THE ROOT OF CORRUPTION
Where does the beastly nature come from? Will mankind ever be able to overcome the death, destruction and devastation of their beastly qualities? The Apostle Paul confronted the problem of the beastly nature when he was in Ephesus. The beastly nature had nothing to do with animals but with people! I Corinthians 15:32 states the following: "If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beast at Ephesus, what advantage is that to me?..." He was not talking about animals but of the sinful nature of man. Paul was contending with the pagans of his day by proclaiming the truths of Jesus Christ. He confronted their beggarly ways of living and their continuous self-serving interests.
Paul was trying to establish a higher order than what these lowly beings could even raise their eyes to see. Yet, the confrontation that Paul had almost 2,000 years ago was nothing compared to the problem that Noah found in his day. In fact, we who have come to the end of the age will find the problem of corruption worse than Paul also and equal to that of Noah.
Noah alone was righteous in his generation. The earth since the days of Adam until Noah had never known what rain was. Inclement weather would have been a new word to them. The glory of Eden was still being felt in many ways. Because of the blessings that were there, mankind as a whole took for granted the handiwork of God and lived according to the dictates of their own conscience. It was the sin nature in man that had to be exposed for what it was.
Not that God excused sin, since it had appeared in Adam in the garden of Eden, but that God let that beastly nature come to its fullness. Now, with Noah there would be a cleansing and an all new start would begin. The root of corruption began with the initial creation of Adam, and there is the solution also. Adam was created with a flaw. He was not created perfect as some would state. After all, if Adam could fall, he wasn't perfect was he?
Wasn't Adam created in the image of God? Doesn't the Bible say so? Gen. 1:26 states: "And God said 'Let us make man in our image.'" It would seem to indicate that Adam was to be in the image of God. But does it mean "right now"? The tense of the verb is what one would call present future for it will occur shortly. Actually, the verse of Genesis 1:26 is prophetic. By that we mean that God would create man in His image in due time through a process.
We read that God formed man of the dust of the earth in Genesis 2:7. The word formed in the Hebrew means: put Himself into. It does mean that God put the fullness of His nature in the man but rather a portion. Isaiah 45:7 states: “I form the light and I create the darkness.” Again form means placing His essence into it, but the word create means God makes it but does not place Himself into it. God has no part of darkness - there is no darkness in Him at all and no turning (1 John 1:5, James 1:17).
Luke 2:52 states that Christ grew in the stature and wisdom of the Lord. Eventually the fullness of the Godhead was found in Christ (Col. 2:9) at the time of His manifestation, but He grew until that point. Jesus had to grow and Adam was meant to grow also in the nature of God. So, Adam was not created perfect in the sense of full 100% nature of God. He was not complete for if Adam was he would not have sinned. There was a beastly nature in Adam.
One of the first principles we must recognize is that God is sovereign. He rules in the lives and affairs of men (Dan. 5:21, Ps. 2:1-4). He did create Adam with faults! He planned it that way.
Adam had within him the propensity for sin, given the opportunity. His weakness was there. Some would say - "but God said his creation of Adam was good” and I would agree. Good in the sense that the creation would accomplish the purposes of God and not "good" in the sense of perfectness. The fall of Adam was a planned event not some shock to God as some theologians believe. God knew what He was doing. Vanity was placed within man by God because He knew it would be "good" for man.
Romans 8:20 reads: "For the creation (Adam) was subjected to vanity, NOT WILLINGLY, but because of Him who subjected the same in hope." Adam did NOT have a choice about being created and neither did he have a choice about the type of person he would be. Again, contrary to the doctrine of theologians.
If God is good and He is, then His creation is good although it may not appear so to the person who is viewing it. The creation is good because of the ultimate end that will come out of its birth. All that happens in between is the process to create creation in the likeness of its God. Life will come out of all this death because God has planned it so. Out of death arose Jesus Christ and he conquered the grave. Out of the carcass of the lion came honey (Judges 14:8). The death that was placed in Adam was placed there to bear its fruit. So also the life of Christ will bring forth.
Goodness is based upon purpose. Goodness is based upon principles and not a situation that one is in. It is good to discipline a child, although in the situation the child would not feel that discipline would be good. Nevertheless, the correction was good.
Adam was like Christ. He took the sin of his wife upon himself and bore her reproach. He knew that God had given him a wife and that they were to be one. Sin by Eve caused a separation between Adam and Eve. Adam knowing the importance of oneness, crossed over and became the burden bearer of the sin of Eve. Eve as the scripture shows would be able to bring life out of death through childbearing and this would be possible because Adam removed the judgment from her.
I realize that Adam said to God in Genesis 2:11 that the woman caused him to eat. She did. Spiritually, Eve is a type of the soul. The soul that sins shall surely die (Ezekiel 18:4). That is the carnal mind will die. Adam was a type of the Spirit of Christ. He bore her nature so that He could redeem her even as Christ gave us His soul (Isaiah 53:10) for our corrupted soul of Adam!
Eve in Genesis 3:6 states the three desires she had: “good for food... delight to the eyes... and make one wise...” These
three correspond to the lusts of 1 John 2:16, Jesus’ three test in the
wilderness and three categories of sin Revelation 21:8 . All of which we shall
deal with later.
SO, WHAT IS THIS BEASTLY NATURE?
The word vanity as quoted in Romans 8:20 in the Greek means: empty, profitless, an idol, moral depravity. God made man subject to vanity. Man was empty, and idol to himself. We find the beastly nature totally alive and well in the world today. How much is accomplished for eternal purposes and how much is done for temporal gain? All is done for immediate gain by the unsaved, and even the saved are controlled to a great degree by what they can "get" now.
The beastly nature is, was and always will be that which is against the purposes of God. It is, social, political, economic and ethnic in nature as well as religious .
The beastly nature is social in that it seeks to influence others in its moral depravity. Sorrow likes company and that truism is found in the beastly nature. It seeks to have all enjoin it on the way to death.
The beastly nature is political in that it has a desire for power as well as to be in charge of all aspects of life. It believes it has the answer by its form of government when the only form of government that will work is a theocracy (means a government by God) which no beastly nature would submit to.
Economically the beastly nature is seen often by the advertisements which blatantly seduce people to purchase objects by lust. All economies are based upon the "desire" of something, whatever it may be. Again it is a desire for temporal things.
The beastly nature is ethnic in the sense that everyone identifies with the tribal concept. Why else do Italians, Polish, Pakistanis, Germans, Hatians, etc. all live in an ethnic neighborhood? The culture, heritage, etc. all help form ways of thinking, acting.
Perhaps the worst of the beastly nature is the religious ways. My heart is so grieved over this that I could speak hours on the corrupt religious system and values of people!
The first deception of the beastly religious system is to tell people that the beast, the antichrist, and the false prophet are actual individuals (see our book, Unmasking the Book of Revelation, 160 pages). For this places the culprit OUTSIDE the person themselves when the beast is inside.
It is always easier to blame it on someone else than face the fact that it is your carnal Adamic fallen nature who is the culprit. In the 1930's some said that Hitler was the antichrist and the social security system was the mark of the beast. How foolish man is! The power given to Hitler was given to him by the PEOPLE. It was their fallen nature that gave him power to rule. The antichrist
in them fell in line and looked to the same spirit in Hitler.
By the same token, the social security system is not evil in itself, it is only a method of use. If it is corrupt it is because the people make it so. But really, the mark of the beast? By no means is that so. No, the religious beastly system ALWAYS points to some EXTERNAL thing or person as evil. It never recognizes the truth that the heart is evil and deceptive. For it is what comes out of a man that is evil, not what goes in.
The religious system is externally concerned. Consider their doctrines. The rapture an external event which denies Christ coming in you (see our booklet The Rapture Spiritual or Literal?). In some churches, holiness is based upon outward dress - denying the real truth that holiness comes from within. We have already mentioned the falseness of the antichrist and beast ideas. Perhaps, you could list more of the EXTERNAL false ideas. I don't want to waste my time or yours for the list is endless.
The sin nature
is inherent in the person. It was
planted there by God. Yes, God made
both good and evil which you can read in Isaiah 45:5-7. The religious beastly
nature desires to rule and reign, even as the old Adam nature
does. Why, every Christian
wants to reign with Christ. But it
is a fleshly desire, we should want only Christ in us to reign through us, not
THE LUST OF THE FLESH, THE LUST OF THE EYES,
AND THE PRIDE OF LIFE
(I John 2:16)
Satan deceived Eve, who had come out of Adam, by appealing to her eyes, her taste (lust of the flesh) and the ability to be like God (pride of life). One of these would have worked, but he used all three. Adam and Eve had communion with the Father from the beginning. What person in his right mind being in a place of bliss and fellowship with God would break that relationship? I think you will agree no person would knowingly lose such.
But vanity was placed in man by God who also subjected the same in HOPE. Yes, there was hope before Adam was even created. Jesus was slain "in the Spirit" of God's mind before the world (cosmos) began (Rev. 13:8). His physical appearing occurred 1,000's of years later.
The very three reasons that Adam fell as listed in I John 2:16, are the very things Jesus conquered. As Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1), He was tempted in 3 ways. The first temptation was for bread which corresponds to the lust of the flesh. The very thing Eve first saw about the fruit - that it was “good for food.”
The second temptation was lust of the eyes in that Jesus was to see God save Him. Satan even used scriptures with Jesus but Jesus knew the spiritual truth and the proper interpretation of the scriptures. The carnal religious mind spins its own interpretation of the scriptures. Eve thought the fruit was pleasing to her eyes and she added to God’s commandment by stating ‘thou shall not touch it (compare Genesis 2:17 with 3:3). The lust of the eyes will always deceive.
The third was the temptation to rule all the kingdoms and be like God, which is the pride of life. Eve saw that if she ate the fruit she would be wise. Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-24. Here in verse 24 we find Jesus is the wisdom of God. So, Eve by eating fruit set herself up as wisdom and thereby denied Jesus as God. In effect, Eve became the antichrist setting herself up as God in the house of God (the temple of God which you are).
The mark of the beast is not some literal mark but rather is spiritual and has been from the beginning. Revelation states it is a mark EITHER in the hand or the head (Revelation 13:16). Remember the book of Revelation is allegorical and symbolical and not literal. The mark in the hand is the type and shadow of ‘doing” the work of the fleshly carnal person. The mark in the head is having been sealed with the carnal mind - the fallen nature.
But thanks be to God that we do not have a carnal mind but have been sealed with the mind of Christ, purchased (Revelation 7:3, 14:31) by the blood of the Lamb. Have you considered what God said to Adam in Genesis 3:11? “Who told you that you were naked?” God did not see Adam in sin! God didn’t tell Adam he had sinned, it was the carnal mind that told him so, that beastly nature. Nothing can separate us from the love of God Paul writes. God already saw Adam redeemed in Christ because everything that was created was created through Christ (John 1:3, Rev.13:8) and covered by the blood before the fall! Praise be to God in the Highest who is victorious!
All three lusts of I John 2:16 says are of the "world and not of the Father." The beastly nature that Jesus conquered is that same nature that is in us. If you have a need it is different from a want. It doesn't take very much thought on your part to convince yourself that a want is a need. Your beastly nature just conquered, for the flesh rules.
Do you ever go on a fast? Sometimes it is rough for the beastly nature wants its desires. But taming those desires is important for the spirit of man to arise into the likeness of the Lord. Paul writes that we should give no place to the flesh.
THE BEASTLY DOCTRINES
We have heard much preaching on the image of the beast over the years. The worry, fear and anxiety caused by the concern for the mark of the beast is totally unfounded. God, your loving Father, does not cause fear, worry or anxiety. Rather He loves us so that He will never leave or forsake us even if we make our bed in sheol (Ps. 139:8).
How we have been tutored to believe for over 100 years that there will be a mark of the beast which will give us a stamp in our hands and foreheads with the number 666. Any doctrine of the church that causes fear, anxiety, etc. is a doctrine of the devil for God is not the author of fear. Perfect love cast out fear (1 John 4:18). Fear is from the beast nature. Our lives are not in the beast nature for our life is hid in God in Christ (Colossians 3:3, Rev 3:21).
Today, if anyone believes in a historical point of view, they are chastised as false. We should have no concern for a man appearing as the antichrist or the stamp of 666, for it is the doctrine of carnal religious leaders. We fight not against earthly institutions and earthly governments, but our fight is against all principalities and powers in heavenly places. These are not natural powers we fight against but wickedness in high places. What are the high places? The carnal minds of men unenlightened by the grace of God or Christians ruled by the carnal religious mind instead of yielding to the mind of Christ. It is a spiritual warfare.
The beastly image can readily be seen in mankind as well as most Christians. For the carnal mind employs the use of the beastly nature. For just as a slug or snail leaves a trail of where it has been, so the carnal mind leaves a trail of a beastly nature behind it. But the mark of a carnal person is hard to discern by others of the same kind for the blind lead the blind and both fall into the ditch.
Christians often think that they are spiritual because they are Christians. But no so! Every Christian has a carnal mind that is at enmity against God and it must be removed. Christians often fail by not rightly dividing the word of God. The "letter killeth" yet that is how most take the Word of God, even though they think that they are being spiritual.
As an example, they read of the mark of the beast in Revelation and automatically assume it is a literal mark on the hand and forehead. They also think the new Jerusalem is a physically real city coming out of heaven, as well as other erroneous ideas. But the truth is that John was in the Spirit (Rev. 4:1) and what he saw was an allegory of all things. It was to be spiritually discerned NOT rationally figured out. Rev. 21:9-10 even states that the city is the BRIDE OF CHRIST. It is a people not a physical city - but carnal doctrines of man cannot be moved by light, it seems.
The mark of the beast is not rightly dividing the word of God. Hebrews 5:14 states that our spiritual senses should be so exercised that we can discern good and evil. Undeveloped senses create the difference. A good example of being carnal and depraved is found in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve thought that they were being spiritual. Now, we know that Adam and Eve knew the Lord and had a relationship with Him. Could we call them "Christians" for a moment? Yet, they wanted to be spiritual, when they were already. So, they ate of the forbidden fruit in order to be like God. But what they thought was a wholesome, constructive and spiritual undertaking was totally carnal. The beastly image that was in them now usurped the throne that God was on.
The beastly image will always manifest itself at every opportunity in order to satisfy its corrupt nature. If allowed to, it would destroy mankind but God has something else planned. The carnal Christian is concerned about a mark of the beast in his hand or head, but in reality his own carnality is the mark of the beast that he fears.
Paul declared that the Corinthian church, although spirit filled, was carnal. In other words they had the beastly image! (I Cor. 3:1-4) Many of their gifts were used for personal profit which is a true sign of the carnal nature at work. I do not mean money either when I say profit. By that I mean a way to gain authority, or position within the body. Have you not seen it so? A gift of healing goes to the "head" of someone etc.?
Some would say: "What about 2 Thessalonians in chapter 2 where the man of sin comes forth?" It is a good question. In the natural that actually occurred in 70 A. D. But the real truth now is that after the natural comes the spiritual fulfillment. Most Christians are still looking for the natural fulfillment because they have not been taught the truth that the natural has already occurred. Even Josephus, a Jewish historian, states that the Roman leader fulfilled that prophecy.
The word "temple" in 2 Thessalonians means your PHYSICAL BODY. The word temple is the same word that is used in first Corinthians where it says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You see, the beast is in you! The man of sin is in us.
There is no war going on between good and bad in the worldly person as there is in a Christian. Why? Because the Christian is trying to root out the beastly man, that the man of Christ might take His rightful place. The unsaved man is a slave to sin and the Christian is a prisoner (slave) of the Lord. The Christian is learning to put on Christ, renewing their mind every day.
THE PLAN OF HOPE OF THE ALMIGHTY
If God be God, then we have a hope for He had a plan that was in Him before the cosmos began. That plan will be fulfilled because He is God - omnipotent (all powerful, omniscient (all knowing) and omnipresent (always present everywhere). As He planned the fall, so H has planned the ascent of man through the shed blood of Christ before the fall (Rev.13:8). He will draw all men to Himself (1 Corinthians 15:28). God would that none should perish - and none shall (John 3:17, 1 Timothy 4:10).
No one can call on the name of the Lord except the Spirit draw him (John 6:44). Therefore whoever will call upon Him has been drawn by the Spirit. For no unsaved person is conscious of God until God deals with him and opens his eyes, for they are slaves to their master.
Just as God is responsible for the fall of man, so He also is responsible for the ascent of man. As in Adam all die (I Cor. 15:22a), and God includes all men in Adam, so the last half of the verse reads: "...even so in Christ all shall be made alive." The truth of which is so large that the beastly doctrine of the Roman Catholic church and her daughters (the Protestant churches) of eternal damnation was started to deny the glorious work God would do.
Is it far better to have men in the bondage of fear and death, than to preach the gospel (good news) of life and it freely given? I often wonder what the theologians do with the Psalm of the cross, which is Psalm 22, that states: "all the ends of the earth shall remember and return to the Lord, and all the families of nations shall worship before You" (NKJV). For this is true repentance.
There are so many verses that state that one can't call the Lord, Lord unless it is done by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:1-2). We find that the book of Philippians states: "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord." Another verifies that is done willingly, openly, lovingly - 1 Corinthians 12:1-2. Yes, Jesus will be victorious in His death even as He led all captivity captive when He came forth out of the grave (all people from Adam to Him), so the cross also is futuristic in its total fulfillment.
As our Father was responsible for creation and ALL the ramifications of what would follow, it is wonderful to see and rejoice at the glory He will bring to His creation. He brought it into being and for His purposes it will be. We, as understanding creations, can rejoice at the plan of God.
Vanity, that beastly thing, was in Adam and put there by His Creator for the purpose of teaching Adam the way to Life. Each man in his own order will come to the Lord (I Cor. 15). Some now, some by the lake of fire (see our message on the Lake of Fire), but all will know Him from the least unto the greatest, those under, on and above the earth (Phil. 2:10-11).
As by one man came death, so also by one man Jesus Christ, came freedom from death for all (Romans 5:18). Vanity may seem to rule but not so. For God rules in the affairs of men! Adam died. Only Christ is alive. Jesus removed the carnal man.
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