Insights into the Gospel of John: Chapter 11

By Lloyd Ellefson

Humanity is playing the role of ignorance on the world stage. It has been looking at the results (effects) of actions rather than their root causes. Since God made all things and let evil come into the world, He is, in a sense, the cause of all things, but we haven't realized that yet. We have so many wrong ideas, so many problems, and so many delusions! Some day we will realize that spirit underlies all effects and is the cause of all things!

We know that there are good spirits and evil spirits; some of our acts are done in error and some in truth. Our warfare is not based on symptoms, the things we see and feel, but on the cause of those symptoms. Sickness is not the cause, but the effect; therefore we are not fighting sickness per se. If we see hate, greed, error, disharmony, disruption and things like that, we know that these are the symptoms - not the cause. Therefore these are not the things we should be fighting. We should be fighting error - the universal cause.

Truth is universal, infinite and eternal; truth always exists! Since God is omnipresent (everywhere), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient (all-knowing), truth is also ever-present. It is infinite. When you and I are taken into the spiritual truth that is in Jesus Christ, we find that all other forms of truth are actually error, because they are not reality. Jesus said, "I am the truth...I came into this world to testify to the truth." His purpose was to bear witness to the truth.

The realization of truth comes in the Holy Spirit. The physical form of Jesus was a veil - it veiled His true essence. So if we only live in the seen manifestation and expression of Jesus Christ, we are only living in a form of truth. When the Holy Spirit brings us truth, it comes as a realization in our spirit, and this gives us life! It is life-giving knowledge! Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) Since His words are spirit they have to be understood spiritually. We cannot spiritualize the word, for it is spirit. That is why His words bring life to our spirit! This life is lived inwardly.

Christ did not rely on any power which was not from God. His power to overcome did not come from His physical being, nor from other natural sources; He only relied on the power that is resident in God!

The natural mind does not understand that. Instead of trying to find the solution to the problems in the world, it tries to substitute some outward good to replace the evil. It does not rely on God, nor can it rely on God, so it tries to find its own solutions.

In reply to the Pharisees who protested the healing on the Sabbath of the woman who was bent double and could not straighten up, Jesus said, "And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?" (Luke 13:16) Jesus unbound her by taking away the spiritual bind the devil had on her. Her sickness had been caused by a spirit, but the outward manifestation was disease. The removal of this spiritual bondage released her and she was healed!

Our struggle is basically in the area of truth and error. When we become Christians, we are taken out of the kingdom of darkness and placed into the kingdom of light. God's kingdom is a kingdom of truth, for truth is light. Jesus Christ is the truth and the light. The truth and error in individuals, is a part of the truth and error that is in the world. The error in individuals can only be eliminated by replacing it with the truth that is in Jesus Christ. His truth applies to all!

We need to understand this as we look at the 11th chapter of John. Although most of the chapter deals with the historical account of Lazarus and the things which transpired at that time, it also gives us an understanding of the resurrection. We will be edified as our false ideas of resurrection are replaced with truth!

"Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, `Lord, behold, He whom You love is sick.' But when Jesus heard this, He said, `This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.'" (vv.1-4)

This reminds us of the blind man whose blindness was not caused by his own sin nor by his parents' sin, but in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9) There was also purpose in Lazarus's sickness and death. It was to reveal God's glory! Jesus understood that God had a reason for the things that were happening; He knew that God wants spiritual lessons to be demonstrated, for otherwise they will not be understood by humanity. So it is very important that our testimony of who we are in Christ comes forth in the trials that come our way!

"Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was." (vv.5-6) That was strange! Why didn't He hurry over there to heal him? It was because He was functioning in the truth of God which overcomes anything that happens in the natural realm. He had no problem with time, death, and sickness - only mankind has these problems.

"Then after this He said to the disciples, `Let us go to Judea again.' The disciples said to Him, `Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?' Jesus answered, `Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.'" (vv.7-9) Jesus talked about the light of this world. There is a difference between the light of this world and the light we have in Jesus Christ! His light is the spiritual light that illuminates our darkness. The darkness of this world can only be destroyed when His light illuminates us.

Jesus said, "Are there not twelve hours in a day?" We have combined day and night and say that the day has twenty-four hours. But in the mind of Jesus, day referred only to the time when there was light, and night referred to the time when there was darkness. When Jesus was crucified, God sent darkness. The cross demonstrated both light and darkness. It revealed the light of the day of God shining in Jesus Christ and the night or darkness of man. While God was doing something great for humanity at the cross, man in his darkness was crucifying Christ. So on the one hand, God was exhibiting Jesus as the One who was putting to death our old concept of God - the old image of God that was resident in natural mankind, while on the other hand, Christ was treated as a criminal by the earthy humanity. At the same time, God was raising up a new mankind, a new humanity with a new concept of God and Christ.

Light and darkness do not mix. There is no mixture of light and darkness in Christ, nor in the world. The light is in Christ and the darkness is in the world. Light and darkness were both evident on the cross. The darkness was of man, and the light was of God. There is no darkness in God nor in Jesus Christ.

"But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him." (v.10) Walking in the night of human conceptions makes us stumble! Are we going to stumble till we fall? I don't think so, because God has good intentions for us; He also has a purpose for our night.

"This He said, and after that He said to them, `Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.' The disciples then said to Him, `Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.' Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep." (vv.11-13) Interestingly enough, even as the disciples had a problem of associating sleep with death, so do we. Paul speaks about people who are asleep in Christ, people who have died in Christ, and people who are awakened in Christ. Actually, Jesus Christ came to waken us out of our sleep of death. His voice is the trumpet that calls and wakes us. "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Eph. 5:14) His life is the light of men. (John 1:4) His life brings the light, so we cannot have His light without His life!

"So Jesus then said to them plainly, `Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.'" (vv.14-15) Jesus stayed another two days before going back to Bethany, so that it would be abundantly clear to all that Lazarus was truly dead before he was resurrected. Jesus was glad He had not been present to heal Lazarus, because a greater miracle would take place and cause the disciples to really believe in Him.

"Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, `Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.' So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days." (vv.16-17) If it took them two days to walk back to Bethany, then Lazarus had already been dead at the time when the messengers told them Lazarus was ill. At that time it was the custom to encase the corpse in spices and incense, wrap it in linen, and then place it in a sepulchre or cave. If this incident had happened in America, they would have had to dig up the casket and let him out of the casket.

"Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, `Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.' Jesus said to her, `Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to Him, `I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.' Jesus said to her, `I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'" (vv.18-26)

The word "resurrect" means "to bring back to life". We are brought back to where we were before Adam sinned; we are brought back into life. We were in grace and then fell into law, and we are brought back into grace. We have departed from spiritual thinking and have degenerated into fleshly or carnal thinking, so we need to be brought back into the spiritual.

Romans 8:6 says, "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." To be carnally-minded is death and to be spiritually-minded is life and peace. In death there is no realization of life, nor is there a realization of spirit. God put Adam into a lower state by subjecting him to vanity - a state of sleep in which he was unconscious of spiritual things and of who he really was. He became conscious only of earthy things. In resurrection we are brought back to the place where we were before Adam was subjected to vanity. After having been put into vanity - and it only has an earthy consciousness - we are brought back into a spiritual consciousness.

When Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life", He was speaking of a present reality. He was not referring to the past nor to the future. Neither was He speaking of a historical event. Jesus IS the resurrection and the life! When He is in us, the resurrection is in us! It is operating in us to raise us from a sleep of death (the natural realm in which we are carnally-minded) to a spiritual consciousness. Jesus came to take us out of our realm of vanity (our death, our darkness) to bring us into a new consciousness of life. This truth is imparted to us as we feed on the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ.

The spiritual word of God has no bread, meat or drink value to the natural man, because he cannot assimilate it. The natural man can only eat and drink in a natural environment; he can only sustain and reproduce a natural life. But we know that Jesus Christ is our bread of life and He is our drink of spiritual understanding; He is our light! When He is here, resurrection is here. When we are in Christ and have been baptized into the body of Christ, we are baptized into resurrection. Everything that is in resurrection has already been raised from the dead!

Martha said that her brother would rise again in the resurrection on the last day. Her understanding was not based on reality, because she did not know that Jesus Christ is the resurrection. Martha's idea of resurrection was for the body to be raised back to life. Jesus' understanding was greater. When He said, "I am the resurrection and the life", He was speaking of a life which can never die; it continues to live even though the body dies.

The New Testament does not say that the body will rise again. In Rom. 8:23 it speaks of the redemption of the body. "And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Notice that "body" is in the singular; it does not say "bodies". We are the body of Christ. It does not say the resurrection of the body, but the redemption of the body. Redeem means to buy back or to recover; to be set free. What are we bought back from? Paul explains that we were slaves to sin, and Peter says we were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. In other words, we were bought back from the slavery we were in. Then we were brought into the liberty we had before Adam was subjected to vanity.

Do you understand what God meant when He said, "I will send man to destruction and I will say, `Return to Me'"? He sends man to destruction so that he will listen to what God says. He wants mankind to return to Him! He wants fellowship with us. To fellowship with Him we have to recognize His Lordship! Now we cannot return to a place we have not been. Christ came to redeem us - to bring us back into a consciousness of God in our spirit; into the consciousness of light and illumination we had at the time God breathed His life into humanity. The source of this light and illumination was the Spirit. The source of all forms, and the essence of all forms is spirit, for all things were made by His Spirit. We have been living in the effect (forms) instead of in the cause (the Spirit).

God helps us to see that the source and cause of everything is God! He is our life - we came from God, we are redeemed by God, we are resurrected, renewed and brought back to Him! We may or may not be conscious of that, but that does not change the fact that we are now illuminated spiritual beings who are being perfected so that we can understand the realities of spirit by faith. Faith enables us to overcome our false sense of reality - the thinking that the natural is reality.

When Jesus came to Martha and Mary, He knew that Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. He also knew that God had the power to raise the body of Lazarus from the grave and to restore him to a natural physical life. This is a picture of what happened in Jesus Christ when He sent the Spirit. The raising of Lazarus is a type of the real resurrection. Just as Lazarus heard the voice of Jesus, and received physical life, so he who hears the voice of the Son of God will receive spiritual life. (John 5:24-25; see our lesson on John 5) This is a picture of God calling us out of the death that exists in carnal thinking and into the life that exists in spiritual thinking. Carnal thinking is our earthly grave or sepulchre in which we try to hide the dry bones of history and pride and external achievement and religiosity. Jesus called the Pharisees whitewashed sepulchres. He said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." (Matt. 23:27) We may outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly be full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (v.28) We need to become real in God, so that we are released from the perversion of the natural mind!

It is impossible for us to rid ourselves of our perversions, so we may as well save ourselves the trouble of trying. When we rest from our trying, Christ comes to displace the unrest and confusion that wearies and worries us. This anxiety about things is now in God's hands - in better hands than ours! God is compassionate, loving, kind, powerful, and able. He will do everything that is good, because He is good. Because we had the wrong idea of God, we were afraid of everything - everything from disease to car accidents, and from what could happen to our children to what could happen to us. Many things we do are a reaction to fear. Jesus Christ did not have any of these fears resident in Him, so why should we? Well, we are growing in this area of trusting God; we are learning. If we have rejected some of these old fears, we have done so because we know we will get something better.

"She said to Him, `Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.' When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, `The Teacher is here, and is calling for you.' And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there." (vv.27-31)

The people were weeping and trying to console Mary! We have to understand that we do not identify with these weeping people. These people were concerned about Mary. When she left them, they thought she had gone to the grave instead of to meet Jesus. We ought to be able to identify with the Christ who has come with the message of resurrection! I am not talking about a physical resurrection. The physical resurrection of Lazarus was only a type of spiritual resurrection. Jesus was walking in resurrection. Even when He was put to death physically on the cross, He was still the resurrection!

To the man on the cross who called on Him, He said, "TODAY you shall be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43) The things that happened to Jesus physically did not have the power to change Him, because He was not living on a physical level; He was living on a higher level. His life demonstrated that His body was only a form, and that His true life did not consist of that form. The reality of Christ's life was the Spirit of God within Him.

"Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, `Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled." (vv.32-33) I believe that Christ was deeply troubled in His spirit because of His identification with human nature - man groaning and longing to get out of this physical realm that abuses and deceives us, yet not willing to believe in Him. When Jesus was in Nazareth, He marvelled at the unbelief of the people. To Philip He said, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me?" Jesus was not comfortable in this atmosphere of unbelief and wrong understanding of God. It was contrary to His knowledge of God, so it bothered Him. And it should bother us too!

Our identification is with Christ. Christians who don't want to agree with God and follow Him, are still in the realm of flesh and unbelief. Their testimony consists of outward forms such as going to church, reading the Bible, praying, etc. The Bible and the letter of the law have become their God. They may not be conscious of the fact that they are walking in the morality of the law. They feel justified in this because their actions are being accepted by the Christian community and by non-Christians. Our justification has to have a better basis. To grow spiritually, we have to reject the entire system of self-righteousness and its works.

"And (Jesus) said, `Where have you laid Him?' They said to Him, `Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept." (vv.34-35) Christ's whole reality was in God! Since He knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, He certainly was not crying because Lazarus had died. Here He was, the resurrection and the life, possessing life eternal and power over death, yet these poor people were unaware of the life and resurrection in their midst! So they were weeping and wailing because Lazarus had died! They did not know what was going to happen. For them, resurrection was only in the future. Jesus wept because He recognized the terrible state of human nature and keenly felt mankind's unbelief and wrong concept of God.

"So the Jews were saying, `See how He loved him!' But some of them said, `Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?'" (vv.36-37) Of course Jesus loved Lazarus and could have kept him from dying. But to do something greater than a physical healing, Lazarus first had to go through the agonies of death. Jesus was going to show them that He could overcome more than sickness; He could overcome death! However, humanity was unaware of the greater glory which was to be revealed. They only concentrated on what could have been if Jesus had been there, instead of looking expectantly to what Jesus could do in the situation! As always, humanity majors in minors.

The thinking of the Jews was very much like ours. When something good happens, we give glory to God; when something bad happens, we blame it on the devil because we do not see what God can do in the situation.

"So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, `Remove the stone.' Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, `Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.'" (vv.38-39) When Jesus said, `Remove the stone,' He enlisted the help of people. He didn't perform a miracle and push the stone aside by His word. The Lord wants us to put away the things which are hindering others from receiving and manifesting new life.

In the raising of Lazarus the glory of God was being manifested in Christ - not in Lazarus! Christ was the Word of God before He was manifested in the form of man. He was the express image of the invisible God, so He revealed the Father to us! He did nothing on His own initiative - He only did what the Father told Him to do! The works He did were the Father's works, for He said, "The Father in Me does the works". So God was glorifying Himself in Jesus Christ!

"Jesus said to her, `Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?'" (v.40) Jesus did not say that they would see His own glory. Jesus did not want any glory resulting from this miracle. The glory belonged to the Father; He was the One who performed it through Jesus Christ. Our Father God is the source of everything. Jesus came so that He could bring us to the Father! He did not come to bring us to Himself through the miracles He performed. He did not receive glory from men; He only received the glory God gives!

"So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, `Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.'" (v.41) Notice how this scene differs from anything we experience! He did not tell them to get down on their knees and begin to pray, or to pray in tongues so that it would be possible to raise this man from the dead. He did not have a long prayer informing God of the situation. He only said, "Father I thank You that You heard Me." As He stood before them, He already knew that the Father had heard Him. He was without any anxiety. He was filled with peace for He knew He did not have to rely on His own ability to perform a miracle; all He had to do was to speak what the Father told Him to say!

When we get into situations where we want God to do something special, are we still anxious because we think that it is at least partially up to us to see that it happens? We think that if it doesn't happen, we will lose our credibility and God will not be glorified! (And maybe we won't be either!) We are not sure God will do what we want Him to do. But Christ trusted the Father because He only did what the Father told Him to do, so any anxious thoughts were eliminated from His mind. Since we have the mind of Christ, we need to submit ourselves to that mind, and be freed from anxious thoughts.

"I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me." (v.42) This was not to glorify Himself. Jesus really wanted them to believe that the Father had sent Him, and that the Father had heard Him. Why? Because it is to our advantage to believe that Jesus was sent by the Father and that the power is all of God! It is Christ's Spirit in us that enables us to see that. Seeing the Father's power and ability causes us to overcome! His power is in us but it does not belong to us; it must be used according to His directives! Therefore we have nothing to boast about.

"When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, `Lazarus, come forth.' The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth." (vv.43-44a) In the raising of Lazarus, Christ demonstrated the power of God over the spirit of death which causes physical death. The spiritual life of Christ overpowered the spirit of death.

"Jesus said to them, `Unbind him, and let him go.'" (v.44b) Notice that Jesus again tells the people to do something. They were to unbind Lazarus by taking the wrappings off. Jesus Christ was both spiritual and natural, and in our representation of Him we have to be the same. As long as we are in this world, we touch the world and we touch God.

Since Christ touched both God and the world, He was a mediator. He was mediating between humanity and God. When we come into Christ, we become one with the mediator, so we too can mediate between God and humanity. In order to do that we have to see our identification with Christ. May God help us to be raised up in the concept of our identification with Christ so we can supply help for people!

We have had so many reservations about our identification with Christ that we've been very slow to operate in His Spirit. By listening to intellectual, morality preachers and legalistic people, we have been kept from identifying with Christ. Instead of realizing that we are the ones who are to be mediating the things of God and supplying help for people, we have thought of ourselves as being sinners and participants of the old humanity. We have seen ourselves as those who continually have needs - as beggars who need help.

"Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, `What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs.'" (vv.45-47) The Pharisees were not doing any miracles, and therefore did not like the fact that Jesus was healing people and doing many wonderful things for them.

"If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." (v.48) Israel had lost out, and was looking to Rome for approval so it could stay in power. The Jews had completely gotten away from looking to God, and consequently feared the Romans instead of God.

"But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, `You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.'" (vv.49-50) Actually, the priests were not engaged in this attack against Jesus as much as the Pharisees were. The Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes did not have the official capacity to check up on Jesus. They did not have the anointing of the priesthood. They called themselves rabbis; they were self-appointed watchdogs and should not have interfered with the functioning of the priesthood. They were the ones who always watched Jesus and confronted Him with the law; they were also upset because He called God His Father. After Christ's death and resurrection, many of the priests and also some of the Pharisees (Paul being one of them) believed. The scriptures do not tell us that the scribes and Sadducees believed.

"Now He did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad." (vv.51-52) Now who were the children of God who were scattered abroad? Some of them may have belonged to the ten tribes who had never come back from Babylon; and some may not even have been Jews. When Jesus was on earth, He preached mainly to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and a scattering of Levites. Not all of these Jews were children of God, because in John 8 He told some of them that they were of their father the devil. He also said that if God were their Father they would love Him. It's wonderful to realize that we do not have to figure out who these children of God are. Instead, let us make sure of our own calling! Gathering into one the children of God could only happen after the Holy Spirit was poured out!

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are." (1 Jn. 3:1) It's a wonderful thing to understand that the Spirit calls us children of God! This gives us the freedom to be who we are and others the freedom to be who they are! We can allow the Word of God to nurture people and to grow them up, so they can have their own identity. It has to be God who tells them who they are!

"So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves. So they were seeking for Jesus, and were saying to one another as they stood in the temple, `What do you think; that He will not come to the feast at all?' Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if any one knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize him." (vv.53-57)

We notice that the chief priests and the Pharisees were laying a trap for the One whom God had sent. They were trying to put away the very message that He was bringing. Jesus was a good man. He never stole; He never committed adultery; He never hurt anybody; He never entered politics and never attacked the government. He walked around doing good, doing miracles, and helping people. Yet they wanted to put Him to death! They were counselling together against Him to put Him to death!

They did this because they did not understand who He was. This is also true today. We have a religious system which has gathered together to do the same thing. It is counselling together how it can stymie the work of the Holy Spirit in people. If people are controlled by the Spirit, they will walk in the Spirit. This will cause the system to lose its authority and control. This is unacceptable to their way of thinking, for they want to be in control. So, spiritually speaking, they are counselling how they can put down spiritual gifts, spiritual revelation, and spiritual understanding. The natural man cannot really understand these things. He may talk about the Spirit, but he is not operating in the Spirit and not getting revelation by the Spirit.

So we see that the same thing is happening today as it was in the time of Jesus. When the people assemble to plot their course of action, instead of seeking God's will on the matter and hearing the Spirit, they receive the counsel of their natural minds. This always undermines the spiritual realities that Christ is bringing to us at this present time! It does an injustice to them. Even denominations which do not agree doctrinally, will band together in their opposition to the work of the Spirit. Those who talk about oneness with God and the work of the Spirit in their lives will be called sects. A spiritual understanding of the resurrection is foreign to them, and they take counsel against this. Their opposition to spiritual understanding of spiritual realities will unite them - just as it united the Pharisees and Saduccees.

Thus we see that the denominations of this world are gathered against Him in the battle of Armageddon, to destroy the Christ and what He is in everybody. This battle takes place in one's mind. It is not a physical conflict because we no longer know Christ according to the flesh.

Our warfare is a spiritual one. It is not fought by bringing evil against the one doing evil, as Peter did when he cut off the ear of the high priest's slave in the garden of Gethsemane. Nor is it fought by bringing evil against the one doing good, as the Pharisees and priests did to Jesus. We fight evil by doing good to those who are evil - as Jesus healed the ear of the high priest's slave. Even as Jesus came as the Lamb of God, so we are to be lambs.

We are destined to walk in this world as those who belong to another world. In this present world we are pilgrims and foreigners. Our objective is not to change this world, but to bring people into a different world - a world where righteousness dwells. That world is the kingdom of God. When Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," He was intimating that there is more than one world. We are not to love the world that does not belong to His kingdom, for it is a world ruled by SELF. "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Christ's kingdom operates by a different system than that of this world. It operates in love, truth and grace. Here the unity of the Spirit is evident, for it brings God's children together - it does not bring division.

To enter the kingdom of God we have to become as little children. Even as little children depend on their father for sustenance, help and guidance, so we depend on our heavenly Father in everything we do! Our dependence has to be completely on Him!

Since Jesus Christ is the resurrection, He is our life. This life manifests itself in our soul. We become aware of having been changed. We have been given the mind of Christ! This life has not been given to our flesh; life has been given to our inner man and has changed us. We become conscious of this in our mind and grow in the realization of it. As we grow in the knowledge of life, it will be expressed in everything we do. That is how it is revealed and imparted to others. If we could not express life, others could not become aware of it. When the Spirit touches us, He touches our inner man - not our flesh. And Christ was walking in the inner man and expressing the inner man when He called Himself the Son of Man!

May God bless you as you walk in the resurrection life of Christ that is in you! Amen.

Return to "Insights into the Gospel of John" by Lloyd Ellefson

Archived Writings by Lloyd Ellefson