RIVERS OF LIFE
Copyright © 1992 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The river of eternal life always flows from the Throne of God, from nowhere else. The Throne of God is being created in our heart in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. As soon as the Throne has been established in us the living water will issue from our personality. Then we shall give eternal life to those whom God sends to us.
Table of Contents
Two different gospels
Two ways of giving Divine Life
Why God crucifies His vessels
We shall reap what we sow
Our eternal ministry
Sources of eternal life
Life in the ages to come
RIVERS OF LIFE
Two different gospels. There are at least two gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ being presented today, but only one of them is of God.
The first gospel is very popular, especially in the wealthy democracies. It is as follows:
The Lord Jesus came to meet every need of man. He came to make us happy, to enable us to be successful in every area of life. Through Him we can be healed, gain wisdom, receive power to do as we wish. The Christians are the children of the King and deserve every blessing, every happiness and joy imaginable. The world is ours and through the Lord we can possess it—now!
All suffering, all frustration, all denial of what the individual desires, is of Satan. Through the Lord Jesus we can escape pain, and gain our desires, thus leading a “fulfilled life.” The people of the world will see how blessed and prosperous we are and desire to know our Lord.
It is a positive presentation of Jesus. It appears that a person would be foolish not to accept what God is offering. We receive all that heart could wish in this world and then go to live in a mansion in the ages to come.
The second gospel is not popular, especially in the wealthy democracies. It is as follows:
The Lord Jesus was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was cast out by His own people and despised by the world. He was a “root out of a dry ground,” having no beauty that anyone would desire Him.
When people came to Him, seeking to learn of Him and be discipled by Him, He said, “If you would know Me, if you would be My disciple, you must hate your own life. You must take up your cross and follow Me on the pathway of suffering. I am moving toward an agony of self-denial and then on to crucifixion. Follow Me and you shall receive back in this present life the things you have forsaken, and eternal life in the ages to come. But as long as you are in the world you will have tribulation.”
The first gospel promises us every joy now.
The second gospel warns us that we must take up the cross of suffering and denial in this present world if we want to enter the Glory of the Lord.
Obviously these are not both the same gospel. Which is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? You must choose. The choice you make will determine your eternal destiny.
In the fourth chapter of II Corinthians, Paul speaks of the Glory of God in the face of Christ.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)
Then Paul proceeds to tells us God’s glorious Presence was communicated to other people through means of Paul’s sufferings.
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So then death is working in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:8-12)
The preceding passage raises a question. The answer to the question will show us why the Christian discipleship is a way of patient, cross-carrying obedience and not a happy, get-everything-you-want, pleasant philosophy of life.
Before we present the question, and give the answer to the question, let us mention a task and also define eternal life.
Eternal life. The task was to give eternal life to the believers in Corinth.
Eternal life is the Glory of God, the Shechinah, the holy Life and Presence of the Almighty. It is Divine energy. It is Divine power.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
The burning bush that Moses saw was eternal life.
Moses lived eighty days without food or water because he was in the Presence of the eternal Life of God.
The cloud and the fire were eternal life.
The Glory on the Tabernacle and inside the Most Holy Place were eternal life.
Eternal life filled the Temple of Solomon until the priests could not stand and minister.
Elijah traveled forty days and forty nights in the strength of the eternal Life of God.
Eternal life is given to the conqueror, God’s warrior, in the form of “hidden manna,” and he then is able to overcome every adversary, every obstacle.
Eternal life created the earth, the other planets, the sun and moon, the stars.
Eternal life raised the Lord Jesus from the dead.
Eternal life is righteousness, joy, love, peace, the ability to perform one’s will in the Presence of Christ.
Where there is sin there is the absence of eternal life.
Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15)
Satan and the demons have energy but it is not the energy of God. It is a dark, proud, lustful, violent energy devoid of righteousness, without joy, love, or peace.
Human beings have physical energy that results from the processes of metabolism. But physical energy is negligible compared to the energies in the spirit realm. All that physical energy accomplishes is to hold us upright, as it were, while we choose between Divine Life and satanic life. Physical life is inconsequential and soon leaves the body, with the result that the body returns to the dust from which it was formed. The flesh profits nothing.
All we desire is found in the eternal Life of God.
The energy of sin corrupts every human being. When we receive the Lord Jesus He gives us of the Holy Spirit, not in the abundance we shall possess in the Day of the Lord but as a pledge on the future filling of our body with Divine Life.
The unregenerate individual is unable to resist the energies of sin and death unless he is exceptionally strong-willed. Even then, sin eventually will trick him and bring him into slavery.
The Christian, if he chooses to do so, can keep coming to the Lord for energy and wisdom to thrust aside the energies and wisdom of sin and death. If the Christian walks in the Life of Jesus he can overcome the world, Satan, and his own sins and self-will.
It is only by the Life, the Spirit, the Presence and energy of God that we can resist sin and do the Lord’s will.
We understand, therefore, that the goal of redemption is to be filled with eternal life in our spirit, soul, and body.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
As we have stated, the task was to give eternal life to the believers in Corinth. But how is the task to be performed? How is eternal life, the incorruptible Presence and energy of God, to be communicated to the believer in Corinth.?
Two ways of giving Divine Life. There are at least two ways in which Divine Life could have been given to the believers in Corinth.
One way would have been for Paul, a successful minister enjoying the fruit of many years of study and experience, to preach Jesus to the Corinthians and then to pray that the Life of Jesus would come to them from Heaven above.
This is what happened when Peter preached to the household of Cornelius. The Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the Word of God.
Another method of communicating eternal resurrection life to the believers in Corinth, the method actually used by the Lord, was to crucify Paul through many afflictions, putting down Paul’s personality and then lifting Paul by Divine Life to such an extent that the Life spilled over to the Corinthians.
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)
The first way would permit the apostle (although this certainly was not the case with Peter!) to enjoy the good things of the world and yet preach in such a manner that eternal life was communicated to the hearers from an external source.
The second way required the crushing of the apostle until Divine Life was necessary in order for him to exist and minister. Paul had to decrease so Christ might increase.
Either method would have sufficed to bring eternal life to the Corinthians. In the first method Paul could have enjoyed his work, leading a normal existence. In the second method Paul had to endure the sufferings and death of Christ in order for eternal life to be communicated to the believers.
Why God crucifies His vessels. Now we come to a question arising from II Corinthians 4:8-12: If eternal life could have been given by either method, why did the Lord choose the method that brought such pain to the apostle?
If we can find the answer to this question it may help us understand why the Christian discipleship is one of affliction and patience and not a pleasurable experience in which we gain, through the Lord Jesus, success and fulfillment in the world.
The answer is, God is creating rivers of life; trees of life.
God is well able to pour out His Spirit on all flesh, giving eternal life to all who receive, apart from any suffering on the part of His ministers.
But God is interested in developing a Kingdom, a holy city that itself will serve for eternity as the source of eternal life.
God could have been content to let Paul be a successful teacher who pointed men to Christ so they would receive eternal life from Him. Instead God, according to His plan from the creation of the world, was intent on creating the Divine throne in Paul’s personality so for eternity Paul could serve as a source of eternal life; as a river of life; as a tree of life.
God could design the future ages as a series of Pentecosts, as rain from Heaven, periodically refreshing mankind with the Holy Spirit.
But God has planned a step past Pentecost, past the Lampstand of the Holy Place. God has in mind a spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, an experience in which the Source of all life creates His eternal dwelling place in human beings so they may serve mankind as sources of eternal Divine Presence, energy, righteousness, and blessing. This full experience of Divine Glory was portrayed in the Shechinah, the Glory of God’s Presence that filled the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The spiritual fulfillment of the Lampstand (the feast of Pentecost) is wonderful. The spiritual fulfillment of the Ark and Mercy Seat (the feast of Tabernacles) is even more wonderful (Leviticus, Chapter 23).
Rain is desirable. A dependable river of water is even more desirable.
Paul was crushed in order to make him an eternal source of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.
As Abraham did before him, Paul wandered in an alien land (the earth), a land that afterward will be given to him as an inheritance.
Paul’s crucifixion was the source of eternal life for the saints in Corinth. In the ages to come, Paul will be the source of life for multitudes of people. But in that day Paul, as is true of Christ now, will minister from the position of strength and unlimited joy, not from the cross of pain and grief.
Our goal is unlimited life, the crown of life, the power of endless life. Through eternal life we will receive the desires of our heart.
We shall reap what we sow. Paul goes on to say:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, (II Corinthians 4:17)
The afflictions we are suffering are creating an eternal weight of glory, a weight of eternal life
The weight of eternal life is our house from Heaven.
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)
Our house from Heaven is a body fashioned from the substance of eternal life. After our flesh and bones are raised from the dead by the voice of the Lord Jesus we shall be clothed with whatever we have sown.
If we have sown to the will of God, to the Spirit of God, our resurrected flesh and bones will be clothed with a body of eternal life, of eternal energy, eternal joy, eternal love, eternal peace—a body with the power and ability to perform our will (as we abide in the Lord).
If we have sown to sin and self-will, our resurrected flesh and bones will we clothed with the spiritual corruption and death we have chosen.
This is true whether or not we profess belief in Christ. Whatever we sow we shall reap. This fundamental Kingdom law shall never be changed. We shall receive in our body what we have practiced in our body, whether good or evil. We shall be rewarded in our body according to our behavior.
For we [Christians and everyone else] must all appear [be revealed, manifest] before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
To teach that we can sow sin, and then by grace reap eternal life and joy, is to invite delusion, to bring destruction upon one’s self and one’s hearers.
Paul’s goal was eternal life in his body.
For we who are in this tent [body] groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
Our eternal ministry. What will be our employment when the Lord Jesus comes and our mortality is swallowed up by the house from Heaven?—when we are filled, spirit, soul, and body, with the eternal resurrection life that has been created from our afflictions?
Our assignment will be threefold: to restore an earth that has been destroyed by sin; to lift the curse from the earth; and to be the source of eternal life for the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
As to restoring a ruined planet:
And they [God’s saints] shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)
As to lifting the curse from the earth:
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. (Isaiah 65:23)
As to giving eternal life to the nations of saved peoples of the earth:
The Gentiles [nations] shall come to your [God’s elect] light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:3)
“And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. (Ezekiel 47:9)
“but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— (Numbers 14:21)
As soon as the Bride of the Lamb has been filled to overflowing with eternal Divine Life she desires to share this Life with whoever will come and drink.
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; and you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)
Thus far we have:
- Pointed out that two different gospels are being preached today: one that presents the Lord Jesus as the means of gaining all we desire in the world; the other that requires we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Man of Sorrows.
- Mentioned the task of giving eternal life to the believers in Corinth.
- Defined eternal life as the Divine Presence and energy that makes it possible for us to attain the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.
- Set forth the goal of salvation as the gaining of eternal life in spirit, soul, and body.
- Discussed two ways in which Divine Life could have been given to the believers in Corinth.
- Described why God chose to give life by means of Paul’s sufferings.
- Stated that God is creating His throne in the personalities of the saints.
- Explained that God is creating sources of His Glory, choosing to issue life through Christ—Head and Body rather than in Pentecostal downpours of rain.
- Mentioned the process of creating the house from Heaven by means of our afflictions—the body of life from Heaven that will enable us to be the source of eternal life.
- Stated that our resurrected flesh and bones will be clothed with the consequences of what we did during our life on the earth.
- Announced our assignment (as soon as we have attained eternal life) of restoring the earth, removing the curse, and issuing the Glory of God until the whole earth is filled with the Divine Presence.
Sources of eternal life. The river of eternal life always flows from the Throne of God, from nowhere else. The Throne of God is being created in our heart in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. As soon as the throne has been established in us, the living water will flow from our personality.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)
Then we will bring eternal life to those whom God sends to us.
Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
Throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age we shall with the greatest joy provide the water of life for the nations of the saved.
And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur. (Zechariah 14:8)
After the Bride has been perfected, at the end of the Kingdom Age, the Lamb’s Wife will descend from the new sky to rest forever on the new earth.
The new Jerusalem is the glorified Church, the Body of Christ. The Throne of God and of the Lamb will be located forever in the new Jerusalem, in the Bride of the Lamb. All the nations of saved peoples of the earth will draw life, light, blessing, righteousness, joy, healing, love, peace, energy to accomplish their roles, from the personalities of the saints. The saints are portrayed as trees of life planted by the River of the Spirit of God.
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)
Revelation 22:1 is a symbolic portrayal of the Life of the Spirit issuing from the personalities of the members of the Body of Christ. Now the water of eternal life is clear as crystal, no longer being clouded by the sin and self-seeking of the saints.
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)
The tree of life is singular—one tree. The Lord Jesus is the one Tree of Life. The saints are the branches of the Tree. The fruit and the leaves are a symbolic portrayal of the Life of God that is available to the nations through the saints.
Sickness, death, sorrow, soon will be things of the past for the inhabitants of the new earth because the eternal life from the saints will banish all darkness, all corruption, all death from the people.
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. (Revelation 22:3)
As we stated previously, the curse will be lifted as the sons of God go through the earth, bringing eternal life, harmony, and joy in place of the desolation caused by the unclean energies of demons. Every unclean authority and power, every fallen angel, every sinful and rebellious spirit, will be driven from the face of the earth by the Divine judgment exercised through Christ—Head and Body.
God’s servants will serve Him.
If God were to issue the power of eternal life to the churches of our day the result would be unimaginable chaos. The reason is that the believers, even though they have received God’s Spirit in a measure, are still guided and motivated by self-will, self-rule, self-centeredness, and every other form of self-love.
It is the throne of the human personality that is at issue. Are we willing to permit God to cast down self from the throne of our personality and take possession of the throne for His own use?
Earlier we mentioned the two gospels. The first gospel serves to keep our adamic nature intact and king self on the throne.
The second gospel, the Gospel of God’s royal priesthood, crucifies the adamic nature so God’s will alone is done by the individual.
According to the writer’s understanding, only those who have submitted to crucifixion will be raised when the Lord appears. God will not give a body of eternal life, a body of power and glory, to any person who still is motivated by self-will. This is why in the New Testament writings, rulership is associated with suffering. The cross and the crown go together.
God’s servants will serve Him for eternity. They have learned in this present world to wait upon His will and to obey Him instantly. Today, obedience to God often requires a setting aside of our fervent desires. During the Kingdom Age and throughout the eternity that follows, obedience to God will mean total joy for the sons of God, the victorious saints.
Life in the ages to come. What will be taking place in the ages to come? People will be engaging in every conceivable form of activity, depending on their personality and calling. Scientists, teachers, musicians, warriors, artists, builders, rulers—individuals at all levels of authority and responsibility—will be filled with eternal life and serving God in the fullness of love, peace, and joy.
Think what it would be like for a musician, for example, to study music for eternity in a body as strong and quick as needed for the particular instrument, and that never grew tired! Can you imagine what kind of music he or she would be producing after a few thousand years?
How many inventions would Thomas Edison have produced if he still were alive? What kind of spiritual understanding will the Apostle Paul have at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age?
It is death, the absence of the Life of God, that prevents the development of the human personality. The Lord Jesus, who Himself is the Resurrection and the Life, came that we might have eternal life and have it in ever greater abundance.
They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)
It would not be possible for any believer, in the present hour, to pass from the earth into the spirit realm and then stand before the Face of God. The purpose of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, as we understand it, is to prepare us for an unheard of privilege—to see the Face of the Father!
Perhaps Moses saw the Face of God. Moses’ face was transfigured so he had to wear a veil when he came back from the Holy of Holies. The flesh of his face had been slain and replaced with eternal life.
There will be no temple in the new Jerusalem, in the Bride of the Lamb. God is establishing His throne in the hearts of His sons, and God will have no temple, no veil—nothing that separates His sons from Himself.
Again, this is an unheard of privilege. We will be so glorified by that time we shall be able to see God’s Face. It is nearly incredible! We ourselves shall be great mountains of fire, of eternal life, of galaxy-creating energy. We shall be the sons of God in truth, and God Himself will be our Father and our God. We shall keep on growing in His image for eternity under the careful supervision of our elder Brother, Christ.
Immanuel. “His name shall be in their foreheads.”
The entire concept of Israel, of the Church, of the Bride of Christ, of the royal priesthood, of the elect, is embodied in this one statement: “His name shall be in their foreheads.”
We find a parallel thought in Isaiah:
Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed.” (Isaiah 61:9)
Again, in John:
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:16)
“I in them, and you in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me. (John 17:23)
“That the world may know that you… have loved them as you have loved me.”
It is clear that the elect, the individuals called of God from the foundation of the world, are destined to become the Presence, the Glory of God among the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
We are to be Immanuel (God with us) for the peoples of the earth. It is not that we have any worth of ourselves. It is that God has crucified our adamic nature and in its place has created the eternal Life of Christ. In addition to the re-creation of our personality, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will have established Their eternal abode in us.
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:12)
The name of our God will be written in our forehead because we belong to Him forever, having been chosen from the creation of the world. We are not of the world. We have been chosen out of the world to be God’s Presence among all of God’s creatures. We are Israel, the royal priesthood.
The name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem, will be written on us because we are the holy city, the place of God’s throne. In us the throne has been joined to the footstool (the earth). Never again will the people of the nations of the saved walk in the blindness of dead flesh. The Lord’s representatives, His priests, the chariots of His Glory, will always be available to provide guidance and blessing for the saved peoples of the earth.
The new name of Christ will be engraved in us because we are the Bride, the fullness of Christ. The new name is given to us because we are married to Him, in total union with Him.
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name. (Isaiah 62:2)
The Church, the Body of Christ, is destined to be the light of the world forever just as Christ has been the Light from the beginning.
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
In the beginning God created the light and then separated the light from the darkness, from the spiritual rebellion that took place in the heavenlies. That Light was and is Christ. From that hour to the present the darkness has not been able to comprehend or overcome the Light of God in any manner whatever.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4)
the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— (I John 1:2)
The Light is the Life, the eternal Life, of God.
At one time God dwelled on the earth, having fellowship with Adam and Eve. Their disobedience caused the Lord to withdraw temporarily into the realm of spirits we term Heaven.
The absence of the Lord is giving an opportunity for Satan and his angels to demonstrate to the heavens and the earth the insanity and futility of existence apart from the Presence of God.
It never was the Lord’s intention to remain in a temple in the spirit realm.
God knew from the beginning of the creation He would create a living temple, a body, a chariot in which He would dwell for eternity. The living Temple of God can be everywhere in the creation, preventing another rebellion, enabling the Lord to be Present among His creatures in a manner that permits perfect communication between Him and them.
The chariot is the Church, the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
The Presence of God no longer will be over the Ark of the Covenant or in Heaven above. The Presence, the Throne of God will be located for eternity in the new Jerusalem, that is, in the hearts of God’s elect.
“At that time Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:17)
“Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the LORD.” No longer will the Throne of God be located up somewhere in the spirit heavens. Jerusalem, the Church, the holy city, will be the throne of God.
The nations of the saved will not look to Heaven for the answers to their prayers but to the living Temple of God, the holy Jerusalem.
Solomon had prophetic insight into the role of the Temple in men’s prayers.
“that your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where you said you would put your name, that you may hear the prayer which your servant prays toward this place. (II Chronicles 6:20)
“Prays toward this place.” A prayer offered, not toward God in Heaven but toward God in this place.
This may be a new thought to us—that there is a day coming when the Lord God of Heaven will be dwelling on earth in a city composed of His elect, and the nations of saved peoples of the earth will look toward the holy Jerusalem rather than toward Heaven for the answers to their prayers.
Heaven, the place of God’s throne, is being joined to the earth, God’s footstool.
Heaven is joined to the earth in Christ and in the Body of Christ; for the Body of Christ is the fullness of Christ.
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:23)
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fullness of Christ; (Ephesians 4:13)
Christ is the ladder that reaches from earth to Heaven (John 1:51).
We are destined to become rivers of eternal life, trees of life, so people never again will be denied the drink and the food they must have if they are to possess the Life of God and possess it more abundantly.
If we were not to become rivers of life then the Christian Gospel could be considered a means of enhancing our adamic, natural life. Christians could go merrily about their own ways, being assured that God stands ready to protect them and grant them every desire. Indeed, the Gospel would be “Good News for the Natural Man.”
But because we are in the Church Age, and the purpose of the Church Age is to summon the elect from the nations of the earth, to bring the elect to maturity in Christ, and to bear witness to the nations, we must suffer every kind of affliction, denial, and persecution.
We are the garbage of the world in the present hour.
being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now. (I Corinthians 4:13)
The great revival that will bring the nations of the earth to God will come in the future. Before that revival can take place the Lord’s people must become fit to bear His Glory, His eternal Life.
The nations will not come today to the Church as it is. But when the Church has been made one in the Father and the Son, being filled with the fullness of the Spirit of Life, then the world will come and drink of the waters of God.
The Gentiles [nations] shall come to your [God’s elect] light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:3)
It is not possible the world can receive the Glory of God, eternal life, until the members of the Body of Christ are willing to lay aside their own life, as the Lord Jesus did, and allow God to convert their personality from Adam to Christ, from the man of earth to the Man of Heaven, from the living soul to the life-giving spirit.
And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (I Corinthians 15:45-49)
The first man, Adam, was made a living soul.
The last Adam was made a life-giving Spirit.
We, the members of God’s elect, have borne the image of the earthly. As we enter the crucifixion of Christ and His glorious resurrection we begin to bear the image of the heavenly.
We are not of the world. We have been called out of the world so we may be made rivers of living water from which the world can drink.
Israel is the royal priesthood of God. Throughout the centuries Israel, God’s chosen people, has refused the role of God’s priests and has determined to be like the remainder of mankind.
Whenever a member of God’s elect, whether a Jew or a Christian, refuses the role of priest and chooses instead to live as part of the world community, the judgment of God will come upon him or her.
Let us, rather, choose to suffer affliction with the people of God. We are wandering in our land of promise as in a strange land. But it is a land we afterward shall receive for an inheritance.
If we will go forward in the Lord Jesus, despising the shame, keeping our eyes on the joy set before us, the day will come when the world discovers that those whom they rejected (especially the great Head of the Body, the Lord Jesus) are now their rulers, their judges, their priests, and their sources of eternal Life.
(“Rivers of Life”, 3635-1)