We all know we are being prepared of the Spirit for sonship fulfilled and to reign with Christ by the workings of the Spirit of God within us. But we are also being processed and brought to maturity by the events in the world around us. Present world events also are working for our good, preparing us to reign with Christ in the glory of His righteous kingdom. All that takes place in the world, whether we think it is good or bad, has a part to play in the formation and the bringing to maturity of the sons of God. While our President has been embroiled in personal problems, that entire scenario has been a test for us. Our qualification to rule and reign with Christ was thoroughly tested by those bizarre events that took place in our nation's capitol. This fact was made more real to us recently when we were with some friends fellowshipping and worshiping the Lord. One dear friend had an experience in the early morning hours in which the Spirit of God dealt with her about our President and our response to his problem.
As the story of our President's involvement continued to unravel, we were being tested and tried by the Spirit of God. Whether we loudly proclaimed our opinion of the President's affair, or merely came to an opinion of the matter within our minds, God was judging us and determining our fitness to reign with Him in His righteous kingdom by our attitude in this matter. The prophet declared of the throne of the kingdom of God, "IN MERCY shall the throne be established: and he (Christ, the King of kings, which includes His co-kings with Him) shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness" (Is. 16:5).
The throne of the Lord is being established IN MERCY here in the tabernacle of David, which we are. God has worked His mercy into the hearts of those who shall reign with Him. He is training us to judge and reign with His love and mercy, and with the ultimate hope of total and complete reconciliation and restoration for every offender, no matter how serious we think their sins are. While most Christians seem to think that some sins are worse than others, God considers all sin to be the same. Some Christians excuse their own carnal unbelief, but then strongly condemn sexual perverts, thieves and murderers. But God put them all in the same category. The fearful, the unbelieving, and all liars, are grouped together with the murderers, whoremongers, and all idolaters (see Rev. 21:8). They all share the same fate!
The original Hebrew word translated "mercy" in Isaiah's prophecy is "checed," meaning, kindness and reproof, but rarely by opposition. That word is rarely used in the sense that we would reprove someone by opposing them, or by making them an enemy. The Lord's mercy in no way allows us to make of someone an enemy, in spite of the vileness and magnitude of their sins. Sin and evil are our enemies, not sinners! The throne of the kingdom of God is being established here among us in mercy, and only the truly merciful shall reign with Him.
The word "judging," as used in Isaiah's prophecy, means to judge, to pronounce sentence, and to vindicate or punish. The judgment of a wrong-doer usually implies a sentence or penalty for the offender, and is purposed of God to bring a speedy end to that process of judgment unto correction. This truth is seen in the next phrases of that verse, which is "and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness." God's method of dealing with the person who sins is to bring forth His righteous judgments, which includes the penalty, in a quick and skillful manner. And God's righteous methods should also be our methods, if we are to reign with Him in His kingdom.
While "the Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression," He by no means clears the guilty (Nu. 14:18). There is a penalty to be paid for sin to correct the person and establish the righteousness of Christ within them. But that is up to the Lord! He alone shall determine their penalty unto correction! Our judgment or opinion of the sinner must be made IN MERCY, with a view to correcting the person and setting their feet on the path to the kingdom. Attitudes and principles are being formed within us now that will determine whether or not we shall reign with Christ, without going through more processing of the Spirit, which will make us more merciful and forgiving. A major principle of the kingdom of God is, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt. 5:7). If we have a merciful and forgiving attitude toward our President and others, we may be fit to reign with Christ. But if we would like to see him and others suffer more and pay for their sins, it is obvious we need more processing before we shall reign with Christ. The throne of the Lord is established here among us in mercy. The merciful shall obtain mercy of the Lord for their own faults, and shall be among those saints who are more fully fit and finished, and prepared to reign with Christ.
The wise man said, "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man" (Pro. 3:3-4). The very nature of God must also be our nature as we reign with Christ from the glorious throne of His omnipotent power. His character and nature must be bound about us and written on the tables of our hearts so that we shall always judge and reign with His righteousness. The same wise man also said, "he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good" (Pro. 14:21-22). The merciful shall devise good, not evil for the offender. Mercy begets mercy and forgiveness begets forgiveness! Mercy and forgiveness are expressions of the nature and character of God. If we are merciful and forgiving towards all mankind, regardless of the lives they have lived, we shall surely obtain mercy and forgiveness of the Lord. And we desperately need His mercy and forgiveness if we are to be fully saved and transformed into His glorious image and likeness.
When Solomon's temple was finished and all the instruments and treasures were moved in, the trumpeters and singers assembled to make one sound to praise and thank the Lord. The musicians played and the singers sang: "For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever." There is no record that anything else took place. But when the musicians played and the singers sang of the mercy of the Lord, the record states, "then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God" (2 Chro. 5:13-14). Do we want to do all the will of our Father? Do we long to see this corporate house, this tabernacle of David that we are, filled with His glory? Then let us speak of His mercy and manifest that mercy toward others! Then this house, which we are, shall also be filled with the great glory and splendor of the Lord!
One of the Lord's anointed prophets prophesied of the righteousness of the Lord. He made it abundantly clear that the Lord did not want us to come before Him with burnt offerings and sacrifices. That same anointed prophet then said, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (See Micah 6:5-8.) The fullness of God and His kingdom is within the reach of all the called and chosen saints of this hour. All our Father requires of us is that we do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. It is just that simple! This walk in the Spirit is not to be complicated with more of the works of the flesh and the reasonings of the carnal mind. Rather than complicating this walk, the Lord makes it simpler yet! His holy law is summed up in the simple requirement that we be led by His Spirit. All else will follow, including receiving our inheritance of His fullness in the kingdom of God!
Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. When the Pharisees saw it, they asked Him why. Jesus answered them, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mt. 9:10-13). Later, Jesus said this about the Pharisees, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ye ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Mt. 23:23). And James wrote, "So speak and so act as [people should] who are to be judged under the law of liberty [the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love]. For to him who has shown no mercy the judgment [will be] merciless; but mercy [full of glad confidence] exults victoriously over judgment" (James 2:12-13, Amplified). Again James wrote: "But the wisdom that is from above (or from the mind of Christ) is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
We desperately need the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord if we are to be fully saved and transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. We should also emphasize the wonderful truth that our transformation may very well be the next event to take place in the lives of the elect. But first the tares are to be harvested! As we wait for that blessed "moment" of change, we have no desire to minister in the old Pentecostal manner and under church order. Our main goal in Christ now is to be transformed. All else is empty and meaningless for us. By the mercy of the Lord we shall be changed to become what Christ is. We continue to center our minds on Him, seeking to become all that Christ is. Jude also gave us this wise admonition: "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ UNTO ETERNAL LIFE." And this we shall do by looking "unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 21, 24-25).
As we continue to grow in the knowledge of God and in the glory of His kingdom, being prepared to reign with Him, we should remember the word of the Lord given to David regarding all who would reign in the kingdom of God. "When a man rules men aright, ruling in God's fear, he dawns on them like morning light, like a cloudless morning, clear, when rains are gone and earth lies green and bright" (2 Sam. 23:3-4, Moffatt). The reign of Christ and His co-kings with Him is a reign of light and glory. Christ the great King, and all His co-kings with Him, will dawn on the people of the world like the sun/Son shining on the world on a cloudless and clear morning.
There is no oppression, fear, or torment when the Christ reigns. There will be no bondages, sicknesses or diseases, and no slaves, or prisoners in the kingdom of God. The devil will be bound, thus freeing the people of the world of his evil torment. The great Jubilee will have sounded, setting every captive free. The refreshing rains of the Spirit will fall upon mankind in unlimited grace and mercy. After the rains of the Spirit have blessed needy mankind, the earth and everyone and everything in it will then lie green and bright, like the green grass in the freshness of the cloudless dawning day of Spring. Mankind will then grow speedily to the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. These are the results and benefits of the new order of the kingdom of God on earth. By consistently doing the will of our Father in faith and love, we are bringing this new kingdom order to the earth to bless and deliver all mankind and eventually the whole universe.
Elementary Sons Becoming Manifest Sons of God
In recent years, there has been much writing on the truth of sonship! We may all be sons of God now, but we are not all maturing sons of God, who are being changed, and who shall become manifest sons of God in the near future. Sons who are becoming manifest sons are enduring the fiery presence of the Lord! His fiery presence within them is constantly changing them. By His Spirit, the Lord is removing the old man of sin from within them, which is old Adam and all his carnality. As the old Adamic man is removed from us, the new inner man of the Spirit is becoming stronger and more mature. The outer, natural man is dying, by the operation of the Spirit within, while the inner spiritual man is continually being raised to new Life. Paul wrote to tell us, "though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Co. 4:16).
Our outward man is truly perishing! This means much more than being sick or getting old. The continuing and consistent work of the Spirit within is bringing the outer man, the man of the flesh, including the old Adamic nature and mind within us, to a death. We may die physically (yet we should cherish the faith and hope that we shall not die, but shall be changed to live the fullness of the Life of Christ), but that is not the death I am referring to. There is a death, even a spiritual death, to which Paul referred when he said, "I die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31). This spiritual death is the death of the carnal mind and of the outward, natural, physical man. It is a death that is taking place daily in the lives of all those who are being changed and who are becoming manifest sons of God.
For the Christ-man to come forth - for the new man of the Spirit to rise and shine, the old carnal man of sin and death must be removed from us and destroyed. This is our Father's plan for our total and complete restoration and redemption (Ro. 8:10-11). This also is our Father's plan for the ultimate deliverance of the whole creation. Those who shall come forth as manifest sons of God in the kingdom of God are being changed regularly by the Spirit! They are becoming over-comers in the kingdom of God. They are overcoming the world (1 Jo. 5:4-5), and all things of it, including its systems, along with the flesh and the devil. Our Father expects us to grow beyond the realm of elementary sonship; He would have us become manifest sons of God.
If the fullness of sonship is our hope, not merely the primary aspect of it, then our goal is to become manifest sons of God, possessing the full image and likeness of Christ, our elder Brother. Our major concern now should be that we continue growing in the Spirit, and that the carnal man of the flesh die, that we might become manifest sons of God to fully inherit the kingdom of our Father. If we are growing in the Spirit, we are receiving new truth by that same Spirit. That new truth, which Christ is, is changing us and preparing us for our ultimate transformation. As growth sometimes produces pain in our physical bodies, so our spiritual growth may bring forth more pain in our souls. But the end result will be the transcendent glory of the Lord, thus showing that His glory was worth all the sufferings we endured!
Sonship without the manifestation of the glory of the Christ within is like a fruit tree with no fruit! The manifestation of the sons of God is the spiritual proof the whole creation is waiting to witness and experience. What good is our sonship without the glory of the manifestation of that sonship? John wrote, saying, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear WHAT WE SHALL BE: but we know that, when He (Christ) shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 Jo. 3:2). Being a son of God is not the end of the matter! True sons of God are BECOMING MANIFEST SONS OF GOD by their spiritual growth! True sons are becoming HIM Who doth not yet appear! When Christ appears to us in the Spirit and by the Spirit, we shall then be like Him, for we shall see Him as HE IS in all His ascended glory. True sons of God are growing and maturing in the Spirit! They are groaning and travailing to become manifest sons of God. They live this life, as they are led by the Spirit, so their spiritual man might grow in the Spirit, and that the natural man, the old Adamic man of the flesh, might die! When they fully die to the flesh, by the operation of the Spirit within them, they shall be gloriously resurrected by that same Spirit, to live the life of Christ in all His brilliant and radiant fullness!
The scriptures make it plain that our transformation will take place at the appearing of Christ. Jesus said the coming or appearing of the Son of man would be as the days of Noah. He told His disciples that things in the world would remain the same, with people every where "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (Mt. 24:37-41). As we have already shown in our November 1998 booklet, there will be no outward evidence in the world to indicate the time of Christ's appearing to transform us. Not until Noah entered the ark did things in the world change. So shall it be in this day! When we entered more fully into the ark of Christ, as Noah entered into that literal ark, everything changed. Then we were raised to a higher realm in God, by the Spirit, to bring forth changes in others and in the world all around us, by that same Spirit.
As soon as Noah entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed that entire generation. Then, Jesus said, "so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." In our Nov. 1998 booklet, we showed that by leaving the church system, by the leading of His Spirit and in obedience to His word, we thus entered into the greater ark, which is the Ark of Christ. We are called, not only to leave the church system, which is a negative thing, but to be joined to the Lord to fulfill the eternal purposes of His kingdom, which is the positive aspect of His call to us. Then the Son of man shall appear, as He promised He would. "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
We now know, by the Spirit of revelation from God, that there are two people, within each one of us. If I were out working alone in a field, I could also be the two men who are in the field, according to the parable of Jesus. Each of us are really two people. Therefore the two men in the field are really only one man, and the two women grinding at the mill are really only one woman. By the appearing of Christ to the Lord's elect of this hour, who have remained in their spiritual booths observing the Feast of Tabernacles, the one man shall be taken away from the man in the field and also from the woman grinding at the mill. The one that is "taken" is the old, carnal Adamic man, while the one remaining is the Christ, the son of God within us, which we are. And when the old carnal man of the flesh is taken from us, we shall be set free to live the Life of Christ in glorious fullness, to reign with Him and inherit the kingdom of God and all that He is.
When we fully understand just what our spiritual booths or cocoons really are, we will no longer consider them to be places of confinement. We will not want to leave them at any time. The booths into which all the elect have entered who are observing the Feast of Tabernacles are individual sanctuaries of our Father's rest and protection. When we enter our spiritual booths, we are then being sheltered, covered, surrounded and protected by the Spirit of God. We are then dwelling in His rest "in the secret place of the most High." We are abiding "under the shadow of the Almighty." Here in this secret place of God's presence under the shadow of the Almighty, the Lord becomes "my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust." As I remain in my spiritual booth, my Father delivers me from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He constantly covers me with His feathers as a mother hen covers her baby chicks.
As I remain under His wings, trusting in Him alone, His truth is my shield and buckler. While I abide still in His presence in my "booth," I need not fear for the terror by night, nor for the arrows that fly all around me by day. Neither do I fear for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. As I remain in my "booth," I can see that a thousand are falling at my side, and another ten thousand at my right hand. But none of that confusion is coming near me! Because we have made the Lord our refuge, even the most High our habitation, or our "booth," there shall no evil befall us. Our Father has given His angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways, that our feet should not stumble along this way (Ps. 91). And those who dwell safely and securely in their spiritual booths find the old order meetings of man to be a dull and boring experience, com-pared to His glorious presence. We look forward to that "moment" when our Father's Voice will call us to come forth. When we do come forth from these spiritual booths, we shall then be all that He is!
According to our parentage, so shall we come forth! If we have been begotten again of the Spirit, with God as our Father and the new Jerusalem city of God as our Mother, and called to the fullness of sonship, we shall surely become manifest sons of God. Some may continue to believe the carnal-minded doctrine of man, which is that the church system is their mother. Some believe this erroneous doctrine of man in spite of the wonderful truth declared by the Apostle Paul. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul referred to the new Jerusalem city of God as being that "which is above is free, WHICH IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL" (Ga. 4:26).
As for me, I know that God is my Father and the new Jerusalem city of God, which is above and is free, is my Mother. These are my only spiritual parents! Others may continue to believe that the harlot religious systems of this world are their mother, but that harlot thing is not my mother. And according to their parentage, so shall they come forth. I have been begotten again of my heavenly, spiritual parents, which is God and the spiritual, new Jerusalem city of God. Of course, I have earthly parents, as you do, but my parentage, my ancestry, or my lineage in the kingdom of God is spiritual!
In spiritual type, God, who is my Father, planted a seed of Life in the womb of my spiritual Mother, which is the new Jerusalem, the heavenly, spiritual city of God. I came forth from the womb of my new Jerusalem Mother to live in the Spirit. I am primarily a spiritual being! At the appointed hour, my heavenly Father determined that I should have a body of flesh and blood (by being born of water, Jo. 3:5), and that I should live on the earth at this time. This is my spiritual parentage, lineage or heritage, which gives me promise that I shall receive the fullness of the Life of Christ! Because I was begotten again of the Spirit from the womb of the new Jerusalem city of God, and fathered by God Himself, I have the assurance that I shall come forth with the fullness of His Life, possessing the same Spiritual Life of my heavenly Father and Mother!
What darkness and doctrines of error have come forth from the carnal mind of man! But it is now time to dispel all that darkness by the glorious Light of the Christ within. May the truth of the Spirit shine into the hearts and minds of all who are looking to be transformed, thus dispelling all the darkness and the carnal teachings within us that came from the mind of man. It is high time to dispel all this darkness within us! Let all who are bound by man's carnal doctrines and traditions now cast out that bondwoman, which is the carnal mind, and all her children, or all her false doctrines, with her. The carnal mind of man has ruled long enough! Old Adam has left his imprint on all of us! But by the greater light and truth of Christ, we reject old Adam's dominion and control, as well as all his false doctrines.
We have taken back the throne of our minds and have given it to Christ the King! We are letting Him reign more completely from within! He will then give us the fullness of the truth of God, which shall set us free. And the blessed truth of God we all should know is that we were begotten again of our spiritual Mother, which is the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city of God, and that she was impregnated by our heavenly Father in the Spirit and by the Spirit. With this spiritual ancestry, how can we fail? It is impossible! According to our parent-age, so shall we come forth! Inasmuch as both our spiritual parents are heavenly realms of Light and Glory, we may expect to become what they are when we come forth! In due time, we shall come forth fully born again of the Spirit (Jo. 3:5-6), possessing the same spiritual Life as both our Father and our Mother (Jo. 5:25-29). Hallelujah!
The people of God are beginning to comprehend the wonderful things of God. Our Father has quickened us and made us spiritually alive at this time when the kingdom of God is coming forth. This is truly the greatest era in the history of the world! Our late Brother, George Hawtin, wrote of this, possibly a decade or two ago:"We are now living in the most momentous hours imaginable. In fact, it is beyond the power of human imagination to see and understand the greatness of the things that are happening all about us and to fully comprehend what God is beginning to do in His people. There is an awakening among the elect of the Lord that supersedes human knowledge. As at certain times of the year God puts into the minds of birds to flock up in preparation for migration to another realm or zone, so He is putting into the hearts of a chosen people the desire to ready themselves for the sonship He has prepared for them from the foundation of the world. He is putting into their hearts the very life and glory of the coming kingdom, and they are finding that they have lost all desire for the fleeting things of this present age.
"We are now seeing before our very eyes the things that must precede the glory of the coming kingdom and the universal reign of Christ. We are seeing the rise of both spiritual and political Babylon. We are hearing a message such as has not been on the earth heretofore, and we are seeing a people being prepared of God for sonship who are to receive the glory of the kingdom with the Lord Jesus Christ and reign in splendor with Him in the glory of their Father in the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world.
"The sons of God who are being prepared to reign in the kingdom with Christ are not just ordinary Christians with ordinary experiences. There has been a great fault among Christian people of all ages. They have always been prone to try to make the word of God fit the measure of experience they had instead of making their experience fit the demands of the word of God. They have claimed to be filled with the Spirit of God when all they had was a tiny earnest of the inheritance. They have insisted that they were born again, though to this day they have not been able to see or understand the kingdom of heaven, and though we are plainly told that `that which is born of God cannot sin, for His seed remaineth in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God,' (1 Jo. 3:9 & 5:18) still we go on sinning and insisting that we are born of God. Enquire of any denomination you wish and they will all have their own explanation of the new birth, or what it means to walk in the Spirit, or what it means to be in Christ, or what it means to be a son of God, but they all, every one, fall far short of the glorious experience the word of God actually describes. All this confusion of ideas and doctrines of men was permitted by the Lord for the age which we have just passed through, but we are about to see a new age, even the age of the kingdom of God, and we must prepare ourselves for that.
"God's people are being prepared for an entirely new realm of experience in Him. I am not referring to some imaginary realm to which men may think they have attained and about which they console themselves, thinking they are holier than the rest. I am speaking of a realm which is in truth the realm of God, the realm of the heavenlies, and the realm of the kingdom. Furthermore I am convinced that many are due to attain to the glory of that new realm now while the rest of mankind and the rest of the Christians go on as usual in the old realm and on the old planes.
"Many who are reading these lines have experienced in truth that the present age with all it holds is slipping away. It is not only passing away in general but it is falling away from you personally and in particular. The things you once loved have become a bore to you. The things you rejoiced in have become old and sour and a heaviness to your spirit. The glamour of crowds and meetings, preachers and programs, has passed away and you are hard pressed to be interested in them any more. You find yourself losing interest in money and bank accounts, in the temporal progress of this age, and in many other things you formerly held dear. All this change is of God, and He is preparing His people for the glory of a new realm. He that has wrought us for this change is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 2 Cor. 5:5. See also Phillip's translation. There is a change taking place in the hearts of the elect of God. The mind of Christ is beginning to overtake us and when it does, immortality and eternal life will overtake us as well."(End of quotation.)
That we stand on the threshold of a new realm of spiritual glory and life is a truth that has been made real to many of us. By the leading of the Spirit, many of us set off on a spiritual journey seeking the reality of that which we saw in the Spirit. This spiritual journey has been fraught with more tests and trials, so much so that we may have wondered if we were on the right path. But the adventure and excitement of being on a journey seemed to hold our interest. Many seem to enjoy the experience of being on a spiritual journey, but they never seem to reach the goal, which is to achieve greater spiritual maturity. But others of us continued the journey, rejoicing in the many new truths we received, until we realized that we had to turn our backs on the past and on the old temple and its furnishings that once seemed so beautiful. When we realized that we needed to turn our backs on the past and all of its once glorious furnishings and gifts, including some of our old friends as well, some among us hesitated to go on with God. The cost of spiritual progress in God and in His kingdom was too great, so some camped at a lesser realm in God.
Foreseeing this spiritual condition among God's people, possibly twenty or thirty years ago or more, Bro. Hawtin wrote the following:"One day during the earthly life of our blessed Lord His disciples took Him on a sightseeing tour of the old temple at Jerusalem. They remarked with evident pride, `Master, see what manner of stones are here!' They were proud of the glory of that ancient place of worship, filled as it was by tradition and history of bygone days. They loved and honored it and almost worshipped the ground on which it stood. Never, never, they thought, would anything ever disturb the peaceful rest of this ancient monument of worship. Their minds must have been greatly puzzled and their faces dark-ened with astonishment when the Master quietly told them, `I tell you there will not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.' As John the Baptist declared, `The axe is laid to the root of the trees,' so Christ was foretelling the hurling down of the rocks of their past traditions. The axe was to be laid not to the trunk of the tree nor yet to the branches, for then it might have grown again, but the axe was to be laid to the root of the trees that they might never spring up. Never more would the beasts of the earth harbour in their shade nor the birds of the air in their branches.
"The stones of the temple were not to be carefully removed to allow for modification or rebuilding. They were to be thrown down to the ground and carted away as useless, for the end of that era had surely come. However well an institution may have fulfilled a purpose, once God is through with it, it is washed up and finished. It is ready to vanish away. Our prerogative is to go on with the light - not to build again the things that are destroyed lest we become transgressors.
"There is a strange and foolish tendency in man to begin to rejoice more in the tools and professions of the trade than in the object we are building. The building is not to create workmen, but the workmen with their gifts are to create a building. The church is not found to create prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and a multitude of other ministries, but the ministries are created to found or build the church. Once that work is complete, the ministries that have built the body will decrease that the body may increase and become a ministry of life to the entire world. If you will take time to think and meditate about this, you will note that there has always been a tendency to leave off putting the emphasis on the building and to start putting the emphasis of the builders. We have been afraid to complete the building lest we run out of a job until finally we were running the job for the sake of our ministries instead of having our ministries function to complete the job. We get to thinking that the church is for the ministries rather than the ministries for the church."(End of quotation.)
Many do not yet know that man's work of building the true Church is finished. The Lord must yet complete the work that man has done on the true Church, as only He can, but man's work is done. When the building of the Church is completed, as far as man's work is concerned, the builders no longer have a job to do. As Bro. Hawtin wrote,"Once that work is complete, the ministries that have built the body will (or should) decrease that the body may increase." But we are seeing that some are trying to get back to working on the church. They are running the job of building the church for the sake of their ministries, not knowing that man's work is done.
Bro. Hawtin continued, by saying,"We are undoubtedly standing at the threshold of a new era in God, a new realm in the Spirit, and a new level of experience. When we come to a time like this, many will refuse to go on. There is some strange thing inherent in all men that makes them desire to exchange their moving tent for a fixed abode. They begin to feel that they have journeyed far enough and that the effort to go on into the new and more wonderful realm is too great a strain. What will I do with all the grand and marvelous things I have grown to love and adore, we ask. The truths we have learned, the government of the churches, the order and discipline, will we have to leave these as an established fact and go on? We would like to be partakers of the more excellent way but we cannot bear to think that in that way prophecy shall fail, tongues shall cease, and knowledge shall vanish away. We become reluctant to admit that all our prophesying of the past was only in part, all our knowledge was only in part, so we cling to that which is in part AND REFUSE TO LET THE PERFECT COME. (See 1 Cor. 13:8-11.)
"I wish I could say with assurance that all who have come thus far will go the rest of the way and enter into the glory prepared for us from the foundation of the world, but I have no such assurance. Rather I fear that some have already turned aside, having loved too dearly the things that belong to this present age. Our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. It is far too easy to put on a false front, refuse to call a spade a spade and face up to things as they really are. Be it far from me to be the instigator of a system of do's and do not's. Doing this and refusing to do that will not commend us to God in any way. Nevertheless, only a fool would deny that those who have begun to feel the touch of the celestial realm find nothing but repugnance and disgust in the trivial nonsense and humbug that belongs to this age and its fleshly desires. How can one whose soul has basked in the sunlight of the celestial world and whose feet have wandered in the fields of God enjoy for even a moment the corrupt products of the most carnal minds on earth? I do not believe it can be done. There is something wrong somewhere. An hour of feeding on the husks of the carnal mind causes the soul to be drained of spiritual life. The face of Christ grows strangely dim and prayer loses its power.
"The word of God is replete with instance after instance of people who came to the very border of a vast new experience and then turned away because the cost was more than they could bear. Did not Israel fail to enter the Land of Promise through unbelief and turn back from Kadesh-Barnea to die and rot in the wilderness? The parable of the sower and the seed describes with great accuracy how people miss the best things of God, failing on every level to partake fully and enter in. Paul the Apostle warned us of our danger in these words, `Let us therefore fear lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest any of you should seem to come short of it.' At this hour we are standing at the threshold of the incorruptible. But mark well the truth of these words! If you sow to the flesh you reap corruption; if you sow to the Spirit you reap life (incorruption). There is no possibility at all of one's partaking of incorruption and of the flesh at the same time. Light has no fellowship with darkness, Christ has no fellowship with Belial, and flesh and spirit are separated by an impassable gulf. The one is carnal and belongs to this age; the other is spirit and belongs to the kingdom. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, neither can corruption inherit incorruption."(End of quotation.)
How true it is,"At this hour we are standing at the threshold of the incorruptible!" But if we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption, thus failing to receive the incorruptible Life of Christ. If we sow to the Spirit, we shall of the Spirit reap LIFE everlasting! The works of the flesh are those carnal, immoral works done in the flesh. But for many of us also, the works of the flesh are the old, dead works that belong to the church age. The works of the flesh for us belong to the era of the inpart works of the past, and are the result of the mixture of the works of the flesh and the work of the Spirit. It all belongs to the old, dead, Pentecostal, church order, which is the order of the past. Many today talk of entering into a new realm in God, while they continue to function according to the flesh. They are consumed with the old order - with doing things the way they have always been done in the past.
I have tasted of the powers of the world to come, and the taste of His glory still stirs my heart with wonder and hope. Having once tasted the power of the incorruptible kingdom of God, I would not turn away from that blessed hope for all this world has to offer. I own no property anywhere, nor do I have any inheritance anywhere in this world. God is my only inheritance! And I would not compromise with the world or with the flesh, and lose that most valuable inheritance in Him. But I tell you with all sincerity that I gladly count all else as dung, that I may win the very fullness of Christ.
By assured of this, unless we win Christ in all His glorious fullness, we have won little and have also done little! Like Paul the apostle, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I have been apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:8-12).
Often we receive wonderful letters from beloved friends in Christ. Most of them we have never met, but the witness of the Spirit within makes us true brothers and sisters in Christ. The letters we now share came from one beloved friend who knows what it means to desire Christ and His fullness above all else. As you read the excerpts from these letters, you will undoubtedly notice the high degree of spiritual maturity of this person. The first letter I quote from this person was received over a year ago and contained this significant message:"These "40" years in the wilderness, receiving the wonderful truths you dear teachers have shared, have really kept my feet from falling! I just want you to know I am now ready to be offered up - my "departure" is at hand! I wait now for the Son to set me free, and to truly "live" in His sight! May we all rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory! Blessed be His holy Name!" While this letter may sound like it came from someone who is ready to die, it really came from one who has totally abandoned all that is of this life to win the fullness of Christ. It is the expression of one who has been obedient to the will of God. We know we are not to surrender to death or to any other enemy. We surrender to our Father and to Him alone! May we all share in that total abandonment and surrender to our Father's will and purpose, that we might win Christ and inherit His kingdom!
Another letter from this same friend said this:"How grateful I am to God for the word of truth that is being rightly divided that we might know what present truth is, and that He is manifesting Himself unto us! When spiritual reality breaks through, and we see Him face to face, what will it be? Only then shall we know in fullness what was lost, but now is found! Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has begotten us again unto a lively hope!" Again, a little later, this same person wrote: "I want you to know that the truths you've shared have been a confirming word to me that `the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus' has been setting me free from `the law of sin and death.' I feel there is an awakening about to take place in my soul and it is now time to be silent before Him! I must be quiet now before Him, for that is His purpose in me - to reveal His Son in me! Waiting now before Him to hear Him speak plainly of the Father!"
The next letter we quote from this same person revealed a wonderful understanding of God's purpose for the trials, or for the sufferings of Christ, which we all must go through."Praise God, He is continually preparing our hearts to be filled with all of His fullness when that Light consumes all of the old nature, and there will be new heavens and a new earth! All of our sorrow of losing our precious loved ones, and having all the separations of our children's families, will be `turned' into fullness of joy - something we cannot begin to comprehend until it `becomes' the planting of our Lord - that He might be glorified! Praise His holy Name!" A prepared people with a holy purpose in God are now living in the earth. They are growing spiritually to become manifest sons of God. And they shall release the creation from its long and painful bondage to sin and death!
Paul and Emily Mueller
P O BOX 25055, PORTLAND, OR 97298-0055