Book of Better Things Chapter 11
Hebrews the book of better Things Chapter 11
We approach God’s great Hall of Faith with trembling hearts, as we recognize one of the greatest chapters of the Bible. Many have been the messages written on the subject of faith. And it would take several messages to cover the truths contained in this tremendous chapter. But the first strong impression we get as we take a general overlook at this entire chapter, is that God deals not with theories, but with men and women of God. For the Lord does not spend a lot of time telling us about theoretical doctrines of faith, but rather of the exploits of Old Testament saints who were filled with the faith of God. 15 of those Old Testament heroes, including 2 women, are mentioned by name in this one chapter.
Notice that in the first 28 verses we see faith working in the lives of special individuals, such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Then in the next 10 verses it shifts to a view of faith in the corporate people of God in the Old Testament. For Moses was the divine catalyst that took the descendants of the sons of Jacob, slaves in Egypt, and made of them one great nation. After 40 years of the ministry of Moses, this nation of Israel came forth as a people led by the Spirit, under divine government, walking in obedience and faith, and winning battles by the miraculous power of God. They were feared by all the nations about them, not because of their numerical strength, but because of their God, and their faith in Him. Finally, at the end of this chapter, we see the emphasis change from the corporate people of God in the Old Testament, to the ultimate purpose of God in a New Testament Church, which becomes a new creation man in Christ Jesus! And as Moses was the catalyst to bring together that one nation in his day, it is Jesus Christ who brings into being this new creation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar treasure unto God.
I would have you notice all the great exploits accomplished by Old Testament faith, things which the greatest of modern day evangelists are not equaling, such as passing through the Red Sea, bringing down Jericho’s walls, the dead raised, kingdoms subdued, armies defeated, the mouths of lions stopped, and great persecution endured. Yet, verse 40 tells us that all these things are inferior to that which God has provided for us, the new creation man. God has a “better thing” for us, and then immediately we go into chapter 12 where it begins to tell us about God’s dealings with His sons.
“Now Faith Is”
This is universally known as the “faith” chapter, and for good reason. The word “faith” appears only twice in all the entire Old Testament, yet is seen 24 times in this one chapter of Hebrews. That is more than any other chapter in the Bible, and more times than any other entire book, except Romans. Since this book is written to the Hebrew Christians, who were avid students of the Old Testament, it is an outstanding commentary on the purpose of this book, and this chapter in particular, to see that faith is mentioned 12 times as much in this one chapter as in all the writings of Moses and the prophets combined.
Here we see that the writer of Hebrews, inspired by the Holy Ghost, was leading the people from the old order realm of law, into that “better” place of faith and grace. So, he begins at the beginning. the creation. God left unmistakable evidence of His work in it. Men void of faith still cannot accept the creation story. To them it is a myth and a fable, a superstition carried down from primitive times. But to those who have touched the realm of faith, the creation is seen as a work of God, with indisputable evidence to back it up. It is not blind faith, just believing what you have been taught. There is actual physical proof of the Genesis account of creation. But a man without faith is blind to these facts, blinded by the dark void in his life due to the absence of a living faith.
So, he proves to the Jews that there are some things we understand that are not covered by Moses’ law. It is a higher order than most people in the Old Testament lived under. Yet, he shows that in spite of the fact that faith was not often preached in the Old Testament days, the greatest men of Israel lived by it. It was the prophet Habakkuk who said: “The just shall live by his faith”. And it was by the power of faith, not law, that Caleb and Joshua brought back a good report from the promised land. And because of their good report, produced by their faith, they lived to enter in and possess the land. Praise God!
Both the Amplified and the Wuest translations say that faith is the “title deed” of the things we hope for. Now when you get a title deed to a property, you know that it belongs to you, although you may be many miles from it, and unable to see it. If someone sent you a title deed to 1,000 acres of land in the lush San Fernando Valley of southern California, you would be rich. It might take a long trip and many days for you to get to your inheritance, set your foot in it, and eat the fruit thereof. But every time you looked at the title deed, you would KNOW that it was yours and that you were rich! So it is with faith. There are things in our inheritance we have not yet feasted on or walked in. Yet, we see them in the Word, and we believe it, and faith becomes our title deed, letting us know of our riches. Hallelujah!
Many evangelists keep faith on the level of the prosperity cult. If you have faith (and send the evangelist your offerings) you will drive the finest automobile, live in a plush home, and eat of the fat of the land. If you are deprived, or poor, or just do not lust after the material things of the world, it is because you do not have faith, they say. To them, faith is only a means of receiving something. But look at Abel’s faith. By faith Abel offered God a sacrifice. And the better your faith, the better your sacrifice to God. And it cost him his life. No, his faith did not make him more prosperous than Cain. But he received something far greater. a witness from God that he was righteous.
So, Abel’s giving faith did not make him prosperous in this world, but it gave him a better and eternal relationship to God. Moffatt’s translation says: “He died, but by his faith he is speaking to us still”.
Enoch did not live in a time or place where faith was being preached. In fact, the word faith does not appear in the Bible until the children of Israel are ready to cross Jordan into the promised land, more than 1500 years after Enoch left the earth. Yet, living faith entered his heart to such a degree, that he believed that he could by-pass the grave, and go into heaven without dying. He had no example to follow. No one had escaped death. Men were dying all around him. But faith!
There is a doctrine called “soul-sleep”, which teaches that we do not go to heaven when we die, but that our souls lie unconscious in the grave with our bodies until the resurrection. When I asked them about Enoch, they answered that he died. They said that verse 5 simply states that he did not “see” death. That is, that he died without being conscious of death approaching, and that he did not have the usual death pangs. But notice how other translations give us a clearer look at this scripture, and expose this false doctrine. Phillips translation: “It was because of his faith tat Enoch was promoted to the eternal world without experiencing death.” New English Bible: “By faith Enoch was carried away to another life without passing through death.” Moffatt translation: “It was by faith that Enoch was taken to heaven, so that he never died.” Amplified Bible: “Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven.”
Some have tried to say that Enoch was a type of the saints who get raptured from the earth before the tribulation. But I want you to notice that Jesus did not say, “As it was in the days of Enoch, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of man”. What He said was, “As it was in the days of Noah.” Noah escaped the flood, God’s judgments upon the earth in his day, by building and entering into an ark, not by being raptured or translated to heaven. Enoch’s translation had nothing to do with escaping judgment, as the flood did not come for hundreds of years later. In fact, it was longer from Enoch’s translation to the flood, than it is from the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus to this present day. No, he was not a type of the “pre-tribulation rapture”.
It was by faith that Enoch pleased God. That should be the aim of our faith. Jesus lived to do the Father’s will, and to please Him. Let the sons of God who aspire to Christ-likeness have the kind of faith that we see in Enoch. A life void of faith cannot please God, regardless of how many good works are produced. The burden of the writer of Hebrews is to show the Jews that they cannot please God with the works of the law, even if they did the impossible and perfected them all. Only by a life of faith is God pleased. His logic in verse 6 cannot be refuted.
Up to this point, faith has related only to God’s dealings with an individual. But beginning in verse 7 we see other people, plus the animal creation, saved through the faith of this one man. Now it does not say that Noah was warned by faith. We do not know the means by which God warned Noah of the judgments coming. It may have been by a dream, a vision, an angel visitation, audible voice, or a prophetic word coming to his spirit. But we know that God spoke to him. “And God said unto Noah.” (Genesis 6:13). Verse 7 in the Amplified Bible says: “Prompted by faith Noah, being forewarned of God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed.”. So, when Noah started building an ark, there was no visible reason for him to do so. Does this sound like God’s dealings with you at times? Times were good, the crops were bringing in plenty, men were building houses and looking toward a safe and secure future. How foolish Noah must have looked! But he had heard from God. Yet, even that was not enough. Hearing from God is one thing, but having faith to act upon that word is an entirely different matter. I wonder just how many there are who had a word from God yet continue to live in spiritual poverty because they would not move out in faith on that word. It might look foolish to family and friends. That did not stop Noah. It was not his hearing that built the ark, but his faith. Yet, his faith came by hearing the word. One creates, the other performs. Both are necessary. Many people have faith in certain doctrines that are false. This is faith created by something other than the Word of God. And it will not perform. Movements and churches and leaders come crashing down, the people’s faith is smashed, and in the midst of the chaos they wonder, “what happened?”. They had faith, but they had not heard from God. They were following the teachings of men or the deceptions of devils. And this kind of faith cannot produce. Real living faith comes by hearing the word of God. Noah heard from God, and his faith saved his house.
This portion needs an entire book written about it. But let us for now just skim through and hit the high spots. Here was a man who lived in the midst of a people that followed Nimrod and built the tower of Babel. Yet, he walked with God and saw a higher realm of life than this earthly creation. His vision went far beyond any earthly city, even of Babylon with it’s hanging gardens.
The word of the Lord came to him to leave his family, friends, home, and go. where? He wasn’t told. Just go. And he went. But it was an imperfect start. His father went with him. This was not in the contract. Not even Lot was in the call. But they went. By the time they got close to the promised land, but not quite in it, Abraham’s father was ready to settle down. So, he built a city and called it after the name of his other son, Haran, who had died in Ur of the Chaldees. So many people are like that, especially religious leaders who have not heard the call of God. They recognize the anointing upon those who have heard from God, and they want to go with them. But only so far, not all the way. And soon they settle down to build their own little kingdom, making it just like something they left behind in Babylon.
Terah, the father of Abraham, died in Haran. He had built himself a city, his progress had stopped there, and he died there. Now, let me share a peculiar and hidden truth with you. Genesis 11:26 and 32 tells us that Abram was born when Terah was 70 years old, and that Terah died in Haran at the age of 205 years. This would make Abram 135 years old when his father died. Now, Genesis 12:4 says that Abram was 75 years old when he left his father and departed from Haran. But Acts 7:4 tells us that Abram did not leave Haran until his father was dead. Is this a mistake? No, the Word of God does not make mistakes. It is simply telling us that Terah was dead to God and to Abram for 60 years before they finally buried him. Oh yes, he walked around on the earth until he was 205 years old. But when Terah was 145 years old, settled in Haran and determined to go no further in God’s promises, the call of God burned in Abram’s heart until he had to count his father dead to him and to the purposes of God. So Abram, “when his father was dead” (Acts 7:4), departed Haran and followed the call of God. By faith. Yes, faith will separate you from those who settle for less than God’s best. It separated me from a pentecostal denomination, the only religious fellowship I knew anything about. And I did not know where I was going, only that I had to follow the call of God. And even though Terah lived until Abraham was 135 years old, and until his son Isaac was 35 years of age, I never see Abraham visit his father again, not for a family reunion, nor to show him the promised child, Isaac. As far as Abraham was concerned, Terah was dead. Can you see, dear one, that this is the life of faith?
In 1958 while we were living in Kansas and going through great trials of faith, the general superintendent of the denomination I had left wrote me a warm and gracious letter, inviting me to come back into the fold. But I could not return. My “Terah” had died to me. I could not go back to that which I had buried. I had to go on in God. Was Abraham bitter at Terah, his father? Of course not! Neither am I bitter at those I had to leave behind in their “Haran”. But only those who truly hear the call of God will go on to the fulness of His purposes.
Lot left Haran with Abraham. He is like those who want to go all the way into the promised land, but only for their own gain. And they end up losing all. We see that God would not take Abraham into the mountains and show him his inheritance (Genesis 13:14) until after he had separated from Lot. The desire for self gain and profit must go from us before we can even see our inheritance clearly.
Besides faith and vision, the thing that stands out in Abraham’s life is his great obedience. When it came to leaving family and home, he obeyed. When it came to offering his son Isaac upon an altar, he obeyed. He must had had a tremendous confidence that he was truly hearing from God. Much of this comes by experience with God, by walking with Him until you know Him so well that other voices cannot fool you. It does not come easy, that I can tell you.
In 1949 I heard the Lord say to me, “Go to Florida”. I knew no one in Florida, had no invitations to come that way, and had only one man’s name and address. And he wouldn’t answer my letters when I wrote him. I had just bought a home in Springfield, Missouri, was a pastor of a church in the Springfield section of our denomination, had two more years of post-graduate work paid for in a local Bible school, and roots were deep. But I heard from God. We had two small children, and my wife was six weeks away from having the third one. But we left for Florida. When we arrived in St. Louis to bid farewell to my wife’s parents, we had $4 (four dollars) to make the trip. We told no one of our need, but God knew. We determined to start for Florida, and go as far as our $4 would take us. But God determined to take us to Florida. We had exactly $4 when we arrived in Florida, knowing no one, and no place to sleep. 3 nights later I was preaching a revival in a church I ended up pastoring. The path from then to now has been long, painful, and glorious. And it has proven one thing for sure. the path of obedience is the only way to go. Hallelujah!
Forgive me for the personal reference to my own experiences, but God used men’s experiences in this chapter to explain how faith works. And I know more about my own experiences than I do anybody else’s. One more.
In early spring of 1962, I heard God say to me, “It’s time for you to move back to Springfield”. At the time, I was co-pastoring a church in Louisiana. We were living in the rear of the church, in the old Sunday school rooms. We had no money, and hardly an income. Now, there was my wife and I and 4 children. I wrote to a Christian real estate agent in Springfield and asked him if he had a large house for sale, with basement for my printing press, and a large living room for prayer meetings and services. In a few days, I had a letter saying there was a house on north Grant Street available. No other details. I had never seen the house, did not know just where it was. God spoke and said, “This is the house I want you to buy”. At the time I could not have raised more than $10. I phoned the real estate man and told him I would buy the house, to send me the contract and tell me how much down payment was needed. I decided that if I was really hearing from God, He knew about the money needed, and would supply when due. The contract came for me to sign, with a note that I could get the house at no down payment on a G.I. loan. There would be about $300 closing cost, he said. I signed the contract, and that week I had 2 letters from 2 preachers. One was on the west coast, and his letter contained a check for $200, saying that it was for a need I had. It was the first and last time he ever sent me anything. The other letter was from a missionary on the foreign field who sent a check for $120. The $20 was for tapes I was to send him, and the $100, he said, was to go on a house I was going to buy. No one knew of our plans except my wife and I and the real estate agent, not even our children. If that wasn’t enough, I had 2 letters from prophets with a word to make the move, one of them even naming the city, Springfield, twice in the prophecy. It took several miracles of supply, but we moved to 1910 North Grant, and have lived here since August 1962. We shook and we trembled at times, but we obeyed. Glory to God, it works!
Dwelling in Tabernacles
Verse 8, 9 and 10 constitute one of the mountain tops of scripture. It tells us here that Abraham was called, he obeyed, and he did not know where he was going. Then it goes on to say that it took faith for him to stay in that land. There were enemies every where. There was always the temptation to build himself a city, with high walls to keep out the enemy. That’s what every religious movement seems to end up doing, from the historic churches, fundamentalists, pentecostals, business men’s groups, and what have you. But Abraham avoided that trap, because he had already seen the plan of God. He had seen the city of God. And nothing he could build would come close to comparing with that. I have been asked at times to either join or start a “fellowship” of end-time bodies. But friends, I have caught a vision of the great body of Christ on earth. I have seen how it operates, and had a glimpse of it’s glory, and I cannot settle for anything less. No man can build this thing. God is building it Himself! And I promise you that I will have no part in creating or belonging to any denominational hierarchy over a group of local churches. I will minister to an help straighten out the affairs of any local church that invites and accepts my ministry. But I will not be a “lord” over God’s heritage. Jesus is the Lord, and He alone is the head of His church.
Not only Abraham, but Isaac and Jacob as well, dwelt in tabernacles (tents), and none of them ever built a city. They always had their tent stakes ready to pull up if and when God called. And Sarah, bless her heart! She watched faith work in this husband of hers until she appropriated enough faith of her own to give birth to a son at 90 years of age. She held on to the promise of God, and judged God faithful. Has God given you a promise? Have confidence that God is able to fulfill it.
In 1950 a prophecy went over me that God was anointing my hands to write, and that I would write, and He would bless it. Ten years went by before I started writing and sending out tracts. During that time, in times of trial and depression, I would pull that prophecy out and read it to the devil, and declare that God’s word would be fulfilled. There were no open doors, and it seemed like the word would never come to pass. But I never threw away the prophecy. Finally, in 1960, we started getting some messages printed and mailed out to a few hundred names. God was in it, and in a short time we were hearing from people in various parts of this and other countries. Now the books and tapes are going to all 50 states and 50 foreign nations. They have been translated and published in several other languages including: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Dutch and others. And some of the messages have been reprinted in dozens of other papers and magazines in England, India, New Zealand, and USA, for we have no copyright on anything we send out. It belongs to God. And He has blessed the work, for we counted Him faithful who promised. That’s what gave Sarah new life. And it will give you new life too, just to have faith in what God said.
We dwell in “tents” (temporary dwelling places, always ready to move on) because we see no permanent kingdom in this realm of life as we know it now. There is a progressive unfolding of the purposes of God, and each revelation causes us to pull up some stakes and move on. Hebrews 13:14 tells us that here (on this present realm) we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. This is what kills every denominational system. As soon as it organizes into a man-made order, it builds a city, lays a strong foundation, puts up it’s doctrinal walls, and stagnates. There is an order of God that goes far beyond anything that can be produced within this Adamic structure. That is God’s order, the city of God, and we must attain to it.
A Better Country
In verse 12 it speaks of the seed of Abraham as being as the “stars of the sky”, and also, “as the sand which is by the sea shore”. This speaks of both the spiritual and natural seed of Abraham. Yes, God is interested in both. It was through the natural seed of Abraham that God brought Jesus into the world. But it was through Jesus that God brought the spiritual seed of Abraham into the world.
The next verse tells us that these heroes of faith did not receive the “promises”. They saw them “afar off”, and they embraced them. Wuest translation says: “These all died dominated by faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off and greeted them”. The Amplified Bible says: “These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of God’s promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith.” Yes, they were a long ways from perfection, a great distance from the ultimate that God has purposed for His people. But they saw it and greeted it. Glory to God! It is there, folks, I know it is there for us! Have you seen and greeted it?
Strangers and pilgrims on the earth. They confessed it. Let the people of the world enjoy the things of this world. Don’t envy them. It is their world, their age. We are strangers in this place of death, sin, and decay. Our citizenship is in a realm of life where there is no defeat, no pain, no sin, and no death. Philippians 3:20-21 tells us that this present life is a place of humiliation for us. Wuest translations says that Jesus Christ “shall transform this body of ours which has been humiliated by the presence of indwelling sin and by death and decay, so that it will be conformed to His body of His glory”. Yes, we are citizens of life, living in a foreign land. And we are humiliated when we get sick, grow old, die and decay. For we do not belong to such a state. And our time has arrived. We have desired “a better country”, and it is finally at hand. Praise the Lord! And God is glad to have this kind of people claim Him as their God. “God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city”. And the truth of it is, they are that city.
Verses 17, 18 and 19 deal with Abraham’s great trial of faith when he had to take his son Isaac to a mountain and offer him for a sacrifice. This was something he could not understand. God wants a human sacrifice? It went against everything that Abraham knew about God. Have you ever faced a test that went contrary to everything you believe about God and His ways? Well, Abraham could not anticipate what God had in mind. Abraham had a solution figured out, but God had a different plan. Don’t try to second guess the Lord but learn to hear and obey.
From Faith to Experience
There is a tremendous truth contained in this 11th chapter of Hebrews that we must understand, if we are to know the difference between revelation and reality. Many misguided souls think because they have a revelation from God and have seen some glorious truth, that they can now claim to have entered into that realm in experience and reality. They therefore claim to be “manifested sons”, immortal, infallible, kings, equal to Jesus Christ, etc., and are bringing great reproach upon the true end-time message. Because of these loud and boastful claims, many sincere, truth-seeking people are shying away from any mention of “Sonship”, “the manchild company”, “immortality”, “the life message”, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”, and other glorious truths that we all should be pressing into.
This chapter of Hebrews brings out very clearly the difference in seeing the promises of God, and entering into them in reality and fulness. Verse 13 tells us that these heroes of faith died in faith, “not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them.” The Amplified Bible expresses it thus: “These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of God’s promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith.” It goes on to say in verses 39 and 40 that all of these did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, “because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, that they should not come to perfection apart from us, that is, before we could join them.”
A Vision of Perfection
The promises they had seen and embraced involved perfection in spirit, soul, and body, as well as victory over all our circumstances. We know that we have deliverance from the guilt, penalty, and dominion of sin over us, through the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have obtained eternal life, praise God! “By His stripes we were healed!” But perfection is not attained by an imperfect, decaying, dying body receiving a healing upon occasion, when needed. Perfection is when death has been defeated and destroyed, and there are no more sick bodies to be healed. Right here, on this earth, my friends.
The fact is that these heroes of faith had seen these promises, embraced them, and their faith in God’s promises caused them to do enough exploits to fill the pages of the Old Testament. 1 Peter 1:12 tells us that the prophets of old searched to know the time when these things would come to pass, “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.”
Abraham and His Seed
Turn with me to Galatians 3:16, 18, 29. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” So the promise of the inheritance was given to Abraham and to Christ (the many-membered corporate body of Christ). Abraham and the saints of old SAW the promise by faith, but it is the glorious body of Christ that receives and WALKS in that promise in reality.
1 Peter 1:4-5 tells us that we have been begotten again unto a living hope, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” The Amplified Bible says: “guarded by God’s power through your faith till you fully inherit that final salvation that is ready to be revealed for you in the last time.” Glory to God! Our inheritance is a final deliverance (salvation) from every trace of curse of sin, and every earthly bondage. It is ready to be revealed! Jesus said: “It is finished!” The saints of old saw it by faith, but they did not enter in, because it was waiting for “the last time”. We are now living in that “last time”, and can expect the fulfillment of this promise.
Possessing the Land
In Genesis 13 we read where God took Abram into the mountain, and then told him to look north, south, east, and west. All that he saw on that day became his possession, by promise. But the heathen still lived in it. And when Abraham’s wife, Sarah, died at 127 years of age, he had to buy a field from the children of Heth in which to bury her. He possessed the land by promise, and he lived in a small part of it, but it remained for the 12 tribes of Israel to possess it in fulness. God gave me a poem one time about God giving Abram everything he could see, and I would like to share the first 3 verses of it here with you:
“Abram climbed the highest hill,
to talk to God one day;
To find the will of God for him;
To hear what God would say.
The plains of Jordan, the hills, the valleys,
All lay beneath his view;
And then God spoke, “You see this, Abram?
I’m giving this to you!
Because you heard the voice of God,
And hearkened to His call;
You left your home, possessions dear,
Your family, your all.
Now look, my son, what I shall give
To him who’s true to me;
Look north, and south, and east, and west;
As far as thou canst see.
The day is clear, the mountain high;
Thine eye is sharp and keen;
The fertile fields, the wooded hills,
The rivers fresh and clean;
All is thine that thou dost see,
With faith this day to claim;
The vision God hath given thee
Shall stand. in His great Name!”
When God promised the land to Abraham, it was according to what he could SEE. But when the children of Israel were ready to enter the promised land under the leadership of Joshua, God promised to give them according to what they WALKED in (Joshua 1:3).
And when Joshua took the people across Jordan, they didn’t buy any land from the children of Heth, or anyone else. They broke down the walls of Jericho, burned the city of Ai, conquered the land, and dwelt in it. They divided the land according to tribes, built cities, planted crops, and destroyed the enemy. Although Abraham could see the land that god had given him, yet the enemy still dwelled in the land with him. But God’s instructions to Israel were to utterly destroy all the nations that had formerly occupied the land.
You may see the glorious promises of God, dear one, and you may even taste the first fruits of the land and dwell there in a tent. But the enemy is there with you. Death, pain, sickness, afflictions, discouragement, fear, poverty, and many other enemies still dwell here with the best of saints, even those with great vision of God’s eternal purposes. We talk grandly about the beautiful heaven that God has prepared for His own. And surely, heaven is wonderful. But here on earth is where the enemy dwells, where the warfare has been going on since Adam. And it is here the victory must be won and demonstrated, for the glory of God! It is here that His purposes will be worked out in the lives of His people. We must, in reality and experience, walk out the revelations and truths that have been revealed in His precious Word throughout the ages.
The Head and the Feet
“The head cannot say to the feet, I have no need of You” (1 Corinthians 12:21). 1 Corinthians 12:21 says that Christ is a many-membered body, and verse 27 tells us that we all are members of that body. The eyes and ears are in the head, and they see and hear the divine promises of god. But it takes the feet to walk in those promises. So the head cannot say that it does not need the feet. Neither can you say that because you have seen some divine revelations, that you do not need to actually walk in those truths, and produce the reality of what you have seen. It is necessary. The promise was given to Abraham. “what you can see is yours”. But the fulfillment of that promise was given to the children of Israel. “Where ever you put your feet belongs to you”.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Let me assure you that it is necessary for us to SEE what God is doing, and to know in the Spirit what He has purposed in the earth. But here is an “also”. We must “also” WALK in what we are seeing. This is the difference between revelation and reality. This is where many have gone astray, and fallen. They think because they have seen something, that it is automatically working in them. The head and the feet are 2 separate parts of the body, and we need them both. The feet won’t know where to go without the eyes. And the eyes can only look upon the promises, but never reach them, without the feet.
Seeing the Promises
We can look at the life of Abraham, and see what the realm of revelation will do for a man’s life. First of all, hearing the call of God (Genesis 12:1-4), and seeing the divine promises (Genesis 13:14-15), causes faith and obedience to come alive within. “By faith Abraham. obeyed” (Hebrews 11:8). It takes a living faith to obey the leading of the Spirit. The instructions of the Lord go against our natural desires, and the will of the flesh. The Spirit leads to the cross. The flesh fights for self-preservation (the first law of nature). The law of the flesh is to fight for “number one”. The law of the Spirit is to do the will of God, regardless of where it leads us or leaves us. And beloved, if you are seeing the true message of God for this end-time, it will be manifested through a life-changing faith, and a greater obedience to god than ever before. Not after we all get to heaven, but now, right here on this earth. Before you ever come into the fulness of the promise, and before the inheritance is entered into, you can start having a changed life because you SEE the real truth of God. That is what true revelation will do for you.
A Right Spirit
Look at Abraham, and see what his vision produced in him. Trouble started between Lot and Abraham. The herdsmen, those on the servant level, began to fight one another. But Abraham, with the spirit of the Son, said to Lot: “Let there be no strife between me and thee. FOR WE BE BRETHREN”. He recognized that the land was full of enemies, and they had no business fighting and devouring each other. So he offered Lot first choice of the land. This may not have been good business principles, according to the world’s standards, but it was a right spirit. And God judges us according to the attitude of our spirit. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psalms 51:17). And the Lord speaks through the prophet in Isaiah 57:15 to say: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.”
One who says that he has received the revelation of Sonship, and has a proud and haughty spirit, is actually manifesting that he has not seen the real message of life. For a real unveiling and unfolding of present truth will impart to you the spirit of the Son of God. Guard your spirit. No matter that people will not believe your doctrine. Your responsibility is to see that your spirit is in harmony with God. No strife with your brethren. Declare what God has shown you, but keep your spirit right. There are things that some of my brethren are preaching that I cannot received, because I do not believe it is in the Word of God. But if I let my own spirit become contaminated because of this, with bitterness or malice, then I am out of order, and in trouble with God Jesus denounced the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, called them a generation of vipers, and refused to join up with their religious system. He wept over their blindness, but He kept His spirit pure. His attitude toward them was love and compassion, in spite of the fact that He opposed what they were doing.
A Robe of Righteousness
Abraham’s faith may not have brought him into the fulness of the inheritance, and it may not have given him victory over physical death, but it brought him into a realm of righteousness that other men did not know. Romans 4:9 says that “Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness”. His vision of God’s purposes gave him a relationship with the Lord that cleansed him from the sin of the heathen nations around him.
Please don’t tell me that you have a pure revelation of what God is doing in the earth, while you are content to be living an impure and sinful life. True vision will change your life. It will cause you to hunger after righteousness. Jesus had the strongest, purest insight into the truths of the Kingdom of God of any man that ever lived. And He also had the purest, cleanest life of any. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8).
There are those who have brought the greatest reproach upon the Sonship message, because while they had the right terminology and could quote the scriptures on Sonship fluently, they allowed their lives to become corrupt and evil. When they fell into the snare of the devil, instead of repenting and seeking the blood of Jesus to cover their sin, they excused their sins and covered up by trying to prove from the Bible that they were right in God’s eyes. Doctrines of devils were devised to cover their corrupt practices. “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). Doctrines such as free love, soul mating. “I am God”, “grace and liberty with license to sin”, etc., were devised by Satan to allow corrupt men to continue in their sin while thinking they have a right to preach end-time truths. Charismatics from the historic churches who were never taught to live righteously and godly in the present world, now think they can receive the Holy Spirit without causing a radical change in their life style. Some sit around in informal group meetings speaking in tongues, and discussing the deep truths of God, while they smoke their cigarettes and sip their cocktails and beer. Charismatic priests, widely advertised and sought after as “experts” in the Holy Spirit, are seen with their pipe in one hand and a can of beer in the other. Instructing the faithful in how to be “filled with the Spirit”. They themselves need to be taught the first principles of how to live this message. Saints of God who have the real message of Sonship working in them by faith, have been grieved at this “sloppy agape” type of living. No, I’m not getting legalistic. But it’s time that those who say they have the message of life begin showing signs of a changed life. The kind of faith and vision that Abraham had will produce righteousness.
A New Word
As with Abraham, the revelation of divine purpose will bring to us a word of life. In Genesis 22, Abraham spoke a word to the young men servants: “I and the lad will go yonder, and worship, AND COME AGAIN TO YOU.” In the face of God’s directions to slay Isaac on that mountain, Abraham was declaring that they both would come down from their worship. Because he had a divine revelation that his seed was to come through Isaac, and was to bless the nations. And he could speak a word of faith in the dark hour of death. To Isaac he said: “My son, God will provide.”. That was a living word of faith.
When the true message of the body of Christ and the Kingdom of god breaks upon us, it gives us a word that cannot be refuted. I am not the smartest man in the world, by far, and certainly not the best preacher. but when the revelation of Sonship came, I preached it openly and boldly to preachers and teachers in camp meetings all across the country, and no one could come against it. True vision will give you a true word. Because our vision is limited, our word also is limited. So we don’t have all the answers, but what we do know, we really know. That is why we need the rest of the body of Christ. Don’t depend on following one isolated man or ministry, and expect to have a full understanding of God’s purposes for this age. God is spreading His truth throughout the body, to force us to come together because our mutual need of each other.
This is a word that comes by “seeing” the promise, and it is a word that does it’s work in us NOW. I’m not talking about after we are glorified, resurrected, gone through the veil, etc. If you have the true message of Sonship, you will be able to speak life. Words of criticism, gossip, lying, backbiting, discouragements, etc., are products of poor spiritual vision. When you see the inheritance, as Abraham did, your tongue will come under submission to the Holy Spirit.
New Life–New Fruit
It was physically impossible for Abraham and Sarah to produce a son. But they had a revelation from God, a vision of His purposes for them. And here on this hard earth, with it’s facts and it’s logic, in the midst of their enemies, they were participants in the impossible. True vision brought forth new life, and fruitfulness. Isaac became a reality. Out of the deadness of their bodies came fruit. The son of promise.
True vision and real revelation will produce fruit in your lives. Now, here, on this earth with all it’s problems. Jesus said: “herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” And when a branch bears fruit, He purges or cleanses it, that it may bring forth more fruit. How does He cleanse it? With the water of His Word. Glory to God! The true message will cause you to bear fruit. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will come forth from your life in abundance. The winning of souls will become a normal part of your life.
What is the Isaac, the son of promise, that God wants from your life? It will come in spite of every earthly and physical hindrance, as you let the floodlight of God’s end-time purposes fill your soul. A true vision may take 25 years, as with Abraham and Sarah, but it cannot be denied. A prophecy had come to me in 1950 that I would write for the Lord. I carried that word for 10 years without seeing any progress toward fulfillment. But in 1960, I wrote, mimeographed, and mailed out our first message. God took it from there. No “Madison Avenue promotions”, no solicitations or pleas for money. No fleshly generated Ishmaels. We just left it in the hands of God, and He took over. The promise came into manifestation.
Don’t Wait Till Tomorrow
You don’t have to wait till heaven, or the “rapture”, or the manifestation of son, to enter into the blessings of the end-time move of God. Some have criticized the Sonship message, claiming that we are always looking ahead to another day, and not doing anything about “today”. And yet, in most cases, those who criticize are doing far less today than the “visionaries” they talk about; and their lives are not nearly as conformed to the image of Christ, as those saints who have seen the revelation of end-time truth.
Some will even say that the Sonship message will destroy your missionary vision. But I would like to point you to our little church here in Springfield, where thousands of dollars are sent to foreign missionaries each year, and where no less than ten of our brethren either are, or have been, on the foreign mission field. True vision makes you realize that this world is just one big ripe harvest field, and gives you great desire to go reap it for our Lord.
Yes, the message of “tomorrow” does something for you today. Your life will change in many ways. You may not have received the fulness of the inheritance yet, and you are not obligated to make great boastful claims. But your vision and your revelation will bring you closer to our Lord Jesus, more conformed to His image, and more fruit for His glory. Hallelujah!
“Walk It Out”
What about the reality of His promises? When shall we enter into the fulness, and what will it do for us? When? “In the fulness of time”. God has a time table, and He is not one bit behind schedule. He will not be late. Years ago, in Florida, I was a radio announcer. I opened up the station at 5:25 a.m., and “ran the board” until noon. Then I had a special half-hour Gospel disc-jockey program each afternoon at 4 p.m. Sometimes I would be very busy at that time of the day and would make a mad dash for the station at the last minute. With my car radio on, I would hear the other announcer say: “Here is Captain Bill and the Old Ship of Zion”. He would then start my theme song on record, and walk out of the studio, with me still driving frantically toward the station. Many times I would pull up in the parking lot, jump out of the car, dash into the studio, open the mike and start talking just before the theme song went off. Can’t ever remember being late and missing the program, but I was a borderline case, with some “cliff-hanging” experiences. Not so with the Lord. He is not in a hurry, and He will not be late. Everything is working exactly as He planned it in the beginning. We are a privileged people to be living in that last hour, when the prophecies of the end-time are coming to pass.
What is it that the “feet company” actually walk out in experience, when the day of manifestation comes to pass? Let us turn out attention now to Israel. Standing here on the banks of Jordan (Joshua 3), was the many-membered son (Hosea 11:1) that God had called out of Egypt. Not an individual now who was “seeing” the promised land, but a holy nation, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) that was about to put their feet on the soil of God’s Canaan.
But “death” had to first be defeated for them. The river Jordan (a symbol of the waters of death), was flooding it’s banks at this time of harvest. On the shoulders of the priests, the Ark of the Covenant first went down into the waters. As the feet of the priests touched the water, the waters rose up as if held back by a great dam. This cut off the waters below, and 2,000 cubits behind the Ark, the people of God crossed over on dry land. Now 2,000 years after our living Ark, Jesus, defeated the powers of death, we prepare to cross over, putting death under our feet. There must be a victory over death for the firstfruits company before our feet can walk in all the promises of God. I know that death is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26), but before it is destroyed for the whole human race, a company of overcomers must demonstrate the victory over him who had the power of death, the devil (Hebrews 2:14).
To defeat death, sin must first be dealt with. This is not the Passover. The Passover was when Jesus died on the Cross, and our sins were covered by His blood. But this is the Day of Atonement, when all sin is removed from the human heart, and the carnal Adamic mind is replaced by the mind of Christ. Yes, we have already confessed these things, but it has been a confession of faith, for we have not seen it work. Saints are still subject to temptation and sin, and still die the same as sinners. The Day of Atonement removed all this, and with that comes the victory over death. The Overcomer then eats the hidden manna (Revelation 2:17). That means there will be no more eating of the bread of healing for them, for there will be no sickness to heal. Divine life and divine health will be ours to enjoy. He will manifest His grace and love to usward through the ages to come (Ephesians 2:7).
Yes, the Israelites crossed over Jordan dry-shod, and so shall we. It was a day of miracle, for no one could have managed that in the natural. They had to know that God had done it. And there will be no boasting for those who pass through the veil into never-dying life. For all will know that it is nothing that we have done or deserved, but only the grace of our wonderful god. Praise His Name!
The Walls of Jericho Fall
Immediately upon entering the promised land, they found themselves in great conflict. If you think that the coming of Jesus is going to zap you out of this world, off this planet earth, and place you in a nice quiet garden to meditate, then you have not seen the purpose of God in His church. The gates of hell shall fall before His church, just as the walls of Jericho fell before Israel. With the appearing of Jesus, Jordan shall be crossed over, and the real battle of the ages with principalities and powers shall begin.
Every enemy shall be put under our feet. No cancer, no crippling affliction, nor any power of darkness shall stand before those who have crossed Jordan. Jesus was our example of one who walked in the inheritance, just as Abraham was of one who saw it. Never a mistake in His life, never a failure in His ministry. Oh friends, what God hath planned for us!
I am convinced that there will be a revival, an evangelistic sweep, that will touch every country, province, city, village, or individual before it is finished. I feel I have heard from God that the thrust and heart of this revival will come from those who have crossed over Jordan and started walking in the promises that Abraham saw. You will notice that the walls of Jericho fell through their willingness to remain silent, and just walk. Until the day of the shout; and then they all shouted together. So shall it be today. We are silent, as it were, producing nothing in comparison with what we see. But we shall walk in the inheritance. And He shall come with a “shout”. Praise God! The walls shall come down with a crash, and Babylon shall fall. Every enemy shall be destroyed. It is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the vengeance of His temple (Jeremiah 50:28).
A Permanent Life in Canaan
Back in the 13th chapter of Numbers we find a ruler from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, 12 men in all, making a journey into the promised land. It was to spy out the land, and it was the time of the first-ripe grapes (verse 20). They could not at that time stay in the land and make their home, they could only taste of the first fruits of the land. So it is with us. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we have the first fruits. But we do not have the full inheritance. Romans 8:23 says in the Amplified bible: “We ourselves too, who have and enjoy the first fruits of the Holy Spirit–a foretaste of the blissful things to come—groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal our adoption, our manifestation as God’s sons.” Then in Ephesians 1:13-14 the Amplified Bible makes it so plain when it tells us that we have been “stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. That Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance–the first fruit, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage–in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring complete possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”
Joshua and Caleb, a type of the pentecostal saints who saw there was more than just a first fruits, tried to get the people to go in and possess the land. But those other 10 “pentecostal preachers” said: “No, we cannot go any further. It is dangerous. We might get into false doctrine, go off the deep end, and get captured by the giants. We must be satisfied with the first fruits, stay here and wait for the resurrection or the rapture.” Sound familiar? Not only would they not go in, but they were ready to stone those who suggested that they should possess what God had promised. They died in the wilderness, and only those who had the faith to press on to the fulness, lived to cross over Jordan.
Friends, we cannot remain forever in the wilderness. Even though we’ve had some wonderful experiences, eaten manna from heaven, drank water from the Rock, and been led all the way be the cloud and pillar of fire, we must still press our way into our inheritance, the fulness of God. Paul the Apostle prayed for you that “you might be filled with ALL the fulness of God!” (Ephesians 3:19).
Israel conquered their enemies, and then they divided up the land by tribe, built cities, planted farms, and occupied the land. They acted as if they were going to make it a permanent home, and not a 90 day vacation! Praise God! What God is bringing us into is for all eternity. Rule and reign with Christ forever. This is what comes by walking in the promises. Seeing the revelation of His Word is wonderful, and if you have a true revelation, it will change your life. But walking, actually experiencing, these revelation truths brings a fulness and a permanence. Move on, saints! Possess the land! It belongs to you.
So, dear ones, try to recognize the difference between “seeing” and “walking”. These saints in chapter 11 of Hebrews saw the promises, and embraced them by faith. But they died without entering in and receiving the promises. That part was left to us, the last day church, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Thank God for the hour in which we live, and be thankful for the god in which we live and move and have our being.
“By Faith Abraham”
Since so many of God’s glorious truths are invested in the Old Testament men and women of God, and so often revealed in their lives, it is no wonder that this 11th chapter of Hebrews contains so many end-time truths. For more Old Testament saints are mentioned here than in any other chapter in the New Testament. 16 are mentioned by name, and many others referred to.
It would be impossible to deal with all the truths contained in this chapter, and this is not really our purpose in this book. Many are sermons that have been preached from some text or other in these 40 verses. You have God’s permission to go prospecting in this rich area, for “there’s gold in them thar hills!”
One portion we must deal with before we leave this chapter, is found in verses 17-19. “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac. accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure”.
The Impossible Mind
Through a miracle of life, God had given Abraham and Sarah a son. And a promise had been given, that “in Isaac shall they seed be called”. This was a sure word. God had made Abraham to know that His blessing would not come through Ishmael, son of the servant girl, but through Isaac, son of promise.
Now Isaac is growing to maturity. Not rebellious and troublesome, like Ishmael, son of Hagar the bondwoman, but a son in whom his father delights. As Ishmael is a type of Israel under the law, so Isaac is a beautiful type of Christ, the son of God. The story of Isaac as a burnt-offering is told in Genesis 22. There we see God speaking to Abraham, instructing him to offer Isaac on a mountain in Moriah. Isaac is not told that he is the sacrifice, until they reach the top of the mountain. There, I believe, Abraham sat down with Isaac and told him what God was requiring of them both. With Abraham it was that he had to give up his son, and with Isaac it was his life. Because Isaac was a type of Jesus Christ, I believe he willingly agreed to the will of God. Hebrews 11:9 tells us that he was an heir of the same promises as Abraham. At any rate, he was bound and laid on the altar. He was a strong young man, possibly from 25 to 33 years of age, strong enough to carry the wood for the burnt offering up the mountain. Abraham was well over 100 years of age. I cannot accept the thought that Abraham had to overpower him and put him on the altar against his will.
What could Abraham been thinking of at this time? God had given him this son, with the promise that he would carry on the seed line. As of yet, he was not married, and had no seed. So if he were sacrificed, would that not mean the first word was a lie? Abraham operated on the principle that nothing God said was a lie. As far as he could see, there was only one solution: God would raise Isaac from the dead, and the book of Hebrews says that, in a figure, he did receive him back from the dead. As far as Abraham was concerned, Isaac was dead. For in his heart, he had already made the offering. The deed was done. Then God intervened.
What Meaneth This?
What does this story of Isaac have to do with Jesus Christ, or with our Sonship? First, let us take a review of Abraham in the scripture:
11. Abram is first mentioned in scripture.
12. Abram is called to go into the promised land.
13. Abram and Lot are separated.
14. Abram meets Melchisedec, and is blessed by him.
15. God makes a covenant with Abram.
16. Ishmael is born. A human effort to fulfill the promise.
17. At age 99, his name is changed to Abraham. God promises Sarah a son.
18. A son is promised again, he pleads with God for Lot and Sodom.
19. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
20. Abraham’s lapse of faith at Gerah.
21. Birth of Isaac. Ishmael and Hagar cast out.
22. Isaac is offered on Moriah and resurrected–(in a figure).
23. Sarah dies and is buried.
24. Abraham send to get a bride for Isaac. Isaac is married to Rebekah.
25. Death of Abraham, Isaac inherits everything.
Please notice the sequence of events. In chapter 21, when Isaac (Christ) is weaned, Ishmael (the Law) is cast out. Then Isaac is offered as a sacrifice, brought back from the dead in a figure, and in the next chapter his mother dies. Only after this does he get a bride and bring forth seed. God had promised Abraham a seed line through Isaac, but it could not come until after his “resurrection”.
For you see, he was a picture of what Jesus Christ was going to do when He came to earth. It has always been God’s purpose (“the eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus”) for Christ to bring forth a seed line of the nature of deity. But he started from an impossible premise. In Abraham’s case, the impossibility was that his wife was 90 years of age, and he was nearly 100, both past the age of bearing children. With Christ, it was that He was starting with a sinful humanity, to bring forth a people in the image of God. Most impossible. But He was able to do it by the sacrifice of Himself, and by planting His own divine life as a seed in the earth of Adam’s creation.
Only Resurrection Life
Notice that Isaac did not get a bride or have children until after he was “raised from the dead” at Moriah. In a figure, he was a resurrected man. And from this state of being, the nation of Israel was born. In Hosea 11:1 we discover that Israel was God’s “corporate son” in the Old Testament. God referred to the whole nation of Israel as “a child”, and “my son”.
In spite of the false teaching of a very strong religious group, the truth is that our Lord Jesus was never married while here on earth, and never had any children after the natural order. For 4,000 years the human race had been bearing the image of Adam their father. “All had sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, and there “was none righteous, no not one”. God had determined to have a people in His own image, but Adam could not produce it. They were all of “the earth, earthy”.
Then came the virgin birth, and Jesus appeared on the scene bearing the image of His Father. He was the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He was a new creation. There was not another like Him on the earth. Oh, he was made in the likeness of men, and even had the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7), but He did not have the sinful nature of the first Adam, and would not receive the curse of sin. There was a vast difference. And therefore He had dominion over all the forces of nature, and over all demonic powers.
At this point, God could have said: “This is what I have been looking for, this is the son in whom I am well pleased. So now I will find another virgin, bring forth a sinless woman who can be His bride, and let Him populate the earth with His own likeness, while I destroy this wicked humanity”. But He had not purposed it in that manner. In the first place, that would have left us out. And God loved us too much for that. In the second place, every seed brings forth after it” own kind, and Jesus could only have produced earthly sinless children with the same limitations that He had while He was here in the likeness of men. For being glorified and exalted at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places did not come until after His resurrection (Ephesians 1:20).
The Spirit Poured Out
The sons that Christ is bringing forth will not be produced just in the image of that man in human form, walking the shores of Galilee. Even that would be wonderful, walking in His holiness, His authority and power, healing the sick and raising the dead. But He has something far beyond that in mind for us. We read in John 7:37-39. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as, the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Did you get what it said in verse 39? “The Holy Ghost was not yet given”. Doesn’t it say that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb? And even his mother and father were also filled with the Holy Ghost? (Luke 1:15, 41, 67). And didn’t the Holy Ghost come upon the Old Testament prophets? Then what does it mean that “the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified”? The answer is that John 7:39 is speaking of the Holy Ghost coming into the church for the purpose of producing a many-membered corporate son in the likeness of Christ, with His life and nature. In John 16:7 Jesus tells us that it was necessary for Him to die, and be resurrected and glorified, in order for the Spirit of the glorified Christ to come to us. For this is the likeness He is producing in us. Glory to God!
This truth is so clearly brought out in Romans 8:14-15. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (NASB). Now look at verse 15 in the Amplified bible: “For the Spirit which you have now received is not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of Adoption–the Spirit producing sonship–in the bliss of which we cry, Abba! That is, Father!” Think of it! We have received the Holy Spirit that produces sonship in us. But it is the likeness of the Son who has been resurrected and exalted to the throne, which we are to bear. But let us check some other translations to see if we are on the right track.
Moffatt’s translation says (Romans 8:15): “You have received the Spirit of sonship”. New English Bible: “The spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a spirit that makes us sons”. Rotherham says: “Buy ye have received a spirit of sonship”. And the very accurate Wuest translation says: “You received the Spirit who places you as adult sons”. For you see, the word “adoption” used in Romans 8, Ephesians 1, and Galatians 4 means to take your own child who has finally come to full maturity, and place him in a place of authority as a full grown son. By the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been reconciled to God and brought to a new birth. By the outpouring of His spirit, He is producing His own likeness in us, making us mature sons.
What a powerful and glorious statement is made in 2 Corinthians 8:9 concerning the place to which He would bring us. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” What did it take for Him to be rich? A mansion in heaven? The cattle on a thousand hills? Oh no, my friends, nothing so carnal as that. The thing that made Him rich was “being in the form of God” (Philippians 2:6). Wuest translation expresses it so strongly: “did not after weighing the facts, consider it a treasure to be clutched and retained at all hazards, this being on an equality with deity (in the expression of divine essence), but himself He emptied, himself He made void, having taken the outward expression of a bondslave, which expression comes from and it truly representative of His nature (as deity), entering into a new state of existence, that of mankind.” His treasure was that He was in the form of God, and that was the treasure he gave up, in order to make us rich, that is, to share that same treasure with us.
In His prayer in John 17:4-5, Jesus said: “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” What was it that Jesus had before the world began that He did not have while on this earth? It was the glory of “thine own self”, or the glory of the divine essence. He “made himself poor”, or gave that up, that He might “make us rich”. Matthew 13:44 tells us that He “selleth all that he hath”, that He might buy an earthen field in which He had found a treasure. So because He was willing to make Himself poor, “you are bought with a price”. And He is bringing His purchased possession unto Himself. John 17:22 says that the glory which the Father gave him He has given to us, that He might “make us rich”. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”. Or do you really know His grace? Are you willing to believe that He would do such a thing for you? Have confidence in Him. He loves you so much!
By the Power of an Endless Life
In Hebrews 7 we already discussed the Melchisedec order. We know that Jesus is the high priest of that order forever, but also that He is bringing His sons into that Melchisedec order of king-priest (Revelation 1:6; 5:10). Now notice that the power of that priesthood (Hebrews 7:16) is resurrection life, endless life.
That is why Jesus could not bring forth sons until after He was glorified. In Hebrews 11:13, 19 we read that the Old Testament saints did not receive “the promise”. They did many great exploits of faith by the power of the Spirit. But they could not produce His likeness or come into sonship until after He was resurrected. Jesus said that of those born of women, there was none greater than John the Baptist. But John was not as great as the “least in the kingdom”. It is an entirely different realm, and goes far beyond being empowered by the Spirit to do mighty deeds of faith.
So Abraham sent to “a far country” to get a bride for Isaac. He would not accept a bride from the Canaanites that dwelled all around him. They were of a different breed, and he wanted a bride from among his own people. He ended up getting a virgin girl from his own kinfolks. Hebrews 2:16 says that Jesus took not on Him the nature of angels, but that He came to take on Him the seed of Abraham. “He came to His own”. Though in a far country, not in His realm, yet we are His “kinfolks”.
Notice that Isaac would not go to Rebekah’s realm of life, she had to come to him. She had to make a long journey, but it was well worth it. And friends, we have a long journey, with the Holy Spirit to guide us, to get to His realm of life. But it is only then that we can produce His likeness in this earth. “He tasted death for ever man”, therefore we don’t have to go through a death, burial, and resurrection to come into this. He is the one who defeated death, and He pours this victorious life into us. This enables us to come forth out of the grave, or be transformed here into immortality, by the power of His victory.
So this is sonship. Far beyond anything the human mind can conceive or imagine. Paul heard things concerning this realm that he could not even discuss (2 Corinthians 12:4). Peter said (1 Peter 1:3-4) that we have been begotten by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance. ready to be revealed in the last time. Other messages will be written about this, but for now, let us concern ourselves to Hebrews 11.
The Reproach of Christ
One of the greatest things said about Moses is (verse 26) that he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. What great faith it took to turn his back on the riches of the mightiest nation on earth at the time. But he got a vision of the purpose of God in Christ. He refused to be identified with Egypt’s royalty. He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God. He forsook Egypt, and “he endured”. He saw Him who is invisible.(verse 27).
There is a real blessing of faith in enduring. Many start the race, but God will see to it that you are faced with something you must endure. It is part of the victory. It seems that there are always “casualties” and “survivors”. Which group are you in? Can you endure? Do you have a spirit to survive? In order to do so, there must be a forsaking of Egypt and the pleasures of sin. Faith must operate.
So much could be said about Moses and his faith. The stories of Rahab the harlot, and the men of faith mentioned in the remaining verses, are found in the books of the old Testament. This chapter does not go into detail about their exploits of faith. What is God saying to us here? It is all summed up in the last 2 verses: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” “Some better thing”. The perfection, or maturity, of Sonship which we have received had to come through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, of which Isaac was only a type. No matter how great their acts of faith, they could not make it to the promise. Verses 33 through 38 tell of victories of faith beyond anything we see happening about us today. We do not have to compete with those things to receive the promise. We have it in His victory at Calvary and the open tomb. Bless His wonderful Name! There is to be no pride in those who come to maturity and full Sonship, as though they had accomplished something in their own strength, for “it is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord”. “That no flesh should glory in His presence”. Hallelujah!
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