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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Section2 Subsection 3
Deity Manifested In Spirit.
However perfect and complete the moral manifestation of the Deity was in Jesus of Nazareth, the divine manifestation was nevertheless imperfect as concerning the substance, or body, of Jesus. This was what we are familiar with as the flesh. It was not angel-flesh, or nature; but that common to the seed of Abraham, styled by Paul, !hebrew! flesh of sin; "in which," he says, "dwells no good thing" (Rom. 7:18; 8:3). The anointing spirit-dove, which, as the Divine Form, descended from heaven upon Jesus at his sealing, was holy and complete in all things; the character of Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, without spot, or blemish, or any such thing; but his flesh was like our flesh, in all its points, - weak, emotional, and unclean. Had his flesh been like that of Angel-Elohim, which is consubstantial with the Eternal Spirit, it would have been unfit for the purpose of the Deity in his manifestation. Sin, whose wages is death, had to be condemned in the nature that had transgressed; a necessity that could only be accomplished by the Word becoming Adamic-Flesh, and not Elohistic. For this cause, "Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death; * * * that he, by the grace of the Deity, might taste death for every man." For this cause, and forasmuch also "as the children (of the Deity) are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy that having the power of death, that is, the !hebrew!," or elements of corruption in our nature, inciting it to transgression, and
therefore called "Sin working death in us" (Rom. 7:13; Heb. 2:9, 14).
Another reason why the Word assumed a lower nature than the Elohistic was, that a basis of future perfection might be laid in obedience under trial. Jesus bas been appointed Captain of Salvation in the bringing of many sons to glory. Now these sons in the accident of birth are all "subject to vanity," with inveterate propensities and relative enticements, inciting and tempting them to sin. A captain, therefore, whose nature was primarily consubstantial with the Deity, could not be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. He would be essentially holy and impeccable, and of necessity good. But a necessitated holiness and perfection are not the basis of exaltation to the glories of the Apocalypse. These are to be attained only by conquest of self under trial from without, by which "they come out of great tribulation" (Apoc. 7:14). Its promises are to those who overcome, as their captain has overcome, when it can be said his victory is apocalyptically complete (Apoc. 3:21; 11:15). Hence, then, it became the Deity to make the captain of the salvation of His many sons perfect through sufferings; and to effect this, he must be of their primary nature, that when the Great Captain and his associates shall rejoice together in the consubstantiality of the Deity, they may all have attained to it on the principle of voluntary obedience, motived by faith, and maintained in opposition to incitements within, and enticements and pressure from without. The flesh is, therefore, a necessary basis for this; and making it possible for him to be tempted in all points according to the flesh-likeness, without sin. Hence, though the Son of the Deity, and Heir of all things, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and being MADE PERFECT he became the author of aion-salvation unto all them that obey him (Heb. 4:15; 5:8).
Perfection of character and substance, then, is the consummation predetermined by the Deity in His manifestation by spirit in Jesus and his brethren. In His wisdom, which is "first pure," He requires perfection of character first; and as a recompense for this, He confers perfection of substance, or consubstantiality with Himself. This was the order of the Divine Manifestation in the son of David's daughter; who is the great model after which the One Yahweh-Elohistic development is to be apocalypsed. Perfection of character was first manifested in Jesus, who was faultless before the Deity. The character of Jesus was the character of the Deity - a mirror in which was reflected the moral attributes peculiar to him, the Word, before manifestation in flesh. Nevertheless, though Jesus could truly say, "I always do those things which please the Father;" yet he said, "there is none good but the
Deity," nor am I yet perfect. He testified his own imperfection in declaring that he could of his own self do nothing; that he must die; and that he would be perfected in the third day of his mission. "Behold," said he, "I cast out demons, and I do cures to-day, and to-morrow, and the third I shall be perfected" (Luke 13:32). In this third, "he was made perfect" !hebrew! from, or out of resurrection, when he ascended to the Father; and thus being exalted to consubstantialitv with him, Paul speaks of him as, "Having been perfected for the Aion" !hebrew! - or apocalyptically, "I was dead, and behold I am living for the Aions of the Aions" (Apoc. 1:18).
Jesus, then, like all his brethren, is to be considered in two states, each state having a nature peculiar to it. In the former state, "he was crucified through weakness;" but in the after state wherein he now is, "he liveth by the power of the Deity" (2 Cor. 13:4). In the former state, the flesh was "the filthy garments" with which the SPIRIT-WORD was clothed (Zech. 3:3); "the iniquity of us all" that was laid upon him; "the soul made an offering for sin" (Isa. 43:6,10); but, as He now is, the filthy garments have been taken away; "his iniquity has passed from him," and he is clothed with "change of raiment." His flesh thus designated has been subjected to the transforming energy of the radiant power of the Eternal Spirit. By this energy his flesh has been transformed into spirit, styled by Paul, spirit of holiness. That is, a nature in which there is no filthiness of flesh or spirit. It is therefore HOLY SPIRIT NATURE; a nature, generated out of the free spirit radiant from the Eternal Substance. It is therefore like that substance, and hence consubstantial with it. Begotten of spirit it is spirit; as that which is begotten of flesh is flesh (John 3:6). Therefore, Paul speaks of the exalted Jesus, saying, "he was made into a life imparting spirit;" (1 Cor. 15:45), and elsewhere he styles him "the Lord the Spirit !hebrew!" (2 Cor. 3:16).
Now Jesus as the Lord the Spirit, is the manifestation represented in the Apocalypse by the title of "the Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; and the Seven Spirits which is before the throne" (Apoc. 1:4). In relation to Jesus Anointed as he is now, these Seven Spirits are his Seven Eyes. This appears from ch. 5:6, where John says, "I beheld a Lamb as it had been slain, having Seven Horns and Seven Eyes, which are the Seven Spirits of the Deity sent forth into all the earth." Seven is the number of perfection and completeness. The seven spirits are symbolical of the "One Spirit" in perfect manifestation; the seven eyes of omniscience and perfection of vision; and the seven horns, of omnipotence and perfection of power. Hence, he who was slain is now a perfect manifestation of Deity, omniscient, all-seeing, and all-powerful -
"Jesus Anointed, the faithful witness, the Chief Born from among dead ones, and the Prince of the kings of the earth;" from among those dead, who are to awake from their sleep in the dust of the earth; and Prince in their midst, when they shall reign with him for a thousand years (ch. 20:6).
Jesus, in view of his exaltation to this glory, said to his contemporaries, "Verily I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself (or apart from 'the Seven Spirits') but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent him." The "greater works" than those wrought by Jesus in the days of his flesh, which he said the Father would show him, are the works exhibited in the Apocalypse, which are to be executed at his second appearing. They are the works of the judgment hour, which are to bring all nations into obedience to his rule (Apoc. 15:4) for "all authority to execute judgment is given to him, because He is Son of man."
But the manifestation of Deity in spirit does not terminate in the perfecting of Jesus on the third day. He was the free-will offering of the Eternal Spirit made perfect for acceptance (Lev. 22:21; Heb. 9:14); but he was only one of "the flock of the Deity which he had purchased with his own blood." There were other sheep - sheep of the fold of Israel, and others not of that fold; all of perfect character, to be "made perfect in one;" that there might be one fold and one shepherd.
All who have heard "the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity and the name of Jesus Anointed," have believed them with true affection, and have been immersed, are addressed in the apostolic epistles as "THE PERFECT." "We speak wisdom," says Paul, "among the perfect;" and again, "Let us, as many as be perfect, be thus minded." But, as in the case of Jesus, this perfection was concomitant with imperfection. It was perfection of spirit, or conscience, resulting from faith and obedience. Paul says, that the law of Moses could not make the worshippers perfect, so that they should have no more conscience of sins. Hence, a person whose sins are covered over, or pardoned, is perfect. His conscience is the spirit of a just man who has been made perfect. Jesus tasted death for him, in which death he becomes interested
by believing into him. Thus, "by his one offering the Eternal Spirit hath perfected for a continuance them that are sanctified," or purged in conscience from dead works, to serve the living Deity. Being in Christ, they are invested, or covered over, with him; and, if the truth have had its due effect, they are cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; and can truly respond to the apocalyptic ascription to him as their Prince, and say, "Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his blood, and made us kings and priests for the Deity even our Father: to him be the glory and supremacy during the Aions of the Aions. Amen" (Apoc. 1:5).
But notwithstanding the saints are a community of "spirits of just ones made perfect," they have, while in the flesh, continual experience of imperfection. The experience of Paul is theirs, who says "Not as though I were already perfect." He was perfect in conscience, but very imperfect in nature; as was also that great cloud of witnesses, of whom the world was not worthy, who all died in faith, not having received the promises; the Deity having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Heb. 11:13,14).
That which is perfect, however, is not yet come; but we wait for it. Perfect in conscience and character, we wait, in full assurance of hope, the transformation of our bodies at the Apocalypse of Jesus Anointed; "for in heavens our commonwealth subsists; out of which also we await the deliverer, the Lord Jesus Anointed: who shall transform the body of our humiliation that it may become conformable to the body of his glory, according to the energy of his ability even to subdue all things to himself" (Phil. 3:20,21). When this transformation shall have been effected, the prayer of Jesus will have been answered; and his brethren will have been "made perfect in one," as the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, and they one in them both. Such a perfection as this is consubstantiality with the Deity; who, by His spirit is manifested in them all, as the ELOHIM OF ISRAEL, and Sons of the Highest - the "Who" He said He would be, when He communed with Moses at the Bush.
The transformation of body is posterior to resurrection, as in the case of Jesus. The dead saints are first to be "raised," and afterwards "quickened." "As the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will." The Son will quicken those only of the raised up whose walk in the present state he approves. Many are "raised up" who are not "quickened." It is only those of the "raised up" who are pleasing to the Son that he quickens. Some of the "raised up" are awakened from the dust, as Daniel tells us, "to the reproaches and contempt of the Olahm" (Dan. 12:2); or, in the words
of Jesus, "they come forth for a resurrection of judgment" (John 5:29). The Son wills not to quicken them, but to drive them from his presence with eternal reprobation.
The word quicken in the original is !hebrew!, and signifies to make alive. From the fact that all the raised are not "quickened," and yet are living in post-resurrectional contempt, it follows that the quickening is an operation superadded to the formation of living bodies from the dust of the ground. It is the making alive of living saints with life eternal. Hence, there is a certain predetermined order of development in the multitudinous Apocalypse of the Sons of the Deity (Rom. 8:19), as there was in the manifestation of Deity in spirit in the case of Jesus. And this order, as deduced from the premises before us, is apparently as follows:
1. Formation of body from the ashes of the dead
2. Impartation of life, making it a Body of Life
3. Appearance at the Tribunal of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10)
4. Quickening consequent upon approval; in other words, "ascending to the Father," so as to be consubstantial with Him (John 20:17).
Taken as a whole, these four elements constitute the RESURRECTION OF LIFE, in which the body is "raised in incorruption, in glory, in power, and spiritual," all of which is consequent upon the fourth element, or "the Son quickening whom he will." They are made perfect in one by "the spirit which quickeneth;" and when this Apocalypse is perfected, "the world will know that the Father did send Jesus, and hath loved them, as He had loved him," which is manifested in their being "like him, and seeing him as he is."
Here, then, is a multitude consubstantial with the Father - THE ELOHIM OF ISRAEL, and all of them the Sons of Deity, "kings and priests to Him;" "the kings of the earth," whose Imperial Prince is the Chief-Begotten; "kings from a Sun's risings;" the first fruits to the Deity and the Lamb, redeemed from the earth (Apoc. 1:5, 6; 16:12; 14:3, 4).