KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
BREAKING THE SEALS
Before moving on in our study to the momentous events occurring under the sixth seal, I would again draw your attention to the fact that almost all the events in the book of Revelation take place in one of three dimensions: HEAVEN, EARTH, and SEA. These are, of course, symbolical and prophetical terms! They represent states of being, life-styles, levels of consciousness, spheres of existence, and dimensions of life within each of us.
Within me, and within you, my beloved, there is a sea-realm, the outer man of the body. In our intellect, in our soul life, there is an earth-realm. And in our spirit there is a heaven-realm! There are things that are true in each of these realms, in each of these dimensions of our life. Every man on earth fits into one of these three categories — every man! There’s not a man on this planet who isn’t living out his life from one of these three realms. All of God’s processing in our lives, as He conforms us into the image of His Son, takes place only in the realms of earth and sea. Everything that comes out of heaven affects and deals with the earth and the sea!
Fire comes down from heaven and brings corrective, purifying judgments upon those who dwell upon the earth and in the sea. Mighty messengers come down out of heaven and the sea rages and the earth shakes and quakes. Oh, yes! When heaven comes down and touches earth there are voices, and lightnings, and thunderings, and earthquakes, and judgments, fires, blood, hail, and mighty transformations. I can’t think of anything greater that could happen to my body and soul realms! There is nothing more wonderful that could descend in power upon the self-consciousness and self-righteousness of my soul realm, and the lusts and passions of my body realm, to bring change. In the book of Revelation nearly all that happens in the earth and in the sea originates out of heaven! I’ll tell you why that’s important. If you’re trying to deal with your carnal mind, your fleshly desires, your religious hang-ups, or any other thing apart from the life of God out of your spirit, then you are indeed making a great effort of futility!
Heaven is nothing else but the invisible, omnipresent realm of the spirit in which God dwells. It is the divine spiritual world! We understand that God’s presence fills the expanse of the universe. There is no place where God is not. There is no place you can imagine on this side of the grave, on the other side of the grave, in this visible universe, in other invisible parallel universes, no matter where there is time or space or dimension — God is there! He is everywhere because He is the Source, the Creator of all things. All is “of Him,” “out of Him,” and “in Him all things consist.” The physical cosmos is completely enveloped and permeated by a spiritual dimension. The material universe is the effect of the great Cause, and that Cause is God. There is divine interaction between these two realms for they are related just as a baby birthed out of a mother’s womb is related to its mother, or as the plastic pen I now hold in my hand is related to the crude oil from which it is a by-product. We are surrounded not only by God’s Spirit, but by the spiritual world, by a great cloud of witnesses, by an innumerable company of angels, by the spirits of just men made perfect, and by principalities and powers in the celestial realms.
Heaven is not merely the spiritual dimension outside of us, it is also the spiritual dimension inside of us. That is where each of us touches the spiritual world, or heaven, — within ourselves. When our spirit is quickened by His Spirit the heavenly realm is first opened within us. As we walk with God we are learning to connect with the heavens of God’s Spirit within us. We are being drawn to go deep inside and find ourselves in that most holy place of the spirit, resting upon the mercy seat, beneath the wings of the cherubim, in that perfect, full, holy and glorious place where the curse has never touched. Heaven! When you see heaven in the scripture just think of the realm of the spirit. The closest and most perfect and real dimension of heaven is within each of us. You will never know the true heaven anywhere else until you discover it there!
The more we learn to make our connection with heaven the more we grasp reality and understand the true nature of all things. Once having identified with the spiritual world of the heaven within, in the midst of chaos and crisis; in the midst of loss, collapse, disappointment, and destruction in our outer world; in the midst of any situation or circumstance we are able to translate ourselves immediately to that safe and secure haven of rest. As we dwell in the heavenlies of God’s presence we are heavenly and in heaven. As we consciously enter into the depths of God within we then learn also how to bring that realm out into our outer, conscious, visible world. As men behold the heavenly life expressed through our outer man we become the “gate of heaven” to those about us!
In the book of Revelation the symbolical term “earth” is used by the Lord to represent the soul with all its emotions, intellect, will, attitudes, and expressions. Note some of the symbolic uses of the earth elsewhere in scripture. “Let the earth fear the Lord” (Ps. 33:8). “All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing to Thy name” (Ps. 66:4). “His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled” (Ps. 97:4). “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth” (Isa. 1:2). “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!” (Jer. 22:29). Manifestly the literal earth cannot fear the Lord, nor worship Him. Nor can the literal earth sing unto the Lord. Nor can the literal earth “see” the lightnings of the Lord. Neither can the literal heavens and earth hear the word of the Lord. Obviously these texts refer to the souls of the people living on the earth.
We should earnestly meditate upon the words of the apostle Paul wherein he writes, “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13). According to Paul it is only through the spirit that one can bring to death the deeds of the body. There is only one way to deal with both the soul realm and the body realm, the earth and the sea, and that is to deal with them out of heaven, in the spirit and by the spirit. It is impossible to conquer and subdue the activities of the soul and the body by any effort that originates out of those realms. They have no power to either reform or transform themselves! But if you through the spirit, which is the power and authority out of heaven, put these realms into neutral, out of gear, you shall then live by the spirit and in the spirit. Paul continues, “For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Aren’t you glad!
Even though we may have been saved for many years, we must now ask the Spirit of God to lift the veil that is upon our minds and reveal the truth of whether we are presently living in the realm of the body (sin, sensuality), the soul (carnality, self-will, intellect, emotions, etc.), or the spirit (life, light, love, victory, peace, joy, righteousness, power, etc.). With reverent heart let each of us ask the Lord to search us in order to be clear where we are. Frankly, many of the Lord’s precious people are wandering day after day in the wilderness of the soul! In the morning they may have joyful countenances, but ere long the pressures of the day take their toll and they become irritable, frustrated, upset, anxious, and dismayed. Yesterday it seems they were in the heavens, but today they are making their bed in hell, discouraged, fearful, depressed, and defeated. Yesterday they were full of faith and courage, ready to believe God for exploits, but today they are disheartened with their walk in God, and full of doubts and questionings. They are continually wandering about in the soul, the wilderness, without rest, circling in the same rut day after day, getting nowhere. Like the children of Israel, they may have been walking with God for forty years, but are still going around in the same vicious circles, with no improvement and no progress, never possessing their promised land of righteousness, peace, joy, and power. Why? Because they are living in the soul, they are earth-dwellers! The soul is barren and desolate, there is no life in it. Those who live in the body realm are still spiritually in the bondage of Egypt, under the taskmasters of Satan’s kingdom; but when we are in the soul we are with the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness!
The word of God must pierce us so that we may know how to press on from the soul into the heaven of our spirit, where Christ dwells. We must know how to bring our body and our soul into the holy place of the spirit so that the whole man may live in His sight! Only God can teach us these things, and He does so as we sit at His feet in adoring fellowship and communion. Flee, my brother, my sister, from the desolate wilderness of your soul as you would flee from a bear in the forest and you shall find blessed refuge in the promised land of the spirit, for there is a realm there within you, closer to you than the air you breathe, closer than the heart that beats faithfully within your breast, as continuously available as the blood coursing through your veins, a sacred sanctum within your spirit where the things of earth do not rule or have any power. Christ dwells there as Life! Dear reader, ponder if you will this marvelous truth: CHRIST is not depressed, driven, anxious, upset, worried, confused, fearful, frustrated, weary, weak, nor defeated — and CHRIST IN YOU IS NOT EITHER! Tap the infinite resources of the Christ within your spirit and the promised land is your land!
There is a people rising from the barren dust of the wilderness of the soul and soulical religious activities to sit together with Christ in the heavenly places of the spirit. God dwells in your spirit, dear one, and God in your spirit is both infinite and eternal, and therefore in finding all that is available in God one must be prepared to go ever onward and upward into the vast expanses of the Spirit of God. It is not enough to experience a heavenly realm now and then in the blessing of a gathering of saints. That is not dwelling in heaven! If God is infinite, there is no limit to the experience we might have with Him in union with Him in the spirit. And if God is eternal, there is no end to the measure of grace and glory into which He would lead us by the spirit. When our astronauts began their explorations to the moon, it was not sufficient that they should have entered a rocket and pushed through the atmosphere for an hour or two. True, they were in space the hour they started. But space is vast — and they must go on, and on, and on, and on…even to the surface of the moon. If God permits, man will go to Mars, and eventually from solar system to solar system, then from galaxy to galaxy, throughout the unbounded heavens!
Now, God has made us partakers of His Holy Spirit, and that simply means He has called us to explore the inexhaustible sphere of the deep things of God and the infinite summits of His glory, wisdom, power, and holiness. Our spirit has been quickened by His Spirit for this very purpose: “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (I Cor. 2:12). The natural mind cannot discover these things, hence the Spirit of God is sent into our spirit to reveal them unto us and to search out and explore “all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10).
For those who live in heaven everything is in the spirit. We walk in the spirit, pray in the spirit, worship in the spirit, speak by the spirit, and do all things in and by the spirit. This is sonship! We find that as we live and walk after the spirit, judgment is brought into our lower realms of soul and body, and we have not to do anything about it. It is all accomplished out of a heavenly realm, by the spirit! There is no other way. If we go around preaching death to self, the need to crucify the flesh, to kill the old man, to reform and change the old Adamic nature, then we’ve missed the whole book. None of that is of any value at all! It is heaven that comes down and fills the earth with glory and stills the raging waves of the sea! My brother, my sister, nothing will ever happen in your earth or in your sea until there is an administration of life out of your heaven. This comes by seeking only and always HIS PRESENCE IN THE SPIRIT. Read the book! It’s all there. THIS IS THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!
THE TWO HEAVENS AND THE TWO EARTHS
Now we come to a most important point. While everything in the book of Revelation takes place in the realm either of heaven, earth, or the sea; and while we have explored these from the vantage point of three dimensions of consciousness and life in which men walk, there is yet a further truth which is vital to our understanding of the visions John saw relative to these realms. The reality is that there are TWO SETS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH! There are, indeed, TWO CREATIONS, TWO WORLDS, AND TWO HEAVENLY UNIVERSES!
First, let us inquire as to what we mean by a “heaven and earth.” These are the two realms first mentioned in the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The symbolisms of scripture are always appropriate and fitting. The literal heavens and earth bear a certain relationship to each other which well illustrates the operation of the spiritual heavens and earth. The heavens, for example, control earth’s tides, atmospheric conditions, day and night, and seasons. The heavens rule
and the earth is ruled.
Heaven influences earth, but earth in no way affects heaven. From the very first pages of scripture, the sun was spoken of as the ruler
of the day, the moon and stars as the ruler
of the night.
Now notice that it is both the things of the heavens and the earth that are affected by the events occurring under the sixth seal! “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth…and the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places” (Rev. 6:12-14).
The natural sun is the brightest luminary in the natural heavens. And to help us in correctly interpreting the meaning of the spiritual sun, we find that God made “the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen. 1:16). Here we first have the idea expressed of both sun and moon being rulers. Then we find that God, the supreme Ruler, is called in the Word a “Sun.” “For the Lord thy God is a SUN and a shield” (Ps. 84:11). Also, our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is called “the SUN of Righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). He rules. Furthermore, we find that in reference to this principle of the sun and rulership we read, “He that RULETH over men…shall be as the light of the morning, when the SUN ariseth” (II Sam. 23:3-4). Then we find David the king called “the LIGHT of Israel” (II Sam. 21:17).
Concerning saints who are ordained as kings and priests in the kingdom of God we find that they are compared to the sun: “Then shall the righteous SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father” (Mat. 13:43). Of these same ruling members of God’s elect Jesus says, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations and he shall RULE them with a rod or iron” (Rev. 2:26-28). Then He hastily adds: “And I will give him the MORNING STAR.” That is, I will give him power over the nations — rulership — and I will give him the position as the morning star to give direction to mankind, to announce and proclaim the new day of the Lord! Now consider these meaningful words of Daniel the prophet wherein he foretells the manifestation of the sons of God, saying, “And they that be wise shall SHINE AS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FIRMAMENT; and they that turn many to righteousness as the STARS for ever” (Dan. 12:3). Then we find in Daniel 4:26 that “the HEAVENS DO RULE.” God’s heaven is His throne. “Heaven is my throne” (Isa. 66:1). The heavens of God’s Spirit in the symbolic terminology of prophecy is the seat where the sun, the mighty God Himself, sits and rules! And as God’s heaven is His throne, so the prophetical heavens include all the governmental realm through which God rules, and He is Lord of all.
All the above constitutes the heavens of God’s Spirit! But now there is another heaven of rulership which is not that of God by His Spirit. It is the rulership of men, including even the basest of men. This natural governmental realm is demonstrated quite clearly in the words of the prophet Daniel to king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, “thy greatness is grown, and REACHED UNTO HEAVEN” (Dan. 4:22). He had just become the most exalted monarch of earth, the greatest ruler among men: the SUN of that “heaven.” The prophet Isaiah, describing the casting down of earthly kings from their thrones, says, “THE LIGHT IS DARKENED IN THE HEAVENS THEREOF” (Isa. 5:30). This statement is most meaningful when compared with the words of Jesus when He foretold the removal and destruction of all the rulers and governmental powers of both Judaism and the entire pagan world, saying, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the SUN BE DARKENED, and the MOON SHALL NOT GIVE HER LIGHT, and the STARS SHALL FALL FROM HEAVEN, and THE POWERS OF THE HEAVENS SHALL BE SHAKEN” (Mat. 24:29). These words of our Lord signified the complete dissolving, darkening, and abolishment of all the governmental orders of His day! Those were the “heavens” that passed away!
The sun in prophecy is the most exalted ruler of any order, the moon the second or lesser, and the stars are other governmental authorities and powers. The heavens are the thrones which these rulers occupy, whether the rulers be men, spirits, powers, organizations, ideologies, or some other entity. The earth is that which is ruled by the heavens — that which looks to the sun, moon, and stars for its light and direction. There is an order of human government now, but all these are soon to pass away, be darkened, fall from heaven, and a new order shall be inaugurated. In this new day of the kingdom of God the manifest sons of God shall arise in the power of Christ’s resurrection and glory to constitute the heavenly bodies that shall rule the earth in the wonderful age now at hand! We are being made to know that all that has been giving light in the past, and that has ruled in the past, is going out and shall be darkened forevermore. The glorious Christ company shall take the place of all the former sun, moon, and stars. A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH — oh, the wonder of it!
Let us now further pursue this thought of the two heavens and the two earths. I know of nothing that will so thoroughly awaken the fathomless depths of wisdom and understanding than the blessed knowledge of the sacred mystery that Christ saves men right now from “this present evil world.” And while you, dear reader, may be one of those waiting with rapturous expectation to be whisked away and “evacuated” off this earth to spend eternity in some far-off heaven somewhere, Peter expresses with urgent and profound aspiration the true desire of all sons of God who groan for the deliverance of creation from the bondage of corruption and the triumph of the kingdom of God in all realms, saying, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found in Him in peace, without spot, blameless” (II Pet. 3:13-14). It is an incontrovertible fact that the vast majority of Christians today is not looking for the same thing Peter was looking for — NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH!
Peter also said in this connection, “The heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (II Pet. 3:7). But Peter had prefaced these ominous words with the following illustration from the world of Noah’s day which was destroyed in the flood. “By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (II Pet. 3:5-6). The heavens and earth of old perished, Peter says, but he does not mean the literal earth we walk on or the literal heavens whose sun, moon, and stars still shine upon us every day and night. Oh, no!
When righteous Noah stepped out of the ark that bright morning he stepped onto the soil of the very same earth that existed before the flood, and at night he gazed into the star-spangled splendor of the same heavens above. Yet — all was changed! The old order of things was gone, and a new order, or a new heavens and earth, would now be manifested. Was it not a new heaven and a new earth by being purged through the overflowing waters of the flood from the wickedness and corrupt order that previously polluted the earth? With what joy and satisfaction do we now entertain the precious promise: “For behold I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isa. 65:17). Hallelujah! What a wonderful thing that God will so thoroughly cleanse our own little world and the whole vast cosmos that even our minds will be purged from the remembrance of it! God will make such a good job of His work, that the past will be completely obliterated and never thought of any more! God shall not end this present evil world and call forth the new by destroying either His creatures or His creation. Not one thing, not one precious person shall be lost! He shall bring this world to an end and establish new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness by MAKING ALL THINGS NEW
— changed, purified, and transformed by the fire of His Word! “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.
And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Rev. 21:5). Not all new things,
but all things NEW!
That is the wonder.
Here we have the two heavens and the two earths — the OLD and the NEW! With astonished wonder the Seer of Patmos beheld this scene in spirit and cried out, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…” (Rev. 21:1). You will understand a great mystery when you see how it is that whatever has ruled or does rule your life apart from the spirit is your “old heaven.” Of a truth I tell you that the thing that rules or motivates or controls you in either soul or body, in mind, emotion, desire, will, or physical expression and activity, constitutes the “heavens” over your life! If Hollywood with its glitter and entertainment, its values, standards, and spirit rules you then the heaven over your head is Hollywood. If you “eat, drink, and sleep” sports, then sports are the heavens that rule you. If politics, political ideology, politicians, and some political party is what lights up your life, then you are governed out of the political heavens.
Some people’s heaven is the business world; work, climbing their way up the corporate ladder, gaining prestige, position, and power, and making money. Those who are ruled from these heavens are obsessed by this realm, becoming workaholics, often unprincipled in their ethics, stepping on others and destroying people in their selfish, frenzied climb to the top. Other folk’s heaven is philosophy, education, pleasure, drugs, sex, or lust. And we cannot fail to mention the “religious heavens” that rule over billions of lives on planet earth!
Men governed out of the religious heavens fight over religion, condemn everyone else to hell, demand obedience upon penalty of eternal damnation, lay heavy yokes of external rules, regulations, laws, dress codes, you cannot do this or that, cannot go here or there, demand tithes and offerings, fleece widows and rob the poor, make merchandise of men’s souls, burn heretics at the stake, and blow themselves up as suicide bombers! By the time many so-called “holiness” groups get through with the women in the church, putting them through the dress-making and appearance departments, these very women have lost most of their appeal to their husbands, and then they wonder why the world is filled with “unsaved” husbands! All through the years these holiness groups have imposed an external appearance of “holiness,” forcing their people to conform to certain contrived standards of conduct. Such “holiness” focuses primarily on what they wear and the kind of places they go. Some cannot even go to the county fair, wear a wedding ring, put on make-up, or drink a Coca-Cola!
There are some groups that will split and start a new “church” over the length of the ribbons on a prayer covering, how many buttons are on the sleeve of a suit, how a beard is trimmed, whether one wears a necktie, or whether the chrome on their automobile is painted black. The further one goes in those directions the more ridiculous it becomes! I see these women at the mall dressed in their long dresses and a particular style of head scarf, and I know by their attire they are some kind of Christian. But where does the scripture teach us to be known as Christians by the style of our clothes? You see, I would never recognize these women as Christians because of the love, joy, peace, and glory of God radiating from their countenances — only because of the outer garments they are wearing! Doctrines, creeds, traditions of the elders, rules, commandments of men, and control over men’s lives — these are the governmental powers of these RELIGIOUS HEAVENS!
Every man has his “heaven” and every man is the earth that heaven rules over! For most who read these lines the most recent heavens that have passed away are the heavens of the old-order church systems. Of this Paul Mueller wrote: “Once again, in this new Day, the Lord has purposed to do a new thing in the earth. But since all power and authority to do anything new in the earth must come from Heaven, from His throne, or from the realm of Spirit, God must create a new Heaven, or a new realm of Spirit, which He has done. And when the Lord brings forth a new Heaven, He is, by that sovereign act, changing the order of things, that He might do a new thing in the earth. You can beg and plead with the Lord, fast and pray earnestly, asking Him to bless the old-order church works in this new Day, but He may not answer you, for our Father is doing a new thing! There is now a new Heaven, a new throne realm, or a new realm of Spirit, which governs all God’s work on earth! And with the coming forth of this new Heaven, ‘the former things are passed away.’ God has established a new spiritual order, beginning in the Heavens, and that new spiritual order is beginning to change everything spiritual that pertains to the earth, so that, in the fullness of Father’s time, a new earth shall also come forth! And now I join John in declaring, ‘And I saw A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.’
“Therefore, we will have to think in terms of doing things on earth according to God’s NEW WAY, not our own way, which is the old way, or the way we were accustomed to doing things in the past. A NEW HEAVEN HAS COME FORTH. And that new Heaven is a new Spiritual order, with new principles and new plans for the kingdom of God on earth, which will provide us with NEW METHODS OF WORKING WITH THE LORD and doing His perfect will on earth, during this new, Kingdom Day! It is difficult for us to imagine what that new ministry will be like, for we tend to think of ‘ministry’ in the context of church order, which is the old order of the past. But a new ministry exists in the Heavens of God’s Spirit, and those who are Spirit-led and Spirit-directed will be able to read, see, hear and receive that new ministry, in the Spirit and by the Spirit. The Lord’s chosen elect are ready for change, and they have progressed spiritually with the Lord, as the holy Spirit has led them. ‘These are they…’ who are motivated by the Spirit, and are therefore able to discern the will and the way of the Lord pertaining to His kingdom, for the Heavens of Spirit are open to them (Jo. 1:51)” — end quote.
A new heaven and a new earth necessitate the passing of the former or old heaven and earth. The former and the present. The old and the new. THESE ARE THE TWO SETS OF HEAVENS AND EARTH I SPOKE OF EARLIER. Each heaven has its sun, moon, and stars, its primary source of dominion (sun) in our life; its rules, culture, and pressures (moon) which also direct our thinking and activities; and the myriad lesser influences (stars) which likewise affect our actions. The way we think, act, walk, and live out our life is the earth-realm ruled from those heavens! And every earth has its mountains and valleys, its rivers and streams, its air and oceans. Here is the truth we must now consider. When we see in the book of Revelation events taking place in the sun, in the moon, in the stars, in the earth, with mountains, trees, grass, rivers, streams, seas, and in the air we must understand and know whether these belong to the OLD HEAVEN AND THE OLD EARTH or to the NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH! John saw them both! And until we also see them both and are able to distinguish between them, our understanding of the Revelation will be dismally defective. The beautiful truth is that THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH DO NOT PASS AWAY!
Again I quote the words of brother Paul Mueller. “The Lord also declared, ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain’ Isa. 66:22). The Lord, our King and Creator of all, has declared that He will create the new heavens and a new earth. And the new heavens and the new earth will be permanent and endure forever and ever. God’s word tells us they ‘shall remain before me, saith the Lord.’ That which God creates shall remain before Him, which is to say that the new heavens and the new earth shall stand, to be established before the Lord in a new and enduring relationship with Him. The new heavens and new earth will satisfy God, for it is that which He has created and made new. And just as eternally enduring, everlastingly permanent, infinitely secure and immortally righteous are the Lord and His new Heavens and new Earth, so also are we before the Father! We shall stand before Him, complete, perfect, righteous, and secure, for we are being created in His glorious and enduring image and likeness. We are the spiritual seed of Abraham and have been given the Lord’s Name, the Name of His ‘city,’ and His new Name. Nothing shall separate us from the love of God! We shall stand before Him in white, for we shall be just like Christ!” — end quote.
The new heavens and the new earth which remain before the Lord cannot be darkened, removed, fall, turn to blood, be shaken, visited by earthquakes, plagues, disasters, fire, pestilence, judgments, or ruled by beasts. Can we not see by this that many times in the Revelation it is our old heavens and our old earth that are being affected, for all of the above mentioned things happen in the heavens and in the earth as they are judged by the mighty power of the Spirit! It is our old heavens and earth that pass away! It is the sun of our old heavens that is darkened! It is the stars of our old heavens that fall unto the earth! It is the moon of our old heavens that turns to blood! It is our old earth, our natural, carnal, fleshly life that is being shaken, devastated, shrouded in darkness, burned with fire, and brought to naught!
Let your heart meditate deeply upon the wonder and glory of the new heavens and the new earth. Let us begin with these inspired words of the apostle Paul, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things (of this new creation) are of God…” (II Cor. 5:17-18). I am wonderfully blessed by the rendering of this passage from the New English Version: “When anyone is united to Christ, THERE IS A NEW WORLD; the old order is gone, and a new order has already begun. From first to last, this has been the work of God!” Wonderful! The Williams translation has it, “For if anybody is in union with Christ, he is the work of A NEW CREATION; the old condition has passed away, a new condition has come. This has all originated with God!” Oh, yes! Our new heavens and earth, our new world, our new order and condition originated in Christ Jesus, and entering into Him brings to an end the old corrupt order of consciousness, lifestyle, and nature, and the establishing of the new which “after God is created in righteousness, and true holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24).
Thus, these “new heavens” and “new earth” are not a new material heavens or new literal earth. The physical heavens and earth were made perfect, and the scriptures show they will remain for the ages (Ps. 89:36-37; 104:5). The new earth is a new kind of people, those who live out of a soul that is under the dominion of the spirit, and new heavens are the new authority and order out of the heavens of God’s Spirit within us. When the Daystar of the new creation, Christ the Lord, arises in our hearts; when the life-giving rays of the morning sun, even the Lord the Spirit, break forth upon us in His glory, warmth, and splendor, then this old world within us begins to be dissolved. The old heavens and the old earth within us meet with the all-consuming heat of the Sun of Righteousness and fall away to nothing in the light of the glory of God. The Spirit of Jesus within then begins to frame a new heaven and a new earth in soul and body, even one wherein dwelleth righteousness. All things are born anew within us by the creative word of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus and not only the heaven and the earth pass away, but there is no more sea; no more great overflowings of the carnal mind, no more inundations of the carnal nature, no more swellings and surgings of fleshly emotions and ungodly desires, no more roarings of Adamic pride, intellect, wisdom, knowledge, ego and self-hood, or worldly glory, for the sea is dried up within us never to be anymore at all!
Every apprehended son of God is coming to experientially know the new heaven and the new earth! This is what was transpiring in John’s experience when he said, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” (Rev. 21:1). John saw the new heaven and he saw the new earth! To see the new heaven and new earth means to have a fresh understanding or a new concept about heaven and earth. John saw the new heaven and earth by being caught up in the spirit into the day of the Lord. This is a wonderful truth that shows that the new heaven and earth can only be seen in the spirit and by the spirit! John said, “And I saw…” The verb “saw” means to discern, perceive, cognize, discover, recognize.
Yet there is an order to what John saw! He said, “And I saw a new heaven.” He then followed this by saying, “and a new earth.” Can we not see by this that we can only see a new earth when we see a new heaven! If you have not seen a new heaven, you will never see a new earth, for earth is set in the heavens! From the beginning this has been the divine order. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Heaven is the tabernacle of the earth. In the spiritual sense the new heaven is a new or quickened spirit and the new earth is a new redeemed, transformed soul and body. New! “For the former things are passed away.” “Behold, I make all things new.” When one has truly experienced this his first concept of heaven and his first concept of earth have passed away. He has received a new understanding and touched a new reality! It is a state of being and an identity beyond what we have been consciously aware of. The new heaven and the new earth are indeed the new man, the new mind, the new life, the new nature, and the new creation that we are. The sons of God are within themselves the new heaven and the new earth! It is a new way of thinking, a new perception of reality, a new consciousness of being, a new dimension of expression, a new plane of living! Oh, the wonder of it!
We know the reality of the new earth when God comes down out of the heavens of His Spirit to dwell and manifest in the earth realm — the visible, tangible realm. John said that he saw a new heaven and then he said, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:2-3). The New Jerusalem, the Holy City, is God coming down out of the invisibility of spirit to manifest His presence, life, and glory visibly in and through a people. The New Jerusalem is the capital of the new earth — the dominion of God formed and crystallized in and through a people in union with Christ. These are God’s elect in whom the heavenly reality has been fully formed! These are they who are the light of the world, for the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of this city! The New Jerusalem is the firstfruits of the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness!
To those who walk in the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God the Holy Spirit is giving a new concept of earth. Multitudes of Christians are possessed of the Babylonish notion expressed in the old song that says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” For these poor souls life in the flesh is a toil, a drudgery, filled with weakness, lack, pain, trouble, and sorrow and they are just waiting to die and get out of here. “Stop the world and let me off” is the popular “rapture” mentality. One thing is very clear — these precious folks have never SEEN THE NEW EARTH! Neither have they seen the NEW HEAVEN! Once you have seen, discerned, perceived, discovered, recognized, and experienced the new earth you no longer have any desire to “go” anywhere! There is no need to go anywhere! God manifested in and through your soul and your body is the new earth! This is the new earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” This passage leaves no room for doubt that the righteousness of God expressed in and through our lives constitutes the new earth! Where else would you want righteousness to dwell? Where else does righteousness need to dwell? Where can righteousness dwell in such a measure that it transforms every thing in the whole world? Only in the lives of mankind! When the righteousness of God is revealed through the lives of all people everywhere, the old earth will have fully passed away for every man, and the new earth will be established in the glory of God. Isn’t it wonderful!
You see, my beloved, it is not about what happens to this physical planet called earth upon which we walk. It’s not about literal mountains, valleys, canyons, oceans, trees, rivers, or rocks. Oh, no! It is not that earth out there at all — it is this earth which we are that has become new! And yet — it is wondrously true that the earth out there is and shall be affected, delivered, restored, quickened, and changed by the life of God manifested through the new heavens and the new earth that we are! This is certain, for man is given the dominion over the earth and over all things. The outward world fell under the curse along with its ruler, Adam; and it shall be restored and delivered from the bondage of corruption through its ruler, the many-membered Christ, the last man Adam! Do you see the new heaven, my brother, my sister, and can you see the new earth? I see a new heaven and I see a new earth! I see a heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness! Oh, yes, I SEE IT!
There is no truth within the pages of God’s blessed Book more certain than the fact that God is creating a new heavens and a new earth. Beyond question this is the allegory proclaimed by the Lord to the prophet Isaiah, “I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, THAT I MAY PLANT THE HEAVENS, AND LAY THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH, and say unto Zion, THOU ART MY PEOPLE” (Isa. 51:16). Zion is a people, the Lord’s elect, and it is in Zion that the Lord plants the heavens of the new spirit by His word, and lays the foundations of the new earth wherein He dwells. It is God’s called and chosen elect, His glorious city and mount of Zion, that He sets in the tabernacle of the heavens to be in a settled place, firmly established by His love and grace, secure in the new spirit and the new nature, no more to be lost or wandering in the emptiness of selfhood.
Stand with me for a moment in holy contemplation of these words the Lord spoke to Isaiah. The Lord said that He would plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth in Zion, His people. But the Lord prefaced this by telling Isaiah how it would be done! Hear it! “I have put my words in thy mouth…that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth.” It would be accomplished by THE WORD OF THE LORD IN THE MOUTH OF HIS SPOKESMAN! How would you suppose God would create a new heaven and a new earth? How did He create the physical heavens and earth? “And God said, let there be!” The apostle Peter tells us that it was “by the word of God” that the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water (II Pet. 3:5). John tells us in His Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word…all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (Jn. 1:1-3). God creates by His word! God creates the new heavens and the new earth with a “Creative Word”! He is moving within us in this hour by His revelatory word, His living word, His omnipotent creative word to plant within His elect the new heavens and to lay the foundations of the new earth. This word is nigh us, even in our mouth and in our heart! (Rom. 10:9-10). This word has no corruption in it at all — it is the incorruptible seed of the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
It has been made very clear to me by the spirit of truth that the only way God can create within us this new heavens and new earth, in all the splendor of their fullness, is to bring us back to the beginning. When God has finished His work in you, my beloved, He will have taken you back to the beginning — because you are His spoken Word. The Christ within us is the Word of God! All that God has done, is doing, and shall yet do in us is by His powerful, omnipotent, living, creative word! How do you think a man is “born again”? “Being born again…by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (I Pet. 1:23). The Father birthed each one of us by the spoken Word! We were birthed as the living offspring of God, a spirit being, in the image and likeness of God, through or by the Word! And now the thoughts of God have risen up within our minds and hearts, bringing us to the realization of our sonship to God! Treasure every word that God is speaking into your mind and heart in these days, dear one, for this word that is proceeding out of the mouth of God is the power of God to plant the new heavens, and lay the foundations of the new earth within you! Aren’t you glad!
It should be clear to every enlightened mind that God is in the process of making an entirely new creation, or making all things new — not this time a mere natural creation, nor yet a purely spiritual one, but a spiritual-physical one. This present natural creation is really only a step in the process of making the creation God had in mind from the beginning. “First that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual,” is the divinely revealed order. Does that mean the natural is completely done away with, supplanted by the spiritual? Not at all! It means that the natural is swallowed up by the spiritual. The natural is a necessary step in the process of making the kind of creation God purposed from the beginning. Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, is the proto-type of that new creation — the PHYSICAL SPIRITUALIZED, RAISED UP INTO THE DIVINE AND HEAVENLY! The physical body of Jesus was raised from the dead, brought out of the tomb, spiritualized, and made a spiritual body — not a spirit, mind you, but a spiritual body! Jesus is still referred to as a man all through the New Testament, not only after His resurrection, but also after His ascension. “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
The firstborn of this new creation order is a GOD-MAN upon the throne of universal power! Think of it! When you see Jesus as a divine-human, a God-man, one of the natural creation metamorphosed, spiritualized, raised up into the celestial and incorruptible, then you see exactly what God is after in the whole creation, and you also see what the finished product of the new heavens and the new earth within you will be like! “This corruptible must put on incorruption.” “This mortal must put on immortality.” How unspeakably wonderful! We see the natural creation all around us, but this natural creation is not the finished product any more than the ore dug out of the earth is the fine piece of jewelry the artisan has in mind when he begins his work. The whole creation is still in the process of being made into the kind of creation God started out to make. God is still Creator! And He is still creating a new heavens and a new earth! The work has only begun in us!
The new heaven is the mind of Christ and the new earth is the body of Christ, the members of which have put on incorruption. The new heaven is the new mind of the spirit, and the new earth is the soul and body quickened and governed by the spirit. Surely the fullness of redemption includes possessing the “mind of Christ” as well as a body “fashioned like unto His glorious body.” And being conformed to His image, partakers of His divine nature, we shall be His “all righteous” ones — a new heaven and a new earth WHEREIN DWELLETH RIGHTEOUSNESS!
The coming “world” will be one that will see the fullness of God in operation through His Zion people, His sons, the demonstration of the mighty power of the new heavens and the new earth. It is not a mansion over the hilltop, or a cabin in the corner of gloryland, or white night gowns, or harps, or palm branches, or dangling feet in some stream of celestial water. There is a job to be done! A battle to be fought! A victory to be won! An enemy to be conquered! “And there was no more sea.” “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” This is God’s will for humanity on this earth, and this is what our call to sonship is all about! It would be a most beautiful thing if all the saints of God could have an open vision that would enable them to understand the glory of God’s purpose on earth, and His election in man.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and THE POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME…” (Heb. 6:4-5). The Rotherham translation renders this last statement, “Mighty works of a coming age.” The Interlinear Greek New Testament says, “The works of power of the age to come.” Jesus said, “Greater works than these shall ye do!” But have the followers of Jesus really done any greater works than Jesus did? The book of Acts doesn’t record them. Neither do the epistles. Nor does church history. And, my friend, after more than a century since the restoration to the church of the baptism in the Holy Spirit; after more than sixty years since the restoration of the five-fold ministry, the gifts of the Spirit, and the prophetic flow, have you seen any greater works than raising the dead, cleansing lepers, walking on water, calming storms, and turning water into wine? You know you haven’t!
Yet, according to the writer to the Hebrews, there are MIGHTY WORKS OF A COMING AGE, GREATER WORKS THAN JESUS DID TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO! And all we have experienced of God, of His Spirit, of His Word, of His power, glory, miracles, and revelation, has been merely a small taste, a little sampling, of the glory and power of that coming age! Why friends, we have only seen the firstfruits of what God will do through His in-Christed body upon this earth. Can you imagine a world where the hospitals have been emptied, the doctors’ offices deserted, the prisons closed, the policemen all laid off, the armies dismantled, the mortuaries locked, the dead raised, all nature tamed, controlled, and subdued, the nations turned to the Lord, all men transformed into the image and glory of God, and the whole world system transformed — and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL YOU SEE as the glorious mind of Christ rules and reigns over the earth realm through the manifest sons of God! The fullness of what we have just had a taste will be the normal works on behalf of humanity in that blessed world to come. This will be the new heavens and the new earth in all the fullness of what that means!
“Behold, I make e all things new!” saith the Lord. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY
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