KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE CHURCH IN THYRATIRA
“And he that overcometh…to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26-27).
Generally all Christians, of whatever persuasion, interpret these words to mean that the Lord’s people shall rule and reign from the throne of God’s glory over the physical nations of the world, thereby bringing the kingdom of God to pass in the earth. I have taught it that way myself! There are many, many scriptures that clearly point to a rulership of God’s elect over the kingdoms of man, over all the nations of earth, in fact, over the endless vastnesses of infinity — indeed, over all things! That rule is given to man — God’s Man!
As I have been taught by the Holy Spirit and have progressed in the unfolding revelation of His truth I have come to see, however, that the above passage is not the best one to teach this beautiful truth from! Remember, we are dealing here with symbols, and the symbols portray the spiritual work of God within His people as related to their “overcoming.” When a carnal person reads this promise his response is, “Oh, I’m going to sit on the throne, I’m going to have power and authority, I’m going to be the boss, I’m going to tell people what to do, I’m going to demand respect, I’m going to crack the whip and make things change in this old world!” That’s exactly what the carnal nature wants to do! From a child it wants to be an authority over everybody else, it wants everyone to bow down before it. With great earnestness I pray that God will open the understanding of all who read these lines, for it is of perfect truth that I tell you that the Lord is not talking about the outward, external realm of authority and dominion. He is speaking of spiritual authority, spiritual power, and spiritual dominion that begins in that spiritual “land” which we are!
We have now come to the fourth step in our progressive journey as we continue to overcome. We have eaten from the tree of life. We have escaped being hurt by the second death. We have been filled with the Spirit of God and have begun to feast upon the hidden manna. We have received a white stone and have been given a new name as revealed to us by Christ, and the next step is to be given power over the nations. As we continue to overcome, the Spirit of God leads us to continue to grow in Christ and in the victory, glory, and power of His kingdom. At this fourth stage of our overcoming are we truly ready to rule over the nations with a rod of iron, and break them to shivers by the power of the word of the Lord? I think not!
Much of the book of Revelation is rooted in the events, conditions, and arrangements set forth symbolically in the Old Testament. The tree of life is drawn from the Old Testament. The hidden manna is taken from the Old Testament. The white stone and the new name are from the Old Testament. It is here that I see the key to what the Spirit is speaking about when He says, “To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations.” Over what nations? Which were “the nations” that Israel of old was given power over? The imagery here is drawn from Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan! To conquer is to overcome — that is the precise meaning of the word overcome in the Greek language! When Israel came out of the wilderness to enter in and possess the land God had promised them, for which purpose He had brought them out of Egypt by a mighty hand and had watched over them for forty years during their wilderness wanderings, the record states, “When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; and when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; and thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deut. 7:1-6).
At that time in history, Israel’s new land was occupied by the seven “ites” — by seven heathen nations who were exceedingly vile and corrupt, which they had to conquer, drive out, destroy, and possess. As we compare the above scripture passage with the Lord’s admonition to the overcomers in the seven churches we see revealed not only the “nations” we are given power over, to break them to shivers, but we see also the Balaamite and Jezebel conditions as the Lord explains to Israel why they must destroy these nations and make no covenants with them, nor make marriages with them, nor preserve at all their images, idols, and groves. Our new land in this new day of the kingdom of God is the fullness of Christ!
In the scriptures all the outward, physical, material, and earthly things that we see, touch, and enjoy are not the real things. I do not mean by that that they are merely illusions and don’t actually exist; they are, however, but outward symbols, shadows, and figures of the true. The true and eternal are the things of the spiritual world! Paul was explaining this mystery when he wrote, “For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity have been made intelligible and clearly discernible through the things that have been made — His handiworks” (Rom. 1:20, Amplified). Day by day we see, use, and experience so many material things — we walk on the ground, we open doors, ride in automobiles, eat food, drink liquids, bathe in water, sleep in beds, wear clothes, and contact a thousand other objects. Yet none of these things are truly real! They are but shadows, pictures, types, and figures. The food we consume every day is not the real food. The water we drink is not the real water. The light that radiates our atmosphere and falls daily upon our pathway is not the real light. Even the country we live in is not the real land, but a figure pointing to something higher and grander.
Then, what are the real things? The real things, my beloved, are SPIRIT! The spiritual flesh and blood of Christ are the real food. The life of God by the Spirit is the real water. The radiating presence and revelation of Christ is the light to us. Christ Himself is the reality of everything to us! Even our physical life is not the real life. That is why Christ said, “I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly.” “He that has the Son has life,” said the apostle. All natural life on this planet is merely a figure, pointing to Christ who is our life. If a man’s spirit has not been quickened by HIS Spirit, that man knows not life nor does he have life. “He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
We all live in houses of some kind — some live in shacks, some in mobile homes, others live in modest dwellings while still others occupy mansions. But whatever the nature of our residence, it is not our dwelling place; it is not the real one! Moses, who had been brought up in the palaces of the Pharaoh of Egypt, who also lived with Israel in tents in the wilderness, understood this great truth and prayed, “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Ps. 90:1) And again, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1). What wonderful depth there is in the words of the apostle John, “No man hath seen God at any time…hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit…God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God” (I Jn. 4:12-16). Yes, the Lord is the real habitation to us!
Have you ever realized that Christ is also the very land you are living upon, the country of your citizenship? Christ is the land! You may be proud of the piece of real estate you own, the location is perhaps ideal, the community splendid, the setting picturesque, the view enthralling, and it may be quite valuable. But that is not your land! You may also be very patriotic, loving the country of which you are a citizen, cherishing your life there, and even willing to die defending it. Yet, that land is not your land! Your real estate, your nation, and even the earth itself are nothing but a figure pointing to Christ. Christ is the real land to us!
In the hidden language of the Spirit, the symbol of “land” often has the meaning of “inheritance.” In some cases it deals with our inheritance, in other references, the inheritance of the Lord. And in addition to these, many other varied ideas are conveyed by the word “land.” In the Old Testament the Lord always referred to a piece of Land. God called out Abraham, telling him that He would bring him into a certain land, which was the land of Canaan. All the way from the book of Genesis to the end of the Old Testament the Lord stressed that special land again and again. “The land…the land I promised Abraham…the land I gave to your fathers…the land I brought you into…I will bless you in the land…” It was always the land, the land, always the land! When Israel sinned God drove them out of the land; but He always promised to bring them back into the land. Many people are still focused on that land over in the Middle East. Jewish, Christian, and Moslem pilgrims from all over the world travel to that land and many are expecting the kingdom of God to be established in and from that land.
Many times we hear people express the desire to go to the “Holy Land.” I have been to the land of Israel, and believe me, there is nothing holy about it! It is interesting to visit the country and see the geography where so many historical events took place in the purposes of God. But preachers and broadcasters are literally making a mint of money conducting tours to the so-called holy land! Songs have been written about walking where Jesus walked. Many people want to go to the holy land and see the stable where Jesus was born. They want to see the house in Nazareth where Mary and Joseph lived with the boy Jesus. They want to see the hill of Golgotha where Jesus was crucified. They want to see where Jesus was buried in the tomb. They want to see the tomb of David and all the other supposedly sacred places. And there are a great many tour guides there who for a price will take these gullible pilgrims to any of the places they desire to visit. But most of these sites are not genuine — they are fabrications!
I have even heard preachers get greatly excited about going to the upper room and having the Spirit of God come upon them mightily, as they describe it. Far greater than they ever knew before! I have seen people actually go into ecstasies over such stories. It saddens me to say it, but what they are experiencing is intense soulish excitement, not the Spirit of God! You see, that upper room where the hundred and twenty were filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost no longer exists! In A. D. 70 the whole city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed. The soldiers of the Roman army plowed it under and leveled it completely. So there cannot be any upper room there! The rubble from that original upper room is buried some thirty feet beneath where men walk today. But the gullible tourists still go and feel their goosebumps.
Incredible as it may seem, the land of Israel is but a figure of the true land — Christ as everything to us! Abraham from the beginning understood this clearly, even if modern-day Christians don’t! The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “By faith Abraham when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. By faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise of God, in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. For he was waiting expectantly and confidently, looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God. Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland — their own country. But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly (spiritual) one. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God…” (Heb. 11:8-10,14,16, Amplified).
Now we know what is meant by the land! It was but a shadow and figure of the true land, the heavenly land of the Spirit, where the called and chosen elect of the Lord dwell in Christ in God! Everything that God prepared naturally for the children of Israel was concentrated in that land. “For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year” (Deut. 11:10-12). They were called to live on the land and to enjoy all the provision and abundance of God. They were to be formed into a kingdom in that land, observing the statutes, judgments, laws, ways, and will of the Lord in the land. They were to become a kingdom of priests and an holy nation in the midst of the land so that through them all the nations of the earth might be blessed! All the promises, provisions, plans, and purposes of God were concentrated in the land.
All these types are fulfilled in Christ as a piece of land! All the promises, provisions, plans, and purposes of God for mankind are concentrated in Christ! Christ is the true, real, appointed, abundant, fruitful, heavenly land to us! Our citizenship is in Christ in the heavens of God’s Spirit! We are not of this world, nor of the earthly Jerusalem, nor of the physical seed of Abraham, nor of the land of Canaan in the Middle East! God has given us a citizenship in the heavenlies where we are seated together in Christ Jesus! God has given us this heavenly, spiritual, incorruptible, eternal, all-sufficient land that we may become a kingdom of priests, an holy nation, and that through us as the very sons of God all the nations of the earth shall be blessed!
“In Christ” is the place where all things that were lost in Adam are restored unto us and to all mankind. It is the place where the true word of the Lord flows as rivers of living water, and the deceiver has no power to deceive anymore. It is the place where all the trees of the land bear the fruit of the Spirit and all will partake to the full. It is the place where the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. It is the place where the wolf dwells with the lamb and the leopard lies down with the young goat, the cow and the bear graze together, for all the aspects of the bestial nature within have been subdued, tamed, and transformed by the law of the land, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus! It is the land where death shall be swallowed up in victory, where the corruptible puts on incorruption, and the mortal puts on immortality, as the last enemy is conquered and we fully possess our land and inheritance.
Today we are at the border of the land, and we are beginning to conquer and possess it! We are hearing the rallying trumpet! The sharp, piercing, clear word of the Lord is calling us to press on. This is what Jesus has prepared for us! This is the Father’s house of many mansions. This is why He has led us to overcome daily our personal battles, small or great, intimidations, doubts, weariness, pain, tribulations, discouragements, fears, emotions and all things that stand before us and our full possession. Indeed, Canaan represents that place in God where the sons of God who have valiantly fought their own battles, and led by Jesus are putting all enemies under their feet, are possessing their heavenly land of fullness in Christ!
We are now rooted and grounded in Christ (Col.2:7). A plant or a tree is rooted in the soil, in the land; and the Lord’s people become trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, rooted and established in the land which is Christ! Christ is the land where every son of God dwells, where he lives, where his roots are, where he grows, where he becomes fruitful, where he fulfills all the will and purpose of God! Christ is the sphere, the realm in which we live and breathe and walk and work and from whence all creation shall be delivered and blessed! He is our land, our kingdom, and we dwell in Him and walk in Him. Just as God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, and just as God called Moses and the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt, to give them the land of Canaan, so has the Lord now called His elect out of the world, out of the old-order church systems, out of all our old carnal, fleshly, worldly, and religious ways and bondages, that we might inherit the land which Christ is. Christ is a good land, a large land, and a fruitful land! This land is our eternal inheritance! Isn’t it wonderful!
The old land of Israel is no longer “the holy land,” for God has now made us holy and in Christ we are the land of His habitation. “Be ye therefore holy, as your Father in heaven is holy.” While that old land of Canaan has always been, and still is today, a land of sin and carnality and false religion and constant wars and troubles, the kingdom of God is a heavenly, spiritual land of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost! Jesus pronounced doom upon that earthly land and further stated that the kingdom of God would be taken from the people of that land and given to a nation (people) bringing forth the fruits thereof. WE are that holy nation and God’s royal priesthood, a special, chosen people showing forth the virtues of Christ our King! As long as the Jews, the mis-guided Christians, and the great nations of this world continue to believe that the people in the earthly state of Israel are the chosen people of God, there will never be peace there. But when once the church world and the nations see, by the manifestation of the sons of God, that God has moved His true Israel people out of that old land and has brought them into Christ, the true land, and our eternal inheritance and resting place, they will all cease supporting that carnal, fleshly people and erroneously treating them like privileged people, as they have been doing for so many years. Then, and only then, will the peace of the kingdom of God be established among all the nations and peoples of the Middle East!
THE LAND IS OCCUPIED!
God has promised to give us the land, which is the fullness of Christ. There is just one problem with this beautiful hope. THE LAND OF PROMISE IS OCCUPIED! It is infested! It is not vacant, ready to be taken over by God’s elect. It presently is occupied by God’s enemies. Seven mighty nations occupy the land! The Hittites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, and the Canaanites. Each and every one of them is “greater and mightier” than Israel (Deut. 7:1). These enemy nations have walled cities replete with towers, huge gates, and citadels. They are fortified strongholds with massive arsenals of bows and arrows, swords, and daggers plus special weapons like the steel-edged Canaanite battle-ax. They have chariots of iron! The people of Canaan are tall and strong; their warriors renowned (Deut. 1:28).
The promised land was lived in by brutal and ruthless tribes who practiced devilish idolatries, including the worship of their own sexual lusts and the burning of their children in the fire as sacrificial offerings. Their abominable, degrading, disgusting patterns of behavior had been inviting the wrath of God during the time that Israel was multiplying in Egypt. When we say that Christ is our land of promise, this doesn’t mean that Christ Himself is full of wickedness and abominations! You see, my beloved, the land is the realization of Christ within ourselves. The land is not in some far-off heaven somewhere. The land is within us! And in that land of the experiencing of Christ within ourselves we find a great number of hindrances, problems, bondages, fears, perceptions, ideas, concepts, fleshliness, carnality, habits, sin, sickness, and death — all enemies of the realization of Christ.
The realization of Christ as the totality of our life is experienced in three areas — our spirit, soul, and body. Christ is the land of promise, but Christ is entered into and possessed through the experiencing of Christ in spirit, soul, and body. That is the land! This land is occupied by enemies, and Christ is not realized without a battle. It’s not news to any of us that we are in the midst of a war between two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Neither is it news to us that we are the battleground! More particularly, the major focal point of the battle is our mind. There the battle rages at its greatest intensity, because the war is a struggle for our hearts and our loyalties — the very souls and lives of men.
Israel increased in strength and became an army and strong in faith during the time it was wandering in the wilderness, and all the while God was preparing the people for the coming fight against the inhabitants of Canaan. In like manner, throughout two thousand years of the church’s (and our own) wandering in the spiritual wilderness of religious carnality, testing, and proving, the elect of the Lord have been gathering strength and faith and becoming an army to drive out the enemies of God in our spiritual land of Canaan.
Beautiful, inspiring, and challenging are these words from brother Ray Prinzing. “There is another point which also must be reckoned with, and that is, the deeper your life in Christ, the deeper the conflict also. One of the indications of the degree of our spiritual maturity, is the degree of spiritual warfare which we face. Divine wisdom is revealed in that God does not send His ‘spiritual babes’ to fight the fiery contests of the ‘conflict of the ages.’ Nor does a revival-like atmosphere, with the blessings and shoutings of victory betoken what the battle is like. The shout of the multitude with whom you keep ‘holy day’ is much different than the sound of travail in the dark valley. God retains the sole authority of the battle. HE IS THE CAPTAIN OF THE HOSTS, and He knows full well that a new believer cannot face the ‘dark night of the soul’ until they have been prepared for it, so steadily He leads and works His purpose within, to fit us for the battle.
“We have a beautiful type of this in the Old Testament: ‘And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent (change their mind) when they see war, and they return to Egypt: but God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea…’ (Ex. 13:17-18). It was later, after they had learned to trust Him, after they had received His commandments, after they had been put in order according to their ranks and divisions, that God permitted them to face a few battles. Furthermore, just conquering the wilderness alone, with its severe dealings of proving and inner discipline were enough, so that in all of their wilderness journey they fought but few battles, and met with few enemies, compared to those they would later encounter in the land of Canaan, where they would face the walled cities, and the giants, kings and nations which they would have to overcome.
“Dare we say that the stronger the battle, the greater the temptations, the more it is a sign that we are developing and growing in grace? Great testings are often a sign of great grace and great faith, not a sign that we are weak and of little faith. The Lord knows that HE has processed you to the point that you are now ready to face some of these battles. However, don’t suddenly begin to look at your own strength and sufficiency, and begin to take pride that you must be ‘arriving,’ it is not your strength, but HIS IN YOU that is equal to the need.
“Israel could not have fought the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites until they had come into the land where these enemies dwelt. The very fact that they were not in this intense conflict while they were wandering around in the wilderness was proof that they had not yet come into the land of Canaan. But once they found themselves face to face with the giants and the walled cities, they knew they were ‘in the land,’ and the battle was the proof. Therefore, the very power of your trial and testing may become one of the strongest proofs that you are really entering into the land of promise, since these pressures are peculiar to that land. Canaan’s battles are fought in the land of Canaan, not down in the land of Egypt, nor even yet in the wilderness” — end quote.
In this, our generation, a righteous remnant is coming out of their wilderness of trial, testing, and chastisement. Our days of wandering, murmuring, rebellion, immaturity, and vacillation are ending! Our wilderness journey has also ended! There is a specific people in the earth today who witnessed the mighty power of God as He revealed Himself in signs and wonders, and thereby led us out of our enslavement in the Egypt of the world of sin and death. We have also endured the testings and chastisements of the Lord through the provings of the wilderness. Many who read these lines will bear witness that this is true, and now the spirit of sonship groans and travails within you for the fullness of Christ and the glory of the kingdom of God. You have faithfully obeyed in all the deep dealings of the Lord as experienced by all other sons of God, and those experiences made you the overcomer that you are.
There are many other of the Lord’s people who have walked with God in the light they have received, and have also walked through testings and wilderness experiences. But unless the spirit of sonship drives and compels them on this journey into the promised land of the fullness of Christ, they will not profit from the unique trials of the wilderness that prepare one to cross the Jordan and possess their land. Rather than increasing in faith and following Joshua-Jesus into the kingdom land, they are of those who perish in the wilderness. We are not critical of them, for they are the Lord’s people and have at least come up out of Egypt and have eaten the manna and drunk from the rock. The primary work of God in this hour is with His elect remnant whom He has called to rise up and take the land so that all nations might be blessed and creation delivered.
Now we are crossing the Jordan, in spiritual type, and are entering the new land of the kingdom of God or the fullness of Christ on the earth! We may have held the erroneous idea that upon entering the new land of the kingdom we would at once know absolute peace, joy, kingdom blessings, power, and incorruptible life. Perhaps we once thought that by entering into the kingdom of God the entire order of things within and without would change overnight. But I call you to remembrance, my beloved, that the new land of Canaan was the place where Israel of old faced their enemies and conquered them. Even so do we now confront our enemies in this new realm of the kingdom of God! Israel conquered their enemies under Joshua’s leadership after they crossed the Jordan, not before! Even so shall the Lord lead us in conquering all our enemies when we have crossed over our spiritual Jordan. The truth is, the most powerful and entrenched of our enemies are across Jordan in the new land! Israel of old entered this new promised land first, and then they saw their enemies and conquered them. All that happened with Israel then is written for our admonition and instruction, for those natural events are the figures of the spiritual events within the lives of God’s elect by which we enter into our land of the fullness of Christ within ourselves.
Only now are we discovering our enemies! As we cross over our Jordan all our enemies, including death the last enemy, must be driven out before we shall inherit the kingdom of God in all its glorious fullness. But the battle is not ours! Our enemies are also the Lord’s enemies, and HE has promised to drive them out before us as we walk forward in obedience to Him! Here in this new land of the fullness of Christ we shall be fully saved in spirit, soul, and body. Then death, the last enemy, shall be totally conquered within ourselves and defeated. Some say that it is in crossing the Jordan that death is overcome, but such is not the case! Death is the “last” enemy that shall be destroyed, not the first! The battle only begins after we have crossed our spiritual Jordan! Jordan is simply the “crossing over” of leaving our wilderness wanderings behind and stepping forth in faith and obedience to enter in and begin possessing the land of our inheritance! As we enter into this land and begin to conquer the enemies and possess our inheritances, we will know that we are truly His people and that He is our God!
Complete and perfect obedience to the Lord is required of every one who shall follow Jesus across Jordan and possess the kingdom of God. Every part of our being must be under His control, for there is no way we can do His will unless our entire being is in subjection to the Lord. The part of our being that stands in our way is our human consciousness, the self, what we are and think and know and can do naturally. The natural part of us is not subject unto the Lord, nor ever can be. Call it what you want to, self, the flesh, the carnal mind or nature, or any other description; these are all one and the same, and this is what stands in the way of us fulfilling the purposes of God and doing His will.
This old nature cannot be reformed! Reformation is of no use; many try it, but all you have is a whited sepulcher full of dead men’s bones — dressed up on the outside, but full of death and corruption on the inside. We must be transformed, not reformed! There has to be a complete transformation of our entire being! The old nature has to go, and a new man take its place! It is impossible for the old nature (natural man) to be in obedience to the Lord. Only the Christ within us can be obedient to the will of God! When He said, “I come to do Thy will, O God,” it was not only the man Christ Jesus, who walked the shores of Galilee, that was speaking here, but also the Christ that is within us. He comes to dwell in these temples, to take control of these vessels, to conquer, crush, drive out, and destroy every enemy, that in our land the will of God may be done.
The Father has given unto the Son power over all flesh, as He said, “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh…” (Jn. 17:2). Because He has this power over the flesh He is able to subdue it unto Himself. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and out of it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His body of glory, by the power which enables Him even to subject all things unto Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21). What a word that is! Only HE within us has the power to do this! The Father has given Him this power over the flesh to subdue it unto Himself. He alone can bring about this transformation in our beings. That is the mystery! On the one hand the Lord says, “You drive out the enemies,” while on the other hand He says, “I will drive out the enemies from before you.” He alone can make the enemies within us subject to the will of God. He can subdue this flesh of ours, and all that is within it, so it is necessary for us to turn it over to Him that this transformation can take place. As we turn our body over completely to His control He will go before us and give us the victory! We must be obedient and follow our Joshua!
Our enemies must be destroyed! On the plains of Moab, near Jericho, the Lord told the people, “And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it” (Num. 33:53). The Lord told them how to divine the land among their tribes. He also told them to drive out all their enemies; otherwise, those enemies would vex them. Then He said, “this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof” (Num. 34:2). Oh, yes, the land is yours, but you must dispossess its inhabitants! The Lord was faithful to them, and He is now faithful to us as we press forward in faith and obedience to expel every enemy from our land of promise.
In one sense the enemies are to be dispossessed, but in truth they are to be destroyed. The word of the Lord to Israel was, “Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire” (Deut. 7:2,3,5). The Lord stated the same thing to the church in Thyatira in these words, “And he that overcometh…to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers…” (Rev. 2:26-27).
The city of Thyatira being a crafts city, and also a place where pottery was made, understood this reference very well. Once pottery is made and there is something wrong with it, there is nothing you can do. You can’t take a piece of clay that has baked in the kiln and reduce it back to clay. It just won’t work, once the clay has been thoroughly baked in the fire it is finished. The only thing you can do is to break this thing up. This is not talking about people — it’s speaking of the rule of the “nations” of carnality within each of us! There is only one thing God can do to these strongholds in our lives, and that is to thoroughly smash and crush them to shivers (little pieces) that the righteous rule of God might arise in their place.
Great and mighty things were destined to take place when Israel set foot in their promised land of Canaan! Although the enemies were formidable, the Lord promised that He would drive out all those enemy nations from before them. He also said, “Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as He hath said unto you” (Deut. 11:23-25).
Imagine what it would be like for a nation of some two million people to march into another country with the intention of possessing it and driving out all who live there, with the fear and dread of them put on those nations by the Lord! It was not by their numbers, for these nations were greater than they; neither was it by their military power that these nations would be defeated, for they were mightier than they! It would be because the Lord Himself would fight for them in every one of their battles. And God is teaching us today that same wonderful truth! There is sufficient wisdom, grace, and power in the Christ within each of us to conquer every enemy that occupies our land!
Just before going to battle against Jericho, Joshua came face to face with a messenger of the Lord. He told Joshua to remove his shoes. The message was just this: Come out of the way you’ve been walking because now you are going to walk in a high, holy realm. Canaan requires a whole new kind of warfare that we have never fought before. This messenger’s sword was drawn and the sword is the word of God. Not the written record, but the living revelation of God’s will in our lives. In this realm it is no more the dead letter of the word, but the inner voice of the spirit by which the commands of our general and commander, Jesus, are disclosed to us. This message causes us to see and think and understand and act differently than we have before. It is a new way! The word of the Lord has come to let us know we don’t have to fight this battle, for we have gotten out of our shoes and the Lord has gotten into our shoes! Now we will be able to walk in the Spirit, and we will not fight our own battle any more. As the power of the Lord goes before us, and overshadows us, the fear and dread of us will fall upon every enemy and they shall flee from before us! The way we used to fight is over. Now the victory shall be the Lord’s!
Just before entering the land, Joshua, as I have mentioned, saw a mighty man standing before him with his sword drawn in his hand. When Joshua asked the man if he was for them or against them, the man replied, “Nay: but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come” (Jos. 5:13-15). Today, in and by the Spirit the eyes of God’s called out people are being opened to see that man with his sword drawn in his hand ready to do battle with our enemies “as captain of the host of the Lord.” Oh, yes, we see the Lord! The Captain of our salvation, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Forerunner who for us has entered in to that within the veil, our Head and King and Commander is prepared to do battle on the battlefields of our lives against every one of our enemies, including the flesh, the carnal mind, the devil, the world, sin, sorrow, fear, and death! Nothing that would hinder or prevent us from receiving our inheritance and fully possessing it shall stand before this mighty Conqueror! IT IS THE LORD!
Once the victory has been secured in “our land” then we shall become a holy nation, a royal priesthood, kings and priests to bless all the nations of earth. Don't even think about ruling over those nations out there in the world until first you have conquered the nations that occupy your own land of inheritance! Mighty spiritual power shall be released in the earth when the elect of the Lord have possessed their land by dispossessing all their enemies. Our victory in our land will change all the world! When the enemies of our land have all been routed, including death itself, we shall then have great power to bring the whole earth and all nations under the dominion of the rule of the kingdom of God. Those mighty enemies of God — the three-fold Babylon world systems — political, economic, and religious — all created by the same Canaanite carnal mind of the Adamic man, shall fall before the greater wisdom and power of God in His sons, for the Christ-man of the spirit is coming forth to begin the new creation and make all things new. That is the divine purpose for the sovereign, kingdom reign of God through His sons!
To be continued…
J. PRESTON EBY