FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE CHURCH IN PERGAMOS
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna…” (Rev. 2:17).
The imagery employed in this beautiful passage is full of spiritual meaning, once we obtain the key to it. The phrase, the hidden manna, is an allusion to the ark of God which resided in the most holy place of the tabernacle of the Lord, which accompanied the children of Israel during all their wanderings in the wilderness, and which, as we are told in the book of Exodus, contained a golden pot of the manna by which they had been miraculously fed. While the manna collected daily, if kept over for a second day, corrupted, bred worms, and stank, that which they placed in the golden pot was preserved ever fresh by the power of the Shekinah glory which radiated the ark. But let us look beyond the letter of the word and hear it by the Spirit! The hidden manna reveals the truth of INCORRUPTIBILITY!
No spiritual person supposes, however, that the overcomers will one day go to heaven and eat literal manna from an actual golden bowl! But all who follow Christ into sonship to God shall eat and eat and eat of HIS INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE until all the death of the carnal mind and the corruption of the flesh has been swallowed up of His life and the day comes when, even in their bodies, this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality! Aren’t you glad!
Under the old covenant they had an outward ark and in it they put the pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the law given to Moses. But Christ in His new covenant puts His spiritual law of His divine nature, and the rod of His divine appointment by the Spirit, and the manna of His own incorruptible life, into the hearts of His called and chosen elect. They that ate of the manna in the wilderness died, but they that eat of the incorruptible life of Christ, the spiritual bread from heaven, are filled with divine and eternal life. The new covenant is not according to the old, with its outward rod, law, and manna, for all those outward things served only until the time of reformation or change, till the seed, the heavenly and spiritual man, came, in the power of God’s Life and Light, who puts the heavenly law of Christ’s mind and nature, and the heavenly rod of God’s appointed priesthood, and the heavenly manna of incorruptible and immortal life into the sanctified hearts of God’s sons. Christ abolishes all these outward things, of the old covenant and testament, and establishes the new in the lives of His called out people!
It is quite meaningful to see that the manna is in the ark. The ark represents Christ! It is not open manna, it is not manna on the ground, in the lowlands of the corruption of our earthiness, or of carnal man-made religion; it is not manna displayed — not something you will hear on TBN! It is manna in the secret place, in the secret depths of Christ in our spirit. It is not surface and shallow, it is not for the multitudes, not even the multitudes of God’s people. This is that which goes beyond the veil, hidden in the ark of Christ. Hidden manna is from heaven, truth unfolded, enlightenment and quickening from the throne room of God! Can you not see the mystery?
Not only is the manna hidden in the golden pot, but this pot is hidden in the ark! “For ye are dead, and your (new) life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). In the wilderness the children of Israel enjoyed the manna, but the manna they enjoyed was public manna; it was manna fallen to earth before the eyes of everyone, not manna hidden in the heavens of God’s Spirit. The hidden manna is not the obvious manna that everyone else is eating, but that which is stored away in the blazing presence of God, in the ark of His covenant, in the most holy place of His glory and power. Most Christians eat of the ordinary manna, the letter of the word, the truths of God on the level that is understandable by natural minds. They never get to the depth of truth that can only be received by the quickening of the Holy Spirit! Instead of merely believing the letter of the words of scripture, every son of God is being quickened to hear the heartbeat of the Father, to receive the words of God in and by the Spirit.
The hidden manna is Christ speaking words of spirit and life from the sanctuary of our innermost being! The showbread was exhibited on the table, it was shown forth and seen of men. But the incorruptible manna is hidden in the golden pot in the ark. Multitudes today eat of the showbread in the holy place! In gatherings, in meetings, in conventions, on radio and television, in books and magazines, they eat of that bread of life that is displayed, that all can see and hear, and be strengthened thereby. But it does not give the measure of life that the hidden manna gives! It is like the milk for babes, of which Paul wrote. The hidden manna is Christ is a deeper way, Christ in the most holy place, Christ in the inner chamber, Christ in the secret place of the Most High, Christ in the heavenlies of our spirit!
This is Christ according to the order of Melchizedek, after the power of an endless life, not according to the old order of Aaron. Aaron stands in the outer court offering sacrifices upon the altar, and in the holy place lighting the lamp of a beginning, feeble light of Christ, and burning the incense of prayer and praise. Melchizedek is on the throne of God in the higher than all heavens! We may experience Christ as our showbread in the holy place and all that we experience there is immediately known by many people. We may share it in church meetings, Bible study and prayer groups, conferences, perhaps even on radio or television. We may write of it in magazines, or in a book. Sometimes the news of our glorious experience spreads across the whole land! This is nothing but the experience of Christ as the open showbread!
The overcomers are those who press deeper into the secret place of the Most High in order to partake of the Christ in realms and measures that the world, even the church world, knows nothing of! Not to the whole church in Pergamos, but only to “him that overcometh,” is the promise given of the hidden manna. The Lord Jesus ministered to men in power and great glory, but as a Son He enjoyed a relationship with, and a knowledge of, the Father that the multitudes, nor even His own closest disciples, knew nothing of. And so it is with every son of God! Isn’t it wonderful!
The hidden manna brings incorruptible life! And as His divine life becomes our life, transforming us from the image of the earthly man into the image of the heavenly man, then the life of God shall flow out to the nations of the world through a true manifest sonship ministry until there has been brought into being a new heaven and a new earth. Aren’t you glad! “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:49). This transformation comes from partaking of His life, eating His flesh and blood, that is, eating the hidden manna! No more carnality! No more death! Not only for the sons, but all humanity! By the hidden manna the sons of God shall put death under their feet, destroying it finally, fully, and forever, as Jesus did eternally when He came and lived by the life of the Father. Not only do they win victory over death, but they now have the power of Life! Out of this temple of God shall flow a river of the water of Life to bless all creation. Even those believers who failed to attain to the status of an overcomer will be greatly blessed by those who did!
This is a supernatural manna — not the manna after the order of that which the children of Israel ate in the wilderness, for they ate and are dead. The manna in the wilderness gave the people life in a physical body, but this is a manna that will give you life in a spiritual body. “I am the living bread,” said Jesus, and “this is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die” (Jn. 6:50). As the children of Israel ate the manna every day, so we must eat the manna every day! “If any man eats and continues to eat of this bread, he shall live forever,” is how it is in the Greek.
Behold, I show you a mystery! The body Jesus brought out of the tomb is the eternal body of Christ. The body that came out of the tomb was the only glorified human flesh that ever existed. Jesus was the only perfect man empowered to raise His flesh body up into the state of spiritualization — a spiritual body, truly a body, but not a natural body, for now “there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:44). The spiritual body is His body! There will never be but one resurrection body for there will never be another man besides the last Adam who is also the second man. There have only been two men — Adam and Christ. Just as our natural body came from Adam and is the very body of Adam, so must our spiritual body come from the Lord Jesus Christ and is the very body of Christ. His resurrection body, because it is the body of Christ, and for those who make up the completeness of the Christ body, enters into us making us truly “bone of His bones, and flesh of His flesh” (Eph. 5:30). That is the mystery!
When we speak of this great truth of being members of Christ’s body, we are not referring to Adam’s flesh body-members becoming members of Christ. Oh, no! It is not Adam’s hands (our physical hands) or Adam’s mouth or Adam’s feet that are members of the Christ. That is how we think in the natural! Only flesh of His flesh and bone of His bones can be the members of Christ! Just as believers receive the spirit of the Son into their hearts in the power of the Holy Spirit, so does the overcomer receive that resurrected and glorified body of the Christ within, bone of His bones, and flesh of His flesh. As we continue to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, growing in His nature, life, power, and glory, we receive within ourselves in the invisible realm of the inner son, the new man, the new creation, the inward man, that same resurrection body of the Lord who ascended into the heavens and is now returning to appear in His many brethren, to be admired in all them that believe in this day.
Let us look a little deeper. Should you shed Adam’s body, the natural body, the earth body, the corruptible body, this tabernacle in which we groan, that glorified body is there, raised up in the life of Christ within you, and you have a house built within you, which is out of heaven, out of Christ in the realm of the spirit, and that house IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST — SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY. Can you not see the mystery? In Spanish there is a hospitable saying, when one comes to visit, “mi casa es su casa” — “my house is your house.” That is what the Lord Jesus says to us today in respect to that body He brought out of the tomb in a state of glorification — “My house is your house!” This is our house from heaven, the building not made with hands, eternal in the realm of the spirit within ourselves! This is the body of immortality and incorruption the sons of God are to seek — to fully put on the Lord Jesus Christ as our house from heaven in the power of His resurrection! That is the mystery!
Is this not why the Lord said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:51). The living flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ is the hidden manna promised to the overcomer! The words of Jesus in this regard are very clear and wonderful, “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die” (Jn. 6:49-50).
THE WHITE STONE
“To him that overcometh I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).
All through the Bible, and in no part of it more than in this book of Revelation, runs the idea of a correspondence between a spiritual quality and the name of the person possessing it; the precious stone represents the quality, such as courage, patience, strength, or other quality which is most characteristic of some particular person, and the name written on it is that of the wearer. The “white” stone promised to the overcomer is not meant as a description of its appearance or color, but its nature. It stands for a flawless purity, the beauty of holiness. The white stone is the white of spiritual radiance!
White is everywhere the color of that which is righteous, spiritual, divine, and heavenly, and nowhere more remarkably so than in the book of Revelation! Of the mighty Christ of God we are told, “His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow.” Then besides this white stone we have white raiment, white robes, a white cloud, fine linen clean and white, white horses, and a great white throne. When Jesus was transfigured on the holy mount before His disciples, the record states, “His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light” (Mat. 17:2). The white here was not the dull white like the paper these words are printed on, but glistering white — like the LIGHT! It is the character of intense white to be shining — like a diamond! It is the brilliance of the radiance of the glory of the Lord! What a stone this is — white, like the light, glistering with the brilliance of God’s glory! It speaks not of simple purity as much as it does of radiating glory that emanates out of divine nature!
When the Lord said that He would give a white stone to the overcomer He used the Greek word psefos. This particular word appears in the New Testament in only one other instance, namely, that of Acts 26:10, wherein Paul says, “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice (psefos) against them.” Paul stated, “I gave my voice against them.” The word voice is psefos. The Emphatic Diaglott renders the word as vote. Paul gave his consenting “vote” to the death of the saints. This same word psefos was translated stone in Revelation 2:17!
Liddell and Scott’s Greek Dictionary presents quite an array of evidence to show that stone, or pebble, referred to by the Greek word psefos, does not refer to just any stone or pebble one would pick up off the ground, but is in reality a balloting stone used by the ancients in casting their votes. Elections and other decisions of the people, as well as decisions of the judges, were expressed by the use of this particular kind of stone, or pebble — psefos Athenas. These stones were painted white to express a favorable vote, or black to express an unfavorable decision in the situation under consideration. The Greeks still use a method of voting like this. They have a tin box divided into two parts, one side painted white and the other side painted black. A hole permits the voter to insert his hand into the box and drop a little ballot made of lead, about the size of a pea, either into the white side of the box or into the black side.
There may also be an allusion here to conquerors in the public games, who were not only conducted, AND with great pomp into the city to which they belonged, but had a white stone given to them, with their name inscribed on it; which badge entitled them, during their whole life, to be maintained at public expense. Still other white stones had to do with instruments of hospitality, or friendship, or alliance. A stone could be inscribed and then broken so that the two parts, when fitted together, formed a sort of validation of the bearer. A white stone was given to a man who had been tried and acquitted. Then sometimes, the white stone was given to the man freed from slavery and made a citizen of the province. He carried the stone as evidence of his citizenship. Can we not see by all these uses of the white stone that the common denominator in each is the “rights” or “privileges” or “status” or “identity” of the one receiving it! In all these cases the white metaphor drawn by the white stone is a way of describing OUR PLACEMENT AS OVERCOMERS, INHERITORS, PARTAKERS OF THE HEAVENLY CALLING, SONS OF THE KINGDOM.
The ancient meaning of this Greek word used by the Spirit in the promise to the overcomer certainly gives a wonderful assurance to the overcomer! The Lord is saying that He will cast His vote in favor of those who faithfully fulfill all His will, who follow Him all the way, who overcome all things by the power of His life — declaring us sons indeed, imparting to us His power and glory, conferring on us life and immortality, and raising us up to sit with Him upon His throne! This is the adoption, the placement as sons! Can we not see that this is precisely what happened in the life of the firstborn Son when He came to the Jordan to be baptized of John? The Holy Spirit descended upon Him without measure and the voice came from heaven proclaiming, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!” The Father cast His vote, declared His Son, imparted His power, glory, and honor, conferred His incorruptible life and nature, and sent Him forth as the manifest Son of God! On that blessed day the Father gave His Son a white stone, and in that stone a new name was written which no one else knew saving He that received it! Oh, the wonder of it!
There is another application of the white stone worthy of our consideration. In the Old Testament times, there was a wonderful stone which was concealed in the breastplate of the high priest (Ex. 28:15-30). This stone was called Urim and Thummim, meaning “Lights and Perfections.” That does not mean there were two stones, only that there were two manifestations of God out of the one stone. Since the diamond, most precious of all stones, was not among those set in the breastplate itself, it could likely have been this stone which contained within itself, by the spirit and power of God, the Urim and the Thummim, which was concealed within, or beneath, the breastplate. The high priest alone knew what was engraved upon it, but the conjecture that it was the ineffable name of God is probably correct. Thus, the new name that the overcomer receives in the white stone is the very name or nature of God Himself! It is a higher revelation of Him than has ever been communicated to others! It is, as the Lord says in Revelation 3:12, “My new name.” It is the very nature of CHRIST!
The “Lights and Perfections” were divine manifestations of the Spirit by which the counsel and will of God was revealed to the high priest. The high priest would inquire of the Lord and God would answer him “by Urim and Thummin.” God would speak out of the stone just as He spoke out of the burning bush and out of the cloud! Christ is our high priest of the new covenant! Isn’t it wonderful that out of the “lights and perfections” of the nature of God within His called and chosen elect the voice of God is heard, the purpose of God is revealed, and the will of God is known! This shows that as God gives us the white stone of the Urim and Thummim within ourselves by the wisdom of the Spirit, in the power of His nature, and by the authority of Christ, we are able to see and hear as we have never seen or heard before! This is happening right now as the revelation of God is released in those who are overcoming, growing up into the fullness of Christ. We are now seeing all things as they really are, and all the old errors of the religious systems of man, and the false perceptions of carnal understanding, are being removed out of our thinking and experience. Isn’t it wonderful!
Our Father is a very effective teacher and He teaches by the illumination of His word within the inner recesses of our being. He teaches through the ministry of the body of Christ from member to member in the flow of His life. He teaches through experience, and many times He teaches through parabolic experiences. We have an example of His teaching by a parabolic experience in the book of Jeremiah, where the Lord spoke to the prophet saying, “I want you to go and buy a fine linen girdle and I want you to put it on.” Then the word of the Lord came to him saying, “Now, take the girdle, go to the river Euphrates and hide it there in a hole in the rock.” It was four hundred miles to the Euphrates! So the prophet went to the Euphrates and buried the girdle in a hole in the rock by the river, as the Lord commanded. He then made the long trek back over four hundred long, hot, dusty, rocky, treacherous miles!
Some days later the word of the Lord came to the prophet again, saying, “Now, Jeremiah, go back to the Euphrates and dig up the girdle!” So he made the journey back over four hundred miles, dug up the girdle, and brought it home. In the meantime, the girdle had become marred, it had mildewed and decayed, it had rotted in that damp little hole in the rock by the river and the word of the Lord to him was this, “As this girdle has been marred, so will I mar the beauty of Judah and Jerusalem!” What a way to receive a word from the Lord! Don’t you think that God could just have shown Jeremiah the girdle in a dream? Don’t you think God could have given him a vision that would have encompassed everything that happened without walking 1,600 miles just to get a one sentence message from the Lord? But you see, that was a parabolic experience. It was the word of God in the form of a parable that was experienced by the man of God. He received the revelation God spoke to him out of the experience, rather than by a word out of the heavens! And how terribly effective it was!
Several years ago the Lord spoke to me in a parabolic experience. Beginning some thirty years ago, I developed a vision problem. I could read the finest print close-up, but things in the distance were blurred. Sometimes I could not tell whether a person half way across the super market was a man or a woman. At times, at night, I had trouble reading the large signs over the freeway. Many of those reading these lines know that in 1995 I had a major surgery. The neurosurgeon went in through the roof of my mouth to cut away a bone that was compressing my spinal cord at the base of the brain stem. When I came out of that surgery my eyesight was about eighty percent better! I questioned my neurosurgeon about this, and also asked an optometrist about it. They both said that they knew of absolutely nothing related to my surgery that could in any way affect my eyesight. God had done a strange and wonderful work and it improved my vision. But it wasn’t whole yet.
A few years later I was riding with my son-in-law, coming home from Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Just at dusk in the evening a deer presented itself in the road. Neither of us saw it, but we hit that deer at seventy miles per hour. The only injury I received was from the air bag which struck me in the eye at 200 miles per hour! Immediately, in my right eye, which was the weak eye, I could not see anything — just a blur. I wound up in the emergency room here in El Paso where they examined me and told me that what I had was severe corneal abrasion. In time it would heal. Through a process over weeks and months, when the healing was complete, I had perfect vision! I told my family and the brethren, “I guess the Lord knew I needed a corneal adjustment — so He set it up!” God is an expert at setting things up! Isn’t it wonderful!
Following this, one day the word of the Lord came to me out of my parabolic experience and the word was this: “Just as I have sovereignly adjusted your physical vision, so am I adjusting the spiritual vision of my elect!” Ah, yes, God is correcting our vision! God is enhancing our vision! The Lord is bringing us to the place of His divine perspective to see as God sees, to understand as God understands, to know as God knows! He is bringing forth in our lives a Divine Perspective to see all things according to the mind of Christ and according to the heart of the Father! When we truly see with the eyes of God, by the spirit of wisdom and revelation, that, my beloved, is the spiritual reality within ourselves of the URIM AND THE THUMMIM! Only the overcomer can receive this measure of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord!
The white stone carries us back all the way to the mists of the lovely garden of Eden. The scripture tells us that the Pishon river, originating in Eden, flowed “around the whole land of havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there” (Gen. 2:11-12). The garden of Eden is a type of the kingdom of heaven on earth, ruled by sons of God in the image of God, and here the Holy Spirit connects the garden of Eden with precious stones, symbolizing rich, beautiful, and wonderful spiritual realities of the kingdom realm of God.
In another place the Holy Spirit testifies of the precious stones in the land of Eden, when He speaks to the fallen Adam, saying, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold…” (Eze. 28:13). The symbolical picture given here is of a land fairly littered with sparkling gems of all sorts, as we read in the next verse, “You walked in the midst of the stones of fire” — that is, in the midst of the blinding brilliance of precious gems! Adam walked in a state of God’s abundance! Fellowship with God in Eden meant living in the atmosphere of spiritual wealth, glory, and beauty! All the riches of God’s mind, nature, wisdom, and power scintillated in Adam’s spirit!
In our text in the book of Revelation the white stone is mentioned in connection with the hidden manna. Both are given together to the overcomer! In itself, manna was a reminder of Eden: for even while God’s people were in the wilderness on their way to the promised land of abundance and fullness, the Lord rained down manna from heaven and their food was plentiful, delicious, and easy to obtain — as, of course, it had been in the Garden. But, there is a deeper truth yet! Just in case any might fail to get the connection, the Holy Spirit recorded that the manna was the color of bdellium (Num. 11:7) — the only occurrence of that word apart from its original mention in the book of Genesis! And this plainly tells us the color of bdellium, since we are told elsewhere (Ex. 16:31) that manna was white! Both manna and bdellium were white! “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone.” The overcomer is given immortal life, but he no longer contains that life in an earthen vessel with a carnal nature, as we have all experienced up till now. Oh, no! For the overcomer is also given, along with the immortal life of the hidden manna, flawless purity, even the beauty of holiness, by the scintillating radiance of the divine and heavenly nature. That, my beloved, is the full return to Eden. Oh, the mystery of it!
To whom is the white stone with the new name given? To him that overcomes! When is it given? When he overcomes! Does God then not know what a believer is going to become? Is He waiting to see what we shall become before He entrusts us with hidden manna, a white stone, and a new name? As surely as He sees the mighty oak which He put there lying in the heart of the acorn, so does He see the manifest sons of God lying within the seed of Christ! Why then does He wait until the man has become by overcoming before He settles what his name (nature) shall be? He does not wait — He knows from the beginning. But it is only when the new nature of Christ has grown up, become victorious, and solidified within him as stone, that the new name has truly become within. When the man has become his name or nature that God ordains for him, then he understands what the name signifies and it has become as solid and enduring as stone within him!
In the 17th century, scientists came to understand gems as “rare and noble productions of nature.” They are distilled from duller rocks by processes that often involve the play of fierce heat and pressure deep within the earth’s crust. And they derive their loveliness from a variety of prosaic sources. For example, precious ruby and the common abrasive emery consist of the same basic mineral, corundum; the difference between them is accounted for by the presence of minute traces of other substances. Diamond is chemically identical to graphite; only a different crystalline structure gives diamond the hardness, clarity, and flash for which it is so highly esteemed.
As diamonds and other precious stones pass through long seasons of intense heat and cold and pressure in nature’s laboratory before they reach their perfection of beauty, so must every member of God’s elect pass through pain and suffering before we can be perfected. And though chemists can make diamonds and other precious stones artificially, yet when we apply careful tests to them we see their defects. That’s why a zircon, though it superficially resembles a diamond, has very little value when compared with a genuine diamond! So we cannot reach in a single day, or without the heat and cold and pressure, such perfection that we will have no defects in us, but by continually living in the presence of our Father, and subject to the deep dealings of God in our lives through the crucible of experience, we will become perfect even as He is perfect!
Let us, therefore, meditate upon the precious stones of earth and see by the Spirit the analogy that the Lord draws between them and His elect people who become His crown of authority, His diadem. Let us notice some common characteristics of precious stones and see how beautifully they illustrate the spiritual characteristics inworked in the lives of God’s sons. Jewels are rare, precious, pure, brilliant, beautiful, and valuable!
First, jewels are rare. Think about it — if you went out in search of precious stones how long and painstakingly must you search before one is found? The majority of stones are common and therefore of very little value. Lorain and I enjoy hiking and camping in the mountains of the southwest, and it is impressive to explore the high and numberless mountains of solid stone. And yet, it is awesome to think that the stone revealed through upturned mountains is slight in comparison to the vast quantity of stone buried deep beneath the surface! Our son, Andy, was for many years a rock hound. He could tell you that the occasional precious piece is rare indeed! And is this not an appropriate illustration of the rarity of finding a mature son of God among the hundreds of millions of professed believers in the world? Rare indeed is a saint who has seen the vision of God’s truth and is yielding himself to the dealings of the Father to be a son indeed! No wonder Jesus said to His small group of footstep followers, “Fear not, little flock; it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Then, too, jewels are precious. One could actually hold in his hands precious gems which would be worth more than half a billion dollars! Some jewels, because of their history, are virtually priceless. To illustrate the immense value of gems think of the Empire State Building in New York City. Thousands of skilled artisans worked for many, many months erecting this architectural masterpiece towering over one hundred stories high. Incomprehensible amounts of steel, concrete, wood, and other materials were gathered from many quarters to go into its construction. At last this gleaming masterpiece was completed, a monument to man’s ingenuity, at a cost of some twenty-eight million dollars. Yet — just one small handful of gems could be worth many, many times the value of this marvelously imposing structure! Of such value are God’s elect in His eyes! For you see, the powers and processes that go into making a priceless gem exceed by millions of times the work and powers that were involved in the construction of the Empire State Building. This speaks to us of the great value of the dealings, pressures, tribulations, processings, quickenings, blessings, and workings of God in the lives of His called and chosen people! Is this not what Paul meant when he wrote, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!” (Rom. 8:18). Those radiating His glory, as the result of all His deep and powerful processings, are His precious ones! That is why the trial of our faith is declared to be more precious than fine gold!
The best jewels are pure. Geologists tell us that precious stones were once part of the surrounding elements in which they are found. Through the ages earth movement, pressure, and heat began a separating work, and finally that which was once mixed and impure became crystal, free from alloy, and that which was commonplace became a jewel! How often does the call of a son parallel this process! The intense heat and pressure of our trials and tribulations, and Father’s crushings and provings, separate out of our lives the flinty disposition of self-will and the clay of carnality and instability. We know that the diamond was once carbon, black and soft in comparison to the clarity and hardness of the final product. In the depths of the earth, lumps of carbon are subjected to intense heat and terrific pressure, and a miracle is performed! That which was black becomes crystalline clear, and the hardest substance known to man. What a lesson! Truly the power of God can take that which is weak and black and worthless and transform it into the very image and likeness of God! Oh, the wonder of it!
All of nature in the material creation, as designed by the wisdom of our heavenly Father, is a precise natural picture of the spiritual workings of God in His new creation. Every one of God’s jewels, His company of sons, is to become pure in the kingdom of the Father! The very first call of the one apprehended to sonship is to separate himself from the contaminating elements of the world in which he is found! “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Cor. 6:17-18).
Jewels are brilliant. How often the clear sparkle of a gem set in a ring or as an ornament of adornment catches our eye. We are fascinated by the delightful way facets reflect in varying hues the rays of light that fall upon them! The various hues represent different aspects of the divine nature such as love, goodness, grace, peace, faith, strength, wisdom, and power. All these are contained in the white light which He is! We are called to radiate the multi-faceted glory of God! Paul speaks of the “manifold wisdom” of God. Manifold means “many-splendored” or “many-faceted.” Every part of God’s glory is many-faceted, meaning that all are revealed in the lives of God’s chosen people just as light is reflected by a diamond. This can be done only by a people processed as a priceless gem! Common stones radiate nothing of His many-faceted glory! Only to a processed, pure, gem-like, people is the word of the Lord sent, declaring, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee…His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isa. 60:1-3).
Jewels are also beautiful! The clear, icy sparkle of the diamond, the warm glowing red of the ruby, the cool green of the emerald, the regal purple of the amethyst, the heavenly blue of the sapphire, the warm glow of pearls, each strikingly different from other gems, yet all reflecting the light in glorious hues, none detracting from the other, but all enhancing the beauty of the whole. So are the sons of God! Our Father is clothing us with the beauty of holiness, which is the emanation of the glory of His light of life!
Our Lord’s parable of the prodigal son is the portrait of the life of every son of God. The preachers generally apply the story of the prodigal son to sinful humanity who have left Father’s house for the far country of sin and shame, and I have taught it that way myself. While there may be an application on that level, it is my conviction that the true interpretation of the parable is found on a much higher plane than that. You see, my beloved, there are three separate parables about lost objects in the fifteenth chapter of Luke! The first is about a lost sheep. The sheep became lost because it wandered away from the shepherd. Jesus said that He was Himself the good shepherd who would give His life for the sheep! The story of the lost sheep illustrates the condition of all mankind, lowered into this gross material realm, who have then become lost in their own consciousness from the presence of the Lord who Himself led them here. That is the true parable of lost men!
The second parable is different. There are many truths in this story of which there is neither time nor space to mention in this writing. Briefly, it speaks of a woman having ten pieces of silver, and she lost one piece. She then lit a candle, swept the house, and sought in and under everything until she found it! The woman is the church! Many of the wonderful gifts and blessings and revelations given to the church in the early days, and through various revivals and movings of the spirit of God through the centuries, in turn became lost as men were not careful to continue to walk in the Spirit of God. The fact that the woman lit a candle reveals that spiritual darkness descended upon the church and in that darkness there was a loss of something valuable that was hers through redemption; for silver is a type of redemption.
The third parable is about a Father and his sons! Can you not see the mystery? There is progression in these stories, for the first is about lost men (sheep), the second is about lost blessings and benefits of redemption, and the third is about lost sons! Not lost sinners, mind you, but lost sons! How true it is that those whom the Father appointed to sonship at some point received of the Father that portion of our inheritance which pertained to us at that time. Just as the prodigal son asked his Father for that portion of his inheritance which belonged to him, so each of us sought God for His Spirit, for His gifts, for His blessings, for His word, for His anointing, for His ministry, for His life, for His power, for signs, wonders, and miracles, and much, much more! Did we not ask for these things? Did we not seek for a double portion, for His fullness, for all He would give us? And He poured His power out upon us!
Immediately we left the Father’s house (submission to God alone) and went into the far country of the religious systems. Just as the prodigal did, we squandered our inheritance and devoured our Father’s living with the religious harlots of man-made church systems. We used Father’s inheritance to build up the systems of men, to promote the doctrines of men, to enjoy ourselves rather than doing Father’s will, to gather men to ourselves, to make a name for ourselves, and to do every carnal-minded, man-centered, flesh-oriented religious work in the name of the Lord! The glory of God was dissipated into the fleshly programs and activities of spiritual riotous living! Thank God, at long last, in the pig-pen of spiritual depravity, eating the theological swine’s food of a corrupt church system, we came to ourselves. It was then that a mighty revelation broke within our consciousness! “I will arise and go to my Father!” In brokenness and repentance we arose and returned to Father’s house and threw ourselves upon His mercy!
And now, thank God! He has fallen upon our neck, He has kissed us with the kiss of acceptance, He has killed the fatted calf of the meat of the word, He has put on our feet the shoes of a pure walk in the Spirit of God, He has clothed us with the robe of true righteousness, He has placed the signet ring of His own authority upon our finger, and, miracle of miracles, in coming home we have discovered a restored inheritance! Ah, we had squandered our inheritance, but now, out of the riches of Himself, all that was squandered is ours again, and much more beside, as though we had never left home! Isn’t it wonderful!
The elder brother, who represents another side of our sonship, complained because all this favor was lavished upon one who had sinned so greatly and sunk so low. Then it is that the Father makes the most remarkable statement of the whole parable! He says, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” But is it not also true that “all that the Father has” is the younger brother’s? The shoes, the robe, the ring, all testify to a restored inheritance! This brings a change in perception. Before, the son had said, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” That was because he was the younger son — he lacked maturity. That was the perception of limitation. And, before we went away into the far country, all that we had received was “by measure.” One had a “gift” of this, and another had a “gift” of that, but now the Father proclaims, “ALL that is mine, is yours!” Today the Father is revealing to His sons that we are joint-heirs with Christ; we do not each receive a portion, but we all possess the whole! “All that the Father has is ours!” That is the word of the Father to His sons. God is bringing us out of our consciousness of limitation, into the fullness of sonship! All the Father has belongs to the elder son, and all that the Father has belongs to the younger son. The one who stayed with the Father in unswerving obedience gets it all, and the one who went away and squandered his substance in riotous living gets it all! We are joint-heirs! Oh, the wonder of it! And that is the mystery of the prodigal son.
Jesus constantly affirms that all the glory that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son too. “And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” All the Father does, the Son does too. All the Father speaks, the Son speaks too. There is no separation between the Father and the Son! “The Father and I are one.” “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” There is no division of work! “The Father loves the Son and has committed all things into His hands.” There is no competition! “I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father.” There is perfect unity between the Father and Son! “The Son can do nothing of Himself, He can do only what He sees the Father doing.” And this is all true of the joint-heirs! What a destiny belongs to the sons of God!
I once heard the story of a poor and illiterate widow woman who lived far out in the country. She had only one son who was grown and had gone away to a far away city. There her son went into business and made good. Back home, this poor woman barely eked out a subsistence, planting a meager garden and taking in washing from her neighbors, scrubbing the clothes by hand on an old rub-board. The house she lived in continued to deteriorate; windows broken, roof leaking, steps falling down. Her clothes were faded and patched, her diet improper and monotonous. Each month the poor woman received an envelope in the mail from her son. These envelopes always contained pretty little pieces of colored paper. Being unable to read and understand what these little pieces of paper said, she always pasted them up on the wall of her bedroom to remind her of her son. After some years she died, and when the neighbors came into her house at that time they discovered this large number of money orders made out to her by her son — all glued neatly to her bedroom wall! If only she had known what was hers she would have lacked nothing through all those years!
How we need to know what is ours as the sons of our Father! In Romans, chapter eight, Paul says, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely GIVE US ALL THINGS? The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then HEIRS; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also GLORIFIED TOGETHER.”
Oh, to be able to grasp the greatness of our calling! We have been born again of the very life of God! When we have matured and God has brought us experientially to the full potential of His life in us, there will be nothing impossible to us. We will even have creative powers. We will be creators! Can your faith go this far? If we are born of God we are born of the life of the Creator. This is the sonship life that Jesus lived and demonstrated! Twice out of a few rolls of bread and a couple fish, He created enough food to feed five thousand people, and He said we would do the same works He did, and even greater! I want to know the life of this God! I want to know experientially the power He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. I want to know and experience all His holiness, love, power, and goodness. To this end I seek to completely surrender to Him and I am asking Him for grace to be able to do this.
THE NEW NAME
“To him that overcometh will I give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).
A new name in its spiritual meaning indicates a new nature. All spiritual people understand this great principle and I think we are now beginning to see into the heart of this great conception. Our earthly life is a divinely ordained process in which there is a great end to be gained, something to be vanquished, and a spiritual goal to be striven for and won. The prize of attainment is beyond the power of human wisdom to describe, yet it is more positive and real than any possession that is merely of this world. We cannot know in the fullest sense of the word what it is until it fully becomes ours, and then nothing can rob us of it in time or eternity; it is the open secret of all existence; it is to become like our Lord!
This new name is one which “no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.” Oh, the mystery of it! That is to say that each overcomer has his unique, peculiar, distinctive relationship to God. He is to God a peculiar being, made after His own fashion, and that of no one else. For when he is perfected he shall receive the new name that no one else can understand!
Let me illustrate. In the world today we have more than six billion people. Every one of those people is an extension, projection, and reproduction as human beings of the first man, Adam. In other words, we are all human beings so far as our natural existence upon this earth. We are known as “men” or “humanity.” And we are simply reproductions of that first man! We speak of ourselves as individuals. Someone says, “I am an individual.” By that he means that he is separate from everyone else. We think, “I’m not like other people. I’m me. I’m something different. I’m special. I’m unique. I’m an individual.” The English word “individual,” however, comes from the Latin word individuus meaning indivisible or not divisible. It’s not that which is separate — it’s that which cannot be separated! It means that if I am an individual I am not separate from the rest of humanity. I am simply a unique expression of everything humanity is! It’s not separation from; it’s identification with! In like manner every one of us, on the spiritual plane, is an individual — a unique expression of the word, of the spirit, of the mind, of the substance, of the totality of the being of our heavenly Father!
We all have fingerprints. It’s interesting that not two fingerprints in the whole world are identical. You can’t tell that by just casually looking at them. There are six billion people in the world — sixty billion fingerprints — and no two of them are alike! Yet every one of them is so similar. A fingerprint is a fingerprint. Yet each one is a unique expression of what a fingerprint is. A fingerprint represents an identity. In the case of a crime, often just a fingerprint is enough to convict a person of the crime. Each one reveals a unique identity. In other words, it’s the same thing manifested in a different way! That’s all any of us are in the natural, outer, physical body. We are each a unique expression of the totality of all that Adam is! We’re not each a fragment of Adam, but a unique expression of HIMSELF! Spiritually, each son of God is a unique expression of the substance and glory of our heavenly Father. We’re not individual sons in any kind of separation! We’re just a unique expression of everything He is!
Another picture of this is the human body. Each of us began our physical existence as a single cell — one little microscopic, invisible cell. That cell divided and became two cells. The two divided and became four cells. By the time you reach the stage of an adult, they tell us we have approximately sixty trillion cells in our body! Now those cells take different forms. There are cells of our hair. There are cells of our skin. There are cells of our eyes. There are cells of our blood. There are cells of our internal organs — every part of our body is made up of these cells. Yet, all sixty trillion of these cells came from that one original cell! And the fact is that within each one of those sixty trillion cells is the DNA to reproduce a carbon copy of everything you are.
In past months and years we have seen sheep and cats and other animals that were cloned. That cute little kitten I once saw that was a clone was made from just one cell of the cat it was derived from. I don’t know how many cells a cat has. But however many cells a cat has, that is, theoretically, how many kittens could be reproduced out of the one cat! Can you see the mystery? Each cell does not contain a fragment of the person — within the cell is the totality of the person! Each of us is like sixty trillion complete human beings just like ourselves! What this means is that there are sixty trillion ways of saying the same thing!
A brother told me once that he asked the Lord, “What am I in the body of Christ?” And he said the Lord responded, “You are a flake of dandruff — and you irritate!” Well, if he was a mere flake of dandruff, there were thousands of carbon copies of himself within that flake of dandruff! Isn’t that a wonder? We think of individual members of the body of Christ as fragments of the Christ. Not so! Someone says, “I’m nobody. I’m just a wee little insignificant member of the body of Christ.” And yet within you is the potential to reproduce the fullness of what Christ is! Manifest sons of God will not be a corporate company or collection of fragments of Christ as many have imagined. Each manifest son of God will be the full reproduction of THE SON in all the plenitude of His mind, nature, glory, and power — in a unique expression of that sonship fullness! We are not a part of the whole — we are each the whole stated a different way. Isn’t it wonderful!
It means just this. You can worship God as no other man or woman can worship God! You can see God like no other man or woman can see God! You can understand God in a way no other man or woman can understand God! You can experience God as no other man or woman can experience God! You can know God like no other man or woman can know God! And above all — you can express God in a way none other can express Him! That does not mean that other of God’s elect can know or express God more than you, or less than you, or better than you — but none other can know and express God as you!
With every man God has a secret — the secret of the new name. In every man there is a loneliness, an inner chamber of the unique reality of life into which only God can enter. And there is likewise a sanctuary in God Himself which none can enter but the one, out of which sanctuary that man brings revelation and life and light and love for creation. That is that for which he was made — to reveal the secret things of the Father.
No one knows what the white stone contains except the one who receives it. God calls out His elect for Himself. Each is a unique expression of His fullness. There need be no anxiety about whether we are like any of our brethren — it is enough that God has made us what He wants us to be. Is that not enough? Yet each of us will manifest Him fully, in a different way! Aren’t you glad! However small or insignificant we may appear in our own eyes or to others, as long as we are overcoming in that place Father has assigned us, and are growing up into Christ in our inner son, we are receiving of that new name which no man knows but we ourselves. We feel the sacredness and awe of our brother’s holy and secret walk with the Father.. Yet we are one with him in the mystery of it.
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY