By Lloyd Ellefson

Greetings to everyone of you in the name of the Lord! The Lord is that Spirit! There is only one God and He has all power! He is above all things; He is the source of everything and He rules all things! All things came out of His mind. So He is greater than the Bible, denominations, doctrines, preachers, etc. He is universal, yet we can receive Him individually! Today we want to see how God expresses His sovereignty, and how the fulfillment of His promises comes into being.

"Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation." (2 Cor. 5:18-19) This is very interesting! The ministry of reconciliation began with God! God did His work of reconciliation in Christ! Now this ministry has been given to us! Not that He expects us to accomplish this in our own ability, but His sovereignty in us will! God is expressing His sovereignty in humanity; it was expressed first in Adam and now through Christ. Since many think that we are free moral agents, that is, we can make choices independently without being influenced by God, our emotions and situations, they find God's sovereignty very difficult to comprehend.

"For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead." (1 Cor. 15:21) Both death and resurrection came through man - but through two very different men! This speaks volumes! It means that God does His work through humanity! If we are looking for something great to happen without humanity's involvement, we will be disappointed. New understanding, new depths of harmony and peace, new realms of consciousness of our union with God, etc., will come by man, because God expresses His sovereignty through man.

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." (v.22) These are the two great humanities. The Adamic humanity bears an earthy image of God. This is spoken of in Rom. 5:16-17a: "And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of one, death reigned through the one..." Just think of it - death reigned through a man! Death's reign encompasses all life on this earth - people, animals, birds, fish, trees, flowers, etc. All experience death! Death reigned by one - the Adamic man. He is the earthy image, and he brought death into the world because "through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin." The whole realm of death is separated from God; it is terminal, for it has a beginning and an ending. By one man's offense death reigned - by one!

"For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:17) Isn't this wonderful! The enChristed humanity bears a spiritual image. Whereas we were under the reign of death, we are now reigning in life! The two rules, the reign of death and the reign of life, are diametrically opposed to each other! They do not cooperate with each other because they are in conflict; they are actually at enmity with each other! At present we seem to be under the rule of death, because everything dies, and nobody can stop it. But there is another rule, the rule of life, and it is greater than the rule of death! The rule of life destroys the rule of death.

We were chosen in Christ before God's rule was cast down by man - before death entered this realm! "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation (DISRUPTION) of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." HIM refers to Christ. God chose us in Him before the disruption of the world. King James reads FOUNDATION. The Greek word KATABOLLO means CASTING DOWN - that is, before God's rule was cast down by man. "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." This is the process. He has chosen us before the disruption of the world. This testifies to the fact that Christ was there before the foundation of the world.

We hear a lot about metaphysical New Age philosophy today. It claims that some eastern religions are older than Christianity. But there is no religion older than the message of Jesus Christ. The Christ, the Son of God, was present before Abraham; He was present before the disruption of the world - before God's rule was disrupted! This is described in Genesis 2 and 3.

"Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation (actually disruption) of the world, but He has appeared in these last times for you." (1 Peter 1:18-20) Christ was foreknown before the disruption of the world; He was slain from the disruption of the world. (Rev. 13:8) God rules by His Word - which is the Christ.

The Christ and the Word are the same. God revealed to Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matt. 16:16-17) Christ is the same as the Son of God. We cannot divide the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Father, or God. They are actually one, but they are manifested differently. Peter compared the blood of Jesus to that of an innocent Lamb. "As of a lamb without blemish, without spot." AS OF indicates a comparison.

What does the Lamb of God represent? In the Old Testament thousands of lambs were slain and offered to the Lord. John the Baptist referred to Jesus when he said, "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." How does the Son of God take away our sins? To do that He had to be sinless, innocent, guiltless, obedient and without rebellion! This describes what was in the mind of Christ; this was His attitude to God the Father. God rules through Christ; this rule was slain and disrupted by one man's disobedience. (Genesis 3) Disobedience opposes God's rule in Christ! Christ's obedience gave Him a consciousness of guiltlessness, innocence and harmony with God! Man's disobedience gives him a consciousness of guilt, and consequently a lack of harmony with God.

The first chapter of Genesis does not contain any death, corruption, evil, nor disease. When God had finished making man, He said, "It is very good." Although God had made this man in the first chapter, there still was no man, that is, no physical man to cultivate the earth in the second chapter. God formed another man, another image of God out of the dust of the earth, and He breathed into him and made him a living soul. This man was an earthy man - he was made out of the earth. He was not a created man like the man in Gen. 1. So we see the two men - the first Adam in whom all die, and the last Adam, Christ, in whom all are made alive!

The New Testament contains a lot of teaching about the new man. Eph. 2 and 4, Col. 3, and 1 Cor. 15 show that there is a great disparity between these two corporate men, the two images of God. They are two representations of who God is. The first one was slain at the disruption of the world when the reign of God that had been committed to man was lost. This happened through the one man, Adam. The expression of God's sovereignty was distorted through him because of sin. Sin entered this world; death entered through sin. So sin and death came into the world through one man or through one humanity.

"Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things ...but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world..." (1 Peter 1:18-20a) Christ was slain or put to death as an innocent, guiltless, precious lamb. The crucifixion of Jesus by mankind demonstrated the disruption that had taken place. It had been going on ever since its beginning way back in Genesis.

God is not charging our sins to us. He has provided a way to bring us back into the rule of God. This redemption came about in stages. According to Peter, we have been redeemed from the sin which caused the disruption of the rule of God in Genesis 1 and 2. God's rule does not bring us sin, nor a consciousness of sin. It brings us peace, the forgiveness of our trespasses, guiltlessness, harmony with God and the realization that we are His sons! He has made us new creatures in Christ and He enlightens us as to our true nature in God! All these wonderful things were slain by man's disobedience, and are now being restored to us through the coming of the Christ.

In reading the scriptures, it is amazing to see how God brought about the progression or stages of redemption through the various men whom He raised up. Each ordering of events under divine authority is called a dispensation. Through the ages, beginning with Adam, God raised up certain men to become notable because they introduced something new. After Adam, there was Noah, then Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets.

In Gal. 4:4-6 we read, "But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, `Abba! Father!'" When the fulness of time had come, Jesus began His preaching ministry in Israel. He said, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." It was time for them to repent and believe the gospel! In time, there is a dispensation which has to do with redemption.

Paul spoke about this in Rom. 8:3: "For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh." God sent His Son; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. God's own Son was born to Mary, born by the Spirit of God in fulfillment of God's promise to send the Christ. He was named Jesus, taken to the temple and circumcised on the eighth day. He fulfilled the requirements of the law, showed up at the temple from time to time and made the required offerings. Although, at the tender age of twelve He recognized that God was His Father, He basically lived under the law for thirty years as a servant of God under the law. During this time He worked as a carpenter's son; He didn't cause any disruptions, He didn't preach - He just served God under the law. It is important for us to realize this.

Jesus identified with us completely! He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh and was tempted in all points like we are. He entered into the fallen sense of being that we have in this world, and descended into the lower parts of the earth. The lower parts of the earth do not refer to a physical hell, an abode for the spirits of the departed dead deep down in the earth. The lowest parts of the earth refer to the consciousness of separation from God; to being alienated from God in our minds. This is what death is.

When the time was fulfilled, God sent John the Baptist in the spirit of Elijah to herald repentance. People turned away from what they thought was sin. They did not realize that they were being ruled by the flesh, and the desires of the flesh were causing them to sin. Instead of being ruled by the flesh, they needed to be ruled by the Spirit; they needed a change of government!

This change of government was symbolized by Israel many years ago. After Israel came out of Egypt and received the law, they spent forty years in the wilderness. During this time the complete generation of those who were 20 years and older passed away. Moses was not exempted; on the mountain God showed him the promised land, and there he died. He could not enter the promised land because the law can't take us there; it is only a schoolmaster to teach us that our own righteousness does not meet God's standards! We need help. Thus it brings us to Christ.

Finally, after 40 years they were prepared to enter the land of promise by faith! Before crossing the Jordan to enter the land, all the men had to be circumcised because they had not practiced circumcision in the wilderness. Circumcision symbolizes the removal of the body of the flesh. "And in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." (Col. 2:11) When the priesthood entered the water, the waters parted, and all Israel passed over to the new land. Then they took 12 stones from the riverbed and put them on the land, and they took 12 from the land and put them in the bottom of the Jordan. This exchange of twelve stones symbolized a change of government, twelve being the number representing government. The waters then flowed normally again.

Jesus also experienced a change of government in His life when He came to John to be baptized! (Matt. 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22; Jn. 1:29-34) John the Baptist explained to the people that one mightier than he was coming. "There is One coming after me who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire." When John saw Jesus coming he pointed Him out and said, "Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." John received this knowledge by revelation through the Spirit, for Jesus looked like any other ordinary man!

John did not want to baptize Jesus, for he said, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" But Jesus said, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Jesus was fulfilling the righteousness of the law by repenting. The fruit of the law is repentance; it brings us to Christ. So Jesus was fulfilling the righteous demands of the law, and also fulfilling the righteousness which comes without the law by the Spirit. So John baptized Him. He came out of the water, and while He was praying, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. This was His baptism in the Spirit. This is confirmed in Acts 10:38: "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good..."

Let's look at the spiritual significance of this experience. A change was taking place. We see the ability of the law to bring Jesus to repentance, as well as the coming of the Spirit. The fulfillment of God's promises was taking place. Jesus said, "The Law and the prophets were proclaimed until John; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached...Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill." (Luke 16:16; Matt. 5:17) The reality of this change and this new circumcision came in the Christ, in the Man Jesus. He was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. He was the fulfillment of all that the ministries of the men previously mentioned symbolized. He was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises; all the promises of God have their Yes and Amen in Christ!

It was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who took on humanity and lived under the law for 30 years. It was He who appeared at the Jordan and received the baptism of repentance! Jesus did not repent of sin; but He turned from being ruled by the law to being ruled by the kingdom of God; He turned from the natural to the spiritual! He received the Holy Spirit, and from that time on He was led by the Holy Spirit. His life and message changed dramatically! He did all these things to show us the way - as a pattern Son for us, as the last Adam. (1 Cor. 15:45)

At this momentous occasion when Jesus was baptized, Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses were represented in the ministry of God's redemption which was established through them. Although they were not there physically, the various stages of redemption revealed through these people were all fulfilled in Christ. He was the fulfillment of what happened in the days of Noah; the Holy Spirit coming down on Him in the form of a dove was an indication of the peace Noah experienced when the flood subsided.

Abraham was represented because he walked in the promise, and Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham - which was the coming of the Holy Spirit. We know that the promise of the Spirit is associated with Abraham because of what we read in Luke 24:49 and in Gal. 3:14, "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high...In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." The blessing of Abraham is the coming of the Holy Spirit! God was fulfilling His promise to Abraham about a new generation of sons who walk in faith.

Moses, who represented the law, was also there because Jesus was born under the law. (Gal. 4:4) Jesus lived under the law of Moses for thirty years, the law being His schoolmaster to lead Him to repentance. In biblical terminology, adoption has nothing to do with the present meaning of adoption, like the adoption of a child; it doesn't mean that the Gentiles are to be adopted by Israel. Biblical adoption means the placing of a son. This is explained in Gal. 4. Until the son reaches a certain age he is under the jurisdiction of the servants and does not have special privileges; he is under the law. But the day arrives when the son has to take his place as a son. On that day the father tells the servants, "Now you obey the son." The son comes out of the servanthood of the law and is then placed as a son with authority over the servants! This placing of a son is called adoption. He always was a son; it's just a progression in the ministry and life of the son. These are the things God works in His sons. This was Christ's adoption!

David was there because Jesus Christ received a kingdom here. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink - not even health food. It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Christ received the Holy Spirit at the Jordan. In the Holy Spirit He received the kingdom or the rule of God, bringing righteousness, peace and joy! Christ is the Prince of Peace and He gives us righteousness which is beyond the law; we also receive the joy of redemption in the Holy Spirit! This was fulfilled in Christ.

The prophets were represented by John the Baptist, for John was there in the spirit of Elijah. Elijah turned the hearts of the fathers to the children by upsetting Jezebel's household. It was full of Baal people - even 400 prophets of Baal. Elijah turned the whole thing upside down and the rule of God was cleansed of these pagans. So the part the prophets had in redemption was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The various steps in redemption as revealed by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the prophets are all fulfilled in Christ! He brings us into a new covenant!

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of everything! The fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ, and we are complete in Him! These things have all been given to us in Jesus Christ! We must not deny that by saying that the promises are just for the future. We need to increase in our understanding of what our salvation entails! God has a greater purpose for us than just forgiving our sins and releasing us from guilt so we can go to heaven. That is not what Christ patterned for us! Jesus had to die to His own self, His "I", His "Me" and His own desires, so He could operate in God. He said, "I can do nothing of Myself." In a sense He did not do any miracles, for He said, "The works I do are the Father's...It is the Father in Me who does His works...If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true." This Spirit of Christ is our redemption, and when He comes to us, it means that Christ is our redemption.

Jesus fulfilled all the righteousness of the law and of the Spirit! He came out of the law into sonship (adoption or the placing of the son) and began to walk in the Spirit. God gave His witness to that when He spoke from heaven and said, "This is My beloved Son." Jesus was no longer a servant to the law. God declared that Jesus was His Son - the Son of God! This is what we need to hear too, because the Spirit of the Son has come into us! (Gal.4) It means there is a new covenant, a new fulfillment!

We now have a new covenant! The old covenant came through Moses. Everyone who understands the gospels knows that the covenant ministered by Moses was not as effective and fruitful in its fulfillment as the covenant that was introduced by Jesus Christ. No way! Remember that the law and the prophets were until John. We must not teach the old covenant; we must not try to spiritualize it and make it something that it isn't! It is not for the present; it won't do us any good! The Old Testament is explained in the Christ, because Christ is made unto us redemption, wisdom and understanding! All this transpired inside of Christ in His identification with humanity. When the Holy Spirit comes He teaches us all things.

Ever since the disruption of God's rule in man, the sovereignty of God has been mismanaged. This is very evident in Israel's history as well as in ours. Israel was always having problems - everything was a mess. They had individual problems, problems with sin, and with bad kings. They destroyed the prophets and lost their temples. They were a showcase to the world, showing that natural humanity could never be ruled by the kingdom of God, nor could it rule righteously!

Christ's words and deeds are recorded in the scriptures. His preaching, His identification, His confession that God was His Father, that He came down from heaven, and that His kingdom was not of this world, etc., came after the Jordan River experience. He spent the first thirty years of His life under the law and only preached for three and a half years in the Spirit. Amazing! Yet He recognized that His kingdom was not of this world! He would not align Himself with the disrupted rule of God.

Jesus came to restore the rule of God that had been disrupted. Jesus walked through every temptation of life in victory; He emerged triumphantly and received the rule of the kingdom of God to reign in life (not in death). He destroyed death by bringing in a rule of light; it destroyed the darkness, the ignorance and wisdom of this world! His realization of spiritual things displaced His natural thinking. So why should we want to revert to natural thinking? There is nothing wrong with the Old Testament, but why should we want to take the Old Testament examples and apply them in a natural sense? There are many precious truths there, but we will never understand them unless we are in Christ! He is found in the New Testament. All the prophecies are fulfilled in Christ; the meaning of the parables are found in Christ. The shadows are in the Old Testament, but the reality is Christ! So we should really be giving our attention to the Christ of the New Testament!

Christ came to show us the love of God. It says that "God so loved the world." Why should God love the world when His kingdom is not of this world? This is explained in 2 Peter 3 where it talks about three world systems, and in Rev. 12:12 where it mentions three different dwelling places. "Rejoice O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea..." These dwelling places are different realizations. To dwell in heavenly places does not mean that we first have to fly up into the air. Our change takes place inwardly! Since God is omnipresent, He can't come or go. The same applies to Christ. The only way He can come to us is in our realization, because geographically God fills all things - He is everywhere, He is omnipresent!

Let's see how the three world systems of 2 Peter 3 were fulfilled in Christ at the Jordan. Peter states that the first one was destroyed by water, the second by fire, and the third one is not destroyed; it is one of righteousness and there is no destruction in it. These world systems were all represented at the Jordan. A summation of all the things that were prophesied and had taken place symbolically in the Old Testament, have their reality in the New. They were all fulfilled in Christ at the Jordan. They are now in Christ.

Peter relates that the first world system was destroyed by water in Noah's day. At the Jordan Jesus was baptized in water. Here water represents judgment even as water brought judgment during the days of Noah. Jesus Christ eliminated that first system of destruction and evil through water baptism that the days of Noah represent. The second, or present system is being reserved for fire; and Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire. The fire represents judgment. The second world system, the present system of rule that is being manifested outwardly, is being destroyed by fire. The baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire purges us from this second rule. When we come out of the sea of humanity into an earthy concept, we come into the second stage of rule. Fire operates in this whole earth, for out earthy concepts need to be destroyed.

After Jesus had been baptized in the Spirit at the Jordan, the coming of the third world system was announced by God when He said, "This is My Son with whom I am well pleased." This declaration made it evident that the Son of God was now emerging as the righteousness of God! God's rule in Him was one of righteousness! In this rule of righteousness everything is set right and everything is fulfilled. Christ's kingdom is not of this world; it is a world in which righteousness dwells! Paul said, "...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving..." (2 Cor. 4:4) So we see that the world in which righteousness dwells is not the same world as the one in which there are unbelieving minds! Let's remind ourselves of the fact that the word CREATION has a different meaning than the word WORLD. The world is a system that works in creation. So now we have the fulfillment of all these stages of redemption represented by these men. The various rules that were a shadow of the one to come, have been fulfilled. This realization comes to us through the Spirit as we live in the kingdom of God.

Jesus received His anointing when the Spirit descended upon Him as a dove. The spiritual meaning of this is very amazing! In Acts 10:38 it says, "...God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power..." Jesus of Nazareth received an anointing. In Hebrew the word is MESSIAH; in Greek it is CHRISTOS; in English, Christ. The anointing and the anointed have the same root word. Jesus talked a lot about the coming of the Holy Spirit - the anointing! Receiving the anointing is the same as receiving the Messiah. When we are anointed with the Holy Spirit, the Messiah has come to us. Christ did all this for you and me; He didn't need these things for Himself because He was the Son of God who took on flesh. By doing all this He is actually bringing us into His own relationship with the Father! When the Spirit of His Son comes into our heart, we cry "Abba! Father!".

It is so important to understand that we do not look for fulfillment to take place externally! Everything the scriptures declared from Adam to Jesus, was fulfillled in that one individual Jesus Christ when He was in His physical body. He took on flesh; He looked like any other man. Yet the fulness of God was in Him bodily, not necessarily in His physical body, but in one body, the Father, Son, the Holy Spirit, the Christ. They were not divided, but one in Him!

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit cannot be divided because they are one. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Since God gave this anointing to Christ, and Christ poured it out on His disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2), we also receive and share in the anointing that is in Christ! The anointing teaches us all things! The anointing is not a teacher of the law; He is a another teacher, a spiritual teacher, who teaches us the things of the Spirit. The law brought us to repentance and took us to the Christ. When He came, our lordship was changed from law to the Spirit.

God is not dealing with sin; He is dealing with the Adamic man. Since through one man sin came into the world, it follows that if that man is shut off, the ministry of sin to the world is shut off! That is why our old man had to be crucified! We were crucified together with Christ! When light comes, darkness is dispelled; when wisdom comes, ignorance is dispelled and we have understanding! In other words, after we have received the Christ, we become the Lord's Christ; we become a Messiah in the world. We don't go around saying that, nor would people understand if we did. But we have to realize who we are in Christ! He has anointed us with the Holy Spirit. The anointing that we have received will teach us all things! This is the coming of the Holy Spirit and He is bringing us the things of the Christ, exactly the way He did to Jesus.

We have to realize that for thirty years Jesus lived on this earth without manifesting the Christ. It had been prophesied that He would be the Christ, but He did not manifest this until after His Jordan River experience. At that time the Christ actually came to the man Jesus! The anointing (the Messiah) came to Him, and now He has poured His Spirit out on us.

This teaching brings into focus what Christ accomplished at the Jordan. As long as we try to comprehend these things with our natural mind, we'll only have a natural appreciation of something that is spiritual. This won't help us at all. Receiving the Spirit doesn't happen externally. God didn't speak in English when He said, "Let there be light". Had you been there you wouldn't have heard anything. You see when Jesus walked the earth His words were heard by man, but nobody heard the silent witness of the Spirit. If we have not received the Holy Spirit, we do not have the receptacle to get the mediation of the covenant in Christ. His mediation is greater than that of Moses. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. It is all fulfilled in Christ! It is not fulfilled by the Bible, doctrines, churches, behavior patterns and moralism. The purposes and the counsel of God in the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, are only found in Christ. He gives us the same relationship with God that He had - the relationship of the Son with the Father! He gives us a consciousness of innocence and guiltlessness!

Let the mind that was in Christ Jesus be in you! He wasn't full of sin; He didn't say, "I am a sinner saved by grace." An external view of this concept brings us the idea that this can only be accomplished in the future, or that we must really work to achieve it. Many of us may have tried that, and found (even as I have) that it does not work that way. It grows on us when we submit to the Holy Spirit's teaching and walk in it. As we continually submit ourselves to Him, the light of Christ and the understanding of the Spirit that is in us, will bring us into this relationship with God!

God bless you! Amen.

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