"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God (1)shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4,7)
The inspiration of the above verse reached far beyond man's entry into the world of dust. It touched the dawn of the ages. It gave rise to the celestial beings of glory. Job's vision embraced the sons of God, the flaming ones chosen to build the Family name. It was the name that would span the universe and draw all creation into it. With ear splitting peals, the sons of God were heard expressing their overwhelming joy, and for good reason. They now had a place to begin their most rewarding mission of all time. The foundation of the earth had been laid. They had a place wherein to prove themselves.
We can't help from wondering if they could see where their travels would take them. Whether they were permitted insight to their destiny or not, before reaching their journey's end, they would know full-well the most intricate parts of it. They would be pilgrims of the most eventful, heroic, grueling, yet rewarding journeys of all time. At their travel's end, they will have been to hell and back. Oh God! What a journey!
Mortal man has two quests that burn in his soul -- to know his origin and to know his destiny. When a man knows from where he came, it does something to him. It gives him a sense of worth to know he is the branch from a good root. The farther he can trace his roots, the greater he feels about himself. Roots are important to most people; but for the Sons of God it is for reasons other than wanting to feel better about themselves.
There is a song that sheds some light on why it is so significant for us to know our origin. One short verse in it sings: "To know my origin is to know my destiny." It was no doubt inspired by what Paul wrote in one of his letters: "For out of Him, and through Him, and into Him -- all: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Rom 11:36, literal).
The above verse contains less than a handful of words, but it is tremendous in scope. Although it first appears so simple, it is yet profound. And according to Paul, it is a deep mystery: "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" (Rom 11:33-35).
Regardless of men's wisdom and might, without possessing the mind of the Lord, it is impossible to know the mind of the Lord. The apostle reinforced this thought in the 2nd chapter of 1st Corinthians(2). Indeed, we have the mind of Christ, therefore, we know the things that pertain to God, the author of our origin. We cannot go farther back. He is the beginning of our far journey, He is the process of our journey, and He is the end of it. Praise Him, oh ye Sons of God! He not only has given us sight to see; but He has given us the wherewithal to make the distance and finish the race.
Such a vision is not common in the world or the church. For the most part, people assume their origin was at their natural conception in their mother's womb. Those who think deeper look to their ancestors of the past, while others would trace their tree back to Abraham and on to the first Adam. Beyond that, there is not much to consider; for they have the mind of their father, Adam, rather than the mind of Christ.
We know many things that pertain to the mysteries of God. For one, we know who our Father is, which enables us to know from whence we came; but we are still left with partial vision at times. It is as if we continue pressing toward an unclear mark. We know the prize is Jesus Christ, along with being joint heirs with Him in all things, but what we see of Him and our inheritance is not always clear.
If we could look with unclouded vision and once again see the laying of the earth's foundation, and we could be heard shouting for joy -- we would probably jump up and try to finish our mission in one day. Fortunately, I cannot remember that momentous occasion, so there is no worry of me getting ahead of myself. The more we have of the mind of Christ, the more we see beyond the veil covering that event, but for now, much remains obscure.
The nine months under our mother's veil of flesh (the womb), was the beginning of making sure our past would be forgotten. Perhaps this is why the human gestation period is so long, so we can start our long journey with a clean slate, with nothing to aid us but raw experience, and eventually the guiding light of Jesus Christ. What a venture!
It is hard to say if we were permitted to scan our horizons before embarking in earthen vessels across decades of wind-torn seas. Nevertheless, I can imagine having absolute assurance knowing His hand would be upon the helm, and knowing we would make it all the way. With exulting joy, we could have been heard shouting, "Send me Lord! Send me! I am ready to conquer the world! I know I can slay the dragon in the sea! Send me Lord!" As the scenario unfolds, we finally heard the names called, and one of them was our own: "Susan, Jack, Fran, and Frazlesnert -- it is your time. Go and help build the Family name. Go and possess the kingdom. Bring back treasures worthy of our household."
As our mission passed before our eyes, and we saw the effect our presence in the world would make, we were overcome with joy. We were overwhelmed with glorious expectation, and we all shouted, "Yes, Father! Praise God! Amen!" And before another word of praise could escape our lips, oblivion wrapped her arms about us. With light fading, everything began to swirl about us. We were drawn into the vortex of a dark place. The sound of laughter we once knew ebbed in the distance. Although there was great expectation of what awaited us in the new world, we held as long as we could to the memories of our heavenly habitation. We held tightly in our minds the image of our home and our calling; but the engulfing void pulled it from our grip, and the past and future faded from view. With every passing moment they were swallowed more and more by a vast sea of emptiness. And The Journey began.
The hymns of angels and the celestial songs of praise were replaced by a constant and steady, pulsating rhythm. "Thump, thump." "Thump, thump," and it surged on, never ceasing, never skipping a beat. It was not loud, nor disruptive, but ever-present and rather peaceful, soothing. It seemed to beat out a message deep into our being. The tone was familiar but on a different scale; nevertheless, the theme was the same as we had heard before. Words were not formed, but it was clearing saying, "I love you. I love you."
It was not unlike the heartbeat of our heavenly Father. With every pulse, it said the same, "I love you. I love you." Although darkness shrouded us about, love was the bed wherein these specks of earthen dust were laid, and ever so peacefully we rested. Echoing in our spirits lingered the assuring voice of our God, so all was not completely forgotten, not in the very beginning of our journey.
We soon found comfort in this strange and foreign land; but the more we became attached to our new home, the more we forgot the former. By the time we were privileged to take our first breath of air, we had almost forgotten our roots, especially at the rude expulsion from our watery world. Union with our celestial past was not easily maintained with gravity pulling heavily at our bodies. The shock of freezing air that ripped about our tender skin didn't help either. And as we hung helplessly by the heels, our back sides were pounded unmercifully. Oh, what a startling reception into the world of flesh.
As we began our journey through the dark tunnel of the birth canal, the contractions were painful. We had never known anything like it; furthermore, it was impossible for us to have ever imagined such a thing. If we could have formed a thought at this early stage of our voyage, I am sure we would have doubted that this new world had anything good in it at all. And I'll tell you, fellow travelers, our thoughts would have been confirmed when that hulk of a monster, the doctor or midwife, began beating us. Our first experience in the world with air was painful. What a terrible thing! But we were firmly on our way.
Even after birth, our memories remained for a season. The night hours were exceptionally tranquil. When the clamor of the day had quieted itself, we communed with our God; that is, when our little bellies weren't in excruciating pain from hunger or colic. Oh, but the joy of it all when the pain was gone. We basked in both worlds for a season.
If our Father was not comforting us, then the angels who behold His face continually were ministering to our spiritual needs (rf Mat 18:10). What we had, however, was eclipsed considerably by the veil of our growing bodies and developing minds. The pull of the earth continued to draw us farther and farther away from our heavenly home. By the time we were two or three years old, everything of the past had vanished. It was gone, to be remembered no more for a long time.
There is no way, of course, to prove one way or the other if the above scenario is accurate or not -- for your memory and mine fail us. I am, however, impressed by something Ray Prinzing wrote that speaks of this. It sparked a recollection in my spirit that leaped with joy. I cannot remember the exact article that contains the story, so it is not quoted verbatim, but the essence remains. It went something like this:
"There was the birth of a new son in this young family. The only other child was a three-year-old daughter. After her little brother was brought home, her attitude was somewhat peculiar toward her brother, and she was continually asking to be left alone with him. Since the parents were aware of sibling rivalry, and the sister may consider her brother to be an invader of her world, they were reluctant to leave her alone with him. Fearing she may harm him in some way, they wouldn't permit it for a few days. This did not daunt her, and her begging to be left alone with her newborn brother finally prevailed. The parents agreed to leave her alone with him -- but under a cautious eye. The bedroom door was left slightly ajar so they could watch without being observed, and if it looked as if their daughter would harm her brother, they would rush in.
"Upon entering the room, she stood by his crib for a long time, all the while, looking intently upon his tiny face. The silence was finally broken when she leaned over his crib, and peering deeply into his eyes, she said, 'Tell me about God. I am forgetting.'"
Oh, the mystery of it! Embarking upon a perilous journey, full of wild beasts, vipers, and pitfalls innumerable, and the One we knew who could lead us though it all, fades into the shadows of our dreams. The world about us, this new one of earth, will not allow a heavenly guide for very long. As our minds and bodies are bombarded, and flooded over with things of the earth, our focus gradually changes. And this is the way it is supposed to be, for we must be touched by every vestige of dust that we are now clothed in. It is part of our mission.
At the proper time our minds are wiped clean of any recollection of our past, and now, we are strained to remember the time when we shouted for joy at the laying of earth's foundation. And even though our mission is to usher in the day, we cannot remember being called the morning stars. If we happen to have a fleeting moment of that wonderful past, it is only as a word of inspiration brushes it across our minds. Oh, to be home again, is the cry of our spirits. Deep is calling unto Deep, and with every advancing step, we grasp more of its reality. We are hearing His Word resounding in victory -- "Shine forth My Son's, My Morning Stars and declare this New Day!"
It is difficult at times to sound the victor's call, for boundless seas toss us about, berating us, insulting us. Churning waters of humanity heap swells of assaulting brine, attempting to dash us asunder. Exhausted at times, yet undaunted, we continue on, pressing ever toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God. Although our ears were once clogged with dust and clay and earth's debris, there is something of our origin that hears God calling. We hear His voice trumpeting, "This is the Way, walk ye in it" (Isa 30:21). With hearts longing for home, we heed the familiar sound of our Father.
At times we have each wondered: "Is it true? Is it for me? Is there a place in God from whence I came, and if there is, can I ever return? And if I can, how shall I get there? Oh, Father, it has been such a hard and long Journey."
Our brother and fellow sojourner, the apostle Paul, encouraged us in this. He wrote: "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath FROM THE BEGINNING chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto He called you by our gospel, TO THE OBTAINING OF THE GLORY of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thes 2:13-14). Praise God! We can return, and we shall return; for He has appointed a worthy Captain to lead us home. Nothing can prevent us from obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Although memories had failed us, our Father sent messengers throughout the ages to remind us from whence we came and were we are going. The word they carried inspired many who traveled through the wilderness of the world. It was an encouraging, life-giving word for those of that day. It helped them greatly as they were hunted down like beasts. The words of the apostles and prophets undergirded those who toiled through three centuries of Rome's slaughter. By the 4th century, Christ's light had been diminished considerably. These atrocities were, of course, were at the hands of men who had given themselves over to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Almost every fragment of truth was smothered during the Dark Ages; but with the Reformation those smoldering embers were rekindled. And now, our Father's riveting word rings clear in our ear, calling us back from whence we came. Oh, the ways of God are past finding out! Who can know them lest they are revealed by the Spirit of our new birth?
When we entered this world of earth and carnal things, we came into the realm of death. Our conception in flesh was the beginning of our appointment with death, as the writer of Hebrews mentioned(3). The grave, however, is neither our appointment, nor the beginning of our death. The victory of the grave is just its final stroke, the finish-line, if you will. Conception in flesh is the beginning of death. To make my point I cite our Lord: "Let the dead bury their dead" (Mat 8:22).
The beginning of our life is when we are born of the Spirit. It is the turning point of our journey. Until then, we were on a course away from our origin; but when we were quickened by the Spirit, our course changed. We heard His voice behind us, and our lives were set on the strait and narrow way toward home. Until the Light of Christ shined in our hearts, we could not find our way. We were blind, with little hope, and we were lost. Our appointment has been a true odyssey. We have faced and overcome things that only God knows the great value they have played in our lives. Whether in the earth or in the heavens, our warfare has raged. We have been lambasted with disease, misfortune, heartache, rejection, embarrassment, futility, to name a few, and we push onward. To turn back is out of the question. Our pursuit is to find the place from whence we came. Our never-ending drive is to go home, and to go home with honor and glory.
Job, who is a type of the Sons of God, spoke with understanding when He said: "If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my APPOINTED time will I wait, till my change come" (Job 14:14). The words APPOINTED TIME comes from a Hebrew word (tsaba') which not only means appointed, but speaks also of a HARDSHIP, a WAR CAMPAIGN. Let me now ask: From the time of our conception, have we not been in war? Have we not had some hardships to befall us? There are good times, of course, and I truly love the life I now live. Nevertheless, we are continually at war with death and all the misery surrounding it. The grave is ever beckoning us to lie in its cruel bed. The shadow of death enveloped us even in our mother's womb, and it has never left us, not for a moment. Its blanket, however, began to be rolled back when our Lord shined His light into our hearts; but we still fight the good fight in our pursuit of rendering death null and void. And all the days of our appointed time, we shall continue in this campaign to the very end, for "...there is no discharge in the time of war" (Eccl 8:8). As good soldiers, we shall pursue liberty until life swallows up the last enemy. There will be no more the sting of death, and the grave's victory will be a remote history (1 Cor 15:54-55).
Truly, we are on The Journey of all journeys. There has never been anything like it in all the universe. We have been set upon a grand stage -- the proving grounds of death and life. We were sent to conquer the most formidable enemy to have ever disgraced creation -- DEATH! Until the foundation of the earth was laid, there may not have been such a thing as death; but if there was such a thing, the laying of the foundation was the beginning of its end. Although a long process, as far as the natural mind conceives time, it was the monumental beginning of the ultimate end of death -- forever.
Being born from below, or from the flesh, is a process of dying; while being born from above, or from the Spirit, is a process of living. When we were first conceived of the flesh and born into the world, we did not immediately die; but the process was certainly initiated. We still had life from above and could no doubt recall some of it; however, as death continued to work in us, our life was eventually swallowed up of death.
On the other hand, when we were born from above, from the Spirit, we were dead but the process of life began to swallow the death. When we were first conceived of the Spirit and born into the Kingdom of God, we did not immediately live to the fullest degree -- but the process was initiated. We still had death from below and could recall most of it; however, as life continues to work in us, death is eventually swallowed up of life (Isa 25:8, 1 Cor 15:54).
In the same way our dying was a process, so is our living. In our appointment with death, we were not at first dead, not altogether; but death had certainly gripped our souls. As we were immersed deeper into that world of darkness, the life we once knew slowly, but surely, was consumed until there was nothing left of it, not even in our most distant memories. And so it is with life.
In our appointment with life, we were not at first altogether alive; but life had taken hold of us. As we journeyed farther into that world of light the more life we realized, and the death we once knew continued to fade away. And it shall progress until there is nothing left of death, not even in our most distant memories.
When we came to this world of death and decay, the seed of Adam (death) was planted within our being, and it slowly, but surely, doused every spark of life. But things have taken on a change! The Spirit of Life was planted into our ground, and it seized this earth. We have heard of the death grip, well this is the life grip, and it is just as firm as death, even more-so. With its grip firmly upon every facet of our being, we feel the changing of this earth. It is being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). It is being raised together with Christ and carried back to the place from whence we came. Brethren, we are going back home, but we are not returning empty-handed! We are going with a possession -- a glorified body like unto the glorious body of our Lord Jesus Christ. But this is not all -- we are returning with an ear-splitting, rejoicing creation. What a journey! Oh, what a treasure!
Many assume that religion, any form of religion, will buy their way back to paradise. Let us not be deceived, Christian friends. The strait and narrow way to Life is not the same as the old saying, "All roads lead to Rome." There is only One Way to the Living God, which of course, is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). He blazed the living trail through the valley of death. He marked the way for us, and as long as we follow the light of His flaming presence, we shall reach our destination and claim the prize of the high calling. If we reject that light and follow after the light of our own thinking, which is darkness, we will wander endlessly in the vast wilderness that spreads as far as our own diverse imaginations.
I like what one of heaven's heralds, J. Preston Eby, wrote recently. It complements so well this topic. "'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a seed...which a man took, and sowed in his field'. The life of sonship is not derived from the occasional touch of Jesus when He 'passes this way', nor from the weekly reviving or refreshing that comes to weary souls as they gather together in church meetings. Thank God for the fellowship, encouragement and blessing of those of like precious faith, but I declare to you today that the life of sonship can only be known as we become sensitive to the reality of the ABIDING CHRIST WITHIN, conscious of His speaking, guiding, governing, and His power continually transforming the spirit, the mind, and the body into the image of Him who created them."
Meetings can be wonderful (some not so wonderful); but have you ever noticed that the growth we experience comes from within and not from without? A living word from without often penetrates the shell of our earthen minds, and life surges throughout our being. There is great merit in certain ingatherings, especially when a word of truth is being shed abroad. They are times of refreshing. They energize the Spirit, and should not be rejected. But still, the transforming life works from within, and continues to work long after the meetings are over. It is important to hear God's unfolding truths; but Jesus also admonished us to take heed how we hear (Luke 8:18). The fact is, if we hear by the natural mind, we are destined to walk a crooked path, and what we have received will be lost; but if it is by the Spirit that we hear, we shall walk the strait way and keep it.
Who but God could have planned such a journey for those He loves so dearly? No man could have, nor would have, done so. If it had been left in the hands of mortal man to bring himself to perfection -- he would have done it much differently. You can bet on it! For one, he would only allow a little evil to befall himself throughout his tenure as a student of life and death. The turmoil of seventy or eighty years of death and darkness that shrouded him would be shortened considerably. The hardships of a year or two would suffice, and there would never be a loss of loved ones. Crippling injuries, or diseases such as cancer and other horrendous enemies of health would never scathe the earth. He, in his human compassion, would find better ways to deal with obtaining the prize of the high calling. Frankly, he would do exactly what he is doing right now, i.e., practicing religious rites, doing good works when compelled, and a bushel of other things too numerable to mention in this short article.
This, of course, is not a complaint against man, against the one who gives himself to the passions and wisdom of his earthen vessel, for he is not expected to do otherwise. Falling short is his makeup. He can do nothing else. If he was not a carnal, self-willed, prodigy of evil -- the workmanship in each of us would be greatly lacking.
Nevertheless, let us not be so concerned about the shortcomings of man; but rather, let us continue The Journey. And as we do so, we shall gather a great multitude of souls who have lost their way.
It should be clear to all, that The earth is the Lord's, the fulness thereof; the world, and they who dwell therein (Psa 24:1). And likewise, it should be known that He has set into motion their return to Him(4). Therefore, brethren, the journey is not drawing to a close -- it is just beginning! And what is set before us is humanly unimaginable and utterly impossible; but in the light of Jesus Christ -- it is the only thing that makes sense. And with all assurance, it shall be done! For every word, starting with Jesus, then you and me, shall not return void, but it shall accomplish that which pleases our Father, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto He sent it (Isa 55:11). What a wonderful and awesome Father we have!
Although He turns man TO DESTRUCTION(5), He does not leave him there. After His glorious purpose of the ages is worked in us, He then says, 'RETURN, ye children of men' (Psa 90:3). Mankind, who is formed from the dust, will someday hear the clarion call to return, this is sure. Nevertheless, in these last days, when we feel it is time to rise and be noticed, when we think it is time to be glorified -- we find ourselves being turned to POWDER, as the Hebrew word implies. Rather than being formed in the glorious image of our Lord, we are being deformed. We see the Sons of God being reduced to powder. My fellow sojourners, brace yourselves. Before taking the form of glory, the Potter will reduce us to powder.
We see this in a fashion in Romans 11:36, as quoted earlier: "For out of Him, and through Him, and into Him -- all: to whom be glory for ever." Or to paraphrase it, it could be said: For we all came out of Him. We left the celestial homes of our origin. In our absence, we shall all go through Him, through the cross of destruction, even to the reduction of 'powder', but also through His life in resurrection power. And after this, we shall all return back to Him, back home from whence we came.
His name shall be praised in all the universe! For by Him, by Jesus Christ our Lord, shall all this be possible. By Him shall all creation come to the same liberty of the children(6) of God. It stands on tiptoe, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God (Rom 8:19-21), for by the Morning Stars shall the Author and Finisher of their hope be revealed.
The Journey, oh, what a journey! Now we know in part why we (the morning stars, i.e., the sons of God) sang and shouted for joy when we saw the earth's foundation being laid. Who but the Sons of God can usher in the new day? Are they not as their Lord, who is called the Bright and Morning Star (Rev 22:16)? Their appearing is what will give creation their hope of deliverance from the bondage of corruption. These Morning Stars are they who stamp the dark skies with the promise of the light of life soon to come. They are the Sons(7) of God who build and establish the family name.
This, my friends, is what is in store for us, and more. It was erased from our memories long ago; but now the Spirit of our birth is stirring within, and we are once again singing and shouting for joy! The high and holy praises well up from the depths of our being, and we cry out -- "Yes, Father! So be it! Reduce us to powder if You will. Destroy(8) our mortal bodies and their perpetual passions. For even now, we can hear You calling from home, saying, 'Well done My good and faithful Sons.'"
Elwin R. Roach
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1. Shouted for joy: "ruwa'; ...to split the ears (with sound), i.e. shout (for alarm or joy)." (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance.
2. "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of ....But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit....that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God....But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned....BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST." (1 Cor 2:9-16).
3. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb 9:27)
4. "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men." (Psa 90:3)
5. dakka'; crushed, literally, to powder or figuratively, contrite (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance).
6. Children of God are born of God, so likewise shall creation be born of God. Not just formed, but born.
7. Hebrew: ben, a son (as a builder of the family name)... (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance)
8. "...that the body of sin might be destroyed, in Rom 6:6 is katargeo; meaning, to be rendered entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively. (Strong's Exh. Conc.)