Insights into the Gospel of John: Chapter 1

By Lloyd Ellefson

This is the beginning of a new series of teachings on the Gospel of John. In our fellowship we spent over a year studying this book, and we had some very enlightening and illuminating times. We were impressed by the tremendous testimony found in this book. The Holy Spirit works in a wonderful way in hearts that are eager for truth, and these studies have certainly increased our faith! We want to receive the testimony of John and the words of Christ recorded in this gospel.

This is a rather big undertaking. There are many related subjects that need an explanation, and it is difficult to avoid a detailed explanation of the affiliated areas. For instance, topics like creation, light and darkness, are studies in themselves. In the first chapter of John I will emphasize a lot of horizontal things, and see how they relate to the spiritual. We'll take the direct quotations of Christ and apply the meaning to ourselves so we can grow in the consciousness of who we are.

The book of John is just loaded with tremendous faith-building revelation of our Lord! May this bit of groundwork be an inspiration to you!

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Not only was the Word with God, but the Word was God! Everything comes from the mind of God! We do not really understand who He is, but through Jesus Christ we have become enlightened to a certain degree. In the beginning, the Word, Jesus Christ, was with God. The Word is His Son; the Word is life, and it produces everything!

"He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (vv.2-4) This life is in God and in Jesus Christ.

In Genesis 1 the Word of God created. The Word is the Son and the Seed of God. In v. 27 God created an image of Himself - a spiritual reality of Himself. In the second chapter He formed a man. "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground..." (Gen.2;7) Adam was formed out of the existing creation - out of the ground. So God expressed Himself in creating a spiritual image of Himself, and in forming a natural image of Himself!

Natural man has an affinity for earthy, natural things, just like Adam did. Christ put the first humanity to death and caused a new humanity to rise up. This new humanity is resident in the second man - the Son of Man who is from heaven. Only when we are placed into the second man, Jesus Christ, can we be freed from our affinity to natural things!

Through our relationship with Christ we become more and more conscious of who we are, and the Spirit witnesses to us that we we are truly sons of God. God has a plan for His children! He has predestined the new creation man to grow and mature into sonship. In this progression we are to be conformed to the exact image of Christ! His plan has been revealed progressively to chosen individuals throughout the history of mankind, and they have passed it on to us.

In the beginning of creation God spoke and said, "Let there be light." In Colossians 1:13-16 Paul wrote, "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him." Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation, so He was the first to be birthed of God.

God is the source of everything that has been created. This includes the dominions and rulers who are our enemies. Since God has created them, He must have a good purpose for them. We have to come to grips with the fact that there is only one source of power in the universe!

Those who believe in more than one source of power, have more than one God. When truth is denied, deception follows. For instance, in Matt. 28:19 it says that we are to baptize believers "in the NAME (singular) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit". This shows us that there is only one God. But if you believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, then you have three Gods. Then you will also add a fourth - the god of this world. Many also add Mary, saints, etc. Once the truth that there is only one God has been denied, more gods are automatically accepted.

God has given us a true revelation of Himself, but the carnal mind rationalizes, breaks down these concepts of God, and comes to the conclusion that God is not in supreme control; to the carnal mind He is not a sovereign God! The natural mind cannot receive spiritual realities, so we must not believe its reasonings! There is only one God, and everything came out of Him! This gives us a wonderful assurance! He works everything together for good to those who love Him! We can testify of God's goodness because we understand that He is in control of all situations! What a wonderful realization to live by!

Jesus lived by this understanding, for He said to Pontius Pilate, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above." (John 19:11) Many have falsely thought that the devil's power was so great that it could cause Christ's crucifixion. But Jesus told Pilate that he only had the authority that had been given him from above! The authority of his official position did not give him inherent power; it was a God-given power. Pilate's impression of his own power was a delusion. Jesus told Pilate in no uncertain terms that he could not do anything against Him (Jesus) unless God allowed it. Jesus only recognized the power and authority of God, so we also only recognize His power.

No one can do anything against us when we are in Christ, unless the authority is given him from above. We know that with every temptation there is a way of escape. Even though Christ had to go through many difficult experiences, He knew that God was always in control! The true knowledge of God kept Him from doubting God! In the beginning God created, and in the beginning of everything in our lives there is God!

"In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." There is only one life; and this life is the LIGHT of men. God has not given us a life which is separate from His life. There is no life outside of God, and no life can be separated from God! Anything separated from God would cease to have life. It is the Holy Spirit who enlightens our consciousness so that we can understand this life.

When God formed man out of the existing creation, He breathed into him, and man became a living soul. God called this man Adam. The life and the consciousness of this life came from God. Man had a higher consciousness than the animals, fish, and birds, and his life was initiated and sustained by the power of God. Every descendant of Adam can trace his life back to the breath of God. There is no inherent nor original source of life in any human being! Man's life comes from God. God's life cannot be killed, nor can it die; it cannot deteriorate, decay, or be corrupted. It's an incorruptible, endless life!

The consciousness of our life comes from God - not from ourselves. He has not given us a portion of His life - like a child is given a portion of food. Life cannot be separated from the presence of God; if it is, it ceases to be life. For example, if a part of our body, like a finger, toe, or ear is cut off, it dies, because it is dependent on the body as the source of its life.

God told Adam that if he would eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die. So it was God (not Satan) who instituted death. It was God's word that pronounced the death penalty upon man for disobedience. Later Satan lied and said, "You surely will not die." So the power of death did NOT come from Satan. Jesus Christ came with the truth to dispel that delusion, so we can now walk in truth.

In reference to Satan, the New Testament refers to him as having the power of death. However, he obtained this power of death over man through a lie; and believing a lie brings us into a delusion. Satan didn't have the power of death over Christ, nor over God, for Christ proved that he didn't! So being in the life of God is a wonderful place to be!

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (or overpower it)." (v.5) Here we have the true light! In 2 Cor. 4:4&6 we read, "In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God...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 quotation, "Light shall shine out of darkness," refers to the light of Gen. 1:3, where God said, "Let there be light."

This light does not refer to natural light, but to spiritual light, because daylight did not come in Genesis 1, until the sun and moon were created on day 4. Spiritual light comes to us in the Holy Spirit. The coming of this light was prophesied by Joel. When the light of the glory of God in Jesus Christ comes, it is so bright that natural light, the light of the sun and the moon, appears darkened in comparison. This light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it, nor could it overpower it! Jesus came with the light of the understanding of God, and those in darkness did not comprehend it, and they could not overpower it.

Christ is light, and light is illumination. Man's darkness is the darkness of his comprehension - his lack of understanding spiritual realities. Man in his darkness cannot see anything spiritually. The natural man does not comprehend the things of the Spirit, nor can he receive them; they are foolishness and meaningless to him! That is why he needs a new mind! Without a new mind he will always see creation, God and himself, in the wrong light. In Christ, God has given us the light that brings new understanding and revelation knowledge. This is life and light!

"There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came asa witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through Him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man." (vv. 6-9)

These verses refer to John the Baptist. Isaiah prophesied about him in chapter 40. He was to call out and say, "All flesh is grass...which withers away." It is only God who is life. Without God man is in darkness and in the vanity of his own mind! It was God who subjected man to this vanity. Now that Christ, the light of the world has come into us, we no longer have to walk in the darkness of our carnal thinking!

Yet we often revert to our carnal thinking as we seek answers to our many problems! For example, we fear the future even though Jesus told us not to be afraid; we bear grudges and seek to get even with those who have hurt us, even though Jesus told us to forgive and to love our enemies. Instead of fearing physical death and the things that may happen to our physical bodies, we should fear the carnal mind, for it is death; it creates and receives images of death, darkness and delusion.

Instead of being afraid of these false images, people pamper, honor, cultivate and develop them. The more they believe them, the less faith they have in God. That is why John the Baptist had to come with his message of repentance. Not only are we to repent of our sins, but also of our wrong consciousness of being! Only then can the light illuminate us and bring us a new sense of consciousness of who we are.

Before we continue in our study, it is important to understand that we have three laws, namely, the law of sin and death, the law of Moses, and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. These form our sense of being. The law of sin and death, given in the garden, was operating even though it was not recognized until God gave the law of Moses. This law gave man a consciousness of sinning - which is missing the mark. Since man did not know God, he did not have a true sense of being.

Instead of repenting of our wrong sense of being, we try to repent of the things we do. We do not realize that living in the darkness of our natural mind, causes us to do what we don't want to do. Until we repent of this darkness, there is no solution, for our consciousness of being is formed by this darkness. The only solution is to receive Christ! The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus brings us a new sense of being and a new principle. It dispels the law of sin and death! Those who are in Christ are currently living in the law of life! There is no place for death in Him, except the death to sin - and death to sin brings life! In Him it's against the law to live in death!

The wonderful salvation we receive in Christ, cannot be compared to the pardon received by an evil man sentenced to death, because that evil man remains unchanged! He does not want to change. But God changes us; He takes us out of our old humanity and puts us into a new humanity! However, forgiveness of sins is basic to receiving a release of our sin-consciousness, and to receiving Christ's life! His life gives us a new consciousness of being!

We now have a new foundation - Christ Jesus Himself. He brings us into life and gives us a new sense of being. Christ's work enables us to die to the old life. This is a foundational truth on which we can build securely. If we do not build on this new foundation, we will constantly be dealing with the old human nature! As soon as difficulties arise, we won't believe that God is in charge; we'll entertain doubts and begin falling back and falling away. That nature cannot please God, for its mind cannot be subject to the law of God!

Jesus has completely dealt with the forgiveness aspect of sin for all time! Therefore it is useless to struggle in our works-righteousness: trying to be good Christians, trying to live the right life, and struggling in our own conceptions of God. The true light that lights every man has come into the world! It wasn't in the world system before, but now it's there! We have to remember that the world is a system of government which is operated by the children of this world - and they obey the carnal nature.

God pronounced His creation in Genesis 1 to be good, and the created spiritual man to be very good! God's pronouncement of creation is the only true one! Therefore we believe what God says! Anything that is contrary to what God has said, is a lie and brings a delusion. Everything that comes to man through Satan is a lie, yet it always comes to man in the form of truth! A lie always presents itself as truth because it tries to hide its true identity.

Back to John 1. "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." (vv.10-12) We have been given the right to become sons of God! What a high calling is ours in Christ Jesus!

In the natural, we are not aware of our own birthing process. We didn't have anything to do with it; it was not our idea. But through our birth we received a sense of awareness. Receiving Christ means receiving the truth; He illuminates us. We need to receive Him in order to do away with the delusions that we receive through the flesh - the consciousness of evil and all our wrong ideas about God. Christ causes us to understand that we truly are children of God!

Receiving Him Who is spiritual truth, gives us the authority to confess that God is our Father. This is not something to brag about because it is not our doing. Neither can we reveal this to others. Jesus said, "No one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Matt. 11:27) The Father has to reveal the Son to us because He is the only One who knows Him. He has given the Holy Spirit to reveal Him to us. The Spirit also witnesses to us that we are children of God! This revelation causes us to become conscious of the fact that God is our Father!

In Galatians 4 it speaks of receiving the adoption as sons. The scriptural use of the word ADOPTION has nothing to do with its modern use. It has nothing to do with Gentiles being adopted into God's Jewish family. Scripturally, it means the placing of a son. When the son comes into maturity he is given his rightful place of authority over the servants. Since Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, the law no longer has jurisdiction over those who are in Christ.

The adoption of Jesus took place at the Jordan when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus was born under the law. (John :4) He lived in obedience to the government of law of the Levitical priesthood, offering the prescribed sacrifices for 30 years. When He was baptized, He came out of the law and received the Holy Spirit! He fulfilled all righteousness by repenting of having been under the government of the law. Jesus had been a servant in the household of God, but the Spirit of adoption now placed Him over the law. Thereafter He said, "The Son of Man is Lord also over the Sabbath."

After Jesus was baptized, God witnessed of Him and said, "This is My beloved Son." What a wonderful revelation! People only saw the physical form of Jesus; they could not see the Spirit, the Christ, within Him. They needed a revelation to know who He truly was. We also need a revelation to know who we truly are. Hopefully this will happen to all of us. Receiving the Holy Spirit brings us an illumination that takes us out of being servants of the law and brings us the knowledge that we are His sons. This is true sonship!

"Who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (v.13) This birth is of God; all other sources are ruled out! Our own will (the will of man) has nothing to do with being born of God.

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (v.14) Christ always remains the only begotten of the Father; that fact does not change! The question that then presents itself to us is, "If He is the only begotten Son, how can we be sons?" God looks at everyone as being either in Christ or in Adam - in the spiritual humanity or in the natural humanity. Those who receive Christ are put into Christ, the Son, the only begotten of the Father. Those who have not received Him, are only begotten of the earthy creation, and are still in the Adamic man. From our point of view, we see Him as the first of many brethren.

The gospel deals with the sinner rather than with his sins. God is not correcting or reforming the sinner; the sinner is dead in his trespasses and sins! God has created a new man, and is in the process of resurrecting those who are dead in Adam into the life of Christ - from an old humanity into a new humanity. God's way of development is from natural humanity to spiritual humanity, and then to sonship. This progression compares with birth, creation and formation; a progression which is also seen in the three feasts, and the three parts of the tabernacle.

"John testified about Him and cried out, saying, `This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'" (v.15) This refers to the existence of the Christ who was before the world began (before the disruption or foundation of the world). "For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (vv 16-17)

Grace does not come through the law; the law has no mercy, nor does it provide help to keep the law. It only tells us what to do! We need assistance when we are unable to meet the requirements and standards demanded of us. A false image of ourselves will cause us to think we can do it; but it only makes us pharisaical. A heart that seriously desires God and truth, recognizes its need for grace. Since grace and truth are only in Christ, we need to come to Him to receive what we lack!

The law was a form of knowledge and truth. (Rom. 2:20) The law works wrath, and it is not for the righteous man. It is a temporary measure, yet very wonderful! I don't think we can really come to Christ until the law has spoken to us and done its work in us. We'll get a clearer picture of this when we get to John 5.

"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God (Son), who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." (v.18) Christ came as the express image of God to explain and reveal the Father! This image of the Father was unknown to man! Jesus Christ came to a people who had been chosen of God to bring forth a revelation of God. To these natural people God gave a law, a priesthood, and regulations for the offering of sacrifices. This was a temporary arrangement.

Jesus Christ came into conflict with Israel's hierarchy because His knowledge of God differed from theirs. Israel thought they were worshiping the true God, but their concept of God was wrong; they were worshiping a God of their own making. Had their concept of God agreed with Christ's, they would have had fellowship with Christ instead of hating Him. Their hate grew into an intense desire to kill Jesus!

This proves that natural man does not know God! Israel did not know the Son, so they didn't know the Father either. Although God had given them the law and the prophets, they still did not have a right conception of God. Their human nature could not discern God correctly, for it cannot receive spiritual concepts! God's purpose in giving them the law, was to show them their inability to keep it. Their inadequacy and imperfection needed to be revealed to them!

The natural man is anti Christ. Israel proved this by crucifying Jesus. Natural man (whether Jew or Gentile) does not change. If he has not received a revelation of Jesus Christ, his concept is wrong. Israel crucified Christ because they were anti Christ, and therefore also anti God. The Adamic earthy man is anti Christ; he is the man of sin, the son of perdition. This needs to be revealed to us! That is why it says the antichrist will be revealed. It does not say he will be born.

The law prepared man for the coming of Christ. When the field is ripe, the fruit of the law (repentance) can be reaped. John the Baptist proclaimed repentance, and heralded the coming of Jesus Christ. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Grace and truth overcome our sin-consciousness, our depression and problems.

Jesus Christ came to declare the kingdom of God. He did not come to bring us a sin-consciousness, because Moses had already done that; Moses is the one who accuses us and shows us our need for repentance. Christ receives those who have heard God and have been taught by God. Those who come to Christ have been given Him by the Father.

It is so important to see that grace and truth came in Christ! It is difficult for us to understand grace because it has nothing to do with what we did or deserve; it is just grace. The truth is that God has grace even though we don't think or feel He has. If we want the grace of God, it is there. But it requires us to change from a dependency upon self, to a dependency upon Christ! We need good ground in which the seed can grow and bear fruit. If we acknowledge God as God, these things will unfold to us. Otherwise we'll call ourselves Christians, yet only be religious and merely believe our own ideas.

"This is the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, `Who are you?' And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, `I am not the Christ.' They asked him, `What then? Are you Elijah?' And he said, `I am not.' `Are you the Prophet?' And he answered, `No.'" (vv.19-21) To understand the work of John the Baptist, let's read Matthew 11:13: "For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John." What happened after that? After John there was fulfillment - all things were fulfilled in Christ! When we understand this, we will stop talking about what God is going to do, and rejoice in what He has done!

Everything is in Jesus Christ; everything is in God! It is all there! It has always been and always will be! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! We are the ones who are undergoing all these periods of change. We have to change, but God does not change! He is eternal - He does not have days, times, seasons, and restrictions. He is the same; He is life! If we are willing to receive illumination at whatever place we are in our walk with God, godliness will come in just the right form for us. Instead of saying what God is going to do tomorrow, let's believe that He is working today! Jesus said, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." (Jn. 5:17) Jesus Christ is building His church today. He is building up His body in understanding, truth, love, and righteousness!

Just before Jesus died on the cross He said, "It is finished." What was finished? I believe the old humanity, the natural man was finished, for we were crucified together with Him. Our image of God and of ourselves - our imaginations, our conception of life and being - were crucified with Jesus Christ! Now God no longer deals with that man! But the law and the world still deal with him!

God in Christ Jesus is not imputing sin. Moreover, He is revealing Himself to the new creation man. Since the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, we know Christ did not send the Spirit to the old man. That would be useless, because the world cannot receive Him. The knowledge of the Lord could cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, yet man would still be ignorant of the knowledge of God, because this knowledge can only be received by the spiritual man!

A desire to change is essential - and God creates that desire in us! Change is not possible without repentance! We cannot accept new concepts without repenting of our old ones. The Jews needed to repent of their old ideas in order to understand what Jesus was saying - and so do we! That is why John called people to repent. The Jews did not understand this. They wondered who John was. John was born into the Aaronic priesthood: his father was a priest and his mother was also a descendant of Aaron. According to his lineage, he had all the qualifications required to be a priest. However, God called him out of the Levitical priesthood, and told him to go into the desert and wait for the Spirit to tell him what to do.

In reply to the Pharisees' questioning, John quoted from Isaiah 40:3, where Isaiah said,"`A voice is calling,"Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; "Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God." Now they had been sent from the Pharisees." (vv. 23-24) The Pharisees were very self-righteous, and proud of their knowledge of the scriptures. This knowledge did not help them to keep the law, nor were they successful in their attempts to get people to keep the law. Keeping the law is an impossibility, so Pharisees are in trouble.

John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy of making straight the way of the Lord. God grants us the repentance that leads to life; it is a gift of God. Godly sorrow works a repentance leading to salvation, and it takes the Holy Spirit to bring it about. John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah, for he also preached repentance. (Matt. 17:10-13) This has nothing to do with reincarnation. Everything is restored through repentance!

Salvation is more than the forgiveness of sins; it is a walk with Christ who is the truth. We desire a greater consciousness and understanding of who God is, a greater faith, a greater security, and a greater knowledge of God. Through repentance our way is made straight, the rough places are taken down, and our mountains and valleys become a level pathway. We cannot receive a greater understanding of God if we do not repent of our wrong understanding!

Receiving John the Baptist's message results in a repentance that is not based on our works. It is more than a one-time experience at the altar; it is an ongoing experience, and will continue to operate until it has achieved its purpose. It takes place when we recognize we have thought wrongly. Every new word of God to us, is designed to bring us into a new depth in God. In order to receive it, it must be accompanied by a repentance of our old thinking!

"They asked him, and said to Him, `Why then are you baptizing, if You are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?' John answered them saying, `I baptize in water, but amomg you stands One whom you do not know.'" (vv. 25-26) How true! They did not know Him, the perfect image of the invisible God, because they did not know God! That is true today as well. People don't know who we really are because they cannot see the Christ in us, for He is veiled by our flesh. They still see us as trying to live a reformed life, for they are not aware that there is a new humanity.

It was through one man, the Adamic man, that sin entered the world. All unregenerated humanity is in this corporate man. Our first consciousness is the earthy consciousness of Adam. He is the high priest of sin and ministers sin in the world. He always perpetuates sin, because he cannot do anything else - and through sin came death. His carnal mind is death, and anything he does produces death. Thus death has spread over the world. This man is always anti Christ and anti God! He is subject to sin and to vanity, and in bondage and slavery to his own desires; he does not have the liberty he thinks he has!

He needs to be freed from this humanity, for it is the root of sin. If we only repent of our sins, it still leaves the root intact - the source of sin has not been cut off! For example, as long as the water is flowing from a fountain, the tap has not been shut off. By repenting of the humanity that causes the sins to flow, the source of the supply is cut off. Our old humanity is only put away as we live in our new humanity, which is Christ!

It is not God's purpose to reform the Adamic man. He has to die so that sin will not keep on corrupting everything. Our natural conception of God does not contain truth, so it is constantly against Christ and God; it cannot be subject to the law of God! Trying to correct or change our activities, is not the solution. However, God in His wisdom has a solution - namely Jesus Christ! He is the second man, the Man from heaven. Through this one man, Jesus Christ, justification came to all men. In contrast to the Adamic man, Jesus Christ is the high priest of things that are of God!

In order to illustrate what is happening to us spiritually, let's look at Israel's experiences on their way to the promised land. They had to come out of Egypt and receive the law at Mt. Sinai. We also have to come out of our Egypt - the bondage to our senses. Receiving the law of sin and death, brings us the knowledge that our righteousness can never attain God's standard of righteousness! Through this law the world is declared guilty before God.

Fifty days after the Passover of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came. He brought us the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! This law brings us a new sense of being! This law of life is Christ Jesus! He teaches us about life, incorruptibility, eternity and sinlessness. This happens to us spiritually.

Before Israel was to enter the promised land, spies were sent to check out the land. The spies brought back a bad report, and Israel believed it instead of God's promise to give them the land. Israel did not have faith, and therefore could not enter the promised land, for it is the land of faith! Even Moses (the law man) could not enter in, because at one point he disobeyed God. Under the law, if you fail in one point, you are guilty of all! God showed him the land from a mountain, and there he died. He had to die like all the other Israelites who had refused to enter the promised land. Through the law of Moses we can only get a vision of the promised land, but we can't enter in!

The second time the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, a new generation stood at the Jordan River. The old generation, symbolizing the old man, had died. The new generation had to receive a new circumcision; this symbolized the circumcision of the heart. Before entering the land, they took 12 stones out of the river and put them on the land; then they took 12 stones from the land and put them in the river. Since twelve is the number of government, it meant they were exchanging their old government of law for a new government of the Spirit! So we too have to receive a new government in our lives!

Jesus had lived under the law for 30 years when He came to be baptized by John the Baptist. During that time He had not performed any miracles, nor had He caused any problems. People liked this carpenter, and thought He was the son of Mary and Joseph. Jesus did not have any sins to repent of at His baptism, but He repented of having been a servant to the law! He is our forerunner; He is the way for us to follow!

John did not want to baptize Jesus, because he realized that Jesus did not have to repent of any sin. However Jesus persuaded him to do so by saying that this was the way He (Jesus) had to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus was referring to the righteousness of the law. Its fulfillment enables us to receive the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus - a righteousness that only comes into effect by the Spirit! After Jesus was baptized, He received the Holy Spirit, and God spoke from heaven and said, "This is My beloved Son!"

This marked the beginning of an entirely new sense of being for Jesus. Henceforth He operated in the Holy Spirit, called God His Father, and proclaimed the kingdom of God! The kingdom of God is the rule of God in the Spirit! As long as Jesus was under the law, He was under the rule of God that was in the law. Now He was no longer a servant under the law, nor was He subject to the law! This is exactly what should happen to us when we experience repentance and receive the Holy Spirit. We are no longer servants of the law; we are sons in the house of God!

"`It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.' These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, `Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me." (vv. 27-30) John understood that Jesus had a prior existence!

Although John the Baptist lived prior to the outpouring of the Spirit, the Spirit was operating in him. And here is what he said, "I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water." (v.31) John knew that Jesus would be manifested in Israel because of what had happened at the water baptism.

"John testified saying, `I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and He remained upon Him'." (v.32) After the flood, Noah sent out a raven, and it did not return. Then he sent out a dove and it returned. The second time it was sent out, it returned with an olive leaf - the symbol of peace. The dove returned from the world and settled in the ark - it did not depart! The Spirit remained on Jesus because He is the ark in which we find our salvation.

"I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, `He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.'" (v.33) John did not know Jesus, but God had given him a sign by which he could know Him. The Spirit coming down and remaining on Him was that sign! Later on John sent some of his disciples to Jesus, asking Him whether He really was the One they were looking for, or if they should wait for someone else. Jesus sent these messengers back and told them to look at the signs and miracles which were being performed!

John was beheaded because Herod would not receive the rule of God. Herod's rule was the wrong rule over God's people; it was antagonistic to the rule of God. So John the Baptist was imprisoned because he called Herod to repent. The world still rejects the message of John the Baptist! By rejecting his message, the way to Christ is rejected. All must receive Christ according to the way God has prescribed!

"I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God." (v.34) John said this, but later had trouble believing it himself! Peter had the same trouble. In response to Christ's question to the disciples as to who people said He was, the disciples replied that some thought He was Elijah, and others said He was a prophet. Until the Holy Spirit comes to reveal Christ to us, we will not know who He is. However, Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus carefully pointed out to Peter that this knowledge had not come to him from his own mind, for flesh and blood had not revealed that to him! (Matt. 16:17) Peter had received a revelation from the Father!

What a different Peter we see in the courtyard at the trial of Jesus Christ! At that time he vowed he didn't know the man, even though he had been with Jesus for three years! Why did Peter deny Christ after he had received the revelation that Jesus was indeed the Christ? It was because Peter was still in his old humanity; that revelation came to the old man. It was not until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that Peter came into a true realization of who Jesus Christ is!

Judas is another example. The sending out of the 70, more than likely included Judas. He probably was involved in healing people along with the rest of them. However, later on he betrayed Christ. So we see that the natural man will pervert the truth he receives. Revelation to the natural man does not bring the kind of discipleship to Christ that the Spirit brings!

It is very easy to deny Christ when pressure is applied. If we do not affirm the truth, we deny it! Since Christ alone is the truth, we are denying Him! Jesus said, "All who came before me are thieves and robbers." Before Christ came, truth could not be received in its entirety; it could not be understood in its true spiritual depth. That means that the scriptures, the prophets, Psalms, etc., will be thieves and robbers if they are not energized and made alive by the Spirit.

The Jews searched the scriptures because they supposed they had life in them. (John 5:39-40) They supposed - it was a supposition, a wrong supposition! To receive life, they had to come to Christ, because He is the only One who has life and truth! Unless Christ brings His dimension of truth to us, none of the things we read or see are truth. As we depend on Him, we are not dependent on outward things, because the Spirit of truth within us has displaced the letter of the law. We no longer live by natural truth; we live by the Spirit. Any other way causes us to operate in an imitation or a pseudo-Christian experience of life!

"And he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, `Behold, the Lamb of God! The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, `What do you seek?' They said to Him, `Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?' He said to them, `Come, and you will see.' So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, `We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ).'" (vv.36-41)

At that time Andrew and Simon Peter were not converted. Spiritually speaking, neither of them really knew that Jesus was the Christ. Jesus means Savior, and Christ means anointing. He is the Savior, the Anointed One. God is spirit; if we imagine Him to be a person, we concoct our own image of Him, and He becomes a person to us, instead of being God to us!

God is so different from what our carnal mind envisages! He is not a principle of life - He is life. His mind cannot be changed by our prayers, our compassion, or our trying to give Him information. He knows everything! He knows when we are sick, when someone is in bad shape, and who is starving. He knows all about each grisly murder. He knows about the wife who has been beaten up, raped and killed, and about the children who have been mistreated, etc., and He does not want these abuses.

Since God is omnipresent, He does not come and go. He is present at the scene of all these abuses, and He has the power to intervene. Then why doesn't He? He does not intervene in the way we would intervene, but according to His infinite wisdom which works all things together for good! He has provided a way for man to come to Him and to receive His grace in Jesus Christ. If man ignores God's grace he will walk in his own delusions. God does not abandon him, for He draws him by His love. God does not receive our counsel, even though we often think we know better than He does. We need to fit into His plans!

Jesus Christ said, "My kingdom is not of this world." This world does not belong to God's kingdom! We try to improve it so we can have a better place to live, but it cannot be redeemed! WE NEED TO BE CHANGED so we can be taken into His world - into a new creation, a new sense of being! When we hear God and do His will, our world becomes a better place! Coming to Christ and receiving His grace, brings His kingdom into our hearts!

Many Christians only pray for one side of a conflict, for they believe their side is good and the other bad. Many also think the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has good fruit on one side, and bad fruit on the other, not realizing that all was forbidden. They have no concept of how God works in the world through His law. We have to wake up! God has given the law to the world, and it is to bring them to Christ. If they won't listen, how will they come to Christ?

The law is written on every man's heart. It is given for evildoers, not for the righteous. When we believe God, we enter the ark of safety; it is our escape from the flood of evil that comes on the world! Entering the ark does not deal with sin, but is an escape from committing sin. As we let the kingdom rule in us, we will not get entangled with the world! We do not live in the AGAINST, standing on street corners declaring our stand against abortion, evil, murder, sex, lust, lasciviousness. When we live in the FOR - for Christ, for truth, for life, and for righteousness, then our pride, Pharisaism, churchianity, etc., will disappear!

The witness that we are children of God, has to come from the Father, for He alone knows who we truly are. Not everyone who calls himself Christian, or speaks in tongues, truly knows God. Neither is it enough to have a verbal confession of being saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and a Christian for x number of years. The Spirit of Christ in us has to bring forth the testimony of who we are in Christ. We need to listen to what the Spirit is saying to us!

Matthew 25:34-46 shows us the various levels people are at in their concept of Christ. Jesus said that He is a stranger, hungry and thirsty, and imprisoned in some people. We may wonder how Christ could be so deficient in so many areas. It is not that He is lacking in anything; it is what He is in their concept of Him. They are keeping Him at the level of their concept of who He is. People are at different levels according to the measure in which they allow the revelation of truth by the Spirit to operate in them. As we bring life to people and their concept of Christ is enlarged, we are feeding the Christ in other people!

"Now the Lord is the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:17) The Spirit is Lord over us. If the Spirit is not Lord over us, then all our confessions are empty. As the lordship of the Spirit increases in us, we also receive discernment of the level of His lordship in others. The devil cannot deceive us when the Spirit is Lord in us. We need to grow in our submission to the lordship of the Spirit!

Everything Jesus did, He did for us! He showed us the way - the way to God and to understanding! Understanding something gives us a new consciousness of that matter. Let's not be afraid of the words "consciousness" or "sense of being", even though they are frequently used by the world.

To the natural man, everything concerning the kingdom of God is a mystery, and therefore mystical. The mystery of "Christ in you" is a mystery until it is unveiled. We are challenged to walk in the way of Christ who is the truth; the unveiling of Christ is the unveiling of truth! Jesus came to unveil the truth, and He did this for us. He showed us the way; He is our forerunner; this means others will follow Him. At the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry, he did not know Jesus, but when the sign God had given him materialized, he recognized that Jesus was the Son of God.

Although many enjoy identifying with Peter in his quick unpremeditated responses, we must remember that the disciples were not enlightened at that time, for the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. Therefore we who have received the Spirit should identify with Jesus - not with Peter. When Jesus breathed on the disciples after His resurrection, they received the remission of their sins. (John 20:22) Now he that is least in the kingdom (which is God's rule in the Holy Spirit), is greater than anyone born of natural parents - and this includes John the Baptist.

Natural wisdom is not the wisdom which is in Christ Jesus. Solomon had great natural wisdom, but this did not prevent him from losing the kingdom. Therefore we should not pray for Solomon's type of wisdom. Also, since Abraham did not have the Holy Spirit, our understanding of God should be greater than his. Christ has now become our wisdom. Our desire and prayer is to function in the wisdom that is in Christ Jesus!

The coming of Jesus Christ is so wonderful, because without His Spirit we could never come out of the false confidence and assurance in which we were living. We were ignorant; we did not realize the deception we were in. Jesus came to release us from all that! We need to receive Him as a little child receives its father's instructions. Then we will put away all our previous thinking, and accept only that which we learn from the Father!

The remaining verses in John 1 tell us about people being brought to Jesus. "Jesus answered and said to him, `Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.' And He said to him, `Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'" (vv.50-51)

Notice that Jesus calls Himself the Son of Man. This term is used extensively in the New Testament, and to some extent in the Old Testament - mostly in Ezekiel. The name, Son of Man, does not refer to the Adamic man. In Numbers 23:19 it says, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent." So God is not a man, neither is He a son of man; yet Christ called Himself the Son of Man. Doesn't that indicate that there are two men? In Heb. 2:6 we find a quotation from Ps. 8:4: "But one has testified somewhere, saying, `What is man, that You remember him? Or the Son of Man, that You art concerned about him?'" God differentiates between two men in these passages. In fact, throughout the scriptures we see two men. The reference to Jesus Christ as the Son of Man in Numbers, shows us that He was not exercising His deity. He had put that away temporarily.

The first and second chapters of Genesis also speak of two men. In the first chapter we find that God created a man; then in the next chapter He formed a man out of the existing creation. He formed a man after He did not find a man to cultivate the earth. Why didn't He have a man, when He had created a man in chapter one? It was because the man in Genesis one was not made to cultivate the earth. He was a heavenly man; He was made to cultivate the garden of spiritual things!

Jesus said to Nathanael, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened..." After Jesus had been baptized "...while He was praying, heaven was opened." (Luke 3:21) That is, He was no longer subject to the limitations of the human nature. Now the heavens were opened to Him! In Christ, God opened the heavens to humanity. This is the new humanity that is in Christ, for Jesus said, "You will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

Our idea of who God is, is usually related to the humanity we identify with. Jesus Christ creates a new humanity in us. This is not a flesh and blood humanity and it is not related to the creation we know. As we identify with our new humanity, we receive a new image of God! Our new knowledge of God can only be received through spiritual revelation! It alone can give us the true image of God!

Natural light has been divided into seasons, times, days, and years for the natural man. Our natural understanding of light comes to us according to the fourth day of creation. However, light was present before there was time! So there is a difference between light and day. Light is ever present; a day is just a measure of light. The spiritual light in Genesis one came in measures of light called days.

The spiritual light in Genesis one is the light that has come into the world and lights every man; it created and manifests everything; it is a measure of understanding, a measure of illumination, or a measure of development. So when we talk about the day of the Lord, we have an eternal day which has no beginning and no end. It is the light that is in Jesus Christ! It is not a historical day.

In 2 Peter 1:19 it says, "...until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." This day of the Lord dawns in our hearts. This light is not received by all at the same time. It dawns in some hearts without dawning in others. Christ is the light, and He brings us into Himself!

We need one another, and we need to share the encouragement and enlightenment we have received. Those who are eager to learn will be edified by gathering together in love, and sharing their understanding of what is ours in Christ Jesus. There will be a mutual fulfillment in sharing what the Lord has taught and revealed to each one. We are to lift each other up because we have been brought into life, and desire to be ascended in our understanding. This is not a time for condemning the world or criticizing others.

After the heavens are opened, we see the angels or messengers of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. When we are baptized into Jesus Christ, He becomes our new humanity, and we receive a new consciousness of being. A new spiritual image of God has to be created in us. A true image of God will displace our wrong natural image of God. A spiritual image of God brings us spiritual understanding and makes spiritual things real to us. Spiritual realities cannot be understood by the natural man. Those who confess their spiritual understanding of God, become messengers of God, bringing messages of edification.

The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit because the heavens have not been opened to him. Only the natural conception of God, the Bible, Christ, heaven, and temples are open to him. In his mind everything is formulated and conceived in some type of earthy image. Then Jesus Christ becomes a physical person again. This brings difficulties. How then can He be omnipresent? How can a physical person be in us? How can a physical person be taken up into the sky physically? If we do not know Christ as He truly is, we will limit Him and misinterpret the scriptures. It will be impossible for us to relate to the new spiritual humanity and recognize that it is our life, our being, our truth, our resurrection! Since the natural man has not repented, he does not understand spiritual realities.

"For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5) This is a spiritual man, not a physical man! Only in this context can we understand the meaning of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." The Word became flesh, and when the flesh died, the Word was no longer flesh; the Word was only spiritual! His body of flesh had been removed!

The image conceived in us is spiritual, and becomes the mediator. Christ in us is the mediator. A mediator is one who mediates between two parties, with a view to producing peace. He should possess the nature and attributes of the one towards whom he acts. Christ possesses the nature and attributes of the Father and He also participates in the nature of those for whom He acts (sin apart). Since Christ knows the Father's desire, as well as our needs, He can mediate His spiritual being to us. Those who understand this, can now receive the messengers of God and the edification they bring. This mediation is an on-going process. It is a growing recognition of our dependence on the Father. This dependence was in evidence in Jesus Christ because He said He could do nothing of Himself. He only did what He saw the Father doing!

When Jesus explained His coming again in the Spirit, He said, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." (Jn. 16:7) As long as a fleshly image of Christ is resident in us, we will not get the spiritual image of Christ! When He is ascended out of our earthy concept of Him, He is lifted up from the earth. That is when He will draw all men to Himself, for He is Spirit. "Now the Lord is the Spirit." Drawing people to the physical natural concept of Jesus is simply religion.

Col. 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," can only be understood when we recognize that Christ is an anointing; He is the anointed Word - the anointing of God. Jesus could give up His physical, personal appearance, for He did not receive honor from men. Nor is He coming back to receive honor from men! He is not returning to deal with sin, because He has already dealt with it. Thinking that He has not done what He came to do, keeps us waiting and waiting. We'll become like the Jews at the Wailing Wall - wailing for Him to come back. Actually, people with this attitude don't really want Him; they just want Him to judge the people who are worse than they are. Christ will not come in that sense.

Christ now comes in the reality of who He is - a spiritual being. He comes to create a new image in us, and this image is the Son of Man. When Jesus was crucified, this first man was dealt with in the outer court; he has no real place in the temple of God. So our old man cannot relate to the things that are in the temple!

The temple only has two parts - the rest is the outer court. The outer court was available to every common person! In it were sacrifices, the spilling of blood, killing, burning, and water baptism. The outer court is our formation, our humanity. However, if that is all we have, we are still only in the outer court; and the outer court has been given to the Gentiles. Yet the outer court is necessary, for without it we could not enter the temple.

Upon entering the first holy place, we see a light. This is not sunlight, for the holy place is hidden from the sun. To learn more about this light, let's turn to Revelation one. John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day when he suddenly heard a loud voice behind him, and he turned to see the voice. Then he saw seven lampstands which are the seven churches. The seven stars in the hand of him who was like a son of man, are the seven Spirits of God coming as messengers to the church.

John saw a likeness of a son of man. We know that we are new creations, having been created in His image. We're members of His body, one with Him, united with Him, and joined to the Spirit. We're identified with Jesus, the Son of Man!

The lampstands typify the light of the Holy Spirit coming to the church, and this light illuminates the Son of Man. It comes to the church that we may be identified by the illumination we receive. It brings us the understanding that we have been raised from the death in Adam into the life in Christ. We have become a spiritual man, and therefore can receive spiritual edification. This is important because there is another veil through which we have to pass to enter the holiest place, and we can only pass through that veil by the edification we have received in the first holy place in the temple.

Only the priesthood was allowed entrance into the holy place. In it we have the altar of incense, the showbread, and the blood; only the blood can go all the way into the holiest place. The first holy place is the Son of Man, the spiritual man, the spiritual image of God in Genesis one. The entrance into the holiest can only be gained from the holy place; never directly from the outer court!

Only the high priest had the right to enter the holiest place. It typifies our birthing into sonship, or our identification with Christ! That means we have to be raised out of an identification with the priesthood into an identification with the high priesthood to understand that we are in Christ and one with Him! That is the only way we can enter into the holiest place. We have to be in Christ, because only the high priest can go into the holiest. He can go in and out; it is death to everybody else.

This shows us that we have to identify with the Son of Man. Jesus identified Himself as the Son of Man in His coming, in His treatment of man, in His crucifixion, in His resurrection, and in His return. In Matthew 24 He uses the term "Son of Man" over and over again. " shall the presence of the Son of Man be...And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear....and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky...and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." (vv.27;30-31) He is gathering His elect from the heavens!

Rev. 12:12 uses the same imagery. A woe is spoken to those who dwell in the sea and in the earth. Those who live in the sea of humanity have an earthy image, as do those who have come out of that sea through water baptism, yet have retained their earthy image of God, Christ and themselves; so they are still living in the earth. A woe is spoken to them because God has something better for them, and they are missing out on it! The devil has come to them and he has only a short time. Those who live in the heavens are told to rejoice!

These are the three levels of consciousness about which I have been speaking, namely, formation, creation, and birthing. There is a lot of room for growth in each of these levels in us. This growth takes place as we dwell in Christ. If we are dwelling in the heavens, we will know that we have ascended. Something has happened! We are no longer earthy people; we're not living in death and in the grave. We are living in the heavens; we have life that cannot die. We are dwelling there now! We are not going there at some future time - maybe after death or at the rapture. Can you see how we crucify Christ when we do not believe that we are in Christ and living in the heavens?

The Son of Man is bringing us the message that true life is in the Spirit; it is in God! Just as children receive natural life from their father, so God's children receive their life from their heavenly Father! They learn that life cannot be received by obeying the law and practicing certain behavior patterns, as they had been taught previously. They grow into sonship by feeding on truth and life!

Truth and life bring us a new consciousness! If we died having only an earthy consciousness, we would die in our sins. Those sins are the result of our wrong understanding of who God is. They form a wrong consciousness in us. If we do not have a true image of God, we will not know who we are as sons of God. That is missing the mark! So we need to encourage one another to grow in truth. As we grow in truth, our deceptions will vanish, and we will grow in faith! Amen.

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