"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE SEVEN-SEALED BOOK
“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1).
The book is “written within” — that is, the nature, wisdom, and power of Christ, which is the law of His life, is inscribed in our minds and written in our hearts, known only to God and to us. It is also “written on the backside” or outside — bespeaking the reflection of that inner life expressed outwardly through our words and actions, open to the gaze of others. Yet the full revelation of Christ in us has been sealed! Every son and daughter of God is aware that the Christ who dwells in us is a whole Christ, all that He is and all that He has is resident in the life we have received. Have we not yearned and desired above all things to manifest His fullness? And still, the full and complete manifestation of His indwelling life has not been shown. The breaking of the seals, the unrolling of the scroll, shall set all things in God’s order! This book has been sealed away from the influences of men. It has not been tampered with by man, for it has been held secure in the right hand of the Father, the hand of omnipotence. Our almighty Father has been in control of every experience of our lives as He has moved to bring us to the full stature of Christ! When every seal has been broken, and the book is fully opened, it will confound all the wisdom of men and the pride of religion.
In the past we have by inspiration and revelation spoken the message of God, but now we are destined to be the open book of God, the very being of the message of God, written not in words of earth’s languages, but lived out of the essence of the Christ-life within. The book is not in some far-off heaven somewhere, neither is it something outside of us. Nothing written by the hand of man can contain the totality of God. Ah, my beloved, the sons of God are within themselves the embodiment of this wonderful book upon the hand of Him who sits upon the throne! The book that has been sealed within us is even now being unsealed and opened. What is it that is being unveiled? The totality of the Father in His sons is now ready to be made manifest! The Lord Himself is arising in the totality of all that He is within the nature, personality, and expression of His called and chosen elect upon this earth! All mankind shall see and behold the salvation of God!
One of the most beautiful books of the Old Testament is the Song of Solomon, which describes the relationship between two people who are deeply in love. While this is its imagery, spiritual-minded saints throughout church history have seen in the story a thrilling picture of Christ, the Bridegroom, and His bride, the church. Individually, it portrays Christ the Bridegroom in our spirit, and the bride of our soul. How fitting, therefore, are the words in which the Shulamite bride declares that her Beloved is “altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16). A great preacher of another day penned the following thought-provoking sentence about our Lord Jesus Christ: “Not one feature of His glorious person attracts attention at the expense of others; but He is perfectly and altogether lovely.” Continuing, he exclaimed, “Oh, Jesus! Thy power, Thy grace, Thy justice, Thy tenderness, Thy truth, Thy majesty, and Thine immutability make up such a man, or rather such a God-man, as neither heaven nor earth hath seen elsewhere…Thou art music without discord; Thou art many, and yet not divided; Thou art all things, and yet not diverse. As all the colors blend in one resplendent rainbow, so all the glories of heaven and earth meet in Thee and unite so wondrously, that there is none like Thee in all things; nay, if all the virtues of the most excellent were bound in one bundle, they could not rival Thee!” Can we not confess it? The truth is that the manifest sons of God are the body of the Bridegroom. In making that statement, I am fully aware that such a thought runs contrary to long-established views of “theology”; but as George Hawtin once poignantly said, we are not concerned with the views of theology, for theology is not really the views of God but the ideas of men. We are concerned only with the truth of God as it is revealed in His word in the light of inspiration and revelation. Every son of God will gladly and joyfully confess that CHRIST IN US IS — ALTOGETHER LOVELY! This is the beauty, holiness, grace, love, wisdom, glory, and power that is unveiled as the seals are loosed from that book which we are!
Oh yes, the book is Christ Himself, for Christ is the revelation of the One who sits upon the throne! Christ is the Word of God. The book is a Word-Book! The book is a message, and Christ is the message of God. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…” (Heb. 1:1-2). Yet — it is not merely Christ in heaven, but Christ in you and me! The sealed book is the very nature, wisdom, glory, and power of Christ held back and obscured by the outer man of flesh, by our natural identity and human consciousness, until the seals are broken!
The book is sealed with seven seals. Seven is the number of completeness — the seven seals bespeak of the total depravity of the natural man. Paul said it so well, “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, there dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18). “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:22-23). “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). The Adamic nature is a hellish nature and shut tightly against the spirit of God. It must be broken, loosed! It always seemed a little strange to me that such an act as loosing the seals brought so much woe, calamity, judgment, and distress on earth, yet it evoked such rejoicing, jubilation, worship, and all-out adoration in heaven! To the natural mind this appears rather offensive, malevolent, and sadistic. Indeed, heaven rejoicing over the pain, anguish, and torment of men on earth!
The truth, however, is far too telling, glorious, and overwhelming for us to miss it. The truth is just this — the seven seals are the bondage of the flesh and it is this complete imprisonment of the Christ within by the dominance of the consciousness of the outer man of flesh that is suffering all the dealing, judgment, and fire of God! These are the seals that are being broken! Rejoice, oh man of spirit, rejoice ye heavens and they that dwell therein! How my glad heart leaps for joy in the light of a truth so significant and glorious! I cannot weep for the natural man, even my natural man, the carnal mind, or the sin which wars in my members. At long last I understand and rejoice in the heavens of God’s Spirit for the mighty revelation of Jesus Christ that emanates with scintillating beauty as the seals of my very own corruption are stripped away! What a word that is!
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Rev. 5:2).
The Greek word translated “proclaiming” is related to the task of a herald who thunders forth a royal declaration in thunderous tones. “Loud voice” is in keeping with the strong angel’s role as a herald. In fact, the Greek words for “loud” and “voice” are joined together to form our English word “megaphone.” Mega means “loud” and phone means “sound.” It represents a mighty message! The powerful angel is portrayed as speaking in tones that are so overwhelming that his words reach the ends of heaven, throughout the earth, and even into the underworld. In spite of his deafening appeal there is no answer, as we shall see, from any celestial, terrestrial, or subterranean creature. None is worthy, for none can qualify!
With these thoughts as a background, let us consider the scene in the heavens of God’s spirit as it is revealed in chapter five of the Revelation. The eternal Father, seated upon the rainbow-encircled throne, is presiding over the mighty assembly. The majesty of that scene is beyond words! In the midst of the great throne are the four living creatures, representing the kingship of the sons of God; and around them are the twenty-four elders, portraying the priesthood of the sons of God. In the right hand of the Father is a book. It is written on the inside and also on the outside. A mighty angel, a strong messenger, a mighty message steps forward and challenges the entire universe. “Who is worthy to open the book,” he cries, “and to loose the seals thereof?” His voice shook the earth and penetrated all space and galaxies; it resounded through heaven.
Mark you, “who is worthy,” not who is skillful enough or wise enough or strong enough, but who is worthy, who has character enough, who has drunk deep enough at the fountain of the eternal Spirit, who is enough like God, to unlock the secrets of divine life? Will one reach forth to take the book? Will thousands of men and spirits and creatures rush madly to the throne to grasp the book? Who can take the book? All heaven is searched. Might seraphim, cherubim, or angels open those seals? Or perchance might Enoch, Noah, Abraham, David, or Elijah present themselves as worthy to fulfill this need? Might one among the saints who “by faith” are among “the spirits of just men made perfect” step forward? Might some advanced and powerful alien entity from some far distant galaxy respond to this challenge? Earth is searched. Might some president, king, or great statesman or religious leader perform this great deed? The search is dropped to the regions “under the earth.” Might Caesar, Napoleon, or Nero or other of earth’s mighty dead presume to offer themselves? But every mouth is stopped! “No man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” The suspense is awful. John’s tender heart is moved to tears.
“And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, neither to look thereon” (Rev. 5:3-4).
Although the sound of the heavenly messenger’s voice resounds throughout all of heaven, the high and holy realm of the spirit; throughout all the earth, the dwelling place of the natural or soulical man; and the underworld, bespeaking of the body realm, the gross wickedness of the flesh and the bondage of the devil, there is no one who is able to qualify as “worthy” to open and to look upon the contents of the scroll. The word translated “able” is the Greek word which means “to possess power or authority.” Nowhere in all of God’s vast universes was there found a creature who was authorized or empowered of God to open the book and bring forth the revelation of life that it contains! No man can open the book! No man! No carnality. No one by intellect or human reasoning or fleshly ability. No person moving in a religious spirit, or proclaiming a creed or doctrine, or observing outward laws, ceremonies, rituals, or man-made programs, promotions, and efforts could open the book. Not one!
It is a good thing that this book was not opened here in Texas because we have a whole passel of preachers who say they can tell you what is on the inside of this book, on the outside, and all around it. They have all the answers. If John had just been in Texas, instead of being on the isle of Patmos, they could have given him the answers! Well, John didn’t have the answer, but there is one who can open the book, as we shall see.
I can understand that no man on earth was found able. Some of us who are living way below our privileges in the realm of the earthlies are not worthy, nor capable. I can also understand that no man under the earth, those living in the underworld of the sensual, fleshly, and devilish realm, was found able. But then it goes on to say, “no man in heaven.” No man even living in the heavenlies of God’s Spirit, that place of exaltation, triumph, and power, was found able, not only to open the book, but even to look thereon. In these days of transition from the church to the kingdom the full expression of Christ’s redemption must be made manifest and it begins with the opening of the seven-sealed book — not single-sealed, not double-sealed, but a book with seven seals, written within and on the backside, which means written all over — and HE ALONE CAN OPEN IT!
Perhaps we have felt that, if God could find a man who would be totally committed to Him, or one that has attained to a high place in God as an apostle, or prophet, His purposes in the earth could be fulfilled. But no matter how dedicated, committed, gifted, and heavenly minded a man may be, no matter what spiritual progress or position or attainment a man may have, when it comes to the unveiling of Jesus Christ in the breaking of the seals which release the forces that will eventually bring about the full expression of God’s glory and purpose, no man was found worthy. This is a word that needs to be heard by all who seek after manifest sonship in this day! As we move into this wonderful new day of the kingdom, and nothing much seems to happen, perhaps we start blaming ourselves, or our teachers, or the prophets, and we ask, “Where is this greater manifestation of the Spirit, this full expression of the power of the kingdom of God? I am not speaking here about healing some sick and casting out some devils and seeing a few things change around us and having some miracles, which in time past we have called “revival.” These things have been taking place throughout the ages, and happen all the time, but by and large the world does not even know they are happening!
We gather in our little meetings and conventions and declare our sonship, that we have entered beyond the veil, that we have arrived in the day of the Lord, that we have come out of religious Babylon and left all the lower orders behind, that we have been set in the new order of the kingdom, that we have even now begun to put on life and immortality, and a number of other wonderful declarations, and yet no one up and down the street where we are gathered even knows that we are in town! The world goes on day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade wallowing in shame, bound by sin, sorrow, pain, and death, with wars and starvation and troubles of every kind affecting billions of people. That is not what the day of the Lord is to bring forth: a little moving over here and a little stirring over there, BUT A RELEASE OF THE FULLNESS OF THE POWER AND THE GLORY AND THE LIFE OF GOD OVER ALL THE EARTH. This is the unveiling of the triumphant One, who by His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father has prevailed! And yet we cannot escape the awful truth — NO MAN CAN PRODUCE IT! Not even a man in heaven!
Soon after John saw and heard this scene there was a mighty weeping going on concerning who was worthy to open the book. J. A. Seiss commented on this scene, “Some speak of these tears as mere tears of disappointed curiosity. This, indeed, is the common explanation. We are told that the book had unknown revelations in it, which John was very impatient to understand; and that his much weeping was caused by the prospect of having his personal desire to obtain a knowledge of the future, ungratified. Poor John! What a silly mortal, to be troubling himself about unrevealed prophecy, and to keep up this crying in heaven because there was no one to open the book for him! The thing is absurd. It is beneath criticism. What a sad picture of inspiration, that it should strip a venerable and disciplined servant of God of all manly dignity, and make him a silly and peevish child! No, no; John knew by that Spirit in which he was, what that sealed book meant. He knew that if no one was found worthy and able to take it from the hand of God, and to break its seals, that all the promises of the prophets, and all the hopes of the saints, and all the preintimations of a redeemed world, must fail.”
The Seer waits in the oppressive silence until he can bear it no longer. Then he breaks down into bitter weeping. The word translated “wept” does not refer to quiet tears streaming down the face, but to audible wailing and uncontrollable sobbing. John is terribly upset because there is no response to the heavenly messenger’s thunderous appeal for someone to open the book, loosing the contents hidden within. His soul is shaken to its foundations as he recognizes that the outcome of all things on behalf of all creation hangs upon the contents of this sealed book! John’s tears, therefore, express his sensitivity in things spiritual, for he realizes that there must come a time when God must mightily intervene in the affairs of men and the whole world or the kingdom of God will never be realized on earth. His longing for that great Day is joined with his longing for the release of the fullness of the power and the glory of God over all the earth. Hence the awful sense of frustration expressed in weeping when no creature responded to the messenger’s call.
The mystery is just this. John represents you and me! Have we not wept, groaned, and travailed in pain within ourselves for Christ in us to be unsealed, fully revealed? Oh, yes! But the weeping, groaning, and travailing of itself cannot bring forth the Christ. “Weep not!” one of the elders commanded. The elder here referred to is undoubtedly one of the twenty-four who have been identified as representative of the priesthood of God. Notice, the elders do not weep! Only John wept. The elders do not weep for they are in the secret of God, and as the redemptive agents of God the priests of the kingdom understand the process taking place. What was dark to John is light to them! It means that when the reality of priesthood breaks in our spirit, and we are given a priestly heart, and a priestly understanding, our tears are dried. Once the revelation comes, and we know God is in control, and we are certain of the Father’s purpose and our calling in it, and the final outcome is sure, then we truly rest in His love, and weeping ceases. It is indeed wonderful!
John says that there was no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth who was able to open the book. What this means in the understanding of the Spirit is just this: Who is able to reveal, to show forth the Christ? Who is able! And he says, “No man” — matters not what heaven he dwells in, nor what occult realm he works from — no man is able to open up, expose, disclose, release, unveil, reveal, or exhibit the fullness of Christ! Then there came the voice, “Stop weeping! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won and overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and break its seven seals! And there between the throne and the four living creatures I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God who have been sent far and wide into all the earth. He then went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Rev. 5:5-7, Amplified).
Oh, to be anointed to understand these words of deepest mystery and highest glory! It was the strength of the Lion of the tribe of Judah that prevailed. But it was the humility, meekness, and unselfish sacrifice of the Lamb that accomplished the work! We can roar like a lion, but we will never open the book by that roar. The book cannot be opened, the Christ within can never be revealed, except by the spirit of the Lamb! Nor can weeping open the book. We can weep all day long and it isn’t going to make the book open. In Pentecostal and Evangelical circles they tell you, “Repent! Weep your way through at the altar, come between the porch and the altar and cry out mightily to God.” There is a time for weeping, but you can cry till you turn blue and you will die crying. In the revelation of Jesus Christ God has come to wipe away tears! “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
WHAT WILL OPEN THE BOOK? Can you open the book? Will lamenting and weeping about the situation open the book? Do you know what John realized? No man can open this book. Weeping won’t open the book. Roaring like a lion won’t open the book. Positive thinking won’t open the book. Confessing won’t open the book. Being heavenly minded won’t open the book. No man in heaven was able to open the book. Are you a heaven dweller? You still can’t open the book! If John could have opened the book he would have. He was standing “in the spirit” on the Lord’s day and “in heaven” when he saw the book! If you could open the book you would. If I could open the book I would. If I could call forth the revelation of Christ, if I could generate and produce the manifestation of the sons of God I would. Oh, yes! But John felt as I have felt many times. “And I wept…” “Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! I’m not perfect…I’m still just human…I can’t overcome…I am weak and hopeless…Lord help me…Lord change me…boo-hoo-hoo-hoo!” But that will never open the book!
The messenger said, “Stop crying! Weep not! Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Stop bemoaning the world! Stop feeling hopeless! There is somebody that can open the book!” Ah, beloved, dry your tears and hush your cries — The mighty Lamb of God is standing up within each of God’s elect in this hour, and He is able to open the book!
This book must be opened. This is necessary and imperative for the salvation of humanity and the restoration of all things back into God! The following words by J. T. Dean bear eloquent testimony to the work of Christ within us in opening the seals. “Now, what is the Lamb said to do? He opens the seals of a sealed book. He reads what is already written therein. He brings to actuality a purpose already formed and fixed. He does not introduce something new into the purpose of God. He does not alter God’s will. He unfolds it, realizes it, brings to actuality what God intended from the beginning with regard to man. He does not open a door for man to enter into a new and different life than that for which God made him at first. He carries out God’s eternal purpose respecting man. God set the human race on a journey. He gave it a goal to strive after and reach, even the image and glory of God. But instead of taking the direct road to his destination, man left the path. He began to wander round and round in ways that made no progress, but that led him even farther from the goal than he was when he started. And Christ comes to him while he is thus wandering. He does not give him a new destination. He does not set another goal before him. But He guides him back to the path which he has left, and sets him to walk anew towards his former goal. Or, to take another illustration, God brought man into the world a little child spiritually, but a child that He meant to grow up into a strong spiritual manhood in the likeness of Christ. But instead of growing up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, with never a day’s illness to set back his growth, man was afflicted with sickness of soul, with sin. He advances towards manhood through a sickly youth. And Christ, the Great Physician, helps to keep the disease under, reinforces the powers of health, and brings the sickly child through the weakness unto the perfect man. Christ does not help man to become something other than God’s design for him. He helps him to become all that God meant him to be! He opens the seals, and brings God’s purpose to fulfillment” — end quote. To which I would add — the Lamb is the One who opens for all creation the mystery of sonship to God!
Joyce Morris has shared an excellent word concerning the worthiness of our Lord Jesus Christ and His ability to open the seven seals of the book. The following is a quote from her anointed message.
“As you know, many books have been written in the world. There have been awards (like the Pulitzer Prize) given for some of these books. Many have been made into plays and movies. As we know, some of these books are true stories about people’s lives. It’s very interesting that a movie based on a true story, has a greater impact on people’s lives than a fictional story. Every kind of book that you could possibly think of has been written. But the book that we want to get into today is — the Book of Life. We want to enter into the extraordinary understanding of what the Book of Life is — and that you are becoming the Book of Life!
“God has His own book. The book that God has is not the Bible. The Bible has been written from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which God has given to man. But this book is to point you to THE BOOK — which is THE BOOK OF LIFE! God wrote the book in the beginning, and in the Book of Life is God’s plan. In the Book of Life there are certain names written. God has written His book and no one can contaminate it. Nobody can put their doctrines into it. Nobody can put their beliefs, ideas, concepts, or anything else into it. Man will never be able to contaminate the book that God has written!
“God is the author of His book. In His book He wrote His plan with many scripts. God’s book is the Book of Life, which is Christ Himself. ‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ God wrote His plan, and nobody can change His plan. However, you can change the script — and I will get into this later on. I want to talk about the first individual that had the understanding that God had written His book. He also understood that his script had been written, and that God had written every one of his days in His book. All the days of his life had been written in the Book of Life! When Jesus came into this earth, every one of His days had been written in God’s book. He is the book. The Book of Life came, the bread from heaven came, THE WORD (BOOK) WAS MADE FLESH! He had to walk out the script and the plan of God on earth. He only tried to change it one time. He learned obedience through the things that He suffered. I know that He struggled with the script for a while! I know that He was tempted in every area, just like you and me. But He passed all the tests, and overcame all the temptations. He said, ‘It is written…’ — it is written in my Father’s script — it is written in my Father’s plan — I cannot do that — I cannot yield to my self-will — I will not change the script — I must follow the plan of God, because I came to do the will of my Father!
“So here He is — The Book. Each day of His life was unfolding. Everything that God had written in the very beginning was unfolding. His days were unfolding. His experiences were unfolding. Each day and each experience took Him from one place to another, all the way to the cross. He followed the script; He looked at it; He understood it; and He yielded to the Father to walk out that script. He walked out the plan of God. Hebrews 12:2 says, ‘…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.’ He endured the cross because of the joy that was set before Him — because He had the understanding that as He fulfilled the script and walked out God’s plan each day of His life, He wasn’t going to be just one book, He would go on to be many books!
“When the people killed Him, they thought they were getting rid of The Book. But they couldn’t get rid of the script that God had written! No man can stop it! Jesus could have stopped it in the garden of Gethsemane, but He yielded to the Father, and said, ‘Not my will, but thine, be done.’ He did not yield to His self-will, but He yielded to the will of God, to bring a fulfillment to the plan of God, the script that had been written for Him. No one could change Jesus’ destiny except Jesus. But He didn’t change it — He fulfilled it by walking it out. Even after all this, His life still wasn’t over. The book wasn’t finished yet! He wasn’t the flesh man Jesus anymore, but if you can understand — here He is, the Book of Life, walking in the earth and everybody was looking at it, and reading the Book of Life! They were looking at and reading the Book of Life every day, and they saw what was in it. What they saw was God! This upset and angered many people. They hated the book, because it went against their book. It was against their lives, what they believed in; it was against their governments, their religions, and everything that they stood for, because they loved death more than they loved life!
“Jesus said, ‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil’ (Jn. 3:19). Again, ‘The people which sat in darkness saw a great light’ (Mat. 4:16). They saw the book coming and it had light and life in it. The very life of God was walking and moving in Christ! And God was enjoying every bit of it! He said, ‘I finally have an individual that is yielding to my will, my plan, my script. He is studying my script every day. He is waiting upon the Holy Spirit to direct His path, so that He can walk out what I wrote from the foundation of the world.’
“When Jesus looked within in the garden of Gethsemane, He saw that God had written before the foundation of the world that the Lamb would be slain. It had already been written — but until that time Jesus didn’t have the full picture or understanding of what was going to happen on the cross. He had known it, He had understood it, and He saw it take place — before the foundation of the world, because the Father had shown it to Him. But the man Jesus had lost the full understanding of this event when He came into His flesh body on earth.. In Gethsemane He came into the full realization of what was going to happen to Him on the cross. He saw what He would suffer; the hatred and rejection that would come against Him; but He did not want to miss the script that God had written — He had to walk it out and fulfill even this part.
“The Father showed Him in Gethsemane that through the cross He was coming into a higher place, realm, or state of being. He showed Him that He was going to bring the entire creation BACK INTO THE BOOK! This is the reason He knew He had to fulfill the script. He also knew that this wasn’t the end of The Book. He knew that His life would continue throughout eternity in the hearts and lives of many people! They thought they had gotten rid of Him. But He came back on the day of Pentecost, and the Book of Life began to enter into many men — a many-membered corporate body — THE BOOK OF LIFE IN MEN!
“In chapter five of the Revelation we see a book in the right hand of the Father. The book had seven seals, and no man was found worthy to open the book. But I want to tell you — there was One that could open it, and He was the Lamb that was slain! The book with the seven seals is the sons of God that God had written before the foundation of the world. The seven seals are the perfection and completeness we are to come into, in God. God wrote this script; and He wrote your script in the very beginning! Jesus was the only one worthy to loose the seven seals and open up The Book because He had walked out and fulfilled all that God had written of His sons. After He had opened the seven seals, why do you think that immediately it talks about those that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and that He has made them kings and priests to rule in the earth? Because He is talking about the OVERCOMERS. And the overcomers are THE SONS OF GOD! (Rev. 21:7). The overcomers are those who will be perfected in every area of their life. This is why it is presented as “seven seals” — seven means completeness and perfection!
“So in the book that Jesus opens up are the scripts that God wrote for the sons of God. He wrote it in the very beginning. He wrote all the days of your life in the Book of Life in the very beginning — before the foundation of the world. He wrote everything that you would experience in your life to bring you to the point where you now are IN CHRIST! And all of these experiences that the Father wrote for you to walk out were to work the Book of Life into you, so that you would become the Book of Life! This is why Jesus said, ‘Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day…he that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him’ (Jn. 6:54,56). Jesus knew that to eat of His flesh is to eat of the Book of Life; and that the Book of Life is within, where man cannot contaminate it, cannot touch it; and the script is God Himself in man! He has written it! Every time you go within and seek God for His divine counsel, instruction, and understanding, you are reading and coming into an understanding of what the Father wrote before the foundation of the world. He is enlightening it to you from within so that you can walk it out!
“Christ is the only One that can open this Book of Life because He walked it out. He walked out God’s script and God’s plan. In the natural, when an individual writes a play, he spends a long time thinking it through. I don’t know how long God spent thinking about His plan. I have no idea what it entailed — His plan is so awesome! When you start walking in God’s script the life within will swallow up all death. It will swallow up any darkness. It will swallow up everything in you that is not like God. God will swallow you up into Him — in the Book of Life! We need to understand that we are here to be the fulfillment of God’s plan! We are not here for our own purpose, we are here called according to His purpose! God’s purpose is for His plan to be fulfilled in this day, and in this hour, in each and every son of God!” — end quote.
In chapter four of the Revelation, every description of Christ is of Christ in His deity, Christ as God, sitting on the throne, the eternal Lord, God Almighty. But when we look at chapter five we find that every description of Jesus is Jesus in His humanity — the crucified One, the Lamb slain, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It was the humanity of Christ that was of the tribe of Judah. It was the humanity of Christ that was crucified. It was the humanity of Christ that died — the Lamb of God. The things seen by John are symbols, pictures, terms of accommodation to help us understand the mystery. You see, my beloved, the true and full revelation of God could not come to man until it came in the man Jesus. Through His sinless life, through His sonship walk, through His death, burial, and resurrection God in man overcame sin, limitation, death, hell, and the grave. Through this wonderful work God took everything that was in deity and raised it up in humanity! Therefore the Lamb is worthy! He is worthy to take the book! He is worthy to open the seals! He is worthy to raise up in mankind the full revelation of God in man! Jesus the Lamb, Jesus the Man, taking the book out of the hand of the Father, is just a picture of this transferal of divine, incorruptible life and glory from the realm of pure spirit into the world of humanity! It is in and through Jesus the Lamb that this has been accomplished! Isn’t it wonderful!
Who is worthy? In the natural there is none worthy. But when we begin to look into the spirit we see that there is One that is worthy. The One who has prevailed to open the book is the Lion of the tribe of Judah — that signifies Jesus Christ in strength and victory. This Lion is a slain Lamb — for He conquers not by brute force but by the power of His poured out life! The wonder of it is that THIS LION-LAMB IS WITHIN US! The worthy One is within! When we begin laying hold upon the One within us, the One within us begins unsealing the book within. Out of that unsealing comes the triumph of the Christ in every dimension of our lives. He makes war against every false and fleshly thing that there might be the revelation of Jesus Christ in us. There will be the expression of what is true in us coming forth into manifestation in our outer realm. It is not a nature that ignores the corruption of our outer man of flesh — it is a nature that is fully capable of dealing with the corruption of the outer man that the spirit be revealed. Oh, that our eyes be opened to behold HIM! HE is worthy to open the book, now to fulfill in us all the reality of our redemption! It is the Christ within who opens the seals, and it is the Christ within who is the book revealed. In absolute power He shall reign until the Christ is fully and forever formed in us, formed from the inner to the outer — the image of God!
There was a day when a man could arise and be used of God, but in the book of Revelation it is the Lamb who is used. He must be the central One, releasing the fullness of the Spirit of God in all His majesty and power from within. Even though we are kings and priests and have authority to reign on the earth, we are not worthy to open the book, neither to look thereon. Recently I felt a deep cry in my spirit and I said to God, “There is nothing more that can be done. I know of no prayer that can be prayed, no faith that can be exercised, no knowledge that can be revealed, no action that can be taken to bring forth the manifestation of this sonship, this is as far as we can go.” There comes a time when our pressing into the kingdom does no good. There is no one in heaven, nor on earth, nor in the underworld that has the ability to even look upon the book, much less to open it. Here is a realm that is shut up to God Himself! It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The fullness, the life, the immortality, the manifestation of power and wisdom and glory will never come until we first see the One who is triumphant, even the slain Lamb, the One who is central to the purposes of God and the One who has the seven horns of power, the seven eyes of omniscient vision, and the seven spirits of God. Many “sonship” preachers and teachers apply every scripture and revelation to themselves, to the many-membered body, ignoring completely the Head of the body. But our Lord Jesus Christ is the rightful One to look upon, the One who is worthy to look upon, to loose the seals, to open the book, to bring forth the manifestation of God’s nature, glory, and power out of our lives, and then to receive all the honor and glory and praise. “Thou art worthy!”
It is God who has highly exalted Jesus, and given Him the name that is above every name in heaven and in earth! If you live in heaven today, my brother, my sister, Jesus bears the name that is above your name! At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. And what shall they confess? That JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father! If Jesus has been given THE NAME that is above EVERY OTHER NAME, would it not be proper to say that this puts Jesus in a prominent position, to say the least? No other man who ever lived or does live has occupied such prominence as this! There is absolutely no other person who has been exalted so high! And notice, my beloved, it is not at the name of “Christ” that every knee shall bow and tongue confess. It is not even at the name “Lord” that they shall bow. It is not at my name, or your name, or the great apostle Peter’s name, or the mighty Paul’s name, nor yet at the name of the “cosmic Christ” or the “Christ consciousness” or someone’s “higher Self.” Oh, no! It is at the name of JESUS that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess! (Phil. 2:6-11).
Jesus was placed so low in the estimation of His own creation that they cried out saying that they would rather have Barabbas, a robber and a seditionist turned loose, than to see Jesus free. Because of that, God has highly exalted Him above all others! (Phil. 2:6-9). He is the real, true, and perfect revelation of God, the true God-man. He was the very man that God set forth in our midst to be the perfect revelation of the man that He has purposed for each of us to be, and we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son. He is the Forerunner, the Captain of our salvation, and the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. Never forget it! Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! He is worthy to open that book which you are, and He is worthy to open that book which I am. And no one else can do it!
Truly the Lamb was slain for us two thousand years ago. Yet, is it not true that the Lamb in us is likewise being slain, for we are partakers of Christ’s suffering as the apostle said, “Even now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf. And in my own person I am making up what is still lacking and remains to be completed of Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (Col. 1:24). The slaying of Jesus as the Lamb on Calvary is historical fact, and by that slaying He purchased us with His blood and has made us kings and priests unto God. That’s the historical fact. Yet, I do not hesitate to tell you that the thing that will be worthy in our own experience is for us to experience the slaying of the Lamb within ourselves! The Lamb must not be merely historical, for the Lamb is in the midst of the throne where we are seated in Christ! The Lamb in the throne is a slain Lamb! He is slain, and yet He is standing! Oh, the mystery of it! You see, the Lamb must become a present experiential reality. As we experience the slain Lamb within ourselves, we will discern the One standing in us who is worthy and has power to open the book of His life within us!
With the above thought in mind, I will close this message by sharing a testimony from our dear brother Bennie Skinner which so beautifully expresses the truth of which I now speak.
“Forty years ago a minister got me into his car. This was a minister I had labored with in the gospel. I won’t mention his name, because I don’t want to embarrass him, and I’m sure that what he did God ordained, but it was not very nice and I didn’t appreciate it, but I took it. He got me in his car and he ‘read my title clear.’ He told me things about myself that I didn’t even know! In fact, he told me things that I still don’t believe he saw, but he thinks he did. He told me my faults, failures, weaknesses, mistakes, errors, and shortcomings — I mean he laid it on! I sat there as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, I opened not my mouth. When he finished, he said, ‘Now that I’ve gotten this off of my chest, maybe you have some things you would like to get off of your chest, too.’ I responded, ‘I have nothing to say.’ No defense, no accusation, no denial, no retaliation — nothing. I just got out of the car and dragged myself up the driveway and up the stairs into our apartment.
“When I walked in the door my wife took one look at me and said, ‘What has happened?’ I told her. But I didn’t defend myself. I went to bed and went to sleep. I wasn’t angry — but I was hurt. I was killed. Yet I fell asleep. In my sleep I had a dream. I saw a lamb hanging by its feet upside down. It had been skinned, its head cut off, and all the insides had been cleaned out. I saw the process of it done. Then out of that, after the process was completed, came the most beautiful music I have ever heard! When I awoke I was filled with the Holy Spirit and I knew that God had showed me something. The Lamb in me, in that sense, had been slain! Through that experience that I had the Lamb had been slain. And as a result of that, in retrospect I now understand that even then one of the seals was ripped off of this book that I am!
“I’ve had a few other experiences since then that I think may have torn off a seal or two! And no doubt I will have some more experiences that will finish tearing off the seals so that what is written within may be clearly read and known of all men. Can we not see that when the Lamb is slain within us, it brings the release of the nature of the Lamb within us! I’m telling you something that is profitable for you today. I’m telling you something of the deep working of God in your life. It is the slaying of the Lamb! And let me tell you this — ‘Worthy is the Lamb that is slain — not just was slain, but is slain — to take the book and to loose the seals thereof.’ We are coming to the place even now where we are experiencing daily in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our flesh (II Cor. 4:10).“I am stirred today at the depth of what I am talking about. I don’t think that I even know myself the depth of what I’m speaking of, I think I am speaking by the Spirit that is beyond my understanding, beyond my experience even, beyond my ability to comprehend, but God is going to make it real to all of us. And we will come to the place where we embrace that cross and we will bless that cross upon which we daily die, upon which the Lamb is slain within us, for out of that experience shall come forth resurrection life! So don’t try to run from anything, because the thing God is after will be there when you get there anyway. God will be able to set up just the right circumstances to get all that thing He is after — to reveal His Son in you and as you. Amen!” — end quote.
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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Mark Eby for Kingdom Bible Studies.
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