12. In the Place God Has Chosen
There is no such thing as earth without heaven all through it as its breath, its life, its spirit. There is no such thing as heaven without earth as its anchor and form. Those who have lost their physical bodies have NOT gone to another place.
12. In the Place God Has Chosen
I have just started reading Gathering to Life. I need to clarify some thoughts if I may. I may have been misunderstanding your thoughts. You use a table of food as an analogy of Christ, and how we are able to understand or eat anything that is Christ. I get that. What I thought you were saying, up until I read that, was "going to heaven" was pie in the sky. That there wasn't in fact, a place where spirits exist, angels do whatever they do, and the dead in Christ exist in spirit form, somewhere without a physical body. Are you saying this, or are you saying that besides this reality of "heaven," there exists a reality of union with Christ and Father, which we can have here, and that will extend in the spirit realm in more "fullness," but will never come to a complete fullness until God is "All in All"? I guess this echoes my friend's question about when we leave the confines of our bodies, is there another awareness in another "place," a place different from the earth.
I say the affirmations of Christ filling me with His fullness, of my being a child, a son of God, but the joyful experiences of His Presence are few and far between. The thought that I MUST live by Faith continually permeates my thinking. As I state that God is continually talking to me, I find that Scripture is indeed constantly intruding itself into my thoughts.
So, is the awareness of John 14:20 and Galatians 2:20 a calling from God, a calling distinct from what most consider what the Gospel in fact is? Or is this another portion of the feast of Christ? If it is another portion, another dimension of what Christ is, then it doesn't make others wrong, but just an understanding that they are not interested in, or perhaps something they aren't called to understand. Not from an elitist view, but from a chosen to understand view? I think I am really, really confused. Thank you for your time and effort, and all you put into these writings. – Ed
Ed, all of your questions are of great importance and most likely shared by many. I would like to give answer in some depth. I will begin by addressing your last point, and then I will take each question through, one at a time, and see how that develops.
But first, all I can do is give the response of my own heart. You have shared with me that the Lord led you to stay with what I write, that He would speak to you through what I share and that if you will keep reading and pondering these things until the Lord Jesus opens your eyes to see, then the same knowledge of God that I am beginning to know, you will know as well. I want you to know how much your trust means to me and how honored it makes me feel. You have noticed that I speak much of the fear of God. This is why. If precious and dear brethren, who are worth more to the Lord Jesus than the universe, were not seeking to know the Lord through what I write, then I would have much less need to be exercised by the terror of the Almighty.
I know that I will give an account. I do not lead anyone down any yellow brick road. I KNOW that the most awful words anyone will ever hear spoken to them are not “Depart from Me, I never knew you,” but are, in fact, “Why were you playing games with My people? Why were you using My Bride for your own self lusts?” I never point those words at anyone other than myself, for they are real.
I have said that I connect only with those who are on their face before God with wide open Bibles and wide open hearts. I say that, because only there do I dwell.
I regard what God says. I tremble when He speaks.
But I will not and do not regard what God does not say. And the Christian world and the Christian mind are filled with all kinds of images and words and cute little sayings that are not only things God does not say, but that work in active opposition to what God does say.
Those who fear Christianity do not fear God. Those who fear God and what He speaks MUST turn their backs on Christianity.
You say this: “I think I am really, really confused.”
The fault is entirely God's. God has a problem. God just loves to talk; He cannot stop talking. He tried, once, to stop talking, and Jesus died, but He did not succeed, for He just kept right on talking through Hades and convinced a whole lot of people to follow Him out.
But God, in His incessant love of talking, has no means Himself through which to talk. God has neither a heavenly body nor an earthly body. Thus God must talk through angels and through humans. And since God also has the problem of getting carried away with Himself when He creates, He has billions upon billions of humans and angels through whom He just can't shut up. He can't shut up because He loves Jesus, the Word He is always speaking, ever too much.
But billions upon billions of angels and humans through whom to talk is not enough for God. He even talks through donkeys. In fact, God threatened to talk through rocks if we humans ever stop talking Jesus.
You are confused, along with the rest of the human race, because God talks too much.
But that's only half the problem. God is also bizarre. He thinks that placing an anti-speaker against Jesus at every point along the way is the thing to do.
So at the same time that you have God speaking Christ through most everyone and most everything, you have the anti-speaker, the anti-Christ, speaking against all that God speaks, through most everyone and through most everything at the same time.
But God is more bizarre than that. He also thinks it necessary for whatever He is and whatever He is up to, to place you and me UNDER vanity, under all this cacophony of speaking, AND He refuses to remove any of the lying, but allows the lying to speak in every voice, at every level, in every situation, alongside of every unending thing He Himself is speaking.
Inside of this cacophony of confusion, entirely His fault, He says two things that bear down upon us mightily.
He says: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:1-2
And He says: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3
I can bless, I can receive, but I cannot walk with anyone who does not tremble before God in all that He speaks.
Any repetition, in any form, of “Did God really say that,” (and those words come in many forms), is as repulsive to me as vomit. And when people say things that God does not say as if God did say them, I wince from the pain as a prelude to overwhelming sadness.
Now, I am confident of one thing. God did not send me into your life so that “I” could lead you out of all the confusion into the true truth. If Jesus chooses to make Himself real in you through some things that I share, that is simply the greatest honor I could know. Jesus alone leads you; you follow Him.
The more I know this God who fills me full, even though it comes with contentment and peace like I had never imagined, yet the more I weep with the urgency to know all that He speaks and to know nothing else.
You say – “I have just started reading Gathering to Life. You use a table of food as an analogy of Christ, and how we are able to understand or eat anything that is Christ.” –
That first chapter, “Eating of Christ,” is one of the most important things I have written. That is where I gave a response to the single most important question ever asked in this universe: Who do you say that I am? I said that Christ Jesus is four things: Christ is every Word God speaks; Christ is the One who lives as me; Christ is a Spirit of Power; and Christ is a Corporate Body. Since then I have continued to expand on this layout and this order in which we must know this Jesus who lives in our hearts.
You say – “I may have been misunderstanding your thoughts. . . What I thought you were saying . . . was "going to heaven" was pie in the sky. That there wasn't, in fact, a place where spirits exist, angels do whatever they do, and the dead in Christ exist in spirit form, somewhere without a physical body. Are you saying this, or are you saying that besides this reality of "heaven" there exists a reality of union with Christ and Father, which we can have here, and that will extend in the spirit realm in more "fullness," but will never come to a complete fullness until God is "All in All”? I guess this echoes my friend's question about when we leave the confines of our bodies, is there another awareness in another "place," a place different from the earth.” –
Ed, you will notice all through my writing, that I do not say “going to heaven” as the problem, but rather, that “going to” heaven is the problem. There is a huge difference between those two lines. Let me explain.
“Heaven” is the most mixed up part of muddledness in all Christian thinking. More than that, “heaven” has taken the place of Salvation in the minds of almost all Christians, thus making a real hash out of everything. Christian thinking is just total confusion; escaping it takes years of washing our brains. And the only way to wash our brains is to speak only what God speaks and to stop speaking what He does not speak as if He does.
Let me give you an example.
For whom He foreknew, these He predestined to go to heaven or to go to hell. Roman 8:29
You can say all you want that the verse says nothing of the sort, but most cannot, cannot, cannot hear anything other than “go to heaven or go to hell.”
Now, a big part of the problem is the book of Revelation. Many think that God just should have shut up when He got the hankering to speak that vision through John. But God can't shut up.
John's vision is a mishmash of all kinds of things. In some parts, God gives us metaphors to enable us to comprehend the realms of Spirit. In other parts, God rephrases the gospel in a different form. And in other parts, God tells us some things about the ages to come. The problem is that Christians have taken most of these things, smashed them together, and used them to create a fantasy image of a “place” they call heaven.
Heaven is REAL. But the “place” called “heaven” in the minds of most Christians is pure fantasy.
BUT, at the root of all this confusion is the serpent's hatred of man and of the earth. That hatred is open, it is dark, it is in your face, and it fills Christianity. Much of the Christian fantasy definitions of a very real, heavenly, spirit realm comes out from this wicked hatred of the serpent.
Here is a line that is almost 100% figurative.
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. . . Revelation 4:1-2
The words John heard and the line “immediately I was in the Spirit” are literal. The rest is figurative language. There is no “place” up there some where that is God's literal throne, a chair that can be measured and approached or walked away from.
God is ALL HERE NOW. “Throne” symbolizes the place of His authority. All authority in heaven and earth is given to Jesus. Wherever Christ dwells, that is the throne of God. Christ dwells in our hearts through faith.
My heart cannot “go to” heaven. Such a thing is non-real. My heart is already the throne of heaven because Christ Jesus dwells in my heart. I am not saying that figuratively, but in actuality. John saw my heart and yours, though he did not yet understand.
Now, let me give you a literal statement, something that is true as it stands.
Whatever you do to the least of these My brethren, you do it to Me.
And yet every Christian I have ever known will argue that these words of Jesus are not literal, not at all, but figurative. I say they are literal, including the physical. Yet they would call my literal application blasphemy.
Much of the Christian definition of “heaven” comes out of John's figurative description of the church of Jesus Christ. A lot of other things come out of John's statements regarding the age to come. The age to come is, are you ready ---- to come! It's not here yet.
Heaven, right now, is 100% in this present age. No one who is right now with the Lord in the realms of spirit only is or can be in “the next age.” If they were in the next age, they would not be confined to heaven only, but would possess the full human expression including their resurrected bodies, as would we.
We will know when the next age starts. Our bodies will be, in one moment, swallowed up by life. Those who are dead, that is, those who have lost their earth bodies and live now only in their heaven bodies and not both as we do, will arise in their new earth bodies just prior to our arising.
One problem with this Christian fantasy they call “heaven” is that the English language has developed two different forms of speaking when there should be just one. Maybe I should stop beating around the bush and just go ahead and create the words that we should have in English to speak of these things. The problem is that words carry all sorts of different meanings to all sorts of different people.
You ask: “Is there another awareness in another "place," a place different from the earth?”
No! – Followed by a much smaller and very prescribed, “yes.”
Heaven and earth are one place, not two.
You and I right now have full heaven bodies through which we relate with all things in the heavens. Living and walking in heaven is perfectly normal to all Christians – except they imagine that it is not. More than that, because they imagine that they don't live in heaven, even though God says they do, they pay little attention to exercising their heaven bodies and thus the heaven bodies of most remain foolishly anaemic and weak.
There is zero difference between a Christian claiming they don't need to know the gifts of the Spirit and a first grade child claiming that he has no need to learn to read and write. – ZERO DIFFERENCE!!! –
Remember that God allotted 1000 years to the normal human life. That makes an 80 year old 8 years old by the real measurement of the human. A good age to begin learning the things of God is 80, but 60 is better for some. I'm 58; as I look back at the increase of my knowledge of God from 56 to 58, I look forward with excitement to being 6, that is, 60, and starting school with God.
There is no such thing as earth without heaven all through it as its breath, its life, its spirit. There is no such thing as heaven without earth as its anchor and form. Those who have lost their physical bodies have NOT gone to another place. They are in the exact same place you and I are in right now, this one place, heaven/earth.
However, those who have lost their physical bodies are LESS in heaven/earth than you and I are. We possess both bodies right now. We are as much heavenly as we are earthly. Death is the removal of heaven from earth and the subsequent perishing of the earth. Death is ungodly and unnatural. Those who are dead are physically DEAD, yet they remain in full possession of the exact same born-again, regenerated Heaven body they lived in when they had both of their bodies. Thus they continue in Christ just as we are in Christ.
Yet they are waiting.
As I said, Revelation speaks of some of the conditions of the next age. These are conditions for heaven/earth as it will be then, not descriptions of a present “heaven.” Here is the one line describing those in heaven only right now.
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer . . . Revelation 6:9-11
It doesn't sound all that blissful to me. Look at these people. You can see quite clearly that even though they are in heaven only right now, they still do not have one clue who God is. These people are speaking entirely out from an earthly, separated view of God. They do NOT know Father, and they do NOT know Jesus Sent.
Yet they are entirely inside of Jesus, and He keeps them and continues to carry them until the day when they also can step out into the knowledge of God. – They are waiting on us, as the text indicates.
These people are IN Heaven and they are IN Christ, but they still do not KNOW God and they do not know Jesus Sent!
When people mouth the meaningless words, “He went home to glory,” they are speaking, not of the present reality of the heavens, but of things concerning the age to come, things that do not exist right now.
And here are the first words, for me, of the age to come.
The meek shall inherit the earth.
By God's grace, I ain't going nowhere!
But, of course, there is no such thing as a heavenless earth or an earthless heaven. The two are utterly the same place, simply differing spectrums on the light scale and both filled with many, many places and peopled with many differing creatures, good, bad, and indifferent. Yet both always fully intermingled.
Look at your body, Earth. Yet your spirit, Heaven, is larger than your body and saturates it entirely, just as the atmosphere pictures to us. Your body would be dead if your spirit, Heaven, did not fill it. You are 100% familiar with heaven; you live in it all the time and have always done so.
Now, I also said that there is a small “yes” in the answer to your question concerning heaven and earth as differing places. That “yes” in no way refers to the “place” part of the question, but rather to the awareness.
Even though we have fully functioning heaven bodies which we know well, the eyes of our heaven bodies are BLIND. Here is the difference between the awareness of those in heaven only versus those of us who live in both heaven and earth continually. We do not see the heavens, though we experience them all the time. Those who have lost their earth bodies, did lose the cataracts covering their spirit eyeballs and thus they can see the heavens that they also experience the same as us. But, in full contrast, although they can also see the earth, they cannot experience the earth, even though they want to. They have lost no earthly desires, but they have lost all ability to express those desires. (I am speaking of the regenerate; the unregenerate dead, though in the same “place” as all the rest of us, exist in an entirely different experience – see “Sacrifice: Where It Fits” & Sacrifice: Redemption.”)
You see, Christians who have died have also discovered the universal truth. The grass ain't greener on the other side of the fence.
But here is the idolatry of men and angels; here is the agreement forged between Adam and the serpent.
– Calling heaven “God,” and the highest of heavenly forms, God's “Image.”
God cannot be known in the heavens any more than He can be known in the earth. God is known in the earth first before He is ever known in heaven, as Paul and Peter both say.
Yes, those who are dead in Christ are more aware of heaven realities, most certainly, but they are NOT more aware of God in Person in them.
There are very many very confused pastors wandering around in the heavens right now, entirely in Christ, most certainly, but without one clue as to why on earth nothing is the way they had imagined in their “Christian” fantasies and remaining fully unwilling to admit that they believed lies and that they lied.
These Christian pastors, carried entirely inside of Jesus, are in as much need of Salvation to come to them, take them by the hand, and lead them out of their darkness, as any lost individual here on this earth.
Now, Paul spoke of a “third heaven,” meaning, I believe, a realm of the heavens, in a similar way as having Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, not quite the same, but similar. I don't know that the frequency of light is actually the makeup of the heavens. It could be, but regardless, frequency is perfect as a metaphor of the continuum of the heavens and of heaven/earth.
Thus we can see that lower frequencies are closer to the base parts of earthly life and the ignorance of God, whereas higher frequencies are closer to the knowledge of God as He is. Part of why God commands us not to communicate with heavenly beings, including dead Christians, is that they are powerfully convincing, but they mostly don't have a clue what they are talking about, even though they think they do.
As I shared in “Musings on Heaven and Earth,” when people die, they pursue with great vigor the desire of their hearts. That's why Jesus went around asking, “What do you want?” What people want is the direction they go when they lose their physical bodies. Those who fellowship with Jesus inside of them as they walk this earth, will not lose a beat, they will go right on fellowshipping with Jesus and with Father inside of them. Those who are looking for a city with pearly gates and gold streets will wander around in confusion across this planet without finding a thing.
So yes, there is a huge difference in the experience of Christians after death, just as there is a huge difference in experience before death. The death of the physical body does not transform anyone, and nowhere in the Bible is there any indication that it does. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds, not by losing our physical bodies. And the heaven body in which Christians continue to live in the heavens is the same heaven body they possess right now, weak and anaemic – or – exercised in faith, according to the knowledge of God arising inside of them as they have walked this earth.
Now, Adam was not complete, no, but Adam lived fully without hindrance through both of his bodies. Adam walked in heaven as he walked on the earth, literally, and saw both fully all the time. Adam interacted with heavenly beings and earthly beings at the same time. That's part of why Paul said that Adam was not deceived.
You and I cannot comprehend the savagery of Adam's experience as his spirit body died and his present knowledge and experience of all the heavens of God vanished from him. It was impossible for Adam to convey any of that to his sons or daughters, nor did he want to. The shame of his wickedness would have overwhelmed him. I doubt if he told them much of anything.
When God clothed Adam and Eve with the skin of a beast, He did that FOR Mercy. Sin began in the moment that Adam and the serpent made the deal, with Adam, called to be the real image of God, recognizing the highest of angelic forms as the “image” of God and agreeing never to claim that role for himself, ever again, and to kill any human who dared. Cain simply followed his father's agreement. The entrance of sin resulted in the instant entrance of death. In that very moment, the universe staggered and fell, both heaven and earth.
Today, earth is beautiful, yes, but it is also shattered and cursed. Today, the heavens are beautiful, yes, but they are also shattered and cursed, even more so than earth. If you saw heaven as it is right now, it would break your heart, it would shatter you, you would not be able to bear up under the overwhelming darkness and under the overwhelming light, nor would you be very good at telling the difference between the two.
A Christian who thinks that it's “Christian” to pledge his heart to the battle flags of this world will have a hard time telling that this fallen angel is not “light” and should not be worshipped and obeyed.
Do not love the world, neither the things in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Knowing heaven and knowing Father have no relationship with each other. Father fills Texas. I could study Texas for ten thousand years and never know Father. Father fills heaven in just the same way that He fills Texas, yet many Christians have wandered around heaven for hundreds of years crying about how bad they had it on earth. They don't know Father at all. That does not mean they are not in Christ, for He carries them now just as much as He carries us.
You see, people imagine that they don't need a Savior when they “get to” heaven. And one of the filthiest doctrines of demons in the church is that Jesus is incapable of saving anyone after they have died. Yet what will they do when they find themselves in heaven only and very much in need of a Savior, right now?
Those who lean their heads upon His breast now will find it only natural to do the same then.
Those who trust in their own righteousness now will not have a clue where to find righteousness then. Yet Jesus is goodness, and He is Savior and Salvation. He will come to them to keep them, yes, but He cannot reveal Himself through their mortal flesh, for they have none.
They will not know Father until we know Father first. – God shows Himself only through human flesh.
We break the agreement Adam made with the serpent. We humans in these bodies of flesh are the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His Person, not some angelic form up there somewhere. God arises into the knowledge of His creation through us, through human beings, just like Jesus, of His same kind.
Oh, it will get us killed all right, or at least they will try. But death cannot hold us. No it cannot.
Here's the point. We are IN the Spirit realm in all ways right now. God has given us the instructions on how to walk and live in our spirits, our heaven bodies. Yet we do little to develop our spirits, preferring to develop only our minds and bodies instead. That does not mean we don't use our spirits all the time, any more than an uneducated man not using his brain. Of course he uses his brain, just not for as much as an educated man can.
So to imagine that losing our physical bodies is going to enable us to live and walk in the Spirit is pure fantasy. If we don't want to live and walk in our Spirits now because of our obstinacy and foolishness, losing our physical bodies will not change us. Yes, there is a small measure of “sink or swim.” That's how my dad learned to swim; some boys rowed him out in a boat and threw him in. He learned to swim all right, that's why I'm here, but it affected him deeply, scarring his heart and emotions in a way that was not fully healed until he came to know Jesus as he did in his later years.
Being thrown into heaven only in a state of obstinacy and belligerent ignorance, as most Christians live towards the life of the Spirit, is little different.
Now, you say, “the confines of our bodies.” There is no such thing. That statement comes out of Adam's agreement with the serpent and out from the serpent's hatred of earth and human flesh. The last thing the serpent wants is for some human to be the image of God and thus throw him down from his exalted delusion. The serpent teaches people that we are “confined” by our physical bodies because he wants to maintain being “like” God as a monopoly for himself, making all Christians regard “God” as an exalted heavenly form.
The accusation of the serpent is that we humans, fully of heaven and fully of earth, limited and weak with hearts as bold as God's, are not the image and revelation of God. Rather, the serpent claims that God is revealed by the highest of heavenly forms, which he happens to be.
In complete contrast, it is those who have lost their earth bodies and exist in heaven bodies only that ARE CONFINED and limited. They cannot know Father and Jesus Sent as we are able to know, not until we become all the proof of God right here on this earth, right now in this flesh.
God manifest in the flesh is hated by all. We just don't get the deep, visceral loathing that fills even the hearts of our brethren for the whole concept of God manifest in the flesh. That loathing comes from the agreement Adam made with the serpent to drag down into death any of his children who dared to walk this earth as a human, as God revealed.
He that has seen Me has seen the Father.
Ed, there is no better place to know God than in the flesh.
Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.
Be transformed by changing your mind.
Now, this is very much the mission I am on and the topic that will weave itself through upcoming letters – how this body of flesh is the best and only place for us to KNOW God and to KNOW Jesus Sent in the way God intends.
And that is why I try so very hard to break the hold of “go to” heaven that binds my brethren down under its evil grip.
I do not speak against those who live now in heaven only; I speak against the LIE that demands that we CANNOT know God now in these bodies of flesh. That LIE is not just a LIE; it is the greatest robbery/rape that has ever existed in this universe. That LIE would ROB you and me, Ed, of the most precious reality that is our inheritance, that belongs to us right now.
Knowing Father and knowing Jesus Sent in full manifest glory out from within these mortal bodies.
I do not want to know God in heaven. I want to know God in my flesh upon this earth.
Next, you say this: – “I say the affirmations of Christ filling me with His fullness, of my being a child, a son of God, but the joyful experiences of His Presence are few and far between. The thought that I MUST live by Faith continually permeates my thinking. As I state that God is continually talking to me, I find that Scripture is indeed constantly intruding itself into my thoughts.” –
Here, Ed, is the real opportunity for me to know God as He is right here in this body of flesh. God's heart is a heart of intercession. Those who know God are not crying for punishment to come upon “those bad guys down there.” Those who know God walk with Him in travail, in the fellowship of His sufferings, for the sake of others. I would know God in me in His travail for you.
I know with my brain that God deals differently with me than with some others. But that does not mean I understand it, and it does not mean I am “special.” Others hear God speak to them to do all sorts of things and are able to speak with great authority to His church. I just heard another resounding “NO!,” not for myself, but for something I wanted to do for one of my children. That's it, no explanations, no leading forward, just an implacable, “NO!” I have never won against the many NO's ever in the past. I have lost the stubbornness that makes me try anyhow. I just have to let it go and disappoint my child to the heart.
God deals with me by stripping me of everything. Yet He causes me to know Him and with that knowledge, to know His singing inside of me, and to know His peace and joy arising within me. He keeps me and mine in ways that He does not keep others. I am not better than they nor more “chosen.” I understand it not at all.
Yet from the time I was that twenty-year-old boy in the lonely night watches in the northern Canadian winter that I share about in “The Mystery of the Holy,” found in The Kingdom Rising, it has been my deep desire that God would grant me the gift of using my difficulties to enable others to pass into the knowledge of His presence without passing through the pain I have known. Most do pass through pain and confusion, but few ever come to know Him through all that, most are too busy blaming others like those poor Christians in heaven.
I am not a very capable man, Ed, but it is my heart that God would cause you to know Him through His travail through me. I can only share Christ personal in me. I don't know Him any other way. What I offer is not a magic formula. We know God by speaking what He says, yes, but we know Him by Heart first and also in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yet I know this. I have known the power of the Holy Spirit, including deliverance, inside the life of the Church. That knowledge is a huge part of how I know Him now. I am not experiencing those things outwardly right now, though I anxiously await the day when the Lord returns me to Church Life. Yet I still write out from the knowledge of God by those experiences. We have lost nothing in Christ, but one season in Him only adds to the last and all that is of Him will come back to us manifold.
Yet I know that there is a measure of faith that comes by experience, experience with God in the demonstration of the Spirit in the midst of God's people and inside a revelation of the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles in the life of the church.
I want to be a part of the heart of a community of Christ to which brethren like yourself can come and experience and know the life of Christ in all that it is and means. This is my calling, my inheritance, my portion. I wait upon God for it to come to me. I know it is on its way.
Finally, you say this: – “So, is the awareness of John 14:20 and Galatians 2:20 a calling from God, a calling distinct from what most consider what the Gospel in fact is? Or is this another portion of the feast of Christ? If it is another portion, another dimension of what Christ is, then it doesn't make others wrong, but just an understanding that they are not interested in, or perhaps something they aren't called to understand.” –
Your questions require talking about some quite different things. For some things, the answer to your questions is “yes,” but for other things, the answer is “no, not quite.”
First, God makes no clones, no carbon copies, no exact replicas. Every fingerprint, every snowflake is different and unique, and that's just for starters. God's creation is as varied as He Himself is, infinitely so. Never does it enter our minds that this other person, because they are so different from me, must have been short-changed by God, or vice versa.
When Paul said that some vessels are for honor and others for dishonor, he did not mean to establish two kinds of vessels, but to show the vast range of usefulness each one is to the Father. You can call the porta-potty a vessel of dishonor all you want, but it stays close to the Master when he sleeps and is of great importance to him when has need of it. Paul also said that we give more honor to the parts that seem less worthy.
God works all in all, as Paul said (1 Corinthians 12), and He does so for one reason only – the glory and honor of His Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the same way, union with Christ in no way makes us “robotic” or “controlled.” “Controlled” is quite understandable; it makes sense to people. The union between Christ and His Church is NOT understandable; it is entirely a mystery.
Inside of Christ living as us is our complete freedom to choose. Yet our freedom to choose never takes us out from that precious union.
Pastor Joel Osteen explains it by the use of the GPS guide in a car. Apparently (I don't like some voice telling me what to do, so I have never used them), but, apparently, if the driver sets a destination, the voice will speak, “Turn right on the next street.” If the driver pays no attention and keeps going, or turns left instead, the monitor will pick a new route to the intended destination and say, “Turn left on the next street.” The voice never condemns, but is continually persistent, and no matter how many twists and turns, the driver will make it home.
Now, here is a part of that great mystery of Christ and His church. The moment one arrives home – Christ is my only life – all the twists and turns become Christ living as us, living us all the way into life. But all the while the driver is dodging around, refusing to come home, all the twists and turns remain nothing but confusion and darkness. Yes, God speaks against that darkness, but only because the knucklehead is not coming home.
Hades is 100% unnecessary ignorance. That's why living in Hades is so sinful, especially for Christians.
John 14:20 is the only Home there is for all, and Galatians 2:20 is the only doorway into Home.
Thus the great ministry of the sons of God is to bring, step by step, everyone Home. The moment they come home, all the experience of their lives, even over thousands of years of wandering around in an unnecessary Hades, becomes all the goodness of Christ revealed through them. Until they come Home, all of it remains a pointless waste of time.
Now, Paul does say that God created some vessels for cessation. The word in the Greek is not “destruction,” but cessation. That could mean that some individual created beings, angels and humans, will simply cease to exist as an animal ceases to exist. I do not think that's what it means primarily because, to my mind, such a definition speaks against the glory and victory of Christ Jesus. But I could be wrong, most certainly.
So, let's refer back to the picture I gave in “Eating of Christ,” where I described five tables, four that are Christ in all that He is, and one little one off to the side where red-faced pastors tell their flocks, “You will eat only of that portion of Christ I allow.” In that illustration, I stated that God's command is for us to eat freely as we wish, as little or as much as we wish.
Here's the distinction we must make. The freedom to eat as little or as much as one wants belongs only to those not captured by the red-faced little men. Thus, if a dear heart, wandering around the great tables, picking at the food, decides to bypass a certain dish of Christ, that's perfectly fine. That's entirely Christ living as them. God has made so many different kinds of people; each one individual and unique and special to Him, designed by Him for His glory. Thus each one, eating freely, WILL pick exactly that portion of Christ God intended for them to reveal before ever He formed them in Christ.
The problem is all those who give ear to the little men crying, “Here, I have all of Christ there is, eat only what I have chosen for you.” These are all in the same boat as the knucklehead trying to drive home without paying any attention to the directions he is given. None of what they do can be Christ as them for them UNTIL they arrive Home, that is, John 14:20 through the door, “It's all DEAD.” It is only there, having arrived Home, that all the waywardness of their lives becomes Christ living them Home.
A pastor who, from a good and sincere heart, gives himself to his flock in all that he or she knows of Christ, with tender encouragement, is beloved of the Lord.
A pastor who, out of gross ignorance and deluded thinking, presents a Christ limited and bound by Nicene definitions, by the agreement Adam made with the serpent, keeping his or her flock away from what God speaks in His Covenant with us, except those little things that agree, that pastor is not someone we want to be anywhere near when it all comes down.
You say – “If it is another portion, another dimension of what Christ is, then it doesn't make others wrong, but just an understanding that they are not interested in, or perhaps something they aren't called to understand.” –
This is how we always see every individual one of our brethren in Christ. Each one is created by God for a different purpose and for a different revelation of His being and Person than all others. Jesus IS Lord; He IS the head of His body. Jesus is Savior and Salvation, and He does all things well.
However, each one will know his or her true place in God only out from John 14:20. John 14:20 is the place of great diversity and liberty. Outside of John 14:20 everything is mind-numbing, controlled conformity and sameness.
Once we, as God's sent ones, bring each individual all the way Home, we now know that they know who they are and what they were created to be and to reveal. And part of being Home is seeing Christ in every single step of the Way that brought you there. But so long as they are not found inside of John 14:20, in their own minds and hearts, they are wandering, confused and lost, miserable and hurting.
There is no need for that.
We bring them Home.
I hope, Ed, that my sharing brings some sort of clarity to your heart and great purpose to your every moment and circumstance in your continuous fellowship with Father in your heart of flesh. Everything you and Father go through together is for that very purpose, to bring them all home.
I wanted to add a few thoughts concerning the higher levels of the heavens. And when God says, “Higher,” or “Above,” He is speaking figuratively. On our side of things, “pure of heart” is the term closest to what God means.
Losing the physical body in no way alters the makeup of the human heart. All will follow their heart. All will congregate with those who best reflect what they want. This is true at all levels of being. Paul said, “Set your affections on things above.” John said, “He that has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.” They are speaking of the same thing.
Those who walk with the Lord in honesty and sincerity now will seek out and walk with those of like hearts in the heavens. Those who fill their hearts with arrogance or animosity towards others, with judgment and criticism, will seek out those who share similar interests.
“The pure in heart see God.” That has nothing to do with “where” a person is. Neither is God ever “seen” outwardly, whether in the heavens or in the earth. God is seen only by faith. Those who fill their hearts with other things simply never see God.
The body of Christ in the earth and the body of Christ in the heavens are the same ONE body, bearing very similar characteristics. I am one body with believers in Jesus in the middle of China, even though I know nothing about them nor they me. If I were to meet them, even though we could not communicate by speech, yet we would know one another. The same is true in the heavens. The city of God, the body of Christ, is one. Yet it is scattered across the whole expanse of the heavens, corresponding, I suspect, with earth's atmosphere.
One might say that there are “gated” communities of believers into which no evil enters. But the “gates and walls” keeping out evil are nothing other than their purity of heart. Jesus said that the barriers of Hades that existed before His death cannot now keep the Church of Christ out. Thus those believers who walk with Jesus in the heavens walk among the lost of Hades and among the confused Christians who filled their hearts with the things of this world and are much more interested in their own passions than with knowing Jesus.
The life of Christ in the heavens is community life. Those who hold other believer's at arm's length now will continue doing that same thing after they lose their physical bodies.
At the same time, we remain humans. If we want to communicate with those believers from China, we will have to learn Chinese. The heavens are in no way separate from the earth.
You see, the “belief” that losing one's physical body transforms us into all the purity and glory of Christ flies against the face of everything God says in His word. It is not the physical body that prevents us, but that with which we fill our hearts.
Those Christians who pledge their hearts to the battle flags of their countries, especially those who swear a binding oath, giving their bodies and souls to the militaries of this world, will NOT gravitate towards the pure of heart in the heavens. Their hearts are bound to and filled with the love of the world, especially those who committed great crimes in their obedience to the state, and the love of the Father is not in them. Yet they are born again; that is, they have regenerate spirits and thus are able to function and express themselves in the heavens.
I have noticed this in older people. As they fade from earthly ability, they gravitate outwardly towards the things they gave their hearts to in their strength. People will leave apparent outward Christian maturity to embrace once again the things of the world that made them feel important in their youth. Or, people will become the pure joy of Jesus in their decline, blessing and light to all around. This trend simply reflects the reality of the heavens.
If there is evangelism in the church upon this earth, there is evangelism in the church in the heavens. And the witness of Christ is as much needed towards regenerate Christians in both heaven and earth as it is towards the unregenerate.
More than that, we are much more bound together as one body with those who are pure of heart in the heavens and with those who are pure of heart across this earth, all together in Christ, then we comprehend. This togetherness is vital, dynamic, and ongoing.
Now, if you will reflect across the range of what I have shared, changing your thinking to fit the realms of spirit as they are, you will discover an incredible agreement between this understanding and all that God says in His word. At the same time, you will begin to see that the savage separation between “heaven,” earth, and “hell,” maintained in the minds of most Christians, simply has no actual correspondence in the Bible, but must be forced onto everything God says by violence.
I am no “expert” in the things of the heavens. Yet I know that I live and walk in heaven all the time. I am as much an agent of and in heaven as I am an agent in the earth. That's what we are, human beings, expressing ourselves as the image of God in heaven/earth all the time.
It is one place. Those who are in heaven only are NOT whole. We are more whole than they. Those in the heavens know God by faith alone, no different than we do. There is zero reason whatsoever for us to imagine that the fullness of God revealed is a “heaven-only” occurrence. The fullness of God revealed comes out of wholeness, that is, the manifest sons of God, expressing themselves fully in heaven/earth.
We do that first in bodies of mortal flesh BEFORE those of us in the heavens will regain their earth bodies and become whole again.
God spoke His word into earth/heaven. Out from earth/heaven is where He expects it to bring forth its life.