God looks at and judges man’s works on the earth. This is man’s responsibility before God. God is looking for fruit which is pleasing to Him. It can only be produced when man is obedient to God. Adam, in the garden and in innocence, had one command to obey. He was deceived, believed the devil, and disobeyed God. Man was no longer in innocence, he was fallen, and this because of his failure in responsibility to God. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil now represents man’s responsibility and his failure when tested. Graciously, man was cut off from the tree of life and evicted from the garden. Having an immortal sinner would have been intolerable to God and would have no place in His plans.

The Principle of Responsibility

All mankind individually is responsible to God. He has revealed Himself to all men by His creation, so that all are without excuse.

Romans 1:19-20

“…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”

He has given this revelation to every man without exception. All are responsible to God, and are held accountable without excuse.

This is why all mankind, individually, will be judged by their works. And from the garden on, all men are fallen and sinners, and under the mastery of the principle of sin (Rom. 5:12, John 8:34). All man’s works, all his righteousness, is filthy rags before God (Is. 64:6). His works are his failures in responsibility. His works are his sins, and he will be judged for them. And the failure of man in responsibility before God is universal. “…we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin…that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom. 3:9, 19, 23) The blame for this universal failure of man in responsibility before God goes no further than the simple fact that the principle of sin is universally passed from Adam to all mankind – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world…” (Rom. 5:12) “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.” (Rom. 3:9)

God’s testing of Man in Responsibility

The history of mankind in the Scriptures, from his removal from paradise to the coming of Messiah to Israel, is the history of God’s testing of man in the principle of responsibility. What is paramount to understand concerning this entire period of testing is that man is fallen and a lost sinner. The entire time he is utterly depraved, a man in the flesh, and a man in the first Adam. Regardless of what God did or how He privileged some, the man being tested was under the mastery of sin (John 8:34). The outcome of the testing was predictable to God. When He looked for fruit in man, even from His privileged people Israel, He found absolutely nothing (Matt. 21:19). It was proven that man in the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:8). In the flesh there is no good thing (Rom. 7:18). Without exception, man in Adam was a universal failure.

  • Adam failed in what God had entrusted him with – obedience to the one command.
  • Israel failed immediately with the law, building a golden calf as the tablets of stone were brought down the mountain.
  • Aaron’s sons failed on their first day of service, offering strange fire and falling dead under the judgment of God.       Aaron never again is free to enter the holy place as he wills, and never again wears the holy garments of his consecrated priesthood.
  • Saul fails as Israel’s first king, a man chosen after the appearance of the flesh.
  • Although given glory and riches by God, Solomon’s heart turns from God by foreign wives and their idols. Israel’s kingdom is divided in two from that point on.
  • Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold in the great image of the Gentile powers. He fails by joining religious idolatry with civil power in the kingdom of Babylon.
  • Israel’s final failure in responsibility was crucifying their own Messiah and King when God came and visited them.

During much of the time of God’s testing of man, Israel served as the test case. God had chosen them and privileged them above all other peoples. They were given the covenants, the tabernacle, the glory of God in their midst, the calling, the oracles of God, the law, the priesthood, etc. In Israel’s last testing, representing mankind in Adam, God sent His Son to them. They took the Son, threw Him out of the vineyard, and killed Him (Matt. 21:33-41).[65]

At this time God had finished the testing of man in responsibility. The result was fully brought out. When man had no law, he produced intolerable sin and lawlessness (Rom. 1, 2). Under the law, he produced offences and transgressions. When he was visited by grace and goodness, he rejected God and cast Him out. The testing proved that man naturally produced sin and could not be subject to the law of God (Rom. 8:7). It proved that the mind of the flesh was nothing but enmity against God – not only when God gave the law and was their Judge, but also when God came to them Himself, showing grace and mercy. They would not have it. Such was man proven to be when tested.

Sin and guilt were complete as to human responsibility. Israel had killed the servants sent, and then they killed the Son. When Messiah came to Israel and was rejected, the time of testing was over. God had proven man in Adam was dead in sin (Eph. 2:1), a comprehensive failure, and without recourse. Man’s history was complete.[66] God universally condemns all mankind. At this time God condemns the world (John 12:31).

It is not that the principle of responsibility just disappears. Rather, it is that the testing by God was finished. It had proved that man in Adam could not be saved, could not be changed, could not be fixed, and literally could not be remedied.[67]Why else would God condemn man in Adam? Why else would God, at that time, condemn the world? After God did all He could for man in Adam, and this was played out by all the ways God had privileged the Jews, He simply found no fruit (Matt. 21:18-19).

Responsibility in Adam and the Believer’s Redemption

However, this failure of man also served to open the way for a dispensation far more excellent and glorious in the wisdom of God. With the testing of responsibility complete and the entire world condemned, Israel and their promises set aside, God turns to the establishment of sovereign grace through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man.

An in-depth discussion of the redemptive work of the Son of Man is not my purpose here, and will have to wait for another time. However, the principle of responsibility in man is deeply connected to Christ’s work. Apart from His redemptive work all men will be required to stand on their own, by themselves, before God. God will judge the unbeliever’s responsibility, and by his works he is guaranteed condemnation.

It is the believer who has an entirely different situation in relation to this principle of responsibility. The true Christian is‘justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.’ (Rom. 3:24) The believer, by virtue of his new position ‘in Christ’, has had his responsibility in Adam already judged by God. That is why Christ was made to be sin for the believer (II Cor. 5:23). He was condemned by God. God did what the law could not do by condemning sin in the flesh. In order for God to accomplish this, and for Him to be glorified by it, Jesus had to come in the likeness of sinful flesh. Jesus was made to be ‘sin’ and God condemned ‘sin’ in the flesh, that is, God condemned Jesus on the cross (Rom. 8:3).

Jesus bore the believer’s sins away – that is the scapegoat sent out into the wilderness with the sins of the people on its head. Jesus also put away ‘sin’ by the sacrifice of Himself – this is the other goat that was sacrificed, its blood sprinkled in the holiest, and its body burnt on the Day of Atonement.[68] “For the wages of ‘sin’ is death…” (Rom. 6:23) He had to be a sacrifice and die for the principle of ‘sin’. There are great redemptive truths associated with these thoughts. The believer’s responsibility in the first Adam was our sins, and these He bore away forever. The believer’s responsibility has been met by Christ in the cross. Jesus then becomes ‘life’ for the believer in righteousness.

In Christ and in the cross, God again takes up the question of the two trees (of the garden), but no longer requiring or forbidding, but by acting on behalf of man in grace. God gives life – life in Christ; then Christ takes all the consequences of our responsibility on Himself. In Christ it is all put away – our sins, our judgment, and our condemnation. God having been perfectly glorified in His work, places redeemed men, according to His sovereign grace, in His own glory. Only here can man find the reconciliation of responsibility and the possession of life – the two trees. It was only through sovereign grace. It was the act and work of God. He has given His only begotten Son that we might live through Him, and that He would be the propitiation for our sins through His blood and death. This is the two trees of paradise united in one, responsibility and life, in Christ Jesus for us.

God solves in sovereign grace what could never be solved in any other way. Certainly the law could not do this. It could not solve the dilemma. The law only pointed out the problem, requiring and demanding man’s perfect responsibility toward God and his neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). The law made these demands after man became a sinner, now without strength and resources. The law never gave man any power or strength to do other than what he was doing as a sinner. God does, by the cross, what the law absolutely could not accomplish (Rom. 8:3).[69] Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 5:21). The believer’s responsibility is met, He is our life.

Life First, then Responsibility

Our failure in all our responsibility as unbelievers is met by the cross. The true Christian enters into responsibility on a new ground, and in a new position. We are ‘in Christ’ and we are in this position as a ‘new creation.’ (II Cor. 5:17). This is something that did not previously exist. That is the simple reason why man in Adam, man in the flesh, could not be brought there. This is not man in the first Adam, but it is the new creation in the second Adam. This position is entirely new. In Christ, we are sons of God. The believer has a place at the right hand of God. The Son of Man is in the glory of God, and God has given us a place and standing in Him. This is where the believer’s responsibility issues from – his new position as a son of God in the house of his Father.[70]

The Son of God was manifested in this world to reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27). This is the revelation of the name of God as Father, and it is uniquely Christian. The saints are taken into a relationship with the Almighty and Eternal God as children to a father, in the satisfaction of eternal life given to them. “I will be a Father unto you…” (II Cor. 6:18) Only those who possess the Spirit of adoption and who actually are His children born of Him can answer to this relationship with God as Father. The sons of the Father possess the nature and Spirit of the Father. We know God as our Father, and it is eternal life to know Him as such (John 17:2-3).

The two trees – the tree of responsibility and the tree of life – are now together in grace.   To reiterate, under the law and with the Jews the principle was that responsibility is first, and then life (Rom. 10:5, Gal. 3:10-12, 5:3). What was by the law mimics what we found in the garden – responsibility first in Adam being given a command, then life to follow.   However under grace the principle is life given first, and then the believer walks in responsibility. We find that the responsibility of the Christian flows from the position and relationship he is now in. Previously our responsibility was in Adam, because our position was in Adam. Now it is in Christ. Our responsibility is not as a child of Adam, but as a child of God. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places, we are sons of God (Eph. 2:6, Gal. 3:26). We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). We are the epistle of Christ (II Cor. 3:2-3), known and read by all men.

The Believer’s Responsibility from his New Position

If the believer is in Christ, then Christ is in the believer (John 14:20). We being in Christ, He represents us in the presence of God. He is our righteousness, or better, the righteousness of God for us. But Christ living in the believer is for the purpose of showing forth Jesus Christ in us to the world. Are we doing this? This is our responsibility in testimony before the world. Christ is before God, where He fully and perfectly represents the believer (John 16:10). We are in Him as He is in the presence of God on our behalf (Heb. 9:24). But Christ is also in us, and we represent Him in testimony before the world. We are to bear witness to Him while He is away in heaven, hidden in God (Col. 3:1-3). We do this on His behalf, in the presence of the world. The believer is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, and the life of Jesus is to be manifested in our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:9, Gal. 2:20, II Cor. 4:11). This is our responsibility as individual Christians.

God is light. In Him there is no darkness (I John 1:5). As long as Jesus was in the world, He was the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5). The believer’s responsibility is to walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7).

Ephesians 5:8                                                                                                                 

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

Our walk is always by faith and our walk is only the time we spend on this earth. Actually, what the Scriptures teach about following Jesus is that He was on a road heading out of this world. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matt. 8:20, Luke 9:58) We are to walk as children of light while we are in the wilderness, because God is light and He is our Father. We do not simply walk in the light, but walk as light in this sinful world.   There is a level of difference between these two thoughts. It is one thing to walk in the light, it is another thing to be the light. While Christ was in the world He was the light, and the disciples walked in it. After He left, the Comforter was given, the Spirit of sonship, by which they were sealed as sons, as children of light. In Christ we are the light of God in this world. This is our new position, this is the relationship we have from which flows our individual responsibility as believers – we are children of God, we are children of light.

Ephesians 5:1-2      

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

Imitators of God

In our walk on this earth we are to imitate God. We can do this, as believers, because we have been made partakers of His divine nature (II Peter 1:4). We cannot imitate God’s power and strength, His wisdom and knowledge, or His sovereign rights. These are divine attributes in which He is transcendent above all created things. But we are to imitate God morally, having been made partakers of the divine nature, morally. We walk in the light and walk in love, because God is light and God is love. We are to walk in this world as Christ walked in this world (I John 1:6). Individually, we are responsible to walk in love for the brethren, with Jesus as our example. And this was His commandment to His followers, who are to walk as He walked; “…that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12, II John 1:5-6)[71]

Ephesians 4:30       

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

The Holy Spirit is God dwelling in you as an individual believer, and this is eternally. He is not a guest that is going to leave someday. He dwells in the true Christian forever. As believers, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and there is no indication in the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit will ever leave you, even when you are glorified. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever…for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17) This makes it the believer’s responsibility to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who dwells in him (I Cor. 6:17-20).

Is the Christian beyond responsibility? Do we have none because Jesus bore our responsibility and satisfied the penalty for it on the cross? What He bore was our responsibility as a product of our life in Adam. The believer has died with Christ and no longer exists in his old position and relationships. The believer’s responsibility is according to a new place, not according to the one he failed in and was saved out of. Our responsibility is now as a son of God.

The Principle of Responsibility in a Corporate Body

The nation of Israel was the chosen people of God. As a nation and as a people they had responsibility based on the profession of the name of their God Jehovah. As a nation they had a corporate responsibility. This principle is easily seen in the following passage:

Ezekiel 36:16-38

(16) “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: (17) “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity. (18) Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. (19) So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. (20) When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’(21) But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went.

(22) “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. (23) And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. (24) For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. (25) Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. (26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (27) I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (28) Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (29) I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you.(30) And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. (31) Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. (32) Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!”

(33) ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. (34) The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. (35) So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ (36) Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.”

(37) ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. (38) Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”’”

This passage may be lengthy for one to read, but it contains numerous Scriptural principles worth pointing out. The last one in the listing below is the responsibility of a corporate body, like Israel, in its profession and representation of the name of God. For the Jews, God had made Himself known to them by the name Jehovah (Ex. 6:2-4).[72]

  • We see that the future restoration spoken of by Jehovah in the passage is of the nation of Israel, and hasn’t taken place yet. This passage alone should be sufficient enough to settle in all doctrine the distinction between Israel and the church. Jehovah speaks of the time when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land and defiled it. He speaks of how He scattered Israel among the nations, dispersing them throughout the countries. How can this ever be thought of as the church? The body of Christ was formed by the Holy Spirit gathering out of the nations! When the above passage speaks of restoration, Jehovah says, “Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers.” (v. 28) The church doesn’t have fathers! The church doesn’t have a promised piece of land! It is Israel restored according to prophecy in the end, not the church.       It is impossible to spiritualize this prophecy to the church.


  • The future restoration of Israel is not because of Israel, for anything they had done, or for anything they were or become, in and of themselves. Their restoration is for the glory of Jehovah and the hallowing of His name.       Israel, when initially in the land, had only profaned the name of Jehovah (v. 17). The sins and evils were done by the people of the Lord.       This associated sin and evil with the name of Jehovah. Their presence now scattered among the nations only continues the profaning of the name of Jehovah (v. 20, 21). Why?       Again, it is because Jehovah could not keep this nation in the land He originally gave them, and the Gentiles remark, “These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.” (v. 20)


  • The reason why the future restoration of Israel glorifies God is because it is His sovereign work alone (v. 23). I will take you, I will gather you, and I will bring you (v. 24). Then I will sprinkle you and I will cleanse you (v. 25). What He does as His sovereign work just continues on in the passage (v. 26, 27). Then Israel will dwell in the land that God gave to their fathers (v. 28). “…you shall be My people, and I will be your God.” This prophetic phrase, regardless of where and which prophecy it is found in, always is speaking of Israel being restored at the beginning of the millennium. It is a phrase by which God acknowledges them again, as His people, consequent to setting aside their calling for thousands of years. Presently, they are not His people, and He is not their God (Hos. 1:9). The end for Israel is dependent on Jehovah being faithful to His promises to the patriarchs.


  • Israel’s restoration in the end is all physical blessings on the earth and in their promised land (vs. 29, 30, 33-38). Israel has an earthly calling, which is very different from the believer’s heavenly calling. All God’s promises to their fathers were earthly blessings to be fulfilled in a land that was promised to the descendants of the patriarchs.       Certainly all their sins are forgiven (v. 25, 29, 33) and Jehovah places His Spirit in them (26, 27), but it is for the reason that by sovereign grace they will do the law that He writes on their minds and hearts (v. 27, Jer. 31:33). By Israel finally being obedient in doing the law, and this is not until their restoration at the beginning of the millennium, they receive all the physical blessings associated with doing the law listed in Deuteronomy 28.[73]


  • Israel’s responsibility as the people of Jehovah, as a corporate entity, is easily seen in the passage. It is an association with the profession of His name. It was the house of Israel that profaned the name of Jehovah, both in the land and scattered among the nations. This was their failure in responsibility. Also we can see how judgment is connected to failure in the principle. (Also compare Rom. 2:23-25)

The Responsibility of Christendom

The church world has an association with the profession of the name of God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (I John 2:22-23, 4:14-15, 5:10-13). Professing Christianity on the earth has a corporate responsibility before God. The entire crop of wheat and tares in the field has only one candlestick that burns before this dark and depraved world. The candlestick is the totality of the light of Christendom’s testimony in representing God and Jesus Christ, in words and actions, in the world and on the earth.[74]

The church doesn’t exist until after the Son of Man was glorified to the right hand of God, and the Holy Spirit was sent down (Eph. 1:19-23, John 7:39, I Cor. 12:12-13). The body of Christ exists in relation to its glorified Head in heaven. The union of the body to the Head is by the work of the Spirit. The body now has this formed relationship, existing through grace, from which her responsibility flows. The responsibility of the church was to manifest on earth the glory of Him who placed her in the relationship and position she has in heaven. On the earth she is the house of God, the habitation of God by the Spirit (Eph. 2:22). The church, as united to Christ, is always one body. Her responsibility on earth was always to keep the bond of unity of this one body by the Spirit (Eph. 4:2-4).

There is another aspect of the relationship the church has with Christ – she is the bride, or at this time, the betrothed. What sort of responsibility naturally issues from this relationship? How should a bride act? What should her affections be, where should her attention be? If she is betrothed, should she not be looking for His arrival? How should she be preparing for Him? This is the relationship and the responsibilities come from it.

Responsibility can never change the grace of God that placed the church in such a position in His eternal counsels, but she should reflect and testify to that position. While the church remains on the earth, she is responsible for the glory of her absent Head down here. She is responsible to represent the glory of the One who redeemed her. She is to be a light in the midst of darkness, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights to the world.(Phil. 2:15) She was to show forth the praises of Him (I Pet. 2:9). She was to be the epistle of Christ, known and read by all men (II Cor. 3:2-4).[75]

We should pay particular attention not to confuse the body of Christ with the kingdom of heaven as a dispensation. God always begins a dispensation by a sovereign work. This dispensation of the kingdom of heaven begins with the Son of Man sowing wheat (Matt. 13:37-38). But with all things on the earth God must place the care of His sovereign work in the hands of men. This is responsibility. In a short amount of time man had failed, allowing the enemy to come in and corrupt the crop by planting tares. Now there was a mixture – good and bad together – remaining in the field undisturbed and irreconcilable.   At the end of the age there will be another sovereign work of God in judgment that will rectify the problem (Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43).

All the time the crop is in the field is all the time professing Christianity is on the face of the earth and in the world. All this time it is a corrupted crop with evil mixed in. All this time it also has a candlestick of responsibility before the world. I believe you can see the problem. The corporate society of Christendom would not have a proper witness and testimony of Jesus Christ. It was to be God’s lighted city set on a hill, shining its light into the dark world. Paul had the responsibility to lay the foundation for the house of God on earth, which no other man could lay. By the grace of God this was done well, in apostolic power and authority, and demonstration of the Spirit (I Cor. 2:1-5). But soon after he was gone, men did not heed how they built on the foundation, and failed in their responsibility (I Cor. 3:10-11).

The testimony of God’s Word is that professing Christianity is corrupted as it sits in the field of the world, regardless of whether we are willing to acknowledge this reality. It has a candlestick in which the entire whole is responsible for what light is given off to the world. This light, in testimony and witness, was bright at its beginning, when God did a sovereign work to establish it. This was Pentecost, and the time of apostolic authority and power early on. Paul’s testimony of his work being:

I Corinthians 3:10

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation…”

It was God’s sovereign grace and work to ensure the establishment of the building of God on the earth in purity (I Cor. 3:6-11). But could it and did it continue on in this way?

The One Candlestick

Allow me to address the importance of the thought of one candlestick in contrast to many. God sees professing Christianity as one crop in the field, and He sees it as having a unified responsibility before Him. All believers and the entire body of Christ, from Pentecost to today, are part of this professing body. As a believer, you may say you do not feel your connection to the spoiled crop, and you may say you aren’t responsible for what has gone before and others have done. You may feel there is no such thing as corporate responsibility. However, I believe biblical principles would oppose your objections.

The only way corporate responsibility doesn’t exist is if there is no corporate structure existing in relationship with God.

Yet you see the crop in the field – it is Christendom. And you can see that it must answer to God. He sees it as one external corporate entity having the profession of His name.   Besides, should you not be thinking of yourself as contributing to the overall shining of the one candlestick as part of a corporate body? Individual responsibility should never deny the existence of corporate responsibility, of being members one of another, and the existence of the building of God on the earth.

Let us take the first Adam as an example of this principle. His one act of disobedience brought the corporate ruin and condemnation of all mankind (Rom. 5:16-19). From the time of Adam being chased from the garden, all men were born in sin and as sinners (Rom. 5:19), children of wrath and sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:1-3). Now that is quite a connection. Will you say that you were not responsible in Adam and not connected to him, but entirely independent from him? I know this is the mantra of the unbelieving world, but I have not met many true believers that would make this boast. Why? When God calls an unbeliever, He first makes him aware of the utter depravity and lostness of his position in Adam and sin (Luke 15:14-17). God makes him aware of his failure in responsibility connected to Adam – his sins and guilt. Then the Father draws the unbeliever to the Son (John 6:44).

Also let us consider another case where we find Jesus speaking to Israel. Before He declares the house of Israel made desolate (Matt. 23:37-39), He speaks of that generation being held responsible and guilty of all the blood of the prophets and righteous men from the time of Abel on (Matt. 23:30-36). They protest they are innocent of the evils committed by their fathers, saying, “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” But Jesus identifies them as associated and says, “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.” That generation, in a sense, held a connection with all the responsibility of all the blood that was shed (v. 36).

We are connected to professing Christianity. There is a corporate responsibility of all of Christendom. In Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, there is found the guilt of the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus (Rev. 17:6). This is professing Christianity, and at the close is connected with all the responsibility. Is not the entire body of Christ contained within the spoiled crop in the field? Is not the wheat mixed in with the tares?

The Son of Man, the Stars and the Candlesticks

The candlesticks found in the first chapter of the book of Revelation represent the responsibility of the external society of Christendom. John’s vision and the candlesticks have a location on the earth where God looks at and judges the responsibility of man. The Son of Man is seen walking among the seven candlesticks and His character and appearance is that of judgment.[76] He is not presented here as the Head of the body, the church. It is not grace flowing down from Him to the members of the body. He is not presented here in His present role as High Priest to the church – His waist is not girded in the role of a servant, washing the believer’s feet. It is not a vision of Jesus Christ on high or Christ in heaven or of any of the roles He presently fulfills in the heavens. Rather the presentation is of the risen and glorified Son of Man on the earth, appearing in the judicial majesty of the Ancient of Days. He is present to judge Christendom – that which professes His name, and how it progresses through time on the earth.[77]

The stars found in chapter one of the book do not represent the responsibility of Christendom. They represent something entirely different from the candlesticks, although still related and connected to the church. Actually, the seven stars are placed in contrast to the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:12-13, 16). They are the mystical representation of the body of Christ in the heavens (seven stars), seated in Christ in heavenly places. They represent the true church as the sovereign work of God according to His eternal counsels.

Revelation 1:20                                    

“The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”

The stars are in the right hand of His sovereign power and He will not allow them to fail. This is what Christ builds in saying, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” The true church, as represented by the seven stars in the Son of Man’s right hand, is truly the sovereign work of God. The idea of the stars is how Christ keeps and preserves the church corporately as His body, holy and blameless in the heavens. The stars as symbols have a heavenly association, for they are heavenly bodies (Matt. 13:43). They have a heavenly authority subordinate to that of the sun. The raised and glorified Son of Man is the Head of the body, the true church (Eph. 1:22-23). He is the One who appears in the full countenance of the Sun (Rev. 1:16). But the church is His body joined to Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6-7). This is how God views the true church – His workmanship created in Christ Jesus, a work that cannot fail, and blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavens according to His eternal purpose and plan (Eph. 1:3-11).

The stars are kept in the right hand of His power. This represents a sovereign work and security. The candlesticks are in contrast to this character. They are the work of men on the earth in responsibility. The stars are the work of God for the heavens. The work of men always results in failure. The work of God never fails. The candlesticks are judged by God, while the stars are secure, and free from judgment. There is quite a difference between the two. The stars represent the true church in spiritual perfection (Eph. 4:12-16), according to the counsels of God (Eph. 1:4), and according to the sovereign work He has done and will do on her behalf (Eph. 5:27).   The candlesticks represent Christendom in actual present imperfection, under responsibility on the earth and in the world.

The Crucial Understanding: Christendom and the Body of Christ

For the believer this is a point of the greatest importance to see and understand. What the stars represent and what the candlesticks represent are two entirely different things. They are in contrast to each other. The stars represent the body of Christ, the true church, seated in heavenly places by God in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). The candlesticks represent professing Christianity, the spoiled crop in the field. One is the sovereign work of God, the other is not – it is the work of man. One is for the heavens in the eternal purposes of God’s counsels. The other is on the earth and will be judged, and will come to an end. The one cannot fail and is in the right hand of His sovereign power, while the other has already failed and is in ruin, the work of Satan having corrupted it. For the spoiled crop, the work of the enemy has already prevailed.

The problem we have is seeing correctly and comprehending these Biblical realities. When Jesus said, “I will build my church…” we assume it is what man builds on the earth. This assumption is a big mistake. When He said, “…the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” we incorrectly think this is a guarantee of success and blessing for what man does on the earth. But this thinking is all wrong – it is extremely wrong! It is always true that the power of the evil one cannot touch the sovereign grace and work of God. But the subtlety and deception of Satan has already prevailed against the work of man.   It is my hope that you do not think that the kingdom of heaven is the body of Christ. It is my hope also that you do not think that wheat and tares mixed together is the true church. None of these things are the body of Christ. If we cannot see the differences, our doctrine and teachings will be nothing but confusion in the pretenses and assumptions we make.

The stars are of the heavens. The candlesticks are on the earth. The stars He keeps secure in the right hand of His power. The candlesticks are not in His hand and are not secure, but He is walking among them to judge them (Rev. 2:1). The stars in His possession signify the body of Christ in eternal purpose and sovereign power. The candlesticks represent the responsibility of professing Christianity – the works of men that God judges – and are growing dimmer in their light by the passing days. Through the failure of men in the professing church, the candlesticks are destined to be removed from their place (Rev. 2:5).

The Prophetic Number Seven

There are seven stars and seven candlesticks. There are seven churches. For that matter there are seven Spirits before God’s throne, seven seals on the scroll, seven heads on the great, fiery red dragon, seven trumpets, seven bowls, seven heads on the Roman beast, and seven horns and eyes on the Lamb that had been slain. The number seven is a prophetic number signifying completeness and perfection.[78] For the seven churches the number refers to the whole of professing Christianity as a corporate body, the entire spoiled crop in the field. The seven candlesticks represent a picture of the singular responsibility of the crop during its complete time as a crop on the earth. Seven often represents the forming of the ‘whole’ from differing parts or states. The number portrays the complete circle of God’s thoughts about Christendom.

This is where the issues are confounded for those struggling to understand the meaning of the vision and messages. It is confusion with the recognition of these three symbols: stars, candlesticks, and the number seven. The number seven is attached to both the stars and the candlesticks. If you are simply counting from one to seven when thinking of the stars and candlesticks, you are losing most of the intended meaning. If you do not realize that the stars and candlesticks stand in contrast to each other, both in principle and source, you are losing the rest of their true meaning. It is not just what the stars represent and what the candlesticks represent. It is also what the number seven represents when it is used as an adjective for those particular symbols? The number seven is itself an allegory.

We truly are not looking at individual churches in the seven messages. We are not really looking just at the church located in Smyrna or Pergamos. We are looking at the complete corporate ‘whole’ of professing Christianity as it progresses through these seven specific conditions or states. Yes, we admit, individual Christians could benefit from the moral instruction found in each of the messages. And we admit there were these particular seven churches in Asia in these conditions at the time John was banished to Patmos. But this would not be their properly intended use as given by Christ and spoken by the Spirit. So we have the seven stars representing the complete or entire body of Christ as she is seen in the eternal counsels and purpose of God, and kept in Christ’s sovereign grace and power. We also have the seven candlesticks as actually one candlestick progressing through seven divisions or characters of the outward professing body in time on the earth. Therefore the vision concerns the entire church world during its time of existence, from the time after John to its end. And because it is the responsibility of man in Christendom, God must judge the works of man and how much light, if any, is being given by the candlestick.

                                                           Chapter 4: Endnotes

[65] What is the deal with Israel? Have you ever asked this question? All the Arminian leaven inundating Christianity would crumble to dust if all Christians would critically look at this question and endeavor to answer it from a Biblical perspective. What is their deal? What explains Israel’s history? The Arminian thinking and doctrine of human effort, human achievement, human intelligence, and general human goodness certainly doesn’t explain their history. Arminianism would properly predict the opposite from what their actual historical results were. Let us look at the facts: Israel had the covenants, the oracles of God, the patriarchs, the tabernacle, the throne of God and the glory of God in their midst, the giving of the law, the priesthood, the calling. Israel was chosen by God and special to Him above all other peoples on the face of the earth (Deut. 7:6). They were the people closest to God and the most privileged nation of any. God Himself said, “What more could have been done to my vineyard that I have not done to it?” (Isaiah 5:4) Well, God did do more. God came and visited them – in the flesh! God came, taking on human flesh, and walked among His own chosen people.

If there ever was any sliver of God’s truth in Arminianism, then Israel would have welcomed God with open arms. Their set up for this event was impeccable. There weren’t any more preparations that could have possibly been done. God was there, God was with them! And what did they do in this last testing? They cast God out. They cast God out of the very world He created. We think man can reason and be saved by his will. Israel’s history proves this to be utter nonsense.

The cursing of the fig tree shows that Israel could not produce fruit unto God when tested in human responsibility (Matt. 21:19). Then Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard, which is the story of Israel’s history of failure when tested in responsibility (Matt. 21:33-41). But there is a double judgment and conviction of the Jews. They were tested in responsibility and produced no fruit. Sin was complete. Then in Matthew 22:1-14 the invitation of pure grace in the marriage of the King’s Son is offered to them, but they refuse and reject it. Even though the fig tree was cursed and sin was complete, God shows this nation great patience in the intercession of Christ on the cross – “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” What followed for Israel was the time of the invitation to the marriage. In the first seven chapters of Acts you see Israel’s rejection of the marriage invitation.

[66] The history of man was complete – “but now, once at the end of the world, hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Sin was complete. It was not historically the end of the world, but morally its end (Heb. 9:26). Man had not only sinned by his will, but he was irrecoverable, if it depended on his own nature or will. This was proven true even after all God had done to reclaim man. We must remember that the new creation of God in Christ Jesus is not a reclaiming of the old man in Adam. Also Galatians 4:4 says, ”But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…” The fullness of time is the end of God testing the principle of responsibility in man. It was the time of the end of the world.

[67] The testing of man in Adam was completed when Israel rejected their Messiah. The testing proved that man in the flesh could not produce fruit unto God. Yet the principle of responsibility in Adam had to be addressed, and this by God in a just and holy manner. God’s judgment was condemnation and death, and so, Christ died on the cross. This was the end of the history of man in the flesh. He was condemned, the world was judged (John 12:31).

Here are the two great Biblical realities found in all of Scripture concerning man’s standing before God: Every individual is either in Adam under responsibility and condemned, or he is in the second Adam under sovereign grace and saved. While it was the rejection of Messiah that completed man’s testing, it was the cross by which God dealt with the principle of responsibility, and this, by honoring and glorifying His holiness and righteousness by judging sin.

[68] I keep referring to the Day of Atonement and the understanding of the great redemptive truths. They were accomplished on behalf of the believer by the death and shed blood of the Son of Man. After Israel made the golden calf and the tablets of the law were broken at the foot of the mountain, Moses returned up the mountain to Jehovah with the thought of making atonement for the people. What we should understand is that this wasn’t possible. Moses could not make atonement. His standing before God would not allow this. He simply was ‘man in the flesh’ like all of Israel and the rest of the human race. He was in no position to make atonement. Also his position would not allow him to see the glory of the face of Jehovah. He was told that no man can look on His face and remain alive. This is another reference to man in Adam, man in the flesh. He was only permitted to see Jehovah’s goodness pass by. And all Moses could do was make intercession on behalf of the people.

There is only one who could ever make atonement for fallen man – Jesus Christ, the Son of Man come down from heaven. This atonement was accomplished by the cross. When we look at the events and rituals of the Day of Atonement, it stands to reason they all directly point, by types and shadows, to the redemptive work of Christ. There is more there, hidden in the shadows, than just our redemption. It is clear from the Scriptures that Christ’s redemptive work is the foundation on which all the counsels of God depend. If the Day of Atonement points to Christ’s foundational work, which is more easily seen in its figures, then we may also see how the eternal counsels of God are hinted at in its shadows. These important redemptive truths and insights will be the subject of the next book in this series, ‘The Redemptive Work of the Son of Man’.

[69] The law only demanded and had no power to give to man to enable him to accomplish what it required. Man with the law was still a hopeless sinner, the law only enabled the principle of sin to abound more and more (Rom. 5:20). These truths concerning the law are portrayed in the story of the man who had an infirmity for thirty-eight years (John 5:1-10). He was waiting at the pool of Bethesda for the troubling of the waters by an angel, if perchance he could enter in first and be healed. Notice ‘he had been in that condition a long time’ (v. 6). When asked by Jesus if he wanted to be made well, he says he has no one to help him, nor does he have the strength to accomplish the requirement of being first in after the troubling (v. 7). The law had infirmed the Jews and for a long time they were found in this condition. The law could not help them. It could not give them power or strength. They had no ability in themselves to accomplish the requirements, just like this infirmed man. He remained a long time in that condition until Jesus came, and all was changed. What the law could not do, God did by condemning His own Son on the cross. Not until Jesus came (Gal. 4:4-5).

[70] All responsibility corresponds to the position and relationship the individual is in. If I am a husband, then my responsibility is to speak and act as the husband of my wife. If I am a father, my responsibility is as a father to my children. If I am a child, my responsibility is in obedience to my parents. Responsibility is always based on the position you are in – as believer’s we are sons of God (Gal. 3:26).

[71] “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” (I John 3:23)

His commandment is twofold: to believe on Jesus Christ and love the brethren. We are not instructed to love the world, but rather the contrary, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (I John 2:15) But you say God so loved the world that He gave His Son. Yes, I know this is true and God sent His Son, and I thank God that He did. But it is a general statement based on the intrinsic nature of God – ‘God is love’. It is not a statement of detail concerning the eternal purpose and plans of God. There is no specific detail except the word ‘whosoever’ and that only serves to add to the generalness of the passage. Later in the gospel of John, God condemns the world (John 12:31). He condemns the very world that He so loves!   Then He chooses certain ones out of the world He condemned (John 15:19, 17:2). Farther still the same Holy Spirit inspiring the same Scripture writer instructs us saying, “Do not love the world…” Also saying, “…or the things in the world.” Then He says that the love of the world is incompatible with the love of the Father. As believers and teachers we need to be able to reconcile these statements of Scripture. Being taught of the Spirit we find that all contradictions and paradoxes are eliminated – if they are not, then you are not being taught of God by the Spirit.

We are instructed, we are commanded to love the brethren (John 15:12). This is the individual believer’s responsibility.

1 John 3:14-19

(14)”We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. (15) Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

(16) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

(18) My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (19) And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.”

We know we are of God because we love the ‘brethren’. The same commandment and responsibility is repeated numerous times in John’s writings – I John 3:10-12, 23, 4:7-12, 4:19-21, 5:1-3, II John 1:5-6. It is, without a doubt, our individual responsibility. We are held accountable for this as members of the body of Christ.

[72] The revelation of God to the patriarchs was through the name of God Almighty – El Shaddai. The revelation of God to Israel was through the name of Jehovah (Lord).This is seen in Exodus 6:3:

“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.”

Jehovah is the ever existing One who would be faithful to keep covenant and promises to Israel (Ex. 6:4). In the millennium, this is exactly what you see Jehovah doing for Israel. Even though the Jews had miserably failed in responsibility to Jehovah, He will still be faithful to keep His promises to them. This is the revelation of His name and this is how He exalts His own name in the earth among the Gentiles in the end (Ez. 36:23). When Israel leaves the land because of their iniquities and idols, and is scattered into the nations, this automatically profanes Jehovah’s name because He is their God, He is the One who promised them the land. He is the One who brought them into the land initially. But He is the One who could not keep them there. The nations say, “These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.” (Ez. 36:20)

The revelation of God to the believer/church is through the name Father. Our relationship and position with God affords us an intimacy, fellowship, and communion that is far higher and greater than that of Israel and their earthly blessings. We are the ones who are the new creation of God ‘in’ the resurrected Son of God (Rom. 1:4, II Cor. 5:17). We are the ones who God will conform into the image of His Son by glorification (Rom. 8:29-30). This will never be Israel’s position. Their position is always connected with the first creation and of the earth (John 8:23), and servants in the house (John 8:34-36).

[73] During the coming millennium Israel will have a new covenant with Jehovah, by which God’s law, statutes, and judgments are written by the finger of God in their minds and on their hearts (Jer. 31:31-34). Jehovah will place His Spirit within them, which enables and causes them to obey and keep His law (Ez. 36:26-27). When this happens, the blessings of finally ‘doing’ the law will be theirs.

Deuteronomy 28:1

“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”

It is remarkable how physical and earthly these promised blessings are for Israel; these millennial blessings match their calling:

Deuteronomy 28:2-13

(2) “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:

(3) “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

(4) “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.

(5) “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

(6) “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

(7) “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.

(8) “The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

(9) “The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. (10) Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. (11) And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. (12) The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. (13) And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.”

In a similar but different way this principle bears true for the believer – the blessings match the calling. The believer has a heavenly calling (Heb. 3:1). The blessings are heavenly and spiritual, as contrasted with physical blessings with Israel, the earthly calling they have:

Ephesians 1:3

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

[74] There is only one candlestick representing the responsibility for professing Christianity. It is seen as one crop in the field of the world. There are not numerous candlesticks for all the local churches, as if there was a competition with the church down the street to see who has the greatest light. You can think of multiple candlesticks assigned to multiple local churches only if you force a literal meaning on an obvious allegory. As I said previously, when you do this you lose the majority of the Spirit’s intended meaning and teaching. God sees the crop and treats it as one corporate entity of profession, and with one corporate candlestick. The seven candlesticks are actually one. Seven is the smallest indivisible number and in prophetic language often carries the meaning of ‘complete’ or ‘whole’ or ‘perfection’. An example is the seven Spirits before the throne are only one Holy Spirit in the ‘perfection’ of God’s governmental power in the earth (Rev. 1:4).

When we consider the subject of unity as part of man’s overall responsibility in professing Christianity, we see that man is responsible for the schisms, the divisions, and the denominations found today. Man has divided up Christ (I Cor. 1:13). And all of it perverts the Word of God, as well as violating the true doctrine of the church, the one body of Christ. Man has done exactly what Paul pleaded with them not to do. By his work on the earth, man has willingly divided up Christ. And then we ask God to bless our work and efforts, praying He pour out His Spirit and power on it. Are we kidding ourselves? Christ stands divided. This is an irrevocable reality regardless of our human emotional thoughts about a unity we desperately want to create out of thin air. Are we so blind and deceived by our own will and arrogance? Are we not willing to see the pretense in this? If it is not in agreement with God’s Word, how do we not see this as sin and evil? This is the point of all departure from God – will we hold to and be faithful to the truth of God’s word? Or will it be compromise and concessions?

1 Corinthians 1:10

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”


Ephesians 4:3-6

“…endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”


1 Corinthians 12:12-13

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

There is only one body of Christ. This is Christ. This is the doctrine of the church (at least this particular part of the doctrine, but not its entirety). When God began this work on the day of Pentecost by sending the Comforter, it had pure beginnings. Yet when man was placed in charge of caring for God’s building on the earth, he soon failed in his responsibility. We now have a mixed crop of good and bad in the world. But it is seen as only one crop. And there is only one candlestick for the whole. Just because man has brought in divisions and denominations into Christendom doesn’t mean that God acquiesced by providing multiple candlesticks.

The body of Christ is one body – “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. (I Cor. 12:12-13). The Scriptural fact of one body is mentioned four times in the two verses quoted. That being established, it is the reality today that the members of the body of Christ are scattered into many different places and organizations.

[75] While believers are on the earth we have responsibility to be one in unity and testimony before the world:

John 17:20-21

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

This speaks of the world seeing believers united as one, as one family, not many. Here it refers to the responsibility of individual sons to be united as one family under the Father, with Christ as firstborn among many brethren. In a separate and distinct unity from what is spoken here, there is the unity of the body of Christ. In this body individual believers are members one of another, while all the members are united by the Holy Spirit to Christ (I Cor. 12:12-13). We were to keep the bond of our unity as one body united to Christ by the Spirit (Eph. 4:3-4). This was so that the world might believe that the Father sent the Son. These two unities have not been kept in our responsibility, nor is it possible today to do so.

Man fails in his responsibilities. This will always be the case corporately, while we are still in the flesh. Individually when we fail we are restored by the Advocacy of Christ at the right hand of the Father (I John 2:1-2). This is to restore individual communion and fellowship with the Father and the Son in our walk on this earth. It is the washing of our feet with water by Jesus in John 13. But individual communion is different from unity of the family under the Father and unity of the body of Christ. And obviously an individual cannot, by himself, act in unity.

The two verses that follow the above passage take the unity of the Father’s family on to perfection when we appear with Christ in glory to the world (Col. 3:4). It is the Father presenting and manifesting all His sons to the world (Rom. 8:18-19). This is done completely by the Father without human responsibility. The Father shows the world that He loves all His sons as He does His one Son. Both the unity of the family in human responsibility and the perfection of it accomplished in glory are in the same prayer of Jesus to the Father.

John 17:22-23

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”

This does not say the world would believe, but the world would know because they now see with their eyes. When the world sees all the sons in glory with Christ, it will know beyond any doubt that we have been loved by the Father in the same way as He loves His Son. In the glory, the sons will be made perfect in one with Christ. But this is not responsibility on the earth as the first passage above is.

[76] It is the Son of God as the glorified Son of Man in the midst of the candlesticks. He is looking for what kind of light is given off in witness and testimony to the world. The amount of light represents the value of the responsibility of man’s works in Christendom. Christ is there to judge the brightness of the light being given off. He presents a character of judgment that is obvious (Rev. 1:12-18). His garment is girded about the chest instead of the loins. His eyes are a flame of fire, His feet like brass refined in a furnace, the use of His right hand of power and authority, and out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword – all point to the exercise of judgment. The use of the word ‘sun’ to describe His countenance refers to His supreme authority, as in, ‘all authority has been given unto Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matt. 28:18) He is in the appearance and similitude of the Ancient of Days as seen in Daniel (Dan. 7:9-10), who gives an earthly kingdom and throne to the Son of Man. Yet in Revelation chapter one, He is both the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days.

John 5:26-27

“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

All judgment is in the hands of the Son of God, as the Son of Man. This is by virtue of His title as the Son of Man and how that title is intimately connected to His redemptive work (Luke 18:31-34). We can easily see how the above verse is rightly applied to the vision of the Son of Man in Revelation 1. This title becomes even more prominent in the words of the chapter:

Revelation 1:5-7

(5) “…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, (6) and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

(7) Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”

·         The faithful witness on the earth was Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, for He only did the works and only spoke the words that the Father had given Him.

·         The Son of Man is the first Man born from the dead. He conquered death and all the power of the enemy. And again, this was accomplished on the earth.

·         The Son of Man is the King of kings and Lord of lords over all the earth. And He will reign, sitting on the throne of the Son of Man (Matt. 25:31).

·         The Son of Man title is particularly connected to His death and the shedding of His blood, by which the believer was redeemed and washed in His own blood.

·         It is the Son of Man risen from the dead that identifies His God as our God, and His Father as our Father, the believer’s position now the same as His position before God (John 20:17). In this position we will be like Him during the coming millennium – kings and priests to His God and Father.

·         It is the Son of Man that is ever spoken of as ‘coming with clouds.’ (Compare with Dan. 7:13, Matt. 24:30, Mark 13:26) This is the Son of Man’s return to this earth for judgment. That is why all the nations will mourn, even Israel who pierced Him.

You may notice that the three direct descriptions of Jesus Christ as the Son of Man portray His connection to the earth. In the previous verse the description of the Holy Spirit is not one of Comforter to the church, but rather the direct agent of God’s providential workings on the earth, issued from His throne of government in heaven (Rev. 1:4). The key phrase is ‘before the throne,’ which always references that which has a firm moral relationship with God and the throne, yet is on the earth or in the earth in its action or presence. This is true concerning this phrase throughout the entire book. It stands in a bit of contrast to the other two phrases used in association with the throne – ‘around the throne’ and ‘in the midst of the throne’. These last two have a definite reference to physical location near God and the throne. The twenty four elders are never described by the phrase ‘before the throne’, because the church is the heavenly calling and no longer on the earth after chapter three.

A gentle reminder: Revelation is a book of prophecy. Prophecy is about the earth and God’s government of the earth. In the introduction we see this connection being made with the earth.

[77] This is an interesting observation that speaks to the character of the book and certain Biblical principles. In all the varied character descriptions of Jesus Christ in the first chapter of Revelation, the two roles distinctly omitted are those of Head of the body, and High Priest for the church. The Biblical principle maintained is that the body of Christ, the church (not the person of Jesus Christ), is the mystery of God hidden from prophecy and the prophets. The term, the body of Christ, is never used in the entire book. Even when the Spirit speaks to the churches it is Christendom being addressed. Later on the reference to the Bride of the Lamb is an allegory. The twenty-four elders are the church, but again, not a direct reference but an allegory. The dwellers in the heavens are as well, all terms carefully avoiding directly identifying the body of Christ. When the male Child is caught up to God and to His throne (Rev. 12:5), His body goes with Him (Eph. 1:18-23). Jesus Christ is hidden there now from the world, and we are hidden there as well (Col. 3:1-3).

The book doesn’t reference God in His relationship with the church, never using the term ‘our Father.’ When Father is used it is always connected to Jesus Christ Himself, as My Father (Rev. 3:21), His Father (Rev. 1:6), or Father of the Lamb (Rev. 14:1). The book never references the Holy Spirit in His relationship to the body of Christ as Comforter. The closest we get to this relationship is the Spirit’s use of the word ‘us’ in the opening greeting (Rev. 1:5-6), and the ending salutation of ‘the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”’ (Rev. 22:17) We get this vague inferring of relationship in the opening and closing of the book because it is not part of the main body, which is prophetic. The book is not an epistle written to the church, but is a book of prophecy (Rev. 22:19). The body of Christ will be hidden from its content, as well as the relationships the body enjoys. So Jesus is not depicted here in His heavenly roles of Head of the church at the right hand of God or the High Priest for the church presently. The heavens and the heavenly calling, or His heavenly roles and character are not the proper subject of prophecy and have no earthly connections.

[78] The number seven is often used in the book of Revelation. It has a prophetic character for perfection and completeness.   Thus in Revelation 1:4, “…the seven Spirits who are before His throne…” is not the Holy Spirit as the Comforter to the church, but the perfection of the providential wisdom and power of the Spirit of God in the earth as related to God’s throne of government in heaven. Also in Matthew 13 we are given seven parables that provide a ‘complete’ prophetic picture of the progression of the dispensation of the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 12 when the unclean spirit that came out of Israel returns and finds the house swept and clean, he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself to occupy the empty house. This is the perfection and completeness of evil and idolatry of Israel’s last state under the future Antichrist (Matt. 12:43-45).