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Ephesians 4:8

“Wherefore He said, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.”

The theme of this epistle has been the unity of God and His people. There is no difference between any child of grace, save the manifestation of the time of their habitation for the body is one as the head is one. The brethren have always been called according to the grace of God and taught by His Spirit that they are His children. He has given to each a path to walk and each has walked it, one step at a time, by the faith of the Son of God. He has afore prepared suitable habitations for them as they are made partakers of flesh and blood and given unto each labours to perform in their assigned stations in life. These have all been completed in this existence as interwoven threads of the tapestry for the purpose of the continuance of the manifestation of His creation and not one thread is missing, out of place or distorted in any manner.

He has also created His people passionate about doing His works as He has created them in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. These are in no wise reliant upon the ability of man, his limited understanding or the strength of the arm of the flesh “for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (2:10). The natural man could not see these good works though they be manifested before them and Adam is ignorant of their existence yet as the Father has decreed them necessary, so they are completed in Him; “Yehovah has ordained peace for us for He has also wrought all our works in us” (Is. 26:12).

He has also properly equipped the members in particular of the called out assembly where two or three are gathered together by His Spirit for the needs of each other. The children born of the incorruptible seed are in need of nothing for they are complete in Him yet He has made them subject to vanity. This is the emptiness and futility of this habitation where all satisfaction is superficial and fades away with time which causes the creature to groan within the restraints of this confinement. The habitation of the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in His people (Emmanuel) reveals the corruption of the natural existence, the uncleanliness of their ways and the evil of all that they do in Adam. The Spirit gives open testimony of the inability of man to ‘hit the mark’, the arrogance of the pride of his heart and his incurable ignorance to the holiness of God as the seed of Adam strives to prove himself worthy of equality with God. The Word manifests the thoughts and intents of the heart wherein man is deceived in the lust to be wise and thus be as gods; thus the children of the kingdom that is not of this world are grieved and vexed in their soul.

The theology of Adam demands that he is capable to solve this predicament and repair the breach between he and his Creator. Adam began to build this house upon the dust of the earth in the garden and his children have been sighting this as case law and presenting their relentless arguments accordingly ever since yet that which is created of the earth shall never be transformed into anything other than that which is of the created earth. No amount of good intentions, doleful lamentations or contrived conduct in pretense of the denial of the flesh can ever overturn the one act by Adam in the garden whereby sin entered into the world and death by sin. Therefore the seed is corrupt by reason of the head which was created corruptible and thusly demonstrated the inherent inability of the natural man to know, understand or perform that which is good.

Yet Adam was a figure of the Son of Man who should be made manifested in the fullness of time. God created Adam in His image but He did not fashion him holy or righteous for He forbade him the characteristics of God. Man has no power but what is given him for God breathed in him and MADE him a living soul. He has no understanding save what the decree of God grants him to know and that is limited to the confines of this existence, the environment of the time of his habitation and the necessary restraints Yehovah God has placed on all flesh; but the second Adam was not so.

he second Adam, which indeed is first being eternal yet that which was first manifested was natural, is the bodily representation of the fullness of the Godhead. He was made of flesh and blood, yet without the inherent inabilities of Adam, that He could abolish the Law in the flesh. As all are condemned in the first, howbeit none sinned after the similitude of Adam’ transgression, so all are justified in the second through His obedience in all things. The seed of Adam died by reason of the one offence of this one man and judgment came upon all men unto condemnation. Yet in the second, being the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, many offences were covered and cleansed unto life by every act of His obedience unto all who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness (Rms. 5:15f).

“For as the body is one and has many members and all members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ” (I Cor. 12:12).

he essential nature of the singularity of the Godhead is manifested in the work He has done for His Beloved. She, like Eve, was in Him in the beginning and although she was made manifest in the fullness of time yet she is forever bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. He has never left her nor forsaken her throughout the annals of time for He cannot deny Himself. Everything He has done has been for the Beloved as His desire is upon her. He has loved her with an eternal love which cannot fail or be diminished in any manner. Being eternal nothing of the created, which is temporal, can affect this love or separate the beloved from it (Rms. 8:38f).

God is the beginning and source of the love that prefers the Beloved foremost in all things. His way was never independent of that of the Beloved and yet He made Himself of no reputation to take on the form of a servant that He might redeem His people from the house of the one that was stronger than they are in the flesh. Since it was the will of the Anointed to do the will of Him that sent Him and thus glorify the Father and since He righteously finished every jot and tittle of that work and is thus seated in the throne of God; so then the work of the Father has always been to save His people from their sin; “Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).

Each and every member in particular of the body of the Anointed is one in Him as He is one in the Godhead and as the Father and the Son are equal for as “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30) so are all the members equal in Him; “Beloved now are we the sons of God” (I John 3:2). And if sons being born from above, then the Spirit of God dwells within bearing witness that we are the children of God; “and if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together” (Rms 8:16f). For this cause (wherefore), the singularity of God (Deut. 6:4) and unity of God and His Beloved, when He ascended up on high, His church was in Him. Because of this fact (wherefore), when He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the resurrection from the dead” (Rms. 1:4), He proclaimed before the brethren; “and this is the Father’s will which has sent Me, that of all which He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again in the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent Me that every one which sees the Son and believes on Him, may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:39f). On account of this irrefutable axiom, when He ascended up on high, He declared His generation, THE generation of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, saying; “Behold I and the children which You have given Me are for signs and wonders in Israel” (Is. 8:18). And because there is One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, the Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all, and because unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of the Anointed, when He ascended up on high, He sat down at the right hand of the Father with a finished work.

This finished work is the culmination of all things written in the types and foreshadows of the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). It is the final revelation of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah as he has been presented over the ages in testimony of His power and great name. The Messiah was obligated by His eternal word to manifest before all nations His salvation (Is. 40:5) and to fulfill all things written of Him. Every word spoken, every labour accomplished, every miracle performed and every step taken during the earthly ministry of the Lamb of God was according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God who purposed in Himself all things necessary for the deliverance of His people. And in “the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4).

Now the manifestation of this revelation took place over 2000 years ago when the wicked hands of man took and slew the Lamb of God. This took place in the fullness of time and in the end of the world when the days of vengeance were accomplished (Luke 21:22) and in fulfillment of the sign of Jonah, after three days, He arose from the grace. He appeared first to Mary in the garden and said unto her, do not touch Me for I have not yet ascended to My Father but go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father and My God and your God” (John 20:17). When He appeared later to the disciples He instructed them to touch Him as proof that He was indeed raised from the dead for He had ascended unto the Father. He came before the Father as proof of the finished work, in which He was well pleased, and in testimony of His faithfulness; “therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God” (Rms. 5:1).

The resurrection was manifested as proof of the Word which was spoken which Word is eternal. The resurrection was not only foretold to man who is a creature of time but was declared to be complete in that God finished His work and rested on the seventh day; “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Heb. 4:3). John saw this in the revelation of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah when it was declared that NO MAN in heaven nor in the earth neither under the earth was able to open the book neither to look upon the book (Rev. 5:3). Here he was given to see and behold in the middle of the throne and of the elders and of the four beasts “stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (5:6). This revelation was in heaven which is not subject to time and was of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah which is the same yesterday, today and forever. He saw the Lamb having been slain, having been resurrected, having ascended unto the Father and standing in the throne of God. The work was finished, filled up and completed and the testimony was assured.

“He lead captivity captive and gave gifts unto men”

The captivity was not based upon a mistake that Adam committed in the garden for which an alternate plan was derived by God. This captivity is the vanity which God had purposed in Himself to make His seed subject to when they became partakers of flesh and blood. He formed the earthen vessels from the dust of the earth, limited them in ability and comprehension and filled their minds with the cares of this life in demonstration of the worthlessness of this existence. He made the flesh corrupt, arrogant and stubborn and deceived the heart of man to think more highly of himself than he aught that the body of this death might be revealed to His children. This subjugation to vanity is for the purpose of hope in God, His work, His mercy and His love, which things cannot be seen with the natural eyes. This subjugation causes the children to groan within themselves as they see the insufficiency of the flesh, the rebellion of their ways and the complete disregard for the law of God wherein they delight after the inner man.

This old man, complete with the handwriting of ordinances and the religious imaginations of a finite and corrupt mind, has been nailed to the cross and crucified with Christ. Since the testimony of this event was the death and burial of the body of the Lord so then must the old man be dead because of sin and the ministration of condemnation removed; “therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” (Rms. 8:1). The resurrection of Christ and His people gives testimony to the acceptance of the sacrifice for sin and the abolishing “in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments in ordinances, for to make in Himself of the twain one new man, making peace” (Eph. 2:15).

The ascension of the same which was taken, slain and buried, who had first descended into the lower parts and declared His power before all throne, principalities and power manifestly declaring His sovereignty and Lordship over every thought and intent of man and the beast and the dragon, was the climax of all things, “that He might fill all things” (4:10).This filling up and completion of all things leaves nothing left undone. It concludes all that the Father had given for to be accomplished in the Son “whom He has appointed heir of all things, by whom He also made the worlds; who being the brightness of glory and the express image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had, by Himself, purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:2f). It gives testimony that He has overcome the world having all His enemies under His footstool; “You have put all things in subjection under His feet. Since in that He has put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing not put under Him; but now we do not see all things put under Him” (Heb. 2:8). It gives testimony that the sacrifice is received and accepted and therefore, having fulfilled all things written; “this is the new covenant that I will make with them after those days, said Yehovah, I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). And again, “And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know Yehovah; for they shall all be taught of Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, said Yehovah, for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more” (Jer. 31:34).

The theology of Adam will proclaim those things which he speculates must needs come to pass; if these be true, then the testimony of the scriptures is called into question. The fact that events must needs be revealed as ordained by God necessary for the unfolding of His creation is not in question. These things shall come to pass in their appointed time unto the glory of God. God reveals His work in His people each and every moment of ever day when, in the time pleasing to the Father, the dead in Christ hear His voice and live. But these have all been quickened together in Christ though they are in ignorance of the life within until the appointed hour.

The work of the redemption of His people is complete and having been made alive in Him all His people are seated together with Him in the heavens. They stand before the throne and sing His praises, the song of the redeemed, with the pure language of the inhabitants of Zion. They see Him in the beauty of His Holiness and the perfection of His salvation. No seed of Adam is present there and no residue of Edom can be found in the Holy city “for without are dogs and sorcerers and whoremongers and murderers and idolaters and whosoever loves and makes a lie” (Rev. 22:15) but His people have entered into His rest.

“Beloved now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2).

The trials and tribulations of this life are grievous to the incorruptible seed. The children of hope are beset with sin and failures in Adam which cause the doubts ad fears of the flesh to flourish. These weary travelers cannot be tainted in the seed for His Spirit resides in them and they cannot fall short of the glory of God. Yet they view this world through the eyes of man and they see themselves as unworthy of His grace. They know the pains of the death which awaits the habitation of this dwelling and they know the futility of the labours and aspirations of man. Thus they walk by faith and that not of themselves. They are not called upon to pick themselves up and continue striving for perfection nor are they admonished of the Spirit to rid themselves of the body of this death. They are dead unto sin by the body of the Anointed and His shed blood has cleansed them from all unrighteousness yet the body of death is still drawn away after the desires of the flesh. And thus the Father has given gifts unto men whereby they may comfort His people as they run the race with patience looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of faith.

These gifts are not a confirmation of the presence of the Spirit for God has given even to the wicked to do good unto His people and to serve them all the days of their lives. Cyrus was an evil King yet God turned his heart to be kind and generous to the children as they returned to rebuild the Temple. This did not make Cyrus a child of grace but rather an instrument in the hand of the Master Builder for the facilitation of His will.

But God has given unto the general assembly of the called out assembly of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah those things necessary for the building up of each and every one He has manifested as children of hope. These all speak of the vanity of this world and the hope of being delivered from the body of this death. They seek that city whose builder and maker is God and, having their affection fixed upon heavenly things, they desire to return to their Father’s house, Jerusalem from above.

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (4:12).

This is the purpose for all that God causes to come to pass. The body is complete in Him yet as they walk their assigned path in the habitation of this dwelling none is complete without the other. The hand is not independent of the foot nor the eye of the ear and so are the members in particular as strangers and sojourners in this foreign land. The doubts, fears and inabilities of the flesh are manifested as the labours fail and the limitations are revealed. The experience of the children of grace is unto the darkness of the evil of this world and the arrogance of the nature of Adam. Those of like precious faith attest to this experience, the trials and tribulations which beset them and the impotence of the flesh to correct or control the ways of man. Each testifies to the common salvation and the hope of final deliverance.

The administration of the ministry is the bearing of one another’s burdens and the answering of the good conscience before the brethren and the Lord. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God and the flesh bears witness to Adam. The testimony of the ministry is that God has reconciled the world unto Himself for He is the Lord God Omnipotent who reigns supreme over all. He has administered all for the good of the house hold of the Beloved. His love is manifested in His chastening of the children, His grace is sufficient to the evils of the days and His mercy (pity) is upon all He has made subject to the vanity of this world.

The building up of the body is not the feeble attempts of man to add unto the household of grace by bringing one unto Jesus. He came to seek and to save that which was lost and He finished the work. The building up of the brethren is the lifting up of feeble hands, the testimony of a common experience and the restoring a brother taken in and fault. It is the weeping with them that weep and rejoicing with them that rejoice for the hope of the one calling in Him.

Without His ascension unto the Father to ‘render full’ and ‘complete’ all things there can be no testimony of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah for there is no hope.

“For we are saved by hope but hope that is seen is not hope for what a man sees, why then does he yet hope for” (Rms. 8:24)

Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
August 21, 2016