Given for the Saints at Medicalodge, Neosho, MO, on 6/29/03
"And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to his throne" (Rev. 12:5, Wesley).
No matter what denomination they belong to, most Christians are struggling with the tension between what the scriptures proclaim, the great and precious promises, by which we may participate in the divine nature (II Pet. 1:4), and what they see, feel and experience in their lives today. I've been having some interesting discussions on-line over the months with mature sons of God who have seen through the veil and know that in a very real sense, God is with us now as much as He ever will be. That has been a major theme in my writing as well, the annunciation, if you will, that Christ has come again. He is here, alive and well on planet earth; His arm is not shortened, nor His might abated, so that He can do today what He ever did. Having said that, there remains a great gulf fixed between what we know and see in Spirit and what we experience in flesh. There are some, who sweep the physical evidence under the rug lest the spiritual "crime scene investigators" find something tangible to disturb their world view. It reminds me of Christian Science doctrine, which invites you to believe, "You are not sick. You just think you are sick." This doctrine is modern day Gnosticism, which taught that Jesus didn't really get down into this messy flesh and blood realm, but only came in Spirit, which was how He remained perfect. The Apostle John said of that doctrine that it was the spirit of antichrist. He cried out against it saying, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father" (John 1:14, RSV). When we behold His glory, we too know that He lives in flesh, right here, right now!
The Apostle Peter proclaimed, "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we became eyewitnesses of that One's majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, a voice such as this being borne to Him by the magnificent glory: This is My Son, My Beloved, in whom I delight. And this voice we heard being borne out of heaven while we were with Him in the holy mountain" (II Pet 1:16-18, Recovery New Testament). What the Apostle was so passionately declaring was that the gospel they preached was not "cleverly invented stories" (NIV), designed to inflate the truth or enhance the reputation of the eyewitnesses to Christ's actual ministry on earth. I find it disturbing that many Christians today, tend to view the world as "us and them," i.e., anyone outside their religion can't be in God's (their) inner circle. This is elitism, not election, and has nothing to do with what God is doing or has ever done, in His sons.
A very revered writer in the sonship movement recently wrote, "To him that overcomes, and to none but him, will the King give to sit down with Him in His throne." By this and many other comments over time, he leads us to believe that whether or not we are manifested sons depends on our efforts, our overcoming, our pressing in on the calling we have. Every fiber of my being rises up against that line of thinking, for if ANYTHING depends on me, my salvation, my justification, my sanctification, my sonship, anything at all, there is doubt that it will ever be accomplished. If anything depends on Jan, I figure I'm toast already. However, if, as the Apostle Paul says in so many passages, if it depends only upon the will of my Father, then I'm securely placed in the kingdom along with anyone else who depends solely upon grace, not works, to get there (Rom. 11:6); "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Phil. 2:13, NIV). To Timothy, Paul wrote, "who (Christ) has saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" (II Tim. 1:9, NIV).
The Apostle Peter affirmed that we have everything in Christ NOW: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (II Pet. 1:3-4, NIV). This Apostle was among a VERY elite group indeed, one that could never be added to, i.e., the three disciples who were on the Mount of Transfiguration with Christ. So, if we have everything we need now, why am I disturbed by those who declare that we are fully manifested sons now?
In the first place, saying it is so does not make it so, as Peter declared so forcefully. He was an eyewitness of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Not only did He observe Jesus in action, but God flowed through him in great power, as this passage relates: "Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico.... And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed" (Acts 5: 12,14-16). Imagine the power that flowed through him so forcefully that even those upon whom his shadow was cast were healed. Wonderful! Thrilling! Let those who say God's sons are fully manifested now, explain to me why we do not have that same power flowing through us as well today, right now. Has God changed?
A friend pointed out in a recent e-mail that Jesus did not heal everyone in Judea and Galilee. That is true, but do we read anywhere that anyone came to Him for healing and was turned away unhealed? Remember the Canaanite woman who came to Him seeking a healing for her demon possessed daughter? (Matt. 15:22-27). He told her that He had come for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but she hung in there, saying, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table" (Vs. 27). Her persistence was rewarded, "Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly" (Vs 28). I woke up this morning understanding my frustration with the mouthing of manifested sonship. My first thought upon awakening was, "Is this all there is then? Am I to be satisfied with only this?"
I live with a husband who has pain 24/7. He gets some help from the spa the Lord provided for him as well as from pain medications, but those are just "Band-Aids, " which knock the pain down to maybe a 3 on a scale of 10, (1 being the best and 10 being the worst), but he always has some kind of pain in his body, all the time. In spite of that, he feels and sees and tastes the glory of God, and so in that sense, "Yes!" The sonship is complete in him, and there are moments of meditation with the Lord when he is caught up to the throne, raptured by the grace and unconditional love, mercy and kindness of God. He feels liberated from his body at those moments. The rest of the time, however, he hurts; his vision is getting worse due to macular degeneration, and I could go on, but you get the point here. In Spirit, he has the witness that our glorified bodies are very near now to being manifested in time, but if I thought that his present situation was all there is to hope for, I would be distraught, and in total despair. Moreover, the Father sent me to Medicalodge, where dear old Saints ask for prayer every week. Am I to tell them that all I can ever give them is WORDS with no power? I think not!
The scripture tells us there is MORE. If there were not more, then the Apostle Paul surely would not have said, "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom. 8:22-23, NIV). Is the creation still frustrated? Most certainly it is, from smog in the air to chemicals in our rivers and lakes, lead poisoning in our buildings, mercury in our sea food, and stinking thinking in our minds. And yet, Paul said that it was GOD who subjected the creation to frustration, and He did so in hope, "in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21).
The children of God do not YET have the redemption of our bodies, but we do have glorious freedom NOW, and because we do, I will speak the truth about our current situation. There's a children's fable called "The Emperor's New Clothes." In it, there were two crooks who conned the Emperor of a kingdom into believing they could weave exquisite cloth out of which they would make him a suit of marvelous new clothes. Anyone who could not see his clothes, they said, was a fool, enabling him to tell the foolish from the wise. So with great gusto, many words of assurance about how awesome it would be when he had these new clothes, they pretended to weave the cloth, cut it, and sew it into regal garments befitting the monarch. He was very stressed because he couldn't see the cloth at all, but if he said so, of course, it would prove that he himself was a fool. So when they asked him if the clothes were not indeed beautiful, he stood on first one foot and then the other and stammered, "Oh, yes, they are the most gorgeous clothes I've ever had!"
Came the day for the unveiling, and they caused a parade to be organized for the viewing of the royal garments. The Emperor, wearing his imaginary new attire (nothing at all, actually), sat in his carriage and was driven throughout the kingdom. His loyal subjects, who knew that if they couldn't see the clothes, they would be considered fools and probably banished, all proclaimed how magnificent the clothing was, how well it fit, and how good he looked, all except one little boy who stood by the side of the road and stared into the carriage as it passed. He exclaimed, "The Emperor does not have any beautiful clothes on. He is butt naked!" Well, folks, I am that little boy. "The Emperor's New Clothes" is a "cleverly devised story," a fable, but it serves to make a point, with a spiritual application for us all.
The "great and precious promises" however, are not a fictional device by which we prove whether we belong or not; whether we are manifested sons or not, whether we are accepted in the beloved or not. They are based upon the unchanging word of God to Abraham that in his seed, would ALL nations of the earth be blessed. That is happening everywhere right now. It is NOT a secret organization, a "you must say what we say and do what we do" to belong. It is God who called us as sons and God who will manifest us fully to the world according to His will and His good pleasure. It is God upon whom the promises rest, not upon our perception. We can twist truth here, tweak it a little there, take this verse and stack it up beside that verse, and get whatever we want out of it. The church I grew up in did that with such expertise that they convinced themselves that the Holy Spirit went back to heaven when the last Apostle died. And everyone who did not agree with their juxtaposition of holy writ was considered a fool, or worse, an apostate.
Let me be clear, I am not limiting God to what I can personally see with my natural eyes, hear with my natural ears, and reason with my natural mind. The Holy Spirit is alive and well in me, dear ones, which enabled me not only to survive the "liberation" of our personal possessions, our career and all the world holds dear, in California, but to thrive here in Missouri. I am regularly caught up in Spirit to Him who sits upon the Throne. I cherish the Father's ministration to me and through me. That's not what this is about. What I am saying is that the kingdom of God includes all creation and all flesh, not just those who believe they are on the fast track to God. The very brothers who proclaim the loudest that all will be saved, nevertheless exhibit an elitism which seems to indicate that, yes, all will be on the bus to glory, but some will have to sit at the back of it because they are not as worthy, not as diligent, not as close to God as they. Hog wash!
Who can equal the Apostle Paul's "service record," of "afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, watching, hunger; by purity, knowledge, forbearance, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left" (II Cor. 6:4-7, RSV). And yet, he was not puffed up about his credentials, or remorseful that God had treated him so poorly. He said instead, "Yet God forbid that I should boast about anything or anybody except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, which means that the world is a dead thing to me and I am a dead man to the world" (Gal. 6:14, Phillips).
Like Paul, many of the elect are being pressed on every side with physical maladies, emotional disturbances, family crises, financial ruination, and what I have come to is that this also, is a part of the manifestation of the sons of God! The heat and pressure we endure from these trials is what conforms us to His image and likeness. Someone sent us a beautiful little writing called, "The Cross of Christ," a parable spoken by a slab of stone, which feels that it is being ruined, destroyed and disfigured when the sculptor uses a chisel to cut it and mold it.
I e-mailed that piece to a number of people, and one brother sent the following, which fits perfectly here: "Jan, you hit a nerve with the sculpture analogy. I've been sculpting wood and metal about 30 years now. I'm currently in the phase of a large sculpture that requires the heating and bending of a mass of metal around a sharp radius...to make it "conform" to the framework. Only with great heat, force, pressure and finesse can this unwieldy mass of metal be shaped in such a way... yet too much force and it is ruined...hmmmm. Imagine what I've been thinking...and then your e-mail arrived...a wonderful word picture of what is happening to us." End Quote.
Father, thank You that You use everything that happens to us, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, painful and joyful to conform us into Your image and likeness. We wait for the ultimate unveiling of Your work in us, a work which was finished before the foundation of the world. Amen, Jan Antonsson
Jan and Lenny Antonsson
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
"Unveiled by His Grace"
The Glory Road
We always enjoy hearing from you!
This page was uploaded to the web on 6/25/03
by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister,
and last edited on 10/27/08.