporary with Jesus, making the claims of Messiahship. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension the Jews followed many false Messiahs just as Jesus had foretold (Mat. 24:5). According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, in the first century before the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, a number of Messiahs arose promising deliverance from the Roman yoke, and finding multitudes of followers. Then in A.D. 132 Bar Kokba, one of the most prominent of the pseudo-messiahs, was hailed as Messiah-King. In crushing the revolt that he led, Roman soldiers killed thousands of Jews. There were many false Christs! Jesus was only one voice among many.
The great difference was that God gave to Jesus the evidence of His sonship! He let Him have proof. He manifested through Jesus a ministry that surpassed any other ministry of His day! All that the other Messiahs had were personality and words. But everywhere Jesus went He did things that no one else could do. He healed every manner of sickness and disease; devils were cast out of many, crying out with loud voices, acknowledging His sonship; He raised the dead; He commanded the elements, grasped the winds in His fists, and calmed the raging sea with a word; He fed five thousand men with five loaves and two fish; He walked the sea; He did so many marvelous works that were they all written the world could not contain the books that could be written! You see, my beloved, God sent His firstborn Son into the world with the proof, the evidence, the confirmation, the vindication, the validation the He was indeed the Saviour of the world.
We are no different! It makes no difference whatever how many people say we need no evidence of our sonship beyond the revelation of who and what we are, and the little day to day blessings and victories that come our way by faith. But creation will see proof of your sonship or your sonship isn’t worth a hill of beans! If we are to do anything in this day it is not to continue our declaring, but to cry out mightily to God from under the altar that He would vindicate the revelation of His Son in us so that all the ends of the earth might see the salvation of the Lord! All of our revelation and all of our declaration is for naught until we are ready to let God make us the sign and the wonder unto creation!
It should be clear to any thinking mind that the great purpose in the signs, wonders, and miracles was to validate the ministry of the One who had come to bring an end to the age and order of the law and initiate and inaugurate the new age of grace. He was bringing one age to a close and ushering in a more glorious age upon the whole world of mankind. Christ came making declarations of an order about which the world, and the people of God, knew absolutely nothing. He made declarations of the kingdom of God, that it was even then at hand. He made declarations that He would be killed and on the third day He would rise again. He made declarations that He had come down from the heavenly world and that He would return thither again. He made declarations that He Himself was the way, the truth, and the life, and that from this day forward no man would come unto the Father except by Him. He made declarations that He was the revelation of the Father, and if you had seen Him you had seen the Father. He made declarations that except men eat His flesh and drink His blood they have no life in them, and whosoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood shall never die. He made declarations that if He was lifted up upon the cross He would draw all mankind unto Him. He made declarations that He would build His church and the very gates of hell would not prevail against it. He made declarations that all who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.
That’s pretty heavy stuff! It had nothing to do with delivering Israel from the dominion of Rome, but it had everything to do with saving the world and delivering creation from the bondage of corruption! These are things no one could say and expect people to believe them. The claims of Jesus seemed, to the natural mind, outlandish, preposterous, implausible, unreasonable, illogical, extravagant, incredible — impossible! Some who heard Him said that He had a devil. Others thought He was beside Himself. He was just another mad man, a crazy kook. But multitudes followed Him and His disciples went forth in His name and turned the world upside down! What made the difference? Jesus had more than words — He had power! The difference was marked by the signs, wonders, and miracles! Some tell us today that we don’t need any signs, wonders, and miracles, that these are old-order and no sign of sonship. It disgusts me to hear these breezy preachers declaring their sonship while denying its evidence and proof. JESUS IS THE FIRSTBORN SON OF GOD AND THE PATTERN SON! Signs, wonders, and miracles were the evidence, the proof, the validation of HIS SONSHIP!
The sonship which God has planned for this day cannot be less than that of the proto-type, the pattern, the firstborn, the forerunner, and the glorious Head of the order of sons! Sonship without supernatural power has a wonderful appeal to the carnal mind which has no incentive to wait upon God for the ultimate reality, but chooses to lay claim to a lesser glory while presumptuously concluding that it has attained to the fullness. Don’t go out, my beloved, every time you hear a declaration of those who assert that they have attained the full stature of sonship. Jesus has taught us, His younger brethren, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” Many today are bearing witness of themselves! They claim to be manifested sons, but the only way we can know they are sons is by taking their word for it. Don’t call it a lie, but don’t take what they say at face value until you see the evidence!
When the hour arrived for Jesus to be manifested to Israel as the Son of God with power, the Father Himself bore witness of Him. A voice came from heaven proclaiming, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Holy Spirit without measure descended upon Him bodily like a dove and the heavens were opened unto Him. Forty days later He came out of the wilderness and returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that “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 which 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).
I’m telling you, dear ones, there is coming to us the evidence, there is coming a manifestation, a display, a showing, an exhibit, a presentation, a demonstration, an expression, a substantiation, a certification, a vindication, a verification, a validation — the proof of our manifest sonship! It will no longer be just a bunch of people declaring, declaring, declaring, but there shall be a change, a transfiguration, an out-raying, an unveiling that is verifiable, so that there is no doubt about it that this is the day of the Lord! All creation shall see and behold the nature, glory, majesty, and power of God revealed in His many sons brought to glory! The evidence is not for me or you — it’s for creation! Creation must see the salvation of the Lord! “For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). “Even creation waits with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed” (Moffatt). “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of God’s sons coming into their own” (J. B. Phillips).
Sonship will one day move out of our little groups and out of the individual seclusion of our personal “Nazareth” where God has hidden us away. This word of the kingdom shall break out into the multitudes and it shall come upon them in the power and demonstration of the fullness of the Holy Spirit! Nothing less will avail. Nothing else will do. Nothing short of this will bring the kingdom of God to pass in all the earth. Nothing less will break in pieces the kingdoms of this world. Nothing else will burn Babylon with fire until the whole religious system of man lies in total and eternal ruin. Nothing short of this will obliterate from the earth all the false religious systems of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Hinduism, Judaism, and all the other isms of the world. Nothing else will break the bondages, set the captives free, remove the veil that is cast over the face of all nations and all people, break the power of sin, sickness, sorrow, limitation, and death in every man, and truly deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption. If anyone thinks these wonderful things can be accomplished without signs, wonders, or miracles; without healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead, controlling the elements, confounding the mighty, and speaking the power of divine life into men, then he is indeed among the most self-deceived.
The sons of God have been declaring for decades, “A change is coming, a new order is at hand.” The question follows — What is that change? I have passed through the declaration that “God has brought us into a new order” again and again throughout the past sixty years! And yet I must confess, not much has really changed. Some brethren get a new depth of revelation and declare they have entered a “new order” in God, yet I heard the same word of revelation and the same proclamations of a new order fifty years ago! By the word of the Lord I say to God’s precious elect, a dramatic change and a glorious new order is coming! And it will begin with the Father’s public announcement of His sons, to show them unto creation! Jesus’ sonship ministry could not begin until the day the voice came from heaven, in the hearing of the multitude of men by the Jordan River, declaring, “This is my beloved Son!” The change is the Father’s validation and vindication of our sonship, not in our little secret gatherings, but before great masses of humanity as the Father Himself speaks out of the heavens, saying, “These are my beloved sons, in whom I am well pleased!” This will be followed by the fullness of sonship anointing released in our lives, bringing first within ourselves the quickening of the Spirit by which we receive the redemption of our bodies. “But ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption (the placement as sons), to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). J. B. Phillips beautifully translates this, “It is plain…that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a sort of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that we have realized our full sonship.” Then shall the sons of God go forth in all the wisdom, understanding, glory, and omnipotence of God to change all things and make all things new. THIS WILL BE THE VINDICATION OF THE MANIFEST SONS OF GOD!
There will be a people upon this earth who will not lay their bodies down, they will not go by way of the grave, for the promise is sure, “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we SHALL ALL BE CHANGED!” (I Cor. 15:51). What do the words of Paul mean to you, saint of God, when he speaks concerning this change, saying, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:21). I tell you, God’s called and chosen elect are not walking in the same light or the same hope as the old-order church world. This earth is about to be visited by a race of men out of the heavens of God’s Spirit, a company of incorruptible and immortal men who shall stand upon this planet in the power of His resurrection. We are not called to do what any people before us has done. Oh, yes! Men will be saved, healed, delivered, sanctified, filled, blessed, changed, transformed, and empowered through the ministry of the sons of God. Oh, yes! Signs, wonders, and miracles will be done on a scale never witnessed since Jesus of Nazareth walked the pathways of Galilee — and not even then — for “the works that I do shall ye do also, and greater works than these shall YE DO.” But even the signs, wonders, and miracles are not the final phase of the validation of our sonship ministry. The firstborn son of God truly did all those wonderful works, and multitudes beheld His glory. But Jesus went on to do something else. HE AROSE FROM THE DEAD AND WALKED OUT OF THE TOMB IN A RESURRECTION BODY OF GLORY! Oh, yes! He did! That was the final validation, proof, and vindication of His sonship as clearly stated in the words of the apostle, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh: and declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:3-4). Can we not see by this pattern of the firstborn Son that the redemption of the body is indeed the DECLARATION OF THE SONS OF GOD WITH POWER!
As we walk in the spirit of sonship there is arising within us a life that is swallowing up all death, all darkness, all corruptibleness within us, in spirit, soul, and body. I care not how much revelation you have; I care not how articulately, anointedly, and powerfully you can enunciate the high things of God; I care not how many goose bumps you can raise or how many shouts of glory and hallelujah you can stir; there is one thing, and one thing only, that I am looking for as the final validation, and that is the same validation that Jesus Christ Himself gave — AN EMPTY TOMB! The proof of His sonship was that He could take His body into the darkness of the tomb, thoroughly dead, tightly bound in grave clothes, and Himself raise it up into a body of glory, incorruptibility, and deathlessness. This didn’t happen to His spirit, beloved, it happened to His body! That, and that alone, in the final analysis, declares Him to be the Son of God with power! When the disciples ran to that tomb, the evidence, the validation was there, nor could they even find Him except He appeared before them. This will be the final step in the process of the validation of all who are called to sonship — NO MORE DEATH! Then, and only then, will we be able to fulfill the true ministry of the manifest sons of God — TO DELIVER ALL CREATION FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION. It is indeed wonderful!
This is the hour when the sons of God must face squarely the truth of all things. Have you ever asked yourself the question, “If Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light (II Tim. 1:10), why are men still dying?” If Jesus accomplished everything He would ever accomplish, and we’re just to rest in His “finished work,” then I must think deeply and ask myself, “If it is all finished, then why, two thousand years later, is the whole human race still bound by the power of sin, sorrow, disease, fear, torment, deception, delusion, and death? And why are God’s redeemed people still dying? WHY!” The divine answer is that there is still to come forth another son, a son company, a corporate son, the many brethren of Jesus Christ, conformed to His image, matured unto His stature, transformed into His likeness, filled with His mind, wisdom, and power, and raised up into the glory of His resurrection! The seed was planted at Pentecost and throughout the age God has been watching over that seed to bring it to maturity as the many-membered son of God in the earth.
For these manifest sons all creation has been groaning and travailing together in pain until now! These sons will stand in the earth in all the splendor of the resurrected Christ to reveal all that God in Christ has provided for mankind. We shall see walking this earth a vast company of begotten sons who have laid hold upon the fullness of Christ’s redemption. They will not fly away to heaven, but remain here upon planet earth to manifest full redemption in resurrection life and this is the life they shall give to all mankind. Isn't it wonderful! These sons shall have a word that will reconcile the ages, a word that will bring light out of darkness, strength out of weakness, holiness out of sin, life out of death, that will transform the condition of men; a word that will do for all men what God did for one Son two thousand years ago, and shall in this blessed hour do for His many sons. Christ gives this life to His many brethren, and His many brethren shall impart it to all the ends of the earth. What a plan!
Is it here yet? No, my beloved, it has not yet appeared. But it is right on the horizon, it lies just before us, and though it tarry we will wait for it, because anything less is just more of the same. We are all keenly aware that what we’ve had, including all our declaring of our sonship, has not got the job done. The world is still going to hell in a hand basket! We’ve heard the declaration — now where is the manifestation? If you think the declaration is God’s new thing, you are dead wrong. The problem with the declaration is — we’ve declared ourselves! Now there must come the Father’s declaration followed by the Father’s validation. I’ve been in this word of the kingdom for most of my life and I’ve heard my share of declarations, men have declared themselves mature, the finished handiwork of God, manifested sons, immortal and deathless, reigning now over the nations, the order of Melchizedek, their divine godhood, and other things so bizarre I won’t even mention them.
YET — THE HOUR IS DRAWING NIGH FOR THE TRUE MANIFESTATION! I refuse to settle for anything less. There is coming a glory and power of God that will make Pentecost look like a firecracker in contrast to an atomic explosion. There is a glory coming to this latter house that will exceed the glory of the former house. Now notice — the former house had a glory and it had a validity, and until the latter house was filled with its glory the former house was the only glory that was valid. We are today like David before he ascended the throne to reign over Israel, he had already received a declaration from Samuel the prophet that he was anointed the king of Israel. He had even had the oil poured on his head! But he was still invalid as long as Saul sat upon the throne. So he became an outlaw with a band of outlaws. Eventually, however, that old order passed and David, although he had the declaration, had to have the actual outward validation of his kingship in a second and greater ceremony of anointing, with a procession into Jerusalem, and at last physically occupying the throne of Israel. Oh, the wonder of it!
This is a spiritual picture of the validation of the sons of God! When the validation takes place the Day will declare who the sons of God really are! Hold still, precious brother, sister, hold your peace in this hour of solemnity, abide in the life of the Christ within, stay in your place with the outlaws of the wilderness, treasure the beautiful hope and promise of your sonship, stagger not in unbelief, do not come out until the hour appointed of the Father when He will move for you, in you, and through you in His unmistakable and irrefutable validation of surpassing glory!
“And white robes were given unto every one of them” (Rev. 6:11).
This verse is full of gracious thoughts. Souls do not need white robes, but our symbolic book is teaching us of the assured and blessed state of those who lose their own lives so that Christ can be raised up in them. Nothing is more frequently spoken of in these visions than the “white robes” of the Lord’s elect, and these robes are obviously theirs by virtue of their overcoming. It is the robe of the priesthood, and those who are called to the high calling of God in Christ are made kings and priests unto God! It is the robe with which the faithful remnant in Sardis had been arrayed even before they are introduced to us, for they had not “defiled” it, and the Lord Jesus says of them, “and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (Rev. 3:4). Again, the promise to everyone in that church that overcometh is that he “shall be arrayed in white garments.”
In like manner the Laodicean church is exhorted to buy of her Lord “white garments” that she may be clothed. And when the marriage of the Lamb arrives it is said of the bride that “it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” (Rev. 19:8). The spirit of revelation has taught us that the Bridegroom is Christ, not Christ in heaven, but the Christ within, in our spirit, and the bride is the feminine dimension of our life, the soul. Perhaps we have been casual in reading these precious truths, so let us prayerfully consider the deep mystery encoded in these wonderful words. You will note that it is the “souls” under the altar to whom are given the “white robes,” and it is the “soul-bride” to whom it is granted to be “arrayed in fine linen, clean and white.” It is always the soul which is clothed in the fine linen of Christ’s righteousness! The white robe is the clothing of Christ in our spirit as He overshadows us, swallowing us up into Himself! Thus, it is the blessed and intimate union of soul and spirit within ourselves that brings us to the marriage of the Lamb! Putting all these passages together, we are distinctly taught in the language of the Revelation that the “white robe” denotes the perfect righteousness of Christ, and the excellent glory of Christ, which is bestowed upon every overcoming saint of God who puts on the Lord Jesus Christ!
Paul has admonished every saint of God to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. The term “put on” is from the Greek enduo meaning “to get dressed,” to put on Christ as a garment. The Lord Jesus, in the days of His flesh, wore a very special garment that was seamless (John 19:23). The garment of Jesus was not made of parts — it was a whole. This is indeed a parable! Spiritually it means that the Christ we are to put on is not composed of parts. We are not to put on a part of Christ, but the whole Christ, without even a consciousness of parts, but the totality of who He is! When we speak about the garment of the Lord we speak of His nature being expressed and revealed outwardly. The scintillating glory of Christ revealed upon us and through us in the totality of all that He is signifies the manifestation of the sons of God!
God from the beginning has been involved in making clothes. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). In the heaven blest mists of Eden clothes did not exist! The nakedness of Adam and Eve speaks to us of man’s innocence. Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, but he was not a mature son of God, for he was young and inexperienced. Had he been mature he would not have listened to the serpent’s voice and disobeyed the word of his Father. Adam was like a little child — innocent and inexperienced. He did not know good and evil, neither did he understand the true value of life. He could in no way appreciate the sad result of his unwise choice, for he was untested, untried, and unproved.
The purpose of clothing is to cover. The clothing also reveals who we are! Most of us appear much more beautiful or handsome when we are well dressed than we do in the nude! From the earliest dawn of history clothing reflected the status of a person’s life. Kings, priests, judges, nurses, mechanics, store clerks, and a thousand other vocations are recognized by the clothing they wear. Even beggars can be identified by the clothing they wear. Who wants to go shopping for beggar’s clothes? The clothing, you see, represents the status of our life! Clothing speaks of who we really are! Is it not therefore a marvelous thing that our heavenly Father has made us a garment to wear! The coat of skin that God has made for us is Christ Himself. He brought Him forth as flesh upon the earth. He secured the raw material for our divine garment. He then transformed that man of flesh into a sinless, holy, pure, overcoming, death-defying, immortal, glorious, glistering garment of Light! He has presented that garment to us in our spirit, for “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” And now our soul and body are “putting on” the heavenly garment of Life and Light!
Unless He clothes us, we are not fit for the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the government of God, and those who represent the government of God are kings and priests who reign with Christ! Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like we shall be, for our garments shall make the wise king's raiment appear as filthy rags. Oh, yes! The Lord shall indeed clothe us in the brilliant incorruptible raiment of the King of the kingdom, the Christ life. We are learning that we cannot do one thing to clothe ourselves with the garments of His Life. Certainly we must seek the Lord, trust Him completely, and yield to His moving in our lives. Other than that we are powerless to change ourselves! Yet God is moving in us to bring about the change. “To her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white.” What a word that is!
This white raiment is not the imputed righteousness that is given to us when we receive Christ as Saviour. You will note that the Lord, in the book of Revelation, sent seven letters to seven churches. To them He said, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” Therefore, He is speaking to people who have already received the imputed righteousness to their account! Though righteousness has been imputed to them through faith in Jesus, there is yet another white raiment that is obtained only through overcoming. This is not the imputed righteousness of Jesus as Saviour, but the actual righteousness which God is bringing us to as our state of being, that perfect walk in Christ, His nature and glory raised up in us as our very own life, that perfection that He is bringing us to, fulfilling the words of Jesus, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
The miracle of what God has done through Jesus Christ ravishes my heart. I am enthralled beyond measure that He has translated me out of the kingdom of darkness, and is clothing me with the fullness of the Son of God. Daily I am putting on the Lord Jesus Christ who is my robe of righteousness and my house from heaven, the new man, the spiritual body, and the new building of God, eternal in the heavens. Just as the life within a lamb produces from within its covering of wool, so does the life of Christ within each son of God create the garments of our full salvation. We put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness, not by putting it on from outside ourselves, by our own self-effort, keeping rules and regulations, and good works, but by the working and power of His life within.
I thank God today that there is a righteousness, a divine righteousness that God can raise up within men, and which can exalt a man to the image and likeness of God. In no other way can men ever be exalted or lifted up out of the power of sin, self, sorrow, limitation, and death. Thank God for the imputed righteousness of Christ — it is sufficient to remove your sin-consciousness and bring you into fellowship with God. But it is not enough to make you an overcomer, perfect, mature, in the full stature of Christ. Men get all hung up on the imputed righteousness of Christ and never get on to the business of transformation into the image of God. They major in milk, but have no meat. They get men started, but never grow them up!
So I gladly and thankfully this day record this truth that the righteousness of which I speak is the righteousness of God, which by faith we may possess; not only a righteousness imputed, in which we can trust for the beginning of our salvation, but a righteousness IMPARTED, INWORKED INTO THE NATURE, RAISED UP AS ACTUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS IN OUR STATE OF BEING. All very good is all this talk about imputed righteousness, but I cannot — will not — settle for a righteousness that is only imputed. If it is not the very nature of our being then we are not really changed at all!
The white raiment that is not and cannot be defiled, soiled, or stained, is the garment of glory — being a part of that inheritance which is incorruptible and fadeth not away. This is the garment of the overcomer of which the Lord speaks, “and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” The Greek word here translated “white” actually speaks more of the brilliant radiance of light than it does of a color. It is the same word which is used of the appearance of Christ at the time of His transfiguration as “white and glistering.” Actually, what is being said here is that those who overcome will be clothed upon with the radiant glory of the risen and ascended Lord! Just as He is robed in celestial light (Ps. 104:2), so we are progressively being clothed from glory to glory with light as with a garment. The words used carry the sense of shining in intense whiteness, in a dazzling heavenly glory. A vesture of light would enclothe the overcomer and the glory of the celestial realms would be his garb. In that great day when we shall perfectly image and out-ray the exact likeness of God in the fullness of our sonship, we, too, shall be clothed in glistering garments of white light. We who “walk in the light as He is in the light” shall show forth the glory of God through our incorruptible bodies of glory!
God is calling a people in this hour beyond profession to possession. It is easy to embrace the message of sonship and the kingdom of God, and presume that by the very revelation of it we have somehow attained, but to be a son of God one must truly and fully put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It should be clear to all who have eyes to see that when the scripture makes such statements as, “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,” “put on the whole armor of God,” “put on the armor of light,” “put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem,” “be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven,” these cannot be put on the outer physical body, they must be put on in a spiritual way over the nature of the natural man. Those who have put on Christ bear the image, likeness, and identity of Christ! They are truly and sincerely living and doing always the pure and perfect will of their Father in heaven, just as the firstborn Son of God did. What a calling!
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY
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Kingdom Bible Studies
PO Box 371240
El Paso, TX 79937-1240
Mark Eby for Kingdom Bible Studies.