After having gone through a circuit tour through how life, in general, has progressed after the Fall, we need to go back to the ideal beginning and see what it really was, what it signifies to us now in the un-ideal world of fallen humans, and what is in store for those who will inherit the ideal fruit of Eternal Life.
This Key of Truth we have presented did not merely come as an afterthought that Paul inserted into his letter to the Corinthians; neither is it in any way unrelated to the whole plan of God to create a Universe out of His wisdom and populate it with humans created in His image – His Spirit-Being or His Being Spirit – to become part of His Heavenly Kingdom. On the contrary, at that stage in the life of the first disciples who had accepted the Gospel, i.e., Greek-speaking Gentiles whose love for wisdom was proverbial, someone had to expound on the basic message of Christ to help them comprehend more deeply.
Peter did not have the education, experience and cultural acuity Paul had to introduce the principle to the majority of the world’s population, as represented by those first converts to the Organic Faith who would also eventually pass on the knowledge to succeeding generations up to our times. Not to say he did not have the same “mind of Christ” that Paul had. Perhaps, the Spirit revealed the truth to Paul (the miraculous gift of wisdom given by the Spirit to specific persons who then passed it on through teaching or writing) which Peter admitted having read in Paul’s letters and found “some things hard to understand”. (2 Pet. 3:14-16) Who can question the Spirit’s prerogative to give a word of prophecy to a person (e.g., Agabus in Acts 11:28; 21:10-11) and to him or her alone? Or a word of knowledge (perhaps, a mystery or a revelation, as John received)?
The problem today is that many think what is written contains the totality of God’s wisdom and revelation in fixed, black-and-white, unalterable, un-editable and unchangeable words that contain only one meaning or interpretation – and, as the case often is, it is the one they have received from their preacher, priest or manual of faith. Remember the seals in the Book of Revelation? Some secrets or mysteries remain hidden. But the Holy Spirit alone will “guide (us) into all truth”, as we abide in the Word of Christ He (the H.S.) unveils in our minds. (John 16:13)
Think of this: If Paul had not received that knowledge of the Key of Truth and written about it, where would we be? If he had not said that we can have the mind of Christ, who among us today would dare claim we have it, without the example and authority from a divinely-qualified-and-authorized messenger?
Perhaps, what we accept today individually as The Faith contains but part of what the Spirit wants us to fully understand later on. If Paul saw dimly at one point, did he remain blurry-eyed all his life? Did he not say he would end up “knowing” and also being “known”? And by whom will he be known: God or other believers? If it were God, then He is not omniscient if He did not know Paul at any time; therefore, it must be us who have not divined the significance of his writings. In short, we can know Paul’s message which he received from the Holy Spirit. How can he know alone while others cannot? DUH to us all!!! And HURRAH for Paul alone!!! Why would Paul give us the Spirit’s Key of Truth and not expect us to gain the same knowledge he was tasked to impart?
Consider John: Did he see things Paul did not? Did he understand some mysteries Paul or Peter never understood? John died after all the rest of the apostles had died. So, he must have known some new revelations others before him never had. Perhaps, we are better off than some of the apostles because we have the whole record before us. Or, we are just as blessed or even more so; for in spite of not having seen Christ, we still believe and now have the complete record for us to see and understand. How? Not by council, synod, conference or summit meeting. Only through the Holy Spirit who transforms us from glory to glory, from knowledge to knowledge, from heights to heights. Mt. Everest is much lower than the sky, which is much lower than the Moon, which is much lower than the stars, which are much lower than heavens, which are much lower than God, Who fills and rules over everything.
But how can we be sure we can know the Truth? Did not the noble Bereans check the Scriptures if what the apostles taught them were correct? It was not to disprove the message, although it was a possibility if false teachers did come. It was to prove that indeed what they heard was what the Spirit had revealed to the inspired individuals – both the old prophet and the new evangelist. After all, they only had the Old Testament. How did they prove Paul’s gospel then, written as well on parchment but with freshly-dried ink? They used, firstly, the accepted authority (writings of the prophet, such as Moses or Isaiah) to verify Paul’s message. If the prophets prophesied the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem and that He will escape to Egypt, become a Nazarene and a Galilean – a vagabond childhood-life familiar to many of us, then Christ was the Messiah because He claimed and proved all those facts. And many more amazing proofs the apostles and many people witnessed, each one fulfilling other prophecies. Yes, all through the operation of the Holy Spirit empowering those messengers to plant the seeds of the Kingdom to come.
Paul was then just one of thousands who benefited from the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the first disciples through nourishing the seeds and making them grow. Humans plant; the Spirit nurtures. And they ALL harvest the fruits! As an unlikely apostle, therefore, his task was to bring the Gospel to a highly-intellectual yet confused world (has it ever changed?) that had the privilege of being the birthing place of the Spiritual Kingdom that Daniel promised would destroy all the other kingdoms of the world. Christ came to fulfill that prophesy and the only way to accomplish that was to send 12 messengers whom He made sure carried the right message. They could not have done it without the Holy Spirit – the Helper Whom Christ promised He would send in order to remind them of His words. (John 14:26; 15:26)
As with all the apostles, therefore, Paul’s duty then was to give the Key to Truth and Knowledge and not just the body of the message he had received, whether exclusively or in common with the rest of the apostles. The Word, the Old Testament specifically, had remained a great mystery until that period; so, what people needed was the unlocking code or password which opened the classified files of Heaven. Certainly, the other apostles also had their way of saying the same principle. For instance, James said his works proved his faith and that the body without the spirit was dead. (James 2:14-26) For both the unseen and the seen are one in the Truth; and both, likewise, serve to testify to the Truth. The Truth, in fact, may still exist in Heaven because angels can see spirit and God, their basis for Truth and Reality; whereas, our basis for Truth and Reality is the visible. Without signs, Jews did not believe. And without the Bible, who would believe the Gospel today? Yet, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, as well as through our limitations. Even in societies where it is prohibited, the Gospel could not be stifled. For the Book of John – or even a part of it — is more than enough to convince and convert any non-believer. We thank God there is Internet now and that His knowledge has exploded and spread.
Adam and Eve, however, had no weaknesses and limitations. But only until they listened to the serpent. We will visit them in their pristine condition and prove our Key of Truth works for them as well. For they were flesh and spirit just like us. What they saw, felt, heard, tasted, savored and understood, we also experience in our present corrupted world. What did they have we do not have?
They talked and walked with God. No, they did not die at the sight of God’s glory; for Adam and Eve shared God’s glory in the beginning. Some would say God took the form of humans so He could walk in the Garden. But did not God cover Moses’ face with His hand in order to prevent him from seeing His face? And that Jesus transfigured into His divine glory and talked to Moses and Elijah, whom Peter, James and John recognized as they watched spellbound? (Luke 9:28-35) By the way, the three did not die. And Moses and Elijah, likewise, were still very much alive!
Whatever “physical” manifestations or similarities with the material world the Spirit possesses, that we can use to describe the real spiritual nature of Deity and spirit; for we can only go along with the testimony of the Written Word. Because if there were no such “similarities”, even Creation and the very life we have would be meaningless, since we were made in the “likeness” or “image” of God – so there! If God, then, did walk and talk with humans at first, He has a face, feet and, as we said, hands as well. He spoke the language of humans; or more precisely, He gave humans a language. He showed His entire Creation and explained the meanings and purposes of all things. With only 3 chapters of the entire narrative, aside from the Book of Enoch which gives some details, would God intentionally leave something vital out from the record?
What we need to read again is the final part of the discourse between God and humans where He warned them against eating the Forbidden Fruit. If you eat, you will die. What did that mean to Adam and Eve? If you were born today and talked to God and learned you were made in His image of glory, would you understand what death is? Certainly not. Today, we do, after having seen dead people. But what about Adam and Eve? What did death mean to them?
Many may assume Adam and Eve had no conception of what death meant. After all, they did not die right after sinning. And if Eve had died first, Adam and his children would have had the first view of what death meant. Or Adam could have died first. So, why would God talk of death to Adam and Eve? Let us try to understand what God meant with death, for all of us.
First, the fact that humans shared God’s glory gives us an idea that life in Eden was a billion-billion times over more beautiful and grander than what we have now. To pick a fruit and eat it to give you energy for the whole day or week was something God must have shown Adam and Eve by example. Well, if He has prepared a wedding feast in Heaven for us, would He not eat of it as well? Why would He place the Tree of Life in the middle of New Jerusalem if He will not eat of it Himself?
“Eating” may be a natural word or action, but it certainly has a spiritual truth or meaning. If Christ would ask us to “eat His body” and expect us to understand it to mean “believe Him”, why could we not accept that eating in Heaven has a higher spiritual meaning as well? (John 4:34: 6:35-58) For now, eating is nothing but eating food, period. And Adam and Eve ate and were filled just as we eat and are also filled. It was part of living and of the joys of living, just as we enjoy food today. A caveat to all: Keep away from the too delicious food!
Second, Adam and Eve saw beauty all around them and felt its grandeur and majesty. The designs and functions of every creature and object were clearly spelled out to them by God. The Sun, Moon, stars and the Earth moved and operated according to a universal law from God and all of them served to make life for all possible and perfect. And they had undiminishing strength and energy to roam around and care for Creation non-stop. A snack of fruits, nuts and berries while leaning against a tree and enjoying the cool shade for a moment and you are good to go again for another tour of Paradise where newborn animals wait to be fed and petted and young plants need to be watered and cared for.
Life, then, was an entirely different game for them. Who would want it all to stop? Perhaps, we would, if we were as old and tired as our aged parents and grandparents. Or if we were terribly sick and spent.
Third, Creation depended on humans to make it exist and grow as God had planned: pleasant and fruitful in order to sustain human life, especially the coming generations He had wanted to also enjoy the same privileges. Perpetuating Creation in its pristine condition was the divine task delegated to Adam and Eve. As God’s stewards, their primary responsibility was to maintain their good relationship with God and Creation and to make it even more meaningful by passing it on to their offspring. Bequeathing the gifts to others was exactly what God had done to them: giving them life in Eden. The lesson on reproduction was clearly shown to them through Nature and their own bodies. Dominion over all things required humans, first of all, to have dominion over their own lives, will, attitudes and actions.
Finally, death had to be taught as a reality — and as a warning against violating the whole plan we have described above. Life is a covenant between God and humans. Hence, It was abundant in Eden, unlike in our world today. Unless you talk of spiritual life; but that is what we aim for here – and what we could also have. But how to teach death to super-humans? What would you tell Adam and Eve?
Exactly what God said: If you eat of the Forbidden Fruit you will die. And you will return to the ground as dust. For you are from dust and will return to dust if you disobey. That is death in clear, graphic and nitty-gritty words!
With all the beauty and glory around them and in the face of the majesty and grandeur of the Creator, the concept of death comes as quite an unlikely, if not a laughable, idea or prospect to spoiled, perpetual humans. Or to gods, essentially! (The Greeks and the Romans already knew the narrative and made myths out of it, although, in a way, they believed their myths more than we do the Truth today.) But, certainly, Adam and Eve believed God as He pointed to the dust on the ground. They must have known how the soil fed the trees with minerals and water and how the trees produced fruits that they ate to give them nourishment and energy. And what was that thing that came out of their butts after eating? Did they see it dry up and become soil or dust again? Come on! We use nice, perfumed and fancy commode seats to hide the reality of our dustness today and succeed in prolonging our agony through clean living, good food and medicines. But death and corruption come to all.
Simple and enjoyable though eating was, God tied that human act to a spiritual condition which was also already clear and pleasant to Adam and Eve. That is, life was grand and sharing God’s glory was everything to them. But eating or disobeying would have forfeited all those privileges.
The point is: Adam and Eve knew what death meant. It was not a spiritual truth and spiritual word they could not fathom. Disobedience to God’s command (spiritual idea) through eating a fruit (spiritual thing or action) led to spiritual death (losing all privileges of perpetual life in Eden) and physical death (returning back all they had received to Creation and to God – body and spirit).
For as long as they remained faithful, they had life as it was given at first. After they sinned, they felt guilt and slowly aged and eventually died. Thus, the cycles of life we have described in the previous part. The death of Adam and Eve could only be undone by the death of the Seed of Eve (Christ), that is, the physical, sacrificial death of Messiah (serpent’s sting on the heel of the Seed – the spiritual action or thing) in order for the Seed to destroy death (the Seed will crush the serpent’s head – the spiritual truth or idea) or, in essence, to undo the work of Satan and to reclaim Eternal Life for humans (The Ultimate Truth!). (Gen. 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:54-57) Christ finished that work and the Spirit reveals it today through Scriptures. We have the complete Spiritual Truth to help us go back to where the Tree of Life stands and the River of Life flows. (Rev. 22:1-2)
By the way, the Tree of Life bears 12 fruits monthly – the spiritual picture of New Jerusalem combines our spiritual words (tree and fruits) to show us beforehand that we will live like Adam and Eve again in that New City where we will savor the Spiritual Truth (Eternal Life and Bliss with God) promised to the faithful believers. Moreover, the streets on that city are paved with gold. Who cares if the streets are real gold and not spiritual or heavenly gold (which will be much, much better, whatever it is!)? I will settle for real gold anytime!
The testimony of John is enough — and more than we can all handle for now. The issue is: Do you believe his witness at all? We have given two or more witnesses to the reality that the Key to Truth works and applies to all things, whether in Nature, in our lives or in the Written Word. How foolish would you be not to believe?
God’s revealed Wisdom or Truth is the crucial piece of evidence and the only tool Christ bequeathed to accomplish His plan. What we have now is Christ’s Word spoken by the Holy Spirit in its entirety but not necessarily in its fullness – that is, the height, length, depth and width that the message is capable of creating in any person’s life. Meaning, what we read can lead us to see words (letters) only but not the true spirit of the word (spiritual meaning), the physical object alone but not the heavenly connotation, the mere religious/denominational/parochial application but not the spiritual truth, the inanimate language but not the Living Spirit. The Bible is a complete written message of life and salvation; but it is not the infinite Spirit Who is willing to live in the heart of a person who reads, understands and practices the message. It is only the seed whose fruit is a spiritually-alive person. A coconut fruit is full of live-sustaining proteins, vitamins and minerals; but it is not the life itself. We have life even before we received renewed strength upon eating food; and we have a living spirit before having received new life through partaking and digesting the Word of the Living Holy Spirit.
Christ had promised that the Holy Spirit would bring to the apostles the whole truth when He will be given to them to be their Comforter and Advocate. Meaning, what Christ had said to them was either incomplete (“He will tell you things to come”) or not fully understood by the apostles (“I still have many things to say to you; but you cannot bear them now”). (John 16:12-13) If the first applied, then the Holy Spirit was responsible for completing it. In fact, Christ said what He received came from the Father and the Holy Spirit will take from what is “of mine” (of Christ) and give it to the apostles. It was obvious that the apostles did not understand everything yet before the Holy Spirit had been given to them. And, it follows, they also had to learn from Him, not in a miraculous instant (although there were cases of such revelation, according to their faith and to their specific roles) but in a life-long process of learning. (John 16:14-15)
In the Garden, Christ no longer used figures of speech. Rather, He talked plainly and the apostles did not find Him hard to understand. Nevertheless, it was obvious they did not really get the whole plan of salvation He was still about to accomplish through the cross. Peter would, in fact, deny Him thrice. They did not even know where He was going and what He meant with “a little while, and you will not see Me”. (John 16:16) Our Key of Truth is basically a means of understanding the Truth using figures of speech. But at that moment, Christ merely wanted to make it clear He was going to the Father. What other figure of speech or thought-word combination could He have used to tell them so? Only John could have given them (actually, to us, although only in writing) the vision of Christ in all His glory in Heaven. (Rev. 19-22) But how anti-climactic and what a spoiler it would have been if Christ had given the same vision before He went to the cross!
As we have mentioned earlier in this series, language is God’s tool to reveal the spiritual realities hidden from our sight. He uses Nature and the things that He has given humans in order to bring out His will for them and for all Creation. Hence, He gave marriage as the means through which Adam and Eve can populate the Earth and share life with more and more humans. Plants and animals did not reproduce merely as an afterthought or an illustration for humans but in order to supply the whole Earth with food for millions of humans who will be born from the seeds of Adam and Eve. If Noah had a wife and three sons with their wives to care for the Ark and its thousands of animal passengers, Adam and Eve had the whole planet to care for in perpetuity, as the plan was meant to be.
Having lost proper dominion over the Earth, Adam and Eve were placed under a curse and the whole Creation delivered under the dominion of the spirit that has taken over it. We can probably surmise that what transpired between God and Satan with respect to Job had also occurred with respect to Creation. Meaning, if Satan tested Adam and Eve and succeeded in tempting them to eat of the forbidden fruit, he would claim rule over the Earth. For he did offer the kingdoms of this world to Christ, but then Christ refused because He would overcome Satan through His death instead. Having done so, Christ has taken back dominion over all Creation and those He had redeemed by their faith, one person at a time. From 12 apostles, He reproduced His Kingdom-followers through the message given by the Holy Spirit and continues to do so until the time when He will deliver the Kingdom to the Father and send His enemies to where they should belong.
When the Holy Spirit completes His work, then it will be His time to gather the living and the dead through resurrecting the dead so that all humans who ever lived will see and welcome the return of Christ. Yes, the Holy Spirit was there in the beginning of the Old Creation, He is here in the Kingdom of Christ, and He will be there at the Resurrection and the New Creation in order to unite Himself and us all with the Father and the Son.
The role of the Holy Spirit is not a stop-gap work in the absence of Christ. He is the Life-Giver, the Sole-Teacher, the Truth-Giver, the Soul-Perfecter, the Power-Source, the Resurrection-Maker and the Unity-Finalizer. Yes, what we cannot accomplish through uniting as one under the One Organic Faith, the Holy Spirit will accomplish at the last moments of this dying Creation. He will cause an irresistible spiritual flame to burn which will engulf nations in the last days before Christ returns. This life-giving flame will cause a revival of the pure message of Christ which will be preached and nothing will stand against it. The preaching will be so effective and widespread that the whole Earth will be overwhelmed by the full and final unleashing of the power of the Holy Spirit against all lies and unrighteousness. (Eph. 6:14-20; Rev. 19:15, 21) Pentecost Day, circa A.D. 33, will pale in comparison to that coming event
Finally, the Holy Spirit is the Spiritual Temple (spiritual idea or meaning) of our true worship in spirit and in truth, with our body as the physical temple (spiritual word or object). For He, in effect, has proper and complete dominion today over the Kingdom of Christ upon the surface of the Earth while the Father and Christ rule over the whole Universe in preparation for the great resolution of things when Earth will be taken away and destroyed along with the rest of all Creation. Only the saved, the firstfruits and the finalfruits of the spiritual work of God, will remain to receive the reward reserved only for perfected spirits – Heavenly Jerusalem.
God created life in the beginning through the power of His Word. The Word was with God then and was manifested to and beheld by the apostles as He dwelt among humans. The Word redeemed that life through His death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit, likewise, was with the Word in the beginning, creating life and all things. Today, we can have life in abundance through the testimony of the Holy Spirit through the written Word. Although Christ reigns in Heaven, His Word is with us, not just in books but living in us through the Holy Spirit.
The Word is One with the Lord, the Holy Spirit. They share the same glory they had with the Father in the beginning. Christ has not abandoned His disciples without His real presence in their lives. The Holy Spirit is the “guarantee deposit” given for that promised Eternal Life. (Eph. 1:13-14) He is the “assurance of things unseen” living in us; for the faith we gain comes through the witness of the Spirit. Through Organic Faith revealed by the Spirit we can fully understand the Wisdom or Truth of God.
We will finally consider some of the fallacies introduced through the ages that have corrupted the message of the Word, in the next part.
(Note:Highlighted Bible citations are linked to www.biblegateway.com.)