Sunday, October 30, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - The Merciful Covering

Joseph Herrin (10-30-2011)

I appreciate the patience of those who are giving attention to this book. I realize that there are many questions in the minds of the saints, and many Scriptures they would like to have explained that appear to contradict those truths being shared. I have chosen to present the message of the reconciliation of the creation back to the Father in a particular manner. I would first show forth through a wealth of Biblical sources the intent of Yahweh to restore “all things” to Himself. After this truth has been well established, then the sincere seeker of truth will be better enabled to consider the right interpretation and understanding of the many Scriptures that have been employed by others to declare a contrary doctrine.

For some, what has already been shared is sufficient to convince them that “Christ must reign until” He has “reconciled all things, whether in heaven or on earth, to the Father.” Once one sees this truth in Scripture, they are able to conclude that those difficult Scriptures that give an appearance of teaching something contrary cannot in fact be denying what is taught plainly in so many Bible passages. The child of God may rightly conclude that there must exist a full and mature understanding of the Scriptures that removes all contradiction and brings forth a harmony among what has formerly appeared discordant.

The difficulties found in some Scriptures are resolved as Yahweh shines more light into what were previously darkened areas of our understanding. These difficulties will be addressed before the book is concluded. At this time I believe it is beneficial to continue to lay a foundation for understanding that full reconciliation of the creation as we look at some of the types and shadows Yahweh has given to us in His word to show forth this mystery. As it is revealed how thoroughly the reconciliation of all things through Christ is presented in both plain speech and through the shadows contained in Scripture, the saint will hopefully have any lingering doubts dispelled. When one has been steeped for a long period of time in false doctrines espousing eternal enmity between God and His creation, and unending torments in the lake of fire, the process of being cleansed and delivered from that which has held our minds captive must necessarily be very thorough and patient.

When the Father first revealed to me the truth of the universality of Christ’s redemptive work I entreated Him to show me in His word some verifying testimony that I had not heard proclaimed by another man. I wanted to be “taught by God.” I asked Him for that wisdom that James enjoins the Christian to request from our Father.

James 1:5
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

My heavenly Father was pleased to answer my petition, and at once led me to consider what is shown forth in type through an experience of our first forefather. After Adam fell into sin, and his nakedness was made manifest, it became evident that a covering was needed to hide mankind’s shame.

Genesis 3:7-11, 21
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. Then Yahweh God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked?...”  Also for Adam and his wife Yahweh God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

To comprehend what is revealed through the act of Yahweh clothing Adam and his wife it is necessary to understand the “seed principle.” At the time of Adam’s transgression he did not yet have any offspring. The entire human race was “in Adam” in the form of his seed. In Yahweh’s eyes there is no distinction between a man and his seed. They are viewed as one. The actions of Adam are truly the actions of all those who descended from him. What transpired in Adam’s life has borne consequences in the lives of all men as surely as if the actions were their own.

Romans 5:18-19
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

These words of the apostle Paul reveal the great importance of the seed principle. Some may balk at the justice of God in attributing the sin of Adam to those who were yet unborn. Yet, who would say God is unjust, or unmerciful, by imputing the righteousness of Christ to mankind? The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by the same principle as the sin of Adam. Those born of Christ are His seed.

I Peter 1:23
For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God.

By virtue of our being “in Christ” as His seed, everything Christ did is applied to our account. By virtue of being “in Christ” His righteousness becomes our righteousness, His death becomes our death, His resurrection, our resurrection.

Romans 6:5-8
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin... Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him...

How have we become united with Christ? By faith we believe what God has testified, that we were “in Christ” when He fulfilled the righteousness of God, when He died and rose again.

II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature...

I Corinthians 1:30
But by His doing you are in Christ Yahshua, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption...

This principle of God attributing to the seed, the actions of the forefathers, is observed very plainly in a passage from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 7:9-10
And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

Abraham paid tithes to Mechizedek when he returned from rescuing Lot from the three kings who had invaded Sodom and taken Lot captive. Paul states that Levi also paid tithes to Melchizedek, although Levi had not yet been born. Levi was three generations removed from Abraham, being the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. What Abraham did was imputed to Levi, for Levi was “in the loins of his father.”

In the same way, all mankind was “in Adam” when Adam sinned. We were all “in Adam” when sin brought forth death.

I Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Although we were only a seed, we were surely as much a part of Adam as an acorn is a part of the oak tree from which it falls. We cannot argue that if we had been presented with the same temptation in the Garden that we would have chosen differently. We were in the Garden. We were “in Adam.” As his seed we were in perfect agreement with this first man, this root from which we all have descended. When Adam chose to disobey Yahweh, we were there with him also choosing disobedience. When Adam submitted to the beast for obedience, we were present with him.

A marvelous thing is revealed when we consider that we were also “in Adam” when Yahweh covered him with a garment made from skins. Not only were all Christians “in Adam,” but all of mankind was “in Adam.”

When Yahweh made a covering for Adam and his wife, He did not just do so for Adam (whose name means ‘man’), but He did so for all those who were in Adam’s loins. We do not know the shape of the garment Yahweh fashioned for Adam, but we can conclude that it most certainly covered Adam’s loins. A man is considered naked when his loins are uncovered. It is in the loins that the seed of man resides. Therefore, when Yahweh provided a covering for Adam, He also covered Adam’s seed. This garment of skin serves as a parable of that covering God would later provide for the salvation of all mankind, which is His Son Yahshua.

Galatians 3:27
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

We are told that Yahweh made garments for Adam and his wife from the skins of animals. Though we are not told what kind of animal it was, I would not be surprised to learn that the garments were made from sheepskins, or goatskins. This covering that God provided points to the sacrifice that would one day fully cover the sinful flesh of man and remove mankind’s nakedness before God. To make these garments Yahweh had to slay an animal. Blood had to be shed. This points to the sacrifice of His Son.

What is present, but often missed in this account, is that in providing a covering for Adam (man), God provided a covering for all those who would be born of man. No one was left out in this act of mercy. All mankind was covered in Adam, and one day all men will be covered in Christ, for He must reign until He fills all things.

This leads to a second type also found in the Old Testament that relates to this covering Yahweh provided for Adam. This second type observed is the mercy seat that covered the ark of the covenant. The translators of our Bibles have chosen to call the lid atop the Ark of the Covenant a mercy “seat,” possibly because the glory of God rested upon it. The term “seat” is misleading, however, for it was not designed as a throne, or chair. The Hebrew word the translators rendered as “seat” is “kaporet” which is literally translated as “covering.” The Mercy Seat literally acted as a lid, or covering for the ark. Mercy seat is more literally and accurately translated as “mercy covering.”

Every minute detail of the Tabernacle and its furnishings carried great symbolic meaning. The ark of the covenant represents mankind, Yahweh’s chosen dwelling place. In the ark was placed the tablets of the Law. This is a parable of God placing His law in the heart of man. The ark, just like mankind, required a covering. The ark, typifying mankind, was not complete without the mercy covering being placed upon it. This mercy covering is Christ, who gave His blood as a ransom for mankind.

John 12:32
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

Christ could not be our covering apart from shedding His blood, even as Yahweh could not make garments of skins for Adam and Eve apart from slaying an animal.

Yahweh gave instructions for the High Priest of Israel to place blood upon, and in front of, the “Mercy Covering.”

Leviticus 16:15
Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat (merciful covering) and in front of the mercy seat (merciful covering).

This sprinkling of blood on the lid of the Ark served as a shadow of Christ sprinkling His own blood in the Most Holy Place in heaven after His crucifixion.

Hebrews 9:11-12
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

The blood of Christ is sprinkled on mankind that man might have the shame of his sin, even his nakedness, covered.

I Peter 1:1-2
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Yahshua Christ and be sprinkled with His blood...

Observe the parallel between these two shadows from the Old Testament. After Adam sinned, God provided a covering for the man. This covering was made of animal skins, requiring the substitutionary death of an animal and the shedding of blood. In the Law, Yahweh instructed the High Priest, once a year on the Day of Atonement, to slay an animal and sprinkle its blood on the covering of the Ark of the Covenant. This blood was placed on the “Mercy” seat, or covering, signifying that an act of mercy was taking place. When God placed the covering upon Adam, He was symbolically covering all mankind, for all men were contained in the loins of Adam as his seed.

Some may argue that such a type and shadow is inconclusive, for shadows are subject to interpretation, and this is true. The matter does not rest upon shadows alone, however, for the apostle John tells us in plain speech that God has provided a “merciful covering” for all men, not merely for those who are Christians in this present age. In the following passage John declares that Christ’s atonement was not merely for the church, but for the whole world.

I John 2:1-2
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Christ Yahshua the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Many people stumble over the word “propitiation” in this verse, for it is not a word that we commonly use today. The word rendered as propitiation is the Greek “hilasmos” and is Strong’s NT 2434. Strong’s Dictionary defines the word as “atonement, an expiator.” An expiator is one who makes atonement for another. An expiator is one who “makes good.” The word for “Mercy Seat” in the New Testament is a form of the Greek word “hilasmos.” This is Strong’s NT 2435, “hilasterion,” meaning “an atoning victim, or (specially) the lid of the Ark” (Strong’s Dictionary). We find this word used in the following verse.

Hebrews 9:5
And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Christ is declared to be the “hilasmos,” propitiation, or expiator of man’s sins. He is the one who “makes good” that which was not good.

II Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Christ has become the “hilasterion,” atoning victim, or lid of the Ark. He is literally “the Merciful Covering” for mankind. What we see in type through Yahweh clothing Adam, and all who are in Adam, and through the blood sprinkled on the Merciful Covering of the Ark, we find stated in plain speech by John.

He Himself is the propitiation (merciful covering) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

We see then that as far back as the Garden of Eden, immediately after the first transgression, Yahweh symbolically revealed that a merciful covering would one day be provided for all of mankind. We do not yet see all things reconciled to God, or all things subjected to Christ. The sacrifice has been made. The blood of Christ has been shed, yet we will not see all things summed up in Christ until the ages established by Yahweh have run their course and the reign of Christ has accomplished its goal of a complete restitution of all creation to the Father. The word of God remains sure. What Yahweh has sworn by Himself, He will accomplish. All mankind will be saved, but each in his own order.

Romans 11:32-33
For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!


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Joseph Herrin
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - All in All

Joseph Herrin (10-29-2011)

Yahweh’s plan of the ages is truly marvelous. To come into the understanding that God will not conclude His work among mankind, the angels, and all creation until He has fully and perfectly reconciled all things back to Himself through His Son opens the door to profound worship of our Creator. God’s love, His mercy, His patience, and His longsuffering are revealed in their glorious depths.

I would revisit an expression that has been cited in the preceding chapters. Grasping the meaning of the apostle Paul’s words has led me to deep consideration, not only of the all encompassing scope of Christ’s reconciliatory work, but also to the perfection of the work that must be accomplished in each individual life.

I Corinthians 15:28
When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

These three words, “all in all,”convey the breadth and length and height and depth of Yahweh’s plan. For a time I struggled to comprehend what these words “all in all” meant. It was like a light coming on when I read the passage with one of the words changed. I then perceived, by aid of the contrast, the apostle’s meaning.

We have seen that this passage is speaking of the end of the reign of Christ. We are told “Christ must reign until...” In this passage, and others, we have also discerned that it was given to the Son by the Father to accomplish the work of reconciling all things in heaven and earth to the Father. Consider how vastly different Paul’s message would be if we changed one word, and we did so in keeping with the orthodox belief of the majority of professing Christians today.

I Corinthians 15:28
When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in some.

Does not this alteration of the Scripture accord well with the doctrine of the church in this hour of apostasy? By changing this one word we are able to discern, by contrast, what Paul was actually saying. Christ would not reconcile only part of the creation to His Father. He would reconcile ALL the creation to His Father.

Philippians 2:9-11
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Yahshua every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yahshua Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Paul presents a wonderful harmony whenever he touches upon this subject in his letters. Consider the perfect agreement in Paul’s words to the saints in Philippi with his words to the believers in Corinth. Paul states that “every tongue will confess that Yahshua Christ is Lord.”He further informs us that this confession will result in glory to God the Father. Yahweh would not be glorified if men or angels confessed that Yahshua Christ is Lord while harboring rebellion, resentment, and hatred toward the Son of God in their heart. The only way for such a confession to glorify the Father is for it to arise from a sincere heart expressing the truth of what is believed by the individual. Those who worship God must do so in Spirit and in truth.

The apostle conveys the same message of universal reconciliation of the creation to God through Christ to his Hebrew brethren.

Hebrews 2:8
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.

Christ must bring the entire creation into a full and complete subjection to the Father that Yahweh might be “all in all.” If it were Yahweh’s plan to save only part of the creation, then Paul would certainly have told us that at the end of Christ’s reign the Father would be “all in some.” To say Yahweh will be “all in all” is to declare that a complete reconciliation will take place. Nothing in the creation will be exempted.

Tragically, the church has come to deny not only that Christ will reconcile “all things” to Himself, they have adopted a very inferior view of the work of Christ in the life of each individual. The mindset I find everywhere throughout the church is that Christ will accomplish only a partial reconciliation in each life. The present conception of Christ’s reconciliatory work could be expressed accurately by saying “God will be some in some.”

If we say that Yahweh will be “all in all” then we are concluding that He will reconcile everything to Himself. Not only will all creatures be reconciled back to the Father, but there can be no part of any individual that has failed to come under subjection to the life and rule of Christ. Every man must become a wholly yielded vessel. There can be no sin, unrighteousness, of selfishness left in the heart of any person. Everyone must come to be a perfect and mature revelation of Christ. No darkness can remain. All must be light and life and truth.

The church today is content to fall short of such a complete reconciliation. Mankind likes his selfishness. He is satisfied to receive a promise of forgiveness and of heaven when he dies. Coming to a complete conformity to the Son of God is something that rarely enters the mind of Christians. If it does, such a thought is usually discarded as unrealistic, or not truly desirable. After all, the only way to be perfectly conformed to the image of Christ is to embrace the cross and die to self.

Nevertheless, the testimony of Scriptures and of the Holy Spirit is sure. Yahweh will not rest until He has brought every facet of our lives under subjection to the rule of Christ. We are called and destined to attain to the full and perfect character and image of the firstborn Son of God.

Ephesians 4:11-13
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we ALL attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the FULLNESS of Christ.

Christ must fill all things.

Ephesians 4:10
He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.

You and I are part of the “all things” that Christ must fill. The Son of God will not be content for any man or woman to surrender to Him only part of their life. There can be nothing left of the fallen Adamic nature.

Matthew 16:25-26
“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Without question, the majority in the church today do not wish to lose their lives. They are taught to pursue “Your Best Life Now.” The church is endeavoring to enjoy their good things in this life while eschewing the afflicted path that alone leads to life. The desires and passions of the soul are what guide and direct most Christians. The natural life is protected, and the disciple’s cross is spurned. Consequently, Christ does not fill all things in His church. The saints remain immature, not attaining “to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the FULLNESS of Christ.”

Paul said that in the last days men would not endure sound doctrine. Those in the church would turn aside to myths and fables and heap up to themselves teachers to tell them the things they want to hear. There is a reason that the church has embraced false doctrines relating to the reconciliation of all things to Christ. There is an appeal in these false doctrines to the carnal desires of the natural man. It is very costly to the natural man to attain a mature conformity to Christ. We learn obedience through the things we suffer, even as did the Son of God.

Hebrews 5:8-9
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of aeonian salvation...

Yahweh has determined that ALL must come to a conformity to Christ. Christ must fill all things. We must decrease that Christ might increase in us. Yet, the natural man is adamantly opposed to decreasing. The natural man seeks to protect his life. What man or woman wants to lay aside their desires, their dreams, their goals, their comfort and pleasures, in order that the will of the Father might be achieved? Christ was the first man to ever walk perfectly in choosing the will of the Father over His own soul’s desire.

John 6:38
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

John 4:34
Yahshua said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

To be filled with the fulness of Christ, we can have no other mind than that which He had. We too must die to our own will and desires that we might fulfill the will of the Father. In essence, we must despise our own soul’s desires and will in order to live for the pleasure of another. Christ said no man could be His disciple unless they hate their natural life, unless they hate their own soul.

Luke 14:26
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate... even his own life (psuche - soul), he cannot be My disciple.”

There is only one path that will lead a Christian to that mature image of the Son of God. It is the way of the cross. A man or woman must yield their entire being to be directed by the Spirit of Christ. They must agree to go wherever Christ leads them, and to do whatever He asks of them. Christ has promised ALL who walk this path that there will be suffering, there will be persecution, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Christ has said that no man can be His disciple who does not give up all he possesses. We must be emptied that Christ might fill us.

At this time Christ is accomplishing the work of reconciling the creation to His Father. Yahshua has commenced upon an orderly reconciliation. He is beginning with a small number that will be firstfruits unto God and Christ. These ones are embracing the suffering of the cross. They are yielding their lives to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These overcoming saints will be Christ’s firstborn, attaining to the first resurrection. They will be preeminent among the creation. Only the firstfruits will rule and reign with Christ during the thousand years of His millennial kingdom. These will be participants with Christ in the work of reconciling the world to the Father.

There is a corollary truth to Christ subjecting all things to Himself. Those subjected to Christ must experience a perfect and complete yielding of their will and desires to Yahshua. Similarly, there is a parallel to Christ filling all things in that those who are filled must first be emptied. The more pliant, submissive, and yielding we are to Christ, the sooner we will make progress to maturity. Firstfruits are those who mature quickest. Of necessity they are the ones who die most quickly to the Adamic nature that Christ might be formed in them. If you would be among Christ’s firstfruits, you must embrace the cross rather than fleeing from it.

An age and an hour will arrive when Christ has accomplished the work of reconciling all things to the Father. The Father will then be “all in all.” Every creature will be restored to fellowship with the Father, and Christ will fill every part of those creatures. The Bible testifies in a multitude of places that Yahweh has chosen to save all men.

I Timothy 2:3-4
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Christ is the Savior of ALL MEN.

I Timothy 4:10
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Christ is especially the Savior of those recognized by God as believers in this age. Those who walk as overcomers now will not suffer loss in the ages to come. Blessed and holy are those who attain to the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6).

Christ as the firstborn of the Father, and the first to embrace the suffering of the cross, has received preeminence above the rest of creation.

Philippians 2:8-9
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name...

Christ will in turn bring forth a firstfruits company of sons who will be preeminent among all those who follow. These ones must also experience “death on a cross.” Yahweh will eventually fill “all in all.” At this time, however, it is a remnant that are yielding to the cross, being emptied of self that they might be filled with the fulness of Christ.

The ages will reveal that the way of reconciling every creature to God the Father will involve suffering. The soul must be crushed.

Mark 14:34
And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."

None can escape this crushing. Christ is the forerunner. He is our pattern man. He embraced the cross and was judged to be perfect.

Hebrews 2:10
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Christ surrendered to the path of suffering and was judged perfect. Yahweh would have all men to be perfect.

Matthew 5:48
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This perfection, arriving at the mature stature that belongs to Christ, comes as we follow in His steps.

I Peter 2:21
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps...

Being fully conformed to the image of Christ is what is implied in Paul’s statement that God would be “ALL” in His creation. The Father has determined that this perfection will come to the entirety of His creation. Yahweh will not be “all in some.” He will not be “some in some.” Nor will He be “some in all.” When Christ’s reign has accomplished all for which it has been established, Yahweh will be “all in all.”

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Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Friday, October 28, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - An Orderly Reconciliation

Joseph Herrin (10-28-2011)

One of the greatest stumbling blocks keeping Christians from embracing the testimony found in the Scriptures that Yahweh will reconcile all things to Himself through His Son is that we do not see all things reconciled at this time. The concept resident in the minds of many Christians is that only a few will be saved, while the majority of men from all ages will eternally remain separated from God.

If you have patiently considered the preceding chapters, you will have discovered that the Scriptures declare that Yahweh will reconcile “all things” to Himself through His Son. “Christ must reign until” He has accomplished the task of subjecting all things to the Father. Both experience, and the testimony of the Bible reveals to us that this reconciliation is not fully accomplished in this present age.

Hebrews 2:6-9
But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him?  You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

Paul specifically speaks of Yahweh subjecting all things to man, “or the son of man.” One of the most common ways in which Yahshua referred to Himself was with the expression, “the Son of Man.”

Matthew 8:20
Yahshua said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Matthew 13:37
And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man...”

Matthew 13:41
"The Son of Man will send forth His angels...”

John 8:28
So Yahshua said, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative...”

Eighty-four times in the gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we find Christ referring to Himself as “the Son of Man.” It is possible to understand Paul’s words in Hebrews chapter 2 to be declaring that Yahweh will subject all things under man, and there is truth in such a conclusion. However, to keep things simple I would suggest that we view Paul’s words as a declaration that God will subject all things under the feet of Christ, “the Son of Man.”

I would specifically call your attention to the following two statements.

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him.

But now we do not yet see all things put under him.

Here is one more testimony of Yahweh’s intent to bring everything in the creation under subjection to His Son. As mentioned previously, this will not be a mere forced subjection where God’s enemies still hate Him and hold enmity in their hearts toward the Creator. Rather, it will be a complete reconciliation. Every enemy will be ashamed that he was ever incensed against God. Everyone who ever opposed God will testify, “Surely in Yahweh I HAVE righteousness and strength.”

This leads into the second statement. “But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” The apostle Paul was a steward of the mysteries of God. He understood that the day would come when all creation would be reconciled to the Father. That time is not yet at hand. There are ages to come before the “age of the ages” is reached and the reign of Christ has accomplished its ultimate objective.

The church has erred in not understanding the Scriptures, nor the power of God. The church teaches that a man’s condition when he dies a natural death will be his condition for eternity. If a man died without having been reconciled to God through Christ, it is assumed that the man must remain eternally separate from the Father.
This is an exceptionally harsh conclusion considering that many have lived their entire lives without ever having heard the gospel message.

The apostle Peter shares an extraordinary truth that has mystified many in the church. Peter writes that after Christ was crucified He went and proclaimed the gospel message to men who had died in earlier ages. It is specifically mentioned that Christ preached to those who died in the days of Noah.

I Peter 3:18-4:6
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water... For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

There is much to reflect upon in these words of Peter. Let us patiently consider what he has written. First, Peter declares that Christ died “once for all.” Who does the word “all” include? In the next clause Peter tells us that “all” is synonymous with “the unjust.” All men born of Adam are sinners from birth. Only Christ is just.

Romans 5:18-19
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Before passing on from these words in Romans, note both what has been accomplished, and what remains to be done. Through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection “there resulted justification of life to ALL MEN.” Who are included in the words “all men”? The same group described in the preceding clause, “through one transgression there resulted condemnation to ALL MEN.” Christ died to reconcile ALL MEN to the Father. This reconciliation is already accomplished in the sense that Christ’s sacrifice has been made for all men. Yet, the reconciliation also remains to be completed as we do not yet see “all things put under His feet.” Observe how Paul ends the passage above, “even so through the obedience of the One the many WILL BE MADE righteous.” This speaks of a future fulfillment.

Why it should be offensive to some Christians to hear that Christ will eventually reconcile all men to the Father is hard to comprehend. Many Christians are like the elder brother to the prodigal son. Rather than rejoicing that the lost has been found, and the dead has been brought back to life, there is anger that the Father should treat the offender with such love and mercy.

Returning to Peter’s words we find that Christ “died for sins, once for all.” The reason is “so that He might bring us to God.” This is reconciliation. Peter then tells the church that Christ went and “preached even to those who are dead.” Peter is not speaking merely of those who are spiritually dead. He is speaking of those who physically perished in past ages. Peter specifically mentions Christ preaching to “the spirits now kept in prison, who were once disobedient.” Peter says Christ preached to those who perished “in the days of Noah.”

What is remarkable about this passage is that it reveals that Christ’s work of reconciliation goes beyond the grave. Though men may die in disobedience, estranged from the Father, Christ will reach out to them beyond the grave. Yahshua’s work will not be complete until He has reconciled all things back to the Father.

When we understand the Scriptures aright, we discover that the reconciliation of all things will happen in stages. There is a definite order to the redemptive work of Christ. At this time we find that a firstfruits group of men are being reconciled to the Father. This firstfruits company are identifiable as disciples of Christ. These are ones who are accepting Christ’s invitation to “Come, take up your cross, and follow Me.” James, the brother of Christ and an elder of the early church, used the term “first fruits” when speaking of Christ’s disiciples.

James 1:18
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

Firstfruits are exactly what the name implies. They are not all the fruit. They are the first fruit. They are the first to come to maturity, the first to be harvested. In this age we are seeing some who are firstfruits being reconciled to God the Father through Christ. Eventually all men will be made alive in Christ, but there is a determined order for this restoration.

I Corinthians 15:22-28
For as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Anointed first fruits, after that those who are the Christ's at His coming, then comes the end (the remainder), when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For he has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

We have observed in the preceding chapters that there will come an end to the reign of Christ. Paul says this is when Christ “hands over the kingdom to the God and Father... For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” Christ’s reign will have accomplished its purpose when there are no more enemies of God anywhere in the creation. “All things” will be “put in subjection” to Christ, and Christ will in turn be subjected to the Father.

In this book I have challenged the saints to test every Scripture being cited to see whether I have wrested an interpretation that is out of context, or have erred in what is shared. Hopefully, you are doing this. If you are, then you will note that the passage I cited above is rendered differently in the popular English translations of today. The difference is significant, and it leads to a distinctly different conclusion.

It is the responsibility of the saints to “examine all things carefully.” This examination of all things includes testing the Scriptures which have had handed to us by others to see if they have been translated accurately. The apostle Paul gave the following commandment to Timothy, and it is applicable to all who would arrive at the knowledge of the truth.

II Timothy 2:15
Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The subject of this book is one in which a man will most certainly be led astray apart from manifesting due diligence in applying himself to the study of the word of God. In the series "Divorced From Truth" I shared the following:

It requires patient study to rightly divide the word of God. I know Christian men who have spent hundreds, and even thousands of dollars, upon some hobby. Men who are hunting, fishing, automobile, stereo, ham radio, sports, and bicycling enthusiasts have often spent a great deal of money, devoted great amounts of time, and educated themselves to become both knowledgeable and skillful in the area of their interest. Yet these same men will often argue that they are unable to manifest the same attention to the study of Scriptures.

People of God, we will pursue that which is important to us. Our actions reveal what is in our hearts. If a man will buy a fishing boat costing thousands of dollars, a truck to pull it with, equip it with rods and reels and bait and tackle, and spend the money for licenses and fuel; if he will read the fishing magazines, and study where the fish are, when they are feeding, what they are biting; if he will find others with similar interests and spend hours conversing with them, learning new things, and increasing his knowledge and skill, but will not apply the same devotion to study of the Bible, it is not because he is incapable, or does not have the time or the skills necessary. It is because he does not have the desire.

Christ did not go down to the local seminary, or university to choose His disciples, men who would later become the apostles of the church. He chose fishermen, a tax collector, a political zealot, and other common men. These men traded a passion for other things for a passion for knowing God. This led them to apply themselves with great devotion to new interests. We read of these men:

Acts 6:4
But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

These men did not reason that they lacked the ability to study the word of God in order to teach it accurately. They did not say, “I am a fisherman, not a Bible scholar.” They became Bible scholars, devoting themselves to its study and teaching, relying upon the Spirit of Christ to instruct them as they did so, and they were able to lay a foundation upon which the church of God could be firmly established.

There is no less need in this hour for men and women to manifest this same devotion to Christ and His word.
[End excerpt]

Paul was not among Christ’s original twelve apostles, and he is unusual in that he was a scholar of the Scriptures when Christ called him. Paul was raised according to the strictest sect of his people, the Pharisees. He was educated in the school of Gamaliel, a man renowned for Bible learning in his day. Paul did not rest on his laurels, however. After coming to Christ he continued until his last days poring over the Scriptures, studying them to gain understanding and knowledge of the things of God.

The last letter written by Paul in the Bible, recorded shortly before his death, was II Timothy. In that letter Paul gave Timothy the following instruction:

II Timothy 4:13
When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.

Paul requested that Timothy bring him his books and parchments. Paul remained a student of the Scriptures all his life. We are the benefactors of his diligent and faithful study. We are also called to imitate his life. We must also “study” to show ourselves “approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Let us then examine carefully this passage from I Corinthians chapter 15. Following are verses 22-24 from the King James Bible.

I Corinthians 15:22-24
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Note that this translation, and many others who have followed the KJV, lists Christ as the firstfruits. This is apparently followed by a resurrection of Christians “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” and then we have the end. With such a rendering, it is no wonder that many Christians have concluded that there will be only one resurrection, and that none will be resurrected to live before God apart from those who are known as Christians in this age.

Translators are men and women just like you and I. Some do not even have the Spirit of Christ (I could share appalling stories of men and women working on modern translations that are homosexuals, feminists, and strangers to the Spirit of Christ.) These men and women introduce many errors into the translations. This is partially due to the translators’ lack of understanding of the concepts found within the Scriptures. Some errors are also introduced because a publisher, king, denomination, or some other guiding body, has given them instruction to not deviate from what is considered orthodox and acceptable doctrine. The history of Bible translation has some shining moments, but it also is attended by much darkness. The result is that there are no inerrant Bible translations today. The saint must study, and invite the Spirit of Christ to guide him or her, if they are to arrive at truth.

The apostle Paul understood, and taught, that there would be three resurrections of mankind. There will be three separate harvests of the fruit of the earth (man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth), before the work of reconciling all things back to the Father has been completed. These three resurrections correspond perfectly to the three feasts Yahweh instituted in the Old Testament. Each feast occurred at a time of harvest, and all men were to appear before Yahweh at the place He designated. This appearing before Yahweh three times every year served as a symbol of the three resurrections of mankind. (This will be addressed more fully later.)

The first resurrection corresponds to the first feast which is Passover. During Passover the Israelites were instructed by Yahweh to bring the firstfruits of the barley harvest before Him. In fact, Passover is broken down into three separate parts, one of which is called “the Feast of Firstfruits.”

Leviticus 23:9-13
And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh... Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to Yahweh, for a sweet aroma...’”

Note two things in these instructions. First, the firstfruits were to be brought before Yahweh. Second, the grain of the offering was to be mixed with oil. Oil is for anointing. This was the “anointed firstfruits.”

The translators of the KJV, and many other popular Bibles, have not understood the connection between the three resurrections and the Feasts of Yahweh. The result has been a distortion of the translation. In the New Testament, the Greek word rendered as “anointed” and the Greek word rendered as “Christ” are one and the same. Christ means “anointed.” When the translators interpret a passage they must determine whether the Greek word “christos” should be translated as “anointed” or translated as “Christ.” Following is a graphic of this passage which shows the Interlinear Bible. The Greek, and the English translation, appear side by side.

(Click on picture for larger image)

In three of the boxes that I have drawn, we find the Greek word christos, which is Strong’s number 5547. Whenever Paul intended the word christos to mean “Christ”  he preceded it with the definite article “toon” (Strong’s 3588). The Greek “toon” is equivalent to our English word “the.” When Paul was speaking of the Son of God, he would write “toon christos” (the Christ.) When he was speaking of anointing, Paul would write christos. There would be no preceding definite article.

Looking at the graphic above, we find that in verse 22 Paul wrote, “in the Christ all shall be made alive.” In the last box above we find that Paul used the definite article again. He was once more referring to “the Christ.” Yet, in the second usage of the word christos above, there is no definite article. The words “aparchee christos” should have been translated as “firstfruits anointed,” or in more fluent English grammar, “anointed firstfruits.” (You may note the word “the” preceding “aparchee christos” with the number 9999 below it. The number 9999 indicates that this word is not in the original manuscript. It is a word that has been added in the English translation, but it has no corresponding word in the Greek.)

Compare now the KJV translation, with the corrected, more accurate translation of this passage.

I Corinthians 15:22-24
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

I Corinthians 15:22-24
For as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Anointed firstfruits, after that those who are the Christ's at His coming, then comes the end (the remainder), when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

It is worth our time to study this passage patiently, seeking to “rightly divide the word of truth.” The context and focus of this passage is the end of the reign of Christ, the end of the ages. If we want to understand these subjects, then we ought to focus on passages that specifically address them.

Paul understood that Christ’s work of reconciliation would be accomplished in a precise order. He states, “For as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order.” We do not see all men reconciled to God at the same time. At this time, Christ is working to bring the anointed firstfruits to a full and complete reconciliation to God.

The Greek word translated as “order” can provide us some insight. It is the Greek word “tagma.” Strong’s Dictionary defines it in the following manner:

tagma (tag'-mah); from NT:5021; something orderly in arrangement (a troop), i.e. (figuratively) a series or succession:

What Paul is communicating is that Christ’s work of reconciling mankind back to the Father will be “something orderly in arrangement.” It will be conducted as “a series or succession” of works until all has been brought under subjection to the Father. First we will see the anointed firstfruits reconciled to God. Then we will see those who belong to Christ, but who were not firstfruits. Then comes the end, or the remainder, when those who were enemies of Christ are brought under subjection to Him.

There is an order to the work of Christ. This age is not the end of the reconciling work of Christ. It is merely the beginning. Christ will continue to rule, the saints laboring with Him as ambassadors, entreating all men to be reconciled to God the Father.

Are you sometimes daunted as you perceive the darkness covering the earth, and the gross darkness over the people? Do you perceive that the true disciples of Christ are indeed a “little flock” at this time? The Scriptures entreat us to “not despise the day of small beginnings” (Zechariah 4:10).

There was a day when a small remnant returned from Babylonian captivity to Zion. They were led of the Spirit to rebuild the temple. The task was great and their strength was small. There were many enemies, and the work progressed slowly. Many became discouraged and for a season they laid the work aside, but God sent prophets, and His Spirit to stir them up once more.

The present hour bears great resemblance to that time. Few are the remnant heeding the call to depart from Babylon. The work of building up a fit habitation for Yahweh from living stones proceeds slowly. There are many enemies, and our own strength is small. We are in the day of small beginnings.

Do not be discouraged. Do not think that this is all there ever will be. Do not listen to the voices of ignorance and unbelief that proclaim that the creation will never be restored to the Father, that righteousness will never reign over all. Yahweh has spoken, and He will perform it. What a day it will be when every knee bows before Him, and every tongue confesses that righteousness and strength are found only in Yahweh!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - The Cycle of Creation

Joseph Herrin (10-27-2011)

Ecclesiastes 1:5-7
The sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again.  Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; And on its circular courses the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.

The wise king Solomon began his great book of wisdom by speaking of the circularity of creation. Solomon referred to the circuit of the Sun, the courses of the wind, and the cycle of water on the earth. These are things the wise man contemplated as he sought to understand life, and his place in the creation. Solomon perceived that the creation functions in cycles.

I want to make mention of the grandest of all cycles in the creation. All things originated in God, and when the creation has run its course, all things must return unto God. You and I are part of the creation. We are bound by this cycle. Man became a living soul when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. One day, at the end of the ages, God will gather His breath back to Himself.

Job 34:14-15
If He should determine to do so, if He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.

When Yahweh conceived the creation He set limits to its endurance. Yahweh created a plan that encompasses many ages, concluding in one final age that is at times referred to as “the age of the ages.”

Daniel 7:18
And receive the kingdom do the saints of the Most High, and they strengthen the kingdom unto the age, even unto the age of the ages.
[Young’s Literal Translation]

Yahweh framed the creation with a master plan where each age was determined. I have referred to this as “God’s plan of the ages.” Following are two translations of a passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that bring forth a literal rendering of the original Greek.

Ephesians 3:8-11
To me the far inferior of all holy ones; was given the favor this, among the nations to announce glad tidings the unsearchable wealth of the Anointed, and to enlighten all, what the administration of the secret of that having been hidden from the AGES  in the God in that the all things having created; so that might be made known now to the governments and to the authorities in the heavenlies, through the congregation, the manifold wisdom of the God; According to a plan of the ages, which He formed for the Anointed Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:8-11
Unto me—the less than least of all saints, was given this favour, unto the nations, to announce the glad-message of the untraceable riches of the Christ, and to bring to light—what is the administration of the sacred secret which had been hidden away from the AGES in God, who did all things create: In order that now, unto the principalities and the authorities in the heavenlies, might be made known, through means of the assembly, the manifold wisdom of God,— According to a plan of the ages which He made in the anointed Jesus our Lord.
(Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible)

The present creation was never intended to exist for eternity. The creation is marked by finite bounds. This truth is contained in a passage that we examined in the preceding chapter. The apostle Paul wrote of the end of the reign of sonship. A time must come when all things must be summed up into Christ in order that all things might return unto the Father.

I Corinthians 15:25-28
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

The entire creation is headed toward a time when all must return unto the Father. Some Christians have received errant notions concerning the Son of God. They do not recognize that He is also part of the creation. Although He holds a preeminent position, being the firstborn and the instrument through which Yahweh created all other things, Yahshua is Himself a created being.

Colossians 1:15
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

In the book of Proverbs Solomon writes of Wisdom as if it were a person. The description of Wisdom is the description of the firstborn Son of God.

Proverbs 8:24-30
When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I was brought forth; While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was beside Him, as a master workman...

The apostle Paul describes Christ as “the wisdom of God.”

I Corinthians 1:23-24
But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

What Solomon speaks metaphorically of Wisdom is true of Christ. Christ was present with the Father at the beginning of the creation. Christ was the first creation of God. Yahshua is the embodiment of the Wisdom of God. He was “beside Him, as a master workman” when Yahweh created all things.

Colossians 1:15-16
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Christ is the firstborn of all creation. He was the first to arise out of God, and we find that in Yahweh’s plan of the ages that all things must return back to Christ. Even as through Yahshua all things were created, including the angels and mankind, so must all things become subject once more to the Son. All things must be summed up in the Son. Then the Son may return, along with all created things, to the Father from whom all things came.

Ephesians 1:9-10
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to a stewardship suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth in Him.

There are mysteries revealed in the things of which Paul writes. Paul declared that he had been chosen to be a steward of the mysteries of God. Paul had much to say about Yahweh’s mysteries, but the church has remained largely babes, able to drink only milk. The body of Christ has remained immature, unable to eat solid food, seldom dining on the meat of the mysteries of God.

Hebrews 5:12-6:3
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and age lasting (aeonian) judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.

Those things Paul names as elementary teachings are what the church considers higher learning today. The church has seldom reached beyond elementary things to delve into the mysteries of God. Yet, the Father has entrusted the mysteries of His kingdom and His creation unto His people. Yahweh has set a table for the mature in Christ to feed upon. Paul wrote of his calling in the following manner:

I Corinthians 4:1
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

The reason that many have been offended at the message of this book is that it contains meat for the mature. Some who are accustomed only to milk have balked at what is set before them. They have thought the message here to be too weighty, too difficult, and have wanted only to focus upon that which is simple. Those who will receive only simple thoughts and concepts must remain simple-minded. Yahweh does not want His sons to abide forever as simpletons. We are called to attain to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Christ is the embodiment of the Wisdom of God the Father.

Let us take a look at the very beginning of the cycle of creation that we might understand what its end must be. Some years back I was meditating upon the doctrine of the Trinity. I wanted to understand the nature and relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yahweh, as He often does, brought understanding through means of a parable.

As I was sitting before the Father He asked me, “If you want to see the soul of a man, how would you view it?” I knew the soul to be invisible. It will not show up on an x-ray, or a CAT scan or MRI. A person cannot take a picture of the soul of man. Nonetheless, the soul can be seen. Yahshua said,

Matthew 12:35-37
"The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

A man’s soul can be seen in His words. Do you want to know if a soul is evil, listen to the words that come from a man’s mouth. One can discern if a man is lustful by listening to his words. If the man is ruled by anger in his soul, his words will reveal it. Rebellion, covetousness, jealousy, pride, envy, and every evil characteristic of the soul of a man is exhibited in a man’s speech.

The righteous man is also known by his words. You can discern whether a man is pure in heart, whether he is loving, merciful, patient, longsuffering, humble, and selfless by observing his conversation. Surely a man’s soul is revealed through his words.

As the Father directed me to contemplate these things, He revealed to me the relationship of the Spirit and the Son to Himself through the parable of speech. Every created thing was crafted with masterful design to show forth hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God. Yahweh has revealed the Trinity through the miracle of speech.

Every word begins with a thought in the mind of man. The thought is made visible as a man exhales air from his lungs and shapes identifiable sounds as the air passes over the vocal chords. These sounds exit the man as words, and the words reveal the hidden things inside the soul of man.

Yahweh the Father is Spirit. No one has seen the Father at any time. The apostle John shared the following words of inspiration with the saints.

John 1:18
No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].
[Amplified Bible]

When God wanted to form the creation it was necessary to make Himself known to the creation. Yet a physical creation cannot see that which exists in Spirit alone. Yahweh had to do something to reveal Himself even as a man must do something to make the thoughts of his mind known to others. Yahweh formed a Word.

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Yahweh exhaled His Spirit and formed a Word. It was a perfect Word that fully revealed Himself. This Word became flesh so that mankind could perceive it. The Word is the Son of God. The Son has perfectly declared, manifested, and made known the Father.

John 14:9
Yahshua said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father...”

When the Father wanted to reveal Himself to creation He formed the Word. As the Father showed this to me He showed me the process by which a word is formed. We utter forth speech as we breathe out. Yahweh designed speech to be accomplished in this manner. Speech is accompanied by the exhalation of man’s breath.

Throughout the Bible the word for Spirit is always related to the word for breath, air, or wind. In the Old Testament the word is “ruach.” The first occurrence is found in the second verse of the Bible.

Genesis 1:2
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit [ruach] of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

This same word is used in the following verses.

Genesis 7:22
All in whose nostrils was the breath [ruach] of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

Genesis 8:1
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind [ruach] to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged...

When man breathes out his exhalation is breath. When Yahweh breathes out, His exhalation is Spirit. Even as man’s breath is used to form words, so was the exhalation of the Spirit of God used to form Christ, “the living Word.”

Luke 1:35
The angel answered and said to (Mary), “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

The Spirit was sent forth from the Father to form His Word. This Word existed from the beginning of the creation. The very first exhalation of the Father formed the Son of God. Yahshua is before all things, yet He is a creation of the Father. The Father is Spirit, and He is the eternal One. Yahweh exists before the creation, and supersedes the creation. Out of God all things have come, and back to God all things must return.

People of God, what the Bible testifies to occur at the end of the ages is not the annihilation of mankind, of Christ, or of the creation. One cannot annihilate that which came forth from the Father. When Yahweh has accomplished all things He has planned for this present creation, then His Spirit, exhaled from His being for the creation of all things, beginning with the Word, must return to Him.

One day as I reflected upon what this must mean the Father gave me an image of a vast ocean. The ocean was limitless. Out of this infinite sea were taken droplets of water. For a time these droplets of water existed separate from the sea. They could be identified individually, even as raindrops that fall from the sky. God showed me that mankind is like unto these drops of water. We came from Yahweh, and for a time we can be identified as individuals. At the end of the ages all must return to the Father. It will be like unto drops of water being returned to the ocean. The drops of water do not cease to exist. Rather, they become one with the ocean. Once returned to the sea it is no longer possible to separate them. The drops of water have become one with that source from which they first originated. They are present, but no one can any longer say, “Here is this individual droplet.” All has become merged into one entity.

To become one with the Father is not tragedy. To be lost in God is not the loss of man. Rather, it is the fulfillment of that which is most glorious, highest and good. It is the fulfillment of perfect unity with Yahweh. It is this unity for which Christ prayed in His high priestly prayer.

John 17:20-23
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

The end of the ages will be the perfection of unity. When we are no longer separable from the Father then our union will be perfect. John the Baptist declared the essential work that must be brought to fruition among the creation before the end can come.

John 3:30
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

The work of this present creation is to see Christ formed in every one of the sons of God.

Galatians 4:19
My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you...

Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren...

God is at work in us to form a perfect revelation of Himself, even as He has revealed Himself perfectly in His firstborn Son.

Ephesians 4:13
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Yahweh will not rest; His work will not be complete, until everything in creation resembles the firstborn Son, who is the perfect expression of the Father. There can be nothing left of sin in the world. All lust, envy, malice, pride, self-seeking, covetousness and every other evil thing must be expunged from the creation. All that remains must be holy and righteous and true. Christ will reign until He subdues the entire creation, bringing all into conformity to the Father.

In the book of Ephesians the apostle Paul describes the gathering of all things into Christ.

Ephesians 1:9-10
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to a stewardship suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth in Him.

When the Romans performed addition, they added up individual amounts and wrote the sum at the top of the list of numbers. This is the opposite of the manner in which we do things today, for we always write the sum at the bottom of a list of numbers. It was the Roman practice of putting the total at the top that led to the expression “to sum up.” It is fitting to describe the work of Christ in subjecting all things to Himself as a summing up.

One day Christ will stand as the Sum of all creation. Everything will be brought into subjection to Him. Everything will be beneath Him. There will be nothing left in creation that is not fully contained in Him. Since Yahshua is light, there will be no darkness left in the creation. Because Christ is righteous and holy, there will exist no more sin. Christ is humble, therefore no pride can remain to be summed up in Him. Everything that remains must be a pure representation of some part of the whole. Only then can everything be brought back into the Father so that He is “all in all.”

To many such thoughts appear difficult, and may be perceived as mysteries that are too deep to plumb. However, it must be established that God will one day reconcile the entire creation back to Himself. Seeing this truth will reveal the error of those doctrines that declare sin, rebellion, and torment to be eternal. Neither sin, nor judgment; neither rebellion, nor death, can continue on in perpetuity. Christ must reign UNTIL He has subjected all things to Himself. The day will come when the last enemy will be destroyed. Peace will reign absolute, and the rule of Christ will be uncontested. Every created being will declare, “Surely in Yahweh I have righteousness and strength.” Yahweh has sworn by His own self that this will be the end of all things. Nothing can stay His hand.

When all things in heaven and on earth have been reconciled to the Father through the Son, then the cycle of creation will be complete. That which came forth from the Father can then return to the Father. The breath of Yahweh will return to that source from which it came. As an ocean encompassing a myriad of droplets in its vast and limitless expanse, Yahweh will be all in all.

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Joseph Herrin
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Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

God's Plan of the Ages - Then Comes the End

Joseph Herrin (10-26-2011)

It may seem odd to begin a book with a chapter that focuses on the end, but there is a good purpose in doing so. When Yahweh set forth to form the creation He had the end and culmination of all His works in mind. He had determined from the beginning of the creation what the conclusion of all things would be. What Yahweh planned will be fulfilled. The end of Yahweh’s works contain no loose ends. Nothing that has been conceived in God’s mind will remain partially fulfilled. It is important to grasp this aspect of Yahweh’s plan of the ages, for it differs substantially from the experience of man.

When men set forth to accomplish some goal they often fall short of seeing the fulfillment of everything they had envisioned. Man learns to make peace with partial successes and partial failures. A man may be satisfied to have accomplished many of the things he set forth to do, conceding that he gave a good effort and progressed far along the path he had chosen. Man is finite both in wisdom and power. Man does not control all circumstances, nor rule in absolute sovereignty over the creation. Therefore, it is unrealistic for men to anticipate that they will be able to fulfill every detail of the goals, dreams, and visions that originate in the Adamic soul.

In contrast, Yahweh is all powerful. He possesses all wisdom. He knows all things. Yahweh sees the end from the beginning. There is no power in existence that can hinder Him in the fulfillment of the things He has planned. All things have come from God, and all things lie in His power. When Yahweh establishes a plan, He is assured that it will be absolutely, completely, and perfectly fulfilled at the precise moment that He has determined.

Isaiah 46:9-11
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;  Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”

The church has embraced many false doctrines about the ages to come. These doctrines are riddled with error that has arisen by failing to reckon on Yahweh’s determinate will to bring a full, complete and perfect end to the entire creation, and by not considering that He possesses all power and wisdom to accomplish what He has planned. The church teaches that the creation will continue on into eternity with rebellion, judgment, and torment. The church teaches that the vast majority of the men who have ever lived, and one third of the angels, will never be reconciled to God, but will continue on for eternity without end in separation and unending punishment.

Such concepts are unworthy of the One who possesses all power to subject the entire creation to Himself.

Philippians 3:20-21
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Yahshua Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

If Christ were to confront the false doctrines relating to the ages to come and to eternity, doctrines that leave a great portion of the creation in a state of estrangement to His Father, He would surely reply as He did to those who reckoned errantly in the days of His earthly ministry.

Matthew 22:29
But Yahshua answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

Even the righteous who have some knowledge and experience of God often fail to reckon accurately concerning those things Yahweh has planned and will surely accomplish.

Genesis 18:13-14
And Yahweh said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for Yahweh?

The church’s beliefs and doctrines concerning the coming ages are the product of “not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Christ has been given ALL authority and power. Yahweh has determined to reconcile ALL THINGS to Himself. His work will not be completed until His desires have been fully and perfectly accomplished. In a myriad of places throughout the Scriptures, the Creator has declared His intent to bring the entire creation back into a place of peace with Himself. The church has failed in her understanding of Yahweh’s determined purpose to restore all things to a perfect state of unity. The apostle Paul understood the plan of God, and he declared it openly to the saints.

I Corinthians 15:24-28
Then comes the end, when He (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Is the apostle not speaking about “the end” of Yahweh’s work among the creation in these verses? Does the apostle declare that all things will end with billions of men and angels in the bonds of eternal torment? Does the apostle declare that the creation will continue on eternally without a reconciliation of all things to the Father? Absolutely not! Paul understood both the Scriptures and the power of God. He proclaimed the truth of Yahweh’s plan of the ages. Paul tells us exactly what the end of all things will encompass.

Christ must reign, but not eternally! Does this statement offend? Christ must reign UNTIL He has accomplished all things which the Father has determined must be brought to completion under the rule of His Son. What has the Father determined? He has declared that all enemies must be vanquished. All rebellion must come to an end. Every creature on earth and in heaven must be reconciled back to the Father. All creation must be summed up in the Son of God, coming under a perfect submission to Yahshua. The ONLY being left out of this is the Father. The Son is in a state of perfect submission to the Father. Once all things are brought under submission to Christ, then all things subjected to the Son will also be under subjection to the Father. Yahweh will then be “all in all.”

This declaration of the perfect reconciliation of the entire creation to Yahweh is not found in only in this one passage. This is not an obscure and isolated Biblical doctrine. The plan of God to subdue all things on earth and in heaven to Himself is widely declared throughout both the Old Testament and the New. The prophet Isaiah wrote the following:

Isaiah 45:22-24
"Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance. They shall say, ‘Surely in Yahweh I have righteousness and strength.’ To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him.”

There is no greater assurance offered anywhere in Scriptures than when Yahweh swears something by Himself. What He declares, must be accomplished. The will of God cannot be thwarted, hindered, or delayed. Yahweh has testified that He will bring every enemy into a perfect allegiance to Himself. This is not a mere forced obeisance. It is not a coerced confession that occurs while rebellion and enmity still exists in the heart. Look at what Isaiah testifies. “All shall be ashamed who were incensed” at God. Shame reveals that a change of heart has occurred. Rebellion has ended. Regret, and repentance have arisen. Those who were formerly enemies, reviling the character and power of Yahweh, are now freely testifying, “Surely in Yahweh I HAVE righteousness and strength.”

The apostle Paul, writing to the saints in Philippi, declares again the understanding of the entire creation yielding in worshipful subservience to Christ. Paul taught much on the end of all things. He proclaimed openly that the end would not come UNTIL all things had first been reconciled back to the Father through the Son.

Colossians 1:19-20
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile ALL things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say whether things on EARTH or things in HEAVEN.

The church, not understanding the Scriptures or the power of God, have adopted many spurious doctrines. God is effectually depicted either as powerless to reconcile all things to Himself, or unwilling to do so. Both thoughts are unworthy of Yahweh. Satan is the architect of these lies, and the church has readily believed them. Satan ever seeks to cast Yahweh and His Son in an unflattering light. He would have God appear as exceedingly harsh, being too difficult to deal with. Satan has convinced myriads of Christians that God will cast men and angels into a fiery lake whose torments are exceptional in their intensity and duration. Satan has persuaded the church that this torment is eternal, never to come to an end.

I could argue against such false doctrines based upon the revelation of the nature of God, His love, mercy, and propensity to forgive. Yet, there would be those who would accuse me of sentimentalism, and of forming doctrines based upon feelings. I have therefore chosen to avoid such arguments in favor of presenting the consistent testimony of Scripture. Let the word of God speak. Let us rightly divide the word of truth. What have we read thus far? It is the Father’s good will and pleasure to reconcile ALL THINGS in heaven and on earth to Himself through Christ, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

The Father has given His Son all authority and power. After His resurrection from the grave Christ appeared to His disciples. Matthew recorded what He said.

Matthew 28:18
Yahshua came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

David wrote prophetically of the power to be entrusted to Christ.

Psalms 110:1-2
Yahweh says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." Yahweh will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of Your enemies."

Isaiah also prophesied of the coming Messiah.

Isaiah 9:6-7
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace...

What truth is contained in the words, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace”? Do we not find in these words the promise that Christ will reign until everything in creation is brought into full submission to His rule? Is it not promised that peace will increase until in the end all things are reconciled to God and there exists no more rebellion? Yes! This is what is declared.

Of the power and authority of Christ, the apostle Paul writes with adulation and praise.

Colossians 1:16-18
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

In the very next sentences the apostle declares what the rule of Christ will accomplish.

Colossians 1:19-20
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Christ is given ruling authority for the purpose of bringing peace to the entire creation. Yahshua is called “the Prince of Peace.” He has been given the power to subject all things to Himself. He will rule until He accomplishes the purposes of the Father. The end will come only when the Father is “all in all.” Every former enemy will be ashamed. They will confess that they have found in God both righteousness and strength.

Christ has the power to reconcile ALL THINGS to Himself. Will He not employ this power to its full extent? Most certainly He will. Christ “must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” What then of the church’s doctrine that the enemies of God will be put into a fiery lake of eternal torment? Such doctrines are a product of not understanding the Scriptures, nor the power of God.

In the book of Revelation we read that “death and hell (hades) are cast into the lake of fire.” Christians have been taught that the duration of the souls of men and angels in the lake of fire is eternal. This is not what the Scriptures teach. The lake of fire is synonymous with “the second death.”

Revelation 20:14
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

The apostle Paul has written that death must come to an end before Yahweh’s plan of the ages has been concluded. Let us look at Paul’s words once more, highlighting the pertinent section.

I Corinthians 15:25-28
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Death, even the lake of fire which is “the second death,” cannot continue on eternally. The work of death among the creation will be brought to an end when all things are reconciled back to the Father. The lake of fire, death itself, exist to serve a purpose in the fulfillment of Yahweh’s plan. They are to bring an end to sin and rebellion. When all things are subjected to the Father then death will be no more. The wages of sin is death. Where there is no longer any sin there is no longer any death.

Isaiah 25:8
He will swallow up death for all time, and Yahweh God will wipe tears away from all faces...

One of the greatest declarations found in the Bible is that mercy ultimately triumphs over judgment.

James 2:13
For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

If Yahweh requires His sons and daughters to show mercy and demonstrate forgiveness to their enemies, will He not also do the same? Yahweh’s wrath endures  for a moment.

Micah 7:18
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.

The church in declaring a doctrine of eternal torment is doing the work of Satan by declaring God to be angry forever. The testimony of Scripture is that Yahweh “does not retain His anger forever.” Yahweh does not delight in endless punishment. He seeks the reconciliation of His creation.

Ezekiel 33:11
"Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares Yahweh God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!’”

Yahweh is abundantly rich in mercy. He will not hold the sinner guiltless, but neither will His wrath endure forever.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)...

The grace and mercy of God will reign supreme, accomplishing reconciliation of the entire creation before the time of the end.

The truth of Yahweh’s merciful reconciliation of the entire creation back to Himself is offensive to a great many people. Is God unjust to forgive all His enemies? You and I were at one time numbered among the enemies of God. He showed mercy and forgiveness to us. Will we account it an evil thing for God to show mercy and forgiveness to all before the conclusion of His plan of the ages? We should rejoice that Yahweh is merciful. Apart from His mercy we would all be consumed.

Isaiah 54:7-8
"For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you," Says Yahweh your Redeemer.

We have not looked at all of the testimonies found in Scriptures that speak of the work of Christ to reconcile all things back to His Father. The Bible is rife with statements of the plan and purpose of God. To the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul writes:

Ephesians 1:9-10
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to a stewardship suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth in Him.

This present chapter is seeking to convey one foundational truth. It is a point we cannot neglect. There is an end to the work of Christ. In stating that there is an end, I mean to convey that there is both a goal and a conclusion to Christ’s work. He has come to reconcile all things to God the Father. The rule of Christ is granted to Him UNTIL He accomplishes the reconciliation of all things to the Father. “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death (including the second death, the lake of fire).” When Yahshua has accomplished the goal of His reign, then will come the end of the ages.

There are ages yet to come. We do not see the reconciliation of all things in this present age. This book will look at the ages that preceded this present time, as well as those that follow. We will examine the role and duration of the lake of fire even as we examined the role and duration of the Law in the previous book Laying Down the Law.

I entreat those who have read this far to remain patient in examining this subject. Every question and objection cannot be answered in a single chapter. The author is striving to present the matter in a way that will lead to understanding. Precept is laid upon precept. Those who remain patient will be rewarded. I exhort you to test all that is written. Examine the many Scriptures cited. Keep your Bible and your heart open that you might discover truth.

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063