KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE INCREASE OF THE KINGDOM
It's a fascinating thought . . . could there be somewhere out there in the vastness of space . . . beyond the solar system . . . beyond our Milky Way galaxy . . . other worlds of intelligent beings? This is a subject that intrigues scientists and theologians alike. What is the likelihood of other intelligent life in the universe? It is not a new question. In the 4th century B.C., Metrodoros of Chios observed: "It seems impossible, in a large field only one shaft of wheat to grow, and in an infinite universe, to have only one living world." We do not know what other races of intelligent creatures there may be, but I think it is no stretch of the imagination to believe that, as this world is only one speck in the vast creation of God, there may be millions, yea, billions of other races in the countless worlds around us, and all of these are invited to behold the glory of the invisible God manifested in the many sons who are His image and likeness.
In 1966 two astronomers, Carl Sagan and Iosef Shklovoskii, desired to estimate the number of planets in the universe with favorable environments for the support of biological life. They determined that it takes a certain kind of star with a planet located at just the right distance from that star to provide the minimal conditions for life. Working with just these two parameters, they estimated that 0.001% of all known stars could have a planet capable of supporting advanced life. By that estimate there could be more than one million life-supporting planets in our galaxy alone!
We must not think that when our ministry is finished here on earth, and all men have bowed the knee and happily owned Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, when all the earth has been set free from the curse and sin, sickness and sorrow have flown away; when the dirge music has sung its last song, and the minor chords are all gone, that the Master will then say, "Go and sit on a heavenly mount, and sing yourselves away forever and ever." No way! What Bethlehem was among the thousands of Judah, this little earth is to the great Universe of God -- for it is here that the glory of God has broken forth! All those stars, those worlds of light, who knows how many of them are inhabited? It is my conviction that there are regions beyond our imagination to which every son of God shall become an everlasting illumination, a living expression of the love, wisdom and power of their Creator and God. The people in those far-distant lands could not see Calvary as this world has seen it; but they shall see it in the redeemed that are conformed to His image. Some entertain the foolish notion that each of those worlds have their own way to God, but such cannot be the truth, for it is the testimony of scripture that it is in Christ that all things are gathered together into one, of things both in the heavens and in the earth (Eph. 1:10).
Truly in that day the Lord shall say to His sons who have brought the Kingdom of God to pass in the earth, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things." He is to keep on doing something, you see. God's Kingdom does not stop here on this globe, and God's revelation is not limited to mankind. Compared to the orbs of space the earth is insignificant. The celestial realm is unutterably greater and its glories grander. Men will risk all of their fortunes and their lives to seize the reins of even the smallest of earth's governments. Yet the glory of universal dominion promised to the sons of God is greater than all! The man who has been a faithful and wise steward of God here, will be promoted by our heavenly Father to more eminent service in the ages to come. This shall be our heaven, not to go there and walk on golden streets waving palm branches and playing harps, but to enter upon some larger, nobler ministry for which we are preparing by the lower and more arduous service of this present time!
There are worlds beyond this one, scattered throughout the vastnesses of infinity, all created by our Lord Jesus Christ and all included within the scope of His ever-increasing Kingdom. Long millennia ago God "created the heavens and the earth." A universe of raging infernos called stars came into existence. Astronomers estimate that their number is equal to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or one sextillion -- yet, their utter extremity has never been seen! There seems to be no end to the twinkling points of light. Only of the earth was it said that it was "without form and void -- empty." The scriptures refer repeatedly to "the hosts of the heavens." Scattered among these myriads of stars and nebulae are millions of solar systems composed of suns, planets and moons. Those worlds, too, are to be explored and God's great purpose fulfilled in them through the sons of God, for God's Christ is heir of A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S. Ages to come...it will take them all, precious friend of mine, though there should be billions or trillions of them, to complete the great and grand purpose of our Creator. What a calling! What a plan! What a destiny! How magnificently awesome and meaningful the words of the inspired prophet: "And of the INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT AND PEACE there shall be no end!"
More than thirty years ago, standing in the darkness of a jungle in South America, many miles from the nearest road or town, and further yet from anything that could be called a city, it seemed that every star and galaxy of the heavens adorned the night with the scintillating brilliance of diamonds. Looking up I could see the immensity of God. On some dark night look up and behold the infinity of God, look up and consider the majesty of God, look up and see the glory of God, look up and wonder, look up and be awed, look up and be overwhelmed. Take a look at the heavens, consider this infinite universe, contemplate the immensity of it, examine the balance of it, reflect upon the order of it, give attention to the symmetry of it, observe the way everything works by divine law and purpose -- in the light of all this, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visiteth him?" (Ps. 8:4). What is man, that God cares for him and visits him -- do you want to see it? Continuing this divine assessment of man the inspired Psalmist says, "Thou crownest him with glory and honor." He's showing how mindful God is of man, the greatness of His purpose for man. "Thou didst set him over the works of Thy hands." Do you want to see how great man is in the scheme of things? Consider what are the works of God's hands over which man, crowned with glory and honor, is set: "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained..." (Ps. 8:3).
"Thou has put all things under his feet" (Ps. 8:6). Now "his feet" is not Jesus, his feet is MAN. It's not talking about Jesus, it's talking about MAN. Quoting this passage and speaking again of man, not Jesus, the writer to the Hebrews says, "Thou has put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him!" (Heb. 2:8). Man was created to be king of the universe. Man was designed by God to rule and reign over all things everywhere. Man was destined to have dominion on earth and in the heavens. Man was to have authority in all realms. Man was appointed to be sovereign -- not merely over the earth, but over all the unbounded heavens. Did you know that? It was the divine intent that man should be lord of all with all created things under submission to him, that man would explore, conquer, control, harness, utilize, bless, rule, and direct all the earth, the elements, the heavens, and all worlds and realms, visible and invisible, and all creatures, visible and invisible -- the whole creation of God!
But there is a problem. Although man is destined for universal rule and dominion, the apostle continues: "We see not yet all things put under him." Does any wish to debate that? Take a look at the world in which we live. Man was made to reign over the earth, but man broke his covenant with God. When man sinned he brought ruin to the earth, the ruin of sin, the curse, and death. Before sin man's hair was not turning gray, his teeth were not decaying, his heart was not giving out, his skin was not becoming wrinkled and flabby, his bones were not getting brittle or his body weak and stooped. There was no cancer, there was no stroke, there was no disease. There was no famine. There was no weed. There was no rust. There was no flood. There was no plague. There was no storm -- no frightening hurricane, no devastating tornado. There was no hatred, no greed, no lust, no cheating, no lying, no deceit, no murders, no crime, no war. God created man in His own image, He placed him in a perfect environment, and he told man that he was to rule and reign and that all things were in subjection under his feet. But man violated his union with God. Every broken body, every disturbed mind, every lack and weakness and sorrow of the human race for at least 6,000 years can be traced to man's violation of his union with God. Therefore, we see not yet all things put under man! Look at the terrors of our world and it is plain to see that not yet has even the earth been subjected to man, much less the celestial realms above!
But -- "WE SEE JESUS!" (Heb. 2:9). It is interesting to note, there are two prominent words used in Greek for "see" -- HORAO and BLEPO -- and the writer uses both in one sentence. He says, "We see not yet all things put under man," that is, take an in-depth, studied, wide-angled look, examine carefully -- we see not yet all things put under man. That is HORAO. "But we see Jesus" -- it's a fleeting glance, one look is enough to settle the issue -- that is BLEPO. Ah, we see not yet all things put under man, but we see Jesus "made a little lower than the deity for the suffering of death, CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR..." (Heb. 2:9). Jesus was lowered for a season that He by the grace of God might "taste death for every man," that through His redemption He might restore all men to the righteousness, joy, peace, wisdom, authority, power and dominion that was theirs in the beginning.
The world is filled with hopelessness today only because men do not see Jesus! All is despair and futility and lack if we don't see Jesus! He is the great Captain of our salvation and the Firstborn of many brethren. He is the Firstborn from the dead, and the Firstborn of every creature. He is the proto-type of God's ordained destiny for all men. Oh yes, we who have been quickened by His Spirit, infused with His life and imbued with His mind -- we SEE JESUS! We see Him overcoming sin, self, the curse, and death. We see Him risen, ascended, crowned with glory and honor, exalted to the throne of the Majesty on high, heir of all things, with all power in heaven and in earth, having obtained a name above every name, Lord of all, King of the universe, higher than angels and principalities and powers, the image and likeness and dominion of God over all things restored in man. That is what we see! We see Jesus and in Him we see our very own calling and destiny!
Therefore, let us consider the honor and glory with which Jesus has been crowned. Present estimates -- no doubt underestimates -- put the size of the universe at over twenty thousand million light years in diameter. That's about 120,000 million million million miles. Present estimates -- also no doubt underestimates -- put the number of galaxies in the known universe at over 100,000,000,000. Since each galaxy has roughly 100,000,000,000 stars, that means the universe has over 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (ten thousand million million million) individual stars or "suns". Why did God design such an immense universe? And why did God create such an innumerable number of stars? For no reason? For some reason? For an incredible reason!
God, away back before the mountains were formed, or ever the sun and moon appeared, had perfected His plans for the future rulers of the works of His hands. Those plans called for a planet named earth, and for His future rulers, his sons, to be placed there for their training in God's school of dominion. And those plans called for a tempter to ensnare the original pair, who were made to be deceived and subjected to a realm where they could learn to overcome and rule, first within themselves, then over the earth, and finally over all things of God's vast creation. "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope" (Rom. 8:20). God had a better plan for men than a garden -- a very beautiful garden, of course, yet a garden in which nothing ever happened and no one ever learned anything or got anywhere. If there had never been a fall, then there could be no salvation, and man could never have learned through grace to rule over his enemies within and without. The fall with its plan of redemption provided the perfect school where man could experience in a practical way the principles of dominion.
Man was created a human being, formed of the earth, infused with the spirit of life from God, with not one thing wrong with him. He never had a headache, nor a heartache, nor a trouble, nor a care. He was just a perfect specimen of humanity, a son of God, a prisoner of earth, placed in a garden "to dress and to keep it." This man was completely untested, untried, undeveloped, and inexperienced. And if there had been no tempter and no fall, then man would never have attained to anything higher. I don't like farming. I am neither a farmer nor the son of a farmer. I'm rather glad Adam got out of that place! I have higher aspirations than messing around eternally in a park, tending to the birds and beasts in it, and bossing them around. Oh yes, I know that park must have been a very delightful place and filled with allegorical realities. But I soon get tired of frittering away my time in beautiful parks. Man was not made for that! If man would have been made for that, God would have kept him there. It's just as simple as that. I am getting tired of being a prisoner of earth. Instead of being shut up in a park with Adam and the rest of his race, having dominion over the beasts and the fowls and creeping things in it, my feet are beginning to itch to go exploring beyond this old world. And what's more, that is exactly what I am in preparation for! And I am going to do more than that; for my Father tells me that now, since breaking out of Eden, I am not only going to explore, but I am going to own, as a joint-heir with Christ, all the countless worlds of His endless heavens and every creature in them. Who wants to go back to Eden?
Thanks be to God's wise and wonderful plan, we now, who are recipients of God's grace, His dealings, processings, and His glory, have advanced to the place where we shall judge angels and reveal God to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (I Cor. 6:3; Eph. 3:10). Go on with your Eden, you folks who want to go back to it. I have something better. The Bible begins with man in a garden, but it ends with the Holy City coming down from God out of the heavens with life and light and love and glory for all creation: "Behold, I make all things new!" (Rev. 21:5). I never did like cleaning out horse stalls and cow stables anyway. I have aspired to a better job; for my Saviour now promises me a seat with Him on His throne, helping to rule over His endless and eternal universe (Heb. 2:5-8; Rev. 3:21; Rev. 21:7). This heavenly calling is not as a park attendant, playing valet to a lot of beasts and birds, but a king-priest after the order of Melchisedek (Heb. 3:1). Eden never offered anything comparable to this!
The Bible clearly teaches that God's sons shall inherit all things (Rev. 21:7; Heb. 2:8). The whole universe shall be theirs! Every world that floats in space shall be subject to their word and at their disposal, as they range the broad fields of the boundless heavens. Here and now we are a people in whom there is royal blood; sons of God, heirs to the throne; we are born to rule over all things, and God is preparing us for that dominion. The rule of one little world is not enough for a man born of the omnipresent God of the universe. It may be for a chipmunk. It is not for a son of God, because one born from above is too big in his spirit, which is his real divine self. To be a spiritual man, a heavenly man, he must reach out to the future, to infinity, to eternity, and grapple with the powers of the ages to come, and compel them to gird him with strength to fulfill the ultimate intention of our heavenly Father.
It reminds me of the review I read of Thornton Wilder's famous play, "Our Town." A little girl is leaning out a window on a beautiful moonlight night, telling a little boy friend about a strange letter that has just arrived in their crossroads town of Groves Corner. The letter was addressed in a most unusual way. Instead of just having the name of the crossroads post office, and state, it was addressed:
United States of America,
Continent of North America,
The Western Hemisphere,
The Milky Way Solar System,
The Mind of God.
When the little girl finishes telling about it, the little boy who listens has enough insight to pause and say, "Well, what do you know! What do you know!" All the while he thought he had been living in Groves Corner, New Hampshire, and that was all. Instead, all the while he had been living in the Universal Mind of God! Ah, my beloved, you have a more complete address to which your mail must be addressed when once you perceive yourself as spirit seated together in union with Christ in the higher-than-all-heavens at the right hand of God. And if you have the insight, even of that little boy, you will pause long enough to say as you contemplate the fact that in union with God you live not just in Connecticut or California, in the United States of America, or Europe, or Asia, or Africa -- but in the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Spirit of God, "Well, what do you know! What do you know!" We are children of the universe. As sons of our heavenly Father we are universal children not to be confined to any spot or place in the cosmos. Even as now our minds roam over the vast expanses of God's universe, even so shall we ourselves follow our minds and fill all things. This is our heritage. We are not bound to this earth. God yet has an obligation to all of the creation and it will be by and through us that He will fulfill that obligation. The sons have not yet come to manifestation to bring deliverance to the earth, but that is about to be accomplished, and it is only after that that the work of revealing God to the whole universe will begin. With humbleness of mind and holiness of heart let us prepare ourselves for the change that is coming.
If you wish to bedwarf men, stunt them, cut them down, reducing them to a race of spiritual Lilliputians, then proclaim that earth is the extent of the dominion of those who rule in the Kingdom of God. But God made us on no such diminutive, low-down scale as that! He made us so big that unless we can penetrate beyond the outer shell of flesh and lift our spirits, breathe the air of eternity, and soar into the All-ness of God, our understanding fails, and we will grovel like worms of the earth. The King of glory comes and irradiates us with the glory of transcendent hopes. He begets within us a living hope, an eternal hope, an unbounded hope which, like leaping and dancing flames, lights up all that is within us, and then throws its golden glory out to the farthest shores of infinity. Sons of God! Oh, the mystery of it!
The sweet singer of Israel was a seer and this truly is the understanding he had when by inspiration he penned the Eighth Psalm. When we read the words of this Psalm we get the impression that the writer is a great astronomer. He speaks as though he had just come from one of our observatories where he had been peering into the depths of the universe through a great telescope. But David did not have access to a modern observatory. We can only understand the wisdom of his marvelous words when we recognize that he spoke by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. When he considers the heavens and the stars, he asks -- as we all might ask who know that the earth is but a grain in the towering mountain of creation -- "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visiteth him? For Thou hast made him for a little while lower than Elohim, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet."
A report that came across my desk recently states: Today a small group of physicists are seeking to understand the infinite. Their cherished goal is beautifully expressed in a statement by Murray Gell-Mann. He put it this way. "It is the most persistent and greatest adventure in human history, this search to understand the universe, how it works and where it came from." In strictly geographical terms it seems astoundingly presumptuous of men and women to even seek such understanding. Physicist Gell-Mann explains the paradox of human desire to understand where and why everything began: "It is difficult to imagine that a handful of residents of a small planet circling an insignificant star in a small galaxy have as their aim a complete understanding of the entire universe, a small speck of creation truly believing it is capable of understanding the whole." But in fact, such ambitious projects are typical of the story of man. As the proverb says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter" (Prov. 25:2). Never satisfied with what he knows today, man always wants to know something more tomorrow. He never rests content.
Today, unregenerated, carnal man is shooting rockets to the moon and Mars, boasting that he is going to use the planets as a launching pad to soar to the universe beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to "take over" and rule what he has not fitted himself to manage. There is that deep, innate knowledge in the subconscious of man that he is destined to explore and subjugate the universe. But man has not yet proven his ability to rule this planet, much less the worlds beyond! Man with his history of greed, lust, strife, treachery, wars, bloodshed, deceit, and perversion has now stockpiled enough atomic bombs to not only blow this earth to smithereens, but twenty more just like it! Shall God indeed commit into the hands of corrupt, depraved human nature the rulership of the universe? No way! Man is reaching out to rule that which he has not qualified himself to rule -- and before it has been made lawfully his! Man is still a rebel. But what mankind does not know is, that when, through Christ, he first qualifies for the trust, it has been God's intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars, but the WHOLE VAST, LIMITLESS UNIVERSE under his jurisdiction!
We see not yet all things put under man, but we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor. We see the first son of God to qualify for universal dominion! To be "crowned" means to be given kingly rule. To be crowned with glory and honor speaks of the excellence and greatness of the rule Jesus has now as the administrating, Ruling Executive over the ENTIRE UNIVERSE! He has ascended far above all heavens that He might fill all things. All authority and power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth. God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus Christ every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. Oh yes! A man in God's image and likeness is now the Head of all principality and power, angels, authorities and powers being made subject to Him. Christ is now ruling over all things, for He overcame all things. As qualifying sons of God we are now in preparation to be raised up with Him into the power of an incorruptible life in spirit, soul, and body, to inherit with Him ALL that HE has now inherited! When we have been changed by the redemption of our bodies, we will need no space craft to ascend through the heavens, but will soar to worlds unknown just as Jesus did in His resurrection and ascension.
So that is the supreme heritage of man -- if he is willing! Man, and man only, of all the life-forms God has created, has been given the incomprehensible privilege of being born into the GOD FAMILY, the ELOHIM, the universal ruling family of GOD. This family relationship is a GOD-PLANE relationship, not an animal-plane, human-plane, angel-plane, or alien-plane relationship. Angels are ministering servants of God in the administration of His universe-ruling government. Are there aliens flying around the galaxies in flying saucers? I do not doubt it for one minute. But the fact is -- it is really irrelevant to anything! Some are caught up in the different orders of aliens -- the Grays, the Nordics, the Reptilians, etc. -- but to none of them is the dominion given. God may have many kinds of servants throughout the universe, but it is a higher calling to be the very SONS OF GOD. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son" (Rev. 21:7). Even the angels of might and glory are mere servants, "ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them (not to them!) who shall be the heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14). During the days of His flesh, in times of severe testing and weakness, angels came and ministered to Jesus. But not any more! For when He ascended He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high "being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1:4). And seated with Him in the heavenlies we are seated far above the dominion of angels! "For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come...Thou hast put all things in subjection under his (man's) feet" (Heb. 2:5-8). Some speak of angels as "sons of God," but such a notion contradicts the word of God. "For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? Or, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a son?" (Heb. 1:5). We speak the truth in saying that angels are servants, but we are the sons and the heirs of God.
A young son of a wealthy man, while still a child, may be under the care of an adult servant. The servant is older, farther advanced in knowledge, on a higher plane physically and mentally -- but far lower potentially. For when the son is mature, he will inherit ALL HIS FATHER'S WEALTH AND POWER! Therefore, the servant who is temporarily older and more mature is a servant to the young heir. But when the heir comes into his manhood he will then command the servant. Such are the angels! Rulership over the universe does not mean merely the physical universe, the moon, sun, stars and galaxies. It is a dominion over ALL THINGS, ALL REALMS, and ALL DIMENSIONS within that universe; every being, entity, order, all worlds, aliens, angels, devils, principalities, powers and dominions. Therefore, the apostle wrote, "He seated Him (Christ) at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above ALL RULE and AUTHORITY and POWER and DOMINION, and EVERY NAME that is named -- above every title that can be conferred -- not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and in the world that is to come...and He raised US UP TOGETHER WITH HIM and made us sit down together -- GIVING US JOINT SEATING WITH HIM -- in the heavenly sphere" (Eph. 1:20-21, Amplified).
Oh, the wonder of it! Our Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God. He has been given the dominion and the kingdom. The whole universe has been delivered into His mighty hands, and now He tells us that it belongs to us; that we have been raised to sit together with Him at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto us (I Pet. 3:22). We are to sit with Him on His throne, which is the Father's throne (Rev. 3:21). We are not only raised up to sit with Him on His throne, but He has been given a name that is above every name, and we are also to share that wonderful Name. Listen to this: "To him that overcometh...I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city (government) of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God...and I will write upon him MY NEW NAME" (Rev. 2:12).
This present time is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord over the endless vastnesses of infinity. They have proven faithful over few things. Now they shall soon be made rulers over many...over ALL HIS POSSESSIONS (Mat. 24:45-47). He has given us His glory because we are His brethren, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit, life of His life, mind of His mind. We are of common parentage, brothers by the new birth, becoming like Him in name, nature and being. We are all "out of one" for which reason He is not ashamed to call us brethren. He has raised us up to sit with Him in the higher than heavenlies, hence we belong on His throne. And the place which He has been preparing for each one is not only a world to come, and a Kingdom of Life and Light, but a position, a place of eminence at His side, ruling with Him over all the eternal endlessness of His unbounded heavens!
As I have pointed out before, I now remind you that the Kingdom of God, having filled the earth in the dispensation to come, will from thence extend eternally outward to reconstitute, reconcile, bless, quicken, illuminate and transform the entire universe, enfolding within its mighty branches the vast limitless expanse of nebulae, luminaries, and galaxies until the multiplied myriads of the ransomed and reconciled shall in chorus fill the vastness of the universe with this glad song: "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all ye angels: praise ye Him, all ye hosts. Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise ye Him, all ye stars of light. Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever: He made a decree that shall not pass...let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; HIS GLORY IS ABOVE THE EARTH AND HEAVEN" (Ps. 148).
"For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled" (Col. 1:16-17, 20-21).
I must emphasize that God is the Creator of ALL THINGS. Notice the things that the inspired apostle includes in creation. ALL things in the heavens, all stars, galaxies and worlds with all the life forms, entities, and powers they contain. ALL the things on earth, from the highest to the lowest. ALL things that are visible, or that are discernible to the physical senses -- ALL that the eyes can see, ALL that the ears can hear, ALL that we can touch, feel, taste or smell -- has been created by God. ALL things that are invisible were created by our God -- ALL the wisdom, ALL the knowledge, yea, even all that which has not been discovered, tapped, or conceived by the mind of man -- God created. ALL of the myriad machines and devices that shall yet come out of the mind of man, were created by God. ALL of the vast forces and powers and universal laws that science has discovered and has not yet discovered, were created by God. ALL the thrones, and the glory and the power of them that occupy them, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, were created by God. ALL the dominions and lordships, the mastery and the supremacy, were created by God. ALL the principalities and powers, angels, intelligences, chief ones, demons, devils, and spirits of every order in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, were created by God.
It is not just the fact that all these were created by God that startles us the most, but it goes on to say that BY THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS ALL THESE THINGS ARE RECONCILED TO GOD IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH. This implies that every alien entity on every planet in all the galaxies of the universe are reconciled by the blood of God's Son. Furthermore, it means that the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms needed reconciling and are reconciled by the blood of God's Son. Is this not why the blessed Redeemer was both a heavenly being and an earthly being? He was the Word from heaven made flesh upon the earth, heaven and earth, spirit and flesh, divinity and humanity, blended into one so that the Son could say, "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven" (Jn. 3:13). Praise God, even the principalities and powers in the heavens are included in the glorious reconciliation, peace, blessing and life secured by the blood of His cross! The man who was from heaven, born on earth, is reconciling both realms and gathering all things INTO HIMSELF -- what a wonder that is!
Hear it! "By Him to reconcile PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN HEAVEN and on earth" (Col. 1:16-20). These are the words that stopped me in my tracks one fair day. "What is there in heaven that needs to be reconciled," I queried. The thought had never crossed my mind! I had always assumed that all was at peace and that never a cloud had darkened any brow in that bright eternal realm of Spirit. Discord in heaven? Perish the thought! Sin in heaven? Impossible! Negative forces in heaven? It couldn't be! Wickedness in heaven? No way! "But," I thought, "not only does it plainly state that Christ will reconcile things in heaven, but it furthermore states that among the things to be reconciled are PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS. Principalities in the heavens that are discordant with the will of God! Powers in the heavens that are hostile to God! Principalities and powers in the heavens that must be reconciled, and that by the blood of God's heavenly Son! I had always assumed that Jesus died only for men. But comparing the following three scripture passages it becomes very plain. "He hath quickened us together with Christ...and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5-6). "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers...against WICKED SPIRITS IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES" (Eph. 6:12). "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers...and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Col. 1:16-20).
It is not just the scope of "things on earth" being reconciled that startles us the most, for it goes on to say, "and things in heaven." One day the words struck me with such incredible force! There I faced anew one of the old, well-known verses of the Bible, and when the profound truth of it broke in wonder and glory within my consciousness, I had a completely new Bible, and an increasingly wonderful God. For the first time in my life I saw what God had created in the beginning. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And the scope of things created is the full scope of the things reconciled! God must reveal the fullness of Himself to all realms and worlds and bring every spirit, creature, and entity in the whole vast universe into relationship and union in Himself. I discovered at least sixteen different items or groups of items CREATED AND RECONCILED in that one short passage in chapter one of Colossians:
1. All things in heaven
2. All things on earth
3. Visible things
4. Invisible things
5. Visible things in the heavens
6. Visible things on the earth
7. Invisible things in the heavens
8. Invisible things on the earth
9. Thrones in the heavens
10. Thrones on the earth
11. Dominions in the heavens
12. Dominions on the earth
13. Principalities in the heavens
14. Principalities on the earth
15. Powers in the heavens
16. Powers on the earth
All this is to be reconciled BY THE BLOOD OF GOD'S SON! God is raising up a priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, the body of the High Priest in the heavens, the king-priest sons of God. Their parish will be not only the earth, but the heavens also. God is going to make Himself known through us to the myriad hosts of the heavens. Our bliss will be to bestow the boon of God's favor and redemptive power throughout the bounds of stellar space. Out of the magnificence of God's grace and glory we will gladden the hearts of all His creatures in worlds we have never seen. Can we not see by this that the Royal Priesthood, which shall be the instrument of God to effect this universal reconciliation, is itself both earthly and heavenly, composed of men of earth who have been born from above, raised up and made to sit AMONG THE CELESTIALS IN JESUS CHRIST? "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus..." (Heb. 3:1).
There is to be a restoration! Today we see a terrible lack of things being right, or in divine order. There is a divine order for creation, an order of life and harmony. There is a proper order for animal life, vegetable life, and human life. There is a proper order for every planet, every world, every life form, every order of beings throughout all the infinite stretches of space. Reports I have heard from those who have been abducted by aliens in space ships indicate that many of those aliens do not know the life, ways, or power of the living God. They do hideous things to people, leaving them psychologically traumatized, physically mutilated, and filled with fear and torment. All things everywhere are out of order, in frightful chaos. The curse must be lifted, every enemy put under our feet. Divine order for the universe must be restored. All creation is groaning and crying for release from the curse of sin, decay and death. And everything hinges on that body of sons that are to be manifested in that perfect state of divine order. And those who receive of this victory and glory, the wonderful mind of Christ, conformed to the image of the Son, with a full and complete triumph over sin, carnality and death, in spirit, soul and body -- these make up that blessed company TO WHOM IS GIVEN DOMINION OVER ALL THINGS!
How we praise God that we are living in the times of this restoration! It is the greatest day in the long history of man. It is at hand! I know it's at hand because I see a people being pressed and processed into the very life of God. Over fifty years ago the revelation of manifested sonship broke forth in the earth in a blaze of glory, and since that time God has been dealing in deep and powerful ways with those who have embraced the hope. The knowledge of God's purpose has spread over the whole earth, to every kindred and people and nation. It has been the sovereign work of God apart from any organization or the united efforts of any group or ministry. Not only you and me, but all creation as well will thrill to what God brings to pass in this grand and glorious restoration! "The creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:21). The word of God, as well as the witness of the Spirit, makes us know that this is not for some other age. It is now! It is here! Be ready! Prepare yourself! Cast aside all doubt and fear! The kingdom and the dominion is being given to the saints of the Most High! Victory over every enemy is arising within a people -- the SONS OF THE LIVING GOD!
While we thus stand, as it were on Pisgah's heights, and view the grand prospect just before us, our hearts rejoice in the Lord's great plan, with unspeakable joy; and though we realize that God's true church is still in the wilderness of humiliation and testing, and that the hour of divine breakthrough has not yet fully come, yet, seeing the indications of its rapid approach, and in spirit already discerning the dawn of the New Day, we lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh. Oh what fullness of blessing and cause for joy and thanksgiving the truth contains! Truly, the Lord has put a new song into our mouths. It is the grand anthem, the first note of which was sung by the angelic choir at the birth of the infant Jesus -- "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people, for unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Thank God, the harmonious strains of this song shall ere long fill heaven and earth with eternal melody as a whole family of sons in His exact image and likeness and form are born -- saviours on mount Zion -- and the work of universal salvation, the restitution of all things, which they come to accomplish progresses toward its GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION!
What glories lie beyond this, we cannot know. Of this we may be sure: we who are redeemed have entered a progressive institution, a Kingdom in which stagnation will never enter. We will ever go on "from glory to glory," for "of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." We will never come to the place where we may sit down with folded hands and say, "This is the end." We, who have been born into the heavenly realm, have entered a stage of action, we have become active agents in the greatest development program ever conceived. A whole universe awaits our touch and guiding hand.
Away out there in the blue is a Kingdom of life and light and love for every son of God to explore and develop and perfect. And if ever, in all the countless ages to come, that Kingdom should become too small or overcrowded for its citizens, let us remember that we, being as He is, are therefore, one and all, the very same kind of Beings as He who simply spoke the word, and lo! the present worlds appeared. Being like Him, the offspring of His own nature, wisdom and power, we will also be creators, one and all, and not destroyers, as in our human state. "WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM."
THE LAUNCHING PAD
We are inclined to lightly pass over many profound statements of holy scripture. Consider with me for a moment the opening words of the divine record. "In the beginning God created the heavens..." (Gen. 1:1). That phrase, "the heavens," is an inclusive one, and it is "the heavens" not "heaven." The Hebrew word used in that way is always in the plural, and used in that way it refers to what we would speak of as the whole universe.
You may have heard of Heptarchus who attempted to catalog all the stars in the sky, and in his final report he said, "There are thousands of them." Now scientists today tell us that, if we took the time, even with the naked eye we can count up to 2,000! They say that is the extent of the possibility of vision of the human eye. But with the aid of telescopes and reflectors, it was Ptolemy long ago who peered into the vastness of space and said, "There are millions of them!" And when Herschel turned his great reflector on to the heavens he made this announcement, "They cannot be numbered." That is the last word of the scientific investigators of the heavens. The most recent estimates reveal that there are at least trillions of them!
The divine record continues, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Now why is the earth referred to in a sweeping cosmic statement? Is it not enough to say "the heavens?" Is not the earth included in that great statement? This earth of ours is just one tiny speck in this cosmic sentence -- why specify it? Simply because the moment you say "earth" you set the scene of the great drama of the Bible. In the scriptures the scene of all its activity is this earth on which we are now living. That is because God's purpose in the whole universe begins with earth! Earth is the cradle of God's revelation of His glory to all realms!
The earth is but a speck and the sun a spark in the vast creation that is known to the modern astronomer. So insignificant is this earth in comparison with the universe of celestial bodies, that its removal from space would cause less commotion than the loss of a penny from the trillions of dollars in the national treasury in Washington. But with all our modern knowledge of astronomy, which reduces to insignificance our infinitesimal planet and the people that populate it, we have no scientific or scriptural ground, strange as it may seem, for believing that this world in which we live is anything less than the ancients imagined it to be -- the center of the universe! It is the revelation of God's infallible word that has mightily magnified the importance of this grain of sand in the mountain of creation.
In this hour when our whole universe is becoming our backyard, there are some who have settled for a very small and inconsequential purpose for the earth. Such as these have great difficulty understanding why our little earth, by comparison so small a place in the universe, should be the divine stage whereon God is enacting His great plan of the ages. The inference seems to be that God's purpose in man and in redemption cannot be so great when the place chosen for its chief events is so small and insignificant. But this miscalculation arises from the failure to discern the difference between a seed plot, where the seeds are planted, and cultivated, and grown, and the immeasurable acreage in which those same seeds are afterward sown to produce a vast harvest. The great mistake that many have in their minds is the notion that this world is the whole sum and substance of God's redemptive plan and purpose. OUR PLANET IS ONLY THE PLACE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SEED. Christ (Head and body) is the seed, yes! He is the wondrous seed corn that fell into the ground and died and rose again. And in the end, this seed shall grow and multiply and bring forth and fill and satisfy all the acreage of God's vast field of the cosmos! Thus, we are justified in calling earth the launching pad of the universe! Just as the space shuttles and rockets blast off for other worlds from the launching pad at Cape Kennedy, so is the earth itself the launching pad from whence the sons of God, when their hour comes, shall blast off by the power of resurrection life to fulfill God's great purpose in all realms of the unbounded heavens.
Not only is the earth the present center of interest, but the attention of all creation was centered in this orb in those prehistoric days when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Methinks that they sang and shouted the wondrous message penned millennia later by the inspired apostle, that "in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in the heavens, and which are upon the earth: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance" (Eph. 1:10). The earth was, is, and shall continue to be the seed plot of the universe! Do you think those sublime sons of God shouted over the beauty and grandeur of a sterile and purposeless universe? No, it was a wise plan and a glorious purpose for every galaxy and world and creature that called forth this oratorio of the sons of God. And there was a special reason why these sons of God should rejoice in this new creation called earth. It was to be the first sphere of their development and dominion -- the launching pad of God's cosmic purposes!
The whole creation, suns upon suns, systems upon systems, worlds upon worlds, immensity beyond comprehension is centering its attention upon what is transpiring upon this little earth, and the reason for all of this is because God has graciously seen fit to make this world the theatrical stage of the universe. It is here that the drama of God's universal program is presented. It is here that Jesus Christ, the proto-type of man in God's image and likeness with divine life, power and dominion is first introduced. It is here that His many brethren, the manifested sons of God, enter into their inheritance and commence their ministry and rule. "And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages hath been hid in God, who created the all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly spheres might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to a plan of the ages which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:9-11). "Wherefore seeing that we also are compassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1-2).
The church systems today offer no hope for this earth and no plan or purpose of God for the universe. In their view the world is going to the devil, getting worse and worse, and will end with the antichrist, the great tribulation, and fiery vengeance, with only a few saints evacuated off to a heaven somewhere beyond the blue. Their attitude pictures humanity's condition somewhat like poor George. George fell off a scaffold from three stories up, broke half the bones in his body, scalded himself with hot tar and lay in the hospital covered with bandages from head to foot, strapped in traction, fed intravenously -- only his left eyeball was visible! The doctor came in, checked the chart at the bottom of the bed of pain, hmmmed knowingly, but not too encouragingly, came around the side of the bed, looked closely at George and said, "I don't like the looks of that eye!" Hopeless! That is how the church world views humanity today.
The wonderful truth is that "the whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of God's sons coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God's purpose it has been so limited -- yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God! It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that we have realized our full sonship in Him" (Rom. 8:19-23, Phillips).
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
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