By Jan Austin Antonsson
The Glory Road,
A Kingdom Highway
Sept. 1, 1998
"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light:' and there was light." (Gen. 1:1-3). I woke up at about 3:30 this morning with this verse running through my mind. The Lord has been teaching me more about the seed of the new creation, which is Christ, and about the new birth this week. When I heard these words, I knew that they belong in this writing, for these verses are a perfect picture of what happens when we are born again, when God re-creates our heaven and our earth. The apostle Peter described this experience as "a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts." (II Peter. 1:19). At the fall, Adam took us with him into darkness, and spiritual death. From that time until Jesus rose from the dead, our own spirits were "without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of [our] deep." As Lenny put it so well in "Echoes From The Fall," (See End Note "A") our spiritual being entered into death. Through Adam, the entire human race was infected with the terminal illness of sin. Isaiah said of this time, "For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people;" (Is. 60:2a). Death, in all its ugliness, reigned from Adam to Moses, Paul tell us in Rom. 5:14. But glorious and holy though the law certainly was, (Rom. 7:12) it could not produce righteousness or faith, (Rom. 4:13; Gal. 3:21) and so in that sense, the light which the law provided was merely a flickering candle against the ever present darkness of sin and unrighteousness. It was not until Christ appeared as the light that enlightens every man coming into the world (Jn. 1:9), that the full out-raying of God's glory shown forth. And wonder of wonders, the Shekinah glory was no longer limited to the holy of holies, as it was under the law. (I Kings 8:6-11). Solomon said, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!" (II Chron. 6:18). And yet, when the veil of the temple was rent, God's wondrous glory blazed forth into the hearts of men and women as their spirits were regenerated by the word of God and we became the temple of the Most High. (I Cor. 6:19; II Cor. 6:16; I Pet. 1:23).
I have been fascinated by the story of the sower and the seed, recorded in Matt. 13, for over a year now, pondering what the hidden meanings within it might be. As we've all discovered, the Bible is a multilayered book. As John the Beloved describes so well, it is written to children, "because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake, and you have known the Father." (I Jn. 2:12-13). It is written to young men, "because you have overcome the wicked one; and because you are strong and the word of God abideth in you." (Vs. 13,14). It is written to fathers, to grown men and women in the faith, "because you have known Him that is from the beginning." (Vs. 13). When we are children, we see only the interesting stories in the Bible, and perhaps some of the simple interpretations of them that may apply to our lives. When we are teenagers in the Lord, we get our teeth into the power of God, and begin to flex our spiritual muscles and wage war on the devil and his works. When we lay aside childish things, we begin to see through that dark glass, as increasingly, we see Him as He is. Why? because He has appeared in our lives, and we behold Him face to face. (I Cor. 13:11-12; I Jn. 3:2). The light of God which shined in our dark places, has revealed the glory of God to us in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Cor 4:6).
For this reason, we have left behind the first principles, (Heb. 6:1-3) to go on unto perfection. In this state of seeking the Father's perfect wholeness, He begins to remove the veils from our eyes and to reveal the scriptures to us at a deeper level; taking us to a place where the letter no longer kills; a place where the Spirit gives us life. (II Cor. 3:6, 14-17). When that happens we rejoice, and we take off our sandals, for we are, indeed, standing on holy ground. (Ex. 3:5). Jesus said, "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." (Matt. 13:16-17).
Jesus no longer speaks to us in parables, as He did during His ministry, which was to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy. "He said, 'Go and tell this people: " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people callused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." (Isa. 6:9-10, NIV). This is why we are blessed beyond measure when He opens our eyes to see and our hearts to hear. When we are born again, we begin the see the kingdom of God. (Jn. 3:3,5).
My search into the meaning of the parable of the sower was on the back burner until Lenny and I heard a tape made of a teaching given by J. Preston Eby at the conference in Alamagordo this summer. (See End Note "B"). He had many compelling observations to make, but the one which arrested both of us was his statement that "the seed of Christ is in every man." Wow! Could that be true? My spirit soared as I resonated to it. Lenny and I discussed it, and began running references and searching the concordances to find the scriptural basis. We've been reading Preston Eby for about 15 years now, and he ALWAYS bases his lessons on scripture; so I knew it was there. Of course, I could have written him, but I wanted confirmation from the Spirit for myself. So, I asked the Lord, and I waited.
Several nights ago, the Lord woke me up at about 2:30 in the morning and I was awake until almost 5:00 a.m. He was talking to me about the parable of the sower. As I said, this parable has drawn me over and over for the past year. The meaning God gave is, for me, a pearl of great price, well worth digging up the whole field and waiting over a year to find. By the way, don't take my light on this subject. Ask Him who leads us into all truth to show you if it is for your life. (I Jn. 2:27). I'll include the parable here for reference:
"A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear." (Matt. 13:3-9, RSV). When the disciples asked him for the meaning, Jesus gave it to them, and the answer was my "proof text" of Preston's statement about the seed of Christ being in every man.
Let's read the text: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man the field is the world and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." (Matt. 13:37-43). Of course, I realize that this answer follows the parable of the wheat and the tares, (Matt. 13:24-30) rather than the parable of the sower, which immediately precedes it, but since God showed me the verse in answer to my question, I believe that the sower mentioned in BOTH parables is the Son of Man. The religious establishment would have us believe that the seed of Christ is in us ONLY IF we do something (the rules vary from church to church) to be worthy of it. Only if we clean up our soil, will God plant the seed there, is the message we receive. Jesus said, "the field is the world!" There are no qualifiers on that, no conditions, no rules, no commandments, no prerequisites to receiving the seed. The Son of Man is the sower, and the field is the world. Jesus said that the seed are the children of the kingdom. Referring to the promises of God, that in Him would all nations of the world be blessed, (Gen. 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; Gal 3:8) Paul said that the seed through which the blessing will come is Christ. (Gal. 3:16).
Now, please follow me here and may the Spirit help me to write it as clearly as I saw it. We know that when God created Adam, He breathed into Him, the breath of life. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen. 2:7). At that time, He placed His spirit within man and his progeny. Paul says, "And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was MADE A QUICKENING SPIRIT." (I Cor. 15:45). Paul makes it very clear that sin entered the world through Adam. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12). Because of Adam's sin, we and every man, woman and child who was ever born into this fallen world, are all guilty of disobedience and consigned to death. Thankfully, that is not the end of the story. The reason that Jesus is the light that enlightens every man coming into the world, is because his seed is in every man, awaiting rebirth or regeneration. If Adam infected the world with the deadly virus of sin, Christ is the antidote. Paul is emphatic about this: "Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and THE FREE GIFT in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many....If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ." Now, here's the pay off, the grand finale, the marvelous conclusion: "Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for ALL MEN, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life FOR ALL MEN." (Rom. 5:14-15,17-18). Paul, are you sure this is what you mean? Do you have anything else to say on the subject? Indeed, he does. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam ALL DIE, even so in Christ shall ALL BE MADE ALIVE." (I Cor. 15:20-22).
Now, if you want to rush in and qualify this verse by saying, "Oh, but it is only in Christ that all will be made alive," I must say this to you: just as we did nothing to get ourselves placed into Adam - we were placed there when God breathed His life into him and his progeny, nevertheless, we were still condemned by his sin, even so, we did nothing to be placed into Christ, or more accurately, we did nothing to have His seed placed within us. The sower went forth to sow, and we reaped the benefit! Imagine with me for a moment, a father who decrees that his children are unworthy to eat at his table, or live in his house, not because of anything they have done, but because they were born with some fatal flaw. Then suppose that this father says to his pitiful offspring, "Well, there is an antidote for this disease that you were born with, but only those of you who are good enough and obey me perfectly will qualify to receive it. The rest of you will be banned from my presence for ever more." We would say that this man was not righteous, not fair, and most assuredly, not loving.
Yet, this is what religion has said God is like. The church says that He consigned all of us to death because of Adam's transgression, and even though He sent His perfect Son to redeem us, only those who are faithful enough, or obedient enough will receive the vaccine for the terminal dis-ease called sin. We would shun a human father like this, and probably take him to court in a custody hearing in order to attempt to get his unfortunate children away from him. Yet, the church tells us we have to love, worship, and adore such an unfair and unreasonable Heavenly Father as the one they portray like this. For me, it is utterly impossible and unimaginable to love a god like that. Thankfully, I don't have to try, for that is NOT a picture of my Heavenly Father and yours!
Lenny and I are here in the "Bible Belt" for the summer. As we visit these churches which God has laid on our hearts for intercession, I am constantly struck by the fact that they just don't seem to grasp what it is that Jesus did for us. They insist on making men pay for THE FREE GIFT! Paul speaks so plainly, that it's difficult to image how he can have been so misunderstood for all these centuries. The only thing I can think is that the law has kept a veil over their faces and they do not see through to God's grace. Listen to these words, "For what does the scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift, but as his due. And to the one who does not work, but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." (Romans. 4:3-5). If you have to work for your salvation, or do anything to earn it or keep it, (even supposing you could), then it is not a free gift! It is wages earned for services rendered. God justifies the ungodly! What a wonderful gift, incomprehensible and life giving to the human soul are these words. We do not have to earn our new life in Christ. It is a gift! Jesus came to enlighten EVERY MAN who comes into the world! The seed, which Paul says is Christ, (Gal. 3:16) is in every man, awaiting "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Tit. 3:5) for it to flourish and grow and produce fruit unto God!
If that's true, then why are some men evil and resistant to God? Again, I think the answer is in the parable of the sower. The soil, in which the seed is planted, is the variable. Some soil is rocky and some is overgrown with thorns, (Matt. 13:20-22). Everyone would like to be the good soil, the one which bears fruit and yields up to a hundredfold at harvest, (Vs. 23) but you know, Jesus does not scold the soil for its imperfections. He does not say, "If you were better, richer, and a more fertile soil, then the seed would grow and the harvest would be great." The other day, I heard a country preacher on the radio railing on about this topic. To hear him tell it, we have total control over what kind of soil we are. If we just shape up, obey God, read the Bible, etc., etc., etc., we can be good soil. He also said, if we sow ragweed (a local weed) in our field, the seed of God can't grow. I think maybe he missed a verse or two. It is not we, but the devil who sows the tares in our wheat field. (Matt. 13:39). Did you ever wonder why Jesus was not concerned by that? He didn't even scold the devil! You remember in the parable of the wheat and the tares, the farmer told the workers to leave the tares alone, for they might pull out the wheat if they tried to remove them from the growing crop. He said, at the harvest, the tares will be bundled up and thrown into the fire, and the wheat will be removed to the barn. (Matt. 13:28-30). Now, that weeping and gnashing of teeth part used to frighten me as a child until God revealed to me that He himself is the fire. (Heb. 12:29). Each of us has tares in our wheat field, but regardless of what most sermons would have us believe, God has made provision for that as well as everything else.
Listen to what Jesus said: "Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." (Matt. 13:40-43).
Our Father knew there would be tares in our field, and He provided for it as He has for everything else we need in our walk with Him. I'm not going to get into the mistranslations of hell which religion has used to further their own ends, and keep the flock in line, because I wrote extensively on the subject in another journal. (Primrose Path To Gehenna, See End Note "C"). Suffice it to say, that Jesus died for us and in our place, He went into Sheol (Old Testament), or Hades (New Testament), which is the place of the dead, or the invisible realm (Emphatic Diaglott). (See Ps. 16:10; Acts. 2:31). Referring to David's prophecy, on the day of Pentecost, Peter said, "Being, therefore, a Prophet, and knowing that God swore to him with an Oath, that of the Fruit of his loins he would cause one to sit upon his throne; foreseeing he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah, that He was not left in Hades, nor did his flesh see Corruption." (Acts. 2:30-31, The Emphatic Diaglott). The religious world has been heavily contaminated by ancient pagan religions and it is from Babylon and Egypt that the heresies of an everlasting hell, where the damned suffer endless fiery torment forever and ever arose. There is nothing of the sort spoken of in the Bible. God's punishments were swift, sure and often deadly, but they ended in this life. (For an in depth study of the subject, check out the link on our home page to Tentmaker. Gary Amirault has the book, The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment on the site, and it is well worth reading for a detailed and scholarly accounting of how the religious world came into this horrible and heretical doctrine. See End Note "D").
When Christians talk about hell, they are usually fearing what will happen if they fail to pass God's Judgment test. All that fear of hell fire and punishment was used by the churches to keep people in line. As I've said for years, hell was good for business. It is no longer good for anything. It's part of the law, and has no grace in it. Remember that Paul said that if you work for your reward, it is not grace, but wages earned for a job performed! "And to one who does NOT work, but TRUSTS Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." (Rom. 4:5). "Ah ha," you say. "There is something you have to do. You have to have faith!" It's true, we do, but God will not leave us any little crumb to hang onto, for which we can take credit. Paul wrote, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and THIS IS NOT YOUR OWN DOING, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT BECAUSE OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:8-10).
Clearly, we cannot earn our salvation by works. That's impossible. When God opens our spiritual eyes, and removes the veil from our faces, we will all see that we were created FOR good works - the ones God prepared beforehand, before the foundations of the world, when He chose us in Christ. (Eph. 1:4). He saved us, "and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to HIS OWN PURPOSE and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (II Tim. 1:9-10). This verse, my friends, is the essence of the gospel of Christ, which IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION, to everyone who has faith, to the Jew (the religious person) first, and also to the Greek (the heathen). (Rom. 1:16). "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 3:6). Indeed, the gospel is a mystery, and one that caused the Pharisees to crucify Christ and kill His disciples. Yet, in these last days, God has opened the door to the throne room, and taken His divine Windex to the dark glass through which we have seen Him. He invites us to come in and sup with him and be to Him a son, and He to us a Father.
Jesus, the Son of man, was the sower, and Jesus, the Son of God, was the seed, the sperm, the life force of the Father. Another illustration of the eternal truth that God is in charge of disseminating His word, (the seed), is found in Rev. 14:6. John saw, "another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth, to every nation, tribe, language and people." Paul wrote, "But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: 'Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world'." (Rom. 10:18). These are beautiful pictures of God's total control and authority over man's destiny, now and in the future. Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the divine cure for the congenital virus of sin which afflicts every human being since Adam. Paul wrote to Titus, "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another; but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, NOT BECAUSE OF DEEDS DONE BY US IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, BUT IN VIRTUE OF HIS OWN MERCY, BY THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWAL IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." (Titus 3:3-6). It is easy to try to take credit for having accepted Jesus as our Savior, but it won't wash. He chose us from before the foundations of the world, Paul said, not so we can be puffed up or proud, but so that we will be the means, through Christ, by which God draws all men to himself. (Jn. 12:32). We will be the ones to act as ambassadors for Christ, telling the world that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;" (II Cor. 5:19) this is our word of reconciliation. It is indeed what the prophet Zechariah meant when he said we would "speak peace to the heathen." In that day, the dominion of God "shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth." (Zech. 9:10).
I can't leave this subject of the sower and the seed without mentioning the most glorious thought that came to me this morning. Do you remember Onan? His story can be found in Gen. 38:7-9. He was Judah's second son, grandson of Jacob the Patriarch. Er, Judah's firstborn was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him, though we're not told why. Judah told Onan to go in unto his brother's wife and raise up seed to his brother, which commandment was incorporated into the law later. (See Deut. 25:5). Onan did not want to go along with the program. Instead, he spilled his "seed" on the ground. This displeased the Lord and He slew him, as well. As soon as I got the picture of Christ's seed in each of us, I immediately thought of Onan. When I began to run the references, I found several commandments in the law, that the children of Israel were not to pass their seed through the fire in worship to Molech, which was the heinous heathen practice of the day. (Lev. 18:21; 20:2-4; II Kings 23:10). My spirit leapt within me. For if God forbade the children of Israel to spill their seed on the ground or pass it through the fire in worship to Molech, how do we dare accuse Him of doing the exact same thing? Would He send countless millions of His own seed, created in His image and likeness, to the fires of hell for ever and ever to appease His wrath? I think not! Yet, many believe this to be true. Oh God, deliver us from worshipping the blood thirsty gods, Molech and Baal. Help us instead, to see the seed of Christ within, a seed which can only produce one kind of fruit: Christ in us, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27).
When He is fully formed within us, the new Creation will be manifested to the world. It is what the creature waits for, what we all long for and for which we travail in pain until it is accomplished. (Rom. 8:21-22). Let's read the rest of the prophecy Isaiah gave about light and darkness: "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles (the unsaved) shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (Is. 60:2-3).
This is by no means a complete study of this subject. More later as the Spirit leads.
Sept. 10, 1998
We went to Wednesday night Bible study at the church of Christ last evening, and as I was sitting there interceding for the preacher who was struggling to explain what Paul meant by being led by the Spirit, (Rom. 8:14) to a group of people who have no concept of it in their theology, I felt my own spirit quickened. This gifted teacher was demonstrating that the Spirit of God moves upon whom He chooses in order to accomplish the will of the Father, and had used the verse in Ezra 1:1, which states that "the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia," in order to help the children of Israel in building the temple at Jerusalem. His point was that the Holy Spirit was, in this instance, working in the heart of an unbeliever, and therefore, these church of Christ folks need not be surprised or shocked to learn that the Holy Spirit definitely works in believers today, as He has throughout the entire Bible from Gen. 1:1 to Rev. 22:21. I began thinking about the verse which says that the Holy Spirit "will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; of sin because they believe not on me." (Jn. 16:8-9). I looked it up, thinking I would share it with the preacher at a later date, but as I was sitting there, the Lord opened the scripture to me to show me that THE REASON the Holy Spirit has a legitimate basis for reproving the world of unbelief in Jesus is precisely BECAUSE the seed of Christ is within every man! Were this not so, there would be no basis for reproof, because Paul wrote that "sin is not imputed when there is no law." (Rom. 5:13). This then is indeed, another proof text that the seed of Christ is in every man! More later as it develops!
Jan Austin Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 S. Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail
End Note "A": Echoes From The Fall
End Note "C": "Primrose Path To Gehenna"
End Note "D": The Origin And History Of The Doctrine Of Endless Punishment
The Glory Road
We would enjoy hearing from you!
Last edited on 11/07/08.