In our last meeting we discussed the subject of "Redemption" explaining how the three steps of grace: justification, sanctification, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost and Fire, by which God prepares our heart for His dwelling place—is the same plan He has for redeeming this earth on which we are to spend eternity. This week I would like to further examine the same subject we covered through I John 5.
Scripture: Matthew 11:13-14 'For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come'.
There was an Elijah to come at the climax of the Law and the prophets to introduce the Tree of Life. Because when Adam and Eve separated themselves from the Tree of Life, there was no way back to fellowship in the paradise of God. Let's find that in the Book.
Genesis 3:24, 'So he drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, (north, south, east, and west—the Shekinah like a whirl-wind of Fire) to keep the way of the tree of life'.
Three weeks ago in the sermon "Hubris," we looked at the cherubim and found the 'lively creatures' exhibited the fourfold nature of God's Own Life that He is imparting to His Family. Life as shall be held by those who dwell in His immediate Presence and form the covering or defence of His throne. The beauty of holiness. This was foreshadowed by the four heads which came from One River of Life which flowed from the mountain of God in Eden (Ezekiel 28:13-14).
We discovered that in connection with the cherubim and the place of the Presence, the word 'covering' means defence or protection, as in a wall. Like the walls of the Tabernacle of Witness and Solomon's Temple, which were adorned with figures of guardian cherubim, palm trees and flowers, preserved the meaning of Eden, the garden-sanctuary (I Kings 6:29, 32).
So the ONLY way one could enter the Presence and live in His sight, was to satisfy or come into agreement with the NATURE of the guard. In the New Testament, the cherubim are represented by the four Gospels which guard the way to Christ, the Tree of Life. The ONLY way we can receive the Life that dwelt in the early apostles is to match the nature of the Life in these four Gospels guarding the Book of the Acts of the Holy Spirit IN the group who were in the upper room.
Since Calvary the flaming sword has been sheathed. For Jesus' sacrifice IS the way into the Presence, no man can come to God but through faith in the Sacrifice. Our testimony must agree with the guards' before they permit us to PASS to the Tree of Life.
It's a Promise to His elect. Revelation 2:7, 'He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.' Faith comes by hearing.
Revelation 22:2, 14, 19, In the new Jerusalem on either side of the River of Life was the Tree of Life which 'bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the Gentiles.' This speaks of the Old and New Testament saints either side of Calvary represented in Daniel, Matthew 19:28, and Revelation by the twenty-four elders—the Old Testament Patriarchs and the Apostles.
'Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have RIGHT to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates of judgment, guarded by the cherubim or Attributes of God's Own nature expressed in the Gospels, into the city. If any man shall take away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy relating to Christ's kingdom and its speedy triumph, with its consolations and warnings, God shall take away his share in the Tree of Life and in the city of holiness which are described in this book'. We enter by the Word, or not at all.
'For all the prophets and the Law prophesied UNTIL John. And if you will receive it, JOHN is the Elijah, which was to come.' John was the Elijah of Isaiah 40:3-5, 'The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see It together: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it'.
Jesus is 'the glory of the Lord.' He interpreted verse four. The high places spoke of the proud, wise and prudent who rejected revelation for their traditions, while the low places represented the common people who heard him gladly.
John was the Elijah of Malachi 3;1, 'Behold, I will send My messenger, and He shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, says the LORD of hosts'.
The Lord came to the Temple of Jesus Christ, signifying His Presence at His baptism by John with the Pillar of Fire like a dove, as He signified His Presence in the Tabernacle of Witness, and in Solomon's Temple.
In 1933, when Brother Branham was baptizing 500 people in the Ohio River before 5,000 witnesses, the Shekinah appeared in the Form of a star. And a Voice from heaven said, 'As John the Baptist foreran My first Coming, your Message will forerun My second Coming'.
John was the Elijah at the end of the Hebrew dispensation. After His baptism Jesus made the same appeal He was to make in EVERY Church Age: 'He that has ears to hear, let him hear' (Matthew 11:15). He INDICTED that last generation of Jews, as almost 2,000 years later through the ministry of Brother Branham, He was to indict this last generation of Gentiles.
Matthew 11:15-24, 'But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and you have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented.
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a devil". The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children"'.
You see? Just like the Laodicean spirit, neither hot nor cold. There is no way to attract the people to receive the love of Christ, the revealed Word of THIS hour. They are only interested in their traditions of what He WAS in history, or what they imagine He WILL BE in the future. They love the psychology of what they have been taught He is, but despise the strait and narrow way of the despised few.
Try as He did in the days of His flesh, Jesus could NOT persuade Israel to receive the faith. He said 'though One were to raise from the dead, yet will they not believe!'
'Though He had done SO MANY MIRACLES BEFORE THEM, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, "Lord, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed"? Therefore they could NOT believe, because that Isaiah said again, "He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted, and I should heal them". These things said Isaiah, when he saw His glory, and spoke of Him' (John 12:37-41).
At no time in Bible history has God performed so many miracles as He has in OUR day. Yet the people will NOT believe (John 14:12; Luke 17:28-30).
'Then began He to condemn the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not: "Woe unto you, Chorazin! woe unto you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And you, Capernaum, which is exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you".'
At a meeting I attended this week, the chairman happened to mention that Sydney has the second largest concentration of homosexuals in the world. God has done more miracles today, and published them in Sydney, than ever He did through all the pages of the Bible. If He doesn't destroy this city, He is obligated to raise up Sodom and Gomorrah and apologize to them. San Francisco is acclaimed as the homosexual capital of the world.
When we were preaching the sermon, "Hubris," we compared the Spirit in Isaiah when he prophesied Babylon would be brought down to the depths of the pit (Isaiah 14:13-15) with the Spirit in Jesus when He prophesied the sinking of Capernaum, and Brother Branham when he spoke the sinking of Los Angeles. Even their words are similar, showing God never changes. Woe to them in the world today who think they can get away with their 'alternate lifestyles.' There is NO alternative. We live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God . . . or we perish.
Now let's turn our Bibles to I John 5, where the prophet, John, is proving Jesus was indeed the promised Christ. The Fatherhood of the Old Testament demanded and was consummated in an adopted Son.
Paul in Romans 5 and I Corinthians 15 demonstrates Jesus is the Son Who pleased the Father in all things such that He was under pre-eminence to the Word and became the captain of our salvation, and the first fruits of them that slept. John calls Him the 'Amen,' the Seal or finality of God, in Whom dwelt the sum. . . NOT of wisdom and beauty, for the Words He spoke were not His Own but what He heard from the Father, and there was 'no beauty that we should desire Him'. . . but in Christ dwelt the fullness of the nature and character of God.
Jesus was the beginning of the creation of God: God creating Himself in the Form of His glorified Family, LESS than 2,000 years ago. He became placed, adopted or recognized as the first born of God's MANY sons in this new creation. NOT for His own ability but because He was able to get Himself out of the way. He was able to die to the desires of His mortal spirit and corruptible flesh and 'do always what pleased the Father'.
This exposes the whole concept of the trinity and its pre-existent or 'eternal Son' as a horrid perversion of Truth and a denial of Jesus' HUMANITY as the antitype of Adam. The Bible instructs us that Jesus made mistakes as He learned, and was chastened like any other son. He had free moral agency the same as every other human being from Adam to the present day. It was by His own free choice that He lay aside His will that He might know and perform the will of the Father. Jesus did nothing of Himself for It was the Father in Him willing and doing His Own good pleasure.
Jesus is our example. He didn't HAVE to do any of these things. Like Moses, He gave up the pleasures of this world, esteeming the reproach greater riches for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Now as Jesus Christ was the first fruits of them that slept, William Branham was the first fruits of them that are Christ's at His parousia.
God was pleased to veil the Fullness behind Brother Branham to fulfil Luke 17:28-30. As He veiled himself behind that created Man in Genesis 18, God revealed Jesus Christ again through His prophet by the Sign of Hebrews 4:12—discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. In Revelation 10:5-6 God reconfirmed His Covenant with that one man, and the Fullness of the Word which was the Coming of the Son of man or Christ's parousia, came through the mouth of this humble sinner saved by grace.
Brother Branham was indeed the first fruits of them that are Christ's at His 'parousia.' He was under pre-eminence to the Word so God could trust Him with the Word. Paul has not been with us for 2,000 years but if you want an contemporary example, you may 'follow Brother Branham as He followed Jesus Christ.' According to Malachi 4:5-6 and Matthew 17:11, his ministry RESTORED the faith Paul once delivered to the apostolic saints.
The dispensation of the Fatherhood under the Old Testament demanded that one son should eventually please Father God. Paul said in Galatians that the Law was our schoolmaster to bring one Man to graduation, and us in Him by faith so that we are ALL placed or recognized Sons of God!!! Hallelujah to that! (Galatians 3:23-27).
I have no complaints with this Plan! 'If we be Christ's, then we are Abraham's seed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and heirs according to the Promise of Genesis 12:3.'
Now let's read I John 5:1-5, 'Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is BORN of God: and every one that loves God Who begat loves Jesus also Who is BEGOTTEN of God.
By this we know that we LOVE the children of God, when we LOVE God, and OBEY His commandments. (The converse of I John 4:20. John 15:23).
For this is the LOVE of God, that we OBEY His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous (I John 2:5; Matthew 11:30).
For whatsoever is BORN of God OVERCOMES the world: and this is the victory that OVERCOMES the world, even our FAITH. [And because we are IN Him, our faith is His faith, and it is by grace—an unmerited gift—NOT something WE have or could produce from within our own resources (I John 4:4-6; John 16:33). It is ALL of faith].
Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes by FAITH that Jesus is the Son of God?'
The love, obedience and faith that were the evidence of a placed NATURAL son in Israel are the mark of a SPIRITUALLY adopted or placed son of the Heavenly Father, a Christian. John is saying, we KNOW we are the children of God when we recognize our elder Brother, Who is the Forerunner of our salvation. The type after Whom we must pattern our lives.
'But as many as received Him, He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God' (John 1:12-13, see also I John 4:2, 7). Faith, not works.
Next we come to the indisputable evidence of three WITNESSES.
I John 5:6-12, 'This is the Christ that came by WATER of baptism AND the BLOOD of His passion, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And It is the SPIRIT that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son: He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself (i.e. his faith): he that believes not God has made him a liar; because he believes not the record that God gave of His Son.
And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son. He that has the Son has Life; and he that has not the Son of God has not Life'.
WATER and BLOOD are two of the great EVIDENCES, or three great witnesses for Christ and are symbols which look back to His baptism and His Cross.
The baptism of John was the SEAL of the Law. It was the outward sign by which those who repented at his preaching showed their determination to keep the Law no longer in the letter only, but also in the Spirit; not to supersede the prophecies, but to claim and realize them.
Luke 16:16, 'The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it.'
John's baptism was Jesus' outward sign and Seal to the Old Testament, that He had NOT come to destroy but to fulfil the Law.
In Matthew 3:1-12, John is preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, baptizing unto repentance, and rebuking denominational ministers secure in the history and man-made traditions they'd learned. He said the ax is laid to all their traditions, and warned that Messiah will separate His people and destroy His enemies in the Lake of Fire.
Matthew 3:13-17, 'Then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of you, and you come to me"?
And Jesus answering said unto him, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness". Then he suffered him.
And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and the heavens were opened unto Him, and John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and a Voice from heaven, said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am pleased to dwell in".
THERE'S the Seal to the Old Testament: the washing of Christ the perfect Sacrifice, who determined to fulfil all righteousness required by the Law.
Christ's baptism was to show that in Him the righteousness and purification which the Law INTENDED had become a REALITY, and through Him, those in His kingdom would likewise be partakers of His righteousness.
Without holiness shall no man see God. Christ is our forerunner.
Everything under Adam's dominion FELL when their lord fell. Everyone who in under Christ's Dominion OVERCOME because He has already overcome.
In chapter four, Jesus being anointed, fasted or sanctified. While He was consecrating Himself for His ministry Satan tempted Him. First by the lust of the flesh, for Jesus must have been very hungry. Then by the pride of life, and the lust of the eye. On each occasion, Jesus overcame Satan by the Word. By verse 12, John had fulfilled his work and he being imprisoned, Jesus began to preach, and to say, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand' (John 4:12). And He called His disciples.
Jesus preached the beatitudes or blessednesses, Matthew 5:1-12. Let this be YOUR attitude, telling the people to be reflectors of God's grace and attributes (Matthew 5:13-16). Jesus then declared Himself to be the Seal of the Old Testament.
Matthew 5:17, 'Think not that I am come to DESTROY the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to FULFILL'.
Moses brought the Law, the prophets represented part of the Word but in Jesus dwelt the FULLNESS of the Word. He was the Father revealed in flesh. Any adopted Son is equal to his father.
Hebrews 1:1-3, 'God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers IN the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us IN His Son, Whom He has appointed Heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high'.
God spoke IN His prophets who represented a PART of the Word, but at the consummation of the Old Testament, He spoke IN His first born Son in the NEW creation, Who was the FULLNESS of the Word.
And through the Seven Church Ages, God spoke IN the seven stars of Revelation 1-3 who reflected PART of the Word in the absence of the SON Light. But in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when all Seven Church Ages were over, He gathered into one those seven portions of the Spirit that had anointed the Church Age messengers to reveal 'that which was in part'. Then He gave us the promised Sign of Christ's 'parousia' (Matthew 24:3, 30; Acts 1:7; Revelation 1:7, 12-17; Daniel 7:9-10) which signified that AFTER the Seven Seals were revealed, the mystery of God should be finished, and we would not see Paul, Irenaeus, Martin, Columba, Luther, Wesley or Branham, but would look away to Jesus—that which is perfect, the author and finisher of our faith.
Praise God for His grace in opening our eyes to see what He has done to fulfil His Word promised for THIS day.
Colossians 2:9-3:4, 'For in Him dwells all the FULLNESS of the Godhead bodily. And YOU are complete IN HIM, Who is the Head of ALL principality and power: in Whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made WITHOUT hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried WITH him in BAPTISM, wherein also YOU are risen WITH Him through the FAITH of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead'.
This word 'complete' is the same word translated 'fulfil' in Matthew 5:17. When Christ fulfilled or completed or consummated the righteousness of the Law in meeting God's justice, and sin's penalty—we were IN Him then. We were IN the Word because we are Attributes of the Word manifest in our due season and we paid for our sins in Christ on Calvary.
'And YOU, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has quickened TOGETHER with Himself, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in the Cross.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the Body is of Christ. (That's US, brethren)!
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he has NOT seen, vainly puffed up by his carnal mind, and not upholding the Head, from which all the Body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God.
Wherefore if YOU are DEAD with Christ from the natural ways of the material world, why do you behave as though you were still in the world; why are you subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all perish when they are used;) after the commandments and doctrines of MEN? Which things have indeed an OUTWARD APPEARANCE of wisdom in will worship and humility, and disciplining the body; but have NO effect when it comes to conquering the old man, or carnal nature on the soul, and only serve to indulge the flesh by pride.
If you then are risen WITH Christ, seek those things which are ABOVE, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things ABOVE, not on things on the earth. For you are DEAD, and your Life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is OUR LIFE, shall appear (or be manifested), then shall YOU also be revealed WITH Him in glory'.
When the Bride of all Ages is COMPLETE, there will be NO DIFFERENCE, because we are One with our Husband through the Spiritual marriage union. The climax of the New Testament is the FULLNESS of the Word in the flesh of His Bride. His Life is OUR Life. We are DEAD and under complete pre-eminence and our life is hid WITH Christ IN God. Paul is speaking of the manifestation of the Sons of God under pre-eminence, revealing HIS true character IN us during the resurrection of the sleeping saints.
What God did IN Christ, Christ will do IN us. That perfect harmony must exist in our relationship with the Word.
Matthew 5:17-20, 'Think not that I am come to OVERTURN the law, or the prophets: I am not come to ANNUL, but to REALIZE or CONSUMMATE them.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall PERISH from the Law, until all that it foreshadowed is fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least important of these commandments, and shall teach men so shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO and TEACH them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'.
Jesus did not negate or do away with the Law. He MAGNIFIED or expanded It. He goes on to illustrate this: Moses said, you shall not murder. But I say that whosoever is angry his brother without cause is guilty. Moses said, you shall not commit adultery. But I say, whosoever looks upon a woman to lust after her is guilty already. And so-on to the marriage and divorce question (Matthew 5:21-37).
The same applies to observing sabbath-days. Adventists who imagine they might somehow be Christians, are actually denying the resurrection of Christ. Our sabbath is not a day, It is the Coming of the Holy Spirit or new birth which is an eternal sabbath for our souls, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (Matthew 11:25-30).
In Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus told His disciples not to become entangled with affairs of the world. And instead of trying to MAKE justice in this earth by worldly means, to repay evil with good. There will be no justice on earth until the Millennium, a lesson denominational churches with their social justice, aid and human rights programs, trying to make Satan's Eden WITHOUT God, need to learn.
God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and can afford to be generous with his favour. He gives abundant grace AND favour to all. We don't want His Justice, we want His Grace.
Matthew 5:43-48, 'You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy. But I say, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for THIS is what He does. He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even tax-gatherers so the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what more do you than others? Don't even tax-gatherers do the same?
Therefore be complete in the virtues and integrity of godliness, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' Be longsuffering, extending grace to all. God's Word will not return to Him void. They who reject that grace have no forgiveness in this world or in the world to come.
Paul expressed this in Romans 12:17—13:2, 'Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.
Dearly beloved, avenge NOT yourselves, but rather GIVE PLACE unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing you shall HEAP COALS OF FIRE on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Let every soul be SUBJECT unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that RESIST shall receive to THEMSELVES damnation'.
So Jesus' WATER BAPTISM pointed to all the evidence the Old Testament could possibly afford Him; and through the Old Testament it pointed to the dispensation of the Father—God ABOVE His people. Thus when this symbolic act of water baptism was complete, fulfilling all righteousness in the purification of the Lamb before its presentation for sacrifice, the Almighty Giver of the Law was heard to declare, 'THIS is My beloved Son, IN Whom I am pleased to dwell in.'
Jesus' water baptism was the Seal of the Law. He was the BEGINNING of the creation of God—the REAL dwelling Place of the Holy Spirit of which the Tent of Witness and Temple were TYPES. And He was the first fruits of them that SLEPT. Note the PAST tense! For after Jesus' resurrection, they awoke, put on glorified flesh and entered into His ascension.
I Corinthians 15:19-23, 'If in THIS life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the FIRST FRUITS of them that slept.
For since by man came death, by Man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own ORDER: Christ the FIRSTFRUITS; afterward they that are Christ's at His "parousia".'
God was pleased to dwell in Christ, Who is the firstborn of MANY sons to be resurrected from the grave (Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 2:10). And when Brother Branham was baptizing 500 in the presence of about 5,000 on the banks of the Ohio River in 1933, the pillar of Fire or Shekinah appeared in the form of a star (Revelation 1:16, 20) overshadowed him and a Voice from heaven said, 'As John the Baptist foreran My first Coming, your Message will forerun My second.' God NEVER changes His ways!
Brother Branham was the first fruits of them which are Christ's at His 'parousia' Coming. We have ARRIVED, brethren. The Bridegroom tarried for His Church Age Bride when He was a Mediator but the Seven Seals have been revealed, and we know that 'time (or delay) is no longer'.
Soon, the SAME Spirit Which was waved in Christ on Calvary will be waved in His end time Bride for the manifestation of the Sons of God. And as the Father was well pleased to dwell in Jesus, having the welcome of pre-eminence, proven in that He raised, glorified, translated and put all things under Him in heaven and in earth—even so will God vindicate the Bride in the manifestation of the Sons of God, resurrection, body change and translation. And as He put EVERYTHING in heaven and on earth under Christ's FEET—that means judgment! He will put EVERYTHING in heaven and on earth under OUR feet because through the Spiritual wedding or new birth, we are One!
Ephesians 1:22-23, 'And has put all things under His FEET, and gave Him to be the Head over ALL things to the church, Which is His Body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all'. And THAT means judgment! 'Know you not the saints shall judge the world?'
As usual, my teaching has become an omnibus . . . a double-decker!
Let's go back to I John 5:6, 'This is He that came by water AND blood, even Jesus Christ; not by WATER only, but by water AND blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.'
So the first great evidence or witness vindicating Jesus as the Christ was His WATER baptism by John. It INTRODUCED Messiah, confirmed by His anointing for ministry, and SEALED the Old Testament.
Christ was baptized by John but so were many others. And John was also baptized. These ALL came by WATER, but Christ ALSO came by BLOOD. This no other man could do, because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Indeed all but the virgin-born Jesus were BORN in sin, and though they might resist unto blood, their blood could not atone for sin.
God's Law requires an eye for an eye and a life for a life, and man required reconciliation by a kinsman redeemer who was innocent like Adam before the Fall.
So the BLOOD refers to Christ's Work of RECONCILIATION and ATONEMENT by His substitutionary death meeting the requirements of God's justice, and the realization or fulfilment of all the sacrifices and types of the Old Testament. 'And almost all things are by the Law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission' (Hebrews 9:22).
That His blood was a true WITNESS, was PROVEN by the perfection of His life: by the signs and wonders vindicating Him as the Word (Hebrews 4:12) and confirming His preaching by the fulfilment of prophecy, and by God's approval in His resurrection and ascension.
'Not by water only, but by water AND blood. And it is the Spirit that bears WITNESS, because the Spirit IS the Truth'.
The Spirit Which bore WITNESS at His baptism, had proved Him to be the Son of God in EVERY word and deed throughout His life, placed Him with equal authority on Mount Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5), raised, glorified and translated Him. The Spirit which BEGAN to do the Work of God in Christ is the third WITNESS. This evidence was further attested when It Spiritually resurrected those in the Upper Room on the day of Pentecost, and has CONTINUED to witness to Christ's vindication in His Church ever since.
Acts 1:1-8, 'The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus BEGAN both to do and teach, Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: to whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion (BLOOD) by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of Me. For John truly baptized with WATER; but you shall be baptized with the HOLY GHOST not many days hence. When they therefore came together, they asked of Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
And He, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, (the Church Ages or RESTS of the Pentecostal Feast or Gentile dispensation) which the Father has put in His own power. But YOU shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon YOU: and YOU shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth'.
The Spirit BEGAN to manifest and to teach the truth in Jesus Christ, and has CONTINUED in His Church.
II Corinthians 5:18-19, 'And all things are of God, Who has reconciled US to harmony with Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to US the ministry of reconciliation; so that AS God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; He has committed unto US the Word of reconciliation.'
There's the witness of the Spirit that BEGAN to do and teach in Christ and is CONTINUING the work of reconciliation through His elect Church.
Christ's water baptism and crucifixion were the manifested vindication of the Word the Spirit had declared through the prophets. God's Word is creative and must produce what is spoken. Providing It is in context, in the season of God's time, already in the written Word and by God's choosing. God interprets His Word by bringing It to pass. 'BECAUSE the Spirit is THE Truth' (I John 5:6).
John 17:17, 'Sanctify them through Your Truth: Your Word is Truth.' So the Spirit and the Word are the SAME thing in another FORM. John 14:6, 'Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the Life. . .' But the SPIRIT is the Truth: so Jesus is the Spirit in ANOTHER Form.
If it IS faith, the Word will prove the Word.
John 8:43-47, 'Why do you not understand My speech? even because you cannot hear My WORD.
You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the TRUTH, because there is no TRUTH in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own volition: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the TRUTH, you believe Me not. Which of you can convince Me of sin? And if I say the TRUTH, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God hears God's WORDS: you therefore hear them not, because you are not of God'.
'In the mouth of TWO or THREE WITNESSES every Word shall be established' (Matthew 17:16; Deuteronomy 19:15).
I John 5:7-8, 'For there are THREE that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are One. And there are THREE that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three AGREE in one' (or say the same thing).
According to the authorities, the words 'in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; these three are One. And there are three that bear witness in earth' were expositions by the Roman Catholic church of the third and fourth centuries and which were inserted in the Vulgate in the fifth century.
Be this as it is, we know the FATHER, Who wrote the Law with His finger, then manifested Himself in Jesus, the WORD, to redeem those under the Law, and the HOLY GHOST, Who gave us power to become the sons of God, are One God in three different Offices or Dispensation Claims.
You can have the WITNESS of justification and water baptism without the WITNESS of sanctification by the blood. You can have these two witnesses without the Witness of the Holy Ghost, and ultimately LOST. Water, blood and Spirit AGREE in a birth—be it the natural birth of a woman, or the Spiritual birth by the Man. But you can't have the Father without the Son AND the Holy Ghost because these three ARE One.
And if we're born again, WE are One. The SAME One, because 'God and the soul that's joined together with God is One Spirit' (I Corinthians 6:17). You see, the Bible is the story of God, CHANGING His FORM, from the eternal Spirit ALONE with His thoughts to the MANIFESTATION of those thoughts in the FORM of His glorified Family. It's ALL God. Jesus Christ was the BEGINNING of this creation, LESS than 2,000 years ago. The True Church is the CONTINUATION of the SAME creation.
Now, let's read I John 5:7-8 WITHOUT the supposed additional words. 'For there are three that bear record, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three AGREE in one'.
These three witnesses AGREE in or make for ONE birth.
The OLD dispensation, of which John's preaching was the LAST Message, was wholly a PREPARATION for Messiah. WATER!!!
Matthew 11:13-15, 'For all the prophets and the Law prophesied UNTIL John. And if you will receive it, this is the Elijah, who was to come. He that has ears to hear, let him hear'.
Malachi 3:1, 'Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, said the Lord of hosts'.
John introduced the first Coming of the Tree of Life made flesh.
Genesis 3:24, 'So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life'.
Calvary's sacrifice was the consummation of Messiah's mission. BLOOD!!!
And the Kingdom of the Spirit which arose from that mission, was its SEAL. SPIRIT!!!
These three witnesses to Christ all say the SAME thing, or agree in one: they testified that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And they have their counterparts in the Christian soul: 'baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God' (I Peter 3:21); 'the blood of Christ purging our conscience from dead works to serve the living God' (Hebrews 9:14); and 'the baptism with the Holy Ghost and Fire' (Matthew 3:11).
The three witnesses of justification, sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit all agree in God's Own Life expressed in you: one new birth.
'And it is the Spirit that bears witness because the Spirit is THE Truth' (I John 5:6; John 17:17).
I John 5:9-10, 'If we receive the witness of MEN, the witness of GOD is greater: for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that disbelieves God has made Him a liar; because he disbelieves not the record that God gave of His Son.'
Romans 3:4, '. . .let God be true, but every MAN a liar; as it is written, That you might be justified in Your sayings, and might overcome when you are judged'.
John 5:31-39, 'If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is Another that bears witness of Me; and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.
You sent unto John, and he bore witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from MAN: but these things I say, that you might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his Light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the WORKS which the Father has given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
And the Father himself, Who has sent Me, has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His Voice at any time, nor seen His shape. And you don't have His Word abiding in you: for Whom He has sent, Him you disbelieve. Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal Life: and they are they which testify of Me'.
John 8:17, 'I am one that bear WITNESS of Myself, and the Father that sent Me bears witness of Me'.
THIS is the testimony of God concerning Jesus Christ. Take it, or leave it and call Him a liar.
I John 5:11-12, 'And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son. He that has the Son has Life; and he that has not the Son of God has not Life'.
John 3:36, 'He that believes on the Son has everlasting Life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see Life; but the wrath of God abides on him'.
The righteousness of the Law and predictions of ALL of the prophets were ALL met in the life, death and resurrection of Christ to inaugurate the reign of the Spirit in His Family. Thus the Tree of Life is now accessible to whosoever will. Whoever shall partake of the Son shall live forever.
John 5:24, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My Word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting Life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto Life'. bb950308.htm
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