By Bill Britton
It is with a joyous but a trembling heart that I write this message. Herein is contained a truth that will unfold the glory of God to you. To put it another way, this truth will open the glory of deity to you. It is time that God wants you to know the extent of His plan for His body, the Church.
I have wanted to write this glorious truth for years, but there were some details that had to be made clear. I had to have a strong foundation in scripture for every statement. I had seen some who had caught a glimpse of the message, and began to run with it in their own strength. They had become exalted, proud, and deceived. That which should have put them on their face in humility at the revelation of God's grace, caused them instead to think they had attained to some super spiritual status.
I did not want to be a part of causing anyone else to go that route. But the pressure of the Spirit was great upon me. The body of Jesus Christ was ready to hear this truth. It is time for the transformation. It is time His chosen ones begin to see their destiny in Christ. I am not talking about rules of living, church structure, order an doctrine. All those things have their place in the preparation for the realm of glory. But this message deals with the eternal purpose of God which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I humbly suggest that before you read this message, that you pray for anointed vision. Ask God to anoint your ears, that you might hear what the Spirit is saying to His people in this hour. And, if possible, have your Bible nearby. Read the scripture references as they are given throughout the message. And now, may God bless you and give you the revelation of Christ and His body.
II Cor 8:9 Bro Bill Britton
HE CAME TO MAKE US RICH
The greatest challenge ever faced by the human race is now being presented to the end-time people of God. There is an inheritance ready to be received. There are promises now ready to be fulfilled. The hidden riches of secret places (Isaiah 45:3) are ready to be revealed. It is now time for the saints of the most High to rise up out of the dust of poverty, and enter into the riches of the Christ.
It is time to realize who we are, and what God is doing within us. We must begin to take our eyes off the efforts and accomplishments of men, and get a revelation of the deep eternal purposes of our God. But to get a true knowledge of who we are, and what lies ahead for us, we must first find out who Jesus really is, and what He has done for us. "That I may know Him" (Philippians 3:10) was the desperate cry of the apostle as he sat in a Roman prison cell. Educated men thought they could read history books and learn all they needed to know about Jesus. How foolish is the carnal mind! The true knowledge of Chri9st only comes by the Spirit quickening, the written scriptures to hungry hearts. In centuries past, things moved at a slower pace, and men spent much time in philosophical debates about the nature of God. Most of this was simply the natural mind at work in its thirst for knowledge about the unknown. Today we move at a much more rapid pace. Not many have the time for such philosophy. Yet, today there is emerging in the Church a greater revelation of Christ and His purposes than has been known since the Spirit of God unveiled these truths to the apostles and prophets who gave us the written scriptures. The great question that is now being answered is: Just who is Jesus, why did He come to earth, and what has He accomplished? Lest you look at Calvary and think that the answer is simply that He was a blood sacrifice to appease the wrath of an angry God, let us look into the Word of God.
WHAT DID THE PROPHETS SAY ABOUT HIM?
Israel knew that God was going to send them a Deliverer. All the prophets declared it. But the great mystery was: Who was He, and when would He arrive? It was all contained in the Old Testament scriptures, the law, the prophets, and the psalms. But it was hidden in prophetic language that could only be revealed, by the Spirit, to whom He desired. The prophet (Isaiah 9:6) plainly says that this one who would come to take over the governments of this world would be 1. A child, 2. A son, 3. The mighty God, 4. The everlasting Father, and 5. The Prince of Peace. Now to understand why the theologians in Israel did not recognize Jesus as being this Deliverer, you only have to look around today and discover that the vast majority of those who call themselves Christians, and their theologians, do not know that this Prince of Peace is also the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. If Jesus really is a father, then who is His son? The answer is given by Jesus himself in Revelation 21:7. In His own words, Jesus tells us that He is the overcomer's God, and that the overcomer is His son. Why can't men simply read these verses and understand who Jesus is? Because the natural mind cannot understand the deep things of God. These things have to be unveiled by the Spirit, even though they have been written in the Book for nineteen centuries.
WHAT DID HIS DISCIPLES SAY ABOUT HIM?
We all know the celebrated answer Peter gave when Jesus asked him, "Whom say ye that I am?" "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," Peter cried (Matthew 16:16), and it was a true revelation from the Father. But there was so much more about Jesus they did not know until after His resurrection. Doubting Thomas could not believe that He had risen from the grave, and would not believe until he had seen Him. Thank God for those who will not swallow just any old story or doctrine until they get a personal revelation, and know for sure that it is true. God will meet their hungry hearts. Thomas did not know that Jesus was the Mighty God, until the day Jesus appeared to him. (John 20:28) It was then he cried out: "My Lord, and my God!" Jesus was unveiled as the God of Israel.
The apostle John tells us (John 1:1, 14) that The Word was God, and that Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, the only begotten of the Father. John declares that Jesus was the word of life (I John 1:1-2), and goes on to say that He was also eternal life, and was with the Father. Peter says (Acts 2:36) that Jesus was both Lord and Christ. So, following the resurrection, Peter's revelation of Jesus is growing.
WHAT DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT SAY ABOUT HIM?
In the Old Testament, the invisible omnipresent God could only reveal Himself to His people by His word. He spoke, and it was done. They knew their God when they heard His voice. Yes, I know there were theophanies, when God took on a physical form to appear to selected men. He appeared to Moses as a flame of fire in a bush. He appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre (Genesis 18:1-2) as one of three "men" or angels. He appeared to Israel in the wilderness as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He appeared to the High Priest in the shekinah cloud of glory in the Holy of Holies on the day of Atonement. He appeared to Joshua near Jericho (Joshua 5:13-15) as the Captain of the Lord's hosts.
But all these were only fragmented appearances, not revealing the real nature and personality of the living God. That had to wait until Jesus came. For He was the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), the express image of God's whole person (Hebrews 1:3) and the brightness of His glory. Paul the apostle, who had as clear an understanding of Christ as any man I know, made a powerful statement in I Timothy 3:16... He said the mystery of godliness was great, that God was manifest or revealed in the flesh. Now this is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ. But Paul calls him "God." He goes on to say that God was "seen of angels," preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory.
Were you aware that until the babe was laid in the manger at Bethlehem, the angels in heaven had never seen their God? He was invisible, even to angels. And the first time their eyes ever beheld God was when the Word became flesh. No wonder they sang and praised God! He had now become a part of the physical creation, which insured that IT was going to become eternal, as HE was. Friends, this whole created universe was only a dying, decaying order until God took upon Himself the likeness of man. (Philippians 2:7) He was believed on in the world. Had He been received up into glory without having believers behind in which He could deposit this eternal life, there would have been no hope for mankind. Do you realize the debt of gratitude we owe our brothers and sisters in that early church? They believed on Him in spite of persecution, and great religious opposition. Simple farmers, fishermen, and housewives who had no theological training, laid their lives down because of their belief in this man of Galilee. He had found a soil of faith in the earth of Adam, and in it He planted the seeds of His own divine life. "Believed on in the world"! Oh, glory to God that those dear people, Jews and Gentiles, believed on Him. It gave Him a place to leave His life in this world, and in spite of all Satan's efforts to stamp it out, that harvest kept growing until it covers the entire earth. Satanic inspired men with twisted minds and weird imaginations keep writing books and making movies about life on other planets. They try to convince us that there are other places in the universe where there is intelligent life. Not so! Thus saith the Lord! Planet earth is the place where God is working out His plan to reveal Himself in physical form. There will be no life on the other planets in the universe until the sons of God take His life there. Those who have been brought forth in the likeness of the Creator God will take creation life throughout the universe in the ages to come. (Ephesians 2:7) A new heavens and a new earth will come into view, and those who have been faithful over a few things will rule with Him over many things. (Matthew 25:21)
When the first Americans planted their feet on the moon, and returned, they were put in isolation. Scientists wanted to make sure they had not brought back some new virus or germ from the moon which might start an epidemic on earth. Before they returned, I declared by the word of the Lord that they would not bring back any life from the moon, nor find any vegetation growing there. For there is no life on the moon, nor Mars or Venus or anywhere else. Only on earth does life exist. Their space probes and scientific instruments sent to Mars to try to find some form of vegetation were useless. Their millions were spent in vain. There is no life on Mars, and no little flying saucer men on Venus. This is a Satanic deception. The exciting days of real space probes is yet ahead of us. There is to be a restoration and a recreating which will continue for ages to come. What a beautiful plan God has!
WHAT DOES THE FATHER SAY?
The first chapter of Hebrews is very revealing concerning the nature of Jesus. Verse six says that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, God told the angels to worship Him. Why were they told to worship Him? Because He was God. Why did they have to be told? Because He looked so much like a human, and they knew they were not to worship humans. The psalmist declares in Psalms 45:6-7 that Jesus Christ is God, and this passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9 as being the voice of Almighty God the Father speaking. So unto the Son (Jesus Christ) God the Father says: "Thy throne O GOD, is for ever and ever." I Jesus Christ God? God the Father says He is. Who are we to argue with such authority.?
WHAT DOES JESUS SAY ABOUT HIMSELF?
There are many scriptures that could be brought to light here, but let me bring just a couple of references. In Revelation 21:7 we have already seen that Jesus says He is the overcomer's God. In Revelation 1:8 Jesus is speaking, and refers to Himself as the Lord, the Almighty. Using the same terminology in Revelation 4:8, the four beasts that were round about the throne call Jesus "Lord God Almighty."
A beautiful truth comes to light in John 14:6-11. He knows that because He is now in a physical limited human form, the omnipresent, omniscient Father is greater than He. Yet He reveals the truth that he and the Father are one. When you see Jesus, you see the Father. If the Father is God, than Jesus is God. You cannot separate them. He has become the earthly, physical, visible image of God, but He Himself is still God. Philip said to Him (John 14:8), "Lord, show us the Father." Jesus seems surprised that Philip still does not have the revelation of who He is. He makes it plain that when you have seen Him (Jesus), you have seen the Father. When He went down in to the waters of baptism at Jordan, he died to his own will and personality. He was a perfect human being, and had steadfastly resisted every temptation for 30 years. He was everything that God wanted in a man. But He laid that perfect life down, and when He came up from the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him to stay. His human body now became a vehicle through which God could express Himself to His creation. Henceforth Jesus never did His own will, nor expressed His own human nature. He was a vehicle of expression for the nature and wisdom and power of Almighty God. He lived only to please the Father. (John 8:29) Romans 8:8 says that they that are in the flesh cannot please God, so we know that Jesus was never in the flesh. He walked in the Spirit. He was the image and likeness of God.
WHERE IS THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF JESUS?
Now when the disciples wanted to see the Father, Jesus said, "Look at me!" But in John 12:20-24, some Greeks came to Philip. They did not ask to see the Father. They wanted to see the man Jesus. So Philip and Andrew came to tell Jesus that some Greeks wanted to see Him. Jesus "answered them" in a very strange way. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Perhaps Philip said to Him, "Master, you misunderstood the question. We know you teach a lot of parables about sowing and reaping. But we didn't come for a lesson on agriculture. The subject of our visit is that some Greeks want to see Jesus." But He has answered them with a truth that remains hidden even today from educated theologians. Verse 33 says, "This he said, signifying what death he should die."
The answer about the seed being planted in the ground was speaking of Calvary. The "much fruit" was speaking about His body, the Church. What he was saying to us here is: If you want to see God, look at Jesus. He is the image and the physical expression of God in earth. Does this do away with the Father God in Heaven? Of course not. But He is one, and you cannot divide Him, He is one earthly body, the Church. He is still working on us, to bring us to expression of the Son of God. He is one with the Father. We are one with the Son. What the Father is to Him, He is to us. "As my Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 1:3) To us, Jesus is the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. (Isaiah 9:6) So He says if you want to see Jesus, look at the Harvest.
Does this do away with the personal man Jesus. Of course not, not anymore than Jesus being the expression of God did away with His God and Father in heaven. Yes, Jesus is revealed in His body with the personal nail-scarred body of Jesus that arose from the tomb. Jesus invited Thomas to feel the scars. They are still there. And that body now appears in the presence of God for us. (Hebrews 9:24) We are looking for that body to appear again, so that our vile, decaying bodies can be changed and fashioned like unto that body of glory. (Philippians 3:21) That is the hope of the Church. His appearance in imminent, and all-important. Jesus spoke through the psalmist, "A body hast thou prepared me." (Hebrews 10:5) And He is bringing that Body (the Church) through the fires and persecution, to the transforming power of resurrection life. In Luke 9:58, Jesus said, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Do you really think that Jesus was complaining because He didn't own his own home, and perhaps didn't know where He would sleep that night? Of course not. He was not so carnal as to feel sorry for himself because He didn't have what other men had. He was giving this man a tremendous truth. He was given, by God, to be the head of the church, His body. (Ephesians 1:22-23) Yes, He was the head, but at that time there was no body where that head could operate. He is the head, and we are the body. (I Corinthians 12:27) The head cannot say the rest of the body, "I don't need you." (I Corinthians 12:21) It is His plan and eternal purpose that Jesus Christ will have a physical body of earthly people who will fully express the nature of the Son of God. Then Jesus will have a place to "lay His head." This is sonship.
"THE FIRSTBORN AMONG MANY"
Now the Bible plainly declares that Jesus Christ is deity. No one can refute the Bible statements that Jesus is Almighty God. But what does that mean to us? What has that to do with our place in His plans? The fact is that God purposed in His eternal councils to have a people who would come forth in His own likeness, with His nature and substance. He decided that He had to come to earth Himself in order to bring such a people to birth. So Romans 8:29 says that in His foreknowledge, He predestined a certain people for that calling. They were to be brought into the image of His only begotten Son. So His Word, His means of expression, came into a physical existence in the person of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God.
This verse says that Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren. Now if you think I am saying that Jesus is only one of the brother, "just one of the boys," so to speak, thus making the rest of us equal to Him, then you didn't hear what I have been saying about Jesus being the Mighty God. Remember than in Acts 2:36 the apostle Peter declared that Jesus was both Lord and Christ. As Lord He is one with the Father, in the realm of deity. As Christ He is one with His body, in the realm of humanity. I Corinthians 11:3 say that God is the head of Christ. He is the body of God, thus being one with God. It also says that Christ is the head of man. So as the head, Christ has a body, a human body. This is the Son of God, the many-membered Son, of which Jesus is the head. IT is this Son which will restore creation, and rule the nations.
THE PLAN OF GOD HAS NOT CHANGED
Everything is on schedule. God has not had to change His plans, nor readjust His schedule because Adam fell in the Garden of Eden. Some say that one of God's holy angels started a rebellion in heaven, taking a third of God's angels with him, and that God had to delay His eternal purposes while He fought and won this war. Not so. The Bible plainly teaches that God created principalities and powers (the devil and his angels) and that He created the waster to destroy. (Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 1:16, Isaiah 54:16) And He did this as part of His purpose. The people who were to be in His likeness had to be birthed by Him through great suffering on His part. They had to come through testing and trials and much suffering. They had to be a people of faith and faithfulness. It is too high for me to understand, but I know that everything that has happened since creation has been a part of His divine plan. Glory to God!
God's purpose in creation was an eternal purpose in which Christ Jesus was the central figure. What a tragedy it would have been had there never been a person like Jesus Christ. Yet in order for there to be a Jesus, there had to be an earthly creation, a fallen man, and an adversary to overcome. I Corinthians 15:45-59 says that there are only two men who ever existed. Adam came into existence when God created him out of the dust of the earth. Christ came into existence when the Word of God entered the Adamic race and birthed a son. We come into Christ as sons by the same process. James 1:18 (Amplified Bible) says that, "He gave us birth as sons by His Word of Truth..."
THE SECOND MAN
The first man, Adam, was told to multiply and fill the earth with his own kind. Every seed brings forth after its own kind. This is a divine law of nature. Since Adam never began to multiply until after he fell into sin, he could only bring forth more sinners. "All have sinned." "We have borne the image of the earthy." Cain was not the second man. He was an extension of the life of the first man, Adam. All those born of women are part of the Adam race. And would you believe me if I said that Satan never had a failure in his efforts to cause men to fall into sin. With all the millions of people living on earth for four thousand years, you'd think Satan would miss one somewhere. Of all the Noahs, Daniels, Davids, Enochs, Elijahs, Deborahs, and Sarahs, you would think that someone could make it through without sinning. Not so. There was not one righteous, no not one. All sinned. Why? Because they bore the image of their father, Adam.
By the time that John the Baptist arrived on the scene, the population of the entire world was... one. There was only one man in the earth. He was both male and female, he was a many-membered body, and his name was Adam. Then came the manger scene at Bethlehem. The star shone, and angels sang, the wise men brought their gifts, and the shepherds ran to see what it was all about. And the next morning, the population of the world had doubled. NOW there were two men in the earth. The first man was a many-membered body, filling the entire earth. The second man was at this point just a tiny infant in his mother's arms. But he began to grow into a mature man.
THE DEVIL HAS A PROBLEM
Now the devil begins to get nervous. He has had 100% success with this first man. But a new man has appeared, and he cannot get to him. He tried, unsuccessfully, to kill Him as a baby. For thirty years he tempted this one with every temptation known to man. His temptation didn't begin at age 30. I'm sure you are aware that boys of 13, 18, 25, etc. can be tempted and fall into sin. I can see Satan tempting this young 18 year old Jesus, trying to get him to sin. Maybe it was a girl, or money, or violence, or one of a thousand things that Satan can use against a young man. It staggers me to think that the salvation of the world rests upon the ability of this 18 year old lad to resist all of Satan's temptations. No one had ever been able to resist sin before Him. But if He sins, we are lost -- for we will not have a saviour. He must be sinless, a lamb without spot or blemish, in order to die for our sins.
But this man has a different nature than Adam. Adam was soulish, ruled by the natural mind. Christ was spiritual, ruled by the Spirit of God. His entire being repels the very thought of sinning against God. And Satan fails, time after time, until he is desperate. Finally, after the baptism of Jesus, at the end of a 40 day fast, when He is at His weakest point physically, the devil comes to Him. He attacks Jesus with the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, to no avail. He finally offers Him the whole world, with all its kingdoms, if He will only fall. Jesus drives him away with the Word of the Lord.
Satan then worked on the Jews and the Romans to bring about the death of this man. He felt that if he could only kill Jesus, his troubles would be over. It only goes to show how ignorant Satan is of the wisdom of God. I Corinthians 2:8 tells us that if the devil had known the wisdom of God, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. He was being thoroughly defeated by one Son of God. If he had known that by the death of that Son, thousands more would be birthed upon the earth in His image, the devil would have done all in his power to keep Jesus alive. But he did not know the wisdom of God. Yes, Satan is a cunning foe, and very smart when it comes to sin. He knows more ways to trap people in sin than we can imagine. But when it comes to the wisdom of God, he is totally ignorant. The wisdom of God will be manifested to him by the Church of Jesus Christ. So in God's time, Jesus laid His life down in order to bring a great harvest of sons to earth.
The same commission was given to the second man as Adam had received. He was to become a many-membered body. He was to multiply and fill the earth with his own kind. A people were to be birthed out of Him, and they were to bear His image, and share His glory and His inheritance. The magnitude of it is simply too much to comprehend.
Eve was the vessel through which Adam could reproduce his own life, and multiply his image in the earth. She became the mother of all living. Jesus Christ was the vessel through which God could reproduce HIS divine image in human beings. Only in Christ can we bear the divine image, and become partakers of the divine nature. (II Peter 1:4) Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 that, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist. Notwithstanding he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." Who is this that is greater than John. Who is there who is not born of women? Doesn't everyone come into the world through a woman? Is there anyone who ever got to earth without coming through a woman? What is Jesus talking about? Even Jesus himself came to earth through a woman, Mary. That is what identified Him with the Adam race. That is what made Him one of us. He was one with God because He was the Word, birthed into the world by the Father, bearing the Father's nature. He did not have the sinful nature of fallen Adam. But He was one with us because He chose to come through a woman of Adam's race, just like all of us.
Now God is bringing forth a Kingdom of men and women who are citizens of a different world that this sin cursed nature of Adam. "As we HAVE borne the image of the earthy..." (I Corinthians 15:49) That is over now. We have been birthed and translated into a new kingdom. We were born of a woman to become a part of the Adam man. But to be a part of the second man, Christ, we had to be born of a man... Jesus, the Lamb of God. And what Jesus is saying is that everyone in this Kingdom, all those bearing the image of Christ, are greater than the greatest of Adam's race. So don't let the political and military leaders, or the men of science and wealth intimidate you. Jesus says that you are much greater than they are.
HEIRS OF THE FATHER
Now that we have become a part of the family of God, what are the benefits? What is this inheritance we are to receive? Romans 8:17 says that we are joint-heirs with Christ. Revelation 21:7 says that we inherit "all things." I Corinthians 3:21 says that "all things" are ours. The riches of Christ that belong to us are far beyond any human comprehension. Ephesians 3:8 calls them "the unsearchable riches of Christ."
But God also has an inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 3:9-10 says that God created all things by Jesus Christ with a certain thing in mind. IT was that He might make known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God. Where will the devil and all principalities see this glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, manifesting the wisdom of God? Some feel the Church will never be perfected until it reaches Heaven. Will God let the devil come to Heaven someday to see this glorious Church? Or will God let the Church take a filed day in hell to manifest His wisdom to the powers of darkness.? Never! Then where will the principalities and powers see this glorious Church? Right here on earth! For now, in our day, God is bringing forth His eternal purposes. He is perfecting His body, the Church. And here on earth, on the field of battle, the victory of Christ will be displayed. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
The Holy Spirit spoke through Peter (I Peter 1:3-5) and said that we had been "born again... through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance... reserved in heaven for you... ready to be revealed in the last time."
WHAT KIND OF SONS?
Everything brings forth after its own kind. A fallen Adam could only bring into the world those who would bear his image and fall into sin. And as Jesus brings forth sons, they will be in His image. But He did not want them to be like the man of Galilee, in His humanity, sinless but limited to life on this earth. So He could not bring forth a virgin born girl, marry her and start having children on that realm. That was not His purpose. He was going to bring forth sons in His glory.
That is why John 7:39 says that the Holy Spirit was not yet given until after Jesus was resurrected and glorified. The Holy Spirit was not yet given? Wasn't John the Baptist filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb? (Luke 1:15) Yes, he was. And weren't John's mother and father both filled with the Holy Ghost? (Luke 1:41, 67) Yes, they were. But not in the sense that the redeemed saints of God were filled after Pentecost. We know that many of the Old Testament saints were greatly anointed by the Holy Ghost for exploits of faith. They could not have worked miracles and raised the dead, except by the power of the Spirit. But they did not have the Spirit of Christ to bring them to sonship. That had to wait until after Calvary and the resurrection. Something special was reserved for His Church. (Hebrews 11:40)
Why do we receive the Holy Spirit? Some may say, "To get power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils." It may surprise you to find out that many did all those things who never had the Holy Spirit. Old Testament saints who had never been born again, and at least 70 of the disciples of Jesus, did miracles, and none of them had ever received the Acts 2:4 experience. Why did they have to wait for Acts 2:4, and why did it have to be after Jesus was glorified?
THE SPIRIT PRODUCES SONSHIP
The Amplified Bible brings it out so clearly in Romans 8:15 where it says that we have received the spirit of adoption, the Spirit producing sonship. To produce sons that would bear all His eternal glory, He had to wait until he had completed the work, was resurrected and glorified. Then from the realm of glory He poured out His Spirit. That Spirit produces sonship, the likeness and nature of the Son, in those who receive. Therefore our destiny is to be with Him in His glory, not just to have power to heal the sick and raise the dead. Those things are in the faith realm, and have been done by men who had never come to the perfection of His sonship.
These sons will rule and reign with Him, in the Melchisedec order, after the power of an endless life. They will have complete dominion over everything God has created. (Genesis 1:26) They will restore this earth to a place of glory and beauty and life. They will destroy death, and every other enemy. Then they will turn the Kingdom over to the Father, and forever live under His headship. (I Corinthians 15:24-28) This is the kind of sonship the Spirit is producing in those who receive Him.
"HE WAS RICH"
The crucial verse in this message is found in II Corinthians 8:9... "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 made rich." Glory to God, what a word! He was rich! What was it that made Him rich, before He became poor? Was it because He owned the cattle on a thousand hills? No, of course not. He was rich before there were any cattle, or any hills to put them on. Was it because He was owner of the Bank of Heaven? We so often have a perverted sense of what makes a man rich. Take for instance Mr. K... He owns a large business, and makes millions every year. He has so much wealth, he doesn't really know how much he is worth. He has an ulcer that is eating him up inside. He can't eat a decent meal. His wife is an alcoholic, has had a nervous breakdown, hates him with a passion, and would divorce him in a minute if she only had the courage. His son is in prison for manslaughter, having killed a child while driving drunk. His daughter is a heroin addict, living somewhere in a large city with drug pushers. He is, indeed, a very poor man. Let us take another example. Brother G... works as a janitor in Mr. K's business. His salary is small, and he has a difficult time paying the rent on the small five room house where his family lives. He is Spirit-filled, his wife adores him, and their five children are all saved and filled with the Spirit. Three of his sons are already in the ministry. Is he poor? He is one of the richest men in town!
What made Jesus rich? It was the very substance of what He was. Philippians 2:6 (Amplified) tells us that He was "essentially one with God and in the form of God, possessing the fulness of the attributes which make God God." Yes, He was rich. But it goes on to say in the next verse that He stripped Himself of all this, and came to earth to be like one of us. He became poor.
"GIVE ME BACK THE GLORY"
Turning now to John 17:5, we find one of the most profound statements in scripture. At the close of His earthly ministry, Jesus is praying to the Father in Heaven. He says, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (verse 4) And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Wow! He says here that He had a glory with the Father before the world existed, which He does not now have. He was rich. But when He stripped Himself (Philippians 2:7-8), He gave up that glory. Now He has something He did not have back then. A body, given to Him by His mother, Mary. Now He is asking for that glory again. It is to be glorified with the Father's own self, nothing less. Did He receive the answer to this prayer? Absolutely! Philippians 2:9 says that God has highly exalted Him, and that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess Him as lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So He has been glorified, exalted on high, the Mighty God. He has received everything back that He laid aside to come to earth. But now he has something else. A body. For God would not leave that body of Jesus in the grave. IT was resurrected, glorified, and is now appearing in the presence of God... or us. And that body remains in heaven until the time when the Church, His body on earth, is perfected to the place where it can receive His headship in fulness. (Acts 3:21) Now He has the power and glory of Almighty God, but in a human, glorified body. It is our guarantee that we are coming through this Veil, into the fulness of God, to meet Him in His glory. And it will be in our bodies, whether resurrected or changed. (I Corinthians 15:51-52)
Jesus has taken a piece of humanity into the realm of deity, as a forerunner for us. (Hebrews 6:20) God always wanted to live in man, but could not because of man's sin. Sin separated man from God. (Isaiah 59:2) When Jesus came to earth, and took upon Himself a human body, God finally had a piece of earthly real estate in which He could live. "God was manifest in the flesh." (I Timothy 3:16) And now, after the victory over sin and death has been won in this earthly body, He takes it into heaven. Through Christ, those of Adam's race who dare to simply believe in the atoning power of the blood of Jesus, can now ascend to that place of glory. He was rich, but He became poor, for us.
TO MAKE US RICH
Everyone will agree that Jesus was rich, one with the Father in glory. There is no question about Him becoming poor when He stripped Himself and came to earth in human flesh. But the scripture doesn't stop there. II Corinthians 8:9 goes on to say that He had a purpose in becoming poor. Why did He do it? "That you through His poverty might be rich." He did it to make us rich! How do you spell that second "rich"? It's spelled the same as the first "rich" in that verse... R-I-C-H. And what does it mean? It means the same as the first "rich," not just to give us a lot of money. Jesus was rich; He makes us rich. What made Him rich? Being glorified with the Father's own glory. What makes us rich? Exactly the same thing. Ephesians 3:19 tells us that we are to be filled with ALL the FULLNESS of God!
Let me paraphrase that verse without losing any of the truth that it is bringing forth. What it actually says is that back before the world existed, Jesus was rich, whatever that means. What He was is so great that I cannot comprehend it. But whatever it was that He was, He laid it aside and came to earth to be poor, like us. He became like us, so that He could make us into whatever it was He was before He became poor like us. That may be too much for us to take in, but let me say it one more way. He was rich, but He became poor that He might make us rich. He was one with the Father, was in the substance of God, had the glory of God, but came down to become one of us, that He might make us the same thing that He was before He came down to us... RICH! Glory to God, what love, what grace, what a Saviour!
You know, of course, that we are to be partakers of the nature of deity. (II Peter 1:4) Did you know taht you are to have the Name of God the Father written on you? (Revelation 3:12) I know it is dangerous to tell some people about the glory He has planned for you, because they immediately go on "an ego trip." They become proud, exalted, and lifted up, as though they had done something to bring this about. But remember what II Corinthians 8:9 says: it all comes by the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ. No flesh shall glory in His presence.
But nevertheless, the plan of God is that we shall inherit "ALL things." We are to be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17), and one of the things He has inherited by being the Father's Son, is the Father's name. (Hebrews 1:4) And the verse that says we are joint heirs also says that we are to be GLORIFIED together with Christ. But I must share Romans 8:18 with you from the Amplified Bible: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present life are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed TO us, and IN us, and FOR us, and CONFERRED ON us!" The next verse says that all creation waits expectantly for God's sons to be made known. That must mean that they are not yet known, as long as the creation groans and waits. At this time He has us covered, as it were, in obscurity.
TO SHARE HIS GLORY
Let's go back to John chapter 17. While in verse 5 Jesus is praying for the glory He had with the Father before the world existed, down in verse 22 He speaks of teh glory we are to receive. "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Think of that! He was given us the glory that the Father gave Him. And true unity will never take place in the Body of Christ until His glory is manifested in the church. That is what makes us one! John said that, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." (John 1:14) How rich can one be? And now, back to the prayer of Jesus in chapter 17. While some defeatest Christians are praying that God will take them out of the world in a rapture, so they can enjoy their victory up in heaven, Jesus is praying that God will not take them out of the world. "I pray not that thou shouldelst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." (John 17:15) Why is it people cannot see the plan of God? It is because they are cursed with too much brains. Natural brains. Adam's natural mind blinds us.
HIS POVERTY KNEW NO LIMITS
To see the depth to which Jesus went in His poverty, read II Corinthians 5:21.... "For God hath made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of Gid in him." How can I understand such a thing as that? God made Jesus to BE sin! That pure, spotless, sinless, Son of God is so loaded down with the sins of the human race, that He actually BECOMES sin? He did it for us! He did it so that we might become the very righteousness OF GOD. But we are only righteous as we are IN CHRIST.
To get a picture of the heights to which Christ is taking us, consider this divine principle: the lower Jesus sinks in His poverty, the higher He takes us in the riches of our inheritance! I get so excited just thinking about it, I want to have a glory spasm. Think of every sin you can imagine... murder, torture, beastiality, rapist, incest, homosexuality, perversion, blasphemy, witchcraft, idolatry, on and on... and realize that Jesus BECAME all that, every one of them, just for us. He took every sin ever committed upon Himself in order to set us free from the guilt and power of sin, and to make us the righteousness of God. The riches of :Christ bestowed upon us are unsearchable! Ephesians 3:20 makes us to know that He will do for us, exceeding abundantly above ALL that we can ask or THINK. And the power that does all that is now working in us!
WHAT DOES JESUS RECEIVE?
Someone may say: "All this is too much. I don't deserve all that glory. All I want is my little cabin in the corner of gloryland, or a mansion over the hilltop." Well friends, maybe you are not aware of it, but you don't deserve a cabin either. Besides, is "a cabin in the corner" all you desire for Jesus to have in eternity? "Oh, no, I want Him to have all the glory." Well, He is limited in His inheritance to exactly what we inherit. For we are "joint-heirs." (Romans 8:17) But what He is going to do in us and for us is not deserved by the creation, though they are groaning for it. (Romans 8:18-23) And the Church doesn't even deserve it. But I will tell you who does deserve it... Jesus Christ our Lord!
God has made Jesus to be the head of a body, the Church. (Ephesians 1:22-23) We know the Head is glorious, and we rejoice in that. But we haven't realized how glorious He has wanted His body to be. (Ephesians 5:26-27) He desires, and will have, a body that will be glorious enough to not be an embarrassment to the Head, Jesus Christ. How sad it is to see a little child, beautiful, sensitive, and intelligent... from the shoulders up, but whose body is cripp.ed and deformed. Such as this breaks my heart to see. Yet some seem to be satisfied for thsi to be the lot of our Lord Jesus in eternity. Not so. That glorious Head will have a body so full of the glory and nature and beauty of deity, that He will never be embarrassed or ashamed of us.
This is our destiny, planned for us by One who is well able to bring it about. He never promised us that we would not have suffering, pain, or grief. But He did promise that every suffering would bring us an incomparable amount of His glory. (Romans 8:17-18; II Corinthians 4:17) So don't complain about your situation or your circumstances -- just look at His glory! You are His chosen, His beloved, and He will see you through in victory, I promise. Just cast your care upon Him (I Peter 5:7), for He cares for you. He loves you, more than you will ever know. He came to make you RICH!