THE CONDUIT VERSUS A TREE OF LIFE
A CONDUIT VERSUS A TREE OF LIFE Copyright 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Copyright, 960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, The Lockman Foundation, Used by permission.
Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There is a big difference between a conduit and a tree of life. A conduit is a pipe through which something is conveyed. A tree of life is a continuing source of nourishment and healing for all who partake. The Kingdom of God consists of trees of life.
A CONDUIT VERSUS A TREE OF LIFE
"I say to you, among those born of women, there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (Luke 7:28—NASB)
Now here is a remarkable saying indeed. Of all the outstanding men and women of God of history, the least individual in the Kingdom of God is greater than that person!
The reason is, the prophets were conduits of the Glory of God. But every member of the Kingdom of God is a life-giving spirit, a tree of life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest by far of all the trees of life.
So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45—NASB)
There are allusions in the Old Testament to the idea of God's elect becoming trees of life.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls. (Proverbs 11:30—NASB)
The meaning of the preceding verse seems to be that the righteous, wise individual turns others to righteousness and wisdom. He is a tree of life for those who are nourished by his personality. When we live for God we influence more people than we know.
We find in Ezekiel that after we go through the four levels of the water of the Holy Spirit we become trees of life planted by the River of the Spirit. Then out from us will flow the Spirit of God that will bring eternal life to the dead sea of mankind.
Now when I had returned, behold, on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then he said to me, "These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. "And it will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there, and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes." (Ezekiel 47:7-9—NASB)
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast (the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles [Simchat Torah ], Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37,38—NASB)
After we pass through waters to the ankles, the knees, the hips, and finally waters to swim in, we then will be filled with all the fullness of God. We will be able to bring forth the water of eternal life to whoever of mankind will come and drink, to a much greater extent that is possible to us today.
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!"
This is the Kingdom. This is why he or she who is least in the Kingdom is greater than the greatest of the prophets. Let us proceed to explain.
The people God has used in the past, particularly the Hebrew Prophets, were conduits for the Glory of God. Most of them were righteous men, such as Elijah and Elisha. But they still were of the first man, Adam. They were members of the flesh and blood creation, the prototype of what God has in mind for His royal priesthood.
We can notice in some of them, Samson for example, that the Divine Glory that operated with and through them did not change them. They were conduits for the Presence of God but their personalities were unrighteous, unholy, and self-seeking.
Perhaps the same is largely true of Christians who are given the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. God works through them but sometimes they themselves are not changed.
We Christians have been forgiven through the blood of Jesus. We have the authority to enter the Kingdom of God because of the atoning authority of the blood.
Some of us know how to pray and serve in the Spirit. This gives us the power and wisdom to enter the Kingdom of God.
We have the authority, the power, and the wisdom.
But the Kingdom itself is something else again. The Kingdom of God is not a forgiven, empowered son of Adam. No matter how the Glory of God flows through a child of Adam, this still is not the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is Jesus Christ, the life-giving Word of God, not an empowered Adam.
How then do we enter the Kingdom and become a life-giving spirit?
First we must be born again. To be born again means that the Divine Seed, Jesus Christ has been born in us. Now we have two lives. The first life descended from Adam The second life is of Jesus Christ; it is the Kingdom of God, the life-giving spirit.
The gifts and ministries of the Spirit operate through the first man with the purpose of bringing us to the second man.
Paul summed up what it means to be part of the Kingdom of God, a life-giving spirit.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20—NASB)
We said we must be born again to enter the Kingdom. This is true, but after we have been born again, Christ must be formed in us.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19—NIV)
It is obvious from the text of the Book of Galatians that the people Paul was addressing already had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore having Christ formed in us is a protracted experience that occurs after we have been saved and filled with the Spirit of God.
Also, see the following:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19—NIV)
Again, the recipients of the Epistle to the Ephesians had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. It is obvious Paul is speaking of definite spiritual growth that is to occur after we have been authorized by the blood and empowered by the Spirit of God to enter the Kingdom and become a life-giving spirit.
No such growth is necessary to be merely a conduit of the Divine Glory, such as were Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah. As marvelous as were the experiences of the Hebrew Prophets, he who has had Christ formed in him is on an infinitely higher level than was true of the greatest of the Prophets.
No such growth is necessary for us to receive the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. These are given to our adamic nature with the intent that we and those who hear us might enter the Kingdom of God. But being a life-giving spirit requires that our adamic nature go to the cross and the eternal Life of Jesus Christ take its place.
Let us turn now to Paul's blow by blow description of becoming a life-giving spirit.
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6—NIV)
The "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" is itself the Kingdom of God. This Divine Glory shines in our heart when we are willing to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (II Corinthians 4:7—NIV)
The conduits of God's Glory and the trees of life have this in common: the "all surpassing power is from God and not from us."
How hungry and thirsty mankind is to experience the Presence of God! People would see Jesus! Our human efforts to promote the Gospel cannot possibly satisfy the hunger the nations have for the living God.
Dissatisfaction with the Christian church programs seems to be especially prevalent in our day. Because the churches are working their humanly contrived, humanly operated Gospel programs, people are turning to the Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu religions in the hope of finding something more than the Christian efforts, which often are altogether too much of flesh and blood. The intentions of religious leaders may be above reproach, but men and women, boys and girls, desire "the all-surpassing power" that is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10—NIV)
We are hard pressed. All kinds of pressures and problems, irritations and painful experiences, come upon us. But in spite of this continual harassment we are not crushed. In order to crush us Satan would have to overcome the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How many times we are perplexed!—we cannot find God's will! We thought when we became a Christian we would always know the right way. So often darkness and confusion fill our mind and heart. But we never despair. Christ has brought us out in time past and He will bring us out of our present darkness.
During the very time I am writing hundreds of thousands of Christians across the face of the world are being tortured and killed, their families broken up, their possessions confiscated. The Lord Jesus always is very close to those who are suffering for His Name.
Just when it seems we finally are getting somewhere we are struck down and have to begin again. We keep on following the Lord because, as Peter said, there is nowhere else to go. Only Jesus has the words of eternal life.
Sometimes it seems the end is here. We have the sentence of death in ourselves so that we trust in God who raises the dead. And He does! Somehow we find ourselves on the other side of the valley singing, "Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."
Notice again what Paul said:
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10—NIV)
The pressures, the perplexities, the persecutions, the frustrations, the pains, the fears and dreads, are the death of Jesus lived out in us. But as we share His sufferings the power of His resurrection keeps on lifting us.
This is the point. We don't receive the power of His resurrection until it is needed to lift us from death. Other people then live by the power that is raising us up.
It is at this point that the conduits and the trees of life take divergent paths. The sufferings of the patriarchs and prophets were not so the Life of God would be revealed in them. Their gift was their gift and it operated whether or not they suffered. It is true that their gift from God often brought suffering and death upon them. But you would not hear Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, say "God continually brought me down to death so His Life would be revealed to you."
The heroes of faith were sons of Adam, not members of the Body of Christ. They were anointed flesh. No individual was born again or had Christ formed in him until Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Christ is the Firstborn from the dead, the first to be resurrected in the true sense, the First of the Kingdom of God, the Beginning of the new creation.
The Lord did not say to any of the Prophets, "My strength is made perfect in your weakness." None of the patriarchs exclaimed: "I have the sentence of death in myself that I should not trust in myself but in God who raises the dead."
The Lord Jesus was infinitely more than a conduit, and we are being changed into His image.
When we are willing to go to the cross, to be crucified with Christ, a newness of life comes to us. It is the Life of Jesus Christ. This is the Kingdom of God, the life-giving Spirit.
The Kingdom of God changes what we are. Serving as a conduit for the Divine Glory does not always change our personality. But dying and living in Jesus brings us into newness of life. We ourselves are changed for eternity. We become a tree of life from which other people can derive nourishment and healing.
Notice again what Paul said:
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. (II Corinthians 4:11—NIV)
We die so others might live. This is how the tree of life comes into being. Paul was experiencing in his body the death of Jesus so the Life of Jesus would be revealed for the benefit of other people. Can you see how very different this is from merely being a conduit?
People today are praying "use me, O God." This is a good and honorable prayer.
Maybe it is time to pray, "O God, make me an eternal, inseparable part of Yourself that for eternity others may be nourished and healed by the Life of God." Perhaps this is a better prayer in the long run.
The permanent change that occurs in our personality is seen a few verses later.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, (II Corinthians 4:16,17—NASB)
The preceding verses reveal that the pressures brought to bear on our outer personality are resulting in a renewing of our inner personality. This does not take place when a person is being used merely as a conduit. Rather this is how the Kingdom of God is being formed in the Christian.
Our momentary, light affliction is producing something. First of all it is conforming our personality to the moral image of Jesus Christ, not by imitation but by pressing the Divine Nature into our adamic nature until the adamic nature is transformed.
Second our momentary, light affliction is pressing us into God so that we learn to flow with the flowings of God and not rush about in our soulish personality.
Third our momentary, light affliction is causing a robe of glory, a house from Heaven, to be formed. Our house from Heaven will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones in the Day of the Lord. The glory of that house depends on the manner in which the death and life of Christ have operated in us during our stay on the earth.
None of this is true in the case of the person who merely is a channel for the gifts and Glory of God. The development of the Kingdom of God in us is another matter entirely. It is the transformation of the individual so he or she may become the eternal dwelling place of God and a tree of life from which the nations may draw nourishment and healing.
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:2-4—NIV)
Christ came that we might have eternal life and that more abundantly. But our greatest joy in possessing the Life of God will take place as we minister to the needs of those who are living in the deadness of the flesh.
The twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah was sung during the feast of Tabernacles. This chapter portrays the believer who has moved passed basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, past the waters to the ankles and knees, and has pressed into waters to the hips and finally into waters to swim in.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3—NIV)
The Bride experiences great joy when she can invite the nations to come and drink of the waters of eternal life. It is as Jesus said—out of our innermost being will flow rivers of living water.
The water of God flows from only one place, and that is from the Throne of God. If we would have the river of life flow from us we must become the Throne of God.
We are living today in the most tremendous time of all. God is preparing to shake the heavens and the earth much as one would shake the dirt out of a blanket. Everything that is not of the Lord Jesus Christ will be removed. The shaking will begin at the highest heaven and will continue until every one of God's creatures has been affected.
We must always keep in mind that the work of God with men is in response to the rebellion of the angels.
God is displeased with the heavens. They are not clean in His sight. Neither the heavens nor the angels have met God's standard.
He puts no trust even in His servants; And against His angels He charges error.(Job 4:18—NASB)
"Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones, And the heavens are not pure in His sight;" (Job 15:15—NASB)
As part of His shaking the heavens and the earth God will move His throne from the heavens into the hearts of His saints those who are willing to follow Jesus through the processes of death and resurrection required for our being made life-giving spirits.
No doubt all of Heaven is amazed at what they are beginning to understand —the awesome plan of the Father that has been hidden until the present hour. Because of the rebellion of the angels God is drastically changing the order of things. The greatest step is the transference of His throne in Heaven to the hearts of His sons.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:1-3—NIV)
The above passage puts together all we have been saying.
We have here the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the glorified Christian Church.
Inside the walls is found the river of eternal life. This river always flows from the Throne of God, from nowhere else. The river will be clear then, not being polluted by the flesh and soul of sinful, rebellious human beings, the conduits it has used previously.
There is only one street in the glorified Church. It is the way of holiness. No unrighteous person will ever walk there.
On each side of the river of eternal life is found the great Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the other trees of life that are growing out from Him.
There are twelve crops of fruitall that humanity needs for perfect life, perfect love, perfect joy, perfect peace. Unlike the trees of the present world the Tree of Life bears fruit continually, in season and out. This tree will never be cursed for not bearing fruit, as happened to the fig tree of Jesus' day.
It always has been God's plan that mankind live in and by the Spirit of God. Flesh and blood life, a corruptible form of life, was assigned to us until God has had a chance to remove sin and rebellion from us.
As soon as sin and rebellion have been removed from our personality we are eligible to change from flesh and blood life to the Life of the Spirit, an infinitely superior form of life.
We who are serving the Lord have the firstfruits of the Spirit of Life, the life that will fill the new creation. The whole creation is waiting until we are able to share the Life of God we now possess.
On the new earth will live nations of saved people who are not part of the elect, the royal priesthood. The "leaves" of the personalities of God's elect will heal those of the nations who have need. This gives us a different view of eternity than that of some kind of fairyland in which people never have problems.
God's curse has been removed from mankind. Paradise has been restored.
The difference from the first paradise is that then there will be a wall, and sons of God who are filled with God's Nature through Jesus Christ. They are kings and judges and will prevent sin and rebellion from taking place in the new world of righteousness.
God's Throne then will be located in the personalities of His elect. Man was created to be the Throne of God and governor of His creation. This is why we have to be brought so low.
Let us rejoice. The Kingdom of God is at hand. The created realm is standing on tiptoe, waiting to see the unveiling of the sons of God.
Before we are eligible for the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles we have to experience the Day of Atonement. Every aspect of our personality must be dealt with by the Spirit of God. This can be a grueling experience at times.
But it will be worth it all when we see Jesus and hear His "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord."
We of the Church have been called out from the world so we may come to know God and meet His standard. God's standard is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. When we thus have been changed to God's satisfaction He will plant us by the River of Life so we may bring His Presence and blessing to the needy of the world.
We must never grow impatient with the dealings of the Lord. Each one of them is necessary if we are to enter the fullness of all God has prepared for us from the foundation of the world.
How wonderful to be a conduit of God's Presence and Glory! How much more wonderful to be the expression of God's Presence and Glory so we may serve for eternity as a tree of life, bringing nourishment and health to those who have need!