By Bill Britton
Facts are facts. And they are true. But in addition to being true, facts can be cold, hard, unloving and unkind. It is a fact that the Sons of god will have power. But power in itself can be cold and hard and ruthless. There are some who would like to have power over devils and sickness and afflictions for the express purpose of making them a great minister, without having any real compassion for the needs of the people. They are like Simon the sorcerer in Acts Chapter 8 who was willing to do anything and pay any price to obtain the gift of God. Not because he loved the people or loved God, but because he wanted something great for himself.
Truth will set you free. "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) But being set free is not enough. Just knowing the truth is not the ultimate of God for you. Some have become lifted up and exalted because of the abundance of their knowledge, yea, even their spiritual revelations. But it has become a cold, hard, dogmatic collection of facts. Sure, the truth brought them out. They have been separated from the sectarian system that bound them. But they progressed no further, and their truths created a sectarian spirit within them that brought greater bondage than before.
"Coming out" is not enough. Deuteronomy 6:23 tells us that God "brought us out from thence (Egypt), that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He sware unto our fathers." Most of those who "came out" of Egypt never went in to Canaan. They had what it took to come out, but they failed the supreme test of coming in to God's land.
THERE IS MORE TO IT
Now, friends, let us realize that those written examples found in the Old Testament are speaking to us of realities for our own day. I have many people write to me, hungry for information and truth concerning end time events, the coming fo the Lord, and the activities of the Sons of God. They want to know how to get Sonship power and authority, where we will be during the Tribulation, what kind of bodies we will have in the Millinium, and what the appearing of Jesus is going to be like. I have sought God for the answers to these and other questions, that I might present the truth to the people, but it has not pleased God to give me full and complete information concerning these things. And I wondered why. Oh, I could have all the answers down pat, if I just wanted to make a choice among the more popular traditional theories figured out by man, and taught to others in their schools and seminaries. But I can no longer swallow them. These theological fairy tales have been shattered by the revelation of Christ which the Holy Spirit has been bringing in these last days of this age.
I have seen people get much truth and revelation, their heads so full of information on how it was all going to happen, that they could hold you spellbound. Yet their experience with God was cold and dead. They had no compassion for souls, no more vision for missions, and not even good Christian warmth and hospitality toward the saints. I have seen ministers who obtained gifts and ministries, and had real power in the realm of physical deliverance. But their dedication to God was slipping, their prayer life sadly lacking, and no real concern for the needs of a dying world, except as it related to "their ministry."
INTO THE PROMISED LAND
So it is not enough to know about Him. We must partake of Him. It is not enough to see Him, we must bear His image. Cold, hard facts may wake us up and make us move out of Babylon, but unless there is more, we will die in the wilderness as did many of the children of Israel. Truth can cause a person to become exalted, feel that he is self-sufficient, make him unteachable. Power can make the carnal mind dream great dreams, and eventually destroy the very one whom God would have used for His glory. Even holiness of life, as desirable as it is, can be a freezing thing unless it has that warmth of a fervent devotion to God.
Truth may bring us out, and set us free, but is Love that takes us on in to the heart of God. Love is the force that carries us into the Promised Land. When I see folks with much revelation, God's plan and purpose and divine order all figured out, yet lacking that warmth of true worship and devotion to Christ, my heart bleeds for them. For I know that their bones will (spiritually) bleach in the wilderness, just as those Israelites did literally.
True worship and real devotion to God is evident in those true Sons of God who are moving on today. But more than that, there is seen a fervent love for one another, a fellowship in the Spirit, and a concern for the welfare of others in the Body that is sadly lacking in many places. What is happening? The Army of God is on the way back to Eden, the Garden of God.
BACK TO EDEN
I'm quite sure that most of you are already aware that Eden, the garden of God, is not a physical place located on this or any other planet. It is a state of being. It is a higher existence for man than this fallen state we find ourselves in at present.
Let us read what God said through the prophet in Isaiah 51:3.. "For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wwilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melogy."
Of course you know that apples cannot sing. Grapes cannot show gladness, nor can peaces rejoice in the Lord. He is talking here about His people, a people that are bring comforted while in a wilderness state or waste places, and eventually brought back to a life or existence known as Eden, the garden of the Lord.
A GARDEN ENCLOSED
Look at what the Song of Solomon says about His garden: "My beloved is gone down into His garden." Yes, it is Christ in His garden, the hope of glory! And how beautiful the song writer put it: "Out of Ivory Palaces, into a world of woe; only His great eternal love, made may Saviour go." Then again in the Scripture: "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse." "A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed."
Who is this garden? It is His beloved! And praise God, though this garden became a howling wilderness, a desert, full of waste places, yet He saw something precious in it, and gave His all to bring it back to its original glory and beauty. And even beyond that, He takes it unto Himself, into the fulness of His glory!
The mystery of the great price He paid for this garden is revealed in Matthew 13:44... "Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; toe which when a Man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that He hath, and buyeth that field." Yes, I Corinthians 6:20 says that, "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." What did He buy? He bought your spirit. And also your body. Your body is included in the redemption of this garden. It is a purchased possession. Ephesians 1:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit of promise which we have received is the "earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchassed possession." And Romans 8:23 says that we "which have hte firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."
Ephesians 4:30 reveals that we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption. In Chapter 21 of Luke, Jesus is speaking of the last days, signs in the sun, moon, and stars. He says that the powers of heaven will be shaken and, "Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption is nigh." Notice that He did not say to look up and expect a flyaway trip to another planet called heaven. He said that your redemption is coming to you! Hallelujah! Your garden shall be fruitful and blossom as the rose! Isaiah 58:11 says, "And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden." The warning given in Isaiah 1:30 to sinful humanity that had left their God, was that they would be "as a garden that hath no water." Now, what a contrast! What a promise!
ONCE IN EDEN
"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden: and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the signt, and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:8-9)
It is evident that this is more than just a physical piece of real estate somewhere over in the Middle East. No such place has ever been found, neither the angel with the flaming sword to keep men out. This is a state of being that man was in when he was first placed here on this earth. Master and lord over all the earth. Living above sickness, pain or death. This may be a new thought to you, it may even come as a shock. But we must wake up, dear ones. We know that the Tree of Life is not a carnal, physical tree with apples or plums. Neither the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
Jesus was speaking of men, of prophetic ministries, when He said in Matthew 7:17 that, "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit...wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Yes, even Proverbs 11:30 says that, "The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." Turn we me now to Revelation 22:1-2, and see where that Tree of Life is located. You will see that in that glorious City of God, which city ye are, there is a throne, and out of the throne proceeds a River of Life. The water of that river was as clear as crystal, no error, no false doctrine, no carnality. Jesus said in John 7:38-39 that, "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." So it is out of you, the city of God -- His Church -- the Lamb's wife, that this crystal clear river flows.
Now see in verse two that on either side of this river was there the Tree of Life. Here man has been restored back to an existence where there is an authority (a throne), and an operation of the Holy Spirit through him (rivers of living water) that is free from error or carnal man's inferference. And in the midst of this is the fruit of the righteous, the Tree of Life.
Quickly go now to Revelation 2:7 where we find that Jesus says that "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." Where does He say this tree is located? In the midst of the Paradise of God! Remember that in Luke 23:43 Jesus told a man that he would be with Him there. Now let us turn to II Corinthians 12:1-4 where Paul gives an account of having been "caught up" into Paradise, which he calls the "Third Heaven." He says nothing about being physically taken or "caught away" to another planet or some other geographical location. In fact, he cannot tell whether or not his body had anything to do with the experience. He just knows that he was caught into a higher dimension or realm of existence where he heard things he could not speak about when he returned to this lower realm of earthly, carnal existence.
Just as there are three heavens, so there are three annual Feasts and three compartments to the Tabernacle of Moses. Just as the outer court of the Tabernacle and the first feast (Passover) represents to us the great experience with God which we call "salvation" or justification, regeneration, forgiveness of sins, etc, just so the first heaven speaks of that place we come to when God, "When we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved); and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:5-6) And just as the sanctuary of the Tabernacle wherein dwelled the candlestick and the shewbread, and the second Feast (Pentecost) symbolizes that second great experience with God of the infilling of the Holy Ghost, so the second heaven is to us the realm in God where we "walk in the Spirit" in heavenly places. So now we see there is a third heaven. And a third Feast. And a third compartment of the Tabernacle. Go with me to the Holy of Holies, and see that glorious Ark of the Covenant in which dwells the Rod, the Tables of the Covenant, and the pot of Manna (Hebrews 9:4). Our space is too limited to speak fully on these subjects here. But notice that the Manna is that "bread from heaven," which typifies Jesus our Lord (John 6:32-33). He who comes to this place and eats of this bread, shall never die! It is here in this "third heaven." Paul got a glimpse into this place. As have others. Just a glimpse. But thank God the hour has come when the experiential reality of the Body of Christ enters in and possesses their possessions!! Not just believing it because the Word says it and the Spirit witnesses to it. Not just having faith for it. But bringing it down into the realm of experience. Here. On earth.
Notice that the third Feast is the time of Ingathering. In fact, it is called the "Feast of Ingathering" in the Old Testament (Exodus 23:16). In the end of the year. No more feasts to follow. This is it. The third heaven. In the which all the fruit of this Tree of Life will be brought forth. Part of the side effects will be the healing of the nations. And how they need [to be] healed! What chaos the world is in! But thank God, He has a purpose and plan in Christ Jesus which shall not fail. All creation shall rejoice and bless His great Name.
So there is a third heaven. Paul was caught up to it. He says it was in the Paradise of God. This is where the Tree of Life is located. Which is in the City of God, by the River of water of life. Which always ends up being His people. You see, beloved, there is a higher existence for us, a more glorious way of life than we have ever known. The life in the Holy Spirit is just a foretaste, a firstfruits, an earnest. This is God's Garden, watered, and abounding with much fruit. And he comes into that Garden to dwell, to live. Knowledge alone will not bring us into this. It takes Love, a real, honest, fervent devotion to our Lord Jesus, and to His Body. Some will come into this place in the Spirit who have little or no revelation or understanding on the thing I am writing about here. But because their hearts have been given over completely to the Lord[, they will enter]. And some who have much revelation and knowledge of the purposes of God will miss it, because their spirits are not right. (I Corinthians 9:27)
THE ARMY OF GOD MOVES IN
Much has already been said about the great army in Joel Chapter two. But let me point out just one thing in verse 3: "A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness." Yes, they have come through fire. But there is yet a flaming sword to face before Eden is regained. And none of Adam shall survive this fire. He shall perish. Only Christ shall enter into this Garden of God. So they press on in battle, warring against the flesh. Destroying all of the earthly, carnal man. For, "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." (I Corinthians 15:49) He goes on to say here that corruptible flesh and blood cannot inherit this Kingdom of which he speaks.
So we who have been born of flesh, who have lived in a body of flesh and succumbed to its correction, are to be born of the Spirit. Jesus said (John 3:6), "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." And the Apostle tells us that "The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made aq quickening (live-giving) spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." (I Corinthians 15:45-49)
This affects not only our spirits, but also our bodies. And it shall not only be entered into through a physical resurrection for those who have gone on before, but it shall be entered right here on this earth by some who remain until His coming. Their bodies shall be changed from mortal to immortal, from corruptible to incorruptible. This shall be witnessed by the people of this world, as well as principalities and powers in heavenly places. Yea, all of creation shall witness the victory of the glorious Body of Christ! And though it is not aware of this truth, all creation goans for this day, this great day of His glory! Hallelujah! Bless His dear Name!
THE BATTLE RAGES
However, this land is not easy to come into. The enemy will not give up without a struggle. But victory is inevitable. For some. For those who are sold out to God, who are wholeheartedly devoted to His dear Son. Glory to God! I can hardly write these truths without going into a pentecostal spasm! Bless the Lord! So God's Army marches on. The flesh, the world, and the devil are losing the battle.
But remember this, beloved... It is not so important that you know all the details of how these things are going to be worked out. There were a lot of great men of God, much greater in God than I'll ever be, who knew far less of the mysteries of God than He is revealing to babes in this hour. But it pleased God to reveal just as much in their own day as was necessary to carry the program of God forward. Of course, there were some prophets in days gone by who lookeld ahead by the eye of the Spirit and saw the great Day that we are about to enter. But most of them saw only what we now consider to be simple truths, as God was pleased to reveal. But these simple truths tore up their ecclesiastical systems, and called them forth into a new realm of the Spirit. For those who rejected the Truth of God for their hour, there waits for them the judgments of God. Whether they rejected salvation by faith in Luther's day, or the "tongues movement" as the turn of this century, or the "latter rain" outpouring of 1948-49, or even the truth of Sonship in these last days... they must face God with their reasons for resisting the work of the Spirit.
The important thing is to keep your spirit right, and your heart open to the moving of the Spirit of God. And to have a fervent love for God, and for one another. We are on our way back to the GArden of God, Paradise, the third heaven, to eat of the Tree of Life. Never to die again. All enemies under our feet forever. Christ living within us, yes, and controling us from the throne within, where He sits in triumphant victory. Glory to God, it's worth it all! Don't begrudge the cost, the trials, the afflictions, however severe. Our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us! Worship Him! Praise Him! Love Him! He is indeed worthy! Hallelujah!