The IMAGE and LIKENESS of God
by Richard l. s. Gan
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“And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.”
Based on these two verses, most nominal Christians have been led to believe that a “Holy Trinity” comprising three Divine Persons was involved in the creation of the first pair of human beings. Being blinded by church tradition, they fail to see the connection between the two verses and the following passage:
“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Without the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, no one can receive the true revelation of God's Word except some superficial understanding of the Bible. Only the genuine born again children of God are privileged to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide them and to teach them the truth about all things. (Read John 14:17,26.)
O, what a tremendous blessing it is for a child of God to have his cup full of the wine of the Spirit of God to stimulate his spiritual sight to the treasures in the Holy Scriptures, and the oil of the Spirit to smoothen his understanding of the truth! Amen!
So, let us apply the eye-salve of the Holy Ghost and look into the Word of God for the profound Truth regarding the Image and Likeness of God.
The words “image” and “likeness” are clearly different in meanings. In His economy, God certainly does not use superfluous words nor vain repetitions as man does.
“Image” in Hebrew is “tselem” which means: a shadow, representation of substance, shade, resemblance, phantom, illusion.
On the other hand, “likeness” in Hebrew is “demooth”. It means: shape, resemblance, similitude, similarity of features between spiritual and moral, or spiritual and physical.
Now, let's read Genesis chapter 1, verses 26 and 27 again very carefully and examine how God actually created man in the beginning. In verse 26, we read: “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” And continuing, verse 27 states “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created He them.”
It is an indisputable fact that God first created man in His own image and some time later made him after His own likeness. The creation and the making of man were done in two stages.
What is the image of God? And, what is His likeness?
As we understand from the definitions and the various verses in the Bible, we know that God created the angels and man distinctively different from the other creatures. Man was first created a spirit being in the spirit realm. He was created both male and female in the spirit form. The image of God is, therefore, that spiritual side of God. [Note: The commandment to procreate – “Be fruitful and multiply” – was given to Man while he was still male and female in the spirit form before God gave him the body of clay and put him on the earth. Thus, contrary to what most Christians believe, the family of God – which is a spiritual family – was supposed to be multiplied spiritually by the Divine Word of Life and not by sexual desire. God does not have grandchildren and great grandchildren. He only has sons and daughters who are born of the Tree of Life which is His Divine Way.]
God, being a Spirit, is neuter gender; so are the angels. Yet, God and the angels are portrayed as masculine gender throughout the whole Bible. In essence, God is the Life-giving source in Whom all forms of life have their origin. God is “Father” over all creations, especially over man. On the other hand, the feminine nature of God is clearly manifested in those creations which are normally affiliated with femininity, for instance, plants and flowers.
Adam was first created a living spirit in that image of God in the spiritual sphere. He was a MAN and a son of God. Being a spirit and having no definite shape, he was yet to be made in the likeness of God. When was that likeness manifested?
Genesis 2:1-3 should be a continuation of chapter 1. The three verses state that God finished all His work and rested on the seventh day. Chapter 2 should appropriately begin with verse 4. It carries the “family history” of the heavens and of the earth. This shows that before man was formed of the dust of the ground, he was already existing somewhere in the realm of the spirit. It is not known how long after the creation of the heavens and the earth that man was put on the earth, as Genesis 2:7 merely states: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
INVISIBLE TO VISIBLE
Let's look into the Gospel of John to see the CREATIVE SELF-REVELATION of God for a better understanding of His Image and His Likeness.
The LOGOS (mentioned) in John 1:1, which became flesh and dwelt among men, was the very PERSONALITY of God. In the Old Testament era, the Logos appeared unto the patriarchs in the prophets as well as in the form of a Theophany. The Theophany was the Visible Body of God. Before anything was ever created, the Logos had gone forth from the Great Invisible Fountain of Life as the very Beginning of the Creation of God to reveal Himself. And the Body was of the same shape in which man was later made. The Great Eternal Spirit is invisible. Adam, being created in His image, possessed the same nature as his “Father”. In order for God to reveal Himself, He had to become visible. That visible form was known as the Logos, a Word Body.
When Adam was created, he was a representation of the substance (Heb: “tselem”) of God, which resembled the Spirit of God. He was revealed on the earth in a visible form in the “shape” (Heb: “demooth”) of God, which resembled God's visible features when “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen.2:7). Thus, the creation of man in the image and likeness of God was completed as God had declared unto the angels in Genesis 1:26.
When Adam was created, he was a representation of the substance (Heb: “tselem”) of God, which resembled the Spirit of God. He was revealed on the earth in a visible form in the “shape” (Heb: “demooth”) of God, which resembled God's visible features when “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen.2:7). Thus, the creation of man in the image and likeness of God was completed as God had declared unto the angels in Genesis 1:26.
William M. Branham, the Prophet-Messenger of God to the Seventh Church Age, had said that Adam bypassed his theophany body. That's the celestial body which Paul discussed about in 1 Corinthians 15:40-49 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-9. Every child of God will be clothed in the celestial body when he/she passes away from this world. On the day of the “Rapture”, he will return to pick up his body which is now lying as dust on the earth, and those still alive will receive their theophany bodies. Together, they will all be changed into glorified bodies to meet the Lord in the air. [Note: Every true son and daughter of God has his/her theophany in that Great Fountain of Life even before the foundation of the world was laid. Christians, without the revelation of the Spirit, are just as ignorant about it as Job was (Job 38:4-7).]
SPIRIT, SOUL & BODY
It is clear from the account of creation in Genesis that all the living creatures of the sea, the air and the earth were formed out of the elements of the earth itself. There is no record of any creature being created in any other form prior to their existence on the planet earth except Adam who was first created a spirit, in the image of God, in the spirit realm. That was the marked distinction between the “living soul” of Adam and that of the animals.
Adam was created in the image of God to be a son of God. His “soul”, which had its origin in God, was the “gene that came from God”. Adam became a living soul in order to manifest the nature of the Spirit of his Father. Just as God became visible to reveal His Personality, so was Adam made visible in a vessel of clay provided by “mother” earth to reveal his nature or spiritual “gene”. [Note: Brother Branham defined the “soul” as being “the nature of the spirit” and that “the soul of man is not the body of man”. And that's absolutely correct.]
The souls of the animals take to the earth which is their “mother” and their place of origin. As they do not have the spiritual gene of God in them, the animals do not worship God, their creator, as their “Father”. So when they die, they return to the dust from whence they came; they cease to exist. The “breath of life” (Heb: “nephesh”) which is in their nostrils (Gen.7:22) returns to the Great Fountain of Life.
What about Adam? Did not God say in Genesis 3:19 that he was taken out of the dust of the earth and that he would return to it upon his death?
Yes, but that was after the Fall when the death sentence was passed. Adam was supposed to have eternal life, the life of God, which was his nature. He was to reflect God in that visible body of clay.
Adam was made a triune being of spirit, soul and body. His “spirit'” was his origin. His “soul” was his nature, his real self, which manifested the seed (gene) of his Father (God). His “body” was merely the tabernacle which housed his spirit-soul. And when sin prevailed, the result was death. Death means separation from God in Whom lies eternal life. It also results in the decay of the body which will return to the ground as the elements of the earth.
“For dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return.” This statement does not refer to the soul, but to the body. There are people who believe that the man himself is the soul, and that when he ceases to breathe, he ceases to exist: when the soul is not conscious, it ceases to exist and returns to dust. These people do not distinguish between Man (in God's image) and Animal just because both Man and Animal possess the “breath of life” (Heb: “nephesh”) in their nostrils. Read Genesis 2:7; 7:22. But the soul of man is not his body (cf. 1 Thess. 5:23). Anyone with spiritual wisdom can understand the distinction between the soul and the body. The soul is the intangible, innate and inherent part of all living creatures.
The soul of man is different from that of the animals. Every living thing, by the law of nature, brings forth its own kind. God had given a certain nature to each of the animals: the lion, a lion nature; the horse, a horse nature; and so on. But the Man, Adam, was given the spiritual nature of God before he appeared on the earth in his house of clay (to manifest that nature).
If the “souls” are merely the “bodies”, then why do animals die since they had not sinned? According to Ezekiel 18:4, only “the soul that sinneth, it shall die”.
The prophetic utterance of King David in Psalm 16:10 further shows the difference. The first part, “For thou will not leave my soul in hell”, foretold that God would not leave the soul of Jesus Christ in hell (Heb: sheol, the abode of the dead); and the second part, “neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption”, foretold that His body would not corrupt while lying in the tomb or grave (which is known by the Hebrew word qibrah).
When the body of Jesus Christ was lying in the grave, His spirit went down to sheol and preached unto the spirits (or souls) which were held captives (1 Pet.3:18-19). He loosed the bond of each elected Old Testament saint from the hold of Satan's power in that wretched domain of the dead, and made them His captives when He ascended to Heaven (Eph.4:8-10 cf. Matt.27:52). They went up to paradise which the Seventh Church Age Messenger called the “sixth dimension”. The unbelievers remained in the lower parts of the earth, in sheol, which is the “fifth dimension”. When Adam died, his body returned to the dust; his spirit and soul returned to another dimension. That was because his real self was of another dimension before he set foot on the earth. But, as the animals came from this earthly sphere they would return unto it.
A close examination of the Word of God reveals that the two words, spirit and soul, are interlocking. One cannot separate the soul of a true child of God from his spirit, because his soul was quickened by the Spirit of Life Itself.
“For all have sinned” (Rom.3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom.6:23). “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek.18:4). That is a spiritual death. Unless the soul is quickened by the Spirit of Christ, it will remain dead forever, not having eternal and spiritual life.
The soul is controlled by the imagination, conscience, memory, reason and affection. They are the intellect and the emotion of the spirit (cf. Gen.41:8; Exod.6:9; 1 Sam.1:15; Psm.77:3,6; Eccle.7:9; 1 Cor.2:11; Job 32:8; Matt.26:41; Jhn.11:33; Heb.12:23). The physical brain has no intelligence, conscience, emotion, and so on. It's the spirit that possesses all these elements. Undoubtedly, being a Spirit, God possesses all these elements although He does not have a physical brain.
The brain of Man is nothing more than a mass of dust of the earth. It is like an assembly of circuitry in a computer which is functional only when the spirit (the software programme of reason, intelligence, memory, etc., which is stored on chip or magnetic disk) is present in the Man. Like the computer, where there is a breakdown in, or damage to, the circuitry of the brain, one or more parts of the human body will certainly cease to function until repair is carried out. Yet, all the while the spirit (of intelligence, conscience, affection, and so on) is in the body. Should the computer (brain) be destroyed (be dead), and the mechanical robot (body of Man) cease to function, the software (spirit of Man) with all its affection, intelligence, memory, etc., would still exist. The spirit-soul of the man will continue to exist in itself until the Day of Judgment when God will call up its former body of dust for it to dwell in again. Read Matthew 10:28; Genesis 35:18; 42:21; Psalm 42:1-3; Revelation 6:9; 20:4.
A born again believer has the very LIFE of God within him. He controls his spirit by his soul. His spirit in turn controls his physical body. The Manna (Word) of God, which his soul feeds upon, helps and guides him to walk in the Light of God's Word and by the Spirit of the Lord he mortifies the deeds of his body (Rom.8:5,13). On the other hand, a sinner, having no such LIFE in his soul, is controlled by his carnal physical “appetites” subject to the influence of the spirits in the world.
WOMAN: A BYPRODUCT
It was only some time after Adam was put on the earth that God made a “help meet” for him. During that very first operation ever performed under anesthesia on the earth, God opened up the side of Adam and removed the “feminine” spirit out of him, and made a woman, and presented her to him to be his wife. (This types the Bride of Christ who came forth from His side at Calvary.) As such, Eve was a byproduct of Adam. Adam named his wife Eve only after the fall because she was the mother of all living.
In nature, all living creatures were created in pairs. All, except Eve, were original creations of God. Eve was the only one who was made a byproduct not in conformity nor in continuity with nature. Thus, she was also the only one who could be deceived. And she was deceived! (1 Tim.2:14).
IMAGE & LIKENESS MARRED
According to the law of natural reproduction, every living thing shall bring forth its own kind. However, we read in Genesis 5:3 that Adam, who was a son of God, begot Seth “in his own likeness, after his image”. Seth was not born in the image and likeness of God. What had caused the change? Was there a change in the law?
When sin was imputed unto Adam and Eve because of their disobedience, death reigned over their whole being. For that reason, the original image and likeness of God in Adam were marred. And when Seth was born, he naturally possessed that marred image and likeness of his father, Adam, a fallen man.
Adam was originally a god-man prior to the Fall. He was first created a spirit, a god, and then put into a body of clay as a human being on the earth. But sin had marred the image and likeness of God in him, and tainted his mind, body and soul. The Fall also deprived him of his first estate as lord over the creatures of the earth. And since then, Satan has reigned as the god of this world.
AN ORIGINAL CREATION CANNOT BE DECEIVED
We know that Adam was an original creation of God. Eve, being taken out of the side of Adam, was a byproduct. The Apostle Paul stated that “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim.2:14). And Brother Branham also taught that the original creation of nature cannot be deceived. But how, then, did sin enter into the world by one man, Adam, and not by one woman (Rom.5:12)?
If the woman, being one with her husband, had stayed close to his side, she could not possibly be deceived by the subtlety of the Serpent. But she chose to exercise her own will, mind and reasoning. And she ended up being deceived and in transgression of God's law. [Note: Studies have shown that women greatly differ from men in their thinking and reasoning. Per se, women are forbidden by the Word of God to usurp the authority of men or take any authority that God has given solely unto men. Read Gen.3:16; 1 Tim.2:11-12; 1 Cor.14:34; Eph.4:8b,11; 5:22-23.]
The man was appointed by God as the head over the woman. He was responsible for his woman. That was the reason God had sought for Adam and not his woman (Gen.3:9). The man was accountable to God for what had happened.
When Adam found out that his wife had partaken of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he knew that God would pass the death sentence upon his wife and destroy her. He was in a dilemma. If he did not do something about it, he would lose his wife, who was a part of himself. On the other hand, in order to safeguard and to “redeem” her from the wrath of God, he had to disobey God's commandment by stepping out of His Word to identify with the sin of his wife.
However, being a son of God and having the understanding of the Mind of God, Adam knew very well that God, Who was his Father, would not destroy him because he was a part of God. He was an original part of God's Word. If God were to destroy him, God would be destroying part of Himself; and God cannot destroy Himself. He also knew that his Father, being the El Shaddai and Jehovah-Jireh would provide a remedy for the situation.
Therefore, with that revelation, Adam stepped out of his God- given position and out of God's Word, to “redeem” – rescue – his bride from her death sentence, by identifying with her sin, and thus brought sin upon mankind. He knew full well the consequences of his act. He was not deceived by anyone into disobeying God. He had that attribute of God to save his loved one. By his very act, he portrayed the Lord Jesus, the last Adam, Who stepped out of His Glorious position in Heaven, with the Word of God, to redeem His Bride, by identifying with her sin; and in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh at Calvary (Rom.8:3).
In His judgment of sin, of which three parties were involved, God stripped off the limbs of the Serpent, who was a willing partner to Satan's scheme, and cursed him to become a member of the reptile family. [Note: Before this particular judgment, the Serpent was not a snake. He was not a reptile originally, but an upright intelligent talking-creature, magnificently created above all the creatures of the field. He had the likeness of and an affinity with man.] The sexual organ of the woman was cursed with increased sorrow in her conception and childbirth. This proved that she was deceived into misusing that particular member of her body. She had fornicated with the Serpent. The man was not cursed because he was not deceived. But, for his part in identifying with his wife's sin, the ground, from whence he was taken, was cursed. He had to toil for food to sustain his dying body. [Note: Christ's redemptive act will also include the restoration of all creations of the earth to their former glory (Rom.8:18-23; Isa.11:6-9).]
The couple were separated from God and faced eternal death. But God provided a remedy, and death was swallowed up in victory through Christ Jesus! Blessed be the Name of the Lord! Amen!
SEED OF DISCREPANCY
The Fall of mankind resulted in another seed being produced. Cain was that seed: the seed of the Serpent. Cain was not a son of Adam and Eve. He was the son of the Serpent and Eve, whereas Abel was the son of Adam and Eve. Therefore, Eve was called the mother of all living. Man's inheritance of the original sin is traced to this seed.
Cain was a perverted seed. He was the first hybrid produced in the world. All forms of life, good or evil, and whatever, come from God (Isa.45:7). By God's law of reproduction, every seed shall bring forth of its own kind. Cain was, in fact, the handiwork of the devil who was himself a deceiver and a pervert. It was Satan who sowed his seed of deceit in Eve's “mental garden” and with the Serpent's help, produced a seed of discrepancy through her “physical garden”.
Cain was a seed of discrepancy which was inconsistent with the operation of God's law of nature.
HYBRIDIZED SEED: ONE SOUL, TWO NATURES
All the original living things had only one specific nature. God had purposed that they should bring forth seeds after their kind to manifest their specific glory which He had endowed them. Therefore, a horse should be a horse; a donkey, a donkey; and so forth.
Adam was made a living soul and put on the earth to manifest or reveal the nature of the Spirit of God within him. He was a seed of God produced by the Word of God. He had no other nature. Even after the Fall he still possessed that same nature, except that sin was imputed unto him by the Lord. He was just a fallen son of God. All his descendants possessed the same sin-imputed nature as he. But many of them, except those firstborn listed in the genealogy, went the way of Cain as they cohabited with the daughters of men, the Cainic women. This resulted in the depravity of humanity. The pure Adamic race had been mixed with the Cainic race. It had become a mixed race manifesting two natures in one soul.
What was the other nature? Where did it come from? And how did it get into the soul of man by the intermarriage?
The other nature was the Serpentine nature. It came from the Serpent. It got into the soul of man by the seed.
We know that Cain was a bastard, the seed of the Serpent. Yet, within him, he had the instinct to worship God. But we know that only the man Adam was created in God's image as a son to worship the Father. The Serpent was an animal. It did not have a soul in God's image because it was not created in God's image. Therefore, it could not worship God; but its seed did. Why was that so?
The soul is that inherent and innate part of all living creatures. However, there is a difference between the soul of man and that of the animals. The soul is the nature of the spirit. The man Adam possessed the nature of the Spirit of God. He possessed the very characteristics of God. The animals had their own respective natures. For example, the soul of a horse has the very nature of the spirit, or characteristic, of a horse. And a donkey possesses the nature of the donkey spirit. Likewise, the Serpent had its own nature.
Let me emphasize: each and every pure seed would manifest its respective nature as endowed by the Creator. But when a seed is hybridized with another seed, it inherits the nature of the other seed; it does not absorb the other seed. For example, take a lemon and hybridize it with an orange, you'll not get its seed to produce lemons and oranges; you'll get orangy lemons. Certainly! (There goes the “Doctrine of Two Souls” down the gutter! Amen!)
A seed is a seed. A hybrid seed is one which possesses two natures or characteristics. And Cain was such a seed. Had the Serpent mated with his female Serpent, they would have produced a pure serpent seed with the serpentine nature. But the Serpent succumbed to Satan, the devil, and became his instrument to commit the evil act of a two-fold fornication.
The woman was a part of the man Adam, who was a seed-Word of God. Instead of staying behind the Word, the woman went hunting for wisdom. Like many women today, she thought she was smart, so to speak. (Sisters in Christ, please stay true to the Word.) When she opened up her mind to receive the word of the evil one, a seed of deceit was sown, and she had committed spiritual fornication. Then a physical act followed, and a two-fold fornication was committed. That evil act had caused the image of God, which is spiritual, and the likeness of God, which is tangible, in the Adamic race to be marred. That was indisputably the original sin.
We shall now briefly examine the souls of Adam and his descendants, and that of Cain and his descendants.
Genesis chapter 5 contains a record of Adam's descendants beginning with Seth. The first sentence reads “This is the book of the generations of Adam” — that is, it is a listing of ALL Pure Adamic Seeds. Those recorded in the genealogy were all firstborn. All of them possessed the pure Adamic blood. All of them, except Noah, married their own kind and propagated a race of pure people. Noah was the last of the pure firstborn who married either a Cainite or a hybrid woman. Many of the children of those firstborn were attracted by the beauty of the Cainic women and began to take them to wife. As a result of this intermingling of seeds, giants were born, both before and after the Flood. Read Genesis 6:1-4.
Note: All the descendants recorded in the genealogy of Adam were the true Adamic race (or Sethic race). None of us today is a descendant of the true Adamic race; every one of us is traced back only to one of the three sons of Noah and his wife. All of us are of the Noahic race. That is, we all have the one and the same blood of Noah and his wife. Read Genesis 9:19 cf. Acts 17:26.
The souls of Adam and his descendants were marred when sin was imputed unto Adam after the Fall. As such, all Adamites and Sethites inherited the imputed sin that was upon Adam. There was not a slightest manifestation of the serpentine nature in them, either spiritually or physically. Only the image and likeness of God that they possessed were marred by that sin.
However, it was not so with Cain. To begin with, Cain was slightly different from his physical father, the Serpent. The Serpent, being an animal, did not worship God, but Cain did. He had inherited that part of his spiritual or religious nature from Eve when he was being formed within her.
Cain was, in fact, a beast-man. His personality make-up was half that of animal and half that of man. And spiritually, he was vicariously the son of Satan (“that wicked one” – 1 Jhn.3:12) who had inspired the Serpent to commit the evil act. As such, he was against the full revelation of God. Compare his spiritual revelation with that of Abel's by his offering to God.
Surely Cain had revelation — but it was hybridized revelation! His was only some perverted revelation that was inconsistent with the full revelation of God's Truth!
Abel had the full revelation of the Truth. He knew that it must be the best, and that blood was also necessary. So, he brought unto the Lord an offering of the fattest firstlings of his flock and shed their blood.
And Cain, being a tiller of the ground, also brought unto God his best, the firstfruits of the ground. He thought that God would be pleased with his offering which he had toiled for by the sweat of his brow. He had no revelation of the blood although, since his childhood, he had witnessed the proper worship of God in the lives of Adam and Eve. (Perhaps, to him, it was an unnecessary bloody mess; vegetable and fruit juice were just as good.) Now, half-revelation or half-truth is not acceptable to the Lord. God desires a sincere worshipper to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Let it not be said that God was without mercy and grace when He rejected Cain's offering. In His goodness God provided Cain a right way to be accepted. He provided a sin offering right before Cain, for him to do as he desired (cf. Gen.4:7). But, just like most people who spurned the sin offering provided right there at Mt. Calvary, Cain also spurned that sin offering provided right before him. He even went and killed Abel, a son of Adam who was a son of God, evidently out of religious jealousy. And ever since then, the seeds of the Serpent have been continually and relentlessly persecuting the seeds of God in the name of religion.
Cain was hubristic. He literally fought the whole revealed Truth of God when he rejected God's (Provided) Way.
“But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
Being a cross-breed produced by the Serpent and the woman, Cain – the son of the Serpent – inherited a part of Eve's nature, the nature of the Spirit of God that was upon Adam.
Mendel's law states that “every individual is the sum total of the characteristics, recessive or dominant, in its two immediate progenitors. There is nothing in any individual that was not in the father or mother of that person, and everything that was in the father and mother is in the offspring”.
Therefore, half of Cain's soul took to heavenly things, and the other half to evil works. The latter half was more dominant because the seed was conceived under the influence of the evil one himself (1 Jhn.3:12).
MULE — DONKEY AND HORSE IN ONE
To better understand how the soul of man was marred, we shall take a look at a very common hybrid animal — the mule.
Now, the “father” of the mule is a donkey, and its “mother”, a mare. It is as good a working animal as its mother, but as obstinate as its father. It has donkey ears but an almost horse-like head.
The mule is the seed of the donkey, but its image is marred, and it behaves only half like a donkey. Its likeness of its father is also marred, for it looks only half a donkey.
Man has caused this poor mule and many other hybrids, such as the zedonk (a cross between a zebra and a [jenny]-donkey) and the liger (a cross between a lion and a tigress), to be born. Hybridizing caused the image of the seed to be marred and its likeness destroyed.
UNDERMINING GOD'S MASTERPIECE
It was the evil desire of the Devil, the Adversary of God, to pervert the original work of God. And the serpent-man, Cain, was his handiwork. In producing a hybrid, Satan's plan was to pervert the very nature of God in man who was God's masterpiece on the earth. The Serpent was his instrument and Cain was his seed with which he sowed and reaped his firstfruit in the generation of Enoch (Jude 14,15). That was the generation that saw the earth so overwhelmed with the wickedness and evil of men. That was the result of the intermarriage between the sons of God (Sethic men) and the daughters of men (Cainic women) about two to three generations earlier (Gen.6:2).
This intermingling of flesh produced “giants” who were “mighty men” and “men of renown”, whose “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen.6:5). They were not only terribly wicked and corrupt (Gen.6:12), they even profaned the Holy Name of the Lord in their worship (Gen.4:26).
However, when he began his dirty work, the Devil did not realize that, before anything ever existed, God had already foreordained a “remedy” to redeem His masterpiece which He had foreknown would fall. In order to redeem the fallen masterpiece of His, God purposed that His Only Begotten Son should become THE MASTERPIECE in the same likeness, so that His Image and Likeness in His masterpiece would be restored.
Yes, God was manifested in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for a sacrifice, condemned sin in the flesh at the cross, that His sons and daughters might be bought back unto Him, by election according to His foreknowledge.
Now, in his effort to undermine God's masterpiece, the Devil produced his masterpiece of deception, by sowing his seed of deceit in Eve, thereby causing a two-fold fornication — spiritual and physical. Since then, the whole human race has come under this same influence and, as a result, everyone is born into the world in a perverted state.
Yes, by his seed of deceit, Satan had injected his evil and sinful traits into the human race, producing a seed of discrepancy, which corrupted mankind and dragged them down to a depraved state in their relationship with God. Thus, the Bible declared: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23).
THE STRUGGLE OF TWO NATURES
In chapter 7 of his epistle to the Roman Christians St. Paul wrote, concerning the struggle of the two natures within man, how that the good nature is diametrically opposed to the evil nature. No one is born spiritual. Every person is born 90% mental and 10% physical, and with a mind and conscience which prompt him to commend the good and condemn the evil.
Because his soul is spiritually dead, man loves darkness rather than light. As he is also born with an evil nature within him, that nature tends to pull him away from the Light. Knowing that the Light would expose his evil deeds, he keeps away from It and feeds his mind upon the things of the world through his natural senses. Each time when the Light shines before him and he rejects It, he will drift further away from the Truth and Eternal Life. Read John 3:19-20.
However, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, and condemned sin in the flesh. This was done that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in those who would believe and live according to the Spirit and not according to the sinful nature. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom.8:6). For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
“And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;…But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
These words of St. Paul conclusively disprove the various “soul” doctrines being propagated by many ministers of the Endtime Message among the believers. One theory states that when a person is converted his soul is exchanged for that of Christ's. Another theory states that a predestinated child of God possesses two souls and that the soul of the world must be “kicked out” of him or her before the soul of God could be placed in him or her.
These “preachers” who are guilty of teaching such theories are bringing a reproach upon the Word of God as well as upon the prophet and his Message. Many of them maintain that they must search the “Message” as the prophet had said, and teach it as he had taught. They sound good, but they are certainly not doing it right.
Any teaching or “revelation” that is not founded on the Word, or that is in conflict with the Word, is not Truth. Like all denominational teachings, it's just a mess of discrepancies — hybrid teaching! Instead of understanding what Brother Branham had taught about the Absolute Word to obtain Spiritual Revelation, they are simply quoting from his various sermons and rendering their own interpretations of what they personally feel were his teachings.
Note the words Paul used in his writings: transformed, renewing of your mind, quickened, and raised. These few words alone are sufficient to make one understand that it is the same soul of a believer which is transformed, or undergoing a transformation, and not a replacement of one soul with another that some are teaching.
The Lord Jesus said that a man must be born again in order to understand and to enter the Kingdom of God (Jhn.3:3-8). This born again experience is from above, that is, it's a heavenly birth by the Spirit of God. But, there are three things involved in this spiritual birth just as there are three things involved in the natural birth.
In the natural birth, the water and the blood come forth, and then the life. Parallel to that, in the spiritual rebirth, there are the Water of the Word, the Blood of Jesus the Christ, and the Life of the Holy Spirit. See 1 Jhn.5:6-9; Eph.5:26; Tit.3:5 and Jas.1:18. Remember that Life was provided for the Bride of God's Son at Calvary, for blood and water came forth from His side (cf. Jhn.19:34).
However, unless a seed exists, no life can come forth. No woman can conceive and give birth to a child without first having a “Sperm” Seed planted in her. (But some mad scientists may think otherwise.) And, if a man is sterile he also cannot bring forth life.
Similarly, a person cannot be born of the Spirit without being a seed of God in the first place. But, who is a seed of God and who is not? Here is the mystery of predestination of the Elects by the foreknowledge of God.
Man is a free moral agent. God, Who is rich in mercy, had provided man in his fallen state an escape pathway from death to life eternal. Man has to choose between the ways set before him. And God, being omnipotent and omniscient, knows all things from the beginning to the end, and the end from the beginning. As such, He had already foreknown the choice of each and every one even before they were born.
That was why St. Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians that “according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, …in Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph.1:4,5,11). Notwithstanding, since the beginning of the Christian era, many Christians have been fighting against this teaching of the Foreordination of God. Either God is all-powerful and all-knowing (which means He could be present everywhere at the same time) or He is not at all. If He is, then He has all the power to elect according to His foreknowledge. St. Peter also wrote that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:” (1 Pet.1:2). Read also Romans 8:29.
The Fall of man and its consequences were foreknown of God and permitted “by reason of Him Who hath subjected the same in hope”. (Read Romans 8:18-23.) Per se, all men are born with an inherited carnal nature, having a spirit that's worldly, which is under the influence of the rulers of the darkness of this world and its principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. Such nature is subject to death, which means alienation from God. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23).
And there's no way whereby a man can save himself from God's wrath except by throwing himself at the Mercy of God.
When God, in his infinite Mind, foreknew that a person would be willing to do that, He would ordain him as His seed before the foundation of the earth was laid. Though predestinated as a seed in the Mind of God, that person would be carnal from his birth until he is quickened by the Holy Spirit of Life, and then he would no longer be dead in trespasses and sins. Instead, a germination process will begin in that hour when the Water of God's Holy Word comes pouring on his soul, and the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses him. He will then be raised up and made to sit together with other saints of God in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (See Ephesians 2:1-10.)
That's how a soul, which is predestinated unto sonship, is changed.
A soul is predestinated as a “seed”, a “gene”, in the Mind of God, before the foundation of the earth. But, like all men, he would come into the world with a carnal nature within him. However, being a Word-Bride SEED, there would be a conception when it is fused with the Incorruptible Word-Bridegroom SPERM by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet.1:23). Praise the Lord! (Oh, my, how could the predestinated Seed-Bride of God ever fornicate with man-made creeds and dogmas of organized churches, and still be called the True (Bride-)Church of the Lord Jesus Christ?)
Then, with the Water of the Word and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ coming upon him, the soul is quickened and made alive by the Spirit. Like a butterfly (or moth) emerging from its pupa case (or cocoon), a transformation (Grk: metamorphoo) has taken place; a new life bursts forth. The old nature has died, and the nature of God is resurrected, and now lives in him. He cannot die, for he has the Eternal Life of God Whose “Sperm” Seed remains in him (cf. 1 Jhn.3:9; 1 Pet.1:23).
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
– 2 Cor.5:17
Now, the nature of God in him would begin to manifest itself. The Spirit would “de-hybridize” the serpentine nature in him by His Word, and the “Sperm” Seed that remains in him would grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Pet.3:18). Did not John the Baptist testify that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, was to baptize the believers with the Holy Spirit and with fire? The fire of the Holy Spirit would burn away every dross of the “old man” in the believer and clean up his life of every thing which is contrary to the Word.
In the rebirth, the Holy Spirit converts the soul of the believer into a new soul, which has the nature of God. But as the believer still lives in a natural environment, the five senses of his physical body are in constant contact with the environment around him. If he is not careful, his spirit could respond to the influences of the world and succumb to them.
No wonder Paul commanded the believers to put off that “old man”, the former life, which brings nothing to the body but sins, and to put on the “new man”, the new life, and be renewed in the spirit of the mind, in the knowledge after the image of God Who created him. (Read Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 6:6-12.) “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom.12:2).
The other Apostles, in their respective epistles, also exhorted Christians to walk in the Light of Christ's Word that they may grow thereby. But the very words of King David in the Book of Psalms, summarize it aptly: “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psm.119:11). Amen! In this last hour of time, let every true “born again” child of God endeavour to walk diligently in the Light of God's Word that the Seed of God within us will completely “de-hybridize” the serpent nature in us by His Holy Word.
THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD
When Paul taught the believers in Corinth about headship (1 Cor.11:1-16), he dealt with the subjects of the image, glory, and honor. We know that the woman came from the man. Thus, the man is the head of the woman. And the head of the man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. Therefore, the woman is to honour the man; the man is to honour Christ; and Christ is to honour God. For they are the glory of their respective heads.
Paul's statement that the man “is the image and glory of God” (1 Cor.11:7) confirms the fact that man was not only created in the Image of God, but being a gene of God, he was also to reflect the Glory of God. The Glory of God in man is His perfect character. Mankind (Adam) had that divine nature and perfect character of God, his Father.
Unfortunately, the decision made by Adam in the Garden of Eden was disastrous, not only to Adam himself, but also to the human race as a whole. By one person, sin infiltrated the triune being of man and altered his whole personality make-up. The Image and Likeness of God in man were marred by that original sin. As a result, all men fall short of God's Glory.
Sin cannot thwart the Eternal Plan of God. God is Almighty. Knowing the end from the beginning, He purposed in Himself to be the Kinsman Redeemer. “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Rom.8:20). And in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Only Begotten Son, “Who is the image of the invisible God” (Col.1:15), “Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image (Grk: exact copy) of His Person” (Heb.1:3) to redeem all predestinated seeds of God, and to restore their original image. He was THE GRAND MASTERPIECE of God by whom God sacrificed, broke Him down, and raised Him up from the earth that the marred “masterpieces” would also be raised up together with Him.
Those marred “masterpieces” would then be remoulded and restored to their original glory – the Image of Christ – and each of them would “have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Col.3:9-10). In other words, each one will strip his old unregenerate self with its evil practices, and clothe himself with the new, through the process of renewal and remolding into fuller and more perfect knowledge (upon knowledge), after the pattern in which he was originally created.
THE GLORY OF GOD
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord…For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (or person) of Jesus Christ.”
– 2 Cor.3:18; 4:6
The Fall had so distorted the Image of God in man that he could no longer reflect the full Glory of God. As a result of sin, all men have fallen short of that Glory. But Christ Jesus came to restore us to that very same image in which we were originally created.
Now, as we, the children of God with unveiled face, continue to behold (to reflect) in the mirror of God's Word (the Glory of the Lord), we are constantly being transformed into His very own Image in ever increasing splendour, from one degree of glory to another. This comes from the Lord God, the same Spirit Who commanded “Let there be light” to shine out of darkness; He now shines in our hearts, illuminating His majesty and Glory in the Person of Jesus Christ. We are all changing back to the original pattern in which we were created, that is, the very pattern which God had ordained in His Mind before the beginning of creation.
All these would have been unnecessary if Adam and Eve had stayed on the Word. All their seeds and descendants would have possessed the same Image and Likeness of God in which they were created. That is the law of God.
If a thoroughbred animal and its seed stay true to their own kind, down the line, generation after generation, they would perpetually maintain that thoroughbred image and likeness. Thus, a Mustang will invariably produce thoroughbred Mustangs; a Pekinese, always thoroughbred Pekineses. Likewise, a son of God will invariably also produce sons of God, in the image and likeness of God, who reflect the Glory of God.
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
The epistle of Paul to the Romans is the most powerful and precise summary of the Christian message in the entire New Testament. In chapter 8 of that letter, he taught about the Christian life in the Spirit of the Lord. Notice the tremendous and profound truth in the simplicity of words in verses 1, 5 and 14:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
See how important it is to walk in the Spirit? The Spirit of God will lead a believer, and change him, from glory to glory, to be conformed to the Image of His Son, Jesus Christ, Who is the Image of the Invisible God, and the Glory of God. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6 and Hebrews 1:3.
IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION
In His Redemption Plan, God had not only purposed that the spirit-soul of Man be redeemed but the body also, for Man was originally created and made in that form to dwell on the earth.
Sin had not only brought death to the soul, but also to the body. Death could not touch the body without first penetrating the soul, which as we know, by analogy, to be the gene. It got into the soul by way of the mental garden of the Woman, Eve.
The “gene” of Eve was “poisoned” by a substance known as “deceit”. Adam's “gene” was not so “poisoned”. But being the head of the Woman, Adam bore the whole blame for her. Eve would have been lost forever if it wasn't for Adam who identified with her sin to “redeem” her.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die”, declared the Almighty. As sin, the poison, penetrated it, the soul perished, separating itself from God, Who is the Fountain of Life. And immediately, death reigned over the body causing it to decay and corrupt, confirming the death of that gene. Did not Jesus say that “that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man”? (Mk.7:20). See. It's just like looking at and smelling a sour fruit and knowing that it's sour. And taking a bite of it will confirm that it has a sour gene. Likewise, the state of the corrupted inner man, which cannot be seen by the naked eyes, is shown visibly on and through the body.
Hence, Christ Jesus came to save and to purchase back the whole man, first his spirit-soul and then his body. The believers, both those that are asleep and those that are awake in Christ, are now waiting for the redemption of their bodies (Rom.8:23). It will take place when Christ Jesus, the Bridegroom of the True Church, comes to be glorified in the saints (2 Thess.1:9-10).
How do we deserve that? What identification do we have for that? “Some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” (1 Cor.15:35). These are the Bible's answers:
“Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be [that is, it is going to have later] but bare grain [or naked kernel], it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain.”
– 1 Cor.15:36-37
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
– 1 Cor.15:42-45
“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.”
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
– 1 Cor.15:52-53
Amen! The Spirit of Life, through Paul, wrote how that “God sending His Own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom.8:3).
“Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
Yes, the Son of God came to rid the flesh of its sinful power by being a sin offering. Then, “knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom.6:6-7). Amen! So, we are free from sin because we have become one with Him by baptism into death.
Our body of sin must be condemned to death, or else the transformed gene cannot break out of the shell. When our body of sin is condemned to death, the righteous nature of God is revealed in us. When our soul is transformed and freed from sin, the inner man will manifest its nature visibly unto the world. That nature is life eternal. And it will testify to the world of the resurrection of the body! As Christ was raised from the dead, so shall we be! For “if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom.8:11).
As we are identified in the likeness of His death so also are we identified in the likeness of His resurrection! As we are transformed into the Image of Christ Jesus, we shall likewise be transformed into the same Likeness of His Glorious Body — in Newness of Life, so in Newness of Body! Oh, Blessed be the Holy Name of the Lord!
MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD
What more can we say then, but as Paul proclaimed, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God…We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom.8:18,19,22,23).
According to the unfailing Word of God, surely we will be manifested as His sons in the millennial Age of Regeneration (Matt.19:28), when Christ shall come to be glorified in His Bride Saints (2 Thess.1:9-10), and we shall be put on public display, as adopted sons of God, to the glory of the Father — broken masterpieces, finally restored, and put to sit with Christ on His Throne! Amen!
Meanwhile, let us continue to walk in the light of every Precious Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Every child of God must live by every Word which God had established, before the foundation of the world, for him to live (Matt.4:4; Deut.8:3).
Every Word of God is numbered as the very hair on our head is numbered (Matt.10:30). Each Word is like a strand of hair on a woman's head, which should be allowed to grow. As such, being the Bride and Glory of Christ, Who is the Glory of God, we shall possess and live by every Word of God, letting It grow in our lives. Those who cut the Word of God are cutting off His Glory. Thus, they shall not have any part in that Glorious Position of the Bride, which awaits every Word-abiding child of God.
So, live the Word, Which is here! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
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