Apostasy and False Prophets

By Lloyd Ellefson

"All things have been created by Him and for Him." (Col. 1:16b) Therefore God's purpose is to bring all things to the place where they glorify Him! As Christians, we desire to bring glory to Him - and we can trust God to bring us to that place! Merely deploring the things that are happening today, does not glorify God. Wrongdoing has been going on for ages; because of modern technology, this can now take place on a larger and more sophisticated scale. But when God enters the scene, a change occurs. As He manifests Himself in us, we receive a greater desire to know the Lord, to accept what the Spirit is manifesting, and to understand the truth God is revealing. It's important to understand God's purpose for humanity and all creation, and specifically, the purpose of "Christ in us".

Everything God has done, is doing, or will do, is all for His own glory. That does not mean God is egotistical; it means that God's work in us only reaches perfection when we glorify Him! And He cannot be satisfied until man and creation have reached that level of being! Man's glory can never compare with God's glory! Everything Jesus Christ created was for Himself, because that is best for His creation! It has to bring glory to Himself, because there is no self-existent life outside of His.

We are living in a time in which there is a great defection from truth; it is a defection from Christ who is the truth! This constitutes the great apostasy. Christ is spiritual truth; He doesn't only have spiritual truth! Living in spiritual truth brings us understanding which cannot be derived from our reasonings. Natural man is unable to comprehend this.

In our discussion of apostasy, we will touch on a number of topics. As we present the truth, it will reveal the errors that are being tossed about in the Christian community. Wrong ideas about Christ, heaven, the church, the future, etc., will produce a false prophetic ministry. And we have many of them! Just because a prophecy begins with "Thus saith the Lord", does not necessarily mean it is true prophecy.

"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10) A true prophecy contains the testimony of Jesus, which is a spiritual testimony. Therefore its fulfillment does not come literally - it comes spiritually and is realized in Jesus Christ! The spiritual realities in Christ are ushering in the fulfillment of all the types and shadows contained in the tabernacle and the law. Christ is the fulfillment of all the spiritual prophetic ministry in the Old Testament! Fulfillment of prophecy does not come in physical ages, times, seasons, and milleniums; it does not come into fulfillment because of evil, nor in the natural realm. Jesus Christ has come to reveal the unseen things in the kingdom of God!

It is wrong to assume that the Bible will give us life, that the Bible will bring us Christ, that the Bible will bring us healing, and that the Bible will make us rich. That assumption is a defection from truth. The Bible will do none of these things. The Bible is a witness of Jesus Christ! It presents a testimony of many different men, and relates what they heard from God in their dispensation. Jesus said in John 5:39, "You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me." The Jews were wrong in thinking that the scriptures could give them life! The scriptures testify of Him, but they cannot give us life! Jesus said, "You must come to Me!" To have life we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the very presence of Christ!

Jesus said, "...I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me." (Jn. 6:57) It may surprise us to learn that Jesus did not have a self-existent life. Since He lived because of the Father, He was a manifestation and extension of God! In John 5:26 Jesus said, "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself." The life Jesus had in Himself had been given Him by the Father; it was not life that He had as a self-existent One. Only the Father, who is spirit and great beyond all description, has these virtues! Jesus came to manifest the Father!

We are very thankful to God for giving us the scriptures, and to all those who faithfully recorded what God inspired them to write! They have done a tremendous service to us! If all these stories, incidents and truths had only been passed on verbally, they would have been grossly distorted. Even now, translations do not do them justice - that is why we have so many of them. Scholars research the old texts and try to improve the translations. However, much of their work is done according to their understanding of the subject matter, and to uphold traditions and popular beliefs. So opinions influence the translation. However, we have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, and He will see us through this maze of misunderstandings. It is important that we have the right understanding of the scriptures!

The New Testament scriptures are a testimony of the kingdom of God - of the things that are not seen! They tell us about the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit Himself has to bring us into the realization of who Christ is, and show us the unseen spiritual realities! The things that appear are made of things that do not appear. This may be hard for us to believe, but it is still true! We need faith to believe it, "and faith is the evidence of things not seen."

"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming" (correct translation: presence) "of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him." (2 Thess. 2:1) In the translation of the New Testament, translators have often substituted coming for presence. This has brought added confusion in regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus. This passage is about many people gathering to Christ, but it does not refer to a physical gathering of people. Christ is spirit, so our gathering together to Him can only happen in the Spirit!

"That you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come." (2 Thess. 2:2) The day of the Lord does not come in a time frame. In Gen. 1, God said, "Let there be light." This light did not produce days and nights as we know them, for natural light, the sun, moon and stars, were not created until day 4. So there are two kinds of light - natural and spiritual! Christ, the Word of God, is the spiritual light.

This is explained in 2 Cor. 4:6. "For God, who said, `Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." This is not the light of the sun, moon, and stars that divide time into days, years and seasons. That light has nothing to do with the unseen, immortal, eternal things that Jesus Christ brought! His kingdom has nothing to do with time! This light is the spiritual light that causes us to know that Christ is the glory of God! It comes into our hearts - not into our carnal minds. The day of the Lord comes to us in Jesus Christ; it is an eternal day that never comes or goes - it is always present! It is present now, because we are children of the day, and it keeps us from being deceived.

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction." (2 Thess. 2:3) The words, it will not come, have been inserted, because the translators thought it was a day that was going to come. But it is not a day that comes; it is a day that is present all the time. However, those who are in darkness are not aware of this light. Before this light can come into their awareness, the man of sin, the Adamic man, has to be revealed to them. That is, they have to realize that there is nothing good in them - that the man of sin dwells within them.

It says that the apostasy has to come before the man of lawlessness (sin) will be revealed! He is the son of destruction, the son of perdition. Jesus called Judas the son of destruction (perdition). Does this mean another Judas has to arise from the Middle East? I don't believe the Bible teaches that. It tells us that sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin. Lawlessness and sin are translated from the same root word. Adam was this man of sin; he is the man of lawlessness; he is the son of perdition! Adam was not deceived; he may have joined Eve so that he would not become separated from her. As a corporate man, Adam is a type of Christ - "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive!"

When Jesus told some Jews that they were of their father the devil, it meant that their thoughts and ideas had not been fathered by God, but by the devil! They did not believe Jesus, but Jesus was right! Furthermore, He said, "You have never seen God...you have never heard His voice...you don't know whom He sent...you don't believe Moses...you take honor from men," etc. Since Jesus was always right, it shows that these Jews were wrong, for their deluded idea of God had been formulated in their own mind! That is why they could not recognize Jesus; He did not fit into their image of the invisible God! Natural man is unable to comprehend the true image of God. He can't get it from prophecy, testimonies, studying, etc.; he can only get it through revelation! Jesus Christ is the only correct idea of God, and the knowledge of who He is, has to be revealed to us.

The big falling away from truth is called the great apostasy. Since it is a defection from truth, it is a defection from Jesus Christ who is the truth! He came to bear testimony to the truth, and gave us His Spirit of truth to be our teacher. Before Jesus came, there was no spiritual realization of truth, for truth does not reside in natural man. Therefore he cannot interpret the Bible correctly, even though it is a witness of the truth. He needs to be enlightened by the Spirit to understand the Bible's teaching and its prophecies. Unless the prophecies have been brought to realization in the Spirit, they will not be understood correctly.

The mind of the flesh brings death! The natural man, Adam, got a body formed of dust, and we know that dust was already in existence. (Gen.2) This physical, natural man was not present in Genesis 1; here man was created, not formed. A careful reading of the two accounts will reveal many differences between the two men. The man in Genesis 2 has an earthy testimony. He is the man who was divided, and through whom sin entered the world! Estrangement from God came, and man and woman were put out of the garden. The redemption of this man of dust comes by the spiritual image of God in Genesis 1 - the man who is very good!

There are only two corporate men: the Son of Man and the Adamic man - the man of lawlessness, or the man of sin. He is the natural, fleshly-minded man who is in delusion about God, Christ, self, heaven, earth, etc. Sin is actually a mystery. "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming." (2 Thess. 2:7-8) This lawless man will be destroyed by the brightness of the Lord's presence! Some translations read coming, but presence is the correct rendering. The presence of Christ destroys the man of sin within us, because Christ has become our life! He is destroyed by the brightness of the light that accompanies Christ's presence, and by the word of His mouth.

Antichrist is not someone who is to be born in the Middle East or elsewhere. Prophecies that prophesy of natural fulfillment are false. In 1 John it says that many antichrists have arisen - they have gone out from us. There is only one true prophet - only one - and that is the Spirit of truth! When He comes to us, He reveals what prophecy really is. Christ is the Spirit of prophecy; He is the Spirit of the law; He is the Spirit of the Son, He is the Spirit of adoption! He is the basis for all true prophecy. He is unseen and cannot come to the natural man.

Most Christians believe the man of sin will come and be a world ruler; they also believe a temple will be built in Jerusalem! Let's remember that any temple built with human hands will also be destroyed by human hands. Natural temples are not God's dwelling place, nor the fulfillment of prophecy! God has chosen us for His dwelling place, and has given us Himself to be our dwelling place! Jesus said that He was preparing a place for us in the Father's house! "If anyone loves Me, He will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make our abode with him." (Jn. 14:23) The Father and the Son make us their dwelling place. The Father and His Son are inseparable! God has prepared us to be His tabernacle by placing us in Christ. We are now joined with Christ to be the temple of God; we are the place where God dwells, where His presence is - and His presence is the fulness of God! This is the fulfillment of the Old Testament tabernacle.

Understanding that we are the temple of God, causes us to see that a physical structure in Jerusalem can never be the temple of God. Nor can Jesus Christ come again in a physical body, because He is a many-membered body of spiritual, regenerated beings! The body of Christ does not consist of physical bodies sitting in churches. So any prophecies saying that a physical Jesus is coming back, are false. Christ is the corporate man, the new man! He is the only One who could fulfill the law, for He is the spirit of the law - not the letter.

The man of sin or the Adamic man, can only receive the awareness of God that comes through the flesh; he is limited in his understanding, and works against the true realization of God. His sense of being is rooted in the flesh. He is the lawless man, for he cannot obey the law. Anyone prophesying that the antichrist is an individual yet to be born, is bringing forth a false prophecy. John wrote that even at that time many antichrists had arisen. (1 Jn. 2:18-19) In the Old Testament, the people were anti God, and today they are anti Christ, because God is manifested in Christ.

Another prevalent false prophecy is about heaven. Many preach that if you repent of your sins, you can go to heaven. We know that God lives in the heavens - the heavens are His throne and the earth is His footstool. His presence is everywhere! Heaven is not a geographical place, because the kingdom of God operates in the unseen realm. It is a spiritual kingdom and has no physical boundaries. So often we are illogical in our thinking. We say that God is omnipresent, and then relegate Him to a geographical place called heaven. We say he is spirit and then picture Him with a body like ours because it speaks figuratively of His eyes, ears, right hand and feet in the scriptures. Since we have never seen spirit, we don't have a mental picture of spirit. A spirit does not have flesh and bones. God is spirit and He is everywhere, sustaining all things. He is omnipotent and omnipresent! God manifested Himself in Jesus Christ! Our knowledge and evidence of this comes through Christ. The knowledge of God to the world now comes through us who have been anointed by Christ and are part of His body.

In the scriptures, heaven is usually referred to in the plural (heavens). The heavens declare the glory of God. Paul was taken up to the third heaven, and Peter writes about three heavens and three earths or three creations. Telling people to make heaven their goal is not scriptural! Christ is our goal; He is our dwelling place! Our goal is to be in the bosom of God, to live in His Spirit, and to walk by faith! All the natural temples of God have been destroyed! Any physical structure built in Jerusalem or any other place will never be God's dwelling place! Jesus said, "Destroy this temple," (meaning Himself) "and in three days I will raise it up." He is the cornerstone and the capstone of the temple in which He resides!

Peter said, "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Pe. 2:5) The tabernacle of God is with men! God has prepared a dwelling place for Himself in Jesus Christ. Then He places us in Christ, so He can dwell in us. "Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16) The Spirit of God is truth; He brings us a true revelation of God. The ideas of God that live in the natural mind will not bring us out of the death realm.

"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (2 Cor. 5:1) This building from God that is eternal in the heavens becomes apparent after our earthly tent is torn down! Many false ideas and many false prophecies about this are prevalent among Christians. They do not realize that this is an eternal building, and therefore it is already in existence! The apostasy that has always been, is growing into the great apostasy. Today, sin is glorified, intensified and multiplied. Paul said, "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:13)

Another false prophecy that is often heard, concerns death. The idea that people go to heaven after they die physically, is false. In the scriptures, death generally refers to spiritual death - not to physical death. Natural man is in Adam, and in Adam all die! Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead." The penalty of sin is not punishment by fire, hell, and torture! The penalty of sin is death; it is separation from God! You are separating yourself from God by your iniquities or sins. Our separation from an omnipresent God and His Christ, who upholds all things, is not a geographical one. God does not move from one place to another, because He fills everything! Our separation is spiritual. The only way we can come into God's presence, is through the Holy Spirit; it is He who reveals His presence to us in our spirit! The knowledge of His presence does not come to our natural mind; however, it will affect our lives.

Christ is the presence of God within us! He is our life! Those who receive Him are given the authority to become the sons of God! Christ within us is our hope of glory! Our life is hidden with Christ in God! Paul said, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5) If we do not recognize that He is within us, we fail the test! Christ is here!

Where did death come from in the first place? It came from minding the flesh! Adam and Eve minded (obeyed) the desires of the flesh. Paul said, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." (Rom. 8:6) The mind that focuses on the flesh and obeys it, is in death! A common error in people's thinking is that God lives in their mind - that it is their mind that controls them. Anyone plagued with an addiction to alcohol knows he is disrupting his family, ruining their lives, and messing up his job. He knows it in his mind, but his addiction exists in his body - in his flesh. The natural mind is affected by the emotions and desires of the flesh. God lives in the mind of Christ - the new mind He has given us!

The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God! It is in death because its hostility brings separation from God. But when you are minding the Spirit you are joined to God by the Spirit, even while you are in this body of flesh. So the punishment of sin is death, for it brings a separation from God. Anything separated from God is in death, because only God has life! He cannot give it to anyone apart from Himself, because as soon as it departs from Him, it ceases to have life. It is an integral part of His being, and it cannot be sustained without Him. Only the self-existent God can sustain life; only He has immortality! Therefore everything that has life has to be joined to God!

I would like to clarify an important point. Just as the physical body loses its awareness when it dies, so those who are dead in their trespasses and sins do not have an awareness or consciousness of God. People constantly talk about going to heaven or hell. Actually we experience heaven and hell while we are in our physical bodies during our lifetime. In separation from God we experience death, and in union with Christ we experience life! Jesus experienced life in the Father while He was on earth. He wants us also to experience this life, for He said, "Where I am, there you may be also."

Most translations have mistranslated the word HADES, which simply means the GRAVE. In olden times the word HELL was used to indicate a hidden place. Farmers would say they had to hell the potatoes - which meant they had to hill them - covering them with dirt so they could grow in a dark unseen place. It comes from the Greek HADES - the equivalent of the Hebrew SHEOL, where everyone went according to the Old Testament teachings. They were in an unseen place. In the New Testament we learn that those who do not know who God is, are living in death. The true realization of God only comes to us through the Holy Spirit. The KJV has joined the word HELL to FIRE; this does not occur in the original! The word hell (Hades) should never be joined to fire. Whenever you read this in your Bible, know that the word FIRE was added by the translator, or that the word should read GEHENNA - the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem. Gehenna is not hell. Some have substituted fire for Gehenna. Jesus did refer to the fire of Gehenna but never to hellfire. Because of these errors, we have received a wrong conception of what the scriptures actually teach.

Hell is a state of living in the natural mind, for the natural mind is separated from God and continually strives against God. So all who live in the natural mind are living in hell; the things that happen in that life bring grief. Jesus said that evil deeds proceed out of the heart - and that which is in the heart is unseen. So the source of sin cannot be seen. Jesus said, "that every one who looks on a woman to lust for her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matt. 5:28) The actual sin is not seen, but we see the result of it! The spiritual death in which people live is also unseen. It may surprise us to discover that Adam first learned about death from God. God told him that if he would eat of the forbidden tree he would die. He ate, and he died. So death came from God. This death was passed on to all people, for in Adam all die! Adam still lived for hundreds of years after he sinned, but he lived in death. Now everyone is born into the death realm, and lives according to the dictates of his darkened mind until he is regenerated spiritually.

Jesus came to take us out of our darkness and bring us into His wonderful light! When we are regenerated spiritually, we begin to hear the voice of the Son - which is the voice of the Spirit - and live! Jesus said, "...an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live." (Jn. 5:25) If you hear the voice of the Son of God you live; if you don't hear it, you are still living in death.

Israel was a type and shadow of the true kingdom of God. The natural experiences of Israel were a type of our spiritual experiences. Israel was taken out of Egypt and brought into the promised land; but after they got in, they lost it again. As a matter of fact, the nation was divided, and ten of the tribes were carried into Babylon. There they re-established themselves, and were assimilated with the world; they even lost the name ISRAEL. They are never to be regathered and never to be restored, because they were only a type and shadow of the true kingdom and people of God.

In the Old Testament it was prophesied, that "you who are not My people, shall be My people." This was spoken to Israel. Peter refers to this in 1 Pe. 2:9-10. "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession...For you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God..." God makes everything new! He is not taking us back into the old covenant with its temple, priesthood and sacrifices! So any prophecy that declares He is taking us back into the natural realm, is false prophecy! You can take that and put it in your book.

We, who are regenerated, are the people of God. Before we were regenerated, we were not the people of God. We have been born again and have received the Spirit of the Son in our hearts! We know this has happened when the Spirit of God witnesses to our spirit that we are His children! "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Rom. 8:16) The Spirit of His Son joins our spirit, and together we cry, "Abba! Father!" We don't cry "Jesus" because the Spirit of Jesus is crying together with our spirit to the same Father!

Jesus said, "It is to your advantage that I go away." The disciples had been rejoicing in seeing Jesus in the natural. Now Jesus told them He would go away - and this would be to their advantage, because He would be coming back in the Holy Spirit! Do you think it would be to your advantage to have Jesus back in the flesh? If you do, Jesus would contradict you! His coming back in the Spirit is advantageous to us, because now He can indwell each of us and lead and guide us into all truth! Furthermore, after the Spirit indwells us, we will not ask Jesus for anything. (John 16:23) Here is an important truth! Christ in us (His Spirit in us) gives us access to the Father! We can now pray to the Father because Christ is in us. We have access to the Father in one Spirit. (Eph. 2:18)

Another defection from truth, is man's understanding of the holy city mentioned in Revelation 21. This city of gold contains many twelves: it has twelve gates which are twelve pearls, twelve angels, twelve tribes, twelve foundation stones, and the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This city is called the bride of Christ. Do you think Jesus Christ is going to marry a golden city with walls? Of course not! This is all figurative. As a matter of fact the whole book of Revelation is a sign, a type, a picture.

The explanation of the new Jerusalem is found in Gal. 4, where it says that the literal, old Jerusalem had her children in bondage to the law, and could not deliver them! It produced children of the law who were under bondage and sin-consciousness. The Jews had a greater sin-consciousness than any other nation, because they had a very detailed law bringing them the knowledge of sin! Failure to keep the many laws brought condemnation and punishment. Blessings depended upon its people to keep their part of the covenant. The present Jerusalem still keeps her children in bondage to the law; they are not functioning in the kingdom of God.

The new Jerusalem is a different city; she is our mother, and is called a covenant. (Gal. 4:24-26) So the holy city, fulfilled in the Spirit, is a covenant, which also bears children. But unlike the children of the old Jerusalem, these children are free! The new Jerusalem is the mother of us all. She is a covenant - the promise of God, which is female. This covenant was guaranteed by an oath in which God promised to perform it. (Heb. 6:17-18) This covenant produces children of God.

In Romans 8 we read that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. That means that Jesus Christ, the Word, reproduces Himself in us! So the new Jerusalem is the Word of God that came out of God; she is begotten of God!

The word GOSPEL means good news! Jesus preached the good news that the kingdom of God has come! Earthly kingdoms have laws by which they govern, but the kingdom of God is ruled by His Spirit - poured out at Pentecost, and now resident in those who believe! These things were predicted by the Old Testament prophets, and came to pass in Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Christ in us is the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham! We are a new creation in Christ - the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy! We have become a new spiritual being; we have a new heart, a new mind, and a new body, because we have received the mind of Christ and are members of His body! We have been transferred into His kingdom - and His kingdom is not of this world! So the world cannot see this kingdom; it can only see the transformation that is manifested in us.

False prophecy declares that God is going to correct this world through external laws. Jesus will not land somewhere on the Mt. of Olives to institute laws which have already been proven inadequate to change humanity. Jesus Christ was the perfect expression of God in human form! He lived what He taught. In explaining the principles of the kingdom of God, He said, "You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil...if any one wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also...and whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two...love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matt. 5:38-44) These principles are the manifestation of the Spirit of God, and they were exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ! The Old Testament happenings, the things people did, the deaths and wars that took place, were simply in the realm of the natural, for at that time the new creation man in Christ Jesus had not yet come into humanity's realm of experience.

There is a world of righteousness which God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son. Those who do not believe will perish. (John 3:16) But there is another world - a world that lies in the wicked one. Since there already is a god who rules this world, we don't need an Antichrist to rule it. The god of this world is THE antichrist who runs this world system. That is the world we are not to love! If we love that world, we make ourselves enemies of God. That is not the world that God loves, for His kingdom is not of this world." The apostle Peter differentiates between the three world systems in 2 Peter chapter 3.

All things have become new in Christ! We are a new creation and we live in a new kingdom; we have a new heavens and a new earth! The natural has passed away and we have everything new in the spiritual realm! Our change takes place while we are living here in the flesh, through being regenerated by the Spirit! That is how we become true witnesses of the spiritual reality of Christ! To tell people that spiritual realities will come in a physical form, is false prophecy.

To have Jesus come back in a physical form would not be to our advantage! Imagine what it would be like to have a new kingdom set up in the present Jerusalem! Imagine having to travel all the way to Jerusalem to have fellowship with Jesus, and to worship Him only in a certain new tabernacle! The line-up would be incredible! We might even die before our turn came. This would be extremely impractical! How much personal contact could people have with Jesus? Now that Christ indwells the believers, all can have a personal relationship with Him! The spiritual is greater than the physical! God's plans are in the ascending order!

In the Old Testament, God's laws were literal; in the New Testament, they are spiritual. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered us from the law of sin and death! The knowledge of sin came through the law. The law is a form of truth, but Christ is the truth! In Romans 7:9,11 and 13 we read, "...but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died...for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me...that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful." And in 1 Cor. 15:56 it says, "...the power of sin is the law." This does not mean that there is no law now. There is a new law and a new priesthood - but it is different!

We can't explain God, but we can declare Him! People who think they can explain Christ also think they learned to know Christ through explanations, studying the Bible, dictionaries and concordances. If that is the only knowledge they have, they do not know Christ personally! They only know things about Him. Reading a biography causes us to know things about that person, but it does not bring us into a relationship with him. To know Christ we have to know Him spiritually, for He is spirit! The kingdom of God is also unseen; it's a rule of God in the Spirit! Once we experience this rule, we overcome the flesh, and become a temple of the Holy Spirit! As we are ruled by the Spirit of truth, we will be true witnesses of Christ. The Holy Spirit never gives us false hope nor false prophecy.

Correct translations of the New Testament say that Christ was raised from among the dead. There are many references to this. Who are the dead? The natural mind thinks God is speaking about all the people who were born upon this earth, and then died. But God has spiritual definitions. He said, "In Adam all die." So the dead include all who are living in Adam! We also were among the dead before we were raised into life!

"For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead." (1 Cor. 15:21) Resurrection came through Christ, the Son of Man! As believers we have been made a new creation in Christ, and are already a part of the Son of Man! We have been born again; we have become members of His body; we have the mind of Christ and we have His presence! We are not sinners saved by grace - as many think! Since we have been saved by grace, we are no longer sinners! A sinner is someone who continues to live according to his own lifestyle, and by his own reasoning power. He thinks he is going to heaven some day, and everything will then be all right.

Christ Jesus needed no resurrection. He is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever. In John 11:25 Jesus said, "I am the resurrection." This was said before He went to the cross. When the Sadducees came to Jesus with their story of the seven brothers who had consecutively married the same woman, and all had remained childless, they asked, "In the resurrection, whose wife will she be?" Jesus replied, "...those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from among the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage...for they are like angels..." (Luke 20:35-36) Angels are messengers or witnesses.

Jesus said, "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living..." (v.38) Therefore He is not a God of the Adamic consciousness, the Adamic nature and the Adamic reasoning mind. This nature was demonstrated by the Jews' treatment of Jesus. They totally rejected Him; they called His testimony blasphemy! Because of their hatred, they desired His death long before they had the opportunity to kill Him! The Jews before them had also been rejecting Christ, for they had been killing the prophets - and Christ was in the prophets. He was also before Adam. Jesus knew all about their rejection of God and Himself! Yet He came to save them - not to condemn them! Jesus said, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." (Jn. 20:21) What a privilege to be sent by Christ, and to have the same testimony He had!

Many do not understand what God means by the word DAY. It says that God rested on the seventh day. That rest came after the completion of His work of creation, and everything was VERY GOOD. Since God set aside a day of rest, Christians also believe in observing a day of rest. Some believe in keeping Sunday, and call it the Sabbath, while others keep Saturday, and call it the Sabbath. The word SABBATH means rest. Whenever we hear the word DAY, we think of a 24-hour day. But Jesus said that there are 12 hours in a day. His day does not include darkness! So day means light - and there are two kinds of light, spiritual and natural. The first light in Genesis 1 was spiritual, and the second, the light of the sun, moon and stars, was natural. The seventh day in Genesis 1, is a day of eternal rest; it is not a recurring seventh day of 24 hours. In God there is an eternal day and an eternal rest! He enters this rest when the spiritual man rules - when everything is good; for the spiritual man there is no law of sin and death; he lives by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Until this happens, God is working to conform us into the perfect image of Christ!

It is interesting to see how the instructions regarding manna typified this rest. The manna was given daily for 6 days, and the Israelites were to pick up only as much as they could eat each day. But on the 6th day they were also to pick up enough for the seventh. Provision for the seventh day came in the cumulative work of the previous six days! So in creation, the rest of God came after the cumulative work of six days. The climax is reached in the rule of the spiritual man - and this man is Christ! Redemption came in the cumulative work God had been doing from Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, and from Moses to Christ! Everything was consummated in Christ! He is the sum of all things!

When Jesus went to the Jordan, He fulfilled everything that these men had represented or foreshadowed. The men are not the important part; but the purpose God had for them in the redemptive message they conveyed was the important part! God works everything according to the counsel of His will! So Jesus Christ became THE REDEEMER! All those stages are included in His redemption! At the Jordan River all the cumulative redemptive work from Adam to John the Baptist was represented in spirit. But Christ is the central figure!

Jesus Christ has dealt with sin! He has finished the work of destroying the Adamic man through whom sin came into the world! He has given us the Spirit through whom we become new creatures! We can now walk in this new understanding. Those who continually talk about sin instead of Christ, are in apostasy. They are not focusing on truth, but on sin, which means missing the mark - and that does not get us into truth! We have a lot of growing to do!

Another thing I want to call to your attention, is tithing. Let's read Matt. 17:24-26. "And when they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter, and said, `Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?' He said, `Yes.' And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, `What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?' And upon his saying, `From strangers,' Jesus said to him, `Consequently the sons are exempt'." By saying this Jesus brought a new concept to His disciples, for He brought them out of the Old Testament concept of tithing. Since God does not take tribute from His sons, the sons are exempt from paying taxes! Since we are His children, we do not have to pay the tithe. We live in Christ, and everything the Father has, is ours! We are inheritors of the things of God in Christ Jesus. Most churches are putting people under the law of tithing. But Jesus said that sons do not have to pay tribute money. God takes care of His children - the children do not need to take care of Him!

That does not mean we are to hoard our money! Even as God is generous toward us, we are to be generous toward others! But our giving is not forced upon us - taxes are! Nor is our giving limited to 10%! We give as the Spirit directs us. God loves a cheerful giver! God gives us abundantly so that we can give to those in need and have an abundance for every good deed!

In Acts 17:25 Paul said, "Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things." Paul proclaimed this in its true sense, but people today are teaching that since God has need of nothing, man does not have to do anything. It is true that God has need of nothing, but He has chosen us in Christ, to be a part of Himself, and to be co-workers with Him! This is His generosity toward us, and should inspire us to be generous toward others!

In summing up I want to emphasize the importance of understanding the scriptures correctly! Since God is spirit and His words are spirit, His words have to be understood spiritually! This is not spiritualizing the word - as some call it - for how can you spiritualize something that is spirit? Since the reasonings of our natural mind cannot understand spiritual realities, we need the Holy Spirit to teach us!

Spiritual realities always remain in death in the natural mind. That mind can only understand everything from a natural perspective. So God's kingdom, life, death, Jesus Christ, antichrist, resurrection, etc., are misunderstood. We need to understand that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh; therefore the Bible cannot be the Word of God. We need to understand that the Bible is a witness of spiritual realities, that Jesus Christ is the resurrection, and that God's kingdom is spiritual. We need to understand the purpose of the law, the difference between the meaning of world and creation, the source of death, and who Adam is. Spiritual realities can only be understood spiritually! Explanations that relegate them into the natural realm put them to death and therefore produce deception.

This also holds true in regard to prophecies. Those which pinpoint the fulfillment of prophecy in the natural realm, are in the death realm and therefore false. The following are some examples of this type of prophecy: the coming again of Christ as a physical man; the restoration of natural Israel; the restoration of Jerusalem and the building of a new temple as the focal point of worship. Natural Israel was a type of spiritual Israel; spiritual Israel includes all who are in Christ - whether Jew or Gentile. Just as natural Israel was a chosen race, so spiritual Israel is "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession." (1 Pe. 2:9) All the promises of God were given to the seed - to Christ. (Gal. 3:14) He is the new man upon whom the Spirit, or Anointing, came. All who are born of God are the inheritors of the fulfillment of all the promises of God!

God dealt with the man of sin through Christ's death, resurrection, and the pouring out of His Spirit. Christ has taken care of sin, and is no longer dealing with sin! He abolished death, for death came through that man. He has brought us life, for this new man is a life-giving Spirit! Life is greater than the forgiveness of our sins. It gives us a new nature which forgiveness cannot do. Without the knowledge of forgiveness, true repentance cannot take place. So it is the basis for repentance and receiving Christ. Christ is the answer; He is the Son of God (the Word made flesh); He is our life, our righteousness, our heaven, our wisdom, etc. He is the fulfillment of all God's promises, and in Him we have inherited all He is! We have been taken into God!

However, this does not mean that we are God, as some are now saying. They falsely state that they are the great I AM. Our oneness with God does not mean we are equal with Him, but that we are living by Him, just as Jesus did. Christ prayed that we might become one with the Father, as He is one with the Father. He expressed His oneness by saying, "I live by the Father...the Father sent Me...the Father is greater than I...I can do nothing of Myself...the words that I speak are of My Father...it is the Father in Me who does the works." Our oneness is with the Father - it does not say our oneness is with the creator God. Our oneness is in relationship; we are the Father's children, so He is our source! The Father is the source of our life and the source of everything we do! As we participate in His purpose and live by Him, we live in a relationship of oneness with Him!

Many Christians think they are going to heaven as forgiven sinners! They say they have been born again, but that they are still sinners. Why do they need to be born again if no change takes place in the new birth? They agree that they are new creatures, yet still proclaim that they are only sinners saved by grace. After they die, they will go to an imaginary geographical place where a golden mansion awaits them. They think they will be disembodied spirits until the resurrection. It is so sad that they do not believe the scriptures! They do not understand that we are new creations, having a new mind - the mind of Christ - and having a new body - the body of Christ!

The shadows contained in the Old Testament are put into a spiritual perspective in the New Testament. The natural of the Old Testament is a type of the spiritual realities we have in Christ. If we see things only in a literal sense, we have not entered into the reality we now have in Christ! So prophecies that continue to deal with the shadows, like natural fire, natural heavens, natural land, etc., are not true. Neither are the concepts that the antichrist will be a physical man, that death only refers to the death of the physical body, and that world and creation are synonymous. Believing that these natural ideas are the fulfillment of prophecy, constitutes the great apostasy, for it is a great defection from spiritual truth.

False prophecy abounds both in our denominational system and in the so-called outcomers - those who have come out of the denominational system and are known by various names. Only a remnant is truly hearing the Spirit. Jesus said, "For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and they are few who find it." (Matt. 7:14) People who truly understand spiritual realities are having a very difficult time finding fellowship with other Christians; their spiritual understanding brings them condemnation, just like it brought Jesus when He was on earth.

Apostasy dwells in the natural man for he cannot know truth! That is why we need to be born anew and become a new creation in Christ! The rule of the Holy Spirit within us is the rule of the kingdom of God; it is the reign of Christ! This becomes evident when our faith is not in the natural seen realm, but in Christ who dwells in the unseen realm!

Consider what I say, and God bless you!

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