"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“I Shall Awake with Thy Likeness.” December 2013, Part 1, Page 1.
“From men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Psalm 17: 14, 15.
As we slowly approach a new year, not being sure of what our blessings will be, I am thinking of the multitudes of Christians the world over, who will begin another year in total mediocrity; while others will follow the same path they have trod for the past 50 or 60 years.
Since businesses are always seeking new innovations in order to keep up with the competition, it seems plausible for Christians to do likewise.
Some years ago, Brother Elwin Roach from Alamogordo, New Mexico, was ministering in Richmond, Virginia, and he pointed out that Adam was put to sleep before God made the woman, and for the most part mankind is still asleep. But the Psalmist pointed to the time when he would awake in God’s likeness. When we speak of “likeness” we are immediately referred to where it all started—in the very first book of the bible. Let us revisit the scene and note very carefully what actually happened back then.
After the first murder was committed, the second son was gone forever, and the first son was banished to the land of Nod. Here is the biblical narrative! “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Genesis 4: 25.Let us put together two different accounts that deal with the same subject, and perhaps you will decide what merits there are in the conversation.
We are familiar with this account! “And God said, Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. Etc. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:26, 27. Many experts, bible analysts, and commentators agree that this creation took place as a single act, done spontaneously, without the man being put to sleep and God extracting a rib to make the woman. [male and female created he them.]
In chapter 2, we are told that after all of creation was complete and God rested on the seventh day, he planted a garden eastward in Eden and there was not a man to till the ground. This time, God made man out of the dust of the earth, whereas in the first account he said lets do it, and he went ahead and did it, producing both male and female at the same time.
Be that as it may, (and you are free to draw your own conclusions,) let us stay with Adam for a while longer to observe how events and truths unfolded for our own edification. Follow this closely with an open mind! “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him. Let us break away for a moment to say that among Christians the world over, we are never taught to be like God, and when Jesus came saying that he and the Father is one, several times they tried to stone him: for what reason? “Because you being man, makest thyself God.” I and my Father are one was just too much for those people back then to accept.
Throughout Christendom we are taught to be like Jesus because subconsciously, we think that Jesus is lesser than God so it is not so much of a big deal to be like him; but to be like God? Isn’t that blasphemy? But the scripture above explicitly said that man was created in the likeness of God. Now watch carefully and see the twist in the unfolding events. “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” Genesis 5: 1-3.
Please observe carefully that in this biblical account, Seth did not bear the image of God as expressed in the case of Adam at the beginning. In his case, Seth bore the personal image and likeness of Adam, and the scripture did not add the image and likeness of God in the narrative. But all of these events pointed to something more profound and enduring.
Paul addresses the issue of Adam’s role in the ever unfolding truths of our redemption.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses [or to John the Baptist for all the laws and the prophets prophesied until John. Matthew 11: 13] even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the FIGURE [type, symbol] of him that was to come.” Romans 5: 14. It is funny and unfortunate how we allow words and expressions to derail and dictate our thinking.
Here is a simple exercise that I usually throw out from the pulpit so as to get people thinking. If we see a man cursing, acting in a rage and becoming violent; looking from across the street or from behind the curtains, we will no doubt whisper: “That man is the devil himself.” This statement raises no eye brows and causes no negative response. But if we see someone doing good deeds like those feeding the starving people in parts of Africa, or someone bringing hot meals to feed the hungry and homeless across from the White House, no one would even think of say: “That man is God himself.” We accept the saying that one is like the devil, but reject the idea that one can be God himself.
But if the latter is true, why do you think that God made man in his own likeness and after his own image? Did not Jesus say, “As your heavenly Father is perfect, so be ye also perfect?” Did he not say, “As your heavenly Father is holy, so be ye also holy?” So what is the core message in those remarks? Isn’t he saying that we should be like God? We did not start this in the first place! And God did not put a plan and a system in place to which we cannot aspire. If we are still asleep, we can keep on dreaming and hope to awake in his likeness. But many are awake and are now being clothed in his likeness the New Testament way.
Let us review the case of Adam again. We are told that the man Adam was only a figure of someone more glorious and having the complete plan of man’s salvation. But if Adam was only a figure, or a type of something greater, what about Eve, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life? Should we not conclude that all of these were also figures or types?
How about the fruit that the woman ate and passed it on to her husband? We now know that an apple had nothing to do with it; so what was the fruit that Eve fell for?
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3: 6. This was the first time humankind was ever exposed to the full realm of temptation, and that list of temptations are still with us today, and they are components or factions that we can embrace and incorporate in our lifestyle or resist and become better people across the board.
The New Testament outlines for us the full scale and scope of what Adam and Eve were tempted by. Watch this carefully! “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1st John 2:16. Notice how all of this was applied to the case of the man and woman in the garden. She saw that it was good for food [the lust of the flesh] and that it was pleasant to the eyes [the lust of the eyes] and it was to be desired to make one wise. [The pride of life] Like an umbrella, the entire human race comes under its canopy and it is from this vantage point that Christians must overcome.
John emphasized that these three areas of temptation are ALL that is in the world. They are the sum total of what we must resist or become slaves to. Let us walk back in time and observe how ancient actions written into human history were only types or figures that pointed to a greater truth that is still impacting us today. In the midst of a family conflict that tore a family apart, God inserted a divine truth that were to be understood in its fullness thousands of years later.
“And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, [Ishmael] and because of thy bondwoman [Hagar] in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Genesis 21:12. Taken at face value and rationalized by the carnal mind, we would readily ascribe all of the values contained herein to Isaac and his descendants, namely, the Jews now living in Palestine and around the world. But Paul came along and unwrapped the package, to reveal the spiritual significance that was inserted into the story the day God spoke to Abraham in about B.C.1872.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3: 16. So it is clear that all of the events that transpired in Old Testament times, were literal events that were shrouded in divine truths; and even hidden from the angels, that would be opened and made plain in the New Testament era. From our vantage point in this our day, we need not chase phantoms or try to embrace passing shadows. Our determined end is spelled out in English and brought to our homes and churches. The veil is being lifted and we are putting on HIS likeness.
His likeness is determined as ours, not by adoption, but by birth; and this is what the gospel message is all about. I have said often, that the gospel message is not about making bad people good. It is not about saving a third of mankind, and taking them to heaven where they’ll spend thousands of years floating about over streets of gold; going in and out of the gates of pearl.
Awaking in his likeness should not be relegated to a distant future after death or an instant metamorphosis at the blast of the first trumpet. His “image” and his “likeness” can be applied uniformly to mean the same thing. Instead of taking a people out of the earth, it is God’s desire and plan to create a people bearing his nature upon the earth. In like manner as Jesus Christ was the express image of the invisible God.
Before time began, God conceived the plan of salvation with his Son being the chief corner stone, and the center of gravity in his kingdom. Take a look and see how far back it is that God began working on his plan. “For we are God’s workmanship, [handiwork] created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before ordained [that is before the foundation of the world] that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 10. From time to time, I like to say that man was not God’s after-thought, made to fill in space. Rather, we were given much thought, and woven into God’s master plan before the world was, with the intent that we should bear his family image, just like his Son did. God saw this and moved forward to bring it to pass.
“For whom he did foreknow [meaning that he knew us before time began, and of course, before we were born] he also did predestinate to be conformed [made like, in the same image] to the image [or likeness] of his Son, that he [the Son] might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8: 29, 30.
Let us share the translation of others dealing with the same subject. J. B. Phillips translation renders it thus: “God in his foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers. He chose them long ago; when the time came he called them, he made them righteous in his sight and then lifted them to the splendor of life as his own sons.” The N.E.B. translation renders it this way: “For God knew his own before ever they were, and also ordained that they should be shaped to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest among a large family of brothers; and it is these, so fore-ordained, whom he has also called. And those whom he called he has justified, and to those whom he justified he has also given his splendor.”
Allow me to squeeze this little nugget of truth in your heart. The image of Christ to which should aspire is the same as the image of God the Father. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power. etc. So Christ was God’s image expressed, or an expression of God’s image. It does not matter what choice of words we care to utilize, the meaning is the same. In John 17, Jesus prayed that the Father would keep us in this world, and I have never read where he desired to take us out of here. In fact he promised to be with us until the end of the world. [consummation of the ages]
Beloved hearts, in these writings I give all diligence to search the Word to find truth and support for any and all thoughts that I share with you. I feel an obligation and a great responsibility to teach the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. If some of this sounds new to you, don’t be alarmed because over the years I ran into truths that shook my entire foundation and it took years for an unveiling to take place so that I could assimilate what was being taught. But by nature, I am a person who likes to explore what’s around the next corner, and I am not stirred by the same soup being warmed over and over again.
I don’t mind being challenged with something I never heard before. I often find it to be a sort of “let down” to travel miles to attend meetings, only to hear the same messages of 15, 20 years ago, while being assured that God is getting ready to do something big. From 1968 in London, England, until today in Maryland where I live, I have been hearing that God is fixing to do some great things. In fact, some of the wonderful people who used to tell us these good news, have passed on and are now on the other side. I don’t want to say such and such, just to have something to say. How do I find materials to write about in my by-monthly publications?
I go about my daily activities and along the way a thought enters my mind, and over the next few days that thought continues to stir inside adding more truths and scriptures in the process. Although I do not call names and identify personal circumstances, I am sure that many have found answers in what I share. I know this by the letters and cards that come to me in the mail. I do not do this for personal gain or to achieve celebrity status. My personal and family struggles do not take wings and fly away. But I feel that I have a responsibility to the Body of Christ, and to anyone who takes time to read these writings. My days as pastor are over, and like the apostle Paul, I now minister to ministers and to the entire Body by way of these writings.
It is a simple truth that ministers of the gospel also need to be ministered to. It is not often that ministers will step forward to be ministered to, but if we keep sharing—keep giving, there must be a time to refill or to replenish the storehouse so that a constant supply of food will be available to feed the body of Christ. As we are being changed into his likeness, the whole creation will benefit. Speaking generally; man was the first to fall, so he must be the first restored, and Christ came to take back on our behalf all that Adam lost by default. Creation was affected by us being lowered, and as we arise and awake in his likeness, creation itself will benefit.
While many are waiting for a big bang and an instantaneous change, we are told that a gradual change is taking place. “But we all, with open [uncovered] face beholding as in a glass [a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2nd Corinthians 3: 18. The Revised version of the bible renders Phil.3: 21. “Who shall fashion a new the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory.” Here is a wakeup call to all believers in Christ, and it goes out like the sounding of a trumpet, resonating to all points of the compass, and many unstopped ears that are attuned to the realm and voice of the Holy Spirit are coming to the great ingathering to celebrate the fulfillment of many Old Testament promises.
Please be reminded to make your gifts payable to Royce Kennedy and not to the ministry. Thank you!