Chapter13: Suffering

 

 

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Section  Title

1.

 

Suffering for Revelation

2.

 

Step 1: Suffering for Salvation

3.

 

Step 2: Suffering for Sonship

4.

 

Suffering to See God

5.

 

Suffering: Ordained of God 

6.

 

Suffering for Judgment 

7.

 

Suffering for a Change of Mind

8.

 

The Suffering of Childbirth

9.

The Suffering of Job

10.

How to Avoid Suffering

11.

Affliction: The Foundry of Life

12.

Suffering Into Christ

13.

Scriptures: The Blessing of Tribulation

 

Suffering for Revelation

       As a child, you didn’t need God to fix your problems-- your ailments were remedied by Mommy’s kiss and a Band-Aid. As a teenager you didn’t need God at all-- bad luck and annoying circumstances were repaired by insurance companies.

       After you grew up, God showered you with earthly blessing. You were graced with a loving spouse, beautiful children, and enough money. You didn’t need God to fix this, for he was the source of your goodly success.

       So what conditions would be required to make you need God, more than your next breath? Certainly not a comfortable life of earthly good, for this is the anesthetic of death. Those who are swaddled in temporal ease may be thankful, but they have little need.

       People never need God while surrounded by earthly good or little problems. The need for God becomes extreme only when they encounter the terror of overwhelming evil. Those exposed to this evil will need God desperately. And needing him, they will seek him with their whole heart. And those who seek him with this uncommon fervor are the only ones who will ever find him. Thus the revelation of God begins with your subjection to evil.

       It is easy to see God in earthly good, but much more difficult to see him in evil. To find God in sorrow requires a new revelation. If you would know God truly and intimately, then you must learn to see him in darkness. The people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. When God desires that you should have this knowledge and that you should see his face, then like Job, your family, your business, and your health are destroyed in one afternoon.

       God is the dispenser of all suffering. His intent is that you might seek him and thereby find him. Suffering is therefore, the first symptom of impending revelation. When suffering enters your life, it is because God intends to reveal himself to you. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.

       For this cause God arranges the circumstances of your life, to break your heart, to destroy your earthly goals, to align your will with his, that you might turn to him wholly, in every atom. You call these events suffering and pain, but they are actually the evidence of his divine favor. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

       At the onset of suffering do all you can to rectify the situation, then crumple under the mighty hand of God. Seek him with all your energy; make him foremost and only. I will return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. From your affliction, turn your eyes to God and throw yourself upon his mercy. He will remain hidden from view until your desire for him exceeds every earthly care. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

       Suffering for the revelation of God is achieved in two major steps: they have been called Salvation and Sonship. Each step will reveal God, change you, and usher you into a new relationship with him.

       Suffering always defines every transition to a new relationship with God. In the wisdom of his own time, God will reveal himself to all men with these two crushing steps of revelation. Yet once more I shake not the earth only [step one], but also heaven [step two]. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Step 1: Suffering for Salvation

       When Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, the carnal mind was born. Good & Evil are the parents of this mind. All men are born upon the earth enslaved to this carnality. Thus they divide their world into good and evil and are energized by compulsions for both. Possession of this mind is the state of spiritual death. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

       The process that leads to eternal life requires that you obliterate and eradicate the carnal mind. This occurs first by the destruction of “evil,” and then by the destruction of “good.” The destruction of evil in your life has been termed “Salvation.” The destruction of good is called “Sonship.” Both of these steps are initiated by suffering.

       Suffering is poison to the carnal mind. When suffering is ingested by the spirit, the carnal mind dies. Suffering is thus your door of hope, that you might one day eat from the Tree of Life. I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor [trouble] for a door of hope.

       When God first desires to reveal himself to the unregenerate, he begins by allowing them to reap the consequences of their own actions. They wake up one day and find themselves face down in the gutter. The unregenerate are consumed with carnal, self-destructive desires. The consequences of their behavior are suffering, personal castigation, family censure, community shame, poverty, grief, loneliness, and possibly prison.

       While this suffering can be intense, it is not too bewildering, because the cause of the affliction is immediately apparent. Scales come off their eyes and they are allowed to see that their problems were generated from within themselves. They are suffering because they have done evil. Like the two thieves hanged with Jesus, those who suffer into Salvation recognize that their suffering was caused by their own sins. We indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

       This first suffering establishes man’s initial relationship with God. It is called, “Salvation.” In the Salvation experience men receive the revelation of Jesus Christ and learn that their sins are unconditionally forgiven.

       They also discover that good excels evil as the heavens are higher than the earth. Through pain men learn that evil activities are unproductive. Their suffering is thus corrective and will teach them that God’s ways are best. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

       After the Salvation experience, men will turn away from evil and seek after good. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. With this new revelation animating their lives, everything in their world is then categorized into either “evil” or “good.” Salvation is thus distinguished by tireless campaigns against evil, and continuous efforts for the acquisition of earthly wealth.

       In the Bible, Salvation is characterized as “hearing.” Those who have suffered into Salvation have had their ears opened to the word of God. He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

       This is the revelation that Moses received, along with the Ten Commandments. While Moses could “hear” the word of God, he was not allowed to see God’s face. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

       Those who have attained Salvation only, can hear the word of God, but they do not yet see him as he is. They operate by hearing, and not by sight. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

       Those who have found Salvation normally feel that they have obtained all there is from God, but this is not so. Salvation is only the first step in the unveiling of God. After suffering into the “hearing” of Salvation, you must then press on and complete an additional ordeal-- suffering into the “seeing” of Sonship. He that hath an ear, let him hear.

Step 2: Suffering for Sonship

       When you find Salvation, the “evil” in your life is struck down, or at least revealed for the malignancy that it is. But after the Salvation experience, God still leaves you deluded and dazzled by all the “good” things of earth. This earthly “good” still originates from the Tree of Good & Evil, and this is still the realm of spiritual death. Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

       In his own time, God selects some for the second step in his revelation process. Adding to their loathing of “evil,” he will bring them also to a dissatisfaction with earthly “good.” As before, this second step will be instigated by suffering. But this time you will not suffer for any evil found in you. Rather, you will suffer for undeserved evil that comes against you. Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

       There is no permanent glory in suffering for your sins. God expects every Christian to put away evil and to do the right thing. Continued suffering for your sins is unacceptable to God. His lasting, permanent, and eternal blessings will be procured only by those who suffer with clean hands and a pure heart. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

       There is a “righteous suffering” that occurs when God brings evil against “good” people. Those who have attained Salvation and are doing the right thing are candidates for this suffering. Some of them will be selected by the divine wisdom of God to endure grievous affliction. An upright life that is lived for God will qualify some mortals to suffer bewildering trials, and by them, to be ushered into a new relationship with God. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

       Even your “good” desires, worship, and works, are yet carnal. Your concepts of God arise in part from the carnality that is still within you. These present ideas are minuscule, inconsequential, and incomplete, when compared with the true goal that God has in mind. God will therefore dismantle them all, before he allows you to eat from the Tree of Life.

       This operation begins as an intense situation of unwarranted and confusing evil against you. You will be subjected to agony, through no fault of your own. Your “good” will be evil spoken of. Your upright works will be slandered, your character profaned. Your body will turn against you. You will be rejected of men and cursed by those you love.

       As you traverse this experience you will find it an intense and enduring battle, where Life engages Death. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. You will begin to seek God with an intensity not found amongst mortals. When your heart is broken by God himself, you will draw close unto him. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

       With the one, huge, staggering question of “Why?” you will seek out God in search of an answer. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous. This is where Overcomers are born, and those who are successful will be ushered in to the presence of God. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

       After you have been through this second step, this “Sonship” process, you will have suffered the destruction of both “evil” and “good.” Your human pride will have been profaned. Your earthly desires will have been reduced to nothing. Your carnality will have been systematically destroyed.

       Then you will find a new revelation of God. You will learn of his absolute sovereignty. You will learn to see him in darkness and affliction. But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.

       With this new revelation you will begin to eat from a different tree. No longer will you divide your world into “good” and “evil.” Instead, all things will begin to appear only as a sequence of events that emanate from the throne of God to accomplish his purpose. With this new understanding you will leave the Tree of Good & Evil entirely, and begin to eat for the first time, from the Tree of Life. He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

       This new relationship to God is called “Sonship.” Sonship does not merely teach you about God. Rather, it makes you like him. Through this process, agape-love will be born within you and forgiveness will flow from you. The Sons of God are not created beings. They are the spirits of men, begotten from the spirit of God.

       Sonship is based on “seeing,” for the Sons of God will not operate by faith, but by sight. As you come through a suffering that seems futile and senseless, you will begin to see into the spirit realm. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. You will begin to look beyond earthly circumstance and see that every event that has touched your life has occurred at the direction of God. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

       When your eyes are opened to see God in every earthly event, then he can no longer hide from you. When he can no longer hide from you, you will have become what he is. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.

       Suffering is the process that produces the perfection of Sonship. This path leads from evil, to good, and eventually unto life. When you suffer for sin “in you,” God destroys your addiction to “evil.” When you suffer for sin “against you,” God slays your addiction to “good.” By these your carnal mind is eradicated and the Tree of Good & Evil vacated. Only then can you eat from the Tree of Life. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Suffering to See God

       Prior to the time of John the Baptist, the prophets of God all resounded with the same message. This message was the “hearing” of Salvation. Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob.

       But hearing leaves you spiritually dead, and still eating from the wrong tree. You can hear about God all your life and never know him personally. Ultimately you must leave off hearing about God and begin to see him. Suffering is the catalyst that changes your “hearing” into “seeing.” This process has been called “spiritual downloading,” as simple words are changed into experience of the heart.

       The disciples of Jesus received both revelations, the “hearing” of Salvation and the “seeing” of Sonship. Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see. After hearing about God, you must go on to see him. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. As demonstrated by the stoning of Steven, it is suffering for sin against you, that enables you to see God. Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

       The suffering of Jesus Christ was not for his own sins, but for the sins of the carnal nature that was created in Eden. This “righteous suffering” was a requirement for his own spiritual perfection. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Jesus came to perfection and the seeing of Sonship by the experience of suffering. In this he was an example for you. Each of his firstborn brothers who will share in his glory will arrive at their maturity by the same process. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.

       As Paul traveled to Damascus, Jesus Christ spoke to him and Paul was struck blind. God intended to make Paul perfect through suffering. For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. Paul’s lifetime of suffering began immediately. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

       Later, Ananias prayed that Paul might receive “sight,” or the revelation of Sonship. Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight. It wasn’t enough to just hear the voice of God. Paul was selected to both “hear” and to “see.” And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

       Paul’s suffering made him blind to the things of the world. The good & evil of carnal man became foolish unprofitable dross, and he entered into a new relationship with God, based on spiritual sight. Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith.

       Jesus Christ loves you and will reveal himself to you. When he brings suffering into your life, it is to open your eyes. Jesus will select you and personally break you. Through this process your eyes will be opened to see him and to know him personally. And he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him.

       When you are broken by the hand of God, the visible revelation of Sonship will soon follow. It is through suffering, failure, and fear, that you will eventually see God. And emerging from the process you will be like him. If you yearn for the seeing of Sonship, then do not be surprised when your life is engulfed in fiery trials. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

Suffering: Ordained of God

       It was Spring, and the air in Padanaram was already hot. The evening breeze flapped-in from the desert, peppered with the dusty musk of camels and goats.

       Jacob stood alone, his stomach pained with nausea. His family was in danger, his wives and children on the verge of slaughter. His fortune, his labor, his place in God, were threatened with extinction. His life appeared forfeit. Except for the faithfulness of God, it seemed all would soon come to an end. On the morrow, he would meet his brother Esau. Jacob struggled with this affliction and fear all night long. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

       In the darkness of terror and doubt, Jacob believed that Esau was the cause of his crisis. He had cheated Esau, and now came his brother’s revenge. These visible facts he wrestled with, and the struggle continued until the first hint of a new dawn.

       But when the early morning rays finally reached to his understanding, a new thought alighted upon Jacob. For the first time, he wondered who he was really wrestling with. Seeking the identity of his adversary, Jacob found not Esau, but God. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

       After the long night of torment Jacob looked beyond the obvious causes of his suffering. It was then he found that the source of his affliction was not Esau, it was God. It was God who had ordained and carefully orchestrated the relationship between Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s suffering was the work of God. It was really only an exercise from the hand of God. Jacob was “set-up” by God. He was merely facing the suffering and terror that God had ordained, long before he was born. For the children being not yet born ... It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

       When Jacob finally realized that the source of his suffering was God, the pay back was a revelation of colossal proportion. Jacob found at Peniel that he was a prince with God; that he had power with God; that he had prevailed with God; and that his life was preserved. (The five P’s).

       After this experience in suffering, Jacob was never the same. His thigh was withered, his natural strength broken. As he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. His reliance upon earthly ability was shaken and forever removed. In its place was a new description and a promise; for his name was changed from “Jacob” to “Israel.” No longer would he be known as “supplanter.” After his all-night ordeal in suffering he would be called, “Ruling with God.” And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

       God is the originator of all suffering and it is the conduit of his revelation. Your life turns in his hands as a potters vessel. Your joys and your pains are the shape of his touch. He has arranged, instigated, and empowered all that comes into your life. The sooner you realize this, the sooner your suffering will end and your new revelation begin. Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.

       Suffering produces the tears that wash the windows of your understanding. It generates the ability within your spirit to see God where you have never seen him before. When you are finally empowered to see God in sorrow, the blessing you will receive is staggering. You will become a Prince with God. You will have Power to Prevail. Your life will be Preserved unto life eternal. When you come to your Peniel, in terror you will see God face to face. There you will receive a changed nature and a new name. The rulers of the world to come are being prepared today in ordeals of earthly suffering, orchestrated by the hand of God. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.

Suffering for Judgment

       The Greek words krisis and gnome have both been translated as the English word judgment. Krisis means, “a separation, then a decision.” Krisis is also the basis for the word crisis, meaning “a time of great trouble; a turning point.” The Greek word gnome means, “a way of knowing.” Thus God’s “judgment” is, “a separation, a time of trouble, which is a way of knowing.”

       The judgment of God is never punitive. It is not a fiendish torture of senseless retribution. Judgment always has a greater purpose. It is a painful crisis that carries the promise of eternal wealth. The judgment of God is a crisis in your life that will become a way of knowing him personally. Your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment (krisis) of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.

       Judgment will appear in your life as a crisis of suffering, delivered by the hand of God. When it arrives, you must recognize this suffering as the evidence of divine favor. Suffering is not an accident, it is the door to your eternal blessing. It is a gift from God, that you might come to know him intimately. Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments (krisis).

       The unexpected, unwanted crisis that will engulf your life, comes directly from the love of Jesus Christ. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment (krisis) unto the Son. When he suffered it worked resurrection life in him, and it will do the same in you. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment (krisis) also, because he is the Son of man.

       When Jesus Christ is ready to reveal himself to you fully, he will arrange a suffering judgment to disassemble your earthly life. This “krisis” is a means of knowing him personally, and this pain is your guarantee of victory over death. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment (krisis) unto victory.

Suffering for a Change of Mind

       The real issue of Christianity is not good versus evil, but rather, life versus death. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. The good & evil of your carnal mind must both pass away. To leave your state of death and find life, you must put on the Mind of Christ. Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.

       This change of mind is embodied in the English word, repent. In the Bible, repent is translated from the Greek noun, metanoia, which means, “a change of mind.” Metanoia is also the basis for the English word, metamorphosis, which means, “a transformation of substance; a complete change of character.”

       Repentance is not a momentary thing; it is a metamorphosis. Repentance is a complete change of mind, substance, and character. It is the process by which God will destroy your carnal mind and birth in you the Mind of Christ. This change of mind is instigated by suffering, which will be applied with surgical precision at the sovereign direction of God.

       Repentance begins when God brings suffering to your life. Because God loves you he chastens you, and in accordance with his schedule you “repent” of your evil activities. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. This first repentance begins the transformation of your thinking and modifies your behavior. That ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, what fear, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal. With this initial change of mind you learn to shun “evil” and to seek after “good.” Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

       Suffering for this first change of mind also brings the revelation of Jesus Christ, and opens your ears to the Holy Spirit. Your sins are forgiven unconditionally and you are readied for the next step. Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Every facet of God’s revelation and every “change of mind” is accompanied by suffering. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation.

       The next step in your repentance is to set aside earthly “good” and to seek after life. This time you are to experience a true “metanoia,” a complete change of mind and transformation of character. Your unprofitable carnal mind of death is to be totally discarded and you are to put on the Mind of Christ. With the acquisition of this new mind you will enter into a new relationship to your Heavenly Father.

       Now you must put on the same mind that Jesus Christ had. That is, you must change your thoughts and desires, so that your thinking models that of the firstborn Son. This is not a random or accidental process. This metamorphosis is achieved by a very specific formula. Philippians 2:5-15 describes the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and you are to follow his example, exactly. Consider these three essential steps:

1.    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who ... made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

       Before you can possess the Mind of Christ, you must first take upon yourself the form of a servant and be born as the offspring of Adam upon planet earth. You have already completed this first step.

2.    And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

       Now that you have become a human being, you are commanded to humble yourself and make yourself obedient unto death. This does not require a physical death, but rather, a death to self-- your carnality must die. If you want the Mind of Christ, then you must suffer the death of good & evil. Every carnal glory must go. This requires that earthly ambition, pride, and the possessions of men, be set aside as worthless dross. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.

       When Eve partook of the Tree of Good & Evil she called the experience “good,” “pleasant,” and “to be desired.” Since you are to get off this tree, you must reverse her assessment. You must call the earthly realm, “vain, unpleasant, and undesirable.” These are the opposites of Eve’s responses. By this formula you can reverse her actions and be separated from your carnality.

       This is “metanoia,” a change of mind, and this change is initiated by suffering. Without suffering this change would be impossible. Only suffering can desecrate the earthly realm, and only then will you be empowered to call it vain and unprofitable.

       The suffering that comes to your life will be prescribed by divine wisdom to kill your carnal mind. This suffering will end your affection for the earthly realm. Those things that you loved and enjoyed will become wearisome and unsatisfying. By this process your carnality will die and the Mind of Christ will be birthed in you.

       When God is ready for this change to be wrought in you, you will encounter the devastation of sin against you. This will be a situation of unwarranted suffering. It will arrive at your doorstep directly from God’s hand. You cannot initiate it, nor can you avoid it. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.

       When this occurs, your only input will be to humble yourself and become obedient to the process. When terrible things intrude upon your peace, humble yourself, and never another. Suffer the death of your own will, while preferring the will of your Heavenly Father. Abhor yourself, and never another. Abhor your own lack of understanding and your failure to see God’s purpose in the trials that have consumed you.

       This situation will be agonizing and traumatic. It will drag you to a battlefield that you have never known before. Like Joseph your heart will break. You will groan with tears as your brothers betray you. The familiar things of your life will rise up and drift away, as you watch in helpless grief. You will be sold into a servitude that you do not want, and the life that you knew will amble slowly beyond the horizon and be lost forever.

       As with Job, chest pains and nausea will become your daily fare. As with Jesus, you will sweat your own blood. In this confusing darkness you will surrender to the overwhelming will of Almighty God. There you will learn obedience. This is the mind that was in Christ Jesus. Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

3.    Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.

       The suffering of “metanoia” will produce the Mind of Christ in you, and this will absolutely and irrevocably lead to exalted resurrection. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

       When your change is complete, you will receive a name that is above every name in the created realm. You will be permanently joined to immortality. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new nameWhen the Mind of Christ has been formed in you, you will be filled with all the fullness of God. To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

       Do you want the Mind of Christ? You must be born as an Adamite, humble yourself unto death, and fix your hope on resurrection. Without suffering, this mind will never exist in you. If there is any part of you that can glory in tribulation, this is the eternal Mind of Christ, being born in your midst.

The Suffering of Childbirth

       There is only one purpose for the earth and all that dwell therein. Every created thing and all life, hovers upon God’s purpose to bring forth Sons who are born in his own image. To this end, you and your business, and your friends, and every earthly thing, have all been subjected to vanity, not of your own choosing. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.

       So now you have sorrows, and hurts, and problems, and confusions. For this is the birth-room, the labor ward of God. Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.

       These sufferings are the majestic mystery that shall produce the offspring of Almighty God. The constrictive pressures of the universe are in labor, to push you from the womb. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain. It is this suffering and travail and birth-pangs that will ultimately mature and deliver the spiritually begotten Son of God in you. For even the whole creation, all nature, waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s Sons to be made known waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship. Romans 8:19 (Amplified).

       God married Israel at Mount Sinai with the intention of having spiritual children. Israel is my son, even my firstborn. Human childbirth is an allegory of this spiritual process.

       A natural woman can reproduce a natural child, if she first receives the seed of life from her husband. After conception a human baby must then complete a gestation of nine months. Nine is the number of God’s judgment, and judgment is, “a crisis, a way of knowing.”

       The first evidence of pregnancy is morning sickness. The sorrows of childbirth then increase until the mother finally reaches the last evidence of pregnancy, which is travail. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.

       Spiritually the process is identical. Your spirit can reproduce a spiritual child, if you first receive the seed of life from Jesus Christ. The children of Adam have been endowed with the spiritual capability to produce the Sons of God.

       After spiritual conception, the spirit Sons of God must also complete a time of gestation. As with physical birth, this is a time of “judgment, crisis, a way of knowing.” The first evidence of this process is morning sickness. What happened to your pleasant, well-ordered life? The final phase of spiritual gestation is “travail,” which is the birth-pangs of Sonship.

       Sorrow and suffering is the evidence that a spiritual Son of God is being birthed in you. When you feel the most intense contractions you have ever known, fix your hope upon a new-found joy, for you are about to be squeezed into a new existence. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

       Tripalium is a Latin word which means, “an instrument of torture composed of three stakes.” The three stakes refer to the three crosses on Calvary’s hill. Tripalium therefore refers to the tortuous cross of Christ.

       But tripalium is also the root of the English word, travail, which means, “intense pain, the pains of childbirth.” Tripalium is both the cross of Christ and the pain of childbirth. These two are one and the same. It is the suffering of travail, the experience of the cross, that will birth a Son of God in you. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

       When Rachel was in travail giving birth to Benjamin, she called his name Benoni, which means, “son of my sorrow.” Here Rachel is a type of the Adamic nature. As a Son of God is being formed within you, your “feminine” carnal mind will call it, “son of my sorrow.” Rachel died during that childbirth, and so it is that the death of your carnal mind is also required for the regeneration of your spirit.

       But Jacob, the child’s father, had a different perspective. Jacob called the child Benjamin, which means, “son of my right arm.” As God beholds his new Son being born from your agony and travail, he will call your spirit, “son of my right arm.” What is painful death to your carnality, is the victory of Sonship to your spirit.

       All suffering on this planet is travail. All the trials of earth are in accordance with the purpose of God to bring forth his Sons. Suffering through the evil, confusion, and pain of this world is the plan of God for you. This pain has been provided as part of the process for your eternal deliverance. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered.

       Having come to the earth as a spiritually “feminine” Adamite, you are now in travail to bring forth a spirit Son. This process is the cross, and the cross is the pain of childbirth.

       The problems in your marriage, business, and health have been ordained to force the gestation of your spirit. For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion. Recognizing this glorious result is the key to surviving the process. For travail comes to pass; but Sonship and immortality will be with you forever. Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. And your joy no man taketh from you.

The Suffering of Job

       The book of Job reveals God’s formula for suffering unto revelation. If you will see God and know him personally, then each step of Job’s experience is coming for you. When your travail begins, apply the following ten steps to your own experience and they will guide you to success.

Step 1.Suffering is the answer to your prayers.

       When the trials of Job began, he was already a righteous man. He had already found “Salvation” and obtained all the blessings of carnal “good.” So that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

       But Job had prayed that he might go beyond this initial phase. He desired something more, a permanent treasure from beyond the realm of good & evil. Job desired the wisdom and understanding of God. He wanted substance, from the begotten realm of immortal spirit. Where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? The exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living.

       When God decided to fulfill Job’s request, he selected him for devastation-- it was God who singled out Job for Satanic attack. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job?

       If you want more than the simple pleasures of earthly “good,” God will arrange a devastation for you. Through this suffering you will come to revelation that you cannot now imagine. This is the gift that God provided for Job. For he [God] performeth the thing that is appointed for me.Step 2.The Sovereignty of God.The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom he is the creator of all good and all evil. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

       The fear of Satan is utterly ridiculous. Satan is the servant of God, a created being, a tool in the hand of the master craftsman. All Satan’s power and inspiration comes from God. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

       It was God who goaded Satan into suggesting the destruction of Job. Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

       Having once raised the issue, God then empowered Satan to carry out the task. God’s decisions are handed to Satan as an assignment for completion. By himself, Satan can do nothing. The LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

Step 3. God is the instigator of evil.       Job recognized that God is the supreme power of the universe. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? ... He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. Knowing this, Job correctly named God as the source of his affliction. Know now that God hath overthrown me.       Job did not blame the Sabeans or Satan for his troubles, for he refused to acknowledge the supporting roles of these minor players. Instead, Job correctly asserted that his pain came directly from God. God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder. It was the hand of his Heavenly Father that destroyed him. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?

       Having been “found out” as the instigator of all things, God then admitted that he personally destroyed Job without cause. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

       There was no “cause” to destroy Job, but there was a magnificent purpose. Job’s affliction was part of the process to dazzling revelation, and the double-portion of Sonship. All his destruction was calculated to mirror the intended blessing.

       Evil events are brought upon you by the wisdom of God. He is the author of every calamity. This knowledge will become your principle source of comfort when you enter the experience of Job. Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.Step 4. You must be alone.

       God’s judgment is, “a crisis, a separation, a way of knowing.” Job was separated by a crisis, unto a way of knowing God personally. This separation moved him apart from his children, his wife, his business, and his health. Job was separated from all the familiar of his life. He was then left alone to seek the God who destroyed him.

       Through this process Job correctly analyzed the working of God, but Job’s friends did not. They did not have Job’s new experience; their revelation was unchanged. They remained in their same old relationship to God. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

       Accordingly, Job’s friends could not understand what was happening, neither could they offer any real comfort. My kinsfolk have failed, my familiar friends have forgotten me, and they whom I loved are turned against me.       When this process begins in your life, you too will be alone. You will find it a lonely experience as all the familiar of your life drains away. The things that you now trust in the physical realm will fail. Your friends will turn against you. When that happens, you will be forced to look for comfort in places you never imagined. And this is the birthplace of revelation.

Step 5. Suffering hurts.

       Job had an experience in bewildering agony. He suffered, he grieved, he wept, and he hurt. For destruction from God was a terror to me. ... For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death.

       Since Job had done nothing wrong, the purpose of his suffering was not immediately apparent. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction. Job was experiencing a “righteous suffering.” The unthinkable simply happened and his worst nightmare suddenly became reality. Every attempt to explain the terror that had engulfed him, ripped as a rotten bag.

       Descending into this abyss, Job’s hope was taken and he was left with only a misery from God.My days are past, my purposes are broken off.And where is now my hope? Soon it seemed that God had provided death as his only source of solace.My soul is weary of my life. ... O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past.

       This is an ordeal in anguish. Your arrogance and self-life will be emptied. Your earthly pride and good works will dissolve. Your stomach will ache, your head will swirl. This painful, seemingly senseless waste, is your first step toward a new revelation of God. For you receive from God based on your need, never on your sufficiency. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.

Step 6. Time.

       Job’s suffering continued for a very long time. His mournful days stretched into months and years. So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

       When the affliction began, Job craved his old, happy relationship with God. But through the genius of his Heavenly Father, there was no going back. Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me. When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me.

       Throughout this time of trial Job was attended by a single constant companion. This unwelcome colleague was the evidence of physical failure. With Job always, this grim specter kept lonely vigil, to question and accuse. Job’s animals were gone, his children dead, his body wrecked, and his marriage empty. These failings were the only visible evidence of the magnificent inworking of God.

       As Job endured these hateful thoughts he fought an inner war of eternal proportions. Daily he rebuffed the attacks and tauntings of failure, while maintaining his innocence. Job knew he had done everything in his power to prevent his calamity. Over time this understanding allowed him to force the formation of faith-- a faith that God had brought evil upon him for his ultimate blessing, and not as retribution for sins.

       Time is the enemy of every Christian. It seeks to pull you away from the goal, to wear you down, to persuade you to take your rest. If you fail in your Christian walk, you will have been defeated by this single foe.

       Having found yourself as an Adamite on the earth, there is no escape. And once the trials of God begin in earnest, you will be locked-in for the duration there will be no rest. During the long days of aching dread, you will either give in to the voices of accusation, fear, and pain, or take your stand in faith and hope. This struggle will be your sole companion, and the warfare of your every hour.

       Life is a battlefield of endurance; it is a contest for perseverance and tenacity. To be successful you must develop these traits to perfection. You must be able to sit for years on end, staring into the evidence of failure, and thanking your Heavenly Father for his divine wisdom. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.

       If you do not finish a race, you cannot possibly win. You must remain faithful to the end. All your trials will terminate at precisely the moment programmed by God. Then you shall have your reward. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Step 7. Seeking God with your whole heart.

       Devastated and alone, Job suffered by the wisdom of God. Then, from the depth of his bones, he turned to God for an explanation. What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?

       If his calamity was not the result of sin, then where did it come from, and for what purpose? At the end of his strength, Job made an all-out bid to find God in his problem. I will say unto God, ... shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands?

       With a desperate vitality, Job began to ask questions that he had never considered before. For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high? He began to wonder about possibilities that he had never imagined. If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

       Seeking explanations for impossible events turns your whole desire to the heavens in consuming passion. This is the seeking heart that is acceptable to God. Your desire for him must overshadow every earthly care. Here is the necessity of suffering, for this depth of need is produced only by sorrow.

       After a time of suffering, motives are reassessed, priorities realigned, and plans changed. The course of your life will be permanently altered. The only direction that will be available to you will be forward into uncharted territory, into a new revelation and a new relationship with God. You have not been this way before, and where you are going, few have dared. But when you get there, you will never want to leave.

Step 8. The birth of revelation.

       Searching for answers to his plight, Job finally perceived that there was something happening in his life that went far beyond the visible facts. He suddenly found that God was doing a supernatural work inside him, something dreadful and secret.

       Job began to see a new reality, as a dream might coalesce before his eyes. This new, superlative vision went far beyond the accumulation of earthly wealth, and greatly exceeded his old “hearing” relationship to God. This revelation was a new destination in the spirit realm.

       Job discovered that he was on an unseen path, a path that led from darkness to light and from death unto life. He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.Like an interstellar ribbon this path had dropped down from the heavens, scooped him up, and was now transporting him back to the throne room of God. There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen.This pathway was called “suffering,” and suddenly it all made sense. He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

       The vision grew brighter as Job looked for a revelation of God that exceeded the understanding of men. Job considered the possibility of going beyond “hearing” about God, and entering into the realm of “seeing.” Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.

       Mortals hear all about the wisdom of God, but they will never see it. Though their hearing relationship to God is nice, it is only a first step. Those who stop there will remain in a state of spiritual death.

       After suffering for a great while, Job glimpsed the possibility of seeing God, and his fire began to burn beyond the capacity of mortal man. But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. ... No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

       Your desire to enter the reality of God’s wisdom must exceed the price of gold, rubies, and even your earthly existence. Suffering is the vehicle that will produce this desire within you. Suffering brings a craving for understanding that cannot be satisfied in the created realm. This is the purpose that will select you for destruction, and escort you into the presence of God.

Step 9. God finally speaks.

       After thirty-seven chapters of Job’s thrashing and wailing, God finally spoke. Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

       God’s first words reminded Job that he had prayed for wisdom and understanding. Job’s suffering, direct from God’s hand, was the fulfillment of that request. Job’s suffering represented the divine wisdom of God. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

       God then asked many questions. Each of these was actually a promise of the wisdom that Job would one day possess. Each was a sample of the understanding that would eventually accrue to Job as a result of his trial. Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof? ... Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?

       When God finally spoke, he showed that his wisdom is supreme, and that his suffering process is justified by the result. Righteous suffering represents a supernatural process. It is the pathway to the presence of God. Is the Almighty’s Appellant content? Has the critic of God a reply? Job 40:2 (Fenton).

Step 10.           Seeing God with the Mind of Christ.

       After Job’s suffering he came to a new revelation of God. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

       Job’s life, his world, and his relationship to God, were then changed from “hearing” to “seeing.” I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.Job left the human arena of Salvation, and entered the Begotten Realm of Sonship. With this change came “repentance,” “metanoia,” a complete change of mind. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

      The ultimate suffering produces the ultimate revelation, and this is the Mind of Christ. When you see God clearly, as he is, you will be like him, for you will be with him in another realm. As you learn to behold him in bewildering trial, you will be changed into the same image you will become what he is. We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

       Having successfully navigated his ordeal and endured to the end, Job was then awarded the double portion blessing of Sonship. Also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

       Job’s spirit had crossed over a threshold and entered into the Begotten Realm of Christ. Those who attain Christ will come to the first resurrection, as the begotten brothers of Jesus. As the result of his suffering, Job was admitted into the anointed company of the firstborn Sons of God. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and they comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him.

How to Avoid Suffering

       It is easy to avoid suffering, if you are not called of God. Simply join yourself to almost any of the churches in America and embrace their false concepts of God. Then when problems enter your life you can blame the devil, curse your fellow man, seek human solace, and run from spiritual maturity.

       Among the protectionist tools of Organized Christianity are the Gospel of Prosperity, Free Moral Agency, and the Rapture. These phantasms of the carnal mind are devices created and sold by the modern church as charms against suffering.

       But success in avoiding suffering is success in preserving your own state of spiritual death. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness. Without “crisis,” there can be no “way of knowing” God. Without travail, there can be no birth. Without a birth, you cannot become a Son. If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

       Organized Christianity offers you the comforts of self-protection, but the price is a continued existence in your present state of carnal minded death. When affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

       The erroneous doctrines of Organized Christianity are not new. They are the doctrines displayed by Job’s four friends. During Job’s suffering he correctly analyzed the personality of God. Job asserted that his calamity and suffering had come directly from the hand of God. But Job’s friends did not correctly assess God’s character, methods, or purpose. My servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

       Job’s friends accused and ridiculed him. I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.They could not believe that God is responsible for suffering. Their spiritual concepts were juvenile. They were ignorant of God’s purpose and plan. Instead of pursuing their own spiritual sight, they could only weave doctrines of spiritual death, to salve the blindness of their eyes.

       Job’s friends made three fundamental mistakes in their assessment of God.

Mistake #1:     Job’s friends believed that God would not bring suffering upon a righteous person.Eliphaz:      Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent?

Bildad:        Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? ... Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers.

Zophar:      This is the portion of a wicked man from God.

Elihu:          He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they     on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

       This position is incorrect, for Job was a paragon of virtue. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.Job’s suffering did not result from any unseen evil in his life; he knew that he was righteous. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

       Job’s friends knew nothing of this sinless suffering. They had never experienced it, and their concept of God was too limited to understand it. Like modern Christianity, they could only deny God’s sovereignty over good & evil, and scoff at those who were actually living-out the divine plan of God. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

       After you suffer for evil unto good, then like Job, you must suffer for good unto life. An upright life of virtue and good works will qualify some mortals to suffer for the maturity of Sonship. He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

Mistake #2:     Job’s friends believed that suffering was the evidence of sin. Eliphaz:      They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Bildad:        The light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. ... For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare.

Zophar:      Know that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

Elihu:          If they [kings] be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.

       This position is incorrect. Suffering is not the evidence of sin; it is the proof of God’s love. It is the evidence that God is working in those processed by it. Suffering, judgment, or retribution for error, is not an automatic occurrence for anyone; it occurs only by the divine selection of God.

       Those abandoned by God are very likely to have a lovely, peaceful life. They [the wicked] are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. The wicked will suffer only if God desires their repentance. So also, those who are righteous will suffer, only when God desires to complete their maturity into Sonship. For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

       All the sufferings of earth will one day be seen as the personal working of God. Suffering is not the evidence of sin; it is a divine treasure. It is the proof that God has chosen you for a greater revelation. Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Mistake #3:     Job’s friends believed that the blessing of God is earthly prosperity. Eliphaz:      The Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.

Bildad:        Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.

Zophar:      Thou shalt forget thy misery, ... thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. ... Thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid.

Elihu:          If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.

      This position is incorrect, for the blessing of God is not earthly prosperity. Rather, it is an inner fire of revelation; it is a personal knowledge of God; it is spiritual maturity, and a place in the first resurrection. These things can be obtained by those who are either rich or poor. Earthly prosperity, or the lack thereof, is meaningless.

       Those who crave the wealth of this world do not know God, nor his plan for mankind. Men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness. Like the Israelites in Babylon, these are they who worship the golden image. Using the doctrines of Organized Christianity they accept the safety of idolatry, in their attempt to avoid the burning fiery furnace.

       But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were righteous and cared nothing for the wealth of this world. This qualified them for suffering, direct from the hand of God. These three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. By this suffering they came to see God, and to know him personally. Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

       In the furnace of God you will finally see him face to face. There you will enter his realm, and be loosed from your bonds. This is the greatest blessing of God, and far greater than the pathetic treasures of mortals.

       No doubt Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all went to the same church, for they elucidate the common teachings of Organized Christianity. These have come to God in a relationship of “Salvation,” based on “hearing.” They have suffered for the riddance of “evil,” but retain their addiction to earthly “good.” They have never suffered for righteousness, and know nothing of it. They cannot perceive the existence of the “seeing” realm of Sonship. Being bound to the created realm, these worship a puny God of carnal good, who is their slave to bring them riches.

       Those who are called to Sonship will suffer through the hellish nightmares of Gethsemane, while the rest of humanity sleeps. Those in Nominal Christianity must await their turn. And until that time, they are free to employ their doctrinal fables for their comfort and peace. Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Affliction: The Foundry of Life

       Suffering is the forge of God. There his firstborn Sons are heated, hammered, and fashioned into the mettle of Christ. Jesus Christ and all his brothers have been prepared by suffering. It is the foundry of life.

       When Job experienced this he cried out for his own destruction, for death seemed preferable to the continued pain that had become his daily bread. Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! But God had in mind only the blessing of Job, and an eternal award of life and wisdom. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.

       Hagar suffered the terror of a double death, as she was rejected by her husband and also faced the imminent death of her son. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she lift up her voice, and wept. But God had already saved the lad and made him mighty upon the earth. God wanted her to have an experience in suffering, but the outcome was never in doubt. As for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget.

       There was a time when Rebekah’s heart was crushed for her sons, when all she valued appeared poised for destruction. And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, what good shall my life do me? But before she had travailed, God had already provided abundantly for her and her children. And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. The sufferings of this earth have been programmed by God. They are not accidental, and the end is always secure.

       Joseph was sold as a common slave by his own brothers. Instead of a happy life with his family, he found servitude and prison, and this in spite of his righteous character. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. But this suffering worked into Joseph the character of God. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art.

       It has been said, “the dungeon didn’t need Joseph, Joseph needed the dungeon.” Through suffering, God prepared Joseph to become ruler of all Egypt. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. Joseph’s experience in suffering filled him with wisdom, blessing, and the character of God. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

       When Moses was young he had every earthly delight. He was set up for a cushy life in Pharaoh’s household. But tranquillity and wealth are not the indicators of Sonship. Moses became qualified to rule, only after he had suffered in a lengthy torment of apparent failure. Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

       To Moses, the suffering necessary to bring forth the anointing of Christ was more important than any earthly thing. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

       Moses turned away from the “good” things of Egypt, and casting upon the mercy of God, wandered forty years as a shepherd in the Sinai desert. All his former princely estate, his prestige and past grandeur, he counted as loss. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Daily he fought the tauntings of inadequacy, as he waited for the promise of God. This experience prepared Moses to become the leader of his nation. And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

       When the Israelites were suffering in the wilderness, they believed they would die. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? But God had a different idea. He knew that their suffering was a means to an end. Ye are the sons of the living God.

       The Israelites expected death, but in reality they had been selected for royalty. Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. So also with you. When you think you have been abandoned by God, when you can take no more, know that you have been selected to rule.

       David knew that his suffering was from God. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. He lived much of his life in constant fear of death. Truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death. But this is the method that God used to prepare David for eternal greatness. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

       Elijah had killed the prophets of Baal, but then ran in fear from Jezebel. In despair he wished for death. He requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. But God had something different in mind. He saw Elijah’s suffering as a preparation for glorious immortality.Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

       King Hezekiah felt impending doom and expected death. I shall not see the LORD, ... he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. But this anguish was simply the vehicle of God’s mercy and blessing.I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.

       Jonah was confused and depressed unto death. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. But through his suffering, God brought forth victory and saved alive a multitude of people.And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

       Jeremiah’s life was a living hell. The daily events that framed his world had become sorrowful bitterness. He had good reason to believe that he would be killed at any moment. They have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head; then I said, I am cut off.

       But God had a different perspective. He knew that Jeremiah’s pain was just part of the plan. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. ... Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Jeremiah’s suffering prepared him to become a principal ruler of the world. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms.

       Jesus Christ suffered an untimely and undeserved death, when he was thirty-three years old. In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. But through this suffering process he was made perfect, and exalted to the throne of God. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Had Jesus not been slain, he would not have been worthy, and the same goes for you.

       The supernatural power of suffering extends even to God himself, for he has subjected himself to all the pain of his creation. His plan of suffering reaches into his own heart, as he accepts the travail of bringing forth his firstborn Sons. Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

       But God also sees the end from the beginning. He well knows that his suffering will bring forth his delight, and his pain will turn to the greatest joy he has ever known. No more will they call you “Forsaken”; No more shall they call your land “Waste”; But you shall be named “My Delight.” Your God will rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:4, 5 (Fenton).

       It is not possible for your resurrection to occur prior to your death. Before resurrection rises in your heart, you will have experienced the death of every earthly desire. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. It is the loss of your carnal portion that makes way for the double portion of God. Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

       Suffering is the foundry of life. Every tear and each stabbing pain has been ordained to work resurrected life in you. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. As with Hagar and Rebekah, God’s supply precedes your need. As with Joseph and Jeremiah, prison is your preparation for power. As with Job, Elijah, and Jonah, a lamenting desire for death is God’s design for your victory. As with David and Hezekiah, terror is a teacher to the Sons of God.

       When despair and failure swirl about your mind, God is preparing you for the whirlwinds of heaven. When it seems you are cut off, then he can speak. The Kings and Priests of the world to come will all have been prepared by suffering. These Overcomers will inherit the character of God. And they loved not their lives unto the death.

       Gird up the loins of your mind. Renew your resolve. Be strong and of good courage, and the Lord will give you your mountain. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Suffering Into Christ

       How do you suppose you will be prepared for kingship? What would make you solemn, wise, faithful, and proven? Do you think that the stresses of dealing with the neighbor’s dog will qualify you to rule the heavens? Will the intense pain of a rainy vacation, or a harsh word, prepare you for eternal glory and honor? Are warriors made strong, do they become immovable, by a burned meatloaf? If you spend your time shopping, buying new cars and clothes, will this develop in you the judgment required to command the creation? Will you be processed into spiritual maturity by worldly blessing and ease? No, none of these. Jesus was made perfect through suffering, and the same applies to you.

       When suffering comes into your day, treat it as the secret entrance to life itself. Stop dwelling on the pain of your trials; rather, focus on the result. The best and grandest things of God will come to you as a result of earthly trauma.

       Paul learned this and began to place great value in his suffering. He found that earthly travail was the producer of unspeakable, heavenly glory. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, such an one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

       In the resurrection, no man will boast of his own works, for they will all have been destroyed. That no flesh should glory in his presence. Therefore the sons of men are counted as sheep to the slaughter. You are troubled, ill, heartbroken, terrified, and slandered. Successfully negotiating these trials is your ticket to immortality. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

       When onslaughts of undeserved suffering trample your life, you have been selected to receive the permanent treasures of God. When hellish hordes of surreal agony appear, take heart, you are about to be made perfect. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Godly suffering is a windfall of advantage. Resurrection, perfection, immortality, and Godlikeness are its sure and certain rewards. The God of all grace, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

       The Mind of Christ will come to you, riding astride the worst experience of your life. By “krisis” and “metanoia,” through travail, from evil to good unto life, suffering is God’s plan for your glory. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Suffering is a special washing, that signals your acceptance for the anointing of “Christ.” Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

       To conquer suffering you must see beyond the physical circumstances of your misery. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. If you see only the facts of your problem, your pain will never subside and your suffering will continue indefinitely.

       The physical evidence of carnal evil is never going to change. Your hurt is not going to magically disappear. It is your thinking, your vision, your understanding of the situation that is going to change. Gaining the Mind of Christ, you must look beyond the distressing facts and see the supernatural purpose of God. Whatever the problem that has engulfed you, there is more going on than meets the eye, and the end is never in doubt. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

       One day, after you have proven yourself faithful, your torment will heal. Then your big problem, even your worst nightmare, will change to a priceless possession. The hand picked, hand polished pain of the Most High will become nought but a small scar. This scar you will consider a treasure, a diadem, the assurance of God’s personal attention leading you into life eternal. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

       Your experience in suffering will become a trophy that transcends the earthly riches of mortals, a crown that no man can take from you. I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. Your trial will become a source of comfort, even amidst the agony of ashes. When they had called the apostles, and beaten them, ... they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

       Jesus was made like unto his earthly brethren, and now they are to be made like unto him. He endured the contradiction of sinners, and so will his brothers. Christ is this group of individuals; it is the firstborn brothers of Jesus. Christ is the firstfruits of Israel; it is the firstborn Sons of God. Each of them will be made perfect through suffering. O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

       By suffering for sin in them, they will be separated from “evil” and attain to the hearing of Salvation. Then by the suffering of sin against them, they will be separated from earthly “good,” and attain to the seeing of Sonship. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

       “Christ in you,” is not some ethereal mushy doctrine of Organized Religion. It is not a word game. Rather, it is your opportunity to share in the power and immortality of God.

       “Christ” is the anointing and substance of Sonship that Jesus possesses. The Body of Christ is the initial cadre of his brothers. It is the anointed company of the firstborn Sons of God. They will become what Jesus Christ now is. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

       All the Sons of God will be spiritually begotten of God, and like Jesus, will be made perfect through suffering. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

       As heavenly rulers it is essential that these Sons possess a personal knowledge of pain and suffering, for these will become tools of their new vocation. With their experience in earthly travail they will govern the cosmos, applying the same beneficent wisdom that made them what they are. They shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.

       Now give account of yourself, and declare if you have understanding. Considering the prize, what sorrow is there that you cannot endure? What pain may arise that you cannot bear? What affliction can drive you from the love of your Heavenly Father? What trial or betrayal is so unfair, that you would curse his judgment? What is there that glitters more brightly than Christ? What cross is not worth that begotten splendor?

       Your trials are your escort to the Mind of Christ, and that mind is your passport to the stars. Your travail portends your glorification.

       If you have already experienced these things, rejoice, for in due time you shall reap your reward. If you cannot yet identify with these concepts, then memorize this chapter now, for it is hard to read when your eyes are swollen with tears. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Scriptures: The Blessing of Tribulation

Genesis 3:16

Genesis 45:8

Genesis 50:20

Deuteronomy 8:5

2 Samuel 7:14

2 Samuel 16:12

Nehemiah 13:2

Job 13:15

Job 36:15

Psalm 17:15

Psalm 25:17-19

Psalm 34:17-19

Psalm 44:22

Psalm 119:71

Psalm 119:75

Proverbs 3:11-12

Proverbs 13:24

Ecclesiastes 3:10-11

Ecclesiastes 7:1-4

Isaiah 28:28

Isaiah 48:10-11

Isaiah 53:10-12

Isaiah 57:1

Isaiah 60:10-15

Isaiah 60:20

Isaiah 66:2

Isaiah 66:5

Isaiah 66:7-9

Isaiah 66:13

Lamentations 3:1-32

Daniel 11:35

Hosea 5:15

Amos 5:8

Jonah 2:1-2

Matthew 5:2-12

Matthew 16:21

Matthew 26:26

Mark 9:12

Mark 10:29-30

Luke 17:25

Luke 21:26-27

Luke 24:26

Luke 24:30-31

Luke 24:35

Luke 24:46

John 12:24-27

John 13:1

John 13:10

John 13:12

John 15:2

John 15:18-20

John 16:2

John 16:20-23

John 16:33

John 17:13

John 17:14

Acts 3:18

Acts 5:41

Acts 7:24

Acts 9:16

Acts 14:22

Acts 20:23

Acts 26:23

Acts 28:20

Romans 5:3-5

Romans 6:6-9

Romans 8:17-18

Romans 8:22-23

Romans 8:28

Romans 8:32

Romans 8:35-39

Romans 12:14

1 Corinthians 3:15

1 Corinthians 4:9-14

1 Corinthians 6:7

1 Corinthians 9:12

1 Corinthians 10:16

1 Corinthians 11:32

1 Corinthians 12:26

2 Corinthians 1:4-10

2 Corinthians 4:7-11

2 Corinthians 4:15-18

2 Corinthians 5:1-2

2 Corinthians 6:4-10

2 Corinthians 7:4-6

2 Corinthians 7:9-11

2 Corinthians 7:13

2 Corinthians 8:2

2 Corinthians 11:23-27

2 Corinthians 11:30

2 Corinthians 12:5

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

2 Corinthians 12:10

Galatians 5:11

Galatians 6:12

Philippians 1:29

Philippians 2:5-9

Philippians 4:12

Philippians 4:12-13

1 Thessalonians 3:3-5

1 Thessalonians 3:8

2 Thessalonians 1:4-5

1 Timothy 4:10

2 Timothy 1:4

2 Timothy 1:8

2 Timothy 1:11-12

2 Timothy 2:3-4

2 Timothy 2:9-12

2 Timothy 3:10-12

2 Timothy 3:11

2 Timothy 4:5

Hebrews 2:10-11

Hebrews 5:7-8

Hebrews 10:32-34

Hebrews 11:25-27

Hebrews 11:32-40

Hebrews 12:3-8

Hebrews 12:9-15

Hebrews 12:25-29

Hebrews 13:3

James 1:2-4

James 5:10-11

1 Peter 1:6-7

1 Peter 1:11

1 Peter 2:18-21

1 Peter 3:9

1 Peter 3:14

1 Peter 3:17

1 Peter 3:18

1 Peter 4:1-2

1 Peter 4:13-19

1 Peter 5:6-7

1 Peter 5:9

1 Peter 5:10

2 Peter 2:2

2 Peter 3:15

Revelation 2:7

Revelation 2:10

Revelation 2:11

Revelation 2:17

Revelation 2:26

Revelation 3:5

Revelation 3:12

Revelation 3:18-19

Revelation 3:21

Revelation 7:14

Revelation 12:1-2

Revelation 21:4

Revelation 21:7

 

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