A PREPARED PEOPLE WITH A HOLY PURPOSE
Part Two February 1999
The Lord has been calling forth a people, who are His elect remnant in the earth. They are the called and chosen saints of God who have been found faithful by their Father. Their only concern and purpose in this world is to do the perfect will of their Father without reservation. They care not for worldly things, such as the appetites of the flesh and the things of this world, including its corrupt systems of man. The eye of the Spirit within them is a single eye focused on heavenly, spiritual realities. All else is meaningless to them. They are sons of God now, but are becoming manifest sons of God by the workings of the Spirit within them. When they are manifested, they shall release the whole creation from its long and painful bondage to sin, death, and corruption. They know that to be transformed into the full image and likeness of Christ they must ascend to the Holiest of all in the heavenly sanctuary to hear His still, small Voice and see Him as He is.
Judging from the letters we receive from a few others, there may be some misconceptions regarding the manifestation of the sons of God. Some seem to think that the manifestation of the sons of God, or their unveiling, has to do with performing miracles, such as healing the sick, commanding demons to flee, or imparting life to the dead. They seem to think they will release all the sick and diseased in all the hospitals and nursing homes when their sonship is manifest. Others may have grandiose illusions of themselves as manifest sons of God now, who are to lead the spiritually blind multitudes out of the church system and into the greater Light and Truth of Christ. Yet, others may have fantasies of themselves leading multitudes and nations to the Lord. None of these are true! All these are false doctrines, fantasies, and illusions conceived by the carnal mind of man.
It is certainly true that the manifestation of the sons of God may cause these and many more wondrous miracles to take place. But the real proof or evidence of the manifestation of the sons of God will be the transformation of the bodies of those who are called and chosen of their Father to become fully matured and perfected sons of God. Some may perform such miracles AFTER their manifestation, while other manifest sons may not be called upon to do anything else. Their manifestation is all that is needed to release the creation from its long and painful bondage to sin and death. But ALL who become manifest sons of God shall be transformed bodily into the full image and likeness of Christ, when they see Him AS HE IS NOW.
The scriptures make it abundantly clear that the placing and the acknowledging of full sonship by our Father will take place when this elect company partake of the resurrection Life of Christ. This and this alone is the final proof, the indisputable evidence, showing that the saints have attained full sonship in Christ. And our Father has been revealing truths, by the Spirit, that are purposed of Him to bring this remnant company of the sons of God to full maturity in Christ, and to their final manifestation. The truths that Father is revealing now to His sons are truths for them and for them only. These sonship truths are purposed of our Father to bring us to our adoption, to our bodily transformation, or to our full sonship in Him.
The eighth chapter of Romans contains a beautiful and reverent description of what sonship is all about. If we will read it with the understanding of the Spirit and the wisdom of the mind of Christ, we will soon forget all the carnal imaginations conceived in the minds of men, and will embrace instead the wonderful truths of God regarding sonship. Paul begins by telling us: "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed IN US." Then he tells us, "the earnest expectation of the creature (or, of the whole creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." The word "manifestation" actually means a display or demon-stration. The original Greek word translated "manifestation" is "apokalupsis," and means disclosure, to take off the cover, to reveal.
Therefore, we are waiting for God to remove the cover or the veil that has kept us in our "booths," or cocoons. It is the veil of His presence that has kept us hidden in Christ, where our Father has been doing a secret, hidden work within us to prepare us for our full sonship. We are looking forward with patience to that blessed hour when God will have completed the work He began within us. Those who are called, chosen and appointed to become fully matured and manifest sons of God are reverently remaining in their spiritual booths. The "booth" that surrounds and covers them is the wonderful and intimate presence of the Lord. They will not prematurely remove themselves from their booths until the time appointed of the Father.
True sons are waiting until their Father removes the veil that covers and hides them. And when He removes the veil that covers them, they shall be revealed to the world as His manifest sons. Then they shall stand complete and in His likeness! When we see ourselves in Christ, sheltered in that secret place of His abiding presence, we will also understand the blessed truth that we are hidden in Him, protected from all outside forces, and from the carnal manipulations of man that would destroy the work of God within us and mar this valuable spiritual vessel of His handiwork, which we are.
This walk unto full sonship is not an easy path. Paul knew, by his own experiences and the anointing of God upon him, that all who shall reach full sonship to become manifest sons of God shall endure the sufferings of Christ (see Ro. 8:18, 2 Co. 1:5, 1 Pe. 1:11, 5:1). But all our sufferings combined are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. And what is that glory? It is the manifestation or transformation of the sons of God! Whenever fierce trials and tests come our way, we should pay attention to Paul's message, being assured of the Spirit that none of these trials are worth comparing with the magnificent glory that shall soon be revealed in us.
Paul's excellent description of the manifestation of the sons of God in Romans chapter eight continues with this anointed word: "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly (or not by anyone's own will, including Adam and Eve's wilful disobedience), but by reason of him (God) who hath subjected the same (creation) in hope, because the creature itself (or, the whole creation) also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Let us be assured of this one, great truth. The creation was not made subject to the bondage of corruption by the wilful disobedience of Adam and Eve. How often many misinformed preachers have put all the blame on Adam and Eve, when God Himself took that responsibility! According to the anointed message of Paul, it was God Who subjected the whole creation to vanity, yet giving the creation the glorious hope of deliverance for all.
Other translations declare the truth of the above verse in clear and unmistakable terms. For example, Weymouth's New Testament gives that verse (Ro. 8:20) as, "For the Creation fell into subjection to failure and unreality (not of its own choice, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it)." God is the first Cause of all things! He is the Alpha, or the beginning of all things, including creation's subjection to corruption. And He also is the Omega, or the end of all things, including creation's ultimate restoration. Truths such as these confirm another scriptural, spiritual truth, which is that God is in all things, or that "all things are of God" (2 Co. 5:18).
Because God is in all things, including some negative aspects of creation's beginnings, we know He is in the entire picture, from the beginning to the end. Take God out of one aspect of creation's story and you take Him out of it all. Take God out of the beginning of all things and you take Him out of the end of all things. Understand fully that God is in all things, including creation's beginning in corruption, and we will also see that He is the Author of creation's end, which is that all things shall be reconciled and restored to Him in greater glory. Knowing that the whole creation "shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" keeps us faithfully walking this rugged and difficult pathway to sonship fulfilled, or to sonship manifest.
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit (or, which is), the redemption of our body." The whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together, waiting for our adoption. And we also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, are groaning within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, which is the full redemption or salvation of our bodies. Adoption means the placing as a son with respect to God, our Father. Adoption takes place when our heavenly Father declares that we are His sons, fully matured and transformed into the full image and likeness of Christ. Jesus received His adoption, or He was acknowledged and placed as a Son of God, when He was baptized in water and of the Spirit (Mt. 3:17). Then, the Voice of the Father said of Him, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
When Jesus came out of the water after John baptized Him, the Spirit descended and lighted upon Him in the form of a dove. That dove-like symbol may have indicated Jesus' purity and His qualification to reign in peace. We have been baptized with the holy Spirit and with fire, Mt. 3:11. This indicates our need for more of the cleansing work of the fire of the Lord's presence in our lives. Jesus needed not that cleansing fire of the Spirit, for He already was "the Holy One of God," Mk. 1:24. Therefore, the Spirit came upon Jesus in the form of a dove. But the holy Spirit came upon us with the symbolic form of tongues like as of fire (Acts 2:3), thus showing our need to be purged by the mighty fires of God's presence, that we might be made pure and righteous in His sight.
Later, when Jesus was transfigured before His disciples on the mount of transfiguration, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Then, a voice spoke out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Mt. 17:5). The first time (in Mt. 3:17), Jesus was acknowledged as a Son by His Father without any further statements or instructions. He had not yet been tested and tried in the wilderness by the devil. But the second time the Father acknowledged Jesus as His Son, His Father added the all-important instructions regarding Jesus, "hear ye him." Jesus had endured the wilderness of testings where He was tempted of the devil, and He came forth victorious. He also displayed and manifested His sonship on the mount of transfiguration, when He appeared in His Father's glory with Moses and Elijah before three of His disciples.
In the account given in Mt. 3:17, we see a more personal acknow-ledgment of the sonship of Jesus before His Father. But in Mt. 17:5 we see the real, true, public manifestation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, which is our example. Peter referred to the Father's declaration of the sonship of Jesus on that mount, saying, "He was invested with honor and glory from God the Father and a voice was borne to Him by the (splendid) Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased and delight" (2 Pe. 1:17, Amplified).
When Jesus appeared in glory, with His new body of resurrection life, on the mount of transfiguration, He was by that setting the example for us. When we are transformed or transfigured as Jesus was on that mount, we shall then be fully matured and manifest sons of God. There is no other manifestation than this that will prove our sonship to our Father or the creation! Not until we are transformed as Jesus was on that mount shall we truly be manifest sons of God. When we are totally changed in all three areas of our beings, spirit, mind, and body, we shall then be invested with honor and glory from our Father as fully manifest sons of God, declared so by our Father, according to the example given us in the life of Jesus.
The Phillips Translation gives what we think is the best interpretation of Romans 8:22-23. "It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realized our full sonship in him. We were saved by this hope, but in our moments of impatience let us remember that hope always means waiting for something that we do not yet possess. But if we hope for something we cannot see, then we must settle down to wait for it in patience." This explains quite well the truth that the redemption of our bodies will mean that we have realized our full sonship in Christ. Without the transformation of our bodies, our full sonship is not at all realized.
As sons of God now, we belong to the Day of Christ that is brightly illuminated with the transforming light and glory of Christ, which also includes the hope of our full salvation. Then Paul wrote, "For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath - He did not select us to condemn us - but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Who died for us so that whether we are still alive or are dead [at Christ's appearing] we might live together with Him AND SHARE HIS LIFE." (1 Thess. 5:8-10, Amplified, see also 2 Tim. 2:10, He. 5:9, 9:28, & 1 Pe. 1:5). The manifestation of the sons of God will be their full salvation. And full salvation for us means we shall live with Christ and share His Life in the full glory of His Father's kingdom. If the Spirit of the Son is within us, we shall continue to walk the high road with our Father, striving to attain that full salvation, which will mean that at last we have realized our full sonship in Christ. As we walk before Him, we will keep that single eye of the Spirit within us focused on the goal before us.
And since we have that single eye of the Spirit, we shall not look to the left hand or to the right, nor shall we be moved from this wonderful hope we have in Christ by the immature voices of carnal individuals. The goal before us is our full salvation; nothing less than this will do! Our goal now is to become manifest sons of God, who shall release the whole creation from its bondage to sin and death. And that goal before us is protected by a symbolic and spiritual narrow gate or doorway that must be entered by striving to get through it. Jesus said of this narrow gate, "Strive to enter by the narrow door - force yourselves through it - for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able" (Lu. 13:24, Amplified). The original Greek words show that this gate or doorway is not only narrow, but that it has many obstacles in front of that door or gate that may prevent some who are weaker in the faith from entering.
To "strive," from the original Greek word, means to struggle; it also suggests that we are competing for a prize, contending with an adversary, and are endeavoring to accomplish something. Struggling for something also implies fighting, laboring, toiling and working for that which we see in the Spirit. To enter the narrow gate that leads to the fullness of His Life, we must spiritually fight, toil, and force our way through the many obstacles that would prevent us from entering, including the wiles of the devil, all unbelief, and the negative doctrines of man's Babylonish religion. Yet all our struggling and toiling will be done in the Spirit, with His faith, and by the strength of the mighty arm of the Lord. As we strive to enter that narrow gate, we shall prevail in the Name of the Lord with His help, receiving the end of our faith, which is the full salvation of our souls, or our minds, and of our bodies. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Sonship is more than a Message - It is a WALK of Faith
Abraham is an example or pattern for us who seek to WALK before the Lord, and who earnestly desire to do more than merely talk about the message. When the Lord renewed His covenant with Abraham, we read, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Ge. 17:1). In the fourth chapter of Romans, Paul wrote to the believers of Abraham's example of justification by faith. He referred to Abraham as the spiritual "father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also WALK in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised" (Ro. 4:12). God has a people in this day who also are walking before Him as Abraham did. They are daily WALKING BEFORE THE LORD, as Abraham did, and are also becoming perfect because of their Godly, righteous WALK.
The Lord revealed Himself to Abraham as "the Almighty God," or as the El Shaddai, as God the Giver and the All-bountiful One. This title refers to God's power to supply all the needs of His people. God, the Almighty, the El Shaddai, used this title of Himself to show Abraham that He Who called him out to walk alone before Him was also able to supply all his needs. The Lord also called us out from the bondages of man and the church system that we should WALK BEFORE HIM alone, at times without fellowship, yet with the assurance that our Father would supply all that we needed to make this journey to His fullness. He also is our El Shaddai, the One who is our constant Source of supply. And He is all we need! If we try to find our source in man or in other things, we will soon learn the difference between our El Shaddai and those many other carnal, inferior sources.
And since the Lord called us out of the church system, it is not His will that we should ever return. There are many voices in the land today, and some of those voices are giving forth a wrong word for the true elect. Yet, the same word that is "wrong" for the elect may be "right" for others. One friend wrote in response to our November booklet, saying,"This month's (Nov.) anointed word just blessed me so much and confirmed so many things the Lord has been doing in me during these last few years, in the confinement of a rather dark cocoon. Others are saying, `Time to come out. Time to go back to the `church' and share with them.' But my spirit says, `Nay' to that false word, as tempting as it may be at times. My Father clearly directed: `Stand still and let Me finish this work in you.'" (End of quotation.) This is the voice of one of the Lord's chosen ones who is destined of Him to go all the way with God. This is the heart-cry of one who is walking before their El Shaddai daily, as Abraham did. And this one, as well as all others who are WALKING BEFORE their El Shaddai, shall receive the reward of Abraham's faith. We are too close to the finish line now to listen to a false word from man, or to go back to Babylon!
Many years ago, the Lord settled it for us whether we should ever return to the church system to try to help them. Jeremiah, the anointed prophet of the Lord, prophesied concerning Babylon. The message of the prophet refers to mystical Babylon today just as much as it referred to that literal city in history. When we sought the Lord, asking if we should return to religious Babylon and if it was His purpose to heal that man-oriented system, the Lord spoke clearly, saying to us, "We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare IN ZION the work of the Lord our God" (Jer. 51:9-10).
The word of the Lord for the true elect of today is: do not go back to religious Babylon, but stay in Zion. Babylon will not be healed, but shall be destroyed. And all those who go back to her will face the same judgment unto correction. They shall endure more of the purging fires of the Lord's fiery presence! But those who remain in Zion will both declare and do the work of the Lord. They share with all the elect the reward of Abraham's faith, because of their righteous WALK before their Father unto perfection. When our Father chooses to restore His people in religious Babylon, He will first call them out to hear and receive His truth in Zion, as He did with us!
The elect of the Lord are the "ekklesia," the true Church, or the Temple of Jesus Christ, which is the body of Christ. This Temple, which we are, has no fellowship with unbelievers nor with the unrighteous. We are becoming the light, and have no communion with darkness, just as Christ has no concord with Belial, or he that believeth has no part with an infidel, nor has this Temple any agreement with idols. We are the Temple of the living God! And our God has said of us, "I will dwell IN them, and WALK IN them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (see 2 Cor. 6:14-18).
Christ dwells within us, and He also WALKS in us, so that it is not we ourselves who are doing the walking. It is the Lord Who is dwelling within us and Who also is WALKING IN US, resulting in a pure and righteous WALK before Him. And because God is walking in us, we cannot possibly walk in the religious systems of man, regardless of the purpose advanced by the carnal minded. As we refuse to go back to the harlot systems of man, or to touch the unclean thing, then our God will receive us unto Himself, and will be a Father to us, thus confirming that we are His sons, declared so by the Lord Himself. Blessed be His holy Name!
At times, the Lord may send false prophets among us with a false message for us to test and prove us. The Lord said to Israel of old, "If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall WALK after the Lord your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him" (Deut. 13:1-4, see also Ex. 16:4).
Many enemies and obstacles will stand in our way to attempt to defeat the Lord's elect, or to try to prevent us from WALKING in the true way of the Lord. If we will remember that these obstacles and hindrances are in the doorway to His fullness, we will then realize that those obstacles show us that we have only a short way yet to go. All we need to do at this point is to overcome those many obstacles before us and enter the gate or door to His fullness. The rest is up to the Lord! We may be assured that the Lord has His chosen remnant who are WALKING before Him! They are obeying His every word as He reveals it to them. As we walk before Him, pressing our way to perfection, we are protected from the many contrary, outside influences and obstacles that would turn us from the true Way.
The elect of the Lord of this hour are WALKING in the steps of the faith of Abraham. As Abraham was called of God to WALK before Him and be perfect, even so have we been called to do likewise. As we do our Father's will, it is then God Who is walking in us to bring us to perfection. We cannot achieve perfection of ourselves; God must WALK, not only with us but also IN us, to bring His word to pass. To "walk," from the original Hebrew word as used in Ge. 17:1, means to walk, literally and figuratively. When we WALK before the Lord, we are living our daily lives as if He were right here with us, observing our every move and response, and hearing every word we speak. And that is just the way it is! God sees our every move, hears our every word, and knows every thought we have ever had or will yet have because He is walking in us. We are indeed WALKING BEFORE OUR GOD! As we continue to WALK before Him in obedience to His every word, ignoring the many false messages that would turn us from the true way of the Lord, we shall become perfect even as He is perfect!
We are blessed whenever we find articles written by others that describe the spiritual pathway to our manifestation as fully matured and transformed sons of God. One such message was written by the late Bill Britton, and recently quoted in "New Beginnings." This message by Bill Britton, titled, "The Bones of Joseph," was written several years ago. We quote this article for your spiritual edification.
"The Bones of Joseph"
Twelve men, Israelites from each tribe, took their turns in carrying this strange Egyptian coffin through the blazing sun of a long wilderness journey. And now, finally, with the floodwaters of Jordan piled up in a heap to their right, they hastened across the dry river bed into a wonderful land, long ago promised to their forefathers. And as they stepped out of the river into Canaan, they still carried that coffin containing the bones of a man of God, a prophet and ruler in Egypt, who at his death hundreds of years before prophesied of this very event.
Forty years previous to the crossing of Jordan, Israel had passed through the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses, and had been delivered from the tyranny and bondage of Pharaoh. And now, with Joshua as their leader, they were entering into that which had long been promised by God. There was still much conflict ahead of them, and yet there was a jubilation, a note of victory among them. They were home at last. Their feet were finally in the promises of God. Their hearts had been there for many years, but now they were actually walking in the fulfillment of the words of the prophets. There were many cities to be taken, many enemies to put under their feet. But they had a feeling of being "home." But why, for forty years, had they continued to go through the hardship of carrying this coffin with a dead man's bones? With the wilderness they had been in, it had been no easy task. Why didn't they leave Joseph in Egypt in his royal tomb, or at least bury him somewhere in the wilderness? Herein lies a mystery that has a definite relationship to the glorious message of sonship and endtime events. When you catch the same vision for this end of the age, that this prophet of God had for his day, then your heart will thrill with the glory of what God is about to do!
God has always revealed His secrets unto His servants, the prophets. And Joseph was a prophet, a Seer, one who could see future events by the eye of the Spirit. And he saw an event coming that overshadowed all the glory of his rich and fruitful life of testings, faithfulness, and victories. He longed to be a part of that which was yet to come, and because he saw it coming and hungered for it, he made provision for himself to be in it.
Hebrews chapter eleven is commonly known as the "faith" chapter. It tells of the Old Testament heroes of faith, and generally gives the outstanding thing about their lives. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain"; "By faith Enoch was translated"; "By faith Noah....built an ark"; and in a few words a short synopsis of those men's lives is given. But in verse 22, when it speaks of Joseph, it does not speak of his coat of many colors, nor of his purity and victory in the case of Potiphar's wife, nor of the prison testing, nor does it even mention that he sat on Egypt's throne and saved the nation from starvation. But his faith dealt with something far greater than those things. "By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel: and gave commandment concerning his bones." What a strange thing to record about a man in this great faith chapter. There must be a tremendous truth here that we have not seen before!
The entire 23rd chapter of Genesis is taken up with but one subject, the transaction of Abraham buying a cave from the children of Heth for a burial grounds for his wife and family. This is an important and sacred place to Abraham. Perhaps you can believe that all this has no meaning, that God put this chapter in the Bible just to fill up space and make more work for printers and readers, but I am convinced that "every word of God is pure" and that everything put in this Bible is important.
Sarah was dead. And Abraham was now about to establish his burial place, for himself as well as future generations. He refused to accept it as a gift, for he wanted it signed and sealed so that future generations could not deny that this place belonged to him and his heirs. Abraham, the Bible says, was a prophet. And seeing a glorious event coming, he wanted to be ready for it. He was willing to pay a price for it. Others could not see why Abraham was so willing to pay such a price. But then the children of Heth had not heard from God as Abraham had. And so today many cannot get excited about what God is speaking concerning sonship and glory because they have not heard from God nor caught the vision of these truths. But Abraham wanted this cave which was located in what would some day be the land belonging to the tribe of Judah, just a few miles south of Jerusalem, the holy city.
According to Genesis 49:29-31, Abraham's cave at Machpelah was where not only Abraham and Sarah were buried, but also Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah. This matter seemed to be very important to these saints. And now, way down in the land of Egypt we find Joseph giving instructions for his bones to be taken out with the children of Israel when God brought them out of Egypt. "God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence." (Genesis 50:24)
Rage all you want, Pharaoh. Determine that you will destroy this people, it will do you no good. There's a coffin full of bones here in Egypt that says you will fail. For hundreds of years, while the children of Israel wept in their tribulations and chafed under their bondage, there has been a prophet's bones patiently waiting for the day when they will leave here for the promised land.
At the edge of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh's army waiting till morning to begin the slaughter, the people complained to Moses that they would perish. But they carried a coffin that said they were fearful liars. If necessary, the waters will part to let them escape, for the word of God had gone forth through the lips of His prophet, and these bones must reach their final resting place. For forty years the mixed multitude bitterly complained that they would never reach the promised land. And because of their unbelief, the complainers were right. Their bones bleached in the desert. But someone must go in - the Word of God had gone forth, and this coffin full of bones that they carried every step of the journey continued to testify to the faith of Joseph that it should be so.
"And Moses took the bones of Joseph with Him." (Exodus 13:19) He was taking no chances. The Word of God had been spoken, and an oath had been taken. Moses knew that the impossible task before him could only be met through the Word of God. His strength and abilities were as nothing in the face of the problem, but this coffin of bones was his insurance. Joseph, the prophet of God, had spoken the word. And Moses stood on the word of God. "Look not about thee, my little ones, at the circumstances that would overwhelm thee, nor at the enemy that would destroy thee, for have I not said, and will I not fulfill my purposes in thee? Let it not be a small thing unto thee that I have spoken unto thee. But rest thou in my word, and let thy foundation be upon the Rock. For my word shall hold thee up, and the enemy shall not prevail though he rages against thee." Glory to God's great Name!
Let the rebels take up their bones, the bones of Joseph say that they will not find their mark. Let the complainers spew out their doctrine of defeat. While they talk of death and discouragement, there is a coffin in the midst that speaks of life and victory in a land that flows with milk and honey. Let them talk of going back to Egypt, the voice of the prophet that still dwells among them says they must go on. Ever onward and upward to new heights in glory, and revelation. Stop in the wilderness if you must, and camp under your palm trees. Call it Canaan if you will, but hear the word of God out of the bones. There is a land of promise with spiritual riches beyond our imagination, for those who will dare to go on with God!
It is true that these bones in the camp of Israel on the wilderness journey were a sign and a prophetic witness that God would bring them into the land of promise. But Joseph had much more in mind when he prophesied concerning his bones. Why did he want his bones in Canaan instead of Egypt? Egypt had been good to him, he was a ruler and could have a royal tomb. His wife and sons were buried there. Why did he make sure that they would cart his bones all through that wilderness back to the land of his youth? Herein lies a mystery, the answer to which will thrill your heart with the prospect of what God is about to do in His sons.
What difference could it possibly make to Joseph where his dead body rested? He was a very spiritual man, and as long as he knew his spirit would be with his Lord, why was he so concerned about his flesh? It was far more than just a sentimental gesture. There was a deep spiritual significance. Joseph was a prophet, a Seer, one who sees future events. And he saw a glorious event taking place more than seventeen centuries after his death. He saw the glory that would come to those who would be able to participate in this great event, and he wanted to be a part of it. Hear me beloved, for this concerns you today. The Spirit of God showed this man a glory that was coming. But there was something he had to do. He made arrangements for his body to be buried just south of the city of Jerusalem, in a cave purchased for that very purpose. He made provisions to be in the place where he could participate in this great event and partake of the glory.
Just what was this wonderful event? It is found in Matthew 27:51-53. "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." What a world shaking, history-making thing was taking place! Jesus had been crucified, had paid the penalty for our sins, and the third day had risen from the tomb. Then, following His resurrection, graves of many of the saints were opened and they came into the city. Now notice carefully...not all the saints arose, but many. It does not say who they were, but I am confident that I know the names of some that were mentioned in Hebrews 11.
"They went into the city." So the graves were somewhere outside the city. It does not say where the graves were, but I know of one that was located in a cave somewhere south of Jerusalem which I am confident you would find empty if you went there today. They "appeared unto many." It does not say they were recognized, but they were seen. Not as spirits or ghosts, not as dried up piles of bones rattling down the streets of Jerusalem, but they were seen in their bodies, their new bodies, their resurrected, glorified bodies. And nowhere does it say, and it would be a violation of scripture and reason to even imagine that those saints returned to their old graves and died again or returned to dust. Leviticus 23:10-12 gives us, in type, a picture of the resurrection of Jesus. It was a single "Corn of wheat" that fell into the ground at the death and burial of Jesus (Jo. 12:24). But it was a "sheaf" or "handful," that was waved before the Lord as a type of resurrection. At this time in history, one man died for all mankind, but "many" of the saints arose with Him in resurrected bodies to witness of the power and promises of God.
I believe with all my heart that the prophet Joseph was among those who walked the streets of Jerusalem that day, as well as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Why else did the Spirit lead them to make their burial place certain, almost on the outskirts of that city where all this was taking place? So what is the result? Many bodies of saints, including all the New Testament church who have gone on to be with the Lord are still in the grave today, waiting for the resurrection. Then shall they be clothed upon with life, and then shall death be swallowed up in victory! This is our inheritance as saints, and we are happy about it.
But there are some who will not have to wait until the final trump for their corruptible to put on incorruption. So far they have been enjoying their glorified bodies for almost 2000 years. Why? Because they were saints, "set apart," and because they were men and women of faith. Look at Joseph. While he had the authority, he made them take an oath so binding upon Israel that in spite of the difficulties involved, they had to carry his bones through 40 years of wilderness wanderings until they could put him to rest in the Cave. By the eye of the Spirit he not only saw the departing of the children of Israel from Egypt, but he also saw a greater event and made sure that he would be near enough to be a part of it.
The important thing about this whole message is how it affects us today in this end of the age. I want you to see the glorious thing that God is about to do in the earth in our time. The saints who arose with Christ were the firstfruits of the resurrection. They are living proof that the harvest is actually going to follow. We do not have to fear that this glorious promise of life after death is only a myth or fable. Christ Himself with many of the saints actually arose and walked the streets of Jerusalem in their new bodies, and were seen by the people. This was the firstfruits, but the harvest was to wait for many centuries. Joseph did not have to wait, he could be in the firstfruits company, because of his vision, his desire, and his faith.
God has promised that the "latter house shall be greater than the former." His endtime body is going to arise in the power of the Spirit to a degree never before known on this earth except for Christ Himself. What a glory shall cover this earth as the waters cover the sea! Some poor people have been seduced into thinking that perhaps they will all blithely fly out into space and leave all their problems behind. But God has other plans for His body. The body of Christ is going to come to perfection right here on this earth, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but it will be through much tribulation.
Some are hearing the voice of God now. They are catching a vision of a "firstfruits company" that shall be willing to die to self and become a sign, an ensign to the rest of the body that this victory is not a myth or fable, but a living reality. This "Joseph company" is making provision for themselves to be in the place in Christ where they will be ready at His appearing. You can wait till the last ones come in if you want, but as for me, I have heard His voice and have caught the vision of great things for this hour. And by His marvelous grace I want to be among those who break through as pioneers in this realm of the Spirit. Someone is going in. What some are claiming thus far as the inheritance falls far short of the glorious promises of God. You can be satisfied with heaven and a mansion if you want, if that is the extent of your vision. But I tell you, there is something far greater for those who dare to believe.
How big is God? What a foolish question that would be. There is no way to measure His greatness. There is no limit to our Lord, nor to His plans for His elect. There is not space here to even tell a portion of His riches in Christ to the saints. This message is only to alert you to the glorious truth that there is a "firstfruits company" of people who shall very soon enter into that "inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4-5) How is this glorious inheritance going to be revealed? In living vessels. God was revealed in Christ. God was manifest in the flesh of Christ. No one had ever really seen what God was like until He unveiled Himself in Christ. His love, His compassion, His wisdom and power and authority were fully expressed by Jesus.
And now we see that the plan of God is for Christ to have a body of believers through which He can express Himself and reveal Himself to the world. The general run of the church people have not had the faith to believe for anything more than just getting into heaven by the skin of their teeth, and maybe getting "a cabin in the corner of gloryland." But in these days there is again arising a bunch of spiritual pioneers who have dared to believe that God is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." They have heard the promise of God that He is going to have a people who have been conformed to the image of the Son of God. They have believed that Christ is able to bring many sons unto glory, just as He promised in Hebrews 2:10. We are not worthy, but He is able. So we put all our hope in Him. In fact, the word is plain that our only hope of glory is Christ in us. Hallelujah!
Let the bones of Joseph speak to your heart. All through this wilderness journey we have the witness that a firstfruits company shall break forth in life and power. Believe it! Let it work in you! Be a part of what God is doing in our day. Let faith spring up within you for greater things than you have ever dared to believe for. "Unto Him be glory in the church (the ekklesia, or called out ones) by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Eph. 3:21,end of quotation.)
May the Lord bless this word to all who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and the faith and determination to WALK IT OUT!
Paul and Emily Mueller
P O BOX 25055, PORTLAND, OR 97298-0055