Firstborn Sonship of Christ

Volume Six Chapter Three





      9 "Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?' – (referring to the comments of Jesus about the new birth).
       Jn 3:1-10.


      Jesus said, in verse 10 above, that Nicodemus should have known and understood about the new birth. Since the New Testament did not yet exist at that time, the only source of divine information Nicodemus had was the Old Testament. Therefore, the question Jesus asked reveals that Nicodemus should have understood about the new birth from what is written in the Old Testament.
      Indeed, the new birth is clearly and consistently taught and portrayed in nearly all the teachings and ceremonies of the Old Testament. This will quickly become obvious if it is not already. We have presented many scriptures in the New Testament which make it much easier to understand the new birth throughout the Old Testament.
      God has permitted Satan to cunningly twist the New Covenant through the traditions of the men as he did by the traditions of the elders in the Old Testament. The true understanding of the Scriptures has been corrupted to the extent a much perverted Gospel rules the day. To grasp the truth, both in Nicodemus's day and in our day, we must be willing to empty our minds of much of traditional teaching in order to understand the true intent of the Scriptures – both Old Testament and New Testaments.
      That is our plight today. Sadly, the earthly price one must pay to correct the matter in this life is usually judged too crushing to endure; therefore, in converse, fear of rejection pervades the mind and one fails to see that the eternal price is immeasurably greater than the cost in this life.
      Immediately in Genesis God placed a perpetual series of beginnings and endings, with new beginnings and new endings, into life on the earth by placing days into the cycle of time, each day with a new beginning. Then God marked off seven days to form the cycle of weeks, each week with a new beginning, then months, seasons, and years, each with a new beginning. Within each year there is a cycle of four seasons; and after Adam sinned, these seasons testified of life followed by death, then there is new cycle of life and death: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
      God also ordained that man would multiply and fill the earth, but would eventually experience the death of his body which would return to dust from which the body was created, Gen 3:19. This cycle goes on with children and grandchildren being born to live and die.
      Yet, God insures that the testimony and promise of redemption from sin and death would continue to be constantly presented to each succeeding generation. This promise of redemption into the "life" of the "tree of life" would continue to be held out to mankind until the Seed of the woman (as the divine Kinsman Redeemer) 1) would be born into the human race (Gen 3:15; Isa 7:14); 2) would live an unblemished life consistently portrayed countless times by the clean animal sacrifices (Ex 12:5; Lev 1 thru 7); 3) would perform His necessary earthly ministry (Isa 42 thru 53; 61:1-3), during which time He would confirm a new covenant (last will and testament) with the covenant people (Jer 31:3134; Rev 5:1-10); 4) would die the death of the testament Testator, portrayed by the many burnt offerings (Ps 40:6-10; Isa 53); 5) would be buried, but would rise again the third day (Ps 16:7-11) from the dead to abolish sin and death from the faithful last will and testament people (Isa 25:8; Hos 13:14); 6) would confirm a new covenant (last will and testament) with the covenant people (Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:8-12; 9:16-17); 7) would ascend back to heaven, be seated at the right hand of the Father, and minister as a Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:1-4; Heb 5 & 7); 8) would return to the earth and give the faithful covenant people a new birth into the divine life promised in the tree of life, Isa 61:10 thru 62:3; Dan 12:3. This list is not complete, but Nicodemus should have known all these things from the the Old Testament Scriptures.


      14 "For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end," Heb 3:14.
      Observe that we have already become partakers of Christ IF we hold fast to the end – an apparent contradiction, but not really so. It is another metaphoric expression found so often in the Scriptures. We have already become partakers of Christ, yet we must hold fast to the end in order to become partakers of Christ. That is, we have already become partakers of the "rest" (glorification or deification) which God has provided in the covenants and in the body of Christ for those who are daily believing into Christ.
      Having already become partakers of Christ is firmly founded on the words, "if we hold fast." The inevitable opposite of this in Heb 3 is: if we do not hold fast, we will not be partakers of Christ. We will be branches cut off from the Vine, and thereby abort the new birth. The result of this will be to incur God's "wrath" instead of God's "rest" when Christ returns. Israel, in the wilderness, is the example given to us of failing to hold fast to faith and a good conscience, Heb 3:1-19; 1Ti 1:18-20. Holding fast to "the faith" requires that we hold fast to the doctrine of Christ (2Jn 9-11), which we should have heard from the beginning, 1Jn 2:23-25.


      Observe a similar metaphor a little further in the same context:
      10 "For he who has (already) entered His rest has himself also (already) ceased from his works as God did from His.
      11 "Let us therefore be diligent
(continue to labor) to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience," Heb 4:10-11.
      This is another apparent contradiction, but not really a contradiction. No one but Christ Himself has entered into the "rest," of the glorified body. Metaphorically we are members of the now deified body of Christ, and therefore are counted as deified members of the deified body of Christ. In this metaphor we have already entered into the "rest" of the deified body. This is a metaphor or reckoning (Rom 4:17) upon the basis of which the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit has been given to us in the church, Jn 7:39; Gal 4:4-6; Rom 8:23; 6:3-6; 7:4-6; 2Co 5:5,16-17; 3:18; 4:7-12.
      The "rest" is partaking of Christ, and partaking of Christ is partaking of what Christ now is in His resurrected and divinely born flesh body. We do not aspire toward what He was in a perfect human body, but for what He is now in a deified body, possessing all the fullness of deity in a human body:
      9 "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
      10 "And you are made full
(of the fullness of God – of deity) in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power," Col 2:9-10; Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Col 1:19; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-22.
      Again, by faith (and by the faith, the doctrine of Christ) we have become partakers of Christ and have entered into that "rest," on the basis of which we have received the Holy Spirit. As a result of receiving the Holy Spirit, there should be an emotional feeling within our being. This is not a "holy roller" experience, but a feeling of peace and assurance, which depends on how much we have been taught of the truth. Feelings of assurance, joy, and peace should come with faith (knowledge and confidence) in what the Scriptures truly say.
      Our bodies cannot be fashioned into the image of Christ's body of glory (Phi 3:21) without the new resurrection birth into Christ's divine state of being, with all the essence of deity (the fullness of God) in it – see above Scriptures.
      Our hope is to daily partake of Christ, to be daily conformed to Christ's image in our hearts, in order for our bodies to be fashioned into the precise image of His glorified body when He returns: "Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself," Phi 3:21.


      We are made partakers of Christ (born again) IF we hold fast to the end:
      2 "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
      3 "And everyone constantly having this hope in him is purifying himself, even as He is pure,"
1Jn 3:2-3.
      We are already firstborn sons and will continue to be firstborn sons only if we "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end," Heb 3:6. We are already metaphorically firstborn sons and will be fashioned like Christ's body of glory only if we continue to purify ourselves as He is pure, 1Jn 3:2-3. Our bodies being fashioned into the likeness of Christ's body of glory is our "living hope," and "hope that is seen is not hope," 1Jn 3:2-3; 1Pe 1:3-5; Phi 3:7-14, 21; Rom 8:23-25 (17-30). This "hope" requires that we purify ourselves as He is pure, otherwise we abort the hope.
      We are already partakers (born again) only if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence to the end, Heb 3:1-19. We are already made partakers of Christ (of the Gospel's resurrection birth) only if we hold fast, 1Co 15:1-4, 44-58. We are already made partakers of the divine nature only if we make our calling and election sure, 2Pe 3-10. We are already begotten into that living hope and are kept by faith (1Pe 1:3-5) only if we do not make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, 1Pe 1:3-9; 2Pe 1:3-10; 3:16-17; 1Ti 1:18-20.
      We are already made sharers of the Gospel (the grand finale of the Gospel is the resurrection birth from the dead into the divine firstborn sonship of Christ, Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Co 15:1-4, 44-58; et al), only if we severely discipline our earthy body lest we become castaways – disapproved and rejected, as Israel was, from that divine hope of glory, 1Co 9:23 thru 10:12; Col 1:5, 21-23, 27; Heb 3:1-19; et al.
      Partaking of Christ means partaking of what He now is, of what He will be when He returns, and of what He will forever be, as expressed in Col 2:9-10. Partaking of Christ is a divine birth. Metaphorically, as His church, we are already His divine body, and as individuals, we are already the divine members of His divine body.


      53 "Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (the "life" is the aionion life (age life, or divine life) that will be the seventh day rest, representing the seventh Millennium).
      54 "'Whoever is constantly munching on My flesh and is constantly drinking My blood is having age-life (divine life), and I will raise him up at the last day.
      55 "'For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
      56 "'He who is constantly munching on My flesh and is constantly drinking My blood is remaining in Me, and I in him,'"
Jn 6:53-56.
      If we are not constantly (in a firm mind-set) eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood, we do not have that divine life in us. We eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood by means of a steadfast mind-set of believing and obeying His Word by grace through faith. In this way we are progressively "believing into Christ," Jn 6:27-67; 3:15-16,18,35; 5:24.


      4 "But He answered and said, ‘It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that is constantly proceeding out of the mouth of God,''" Mt 4:4.
      We are literally feeding our minds on the Word of God: our minds are fed on information. In this case, the information is from God's Word. Thereby we grow in the true knowledge of God's divine person and the things of His kingdom. This is true knowledge, it is real food, it is genuine feeding, and it produces real growth in knowledge, understanding, wisdom, experience, godly virtues, etc. This is true, and we are actually feeding on the truths relating to Christ's flesh and human body. This feasting on the inspired Word leads into the divine attributes of Christ's divine resurrection birth, bringing our flesh and bone bodies into a divine state of being.
      27 "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures into eternal (divine) life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him," Jn 6:27.
      This is aionion (age) life, which is the divine life that will be a visible, public, and eternal triumph, governing every aspect of creation for a thousand years, and forever thereafter. God's Word is our food which endures and leads into the divine birth; the divine resurrection birth that will fashion our vile bodies into the image of Christ's body of glory, Phi 3:7-14,21.
      By the Word of God, by the resurrection birth of Christ, and by being the deified body of Christ, we have already been begotten into this "living hope," 1Pe 1:3-9,23. But this is a metaphor and will become a real birth in the resurrection only for those who keep on believing (laboring) into Christ:
      29 "Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you keep on believing into Him whom He sent,'" Jn 6:29.
      "Note the present active subjunctive pisteu,hte, ‘that you may keep on believing,'" Robertson. We must not fail to observe the divine emphasis put on the present progressive tense throughout this chapter, Jn 6:37,39,40,47,54-58.
      The work of God is that we keep on believing into Christ. This is the way we eat Christ as the Bread of life and drink His blood. This is the way we, by faith, partake of Christ progressively throughout our lives. Partaking of Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood by faith is monumental to us under the New Covenant, and such was so under the Law Covenant. We must daily eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood (a metaphor) by simply continuing to believe and obey His Word by grace through faith. Only in this manner can we qualify for the divine resurrection birth when Christ returns.
      This is why Jesus said to Nicodemus: "are you a teacher in Israel, and do not understand these things?" Jn 3:10. Nicodemus should have known about the new birth, because Israel, in many ordinances, ate Christ symbolically when they ate the Passover lamb, when they ate the other sacrifices, when they ate the unleavened bread, when they ate the twelve loaves of showbread, when they ate the manna in the wilderness, and in other ways.
      Eating Christ symbolically in these ordinances represented the new birth. The Passover lamb, the unleavened bread, the manna, the twelve loaves of showbread, the many animal sacrifices, etc., all represented Christ. Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is likewise symbolized in the Lord's Supper, and represents the new birth when Christ returns.


      16 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
      17 "For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.
      18 "Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?"
1Co 10:16-18.
      The cup of blessing which we bless represents drinking the blood of Christ, which language is symbolic of receiving the full benefits of the human life, death, burial, and divine resurrection birth of the body of Christ. The shedding of Christ's blood brought death to the mere flesh body and the destruction of the sin nature of the Adamic human body, Rom 6:6; 7:4. The shedding of Christ's blood and the ensuing death, burial, and resurrection, provide for forgiveness, for cleansing from sins (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14), and for redemption (adoption, new birth) into a new deified body, Rom 8:23-25 (17-30).
      The life of the first Adam's body is in the blood (Lev 17:11,14), and the shedding of the blood signified the end of that body for those in the body of Christ. The life of the divine body is divine life, 1Co 15:44-50. There is no blood in the heavenly body, 1Co 15:50. The communion of the body of Christ represents our being metaphorically counted as the members of the flesh and bone body of Christ, which was born into divine life in His resurrection. Our communion (fellowship, partaking) of the body of Christ must not end with the death of our bodies, but bring our bodies through the new birth into that divine state of being which Christ's body now possesses – the fullness of deity, Phi 2:9; 1Co 15:44-50.
      "Discerning the Lord's body" (1Co 5; 11:27-29) requires the following among other things: 1) that we be in a true local church; 2) that we understand the church is metaphorically the deified body of Christ; 3) that we understand our bodies are metaphorically the deified members of the deified body of Christ; 4) that we are in a covenant training program which includes every detailed aspect of our daily life; 5) that we are required to live holy lives, endure all life's hardships by grace through faith, and be approved by God; 6) that those who are unfaithful will be disapproved, cut off from Christ's firstborn sonship, and will not receive the new birth in the resurrection; and, 7) that the unfaithful saved have been prepared before-hand to be servant sons, be severely punished, and will never receive the heavenly body of glory.


      11 "So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'
      12 "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
      13 "But exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
      14 "For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,"
Heb 3:11-14 (3 & 4).
      Partaking of Christ means entering God's "rest," and both of these mean partaking of the divine nature in a new birth resurrection. Most of creation will rest from the curse when Christ returns and glorifies (deifies) the firstborn sons, Rom 8:19-22. The new earth will rest when God creates all things new, Rev 21:5. But the "rest" of Heb 3 and 4 is a divine "rest" from the elementary (rudimentary) laws of the physical universe, Gal 4:3,9; Col 2:8,20-21. This divine "rest" is a covenant promise only to the "holy brethren" who are "partakers of the heavenly calling," Heb 3:1.


      7 "'Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.'
      8 "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints,"
Rev 19:7-8.
      The bride has made herself ready by grace through faith, and the clothing is the spotlight of her preparedness. Without this clothing she is not ready, and would never be ready for the marriage, and further would never be joined to Christ in a human-yet-divine body. Her clothing is of utmost importance: it signifies her divine relationship with Christ. It signifies her godhood, her possessing the fullness of God, as Christ's body possesses the fullness of God, Ps 82:6; Col 2:9-10; 1:19; Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23.
      Her clothing is described as fine linen, and is then further described as "the righteous acts of the saints," Rev 19:8. But the saints have no righteousness of their own:
      6 "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away," Isa 64:6.
      The righteousness of the saints is the righteousness of God that is more abundantly credited to us with each act of faith – "And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by the faith," Phi 3:9; Rom 3:21-26.
      Abraham was saved and walking in covenant faith-obedience many years before he was justified in Gen 15:6. In fact, he was being justified in all those acts of faith as well as the many acts of faith which followed, Gen 15:6. Observe how Abraham's justification by faith is progressively and inseparably joined to his walking by faith, Rom 4:11-17; Gal 3:6-9,14-21. Walking by faith (in the steps of Abraham's faith, by grace through faith works) permeates each discussion of justification, Rom 3: 4; 5; Gal 2:16-21; 3:6 thru 5:5; Ja 2:21-25.
      Paul wanted by all means to be found in Christ, dressed in God's righteousness in the resurrection, Phi 3:9-11 (9:7-14,21). God's righteousness means God's divine nature. Being justified means God's divine nature is being credited progressively to those in covenant relationship (in the body of Christ in this age) with each act of faith. And by each thought, word, or deed that is not of faith we are losing (eroding) those treasures we have laid up in heaven, Mt 6:19-21; 2Jn 9; Rev 3:11; Mt 13:12; 25:28-29.
      God instituted marriage (Gen 2:21-24) to represent the faithful and chaste covenant people being made one with Christ in a human plus divine oneness (Eph 5:31-21) and in a divine oneness with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Rev 19:7-8; Col 2:9-10; 3:10; Eph 4:24; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-10; 17:21-23; 2Pe 1:4. Being clothed in God's righteousness means possessing the divine nature. The divine marriage is consummated the moment the saints are deified when Christ returns.


      26 "Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'
      27 "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,"
Gen 1:26-27.
      God created man in His own image and likeness. Obviously, God had immeasurably more in mind for man than what we see in man's initial creation, and immeasurably more than what we see now in mankind. Man still does not possess much of the full image of God; specifically, man does not now and did not at any time in the past possess the divine nature. As we study through the Bible and as we have seen in the preceding articles, the divine nature will be given to the saints when Christ returns. Man, except for Christ, does not yet possess much the full image of God, but the faithful covenant people are being minimally transformed into that image from glory to glory, 2Co 3:18; 4:6,9-12,17; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10. It is clear that though man was not initially created in the full image of God, he was to be tested and trained through acts of righteousness to qualify to share God's image with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are, in our turn, still in that disciplinary training status. Even in the covenant position many are called but few are chosen, Mt 22:14.


      3 "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
      4 "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the Son of man that You visit him?
      5 "For You have made Him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned Him with glory and honor.
      6 "You have made Him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet,"
Ps 8:3-6; Heb 2:5-13.
      God's purpose from the beginning has been that man (the faithful covenant people) inherit and rule all creation jointly under Christ, Rom 4:13,16; 8:17,32; 1Co 3:21-23; Heb 1:2. What is man that God is mindful of him? He is the lowest of God's intelligent creatures, yet God will bring into His divine glory those of mankind who by grace through faith overcome His covenant training requirements. In this way God will demonstrate His mercy on those He has prepared for glory, Rom 9:22-23.
      This authority and rulership over all the works of God's hands elevates man (the faithful covenant people) into the divine state of being with God. Christ being the firstborn from the dead qualified Him, as the divine God-man, to have preeminence over all things, Col 1:18-20; 2:9-10. This, in turn, qualifies all those who are joined in "oneness" with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23), to share as joint heirs with Christ and as rulers together with Christ over all things, Rom 4:13; 8:17,32; 1Co 3:21-23; Heb 2:6-13.


      2 "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
      3 "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made,"
Gen 2:2-3.
      3 "For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
      4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works,'"
Heb 4:3-4.
      Six days of labor and the seventh day of "rest" are of monumental importance, and is are a major prophetic projection that is soon to come upon all creation. We cannot avoid associating this "rest" with the manifestation of the liberty (freedom) of the glory of the firstborn sons of God, Rom 8:19-22. "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now," Rom 8:22.
      The whole creation was subjected to vanity (Rom 8:19-22) – to the curse of Gen 3:17-19. And the whole creation is laboring in birth pangs (Rom 8:22), eagerly expecting deliverance from the curse when the firstborn sons of God are revealed, Rom 8:19. This "revelation of the sons of God" will be when Christ returns at the beginning of the seventh day or "the last day," Jn 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:48; Act 2:20; 1Co 1:8; 5:5; 1Th 5:2; 2Pe 3:8; Phi 1:6,10; 2:16; 2Th 5:2; 1Th 5:4; 2Th 1:10; 2:3; 2Ti 1:12,18, 4:8; etc.
      This passage (Rom 8:19-22) says that "the whole creation" is "travailing in birth" to be delivered when the firstborn sons of God are born again in their resurrection into a divine oneness with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; 5:31-32; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23; Mt 19:29; 1Co 15:44-54.


      Obviously, the seventh day represents the seventh millennium, and our chronological reckoning says we are already in that seventh millennium. It appears that the chronologists are not accurate in some way. The Scriptures otherwise affirm the testimony that the seventh day represents the seventh millennium by saying that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand is as one day, 2Pe 3:8.
      Again, the Scriptures say that God "has in these last days spoken to us by His Son," Heb 1:2. This refers to Christ living, preaching, and prophesying while on the earth, which was the beginning of the fifth millennium – four days or four millenniums had past and three days or three millenniums were yet to come. Similarly, the Scriptures speak of the Holy Spirit being given on the day of Pentecost as being done "in the last days," Act 2:17-21. The same passage speaks of "the great and awesome day of the Lord," Act 2:20. The language of this verse refers to the return of Christ when the sun will be darkened, the moon will not shine, etc., Joel 2:31; Mt 24:29-30; Rev 6:12-17.
      The return of Christ is referred to many times as "the day of the Lord," Act 2:20; 1Co 1:8; 5:5; 1Th 5:2; 2Pe 3:8; "the day of Christ," Phi 1:6,10; 2:16; 2Th 5:2; "the last day," Jn 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24; 12:48; "the day of judgment," Rom 2:5; 2Pe 2:9; 3:7; 1Jn 4:17; "the day of redemption," Eph 4:30; "that day," 1Th 5:4; 2Th 1:10; 2:3; 2Ti 1:12,18, 4:8; "That great day," Act 2:20; Jude 1:6; Rev 6:17; 16:14; "the day," Rom 2:16; 1Co 3:13; 1Th 5:5; Heb 10:25; 2Pe 1:19; etc. All of these expressions in their context address the seventh millennium of man's history on earth.
      This seventh day or seventh millennium is emphasized throughout both Old and New Testaments with the expressions "into the age," "aionion (or age) life," and "aionion (or age) punishment." The "liberty of the glory of the sons of God" is based on the "aionion (or age) life," which is divine "life" of the firstborn sons of God.


      9 "And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," Gen 2:9,16-17.
      The "tree of life" carried the promise of divine life. It did not become extinct: it is still there in the last chapter of Revelation. But the "life" of the tree of life is still available to all who will daily turn from the sinful life of this world to the divine life promised in the tree of life. God has graciously provided a strait and narrow way for the covenant people to travel, Mt 7:13-14. It is the Good Samaritan compassionate way; however, it is also a furnace of affliction (Isa 48:9-12), where we are killed all day long and counted as sheep for the slaughter, Rom 8:36.
      In order for God to demonstrate His wrath on the vessels prepared beforehand for wrath and demonstrate His mercy on the vessels prepared beforehand for glory (Rom 9:22-23), it was necessary for God to test Adam through acts of faith obedience. It was also necessary for Satan to obtain permission from God in order to approach Eve and deceive her. Angels were created before the earth was created (Job 38:4-7), and Satan with myriads of angels sinned before Adam sinned. God knew Adam would make the wrong choice and had already "foreordained" "Christ as a Lamb without blemish and without spot," 1Pe 1:18-20; Phi 2:6-11.
      4 "Just as He chose us in Him (in Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
      5 "Having predestined us to adoption as sons
(firstborn sons) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will," Eph 1:4-5.
      A part of that predestination is that the covenant people must be diligent and faithful to make their calling and election sure by walking that strait and narrow way and enduring to the end by grace through faith, Rom 11:11-22; 2Pe 1:3-10. The calling and election is into the firstborn sonship of Christ. The unfaithful saved have already been prepared for a servant son status, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4; Heb 12:1-17. They will forever be servants to the firstborn sons.
      The aionion life promised throughout the Scriptures is the "life" of the tree of life. The overcomer will be given the right to the tree of life, Rev 2:7; 22:14; The overcomer becomes an overcomer by holding fast by grace through faith and thereby learning obedience by suffering through the training process required by the last will and testaments, Heb 5:8-9; 9:11-28; 12:1-29; 2:1-3; 3:1-19; 4:1-16; 5:1-14; 6:1-20.


      30 "For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
      31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
      32 "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church,"
Gen 2:21-24; Eph 5:30-32; 1Co 6:15-17.
      These passages (1Co 6:15-17; Eph 1:4-5; 5:30-32) are quoted from Gen 2:24 and reveal that God had His faithful covenant people in mind from before creation. God has been preparing this chaste and faithful covenant people as the bride people who will be conformed to a unique and divine oneness with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Jn 10:30-36; 14:8-11; 17:21-23. This divine oneness is sharing in the fullness (all the divine attributes) of the divine nature, Eph 1:22-23; 3:19; 4:22-24; Col 1:19; 2:9-10; 3:10. This requires the new birth resurrection, 1Co 15:1-4,44-58; Phi 3:7-14,21. God took Eve out of Adam and joined her to him in a one flesh entity that represents Christ and the faithful covenant people (the church in this age) in a divine oneness, Eph 5:30-32; 1Co 6:15-17; 2Co 3:18; Phi 3:21; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24.
      We will see many, many times over from both Old and New Testaments, and from all the types, sacrifices, feasts, ceremonies, cleansings, washings, etc., that all the faithful covenant people from Adam on will be in the church and bride of Christ in the ages to come. We see this immediately in God's purpose in creating man in His own image and likeness, Gen 1:26-27. However, in the beginning God did not create man into His full image and likeness; rather, He created man with the ability to understand, believe, and obey in view of being transformed into His divine image and likeness. This is the theme of all the Scriptures.


      21 "Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them," Gen 3:21.
      7 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.
     8 "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints,"
Rev 19:7-8.
      Obviously, God explained a few things to Adam and Eve regarding their nakedness, their immediate and humiliating shame, and the need of clothing to conceal their nakedness. The fig leaves show man's efforts to cover up, while the skins of animals reveals God's plan for redemption from man's fallen state and also from a mere human status into God's divine fullness. That sharp and biting conscience of shame before God and men, because of nakedness, is disastrously lacking in the world and even in the Lord's churches in this age.
      God's purpose before creation was that His faithful covenant people be clothed in His righteousness, which righteousness is generic of all the attributes of the divine nature. This nakedness and the shame of nakedness was no accident on God's part. We have yet a lot to learn about Rom 9:22-23, and we must be diligent in the process to make sure that we are among the vessels of mercy who are constantly believing into Christ that we may be constantly seeking to increase the surety and richness of those heavenly garments, Mt 5:6; 6:33; Gal 5:5; 2Co 9:10; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:22; 4:8; Rev 3:11; 19:7-8.
      The unfaithful saved are still spiritually naked before God (Rev 3:16-18), will be found spiritually naked when Christ returns (Rev 16:15), and will bear their shame eternally because "the crown of God's righteousness" (Mt 6:33; Phi 3:9; 2Ti 4:8) which the "fine linen" represents (Rev 19:7-8) will be given only to those who overcome by holding fast to the end, Rev 3:4-4,15-18; 16:15.


      21 "Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them," Gen 3:21.       22 "And according to the Law (Covenant) almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission," Heb 9:22.
      God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals. He could just as easily have clothed them with "fine linen," but "without shedding of blood there is no remission." Fine linen would have been much more acceptable for wearing, as we see in Rev 19:7-8, but the shedding of blood was necessary to draw attention to the redemption cycle and portray Christ giving His life to redeem us from our sins and into the divine fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Without the shedding of blood this inexpressibly wonderful divine relationship would have been impossible.
      The life of the flesh is in the blood, and the sinful man (the old man) must be punished and die daily in our lives before the divine relationship can exist. Not only did Christ have to be made sin and die to destroy the old man, but we also must die daily. We must bear about in our bodies the dying of the Lord (the dying of self to sin), or we will never share that fullness of deity, 2Co 4:7-12; 5:14-15; 2Ti 2:10-13.
      So the blood of clean animals had to be shed, the animals had to die, and their skins made into clothing for those who faithfully and meticulously observe the shedding of blood in the proper scriptural way. Those unfaithful saved people who do not simply but scrupulously ferret out the details of the proper scriptural manner of life and worship (as Abel did, Gen 4:4) will never share in the fine linen righteousness of God's fullness, Gen 4:5-12; Rev 2:26-27; 22:14-15.


      4 "Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering," Gen 4:4.
      4 "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead is still speaking," Heb 11:4.
      By grace through faith Abel urgently and meticulously obeyed the Lord, and God credited that faith to Abel for righteousness – for God's own divine nature, Mt 6:33; Rom 3:21-26; Phi 3:9; Rev 19:7-8. We have no righteousness of our own, Isa 64:6. The fine linen (righteousness of the saints, or the righteous deeds of the saints Rev 19:7-8), include all the righteous deeds of the Old Testament saints as well as the New Testament saints.
      Hebrews 11 describes the bride people, and the "faith" of Heb 11 is credited as the "fine linen" in which the bride will be dressed. This fine linen is the righteousness of God and of Christ – the divine nature. No other divine clothing is mentioned in the Scriptures.
      Under the covenant with Adam, all the faithful were credited with God's righteousness, which is the "fine linen" of the bridal garments. Beginning with Abraham and fully with the Law Covenant, the faithful in Israel were credited with fine linen which is the righteousness of God as bridal garments. Under the New Covenant the faithful in the church are credited with God's righteousness which still is the fine linen or bridal attire. All the faithful under all the covenants will be in the bride and be dressed in the righteousness of God as a bride adorned for her husband, Rev 21:2.


      4 "Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering," Gen 4:4.
      God instructed Adam and Eve concerning the firstborn and the birthright of the firstborn, and no doubt concerning the prophetic application of both. Why would Abel offer a blood sacrifice if God had not instructed Abel to do so, and punish Cain for not doing so? Why would Abel bring clean animals from the flock unless God had told them about clean and unclean animals without spot and without blemish?

      And why bring firstborn animals if there had not been a prophetic emphasis placed on Christ as the Seed of woman (Gen 3:16) and as the firstborn of God? Again, why would the Scriptures say, "By faith" Abel offered the firstborn of the flock, which only pictured death, if there were no "promise" of the death, burial, and divine resurrection birth of the Seed of the woman. The Seed of the woman must live a "clean" sinless life, die for the sins of the human race, be buried, and arise from the grave in the "divine life" of the tree of life as the Firstborn from the dead. The Seed of the woman would thereby qualify to crush the head of the serpent and redeem all that Adam lost. All the faithful of Hebrews 11 looked for a "better resurrection" (Heb 11:35), "seeing Him who is invisible" (Heb 11:24-27), and being aware that the firstborn lamb that died symbolized the Seed of woman as "the Firstborn from the dead," Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; Heb 1:5-6; 5:5; Ps 2:7.


      4 "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead is still speaking," Heb 11:4.
      Man is totally, hereditarily, depraved, Job 14:4; Ps 58:3; Eph:1-3; Rom 3:9-19; 7:14-24, and therefore we have no righteousness of our own, Isa 64:6. Abel was totally depraved, a child of wrath by nature, as we all are. Thus Abel was credited with God's righteousness "by faith." He was credited as having the "fine linen" bridal garments because he simply believed and obeyed by grace through faith, 1Co 15:10.


      28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
      29 "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
      30 "Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified,"
Rom 8:28-30.
      God has always "known" those who love Him and keep His commandments. From our vantage point in time, God has "foreknown" and "predestined" those who are faithful to be conformed to the divine image of Christ that they may also be firstborn sons and share Christ's divine firstborn sonship together with Him.
      Those whom God foreknew, He predestined and called with a holy calling, but we must make our calling and election sure by adding the proper virtues and growing daily into the image of Christ in our manner of life, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18; 4:7-12,17; Col 3:1-10. "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Mt 22:14), because they do not make their calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:3-10. And they fail to make their calling and election sure because they fail to add the proper virtues and are therefore cut off from the Vine and from the covenant olive tree, 2Pe 1:5-10; Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22.
      In this interrelationship, those who are "foreknown" are predestined, called, justified, and glorified. However, God predestined that the unfaithful saved be servant sons and not firstborn sons, Gal 4:19 thru 5:5; Heb 3; 12; et al. God predestined that only those who are faithful by grace through faith are called, justified, and glorified in the firstborn sonship. The firstborn sons will inherit the divine nature and the new birth resurrection according to the last will and testament. The unfaithful saved are predestined to be servant sons eternally.


1. Nicodemus should have known about the new birth, Jn 3:10. How should he have known?

2. Partaking of Christ is the new birth. Define 1) how we partake of Christ on a daily basis; and 2) how we will partake of Christ when Christ returns.

3. The faithful covenant people must hold fast in order to enter into God's "rest." Describe 1) what God's rest is; 2) how we have already entered into God's rest; and 3) how we must still labor to enter God's rest.

4. We have been begotten again to a living hope, 1Pe 1:3-5; 1Jn 3:2-3; Rom 8:23-25. Explain 1) what the living hope is; 2) what it means to hope for what we do not have; 3) why hope is connected with the resurrection birth of Christ.

5. Jesus said for us to labor for the food that endures into eternal life, Jn 6:27. 1) How do we already have eternal (divine) life, and yet we must continue to labor in order to receive it? 2) How are we already born again, and yet we must endure to the end in order to be born again when Christ returns?

6. We are commanded to eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood. How do we eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood?

7. What are the positive benefits of continuing to eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood?

8. What is the negative result of not continuing to eat Christ's flesh and drink His blood?

9. Describe what eating the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine represent in the Lord's Supper.

10. Those who ate the sacrifices in the Old Testament were partakers of the "altar," 1Co 10:16-17. What all does the Old Testament "altar" signify?

12. Correlate the Old Testament "altar" with the Lord's Supper, 1Co 10:18-18. Correlate the Lord's Supper with the Passover, 1Co 5:7-8.

13. The inheritance of the last will and testament is being born again into the divine nature. Give scripture to prove this.

14. According to the last will and testament, God has predestined the unfaithful saved to a servant sonship without inheriting the divine nature. Give scripture to prove this. Review Gen 25:5-6; Rom 8:23-30; 9:4;11:11-22; Gal 4:21-31.