The Presence of God
by George Kirkpatrick 


Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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The Bible speaks much about being perfect and coming into perfection. When these Scriptures are read, the first thought that comes to mind is, "I can never be perfect." Many have these thoughts because they relate perfection to never making a mistake.

There are many words translated as perfect and perfection in the Bible. The general meaning of these words means "to strengthen, to mature, and to be made whole." It has to do with training, discipline, and maturing in our walk in the Lord. A simpler way of saying this would be "growing up in the ways of the Lord." The prophet 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

If we are to have knowledge and understanding, then we must be weaned from the milk of the Word and drawn from the breast. The breast represents the church system who keep their people on the watered down milk of the Word.

Many pastors get their sermons from the headquarters of their church system, or they buy them from the Christian book store, or through the mail. These messages only tickle the ears or work on the emotions. If the Holy Spirit is not moving through the speaker, then He is only mouthing words of no consequence. These purchased or provided sermons can never produce life in the flock. Paul spoke of these churches in his second letter to Timothy:

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." II Timothy 3:5-7

These have a form of godliness. The word form means "a mere semblance." The church systems only have a mere semblance of godliness because they have denied the power of the Holy Spirit to move in their midst. Paul stated, ". . . they creep into houses and lead captive silly women." This is called proselyting, and is very prevalent within the church system, and especially within the same denominations.

Paul also states, " . . . they are led away with divers lusts." People go to this church and that church until they find the one who satisfies their lusts, not their Spiritual needs.

Paul continued revealing, ". . . these are ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." These are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth of God because they have denied the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised would lead them into all truth.

Paul instructed all who would hear, " . . . from such turn away." The phrase turn away means "to shun and avoid."

After Isaiah answered the question, "Whom can God teach knowledge and give understanding?". He declared:

"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" Isaiah 28:10

If we are to have knowledge and understanding of God's Word, then we must put precept upon precept, line upon line, gather a little knowledge here and a little knowledge there, until we see and understand God's Word as a whole. Putting line upon line we are drawn to the words of Paul:

"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." Hebrews 5:12

These are those who Isaiah spoke of that are not weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts of their denominational orders:

"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe." Hebrews 5:13

Those who are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth of God are unskilled in the Word of righteousness. They are still babies, hanging on to the breast for their nourishment, dependent and relying upon the breast of the church. A baby cannot feed itself, it must be totally cared for. But the beloved John informs us:

"But the anointing which 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 2:27

When the Holy Spirit is given total access to our lives, then we no longer need man to teach us. We can feed ourselves from the Word of God. This is when the precepts and doctrines of men simply fall away.

When we view God's truths with Spiritual eyes, as Jesus stated, "He will lead us into all truth." John put it this way, ". . . the anointing teacheth you all things." Then he informs us, as we are taught by the Holy Spirit the truth of God, then we can abide in Him. How then are we weaned from the milk and drawn from the breast? It is by the Holy Spirit anointing which teaches us all things and brings us to the meat of the Word. Paul reveals:

"But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Hebrews 5:14

Strong meat belongs to those who are mature, complete, whole, and perfect in the sight of God. These have had their senses (faculties of the mind, our perceptions and understanding) exercised through using the Word of God in our everyday lives so we can discern good from evil.

Those who are still on the milk of The Word cannot discern between good and evil, and are still partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They have chosen the way of death, because the cares of this life have choked out the life giving Word of God. The life giving Word of God is the whole Bible.

If we are to understand the Bible, God's plan and purpose for His creation man, and what man's future is, then we must have a thorough understanding of the book of Genesis.

The Bible begins, "In the beginning God . . . Genesis 1:1. God was before all things. Genesis begins with God creating heaven and earth. We are informed in the New Testament:

"For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him:" Colossians 1:16

Paul was declaring Christ Jesus as the beginning of all things and the creator of all things visible and invisible. Jesus proclaimed to John:

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." Revelation 22:13

Christ Jesus is the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (the end). The risen, glorified Christ spoke to John:

"And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." Revelation 21:5

The word make means "produce, construct, fashion, to be the author of." What Jesus was saying was He would create all things new, just as He created them in the beginning. So man must come back to His created place in God. God created man so He could fellowship with His creation. This He did until man sinned and God could no longer fellowship with His sinful creation.

Jesus gave John a wonderful promise when He declared:

". . . It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." Revelation 21:6

"I am Alpha, the beginning and Omega, the end." The Lord will give all those who thirst after righteousness of the fountain of life freely. The fountain of life is the anointed Word of God. Jesus continued His revelation:

"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and He shall be My son." Revelation 21:7

Those who overcome all things shall inherit all things and will be God's sons. Then we will return us to our created position in Him. As Luke was inspired to write:

"Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God." Luke 3:38

Adam was created to be God's son. Those who overcome all things will become God's recreated sons. As Paul stated:

"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Romans 8:19

The earnest expectation of the whole creation is waiting for the manifestation of God's recreated sons.

As Jesus revealed Himself to John, God is, was, and always will be the beginning of all things, the alpha. He is also the omega, the end, the final. God created man and He will bring His final judgment upon man.

In the beginning God created man in His own image and likeness. Now God is Spirit, so He did not create man to look like Him in a physical likeness. He created man to be like His Spiritual image which is the likeness of His character, nature, and personality. In other words, God created man to be like Himself in every aspect. To understand this we must look at Galatians 5:22:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

Paul listed nine of the fruit of the Spirit, but the Bible reveals three more. The tenth fruit of the Spirit is found in Ephesians:

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;" Ephesians 4:2

Paul listed lowliness along with meekness and longsuffering. Lowliness is a different fruit than meekness. The word meekness means "mildness", while the word lowliness means "having a humble opinion of one's self." Paul warned:

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Romans 12:3

We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Those who are high and lifted up in self do not have the fruit of lowliness in their lives. Paul declared:

"Let nothing be done through strive or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." Philippians 2:3

We are to esteem all others better than ourselves. This truly is the fruit of lowliness working in our lives.

The eleventh fruit of the Spirit is patience. Paul disclosed to Timothy:

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." I Timothy 6:11

All the attributes Paul listed in this verse are fruits of the Spirit dwelling in us. Included in this verse is the eleventh fruit of the Spirit - - - patience. Jesus informs us:

"In your patience, possess ye your souls." Luke 21:19

All seem to know the Scripture phrase ". . . tribulation worketh patience . . .". They miss the whole point Paul was making when he wrote:

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" Romans 5:3

We are to glory in our tribulations because through our tribulations the fruit of patience is made manifest in our lives. Paul continued:

"And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" Romans 5:4

Through tribulation we develop patience, and through patience we profit through experience. Experience proves God in every situation. It is only through tribulation, patience, and experience that we can have hope. Our hope (expectation) is not in this life. Our hope is in Christ Jesus. As Paul relates to the Colossians, it is Christ in us, the hope of glory, Colossians 1:27. Paul continues to explain what our hope is:

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given us." Romans 5:5

When we have hope, then the love of God is present in our hearts by the Holy Ghost anointing. All of this begins with the fruit of patience.

The twelfth fruit of the Spirit is righteousness. Paul disclosed to the Ephesians:

"For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;" Ephesians 5:9

The twelfth fruit of the Spirit is righteousness. Righteousness, like patience, does not come easy. To the Hebrews Paul revealed:

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11

Righteousness comes through chastisement. When most think of chastisement, they think of being punished. The word chastisement means "to instruct, to nurture." It also means "the whole training and education of children." Chastisement relates to "the mind and morals."

When we are going through our learning process, we must put down the old life and put on the life of Christ. This is a time of chastisement and can be grievous, but it is necessary if we are going to have the fruit of righteousness in our lives.

When we have these twelve fruit of the Spirit in our lives, in reality we have God's character, nature, and personality.

As stated before, if we are to understand the Bible, God's plan and purpose for His creation man, and what man's future is, then we must have a working understanding of the book of Genesis. Going back to the garden, when man sinned God's character, nature, and personality were changed. It became necessary for God to clothe mankind in the skin of beasts. This was to show man was no longer in God's image and likeness. Instead, he had taken on the nature of the beast.

Paul gave us the fruit of the Spirit which is the character, nature, and personality of God. Paul also listed what the beast nature produces:

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21

All these are works of the flesh or the beast nature which is the survival of the fittest, and are the exact opposite of the character, nature, and personality of God. Those who still possess their beast nature and have not put on the character, nature, and personality of God will not inherit His Kingdom.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they were no longer a Spiritual creation. They became flesh and dwelt in their beast nature. No man ever fell further than Adam. Adam fell from paradise. The word paradise appears only three times in the Bible, and is found only in the New Testament in the book of Revelation.

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7

Most assume paradise refers to the Garden of Eden, but paradise is not a physical garden, it is a position in God. Paradise is in the presence of God. There is no paradise outside the presence of God. The Tree of Life or eternal life is in the midst of the paradise or presence of God. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, they were in the presence of God. Therefore, God's presence was their paradise, not the physical garden.

As long as Adam and Eve were obedient to God's commandments they could remain in God's paradise and in His presence. When man sinned, he could no longer remain in the presence of God, so man had to be removed from the garden. All the provision God had created for man remained in the garden. God informed Adam:

"And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 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 3:17-19

The curse Adam suffered because he partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was three fold. First God cursed the ground so it only brought forth thorns and thistles (weeds). Sorrow would plague man's food supply all through the ages. Secondly, man would have to earn his living by the sweat of his face (labor), and thirdly, man would suffer death. Let us review the sin of Adam and Eve again. God informed Adam:

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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 2:16-17

Through Spiritual eyes we understand the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are not physical trees. Each of these trees produce a spiritual fruit. The Tree of Life produces life. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil leads to death.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil produces mixed fruit. To understand this, we must look at the Scriptures God spoke to ancient Israel through the pen of Moses:

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" Deuteronomy 30:19

God informed Israel He had set two ways in their path. Which path they took determined their destination. One path lead to the Tree of Life. The other path lead to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (death). One path lead to God's blessings. The other path lead to God's cursings. Through Moses, God gives us the same promise. If we choose the path of life, then our seed (children) will also have life. If we choose the path of death, then our children will most likely take the same path. Jeremiah recorded:

"And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord, behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death." Jeremiah 21:8

The way of life and the way of death were set before Adam, but they chose the way of death - - - not only for themselves and their children - - - but for all mankind. Today God has set the way of life and the way of death before us. He tells us to choose life, not only for our sake, but for the sake of our children. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Death are still in the earth today. James informed us of those who choose to partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

Those who choose the way of death lack God's wisdom. If a man is to receive wisdom, he only needs to call upon God.

". . . Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all His ways." James 1:6-8

Those who partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are like waves, vascilating between the things of God and the world. Those who are tossed about by every wind of doctrine can expect nothing of God because of their double mindedness. These have chosen to know both good and evil, and because of this have become unstable in all their ways.

Adam had abundant knowledge. Because of this he was able to name all God's creation. But like men today who have abundant knowledge, Adam and Eve lacked wisdom. So when the serpent came to Eve, he tempted her to become disobedient to God's commandment.

"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:5

The question we need to ask is, "Did the serpent lie to Eve?" Let's review what he told Eve. He informed Eve if she partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, their eyes would be opened. Where their eyes opened? Yes, they were. When their eyes were opened they found themselves naked in the sight of God. When man sinned, God's spiritual covering was removed, and man stood naked in His sight.

The serpent also informed Eve they would become as gods. When God saw what Adam and Eve did, He proclaimed:

". . . Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live for ever." Genesis 3:22

Man had become like God to know good and evil, but man had no way to handle evil. When God created man, He created him perfect in mind and spirit. He made no provision for man to handle sin. In his sin condition, man could no longer remain in the presence of God.

"Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life." Genesis 3:23-24

Man was not sent out of the garden to keep him from the presence of God, but to keep him from the Tree of Life. It was God's mercy on His creation to keep them from the Tree of Life, since God had not provided a way for man to deal with his sin. If man would have continued to partake of the Tree of Life, he would have had to live forever in his sinful condition.

As we recall, God told Adam and Eve that when they partook of the forbidden tree:

". . . in the day you eat of it you will die. . ."

Did Adam and Eve die the same day? Yes, because a day with the Lord is one thousand years in length, II Peter 3:8. Adam died when he was 930. This was 930 years after he sinned, because time was not measured in the garden before he sinned. Thus, Adam died in the one thousand year day he sinned.

Man could not stay in the presence of God in his sinful condition. But God provided a way for man to again enter into His presence by placing a flaming sword at the entrance of the garden. The flaming sword is the anointed Word of God. When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, He came as a cleansing fire. The flaming sword is the Spirit- enlightened Word of God which cleanses us so we can return again into the presence of God. It is only through this flaming sword, the Word of God, that we can be cleansed from our sin and our sin nature to be made whole and acceptable in the sight of God. The flaming sword was placed at the entrance of the garden to keep man from The Tree of life, not to keep Him from the presence of God. When the flaming sword has done its complete work, then we will walk into the promise Jesus made John on the Isle of Patmos:

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7

Those who have an ear to hear, know and understand that if we are to again gain access to the Tree of Life, it is because we have overcome our sin nature. There are only two groups of people in the world today: the overcomers and the overcome. The overcome will not enter again into God's presence, nor will they be able to partake of the Tree of Life.

Man has been deceived, believing he is acceptable in the sight of God because of his religious affiliation. By the Word we know we are not going to gain access to the Tree of Life because we got saved. We are not going to gain access to the Tree of Life because of what church we go to. We are not going to gain access to the Tree of Life because we speak in tongues or possess some other gift of the Spirit. We are not going to gain access to the Tree of Life because we keep man's doctrines. Then how do we gain access to the Tree of Life?

We can only gain access to the Tree of Life by coming again into the presence of God by being cleansed and set free from the beast nature. This can only be done by and through the flaming sword, the Word of God. Only then can we again enter into the paradise or the presence of God. At the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus revealed:

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14

Did Jesus proclaim, "Blessed are they who keep His commandments?" No! Blessed are they who do His commandments. You can keep something and never do anything with it. The apostle James informs us:

"But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22

There are many who keep God's commandments bottled up inside them, but they refuse to act upon or do God's Word. They are hearers only. James continued:

"For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a glass:" James 1:23

The glass James is speaking of is a mirror. The mirror James refers to is the Word of God.

"For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." James 1:24-25

The perfect law of liberty is when the natural man (beast natured man) is set free by the Word of God. We have God's promise that those who are doers of the work (business of God) will be blessed in everything he does. Jesus asks the question:

"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season?" Matthew 24:45

Who is God going to make ruler over His household? The faithful and wise servants.

"Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Matthew 24:46

So doing what? Doing God's Kingdom ways, walking in them, overcoming, and being cleansed by the flaming sword. Who are those who do His commandments? Jesus reveals these through the pen of John:

"Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:14

The faithful and wise servants who do His commandments will become the friends of God. Only one man in the Bible was called the friend of God --- Abraham.

". . . Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the friend of God." James 2:23

When we truly believe God and His Word, then we will become doers of the Word and not hearers only. When we do His commandments, then we have the promise of God:

"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 to you." John 15:15

The faithful and wise servants will no longer be called servants, but will be known as the friends of God. In the friendship realm we will know all the Father has made known to Christ Jesus, and we will have obtained all knowledge and understanding. Let us look again at the promise Jesus made to John on the Isle of Patmos:

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14

His friends do His commandments. Therefore His friends have the right to the Tree of Life. Let's look at the word right. It is the Greek word EXOUSIA and was translated as the word power 68 times and as the word authority 29 times. Those who do God's commandments, the Word of God, have the right, the power, and the authority to partake again of the Tree of Life. The friends of God have the power and authority to enter into the gates of the Holy City (New Jerusalem) to be again in the presence and paradise of God. Jesus proclaimed:

"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Matthew 11:12

The Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom of our God. His Kingdom is in each of His friends, and it comes without observation, Luke 17:21. The phrase suffereth violence is the Greek word BEE-AD-ZO and means "to press in." A companion Scripture is Luke 16:16:

"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." Luke 16:16

Those who press into the Kingdom are the violent (strong) who take it by force. The word force is the Greek word HARPAZO and means "to be caught up, to seize upon, or to claim for oneself." Not only do they have the power and authority to partake of the Tree of Life, Jesus promised these will enter into the gates into the city - - - or these will make up the New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ. Jesus spoke of those who will make up His Holy City:

"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." Revelation 12:10

Those who press into the Kingdom are the Christ of God who have obtained power and authority to partake of the Tree of Life in the midst of the presence of their God. John heard a loud voice, saying:

"Now is come salvation!" But didn't we obtain salvation when we asked forgiveness of sin? No! Salvation is the process of overcoming. We will not enter back into the presence of God until the salvation process has been completed in our lives. Salvation and the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom within) and the power of His Christ will only come when we cast down the accuser of the brethren. Casting down the accuser of the brethren is part of the overcoming process. Paul had come into this place:

"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 had crucified his own fleshly desires, and was now living his life by the voice of the anointing in his life. Paul had faith, knowing he could only enter into the presence of God again by allowing the anointing to have complete rule and authority in his fleshly life.

Paul was caught up into the presence of God and related this experience to the church at Corinth, saying:

"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven." II Corinthians 12:2

Many believe Paul experienced being caught up to the third heaven when he was stoned and left for dead outside the city of Lystra. This is the only mention of a third heaven in the Bible. There is also no mention of a second heaven, so we must come to a Spiritual understanding of what Paul was saying.

As we understand God's numerical system we know the number three is God's complete number. All things are complete in three: sun, moon, earth; Father, Son, Holy Ghost; past, present, future; yesterday, today, tomorrow; animal, vegetable, mineral; etc.

We also know by Spiritual revelation, heaven is not a place. Heaven is the Spiritual realm of God. Paul was caught up completely in the Spiritual realm, which is the presence of God. This forever changed Paul's life. Paul continues:

"And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." II Corinthians 12:3-4

Paul was caught up into paradise, and God spoke to him things he could not repeat, but Paul lived by them. Paul could endure all the suffering, because he knew the presence of God in his life. We only hold on to this life because we are not sure what is next. Paul knew what was next, so he could say:

"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." Philippians 1:21-24

Paul had a true pastor's heart. He was ready for what was next, and his obedience to the voice he heard made him obedient to finish his course in Christ.

There was another man who obtained paradise. When Jesus was crucified, He was crucified between two thieves. The one thief who represented the Law, mocked Jesus to the end. The Law mocks Christ because the Law is of the flesh. In Christ, only faith is acceptable. As Paul related to the Hebrews:

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

Those who please God can only please Him by their faith. There was no faith under the Law. There were only sacrifices for the sins the people were guilty of.

The other thief simply stated, "Remember me when Thou cometh into Thy Kingdom." This thief acted in faith, and his faith moved Jesus to state:

". . . Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:43

Jesus was not going to take this thief to the Garden of Eden, nor was He speaking of him going to heaven. If Jesus had promised him heaven, He would have used the word Greek OURANOS (heaven) instead of the Greek word PARADEISOS (paradise). Instead Jesus promised the thief that day he would be in His presence.

When God created man, He created him on earth which was like a garden with everything perfect and beautiful in its proportions. We are informed:

". . . out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil." Genesis 2:9

The Tree of Life was in the midst of the presence of God, so was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The question from the beginning of time has been, "Did God know His original creation would fall?" The answer is, Yes! God knows the end from the beginning.

As stated before, man was created perfect, and had no way to deal with evil or sin. But God in His foreknowledge knew man would need a Saviour. Jesus revealed to John:

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Revelation 13:8

In the Spiritual realm, Jesus was crucified before the foundation of the world. Before God created man, He had already provided His creation a Saviour. Jesus knew His Father's will, and agreed to His Father's will before God placed Him in Mary's womb. David, the Psalmist, declared concerning Jesus:

"Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me," Psalm 40:7

There was a book written of Jesus' life which He agreed to before He was born. Paul used this Scripture in his letter to the Hebrews:

"Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O God." Hebrews 10:7

Many times Jesus stated He came to this life to do the will of the Father. When His disciples saw Him speaking to the woman at the well and thought Jesus should be hungry, Jesus stated:

". . . I have meat to eat that ye know not of. . . My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work." John 4:32 & 34

When Jesus hung on the cross and declared, "It is finished," He had completed all things He agreed to accomplish for His Father. Before we came to this life, we too were presented with a book containing the life we would live for the Father. All those who fulfill the will of the Father will partake of the Tree of Life. God has a purpose for each life born of woman. We need to seek God for His purpose and calling in each of our lives.

The Tree of Life is our hope of eternal life. There is no eternal life in the flesh. John was in the Spirit on the Isle of Patmos when Jesus showed Him the Tree of Life:

"And He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:1-2

The river of life and the Tree of Life are not physical. They can only be seen through Spiritual eyes. The river of God proceeds from the throne of God. Where is God's throne? The throne always represents a place of authority. Our God is omnipresent which means He is everywhere at the same time. When the question is asked, "Where is God's throne," the answer most often given is "God's throne is in heaven." So we must ask, "Where is God at, when He is not in authority?" God is in authority where ever He is. So if He is omnipresent or everywhere at the same time, then His throne must be where ever God is. Now we can understand His throne is the whole Spiritual realm of His creation.

John was in the Spirit when Jesus showed him the Tree of Life. As Jesus declared the Tree of Life bear twelve fruits every month, or the Tree of Life bears fruit every month of the year. No natural tree has this ability. What are the twelve fruits the tree bore? They are the twelve fruit of the Spirit which are to become visible in our lives: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, patience, lowliness, and righteousness. Without this fruit in our lives, we will not be able to see or have access to the Tree of Life.

As Jesus also stated, the leaves are for the healing of the nations. Nations are people, not countries. The only thing that will heal the people is when God's people begin to display the twelve fruit of the Spirit in their lives every day. Only then will His holy nation, Spiritual Israel be healed. When these fruit become our way of life, then we will again enter into the garden of God and His presence and have access to the Tree of Life.

Before we can partake of the Tree of Life, we must first deal with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Those who refuse to deal with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil are double minded. The apostle James declared:

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8

The word unstable means "having a tendency to fluctuate or change." Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" Ephesians 4:14

The double minded are not only unstable in all their ways, they are deceived, believing what the religious system has told them about their inheritance in God. They are lead to believe, that by believing in their religious system, they are home free with God. They are not taught if they are to partake of eternal life, then they must overcome. Only the overcomers will inherit eternal life. Jesus revealed to John:

"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and He shall be My son." Revelation 21:7

The overcomers are going to inherit all things. What is left for those who are overcome by the things of this world to inherit? There is no inheritance for the overcome. Only those who press into the Kingdom will have an inheritance in God. The deceived will be part of the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in the wrath of God.

Those who are tossed to and fro and blown about, or follow after every wind of doctrine are unstable, double minded, and are still partaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the mixed fruit of half truths). James also declared:

"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:8

The word double minded means "wavering, uncertain, and doubting." James calls the double minded sinners. Sinners are those who miss the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus in their lives. Those who attain to this high calling in Christ Jesus will be able to enter again into the presence of God and partake of the Tree of Life.

Jesus declared those who do His commandments will have the right to the Tree of Life and enter through the gate of the city, Revelation 22:14. We will not have access to the Holy City unless we have overcome the things of this life. Many declare themselves to be the bride of Christ. John was shown the bride of Christ:

"And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And He carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God," Revelation 21:9-10

The bride of Christ is the great city, New Jerusalem. Those who have overcome, and have been granted the right to the Tree of Life in the presence of God will make up this Holy City, and become His bride. As our Spiritual eyes are opened, we realize New Jerusalem is not a physical city. When people read about the pearly gates and the streets of transparent gold they call this heaven. A further study will show all these relate to the Holy City, New Jerusalem. The Holy City, in reality, is where God's people will again regain God's presence, where He will walk and talk with them in the cool of the day.

Another misunderstanding most have who attend their religious orders is that we must die to attain this glorious experience. Jesus did not talk about dying, He talked about living, being changed, overcoming and being like Him. Jesus gave John much information concerning those who will make up His Holy City:

"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Revelation 21:23

It is God's presence which will light the city.

"And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." Revelation 21:24

As stated before, nations are peoples. Those who are saved will walk in the light of the presence of God.

"And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." Revelation 21:25

There is no night in the presence of God. He is all glorious light. When Paul met him on the road to Damascus, he stated:

"At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me." Acts 26:13

This was the first time Paul had encountered the presence of God. He stated he was "above the brightness of the sun." There is no night in His presence. Jesus warned John:

"And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Revelation 21:27

If we have things in our life that are unclean, defiled, lies, or anything which is an abomination to God, then our names will not be in the Lamb's book of life. Because of this we will not be part of the Holy City, nor will we be allowed to enter again into the presence of god.

As revealed before, the river of the water of life and the Tree of life are in the Holy City of God, Revelation 22:1-2. God is calling His people unto Himself. All who have Spiritual eyes to see know God's judgment is eminent. Things are going to get tough, but God has an overcoming army who will not be hurt by the coming tribulation. No, they will not be taken out, but through it to be victorious. Joel proclaimed this overcoming army:

"A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been even the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.   A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them." Joel 2:2-3

The day of darkness and gloominess lies directly before us. But God has a victorious, overcoming army. These have come out of the worldly systems and are only part of God's Kingdom. As Joel stated, this is a great and strong people in the eyes of God. They are strong in His Word, His will, and His ways.

As we notice, they are in the tribulation. A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame is burning. Where are God's people? They are in the midst of the fire. These are not wringing their hands and crying, O Woe is me, nor are they weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth. Why? As Joel related, the land before them is as the garden of Eden. These could go through the fire because they had a vision of God's paradise. These believed the words of Isaiah:

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Isaiah 43:2

By God's Word, Joel's army knew God protected His people when He took them through the Red Sea. When they crossed Jordan to enter into their promised land, they crossed over on dry ground. Joel's army has God's assurance when the Nuclear War comes, and it will come, the fire will not hurt God's people. The flame will not kindle upon them.

Joel's army had the vision of God's presence and His promises to His people. Without this vision, we will never make it through what God is going to bring upon this wicked and perverse generation. The all-wise Solomon gave us this assurance:

"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18

We need to grab hold of the vision God has set before us. Joel also informed us where the multitude of God's people are:

"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." Joel 3:14

As the day of the Lord approaches, and we see the evidence of God's coming judgment, the multitude is still deciding if they want the things of God or the things of this life. By Spiritual revelation, we know there is no vision in the valley of decision.

If we are to enter into the gates of the Holy City we must overcome the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we must deal with our double mindedness, and we must read and apply God's Word to our lives. We have God's assurance and promise the Tree of Life is our eternity. The presence of God is our paradise

The following is an outline of the contents of this book for Further Discussion

The Milk of The Word
Strong Meat for the Mature
Our Created Place in God
God's Manifested Sons
Lowliness, A Fruit of the Spirit
Patience, A Fruit of the Spirit
Righteousness, A Fruit of the Spirit
Needed Chastisement
The Midst of the Paradise of God
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Tossed About By Every Wind of Doctrine
The Tree of Life
Spiritual Death
The Flaming Sword
The Overcomers and the Overcome
Rulers Over God's Household
The Friends of God
Salvation - Our Overcoming Process
The Two Thieves
God's Throne
The Twelve Fruit of the Spirit
The Holy City, New Jerusalem
Total Light, No Night
Joel's Overcoming Army
Walking In The Midst of the Fire Unhurt


Questions

1. If we are to have God's knowledge and understanding, then we must be what? What does the breast represent?

2. Why do church systems only have a mere semblance of godliness?

3. When one creeps into houses and leads captive silly women, what is this called? Where does this happen?

4. Why are many in today's church systems unable to come to the knowledge of the truth of God?

5. How then are we weaned from the milk and drawn from the breast?

6. How can we return to our created place in God?

7. List the three additional fruits of the Spirit, and the Scriptures where these are found:

8. What five things do we think of when we think of paradise?

9. Man was not sent out of the garden to keep him from the presence of God. Then why was he sent out of the garden?

10. What is the flaming sword?

11. There is only one way to gain access again to the Tree of Life. What is it?

12. Who is God going to make rulers of His household?

13. There is only way to become God's friends. What is it?

14. Don't we obtain salvation when we ask for forgiveness of sin? If not, when do we receive salvation?

15. There is only one way to please God. What is it?

16. Did God know His original creation would fall?

17. Where is God's throne?

18. What is one of the misunderstandings most who attend their religious orders have about attaining God's glorious Kingdom?

19. What is God forming in His people at this time to prepare them for His coming judgment?

20. Must God's people be in the midst of the fire?


Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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