A Message Missed

By Lloyd Ellefson

The day of the Lord is the constant, eternal, endless illumination of the understanding that is in God. Christ is the light and expression of it, so it does not have a beginning nor an ending. When Jesus said that He is the light of the world, He was not referring to natural light. He is the spiritual enlightenment that enables us to see the spiritual realities of the spiritual realm. True life cannot be measured by 24-hour days. Life is immortal; it has no beginning nor ending. The life of God is always present.

Deut. 33:27 says, "The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms." This is a fact, so we do not have to pray for the everlasting arms to be under us. They are always there - forever! They have always been there and they will always be there. If we learn to rest in these everlasting arms, we will be like Christ! He is the Sabbath or rest of God; He is the redemption of God, and He is the day of the Lord.

The Israel Jesus addressed, did not include all the tribes. After Solomon's reign Israel was divided. Two tribes were called Judah, and the remaining ten tribes were called Israel. They did not follow the Lord so they were taken captive and resettled in foreign countries. Only a few Jews and some Levites later on returned to rebuild the temple and to settle in their native land. There were no Christians among them. No one had as yet received the Holy Spirit in the New Testament way, and no one was living in the new covenant. It was to these people that Jesus came as a physical manifestation of God, that they might learn to know their God. Since He could be seen and heard, He showed them what God was like by His testimony and His works!

Before His Jordan experience He lived under the law as did everyone else. He identified with them in all the requirements of the law. But the Jordan experience brought Him into a new realization, and He began to minister a new dimension of life - a life that was not held in bondage by the birth nor death of the flesh. To believe Christ's message requires a dying to our own beliefs.

God is not dealing with our sin in the sense that He is punishing or blessing us for our deeds. The deeds are the result of something that has taken place in our minds, thinking and realization. Jesus did not come to put a new patch on old garments - to patch up the old self. He did not come to put new wine into old wineskins; He came to make everything new! He came to eradicate humanity's beliefs that seemed so reasonable to them! Yet in their beliefs they could not find God nor could they know Him; they were helpless to overcome death, and they thought their existence began with birth and ended in death. From there on they were only left with their imagination, for they had no idea what was going on.

Jesus did not come to add to, nor to improve their lives - as we do when we renovate a house. He presented a spiritual regeneration that supersedes the mind of the flesh. He didn't come to destroy the law and the prophets; He came with the fulfillment. The types and shadows were only terminal signs of that which was to come. The emergence of spiritual truth in Christ Jesus was to supersede and take away the old ideas. The fulfillment, the reality is in Christ!

How can anyone attain to the measure of understanding that was in Christ, since man does not have the knowledge nor the ability to receive the spiritual truth that Jesus Christ testified to? Humanity demonstrated its ignorance by its rejection of Jesus Christ even though He taught with authority and did mighty miracles. On the cross Jesus said, "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus declared man's ignorance. Had they been knowledgeable, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory! The spirit that was in Christ Jesus was released by His death, and was given to all that believe, even though they had previously rejected and refused Him, and were ignorant of what had actually transpired on the cross. Christ could forgive all this since He was dealing with the ignorance that was in man. Their deeds were the result of their ignorance!

Redemption delivers humanity from its incorrect knowledge of God. It ascends or raises us out of our realm of ignorance or darkness. Jesus demonstrated a true knowledge of God, but it was rejected! Yet God offered it to mankind again; this time He offered it in the Holy Spirit! This is a deeper and better realm of reality. However, man does not want to receive it, for he would then have to put away his own reasonings and beliefs. Man has to recognize that his beliefs have been formed in ignorance.

To receive knowledge from God, we have to become still before Him. We do not allow our mind to become a vacuum so that any spirit may enter, as in the occult. We have to enter into His presence, not argumentatively, but in submission. This is a place of silence in which the human mind with its thinking, comprehension and reasonings is set aside, and we become quiet before the Lord. Then we can hear God can speak. When we become like little children, we can begin to understand spiritual things and receive a new sense of what is going on! We will begin to see what is ours in Christ and understand who God is, who we are, and why different things are happening.

Everything in natural man is in confusion. Everything he does is futile. Everything he rearranges or invents, everything he puts together for his own use or enhancement of life -- like cars, trains, planes, bombs, computers, etc., can be used for good or evil.

The Spirit that was in Christ Jesus was not in confusion! Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ! Sad to say, many Christians are just as content and proud of the Mosaic law as the Jews were. Humanity did not really understand grace and truth before Jesus Christ came. In order to know what grace and truth mean to us, we have to receive the Christ and His understanding!

When this wonderful teaching of Jesus Christ was proclaimed by the apostles, it turned the world upside down - but somehow the world seems to have righted itself again. What has happened to the teaching of the anointed One of God and His anointing? Why did God scatter the church with its wonderful testimony into the world? (Acts 8-10) If the church had remained in Israel, it would have been swallowed up by the law before it ever got a chance to get out into the world. God sent the church out into the world, but the truth of the message was soon adulterated. The teachings of Christ were organized into religions, churches, denominations, doctrines and beliefs.

Then pagan rituals and traditions were incorporated into this organization. People began to burn candles; they began to wear phylacteries and gowns. Brothers were raised up into the offices of bishops and popes, pastors and leaders - not because of their spiritual realization of Christ, but because they functioned according to the politics of the church. Instead of living in the new covenant, they retained a lot of the old covenant, keeping days and seasons and times. They lived under the law of good and evil with its rewards and punishments. The spiritual realization and newness and perfection of life that had come in Christ, were all relegated to the future. They continued to build beautiful temples with all the external adornments, and furnished them with ornaments of great beauty - just as Israel had done. They thought they were doing this for the Lord. They did not understand that we are the temple of the Lord; they never really assimilated the true message of the Christ. Christ taught that we are not to resist evil, but the church is living in "an eye for an eye" and a "tooth for a tooth" belief. This old-covenant thinking has infiltrated Christianity - the so-called Christian church!

Human reasoning is not spiritual. It cannot understand spiritual realities, so it struggles to reform the Adamic mind and behavior. It forms the basis for all the futility of human existence. All the evils in the world are caused by some kind of organized thinking, and most of it is based on religion. African tribes are fighting each other because they want the same portion of the world in order to preserve themselves and their ideas of worship. Catholics, Muslims, atheists, Christians, etc., do the same.

The law does not know grace! Grace has no meaning for those who are under the law - those who believe that God rewards and punishes us according to our behavior. Before Jesus came, humanity had no real understanding of grace and truth, for they came by Jesus Christ. Man remains in this ignorance until the light of the gospel brings him into a new realization, and he recognizes that all existence outside of Christ's illumination is in the death realm! It is in separation from God!

We need to be resurrected out of this death! And God has provided resurrection for us in Christ! Before Jesus was crucified He said, "I am the resurrection". (John 11) This helps us to see that resurrection has nothing to do with the physical body. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! He did not suddenly become the resurrection after He experienced resurrection. He said that He IS the resurrection! Christ in us is the resurrection! He is the resurrection life! When Christ is our life, we are in resurrection!

To be made alive in Christ, we first have to be awakened and quickened. Christ takes us out of our Adamic consciousness and sin nature; out of our ignorance, darkness and separation from God; out of the futility of trying to achieve righteousness by our own efforts! He takes us out of all that is opposite to who Christ is! Life in Christ is for NOW! It does not come to us historically, nor is it to be reserved for future use. We cannot have life apart from Him. To relegate it to the future means we would have to remain in death throughout our earthly existence. How wonderful that we can live in resurrection life now! Resurrection means being raised into Christ. He gives us a new awareness of who we are in Him! We receive a new realization of body, soul and mind in our consciousness.

Let us not become confused by what many are saying. Some say that the soul is going to marry the spirit and bring forth a new body. This is not the case. The spirit, soul and body are a new creation. The body of Christ (into which we are baptized), receives a new realization of soul and spirit. The body is not divided from the soul and spirit. They form one being. Resurrection includes everyone, for all die in Adam and all are made alive in Christ. The physical body cannot enter the kingdom of God; flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God!

People desire the preservation of self. They want to preserve their own sense of being, their own "I", their own "me". This is never going to work. It is not a reformation - it's a regeneration! We receive a new realization in our spirit. This is the work of God entirely, and any human help offered is an obstruction. God does not ask us to help Him change us. He gives us something we can't earn! Praying harder and doing good works do not change God nor His will; they are not the basis for receiving from God. The good things of God come to us in Christ, and they are all in the realm of grace!

It is very important to see that we must never blame God for anything. He always does what is right and only does good things! Blame is never a solution. It began after the first act of disobedience when Adam blamed God for giving him a wife, and Eve blamed the serpent for deceiving her. We have inherited this thought pattern, because in the natural and according to the law, the bad or the good things we experience are largely due to our behavior pattern. But God does not deal with us according to natural thinking. The law of Moses inherently contains the punishment for what we do. If we steal, we are taking someone else's goods, and our conscience bothers us; if we are caught, we are punished. If we kill, someone will hate us for killing his friend. These things contain a built-in punishment.

What we sow we reap. If we are living in the natural realm, we are living in Adam. If we plant fleshly desires, we will reap that - at least to a certain extent. If we believe in poverty and sickness, in hatred and in wars, these things are going to happen in our lives. What we sow we will reap, because God has ordained this system of sowing and reaping in the natural. We find that out as we grow in Christ.

Jesus came to break the natural law of sowing and reaping, so we will not reap the bad things we have sown! Faith will reap the righteousness that is in Christ! We must extend to others the same grace that God has given us. Instead of blaming them for their mistakes, we impart grace because God has given us grace and truth to understand things in a new way. No longer do we function in meting out punishment and rewards - as we thought God was doing to us. When this becomes clear to us in our own minds and thinking, we will have the grace to look at others as God looks at us. We too will pray, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Instead of attacking people for the things they are doing, we should bring the message of regeneration, of illumination, of spiritual newness that is in Christ Jesus. It is not up to us to condemn them; we must constantly live beyond that. We know that the world has accepted its own understanding of Christ and God; it has formed its own doctrines with its own definitions of good and evil, etc. This has brought them into heavy bondages of their own making.

Let's look at the son who is popularly called "the prodigal son". First of all he wanted to go out into the world. Later on, after the world had robbed him of his inheritance, he was awakened to the realization that he really belonged in his father's house. Since this is a parable of spiritual things, we too must learn that our Father in heaven is not going to give us anything that we can make use of in the world. As a matter of fact, anything in the inheritance that we have received, and taken as our personal possession, is separated from God. The world will take that away from us, because it is no longer tied into God. We are no longer living in the Father's house.

Flesh and blood do not inherit the kingdom of God. So we can't take our inheritance into the world - into flesh and blood thinking, into the natural thinking of this world. The world will take it away from us, even as it took it away from the prodigal. He was finally awakened to his real self and recognized that His only place of security was in his father's house. So he went back, and the father welcomed him! This is Christ's message to us. The world will take away our godly inheritance and put us with unclean swine. But when we dwell in the father's house, it is unable to do so!

Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you...in My Father's house are many dwelling places." These are places where we dwell with our Father - not mansions, as some translations read. "That where I am, there you may be also." Christ wants us to dwell where He is dwelling while we are still in our physical body! This is not only to be relegated to the future! Just as Jesus was dwelling with the Father at the time when He spoke to His disciples, so we too can dwell with the Father while we are in our physical bodies. As soon as the Father gives us the spirit of sonship, we can dwell in the Father's house, and begin to live and preach it. This is the testimony of the scriptures!

Anything given us from God remains united with Him! It is not ours in separation from Him! Our inheritance from God differs from an earthly inheritance; it can never be our possession without God; it is not ours to do with as we please. We must not, like the prodigal, make the catastrophic mistake of thinking that our inheritance is ours without the divine connection. This attitude brought about a separation between the father and son. The world soon proved it was stronger than the prodigal! He came to realize that his desires could not be fulfilled in that place. The prodigal son made the mistake of thinking that his inheritance was his own possession. It always remains in the Father's possession; we are possessed of God, we are one with God and in harmony with God! This means we are always led by His Spirit!

Let's review these things and put them into perspective. First of all, we have to recognize that natural humanity is in delusion and in ignorance; it does not know God; every one has gone his own way, and nobody cares about God; it is dead in its trespasses and sins; it does not have the ability to raise itself out of its state of death. Our physical body is a part of this creation and is dependent upon it for its supply. We breathe, eat and drink of this creation. These things help to regulate our bodily functions and give us the energy we need for growth and nurture. This physical dependence on creation has caused us to rely on creation instead of on the Creator.

Jesus demonstrated a power that had not been witnessed before. He commanded, and the boisterous sea was stilled; a withered arm was restored and a young man and a young girl were raised from the dead! Yet He said, "I can do nothing of Myself...the Father in Me does the works." God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. Before that, the world was not reconciled to God. No one was, not even Israel! Jesus told the Jews that they did not know God. He said, "You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. And you do not have His Word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent...for if you believed Moses, you would believe Me." (Jn. 5:38,45) That was quite an indictment and true assessment of them!

Truth has a greater depth of meaning than we are often aware of. A lot of people think lightly of the truth. Paul told the Corinthians, "For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth." (2 Cor. 13:8) We can't do anything against the truth, but we think we can. In the end we will discover that we can't. Everything we can seemingly do against God in our opposition to Him will eventually be unravelled, because truth is the strongest force there is!

The revelation of truth brings judgment because it judges everything that is not truth. Jesus Christ, the truth, brought judgment, but His judgment issued forth in a form that was totally unlike man's judgment. The very presence of Christ was a judgment simply because of who He was and the things He did. His words were doubly effective, for there was no duality in Him. He testified to things man couldn't see, hear, reason, or understand. This wounded man's pride and dominance; it brought him to a place where he was no longer in control; he could no longer trust his own idea of God, his own imagination - not even his own religion. One day truth will judge and destroy everything that is not truth.

In the book of Revelation, vials of wrath are poured out. These are simply the truth of God in operation, destroying everything that is not truth. Nothing can destroy truth because truth is the IS of all being! Since God is the Father of His Son Jesus Christ, He is obviously the Father of all truth. Truth, as expressed in Christ Jesus, came in a form that seemed to give man choice. Humanity was eating of the tree of knowledge, choosing between the good and evil of that tree that was rooted in disobedience. So man thought he could make up his own mind and decide who God is and who Jesus is. This is a disastrous mistake because no one has the ability to decide what someone else is like. A choice like that is no choice, because the truth will eventually reveal man's error. The revelation of truth in Jesus Christ will destroy all things unlike itself. Truth is the great destroyer of everything that is not truth! It destroys our ignorance and darkness; it destroys everything that is terminal - everything that is not God and that which separates us from God. That is how the truth makes us free.

Jesus Christ is the exact image of the invisible God. (Heb. 1:3) He is the only true expression of God! Yet Israel would not believe Him, because their idea of God was different. The truth in Jesus Christ could have delivered them. Had they believed the truth, they would have been freed from their error. Since they believed their own reasoning, imagination and idea of God, they opposed Jesus. Their actions were based on their own idea of God; they did not know that they were ignorant of the true knowledge of God and their inability to recognize His voice. They only knew their history and the do's and don'ts of the law.

The Bible is a wonderful book! It is a testimony, and it contains testimonies of many different men who have been moved by God! It is to bring us to a spiritual realization, but it is not an end in itself. It is a progressive revelation of God's redemption as it works in man, and then culminates in its perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ! When we are put into Jesus Christ, we receive the fulness of His grace!

Christ fulfilled all the shadows and types of the Old Testament. They are all put in their proper perspective when He comes as the truth in us. They no longer tell us what truth is, because truth itself has come. We no longer look to the future fulfillment of the Old Testament types, shadows, prophecies, and offerings. We do not wait for another tabernacle to be built by human hands. They were only shadows, as were Sabbaths and celebrations. They are all temporal, for they all had a beginning and an ending. So when we see them in the truth that is in Jesus Christ, we see them in fulfillment.

It is important that we understand this. Paul reproved the Galatians because they were still observing days and months and seasons and years. (Gal. 4:10) These are only shadows; Christ is the body of these things; He is the reality, the fulfillment of them! He is illumination, so He is the fulfillment of the day. He is the temple, because God dwelt in Him. He is the offerings because He offered Himself. Everything in the Old Testament is a figure or type - even Adam is a type of Him who was to come. (Rom. 5:14) The types and shadows in the parables of Jesus are also fulfilled in Christ!

Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change. Since He says that underneath are the everlasting arms, we know that as they were, so they are, and always will be! We don't even have to pray to get the everlasting arms under us. They are always there!

Everything that came to us in types, shadows, figures, days and seasons is now fulfilled in Christ! We are accepted in the Son. God's purpose for us is that we be conformed to His image! This fulfills the counsel of God for us! We have received His Spirit and have begun to be illuminated by the mind of Christ. When we hear the words of God, we receive a new realization of self, Christ, God, and the universe, which includes the earth, sky, sea. The progression of our redemption takes place in us through Jesus Christ, for He is our redemption.

It is in this context that Jesus said, "In My Father's house are many dwelling places...that where I am there you may be also." In John 17 Jesus prayed for us to know this unity - that we may be one even as the Father and He are one. All three are one. In times past we thought that certain things didn't really fit together, but now they begin to take their proper place in our spiritual realization. These things are not to be destroyed nor resisted, for they are not evil; we simply have to grow into a realization where we see how they fit into God's plan of redemption. He is redeeming us from what we were. He has made us a new creation! God is not redeeming us into some heaven; we are redeemed out of our own self, our own consciousness and our own realization of life. Christ is this redemption!

We have to relinquish the idea of self-preservation. If we try to save our soul, we will lose it; if we try to retain and improve what we have, we will lose it. Jesus said, "For to everyone who has shall more be given...but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away." (Matt. 25:29) If we don't understand the message of the law we won't come to Christ. It was to cause us to see that we are incapable of attaining God's righteousness - obeying Him, doing His will and knowing Him. We have to realize that something new from God has to happen to us! It is all of God; it is not of our works; it is God's grace! Once we have realized this, we begin to grow in the Holy Spirit! If we don't, we'll be back in the futility of our own mind, and we'll actually oppose those who are spiritual.

Those who are born of the flesh have no inheritance. Ishmael was born of the Egyptian concubine, but Isaac was born of the true wife. Ishmael received gifts, but the inheritance belonged to Isaac. Those who are born of the Spirit understand that there is no inheritance for the flesh. Ishmael persecuted Isaac. As it was then, so it is now. Those who are of the flesh persecute those who are born of the Spirit. (Gal. 4:29) So the spiritual realities in Christ and in our message are opposed by our natural thinking. Those who understand this will face opposition. This opposition comes from the natural mind that is in us and in others - from the mind that is in delusion, ignorance and separation from God!

"For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth." (2 Cor. 13:8) God does not sit on high, rewarding us for our good deeds and punishing us for evil deeds. Fire, water and wind can be our friends or our enemies. We don't blame electricity for giving us a shock; we don't blame fire for burning us; we don't blame the wind for blowing our house over; we shouldn't blame God for these things. Yet many do!

When we look at the distant railway tracks, they look as though they converge, but we know they don't! We don't blame God for making it look that way. We recognize that this is an illusion. At this point we know that it is a delusion to believe that the tracks actually converge. If we believe what our eyes are seeing, the delusion is within us. Truth is greater than the illusion.

God's purpose for us is to reject our desire for self-preservation, self-identity and self-redemption! Whatever changes need to be made, will be made by God. They will not be accomplished by the efforts of the Adamic man. God makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus! So consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding! Amen.

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