10. Christ, God's Story
Then something happened that no one expected.
10. Christ, God's Story
In the beginning, as God opened His mouth to speak Christ, the best human concept to express what came out is the word “story.” Yes, John used the Greek word, logos, but then he said that this Logos became flesh, and that is story.
God's story begins as a Word followed by the accuser. Between the Word and the accuser, however, two things come into the story, human flesh and the command, the operative word, “Subdue.” Looking through the definitions and references of the Hebrew word, “subdue,” however, I see that it is a terrible thing, one we hardly dare to explore. In God's story, the opposite takes place and human flesh is subdued by the accuser. The devastation of the curse follows. For four thousand years of labor under that curse, the Word is prophesied, called forth, sung into the human experience.
Then comes the Word in weakness, wrapped in swaddling cloths, becoming human flesh. But the accuser is right there, in the Pharisees, in Pilate, in Gethsemane. Then comes the Lamb in sorrow, laying down His life for His friends, becoming the curse for the sake of all. Then that same Word is birthed in the many, but the accuser has one last role to play before his last gasp. It is the Lamb again, revealed in weakness through many, who defeats forever the accuser and all that he speaks. By this means God reveals the Lamb as Glorious. Paul said that Glory is revealed in us.
Yes, John saw that after a set age, the accuser is released a final time to speak against God, again to convince many that God lies, but that is for a different time and purpose than concerns us now. Thus we will end our present story with Glory revealed in us.
Let's expand that story, now, into a more complete form.
Once upon a time the story began. God opened His mouth to speak Christ, “Let there be light,” and the most incredible story ever told unfolded here upon planet Earth.
That story is birthed by Desire, for God is love and Love must have a lover. God is light and Light must be seen. Yet God is invisible Spirit, neither seen nor known. Desire cannot rest until it has birthed all of its longing into tangible creative experience. For you see, God is also life, and Life births itself in many. Life must bring forth life.
The depths of the wanting of God can never be plummeted, a tender touch, a gentle word. The Desire of God is the speaking of Christ. Christ, the Word God is always speaking, is everything to God. God magnifies His Word above all His name.
God spoke Christ, and the overflow of Desire formed heaven/earth, the stage, the arena, the womb. God spoke earth the body and heaven the spirit, and at their junction, man, a living soul, the very image and likeness of God in body to earth and in spirit to heaven.
This invisible, unknowable God shaped man to fit Himself. Man is created to contain God, to contain all of God. Man is designed to reveal God, to release unbounded Love for all creation to see, to touch, to handle. Man, alone in creation, is made to be filled full with another Person, God's Person, fitting in all ways into man's person. Human flesh held for God the promise of all His Desire, the hope beating full in the depths of His heart.
However, this Almighty God highly regards and honors even the tiniest of creatures. He lifts up the weak; He gives strength to the feeble. God will not even create man without honoring man's person. God sets man utterly free of Himself. God will never violate the integrity and honor of any heart.
“You are not finished, Adam. Your completion is in your own hand. I will not, I cannot live in you unless you want Me above life itself.
“Adam, I love you, and I have a task for you to accomplish for Me. Adam, subdue and rule, bring all things under your feet. Now, you don't know how to do that, neither do you have the ability to do that.
“Here, Adam, is knowledge, My law written down, My definition in your hand. Do not eat of knowledge, for though it will make you a self with no need of Me, yet it will rip you apart. Knowing about Me will never give you life, but you can use knowledge to subdue; it will appear to succeed for a season.”
“But of life, Adam, you may freely eat. Yet My life is Me. If you eat of Me, then I will live in you and you will live in Me. You will never be your own, but always, everywhere you go, in everything you do, you will be filled with Me, and I will reveal Myself through you. Then rivers of living water will flow out of you, and you and I together will accomplish all our desire, you and I together will subdue all things.”
Adam walked the garden, and God walked with him, though not yet in him. As Adam walked, desire awakened inside of him. Adam longed for life; his heart sang for the Word that would fill him full.
Adam was alone.
Then God brought Eve out of Adam's side, and together they sought for life through the garden. But just as they drew near to the tree of life, all darkness pressed against Adam's way.
“Did God indeed say?” the accuser's voice whined. The accuser, placed before man by God, speaking against the Word of God's mouth, together with the tree of knowledge, holy and pure, written by God out from Himself, and the face of Eve, seductive and demanding, heart of Adam's heart, all pressed instantly against Adam's mind and will.
In that moment, Adam saw all things through serpent eyes. Being filled with all of God no longer existed for him. Without deliberation, Adam chose the face of humanity and the knowledge of the law, “All that the Lord says, I will do.”
Adam's spirit shriveled into darkness, the heavens vanished from his sight. Death now ruled the human race through the whips of sin, made strong by Adam's knowledge. Murder, rape, debauchery, arrogant boasting, and more murder flowed out of Adam's family, children abusing children and mocking God, men subduing men. Desire made for God now drank from sewers.
Christ, the Word God is always speaking, was no longer heard by men, their minds were dark against that Word, their ears stopped up. At the same time, at the very moment that Adam's teeth pierced the fruit of knowledge, the entire universe, all of heaven/earth received the coloring, the death of Adam. Everything became knowledge, everything became right and wrong, yin and yang, good and evil. For the way to Life was barred, and mankind no longer knew of its existence.
Adam labored under the curse for 930 years, in sweat, in blood, in tears, but before that Day was done, Adam's spirit and body ripped apart, torn asunder, vanishing from Adam's soul, and he has wandered in the shadows, a whisper in the darkness, beholding the meaning of his decision every single day from then until now, all of his desire, desire formed to contain the very Desire of God, continuously empty, ever strong and ever unsated.
Death ruled both heaven and earth.
Yet the Word God is always speaking cannot be quieted. He comes, and here and there across the earth, there is always a heart to whom that Word belongs.
The second man birthed upon the earth, Abel, offered a lamb to God, and his murdered blood called to that Word to come, calling from out of the agony and terror of the earth. Not one day has set upon this broken planet without a human heart, somewhere, somehow, a heart created to contain Almighty God, calling, calling for the coming of that Word.
After 1,650 years, the heavens ripped apart in the sight of men upon the earth, and the earth shook, lands split asunder, and oceans changed their course. In one day, a billion human souls, their bodies ripped from their spirits, were thrust into Hades as whispering souls, hiding in the shadows, waiting in unfulfilled desire.
Remarkably, only a few thousand had perished before then, not counting those who were murdered. A bunch of oldies, unnoticed by most.
But eight souls continued, and in one was a heart turned to God.
From that one came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They sang for the Word, expecting Him to come with all expectation. But God was not finished with the tree of knowledge. He had formed it out from Himself, He had placed it before man, and He had said, “Do not eat of knowledge, for it will rip you apart.”
Mankind must know the emptiness of knowledge. Mankind must know the law. And so God wrote that same tree of knowledge, this time on tablets of stone, and Moses shattered that law upon the mountainside. Not one person ever kept it, not one, but not for want of trying. And if one man had kept the law to perfection? Whoop-te-do! No law can give life, no law can plant the Word inside a man's mouth, the singing of Christ in a heart shaped for God. Knowledge produces only separation and death, just as God said in the beginning.
Yet in that law was written a promise, calling for the Word. “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart, this word for you to speak. And when that Word comes, hear Him.” For 1,500 years the law spoke of things to come, yet bringing death to all.
David sang for the Word, in the lonely night watches. Isaiah lay on his face before God, drawing that Word before his heart, seeing it come. Jeremiah wept for the Word, wandering alone around an empty city. Sin by the law killed them all; Christ must come.
Human flesh, empty of Christ IS no good. The human heart, empty of God, is filled with deceit and desperately wicked. Death ruled upon the earth, and sin whipped the shattered lives of men. But among those who had the law, sin was made very strong.
In the fulness of times, the Word became flesh. And Mary brought forth her new-born son, wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.
God created human flesh to contain the Word of His mouth. Human flesh was never made for the law, for knowing things right and knowing things wrong; human flesh was made for Christ. Human flesh was designed by God to contain all of God. God created the human heart to carry the beating of His own heart, the passion of God's Desire, Person inside of person.
Then the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, full of grace and truth.
Human flesh is made for God and no one else; God manifest IN THE flesh.
In Gethsemane the Word became a Lamb. In Gethsemane, the Lamb took all into Himself, broken before God. In Gethsemane, as the Lamb rose to His feet, the bitter Cup turned to Joy inside His heart. The Lamb carried all, you and me, all the way through the dark passage of death, all the way into life.
We live in Him.
Against the way through which the Lamb walked, carrying all, the accuser pressed, through demonic assault, through betrayal and denial, through the “inspection” of the high priest, through the cynicism of Pilate and the mockery of Herod. Against that way the woman, mankind, screamed, taunting and abusing, “You are no Christ for me.” Against that way the law of God pressed, “Cursed is every man who hangs upon a tree.”
The Lamb became the curse in His body. Both body and curse died.
The curse is dead. Death is dead.
But the flesh of the Lamb came alive again in the new creation, and we came alive in Him.
The Lamb ascended to the right hand of the Father, having sprinkled His blood upon the Mercy Seat. There the Lamb sits, waiting, until His enemies are made His footstool.
Forty days later, on the Day of Pentecost, the Word came again, this time as the Seed of God in the hearts of many. The Word was planted into the earth; the Word became flesh again, the Word became us.
The plant grew strong in the early morning. But as the sun rose in its heat, the plant withered under the power of the accuser, and under the power of the face of the woman, and under the power of an Augustinian “God,” cut far off from human flesh. Yet always there were hearts filled with that Word longing, travailing for its birthing. Not a day passed but somewhere upon the earth, hearts filled with Word travailed for its birth.
For a generation, the church, the planting of Christ, was as the church of Ephesus, remembering her early glory. Then God ended the earthly Jerusalem (AD 70), and the church became as Smyrna, bloody and bruised, hiding beneath the earth, yet she grew and spread the Word she carried far and wide. Then the persecution lifted (AD 311) and the church, as Pergamos, made an agreement with the Beast. And out of that agreement, the church, as Thyatira, sat for 1000 years as Jezebel upon the earth.
But Jezebel could never silence the Word, nor bring an end to the hearts laboring to bring it forth. For under her many nations came under the church by violence. Yet, though many walked in darkness, there was always the Word, speaking to hearts who yearned for Him.
Then the church as Sardis rose upon the earth with the hammering of 95 arguments on a church door (1517). She had a word of truth, but she was yet dead. In spite of her death, however, many more hearts were released as the Word, once again, became open to all. No human power could shut down the printing press.
Then the heart of a man was “strangely warmed” (1738), and the church as Philadelphia strode out upon the earth. She found an open door with God and power moved once again in the hearts of many. Wave after wave of the Holy Spirit poured forth upon the earth, bringing many into travail, interceding before God for the birthing of the Word upon the earth.
Then great wars descended upon the earth and men reached for the power to kill all and to destroy the earth. In the midst of that lust for death were birthed two opposing forces (1948). Among those in travail before God, the Feast of Tabernacles began and the Word became living and alive in the mouths of those who believed. And in the earth, a deadly beast crawled up again out of the abyss, it's deadly wound, healed.
Torn between two, the church became as Laodicea, both hot and cold – lukewarm. The church embraced the life flowing out of Tabernacles, and gave her strength to the beast from the abyss.
But no longer was the travail of the Word limited to a few here and there. Now, whole bodies of people, in many different forms and places, labored together before God for the birthing of the Word.
And the woman screamed to give birth. But the dragon stood before her, the accuser, in his final, desperate frenzy to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Then something happened that no one expected.
The dragon never saw it, never understood, even as he lay prostrate upon the ground, pressed beneath the feet of many. The church, in love with Jesus and in love with the Beast, never saw it, never understood. The Pharisees, in triumphant rule once again, across the whole earth this time, could not perceive such a thing. All mankind was oblivious. Death, reaching for the final destruction of mankind, was taken completely unawares by it.
But it happened, and in that moment the universe changed.
Here is how it happened.
But first, we must understand the setting.
You see, Adam's action carried overwhelming consequences. The sacrifice of the Lamb did not remove those consequences; they continued right on throughout all of heaven/earth. From Adam's action, the rule of death, the rule of knowledge, the rule of right and wrong passed upon all things, upon all things in heaven and upon all things on earth. At the same time, the possibility of a different universe, a Life universe, vanished from all knowledge.
For four thousand years the Word was limited by the law and the prophets, separated and outside, pressed always through Adam's right and wrong. Yes, David and others wept for that Word in its true form, yet all they ever knew of it in their own lives was as Adam's good and evil – knowledge implemented, “do this and live by it.”
Then the Word came as a single seed, but the Word cannot be one seed, alone, the Word is many. And so, in spite of the planting of that Word into the earth as the church, yet within one lifetime, all possibility that the Word could be something other than Adam's separation vanished from human knowledge, and soon a Nicene Christ, a Nicolaitan Christ, a conquered Christ, divorced from human flesh and “deified” above all, was the only Christ anyone knew.
And the Word planted in many became just another bunch of sinners “going to” heaven after they die.
For two thousand years the Word, the gospel of Jesus Christ, has been limited to something back then, something up there, and something someday. Thus Christianity has defined itself and the gospel by Adam's separated universe of right and wrong. “Do this and you'll live in 'heaven' someday.”
And even the heavenly woman, in travail before God, residing fully in the Altar of Incense, knew only separation. She carried the Word inside of her, yes, but she did not know that Word. Life still seemed barred from man.
This is the setting, and in that very setting, the most unexpected thing happened.
You see, among the many making up this heavenly woman in travail before God in the Altar of Incense, there were a number of individuals scattered across the earth. These were people of no account. In their hearts, they loved the Word, they longed for His reality to be their own. But they just failed. They could not do it. Don't get me wrong, they certainly tried, following the best, sitting long under the anointed, enduring many things. But they failed. They could not stop sinning; they could not get their flesh under foot; they could not climb above condemnation; they could not defeat the evil one. They could never make it; they could never get it right. They failed, shattered and bruised and empty.
But for some inexplicable reason, the Word did not leave their hearts. And so they found themselves amongst many who rejoiced in the grace of God, they walked with those who rested in our union with Christ. But just as the Word had not left them in their failure, neither did the travail leave them in their joy. They could not stay among the many who were satisfied with joy.
But neither could they overcome.
They could not stay; they could not go. They could not win; they could not lose.
And so they whispered to one another, “There is nothing we can gain; we have nothing left to lose.” With no victory, with no standing, with no credentials, with no ability, with nothing in the sight of men, with nothing in the sight of heaven, they turned their backs on everything and just wandered down the path into a little room, and, finding nothing to prevent them, they sat down in the chair they found there.
As they sat down, the universe changed.
Here's how it happened.
You see, I said they had nothing, and that was true in all the realms of Adam's universe. But it was not completely true, for deep in their hearts, unknown, almost, by them, there resided something not of Adam's universe, something not of the law of right and wrong, the dilemma of sin or not sin, the divorce of heaven and earth, the knowledge of good and evil, the travail of Christendom. We have a short and very limited word we use to call this thing, this one thing they possessed inside of them.
And caring nothing for grace or works, thinking nothing of salvation or damnation, having left behind all victory and defeat, they found only one thing that they wanted, one thing they desired.
The Desire of God.
And thus they saw what no one else could see: From the beginning, God determined that I, Daniel Yordy , would be conformed fully into the image of Jesus, the first One of our kind. I carry this treasure, Christ Himself, the word God spoke from the beginning, in my earthen vessel, in my mortal flesh, in my dying body.”
The Word in utter weakness through many.
Yet from all sides came the shouts and cries, “Hey, you! You have no right to be in that room; you have no right to sit there in that chair. You are still a sinner; you are still fleshy and weak. You are a fallen human being. You are a heretic; you blaspheme.”
And yes, those who just wandered in, because there was simply nothing else for them to do, heard the words screamed at them, but they could not respond. They could not respond for there was in their own hearts another word, “I have the right to be a son of God.” They had already lost everything; they were already proven failures. What difference did any of that make, after all?
They sat there, refusing to leave, and as they sat in the chair, their seeing began to change. The Word altered its appearance before their eyes. The Word did not change; it's just that in that chair ALONE one could see from outside of Adam's painted universe. And thus all the Word God speaks became to them what He really is. The Word became them; the Word found its residence in their mouths.
From that chair they saw through eyes of fire.
Then, seeing the Desire of God alone filling their hearts, seeing out through eyes of fire, they began to speak as God speaks. They spoke Christ.
The Word is in your mouth. The Word is in your mouth. The Word is in your mouth.(Romans 10:8)
As they spoke that Word in utter weakness and inability, as they spoke Christ their only life just like God spoke from the beginning, they discovered something incredible. Adam had it all wrong.
Sin cannot be defeated by facing sin to defeat it. Life cannot be won by dying to self. Victory does not come by winning. Subduing the earth will bring no one to the throne of God.
Life comes first, death is no more. Blood flows first, sin is never remembered again. Being filled with all the fullness of God comes now, rivers flowing out come from nowhere else. The Word is in your mouth.
And this chair they found, wandering in where no one else dared go, this chair they sat upon, simply because no one stopped them, because they had nothing more to lose and nothing else to gain? You'll find that chair in Revelation 4 & 5; God calls it His throne.
The throne comes first, everything else flows out of that throne.
The Word is in your mouth. Everything old simply vanishes as the New comes out of our mouths.
And thus the Word is come again, out of the mouths of many, out of the mouths of weakness.
Christ, the speaking of God, is everything. There is nothing else.
The Word is in your mouth. Speak Christ alone. Speak Christ as your only life.
To overcome means to wander in where you have no business being. It means to sit down where you have no business sitting. It means to speak what you have no business speaking, with nothing to lose and nothing to gain.
It is faith. It is the only honor that can be given to the Word God speaks, the only thing that satisfies the insatiable Desire of God.
It is the Dwelling Place of the Almighty; it is the Throne of God.
The Lamb in Glory in weakness through many; God manifest in the flesh.
And the woman brought forth a manchild who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. – The Word is in your mouth.
I began to write the Great Story of God and the Unveiling of Jesus Christ in the fall of 1993. Some of what I wrote then you continue to read now, and some of it will never see the light of day. The book I have titled “The Great Story of God” is much different from that earlier volume (I called it “The Third Man”), yet it is definitely a step along the way, a seeking to see this entire Story as it really is.
I love epic story. God wove the design of epic story all through me when He formed me. You would be amused to know how much I love The Hobbit. I went to the theater to watch “An Unexpected Journey” on the big screen three times; I've never done such a thing in my life (seen a movie at the theater more than once). I have read the book 24 times, more than any other book, including twice out loud to my children. My favorite chapter in all world literature is “Riddles in the Dark.” Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis gave us that chapter perfectly. I don't think it could be bettered. I would love to thank them personally.
But all great epic stories, birthed out of these many created in the image of God, are nothing other than the groaning desire of great human hearts to sing, to call forth the One Story that is real. We will know the victory of Christ through us into all the earth as the great chapter, the climax of this Story. And everything we look at in John's vision must arise out of its place here.
Let's do that with the consequence of Adam's folly that I left hanging at the close of my last letter.
I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Most of Christendom defines these words to mean that Jesus opens the door of death and people die, that Jesus closes the door of Hades, and people are locked in forever. There is a significant problem with that view.
Jesus – Life – is the will of God; death is NOT. The curse is not God's will.
The goal is the elimination of death.
Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.Matthew 16:18
The key of Hades is the breaking down of its barriers, its defenses, its gates, so that the church of Christ cannot be kept out of Hades. Life swallows up death first, then we go to hell! And when we're done stripping hell of its plunder, in the same way that Jesus did, the only thing left for either Death or Hades is the lake of fire, swallowed up in the manifest love of God.
God All in all.
Now, I think, we have the complete context for exploring the action of God in the universe and in the Story, “subdue,” and the seven overcomes in Revelation 2 and 3.