The Saviour of the World series
by J. Preston Eby
THERE IS ONE GOD
It has pleased the Lord to leave great truths obscure and well hidden from the prying eyes of the curious and the unbelieving. He shrouds His precious truths in mystery so that none but the earnest seekers who partake of the spirit of revelation are ever permitted to see beyond the outer shell of the letter, and behold the unfolding glories which lie concealed within the inner kernel. There is a grand statement of infinite truth which fell from the lips of God's spokesman, Moses, more than thirty-five centuries ago: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). For long ages men have read this amazing declaration about God and supposed it to be nothing more than a doctrinal statement about the Godhead. It is the basis for the belief in only one true and living God, which belief is called "monotheism." This verse of scripture has become the most distinctive and important statement of faith for the Jews. They call it the Shema, after the first word of the phrase in Hebrew, and they often quote it in English as "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is One." Traditionally, a devout Jew always tried to make this confession of faith just before death.
This surface truth of the oneness of God cannot be denied by any who believe the testimony of the scriptures. All through the Old Testament God revealed Himself to His people as one God. All the nations around Israel had many gods. They had a god for almost every need, but Israel had one God who was the all-sufficient One, and this was emphasized very strongly to the children of Israel. The Ten Commandments begin with, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Ex.20:3). God said there is no other God with Him. There is none like the LORD and there is no God beside Him (II Sam. 7:22; I Chron. 17:20). He alone is God (Ps. 86:10). There are the emphatic declarations of God in Isaiah: "Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour" (Isa. 43:10-11). "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God" (Isa. 44:6). "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isa. 44:8). "I am the LORD that makes all things; that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth by Myself" (Isa. 44:24). There is none beside Me. I am the LORD and there is none else" (Isa. 45:6). "There is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 45:21-22). "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me" (Isa. 46:9).
This truth of one God is accentuated in the New Testament by both Jesus and His apostles. "Seeing it is one God which shall justify" (Rom. 3:30). "There is none other God but one" (I Cor. 8:4). "But to us there is but one God, the Father" (I Cor. 8:6). "But God is one" (Gal. 3:20). "One God and Father of all" (Eph. 4:6). "For there is one God" (I Tim. 2:5). "You believes that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).
God is the universal source of all things. He is invisible and unapproachable. The scriptures refer to Him as "the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see" (I Tim. 6:16). Again, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God" (I Tim. 1:17). The Bible declares that "God is a Spirit" (Jn. 4:24) and since God is a Spirit, He is invisible and unknowable unless He chooses to manifest Himself in some form visible to man. God told Moses You can not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live" (Ex. 33:20). "No man has seen God at any time" (Jn. 1: 18; I Jn. 4:12). How can we see the invisible Father? If God is only an invisible, unapproachable light, He would be totally inaccessible to man. The physical eyes of man have never beheld a spirit. Since God is an invisible Spirit and is omnipresent, He does not possess a body as we know it. Although man cannot see directly the invisible Spirit of God, throughout the Old Testament, every time God wanted to talk personally with someone or manifest Himself, He embodied Himself in a form that could be seen, touched, handled, understood and comprehended on the earth plane. He borrowed, as it were, a body to veil Himself in and manifest Himself through. In Old Testament times God revealed Himself and dealt with man on man's level through what theology calls THEOPHANIES. A THEOPHANY is a visible manifestation of God, and we usually think of it as temporary in nature. To make Himself visible, to communicate Himself on the material plane, He manifested Himself in a physical form. Even though no one can see the Spirit of God, he can see a representation of God.
The apostle Paul frequently spoke of the vast mysteries of God and, in speaking of them, he left no shadow of doubt that naught but the revelation of the Lord could unfold those eternal mysteries. One of the grandest of those mysteries is set forth by the apostle John in these wonderful words: "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (Jn. 1:18). The Amplified Bible renders this verse thus: "No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son ... Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him - He has revealed Him, brought Him out where He can be seen; ... He has made Him known." Note the marginal rendering in the Scofield Bible; the Greek rendering is: "The only begotten Son has LED HIM FORTH, that is, into FULL REVELATION. Jesus was, therefore, the FULL REVELATION of the INVISIBLE GOD Who indwelled Him. God put Himself into His Son in order to make Himself available to man.
Concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God, it is written, "Who is the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1: 15; II Cor. 4:4); "the EXPRESS image of His person" - R.V. "the VERY image of His substance" (Heb. 1:3). Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Son is the brightness and glory of God, and the express image of His Person. He bore the image of His Father, as many an earthly son does of his father. I have known boys, that as soon as one sees them it is not difficult to tell whose son they are; they are so much like their father. They can resemble dad so much in build and physical features; they will walk, talk and act so much like their dad that there is no mistaking whose son they are. But these are never the EXPRESS image of their father, because they inherit some characteristics from mother's side as well. So though they may look much like dad, there is always some little difference. It was not so with Jesus. He was the EXPRESS IMAGE of God! In every aspect He was exactly like His Father, so much that He was able to say, "He that has seen Me has seen the Father. He bore His image, His likeness, and in this He manifested to the world what God was like.
But more than this! All the fullness of the Father dwells in the Son (Col. 1:19; 2:9) and is expressed through the Son (Jn. 1:18). The Father, as the inexhaustible source of all things, is embodied in the Son. The incomprehensible God is now expressed in Christ, the WORD of God (John 1:1); the invisible God is revealed in Christ, the IMAGE of God (Col. 1:15). So, the Son and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30), and the Son is even called the Father (Isa. 9:6). There was a day when the questioning Philip said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and it suffice us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Phillip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I AM IN THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IN ME" (Jn. 14:8-11).
Now let us read Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given ... His name shall be called ... the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. "It does not say mighty man, but Mighty God. A little child is called the Mighty God. All Christians agree with the prophecy of this verse. The child mentioned here refers to the child born in the stable in Bethlehem, who is not only named the Mighty God, but also the Everlasting Father. As a child born to us, He is called the Mighty God; as a Son given to us, He is called the Everlasting Father. This is very strange, is it not? When the child is called the Mighty God, is He the child, or God? And, when the son is called the Everlasting Father, is He the son or the Father? If you try to figure it out, you cannot do it. You must take it as a fact, unless, of course, you do not believe the scriptures. If you believe the authority of the scriptures, you must accept the fact that since the child is called the Mighty God, it means the child IS the Mighty God; and since the Son is called the Father, it means the Son IS the Father! If the child is not the Mighty God, how could the child be called the Mighty God? And if the Son is not the Father, how could the Son be called the Father? And if we believe the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, we must believe that HE IS THE FATHER! So, then, how many Gods do we have? We have only one God, because the child Jesus is the Mighty God, and the Son is the Everlasting Father.
Furthermore, II Cor. 3:17 says, "Now the Lord is that Spirit." According to our understanding, who is the Lord? Jesus Christ IS LORD! But Paul tells us that the Lord is also the Spirit. Who is the Spirit? We have to admit that the Spirit must be the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Son is called the Father, and the Son, who is the very Lord, is also the Spirit! This means, in a way not understood by most Christians, that the Father, Son, and Spirit A-R-E O-N-E! All of God's children, from Adam forward, believed in this one God. It is only when we come to apostate Christianity that we find all these various ideas about who God is, and all these different concepts have come about by men studying the Bible without the aid of the blessed Spirit of Truth.
God no longer needs to "borrow" or produce a "body" in which to express and reveal Himself to men, no more does He send the burning bush, or the pillar of fire, or the cloud, or the angel or the form of a man, as in Old Testament times. For the first time Jehovah has a permanent, eternal body in which to walk and talk with mankind - THE CHRIST, Head and body, the house of sons. In the Old Testament manifestations, the revelation of Himself was in fragments. No one manifestation could speak all truth, each was but one or two syllables in the mighty sentences of God's speech. At the best, the view caught of God was partial and limited. But in Jesus there is nothing of this piece-meal revelation. "IN HIM dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, says the inspired apostle, hastily adding, "and YOU ARE COMPLETE IN HIM" (Col. 2:9-10). It is my deep conviction that there is but One God; truly, but one PERSON OF GOD. There is only one Person of God, and the fullness of the Godhead is manifested in and through His ELOHIM COMPANY, the sons of God, the many membered Christ of God, Head and body. Surely these are simple truths that even a child can understand. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ. And YOU are complete, or He is completed, by your UNION WITH HIM! If you can receive it, the Christ IS GOD! And you are THE BODY OF THE CHRIST!
THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE
In the increasing light with which God is filling the hearts of the elect, this scripture, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE Lord, bears a depth of meaning greater far and deeper than the surface truth we have presented thus far. That this passage may become clearer to our minds, scintillating in heaven's light like the ray which is broken into many prismatic hues, consider now the glorious things concealed in this mighty word of the Lord. The Lord our God is ONE. One, in the numerology of the scripture, means UNITY, UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. One is the primary number, denoting beginning or source. Unity being indivisible, and not made up of other members, is therefore independent of all others, and is the source of all others. "One," excludes all difference, for there is no second with which it can either harmonize or conflict. One means unity and unity comes from the word "unit".
In reference to His substance, God is SPIRIT. In reference to His state of being, God is ONE. That which is ONE is that which is UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. Oneness speaks of unity, harmony, singleness, concord, solidarity. God is ONE! The fact that there is ONE GOD must not be confused with the truth that GOD IS ONE. Perhaps, as someone has said, this is only another aspect of viewing the same truth, for God is truly one, undivided in Himself, or in His will and purpose. And surely HE alone is God! But this One God IS ONE. It is a great and blessed fact that God is ONE. He who is united, undivided and unfragmented in every aspect of His nature and state of being cannot be influenced, affected, moved, upset, frustrated, changed, altered, damaged, destroyed, made discordant or set at variance in any way. The character of God is eternal, changeless, unaffected. The love, joy, peace, righteousness, wisdom, justice, power and will of God do not rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. Matters not what happens nor what men or devils say or do, the love of God, the purpose of God, the power of God are steadfast, unmoved, unquenched, unaffected, without fluctuation. He is Jehovah, the SELF-EXISTENT ONE. He is ONE. No power in the universe can cause any deviation whatsoever in God's nature, will or action.
There can be no doubt that each aspect of God's being moves in perfect harmony and accord with every other part of His being. Here in the physical world there are contradictions in our value system because there are contradictions in moral philosophy, limited by finite and faltering human nature and reason. What is the ultimate contradiction in moral philosophy? In moral philosophy, the ultimate contradiction is between justice and mercy. The judge, if he is a good judge, will be just. He will not let somebody get off, without paying their dues. Moral justice demands that evil be punished. Because if evil goes unpunished, then the judge is a participant in the crime, by letting it go unchecked. Justice is one side of the coin. The other side, the other value is mercy. Mercy says, "I want to forgive you, when you don't deserve it. And the more undeserving you are, the deeper my mercy runs." This is a contradiction. How can you possibly combine these two creatively?
We speak of law and love, of truth and grace, of justice and mercy, and so long as sin does not exist there is no controversy between any of these. If there be no sin, law and love are never out of harmony with grace or each other; truth and grace go ever hand in hand; justice and mercy sing a common anthem. If the law be broken, what is love to do? If truth be violated, how can grace operate? In the presence of crime, how can justice and mercy meet? This is the problem of problems. It is not a problem as between God and man. It is not a problem as between God and the angels. It is a problem between GOD AND HIMSELF.
Justice and mercy can only be harmonized by making them ONE. And this can be done only in the realm of the God who IS ONE. Every facet of God's nature is unified, so that His justice is not warring against His mercy, neither is His judgment set against His grace. Herein lies the mystery and the wonder of it all - there is no conflict in God, no contradiction! In God, and in God alone, we see the contradictions combined, and justice and mercy kiss each other. Christendom has spoken of God's justice being satisfied, as if He were an incorrigible tyrant that must somehow be appeased. They speak of eternal punishment as a self-evident result of God's eternal, unchanging nature of infinite justice. Apparently, according to this crude theory, one is to think of two parallel lines, divine mercy and divine justice, two divine properties, running close beside each other but diametrically opposed to one another, each in its own right, continuing on into infinity. Not only love, but also justice must run its full course, and thus justice and mercy are isolated from each other endlessly. In this view God is both INFINITELY JUST and INFINITELY MERCIFUL at the same time but never the twain shall meet! This crude theory is responsible for the ridiculous doctrine of eternal life for some and eternal torture for others.
I am constrained by the Holy Spirit of God to cry out against such a blasphemous absurdity! Our God is not schizophrenic, He does not have a split personality. He is not both INFINITELY MERCIFUL and INFINITELY VINDICTIVE! The Lord our God is ONE, all the attributes and powers of His Being are working together in perfect accord, each harmoniously synchronized in the same purpose and toward the same end, without any contradiction. In the scriptural view, HIS JUSTICE is linked inherently to HIS SALVATION. "There is no God else beside Me; a JUST God and a SAVIOUR; there is none beside Me (Isa 45:21). He is a SAVIOUR because He is also JUST. His righteous nature requires that He be our Saviour. He "knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust," and He knows right well that "the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope" (Rom. 8:20).
Yes, HE WILL CORRECT US, and by this very correction make the necessary changes in us, and then He will bring us into the fullness of salvation. IN HIM "mercy and truth are met together; righteousness (justice) and peace have kissed each other" (Ps. 85: 10). These are never to be viewed as OPPONENTS to each other, they are gloriously WORKING TOGETHER to fulfill God's redemption in us. Where mercy alone cannot produce the needed change, God applies His judgment. And when judgment has accomplished its full work, "in wrath He remembers mercy" (Hab. 3:2). His wrath and His mercy COOPERATE one with the other, both designed to play their role in bringing man to the one expected end: reconciliation to God and deliverance from sin and death. There is no conflict between the two - the objective of each is redemptive, not vindictive. If we have a concept where the judgment of God is pitted against His mercy, or where the justice of God becomes greater than His love, or where wrath triumphs over grace, then we have a distorted concept of God. We have not yet learned this one simple but sublime truth: The Lord our God is O-N-E!
I have never believed that by teaching the ultimate salvation of all men we were pitting one group of scriptures against another, or one aspect of God's nature against another, for it is my conviction that the solution can only be found in the correct HARMONIZATION of all the scriptures and all the characteristics within God Himself, not ignoring one while advancing the other. God's justice and His mercy, God's judgment and His salvation must MEET TOGETHER AS CO-AGENTS IN GOD'S REDEMPTIVE PURPOSES, else there is eternal warfare and irreconcilable conflict between the two. I find all the judgments of God to be disciplinary and correctional rather than vindictive and final. Therein lies the harmonization of which I speak. According to the Word of God, God is at the same time the JUDGE OF ALL and the SAVIOUR OF ALL. He is not the Judge of some and the Saviour of some, but both Judge and Saviour of ALL! "Judge of all" must mean that He judges all; none escape. "Saviour of all" must mean that He saves all; none are left out. Within that one wonderful fact can be seen the beautiful HARMONIZATION of the justice and the love of God - His judgment leading to repentance and a knowledge of His mercy. Praise His wonderful name!
The judgments of God can never be rightly understood apart from His nature of love. If God's judgments spring not from His love then they come not from God at all, for He IS LOVE. What ought this to teach us about His judgments! The pen of inspiration wrote, "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord LOVES He chastens. and scourges every son whom He receives...for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness" (Heb. 12:5-10). God doesn't go around purposelessly punishing or vindictively torturing any of His creatures. But He does go about precise paths of bringing forth correction UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS, as the prophet says, "When Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Isa. 26:9). God's judgments, whether upon saints, nations, or the wicked in general are all corrective in nature, accomplished by the motivation of His nature which is LOVE. Truly, the Lord our God is ONE!
Do you recall the story about the wind and the sun arguing over who was the stronger? They decided that whoever could take the coat off a man walking down the street was stronger. The wind tried first. It blew and howled furiously. Twice it knocked the man off his feet, but the coat did not come off. In fact, the harder the wind blew, the more the man buttoned up. Finally the wind gave up. Next was the sun's turn. It started to shine, and the man, glad with the change in weather, unbuttoned his coat. But the sun grew warmer still till finally the man took off his coat. The sun won. One of the hidden morals of this story is that both the wind and the sun had the same objective - to take the coat off the man! While, in this case, warmth won out over violence, there was no conflict between the two. And so it is with God's judgments and His mercy. He will send what is needful to work the necessary changes in our lives - but ALL THINGS are of God, and all things WORK TOGETHER for our good. The Lord our God is ONE!
ALL THINGS CREATED BY GODCome, my friends, and go with me,In thought, dear reader of these lines, we have gone back "before the ages", where, in the language of the poet, we find "not a trace of anything but God - and space: God all around - below, above, unlimited in power and love." Oh, how I wish I might be able to impress clearly and indelibly upon the heart of everyone who reads this, the fact that there was a dimension when there were no "ages", no mighty blazing suns, no spiraling nebulae, no galaxies of stars and planets and moons, to mark the dial of eternity! Away back there, God's "grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages" began their course.
Away back to eternity!
Go back beyond the days of youth
Where everything that was, was truth.
Go back until within the past
You fail to find the place, at last,
Where "the beginning" you can see
Of the immense eternity.
Go back until there's not a trace
Of anything but God and space:
God all around - below, above,
Unlimited in pow'r and love.
Away back there, removed from sight,
Where everything that was, was right.
Away back there, removed from sin,
Is where our story will begin.
This truth is confirmed by the apostle Paul, to whom, alone, the full scope of divine revelation was made known. He tells us of the "times" outside the "ages'' saying, "Who did save us, and did call with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, that was given to us in Christ Jesus, before the times of the ages... (II Tim. 1:9, Young's Literal). In Titus he speaks of being an apostle "according to the faith of the choice ones of God, and an acknowledging of truth that is according to piety, upon hope of life age-during, which God, who does not lie, did promise before times of ages" (Tit. 1:1-2, Young's Literal). And again, when speaking of those saints who were mature and able to bear it, he says, "But we speak of the hidden wisdom of God in a secret, that God foreordained before the ages to our glory, which no one of the rulers of this age did know, for if they had known, the Lord of glory they would not have crucified" (I Cor. 2:7-8, Young's Literal).
It will be a wonderful day for you, dear one, when first your soul becomes enthralled with the revelation that God, before ever the world began or ever the ages were formed, looked forth from His temple of wisdom and omnipotence to chart with resolute care the course and purpose of every age. Your heart will throb as you read the opening proclamation of scripture, "In the beginning - GOD! In the beginning of what? Not in the beginning of God, certainly, but in the beginning of His creation of all things, in the beginning of time, in the beginning of the orderly procession of the divinely destined ages. In the beginning stands God, omnipotent and omniscient, creating, sustaining and guiding all things and all people and all the ages of time according to the purpose of His own will. No purpose ordained by God from the beginning can possibly go astray or be hindered by the efforts of devil or man. Oh, for the hour when all creation will grasp the beautiful message, "From Him everything comes, by Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends!" (Rom. 11:36).
If God be the Creator of ALL THINGS, then it must of necessity follow that GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL THINGS. We read the passage quoted above from the Diaglott. "Because OUT of HIM, and THROUGH HIM, and FOR HIM are ALL THINGS, to Him be the glory for the ages. Amen." All things are out of God, all things are through Him, all things are for Him, and all things are unto Him, ending in Him. The clearest possible rendering is given by Goodspeed, "For from Him everything comes; through Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him forever! Amen." The Amplified Bible also expresses it beautifully, "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. For all things originate with Him and come from Him, all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and end in Him. To Him he glory forever! Amen - so be it."
The Bible opens with the simplest and yet most profound statement ever recorded by human hand, "In the beginning - GOD! The sweet singer of Israel declared of Him, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You have formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, YOU ART GOD" (Ps. 90:2). Our God was the great active force, the cause of all that began to happen "in the beginning." How awesome the thought that there was a "time" when there was nothing - absolutely nothing - but GOD! There was no blue-green orb called earth, no silver-shimmering moon, no diamond studded heaven of stars and planets, no angels, no devils, no man nothing but GOD HIMSELF. There were not even the 100 elements out of which everything in the universe is constructed - there was only God. Paul caught something of the sublimity of this eternal and Self-existent One and wrote, "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17).
Let me emphasize this wonderful and important truth: "He is before all things." This can mean nothing else but that God is not one of the "things". He is BEFORE all things. He is before all THINGS and He is before A-L-L things. And just as majestic is the truth that "by Him ALL THINGS CONSIST." Young's Literal Translation renders this literally from the Greek: "Because IN HIM were the all things CREATED... and HIMSELF IS BEFORE ALL, and the all things IN HIM HAVE CONSISTED."
This raises an important and interesting question. If God was "before all things," then OUT OF WHAT did He CREATE all things? When I was a boy we had a "Sunday School" definition of the word create. "To create," I was told, means to make something out of nothing. To my young and unlearned mind that sounded altogether logical. After all I thought, if God is God, and God can do anything, then surely it is no problem to God to make something out of nothing! But as I grew older and learned something of the laws of physics, I discovered a simple but demonstrable fact, namely, that out of nothing - nothing comes! Also, out of something you get no more than that thing is able to contain. You cannot take a gallon of milk out of a pint bottle unless you refill the bottle again and again. You cannot put a hundred dollars in the bank and take out a thousand. The man who seeks to take out of the bank far more than he put in will find himself a recipient of free board and room for many months to come! This, then, is a fundamental point of natural law. We recognize that out of nothing, nothing comes. And even God, in all His omnipotence, does not violate His own creative principle, and MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING!
If there was only God, and absolutely no thing other than God, what kind of material did God have at His disposal out of which to construct all things? If you were standing completely alone, with nothing outside your own being existent, what material would be available for making something other than yourself The answer is, of course, NOTHING! YOU WOULD HAVE TO MAKE THE "THINGS" OUT OF YOURSELF! And friend, this is precisely what God did. Now we can understand the full import of those words inspired by the blessed Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul: "Because IN HIM were the all things created ... and Himself is before all, and the all things I-N H-I-M HAVE CONSISTED (Col. 1:16-17, Young's Literal).
God couldn't make the world out of magma, because the molten lava is itself one of the "things" created. He couldn't form the stars and planets of any combination of atoms, for atoms are the "building blocks" or raw material of which "things" are composed, and atoms themselves, with their electrons, protons and neutrons, are "things". Can we not see by this that God pre-dated and pre-existed the whole universe of atoms, compounds and elements! It should be abundantly clear to any thinking mind that since God is before all "things", it was IN HIM that all "things" were created, and IN HIM all "things" were set together and arranged in order - the very source and substance of all "things" is GOD HIMSELF! OUT OF THE ENERGY AND SUBSTANCE OF HIS OWN BEING GOD BROUGHT FORTH AND CONSTITUTED ALL THINGS.
ALL THINGS CREATED IN CHRIST
It would be of utmost profit for any of us to diligently study the oft repeated scriptural term "in Christ" or "in Him". With this thought in mind I would draw your attention to some scripture passages which appear to teach us that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things. He is, of course! But that is not the truth set forth in these particular verses. The first passage we will consider is the one we have already quoted and commented upon in Col. 1:15-17. I will quote this first from the Authorized Version for this is one of the passages which seems to say that all things were created by Jesus Christ. "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
From this scripture we would be led to believe that the creation was made by the Son; but the word translated "by" here in the first instance is the Greek word EN, and means "in", not "by", and this is the way most of the other translations have rendered it. "For IN HIM were all things created. If you have other translations, check it, and you will see that this is correct. The Greek preposition EN clearly defines location or position. The second instance in this verse where the word "by" is used, "All things were created BY HIM and for Him," the word translated "by" here is the Greek word DIA and means "through", or "on account of", or "by the agency of", and you will find the other translators have translated it this way Weymouth's rendering of this is lovely: "For IN HIM was created the universe, of things in heaven and things on earth, things seen and things unseen, thrones, dominions, princedoms, powers, all were created and exist through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and IN and THROUGH Him the universe is one harmonious whole." Isn't that beautiful?
You see, there is a whole world of difference between something being created BY Him, or created IN HIM, and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will make this real to you. I think, as we continue with this study you will begin to see what the Spirit has said. It is unfortunate that the translators were so inconsistent in some of the translation. In this verse, "For BY Him were all things created that are IN heaven...," the word by, and the word in, are both translated from the same Greek word EN, yet in the first instance it was translated "by", and in the second instance, "in", as it should be. This is misleading to the reader.
I am not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination, but when we were on the mission field in Mexico back in the 1960's I built most of the furniture we had in our house, crude though it was. From rough lumber I constructed kitchen cabinets, tables, chairs, beds and a variety of other items. Even I was amazed at how serviceable and attractive some of these articles turned out to be! They were made by me, but when I left the place where they were, they were all sold and left behind, and I was separated from them; because, you see, they were not part of me. Though they were made by me, they had no part with me. But if somehow they had been made IN me, and not BY me, then wherever I went they would be with me, for they would be a part of me, part of my being. If the creation had been merely made BY the Son, then it could be a thing apart from Him, and not a part of Him. When we see that God the Father created the universe IN THE CHRIST, and the whole universe was in the beginning an integral part of His Being, then that is an altogether different picture.
Words are totally inadequate to articulate a truth so sublime, so I must leave this ultimately to the Holy Spirit of Truth to unfold within your spirit. You see, when God planned the universe, He planned it in and around His Christ. The Christ is the center and the circumference of it all. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. The whole vast creation was made in Him and for Him. It began in Him and it will end in Him. The present creation was created in Him. The Christ was the beginning of the creation of God. "These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD" (Rev. 3:14). He will also be the end, for all things must begin in Him and end in Him, for this is the Father's purpose for His Son. Everything that can possibly exist or be, is included in the scope of creation in Col. 1:16-20. Within the compass of five verses we read no less than eight times that the things created IN Him and FOR Him are all-inclusive and all-pervading. He is the first-born of EVERY creature. ALL is created in Him, and ALL is created through and for Him. He is before ALL. ALL is BOUND TOGETHER BY Him. In ALL He is becoming first, having pre-eminence. ALL fullness, or the fullness of ALL, dwells in Him. He reconciles ALL through the blood of His cross and on two occasions this is amplified and defined as ALL that is IN THE HEAVENS and ALL that is ON THE EARTH. It is said to include both visible and invisible. Nothing is omitted and nothing can be left out.
ALL THINGS OUT OF HIM
Our God and Father has been pleased to leave us in no doubt or uncertainty as to how or where all things began, but in clear, unequivocal language stated the source and goal of all things for our assurance and joy. All originated IN HIM, created from the substance of His own divine energy and Being, and held together in a harmonious wholeness (upon) in His eternal Word, or the Christ. But, for His own wise purposes, all did not remain that way.
There are four Greek prepositions which are important to us in the understanding of God's great plan of creation and redemption. We have already explained the preposition EN. EN means IN and denotes a position of rest, an established (from) location. ALL was created IN the Christ.
The scriptures are clear, however, that all did not remain "in" Him. (through) We are assured that there was initiated another stage of activity whereby all things were brought "out" of Him. Nothing can be clearer than the (in) fact that "in" and "out" are opposites! You cannot be both in and out of any place or thing at the same time. Coming "out" from a place or position involves a process, an action. the Greek preposition EK means "out of". The Word of God declares that not only were all things created IN the Christ, or IN God (for the Christ was in the bosom of the Father, Jn. 1:18), but there was a process by which the all things CAME OUT of God. Let us read it: "We are aware that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God except One. For even if so be that there are those being termed gods, whether in heaven or on earth, even as there are many gods and many lords, nevertheless to us there is but one God, the Father, O-U-T OF WHOM ALL IS, and we for Him" (I Cor.8:4-7). Again, "O, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For who knew the mind of the Lord? or who became His adviser? or who gives to Him first, and will be repaid by Him? seeing that ALL is OUT of Him and through Him and for Him: to Him be glory for the ages! Amen! (Rom. 11:33-36). Now let us read these last verses from the Emphatic Diaglott: "For who knew the mind of the Lord? or who was His counselor? or who first gave to Him, and it shall be given to him again? Because OUT OF HIM, and through Him, and for Him are ALL THINGS. To Him be the glory for the ages. Amen."
This is without doubt one of the least understood statements in the whole of the Word of God. And yet, a true comprehension of the real purpose of God throughout the ages cannot be had apart from it. Considering the creation, of the heavens and the earth - the universe and all that is therein, visible and invisible - fresh from the hands of the Creator in all its primeval and pristine glory; God being all-wise and omnipotent; the question presses itself upon us: From whence came sin and evil? From whence came Satan and darkness and death? Why did God permit these to enter creation? How did it happen? Why the disruption of the primeval state?
The answer to these monumental questions is to be discovered in the great fact of creation being brought forth OUT of God. How obvious today the vast difference between those who are either "in" or "out" of Christ! "If any man be IN Christ, he is a new creation; "...who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings IN Christ;" "IN whom also we have obtained an inheritance," etc. But of our state before we were in Christ, it is said, "At that time yea were WITHOUT (Greek: apart from, outside of) Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). OUTSIDE of Christ is naught but sin, sorrow, darkness and death! In or out - what a great gulf separates these two! The very process of creation's coming out of God produced a disruption and fragmentation of the whole. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE LORD. That which is ONE is UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. All is harmonized, synchronized and joined in perfect unity. IN HIM creation was one harmonious whole without a discordant note anywhere. It was pre-eminently a spiritual creation, vibrating as a symphony of unutterable beauty, a triumphant masterpiece of dynamic harmonious accord. In the glory of that celestial beginning there was no trace of sin, no evil, no death, no adversary, and no darkness or discord at all. Everything everywhere existed IN CHRIST and every spirit stood forth in its full majesty, pulsating the dynamic anthem of exulting creative glory. What a song!
When, on the barren Isle of Patmos, the beloved John heard a great voice as of a trumpet, he turned to gaze upon the glorified Lord in splendor and majesty, and the first words uttered by this mighty One were, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending ... the first and the last, says the Lord" (Rev. 1:8-11). Our Lord called Himself the Alpha and the Omega in Greek, the Aleph and the Tau in Hebrew, or the A and the Z in English, or its equivalent in any other language, without in the least altering the figure of its significance. Alphabetical languages usually have the letters arranged in a fixed order. The first is often used as a symbol of the beginning and the last for the ending. That is, our Lord claims to be what letters and language were meant to be, namely the expression of truth. HE IS THE W-O-R-D -- the expression of the totality of God's nature, wisdom, power and substance from first to last. God is a Spirit - an invisible, incorporeal, intangible, unapproachable Spirit. But that hidden and unsearchable One may be uttered, expressed, manifested. And that utterance, that expression, that manifestation of invisible Godhead is the Christ, the Logos, the Word - God projected from the plane of the invisible and intangible into the realm of the visible and tangible. In that long ago beginning all things were created IN THE CHRIST, and apart from Him, outside of Him was not anything made that was made. In God's revelation of Himself and His plan of the ages He has used many characters, but the first one was Christ and the last one will be Christ again. All commences and concludes IN HIM!
The First and Last brings before us both the substance and the time element of creation. Hear now what the scripture says on this most vital subject. "For from (out of) Him everything comes; through Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him for ever! (Rom. 11:36, Goodspeed). "For from (out of) Him and through Him and to Him are all things. For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end IN HIM. To Him be glory for ever!" (Amplified). Ah - everything BEGINS in Him and all ENDS inHim! HE is the FIRST and the LAST! HE is the BEGINNING! The beginning, precious friend of mine, was not a date on the calendar. The beginning was and is a glorious PERSON - our Lord Jesus Christ! Christ Himself IS the beginning! If you consider with reverent honesty these words of significance and truth, you will understand as never before the spiritual words which open our Bible in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." IN THE B-E-G-I-N-N-I-N-G! And just what or who is "the beginning?" Christ! Thus, the spiritual translation of Gen. 1:1 would read, "IN THE CHRIST God created the heavens and the earth. Jesus Christ is "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14). All things were created in this beginning. The beginning is neither time or place. The beginning is a Person. Christ is the beginning. All things were created in the Christ. "For IN HIM were all things created. IN HIM all things were created and set in order in the beauty and unity and perfection and harmony of the Spirit of God.
And then something awesome happened! The creation was thrust OUT OF Christ, lowered into this gross material realm. This we have verified in the following scriptures: "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (I Pet. 1:19-20). Again, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). I do not wish to appear to be "splitting hairs" nor do I wish to invent doctrines, but to me it is infinitely important to pay special attention to the word "foundation" in the passages just quoted. Foundation is from the Greek word KATABOLE, derived from KATABALLO, which is a compound of two words, KATA, meaning "down", and BALLO, meaning "to throw". The precise meaning of the word is "to throw down" and bespeaks, moreover, a rupture, breach, breaking or tearing assunder, schism, scission, fission - a disruption. It does not mean, as our Authorized Version has it, the establishing of the foundation of the world, but, conversely, the breaking up or disruption of the world! The Concordant Version of the New Testament correctly renders it thus: "Christ ... a flawless and unspotted Lamb, foreknown, indeed, before the disruption of the world." Again, "...the Lambkin which has been slain from the disruption of the world."
The question readily follows: When did this disruption of the world occur? It will be helpful to turn to Gen. 1:1-2 wherein we read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The first verse contents itself with a simple statement of a consummated act. Not a word about the method, manner, means or procedure of creation, and nothing of its result. The second verse carries a tremendous suggestion of collapse in its touching picture of the Spirit of God brooding over the watery face of the formless void! Let us see what a careful word study of this second verse will reveal.
In the Authorized Version the text begins: "And the earth was..." This word in the Hebrew text is also translated "but", or "moreover". Thus in the Septuagint version of the scripture the text begins: "But the earth had become..." and this is the sense of the Vulgate as well. The second word to be noted is the one translated in the English Bible was". The Hebrew language lacks a word for "became", so the word "was" is always used to carry out the sense of "became". This phrase then literally reads, "But the earth had become..." Tohu v'bohu! This phrase, "tohu v'bohu", is translated in the American Revision waste and void". In the Authorized Version it reads, "without form and void", but the sense of this phrase is even stronger than that. The Septuagint says, "But the earth had become unfurnished and empty," the Vulgate says, "dreary and empty," and the Aramaic makes the strongest and clearest statement of all: "And the earth had become ruined and uninhabited!" Hebrew scholars have said that this is the clearest statement of all, as the term "tohu v'bohu" literally means "desolation succeeding previous life. The second verse of Genesis, then, literally should read, "But the earth had become desolate, ruined, unfurnished, disrupted, fragmented and chaotic, covered with water and shrouded in darkness. And the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters. Let us clearly keep in mind that all this is prior to the six days of creation, or re-creation. Isaiah states that God created the earth not a waste (Isa. 45:18) and Moses states that the earth nevertheless had become a waste.
When God lowered the creation from the realm of pure spirit existence in Christ, to the gross material realm, there occurred a mighty disruption, breaking up, or fragmentation. The creation was "made subject to vanity" and the whole downward process of disintegration and dissolution was begun. Just as our ascent back into the image and fullness of God is ever "from glory to glory," "from faith to faith," and "from experience to experience," so the process downward into fragmentation and dissolution continued through various stages and vast ages of time until the lowest depths of frustration were reached.
Let me explain as simply as I can how and why this disruption took place. When the creation came OUT OF God, lowered into the material realm, it came forth in a state of fragmentation. God is invisible. As such He cannot be seen by any of His creatures in the physical, material universe. Creation's purpose is to manifest His excellence. All things in nature point to God and are pictures, revelations of His essence. But no one thing reveals Him fully. Fragments are everywhere. His power is in the wind. His light is in the sun. Monarchs faintly mirror His majesty. The rushing, gushing crystal fountains of water figure His quickening Spirit of life. His gentleness, His compassionate heart of infinite love is discerned in a mother's face and the touch of her hand The "rock of ages" reveals the strength, stability and unchangeableness of His righteous dominion. Ten thousand other items proclaim His glorious attributes, character and Being. Yet each lacks the qualities inherent in the others. Each fragment tells us something about God; none tell us all about Him. Beyond these lies the vast negative realm of sin, evil, darkness and death!
It is a remarkable fact that the six creative days were as much a process of division as of constitution. The great work of separation, segregation and fragmentation continued just as soon as God said, "Let there be light! The next act was just this: "And God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day" (Gen. 1:4). This business of division, separation and fragmentation did not stop with that one inauspicious act. God divided the waters from the water, (Gen. 1:6). He set great lights in the firmament of the heavens, the stars, sun and moon; and made a difference between them, for "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory" (I Cor. 15:41). God separated Eve from Adam, so that the graces and powers of man are divided; only in the twain is there one flesh.
When God took a "rib" from Adam, the Hebrew word is TSELA used elsewhere of "side", or "side chamber", or just "chamber", obviously God took more than just a bone, but that whole chamber, the womb, and from this He built a womb-man, or woman. From that time on she would help, assist the man to bring forth after his own kind, and without her help man could not come to complete fulfillment in the producing of this progeny. "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: ... So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Gen. 1:26-27). "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created" (Gen 5:1-2).
There is no doubt about it, when God first brought forth Adam, both the male and female were together in one, after the image and likeness of God. As to the ONENESS OF GOD we have already given reference: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE LORD. And when God brought forth Adam there was this state of oneness, male and female in one, and "He called their name Adam. If God had originally brought forth male and female divided, saying, "These are My image and likeness," He would have been portraying in the natural the fact that He was divided in the spiritual. But He did not first bring them forth in a divided state. Adam was brought forth in oneness, and afterwards came the division. This must be very clear in our understanding, because when all is RESTORED AGAIN to that which it once was, you could not be restored into ONENESS if oneness was not the original state.
Furthermore, as the progeny of Adam increased upon the earth God divided the families of man, segregating them into peoples and nations with their unique customs and languages (Gen. 10:5, 32). Later the land mass of the earth itself was split apart, with the segments drifting away to form continents, and thus, in the days of one, Peleg, "was the earth divided" (Gen. 10:25).
To further develop this theme let us note that man himself came OUT OF God and in the process experienced the lack that naturally followed his fragmentation from the wholeness of God. The book of Genesis gives two accounts of the creation of man. As I have studied the Word of God, many things have become very evident, one of which is that there are two distinct creations or works of God revealed in chapters one and two of Genesis. In Gen. 1:26-27 the first of these creative acts, in respect to man, is presented, and as we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image and likeness of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty and bearing His own divine nature, character and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. The second work of God wrought upon man is related in Gen. 2:7 where we see this significant action taking place: "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Reading this passage we have the definite assurance that, as man has been first created" in the spiritual image of God, a further work is being carried forth and the man is now being "formed" into another expression: "FORMED of the dust of the ground," thus BECOMING a "living soul" - manifest in the earth realm. The first is the created man, the second the formed man. The first is a spiritual man bearing God's image, the second a physical man. The first bears the image of the heavenly, while the second bears the image of the earthly. The first is known unto God in the Spirit, the second is manifest to the physical world. The first dwells in the ONENESS of God, the second is divided in the realm of the flesh. The very fact that the scripture states that Adam became a living soul, reveals that there was a process of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm.
I would point out that Adam had already "fallen", as it were, before he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was because he had already been lowered from a higher realm that he did partake of this tree. One of the outstanding texts which shows this lowering of man and his subsequent lack is Ps. 8:4-5 wherein we read: "What is man, that You are mindful of him? and the son of man, that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels..." The word "angels" in this passage is from the Hebrew ELOHIM and is always the Old Testament word for GOD. The phrase "made a little lower that the angels" would more freely be translated from the Hebrew text, "You have caused him (man) to LACK FROM ELOHIM." When God would execute the purpose of the ages He laid hold of His ELOHIM COMPANY and stripped from them some of that glory, that fullness, that oneness, and caused them to lack, for He subjected us to the bondage of vanity and corruption, emptiness and nothingness, not willingly on our part, but by reason of HIM who subjected us in hope - hope, in the words of another: "...that out of all its travail and processings would come forth a company that would redound to His praise, that the inherent glory of our pre-existent state in God, and the acquired glory through the contact with evil, and the overcoming thereof, would combine their effulgence and the latter state would be greater than the former; so that all we once had, plus all that is wrought out through the processing will combine their effulgence, and redemption's glory will shine out to His praise and all the universe shall throb anew with wonder of the power and the inworking of the grace of God" - end quote.
But in the meantime we were made to lack, lowered from that pure spirit existence in the image of God. "You have made him a little lower than Elohim," the spirit was lowered, it was made to lack from the realm of fullness, so that some of the counter-balancing qualities which promote order and righteousness were missing. This immediately made man vulnerable to any temptation that might come his way and so he fell into the delusion of sin. The very moment the spirit was made to lack man fell into the power of death. This in turn produced a change in even the body of man and he became subject to this realm of gross materialism as we know it now. And so, when we come to Adam in the garden, when the Lord God formed him of the dust of the ground and placed him in the garden to dress it, guard it, keep it, and take care of it, Adam was ALREADY SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD! He had already been lowered, had already "fallen", as it were, and been made to lack. He did not have sufficient resources to fulfill the command of God. And God planned it this way!
The moment you understand this truth, it is a simple matter to grasp the fact that all sin - with the whole realm of vanity, darkness, evil and death - is the fruit and manifestation of an IMBALANCE, A LACK, a DEFICIENCY, a FRAGMENTATION.
This brings us to a question of tremendous import. Did GOD create the devil? Well, we know he did not create himself! "For You have created all things. And he did not "just happen"! The reason some have held the view that Satan was originally an angel who, of his own free will rebelled against the Most High, is because it seems to relieve God of the responsibility of evil and sin in the world. When they are asked if a good God created a bad devil, they can reply: "No He did not create the devil; He created a beautiful and powerful angel who later became the devil - all by himself! This sounds good on the surface, but when the Spirit of wisdom and revelation comes from God, this line of reasoning is seen to be but shallow inductions of the natural mind.
How could a good God create a bad devil? How could a holy God create a wicked devil? How could the God of infinite love create a devil of utter hatred and viciousness, a murderer from the beginning? How could the God of all Truth create a devil who is a liar and the father of it, who never did, from the very beginning, have any truth in him? How could the God who IS LIGHT, and in whom there is no darkness at all, create a devil who is the Prince of the power of darkness?
There are untold millions of Christians who do not like to believe that A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S A-R-E O-F G-O-D - including evil. They much prefer to believe, as the harlot system has taught them, that in the beginning God made everything "perfect", then one of the "perfect" angels "made himself" into the devil, and that devil came in and wrecked the works of God's hands and so degraded God's beautiful and perfect creation that the Lord Almighty Himself was hard put to the test to discover some means to restore creation from the clutches of this wicked one. Why, oh why, can men not believe the simple, unvarnished Word of God? Ah, we have God's own word for it - His positive statement that HE CREATES EVIL. "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, THAT THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I THE LORD DO ALL OF THESE THINGS" (Isa. 45:7). God creates evil! It cannot be! But here it is in the Word. What will you do with it, beloved? "We must explain it somehow," the fundamentalist says. "Surely it cannot mean that God creates evil, sin, sinners, devils, wrongdoing - it must mean that He creates physical evil famines, pestilences, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, calamities, judgments, etc. which God sends upon mankind as punishment for their wickedness." Not so! The word here for "evil" is the Hebrew word RA which is used throughout the Old Testament to denote wickedness, sin and wrongdoing. In some five hundred passages it is so used!
But how could God do this? The answer is so simple, so plain, so basic, we blush and bow our heads with shame even for the asking! How can you create darkness? Just by turning off the light! Anyone can perform this simple feat at any hour of the day or night. The sequence is totally correct, as we read in Isa. 45:7, "I FORM THE LIGHT, and create darkness." The initial state is light. God is light and He was before all things - eternal, omnipresent Light. Withdraw that light and there is darkness. But the light came first, and therefore is always able to swallow up the darkness into light itself again. "The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out" (Jn. 1:5, Phillips). The light will always conquer darkness, but darkness shall never conquer light. But to create darkness - it is only necessary to withdraw the light!
Another illustration: Life is a cause, death is a result, an effect of the withdrawing of life. Death witnesses to how great LIFE really is! But life will not tell you anything at all about death, for as long as there be life, death is non-existent. But let us pursue this truth a little further, for Jesus spoke concerning the devil, that "He abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn. 8:44). J. B. Phillips gives the plainest and most accurate translation: "He ALWAYS WAS a MURDERER, and he has NEVER DEALT WITH THE TRUTH, since the truth will have nothing to do with him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks in character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Now, how did the devil come into this state of being a liar, never having dealt in truth, always a murderer, and one in whom there never has been any light or life? Simple! When God brought all things forth OUT OF HIMSELF, He withheld something from this being we know as the devil, caused him to lack, created a deficiency, and made him in a condition of fragmentation or separation from certain essential elements. God withheld light. He withheld truth. He withheld life. In the same way a hormonal imbalance in a human being can cause excruciating pain, sickness, stunted growth, vicious temper, mental illness, or create a psychopathic killer - so a SPIRITUAL or PSYCHICAL deficiency or imbalance produces a spiritually deranged personality out of character with the perfect nature of God.
It is not that the devil has no truth - even the truth he has is a lie for it is truth out of balance, partial truth, a half-truth, which, though it contains an element of truth, is not truth at all, but a lie. In the true and eloquent words of a friend: "The serpent (in the garden of Eden) used an argument that is correct in form, but because it was only form and had lost its essence, Eve was deceived by it. What was the argument that he used that was 'correct in form but actually invalid?' Hear it! 'God does know that in the day yea eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened!' That was a truth - and 'yea shall be as gods' was also a truth, for after the man and the woman had eaten, the Lord God Himself verified the serpent's statement as being absolute truth. 'Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil,' God said (Gen. 3:22). He was saying that Adam had become as a god himself! 'You shall be as gods,' the serpent had said, and that he told the truth is confirmed in the words, 'The man has become as one of us' he has become AS A GOD! In form, then, the serpent had a truth. He had, in fact, drawn on the very Word of God itself to tempt Adam and Eve, for the Lord had said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' What the serpent failed to reveal, however, was the essence of the form which is that INDEPENDENTLY OF GOD man can never be a partaker of the divine nature! This should have been a self-evident truth, but man failed to see it. Man became a god, alright, in the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - but he became a god in the wrong realm, for at the same time that God acknowledged man's 'deity' He also CAST HIM FROM THE GARDEN - cast him from the Kingdom of Heaven on earth - and set him in the earth 'to till the ground from which he was taken.' Thus, we find that Adam truly became a 'god' - as the serpent promised and the Lord confirmed - but he was not an heavenly god. He became, rather, the 'god of this world' (II Cor. 4:4). It is one thing to be a 'partaker of the divine nature' and it is quite another thing to be the 'god of this world.' In the former, there is contained the thought of TOTAL DEPENDENCE - in the latter, the principle of INDEPENDENCE" - end quote.(for more on the devil, see link below)
Independence - separation - fragmentation - imbalance - these terms each bespeak of that which has come out of God into a state of division, disruption, disunion, thus lacking wholeness. As we pointed out earlier, all sin, evil, darkness and death is the result of an imbalance or lack. All nature provides us with graphic illustrations of the result of both balance and imbalance.
One of the great principles of the universe is the principle of balance. If the earth were a few miles closer to the sun, it would be an inferno. If it were a few miles farther away it would be a desolate, frigid desert. But in its present location, balanced at an ideal distance from the sun, our planet is in a perfect condition to sustain an exciting proliferation of life forms. None of the other planets in our solar system can accommodate life because they are all unbalanced in their relationship to the sun. The atoms that are the basic building blocks of all matter on earth are another example of this perfect balance. The nucleus of the atom is made up of neutrons and protons, an incredibly harmonious organization. Yet, it is through the splitting of one of these atoms that the cataclysmic eruptions of nuclear power take place. The disruption of the atom brings devastation, sickness and death. To function properly, every part of our world, no matter how miniscule, must be in a state of complete equilibrium.
And so it is with our bodies. The human body is just another part of the universe that is meant to be in perfect balance. We have been constructed in such a way that we need just so much exercise, no more and no less. We need ust so much food of certain types. And we need just the right amount of sleep and relief from the tensions and stresses of daily life. If a person goes too far in either direction - too little or too much exercise, food, or rest - then his or her entire physical and psychological system gets out of kilter. And where there is a lack of balance, there is also a lack of personal well-being. By the same token, on the positive side, where there is balance, there is total well-being. Dis-ease is the product of imbalance in the physiological system. Cancer is one of the most dangerous and most dreaded of all diseases. In cancer, some of the cells of the body become disorganized and begin to grow so fast that they choke off organs of the body that our lives depend on. When those organs can no longer work, the person dies.
Food is an example from nature of the need for balance and wholeness. The best source of all nutritional elements is foods to which we are naturally adapted, eaten in their natural condition. If the food cannot be ingested in its raw and natural state, exactly as it came from the hand of the Creator, unprocessed and otherwise untampered with, it does not by nature belong in the human diet. We live in the day of refined foods, and refined means simply - FRAGMENTED AND DIVIDED! God provides us with the whole grain of wheat, and what technology and science does to the wheat after it is harvested is an outrage. First, the wheat grain is stripped of its most important nutritional elements by the removal of the bran. Then the germ of the wheat (the living part of the seed, which is full of enzymes and even more vitamins) is destroyed or discarded. What is left? The wheat center, which is mostly starch with very few distinctive vitamins. This lifeless form is then processed into flour; chemicals are added, and this is presented to the public as white, high quality, enriched flour. How can a food be "enriched" when all of the wholesome, natural nutrition is taken out of it and chemicals are substituted for the living vitamins, minerals and proteins? This snow-white powder, best suited for making wall-paper paste, is then formed into products called macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, bread, pastries, etc.. Humans consume large amounts of this fiberless paste (pasta), it passes from the stomach into the intestines where it clings to, and corrodes, the walls of the intestinal tract, fermenting and putrefying over long periods of time, and then we wonder why so many are dying from colon cancer!
Nutritive sufficiency depends on whole foods compounded by nature, according to God's design. Vitamins extracted from foods lose much of their value in the process of extraction. And they lose value when separated from their biochemical partners. The heat, chemicals and preservatives employed to bring them to the consumer make them liabilities, not assets. No fragmented or unnatural concoction can possibly substitute for natural, whole foods. All fragmented foods are deficient. Every fragmented food lacks wholeness. Each fragmented food is unbalanced. The result of this fragmentation is disease and death. And in the spiritual realm fragmentation means to lack something of that wholeness and fullness we knew once IN GOD before being lowered into the earth realm, made a soulish man, and separated from the life that is in Him. The lack has not been dispersed equally - demonic spirits lack far more than men of Adam's race, and one man may lack a different element than another, but "ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). The power of sin and death is to be discovered in this universal DEFICIENCY, this coming short of God's glory, this fragmentation of creation when it came out of God.
Many things that are good for us can become threats to our well-being if they get out of hand. Water is good, but too much causes a flood. Cars provide efficient transportation, but too many of them in one place can cause a traffic jam. We need food every day, but if we eat too much, it shows up in the wrong places - our hips and waistlines. Things like these we must keep under control. The most important form of control is self-control, which originates within our hearts by the Spirit. To exercise self-control, we must be moderate - temperate - balanced - we must restrain the impulses of the flesh and the emotions and desires of the carnal mind. "Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance, SELF-CONTROL against these there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23, KJV & Phillips). Interesting, isn't it, that self-control is a fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT! The Lord our God is ONE Lord united, undivided, unfragmented, balanced in all His attributes and Being. Nothing is out of control, nothing unbalanced, no contradiction or conflict. All facets of His nature are perfectly harmonized. This is just the problem with man - he is out of balance!
Bear with me as I draw your attention to yet another illustration - anger. Many Christians think any expression of anger is bad. Jesus Christ couldn't have been perfect, say some, for He lost His temper and became angry. Jesus Christ evidently was not perfect because He became angry. Is that true? I am afraid that it most certainly is true that Jesus Christ got angry. We read in the scripture that He looked round upon them with anger. Elsewhere we read that seeing the traffickers within the temple He made whips out of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple in anger. It is most certainly true that Jesus Christ became angry. It is not true, however, that this means He was not perfect. In fact, this is a demonstration of the many-faceted perfections of the Christ!
It has been argued that anger is always and invariably a sin. It is no doubt true that anger is often a very destructive and evil emotion, but it is far from true to say that anger is always that type of an emotion. Eph. 4:26 says, "Be yea angry, and sin not." "BE ANGRY." It is a command! "Be yea angry! and sin not." Furthermore, the Bible clearly tells us that God is angry with the wicked every day. Therefore, if anger is a sin, it is self-evident that God is a sinner and this, of course, is, on the very face of it palpably absurd. No, anger may be a virtue. In fact, the absence of anger under certain conditions may be a sin. It is one of the sins prevalent in America today.
Anger is often seen as a result of the fall of mankind. However, before Adam and Eve fell, God gave them the commission to "replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" (Gen. 1:28). Without an aggressive drive, Adam and Eve would have been unable to subdue the earth or maintain dominion over it. Anger and emotion were part of the emotional equipment man was given for the task. However, as a result of the fall, anger has become one of man's worst enemies. Uncontrolled, unbalanced, or misdirected, it can complicate or destroy one's life.
Temper in balance is a godly emotion, but unbalanced, on either side of the scale, it becomes sin. A person whose temper is unbalanced on the passive side will sit in his favorite chair reading the morning paper while the kids break up the furniture and demolish the house. He is not stirred to action, so sits passively by, ignoring the problem. On the other side, uncontrolled anger is vicious, destructive, and often deadly. If all that power is mishandled, it can create all kinds of havoc. For literally millions of Americans, anger is their number one enemy. Some ten million of our people - in anger - physically abused their children last year. More than five million men - in anger - beat up their wives last year. And over one-half of all the homicides in our country involved two people who knew each other well but - usually in anger one shot or knifed or otherwise destroyed the other. Anger, out of control, can devastate our lives. There is no emotion which of itself is evil. It is only when it is used outside the limits and structure that God has established that it becomes an evil. Controlled, temperate, balanced anger will neither ignore a child's misbehavior nor abuse him. It will correct in the proper spirit of firmness and sternness - tempered with love. Such is the way of OUR FATHER. "And yea have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Heb. 12:5-9).
We want to make this as plain as we possibly can. Sin and evil are always the result of a lack, an imbalance in man. Sex is a wonderful and beautiful thing in the order of God, but out of balance it is demeaning and creates problems of guilt, distrust, broken homes, venereal disease, etc. Within the marriage union it is holy, the apt figure for the spiritual love and union between Christ and the church; but out of balance expresses itself in fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality and all manner of uncleanness. The awesome power of true love will keep a man's sexual drive in order - giving him eyes only for his beloved; but when a man lacks pure love, or God's own divine nature of holiness and purity, his fleshly passions run unchecked, having no counter-balance, he is "drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15).
God Himself possesses the qualities of hatred, jealousy, vengence, anger, and all the dark emotions of men who steal and fight and lust and murder and destroy. But you see - each of these emotions are counter-balanced by His attributes of love, goodness, wisdom, righteousness and holiness. Every divine action therefore is balanced, nothing out of control, and God who sinneth not is One who IS light, and in Him there is no darkness at all! Men, however, retaining these negative emotions unbalanced by the positive characteristics of God's nature, manifest such out of balance and fill the earth with evil, violence and death. Satan himself, possessing the attributes of selfhood, halftruth, hatred and vengeance, unbalanced by the positive, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
We have met some brethren in this end-time move of the Spirit who have exaggerated the bright side of the love of God out of all proportion to the other aspects of His justice and judgment. The love of God has been presented in such a way that it is a weakness rather than a strength. It has been presented on the sunny side of the street with nothing on the other side ever mentioned. There is a "love" of God preached that sounds to me like the doting indulgence of rather senile grandparents instead of the vital and vigorous concern of a Father for the best interests of a son. They have used the shipworn cliche "God is love, God is love, God is love" until love has become such a one-sided, mushy gooey, syrup-sweet thing, and they have not told about the dark side of the love of God. They have watered love down, making it sickening rather than stimulating, causing it to slop over on every side like a sentimental feeling rather than an abiding concern for the object of love. This, too, is imbalance - sin!
Let every man and woman who treasures the beautiful hope of sonship know that there is the DARK SIDE OF GOD'S LOVE! Ah, the Great Physician will put His child on the operating table. He will use the surgeon's knife when He sees a tumor of self-will or a deadly virus of carnality sapping our spiritual lives, or when He sees the cancerous growth of sin. He does not hesitate to deal with us severely. We must learn this fact early: He loves us ust as much when He is subjecting us to surgery, as when He sends us blessings and gifts and brings us into the sunshine of His glory. Precious friend of mine, He loves us most when He is dealing severely with us, "for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." God's great and eternal love is perfectly balanced. Truly, the Lord our God is ONE!
THE UNFRAGMENTED ONE
Humanity, at present, is a hopeless mass of conflicting interests. It is divided into a thousand fragments. There is the basic division of the sexes. It seems almost strange that this should be a basis of discord. But so it is. There are the divisions of race, color, nationality, class, station, education, ability, language, custom, creed, etc., etc. But there is one image who is perfect: the blessed Son of God, the visible manifestation of the Father, the only One who has ever walked upon this planet who answers every attribute which Deity demands. He is the only whole, united, balanced, UNFRAGMENTED MAN! In Jesus Christ a Man has stepped forth who came from God without any lack, so that He could make this astonishing declaration: "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself. but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me" (Jn. 14:9-11).
God's firstbegotten Son was the express image of His Father, for God had no forefathers, so when He begat a Son, He was the exact image of His Father. This Jesus was - the exact image and likeness of God, and the only One on earth so far to bear the Father's likeness. Heb. 1:3 tells us that the Son was in the brightness and glory of God, and the express image of His Person. Col. 1:15 says that He is the image of the invisible God. He bore the image of His Father, as many an earthly son does of his father. Most people think that Adam in the garden of Eden was in the image and likeness of God, but as we have shown previously, he was in the image and likeness of God when originally created a spiritual man in the heavenly realm; but once lowered into the state of a soul man, formed of the dust of the ground, subjected to the world of duality and division, made to "lack a little from Elohim," stripped of some of that glory, and the one-ness of God's nature, subjected to the bondage of vanity, emptiness and nothingness, fragmented and unbalanced in his constitution - he bore the image of the earthly!
In Christ all the attributes of God are conciliated and He is fully furnished for every phase of His purpose to reconcile the universe. Christ is both the Saviour of the world and the Judge of the world. "This is indeed the Christ, the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD" (Jn. 4:42). "He will ... JUDGE THE WORLD in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained" (Acts 17:31). There is no choice between these two, and no division. Jesus Christ is not either the world's Saviour or the world's Judge. The preachers rant and rave and tell the people, "Today Jesus is your Saviour; tomorrow He will be your Judge. If you do not know Him today as your Saviour, tomorrow you will meet Him as your Judge." By this they mean that Jesus is only a Saviour today, and only a Judge in God's great tomorrow. If He does not eternally save you today, He will eternally damn you tomorrow. They have so divided God's nature and powers until it is impossible for Him to be both the Saviour of the world and the judge of the world, as the scriptures declare. In their warped, twisted, pitiful little minds God must be one or the other - He cannot be BOTH! But the glorious testimony of scripture is that the Lord our God is ONE - He is both SAVIOUR OF ALL and JUDGE OF ALL, the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD and the JUDGE OF THE WORLD - HE SAVES THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD A-N-D JUDGES THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD! His judgment is unto salvation. "When Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9). The notion that Jesus is only a Saviour today and only a Judge tomorrow is born of ignorance and contradicts the plain teaching of the Word of God. "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: THAT A-L-L MEN SHOULD HONOUR THE SON, EVEN AS THEY HONOUR THE FATHER" (Jn. 5:22-23). "N-O-W is the judgment of this world: N-O-W shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, WILL DRAW A-L-L MEN UNTO ME" (Jn. 12:31-32). In these verses Christ's judgment of the world is linked to the salvation of ALL MEN. He judges ALL and saves ALL - the very same ALL! The Lord our God is ONE, and our Lord Jesus Christ is ONE!
Christ Jesus is perfectly balanced and united in all of His faculties, and in Him all things are restored into oneness. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Cor. 6:17). "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us ... and the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me" (Jn. 17:21-23). "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male or female: for yea are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him" (Eph. 1:10).
This restoration into oneness has not yet fully been wrought out. Now our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away" (I Cor. 13:9-10, Amplified). As one has written, "Herein lies much of our training and discipline, yes, and travail, because we do receive 'IN PART', and it is FROM GOD, but it is fragmentary. If we try to claim perfection from that which is imperfect, we shall be found ashamed. But if we are exercised by that which we have received, and it works in us according to His purpose, then we shall be prepared to receive more, until we come to that hour when the 'in part' shall be swallowed up in the whole. Thus we see that there is an exercise and stewardship involved in the receiving of the portion which He has given, and according to how we handle and use this part."
I am a firm believer in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in gifts, in ministries, in baptisms, in the working of miracles, in signs and wonders, in helps, governments, diversities of tongues, body ministry and the assembling of the saints, all of which are given to bring the saints to perfection; but I would be a fool indeed if I failed to recognize that even all this exists in the "in part" realm and is but a fragmentation of the wonderful fullness that dwells in the firstborn Son of God. Can we not discern this division and fragmentation in the revealing words of the apostle Paul wherein he states, "For to one is given by the Spirit the word (a fragment) of wisdom; to another the word (a fragment) of knowledge ... to another faith ... to another ... to another...to another ... dividing to every man severally as He will" (I Cor. 12:8-11).
One of the most challenging passages in all the Word of God is found in Eph. 4:15, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ." The key words are: GROW UP I-N-T-O HIM ... WHICH IS THE HEAD. Grow up into...the Head! Who ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen a body grow up into a head? The body grows, and the head may grow somewhat, but the body remains a body and the head remains a head. But in the progressive development of the many-membered Christ, the door has been opened for some members who will GROW UP I-N-T-O T-H-E H-E-A-D. It signifies a transference from one part of the body to another, from the torso, up into the Head. It means that these grow up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, sharing all that He is. These are the sons of the MOST HIGH.
This bespeaks, a realm where you do not draw life from others, but you have life in yourself, life for yourself, and life for others. You are not a receptacle but a source. Jesus unfolded this realm when He proclaimed, "The Son of man CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life" (Mat. 20:28). Jesus did not come to receive life for HE WAS LIFE. He did not come to receive life but to GIVE LIFE. He HAD LIFE IN HIMSELF even as the Father had life in Himself. Within that life was contained every element of victory, righteousness, wisdom and power He could ever need. All the resources of God were within Him. If He needed power, the power was in the life. If He needed encouragement, the encouragement was in the life. If He needed wisdom, the wisdom was in the life. This is a nature and a life that is not dependent upon anything without, for it is a self-existent life, requiring no sustenance, underived, inherent, drawing not from anything. ALL-SUFFICIENT, ABUNDANT, GLORIOUS AND UNCHANGING LIFE!
You can always tell when people are growing up into the Head. They no longer need to BE MINISTERED TO. They aren't waiting for a healer to come to town and lay hands on them, for they have grown up into that measure of His fullness where they discover the Healer within, and are now able to appropriate FOR THEMSELVES the faith of God within to gain the victory over sickness and disease. They have no need for a prophet to give them a word, to tell them where to go or what to do, to reveal the will of God in their life, for they have learned to hear HIS VOICE, communing daily with the Prophet within, flooded with wisdom and understanding, in the conscious awareness of Father's plan and will. They don't talk about their problems, or lament about the devil, for the joy of the Lord is their strength and the peace of God rules in their heart. They don't ring up the Elders requesting prayer for this and that need in their life, for they have discovered the river of God flowing from under the threshhold of their own being, life full, abundant and triumphant! Oh, yes, they may ask prayer for others, but not for themselves. These are always ministering, encouraging, helping, blessing, lifting; but do not stop to be ministered to. This company is BECOMING ONE IN HIS FULLNESS, even those who HAVE LIFE IN THEMSELVES.
Some folk hear this word and suppose that we are "doing away with the gifts." Oh, no! beloved, we are not doing away with anything. All the wonderful gifts of the Spirit of God remain right where they have been for two thousand years - in the church - for all who need them. But I now write these lines to those elect saints who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship, and I do not hesitate to tell you that so long as we continue having to BE MINISTERED TO by the gifts, we will never know the glory of having GROWN UP INTO THE HEAD. In the "body" realm it is "fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself" (Eph. 4:16). But in the "Headship" realm it is, "As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son(s) to have life in Himself" (Jn. 5:25-26). It is the difference between the "in part" realm or the "fullnes of God" realm. Vast multitudes are content to dwell in the former, but only a few blessed souls dare press their way into the latter. It is not a question of whether or not we have the gifts, whether or not we move in the gifts. There is liberty to exercise any gift God has given when we encounter some precious soul that needs ministry from that realm. It is, rather, a question of whether W-E NEED TO BE MINISTERED TO THROUGH THE GIFTS! I find that gifts are still a blessing, and encouragement and help from time to time, and praise God for them all, for it is manifest that we have not yet attained to all the fullness we follow after. But those who shall stand in the HEADSHIP COMPANY as SONS OF THE HIGHEST, KING-PRIESTS AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK, will have the FULLNESS OF LIFE AND GLORY AND WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE AND POWER I-N T-H-E-M-S-E-L-V-E-S -- self-existent ones, the offspring of the God who IS ONE. These will know and experience and manifest GOD IN THE HIGHEST!
The manifested sons of God are not little fragments of God, but each grows up to be fully complete in the totality of the Father of spirits. Even as Jesus Christ is the personal embodiment of the fullness of God, and would be such even if we did not exist, so each and every son of the Highest must become the reproduction of the Father in the totality and completeness of Himself. The ONENESS of God's nature must be fully developed in each son until there be no fragmentation, lack or imbalance. Thus shall sin, liniitation, sickness, sorrow and death be swallowed up of life!
ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM
Thus far we have considered two Greek prepositions - EN and EK - with their applications of in Him and out of Him. All things in every realm were first created IN God; all things were then lowered from that dimension of pure spirit existence, issuing "out of" God, into the fragmentation of this material realm we now know. With this lowering came the duality of light and darkness, sin and righteousness, life and death, male and female, good and evil and the division of spirit, soul and body, not to mention a thousand other combinations.
The Authorized Version of Rom. 11:36 begins, "For of Him... " The Greek preposition EK in this phrase clearly denotes action and movement, indicating God not only as the Source, but showing a separation, disunion, disconnection between the Creator and His creation. There was a coming out from God.
Now enter redemption! "For of Him, and THROUGH Him, and to Him are all things." I would draw your attention to the precise order: (1) out of Him (2) through Him (3) unto (into) Him. All was out of Him; and now all is through Him! The term "through" is uniquely related to the redemption that we have by means of Christ Jesus. "Through" is from the Greek DIA denoting a forward action involving a passing through; in spiritual terms, signifying a sweeping up into the redemptive and reconstructive activities of God whereby God brings us again into His sphere of operation. Here we have an entirely new action - the recreative and restorative processes of God wrought out upon creation to alter its course, change its state of being, bring all back into right relationship in God again.
This preposition DIA means, among other things, "by means of" or "by the agency of". It is an action of God by means of Christ, we are the objects of the action, and transformation the result. Let us quote several scripture passages which tell us of some things that are accomplished through the Son of God. "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:14). "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 7:24-25). "For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2:18). "God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I Jn. 4:9). "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Gal. 4:7).
These are but a meager sampling of the vast array of scriptures that tell us what is available to us THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. Through Him we have reconciliation, peace with God. Through Him we have deliverance from the dominion of sin and death. Through Him we have life. Through Him we have access to the Father. Through Him we are made sons and heirs of God. What does this mean, THROUGH HIM? It means that He is the way, the agency whereby these blessings and benefits are bestowed upon us. He is the means whereby we can receive from God all the redemptive provisions of God. It is through Him, and only through Him that this is possible. They are provided through, by means of, by the agency of the redemptive activities and processes wrought out by our union with Christ. THROUGH Him bespeaks the action of Christ on our behalf to achieve God's redemptive purposes.
ALL THINGS INTO HIM
Our next, and final, preposition reveals the ultimate GOAL! What has been provided in Christ is a re-turn, a re-storation, a re-newing, a re-demption, a re-concilation, a re-surrection, a re-stitution. The prefix "re" means BACK, AGAIN, ANEW - and all the words with this prefix speak of something that LEFT ITS PLACE AND HAS NOW MADE ITS CIRCUIT AND COME BACK TO THE POINT OF ITS BEGINNING.
Let me give you now a scripture that shows the hand of God in this and the extensive scope of both the departure from, and the returning unto, God. I quote from Ps. 90:1-3. "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. T-H-O-U TURNEST MAN TO DESTRUCTION; and sayest, RETURN, YE CHILDREN OF MEN." You could never read this word "return" here, if you had not first read that man had been "turned" away to destruction. In this passage the word "destruction" has this meaning in the original: A COMPLETE COLLAPSE, a falling apart, crumbling man to a contrite condition. After turning man to destruction God then says, "RETURN TO ME, yea children of men."
There was a day when Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus (Mars Hill Auditorium) declared to the philosophers of Athens, "The God who produced and formed the world and all things in it, made from one common origin, one source, all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined their allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation - their settlements, lands, abodes; SO THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK GOD, IN THE HOPE THAT THEY MIGHT FEEL AFTER HIM AND FIND HIM, although He is is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, FOR WE ARE ALSO HIS OFFSPRING" (Acts 17:24-28, Amplified).
Oh, yes, He turned us to destruction, but planted deep within the subconsciousness of every man the secret command to return, which is revealed in that inner desire, yearning, craving, seeking, feeling, compulsion which is never satisfied until man does find himself at home in God once more. All the religiousness of men, from the witch doctor in the jungle to the modernist in the pulpit in America, is the manifestation of this FEELING AFTER GOD, IF HAPLY THEY MIGHT FIND HIM. While mankind in general is still lost in the hellish darkness of sin and death, yet there is a firstfruit company whose hearts have been charged by the inward call to return, and with the Shulamite maiden in the Song of Solomon share this blessed experience: "By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loveth: I sought Him but I found Him not. I will arise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broadways I will seek Him whom my soul loveth: I sought Him but I found Him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw yea Him whom my soul loveth? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I FOUND HIM WHOM MY SOUL LOVETH: I HELD HIM, AND WOULD NOT LET HIM GO" (S. of S. 3:1-4). As the Spirit has witnessed through the prophet: "And yea shall seek Me, and find Me, when yea shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
Mankind is yet groping about in the dense darkness of the camal mind, knowing not that HE is standing right there in the shadows, were their eyes opened to see. Yet He hath appointed a day - O glorious day! - when His light shall shine forth and the plan shall be completed as the apostle saith, "For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven or earth should find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. IN CHRIST we have been given an inheritance, since we were destined for this, by the One who works out all His purposes according to the design of His own will" (Eph. 1:9-11, Phillips).
This great law of circularity by which all things in God's creation are seen to return to the place of their beginning, in its spiritual significance, is expressed in our text: "For FROM HIM (EK: out of), and THROUGH HIM (DIA: by means of), and TO HIM (EIS: into), are all things." The Authorized Version says and to Him are all things." The preposition "to" is from the Greek EIS meaning INTO the exact converse of the first statement, "OUT OF Him are all things." The preposition EIS denotes motion with a GOAL - a forward movement with an arrival at a determined point. A careful investigation will show that the sense is never limited to the motion towards, but always extends to the entrance and arrival into. Thus the pen of inspiration has proclaimed the wonderful truth that not only has all come out of God, not only will all be made to pass redemptively through Jesus Christ, but all will ultimately come back into God in the same state of unity, harmony and perfection of its primeval existence.
That wondrous "Golden Text" of the Bible is the best known and perhaps the most loved passage of scripture in the world. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16). Critics of the ultimate salvation of all men have been quick to point out the word "whosoever" in an effort to show that not all will believe in Jesus, making it a limited thing, only the "whosoever" that believes receives everlasting life. This erroneous notion arises from an inattention to the simple facts of the Greek text. "Whosoever" translates the Greek word PAS which means ALL, EVERYONE. Passages such as the following employ the word PAS: "...gathered ALL (PAS) the chief priests..." "...slew ALL (PAS) the children..." "EVERY (PAS) word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God", "...healing ALL MANNER (PAS) of sickness and disease among the people", "...giveth light to ALL (PAS) that are in the world", "EVERY (PAS) good tree bringeth forth good fruit", "...so death passed upon ALL (PAS) men, for that ALL (PAS) have sinned...therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL (PAS) men to condenmation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL (PAS) men unto justification of life", "...the WHOLE (PAS) creation groaneth..." "...who is over ALL (PAS), God blessed for ever", "...concluded ALL (PAS) in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon ALL (PAS)", "...gather together in one ALL (PAS) things..." "...reconcile ALL (PAS) things unto Himself", and the list runs on almost endlessly, for there are literally hundreds of passages where this word PAS is translated ALL or EVERY. A literal translation from the Greek would read, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that EVERYONE BELIEVING INTO HIM should not perish, but may be having life eonian."
Everyone believing into Him. What a thought! Certainly there is no forced limitation there, no exclusion, no set boundary; the mighty God, he blessed Redeemer of the world excludes none, leaving the gate open wide for EVERYMAN to believe and come home into God.
Our faltering English allows us to believe on Christ or in Christ. But the more truthful tongue of inspiration prefers to believe into. The word in the original is the same preposition EIS meaning INTO. "...that everyone believing into Him might not perish..." Faith is a moving force. When we believe we do not stand on, or even in, but we are transferred from without to within. Out of the world and into God's Son. Not only is He the foundation beneath our feet, but He is above us and all around us. The true force of into is seen in the very next verse. As God dispatched His Son into the world, so faith moves us from outside of Him into Him. How much richer would be our life and experience if we should imitate God as beloved children, even in His ways of speaking! He seldom refers to the great change wrought by faith as a motionless position. Never is it faith in Him until after the great transaction is accomplished. Seldom, in John's gospel, do we read of believing on the Christ. Yet nearly forty times, in nearly every chapter, we read of believing INTO. In the third chapter alone it occurs four times. INTO suggests progression, carries with it a sense of growth, development and motion, a pressing on and an entrance into realities beyond.
Saving faith is not of ourself, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. Faith is the omnipotent power that will bring us back into ONENESS IN GOD. We shall be enabled to fully believe into Him. I think I can best illustrate it this way. If I took a bottle down to the ocean and filled it with ocean water, I could say, The ocean is in the bottle; but the bottle wouldn't be in the ocean, it would be in my hand: but if I got into a boat and went out into the ocean and dropped the bottle over the side and watched it as it disappeared beneath the waves, then I could say, The bottle is in the ocean. Now I could say, The ocean is in the bottle and the bottle is in the ocean. So you see, there is a world of difference between the ocean being in the bottle and the bottle being in the ocean.There is also a difference between Christ being in us and us being IN CHRIST. Christ can be in us without us being in Christ. Paul speaks of Christ in us, the hope of glory; and it is wonderful to know that HE dwells in one; but this is not the end of our salvation, it is just the beginning. We must follow on until we are IN CHRIST; and that means to be completely swallowed up into Him, as the bottle is swallowed up in the ocean. We are to be rooted and built up IN HIM.
In understanding how all things shall be restored into God, it might be helpful to consider what is taking place in the beginning of the new creation; for the new creation has already begun. The new creation is composed of those who are being created anew through and into the Christ. "Therefore, if any one is IN CHRIST he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and behold the new has come" (II Cor. 5:17, R.S.V.). Nothing can be clearer than this, that in this passage we are told of the beginning of the new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.
The reference is to that firstfruit company who are the first to enter into the new. They become fully a new creation IN CHRIST. It is because they are IN CHRIST that they are a new creation. In the life of the one who is IN CHRIST, the old has passed away, and everything has become new. Now I know that this scripture is applied by most Christians to all believers; but if we will take time to consider this reverently and carefully, we can easily see that it does not pertain to the average believer today. When we first believe on the Lord a new beginning has commenced. A change has started; some of the old has passed away, and some new things have taken their place; but who among us can boast that EVERYTHING IN OUR LIFE became new when we first believed? Our salvation is a progressive work; it begins when we first turn to the Lord, and continues until we are complete IN CHRIST.
If we take this scripture in the simplicity of how it reads, it means that to be in Christ, everything pertaining to the old creation has been taken away: the old nature is gone; the old flesh is gone; the old mind is gone; the old desires are gone; the old emotions are gone; the old will is gone; the old habits are gone; all the old carnal tendencies are gone, and we have become an entirely new creation. Jesus often spoke of His Father being in Him. He said, "It is not I that do the works, it is My Father that dwelleth IN ME." The Father dwelt in the Son and worked through His Son to do His will. But this isn't all He said. When talking to His disciples in Jn. 14:10, He said, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?" It wasn't just that the Father was in Him, but He was also in the Father. Several times He impressed this truth deeply upon His disciples. When He was praying to the Father for those God had given Him, that they might be one, that they might come into glorious unity, He prayed this way "That they all may be ONE; as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they may be ONE IN US" (Jn. 17:21). This is a mutual dwelling, "as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee." The Father was dwelling in Him, and He was living in the Father. Only this mutual dwelling can bring oneness, the unity, the wholeness that God desires. It is not Christ in us that restores us into the oneness of God's nature; it is us in Christ. When the ocean is in the bottle you see the bottle first, and the ocean second. But when the bottle is in the ocean you see the ocean first, and the bottle afterwards, if, indeed, the bottle is seen at all. When Christ is in us we are still seen first, and Christ is seen second. But when we are swallowed up into Christ HE IS SEEN and we are lost in HIS FULLNESS.
And now He, Who is ONE, harmoniously works this victory into us, line upon line, precept upon precept, changing us by degrees, gathering all into Himself, that we might be restored into the same identity, or state of being as Himself. Not until all our desires, drives, longings, needs, are met in the very central supremacy of Christ can we know full peace and joy and righteousness and completeness. IN HIM all deficiencies are met, IN HIM there is balance, and "IN HIM all things consist (are held together)" (Col. 1: 17).
We have been so divided in ourselves! Torn between desires for the world, and desires for God. Vacillating back and forth between the cravings of the flesh, and the yearnings of the Spirit. We speak of the "old man" and then of the "new man", and we often wonder which one we really are, or if we are still trying to blend them both together. But no man can serve two masters, and thus we have passed through the conflict, to which shall we give obedience? It is evident that we still LACK FROM ELOHIM. Praise God for the present "through" Christ process, for the purgings which are a part of the way of the cross, for gradually we find that the flesh is stripped away, the old is put off, and the new shall arise, yes, our life shall totally be found in the singleness of Christ. Then shall we become one in ourselves, even as we become ONE IN HIM.
Duality, division, imbalance, fragmentation - pulled in all directions trying to satisfy multiplied desires, this is a mark of this world's system. But there are those who have been apprehended of Him, to become firstfruits of a new creation, and they shall know the joy of oneness, unity, harmony.
Shortly after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter and John visited the temple in Jerusalem, where they came into contact with a man "lame from his mother's womb." Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked alms of them. Peter, "fastening his eyes on him with John, said, Look on us." Then Peter said, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." Peter took this man by the hand, "and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God" (Acts 3:1-8).
We read that "as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering." It is not surprising that the people wondered, for here was a man who they knew had been unable to walk from the time of his birth, but who was suddenly walking and leaping and praising God. Peter observed the situation and said to the people, "Ye men of Israel, why marvel yea at this? or why look yea so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom yea delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But yea denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom yea see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him the PERFECT SOUNDNESS in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I know that through ignorance yea did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled."
Thus Peter set squarely before the men of Israel that fact that Jesus Christ had been raised from the dead, and that it was through faith in His name that the lame man had been given soundness of limb. He was made WHOLE, all the parts of his physical being quickened, balanced and harmonized into the state of health, vitality, and well-being. Then Peter presented a marvelously comprehensive lesson from this incident of divine healing, a lesson which embraces the great objective of the Creator's design for the redemption of mankind from the division, fragmentation and imbalance of this world of confusion, limitation, sickness and death and the restoration of the WHOLENESS of union IN GOD. He said, "Repent yea therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21).
Restitution means restoration of reconstitution. Something had been lost. One of the evidences of that loss was the condition of the lame man who through faith in Jesus had been restored to health; and Peter explained that in the conclusion of God's wonderful plan there would be TIMES OF RESTITUTUON OF ALL THINGS. Jesus had healed a few of the sick in Israel during the short period of His ministry, and now Peter and John had restored another to health. But the people were not to suppose that these token blessings represented God's total design for the sin-cursed and dying race, nor for the whole vast creation, for later in His great plan there would be TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S. The restoration of a human body back into the state of wholeness was but a weak type and shadow of the restitution that would ultimately restore ALL THINGS.
What was lost, when was it lost, and how shall it be restored? We hear much these days on the subject of restoration. Some churches are built on the foundation of restoring the "New Testament Church". In fact, all Christian groups, movements and denominations are, to some extent, looking wistfully back to the glory of the early church. But the restoration of the New Testament Church cannot be the restoration the scriptures speak about, for Peter preached this grand message on the day of Pentecost, and we read it in Acts 3:21. At that time, THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH TO RESTORE! There never had been, in the history of the world, a New Testament Church, and the church was only then ready to be birthed. You cannot restore something that never has existed, and this restoration is one of which all the holy prophets spake SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN.
Some entertain the notion that there is to be a restoration of mankind back to the state of Adam in the garden of Eden. There are beautiful types in the garden of Eden, and much precious reality, with the presence of God and the tree of life in the midst of the garden, but really we have no desire to be restored to the Adam of the second chapter of Genesis, in the garden of Eden, for it is plain that he had but little to lose. He had already been lowered from his pure spirit existence in God; the image and likeness of God in him had already been fragmented and become marred; and even the dominion given into his hands never was exercised or consolidated, before the dark specter of sin thrust him rudely from the garden. We have received this idea of restoration of all that Adam lost in the garden, through the erroneous supposition that the Adam of the second chapter, and the man of the first chapter, were the same man in the same state of being, and that the man of the second chapter sinned, and thereby fell from the perfection of the man of the first chapter. We have already seen that such was not the case, so will not labor the point. But restoration back to Eden would, in effect, be no restoration at all!
Therefore, the restoration MUST GO BACK FARTHER EVEN THAN EDEN. Farther back than we have ever dreamed or even considered, for Acts 3:21 says, "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN." If the prophets began to speak about this great restoration from the very beginning of the cosmos and all time, then it must be conceded that this restoration goes back beyond any of their prophecies, beyond the foundation of the cosmos, and beyond the first moment of time.
We have been prone to think solely in terms of the natural, physical realm. But everything that has happened in this gross material realm, came out of something in the heavenly realm. All things are of God. All have their source in Him, and all have come out of Him. These things I now write and these blessed hopes I set before you that your spiritual eyes might be lifted far above the dimness of tradition and the outer darkness and foolish senility of the Babylonish church system. May the blessed Spirit of Truth somehow enable all who read these lines to understand that we speak of a restoration, not so much of what Adam might have lost, but of WHAT GOD LOST, for the Son of man was sent from the beauteous, bounteous and harmonic celestial realms above "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk. 19:10). "That," in the Greek text, means "the thing." Christ came to save, not merely he who was lost, but that, the thing that was lost. Here is REAL RESTORATION spoken of by the mouth of ALL the prophets SINCE TIME BEGAN. The restoration goes far beyond whatever Adam may have lost in Eden; back to a loss that God suffered when all things were lowered out of Him. There must be restitution of all into Him, with the healing of all the separation, division, fragmentation and imbalance, with a rectification of the loss suffered by each part.
"And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Col. 1:20). The phrase "things in heaven" suggests to us one startling step further. The sphere of reconciliation is not only man - not only the created beings in the heavens above him - it is that of the very Being of God. Remember the words of the Psalmist: "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Omitting for a moment the fact that they have met and kissed, let us consider them separately. They all exist in the nature of God. If we reverently think of God as apart from the mystery of evil, we recognize the perfect harmony of these: mercy, the tenderness bending over in love; truth, which is uprightness, stable, and builds; righteousness, which is a straight line without deviation; peace, which is absolute safety. All these co-exist in the nature of God. But the breaking up of the harmony of these in creation, the fragmentation of the very nature of God Himself in the things made, necessitates not only the restoration of creation, but A RECONCILING WITHIN THE VERY BEING OF GOD.
It is most important that we thoroughly understand the meaning of the word "restitution". The Greek word is APOKATASTASIS and does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament besides Acts 3:21; but the kindred verb occurs in eight other passages, and in each is rendered "restore". Dr. Young, in his Analytical Concordance, gives the clearest meaning of all, and, in fact, gives only one simple meaning: RECONSTITUTION. Reconstitution is an interesting word. The New Webster's Dictionary defines it thus: To constitute anew, as whole milk from dried powdered milk; to reconstruct.
Let us UNDERSTAND! Nothing can be re-constituted except that which has been taken apart, separated, or fragmented. Nothing can be re-constituted but that from which some ingredient is MISSING! It has been said that should you ask a chef for his secret recipe, he will give it to you - minus one key ingredient! Because of the absence of that one ingredient your dish will never be quite as tasty as his! In most grocery stores today one can buy "reconstituted orange juice" in half-gallon cartons. "Reconstituted" is just another way of saying that the juice is made from concentrate. To make concentrate, the water is removed, leaving a strong, syrupy substance sold in super markets as "frozen concentrate". The concentrate is pure orange juice, minus the one key ingredient - water! Now you can buy the concentrate, add back the water, and you have reconstituted orange juice. Or, the company will take the water out, then put it back, call it "reconstituted orange juice", and sell it to you at a higher price to pay for all this service!
The simple truth of the matter is this: Restitution means reconstitution, and the reconstitution of all things bespeaks the reconstituting of all things back into the unity, harmony and wholeness they had in God in that long-ago beginning when all things were created IN CHRIST JESUS. It means that God will restore to each man individually, and to all men collectively, the fullness of His nature, mind, will and purpose until there is no lack in anyone, anywhere in all the unbounded heavens. Every attribute of God will be so perfectly synchronized and balanced in every creature until there I are no excesses, no imbalances, no extremes, no diseases disorders disability, dis-tress, dis-aster, dis-obedience, dis-cord, dis-couragement, dis-harmony, dis-orientation, dis-union or dis-integration whatever. All the negative attitudes, emotions and state of being, the result of fragmentation, are swallowed up in HIS FULLNESS. The more we enter into Christ the more we enter into singleness, for He IS oneness in every aspect. "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" ( II Cor. 11:3). Literally, "from the SINGLENESS into the Christ."
From the pen of another ready writer comes these words of confirmation: "Everything in today's confused, complex system seeks to turn us away from that singleness which leads us back into Christ. We get so entangled and frustrated by every confused work, that we hardly know which way is up, or down. Only in the central supremacy of Christ can true oneness be found. He is to be the Center, Source, and the Goal of the universe. So long as the will of man is in contra-distinction to the will of God, we do not have oneness. But the more we are brought to that place of submission, 'not my will, but Thine, be done,' then there is a unification taking place which brings us into this blessed oneness. Oneness must eventually be established in ALL, everywhere, that God, WHO IS ONE, might be ALL IN ALL. This means true unification, with singleness of mind and purpose, because everything is IN HIM.
"As soon as Christ becomes the total Center of our life, and everything is swallowed up into Him, then He is all in all for us. We shall not stroll through the ages together just hand-in-hand, but He said, 'I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK IN THEM; and I will be their God and they shall be My people' (II Cor. 6:16). Furthermore, He has 'purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together IN ONE all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him' (Eph. 1:9-10). But where does the fulfillment of this purpose begin? IN A FIRSTFRUITS COMPANY. Those whom He apprehends and leads out from the midst of the world, and its corruptness, into a path of righteousness, to become HIS people. And then, every man in his own order, rank after rank, until all have been brought into the fullness of His life.
"Thus, ultimately it is not just His mind controlling our mind, but it is our possessing HIS mind. This is His central supremacy within. It is more than just a 'fill me' with more of God, but a being swallowed up into Him, henceforth to be AS HE IS, a vessel that shall be truly a revelation of His life. This is not becoming a 'little Christian robot', with the Lord on high pulling the strings. Flesh and Spirit do not operate in unison when the carnal mind seeks to control. But when man is joined in one spirit to the Lord, and the Spirit of Christ fills all of man, there is a NEW CREATION which is able to fulfill God's purpose for mankind. Oh, to possess HIS mind, HIS will - becoming one in HIS purpose. This is what we are admonished in Eph. 4:23, to be 'renewed in the spirit of your mind.' This renewal, which brings the mind into oneness with the spirit realm, breaking down all the barriers of the carnal, results in a new state of being, 'to make in Himself of twain ONE NEW MAN, so making peace' (Eph. 2:15).
"The first man, Adam, was made a living soul. A division was wrought between soul and spirit, and Adam moved in a soulish realm. The new man, the last Adam, became a life-giving spirit. In Christ we see the swallowing up of the soulish man into the realm of the spiritual. Thus, when our mind is fully renewed, into the mind of Christ, we shall no more think thoughts which are different than that of the Spirit, but we shall think the Spirit's thoughts. And since all actions are thoughts expressed, it follows that all that we do will be right, for our actions shall spring out of a Christed mind". - Ray Prinzing.
Restitution is God putting things back together in UNION IN HIMSELF until all separation and division is healed, every deficiency replenished, all imbalance corrected, and all extremes harmonized. In this state of being selfhood, self-will, duality, sin and death forever cease to exist. God becomes ALL-IN-ALL.
Let us consider now in conclusion, the steps, stages, and processes by which God performs this grand work of restitution. The very first reality experienced by men who turn to the Lord is that of RECONCILIATION. Reconciliation always involves a turning UNTO, a movement TOWARD. "And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things UNTO HIMSELF" (Col. 1:20). "And that He might reconcile both UNTO GOD in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby" (Eph. 2:16). "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us TO HIMSELF by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world UNTO HIMSELF ... we pray you in Christ's stead, be yea reconciled TO GOD" (II Cor. 5:18-20). "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled TO GOD by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10).
Webster's dictionary defines the English word "reconcile" to mean: to unite; to bring back into harmony; to settle; to make consistent or compatible. Now this leads to a point of immense importance. We often hear it said that "the death of Christ was necessary in order to reconcile God to man." This is a pious stupidity, arising from inattention to the language of the Holy Spirit, and indeed to the plain meaning of the word "reconcile". God never changed - never stepped out of His normal and true position. He abideth faithful. There was and could be no derangement, no confusion, no alienation, so far as He was concemed; God was still ONE within His own Being, all was wisely planned by His omniscient mind, and man was lowered into the world of sin and strife and hostility in the hope of redemption and the restoration of all following the outworking of His purpose; hence, there could be no need of reconciling Him to us. In fact, it was exactly the contrary. Man was the one fragmented, out of balance, marred and scarred, walking in self-will and rebellion, a slave to sin and death, the enemy of God. God never ever became an enemy of man nor does He need to be reconciled to man. The opposite is the truth and always the teaching of scripture. It was God who provided redemption! God so loved the world that He gave His Son! The God who so loved the world could never have been man's enemy! But man is an enemy of God and man must be reconciled to God. Oh, that sinners would be told that it was God the Father who gave His Son, not to appease some awful anger and vengeance on His part, or to reconcile Himself, but to appease and reconcile man! Therefore, the scripture loudly proclaims, "We beseech you in Christ's stead, be yea reconciled to God" (II Cor. 5:20).
A reconciliation is for the purpose of bringing people of opposing ideals and desires together. The way God does this is by means of the ministry of reconciliation. Jesus came that He might reconcile us to God; that means that all the barriers that exist between man and our Creator, will be taken away; and that which separates us from God will be destroyed, and we will be brought back into a friendly relationship with Him. Reconciliation is needed between two persons who are not on friendly terms. Something exists between them that keeps them apart, and whatever it is, has to be removed, so they can come together again, and enjoy each other. "For if, WHEN WE WERE ENEMIES, WE WERE RECONCILED TO GOD by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10). What wonder there is in these few words! We were ENEMIES, yet reconciled to God, and that reconciliation came through the death of the Son of God. We were not converted people when we began to be reconciled. We were not saved people at that reconciliation. If we had been saved or converted or righteous at the time of reconciliation, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO NEED FOR A RECONCILIATION. On the other hand, we could never come to God to be saved without first being reconciled! This is why I stated earlier that reconciliation is the very first reality experienced by the man or woman who turns to the Lord. Praise God, one glad day the Spirit of God touched our heart-strings and by the transforming power of the blood of Jesus our enmity, variance, and hostility were washed away, neutralized, destroyed, and we came broken-hearted, weeping, repenting back to Father's house. We were reconciled to God!
Reconciliation is unto God, but SALVATION, on the other hand, involves an altogether opposite principle. Salvation is not basically unto, but FROM. Salvation embraces a term of which most professing Christians, though familiar with, have confused understanding. The term "saved" comes from the Greek verb SOZO and is found in the New Testament 106 times and means save, keep from harm, preserve, rescue. The noun SOTERIA is found 45 times and means salvation, deliverance, preservation. The compound verb DIASOZO is found eight times and means to bring safely through, save, deliver, rescue. In no way does it mean merely to have one's sins forgiven, or a good feeling, or be bom again, or a ticket to heaven - the meanings usually associated with it in most Christian circles.
It should be self-evident that first and foremost salvation involves a deliverance from something. If I say, "Robert saved the boy from drowning," or "The Park Ranger saved the girl from the clutches of the bear," I am describing a rescue, a deliverance, an emancipation, and escape FROM a power that would harm or destroy. Salvation is uniquely from. Let us consider a few scripture passages which confirm this fact. "And thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people FROM their sins" (Mat. 1:21). "And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves FROM this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40). "Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved FROM wrath through Him" (Rom. 5:9)." He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death" (Heb. 5:7). "He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul FROM death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:20). The scriptures reveal that salvation brings deliverance from the world, from sin, from the flesh, from the devil, from wrath, from death! This salvation is being wrought out in us now from experience to experience, from glory to glory. As has often been said, we have been saved, are being saved, and shall be saved. Every step of the way it is a salvation, a deliverance FROM a former state or condition.
RESTITUTION is more than reconciliation and more than salvation; it is greater than all. Reconciliation is the abolishment of our hostility toward God or our estrangement from God. Salvation is our deliverance out of the kingdom and power of darkness. Reconciliation means the removal of something from us; whereas salvation removes us from something; but restitution is greater than both! Restitution ADDS SOMETHING TO US - and the sum of that "something" is A-L-L that we were made to LACK FROM ELOHIM!
On the morning of November 1, 1952, an event took place which was to forever change our world. It happened on Elugelab, a small island in the Pacific, about one mile wide. On it were a number of buildings and weapons. Floating in the bay were several ships. Early that moming the first full-scale hydrogen bomb was exploded there and the island of Elugelab forever disappeared from this world. In its place was a hole in the bottom of the ocean, a hundred and seventy-five feet deep and over a mile in diameter. The buildings disappeared. The tanks and ships in the bay were totally vaporized. One who watched the event and sailed over the scene a few hours later, saw that the waters were perfectly clear. There was no debris, no sand, no material from the ships or buildings. There was nothing but a gaping hole in the bottom of the sea. The first fusion bomb had been exploded with a power equal to seven hundred and fifty times that which leveled the city of Hiroshima. The hydrogen age - the fusion age - began!
It had been speculated since 1934 that such a thing as fusion energy or a fusion explosion was possible. Fission was first discovered whereby the heavy element of uranium was split in two. It was known, however, that it was possible to create energy in the way stars create energy, by taking the light element of hydrogen and fusing the atoms of hydrogen together into an atom of helium. That is the way suns create their energy. But it was considered to be entirely impractical and impossible because in order to produce this fusion it was necessary to create a heat of twenty million degrees centigrade. Such a thing was totally beyond the realm of possibility in 1934. But after 1945, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the possibilities became very real because in the center of an atomic explosion there is created for a moment a temperature of one hundred and fifty million degrees centigrade. So the possibility of fusion was again examined.
We have been apprehended today to participate in an event of SPIRITUAL FUSION, whereby we are told that we are being fused together into ONE IN GOD. "He that is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT" (I Cor. 6:17). How does this come about? It comes about because of the white heat of the passion of Jesus Christ causing a spiritual fusion in three parts: First, the tremendous heat of the love of Christ; then the breaking down of the duality and division of selfhood; and finally the fusion of a whole new element, our spirit joined to His Spirit, and next the release of the tremendous energy as a result of that fusion. That is what Christ has called us to experience. That we, being many, should become ONE IN HIM: one body, one spirit, one loaf, one family, one mind, one will, one nature, one purpose, one power, one glory, one word - ONE ELOHIM! This is what it means to be a son of God - to be fused together into Him who IS THE MIGHTY GOD.
GOD ALL IN ALL - this will be the grand conclusion of the great drama of the world's history and of Christ's redemption. There will come a day - the glory is such we can form no conception of it, the mystery is so deep we cannot realize it - when the Son shall deliver up the Kingdom that God gave Him and which He won with His own blood and established and perfected from the throne of His glory. "He shall deliver up the Kingdom unto the Father ... that God may be all in all" (I Cor. 15:24-28). ALL IN ALL - such is the grand goal of our God! He will yet be everything to everyone of His creatures, as it is fitting He should be. Nothing less will satisfy His heart for "He has created all things, and for HIS PLEASURE they are and were created (Rev. 4:11). Nothing less will vindicate His love or form a fit conclusion for the sin and sorrow and death of the ages. Let us with joy believe it! Let us exult as we receive it! Let us be "laborers together with God" to accomplish it! May this simple phrase, that the smallest child can utter, become the very basis of our being, the background of every act, the key to every occurrence, a light in every darkness, a balm for every wound, and our ages-lasting consolation and good hope.
Let us awake from the terrifying nightmare of Babylon's delusions and let us wing our spirits to God's glorious consummation. Here is a vision worthy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - GOD ALL IN ALL. And now, this ultimate reality must begin in us who have received the call to sonship. If this is what fills the heart of Christ; if this expresses the one end of the work of Christ, then, if I would have the Spirit of Christ in me, the motto of my life must be: Everything made subject and swallowed up INTO HIM "that God may be all in all." What a life that will be when that reality becomes our banner! To serve the Father fully, wholly, only, to have Him all in all! That He is not ALL in all at the present is quite obvious, for only a fraction have faintly felt that God was indeed ALL to them. Some have known Him as their Saviour, some have experienced Him as their Healer, some have received gracious gifts from His hands, some have acknowledged Him as their Lord, but some have found Him as their ALL. Happy are they who know Him thus! They have tasted of the cup ineffable, which quenches every thirst and satisfies completely and forever.
When Christ ascended on high after His resurrection, He led many captives out of the pit and also set forth this greater purpose: "Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, THAT HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS" (Eph. 4:9-10). The message is clear - redemption does not include only the salvation of mankind, wonderful and glorious as that aspect is, but it also includes the complete transformation of the entire universe so that God shall FILL ALL THINGS. There shall not be left one corner of this vast universe where He shall not be LORD AND KING. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE SHALL BE RESTORED TO THE BEAUTIFUL HARMONY AND ORDER OF THE LOVE OF GOD. Indeed, HE SHALL FILL ALL THINGS SO THAT "GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL." And ALL will find its home again IN HIM.
This, precious friend, is the RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS!
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J. PRESTON EBY - P.O. Box 371240 - El Paso, Tx. 79937-1240For more on the devil see THE SERPENT - Where did the Devil Come From?