Loading...
Menu

Deep Sleep

 

 

 

DEEP SLEEP

Jack Marshall

 

 

Deep Sleep

 

Jack Marshall

 

Shakespir Edition

 

 

Copyright 2017 Grain of Wheat Publishing

 

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

This free ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it

appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it.

 

 

 

To the “body of Christ” and

its “members individually” (I Cor. 12:27).

 

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Chapter One: Behavior

Chapter Two: Closed Up

Chapter Three: Deep Sleep

Chapter Four: Lying

Chapter Five: The Spirit of the World

Chapter Six: Fallen Asleep

Chapter Seven: The Sixth Hour

Chapter Eight: The Seventh Hour

Chapter Nine: The Eighth Hour

Chapter Ten: The Ninth Hour

Chapter Eleven: Thirty

Chapter Twelve: Four

Chapter Thirteen: My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Chapter Fourteen: Resurrection from the Dead

Chapter Fifteen: The Spirit of the World Revisited

Chapter Sixteen: Summary

Bibliography

 

 

Introduction

Almost two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul wrote, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (II Timothy 3:1).

If we take a raw and honest look around us today, we will find those things which Paul described in abundance. Despite the fact that America and other prosperous countries boast the greatest technology which this world has ever known, humankind is plunging deeper into darkness than ever before. It appears to us to be an unending spiral completely out of control.

Are we in the “last days”? It’s not for me to say, for I have never been one to jump on this train of thought easily, knowing that the wickedness of man in this age is no worse than the ages before. It just so happens that there are now more of us on this planet than in ages past, hence the reason that our rebellion against the laws and nature of God is intensified. Perhaps this is why Paul wrote his warning to Timothy (as well as you and me).

In the midst of all this chaos and confusion, it is difficult to perceive our role, is it not? What is it we are called to do? What does our Creator expect of us? As believers in Christ, what is this path we are taking? How do we know? If you’re anything at all like me, you have asked yourself these questions more than once. I have endeavored to address these questions in this study (at least in part), but there is no doubt in my mind that this goes deeper than I presently perceive.

One thing I know for certain is this—the kingdom of God is about righteousness, i.e. right behavior, pleasing to God and beneficial to others, for when we walk in obedience to His Spirit, He will move us away from those things which Paul listed above.

Despite what many believe, God’s kingdom and Spirit is not about adding to our fleshly indulgences but rather a removal of those things in our lives that hinder our walk in Him. Perhaps that’s another reason why Paul warned us, knowing by the Spirit of revelation that in the days ahead we would be inundated by these things due to the increase of our population and the changes in our technology. No wonder Jesus likened these “days” to the “days of Noah” (Matt. 24:37; Luke 17:26).

It should come as no surprise to us that the path we take was illustrated for us long ago in the parable of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. And this “path” or “journey” hasn’t changed since its inception, for when perceived correctly, our Creator’s wisdom has been evident since He first created us. He has made no mistakes. That being said, there are mistakes in this presentation, not by intention, but out of ignorance. I am still and always will be learning. It has been difficult to put aside what I have inherited in order to see from a fresh perspective.

 

In His Grace,

Jack Marshall

 

Please note: All Hebrew and Greek definitions are taken from the Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary unless otherwise noted. All scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

Genesis 2:21 (NKJV)
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept;

and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

BEHAVIOR

Google gives us the following definitions for “behavior.”

 

1. The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.

2. The way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus.

 

When it’s all said or done, the most baffling thing about our existence is our behavior, i.e. how we conduct ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I cannot help but marvel at what I see on a daily basis as well as on the news. And I will not remove myself from the equation, for many times I have scratched my head about my own behavior as well.

How we conduct ourselves incorporates many things, from our own idiosyncrasies in private to our mannerisms in public. Some of us like things neat and in order while others could care less. Some of us like small towns and natural vistas while others love big cities. Some of us are quite animated and outgoing while others are introverted and quiet. Our behavior is as varied as the leaves of a tree.

Despite our personal differences and characteristics, there is a commonality among us which many have considered, something that runs deep within all of us regardless of where we are born or how we are raised. What is it? It is our spirit.

 

Job 32:7-8 (ESV)
7 I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ 8 But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.

 

Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

 

It should come as no surprise to you and me that the Bible addresses and reveals our makeup. After all, it is the written Word of God. Those who don’t believe this are simply lost in ignorance and woefully unaware, rejecting His Word due to their own inward darkness or perhaps due to the obvious mishandling of His Word which has produced the religious confusion which is so prominent today.

The “spirit of man” is the “breath of the Almighty,” that which is illustrated by God breathing into man’s nostrils in Genesis 2:7. Once the spirit enters into this human form, we become a “living soul.”

In Job 32, the Hebrew word for “spirit” is rûah and means, “Wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation.” It is taken from the word which means, “To blow, i.e. breathe.” Our word “breath” in Genesis 2:7 is neshāmâ, defined as, “A puff, i.e. wind.”

 

John 3:7-8 (ESV)
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 

Like our words rûah and neshāmâ, the Greek definition for “Spirit” is pneuma and means, “A current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze.” All of our definitions remain consistent from Old Testament to New.

Is wind spirit? Not at all, but spirit is likened to a “current of air,” to “wind” or “breath.” And just as we must breathe in order to live, so too does our spirit within give us life (James 2:26). We are spiritual beings housed in a human form. Since God is Spirit (John 4:24), Jesus taught that His kingdom is within us (Luke 17:21).

According to Genesis 2:7, when our spirit enters into this body, we become a “living soul.” The Hebrew word for “soul” is nepesh and means, “A breathing creature,” while the Greek word means, “Breath.” But isn’t this the definition of “spirit”? It is, so here’s my theory. Once the “breath” or spirit enters into this human form, it now has a “body” to express itself outwardly, not just the human body as you might suppose, but a soulish body, an ethereal essence which is seen in human action but always originates from the “unseen” or invisible part of ourselves within.

Think about the marvel of thought or thinking itself. If I wanted, I could rise from sleep and go into my day completely silent, never saying a word out loud for the entire day. Yet, according to scientific studies, approximately 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts will pass through my mind (depending on what scientific study you read). In an article titled “Thoughts” at mind-sets.com, we read, “Our brains produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day (National Science Foundation). Ninety five percent of these thoughts are repeated daily and reflect the mindset or beliefs we hold that lead to those 50,000 thoughts. Your mindset in turn governs your actions, which lead to your results in life. In short, if you have a mindset that limits your potential, then you will likely accept limited results in your life.” Scripture seems to agree with this stating, “For as he (anyone) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). Note the reference to “heart.” This is our word nepesh, meaning “soul.”

So here’s my theory. Once the invisible substance of our spirit is breathed or enters into this human body, it begins to form what is called the “soul,” hence the reason that this word, like spirit, means “breath.” Spirit “breathed in,” soul “breathed out” (not literally of course). Another way of saying this is that our soul is the manifestation or expression of our spirit.

Consider this natural example. In the same way that “fruit” is the manifestation or expression of the “seed” of the tree which was planted, so too the soul exemplifies what is “rooted” deep within our spirit (and mind). For this reason Jesus said, “For a tree is known by its fruit” (Matt. 12:33). Is it simply coincidence that the Genesis parable begins with a garden where we find two trees (think “roots”)? I think not. From the beginning of our creation our behavior has always been about what is deep within our being.

 

Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV)
4 Behold, all souls (nepesh) are mine; as the soul (nepesh) of the father, so also the soul (nepesh) of the son is mine: the soul (nepesh) that sinneth, it shall die.

 

Clearly, all souls belong to our Maker. No surprise here since our “breath of life” comes from Him. Now, note that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” This tells us that the soul is fully capable of sinning, but again, our soul is the manifestation of our spirit and mind, so, where does sin come from? My answer? Thought. That being said, consider the following illustration in conjunction with what we read from Mind-sets.com, that “your mindset in turn governs your actions, which lead to your results in life.”

 

As our illustrations shows, it comes from passages found in the book of Mark. Here are those passages.

 

Mark 4:26-29 (NKJV)
26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

 

First of all, note that Jesus is teaching about the “kingdom of God,” which we’ve already learned is within. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells us that the “seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11) and the “ground” in which it is planted is our “heart” (Luke 8:12). Once planted, the seed sprouts and grows, producing the “blade” first, followed by the “head,” and “after that the full grain in the head.” Finally, when the “grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Thoughts, spoken or otherwise, are knowledge, i.e. information unformed. So, knowledge or information is not enough. It must have form or understanding. We have to decipher the information within until it becomes something to our advantage. In many cases, this takes place quite quickly based on our age, experience, etc. However, in other cases, such as when we are children, it may take much more time to truly grasp the information presented. Either way, all of this still works within the recesses of our being, within our heart and mind until such time that knowledge becomes understanding. At this point, understanding must now evolve into wisdom. Wisdom is simply knowledge which is tested and proven, i.e. understanding derived by experience. So James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Ah, but be careful what you wish for, for again, wisdom is knowledge proven, and that requires testing in order for us to really get it (Deut. 8:1-2; I Peter 1:7).

So here we go. The “seed” is the Word or wisdom of our Maker “sown” or planted into our “ground” or heart. The growth of the seed represents the formation of understanding within until such time that it reaches fruitfulness or expression, i.e. the manifestation of wisdom. And what is the “fruit” for? It’s certainly not only for the tree but for the benefit of those who take it from the tree (wisdom or experience shared). And what is found in the fruit? More seed (knowledge), much like the one which began the process, but yet slightly different due to experience. So the cycle is repeated many times over, producing more “trees” as a result of the original seed which was sown. What is this cycle called? Reproduction, or as most of us have heard, sowing and reaping.

 

Galatians 6:7-10 (NKJV)
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

“Do not be deceived” dear friend, “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” This statement is not inclusive of some, but of everyone. Thought is the root of all that we say and do, leading to the actions which define our behavior. Remember, our mindset governs our actions which leads to the results in our life and our “results” are what we “reap” or receive back to ourselves.

In the long history of humankind, it is evident that our behavior is key, and as I previously stated, is the most baffling aspect in creation. Ducks act like ducks, dogs act like dogs, but humans act in so many diverse and often dark ways that we struggle to perceive why. Who of us truly understands why one child grows up to be a productive citizen in life while another becomes wrapped in evil and misery, bringing suffering on others and themselves for reasons we don’t understand?

 

Luke 6:43-45 (ESV)
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Chapter Two

[]CLOSED UP

Genesis 2:21-25 (NKJV)
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

 

When we understand that our story in Genesis is written as a parable, we have more latitude as to its meaning, so it is appropriate for us to seek understanding within the context as well as from other areas of scripture.

The phrase “deep sleep” is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “A lethargy or (by implication) trance,” taken from the word which means, “To stun, i.e. stupefy (with sleep or death).”

First of all, note that it was the “Lord God” who “caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam.” Secondly, the purpose seems to be for the making of a woman. But why was a woman necessary? For the same reason that all creation reflects; reproduction. Remember, God said, “Let us make man (Adam) in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26; KJV), and then we read, “So God created man (Adam) in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27; KJV). So “man” or more appropriately “mankind” consists of both male and female. Genesis 5:2 confirms, stating, “He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind (Adam) in the day they were created.” So God’s purpose to form mankind is stated earlier in Genesis and in our passages above, we find that purpose described in detail for us.

Ah, but now let me contradict what I just said. The “deep sleep” was not for the purpose of creating the woman. Rather, the “deep sleep” came first, then the woman was created within it. The deep sleep came before the woman was formed, so that mankind, male and female, would both be in it. And what was it that “slept”? I believe it was the spirit.

Friend, God’s “image” is Spirit (John 4:24), not flesh, and the kingdom of God is within, not external, so wouldn’t it make sense that the “deep sleep” would apply to what is within? Remember, God formed our bodies from the dust of the ground but then breathed into it the breath of life or spirit necessary for its function (James 2:26). The writer of Hebrews confirms our stance, stating that God is the “Father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9). For this reason, Jesus went on to say that God must be worshiped “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Now, notice the phrase, “closed up.” This is the transliteration sāgar and means, “To shut up; figurative to surrender.”

 

Job 12:14 (KJV)
14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.

 

Job 11:10 (KJV)
10 If he (God) cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

 

Our phrases “he shutteth up” and “shut up” is the same Hebrew word as “closed up.” Consider the following translations of Job 11:10 from other versions of the Bible.

 

Job 11:10 (NKJV)
10 “If He (God) passes by, imprisons, and gathers to judgment, then who can hinder Him?

 

Job 11:10 (NIV)
10 “If he (God) comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him?

 

Do you see it? Our phrase “closed up” or “shut up” is given here as “imprisons” and “confines you in prison” (which are the same thing). And what is this followed by? “Gathers to judgment” or “convenes a court” (which are the same thing). With these statements in mind, consider the following.

 

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment

 

If scripture is accurate, and I wholly believe it is, “it is appointed” for all of us to “die once” and then after that, to be judged. This agrees with the Lord’s teaching in John 12:24 where we read, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (ESV). What did our Creator say in regard to Adam? “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). That being the case, then it was necessary for Adam to “die” before the woman was formed. Adam began as a “living” soul, but had to fall “into the earth” (flesh) and die or he would have remained alone. This was the purpose of the “deep sleep.” Yes I know, I’m challenging the status quo, but the words of Christ prove what I am saying.

Now, if we see the “deep sleep” as a form of “death,” then we must also take into account the “death” which took place when Adam and Eve took of the tree of knowledge (Rom. 5:12). This was a “second death,” the first, which was appointed, was the deep sleep. For this reason John mentions this second death four times in the book of the Revelation (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). What is the second death? In light of our passage from Hebrews 9:27, it would be defined as “judgment.”

 

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once (deep sleep; first death), but after this the judgment (second death)…

 

We find further confirmation in our word “appointed.” It means, “To be reserved,” and is taken from two words. The first word is the transliteration apo and means, “‘Off,’ i.e. away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literal or figurative).” Our second word is keimai and means, “To lie outstretched (literal or figurative).” And what do we do when we’re in a deep sleep? We “lie outstretched” do we not? Keep this word keimai in mind, for we will revisit it later.

All of this leads me to believe that a simplistic yet profound event took place whenever man was formed in the beginning. Despite the traditional view that Adam “fell” into sin due to his own will, I believe Adam and Eve fell according to God’s intended purpose (see Romans 8:20-21). What caused Adam and Eve to take of the tree of knowledge and fall into sin? Again, the “deep sleep” which our Creator placed on Adam and during which the woman was also formed. Let’s return to our passages.

 

Genesis 2:21-25 (NKJV)
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

 

First, the “deep sleep” and Adam “slept.” Then the Lord “took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.” He did what? He “closed up” or imprisoned or confined to a prison both Adam and Eve. He then gathered us to judgment or convened a court, typifying the principle of reaping what we sow in accordance with His divine law and purpose within each of us.

So, what was this “prison”? The flesh, or more specifically, the mindset of the flesh, what Paul clearly called “the bondage of corruption” in Romans 8:21. Confirmation? He “closed up the flesh,” and once the woman was brought to Adam he stated she was “flesh” of his “flesh” and that they were to “become one flesh.” As with Adam, so with Eve. Eve was formed while Adam was in the deep sleep so that she could be “one flesh” with him, and our “flesh” was imprisoned by the will of God through the divine principle of His law (see Romans 7:21-25).

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-49 (NIV)
45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being (soul)”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, , and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

 

In agreement with our perspective, Paul refers to our story in Genesis, stating, “The first man Adam became a living being (soul)” and clearly defines that “the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.” What came first? The natural. What did God intend at the beginning? The natural. And what is the “natural”? It is the “first man,” illustrated by Adam and Eve, who were “of the dust of the earth,” both being “the earthly man” (Gen. 5:2). With this in mind, consider the following.

 

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

Here we go. The “natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.” Would this explain why Adam and Eve disobeyed the commandment of God? It would, our word “receive” indicating both hearing and accepting that which the Spirit gives (Matt. 13:23). Friend, Adam was not deceived (I Tim. 2:14) but he was incapable of accepting that which God had commanded him. Seeing he could not see and hearing he could not hear (Matt. 13:13). Why? Because again, he and Eve were “natural” beings due to their spirits being placed in a “deep sleep.”

Now, Paul goes on to say in I Timothy 2:14, “But the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” So when God reckoned with Adam and Eve after they had sinned, He told Adam, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife.” What was the “voice of his wife”? It was a fleshly, earthly, natural “voice,” arising from Adam’s own bosom or soul. Consider.

 

Deuteronomy 13:6-8 (NKJV)
6 “If… the wife of your bosomwho is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him (or her) or listen to him (or her)…

 

Where was the woman formed from? The “bosom” of man, and so scripture speaks of “the wife of your bosom” (see also Deut. 28:54). And the man? He is the “bosom” of the wife (Deut. 28:56); male and female He created us (I Cor. 11:7-12).

And the final confirmation? “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” What is meant by “naked”? It means exposed flesh. Since God is omniscient, this speaks of the fact that He knows His own creation quite intimately. For this reason we read in Hebrews, Chapter 4, verses 12 and 13, “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Beloved, “all things are naked and open” to our Creator,” the “thoughts and intents” of our natural mind fully exposed. And wouldn’t our phrase “give account” indicate judgment? Yes it would.

 

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (ESV)
1 For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

 

So what is this “tent” of which Paul speaks? Is it referring to our human form? I don’t believe so. Rather, he is speaking of our soul. Friend, it is the soul which sins that dies and the body merely follows it (behavior). It is the “thoughts and intents” which our Creator judges, for again our actions only follow suit (Heb. 4:12). Our “earthly home” or “tent” is our soul, the expression or essence of our spirit and mind while sleeping or awake (Rom. 13:11; I Cor. 15:34). Our soul is our “earthly home,” suggesting a temporary abode, thereby being “mortal.” This word means “liable to die,” which is not speaking of physical death, but of the “fallen” mindset and behavior that comes as a result of being flesh (Eph. 2:1). So it is that Paul wrote, “Put off (our tent or soul) concerning your former conduct (behavior), the old man (illustrated by the first man Adam) which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man (the heavenly dwelling; illustrated by the last Adam, Christ) which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24). Clearly, the “old man” refers to the natural and its corresponding behavior whereas the “new man” speaks of the spiritual and its behavior.

Now, note the word “renewed,” which means, “To renovate, i.e. reform,” in other words, to make new again. Ah, but isn’t there a marked difference between what is “brand new” as opposed to what has been used and restored back to its new condition? Most definitely, and the difference for you and me as illustrated by Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge is experience. For this reason we find the word “serpent” in Genesis taken from the root word nāḥash, used just eleven times in the Old Testament and translated in Genesis 30:27 as “I have learned by experience” (the spiritual meaning of eleven is imperfection, disorder, incompleteness; Stephen E. Jones). What’s even more enlightening is that this word is also translated as “divine,” which Dictionary.com defines as, “To discover or declare (something obscure or in the future) by divination; prophesy” and, “To perceive by intuition or insight; conjecture.” “Divination” is defined as, “The practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means.” Doesn’t this suggest the idea that our experience in this world incorporates a desire to “discover hidden knowledge” by “supernatural means,” i.e. to realize our relationship with the invisible and immaterial, which would be typified by the kingdom of heaven? So you see my friend, God set up a process from the beginning whereby you and me would go through the experience of that which is visible in order to discover the everlasting and divine knowledge of that which isn’t, again, the kingdom of God (II Cor. 4:18).

So again, our phrase “what is mortal” is the word “mortality” in the King James and means, “Liable to die,” taken from the word which means, “To die.” And what did the Lord tell Adam concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil? “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17).

Scripture plainly declares that after their creation, Adam and Eve were “naked,” their souls exposed, “unclothed” if you will by their “heavenly dwelling” or spiritual essence, but they were “not ashamed” (Gen. 2:25). This confirms our perspective, God creating the natural first in order that His divine process would lead to us being “further clothed,” the mortality or temporary abode of our soul being “swallowed up by life,” which is not mortal or temporary but immortal or “everlasting” (Rom. 2:7; I Cor. 15:53).

So when did Adam and Eve become “ashamed”? Only after they disobeyed the commandment of God and took of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:7-8). Our word “ashamed” is quite revealing. Strong’s defines this as, “A primitive root; properly to pale, i.e. by implication to be ashamed; also (by implication) to be disappointed, or delayed.”

 

Exodus 32:1 (KJV)
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

 

Psalms 25:1-3 (KJV)
1 Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

 

When Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the law of God, we see Israel losing patience and thus turning to other “gods” when “Moses delayed to come down out of the mount.” Ah, but “let none that wait on thee be ashamed” the Psalmist writes. Know that Israel’s attitude toward Moses was Israel’s attitude toward God Himself, for it was the Lord who kept Moses on the mountain in order to receive His law. And isn’t that just like our “natural man”? How many times have we sought for instant gratification because we were unwilling to wait upon the Lord (Psalms 37:9; Isa. 40:31)?

So, returning to Adam and Eve, what does the tree of knowledge signify? The law. Please consider.

 

Romans 7:7-12 (NKJV)
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed *me*. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

 

Here we go my friend. Paul, using himself as an example, stated, “I would not have known sin except through the law.” And what did the serpent say to Eve? “For God knows that in the day you eat of it (tree of knowledge) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). Isn’t the purpose of any law to define good and evil for us? It is. We cannot know “sin except through the law.” Ah, “but sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire (which leads to us wanting instant gratification; Gen. 3:6). For apart from the law sin was dead.” Up to this point, Adam and Eve were not ashamed, not having taken of the tree of knowledge. “But when the commandment came (to not eat of the tree), sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me (as with Eve; II Cor. 11:3), and by it killed me.” Can we not see in this that Paul is describing what happened in the Garden of Eden, using himself in place of Adam? This makes perfect sense when we understand that Adam and Eve are an example of everyone who enters into this earthly plane.

At this point, it is also important to consider the meaning of “knowing” good and evil. This is the Hebrew word yādaʿ which is defined as, “A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figurative, literal, euphemism and inference (including observation, care, recognition; and causative instruction, designation, punishment, etc.).” This same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 4:1 where we read, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD” (KJV). As indicated, “knew” (know, knowing) speaks of the intimacy of sexual intercourse between husband and wife and the conception of a child. This shows that the idea of “knowing” good and evil is a very personal and intimate experience, one that begins (as in conception), and continues (as in the formation of a child), not just a one time occurrence. No wonder Jesus likened the tribulation of this world to “birth pains” (Matt. 24:8).

Not surprisingly, the human birth cycle is forty weeks. The spiritual meaning of forty is “probation, trial, and chastisement” (Bullinger). This shows that the purpose of the law is to form Christ within, for “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4; KJV). To walk in Christ is to walk in the spiritual nature of the law (Rom. 7:14). Ah, but the natural comes first, does it not? So it is that we see Cain, “who was of the wicked one” (I John 3:12), brought forth first in keeping with the divine process which God instituted through Adam and Eve.

Consider what Paul wrote in Romans, Chapter 8. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1), and, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh” (Rom. 8:5), and finally, “For to be carnally minded (fleshly minded) is death” (Rom. 8:6). It is evident then that death (the second death) incorporates a mindset, so, while we dwell in this soul, “we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed” or “naked,” but “further clothed,” i.e. our mortality or soulish and carnal mindset “swallowed up by life,” or a spiritual mindset (Rom. 8:6). And “who has prepared us for this very thing”? God Himself, and He did so eons ago when He first formed humankind as illustrated by Adam and Eve.

Friend, know that Adam and Eve were not the parents of every living person on earth, but an example of every living person on earth, the one representing the many (Rom. 5:12). In the beginning, God fashioned a divine process that works within our being, one that is needed to accomplish His ultimate purpose, declared for us in Genesis 1:26 and perfectly exemplified through His Son Jesus.

 

Job 12:9-14 (NKJV)
9 Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, 10 in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? 11 Does not the ear test words and the mouth taste its food? 12 Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding. 13 “With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding. 14 If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt; If He imprisons a man, there can be no release.

 

Our word “imprisons”? Same as “closed up,” and if God Himself “imprisons a man, there can be no release” except by and through Him. Proof? Consider Pharaoh, whom God hardened time and again in order that His works might be known to Israel (Exod. 4:21; 7:3-5; 10:1). As most of us know, it did not end well for him (Exod. 14:26-28, 30). Was God unfair in his judgment of Pharaoh and his army? Not at all! Remember that God sees much deeper than we see and the flesh is exceedingly far more important to us than it should be. Proof of this is seen in the fact that death is an integral part of our existence. Our Creator alone knows the path of the flesh and the path of spirit, and He is the Creator and God of both (Psalms 65:2; Jer. 32:27; Heb. 12:9).

Chapter Three

[]DEEP SLEEP

Genesis 2:21-25 (NKJV)
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

 

Remember, our phrase “deep sleep” is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “A lethargy or (by implication) trance,” taken from the word which means, “To stun, i.e. stupefy (with sleep or death).” I was a bit surprised to learn that this word or phrase is found only seven times in the Old Testament (seven is the number of spiritual perfection or completeness; Bullinger). Following Genesis 2:21, the second appearance is in Genesis 15:12.

 

Genesis 15:12-14 (ESV)
12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

 

Abram, who later became Abraham, the father of faith, was a descendant of Adam (Luke 3:34, 38). Coincidence? I don’t think so, and consider this—just as Adam experienced a deep sleep, so too Abram, and so too the nation of Israel (Deut. 29:4). What did the Lord say to Abram during this deep sleep? “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.” This does of course refer to the nation of Israel, Abraham’s offspring through his grandson, Jacob, who became slaves in Egypt. Is there a spiritual parallel here? I believe so, for when we are in a deep sleep, we come under bondage to the world (typified by Egypt) as was the case for Adam as well as Abraham’s descendants. Right away this confirms the necessity of the natural before the spiritual and the fact that it is appointed for us once to die.

Our number “four hundred” is significant, being forty times ten. We’ve already considered the meaning of forty, but let’s look further into what Stephen E. Jones wrote in his book, The Biblical Meaning of Numbers from One to Forty.

 

The number forty in Hebrew was written with the letter mem (water, flowing or coming from). Forty is the number of trial or probation. When viewed as a time cycle, we find that Israel spent 40 years being tested and tried in the wilderness. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tested of the devil. The number 40 can be viewed negatively in terms of the full 40 days/years of trial, but it can also be viewed positively in that it is the END of the time of trial or testing. In the positive sense, then, forty (i.e., mem) speaks of Israel crossing the Jordan River (water) after 40 years in the wilderness. In that sense also, Israel came from the wilderness and flowed into the Promised Land.

 

Forty is the product of eight and five. Eight is the number of New Beginnings, while five is grace. Thus, forty can be seen as entering grace after a period of trial, as well as the beginning of something new. Obviously, these are both factors in the cases of Israel and Jesus.

 

Likewise, Dr. Bullinger’s Number in Scripture, p. 267, points out the fact that there are eight forty-day periods mentioned in the Bible. They are:

 

1. Forty days Moses in the mount (Ex. 24:18) to receive the law.

2. Forty days Moses in the mount after the Golden Calf incident (Deut. 9:18, 25).

3. Forty days of the spies (Num. 13:26; 14:34).

4. Forty days of Elijah in Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).

5. Forty days of Nineveh’s probation (Jonah 3:4).

6. Forty days Ezekiel lay on his right side for Judah (Ez. 4:5).

7. Forty days Jesus was tempted of the devil (Matt. 4:2).

8. Forty days from Jesus’ resurrection to His ascension (Acts 1:2).

 

The total of these eight forty-day periods is 320 days. Since 32 is the number of Covenant, we see a special connection with the idea of covenant. In fact, God made a covenant with Israel twice while they were in the wilderness. The Exodus covenant (Ex. 20) came at the beginning of their 40 years at Mount Horeb, and the second covenant (Deut. 29:1) came at the end of their 40 years in the wilderness of Moab, just before they entered the Promised Land.

 

These two covenants provided a double witness to the Old Covenant that God made with “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Yet they prophesied of the two-fold aspect of the New Covenant while the New Testament Church spent 40 Jubilees in a wilderness of its own (33-1993 A.D.). The “Exodus” covenant was made at the cross through the feast of Passover, while the Deuteronomy covenant is made as we enter the Promised Land in the Age of the feast of Tabernacles.

 

In regard to the spiritual meaning of ten, Bullinger wrote the following.

 

It has been already pointed out that ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order, commencing, as it does, an altogether new series of numbers. The first decade is the representative of the whole numeral system, and originates the system of calculation called ‘decimals,’ because the whole system of numeration consists of so many tens, of which the first is a type of the whole.

 

Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.

 

When we bring our forty and ten together, we see that our four hundred years signified a time of “probation, trial, and chastisement” (40) necessary for the nation of Israel until the “whole cycle” was “complete” (10). Our Creator leaves nothing to chance; His timing is perfect, and what is simply history to us is divine purpose to Him.

Now, what is quite surprising about all of this is the fact that even after their bondage in Egypt, God had Moses lead this nation into the wilderness for a period of forty more years, yet again another period of “probation, trial, and chastisement.” Ah, but there was a reason for this.

 

Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (NKJV)
1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

 

As shown, the purpose of the “wilderness” was to humble and test Israel’s heart and to make them know that “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Jesus quoted this passage to the serpent during His own “wilderness” testing (Matt. 4:4).

Take a moment to consider this. “Man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Our word “man” is our word ʾādām, and yes, it’s the same word for “man” and “Adam” in our Genesis parable. This shows that “man” is all-inclusive of every single person who has or ever will live on this planet, the story of Adam and Israel being our examples. Everyone “lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord,” no exceptions. That being said, would it be a stretch to consider that the Bible as we know it would eventually become a written form of His Word? If our Creator intended for us to live by His every Word, would He leave us clueless as to what His Word is? I don’t think so. If you’re not a fan of the Bible, then I would ask you to read Romans 1:20 and know that His truth is written into “the things that are made.”

Now, here’s the divine pattern which is first given in our Genesis parable, then seen again in Israel and Christ.

First, we are placed in a deep sleep, our first death being made subject to the world through the vanity of our flesh (Rom. 8:20-21), typified by Israel’s bondage and servitude to Egypt (Rom. 7:14). Then, we are called out of the world (Egypt; Gal. 1:4; 4:3) by the Father to the Son (John 6:44). Reflecting this, we find the institution of Passover before Israel could lawfully exit Egypt (Exodus, Chapter 12). As most of us know, the lamb or goat which was slain is symbolic of Christ Jesus, the true Passover sacrifice (I Cor. 5:7).

Our calling out from the world is our “first” resurrection (Col. 3:1), for death is always followed by resurrection as illustrated by the principle of sowing and reaping. The word “resurrection” simply means, “A standing up again,” typifying the “body” which rises from the “seed” which is sown (I Cor. 15:35-38).

In our Genesis parable, the Passover lamb or Christ is symbolized by the “tree of life” which is clearly mentioned first in Genesis 2:9 (Author’s note: The tree of life is also symbolic of the New Covenant of which Christ was the firstborn; see my study, “Eastward in Eden;” see also Prov. 11:30). This shows that the divine process of God in every believer begins by means of His grace and not by means of our own will or choice (Rom. 9:11).

Following our call out of the world, we must then enter our “wilderness” testing in order to be humbled and learn the efficacy of God’s dynamic Word in our lives. First, we are called out of the world, but we must, of necessity, have the “world” taken out of us. For this reason Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Passover), by whom the world has been crucified to me (Passover and the exodus from Egypt), and I to the world (Mount Sinai and the journey through the wilderness)” (Gal. 6:14).

In keeping with our divine pattern, we see the nation of Israel brought into the wilderness where, three months later, they came to Mount Sinai to receive the law. Three is the number of divine completeness and resurrection (see I Corinthians, Chapter 15), showing us that the “message of the cross” must become so much more than head knowledge. It must be applied to the heart (Deut. 8:1-3; I Cor. 1:18).

The entrance of Israel into the wilderness typifies our “second death.” That being said, there must then follow a second resurrection or “standing up again.” This would be symbolized by the land of Canaan, often referred to as the “Promised Land.” So we have:

 

1. First death – Deep sleep – Egypt – The World.

2. First resurrection – Exodus from Egypt – Called out from the world.

3. Second death – Tree of knowledge – Wilderness – The law at Mount Sinai.

4. Second resurrection – Tree of Life – Canaan – The land of “promise.”

 

In our Genesis parable, the law is symbolized by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9) which is the Old Covenant (II Cor. 3:6-11) and which Paul made clear “is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14). This shows that our two trees in the Garden of Eden symbolize both covenants, the ministry of death and condemnation followed by the ministry of the Spirit (II Cor. 3:6-11). In keeping with our pattern, Adam is presented with the tree of life first, but actually made subject to the tree of knowledge afterward (Rom. 8:20-21) in order that the spiritual nature of the law or “tree of life” (Christ) could be worked within his (our) being. What begins as external must become internal. This is the reason for our sojourn through the wilderness.

When we consider all of this closely, we will come to realize that the tree of knowledge and tree of life are but one tree, that is, “the law” or tree of knowledge, “is spiritual,” a tree of life. When applied to the idea of the cross, the tree of knowledge would be signified by the horizontal crossbeam (us moving to and fro upon this earth; Job 1:7; John 3:14) whereas the vertical crossbeam (us moving up and down in the heavens; John 1:51; Job 1:7; John 3:14) signifies the tree of life. Where the two meet signifies our necessary “death” in Him (Rom. 6:3; Col. 3:3).

 

Job 4:13 (ESV)
13 Amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men…

 

Job 33:14-18 (AMP)
14 For God [does reveal His will; He] speaks not only once, but more than once, even though men do not regard it [including you, Job]. 15 [One may hear God’s voice] in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men while slumbering upon the bed, 16 Then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction [terrifying them with warnings], 17 That He may withdraw man from his purpose and cut off pride from him [disgusting him with his own disappointing self-sufficiency]. 18 He holds him back from the pit [of destruction], and his life from perishing by the sword [of God’s destructive judgments].

 

In light our understanding of the “wilderness,” the story of Job agrees. It is a story of “testing,” reflecting the plight of the natural man who must endure to the end that he might truly know the Lord. Consider our passages from Job in light of I John 5:20.

 

1 John 5:19 (KJV)
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

 

As we have learned, our word “lieth” is keimai and is defined as, “To lie outstretched (literal or figurative).” So figuratively speaking, our spiritual stupor is pictured as someone who is laying in a bed in a deep sleep. Though physically speaking we may be quite active, moving through our daily routine, within our spirit is asleep.

Now, let’s consider something quite interesting. Our word “lieth” is an archaic word from the King James Version of the Bible, so our contemporary word would be “lies” (see the ESV and NKJV versions of scripture). Consider the following definitions from Dictionary.com for the word “lie.”

 

Verb (used without object), lay, lain, lying.

1. To be in a horizontal, recumbent, or prostrate position, as on a bed or the ground; recline.

2. (Of objects) to rest in a horizontal or flat position.

3. To be or remain in a position or state of inactivity, subjection, restraint, concealment, etc.: to lie in ambush.

 

Our definitions are simple enough, are they not, but consider these definitions as well.

 

Noun

1. A false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. Synonyms: prevarication, falsification. Antonyms: truth.

2. Something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.

3. An inaccurate or false statement; a falsehood.

4. The charge or accusation of telling a lie: He flung the lie back at his accusers.

 

As shown, our word “lie” as a verb agrees with our word keimai. Ah, but when this same word is used as a noun it speaks of “falsehood,” of “telling a lie.” Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but I see in this that when we are in a spiritual lethargy, laying outstretched as it were in our darkness and drunkeness (I Thess. 5:7), then our thoughts often produce “lies,” i.e. falsehoods and inaccuracies. Is it simply a coincidence that our word “lie” has two definitions which relate to each other in light of scripture?

 

Chapter Four

[]LYING

Friend, let’s lay aside our naiveté. The world at large, and many of God’s own, are very, very comfortable with lying. Much of this is intentional, however, much of it is simply due to ignorance. We have sown and reaped so many lies for so long that we now embrace them as truth, not realizing that they have no real substance in reality or in the Word of God. I cannot help but marvel at this fact each and every time I visit it in my studies.

Need an example? How about Christmas or Easter, two major religious holidays which almost everyone embraces. Do you know that both of these holidays are structured on lies? Yet, most of Christendom, along with much of the world, goes to great lengths to celebrate them, not knowing or not caring that they have no foundation whatsoever in the Word of God.

Also consider the teaching on eternal torment (traditional view of hell) or the rapture, two of the most damnable heresies to ever arise among God’s children. And that’s the point. We are spiritual infants (I Cor. 3:1-7), unable to discern the truth of scripture due to our denominational and organizational bondages that keep us from venturing deeper into His Word that we may fully appreciate its spiritual depth. In seeking to keep their followers from deception, most, if not all denominations have succeeded in embracing the very thing they sought to avoid. In our zeal to avoid “antichrist,” we have become that which we feared.

Few understand that “Babylon” in Revelation accurately portrays the church of our time, in bondage to the spirit of the world and filled with lies (Babylon is derived from the word which means “confusion” which clearly defines Christianity today). The main reason for this is our pride, for we are quite reluctant to admit that we are anything but “good.” Think about it. Most “Christian” denominations and organizations today believe they are right with God and right with their neighbor, however, our actions truly speak against us when we stand in our arrogance and proclaim that all sinners are destined to be tormented forever by an angry and apparently “masochistic” Creator who will take great pleasure in our suffering. No doubt the rapture theory also follows this vindictive and hateful line of thought, propagating the idea that the “good” will be whisked away while those “left behind” will endure unimaginable suffering. Take a serious look around you my friend. There is already unimaginable suffering taking place and it most often happens by the hand of carnal and unforgiving leaders who are lost in their own lies, many of them quite religious.

So what is a lie? Friend, know that a lie is derived from the truth, but we add to it (embellish) or take from it (omission) (Gen. 3:1-5). Instead of stating it as it is, we insert our opinion or exaggerate it through the filter of our natural mind.

 

Numbers 23:19 (NKJV)
19God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

 

John wrote, “No lie is of the truth” (I John 2:21). Unlike us, “God is not a man, that He should lie.” This tells us that what God says is always truth, and for this reason, we must be very, very careful not to embellish it or omit from it (Deut. 4:2). This is what happened in our Genesis parable when the serpent deceived Eve. First, he took from the truth (Gen. 3:1), conveniently leaving out what God had commanded Adam and Eve. Then he added to the truth (Gen. 3:4-5), saying that which God didn’t say and contradicting what He did say (“you will not surely die”). Now, let’s revisit some passages from earlier.

 

Romans 7:7-14 (NKJV)
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

 

Look closely at these passages, especially at how Paul uses the word “sin.” First, he establishes the fact that he would not have “known sin except through the law,” using “you shall not covet” as his example. Then he states that “sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.” What took opportunity? Sin did. Paul further emphasizes this fact, stating, “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.” What deceived Paul? Sin did. What killed Paul? Sin did. And remember, this was our second death.

Our word “opportunity” in verse 8 is the same Greek word translated as “occasion” in verse 11. It’s defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “A starting-point, i.e. (figurative) an opportunity.” A starting point? An opportunity? Yes! And our starting point is clearly outlined in our parable of Genesis. It begins with the natural!

Finally, Paul again emphasizes all of this stating, “But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good.” So sin produced death and “what is good” speaks of the law and the commandment, both of which are “holy and just and good.”

This brings me to one of the simplest yet most profound understandings that I have ever been blessed to discover—our suffering is no more than the result of resisting what is good for us as defined by our Maker! As an example, consider the Ten Commandments found in Exodus, Chapter 20, especially the last five in regard to our treatment of each other. “You shall not murder,” “you shall not commit adultery,” “you shall not steal,” “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” “you shall not covet.” Would you consider any of these injunctions as bad for us? Not by any means, and it doesn’t take a great spiritual revelation to understand this! Yet, our behavior testifies against us, does it not, proving beyond any reasonable doubt our inability to perform even these five things? The world and much of Christendom is filled with these sins, so much so, that we have sought to justify their obvious manifestation by changing the righteous requirements of the Word of God. Like the serpent in the garden, we have manipulated His Word and devised traditions which make it of no effect (Matt. 15:6).

Now, if you will, allow me to challenge your thinking. In our passages from Romans, Chapter 7, Paul uses the word “sin” in a very personal manner, saying that sin took “opportunity by the commandment,” producing evil desires, deceiving him, ultimately killing him, and producing death in him “through what is good” (the law and the commandment). What did? Sin did. Ah, but doesn’t our Genesis parable show that the serpent was the one who tempted both Eve and Adam? Yes, but that’s the point! Being a parable, the serpent in the garden represents a “spirit of error” in regard to God’s law, and this “spirit of error” goes back to the fact that Adam and Eve were in a “deep sleep,” both of them “natural” and unable to perceive the righteous requirements of the law! Again, this ties into what Jesus said regarding the grain of wheat in John, Chapter 12, and verse 24—“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Do you see in this that God truly “appointed” us to die once and follow with the judgment of His divine and righteous law? And why did He do this? So we would not remain alone my friend! From the beginning of His creation, our Maker determined to make us His habitation, to make us “one” with Him even as Christ (John 17:20-26). For this reason every single person on this planet must be presented with His divine law, for it is the essence of His holy nature and that nature is unconditional love!

The root of the word “sin” means, “To miss the mark” and “to err.” And what “mark” did Adam and Eve miss? The spiritual nature of the law which is to “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7), for by faith, “we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). When we read the parable of Eve and Adam’s temptation, what do we really find? We find them doubting what God commanded, even to the point of adding to and taking from what He said. For this reason Paul wrote, “But whoever has doubts is condemned (to judge against) if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23; ESV).

Now, what does our parable from Genesis show regarding the temptation of Adam and Eve? Did they not “eat” from the tree of knowledge? Ah, but we must remember that the tree of knowledge and tree of life are the same tree. So what this shows to us is this—for each and every one of us, it is imperative for us to begin with His law in order for it to become spiritual within! It is ordained for all of us to begin as “natural” that we might come to truly “know” the spiritual essence of His divine law in the earth. No wonder the Psalmist wrote, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalms 19:7; KJV). Converting what? The soul, which is the outward manifestation of our inner being, of our spirit (heart) and mind!

On a side note, our phrase “law of the Lord” is found just eighteen times in the King James Old Testament. Eighteen is the number which stands for “bondage” (as in “slave” to sin; Bullinger, Vallowe). Eighteen is also three sixes, defining for us what the “mark” of the beast is in Revelation, Chapter 13, verses 16 through 18. And what is the “mark”? The law my friend, hence the reason that sin means, “To miss the mark.” Don’t forget, all of creation is under the law of God, no exceptions. Furthermore, we must understand that His law is perfect, so there is not another law coming, nor is there need to change the one which God delivered to Israel at Mount Sinai. There simply needs to be formed in us the spiritual understanding and application of it in our lives. For every “natural” aspect of the law, there is a spiritual counterpart, a spiritual essence beneath its exterior surface (Hebrews, Chapter 8).

Finally, I cannot help but mention that the sovereignty of God’s Word is quite evident in all of humankind, for there is not a single one of us who doesn’t struggle with sin. Does this not prove the very thing we are discussing?

 

John 5:30 (NKJV)
30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

 

John 8:26 (NKJV)
26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

 

Who of us can dispute the wisdom of Christ Jesus as found in scripture? Or the wisdom of Paul, Peter, or John? Though the New Testament is really quite small in content, it contains mysteries which have challenged us for centuries. Just the book of the Revelation is enough to raise serious questions among many and is responsible for all manner of crazy and unrealistic interpretations. As mentioned previously, much of this is due to the fact that we seek to place boundaries around it according to our own denominational mindsets and traditions which we have embraced for so long.

Friend, much of the confusion concerning the Word of God today is because Jesus spoke from another realm, the spiritual realm of the kingdom of God. His thoughts were God’s thoughts, His mind, God’s mind, His nature, God’s nature. For this reason, we cannot casually consider those things which He said as though the understanding lies right on the surface. Furthermore, the New Testament writings were derived from the Old Testament, which is of course a much larger work, filled with all manner of symbology and prophecy. One cannot expect to understand the teachings of the New Testament without examining the Old Testament quite readily.

The teachings of Christ are spiritual, so they must be perceived “in spirit” (John 4:24). For this reason, we cannot allow our minds to presume anything; we must be willing to lay aside all preconceived notions that may have been presented to us by others. We must be willing to challenge everything, even ourselves.

The Spirit of truth alone is the only true source of understanding (I John 2:27). This doesn’t mean that there can’t be teachers, for they are necessary for the “babes in Christ” (I Cor. 3:1), however, we should never follow the teachers but the teacher, which again is the Spirit of truth. For this reason, Paul went on to describe for us the manifestation of carnality as “envy, strife, and divisions” among us (I Cor. 3:3). This manifestation is evidenced by us saying, “I am of Paul” or “I am of Apollos.” In contemporary terms, this would equate to “I am a Baptist” or “I am a Catholic.” Brother and sister, when the label becomes far more important to us than our desire for His truth, we are heading down the wrong path.

 

John 12:44-50 (NKJV)
44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

 

As these passages indicate, Jesus “did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” And He did this by becoming our judgment. Ah, but look at what He prefaced with and what He followed with. “If anyone hears My words and does not believe” and “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” Friend, know that to reject His words is to reject Him! Why? Because Jesus, like our heavenly Father, always spoke the truth! No lie ever crossed His lips at any time! You cannot accept Christ without accepting His words, and what precious and spiritual words they are, the words of “everlasting life”! The sad truth is there are many today who say they accept Him, but they don’t accept His words. Instead, they accept the words of teachers who appear righteous outwardly, but inwardly, are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15). Oh these teachers are quick to declare Christ as their message, but they conveniently leave one component out and that is the message of the cross!

 

1 Corinthians 1:17-19 (NKJV)
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

 

In these passages, Paul quotes from Isaiah, Chapter 29, speaking of “the message of the cross” which is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The power of God? Yes, most definitely so! Friend, know that the preaching of Jesus apart from the cross is antichrist. Consider the Lord’s own words to His disciples.

 

Matthew 16:24-28 (NKJV)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, , and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

 

These words which Jesus spoke to His disciples followed quickly after He “began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matt. 16:21). Following this, Peter took Jesus aside and “began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’” But what did Jesus say? “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense (stumbling-block) to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matt. 16:22-23). So what are the “things of men”? Would it not be the love of the world and the “things” in it (I John 2:15)? He then follows with our passages above, letting them know that those who follow Him must also take up their own cross, describing what He meant by stating, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Friend, know that the message of the cross is the true message of Christ.

In this day and age, much is being touted as the gospel where Christ is presented as a “positive thinker” or “genie” whose only desire is to bless us abundantly with the things of this world, however, consider what John, the beloved disciple wrote in his letter.

 

1 John 2:15-21 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

 

Is it simply coincidence that John first writes, “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” then follows with, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour”? Was he equating antichrist with those who “love the world”? I believe so, for the Lord Himself said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15; see also Matthew 13:22), and again, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24; NIV). What did Paul write? “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10; KJV). Many of us are familiar with these various passages, however, do we take them to heart? Do we really believe His words? If so, how can we justify the wealth of so many who claim to be preaching the gospel?

As believers, we should be the first to understand that the world and the things in it are but temporary and fleeting. And John leaves no doubt, stating, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” This my friend is the truth.

As I mentioned earlier, I am always amazed when I consider what we do to each other over the temporal things of the flesh. From the highest form of government to the man on the street, there are countless acts of sin and violence every single day because of our “love” of this world.

Our lives have become so filled with longing that we think nothing of the endless commercials which saturate every form of media, prompting us to buy and consume. In fact, America is known as a nation of “consumers,” and that’s exactly what we do, we continually consume! We want, want, want for bigger and better, for more than we need, never giving thought to the fact that we don’t need most of it!

When we strip down each and every commercial to its basic intent, we will find that most of them are lies! Think about it. Not everyone can have the best product or prices or be “number one.” And so much of what is manufactured and sold to us is unneedful, clearly bad for our health, or it puts us in such debt that we struggle to make ends meet! It’s a never-ending cycle of insanity, a mindset where there is no peace!

Think about this the next time you go to a large grocery store. Do we really need that many choices? Is it necessary for our happiness to have such a large selection of products, so much so that we are often challenged just to make a choice? Ah, but for those of us in prosperous countries, we take it for granted, don’t we? Consider the following.

 

Proverbs 27:20 (ESV)
20 Sheol (hell; KJV) and Abaddon (destruction; KJV) are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man (Adam).

 

“Never satisfied are the eyes of man.” How true this is as evidenced by what we see around us every day! And what would be the opposite of “never satisfied”? Would it be “content”? That being said, consider what Paul wrote.

 

Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

 

What did Paul say? “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” You mean there is a “secret” to being content? Yes there is my friend, and that “secret” is found in the words of Christ and in the kingdom of God. Know that part of our spiritual maturity is to discover this secret of contentment, not because we come to possess all that we want, but because He has removed the longing for it from our hearts! That being said, take some time to listen to what is issuing from people’s hearts and minds around you. Everywhere you turn, there is discontentment, our nation filled with strife over the temporary and passing things of this world.

Now, having briefly considered the “things” of this world, let us consider the “spirit of the world” that is the undercurrent of it all.

 

Chapter Five

[]THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (ESV)
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Our passages from I Corinthians clearly show that there is a “spirit of the world” and a “Spirit who is from God” and that they are diametrically opposed to each other. These passages also make it clear that when we conduct ourselves by the spirit of the world, we are considered a “natural person” who will “not accept the things of the Spirit of God.” Doesn’t this conclude that the “spirit of the world” is the spirit of our natural man?

And what are the “things of the Spirit of God”? Would it not incorporate the “fruit” of God’s Spirit described for us in Galatians, Chapter 5, verses 22 and 23, which define the nature and behavior of His Spirit and kingdom? Are these not those “things freely given us by God”?

As believers, we should understand that God calls us out of the world, not physically speaking, but unquestionably spiritually and mentally speaking (John 8:23). If “the whole world lieth in wickedness,” wouldn’t this make perfect sense?

Now, what did John mean when he said “the whole world”? Was he talking about the mountains, trees, birds, animals, etc.? Of course not, he is speaking of you and me and the secular and religious systems of this world which we have devised and implemented throughout our generations. In most cases, they are systems established through pride and manipulation and by greed and power. Please consider.

 

John 8:23 (NKJV)
23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

 

Clearly, “beneath” means “of this world,” and in direct contrast, the Lord was “from above” and “not of this world” (see also John 18:36).

 

John 15:17-20 (NKJV)
17 These things I command you, that you love one another. 18If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

 

It is difficult to grasp why the world would hate such a one as Jesus Christ, but many did (and many do today). Remember that I said we resist what is good for us? Peter said of Christ that He “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38; KJV), yet the world hated Him and even His own people rejected Him (John 1:11). Why was this? I believe it was because their spirits were in a “deep sleep” so they were unable to perceive, and in most cases receive, the goodness and grace that proceeded from the Lord (Matt. 13:13-15). This same attitude and vindictiveness has been duplicated over and over since the days of Christ, the Lord’s own disciples persecuted in the same way that He was persecuted, most of them dying a martyr’s death. No doubt this same spirit has been evidenced countless times throughout history through the secular and religious systems of man.

 

John 3:19-21 (ESV)
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.”

 

Here we find a partial reason why Christ and His disciples were hated. As they went about doing good and revealing the righteous nature of the kingdom of God, they exposed the “deeds” of those in darkness, those who were asleep in the light, their most fervent opponents the religious segment of the scribes, Pharisees, and chief priests. Is there a spiritual parallel today? I believe so, for oftentimes when anyone seeks to challenge the boundaries of our established religious systems, they are usually shunned and labeled antichrist.

So what did Paul mean by “the spirit of the world”? What spirit is this? Where did it come from? How has it lasted for so long through so many generations? Friend, there may be more than one answer, but as this study suggests, I believe it is the spirit of man in a deep sleep. Consider the following article, “What Happens in the Brain During Sleep?” from Scientific American at www.scientificamerican.com.

 

John Peever, director of the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory at the University of Toronto, and Brian J. Murray, director of the sleep laboratory at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, respond:

 

The function of sleep has mystified scientists for thousands of years, but modern research is providing new clues about what it does for both the mind and body. Sleep serves to reenergize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite and libido.

 

Sleeping is an integral part of our life, and as research shows, it is incredibly complex. The brain generates two distinct types of sleep—slow-wave sleep (SWS), known as deep sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM), also called dreaming sleep. Most of the sleeping we do is of the SWS variety, characterized by large, slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and slow, deep breathing, which may help the brain and body to recuperate after a long day.

 

When we fall asleep, the brain does not merely go offline, as implied by the common phrase “out like a light.” Instead a series of highly orchestrated events puts the brain to sleep in stages. Technically sleep starts in the brain areas that produce SWS. Scientists now have concrete evidence that two groups of cells—the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus in the hypothalamus and the parafacial zone in the brain stem—are involved in prompting SWS. When these cells switch on, it triggers a loss of consciousness.

 

After SWS, REM sleep begins. This mode is bizarre: a dreamer’s brain becomes highly active while the body’s muscles are paralyzed, and breathing and heart rate become erratic. The purpose of REM sleep remains a biological mystery, despite our growing understanding of its biochemistry and neurobiology.

 

We do know that a small group of cells in the brain stem, called the subcoeruleus nucleus, controls REM sleep. When these cells become injured or diseased, people do not experience the muscle paralysis associated with REM sleep, which can lead to REM sleep behavior disorder—a serious condition in which the afflicted violently act out their dreams.

 

Though brief, I believe this article reveals several things to us concerning the “deep sleep” which God caused to fall on Adam. “Most of the sleeping we do is of the SWS variety,” i.e. “deep sleep,” and “when these cells switch on, it triggers a loss of consciousness. After SWS, REM sleep begins. This mode is bizarre: a dreamer’s brain becomes highly active.”

So think of this in light of human behavior throughout any given day. Check your news sources and you will find that what we understand in the natural typifies the spiritual reality of our present existence. Should you doubt what we are considering, remember that Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20; NIV). Isn’t science, including our study of sleep, simply an investigation into this world of form in which we exist? Are we not part of “what has been made”? Now, look once more at our passages from I Corinthians, Chapter 2.

 

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (ESV)
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

Would I be remiss in repeating that the “spirit of the world” is the spirit of the “natural person”? Isn’t this what the context suggests? Isn’t Paul telling us that the spirit of the world is what motivates the “natural person” and prevents him or her from perceiving and accepting “the things of the Spirit of God,” so much so that they are considered “folly” to them? Our word “folly” is “foolishness” in the King James, defined as, “Silliness, i.e. absurdity.” It’s taken from another word which means, “Dull or stupid (as if shut up), i.e. heedless, (moral) blockhead, (apparently) absurd.” Do you see where it says “as if shut up”? Does that bring anything to mind?

 

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

 

So, allow me once more to challenge the status quo of tradition.

Our passages above speak of our lost and sinful condition when we “once walked according to the course of this world.” Our word “course”? It’s aiōn and means, “Properly an age.” This word is found 120 times in the New Testament and makes for an interesting study within itself. It’s translated “world” many times over in the King James Bible which has led to much confusion with certain passages, not the least of which is the phrase, “the end of the world (age)” (Matt. 13:39, 40, 49; 24:3; 28:20). This same word is also translated as “ever,” “evermore,” and “eternal,” again leading to confusion when we fail to know that this word is being used. As an example of what I mean, consider the following King James rendering.

 

Galatians 1:4 (KJV)
4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father…

 

The word “world”? It’s aiōn or age, thus the New King James rendering is more accurate.

 

Galatians 1:4 (NKJV)
4 … who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…

 

What should be apparent by the word aiōn or “age,” is that it is not speaking of eternity, but of a certain period of time which has both a beginning and an end. Please consider.

 

Ephesians 1:20-21 (NKJV)
20 … which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age (aiōn) but also in that which is to come.

 

If an “age” is coming, then “this age” will end, so again, an age defines a specific period of time. Is an age the same in every instance? I don’t believe so. My theory and understanding is this—an age is defined by God’s purpose in it, not man’s. So it is that this “present evil age” of which Paul wrote will have an end. Here’s further confirmation.

 

Ephesians 2:5-7 (KJV)
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages (aiōn) to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

 

As we can see, the King James renders verse 7 correctly, stating “the ages to come.” This shows that there will be other ages to follow this present one (see also Hebrews 1:2 and 11:3).

Now, Paul makes it clear that the course of this world is “according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” If I understand this correctly, Paul is stating that the “prince of the power of the air” is “the spirit” that “works in the sons of disobedience.” And what does this spirit do? It prompts us to live after the “lusts of our flesh,” to fulfill “the desires of the flesh and of the mind.”

Our word “prince” is defined as, “A first (in rank or power).” It’s derived from the word archō which means, “To be first (in political rank or power).” This word is used a total of 37 times in the New Testament, translated in the King James as “ruler,” “rulers,” “prince,” “princes,” and “magistrate.” It is applied to both Jew and Gentile (other nations) leaders, secular and religious, as well as to Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:5).

So let’s follow the logic. What does “prince” mean? “A first (in rank or power).” What did Paul state was first? The natural (I Cor. 15:46). To whom was Paul referring? The “first” man Adam (I Cor. 15:45). What does our parable in Genesis describe for us? The formation of this “first” man or generation of humankind; male and female (Gen. 5:2). To whom did God give dominion or power? This first man (Gen. 1:26-28). Has this dominion ever changed? Not that I can tell, for even at this present time, I do not see anything but man’s will being instigated in this earth. Would you agree?

Now, at this point, someone might step in and say that yes, it is man who is forcing his dominion over the planet, but it is Satan, a fallen angel, who is behind it all. After all, Paul did call it a “spirit,” did he not? But has it ever occurred to you that the “spirit” of which Paul speaks is not referring to an individual being which many believe to be a fallen angel, but of the collective spirit of man in a “deep sleep” which we have been considering?

Remember what Jesus said to Peter? “Get behind Me, Satan!” Behind Me? Yes! As in you are first in rank and power in regard to this world, but in light of My authority and dominion, I am now first in rank and power, not only in this world, but in the realm of the kingdom of God which takes precedence over both heaven and earth!

Think about it! Why did Jesus rebuke Peter and call him Satan? “You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men,” as in natural and unable to receive them (Matt. 16:23). So, I am compelled to ask… If Satan really is a fallen angel, greater in power and might than any fleshly being, why would he even care for those things which pertain to flesh? Is he fighting with God to take over or keep control of the world? Doesn’t tradition state that he is “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), yet if created by God, then isn’t he subject to Him no matter what? Can that which is created really prevent that which created Him from achieving His will and purpose? Finally, in regard to angels, the Bible tells us, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14) What part does “all” not cover? Furthermore, if Satan is an angel, then he is a “ministering” spirit, just as all angels are.

Now, with all of these questions in mind, let’s bring this to man. There is absolutely no doubt that every single one of us are mindful (to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion) of the things of men. After all, that’s the main reason for all the evil and chaos in the world today. And, since we are flesh, the Bible makes it clear that this is the point of our struggle, for it is the mind of the flesh which is death (Rom. 8:6). As for a power struggle, it is evident that due to our intense pride, we are the ones opposing the righteousness and sovereignty of our Maker every step of the way. And despite what others may say is true, I still don’t see anyone but the natural man having dominion over this planet. It is man who is propagating war and murder and destruction, not a fallen angel. Finally, can we in our resistance really prevent the will and purpose of God in it all? Isn’t pride the only “spirit” within that leads us to think we have free will and that we rule this planet? Isn’t man’s mistreatment of each other and this planet an obvious sign of his arrogance, of the fact that he believes he has the right to “own” whatever he desires? Ah, but not so my friend! As a believer, we should know and understand that we don’t “own” anything, that everything we have is simply a gift for a time, destined to one day pass away (after all, isn’t that the nature of temporary things?). As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.” Regardless of how high anyone ascends in power, money, and fame, in the end, all of us pass from this planet, for our human existence is only temporary. Isn’t it sad to see how much bloodshed and destruction we have propagated for money and power, only to lose all of it in the end when we die?

Now, let’s come back to our phrase “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). Please consider the following.

 

John 10:31-36 (NKJV)
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

 

Here we find the Jews wishing to stone Christ for blasphemy. In response, Jesus quotes the following from the Psalms.

 

Psalms 82:1-8 (ESV)
1 A Psalm of Asaph. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

 

Friend, who are the “gods” in these passages? Are they not the “sons of the Most High, all of you”? Ah, but “like men” we “die,” and “fall like any prince” (as in prince of this world). Isn’t he comparing the princes (a head person) of His kingdom with the princes of this world (any prince)? And what did Jesus add to this? “If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken).” To whom did the word of God come? Did it not come to Adam and Eve, indicative of everybody? Isn’t it also true that Jesus said that “man,” all-inclusive, “shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”? (Luke 4:4). This being true, then hasn’t the word of God come to all, making all of us “gods”? Didn’t the serpent tell Eve, “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”? (Gen. 3:5; KJV) Isn’t the dominion which God gave in Genesis then applicable to what we are considering?

Take a moment to think about this. Genesis 1:26 reads, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion.” What did Jesus tell the Samaritan woman? “God is Spirit.” This being true, then the “image of God” is spirit. Hebrews confirms this stating that our heavenly Father is the “father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9). What is spirit? It is our internal essence which is fashioned in the “image” of God and contained within this body of form. It is that part of us which makes us “gods” in our own right!

Now, don’t let this idea put you off or puff you up, because it is for this reason that we must, “through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22; KJV). Why “much tribulation”? In order to humble us and bring us to that state of being where our dominion is as His dominion, full of grace and truth and unconditional love! Should you doubt what I am saying, take a moment to realize that each and every one of us exercises dominion (rule) in varying degrees. Do we not “rule” our children while raising them? Don’t many in their jobs “rule” as managers, CEO’s, COO’s, etc.? Are we not “ruling” when we make decisions that affect not only ourselves but those around us? And within the realm of the kingdom of God, this dominion or rule should be laced with wisdom and understanding, even as the Father and the Son. Why do you think that Jesus promised those who overcome that they would sit with Him in His throne? (Rev. 3:21) What is the purpose of His throne if not dominion?

So, to put it plainly, the spirit of the world defines the collective spirit of man in a deep sleep, making the “god” or “prince” of this world this natural man since his formation as illustrated in the parable from Genesis. So again, that’s the point. We begin with the natural in order to arrive at the spiritual. No wonder Paul followed his explanation of the “natural man” with, “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (I Cor. 2:15). Do you see my friend that once we have passed through His divine process that then, and only then, are we truly fit to rule?

 

1 Corinthians 15:42-49 (ESV)
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

 

Before I leave this chapter, let’s take a moment to consider the above passages. Clearly, Paul is addressing “the resurrection of the dead,” stating in the preceding verses the resurrection of Christ (I Cor. 15:1-11) and the doubts of those who did not believe in a resurrection at all (I Cor. 15:12-28). And what does Paul use as his basis for explaining the resurrection? The principle of sowing and reaping (I Cor. 15:35-38).

It is evident by our above passages that the resurrection of the dead is sown in that which is perishable, dishonorable, and weak, that which Paul defines as “a natural body.” And what is it that is “sown”? Is it not the living Word of God which Jesus taught is the “seed”? (Luke 8:11) Furthermore, Paul makes it clear that “what you sow is not made alive unless it dies” (I Cor. 15:36), agreeing with the Lord’s brief parable concerning the grain of wheat in John, Chapter 12 (John 12:24-26). This being the case, it is again evident that His living Word is sown into the heart of the natural man who is perishing (I Cor. 1:18; II Cor. 2:15; 4:3, 16), dishonorable (Rom. 2:23; 9:21), and weak (Matt. 26:41; Mark 14:38). Can any of us dispute this? Isn’t it true that everyone, no exceptions, begins their journey through this world as a natural person? Isn’t it also true that God ordained this from the beginning of creation by placing Adam and Eve into a “deep sleep,” giving us a pattern that shows how His purpose is worked out in every person?

What did Paul say? “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being (soul)’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Is he not stating quite clearly that the “first man Adam” was and is this “natural body”? I believe so. So what is this “natural body”? Would it not be our “soul” as evidenced by the “first man Adam”? Ah, but let’s go one step deeper.

If the “seed” which is sown is the “Word of God” as Jesus taught (Luke 8:11), and each seed has “its own body” (I Cor. 15:38), then the natural and spiritual “bodies” of which Paul speaks does not refer to us explicitly, but to His Word within our hearts. Friend, it is this which is symbolized by the tree of knowledge and tree of life in our Genesis parable; after all, don’t trees begin with a seed? And if everyone is presented with this seed from their beginning as typified by Adam, then the seed is in everyone.

Now, understand that I am not talking about the Bible as the “seed,” but rather the living and vital Word or laws of our Maker which is incorporated into everything that exists, both visible and invisible (Col. 1:16). It is by the Word of our Maker which proceeds from His Superior Intelligence that our planet rotates around the sun in a precise manner, a baby is formed in the womb, the mountains stand, the grass grows, and you and I exist. This is what I mean by His living Word. The laws which dictate the visible and invisible realms of our existence have been here since He first formed humankind, and there is an indisputable and undeniable divine order in all that He created. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The same Word which formed all that is known is the same Word which abides in the heart of every human being who has or ever will exist. The resurrection of the dead incorporates everyone, sinner and saint alike, because His divine principle of sowing and reaping is applicable to all (Gal. 6:7-10). No wonder Paul, while addressing the weakness of our flesh, stated, “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:21-23). Do we not see in this that the law truly is spiritual because it applies to spirit? Can we not also see the sovereignty of our Maker as well? Friend, know that our “free will” or “dominion” is enveloped by the sovereign will of our Creator. He will not leave us to our own devices. Despite our arrogance in thinking otherwise, none of us move outside the confines of His divine will in all things; “No man is an island.” Please consider.

 

John 5:24-29 (NKJV)
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

 

Friend, the “Father has life in Himself,” so too the Lord Jesus Christ and this life is found in the dynamic essence of His Word. This life is the Spirit of truth that envelops His truth, granting the energy necessary for its evidence (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; I John 4:6). No wonder that so many of us find ourselves seeking truth, understanding, purpose, and meaning. It is an intrinsic part of our being. We simply cannot help ourselves, for all of us know deep down that there is something far greater than this earthly existence we know.

“Do not marvel at this,” Jesus said, “for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Is this separation of the good from the evil in order to deliver the evil to eternal torment? Not by any means! Rather, the good will be those who turn the evil from their unrighteousness, just as it is now (Dan. 12:3). Think about it! There is no glory in destroying that which opposes, but there is much glory in reconciling it! And Paul made it clear that the ministry of Christ and the Spirit is a ministry of reconciliation (II Cor. 5:18-19). There will be a time when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11). All shall know Him from the least to the greatest (Heb. 8:10-13).

Chapter Six

[]FALLEN ASLEEP

Ever wonder why it is that when we sleep we are very much alive yet unconscious or unaware of those things which are around us? We breathe, our hearts still beat, our blood still flows, our brain still works, our muscles jerk and lay still, we shift and move through the night, sometimes awakening for a few brief moments only to go back to sleep once more and so on. So in a manner of speaking, we are like a car whose motor never quits running but only stops its movement and idles before the cycle of movement starts all over again. Has it ever occurred to you that the reason for this is because we have a spirit, an essence that was breathed into us by our Maker, which like our Maker, is eternal?

All of us know that our human body must have rest. Just as it is necessary for us to replenish this human form with water and nutrients throughout the day, we must also have sleep. Those of us who have gone long periods without it have discovered that at one point, you can go no longer. You must give in to its need for rest. This type of experience is usually followed by a long period of sleep, perhaps ten, twelve, or fourteen hours due to the strain on the human body. Ah, but again, we’re like an idling car; the body is no longer moving but the “idling” of the spirit is always present. This continues throughout our lifetime until we pass from this planet. James made it clear that when we do pass, the spirit has left the body (James 2:26) and Solomon tells us it returns to God who gave it (Ecc. 12:7).

We learned in an earlier chapter that there are two deaths, confirmed by the Lord Himself in Revelation, Chapter 2, verse 11. The first death is defined by the “deep sleep” and explains what the author of Hebrews meant when he wrote that it is appointed for us to die once (Heb. 9:27). The second death, as previously suggested, is also found in our passage from Hebrews as “after this the judgment.”

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (ESV)
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “ God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

 

When Paul wrote that Christ was the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,” he was using our principle of sowing and reaping, our word “firstfruits” referring to the first ripe fruit that precedes the rest of the harvest. Remember, the “first man Adam was made a living soul,” but the “last Adam,” Christ, “was made a quickening (life-giving) Spirit” (I Cor. 15:45; KJV). This, brother and sister, is the purpose of His divine process, given to deliver us from our natural state of being into a spiritual state of being, a life-giving being who, like Christ, goes about doing good and healing those who are “oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38; KJV).

Now, notice that Paul gives us the divine order of God, stating, “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.” As mentioned, the “firstfruits” speaks of the first ripe fruit that precedes the rest of the harvest, so we can easily comprehend that those “who belong to Christ” would be the rest of the harvest. So who belongs to Him? Everyone my friend, everyone! Don’t we read that “God so loved the world”? (John 3:16) Didn’t Jesus say that He came, not to judge the world but to save it? (John 12:47) Didn’t Paul write that “every knee shall bow” and “every tongue shall confess”? (Rom. 14:11; Isaiah 45:23) What part does “every” not cover? So it is that Paul continues in Romans 14, stating, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Rom. 14:12-13).

Friend, God so loved the world, and so it is that He created the “spirit of the world (kosmos/cosmos)” necessary to sustain all visible form, and “God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31; KJV). Our Lord has no intentions of destroying everything He made; rather, He intends for all of it to be brought under the dominion of His divine kingdom, under the life-giving essence of His Son! The end of the world is not coming, but the end of this age is, and once it does we will see the manifestation of His living Word unfold before us as He has determined. In fact, know that all that has transpired since the beginning of creation has done so through this same Word and will continue to do so until all is fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-18). Our existence here is not random or without purpose, for “in Him we,” all, everyone, “live, and move, and have our being… for we are also His offspring” (Acts 17:28; KJV).

Who did Paul say was the “firstfruits”? Christ. Ah, but let us not be confused about what this word “Christ” means. Consider.

 

Revelation 11:15 (KJV)
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

 

Do you see it? At the sounding of the “seventh” and final trumpet, we see “the kingdoms of this world” becoming “the kingdoms of our Lord,” i.e. Jesus, “AND of His Christ.” Isn’t Jesus the Christ? Yes He is, but consider what Paul wrote.

 

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (NKJV)
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

 

Can you see in Paul’s presentation that the “Christ” is not one but many? Do we not yet realize that Christ is the “collective” whole of those who are joined together by His “one Spirit”? Do we not also realize that it is God alone who has “set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased”? It is God who “composed the body” and continues to do so, drawing those He has called together in one Spirit in order that they might become the “light of the world” through the Spirit of His Son (John 8:12; Matt. 5:14). You see my friend, our Maker has determined that the kingdoms of this world will be subjugated under the rule of our Lord AND His Christ, our word “Christ” meaning “anointed” and referring to the ONE SPIRIT that brings us together in ONE MIND (Acts 2:1), His mind! As the Son, He is bringing “many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10). He will have a people who are not confused or uncertain or fearful, but filled with the confidence of the Spirit of truth that will consume the lies, darkness, and misery that prevails over so many! Look once more at our passages from I Corinthians, Chapter 15.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (ESV)
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “ God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

 

Compare verse 21 with verse 20, for it explains what Paul meant by “fallen asleep.” He was not talking about those who have passed on (although this too may be true), but of those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), in our natural state of being which is illustrated by Adam (as by one man, the natural man, came death). Ah, but that’s the point! Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone! So it was necessary from our beginning to enter into this natural state in order for the spiritual state to arise! Brothers and sisters, we cannot truly understand the light without experiencing the darkness or the “good” without encountering the “evil”! We cannot truly overcome if there is nothing to challenge us, provoke us, and move us to consider the opposite of that which we presently know! Know that the existence of death is what provokes us to seek for life, to discover love for hate, mercy for cruelty, forgiveness for blame, compassion for indifference, and grace for ignorance! And the key to all of this is humility and acceptance of this divine process which works within our being.

Eternal torment? No sir, not at all! “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Can we not see His principle of sowing and reaping even now working in our midst? Do we not recognize this principle as that which defines the resurrection of the dead? Do we not see that once the seed falls into the ground and dies that a harvest eventually follows in its order, first the first ripe fruit (firstfruits), then the rest? Friend, within the “seed” of God is the “life” of God, and the laws of nature dictate that a seed must produce after its kind (Gen. 1:11-12). So it is that we see this principle defined for us on the “third” day of creation, our number three indicative of death, burial, and resurrection (Vallowe)! Remember, our word “resurrection” simply means, “A standing up again.” And what is it that “stands up”? It is the “life” of the seed which is sown within us, the culmination of the transition from natural to spiritual, from earthly to heavenly, from flesh to spirit! No wonder Solomon said that the spirit returns to God who gave it! God also reaps what He has sown! Is it any wonder then that we read the following?

 

Romans 8:19-21 (AMP)
19 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship]. 20 For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope 21 that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-26 (ESV)
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

 

Indulge me if you will. Based on what we have considered, “those who have fallen asleep” refers to Adam as well as Israel, for both were incapable of receiving that which God did in their midst (Deut. 29:1-4). Yet, out of this deep sleep of death came the Son of God, the “firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). Our word “preeminence”? It means, “To be first (in rank or influence).” Does this not show that our Creator fully intended for the spiritual man to have dominion as He determined? Of course! So it is that “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Which death? Both my friend, for like our two trees in the garden which are actually one, so too is the process of death. Consider the following from answersingenesis.org, Dr. Terry Mortenson, author.

 

The phrase “you shall surely die” can be literally translated from the Hebrew biblical text as “dying you shall die.” In the Hebrew phrase we find the imperfect form of the Hebrew verb (you shall die) with the infinitive absolute form of the same verb (dying). This presence of the infinitive absolute intensifies the meaning of the imperfect verb (hence the usual translation of “you shall surely die”). This grammatical construction is quite common in the Old Testament, not just with this verb but others also, and does indicate (or intensify) the certainty of the action. The scholarly reference work by Bruce K. Waltke and M. O’Conner, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), gives many Biblical examples of this, and they say that “the precise nuance of intensification [of the verbal meaning] must be discovered from the broader context.”

 

Hebrews 9:27-28 (NKJV)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once (dying), but after this the judgment (you shall die), 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

 

Do you see it? The first death or deep sleep is intimately tied to the second death or judgment. Our first death causes us to descend into the unrighteousness of our natural state but the second death or judgment purges us from it so that we may arise into the spiritual state of righteousness (resurrection). “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many,” taking upon Himself our first death and “to those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time,” a second death, judgment, “apart from sin, for salvation.” No wonder we read, “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death” (Rev. 2:11) and again, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God”? (I Peter 4:17) Friend, know that God’s judgment is God’s chastening, “For whom the LORD loves He chastens (corrects), and scourges every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6; Prov. 3:11-12).

 

Isaiah 26:9 (NKJV)
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

 

Chapter Seven

[]THE SIXTH HOUR

In his book, The Biblical Meaning of Numbers from One to Forty, Stephen Jones writes, “The Hebrew language uses their letters as numbers, and the letters are also words and concepts that can be used either literally or symbolically.” With this understanding in mind, let’s walk through the numbers of the “darkness” typified during the crucifixion of Christ.

 

Matthew 27:45 (KJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

 

During the crucifixion of Christ we find “there was darkness over all the land” from the “sixth hour” to the “ninth hour.” What is amazing is that our deep sleep is represented by this darkness. Contained within this period, we find the numbers six, seven, eight, and nine, so let’s walk through each of their spiritual meanings to better define our deep sleep. Here is Bullinger’s explanation of the spiritual meaning of six.

 

Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man’s world (4) with man’s enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man’s addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man’s coming short of spiritual perfection. In any case, therefore, it has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.

 

The Hebrew שִׁשִּׁי (shaish) is supposed to be derived from the root שֵׁשׁ שִׁשָּׁה (shah-dash), but nothing is known about its origin or signification.

 

At any rate it is certain that man was created on the sixth day, and thus he has the number six impressed upon him. Moreover, six days were appointed to him for his labour; while one day is associated in sovereignty with the Lord God, as His rest.

 

Six, therefore, is the number of labour also, of man’s labour as apart and distinct from God’s rest. True, it marks the completion of Creation as God’s work, and therefore the number is significant of secular completeness.

 

The serpent also was created on the sixth day.

 

The Sixth Commandment relates to the worst sin, —murder.

 

The sixth clause of the Lord’s prayer treats of sin.

 

Six is the number stamped on all that is connected with human labour. We see it stamped upon his measures which he uses in his labour, and on the time during which he labours. And we see this from the very beginning.

 

In his book, Dr. Stephen E. Jones wrote the following about the spiritual meaning of six.

 

Six (vav)

 

Man

 

Vav is a nail or peg in Hebrew. It is also a conjunction (“and”), for it takes a nail to connect two things.

 

Six is the number of man, for man was created on the sixth day (Gen. 1:24-31). Man was also to labor for six days before entering into the Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:8-11), and the Hebrew slave was to serve for six years (Ex. 21:2).

 

Moses had to wait for six days before he was allowed to go up the mount to meet the Lord (Ex. 24:16-18). Even so, has man had to wait six thousand years to meet the Lord in the second coming of Christ.

 

Israel compassed the walls of Jericho for six days before the city fell on the seventh (Joshua 6:14, 15). This is a type of 6,000 years of labor in spiritual warfare before the world system falls.

 

In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon erected an image of gold by which the gold standard was created. Verse 1 says that it was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide. The dimensions of this image are too thin to be the statue of a man. It was more likely something else with a gold object on the top or head. But it does speak of man’s effort to establish a system of economic control by means of the worship of gold and money in general.

 

Hence, Paul writes in 1 Tim. 6:10 that “the love of money [greed] is the root of all evil.” Also, the works of the flesh in Gal. 5:19-21 lists witchcraft as the sixth vice. Witchcraft is simply man’s attempt to manipulate others against their will. For this reason, Saul’s rebellion against God was “as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Sam. 15:23). What is not generally understood is that man’s religion is largely a matter of doing rituals to manipulate one’s god (or gods) into doing things that are beneficial to them.

 

Such a view proceeds from the assumption that God does not want to do what man thinks He ought to do. Thus, men set out to change His mind, either by bribery, appeasement, or even by going “on strike.” Saul was a type of Pentecostal, being crowned on Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest (1 Sam. 12:17). Thus, he serves as a type of the leavened Church that often operates unknowingly by a spirit of witchcraft today.

 

Psalm 6 describes the voice of all the martyrs beginning with Abel. Yet the oppressed condition of the martyrs is only part of the general condition of all oppressed men in the earth. It is the condition of all men since Adam who labor six “days” in bondage to sin.

 

First of all, let’s consider an “hour,” which is sixty minutes or six times ten. Immediately we should see that our six speaks of “man” or humankind while our ten denotes “the perfection of divine order” (Bullinger) or “law” (Jones). In regard to ten, Stephen Jones put it’s quite eloquently.

 

Yod is a closed hand. Because ten is also the number of the law, which brings divine order, it signifies “the works of the law.”

 

As we wrote earlier, the number eight indicates a new beginning, a new birth in a believer. Nine is visitation and manifests the Holy Spirit’s leading, training, and judgment (learning to discern right and wrong) in the life of the believer, and acts as a witness against the unbeliever to expose the secrets of his heart.

 

Ten is the number of divine order being reestablished one way or another through the judgment of the law (as pictured by the Ten Commandments). In other words, it manifests the actual sentence of the law which follows the gathering and presentation of the evidence. After the Holy Spirit has revealed the evidence to expose men’s hearts (i.e., number nine), the Judge reveals the law. That is, he pronounces the sentence (i.e., number ten) according to the law.

 

Ten is the number that portrays that time of judgment when men either receive reward or come under divine judgment. One way or another, the law must be fulfilled and the divine order reestablished.

 

The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the yod, which means a deed or work. Because ten is also the number of the law, as seen in the Ten Commandments, the yod became a symbol of “the works of the law” (Rom. 3:20). The meaning of the number ten is based upon the divine law, because as Revelation 20:12 and 13 say, all will be judged “according to their deeds.”

 

There is certainly much we could consider from this explanation, but simply keep in mind that contained within each “hour” seen in Matthew 27:45, we have a spiritual understanding that reveals to us our earthly sojourn on this planet. Since this applies to every person and yet is unique to each, would this be why Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36)?

As noted earlier, our two definitions of six agree. What is quite interesting is that “Vav is a nail or peg in Hebrew. It is also a conjunction (“and”), for it takes a nail to connect two things.” Is it not evident that the cross (crucifixion) of Christ, seen as our two trees in the very beginning, is signified in our number six? So our principle of death to self is typified by this number (Matt. 16:24-28). Death to self (judgment) is the meaning and purpose of both the first and second death.

Earlier in our study we found that three sixes or eighteen (666) signifies the mark of the beast as seen in Revelation 13, verses 16 through 18. What is the mark? The law of God, and the fact that there are three of them defines the message of the cross, the gospel of death (1), burial (2), and resurrection (3) as worked by and through the spiritual fulfillment of His law (Matt. 5:17). This is what is meant by “the works of the law.” It is not us working, but His divine law working. Remember, “The law is spiritual” (Rom. 7:14), hence its working is spiritual.

As we have found, our divine pattern given in our Genesis parable begins with “man” (6) and the “deep sleep” or “darkness” begins our passage through this world as a natural being. So think about this. In keeping with this pattern, we are conceived in the utter darkness of the womb, and as we form for approximately nine months or forty weeks, most of that time is spent in sleep. Coincidence, or does this testify of our divine pattern? Remember, the principle of sowing and reaping, which is also the principle of resurrection, is about reproduction. “Do not be deceived,” brother and sister, “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6:7).

 

Chapter Eight

[]THE SEVENTH HOUR

Following our number six is the number seven. Here’s Bullinger’s treatment.

 

But now turning to the number Seven, we must first consider the meaning of the word.

In the Hebrew, seven is שֶׁבַע (shevah). It is from the root ‏ שָׁבַע (savah), to be full or satisfied, have enough of. Hence the meaning of the word “seven” is dominated by this root, for on the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation. It was full and complete, and good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. Hence the word שָׁבַת (Shavath), to cease, desist, rest, and שַׁבָּת Shabbath, Sabbath, or day of rest. This root runs through various languages; e.g., Sanscrit, saptan; Zend., hapta; Greek, επτα (hepta); Latin, septem. All these preserve the “t,” which in the Semitic and Teutonic languages is dropped out; e.g. Gothic, sibun; Germ., sieben; Eng., seven.

 

It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection.

 

In the creative works of God, seven completes the colours of the spectrum and rainbow, and satisfies in music the notes of the scale. In each of these the eighth is only a repetition of the first.

 

Another meaning of the root שָׁבַע (Shavagh) is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, “They sware both of them,” that this oath was based upon the “seven ewe lambs” (vv 28, 29, 30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fulness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fulness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, “An oath for confirmation is an end of all strife.” Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number seven.

 

Psalms 19:7 (KJV)
7 The law of the Lord (6) is perfect (7), converting the soul…

 

Our divine pattern begins with our deep sleep, but it is quickly followed by the presentation of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which symbolizes the law of God. Remember too that our first and second death are integrated together as “dying (first death) you shall die (second death).” First the deep sleep, followed by the law of God which establishes His divine platform for the judgment necessary in our principle of sowing and reaping. Consider the following from Stephen Jones about the spiritual meaning of seven.

 

Zayin is a weapon in Hebrew. The perfect weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, by which spiritual warfare is accomplished, for “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” (2 Cor. 10:4).

 

Friend, the “sword of the Spirit” is the “Word of God” (Eph. 6:17). And what is the law? The Word of God. What makes it perfect or complete? His Spirit. So, the law, typified by six and man’s enmity (Bullinger), “is perfect,” as indicated by our seven. As we pass through the deep sleep of our natural being, His law is brought to bear in our lives, His judgment (justice) evident as He implements His divine law in our being to turn us from our sin and unrighteousness to His love and grace.

 

Romans 5:12-14 (ESV)
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

 

“All sin” Paul wrote, not because Adam sinned, but because Adam represents the natural man in all of us which leads us to sin, to transgress His law as Adam did. The “one man” is the natural man that exists in all of us, showing how “death spread to all men” and made it a collective state of being with which all of us are familiar. Remember, the natural man is unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God, so it is inevitable that we will eventually sin as Adam sinned. Once we arrive on this earthly plane, we quickly lose the innocence we knew as an infant.

Clearly, the law was not externally present from “Adam to Moses,” yet Paul makes it clear that “death reigned” anyway, that “sin indeed was in the world before the law was given.” However, “sin is not counted where there is no law.” Though there was no law, death still entered. Why? Because as we have learned, it is a vital component of reproduction, of sowing and reaping. The seed must fall into the ground and die or it remains alone. It is truly a mysterious path we take.

Now, when we bring six and seven together, we have thirteen. Here is what Stephen E. Jones wrote concerning thirteen.

 

Thirteen (yod-gimel)

 

Rebellion, Depravity

 

To write thirteen in Hebrew, they wrote two Hebrew letters: yod-gimel. These signify the hand (outworking) of pride.

 

The number thirteen speaks of rebellion and depravity. The first occurrence of the number 13 in the Bible is found in Gen. 14:4, where it signifies a time of rebellion:

 

Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled.

 

There were 13 tribes of Israel, including Levi, after Joseph received the double portion with two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. And when the tribes were given their inheritances in Canaan, there were 13 inheritances as well. Levi received no inheritance, but Manasseh received a double portion, one on each side of the Jordan River. These show the rebellious heart of Israel after the flesh.

 

In Mark 7:21, 22 Jesus lists 13 sins that proceed out of the heart of a carnal man. The word “dragon” appears 13 times in the book of Revelation.

 

Dr. Bullinger points out on pages 206, 207 of his book, Number in Scripture, that in the lineage of Cain (from Adam to Tubal Cain), when we add the gematria of all the names, it comes to 2223, a multiple of 13 (13 × 171). Contrast this with the lineage from Adam to Japheth (Noah’s oldest son), which is 3168. This is also the gematria of “Lord Jesus Christ.” (800 + 888 + 1480 = 3168)

 

On pages 216 and 217, Dr. Bullinger points out that the names of Judah’s kings have a gematria of 4400 (8 × 550), while the names of Israel’s kings have a gematria of 3900 (13 × 300). While Judah’s kings (David’s lineage) were anything but perfect, they did provide the genealogy to Jesus Christ, while the kings of Israel were in open revolt against the house of David in Jerusalem. Thus, the gematria of Israel’s kings is a multiple of 13, the number of rebellion or depravity.

 

Add our six and seven and we have thirteen, indicative of the “outworking of pride.” Does our number thirteen suggest to us that we must pass through our “wilderness” testing in order to be humbled, our six and seven both contained within the deep sleep we are considering (Deut. 8:1-3; 29:1-4)? I believe so, and so our “wilderness” is indicative of our second death, the judgment necessary to address the pride that is found in our spirit (Prov. 6:16-19).

 

Chapter Nine

[]THE EIGHTH HOUR

Our next number is eight. Here is its spiritual meaning from Stephen E. Jones.

 

Eight (chet)

 

New Beginning

 

Chet is a fence in Hebrew. It can also signify an inner room, even the heart itself.

 

Eight is the number of new beginning. The sons of Abraham were to be circumcised on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12), because the eighth day was the lawful time for the presentation of the firstborn (Ex. 22:29, 30). It took a full seven days to consecrate the priests (Lev. 8:33), and then they emerged from the tabernacle on the eighth day. God then manifested His presence to the people on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1, 4, 24).

 

In the New Testament, Jesus was raised from the dead on the eighth day to fulfill the law of the wave-sheaf offering (Lev. 23:10, 11). Likewise, Pentecost occurred seven weeks later on the fiftieth day, which was also the eighth day (Lev. 23:15-17). As we showed earlier, Jesus prophesied on the eighth day of Tabernacles (John 7:37-39) about the outpouring of the Spirit. These examples all fulfill the law of the presentation of the firstborn on the eighth day in Exodus 22:29, 30.

 

First, six, indicative of our natural being, followed by seven, indicative of His law as applied to our natural being. Our first death and first resurrection is accomplished.

Our second death is accomplished quite quickly, just as it was when Israel entered the wilderness from Egypt. Just three days after leaving Egypt, they came to Mount Sinai to receive the law of God which would establish His divine judgment and justice with Israel, hence our number eight signifies a “new beginning,” our natural man now awakened somewhat to His process in our lives, the “inner room” of our “heart” now challenged by the law of God in our lives. Our journey through the “wilderness” or world is now overshadowed by His law.

When we bring six, seven, and eight together, we then have twenty-one. Here’s the meaning of twenty-one from Stephen E. Jones (bolding mine, with the exception of scripture).

 

Twenty-One (kaph-aleph)

 

Distress

 

To write twenty-one in Hebrew, they wrote two Hebrew letters: kaph-aleph. These signify giving strength as well as the strength of God’s grace to cover sin during our time of spiritual growth.

 

When twenty-one is used in terms of time (as in a 21-year period) it is the number of trouble or distress (tsarah), during which time we are in need of God’s strength, offered by an open hand. When it is used as a number in itself, it speaks of the end of the distress. Thus, it speaks of the blessing at the end.

 

Israel entered the land of Canaan after 21 sins were recorded against them in their wilderness wandering. Yet the tabernacle had 21 coverings to cover all of Israel’s sins (Ex. 26:3, 7). So we see God’s provision in the midst of this distress.

 

Sin is always the cause of distress, because God brings distress in order to teach them the consequences of their sin. Yet 21 is also the number signifying the end of distress. Jacob’s times of distress ended after 21 years. At the end of this distress, he went to Bethel and “called on the name of the Lord.”

 

Likewise, the 21st time Abram is mentioned is in Gen. 13:3, where he returned to Bethel after being in distress in Egypt. Verse 4 says that there he “called on the name of the Lord.”

 

The 21st time Isaac is mentioned is in Gen. 24:67, after Eliezer has returned from finding a wife (Rachel) for his master.

 

Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife; and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted [nacham] after his mother’s death.

 

Though we are not told whether or not Isaac was distressed while awaiting his bride, we do know that this prophesies of the time when the Bride of Christ will be joined with Him. Prophetically speaking, the world’s time of distress and tribulation ends with the day Christ meets His Bride. This day is foreshadowed with David’s coronation in Jerusalem, on which occasion Psalm 21 was written.

 

The 21st time Jacob is mentioned is in Gen. 27:41,

 

So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

 

Jacob is the deceiver, the supplanter, and in this verse Esau plots to kill him. Jacob’s deception had brought about this reaction from Esau. One cannot merely blame Esau for this. We must recognize that although Jacob was a believer and had faith in God, he was not yet spiritually mature, for he thought God needed the arm of flesh to help him fulfill His purposes. Jacob also thought that he was justified in lying to his father to obtain the birthright, which God had promised to him before he and his brother were even born. This immature attitude brought him into this time of distress, or trouble, and at the end of this time, after learning his lesson, God changed his name to Israel.

 

So when we look at the 21st time Israel is mentioned is in Gen. 47:27 says,

 

Now Israel lived , and they acquired property in it and were fruitful and became very numerous.

 

Note how this portrays a time of prosperity and fruitfulness, rather than distress. This example is of particular interest because it combines fruitfulness with being in Egypt. It deals with fruitfulness, because of the name Israel. But it is a time in Egypt, which created a mixed situation of both pain and joy.

 

We know that Joseph’s sons were given the name Israel (Gen. 48:16). The 21st time Joseph is mentioned is in Gen. 39:2,

 

And the Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was .

 

Here we see the same type of contrast. Joseph was in bondage in Egypt, but he was also “a successful man,” prospering in the midst of distress.

 

The 21st time Joshua is mentioned is in Deut. 31:3, where Moses told the people of Israel that Joshua would be leading them into the Promised Land:

 

It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the Lord has spoken.

 

This was a reference to the end of Israel’s wilderness journey after committing their 21 sins in the wilderness. The time of distress in the wilderness for the nation of Israel was at an end, and Joshua was about to lead them into the Promised Land.

 

Distress, then, is the meaning of the number 21 as it is used in Scripture. The Hebrew word for distress or trouble, tsarah, is used in Jer. 30:7, where it speaks of “the time of Jacob’s distress” (NASB). The KJV renders it, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”

 

Jacob had two times of distress, each lasting 21 years. The first time of distress was when he was essentially driven out of Canaan by Esau, who was plotting to kill him. He worked for Laban for 20 years and returned to Canaan in the 21st year, which was a Sabbath-rest year. It was also 21 years between his trips to Bethel. On his first trip to Bethel, he was given the dream of the angels ascending and descending upon him. On his second trip to Bethel, he buried the household idols and built an altar to God. Gen. 35:3 2, 3 says,

 

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household, and to all who were with him, “Put away your foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress [tsarah], and has been with me wherever I have gone.”

 

The word translated “distress” is the same word is used in Jer. 30:7,

 

Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress [tsarah], but he will be saved from it.

 

Jacob’s second trip to Bethel thus ended the first 21 years of his “time of distress.” It was a time of bondage, but without it he would not have gotten his wives, Leah and Rachel. Thus, there was both a negative and a positive side to this 21-year period. The pain he felt under Laban’s bondage was overcome by the joy he had in the prospect of marrying Rachel. Hence we read in Gen. 29:20,

 

And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

 

Jacob’s second time of distress was when he was separated from Joseph for 21 years. Joseph had his dreams at the age of 17 (Gen. 37:2), which infuriated his brothers. The book of Jasher tells us that he was sold into Egypt shortly afterward at the age of 18. The Bible tells us that Joseph was 30 when he became Prime Minister of Egypt under Pharaoh (Gen. 41:46) after interpreting his dreams. There were then 7 years of plenty, which ended when Joseph was 37 years of age. Then in the second year of famine, when Joseph was 39, he revealed his identity to his brothers and to his father.

 

Joseph was 18 when he was sold into Egypt (Jacob presumed that he was dead). Eighteen is the number of oppression or bondage.

 

Joseph was 39 when he revealed to his father that he was alive and well. From Jacob’s viewpoint, this was a 21-year time of mental distress, thinking that his son had been killed and was lost forever. We should also keep in mind that a big part of the distress was in wondering how the promise of God could have failed, for Joseph was the holder of the birthright. Yet the time of distress ended happily, and the promise of God was fulfilled in the end. Thus ended Jacob’s second 21-year “time of distress.”

 

As we can see, when we take time to consider the spiritual meaning of numbers, it reveals to us the beauty and grace of God’s process in our lives while we remain in our deep sleep, subject to our natural being. As our numbers show, the purpose of this deep sleep incorporates a spiritual progression through death in order to arrive at resurrection life.

There should be no doubt. Our journey from our deep sleep into the light involves the “distress” which Stephen Jones describes for us, yet, as he states, it signifies “the end of distress” as well as we learn to call upon the name of the Lord in all of our troubles. Just as Israel had to pass through their wilderness journey by faith, so too must we (Hebrews, Chapter 3).

We’ve considered six, seven, and eight, so let us now consider our final number, which is nine.

 

Chapter Ten

[]THE NINTH HOUR

Matthew 27:45 (KJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

 

The “ninth hour” signifies all of the numbers contained within the “darkness” or “deep sleep,” thus it is the end of our cycle. That being said, consider Bullinger’s treatment of the spiritual meaning of nine.

 

The number nine is a most remarkable number in many respects. It is held in great reverence by all who study the occult sciences; and in mathematical science it possesses properties and powers which are found in no other number.*

 

  • Among others may be mentioned (1) that the sum of the digits which form its multiples are themselves always a multiple of nine; e.g., 2 × 9 = 18 (and 1+8=9); 3 × 9 = 27 (and 2+7=9); 4 × 9 = 36 (and 3+6=9); 5 × 9 = 45 (and 4+5=9), etc., etc.; and so with the larger numbers: 52843 × 9 = 475587 (and 4+7+5+5+8+7=36, and 3+6=9). (2) The sum of its multiples through the nine digits = 405, or 9 times 45.

 

It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.

 

It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3×3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man’s works. Nine is, therefore,

 

THE NUMBER OF FINALITY OR JUDGMENT,

 

for judgment is committed unto Jesus as “the Son of man” (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man—the judgment of man and all his works.

 

As mentioned, nine marks the final number of the darkness which came over the land during the crucifixion of our Lord. “It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.” It is “significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man’s works. Nine is, therefore, the number of finality or judgment,” the “judgment of man and all his works.”

I don’t know about you, but I am amazed at this biblical pattern found in the crucifixion story and the precious death of our Savior! There should be no doubt in our minds that His crucifixion and death and the corresponding darkness which came over the land signifies the divine process of our Heavenly Father which is relevant to all humankind. What begins with our “enmity” with God (6) is typified by and fully dealt with (9) through the death of His Son (our judgment)!

In order to fully appreciate our number nine, let us once more consider Stephen E. Jones and his description of its spiritual meaning. It’s lengthy, but well worth the read!

 

Nine (teth)

 

Visitation

 

Teth is a snake in Hebrew. It can also signify being surrounded, for the snake was often pictured in a circle swallowing its tail.

 

The number nine speaks of God’s “visitation.” This is a Hebraism that pictures God as an Investigator “visiting” a person, city, or nation to expose the hearts, gather evidence, and “see” firsthand, as it were, the truth of a matter. It is much like a divine court case where the evidence is uncovered and presented to the judge for judgment. In Luke 19:43 and 44, Jesus says to the temple in Jerusalem,

 

For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation [Greek: episcope, “bishopric, overseer”].

 

In this case, the time of visitation was the three-year period of Jesus’ ministry from 30-33 A.D., where God manifested in human flesh to “visit” Judea and Jerusalem and to test the hearts of the people. (Jesus is called a Bishop or Overseer in 1 Peter 2:25.) In another sense, Jesus was the Heavenly Fruit Inspector. Jesus found a few whose hearts were right, and these formed the branches of the good fig tree that brought forth good fruit (Jer. 24:5-7). The majority, however, along with the religious leaders, were of the evil fig tree (Jer. 24:8-10). The good figs were Jesus’ disciples and the converts of the early Church, who were expelled from the land (by persecution), in order that God might spare them from the coming judgment forty years later.

 

The idea of “visitation” is shown in the Old Testament. For believers, it has a positive connotation, as in Gen. 50:24, 25, Psalm 106:4, and Jer. 27:24. Their visitation results in salvation or deliverance. However, for unbelievers, it carries a negative result, as we see in Ex. 32:34, Lev. 18:25, Isaiah 10:3, and Jer. 10:15. The Hebrew word for “visitation” in the Old Testament is peqadah, and the Septuagint Greek equivalent is episcope.

 

As the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, Jesus was sent to taste of the fruit being given to God at the temple in Jerusalem to see (and judge) if it was good. He was gathering evidence to be presented to the divine court that would determine the fate of Jerusalem.

 

At the same time, He was also training and testing the hearts of twelve disciples. Divine visitation is God’s judgment in the life of the believer by which the Holy Spirit trains them in obedience. By His guiding voice, He shows them the will of God and writes His law upon their hearts. So we see that divine visitation, or judgment, has a positive outcome for the believer and a negative outcome for the unbeliever. And yet, even the negative outcome is not permanent, for the purpose of judgment is ultimately to correct men and bring them into alignment with the will and mind of God.

 

The Greek word for Comforter is parakletos, which means an intercessor, an advocate, or helper in a court of law—that is, a defense attorney, one who knows the law and can show sinners the lawful way to avoid God’s judgment. The lawful way, Jesus said, is to go through the Door, rather than over the wall (John 10:1-10). Going over the wall (avoiding Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice for sin) is how many religions advocate salvation, but they will lose their case when they stand before the Great White Throne.

 

It is the job of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) to discern, judge and convict men of sin according to the evidence. The Comforter is a defense attorney to a believer, but a witness against the unbeliever. In John 16:7, 8, we read that He is also the Judge:

 

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Gr., parakletos] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict [elengkos] the world concerning sin, and , and judgment [Gr., krisis, “decision for or against; justice”].

 

The Greek verb translated “convict” above is elengkos. Its noun form is elegmos, which means “proof or evidence.” So the verb means to convict or judge according to the evidence that has been gathered during the time of visitation, or investigation. For the world in general (unbelievers), this evidence will convict them of sin. But for the believers, the evidence will show proof of righteousness.

 

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the time of His visitation was to decide the fate of Judah and to divide the good figs from the bad (Jer. 24). The majority were bad figs by God’s definition in Jeremiah 24, because they refused to submit to Rome according to God’s judgment and desired a military messiah who would throw off the Roman yoke. Jesus found only a minority who could accept the Prince of Peace as their Messiah. These were the good figs of Judah. These were promised “another Comforter,” the Holy Spirit, who would come on Pentecost to begin the next “time of visitation” in the Pentecostal Age leading to Christ’s second coming.

 

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to help advise sinners who stand convicted by the law (Rom. 3:19) to find justification—that is, be pronounced not legally guilty. Jesus trained His disciples during His time of visitation. And then toward the end of His ministry, He spoke of “another Comforter” (John 14:16) that was yet to be given. The use of the term “another” indicates that Jesus Himself was a Comforter prior to the time when the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2. In fact, at the beginning of His life, Simeon called Him “the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). The word is paraklesis, the same word as the Comforter.

 

His advice includes presenting Christ’s Sacrifice as payment for sin. The Holy Spirit reveals this as the way to avoid the penalty of the law for sin. There is only one Door into the Kingdom, and this is it. Happy are those who believe what He says.

 

Once a sinner goes through that Door, the Holy Spirit continues to take an active role in our lives to teach us the difference between sin and righteousness. This is not for the purpose of justification in the divine court, but rather for the purpose of sanctification in our personal lives. Justification is when a sinner is pronounced not guilty before the law, even though he is actually guilty of sin. Sanctification is the next step—the work of the Spirit to teach us to conform our lives to the image of Christ—that is, being made not guilty by nature. Sanctification is pictured by the feast of Pentecost. His very presence is a continuing “visitation” that gathers more evidence of our justification.

 

As we said earlier, Jesus is the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, gathering evidence for the divine court. The fruit of the Spirit takes nine forms, as listed in Gal. 5:22, 23,

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love (1), joy (2), peace (3), patience (4), kindness (5), goodness (6), faithfulness (7), gentleness (8), self-control (9); against such things there is no law.

 

The fruit of the Spirit show us the evidence of the character change within those who grow into spiritual maturity.

 

There are also nine gifts of the Spirit. They are listed in 1 Cor. 12:8-10,

 

For to one is given the word of wisdom (1) through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge (2) according to the same Spirit; to another faith (3) by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing (4) by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles (5), and to another prophecy (6), and to another the distinguishing of spirits (7), to another various kinds of tongues (8), and to another the interpretation of tongues (9).

 

The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural tools to be used to make the “tree” more fruitful. They are not an end in themselves. The purpose of a tool is to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Yet because these spiritual gifts are of a supernatural quality, many carnally minded people desire them above the fruit. This is like a farmer who bought a new plow and then preferred to keep it in the show room where men could admire it, rather than use it to plow the field.

 

These gifts of the Spirit are the operations of power variously distributed among believers by the power of Pentecost. They are supernatural tools by which men’s hearts are exposed to bring them to repentance as the Holy Spirit brings them into alignment with the Father’s mind and will. The effect of these gifts upon believers and unbelievers are different, however. For believers, the gifts represent the supernatural power of God operating in their lives. For unbelievers, the gifts expose the secrets of his heart and cause him to repent. 1 Cor. 14:24, 25 says,

 

But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

 

We see from this that the judgment of the Holy Spirit has a different effect upon believers and unbelievers. It can either convict or release. But its primary purpose is to expose the evidence, much like the purpose of a court case prior to the final decision of the judge. The Comforter is the Advocate to a believer but testifies as a witness against the unbeliever.

 

There are also nine beatitudes in Matt. 5:3-11, which manifest the fruit of the Spirit:

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit (1), for theirs in the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn (2), for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle (3), for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (4), for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful (5), for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart (6), for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers (7), for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted (8), for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you (9) when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

 

The ninth time that the name of Abraham appears is found in Gen. 17:24,

 

Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

 

Circumcision of the flesh foreshadowed the circumcision of the heart, which is the work of the Holy Spirit judging “the flesh.” Even as Abraham had to receive bodily circumcision in order to bring forth the son of promise, so also must we receive heart circumcision in order to bring forth our own son promise—the Manchild, Christ in you, the Heir of the Promise. The reason Abraham had to wait until he was 99 years old was because 99 indicates agreement with God. The numeric value of the Hebrew word amen is precisely 99. Men say “amen” to indicate agreement with what has been said or done.

 

Thus, in this we see also the meaning of the number nine. It portrays the judgment and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to bring us into full agreement with God. When all of creation comes into agreement, the four living creatures say “Amen!” (Rev. 5:14).

 

The Holy Spirit’s “baptism of fire” is the latter-day counterpart to the water baptism in Noah’s day. The primary difference is that the water destroyed all flesh, while the Spirit baptism of fire destroys “the flesh,” that is, the carnality in man. The water killed in Noah’s day; but the fire of God brings life. Each represents the Spirit in different ways, because each convicts the world of sin and righteousness in a different manner.

 

The “fire” may be painful to our flesh, but it gives life to our spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s work of judgment, then, is to bring all men to repentance. This is the background of Psalm 9, where we see God’s judgments upon the rebellious portrayed. When viewed as a revelation of the book of Genesis, Psalm 9 portrays the court case against Nimrod, whereby the secrets of his heart are made manifest.

 

Matthew 27:45 (KJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

 

Can there be any doubt? I think not! Within the three hours of darkness and the four hours mentioned in our passage above (which totals seven or fullness), we find the divine purpose of God which begins with our natural being as typified by the “first man Adam” so that we may discover our spiritual nature as typified by the “last Adam,” Christ (I Cor. 15:45; KJV).

Because Christ was “born of a woman, born under the law” (Gal. 4:4), He too was “flesh and blood” (Heb. 2:14) and an integral part of the “first man” as is true of all of us. Ah, but He then became the “last Adam,” taking upon Himself the judgment of the “first man” once and for all (Rom. 6:10; I Cor. 5:14-15; I Tim. 2:6; Heb. 10:10). No wonder He told John, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First (Adam) and the Last (Adam)” (Rev. 1:11).

Chapter Eleven

[]THIRTY

Just as we added our numbers six and seven, and then six, seven, and eight, we must add our final number nine to the mix to arrive at thirty. At this point, I am excited to share with you its spiritual meaning from Stephen E. Jones.

 

Thirty (lamed)

 

Dedication for Rulership

 

The number thirty in Hebrew was written as the letter lamed, which is literally an ox goad or staff. Thus, it was a symbol of authority, leadership, or rulership.

 

Thirty is the number of dedication for rulership. It was the age which God established as the age of rulership for priests (Num. 4:23). Joseph was elevated to power at the age of 30, as we read in Genesis 41:46,

 

Now Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.

 

David was also thirty when he became king, as we read in 2 Sam. 5:4,

 

David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.

 

The fact that Judas essentially sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15; Zech. 11:12, 13) indicates that Judas presumed to take authority over Jesus. Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave, and so Judas was acting as if he was the ruler and Jesus was his slave. This is also the central point of the law in Ex. 21:32,

 

If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

 

Again, thirty is the price of a slave in this case.

 

The length of each curtain over the tabernacle of Moses was thirty cubits (Ex. 36:15). The curtains are the covering of God over the tabernacle and signify God’s rulership and covering over the true temple, which is the Church.

 

In Biblical Mathematics, Ed Vallowe says that the number thirty signifies “the blood of Christ . . . dedication.” He bases this view on the fact that the number is often linked to the idea of sacrifice. But his view is too restricted, because the Hebrew letter, lamed, is clearly about authority or rulership. The idea of dedication to rulership, however, combines the ideas and shows their connection.

The 30th time that Noah’s name appears is found in Gen. 8:20, where Noah built a sacrifice after departing from the ark.

 

The 30th time that Isaac’s name appears is found in Gen. 25:21, where Rebecca conceives and brings forth twins, Jacob and Esau. In verse 23 we find the prophecy that Jacob would be rule over Esau.

 

The 30th time that Jacob’s name appears is found in Gen. 28:10, where he went from Beer-sheba to Haran. In the next verses (before his name appears again in verse 16), we read that God appeared to him in a dream at Bethel and confirmed the covenant with him. He was given authority or rulership in all directions, and even the purpose of rulership is given in verse 14: “in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

 

The 30th time the name Joshua appears is in Joshua 1:16. He has just given the people instruction about leaving the wilderness and entering the Promised Land, and now we read,

 

And they answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go.”

 

Essentially, they were dedicating themselves to divine service by this vow.

 

The 30th time that Jesus’ name is mentioned in the book of Matthew (9:2), he says to the man being healed of palsy, “Take courage, my son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus was manifesting his authority to forgive sin as well as to heal, and this immediately caused controversy among the scribes, who thought he was blaspheming. However, Jesus responded in verse 5,

 

For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise up and walk”?

 

Jesus was demonstrating His power or authority as the Messiah and as King of creation, as the number thirty indicates.

 

It should immediately be apparent to us that the purpose of our deep sleep is to bring us to a place of true “dedication for rulership.” Ah, but this rulership is not at all like that which our carnal man implements. Rather, it is a divine rulership which issues from a pure heart and spiritual mind; a mind of unconditional love and grace that mirrors that of our Maker.

In order to rule with Christ, we must be fully and completely judged. Every ounce of self must be eradicated, our pride destroyed, and we cannot reign with Him if we have not truly suffered with Him (II Tim. 2:12; Heb. 5:8; I Peter 2:21; 4:1; 5:10). This my friend is the meaning of the “darkness” which was “over all the land unto the ninth hour” (see also Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). Our word “land” is , meaning “soil” and is the same word used for “earth” in I Corinthians 15:47 where we read, “The first man is of the earth, earthy.” Were we not formed first from the dust of the ground? Of course. So this confirms our stance concerning our natural being and the deep sleep through which all of us pass in order for His will to be accomplished in our lives.

 

Matthew 5:5 (KJV)
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth ().

 

First we inherit our “earth,” then we inherit the nations of the earth.

 

Revelation 3:21 (KJV)
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

 

Revelation 21:24-27 (KJV)
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

Consider our phrase “the nations of them which are saved.” This does not mean “saved” nations, but rather that the nations belong to them “which are saved.” Truly the “meek” shall “inherit the earth.” These, my friend, are the “firstfruits” to God and the Lamb (Rev. 14:1-5).

Chapter Twelve

[]FOUR

Before we finish this study, it will be to our advantage to consider the spiritual meaning of four since four hours are given from six to nine (six, seven, eight, and nine). Once again, here’s a brief but great explanation of the spiritual meaning of four from Stephen E. Jones.

 

Four (daleth)

 

The Earth, Material Creation

 

Daleth is a door in Hebrew.

 

In biblical numerology, four is the number of the earth, or the material creation of God. On the fourth day of creation the material world was finished (Gen. 1:14-19), thereby allowing God to furnish it with living creatures. The gematria of the Hebrew phrase, h’eretz, “the earth,” is 296, which is 4 × 74.

 

There were also four great divisions of mankind represented by the cherubim (Ez. 1:5), or the four “beasts” around the throne (Rev. 4:6). These represent all creation.

 

Likewise, there are four gospels, each corresponding to a different “beast” around the throne. Matthew presents the Lion, saying, “Behold the King.” Mark presents the Ox, saying, “Behold the Servant.” Luke presents the Man, saying, “Behold the Son of Man.” John presents the Eagle, saying, “Behold the Son of God.”

 

In accordance with this also were four colors in the curtains of the Tabernacle of Moses. The purple proclaimed, “Behold your King.” The scarlet proclaimed, “Behold the Servant.” The white proclaimed, “Behold the Son of Man.” The blue proclaimed, “Behold the Son of God.”

 

In geometry, a four-sided square represents the earth, while a circle represents heaven, eternity, and the realm of spirit.

 

The fourth book of the Bible is the book of Numbers, whose Hebrew title is B’Midbar, “The Wilderness.” The wilderness symbolically represents the earth. On the Day of Atonement the second goat (Christ) was led into the wilderness by a “fit man” to remove sin from all the people (Lev. 16:10, 21). Thus, after His baptism on the Day of Atonement, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. This was to fulfill the law of the second goat.

 

At the end of Psalm 4, we find that it is “to the chief Musician upon Nehiloth,” which means inheritances. It has to do with inheriting the earth (Matt. 5:5), beginning with our own “earth,” our own “Canaan,” our Promised Land, the glorified body. Yet before the righteous can inherit the earth, they must be trained and disciplined in the earth, often suffering to test their faith. Thus, Israel had to be tested in the wilderness (Ps. 95:8; Heb. 3:8) before they could inherit the land of Canaan.

 

As our brother shows, “four is the number of the earth, or the material creation of God.” Paul agrees, stating, “The first man is of the earth, earthy” (I Cor. 15:47; KJV). So I emphasize that found within the darkness or deep sleep of our natural being we see our six, seven, eight, and nine which demonstrates our spiritual path to the “dominion” or rulership of which our Creator spoke in Genesis 1:26.

Remember, Stephen Jones wrote, “The Hebrew language uses their letters as numbers, and the letters are also words and concepts that can be used either literally or symbolically.” This we have done throughout this study, showing how our numbers define a pattern which defines our walk in Christ.

“Daleth is a door in Hebrew.” This being the case, consider the following.

 

John 10:1-10 (NKJV)
1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. 7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

 

Matthew 27:38, 44 (KJV)
38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

 

Mark 15:27-28 (KJV)
27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

 

As shown, Christ is the “door of the sheep,” foreshadowed in Genesis as both the tree of knowledge and tree of life (remember, they are one “tree”). As we have learned, our “trees” represent the cross of Christ.

All of what we have considered pertaining to our “darkness” or “deep sleep” is found during the crucifixion of our Lord. Now, note that we also read, “Then were two thieves crucified with Him” and “the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors.”

In our passages from the book of John, Jesus contrasts Himself as the “door” with “thieves and robbers.” Coincidence? I don’t think so! In both Matthew and Mark, we find these “two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.” With this in mind, consider the following illustration.

Does this illustration help you to see how the two trees in the Garden of Eden symbolize the cross of Christ? Do you see both “natural” and “spiritual” Israel, one on the “left” and the other on the “right”? Would our “two thieves” represent this, showing both Jew (left) and Gentile (right)? I believe so, for we read, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). Friend, know that we are the “thieves” of which Jesus speaks, yet “He was numbered” with us, dying for us, that He might turn us from those things which cause us to misrepresent His Word and make His “house” a “den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13).

 

Luke 23:39-43 (ESV)
39 One of the criminals (thieves) who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

 

Though scripture doesn’t say, I cannot help but believe that the thief who railed at Christ was the one on the left. As for the one on the right, he understood his need for a Savior, rebuking the one on the left and saying to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And what did our Lord say? “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” What a precious and glorious promise Jesus gave him, for we must realize that the promise to the thief on the right includes the one on the left, for both are joined by His cross in the middle! (Eph. 2:15)

As this study has shown, our entrance into His kingdom begins with the “natural” to arrive at the “spiritual.” This was the reason for Paul’s discourse in Romans, Chapter 11, concerning the “cultivated olive tree” or Israel (Rom. 11:24), and the “wild olive tree” (Rom. 11:17) or Gentiles (other nations). “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew” (Rom. 11:2). Understand that the purpose of God was reckoned first in a natural people in order that a spiritual people could arise, His purpose through all generations far deeper than what most of us have imagined!

No doubt, we have all heard of the “right hand” of God, but few of us have considered His “left hand.”

 

Matthew 25:31-34 (NKJV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

 

Brother and sister, our number four speaks of us, His “material creation,” but it also speaks of a “foundation,” for most houses are built on one which has four sides (Rev. 21:16; I Cor. 3:10-15). We begin our journey as a “natural man,” established on the “foundation of the world.” This foundation is the administration of the law of sin and death which leads us to the administration of the Spirit and life (II Cor. 3:6-11). Know that when the Spirit of truth enters into our lives and heart, it opens our understanding to this process which has been working within us all along. He simply reveals to us what we couldn’t see!

Now, how many points are on the cross? Left, right, down, up, for a total of four. As we move from the left hand of God to the right hand of God, we are in turn moving from “beneath” to “above” (John 8:23).

In our parable above, Jesus tells those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom.” Would this not be “paradise”? It would, and our pattern has confirmed this, ending with the numbers nine and thirty. Rest assured my friend that there will be those in the days ahead who will truly inherit His kingdom and bring light to a world in deep sleep. Ah, but “each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end” (of the age; I Cor. 15:23-24).

Chapter Thirteen

[]MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?

Revelation 20:4-6 (NKJV)
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

 

As we’ve discovered, there are two deaths, the first and second, so it follows that there must also be two resurrections. We know this from our passage above where we read, “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” Following the first resurrection as typified by the “thousand years,” there is a second resurrection where the “rest of the dead” will also live again.

So consider this. If resurrection is explained by sowing and reaping (and I Corinthians, Chapter 15 makes this clear), then wouldn’t resurrection also be the same as a “birth”? Yes it would. First, the seed is sown. Second, the seed arises in a different “body” than that which went into the ground (I Cor. 15:35-46). Isn’t a fruit tree the “birth” and maturation of the life of the seed which was planted? Of course. So we could easily say that our cycle of two deaths is followed by two “births.”

 

John 3:1-8 (NKJV)
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 

In keeping with our thought of two deaths and two births, we find Jesus telling Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Our word “again” is a bit misleading, for the definition reads, “From above; by analogy from the first, by implication anew.” Wouldn’t our word “anew” agree with our definition of “renovate” that we considered in Chapter Two? It would. So Jesus is telling Nicodemus we must be “born (resurrected) again” (from above), made “anew” or new again by the very process which we are considering.

Now, Nicodemus asked Jesus, “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” When we consider the spiritual implication to this question, the answer is yes. Why do I say this? Because the “mother” to whom Jesus refers is not our “natural” mother, but our “spiritual mother,” explained for us in Galatians, Chapter 4.

 

Galatians 4:22-26 (NKJV)
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar -- 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children-- 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

 

Beloved, “Abraham had two sons,” born of two wives, Hagar and Sarah, the first “according to the flesh” and the other “through promise.” As noted, “these things are symbolic” and illustrate the two covenants of God, the first “from Mount Sinai” or “Jerusalem which now is,” signifying the law, and the second, “Jerusalem above… which is the mother of us all,” signifying the promise (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:7-13). Ah, but remember, like our two trees in the garden and our two deaths and resurrections (births), our two “mothers” are in essence one, confirmed by the fact that both are “Jerusalem” and the statement in Genesis which describes Eve as “the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). Just as we found that the law (tree of knowledge) is spiritual (tree of life), so too the New Covenant or promise is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Covenant or law within. So in essence, we have one “mother” but two births.

 

1. First death – Deep sleep – Egypt – The World.

2. First resurrection (Birth) – Exodus from Egypt – Called out from the world.

3. Second death – Tree of knowledge – Wilderness – The law at Mount Sinai.

4. Second resurrection (Birth) – Tree of Life – Canaan – The land of “promise.”

 

Matthew 27:45-54 (NKJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

 

As believers, we should know and understand that our divine process begins and ends with the cross of Christ. For this reason, we have found our spiritual process defined by the darkness which was over all the land from the sixth hour to the ninth hour. Ah, but God gives us another witness in the death of His Son, clarifying both deaths and resurrections in our passages above.

The first resurrection is signified by verses 51 through 53, for what other purpose was there in the “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep” being raised if not to illustrate this very thing?

Within the first resurrection, we find “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (not bottom to top), illustrating the “heavens” being opened to a people even as they were with Christ after His baptism by John (Matt. 3:16; see also Rev. 4:1 and 11:19), the Most Holy Place of the temple symbolic of the throne of God (Heb. 4:16; 6:19-20; 8:1-2; 9:3, 7-8, 24-28). Ah, but notice where these saints went. “And coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” They did not go into the world, but into “the holy city” of Jerusalem, symbolizing the need for God’s own to have their eyes and ears opened first to the truth of the kingdom of God!

Think about it my friend! Christendom today is divided into so many denominations and organizations that the world only scoffs at our endeavors, for there is much confusion and carnality among us! We are divided by “did God really say?” (Gen. 3:1; NIV), propagating such a plethora of doctrines that few really understand His divine process. We are confused about heaven, hell, the rapture, the end of the world, and even salvation itself.

God did not call us out of the world in order to propagate our denominations and organizations. He called us to come out from the world and to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33)! He has determined to make us “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14), not whisk us away to heaven!

As we have found, the “ninth hour” is the final hour of the darkness which was over all the land. Remember, nine is teth, which “is a snake in Hebrew” and speaks of “God’s ‘visitation’” (Jones). With this in mind, consider what Jesus also told Nicodemus.

 

John 3:13-15 (NKJV)
13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent (snake) in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

 

Note the three different spiritual positions if you will that Jesus stated in these passages. First “ascended,” then “came down,” followed by “who is in.” So the first resurrection (ascended to heaven) is followed by “came down from heaven” in order to show that one “is in heaven,” dwelling in the spiritual kingdom of God even as Christ was when speaking with Nicodemus. It is a present reality, made evident by His Spirit and power.

Our phrase “came down” is quite revealing. It is derived from two words, kata and basis and means, “To descend (literal or figurative).” Kata means, “Down (in place or time)” while basis reads, “From baino (to walk); a pace (“base”), i.e. (by implication) the foot” (see I Chron. 28:2; Psalms 99:5; 110:1; 132:7; Isa. 66:1; Lam. 2:1; Matt. 5:35; 22:44; Acts 7:49). This same phrase is found in the following passages.

 

John 6:37-44 (KJV)
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

Why did Jesus come down from heaven? To do the will of the Father. And what was His Father’s will? “That of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Would this signify “Christ the firstfruits,” indicative of those who overcome and endure to the end of the age? I cannot help but believe that this is the case. Wouldn’t our phrase “raise it up again” denote resurrection, again, the first one? Remember, our word “resurrection” simply means, “A standing up again,” signifying the manifestation or “fruit” of the seed which was sown. In this case, it is the “seed” of His living Word which culminates in true righteousness (life). It is the end of His divine process in those who persevere. Now, look once more at our passages from Matthew.

 

Matthew 27:45-51 (NKJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

 

Notice that our precious Lord “cried out with a loud voice,” not once, but twice. In keeping with our pattern, I believe this signifies the first and second deaths and resurrections (births) which we are considering.

So think about this. When do we feel forsaken by the Lord? Is it not in the midst of our present circumstances and relationships, our times of tribulation which we experience each and every day in the world? Isn’t it true that most of us feel blessed when everything is going right but not so much when everything seems to be going wrong? But scripture tells us that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22; KJV). It is imperative for us to go through this process of humbling for our “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9; KJV) For this reason the Lord searches the heart and tests the reins, “even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 17:10; KJV).

Let’s be raw and honest here. The world as we know it is filled with violence and bloodshed, darkness and misery. It is hard to even conceive how far we have plunged into the mind of the flesh, into the darkness of disobedience. While many of us live our lives from day to day, going about our daily routines in a relatively peaceful fashion, the insanity around us is almost too crazy to believe. There should be no doubt in our minds that chaos is the state of the world in which we live.

Has God forsaken us? Are we destined for complete destruction? I don’t believe this for even a second, however, I do believe it may get worse before it gets better. America is much too proud and Christendom much too deceived.

No doubt, our first death leads us straight away into the second death of our judgment in order to purge, purify, sanctify, and make us a vessel fit for the Master’s use (II Tim. 2:21); dying (first death) we shall die (second death). Though we make our “bed in hell” (deep sleep), “behold,” He is there (Psalms 139:8).

 

John 5:24-30 (NKJV)
24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forththose who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

 

Why did Jesus descend from heaven? To do the will of the Father who sent Him. And what was the Father’s will? To raise some at the “last day.” In keeping with this, the Lord states, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

Now, lest we become confused by our passages, consider our first verse above. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” This does not mean that we aren’t judged nor does it contradict our current perspective. The Lord’s statement is conditional; we must hear His Word and believe in Him who sent Him. So it speaks of those who have passed completely through His divine process, who have been purged of all deception and doubt in His Word, and have humbly submitted themselves to it. These are the “dead” who “hear the voice of the Son of God” and “live.”

First, Jesus mentions life, followed by “authority to execute judgment also,” agreeing with Hebrews 9:27. He then tells us “the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” At this point, we arrive at a conundrum if we consider the specificity of the Word. Note that Jesus speaks of “the resurrection of life” first, followed by “the resurrection of condemnation.” This would make the “first” resurrection what we desire, not the second. Correct? The following confirms this thought (see also Acts 24:15).

 

Revelation 20:6 (NKJV)
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

 

There should be no doubt. The first resurrection is “the resurrection of life,” is it not? But again, we have found that the second death and resurrection is what we should desire. Please consider.

 

Matthew 19:23-30 (NKJV)
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

 

Doesn’t our statement, “You who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” agree with ruling and reigning with Christ (see Rev. 4:4)? Would this not agree with the first resurrection in Revelation 20:6? It would, but look at verse 30 of Matthew 19. “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Do you see it? Our first resurrection is actually the second, being the “last” which becomes the “first”! Doesn’t this also agree with “Christ, the first-fruits”?

Now, consider our word “regeneration.” Strong’s defines this as, “Rebirth (the state or the act), i.e. (figurative) spiritual renovation,” agreeing with our understanding of resurrection as birth (remember our 400 or 40 × 10 and our 40). When we consider the two words from which this one is derived, we discover that it speaks of a new nature, the nature of righteousness. This word is used only twice in the New Testament and in keeping with our understanding, the second time it is used clarifies our perspective.

 

Titus 3:1-7 (NKJV)
1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 

Can we see in these passages that the work of sanctification is wholly of God, that “the washing of regeneration” or “rebirth” is synonymous with resurrection (standing up again)? Do you see that it is not a rapture we are approaching but a resurrection from among the dead, a lifting up of our spirits into the unconditional love of the Father and Son?

 

Revelation 20:6 (NKJV)
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

 

Revelation 2:26-27 (KJV)
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

 

Revelation 3:21 (KJV)
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

 

All of these passages clarify that the one who overcomes shall inherit the power and authority of the kingdom of God as represented by the first resurrection. But as we now know, the first is actually the second and the second is our birth out of the womb of “Jerusalem above,” the “mother of us all” (New Covenant Promise).

Finally, we should consider the idea of regeneration as “renovation” which means, “To restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair.” Consider.

 

Revelation 21:5 (NKJV)
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

 

Chapter Fourteen

[]RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD

Philippians 3:10-18 (NIV)
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead (resurrection of the dead; KJV). 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.

 

First of all, consider this treatment of the phrase, “The resurrection of the dead (KJV)” from Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament (bolding mine).

 

The resurrection of the dead (τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν).

Rev., more correctly, from the dead. Lit., the resurrection, that, namely, from the dead. Compare Acts 4:2. This compound noun for resurrection is found only here, and expresses the rising from or from among (ἐξ), which is further emphasized by the repetition of the preposition ἐκ (from). The kindred compound verb occurs Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28; Acts 15:5, but in neither passage of raising the dead. The word here does not differ in meaning from ἀνάστασις, commonly used, except that the idea is more vividly conceived as a rising from the earth. See Matthew 22:31; Luke 20:35. The phrase resurrection of or from the dead does not often occur in the Gospels, and resurrection ἐκ from the dead only twice in the New Testament, Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3. For the phrase, see on Luke 16:31. Resurrection of the dead is a generic phrase, denoting the general resurrection of the dead, bad and good. Resurrection from the dead, in the only two passages where it occurs, signifies resurrection unto life. In 1 Peter 1:3, it is applied to Christ.

 

Here’s the definition of the compound noun for resurrection from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (bolding mine).

 

Original Word: ἐξανάστασις, exanastasis

Usage Notes: ek, “from” or “out of,” and No. 1, Phil. 3:11, followed by ek, lit., “the out-resurrection from among the dead.”

 

Based on Vincent’s and Vine’s, there is a distinct difference between the resurrection “of” the dead and the resurrection “from” the dead. The resurrection of the dead is when the Lord first calls us out of the world, but the resurrection from the dead speaks of our entrance into eternal life, a full awakening from the deep sleep of our spirit to walk in the righteousness of the kingdom of God. This is the second resurrection which follows the first and the second resurrection which becomes the first, for it is “God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17; KJV). Understand that everyone was judged when He died and raised with Him when He rose from the dead, but we must “seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God,” for our “life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-4; KJV). By faith we know that we were raised with Him, but by that same faith we must persevere until we enter into that which is hidden from us. True eternal life awaits us at His “right hand,” but it is necessary for our “eyes” to be opened by the process (Gen. 3:5).

 

Acts 24:14-15 (NKJV)
14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.

 

In keeping with our thought, we find Paul stating that he believed “all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets” (John 5:24) and “that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” This confirms our pattern. The first resurrection is that of the “just” (righteous) in order that the “unjust” (unrighteous) may be brought to the righteousness of His kingdom. We cannot impart life until we truly know life.

 

Ephesians 5:8-14 (NIV)
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

 

Through the divine process of the Lord, what begins as deep sleep culminates in an awakening, and as Ephesians shows is synonymous with our resurrection or rising “from” the dead. As Vincent states, “The idea is more vividly conceived as a rising from the earth,” from the earthy nature of the first man Adam (I Cor. 15:47-49), synonymous with inheriting His kingdom (I Cor. 15:50-58). For further study, see Isaiah 51:17; 52:1; 60:1, and Malachi 4:2.

 

Chapter Fifteen

[]THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD REVISITED

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (KJV)
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

 

Our word “awake” means, “To rouse (oneself) out of stupor.” It’s derived from ek which is defined as, “Origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out,” and nēphō, which reads, “To abstain from wine (keep sober), i.e. (figurative) be discreet.”

It’s interesting to see that our second word in regard to “awake” refers to abstaining from wine. Please consider.

 

Revelation 14:8 (NKJV)
8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

 

Revelation 14:9-11 (NKJV)
9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

 

In our struggle to awaken to His kingdom, we are pressed on every side by the world. Our technology has led us to the point of madness, especially in the prosperous countries such as our own. Because of our conveniences, our government programs, and our abundance of material things, many of God’s people have been lured back into a deep sleep, only this time it is a spiritual stupor brought on by “the wine of the wrath” of Babylon’s “fornication.”

When we understand that Babylon represents God’s people under the law (wilderness), then we understand what is meant by the word “wrath.”

 

Romans 4:15 (KJV)
15 Because the law worketh wrath

 

Babylon’s “fornication” (harlotry [including adultery and incest]) is easily understood by the following.

 

James 4:4 (NKJV)
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

The “torment” of the “fire and brimstone” speaks of the second death (Rev. 21:8), the righteous essence of God’s nature as evidenced by His “fiery” law which is necessary to judge our unrighteousness (Deut. 8:15; 33:2). When we resist His law and nature, we bring suffering on ourselves (torment).

In our passages in Revelation 14, note that it is the “third angel” or spirit or revelation which declares the message of the beast, the mark, the wrath of God, and Babylon. What does three signify? Resurrection, the message of the cross, the principle of death to self (second death). Here is the simplicity of what is represented by these passages.

 

1. The Beast – Carnal nature of the first man Adam; spirit of the world.

2. The Mark – The law of God necessary to subdue the carnal nature.

3. The Wrath (passion) of God – The law which “brings about wrath” (Rom. 4:15).

4. Babylon – The people of God under the tutorage of the law (Gal. 3:22-25; 4:1-3).

 

As we’ve already learned, the spirit of the world is the spirit of man in a deep sleep, a spiritual stupor, out of which we are called to awaken. For this reason Paul wrote, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath,” as with Babylon, “but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:6-9; KJV). “They that sleep” speaks of the world at large while “they that be drunken” speaks of God’s own who have been lulled back into sleep by Babylon’s deceptions.

Both of our phrases “be sober” are again our word nēphō. This word is also found in II Timothy 4:5, I Peter 1:13, 4:7, and 5:8. As mentioned, “be sober” is an admonition concerning the “wine” of Babylon, again indicative of the spirit of the world which found its way into Christianity long ago (Rev. 2:2; 6, 9, 13-15, 20-24; 3:1, 15-19). Let me share with you the following from J. Preston Eby and his Revelation Series at www.kingdombiblestudies.org (bolding mine).

 

Jonathan Mitchell stated it so well when he wrote, “The figure of the [_drinking of the wine _]speaks of participating in something that has an effect upon you. Here it signifies participating in the strong passion of her prostitution, which effected a departure from God and an entering into her sins. It causes a drunkenness, a stupor, to come upon the peoples who participate with her. They cannot think clearly, and are led astray like the fool.”

 

The wise man said, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 29:1). This is not talking about a glass of wine with your meal. “Deceived” infers inebriation, intoxication, besotted, liquored up — [drunk. _]It could be rendered, [“whosoever is [*inebriated *]thereby is a fool.” ]It is inebriating wine, wine that excites the passions leading to fornication — spiritual uncleanness. Furthermore, Babylon’s wine is called, “The wine of the [_wrath _]of her fornication.” Does “wrath” mean the harlot is practicing her fornication in a state of anger, rage, vindictiveness, and vengeance? Not at all! The word “wrath” in our text is from the Greek word _thumos, and surprisingly Strong’s Concordance gives as the basic meaning of this word, “breathing hard, passion.” This word, and another Greek word, orge, meaning “desire, excitement, passion,” _]are also used of the “wrath” of GOD. Why haven’t the preachers told us this before!  Now, I ask, who ever heard of wrath being sweet and intoxicating [_like wine! And who would ever think of the sensual pleasures of fornication as being angry, vengeful, full of fury and violence! But when we consider the true meaning of the word thumos _]it becomes very clear — “For all nations have drunk of the [_wine of the [*passion *]of her fornication.” What a difference that makes! People who have sex are caught up in passion — not [_anger!  _]The King James translation makes no sense at all. The correct rendering signifies that the people of the nations have been “high” on the passion and excitement of the harlot activities of Babylon! 

 

The apostate church has been given false teaching and has become drunk with it. She doesn’t even know the truth because she’s drunk! When people are drunk they lack perception; they’re deceived; they cannot see or reason clearly. As long as men are inflamed by the heady wine of Babylon’s seductions, they are not free to either know or love the truth. Those who are drunk on the false teachings in Babylon are so totally confused that they mistake “heresy” for “orthodoxy.” They are so drunk on these false doctrines that they suppose that eternal damnation in hell-fire for the vast majority of men who have lived and died on this planet is the pure, unadulterated Word of God! In their eyes you _]are the heretic if you suggest otherwise! They are so drunk that when they read of the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, with a street of gold, a river of life, the tree of life, and the throne of God, they mistake the [_symbol _]for the [_reality _]and drunkenly imagine that this city [_is heaven as a place and that they will one day own a mansion, a robe, and a crown somewhere on Hallelujah Boulevard! They are so drunk that in their stupor they are quite sure that the Bible clearly teaches that they are going to heaven in a “rapture” and everyone else will be “left behind” to face the horrors of the antichrist and the great tribulation. I do not hesitate to add that you [_have _]to be drunk to find that teaching in the scriptures! Others, in their state of intoxication, confuse law and grace, thinking that we are still under the Old Testament laws of meats and drinks, holy days, sabbaths, and various other things. Many, many nations have committed fornication with the wanton harlot. I love my own country, the United States of America, but she is in bed with the harlot just like most other countries. Almost everyone you meet is religious, but you have only to discuss spiritual matters for a very few minutes to discover just how drunk they are on the teachings of Babylon! America is not serving God, she is consorting with the harlot’s house. There is more freedom of conscience and worship in America than in many nations, and for this we are indeed thankful, but she’s still part of the harlot system for her fornications have infiltrated all nations. The wine that all nations have drunk is the wine of false teaching and false religious practices!

 

The symbol of the drunkenness of the nations is one that is found frequently in the Old Testament. If men are drunken they are no longer themselvesThey are turned into something less than human and their drunkenness brings in its train misery, sorrow, poverty, degradation, and shame. One writer has pointed out that it is very interesting to note that in Japanese they have, to describe different types of drunkenness, the different names of animals. If a man is just filthy drunk, the Japanese call him pig-drunk; if he’s just so drunk that he wants to cut capers, they call him monkey-drunk; if he’s just so drunk that he wants to make love to every woman he sees, they call him rooster-drunk; if he wants to fight everyone he sees, they call him lion-drunk, and so on. This symbol of the bestiality or fleshliness of drunkenness is found throughout the whole of the Bible.

 

The ministers of Babylon give their flocks to drink of the wine of the passion of her fornication — a mixture of truth and error, of spirit and flesh, of the ways of God and the ways of the world, which like any intoxicant, benumbs the sensibilities, and causes him who drinks to turn from purity, truth, and singleness of heart. Babylon, the great Old Testament kingdom which offered the worship of idols with gross sensuality, is used by the Spirit in our text to symbolize the church systems of man, which, like the Jewish nation in the days of Christ, mix the philosophy, methods, and spirit of the world with the truth of God, and offer this wine to men in the place of the living word of God and the mind of Christ. The church which does this, realizes its inability to reach the souls of men, and employs the flaming passion of the harlot to seduce the people, utilizing all kinds of flesh-appeal activities, religious forms, programs, entertainment, social and political action, and in some countries even the coercive power of the state, to suck men into the orgy of her sin. There is a form of godliness, but no power therein.  “Babylon is fallen, is fallen,” cries the angel!

 

Eby puts it quite well, wouldn’t you say? Please consider.

 

Revelation 17:1-5 (NKJV)
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

 

Who is Babylon? She is the church in the “wilderness” as indicated by verse 3 above. Here’s further proof.

 

Revelation 12:6 (NKJV)
6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days (Rev. 11:2-3).

 

Our “woman” in this passage is the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars,” symbolic of the New Covenant people of God, the body of Christ (Rev. 12:1). After the birth of the “male child,” we see her fleeing “into the wilderness.” In keeping with our understanding, our “woman clothed with the sun” is symbolized by Sarah while Babylon is typified by Hagar (Gal. 4:22-31).

Chapter Sixteen

[]SUMMARY

We’ve considered a lot of things in this study and I hope I’ve made them clear. As I finish it, I wish to simply summarize what we’ve considered and give you the pattern we’ve discussed which defines the spiritual journey through which all of us pass.

 

FIRST DEATH – Adam; Deep Sleep – Symbolized by Israel in Egypt which represents all of us in bondage to the world [It is appointed unto man once to die…] [Dying…]. Slaves to sin.

{Gen. 2:21; 15:13; Rom. 6:16; Heb. 9:27}

 

FIRST RESURRECTION or Birth – Called out from Egypt or the world to Christ (Passover) and into the “second death” or “wilderness” to encounter God’s law and process of sanctification [That which is born of the flesh is flesh; the natural man].

{Exod. 3:10-12; 13:8-9; Num. 23:22; Deut. 4:20, 37; Hosea 11:1; Deut. 8:1-3; Hebrews, Chapter 3; John 3:6}

 

In essence, the world becomes a “wilderness” to us once we are called of God. Where once we were completely in alignment with her system and ways, we now begin to discover that the whole word truly lies in wickedness (I John 5:19). Those who remain “lost” are also in the “wilderness,” however, they “do not know”; they are unaware (asleep in the light).

 

Our journey through the “second death” or “wilderness” is symbolized by Babylon, where we are confused and uncertain about the words of Christ (see Revelation, Chapters 17 and 18). It is a time of necessary humbling as we are tested by the living Word of God, by His law and commandments. At times we seem overwhelmed by it all, crying out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) It is truly a walk of faith.

 

In our first resurrection or birth, we come to understand that Christ became our judgment and that when He rose from the dead, we rose with Him (Col. 3:1-4), but what is true in our mind must become reality in our heart; we must seek for our life which is hidden in Christ in God. We must endure to the end of our process; he who endures to the end will be saved (Matt. 10:22). We are saved but being saved; we are judged but being judged; we are light but becoming light. God “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17; KJV).

 

SECOND DEATH – Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – Mount Sinai in the wilderness, symbolizing the commandments of God (law) – Hagar [again, that which is born of the flesh is flesh; our natural man]; [… but after this the judgment…] [… you shall die].

{Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8; Gen. 2:9, 16-17; 3:1-7; Exod. 3:12, 18; 19:1-20:21; Gal. 4:21-31; John 3:6; Heb. 9:27; Gen. 2:17}

 

Can a man enter a second time into his mother’s womb (Jerusalem which now is) and be born (Jerusalem above)? Yes.

{John 3:1-21}

SECOND RESURRECTION or Birth – Tree of Life (The tree of knowledge or “law” made spiritual) – Canaan (Rest) – Sarah (woman clothed with the sun) [That which is born of the Spirit is spirit; the spiritual man].

{Gen. 2:9; Rom. 7:14; Exod. 6:4; Lev. 25:38; Heb. 3:7-19; Gal. 4:21-31; John 3:6}

 

“Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Complete submission to God. Our second death.

{Matt. 27:50; Luke 23:46}

 

Earthquake (tribulation); rocks split; veil is torn from top to bottom (heavens opened); many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised (first resurrection). Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection.

{Matt. 27:50-53; Rev. 20:5-6}

 

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST, the second resurrection becomes the first…

AND THE FIRST LAST, the first resurrection becomes the second or last.

The resurrection of the just and the unjust [The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard].

 

First resurrection: Resurrection FROM the dead (Phil. 3:11).

Second resurrection: Resurrection OF the dead (Acts 24:15).

 

Hebrews 9:27

It is appointed for men to die once… (deep sleep; first death).

MANY ARE CALLED… (first resurrection).

But after this the judgment (second death; awake to righteousness).

BUT FEW CHOSEN (second resurrection/first resurrection; the last shall be first).

 

I would also recommend the following passages for further study:

 

Luke 20:27-38 (KJV)
27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, 28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. 31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. 34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children (sons) of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (aiōn), and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children (sons) of God, being the children (sons) of the resurrection. 37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

 

To finish up, here’s a chart which also gives us some information on our pattern.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my book. It is my sincere hope that it encouraged and enlightened you in your walk with Christ. If so, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer? Thank you!

Jack Marshall

 

 

About the Author:

 

Jack Marshall was born in California in 1957, but raised in Oklahoma, where his experience with Christianity began at the age of 19. After several years of attending various denominational and non-denominational churches, his love for the Bible and desire to understand the scriptures became a vital part of his life. Ordained in his twenties, he spent several years ministering in homes, jails, and churches. Through in-depth study for the past 38 years, Jack has discovered that the message of scripture is truly one of hope, love, and encouragement for the entire world.

 

Connect With Me:

 

Friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrainOfWheatPublishing

Grain of Wheat Publishing Website: http://www.grainofwheatpublishing.org

Favorite me at Shakespir: https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/Biblebooks

 

 

Other books by Jack Marshall

 

The Dream – Through the Eyes of Sowing and Reaping

Times and Seasons – An Alternative View of the Day of the Lord

Hell, No! An Alternative View of Hell

The Rapture – Yes or No?

Studies in Revelation – The Beasts of Revelation

The Parable of the Sower

Studies in Revelation – The Second Death

The Unpardonable Sin

Studies in Revelation – The Beast of the Earth

Eastward in Eden

 

 

Bibliography

 

Reference:

 

E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913), Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, Public Domain, 1921

Dr. James Strong (1822-1894), Strong’s Concordance, First Published 1890

Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922), Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, First Published 1887

The Biblical Meaning of Numbers from One to Forty, 2008, Stephen E. Jones

Biblical Mathematics – Keys to Scripture Numerics, Dr. Ed F. Vallowe, 1998

W.E. Vine (1873-1949), Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, First Published 1940

 

Reference (Online):

 

Dictionary.com, www.dictionary.com

Mind-Sets – How Successful People Think! https://mind-sets.com

What Happens in the Brain During Sleep? Scientific American, www.scientificamerican.com

Kingdom Bible Studies, Preston and Lorain Eby, www.kingdombiblestudies.org

Genesis 2:17—“You Shall Surely Die,” answersingenesis.org, Dr. Terry Mortenson, May 2, 2007; last featured November 24, 2015

Google, www.google.com

 

Bible Translations Used:

 

KJV, King James Version, Public Domain, 1611

NKJV, New King James Version, Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Complete Bible 1982

NIV, New International Version, Biblica, Zondervan and Hodder & Stoughton (UK) (licensed commercial rights), 1973 (NT), 1978 (OT)

ESV, English Standard Version, 2001: Crossway Bibles, a ministry of the Good News Publishers of Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.; Apocrypha 2009 by Oxford University Press

AMP, Amplified Bible, Published by The Zondervan Corporation and The Lockman Foundation, First Edition 1965

 

Quotes:

 

“No man is an island,” John Donne, 1572-1631


Deep Sleep

In the midst of all this chaos and confusion, it is difficult to perceive our role, is it not? What is it we are called to do? What does our Creator expect of us? As believers in Christ, what is this path we are taking? How do we know? If you’re like me, you have asked yourself these questions more than once. This study addresses the two deaths and two resurrections, using the spiritual meaning of numbers along with the symbology of the Old and New Testaments to outline the path of every believer and our walk in Christ.

  • ISBN: 9781370284962
  • Author: Jack Marshall
  • Published: 2017-09-27 12:20:16
  • Words: 42000
Deep Sleep Deep Sleep