BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
HE IS RISEN
“The course of bad men lies through darkness dim; they cannot see what makes them stumble: the course of good men, like a ray of dawn, shines on and on to the full light of day.” Prov. 4:18, 19 (Moffatt)
At the beginning of our walk with God we see through a glass darkly, but for all those who walk faithfully there will come a time when the murky dimness of the dark glass will be taken away and the clear light will shine. No more the darkling veil will obscure, but we shall see face to face, and, beholding the face of the Lord, we are changed into that same image from one glory to the next even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18.
It is the plan of God that all things with life should grow. It matters not whether the form of life be intricate or simple. The seed of whatsoever sort it be, cast into the ground, springs forth in newness of life, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. Mark 4:28. The delightful baby given to adoring parents who could love his fresh innocence forever is not destined to remain a tiny infant, but with what delight do parents announce the gaining of a few ounces in weight, the first efforts at crawling, the appearance of a tooth, the first halting step in walking, the first garbled words, the beginning of school, until with joy and sadness blending they see the final adulthood and departure from home. But what apprehension appalls where stalks the sudden fear that their child who had such a beautiful beginning is growing sickly and weak, that faculties are not developing and disease that will stunt the growth and weaken the mind is closing the gates of day!
Since God has ordained that all things should grow and mature and we, His offspring, love to have it so, why is it that the vast multitude of God’s dear children are never expected to pass from infancy to manhood, going from light to light and from experience to experience? Why should it be thought strange that development and change should take place in their lives as with the passing years, new wisdom and understanding of eternal things fill their spiritual minds? Has not God ordained that His offspring should mature from the infancy of little children to the strength and virility of young men and thence to the wisdom and understanding, the love and ripeness of fathers? Is this not the meaning of the beautiful text, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, fathers, because^ have known Him that is from the beginning.” 1 John 2:12-14 The path of the just must be as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18. If therefore there is no more light in you today and no more bright shining than there was at the beginning, then your light is going out, and somewhere you have chosen your own sweet paths, having forsaken the right way and gone astray. 2 Pet. 2:15.
It is thought to be a bad sign should one change his mind about anything, which was held as truth. But we know nothing yet as we ought to know and, whereas what little we do know we know only in part, we should expect that, as we walk in the light, which is Jesus Christ, and the more brightly it shines upon our pathway, the more the misty clouds will flee from our understanding, the darkness will be dispelled from its secret hiding place, the shadows will shorten and disappear, and the mountain peaks long hidden from our searching eyes will lay aside their misty mantles to beckon us to their lofty heights, “for when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Cor. 13:10. Pity the man who resists all change, for such a one never matures beyond the infant years. He seeks to firmly establish himself in the first principles of doctrine and live out the rest of his monotonous days on nothing but the milk of the word. Cf. Heb. 6:1-3. He has never learned that there is strong meat for men of full age. He knows nothing about the honey in the rock, the bread of life of which if a man eat he shall live forever, or the water of life of which if a man drink he shall never die. Contenting himself in defending his juvenile position, he robs himself of spiritual growth, rusting in the fortress of his own building until he dies. He resembles the legendary frog that lived in a well that, thinking he possessed all the water in the world, believed not when others told him that outside his gloomy hole there were mighty rivers, vast lakes and boundless oceans. To believe such things that frog would have had to change his mind and broaden his understanding, but, like many Christians, this he refused to do.
THE SIGN SON
At the time of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. “And the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said. Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things, which were spoken of Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and/or a sign that shall be spoken against.” Luke 2:25-34
For a sign which shall be spoken against! What strange words are these, that our Lord Jesus should be a sign! But how well did the words of Simeon concur with the words of the prophet Isaiah when he by the Holy Ghost said, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isa. 7:14. It was not the virgin birth that was to be the sign, but it was the Son who was born of the virgin. Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, was in truth the sign Son. This only begotten Son of God was a sign of many more sons who through God’s grace should come into sonship, for He was but the firstborn of a vast family of sons who will come into His exact image and likeness. For we, being born of the Holy Ghost, are born of incorruptible seed by the word of God (Jesus Christ), who liveth and abideth forever; having all one Father and one Spirit, we are brethren, heirs of God and joint heirs with our elder brother, Jesus Christ.
The life of Jesus Christ from its beginning on earth to His ascension into heaven was a sign. The miracles He performed both individually and collectively bear this testimony of things to come and manifest forth in sign the glory of a coming age. His life, His death. His burial. His resurrection and ascension display with certainty the path which we, too, must follow and over which we have already traversed farther than we think.
The gospel preached by the apostle Paul was the gospel of the grace of God. It was especially given to him for this age. This he affirms in these words: “For this cause, I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery… which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” Eph. 3:1-5-8. The gospel preached by Jesus was not the gospel of grace but the gospel of the kingdom of God. It is the gospel which will fill the whole earth in the dispensation which is even now at our doors. It will grip the hearts and minds of all men and fill the entire earth with the literal realities of the Sermon on the Mount. The wonders He wrought during His ministry on earth were only the things, which He began to do and to teach, as we are told by Luke when he wrote, “The former treatise have I made, 0 Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up.” Acts. 1:1. Jesus Christ did not complete His ministry; He only began it, but the fullness of the gospel of the kingdom will spread over the whole earth through the ministry of the sons in His likeness when the Law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2. There is coming a day when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters now fill the seas. In that day no man will say, know the Lord, for all shall know Him from the least to the greatest.
The gospel of the grace of God which has been preached for almost two thousand years was given not because the Jews rejected Christ, but as a dispensation planned before of God in which he would call and prepare a special company of sons to reign in His kingdom. This mystery was not known in previous ages, but was revealed to the apostles by the Spirit! See Eph. 3:1-6. Though the grace of God will never end, the period we call the dispensation of grace is almost complete. The elect and chosen sons, the in Christ company, prepared of God through the fires of the past twenty centuries, are now due to come forth from their graves to join the in Christ company that lives and remains unto the coming of the Lord. 1 Thess. 4:14-18. Not all Christians will reign with Christ. That is reserved for the in Christ company. The vast majority of Christians are saved so as by fire.
They have built upon the foundation with naught but wood, hay, and stubble, and when the fire of God tries the work of every Christian, as try it surely will, their works will be burned up, and they will stand naked and empty before Him. But those whose works are as gold, silver, and precious stones will not be hurt by the fire that tries every man. Therefore, if any man’s work abide, he shall receive a reward; but if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1 Cor. 3:12-15. People saved so as by fire are not material for sonship nor for reigning in the kingdom of God, for those who are with Him are called and chosen and faithful. Rev. 17:14.
My spirit has been stirred with a knowledge that great changes are taking place in God’s faithful people. To those who follow Christ are the promises given and not to those who follow afar off. “For everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for My name’s sake shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life. But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Matt. 19:29
As God’s dear people behold the fearful things that are happening, they have reason for great concern. Nations gird themselves for a struggle that will dwarf all previous conflicts. Morals collapse, right is crucified, and wrong sits on every throne. The church systems embrace with affection the mother of harlots, placing in her hand the golden cup that overflows with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus. Mighty nations seek a savior to deliver them from their problems and are being made ready to shout hosanna to the Antichrist beast, for He who came in His Father’s name they have rejected, but he who comes in his own name they will receive.
Though your eyes behold all these things, let not your heart be troubled, for God is never a whit behind in any of His purposes. Even now He is preparing His people for a wonderful change. Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; therefore; this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. When the sevenfold heat of the burning fiery furnace of tribulation is upon the world, the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abed-negos will be ready, for He who hath wrought the selfsame thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
The magnificent wonders portrayed in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke are about to burst into reality among us. If you will follow the story through with me; you will see what hour it is, for the early morning of the resurrection day is upon us.
Our blessed Lord had been crucified and His blood, all powerful to redeem an entire universe from sin, had been vicariously shed. Men had not taken His life from Him, but He had laid it down as His Father had showed Him. “Into Thy hands I commit My Spirit,” He cried, and so saying He yielded up the Spirit to God. With a spear the soldier pierced His side as the scripture had foretold, and from the wound flowed out blood – blood better than the blood of bulls and goats, blood better far than blood of Abel, the blood of the eternal Son of God shed in His death for the life of all the world, blood not only to atone for all sin of all ages and of all people, but blood that by its very nature would purge the consciences of all mankind in the end. and the consciences of all who would believe even now while we yet live. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Heb 9:13-15.
Yea, further. He who was crucified has taught us by His Holy Spirit that we should be crucified that we no more live after the world, but after Him who died and rose again for us. “I am crucified with Christ,” said Paul. “Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” All who bear within their breasts the hope of resurrection unto eternal life must face with resolve and hope the cross of crucifixion that all who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again.
A great evil among Christians in our day is that they want to live lives that please themselves. They rebel against the chastening rod and squirm beneath the weight of their afflictions. They sing, “There’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me,” but they do all in their power to rid themselves of it and cast it aside. A cross is of little value in your life if you hate it and see not the power it holds over your old animal life. It is of no value when you spend your days in self-pity, feeling only the pain and the ache, but seeing not the joy that is set before you. Have we so soon forgotten that “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment and who shall declare His generation, for He was cut off out of the land of the living?”
Child of God, destined to sonship, when will we learn that it is only the flesh with its affections and lusts that must be crucified? The old beast nature inherited from our father Adam when he chose to be after the image of beasts rather than after the image of God is the nature that must go to the cross. If you would be possessor of the seven spirits of sonship, then heed this: “Wisdom hath builded her house; she hath hewn out her seven pillars; she hath killed her beasts.” Prov. 9:1–2. The seven pillars are the seven spirits. The beasts killed in sacrifice are the beast nature that must die before the seven Spirits of sonship can be manifest in your life.
How our hearts often ache as we see God’s people staggering beneath a cross. Fain would we reach forth our hand and lift it from them. We weep in our helplessness, because God has placed their deliverance just beyond our power that the cross may fulfill its work in their lives unhindered by our lack of understanding. Long ago the apostle Paul exulted, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Gal. 6:14 But I wonder what cross Paul was talking about? Was it the wooden cross upon which our Savior hung on the skull-shaped hill? No! The cross in which he gloried was the cross the Savior had laid upon him and now in love lays upon you and me. The wooden cross was taken down and cast away lest men should glory in it, as millions now in ignorance do who wear it on chains about their necks but whose weight upon their shoulders they have never borne. It is the cross that Christ in wisdom lays upon us that kills our beast nature and makes us shout in hope with Paul, “Most gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 1 Cor. 12:9–10
How sickening it is to hear God’s people complain of little discomforts whose lives are loaded with benefits and multiplied blessings are at their fingertips, whose house abound with comfort and convenience and whose bodies are well clad and abundantly nourished – complain that things are not as they want them or not as good as their neighbors. The Spirit of sonship is not in such people and sonship in the coming age will be denied them, for they have not borne the cross that Christ would lay upon them, but have concocted their own cross through their carnal whining and discontent. Cursed and disobedient children are these who forsake the right way and run greedily after the error of Balaam. The cross is much easier to those who bear it than to those who despondently drag it along.
Down from the rugged cross they had taken our Lord and tenderly laid Him in Joseph’s new tomb to await the passing of the Sabbath that they might come and embalm His body and with their sad and bitter memories, their dashed and blighted hopes, leave Him embalmed forever in the tomb. Thus, the Sabbath being now past, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, very early in the morning before the sun was up, faithful women came with loving hearts and tender hands bringing spices and ointments and many feet of cloth to embalm His body, for He was dead, and who could escape the power of death? What better then could they do than to show their love with this final act? They would embalm the body and thus preserve it in death as long as possible.
The thoughts here are very real, for I am sure we must realize that all who have followed Him in crucifixion have likewise followed Him in death – death to the carnal mind, death to the natural world, death to the lusts of the flesh. While our crucifixion and death is an act of faith, it is none the less real. The results of faith are in the end as real as a literal cross or a literal tomb where the wicked cease their troubling and the weary are at rest.
There is, however, another form of death into which God’s people have been brought. It is the awful bondage and cruel slavery in which countless thousands of God’s people now find themselves. They are bound with the grave cloths of form and ceremony, tied and throttled in their spirits by the religious systems of men. The liberty they think they have has become a dreadful bondage as they like slaves bow down to the idol of human systems and grovel in the chains of organized religion. This whole system of Babylon is not only a slave camp; it is a dank and musty tomb. Everywhere there is the abominable smell of death. Even the sermons preached by the ministers are in most cases death unto death instead of life unto life, for while they promise them liberty and freedom, they themselves are the servants of corruption, for of whatsoever a man is overcome of the same is he brought into bondage. The whole system of Babylon has become a habitation of devils and of every unclean and hateful bird. Rev. 18:3. Its house is full of doleful creatures; the owls dwell there and the satyrs dance there. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall any dwell there from generation to generation. Cf. Isa. 13:19-22. It is a grave into which God’s people have/alien and in which they have been held in captivity, bound hand and foot as Lazarus was with grave cloths.
So it was that the dear women came with the loving intention to embalm the body of the Savior, wrap it in grave cloths and leave it there forever. But to their amazement the great stone that had been laid against the door of the tomb was rolled away and the tomb stood open before them. They entered in but found not the body of the Lord Jesus. Much perplexed and in great fear they looked about to find what had become of the body, and Mary stood weeping over the dreadful loss. John 20:11-16.
As the Spirit of revelation and understanding floods our minds, we are left without question as to the meaning of all this. It was the body of Jesus they sought within the confining walls of the tomb. Thus the picture as it concerns us today becomes very clear. Did not Paul say, “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular?” 1 Cor. 12:27 A strange and unexplainable thing had happened in the tomb. The body was not found where it was thought to be. Suddenly it had gone. The grave cloths lay unruffled upon the floor as though the body had suddenly melted from them, but they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
My brother and sister, there is a strange thing happening today, for the body of Christ is mysteriously leaving the old tomb in which it has been confined for many centuries. All through the church system all over the religious world good and well-meaning people are perplexed as to why it is that you have suddenly and strangely been taken from their midst. Why is your pew empty now whereas in time past you were always in it? Even you yourself are at a loss to explain what is happening to you, for some unseen power of life from God is forcing you out of the old paths and out of your old ways. The grave cloths are falling from you and you are vanishing, leaving them in the tomb. People write me in their perplexity, wondering what is happening to them. Some even ask if they did right in leaving the old grave of church organization with its stale sameness, its dead programs, and its lifeless sermons. Ah, my friend, return not thither again into death, for the Spirit of life from above has touched you and changed you and given you a longing to be exactly like Him. A resurrection is taking place and men are arising from the dead in preparation for the change. For, behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed, and God is now preparing us for that change which will certainly come and none can hinder it.
The God of all comfort who brought our Lord Jesus from the dead will soon comfort your hearts as He did these women, for His two shining messengers, the Spirit and the word, declare that the long night is ending. It is very early in the resurrection morning and a new day is at hand. “Why seek ye the living among the dead,” they asked. And how shall we answer that question? I know that many who read these lines are now doing that very thing, but you will not find them there, for God is calling them forth.
Have we not done as they to seek the living among the dead!” Have we not returned time and again to those dead sects and dead denominations to see if we could somehow find the living? Yes, indeed, we have time and time again. We are insistent that there is still life there, persisting that the dead who remain there are still the body of the Lord. We insist that this is the church and that it will be perfected by the operation of the ministries. But it will not! Just as Jesus called, “Lazarus, come forth,” so God, our Father, has called to His own body, “Come out of her, My people,” and they are coming forth. Many as Lazarus are still bound hand and foot with grave cloths which must be stripped from them, but others, like Jesus, have come forth, leaving the grave cloths in the dark and dreadful tomb that they might walk in newness of life with Him. Why, oh, why do you insist on seeking the living among the dead? Do now as Jesus commanded. Let the dead bury their dead, but follow thou Me!
HE IS NOT HERE
It is hard to convince men of truth when for years their minds have been convinced in an opposite direction. Even the angels who spoke to the women in the tomb could not easily dispel the darkness that hung like a pall over their minds. The stone was rolled away; that was strange. The tomb was open; there could be no mistaking that. The cloths in which the body had been wrapped lay unruffled where His body had been as though He had faded as a mist from their many folds; that was unexplainable. The body was gone; that was certain. And the appearance of the angels in the tomb made them afraid and bow down their heads in fear. But for all this they were not convinced. Even Peter, having looked with amazement upon the scene, departed, wondering in himself. Luke 24:12. “He is not here,” the angels assured them, but still they could not believe. It was too strange, too wonderful, too far beyond their grasp. They had come to embalm a dead body but heard instead that He was living. They had come to the only place on earth where the body could certainly be found, but the angels smiled, “He is not here:”
He is not here. He is not here. He is not here. It is hard to pierce the darkness of men’s minds. It was hard for them then to believe that the body was not in the tomb. It is hard for you now to believe that the true body of Christ has been called out from the death and darkness of the tomb of organized religion. It is well nigh impossible for many to believe that it will never be found there any more. Neither will it be found in that hodge-podge mass of unorganized religion, for the life from the dead that is taking place is beyond the reach and power of the conniving minds of men.
He is not here; yet, as a man who has lost a priceless jewel returns again and again to look and search where he has searched before lest in some way he has overlooked it, even so do we, for we believe not that God is doing a work of a magnitude never before known in that He is calling the body of His elect from the tomb and the ears of all who hear it will tingle.
Would God that Christians could be awakened to see what a cursed age we dwell in, to what depths of iniquity we have fallen in our self-seeking and pride, supposing that gain is godliness; and having ears that itch for sensation, we have added teachers who tickle them for us, ungodly men ordained of old unto condemnation.
Disorder and confusion so reign in the hearts of men that our world has become a literal Babel. Nations are in confusion from the president to the peasant and from the throne to the dungeon. The priest and the prophet have erred through the wine of their fornication, and through strong drink are they turned out of the way. They err in vision. They stumble in judgment. All tables are full of vomit and filthiness so that there is no place clean. They are together turned out of the way and there is none righteous, no, not one. The world system and the church system have become so wed that there is no distinction between them, but one is made to complement the other. The hour of wrath is at hand. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse are riding far and wide. The vials of the wrath of God are being placed in the hands of the mighty angels to be poured without dilution upon the earth. The seals are being opened and the trumpets given to the angels to sound. The time of the dead has come and the time for the coming forth from the tomb. Just as there is a crucifixion by faith and a burial by faith, so also there is a rising from the dead by faith. I have no hesitation in saying that our God is calling His people out of the tomb, and all who insist on searching there for the body of Christ will hear these words: “He is not here.”
HE IS RISEN
He is risen! He is alive! What staggering words these must have been to the sorrowing women! Were the angels mocking their sorrow to make their grief more terrible to bear? Or was there a ray of hope that this unheard of thing could possibly be true? Behold with what patience the angels exhorted them, saying, “Remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words and returned from the sepulchre and told all things unto the eleven.
There is nothing on earth that will increase your faith and add to your confidence like remembering the word of the Lord. Those who see by the plan of God that all things are working according to His purpose will never be amazed. They will not flounder nor be alarmed. Has not God spoken long ago that all these things must be? Has He not taught us that the leaven would work in the meal until all is leavened! Has He not pictured a condition at the end of the age in which God would spue out of His mouth a people rich and increased in goods and needing nothing, who know not that they are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked? Have we not been told long ago of a harlot system, drunken with the blood of saints and the martyrs of Jesus Christ, and of a time when men could neither buy nor sell except they have the mark of the beast? Why then be amazed? Remember ye not that He told us all these things? Remember ye not that John heard the angelic voices proclaiming, “Come out of her. My peopled Why then should we be amazed that even now thousands of people in all walks of life are hearing that call in their inmost spirits and are going forth from the graves in which they have been buried, going forth unto Him without the camp to a new kind of life and a new kind of relationship with Him which they have not known hitherto.
You wonder why it is that there is such a coming out. You may doubt that they are being called of God. But, if you would but believe God’s word and remember what He said, you could not help but believe that the present religious system with all its abominations is indeed the Babylon of the book of Revelation, and, if you remembered the word of the Lord, you, too, would come forth and delay not going unto Him without the camp of the world’s religious systems which have a name that they live, and are dead, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. Whether we want to believe it or not, there is a company in the world today who are hearing the call of God to come forth. Like the unknown seven thousand in Israel they pass almost unnoticed, refusing to bow to the image of Babylon. They have departed from their darkness and have left the tomb to go forth unto Him.
Yes, indeed. He is risen, and, upon remembering the words of the Lord, all doubt and unbelief must surely pass away. The stirring in the hearts of the people is not the stirring of a coming revival, but the stirring of a resurrection. It is taking place by faith in preparation for the actuality when the mystery of God is finished and corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality. This is the hope of the ages, the blessed hope of the Bible. He is risen! He is risen! And we who have died with Him will live together with Him, and there shall be no default in that. The Bible contains more proof of the resurrection of Jesus than it contains either of His birth or of His death. The largest number of witnesses to establish anything in the courts is seven.
An oral will can be established by seven witnesses. The resurrected Jesus was seen of above five hundred brethren at once and by many infallible proofs He showed himself alive after His passion. Mohammed is dead; Buddha is dead; Confucius is dead; but Jesus Christ is alive, and all who believe in Him are transformed by His Spirit which He sent forth when He returned to His Father in heaven. He is risen! He is alive forevermore, and He holds the keys of death and the grave, saying to Hades, “Lift up your heads, oh ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, that the king of glory may come in, for even the gates of hell cannot prevail before Him.”
IF YE THEN BE RISEN
A rising from the dead is taking place. There is a coming forth from the tomb to a new kind of life and a new kind of experience, which we have not known before. Unto obedient men today Paul is speaking these magnificent words: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” There is a spiritual rising with Christ that precedes the literal resurrection. Those who partake of it will find that their affections are being set upon heavenly things above and not on things on the earth. This can be your experience here and now in this present world. It is not enough to grasp the truth of this with one hand while holding fast to earthly things with the other. There must be a separation of loves. The love of the earth and the transient things of the natural must fade away and die, and the love of the permanent and eternal must mature and live. From henceforth you are not the same as you once were. You are risen with Christ and share with Him even now the glory and power of heavenly realms.
Our hearts have thrilled to the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and well they might, for Lazarus, not being raised to immortality, was a special type of our spiritual rising with Christ by faith. Lazarus, who was called forth from the smelly tomb, did not rise in incorruption and immortality, but came forth in mortality bound hand and foot with grave cloths, as many still are who by God’s power are coming forth from the graves of the deadness and corruption all about us. He had to be loosed and let go, and the death cloths that bound him taken piece by piece from him, as also it has been with us. Perhaps we have wept for joy as we read the story of Lazarus and of Jesus who said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” but the story does not end with his deliverance from the grave, for those who are risen with Christ are seated with Him far above all principality and power. Thus it was that six days before the Passover they made a supper in the house of Mary and Martha. Devout Martha had not died nor been raised to life again, so with her, life continued much as usual there, for it is recorded, “And Martha served.” Nor had Mary been raised from the dead; therefore she is still found in that place she loved so well at Jesus’ feet. But with Lazarus all was changed. He had passed through an experience that raised him to an entirely new realm. He had died, he had been buried, and he had risen with Christ to an entirely new realm and a completely new life; therefore it is clearly said, “But Lazarus was one that sat at the table with Him.” John 16:2
There is a crucified state where we die with Him, but there is also a resurrected life where we live with Him and sit down with Him in heavenly realms. For this reason Paul said, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of the Father. Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth, for ye have died and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Col. 3:1-4 Our spiritual rising from the dead is a new relationship with Christ. The grave stands between us and our old life. We were crucified through weakness, but we live by the power of God. We are no longer citizens of this world, but now we desire a better country, that is, an heavenly. Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called our God, for He has prepared for us a city.
As the Passover was the beginning of months to the Jews, so the resurrection from the dead is the beginning of days to all who experience its transforming power. Upon the seventh day of the week God completed His work of a natural creation. Upon the first day of the week He completed the work of a spiritual creation in which men rise to walk in newness of life with Him. It is beginning to dawn toward the first day of the week, and many are now casting away the grave cloths of a life enslaved to a dying realm that they might henceforth live on the resurrection side of the tomb in newness of life with Christ. Unclutch your death grip and let loose your grasp on this present realm that your soul may escape as a bird from the snare of the fowler to rise to a new realm where Christ sitteth in “heavenly places”.
THE THIRD DAY
Two sad souls with broken hearts journeyed on resurrection day from Jerusalem to the little village of Emmaus. Heavy and disconsolate they talked together of all the things that had happened. But as they journeyed, they were joined by another who, hearing them, asked, “What manner of communications are these which ye have one with another and are sad?” “Art Thou only a stranger and hast not known the things which have come to pass?” they questioned. “What things?” said He. Then they told Him the story of Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty in word and deed, and of how the chief priests and elders of the nation condemned Him to death and crucified Him, and with naked despair they added, “But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” Then, as though a perplexing ray of hope had added new complications to their dilemma, they continued, “And beside all this today is the third day since these things were done, and certain women also of our company made us astonished which were early at the sepulchre, and when they found not His body, they came saying they had seen a vision of angels which said He was alive.” Luke 24:13-23
Beside all this today is the third day. These words have more significance to us today than to any people since those crestfallen ones walked to Emmaus. To us the third day is the kingdom day. You remember how, when Jesus would return to Judea, His disciples warned Him, saying, “Herod will kill you.” But He replied, “Go and tell that fox. Behold, I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I will be glorified.” Luke 13:32 We may say with reverence and truth that the ministry of Jesus on earth consisted of cures. He healed a leper here, a blind man there. He raised a few dead and cast out many devils; but at the end of His ministry there were still millions of sick and the world still lay in the grip of the prince of the power of the air. So also it has been with the church, for a day is with the Lord as a thousand years. During the first thousand years the church wrought only cures – a revival here, a few miracles there – and during the second thousand years likewise it wrought only cures – a few revivals, some souls saved, some bodies healed, even a few raised from the dead, but only cures – and even now at the end of this second day we may well ask, “When the Son of man cometh, will He find faith on the earth?” But the third day is at hand, blessed be God! And in it Christ will be glorified. In the third twenty-four hour day Christ the head was glorified. In the third thousand year day Christ the body will be glorified. Then shall cures end and permanence begin, for all shall know Him from the least to the greatest.
That we are now living in the dying moments of the second day there can be no doubt and it would only be a weariness to start repeating here the multitudinous signs that herald the hour when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. But even at this very moment there is a kind of firstfruits of the resurrection that are hearing God’s voice and coming forth from their bondage to walk in new realms and to live where Christ lives in the Spirit.
TREASURES OF TRUTH, Volume 4, The Cross of Christ and It’s Eternal Significance [George R. Hawtin] ~ BOOK 1