2 Cor. 5:4 “For we who are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by life.”
God, in speaking to the seven churches of Asia, gives us an understanding of the cause for tribulation as well as individual testing within the church order. God, to these seven churches speaks of His concern concerning His called people. God expresses His desire for a purified church to come forth as a prelude to judgment, a judgment that begins in the house of the Lord. Therefore as overcomers, God’s expressed desire continues in chapter four of Revelation, declaring the beginning of the last days that will usher in the establishing of God’s kingdom upon earth. In revealing these judgmental events we read in Rev. 4:1, “After this I [John] looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me, which said, come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.”
The invitation to “come up hither,” though given directly to John, is now an invitation given to all who are desirous and willing to make the necessary ascension to God’s throne-room. John hears the voice as a trumpet speaking. This voice heard was the result of his looking. This word “looked”, as used in the above verse, speaks firmly of the act, “to see: implying not the mere act of looking, but the actual perception of the object.” Thus, a spiritual enlightenment that becomes real to John as perception reveals this “open door”. A door opened for the purpose of John seeing those things that are to come upon creation. Where was this “open door” John was seeing? Revelation reveals that it was in heaven, which is a realm of God wherein men, in their fallen corrupt condition cannot dwell. However, in the revealing of this heavenly realm, a door is open for those who hear, see, and receive, as they have the opportunity to enter.
Notice that the “first voice” being heard is as a trumpet. This trumpet sounds as a voice speaking, and when giving consideration concerning trumpets in the Old Testament, it always sounded out a prescribed call. The sound blowing today is a prescribed call from God as connected to war and the day of the Lord and should have our full attention as it blows. Zephaniah 1:14-16, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastens greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.” This sound coming forth is the preparing of a people for the coming judgments; the judgments of God are for but one purpose. That purpose, to purify God’s creation from its fallen condition, its state of ruin. In considering this judgment, always remember, judgment begins in the house of the Lord.
Revelation, as it comes from God and given to receiving vessels always has a divine purpose. As John declares, the ability to see those things God reveals can only come through the avenue of being in the spirit. Rev. 4:2, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” “In the spirit” points to the truth as to receiving and knowing God’s ways; it is only by the Holy Spirit that one receives the actual perception of what God shows. Here in Revelation that which God revealed was the throne-room of God where His fullness dwells and where man can enter by being in that same spirit. Eph. 2:6, “He raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” This speaks of a relationship that comes from living in Christ as He lives in us while sitting upon His throne in man’s soul. The Christ in us speaks of a people of judgment that results in a people living in the throne-room authority of God. (Read Rev. 4:3-11).
Here before the throne of God we see a sea of glass that indicates the need within man for sanctification. This work of sanctification is necessary for it cleanses us and enables us to stand in God’s throne-room authority. Man has a need to be enlightened, to live in the spirit, and perceiving of the Christ as we see Him face to face. 2 Cor. 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light [underived and absolute] to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” This speaks of a sanctified people, cleansed by God, and now sitting down (resting) with Him in the throne-room. Abiding within the throne-room speaks of change, a change from the fallen sin-nature of men to a restoration of the soul into the nature of Christ. It is within the sin nature of man that he needs salvation. Heb. 10:39, “But we are not of them unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” This word “soul”, as used in this verse speaks of “the life of man, which can be lost or saved.” The soul manifests the character of the man through his mind, his will, his desires and his emotions.
What is the soul of man and its importance? It consists as the abiding place within man that expresses the four basic expressions of man’s nature, his mind, his emotions, his will, and his desires. This soul’s created purpose is to manifest the Christ nature. The fallen man, while living with a sin nature is one that flies about as a restless mind and symbolized by an eagle. Fallen man, having emotions that react as a wild animal, acting as a terrible beast and is symbolized in scripture by a wild lion. Fallen man’s will, being stubborn in all its ways, is in scripture symbolized as the stubborn oxen. Then the man, full of all manners of desires, speaks of man in his humanity, a selfish nature living continually for self. These expressions of fallen man with his sin nature, when passing through the cross of Christ and the needed cleansing by His sacrificial blood can become as a sea of glass, the product of sanctification. In knowing the necessary change in a full measure, this change enables fallen man to stand before God in the throne-room having a living soul, a new nature.
Recall, in the letters to the seven churches in Asia, God gives a specific word to each church where there existed a need to overcome. What is it that man must overcome? Could it be the nature of the fallen soul and its four avenues of expression and reaction? Concerning the mind of man, the eagle, the change comes as man’s mind ceases in desiring worldly favors and it enticements to stand only upon the word of God. God’s word when received will stop the sinful restlessness of the mind by exchanging it for God’s rest. Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Verse 105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This, while impossible by men and their own strength, can be accomplished as the man draws from the spiritual strength that the Holy Spirit makes available.
The second avenue of expression from man’s soul is the emotions of the man as typed by the lion, a wild beast. Emotions, as a beast in their actions, will not know peace until changed by the power of God and the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. Know that by establishing for self certain laws, with a desire not to react in certain ungodly ways will always fail. Why does a law fail? Because the flesh that the law works through is weak and wars against God’s nature, therefore it promotes failure. Therefore, man’s emotions need a confession before God by asking Him to deal with any wild emotions on a daily basis until perfection comes, that is taking up the cross daily.
The third avenue of expression that comes from the soul is the will of man. Here we can see a change-taking place from the stubborn oxen spoken of in Ezekiel the first chapter to a humble calf as spoken of in Rev. the fourth chapter. This change speaks of the stubbornness depicted by the oxen, but now changed into the yielded calf, which stands before the throne of God. This speaks of one who has given up his own will for the higher will of God, a dying to self to live unto God alone. Matt. 26:39, “And He [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.”
Fourthly, consider the man, the product of worldly influences from his birth until his rebirth. This man, with cultivated desires conjured up by a perverted world to promote for himself some kind of worldly success. From man’s genealogy, his environment, peers, education, and culture, a selfish desire becomes his motivation and with many, they finally come to know the destructive results of that life-style. Herein, God is willing to intervene and bring change, a change from what was to what can be because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. This cross offers a new birth, a being born again, from the earthly into the heavenlies, a new man walking in and for the purpose of God and all heavenly desires.
Thus, a people, the first-fruits appearing of the harvest are now come. A nature now changed into:
- The eagle (mind) – now a flying eagle that is the first fruit saints with the mind of Christ.
- The oxen (will) – now the calf, the humble man having overcome his stubborn will to suck the milk of God’s word in becoming God’s will, totally dependent upon Him.
- The lion (emotions) – has become the lion of the tribe of Judah that breaks every chain, sitting free those who are willing to know released from that roaring lion called Satan, the father of lies and the accuser of the brethren.
- The man (desires) – now a different man from the earth bound man to become, along with Jesus Christ the Son of Man, becoming the manifested sons of God.
Herein, we see the progressive growth of a fallen man, redeemed to become a member of God’s family. A many member Christ, transformed from a sinner with a sin-nature into a re-borne creation with the nature of Christ. The four beasts, the four natures of the soul, now changed unto Christ likeness, manifesting His image. The seven lamps burning are the seven Spirits of God with all the attributes of God coming forth from the soul of the new man. The sea of glass speaks of a people with clearness and purity, with nothing of the corrupt man remaining, nothing that carnality can touch. This stands in agreement and according to God’s purpose from the beginning of creation. 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But you are a chosen generation [race], a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises [virtues] of Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: Which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” The phrase, “but are now the people of God” speaks of much more than just being forgiven of our sins. It speaks of a people who no longer walk according to the sin nature. These are a people, birthed into the household of God, while taking up their inheritance as sons of God. These elect of God are those who establish the kingdom of God on earth.
These sons, the heirs of God, having been under tutors and governors have come to their appointed time. (Read Gal. 4:1-7). In this, the fullness of God’s time has come for many sons to come forth and receive their adoption, the redemption of their bodies. They now glorify God in the fullness of His purpose, having become the visible manifestation of an invisible God. It is for this manifestation of His sons that all creation groans, waiting for God’s elect, the first fruits to appear. Rom. 8:22-23, “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
A life lived in iniquity is a course life of bad conduct flowing from the evil desires of a fallen nature as it breaches the nature of God. In God, His sons’ no longer dwell in iniquity because the prayers of the saints and God’s fullness of time has come. Psalms 6:6-10, “I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies. Depart from me all you workers of iniquity, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; let them turn back and be shamed suddenly.”