What You Do Is What You Will Wear
Of all the prophetic themes found throughout the Book of Revelation, none is more compelling to me than that which ties the believer's earthly works to the type of clothing he is given to wear in the heavenly kingdom. We know that our works here and now affect our rewards in the hereafter. Such rewards are usually considered in terms of the "mansion" that awaits us, the degree of heavenly "wealth" we may possess and the "level" of authority we may be given.
throughout Revelation, great emphasis is given to the
relation of our present works to how we will be dressed,
something that will bode either of honor or shame for us
in the sight of others. In present life, the greatest
shame is attributed to those who have nothing physically
to wear. They are naked.
According to Revelation, the same is true with respect to the souls of the redeemed in the heavenly kingdom. Today, we want to take just a summary tour of this. This tour will clarify the relationship between our works, the present ministry of the blood of the Lamb, the purpose of tribulation and the state of our final appearance before others in the heavenly kingdom.
Dressed in White
From beginning to end, Revelation accents the virtue of being "dressed in white." Jesus first appears to John with white hair and presumably in a white robe according to heaven's attire where, around the throne, the elders are all dressed in white. In His messages to the churches, Jesus exhorts Sardis and Laodicea to become dressed in white as He is. Then later, white robes are given to the martyrs of the ages while those exiting the Great Tribulation are also seen in white. Finally, those comprising the Bride of Christ and His returning army are attired in "fine linen, clean and white."
It is here, with the revelation of the Bride (19:8) that we are told, "for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." This statement drives backward to explain the meaning of white dress seen throughout the rest of the book. Before looking at this, we must anchor our understanding of what righteous acts are and how they are produced in the believer as explained in Paul's teaching on righteousness.
In short, Paul teaches that righteous acts result by the Holy Spirit's crucifying of our soulish adamic life force, allowing Christ's resurrection life power to rise from within our innermost being to execute righteously empowered action. This energy replacement, which he also describes as "putting on the new man" in the fashion of a garment, increasingly purges, cleanses and saves our souls from our own carnally energized efforts.
Further, this soul purging occurs by ongoing operation of Christ's blood as stated by John, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." Nor is this exchange of deed empowerment accomplished without attendant soul-suffering, trial, and tribulation. Paul tells us we enter into Christ's righteousness through sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings.
Importing Paul's doctrine above into Revelation's description of righteous acts gives us the full meaning to Revelation's thread regarding the imperative of obtaining white clothing. This clothing is actually a state of purified soul-being (to which our esteemed brother Earls refers as "soul garments") that extends further to the "clothing upon" of sinless immortal bodies (II Cor. 5:2-4). This in turn informs us of the meaning of "soiled garments" and "nakedness" to which Revelation also speaks. Let's turn then to follow this thread through the book.
The Soiling of Sardis
The first imperative to obtaining white garments is given us by Jesus in His messages to Sardis and Laodicea. The message to Sardis directly relates the church's works to its clothing:
"...I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, and yet you are dead. Be constantly alert, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. ... But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. The one who overcomes will be clothed the same way, in white garments;..." (3:1-5).
is here telling Sardis that their incompleted works
are either dead or dying, equating to having soiled
clothing, i.e., soiled souls. What are these
incompleted works? These are those which Paul says are
begun in the power of the Spirit but have been
perverted into fleshly empowerment: "Are you so foolish? Having
begun by the Spirit, are you now being
perfected by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:3).
Jesus' idea of incompleted works and Paul's idea of unperfected works are the same. The problem originally found in Galatia eventually found its way to Sardis. Thus what Jesus referred to in Sardis as "having a name (reputation) that you are alive" Paul cited as "mak[ing] a good showing in the flesh" (Gal. 6:12).
works therefore yield soiled soul garments. They are the
garments of religious motions and emotions that have
escaped the process of soul crucifixion, blood purging
and resurrection life empowerment. Such works usurp what
otherwise was begun by the Spirit's power. (How we have
constantly witnessed this happen throughout
By contrast, a remnant of Sardisians continued to press into the ongoing process of works conversion from flesh to Spirit, thus to eventually yield fully cleansed white soul beings (and eventually bodies) able to be joined to Christ in worthiness. This is required to be counted as part of the Bride of Christ. The Bride has thusly "prepared herself" ("made herself ready") by undergoing the cleansing of her garments, alias, her deed source (Rev. 19:7-8).
The same applies to those able to enter the marriage supper of the Lamb. They must have the proper "wedding garment." (See the parable in Mt. 22:12). Their soul beings must be properly cleansed, witnessed to by the Spirit empowerment behind their deeds.
the meaning of Christ's warning that He will give to
everyone in the churches "according to your deeds"
(2:23) We can
only be awarded the white robes that qualify us for
access to brideship and the wedding supper if we have
submitted to the deed purifying process after the
Spirit. Let us be clear, all of this is written to
believers only, not unbelievers. Unbelievers are not
capable of putting on Spirit-empowered deeds! They do
not even have the Spirit.
But believers are capable of converting Spirit-empowered deeds into carnally-empowered ones, thus disqualifying themselves from brideship and even entry into the wedding supper. It is a complete evangelical fallacy to believe that all blood-bought believers already have blood-washed white garments such that they are automatically enrolled as members of the Bride or even guests to the wedding supper. (Even the martyrs do not receive their actual white soul garments until after they have left this life (6:11).)
The Nakedness of Laodicea
Jesus takes His exhortation regarding the imperative of white garments a step further with the Laodiceans:
"I know your deeds, ... you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from Me ...white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; ...Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." (3:15-19).
learn that in the Lord's mind, soiled soul garments
equate to spirit nakedness. That is, if our deeds are
not adequately cleansed through the life
transference process by the time we leave this
life, not only do we not receive a white robe to replace
our present earthly soul garment, but our soiled soul
will yet be stripped from us, leaving us as naked
spirits covered only by some manner of transparent ("see
As a naked spirit, the believer will be subject to shame in heaven just as a naked body subjects one to shame in this present life. Paul provides a description of a naked spirit in I Cor. 3:13-15; 5:1-5:
Each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. ...If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire....It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you,...For I, on my part ...have already judged him who has so committed this...to turn such a person over to Satan for the destruction of his body, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
with respect to the deeds of ministry or to personal
moral deeds, a soiled soul garment will not be able to
withstand the fire of final proving such that only one's
himself") will remain saved. It means that what
remains of one's soul after this fire (it is not clear)
will be incapable of receiving a white robe makeover,
suffering thereby an incalculable loss, being left
spirit naked, subject to shame (compare with Mark
Since only those having "washed their robes" so as to possess white robes will have right to enter the New Jerusalem (22:14), it intimates that those finally possessing but naked redeemed spirits will be necessarily consigned to a place outside the heavenly city somewhat after the idea of a heavenly "nudist colony." The truth about this certainly requires more unveiling; but inasmuch as their soul-soiled state of spirit nakedness left the Laodiceans threatened with ejection out of the Lord's mouth (3:16), clearly the eternal consequences for now failing of flesh-to-Spirit soul-deed conversion are not to be lightly dismissed.*
*The Spirit has yet to reveal how the truly born again who fall short of full soul salvation in this life are brought to that perfection in the ages to come, for it remains that all whom God has predestined in Christ will without fail be brought to glory! (Rom. 8:30).
Readiness for the Lord's Pre-Tribulational "Thiefly"Appearing vs. Consignment to the Great Tribulation
Prior to the final examination of our soul deeds and our acquiring (or not) of white soul robes, Jesus makes clear that our present state of soul soiling vs. cleansing will determine whether we qualify to be received to Him before the Great Tribulation or if we must be left to endure that Tribulation until His mass harvest of saints to glory (14:14-16). Other exhortations to Sardis, to the church at large and the events within the sixth seal spell this out to us:
So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Then if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. (3:3-4)
(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and people will not see his shame.”) (16:15)
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; ...Then one of the elders responded, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who came out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (7:9-14)
These passages are critical to understanding 1) the relationship of the Lord's thiefly appearing to the Great Tribulation, 2) the deciding factor in our readiness for the Lord's thiefly appearing and 3) the purpose for the Great Tribulation. The Lord tells the soiled Sardisians that they will not know when He comes but that the cleansed Sardisians will know so as to walk with Him in white, which means they will be translated out of these mortal bodies. He exhorts the same again to the whole church later emphasizing the nakedness factor.
Meanwhile, the heavenly elder informs John of the purpose of the Great Tribulation. It is to get all the saints who, like the soiled Sardisians and naked Laodiceans, had not previously washed their robes (i.e., "bought" their white raiment) so as to "know the time of His thiefly coming"—it is to get them to do so now in time for the Lord's blazing appearing and the wedding supper of the Lamb.
In other words, the real reason for the Great Tribulation is to weed out and perfect the otherwise soiled mainstream born again church so as to complete the main harvest to glorification. By contrast, those already sufficiently washed prior thereto will have been "in the know" to be taken to the Lord in white, and thus spared the Greater Trial for cleansing! (Compare this to the same promise given to the Philadelphians in 3:10-11. For more on the difference between the Lord's early thiefly appearing and His later blazing appearing, see our article on The "Thiefly" Arrival of the Lord as well as brother Earls' The Three Comings of Jesus.)
Two Sets of Robes
Amid these things we receive a picture of two kinds of white robes referred to within Revelation. White robes initially apply to pure soul garments received by those who die in the Lord having faithfully endured earthly tribulations under the work of the cross to find their cleansing. This is the case with the martyrs in the fifth seal:
...I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on the earth?” And a white robe was given to each of them; and they were told that they were to rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, was completed also. (6:9-11)
This applies similarly to those of whom the heavenly Voice later speaks:
“Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” (14:13).
Notice the word deeds. Again, our soul robes are woven of our deeds here and now, as 19:8 already showed us. Here then, the Voice is really saying, "their soul fabric will follow them." This especially refers to those who the martyrs were told would follow them in death, but applies to all who die in the Lord having sufficiently kept themselves "unspotted from the world" (Jms. 1:27). As the fifth seal martyrs received white soul robes in their wait, so will all those who follow them.
white soul robes awarded to faithful believers in death,
however, are only intermediary robes. The second and
ultimate white robe in Revelation is that of the
glorified body. This is the clothing to which Paul
referred when he said that he longed to be "clothed"
with his heavenly tabernacle so as to not be found
There is a shameful nakedness of the spirit covered only by a see-through soul. And there is also a nakedness of the soul, even a white robed soul, without a glorified white body. The latter nakedness, however, is not shameful, only incomplete. So even in death, we ultimately long to be clothed with the white robe of glorified bodies. This is the primary meaning of white robes as used throughout Revelation. The white robes of the faithful Sardisians, presumably of those exiting the Tribulation, and of course of the Bride Herself and those invited to the marriage supper, are the robes of complete immortal bodily salvation.
means that the white soul robes of the faithful
overcomers who have died in the Lord throughout the ages
unto the final harvest will be added to with glistening
pristine immortal bodily robing. This will occur at the
first resurrection. Meanwhile, the living faithful at
the time of the Lord's thiefly appearing just ahead of
the Tribulation will be clothed straightway with new
physical robes, as will all those who are harvested to
glory without seeing death at the end and out of the
Transitioning between Robes
aside, it is worth pondering more deeply the kind of
white robes worn by the multitudes John saw at the sixth
seal "coming out
of" the Great Tribulation. It is unclear whether
they were white soul robes or white translated bodily
robes, or perhaps both and/or some of each. This is
because, while we know the great harvest to bodily
translation occurs at the end of the Tribulation, we
also know there are qualifications to receiving immortal
physical white robes beyond those of receiving white
soul robes in death. For according to Paul, the first
resurrection is a prize event of harvestable maturity
for which one must qualify (Php. 3:11-16).
Therefore, it may be possible for a previously stained Sardisian or Laodiciean believer to have found sufficient cleansing through the Tribulation to obtain a white soul robe in death, but not necessarily to have obtained the degree of spiritual maturity required to qualify for obtaining a harvestable white robe body at the resurrection immediately thereafter. Many formerly profligate as well as new immature believers will in fact die under tribulation conditions who will have succeeded at "purchasing" white soul robes thereby, but will not have had time to obtain the spiritual growth maturity necessary to be resurrected. Yet all the faithfully white of soul and body coming out of that furnace will certainly appear before God's Throne to hail Him as their Savior!
only a summary view of how our earthly conduct affects
the kind of robing of soul and body we may hope or fear
to be found wearing when we shortly leave these earthly
bodies. This study is designed to ignite and galvanize
the believer to wake up, take stock of his situation and
seek for more. Meanwhile, much deeper insight
into the conditions affecting our robing to come
has already been expertly exposited by brother Earls
writings at our website.
In particular however, following this article, I want to leave you, the reader, with a full compendium of brother Earls' expositions pertaining to our soul garments. These writings will answer many questions not addressed here and will open up the richness of God's prophetic truth concerning the ongoing salvation of our souls leading to the full crowning redemption of our bodies.
May you be blessed as you drink in the wealth of wisdom in making your own preparations for the glory shortly to be revealed in us!
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Leland Earls on Soul Garments
From the Discipleship Series
Jesus' solemn admonition that "he that takes not his cross, and follows not after me, is not worthy of me" (Mt. 10:38) is in perfect harmony with His revelation to the churches as given to John the apostle in the last book of the New Testament. In Rev. 3:4-5, He makes mention of certain ones in the church of Sardis: "You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy . He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white garments." Surely there were many saved (born again) Christians in the church at Sardis, but Jesus makes it clear that only a few out of that church would "walk with Him in white; for they are worthy." And to add emphasis to this fact, He immediately follows with the added truth that such are those who "overcome." He explains that these are "worthy" because they have not "defiled" their "garments." To "defile" means to soil.
[ aside: Intro to the Concept of "Soul Garments" ]
This brings up a whole new subject which is too vast to cover in this discipleship study. “Their garments” refers to the inner soul garment which each person has. Paul makes it clear in I Thess. 5:23, that we humans are composed of spirit, soul and body. Your "spirit" is the real "you, " which has been "formed" or "fathered" by God out of His own "substance," for God is SPIRIT (see Zech. 12:1; Heb. 12: 9; John 4:25). But God has provided "clothes" for us, just as you provide clothes for your children. Your physical body is your "outer" garment, and your soul is your "inner" garment. Just as when you put on your clothes, I can see your outer garments, but I cannot see your under-garments or under-wear, it is a "picture" of the way that God has made us. I can see your physical body (or garment), but I cannot see your soul body (or garment). This is because the "atomic structure" of the soul is much more "highly attenuated" in its composition — its vibrational "pitch" is on a much higher level of existence, and the "visual waves" it emanates are not within the range of the physical eyes. Because of its "highly diffused" substance, the soul occupies the same space as the physical body, and is an exact replica of the physical body.
The soul is under the same sentence of death as the physical body. God declared through the prophet Ezekiel that "the soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4). The people had evidence for hundreds of years that the physical body was subject to death because of sin, but they needed to know that they had a "soul" which also was subject to death because of sin. Jesus confirmed this perspective in His teaching by stating in Mt. 16:26, "what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul." And also His warning in Mt. 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." And other scriptures are clear that the soul must be saved (from death) — see James 5:20, Heb. 10:39. To "save" means to "preserve."
[ return: Application to Worthiness ]
is so much more that needs to be said on this subject,
and I hate to leave you "dangling"—so to speak, but I don't want to get too far off of our
immediate subject of "discipleship." I must however go
back to Rev. 3:4-5, and clarify further the matter of
our "worthiness" to be a part of the "elect" company who
will "walk with Jesus in white." We have already noted
that such are "worthy" because they have not "defiled
their garments" (their inner "soul garments"). To grasp
the significance of Jesus' words, we must understand
that the Scriptures teach that the "desire nature"
(with its emotions and feelings) functions
through the soul. Because of the inherited
fallen Adamic nature, the corrupted soul-desires
a "driving force" which dominate and "usurp" the
authority and ruling power (will) of the human spirit,
and use the physical body as the
"instrument" to carry out and "fulfill" sinful
propensities. Such soul-desires which lead to sin,
rebellion, lust, covetousness, etc., then "defile"
it — cause
it to become "dirty" and unclean. Christ's redemptive
sacrifice for us has not only made provision for the
soul to be saved (preserved from
death), but also for the soul to be purified (I
Pet. 1:22), or cleansed. This not only means forgiveness
of sins (the "fruit" of our sin nature), but also the
cleansing or purging of the soul of that sin
nature's dominance or "drive" towards sin.
John says that God not only forgives our sins, but
also cleanses us from ALL
unrighteousness (I John 1:9); that is, IF we are aware of God’s
(and submit ourselves to it) for such
"freedom" through cleansing by the truth of
God's Word (John 8:31-32, 36) and the fire of
God's Spirit (Mt. 3:11). This does not mean "sinless
perfection" in the sense that one so "cleansed" cannot
sin, for God never nullifies our power of free will to
choose as we please.
Jesus' words in Rev. 3:4 indicate that there were those in Sardis who had received a deep cleansing unto purity of heart and holiness of life, but afterwards "defiled their garments." "Cleansing" by the power of God's truth and His baptismal fire from the innate "bondage" to sin does not make one suddenly a mature Christian. Much progress and growth towards maturity and perfection must still take place. Neither does it automatically remove all "faults" and "weaknesses" which are common to our strictly human nature. We must still diligently seek to "overcome" all that the Lord exposes and shows us that is not pleasing to Him. Thus it is possible for a "cleansed" one to "fall short" or fail the Lord in various ways; even to momentarily sin in thought, word, attitude or deed. But such inadvertent (not willful) failings are quickly taken to the Lord and confessed, and His forgiveness restores precious fellowship. I John 1:8-10.
*Note: I have dealt with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in a booklet titled "A New and Living Way", so I will not go into further detail here. But it is very important to note that the first words ever spoken about Jesus by John the Baptist, who was to prepare "the WAY" of the Lord, were: "he that comes after me is mightier than I ... he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Mt. 3:11). And the last words that Jesus Himself spoke to His disciples were: "tarry [ ] in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high" (Lk. 24:49, Acts 1:8). So to be His disciples requires that we ask, seek, even "knock" if necessary until we experience this "immersion" in the "fire" of His Spirit, to purge the inner "dross" and empower for victory (Lk. 11:9-13).
[ Maintaining Clean Soul Garments ]
Jesus words in Rev. 3:4-5, however, indicate that "inner garments" which have been made "white" can once again be "defiled." Last time, in part 2 of this study, I commented on our Christian "walk" and the need to have Jesus "wash our feet" every day from the "surface" contaminations which we pickup from the inevitable "rubbing shoulders" with the people of the world in our daily activities. Thus we must continually exercise our will in seeking the Lord, abiding in His Word, and letting Him cleanse us from "surface" contaminations, for Satan has many devices and "wiles" (Ephes. 6:11) to try to entice us to once again "awaken" mental-emotional desires and attitudes which can lead to sinful actions in word and/or deed. If we are again so "enticed" and begin to "take pleasure" in that which is displeasing to the Lord, then the "dirt" of this world (the "lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes (covetousness), and the pride of life (self-importance and self-exaltation)"— I John 2:16, can begin to pollute and "defile" our inner soul garment—and such can disqualify us from being among those who will "walk with Jesus in white." Even though saved, we would fall again into the category of a carnal Christian, and become subject to the chastening dealings of God.
Aside from avoiding unnecessary contact with the world and worldly people, the most important thing for the "purged" Christian, who wants to remain "sanctified" (wholly separated to the Lord) unto holiness (purity), is to avoid about 90% of all TELEVISION—for the majority of the programs bring the pollution and filth of the world right into your living room. You cannot "feed" your mental-emotional being on such "garbage" and not run the risk of getting seriously defiled within.
[ aside: More on the Soul Body ]
Before I comment further on the above, I want to include in this section a quotation that I believe helps to confirm my perspective, explained earlier, that the "soul" is actually an "inner body-covering" for the human spirit. The same life forces that develop the fetus within the mother's womb also generate within that fetus this fine spun, highly attenuated duplicate of the physical body. For the person whose soul has been saved (preserved from death), that soul serves as a functioning vehicle for the spirit in the heavenly realms after the death of the physical body, and also maintains the personal identity of that person who has lived on this earth. For the unsaved, the soul (after the death of the physical body) gradually loses its cohesiveness, causing its disintegrating (death). This process is pictured by type in the Bible by the disease of leprosy. We read in I Pet. 3:19 of "spirits in prison", because they were "denuded"— having lost both their physical and soul garments. But in Rev. 6:9 we read of "souls under the altar" in heaven— saved persons clothed in their soul garments, or bodies.
[ - The Testimony of Richard Eby ]
The following is taken from "Caught Up Into Paradise" by Richard E. Eby, D.O., physician and surgeon, published by Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappan, N.J. Dr. Eby had an accident and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. I don't remember how long he was dead, but God miraculously restored him to life. While his body was dead, he was taken to paradise and describes a portion of his experience as follows:
''Aside from the complete absence of pain and the total presence of peace (neither of which I had ever known on earth), I looked like me, felt like me, reacted like me. I was me. I simply suddenly had shed the old body and was now living in this fantastic cloud-like body! Being a physician, first instinct was to inspect my new body, and I instantly admired it. It was mine alright. After 60 years in the old one, it was easy to see that the new body was me. I was the same size, the same shape, as the person I had seen in the mirror for years. I was clothed in a translucent flowing gown, pure white, but transparent to my gaze. In amazement, I could see through my body and noted the gorgeously white flowers behind and beneath me. This seemed perfectly normal, yet thrillingly novel. My feet were easy to see. No bifocals needed. There were no bones or vessels or organs. No blood. I noticed the absence of genitals. The abdomen and chest were organless and transparent to my gaze, though translucent to my peripheral vision. There was no air to breathe, no blood to pump, no food to digest or eliminate. This was not a carnal body of organs, mortal and temporary."
Note that he observed that the body he had in paradise was exactly like the physical body he had on earth, but without the organs necessary for a purely physical existence. Although "cloud-like" in substance, it was a real, identifiable body. Note also that this body he describes was not the glorified physical body which Christians will eventually receive—either through translation or resurrection. The glorified physical body will be a much more powerful and versatile body or "vehicle" than the soul body. A glorified body can function both in the heavenly realms and on the earth. This was demonstrated by Jesus after His resurrection, for in His glorified body He was able to remain invisible in the vicinity of the earth for 40 days (Acts 1:3); yet also "manifest" (appear) many times to individuals and groups (I Cor. I5:5-7). When causing His body to manifest in the physical realm, He could be seen, touched, and even eat food (Lk. 24:36-43). He emphasized that His manifest physical body had flesh and bones (Lk. 24:39), whereas the body that Dr. Eby had in paradise did not have any bones. A soul-body cannot manifest in the physical realm. It is only for the use and functioning (toward progress in God's plan) in the realms of paradise, until the "outer garment" (the physical body) is restored in the resurrection as the primary "functioning vehicle" for the human spirit.
… The fact that I spoke of my coming ‘as a thief’ indicates that the Protestant denominations, along with their Catholic mother, will not be expecting my return, but will be taken completely by surprise. There are a few, however, who will be ready. Of them did I speak: ‘You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.' (Rev. 3:4). Their garments, which they have kept undefiled, are their inner soul garments. Originally washed in the blood of the lamb (Rev. 1:5, 7:14), they have been kept continually white and pure through obedience to the truth, and the washing of the water of the Word (I Pet. 1:22, Ephes. 5:26-27). They shall ‘walk with me in white' by being received of me when I come as a thief at the beginning of the tribulation period, and by being clothed with their glorified bodies.
As in the other letters, a further promise was given to the overcomers. 'He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.' (Rev. 3:5). The white raiment mentioned here symbolizes the glorified bodies with which the translated saints will be clothed. On its own plane such a body glows with the soft white light of the glory of God. When manifesting on the earth plane and appearing to those yet in the flesh, the glorified body vibrates to the pitch of flesh and bone (Luke 24:39) and is as tangible as any flesh and blood body; but its sustaining principle is no longer the life in the blood, which links the body with the earth and its elements, for the very life-substance of God sustains it and relates it to the plane of divine life and light. It is because the overcomer is so clothed that I am able to confess his name before my Father and before His angels. None except those so clothed will ever be ushered into the presence of the most high God. And to them is the added assurance given that under no circumstances will their name ever be removed from the book of life. They will be sons of glory, manifesting the life and light of God on their own plane, but also ministering to and watching over those who are yet on the earth plane. They shall be joined by a great host at the close of the tribulation as many more overcomers put on their garments of light and glory, to be united with me in joint-heirship and joint-rulership of all that is mine. (Rev. 7:9-17).
The final letter in the revelation that was given to John was to the church of the Laodiceans. To this church did I write: ‘These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of my mouth.' (Rev. 3:14-15). The church of the Laodiceans portrays the final era of the Christian dispensation. It represents the prevailing conditions extant in the organized church world as this age draws to a close. Insipid lukewarmness is the chief characteristic. Because of this I have spewed the entire organized church out of my mouth, both Catholic and Protestant. This does not mean I have repudiated those individuals who truly believe in me and are yet in the organized systems. But before the end comes, they must hear my call: ‘come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.' (Rev. 18:4).
am presented in this letter as the ‘faithful and true
witness’ in contrast to the unfaithfulness and distorted
witness of the Laodicean church. I am also presented as
‘the beginning of the creation of God’ because of the
inception of the new thing that I will do as the
Laodicean era comes to a close. I will raise up a mighty
witness in the remnant that is being called out of the
Babylonish church systems, and they shall manifest the
power and glory of that new creation which is coming
forth through my resurrection life. Since I am the
firstborn among many brethren, there shall be many who
will come to that measure of maturity which will enable
me to unveil them as the sons of God, giving them
immortality for their physical bodies. (Rom. 8:19, 29).
Some will put on the glory of the celestial as their
bodies are changed into the likeness of my glorious body
(Phil .3:21); and others will manifest sonship on the
terrestrial plane, having their bodies
changed from corruptible to incorruptible. (I Cor. 15:40-41, 53-54).
Now notice a further characteristic of the Laodicean period. ‘Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ (Rev. 3:-1-7-19). A contributing factor to the spiritual lukewarmness of the present day church world is the prosperity which abounds in most western nations. A feeling of smug complacency has blinded the churches to their spiritual poverty and their desperate need. Clothed with their own self-righteousness, they know not their nakedness in my sight. Therefore I have raised up messengers to expose and rebuke the carnality, apostasy and ineptness of the spiritually destitute churches. I call for repentance! I am moving in my providence to bring chastening through adverse conditions in civil life and international affairs. Conditions will become so severe that the people of the predominantly Christian nations will either repent or perish. It is because of my great love for those who know not their folly and the consequences thereof that I rebuke and chasten. I must awaken those who are asleep and destined for destruction. Otherwise there would be no hope.
From Let My People Go
… There is a further mystery that I would reveal to you with regard to the soul. So many confuse soul with spirit; yet they are separate and distinct. (I Thess. 5:23). Both body and soul are subject to death because of sin. Not so with the spirit; it is of the very substance of God who is ‘the Father of spirits.' (Heb. 12:9). The spirit within each human has been alienated because of sin and needs to be reconciled. But once reconciled through Jesus Christ, then its garments, soul-body and physical-body need to be saved or preserved from death. For when a spirit begotten of the Father is placed within an unborn fetus, its innate powers take of the living substance within the developing organism and form a finely tenuous vehicle called the soul. The soul then becomes the means or medium of expression through the physical. It becomes the seat or essence of what might be termed 'personality—the mental-emotional nature. Since the soul partakes of and is sustained by the life-forces of the physical, it is subject to death as is the physical body. 'The soul that sins, it shall die.' (Ezek. 18:20). Thus both body and soul need to be saved or preserved.
Now let us look more closely at the sprinkling of the blood. A door represents an entrance into something; also an exit. We have already seen that the doorway with its upper door post represents the outer or physical garment of the spirit, and the side posts represent the inner or soul garment. A spirit makes an entrance into the physical world through the doorway of embodiment within a fetus which is later born into the physical world. A spirit makes an exit from the physical world through the doorway of death. A spirit needs garments or vehicles for its growth in understanding and for its continued progress in the plan and purpose of God. Thus the death of either physical body or soul is a tragic loss for the spirit. In the type we have seen how the blood of the lamb was sprinkled upon both the upper and side door posts, showing that the blood which would later be shed by Jesus Christ would provide an atonement and release from death for both soul and physical body.
Cleansing and release come through the blood of Christ, but the importation of eternal life is through the engrafted seed of the living Christ. (James 1:21, I Pet. 1:23). When a soul is thus 'generated anew' through the incorruptible seed, it becomes a deathless vehicle for the spirit. In event of the death of the physical body, the soul then becomes a functioning vehicle for the spirit in the super-terrestrial realms. If the soul has not been saved it eventually perishes even as the physical body. Its life forces gradually abate and it slowly disintegrates….
3. Seek holiness.
This is a continuation of the preceding. The writer of the Hebrew letter admonished: "Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14). This scripture alone should make us realize that it takes more than just being saved to be made ready for the Lord's immediate presence. Jesus said essentially the same in Mt. 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." John reminds us that the hope of being with the Lord is a purifying hope. "Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure." (I John 3:3). Paul prays in I Thess. 5:23, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Listen carefully to the words of Jesus given to the church of Sardis in Rev. 3:4: "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy." Notice, to be worthy of walking with Him in His glorified realm, we must keep our garments undefiled. These are the inner soul garments which have been "purified through obeying the truth in the power of the Spirit" (I Pet. 1:22). Such will walk with the Lord "in white" (inner purity). James reminds us that "pure religion and undefiled before God is to . . . keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Jesus admonishes in Rev. 16:15: "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." "Naked" would simply symbolize lack of preparation and readiness. Lord, help us to seek holiness and pursue it.
Put on righteousness.
Paul admonishes us in Eph. 4:23-24, "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Notice that both righteousness and holiness are necessary for the "new creation" within us. As we have seen, holiness (or sanctification) is the negative (purging, purifying) work of God's Spirit within us, whereas righteousness is the positive (imparting, vivifying, fruit-producing) work of God's Spirit in us. But we must cooperate with the work of the Spirit by "putting off" (the old ways) and "putting on" (the new ways). Read Eph. 4:22-32, Col. 3:8-l7 & Rom. 13:12-14, for "putting off" and "putting on." Righteousness is called a fruit of the Spirit in Eph. 5:9. It is likened to a robe of fine linen in Rev. 19:8. Linen is made from flax, and thus a "fruit" or product of the growth process of the earth. Even so, righteousness as a "fruit" must grow and develop within us, or like the strands of "fine linen" be "woven" gradually within the fabric of our soul until we become more Christ-like in nature, conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). We begin our Christian life with a divine deposit of imputed righteousness; that is, Christ's righteousness "put down to our account" so that we may be accepted (Eph. 1:6). This is a legal transaction, and is what might be termed "positional righteousness." This takes place the moment we truly believe in Christ, and might be likened to the coats of skin with which Adam and Eve were clothed when God killed the sacrificial animals in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:21), which typified the sacrifice Christ made for us that our nakedness might be clothed with His imputed righteousness. However, such “sheep-skins" of imputed and positional righteousness which make it possible for us to be accepted and saved, are not sufficient for us to be made ready to dwell in the immediate presence of Christ as part of His "ruling" Body. His righteousness must also become personal within us, imparted and woven within us as the garment of fine linen. For it is not just the "sheep-skin" which makes the Bride ready, but the fine linen of His righteousness WITHIN. [Ed. Note: Brother Earls clarifies in “The First and the Last” that the first stage salvation of imputed righteousness does not include actual new birth which belongs rather to the second stage of imparted righteousness.]
… For this purpose the invisible God had to incarnate Himself in a "garment" of flesh, so that He could be joined to a people of flesh.
We see this prophetically declared in Isa. 61:10, where the promised Messiah declares: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the GARMENTS of salvation (His physical body which would be given for our salvation), he has covered me with the ROBE of righteousness (the sinless righteousness of His inner or soul garment), AS A BRIDEGROOM decks himself with ornaments" (the literal Hebrew says "decks as a priest," for He was clothed with human flesh to fulfill the ministry of the High Priest)….
…[The Imperative of Cleansed Soul “Garments” in the Present Age]
of the historical evidence of such "unfaithfulness," in
the organized church systems of Christendom, we can see
the importance of Paul's words in II Cor. 11:1-3: "I am
jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have engaged
you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste
virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the
serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds
should be corrupted from the simplicity (single-hearted
and pure devotion) that is in Christ." Eve is a
type of the soul with its desire-nature
(emotions, feelings, response, imagination), while Adam
is a type of the spirit (reason,
righteous judgment, will, determination), and the garden
of Eden is a type of the physical body
(which Adam was to "dress and keep"—Gen. 2:15). Thus we
see our three-fold being symbolically portrayed
in the Adam-Eve-Garden story in Gen. chaps. 1-3 (see I
Thess. 5:23). It is through our "Eve" (soul-desires)
that we who have been WED (in Spirit) to Christ, can be
"beguiled" and turned from our single and pure devotion
to Christ, entering into '"intimate associations" with
the world and its defilements, and thus disqualifying
ourselves from being presented to Christ as a "chaste
virgin" (His Bride). This is in harmony with Rev. 14:4,
where the 144,000 firstfruits are spoken of as being
"not defiled with women." In other words, they have not
been led astray by "Eve" (soul-desires) into
compromising situations with the world (including the
apostate religious world). Since they are not defiled
with women, it is evident that the 144,000 are
pictured as masculine (even as the manchild
of Rev. 12:5). This is purely symbolic (for this
group will be made up of both men and women) and shows
that these "overcomers" are living and walking in the Spirit,
rather than submitting to "the flesh" (soul-desires).
See Gal. 5:16-26. Paul, in Rom. 8:4, says that those who
walk after the Spirit, are having "the righteousness
of the law "fulfilled in them. The word "fulfill"
here means "to fill up" or "make full." In other words,
the "linen garment" of righteousness, which the Bride is
seen clothed with in Rev. 19:8, is gradually woven
into the very fabric of their inner being, until
it is "full" (complete).
In Rev. 3:4, the "overcomers "are pictured as the ones who "have not defiled their garments." These are the inner or soul garments, which have been "washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14). Our past sins (the surface dirt and stains) are "washed away" by the blood when we receive forgiveness of sins (Rev. 1:5; Acts 22:16; I Cor. 6:11). But it is only the Spirit, working in us because of the blood, that can "bleach out" the "ground in" filth of the sin nature in our souls, making them white (pure). The intensity of the "whiteness "(or brightness) of our inner garments depends on the degree to which we have allowed the Spirit to remove that which is of the self and sin life within. When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (a type of the heavenly Kingdom), His raiment became "White as light" (Mt. 17:2), or "shining (glistening), exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them" (Mark 9:3). This "white raiment" of Jesus is a type of His Bride (and Body) which shall adorn Him (being ONE with Him). It is the "pure (white) in heart" who shall see God and dwell with Him (Mt. 5:8). It is the Spirit-glory (brightness) which sanctifies us (Ex. 29:43, Rom. 15:16), separating us from all inner defilement, and also imparting and weaving in the righteousness of Christ. This is the "holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). BOTH the negative (removing) and the positive (imparting) aspects of the Spirit's work are needed.
Now we can see the importance of not defiling (getting dirty again) our inner garments (Rev. 3:4, 14:4), that we might be among those of whom Jesus said, "they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy" (Rev. 3:4). This is why Paul admonishes us to "walk worthy of the vocation (calling) wherewith you are called" (Ephes, 4:1), and to "walk as children of the light" (Ephes. 5:8). In the Old Testament, Enoch (meaning "dedicated") is a type of the Bride, for "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Gen, 5:24). "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death. . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Heb. 11:5). So the Bride, (those who "follow the Lamb"—Rev. 14:4, walking with Him and pleasing Him), shall be translated first, at the beginning of the tribulation. These are to be followed by those who will be translated at the close of the tribulation, who come "out of great tribulation," "a great multitude which no man could number" standing "before the throne, and before the Lamb" (not "with Him", as those in Rev. 14:1). They are "clothed with white robes," having "made them white" during the tribulation period (see Rev. 7:9,14). They are symbolized by Elijah, the second man in the Old Testament who was translated without seeing death (II Kings 2:11).
[Distinguishing Sin and Uncleanness]
Because it is important that we not defile our inner garments, I will add a few more comments which I hope will be helpful. In Zech. 13:1 we read: "in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the House of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." The "fountain" was opened at Calvary when Jesus gave Himself as a vicarious sacrifice, and out of His side came forth blood and water (John 19:34). The blood was to atone for sin, and the water symbolized the Word which is to purge out uncleanness (John 15:3; Ephes. 5:26). It is important to realize that all sin is uncleanness, but not all uncleanness is sin. In other words we can experience uncleanness in our mental-emotional being without actually committing any sin. However, such "uncleanness" hinders our fellowship with the Lord, and can keep us from fully entering into the covenant blessings, joys, and powers that the Lord has prepared for us.
vividly portrayed in the law of the Old Testament. All sin
or moral uncleanness had to be removed by the admission
of guilt (confession) and the bringing of a sin or
trespass offering to the priest to "atone for" the
offense (Lev. 5:5-6, Num. 5:6-8). This we can readily
understand, for under the New Covenant when we sin we
must repent, confess and receive forgiveness and
cleansing through the blood of Christ (see I John
1:6-10). But under the law there was also ceremonial
uncleanness which rendered individuals "defiled," and
when in this state of impurity, the Hebrews were
forbidden to enter the sanctuary, partake of the sacred
offerings and gifts, etc. Only the clean were fit to
approach the Holy God and all that appertained to Him
(Lev. 7:19-21, 22:3, Num. 9:6-7, 18:11). Some of the
bodily conditions, such as the diseases of leprosy and
issues of blood, were types of sin, for as we said
before, all sin is uncleanness. But there were other
conditions, such as the eating of unclean meats,
touching the carcass of an unclean animal, or touching
a dead human body, which were not acts of sin,
but still rendered a person unclean. For these
conditions, cleansing came through water
(washing, bathing, or sprinkling). Read especially Lev.
chaps. 11 & 15, and Deut. chap. 19. This is a type
of the cleansing of the church "with the washing of
water by the word" (Ephes. 5:26).
Again, the two main ways of contacting uncleanness was by eating (unclean meats) and touching (dead bodies or carcasses). "Eating" is a type of fellowship and intimate association, showing that God's people are to have "no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness" (Ephes. 5:11). "Touching" that which was dead is a type of contact with the world and those who are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephes. 2:1). God's command is to "come out from among them, and be [ ] separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness (defilement) of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 6:17-7:1). But read also II Cor. 6:14-16. The typical significance of Jesus' washing of the disciples feet as recorded in John 13:4-10 is important here. In our "daily walk" as Christians we contact the uncleanness of the world, and what we see and hear can "rub off" on us, so to speak, and bring a certain amount of defilement into our thinking and feeling. Therefore we need to spend time alone with the Lord in meditation, prayer and reading of the Word, so that the Lord can "wash our feet" and cleanse us from the filth of the world. Through mutual fellowship and ministry in the Word, we can also wash one another's feet (John 13:14). However, it is only as we heed, apply, and obey the Word, receiving into our inner being its teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness (II Tim. 3:16), that it is truly effective for our daily cleansing.
The Day of Atonement was the one day of the year that
the children of Israel were commanded to "afflict their
souls" with fasting, repentance and humility as the High
Priest prepared to enter the Holy of Holies with his
pure white linen garments on (Lev. 16:29-34). So the day
itself speaks to us of cleansing, purifying and
preparation. Even so, must there be that inner
cleansing, purifying and preparation in every one of the
overcomers who is to enter the heavenly New Jerusalem.
Also, we must be clothed, as was the High Priest, with
the "linen of righteousness.” This is confirmed by Rev.
19:8. Read my article on "Preparation
the Lord's Coming" to see the difference
between the imputed righteousness of Christ whereby we
are accepted IN Christ, and the imparted righteousness
of Christ which prepares us to be presented TO Christ.
The latter is the "linen garment.”…
To come into the very Presence of the great KING, and even to live in His Presence in the coming New Jerusalem, we must be properly dressed. This requires that "vestment" we have referred to as the glorified body; it is the "wedding garment" referred to in Matthew 22:11. Those now in that "heaven," which the New Testament refers to as Paradise, are functioning in the "underwear" of their soul-bodies, having lost the outer vestment or garment of the physical body through death. They are waiting for the completion of their redemption, even the restoration (resurrection) to them of their outer garment—the physical body (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 1:14)….
[Purified Garments Vs. Nakedness]
Note the promise in Rev. 3:4: "You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy." Ah, beloved, this is [the] essence of that Pearl of great price for which Jesus is seeking: those who shall "walk with Him in white" in intimate association with Him, in celestial realms of glory, as His heavenly Bride and Household. But notice the stated pre-condition: "which have not defiled their garments." The "garments" referred to here are the inner soul garments. As pointed out in the previous paragraph, the soul must be purged and purified of its innate carnality (I Pet. 1:22, Titus 2:14); [that] those garments not be "defiled;" that is, not gotten dirty or soiled. The apostle James says that "pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is. . . to keep himself unspotted from the world." A certain amount of "surface dirt" is picked up every day as we carry out our duties in work or business, but this can be removed as we come to Jesus and ask Him to "wash our feet" (our daily walk). See John 13:1-10. Also, because of the frailties and imperfections of the human nature, there can be many momentary failures, "stumblings" and even occasionally what could be considered a "sin;” but for these there is God's promise that where there is an humble and repentant heart with confession, His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:8-9). But there can be no serious defaulting or compromise with the godliness and "filth" of this world, for such defilement with the dirt and grime of this world could disqualify the one previously purified. This is why Paul says in I Cor. 9:27: "I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others I myself should be disqualified" (for the heavenly prize and calling).
Referring again to the scripture with which I began the last paragraph, notice that Jesus says, "You have a FEW names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments" (Rev. 3:4). Out of all the Christians in the church at Sardis only a "few" would qualify to "walk with Jesus in white." This scripture alone should make us realize that not all Christians will qualify for this high calling. Of the church at Sardis Jesus said: "you have a name that you live, and are dead." Are there not many churches which fall into that category today? Although I believe that the seven churches of Asia depict the progressive stages of church history down through this age, I also believe that ALL together (for “7" is the number of completeness) these churches picture the entire "spectrum" of the church world in this end time. All the characteristics of the church world today, both good and bad, are depicted in these seven churches. The same deviations and corruptions for which Jesus rebuked some of the churches severely, are still present in some churches today. And thankfully, the excellent characteristics for which some of the churches were commended by Jesus, are also in evidence today among some Christians. As we read the seven letters, we note that there are "overcomers" out of all of the churches. But we have already seen that in Sardis only a "few" would be found to be "worthy" (fit, suitable, deserving) of the Overcomer’s Calling….
Among other things, Jesus characterizes the Laodicean church as being "naked" (Rev. 3:17). In the scriptures the term "naked” is used symbolically to mean the "exposure" of one's true condition; to be "discovered" or "made manifest.” Just what is God going to do to expose the "nakedness" of the Laodicean church? I believe the key is found in Rev. 16:15: "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." When Jesus comes as a "thief” He "takes" (by translation) the 144,000 Firstfruits. They will simply be found "missing.” This Sudden, SHOCKING event and its aftermath, will expose the true spiritual condition of every remaining Christian. Certainly there will be many consecrated Christians left behind (for God's purpose) who will have been "keeping their garments" (from defilement); and in the verse quoted above, Jesus says "'blessed are they,” for they will not need to be ashamed. But to those "caught naked" (unprepared) it will be a time of great shame. There will be a remedy, however, for those willing to be quickly diligent. It is found in a scripture which I have already dealt with, but which I will quote again to emphasize certain words. "I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see." (Rev. 3:18). The word "appear” in that verse means to be "made manifest or publicly exposed." The only way the "lukewarm" shall be able to mitigate such open shame will be to "buy" quickly (with the whole intensity of their being) what is needed from the Lord….
In order to show that the garments of glory and beauty with which Aaron was adorned represent the ministry of a glorious church on earth, I would call your attention to the ceremonies enacted on the great Day of Atonement. There you will notice that the High Priest, in order to minister beyond the veil, which is a type of the heavenlies, divested himself of his beautiful garments and changed into garments of pure white from head to foot (Lev. 16:4). These white linen garments were to be worn only in his ministry beyond the veil, and when this was finished he removed them and put on his regular garments (Lev. 16:23). Now what does this portray? It portrays the fact that when the Body of Christ has finished its ministry on the earth, there shall be a 'putting on' of changed and translated bodies which will no longer be flesh and blood but flesh and bone (Luke 24:39). Such bodies or garments are for those who are completely clothed in the white linen of righteousness (Rev. 19:8, 14). In their own native heavenly realm, these changed bodies glow with a soft white light. But behold the type! The garments of glory and beauty made for the High Priest out of materials of blue, purple, scarlet, gold and precious stones, were for ministering in the Holy Place outside the veil, picturing conditions on the earth. Therefore a glorious church must come forth on the earth before entrance beyond the veil into the heavenlies.
ephod was the basic garment of the High Priest, let me
show you what it typifies. All the garments of the High
Priest portray various aspects of the human tabernacle
which houses the spirit begotten of God. Just as the
tabernacle pitched in the wilderness consisted of two
basic parts: the outer court and the tent enclosure; so
are there two parts to that which houses the human
spirit: the outer physical body, and the inner soul
body. Contact by the human spirit with the Divine
Spirit is made through the vehicle of the soul. The soul
partakes of the life forces of the physical, but is a
much more highly tenuous vehicle which is sensitive to
impressions from the spirit world. Since the ephod was
the garment which enabled the High Priest to communicate
with Deity, it is a type of the soul of the born-again
Christian. Before the soul can be a medium for
communication with the Divine, it must first be
cleansed from the defiling effects of sin; this is
effected through the blood of Jesus Christ. Then it must
be infused with Divine life, making it possible for its
forces to be oriented God-ward, and providing the means
for its complete restructure in the likeness of the Son
of God. A soul which is steeped in sin is naturally
attuned to the vibratory impingements of the enemy -
Satan. It is extremely susceptible to the
thought-impressions and desire-pulls of invisible evil
forces. Therefore, in order to become a medium for
Divine-human communication, it must be thoroughly
purged and purified, so that it will receive and
entertain only those vibratory influences which are
uplifting and edifying.
I shall speak to you concerning each part of the ephod and its accompanying breastplate, and show its typical meaning as it pertains to the soul of the born-again Christian. To be 'born again' means to be regenerated within by the incorruptible seed of Christ (I Pet. 1:23, James 1:21), receiving LIFE into the soul; and causing the soul to become a deathless vehicle for the human spirit. In the unsaved person, who has not received LIFE through Christ, the soul is subject to death even as is the physical body (Ezek. 18:20, Matt. 10: 28). But in the saved person, the soul has been flushed through with eternal life, and in the event of the death of the physical body, the soul then becomes a functioning body or vehicle for the spirit in the celestial realms. Now the powers or functions of the soul, which constitute man a living personality in the objective world, can be used either independently of God or in subjection to the mind and will of God. The purpose of this word of revelation is to show how the soul becomes attuned to Divine life and consciousness, becoming no longer a vehicle for self-expression, dominated by uncleanness through the powers of darkness; but a vehicle for the expression of the very nature and being of the Christ of God.
After the initial cleansing of
the soul through the blood of Christ, and the receiving
of LIFE through the incorruptible seed, a point of
contact has been established within the soul which
becomes a conductor for the Spirit of God to flow to
energize and uplift. Also, since the 'seed' which has
been engrafted into the soul is from the glorified body
of the Son of God, it contains all the essence of His
very nature and being, and thus becomes a 'perfection
vortex’ for the complete restructuring of the fabric of
the soul into His likeness. Therefore the Living Word
(the engrafted seed - the Christ within) and the Spirit
(the Holy Spirit) work together to weave and furbish
with 'cunning work' (Ex. 28:6) the 'ephod' or soul
garment of the born-again Christian. The basic material
for the ephod was fine linen. This fine linen is a type
of the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:8) which
is imparted to the soul by the Word and the Spirit (I
Cor. 1:30, Il Cor. 5:21, Rom. 8:4). The soul is 'made
righteous' only through Christ; there is no other way.
The righteousness of Christ which is first imputed to
those who believe in His atoning work, causing them to
be justified freely by His grace (Rom. 3:22-24, 4:5-11,
22-25), must thereafter be imparted and 'woven' as an
integral part of the fabric of the soul.
Other elements are also to be 'woven' into the soul-fabric, as indicated by the fine linen being supplemented by gold, blue, purple and scarlet (Ex. 28:6). The 'gold' represents tried and proven character which comes only through the crucible of experience, as the grace of Christ, working by means of the Holy Spirit, causes one to rise above temptation, pressures, and various fiery trials, weaving in the beauty of steadfastness, patience, and faithfulness, without bitterness, wrath, or turning back (Rom. 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, I Pet. 1:6-8, Heb. 10:35-39). The blue in the ephod is a type of heavenly aspirations: that which causes one to set his mind on things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father (Col. 3:1). 'Thinking' is an important function of the powers of the soul. The creative ability of the mind can greatly determine the warp and woof of the soul's texture. Through the power of the risen Christ within, the mind must be quickened to the present reigning of Christ as Lord over one's entire being, causing the entirety of one's thoughts to be centered in the continuous reality of His presence, so that nothing is seen apart from His providential working. If this concept can be inculcated and practiced daily, the mind will be continually renewed and the life transformed, enabling the 'blue' of heaven's aura to become an integral part of the soul's beauty (Ephes. 4:23, Rom. 12:2). The purple in the ephod is a picture of the crowning glory of one who is to be a king-priest with Christ, to rule and reign with Him in His Kingdom (Rev. 5:10, 20:6). Closely related to this, and indispensable to it, is the scarlet of sacrificial love; the willingness to give one's all to the Savior in devotion and obedience. For it is only love poured out that enables the Holy Spirit to 'weave in' these qualities which partake of the scarlet and purple of the ‘royal priesthood’ and the beauties of maturing sonship. (I John 3:16).
Since the beauty and adornment of the High priest's garments were in the ephod, and not in the robe of the ephod, it portrays by type that the Christian-priest in the Body of Christ is to manifest the beauty of Christ's life and character from the inner man of the heart or soul, and not be primarily concerned with the adornment of the outer or physical man (see I Pet. 3:3-4). Also, since the ephod was worn on the outside and its beauty seen, while the robe of the ephod was under it and only partially visible, it portrays the truth that what others should ‘see’ and be conscious of is the beauty and glory of the Christ within, shining through in expression of a soul completely re-shaped and fashioned in His likeness, rather than the outward or exterior appearance of the physical man.
Having considered the robe of the ephod, let me now show you the typical significance of that garment which was under it, next to the body of the High Priest. A white tunic, woven of fine linen, and covering the entire upper and lower body was placed on the High Priest first. On top of this was worn the robe of the ephod, and then the ephod itself was put on last. (Ex. 28:39, 29:5). The tunic reached to the feet and also covered the arms with long, tight-fitting sleeves. It was large enough to hang loose on the body, but was girded to the body by means of a specially made sash, decorated with various colors. I have already shown you how the ephod represents the soul of the born-again Christian, and the robe of the ephod the physical body. Forming a connecting link between the highly tenuous soul and the body of flesh, is what is known as the 'autonomic nervous system.' The various nerves and nerve ganglia are represented by the strands of finely twined linen of which the tunic was woven. This self-acting nervous system, with its sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, causes the physical organism to respond and react to desires, feelings and emotions that arise as a result of soul-powers resident within. This is why it is so important to have the right mental-emotional attitudes at all times. The power of the soul to affect the condition of the physical body is great. For example, anger arising in the soul has its effect on certain organs in the physical body by their being activated through stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Thus, a wide variety of negative and destructive emotions and ingrained feelings can greatly weaken the body's normal functioning and make it far more susceptible to the inroads of predatory organisms which are ever ready to take advantage of areas of weakness in the physical body. The finely twined linen of the tunic, which covered the entire body of the High Priest, is an apt picture of the fine and delicate nerve fibers which act as a communications system throughout the entire body. No person can adequately and effectively minister as a Christian-priest in the service of the Lord without a healthy influence of soul powers on the physical body. This comes only as the Christ within is allowed to control and direct all the mental and emotional processes into channels that will spiritually uplift, and increase the flow of the life of the Spirit to the quickening of the physical body through the sympathetic nervous system. Otherwise the reactions of mental-emotional stimuli on the body will be destructive and harmful.
Although the tunic itself was entirely of white linen, the sash with which it was girded was decorated with needlework of various colors. This again is to portray the typical relationship of the tunic with the ephod, for the ephod was variegated with the same colors. In other words, the ephod, or soul, is closely connected to the tunic, which represents the autonomic nervous system. Through this system, the soul affects the body of flesh, or the robe of the ephod, which was worn between the ephod and the tunic. Can you not see, my people, that the priesthood ministry involved the whole man? It is my purpose that there should be a perfect relationship between the functions of soul (the mental-emotional faculties) and the physical body. For only then can the physical body be a perfectly healthy vehicle for the priesthood ministry of My saints. Think not that the physical body was fashioned to be subject to death. It is a necessary part of the total man in the service of his God. Its complete redemption is a necessary part of my total plan for man, and that redemption provides for the perfect relationship and functioning of both body and soul….
Page created May 28, 2022