by George Kirkpatrick
Proclaiming the Everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom
As we study God's Word, and as understanding begins to come forth, we gain a deeper appreciation of Paul's writings. Jesus ordained the church when He admonished His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, Mark 16:15. Jesus empowered the church when He came on the Day of Pentecost as Christ Jesus, the Holy Ghost. But Jesus never informed us how the church was to operate, or the qualifications for leadership. We must depend on Paul's writings for these. Jesus informed Ananias after Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus:
"But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:" Acts 9:15
Paul was a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ before the Gentiles (non Jews), kings, and the true children of Israel (those who have the Christ anointing). Paul was the chosen vessel of God sent to enlighten the eyes of all who would hear the meaning and the revelation of life itself. To the Ephesians Paul declared:
"Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;" Ephesians 3:7-8
Paul was made a minister according to the gift of God. The word minister means "one who is obedient to the command of the master." Paul performed this by the effectual working of His power.
The phrase effectual working means "super-human power". This was the power Paul had in his life. This super-human power was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Many have received this power, but fail to tap into this power God has instilled in their lives. Paul was given this super-human power to minister the unsearchable riches of Christ. Paul knew and understood his special place in God. He declared to the church at Colossi:
"Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the Word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints:" Colossians 1:25-26
It was Paul's calling to fulfill God's Word in making known to the saints the mystery which has been hid from the foundation of the world. What was this mystery? Paul continues:
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:11-14
Paul asks, "What man knoweth the things of man, but the spirit of man?" The phrase spirit of man is the Greek word PNEUMA. It is the same word translated Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, and Spirit of Truth.
What is the spirit of man? It is the power by which a human being thinks, acts, and decides issues. So what is the spirit of man? It is the living soul of man. To understand this, we must look at God's creation of man.
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Genesis 2:7
God created man in His image and likeness so man could be like God, and He breathed the breath (Spirit) of life into man's nostrils and he became a living soul. God put His life (Spirit) in every human being that ever lived. There is no life in man outside of the Spirit of God.
Let's look at the Scriptures which prove it is the Spirit that gives man his life and being:
"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Job 33:4
Job knew it was the breath of the Almighty that gave him life. The word breath is PNEUMA, the same word used in Genesis 2:7. Life is the invisible force that resides in each of us. Science cannot find it in the laboratories, nor can the intellect of man understand it. As Paul asked, "What man knoweth the things of man? - - - and answered it by ". . . but the spirit of man." Without Spiritual understanding of God's creation, man remains in darkness concerning the things of God.
In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul further explains the life of the flesh:
"Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." II Corinthians 3:6
The letter Paul referred to is God's written word. Those who try to understand the Scriptures with their carnal mind will end up in a quagmire of confusion - - - and their confusion will only cause more confusion. This is what has happened to the church system. As Paul related carnality can only kill those who are bound by their religious confusion.
It is the Spirit that giveth life. It is the life of the body, and it gives light and life to the Scriptures. Without Spiritual guidance, the Scriptures cannot produce life in those who read it. Jesus explained to His disciples:
"It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63
Jesus proclaimed, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth (makes alive). The flesh cannot profit us anything. Those with their vast education cannot understand or discern God's Word. The Word can only profit us if it is discerned by the Spirit.
Jesus declared, ". . . the words I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life."
For generations the learned men have perverted God's Word with their carnal understanding and declared it to be truth. This is why confusion runs rampant in the churches of today. To the Romans, Paul relates:
"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Romans 8:10
Those who do not embrace the Word of Life remain dead in their relationship with their Creator. They have not dealt with their sin or their sin nature before God. Therefore, they remain dead to the fact that the life of God dwells in them. The Spirit can only come alive to, and in, them when they come into the righteousness of God. Many are self righteous in their own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Because of this they remain dead in the eyes of Christ.
As we continue our search for the life of Christ in us, we need to consider Paul's letter to the Galatians:
"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:8
Sowing is used in planting. When we sow we expect a harvest. We always reap more than we sow. So when we sow our fleshly seed, we will reap corruption (moral decay). We witness this moral decay in every aspect of our society. It is evident in our schools, the government, in the homes - - - and even in the churches. This moral decay brings spiritual death to all it touches. Paul's letter to Timothy informs us:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." II Timothy 3:13
We truly have been seduced and deceived by those we have mentioned above. And the moral decay of this nation continues to increase.
When we sow or plant to the Spirit, then our harvest will be eternal life in Christ. But God's judgment will come upon those who have sown to the flesh. This is called the Great Tribulation. The multitude of God's people who have sown to the flesh in their religious systems will suffer death during this time. But John, the revelator, reveals what will become of these:
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. Revelation 11:7
" And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them." Revelation 11:11
These are those Paul declared are saved by fire, I Corinthians 3:15. After three and one-half days, the Spirit of life from God will once again bring life to their dead bodies, and they will live and stand on their feet for all the world to see. This is the same Spirit of life God breathed into the nostrils of man in the Garden of Eden. Paul related:
". . . even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." I Corinthians 2:11
Even though every person on earth has the Spirit of life in them, we can only know the things of God when we allow the Spirit of life to have pre-eminence in our lives. This can only come when we surrender our life to Christ, to His ways, and to His Word. This comes with repentance and a full commitment of our life to the Giver of Life.
When we submit to the Holy Spirit's direction in our lives, then we have God's promise of being friends of God. The beloved John recorded the words of Jesus:
"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14
We can only follow His commandments if we know them. We cannot know them unless we know God's Word. His Word instructs us as to what is pleasing and acceptable in His sight. Without a thorough understanding of God's Word, we cannot be sure if it is God's voice we are hearing or man's carnal understanding of the Word. We must remember God never speaks outside His Word. So we must be obedient to His spoken and written Word to become His friends. Then Jesus continued His promise:
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what His Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you." John 15:15
When we become God's friends, we are no longer servants, but we have become friends of God. Only one man was called the friend of God in the Bible - - - that was Abraham who was, and is, the father of our faith. No matter what God told Abraham to do, he did it without question - - - even if meant to be obedient to the killing of his promised son.
Jesus promised if we are willing and obedient, then all things He hears of His Father, He will make known unto us. How does He do this? He explains to His disciples just before He ascended off the earth:
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel? And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:6-8
Jesus informed His disciples it was not for them to know the times nor the seasons. In other words, it was not for their generation. This knowledge was reserved for the generation upon whom the end of the age has come.
Jesus told them the Father had put the knowledge of the times and seasons in His own power. The next word in the Scripture is very important. It is the little word but which means "nevertheless or notwithstanding." Jesus was stating I have given you a fact - - - the Father has put the knowledge of the times and seaons in His own power - - - nevertheless you will receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you." If the knowledge of the times and the seasons is in the Father's power, and we receive the power, then we will have the knowledge of the times and seasons. And if we become His friends, then we have His promise what He hears from the Father, He will make known unto us.
As Paul related, no man can know the things of God but by the Spirit of God. As we continue to look at Paul's revelation to the church at Corinth, he confirms that we can only know the things of God by the Spirit of God:
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." I Corinthians 2:12
The Spirit of God wants us to know all things that are freely given of God, and He will do this if we become His friends. As Jesus related:
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." Luke 12:32
The little flock are those who have become God's friends by doing whatever He commands them. When Jesus was about to ascend off the earth, His disciples asked Him:
". . . wilt Thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?" Acts 1:6
Those who ask Jesus this are no different from those in the church system today - - - the only difference is they are looking for the Kingdom in some far off place called heaven. Jesus explained:
"And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold, the Kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20-21
The Kingdom of God is in each one of us, and it comes without observation. The only way the Kingdom can come within is when we yield to the direction of the Spirit and have our mind changed by the reading of God's Word.
God cannot bring His Kingdom reign on the earth, until He gets it in the earth. The earth He speaks of is our earth, our mortal bodies. When the Kingdom comes completely into His little flock, then our mortal bodies will be changed. Paul spoke of this change His little flock is looking for:
"And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." I Corinthians 15:49
We have borne the image of the earthy body which man has lived in since Adam sinned in the garden. This earthy body was the same body Jesus had for the thirty-three and one-half years He walked as a man upon the earth.
But we are promised we would bear the image of the heavenly or Spiritual body. Jesus dwelt in this body for the forty days after His resurrection. Jesus explained this resurrected body to His disciples:
"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." Luke 24:39
After Jesus' resurrection, He no longer had a body of flesh and blood. He had a body of flesh and bone. There was no longer any blood in His body. This was the same body Adam was given in the Garden. It was only after Adam sinned that God proclaimed his life was in the blood. When we bear the image of the heavenly, we will dwell in this same body of flesh and bone. This is what Paul explained to the church at Corinth:
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." I Corinthians 15:50-54
Heaven is not the hope of the little flock. The hope of God's people is to receive a changed, eternal body where death will be swallowed up in victory. This is when the Spirit of life will dwell in man for all eternity.
As we begin to understand that the life (Spirit) of God is in every living creature, then we can understand what Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes:
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7
God promised Adam, when Adam sinned he would return to the dust,
"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Genesis 3:19.
Every person who has gone by way of the grave has fulfilled this promise. But, as Solomon related, ". . . the spirit (Life) of man shall return unto God who gave it."
Most believe that after death, the spirit returns unto God. It is not after death that the Spirit returns unto God, but rather their spirit (life) returning unto God is what causes what we call death. Death comes when the breath (spirit) of life God breathed into the nostrils of man returns unto God who gave it.
Many times we hear it said, "Your next breath is in the hands of God." This is certainly true. The next breath in every life on earth is in the hand of God. When the Spirit (life) is required of God, the life of that person returns unto God, and death occurs.
The question arises then, "Is the Spirit of God also in the wicked?" The answer is simple, "If the Spirit of life was not in the wicked they would not exist." The Bible states:
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened (made alive), together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." Colossians 2:13
The wicked remain dead in ther sins, but they still breathe the breath of the Spirit of life in their bodies. The Spirit of God is in them, but they have not accepted the forgiveness of their trespasses. Therefore, they remain in their sins, and have not tapped into the power of God that dwells in each of them.
When we come to God through Jesus we are quickened (made alive) to the Spirit that dwells in each of us. Paul relates this to the church at Rome:
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Romans 6:13
Those who yield their members as instruments of righteousness unto God are alive from the dead. The original text of this Scripture states ". . . are alive from AMONG the dead." When we, through the righteousness of God, become alive to the Spirit that dwells in us, we as Paul stated, are alive AMONG the dead (those who remain dead in their trespasses and sins). These remain dead to the Spirit of life (power of God) in each of them.
As we begin to understand the difference between those who are dead in their sin and those who are dead unto sin, the Bible takes on a new direction. The prophet Isaiah states:
"Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy." Isaiah 54:16
God created the smith that bloweth the coals to create the instruments (tools) for his work. God gave the smith his talent to create. But we need to ask, "Is the smith one of God's righteous ones?" God's Word does not state his spiritual condition. But we know the talent and skill man possesses comes from God.
Isaiah also states God has created " . . . the waster to destroy. . .". The word waster means "to spoil, ruin, to pervert, corrupt morally." We live in the day when the waster has full access to God's people because they do not know how to use the power dwelling in each one of them to protect themselves against the wasters of the Word. Knowing God created the waster to destroy may disturb those who only see God as a loving God. These forget God is also a God of judgment. God uses the wasters of this world to judge His people. These also forget the warning of Peter:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God." I Peter 4:17
God will use the wasters to judge His people. We see this throughout the Word of God. When God's people were slaves in Egypt, God told Moses to go speak to Pharaoh:
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let My people go, that they may serve Me." Exodus 9:13
"And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee My power; and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth." Exodus 9:16
It was God who raised up Pharaoh to show His power unto His people. Pharaoh did not know He was fulfilling God's purpose. God hardened Pharaoh's heart, so He could prove Himself to those He would free from the grip of government in their lives.
God's people suffered, but without this suffering they would not have fled their homes and their way of life. Judgment had to come first, before they were ready to follow God completely. Pharaoh was the tool God used to bring judgment upon His people.
God's people were also in slavery to the great king Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. Daniel explans the power God put in the hand of Nebuchadneaar:
"And for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down." Daniel 5:19
Nebuchadnezzar was given the power of life and death over those he ruled. God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah to show how God used Nebuchadnezzar to judge His people:
"Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations." Jeremiah 25:9
"And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him." Jeremiah 27:6
We may not understand the mind of Christ, but we have His Word that both Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar were His servants. The all-wise Solomon enlightened us to this fact also:
"The Lord hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." Proverbs 16:4
The Lord has made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil. We truly live in the day of evil. God has raised up many evil, wicked men to bring judgment upon a wicked nation who have not only turned their backs on God, but have legislated Him out of every aspect of their lives. God has become an outlaw in our society. The Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in public. The nativity scenes have been banned. Our children cannot pray in public schools. The anti-christ organization, the ACLU, strikes fear in the hearts of all public officials.
We may feel sometimes like God has abandoned the earth. But we need to remember that the Spirit of God dwells in each of these who are wicked, evil, and worship other gods. God holds their next breath in His hands, and when they have completed the job He has given them to do, then their lives will return to God who gave it.
Paul gives us further insight into the Spirit of life that dwells in each of us:
"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." I Corinthians 2:13
Paul stated we are not to speak the things man's wisdom teaches. Yet this is what the church system teaches. They teach what their founding fathers taught, and they never go any further. These founding fathers' teachings have become the doctrines of men. Paul admonished the church at Colossi, asking:
"Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?" Colossians 2:20-22
All the ordinances of the religious system are touch not, taste not, or handle not. All these things are religious activities, and are not what God commanded us to do. How we dress (as long as it is decent) is not a concern of God. What we eat is not a concern of God as long as it is healthy. What we possess is not a concern of God as long as we do not make a god out of it. God is not concerned about the length of our hair or whether we shave or grow a beard. All these do's and don't's placed on God's people are only the commandments and doctrines of men. Jesus quoted the Old Testament when He spoke:
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9
All these commandments and doctrines of man which are supposed to make us acceptable in God's sight do nothing for us if there is no witness to such activities in the Spirit. These fleshly doctrines are what man's wisdom teaches. In his letter to Timothy, Paul addresses Spiritual knowledge:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." I Timothy 4:1
We truly live in the last times, and many have departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. The word seducing means "to lead into error, to corrupt, and deceive." Many well-meaning men who stand in the pulpit have fallen into this trap of the devil when they teach by the wisdom of man instead of by the Spirit of God. These end up teaching the doctrines of devils, rapture, once-saved, always-saved, ultimate reconciliation, all religions are of God, and many other teachings which are only doctrines of the devil to deceive, corrupt, and lead God's people into error. As Paul related, "We are to teach what the Holy Ghost teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." We are enlightened by the words of John:
"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing that ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." I John 2:26-27
We need to understand it is the Anointing God who is our teacher, and not the wisdom of man. God's anointing, the Holy Spirit, will teach us all things. What we are taught by the Holy Spirit is truth - - - and truth will always line up with God's Word. Man's wisdom does not always line up with God's Word. What does not line up with God's Word is error, and the seducers will teach it as truth.
We are promised as the Holy Spirit teaches us we will abide or live in Him. Our relationship with God depends on what we are taught by the anointing in our lives. Paul stated we are to compare spiritual things with spiritual. The word compare means "precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little," Isaiah 28:9-10.
The Bible is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and it goes together precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little. We read something in the New Testament, and we read the same thing in the Old Testament. When we see this we know God is lining up His Word line upon line. After all Jesus disclosed to His disciples:
"But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things." Mark 13:23
Where has He foretold us all things? In the Old Testament He shows us through direct prophecies, types and symbols, and as He spoke through Hosea:
"I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." Hosea 12:10
The word similitude means "to be like, resemble, and to compare." When we compare the Word with the Word, then the Word becomes alive, and Christ reveals Himself to those who are diligent in His Word. After all Isaiah asked the question:
"Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts." Isaiah 28:9
Who can God teach knowledge, and who can He make to understand doctrine? Only those who have been weaned from the milk and drawn from the breast. The breast is the mother church that only gives them milk to drink. Week after week the same message of salvation is brought forth, never going on. In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul admonished them:
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who be reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Hebrews 5:12-14
The Hebrews were like the church system today. The people attend every service, and when they should be teaching the Word, they still have not learned the first principles (elementary rudiments) and oracles (basic Bible truths) of God. These still desire the milk and not strong meat. Paul described these in his second letter to Timothy:
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." II Timothy3:5 & 7
Those who have sat in the churches for years, and are still partaking of the milk, only have a form of godliness, and have denied the power that dwells in each one of them. They have given the Holy Spirit no pre-eminence in their lives. Paul states they are ever learning, but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth because they are taught of men, and not the anointing. Paul revealed:
"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the Word of righeousness: for he is a babe." Hebrews 5:13
The word unskillful means "inexperienced and unable to use the Word as a tool to promote righteousness in those they come in contact with.." Another aspect of those who are unskillful in the Word is that they cannot discern between good and evil. In other words, they cannot judge between right and wrong because God's direction that comes from the Word is not in their lives.
Paul continues his letter to the Hebrews, instructing as to what they should be concentrating on:
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." Hebrews 6:1-2
Paul stated we must leave the basic principles and doctrines of Christ and go on into perfection (maturity). We must stop laying again and again the foundational teachings such as repentance of dead works (works that do not profit growth in Christ) and the teachings of faith toward God and doctrines of baptism.
The big question in many churches today is, "What name should we baptize in?" All this is foolishness in the sight of God.
Paul continues to instruct us on those things we should leave behind - - - the doctrine of laying on of hands and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Yet this is the main subject matter in the organized church today. They keep their people attached to the breast, and only give them milk to drink.
Isaiah described the people who are not drawn from the breast:
"But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore." Isaiah 42:22
Those who are not drawn from the breast (the mother church) are trapped in their prison houses of their denominational orders, and are robbed of their inheritance in God. The Message of Restoration has never been taught. What is the Message of Restoration? God is going to restore His relationship with man that He had in the garden.
As we continue to search for God's Spiritual truths, we look again at the words of Paul:
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." I Corinthians 2:14
The natural man cannot receive the things of God because they are foolishness to him. It takes the spiritual awakening of the inner man. The inner man is the Spirit of life God breathed into each of His creation. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul disclosed:
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:" Ephesians 1:17
The spirit of wisdom and revelation dwells in each of us, but we can only utilize this power by submitting to the Spirit of life.
"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," Ephesians 1:18
When we submit to the Spirit of life then the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened (opened) to see and realize the hope of our calling in God. He will reveal the richness of the glory of His inheritance we have in Him.
"And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power," Ephesians 1:19
His power is only revealed to those who believe - - - and when we truly believe, He will begin working His mighty power in each of us. Once we understand the power of God in each of us, then we can understand the words of Paul:
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27
What is our hope of glory? It is when the power of Christ becomes active in each one of His elect. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reveals the power of Christ working in each of His anointed:
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." I Corinthians 12:1
"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit." I Corinthians 12:4
All gifts come by the Spirit o God. The word gift means "favor one receives without any merit of his own." Paul lists these gifts we receive by the Spirit:
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" I Corinthians 12:8-10
There are gifts of the word of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, the working of miracles, prophesy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. These are all given by the Spirit.
"But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will." I Corinthians 12:11
The gift we never hear mentioned is the gift of the working of miracles. The word working means "the operation of miracles." The word miracle is the Greek word DUNAMOUS and means "power." So one of the gifts of the Spirit is the operation of power in our life. This has not been taught in the church system today. All this power God has put in His anointed is foolishness to the non-believer because their carnal mind can only understand the things of the flesh. The Psalmist David revealed:
"The Lord is their strength, and He is the saving strength of His anointed." Psalm 28:8
The strength (power) of our God is the saving strength of His anointed (those who have the Spirit working in their lives). We cannot expect those who only operate in the flesh to understand what God is doing in our life by the Spirit.
As we continue to understand the Spirit of life in each of us we ask, "What happens when the Spirit returns unto God who sent it?" The Bible makes a distinct difference between the soul of the righteous and the soul of the unrighteous. The prophet Ezekiel makes it very clear as to what happens to the soul of the unrighteous:
"The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:1-4
The soul that sinneth shall die. The word die is the Hebrew word MUWTH and was translated die 424 times, dead 130 times, slay 100 times, death 83 times, kill 31 times, and it means "to be put to death." So when the Spirit of life in the unrighteous returns to God who sent it, then that soul no longer has life. The breath (Spirit) of God no longer makes that person a living soul. The idea of an eternal soul for the unrighteous is not in the Bible.
Jesus also explained this in the book of Revelation. He called it the second death. Most teach the unrighteous are cast into a burning lake of fire to remain there for all eternity. This is found no where in the Word. This has become one of the doctrines of the church system to try to scare people into repentance. By the words of Jesus we know:
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." Revelation 20:14
It is death and hell that are cast into the lake of fire, not the flesh which returns to dust, nor the Spirit which returns to God who sent it. Jesus continues:
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 21:8
As we consider this we need to ask, "What would be cast into the lake of fire to suffer the second death?"
By God's Word we know the body goes back to the dust, or returns to what God made it from. The Spirit of life goes back to God who sent it. So what suffers the second death? Only the soul of man. And when the breath of life leaves the body, the life of the soul ceases. This is the second death. A dead soul cannot suffer pain. It simply ceases to exist.
As we consider again the words of Timothy:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" I Timothy 4:1
The church has given heed to doctrines of devils. One of the biggest doctrines of the devil which the church has accepted is the same lie Eve accepted in the garden. God told Adam:
"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:17
The phrase surely die is the same word MUWTH that Ezekiel used when he wrote the soul that sinneth it shall die. But the serpent (devil) contradicted God's Word and told Eve:
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" Genesis 3:4
Ye shall not surely die. The church has believed the lie of the devil, and thus came the teaching of the eternal soul and eternal punishment of the soul. We know by God's anointed Word that the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
But what about the soul of the righteous? The prophet Isaiah proclaimed:
"Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." Isaiah 55:3
When we hear and obey God's voice and His Word, we become His friends. The soul of the friends of God shall live. Jesus gave us this assurance:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Revelation 2:11
The second death has no power over the overcomer. Those who have overcome the world by the Spirit of God will not suffer the death of the soul. The Spirit of life does not leave their bodies, even though the body ceases to function.
Jesus gave us examples of this when He came to the ruler's house and his daughter had died:
"He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn." Matthew 9:24
Jesus said the maid was not dead but sleepeth. Her spirit had not returned unto God. The same was true of Jesus' friend Lazarus:
"These things said He: and after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." John 11:11
Sometimes we can read the Word and overlook so much. Lazarus was a friend of God, and his soul did not return to God, but was available to return to the body to bring again life to the flesh. We are given revelation as to those who's spirit does not return unto God:
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." Revelation 20:6
Those who are part of the first resurrection will not be affected by the second death. So who are those who are the first resurrection? It is those who have been resurrected from among the dead (those who remain dead in their sin).
Paul spoke of those who were part of the first resurrection in His letter to the Thessalonians:
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." I Thessalonians 4:13
Those who are part of the first resurrection are only asleep when their physical life ceases on earth. They are asleep waiting for that great day they receive their new bodies in the Kingdom of God.
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." I Thessalonians 4:14
When Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on earth, He will bring those who are asleep in Him with Him. Jesus spoke of that great day of gathering for all those who dwell in the righteousness of God.
"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God." Luke 13:28-29
The phrase sit down has the meaning of "taking our rest." This is the great millennial reign in Christ. Paul continues:
"For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." I Thessalonians 4:15
Those who are alive and remain in their mortal bodies will not prevent those who are asleep in God. Those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will receive their changed immortal, eternal bodies in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." I Thessalonians 4:16-17
We need to understand those asleep in Jesus are not the same group as those who are dead in Christ. Those who are asleep in Jesus are the righteous whose breath has ceased in their mortal bodies, but dwell in the Spirit until that great day when they will return with Jesus in all His glory and sit down in the Kingdom of God. Those who are dead in Christ are those who have killed off the desires of the flesh, and live only unto God. Those who are dead in Christ are those, as Paul described himself:
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Paul knew his fleshly existence was replaced by the life of Christ in him, and he lived the life of Christ while he dwelt in his mortal body. Paul will be one of those chosen to sit down with Christ and all the saints and prophets in the Kingdom of God on this earth.
The question every living soul needs to ask themselves is, "Are we glorifying God with the Spirit of life He has put in each one of us? Are we part of the first resurrection, or will be part of those who's souls will cease to exist?"
God is calling all those today to turn from their doctrines of the devil which Eve believed, "Thou shalt not surely die."
God's eternal life is for all who believe and act upon their belief. Praise God!