"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Oneness with God—One step beyond theory!” May 2015. part 3.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works follow them.” Rev. 14: 13.
“For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, if they shall enter into my rest. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4: 4-11.
So far we have published two parts in this study of our oneness with God: and the more we search and write, the more fresh thoughts come pouring in. At times we cannot write fast enough to keep pace with the thoughts that keep cascading through the inner man. The main thought that forms the bedrock of these lessons, is the reality underscored by scripture, that our oneness with God is not mere theory: and our ultimate change is woven in that truth.
By focusing on the ideas and truths propounded by the apostle Paul, we quickly notice that there is no need for us to postulate in dividing between theory and reality. However, as we equate our life with Jesus Christ who stopped funerals and brought the dead back to life, and met physical death head-on, the greater percentage of those in Christendom are locked into the certainty of death. We will be repeating many scriptures that we quoted before in other chapters for clarity, emphasis, and reminders.
As sons of God, we need to sit up and consciously separate between the physical secular world, and the world that vibrates and pulsates by the Living Spirit of God that dispenses life every minute of every day throughout the created universe. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1: 1. “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1: 17. The term all things mean life; and the very existence of the created universe. His life holds all things together!
However, for us, sons and daughters of God, as the veil is being lifted from our eyes and hearts, we are seeing a separate fountain of living water coming forth from the throne room of the Almighty. Jesus said that he lived by the Father, and those who eat of him shall live by him. Consider this most sincerely! “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:
(Total eternal Spirit) so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John 6: 57.
Yes! Jesus as a man got angry: he got tired: he got hungry, and he wept at the tomb of Lazarus. But in spite of those human characteristics, he lived by the Father. The life he had and shared was not from the literal materialistic world. He was from on high, the Lord from heaven; and nothing about earth and earth’s people managed to rob him of that heavenly connection.
There are a number of people that are now catching a glimpse of a new day dawning, and they are now breathing a new breath of life that does not come from church membership and revival meetings. This new life that we are experiencing is being generated as we follow that Lamb upon mount Zion, where so ever he goes as John noted. “These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Rev. 14: 4.
During these studies, it seems to me, that I am in a mansion atop a high mountain: and each morning I swing open a window or door and gaze blissfully across yonder valley until the landscape seem to slide out of view behind the hill. I am being led to take a closer look at truths that I have preached and taught for many years, and I am now learning the abundance of truths that I missed, because I did not know that they existed.
The question of life for us today, is not based upon human efforts to try and live holy, and to please the local clergy under whose ministry you sit. I am now taking a second look at losing my life so I can find it. What Paul shared for edification seems to be an oxymoron (or paradox.) First he said that he is crucified with Christ: (meaning that he died when Christ died) he said he is dead, but immediately said that it was not Paul who lives, but Christ who lived in his stead.
This was not a private interpretation and a secret doctrine designed to serve Paul’s conscience or beliefs that he acquired in Arabia. He informed certain saints by saying: “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. But to add more substance and the divine perspective he went: When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3: 1-4. The clincher in this part of Paul’s lesson is found in the first and second verses. “If ye then be risen with Christ (after you were baptized into HIM by the Holy Ghost) seek those thing which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. In the light of this immense truth that carries practical changes; Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Stop a moment and let that soak in! Can you envision the kind of people and the kind of lifestyle the apostle talked about? This description fits a people, who, while waking like ordinary men and women, are actually living on a higher spiritual plateau: high up above where only the eagles dare to fly. Let’s face it! We are constantly being held back; being robbed of the good that the Spirit quickens in our hearts by our mortal flesh.
That is the reason why Paul indicated that we, along with the whole creation, is waiting for the redemption of our body: and toward that end, we were given the Holy Spirit of promise, called the earnest of our inheritance. Also toward that end we are told that “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28.
I like the Phillips Translation: “To those who look for him, he will appear a second time, not this time to deal with sin (he took care of all sins past, present and future at Calvary) but to bring to full salvation (the redemption of our body) those who eagerly await him.”
For the time being, let us peek behind the curtain and catch a glimpse of what happened to our loved ones who are called home before us. Numerous questions have been asked about these loved ones, and for the most part, the answers we either give or receive are mere speculation. The scriptures have given us quite a wide array of the reality that makes up the unseen realm. Let us remind ourselves that we look at things that are not seen, for the things that are not seen are eternal: but the things that are seen are temporal. 2nd Corinthians 4: 18.
We are told that God will not leave himself without a witness: and a witness is one who gives a personal vivid account of what he or she knows about a case. One witness cannot offer a testimony to the court that was passed on by word of mouth from another witness. John gives us a candid version of what being a witness entails. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” 1st John 1: 1-3. Notice that John isn’t admonishing us to read the Psalms, Moses, and the prophets. He is hiving us an account the he knew by his personal encounter with the Word of Life. He said these are the things that they heard and saw and handled. So let us focus emphatically upon those who are called witnesses in scripture.
We’ll begin here! “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight—etc. Let us read from the Phillips translation from Hebrews 39, 40. Look closely at this version. “All these won a glorious testimony to their faith, but they did not then and there receive the fulfillment of the promise. God had something better planned for our day, and it was not his plan that they should reach perfection without us. That is why Paul wrote saying that the ministerial gifts were given for the work of the ministry and for the perfecting of the saint, till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Eph. 4: 13. So those who have gone on before us will not be made perfect without us, because he has provided some better thing for us. We continue with Phillips: Surrounded then as we are by these serried (crowded in close order) ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us. This great cloud of witnesses does not allude to reading from ancient manuscripts.
These witnesses are actually giving their testimony from a live arena. Hosts of people from all walks and persuasions of life believe that a deceased person does into a long sleep and will only be awaken when the trumpet sounds. But in the meantime, and based upon the reality supported by scripture the truth has been missed in general terms across Christendom. The N.E.B. says: “No, you stand before Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (the same city that John saw coming down to earth) before myriads of angels, the full concourse and assembly of the first born citizens of heaven, and God the Judge of all, and the spirits of just men being made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new testament.” Heb. 12: 22. This is to give us understanding of the realities that exist beyond the veil of human comprehension.
In the meantime, what are our beloved ones doing since they were called home? Daniel said that while he was yet speaking in prayer “the man Gabriel” was made to fly swiftly who touched the prophet at the time of the evening oblation. Daniel 9: 21. From about B.C. 538, we fast-forward to months before the birth of Christ, and notice that is same Gabriel was still carrying out God’s messages.
“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth.” Luke 1:26. So in Daniel, this person was called, the Man Gabriel, while in Luke he is called the Angel Gabriel. After being given the entire book of Revelation John had a pleasant surprise. “And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the “angel” which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy followservant, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” Revelation 22: 8, 9.
We must conclude that Gabriel was a departed saint and so was the angel in Revelation. But this person revealed to John that he was a fellow servant and a brother of the prophets. This gives us reason to believe that our departed loved ones are doing God’s bidding, minister to, or with< us as we labor in the visible being cheered on and even upheld by those loved ones of which we speak. Indeed, blessed are the dead which die in Christ.
Indeed, we are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses.
Many are selling burial plots and final expense insurance. Some say: “In the midst of life, we are in death” and others say: “Two things are sure in life—death and taxes.” So even those who claim the New Birth, for the most part, are being overwhelmed with death products and death messages (even sermons.) Others who cannot break out of a “death mentality” will calmly turn to Revelation 14: 13, highlighted above.
They will point out that those who died in Christ are actually being comforted, and complimented in that they have ceased from their labors and are at rest. Every so often someone appears on television, or publish a book, telling of “near death” experience, or being taken to hell and into heaven in visions. However, if we confine our study to physical death, in short order we will miss the Divine dynamics woven into God’s word and the activities in the realm of spirit.
Allow me to say that life or death (as we know them to be) differs in no way before God. Heights and depths, darkness and light, summer and winter, are all alike to him. Sometimes we get confused and even enter into heated debates when we insist on separating and holding apart these elements. It brings to mind when Jesus said that Lazarus sleeps, but he will go and wake him.
The disciples replied that if he is asleep, he must be doing well. They could not see beyond the literal realm in which they lived: it was as if Jesus spoke of another dimension (and indeed he did.) The question that comes to mind when considering John’s statement is: “What time factor can be applied to John’s statement?” Let us assume that he referred to all the saints who died in Christ in the literal sense.
Before we look at this more closely, let us back track in time to the writings of the apostle Paul: and let us see how he defined death. In Romans 6, Paul explained how we are baptized into the likeness of his death, and equally, are raised in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection, thus, ridding ourselves of the “old man.” To what extent, and how personal and literal can we interpret and appropriate this truth?
The apostle determined that if the old man is banished and gone forever because we were crucified with Christ, the body of sin is also destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. But how literal did Paul meant this truth to be? Were all these exercises a case of religious rituals and empty ceremonies that could not in a million years produce life? Look on how conclusive and real Paul applied this truth!
“For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” Romans 6: 6, 7. Paul did not set this before us as a process that we need to learn and acquire in stages. Either you are dead in Christ, or you are not. But if you are dead, he that is dead is free from sin. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6: 14.
How to get these truths to work in our mortal being is not really a bridge too far; but it goes beyond simply reading the biblical narrative. There has to be a way to appropriate this truth unto ourselves! Yes, there is! The apostle gives us a key to open the door before us that leads to life beyond our wildest dreams. He said: “For in that he died (Jesus Christ) he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
HERE IS YOUR KEY! Likewise (even so—in like manner) reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” To reckon yourself dead means that you must count yourself as dying when Christ died: but not only as a tourists and an observer looking on the hill where the crosses stood.
Paul did not reckon himself to be a bystander, and an observer of the deadly events when our Lord died. Not one bit! He declared that he was crucified with Christ, and because of that truth, Paul existed no more. It is not I that lives, but it is Christ who now lives in my stead. (In my mortal flesh) Gal. 2:20. The prevailing thought brings John’s account in the Revelation to an open discussion. We quickly notice that “the dead in Christ” can be understood in two ways. The first way of understanding the subject is what we have been learning from Paul’s letters.
Here he writes again! “For ye are dead, (this needs no artificial dressing) and your life is hid with Christ in God. As if to re-enforce the concept of us being dead, the apostle added: “When Christ, who IS OUR LIFE, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3: 3, 4. But the desired effects lie solely in our hands! Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin! YOU GOT TO DO IT!
We must decide, as I often hear Christians say when caught in a bind: “I am only human” or we take a stand on the truth that we are dead, crucified with him, and that the only life that we now possess is the life that Christ alone can give. I can still hear Jesus say: “Ye are passed from death unto life and shall not come into condemnation: and because I live ye shall live also.”
Although hard for many to receive and embrace, the truth is life never ends and it cannot coexist with death. When we lay the last bunch of flowers on the grave and turn around, making our way back to our cars: let me shout it from the house top that “IT IS NOT OVER!”
Do we need any better news that than this? Therefore it is plain in scripture that there is hope and a guaranteed life in Christ Jesus both for those now living in him: and for those who cross over in the meantime. I don’t know if this mindset still exists among those who are teaching Sonship and the Kingdom. But I know for a fact that some among these lovely people, many of whom I know personally (and have shared the ministry with) held the belief that those who die have missed the mark and failed to become an overcomer.
One brother ministering in South Florida said: “It’s more than going from one dimension to another” It’s more than slipping behind the veil: it means that you have failed.” I cannot point anyone out and announce that you shall not die. But if you tell me that you shall not die, I am in your corner! I am your friend! Enoch was translated “by faith” that he should not see death. Shout it from the housetop if you wish, but remember that it is your personal conviction based upon your affinity with the life that God supplies each and every day.
It must be more than an emotional speech based upon feelings that abide but for a moment. What does the bible say about those who died, and those who some might deem to have missed it? What is God’s opinion of those who passed on before us: those he actually called home? There is an account in Hebrews that we often miss or fail to talk about. We are told in Hebrews 11: 35: “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.”
Did these women discover a truth in God that others contending for the faith did not know about? A better resurrection seems to suggest a dimension and perhaps a process that supersedes that with which we are familiar. It is clear that they could have been delivered, but they refused the offer: and that highlights the fact that they saw something larger, that produces more substantial rewards. Paul noted: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Phil. 3: 11.
But if the dead will be raised anyhow, why would Paul not want to simply remain in the grave until the trumpet sound? Actually, he wanted to be taken out from among the dead without dying. He wrote in another place: “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed (by putting off this body through death) but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” 2nd Corinthians 5:1-4.
At one time, the apostle was so sure that he would be included in coming events that he wrote: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” 1st Corinthians 15: 51. Notice how Paul included himself among those who would be changed. With that same frame of mind he wrote again: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then WE which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall WE ever be with the Lord.” 1st Thessalonians 4: 16, 17. Paul died somewhere about 97 A.D. and here we are, still awaiting the trumpet to sound, and be a part of all the events that Paul wrote about, counting himself to be counted as the song says:
“When the saints go marching in: O Lord I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in.” Of course, we, and history now know that Paul missed it by a long shot. The message and even the vision were right: but the timing was way off. Our thoughts go back to ancient times and the people featured in the “Gallery of Faith” in Hebrews.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” But was God forced to hang his head in dismay, or looked away from these people who died without inheriting the promises? The biblical narrative will soon eradicate such notions. We read: “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Have you ever pictured in your mind’s eye that grand finale that God has designed for the culmination of the ages?
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (or complete) Hebrews 11: 39, 40. In the meantime where can we place our loved ones which were called home before us? Again we turn to Paul whose understanding of the deeper things of God continued to morph into more profound letters to the churches.
He wrote: “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (The earnest money—the down payment—the first fruits of the Spirit.) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (Because) We walk by faith and not by sight.” 2nd Cor. 5: 5-8. For masses of Christians, to be with the Lord means a geographical location called heaven. But to some who worshiped “an unknown God” Paul made it plain that he is not far away, because IN HIM we live and move and have our being: and not that, but certain poets wrote: “Ye are the off spring of God.” Paul reasoned to the people that this truth makes it unnecessary for them to seek for him in faraway places—just reach out and find him for he is not far away from any of us. But that truth is made even more candid in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.
He wrote: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2nd Cor.6: 16. Jesus said that he and his Father would come and make their abode with us (John 14: 23.) After putting aside traditions of the elders, how can we read these truths about where God is, and still put every departed soul up in heaven beyond the stars simply to be with Jesus.
In one of his Sunday morning sermons, my former Presiding Bishop of the United Churches of Jesus Christ in the City of Baltimore said: The church is endeavoring to go to heaven, and God is endeavoring to bring heaven down to the church.” John saw the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, coming down from God out of heaven—and God himself shall dwell with them (all of us) and shall be their God. Revelation 21: 2, 3.
The law of oneness was initiated by God himself in the creation story. It took a step forward in the marriage between the man and the woman, and Adam declared that he and his wife (two separate individuals) shall be one flesh. Genesis 2: 23, 24. The foundation stone and building block needed to make all things one can be found here. “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he call them.” Genesis 2: 19. So the term “mother earth” is just about correct.
We see oneness in Christ’s relationship with the church, which is his body, and Paul made it clear that we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. Eph. 5: 30. The bible begins with oneness and ends with the same theme. Paul writes the closing chapter in life as we know it! “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times (when his purpose in earth and among his people is accomplished) he might bring together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” Ephesians 1: 9, 10. All things will be brought together IN ONE as God intended it to be from before time began. Like a train going through tunnels we see light and we see darkness: but from our seats, in the light of scripture, ONE HEAVENLY light will shine.
Royce O. Kennedy
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