SALVATION: FOURCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Salvation: Four" is taken from Three Deaths and Three Resurrections: Volume One, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
It appears that an evil rebellion in the household of God occurred prior to the creation of the heaven and the earth. Rather than execute judgment immediately, God decided to accomplish several purposes by a comprehensive plan.
At the outset the plan was drawn up in the mind of God and completed in detail. The rebellious angels were cast down from the part of the spirit realm that is holy, that is blessed with the Presence of God and His Christ. Divine light and glory were removed from the wicked spirits and they were bound in "everlasting chains under darkness," there to await the Day of God's judgment (Jude 1:6). It may be true that the casting down of the evil one from the high and holy spiritual domain took place before the "beginning" referred to in Genesis 1:1.
The exaltation of His beloved Son, Christ, to the highest throne of the universe, after a period of testing and refinement in the area of obedience.
The creation of a wife for the Lamb on the Substance of the body and blood of Christ.
The creation of a living temple in which God can dwell and through which He can rule and communicate with His creatures.
The creation of brothers in the image of God's Son.
The creation of righteous, nations of the saved of people over whom God in Christ rules through the Body of Christ.
The creation of an environment for God's children that is constructed from the union of the holy spiritual domain with the material domain. This union will produce a physical environment that is holy, righteous, and obedient to God in Christ.
The holy physical universe will be imbued with eternal, incorruptible spiritual life so that it is animate, radiant, and responsive to the saints (the fish bringing the temple-tax; the stilling of the storm; the sun and moon standing still; the Red Sea parting; the trees of the field clapping their hands and the little hills skipping like lambs; Balaam's donkey speaking; Jesus rising up into the clouds without regard to gravity; and so forth).
The complete vindication of God's righteous and holy ways, as dramatized by the history of the events on the earth. Earth's history is serving as an eternal lesson to the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth who love righteousness as well as to those who love and practice wickedness.
The casting down from preeminence, the imprisonment, and the eternal torment of all of God's creatures who are found in rebellion and wickedness.
These purposes were established in the mind of God. Then the plan for the accomplishment of these purposes was drawn up in detail. Included in the plan are the fall of Adam and Eve, the crucifixion of Christ, and your redemption and mine.
Although God never tempts or causes anyone to sin, God has arranged the universe and every creature therein so His plan will be carried out precisely. God knows in advance what each creature in the heavens and on the earth will do if he or she or it is placed in any given situation. This particular power of the Lord is termed "foreknowledge," in the Scripture. God does all things according to His foreknowledge. He always remains in control of every event that comes to pass in the heavens and on the earth. God is God.
Now that all this has been accomplished in the Divine vision and counsel, the purposes established, the plan drawn up, we come to the "beginning."
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
In the beginning of what? In the beginning of God? Certainly not! If that were the case, the heaven and the earth would be older than time itself. "In the beginning" means the point at which God began to accomplish His purposes in Christ.
God always creates the "heaven" first, and then the "earth." After that, He brings the earth into proper relationship to the heavens, as He did in the second day of creation.
God established the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ before He created people. Then He created people. After that He brought the crucifixion and resurrection into the lives of people because God knew that people must eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood in order to inherit properly the fruitfulness and rulership assigned to mankind.
The period of time (if it actually was time as we know it) in which God's creatures existed in the spirit heavens before the physical heavens and the earth as we know them were created, may be so vast as to be inconceivable by our minds.
The length of time during which the spirit realm was in harmony, before the rebellion of the angels probably extends into another dimension of existence that does not permit measurement by mathematics.
The few thousand (or millionit does not matter) years in which our planet has been in existence is such a recent development from the spiritual viewpoint that the scope of geologic time is a "new thing." The angels of the heavens still are amazed at the new thing that God has wroughtthe creation of the physical universe.
Mankind is a newcomer to the scheme of things, as viewed by the inhabitants of the heavens, as is also the planet on which we struggle. Our full transformation into the image of Christ, into the Word of God, may require trillions upon trillions of years.
Our fleeting experience of life in the physical, soulish body, the body of our humbling, may be comparable to that of an unborn child. We are being fashioned in the dark places of the earth, so to speak. We only have been conceived to this point and as yet have not seen the light of spiritual day.
We are not speaking "doctrinally" because it is a fact that we have been born again and spiritually alive now. We merely are viewing the overall working of God.
The earth and its inhabitants were created in six days. It is a real world and the first chapter of Genesis is a literal, factual account of the material creation.
We must keep in mind that there also is a spiritual quality present in the creation. As we have mentioned previously, there is evidence in the first two chapters of Genesis that the creation represents an intersection and interaction of the spiritual and material realms.
Our thinking is bound by time and space but God's workings are not bound by time and space. We cannot understand the first chapter of Genesis or the events on the earth from purely scientific thinking.
For example, scientists tell us that no new energy is being added to the physical universe. Yet we know that the crowning work of the sixth day of creation, that of creating man in the image of Christ, is continuing to this hour and that both energy and direction are being applied to this end on a daily basis by the Lord God of Heaven.
When Jesus was on the earth He created energy and mass at will. He stilled the storm. He multiplied the loaves and fish. The principle that no new energy is being added to the universe applies only in the instance that Christ is not intervening in the lives of people.
The heaven and earth came into existence at the Word of Christ. The authority and power of Christ maintain the existence and order of the universe to this day. The universe is held in place and governed by the Word of Christ's power. The size and strength of the Lord Jesus Christ is incomprehensible to us at this time.
The "light" that shone in the darkness of the first day of creation came directly from Christ because there were no celestial bodies in the firmament for the first three days.
Our customary means of measuring time were not present during the first three days, so the expression "the evening and the morning were the first day" may or may not signify evenings and mornings as we understand them.
We find also that the trees of the Garden of Eden in at least two instances bore spiritual rather than physical fruit. And the serpent spoke! These demonstrate an intersection of the spiritual and material realms.
The physical creation resulted from spiritual activity and has a spiritual basis to this day. The creation did not come into being from things we can observe and measure. This is why an education that does not include a mastery of the Scriptures is quite incomplete.
Today the material creation is largely devoid of spiritual life and animation, but this is because of the sin of mankind. The physical universe responded happily to the Lord Jesus in joyful anticipation of the Day when the creation itself is delivered from the bondage of corruption and brought into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
God created the heaven and the earth with the intention of bringing to pass the several purposes we mentioned earlier. Therefore nothing occurs randomly on the earthrandomly in the sense that it is subject purely to chance. There is a superior intelligence that guides the physical universe because of the will of God concerning His purposes in the earth.
We have stated that the seven days of creation are a type of God's plan of redemption in Christ. A person commences "without form and void." Then the Spirit of God "moves on the face of the waters" of his or her life. When the work of redemption has been completed the person is in the fullness of the image of Christ and is at rest in God.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1,2)
The above passage describes the physical creation. It also is a portrayal in type of the beginning of the redemption of each saved human being. Every individual was created by the Lord. Before we receive Christ there is a formlessness in our personality, a lack of harmony and direction. There is chaos in our life.
We sleep, eat, work, reproduce, and play during the span of life appointed to us. These activities are mere existencenothing more. The human being who is limited to these five conditions is living in shallow waters indeed.
In addition to mere existence, every human being is invited to receive God in Christ. There is an exceedingly great capacity in every person to receive Christ and to be transformed into the image of Christ. This capacity may be compared to a depth of water. No individual ever finds satisfaction in his or her life until the Spirit of God begins to move on the face of the waters of his personality and to bring forth what God has ordained.
Before we receive the Lord Jesus Christ our personality is formlessan empty, meaningless waste. Some people come to this conclusion early in life and others toward the end.
The bottomless well of spiritual potential, of which we have been speaking, is covered with darkness. The animal life of the fleshthe eating, reproducing, working, playing, sleepingcontinues on. The true inner meaning and significance of the person, the bulk of the iceberg, is submerged in the darkest of nights.
However, the Spirit of God is "brooding on the face of the waters" of each human life, waiting for the creative Word of the Father.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)
No person can come to Christ except the Father draw him. Christ died on the cross for every individual, but we cannot grasp that fact until the Spirit of God opens our eyes.
When God speaks the light appears. Our eyes are opened. We behold the Lamb of God on the cross. The Spirit reveals to us that here is the answer to our chaotic condition; here is what we were created for; here is the meaning of our existence and the way to eternal life. The light of God reveals the crucified Christ and the resurrected Christ. The moment we accept what the Spirit reveals to us we are saved. We pass from death to life, and that life is our light, our understanding of the world and our existence in it.
From where did the first light come (Genesis 1:3)? One fact is establishedit came from God. Light always must have a point of origin. The light of Genesis 1:3 had a spiritual origin although it illumined the material world. Here is a point of intersection of two worldsthe spirit realm and the natural realm.
The light that opens our eyes to God's redemption comes from the Holy Spirit. The light that gives us understanding of God's Word comes from the Holy Spirit. The Glory of God and of the Lamb is the source of light of the new Jerusalem. Natural light illumines the natural world and spiritual light illumines the spiritual world. When spiritual light illumines the natural world we have a point at which Heaven is joined to the earth.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:4)
Again, we have an unusual factor in the creation. We cannot mix light and darkness. Darkness, as we know it, is nothing more than the absence of light. The darkness of Genesis 1:4 must have been more than merely the absence of light because the light and the darkness were mixed together until God separated them.
We can observe such a mixture in the realm of spirits. When a person first receives Christ he receives spiritual light. There also is spiritual darkness in him that is more than the absence of the Light of Christit is the power of darkness. God begins to help us discern the difference between the light and the darkness that are in us.
Our Christian discipleship is occupied with dividing the light from the darkness that is in us.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:5)
God always names things. This is so they can be distinguished and classified, becoming identifiable. (The branch of science that classifies objects is termed taxonomy.) One of the characteristics of the Satan-inspired age in which we live is the attempt to perpetuate and increase confusion in the moral realm. We are advised not to name any behavior as being sinful but to keep human behavior, as much as possible, in a gray area of overlap and confusion.
A recent concept termed "whole language" appears to take the stance that no written text has an absolute meaning but must be interpreted by each reader. Here is an expression of the perversity of the world we are attempting to survive in.
God works in terms of objective absolutes. Satan works in terms of subjective vagaries.
God never authorizes confusion. God brings all matters to clarity, identity, simplicity, and peace. Sin brings obscurity, confusion, complexity, and lack of harmony. It is the way of God and His children to run to the light so that every deed is shown to have been performed in God.
Sometimes God hides the origin and meaning of a thing or situation, but it always is with the intent of bringing it eventually to clarity. God calls sin, sin and righteousness, righteousness. He desires that we do the same. We are unable to overcome and resist sin until we name the sin for what it is.
Jesus made a practice of calling people by name (sometimes changing their name) and of commanding devils to give their names. Our power in a given situation increases as we are able to name the factors at hand. John the Baptist's father was speechless until he gave his son the name commanded. Then he was able to speak. The Lord God brought the animals to Adam "to see what he would call them."
Let us be counted among those who name things for what they are and who strive for clarity and simplicity. God leads us toward simplicity and straightforwardness in all situations. Satan loves the dark and complexity and works in the dark so that we are unable to determine what is taking place. The person who practices truth loves the light and comes to the light so his deeds may be shown to be of God.
When first we are saved, God begins the long process of separating the light from the darkness that is in us.
. . . the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:5)
This may or may not have been a day as we understand the term. As a rule, the Scriptures mean exactly what they state. Yet there was no sun to rule the day. There were no clocks to record time nor human beings to perceive the passage of time.
This well could have been a twenty-four hour period. It is no problem to God to work in twenty-four hours, twenty-four minutes or twenty-four hundred years. Some day God will show us how He created everything and then the question will be settled.
However, the spiritual symbolism here is important. We need to understand that God's workings begin in the dark and end in the light.
We have pointed out already that the plan of redemption began with the state of rebellion in Heaven and is proceeding toward the day when Christ reigns in the fullness of the light of righteousness and holiness.
In our individual lives we begin in spiritual darkness but we end in spiritual light if we receive Christ. Now the world is approaching the darkest hour of history, but the dawning of the Millennial Jubilee also is at hand.
If we realize that the Day of the Lord follows the cycle of evening to morning, rather than the customary morning to evening, we will not become discouraged when we are invited to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ. We understand that the morning is about to break on this dark world and the shadows will flee away as the Sun of righteousness arises with healing in His wings.
The firmament is an expanse called "heaven." If we study the description of the expanse of heaven, in the first chapter of Genesis, it appears that the expanse of heaven is space. Space begins at the upper limit of earth's atmosphere and extends to infinity, as far as we can tell. The text of the first chapter of Genesis appears to mean there is water beyond outer space, and that the expanse of space, the firmament, serves to separate the waters that are on the earth (including earth's atmosphere) from the waters that are beyond outer space.
If this is the correct interpretation of Genesis 1:6, the unimaginable greatness of the power and majesty of God and of the scope of His creation is brought forcibly to our attention.
The symbolism of the firmament is understandable to us. Before we are born again in Christ, our life is one unfathomable "deep," we may say, comparable to a ocean of water many miles in depth. There is no classification of any part of the waterit is all one mass.
Mixed together in the "waters" of the unregenerate person are spirit, soul, and body. Our spiritual personality is indistinguishable from our animal nature of survival and reproduction. But God, as we have stated, brings all matters to clarity.
God introduces "Heaven" into our lives in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ in us serves to "divide the waters from the waters." A "heaven," a consciousness of spiritual realities, appears in our life. As we grow in Christ we gradually become able to distinguish between what is earthly and what is heavenly or spiritual.
Soon, by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, our new born-again spiritual nature begins to gain control over our earthly, soulish nature.
The Divine Nature is created in us as we partake of the body and blood of Christ. The Word of God divides our soul and spirit. The Wife of the Lamb begins to emerge from our personality just as the butterfly emerges from the cocoon. The fleshly, animal part of us gives place to the new creation.
As the "expanse of heaven" does its work in us we gain in spiritual maturity because we become increasingly able to distinguish between the natural and the spiritual. We move toward clarity and simplicity of personality, whereas before we were all one confusing, competing array of forces.
Both the Red Sea and water baptism typify the expanse of heaven that enters us dividing the "waters from the waters." These two symbols reveal that as we enter the death of Christ the waters of death part, allowing us to cross over to resurrection ground without harm. Christ is the "expanse" who divides the waters so we can be redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
The enemy of our soul cannot follow us through the expanse. The waters of death close in on him and his authority and power over us are destroyed.
The first fact announced concerning the new heaven and new earth is that there is no more "sea," no more swirling, foaming waters of wickedness from which Antichrist can emerge (Revelation 21:1; 13:1).
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (Genesis 1:8)
Again we find God assigning a name to His work. It reminds us of the Scripture, "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." And, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." Names are important. The Name of Jesus is the greatest power in the universe. It is the Name that is exalted above all other names.
We have, in the preceding paragraphs, thought about the first two days of the creation in the light of their physical and spiritual meanings.
The work of the first day resulted in the separating of the light from the darkness.
The work of the second day produced the dividing of the waters that are under the firmament from the waters that are above the firmament.
The first two days were days of division.
We have seen that the first two days give us insight into salvation, the first area of redemption. But what of the third day of creation?
First, God makes us aware of the difference between righteousness and sin and shows us our need of the Savior. He divides the light from the darkness so we can perceive that we indeed are sinners.
Next, God commences the work of separating the spiritual part of our nature from what is soulish. We start to grow in the image of Christ.
Gradually, God enables us to observe the Life of Christ commencing to grow in us. The "dry land" appears. We begin to regard our soul as a farmer might regard a section of land, an area in which valuable crops can be grown. God is ready now to plow, plant, irrigate, cultivate, and to perfect the crop He desires, which is Christ in us. Christ is the "precious fruit of the earth" (James 5:7).
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:10)
We learn from the first chapter of Genesis that the planet Earth at one time was the nucleus of a body of water. The water served to keep the earth protected until God was ready to do something with it. People also are protected until God is ready to do something with them.
"God saw that is was good." Let us never forget that the earth and its creatures are "good" in the sight of God. God has not given over the earth or its peoples to Satan. No matter how the distress and perplexity of mankind increase in the last days of this age, the earth remains the Lord's along with its inhabitants.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. (Genesis 1:11)
Vegetable life began on our planet during the third day of creation. There was no animal life until the fifth day. The beginning of vegetable life typifies the first marks of righteousness that accompany the receiving of Christ as Lord and Savior. Every new Christian is conscious of sin and righteousness and attempts to please the Master by serving Him. The convert desires to let his light shine, bringing honor to the holy name of his Lord.
These early efforts at godly behavior are the beginning of our new life in Christ. They are the firstfruits of redemption, as we found in the waving of the sheaf of barley in the third Levitical feast.
The Substance of Christ has been born in the new Christian. His sins have been forgiven. His new born-again nature has been raised with Christ into Heaven to the right hand of the Father. If he spends some time in prayer each day and meditates in God's Word he will grow in the Lord.
If God's wrath should pass over the land to execute judgment against the gods of the world, the new believer and his household have a covering of the blood of God's Lamb over them. If the convert should die he goes into the part of the spirit realm reserved for the righteous. There he enjoys the fellowship of the redeemed and of the holy angels.
The evening and the morning were the third day (Genesis 1:13).
Then God speaks. Light appears. God separates the light from the darkness. We become aware of the presence of sin and of our need for the Savior. Then the expanse of Heaven is created in the midst of the waters of our being and we understand that there is a spiritual, a heavenly aspect of our personality.
Our "old man," our original personality, enters the crucifixion of Christ. Our "new man," the new creation in Christ, is raised in Christ to sit with Him at the right hand of God. There now exists in us a division caused by the separation of the part of our life that is in the heavenlies from the part of our life that is on the earth.
A firstfruits of our new personality, Christ born in us, is eternal Life and ascends at once to the Throne of God. This is symbolized by the waving of the sheaf of barley during the Levitical feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10).
There are several verses in the New Testament indicating that the Holy Spirit, who is abiding in each true Christian, is a firstfruits, a pledge of the fullness of the greatly enlarged redemption that is yet to comethe harvest of our entire personality to the Lord.
Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)
The division of our life by the "firmament of heaven" is just the beginning, a first move in the program of redemption. Our spirit, soul, and body must experience the remaining processes of redemption. The soul is being redeemed as it is being transformed from within and from without.
We are transformed from within by the growth of the Substance of Christ that is nourished by the body and blood of Christ continually being fed to us by the Holy Spirit. Our soul is being transformed from without by the Holy Spirit's utilization of circumstances to "hammer" our new man into shape, and also by the transforming power that flows from beholding the Glory of God wherever and whenever we behold His Glory.
Many Divine operations now are working in and upon us, re-creating our soul in the image of Christ. Our new nature, meanwhile, is filled with the Life of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is teaching us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (II Corinthians 7:1).
The believer who is undergoing the program of redemption is an example of the intersection of the material world and the spiritual world. We are on earth and in the heavenlies in Christ at the same time. We really are on the earth, no doubt about it. We really are in the heavenlies in Christ, no doubt about that either.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)
The redemption of the body is yet ahead of us and will occur at the return of the Lord Jesus. If we have gone through the other processes of redemption with the Lord we will be ready for the redemption of our mortal body. If we have not gone through the other operations, those that are taking place in us now, we will not be ready for the redemption of our mortal body when Christ appears.
The redemption of the mortal body will be instantaneous, not a drawn-out program as in the case of the transforming of our soul into the image of Christ.
As soon as the light of Christ has shone in our heart and has been distinguished from the darkness that is in us, and the expanse of Heaven has entered us, the protective "waters" covering our soul can be drawn back revealing that our personality no longer is without form and empty, a wild wasteland, but is beginning to be adorned with beautiful vegetation. The vegetation includes edible plants and fruit trees. The new creation is emerging.
As soon as a man, woman, boy or girl receives Christ, his or her life begins to acquire a symmetry and grace that never was present before. Also, there grows in the new nature that from which other people can draw wisdom and strength in order to assist them as they press into their own inheritance in the Lord.
The entrance of Christ into the human personality we have just described is the Kingdom of God. It is the foundation of the new Jerusalem, the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
We have stated that the three areas of redemption (salvation, sanctification, and conquest) do not occur in sequence in our lives but rather are aspects of one redemption, from which application is made as the Holy Spirit perceives the need.
In the spiritual sense, the six days of creation still are taking place. Not only are the six days repeated each time another person receives Christ but it is true also that the several aspects of redemption are at work all the time in every Christian.
We still are learning to distinguish between light and darkness. Isn't that true? Our life "above the firmament" (in Heaven) still is being perfected (Hebrews 12:23). We still are growing a garden, the fruit of the Spirit, in our personality. The remaining aspects of redemption still are working within and without.
How unsearchable are the riches of Christ!