In this fifth and final article concerning the development of the Divine purpose in men, we summarise and enlarge upon some aspects of what brother Thomas wrote in the excellent section in Eureka Volume 1—The Mystery of Godliness Apocalypsed in Symbol—and consider the final phase of the Manifestation, the perfection of our bodies.

It is common to regard the bestowal of eternal life as the ultimate reward of the righteous, which it undoubtedly is. But it is more than a reward, it is a necessity, for reasons we shall show. It was first also a necessity for Jesus of Nazareth to be of the same nature as his brethren. For had his body been like that of angels, it would have been unfit for the purpose of the Deity in His manifestation. He would not have been in a position to condemn sin in the very medium of its influence, flesh; he would not have been able through death, to destroy that which hath the power of death, the devil.

Further, had the Lord not been made a little lower than the angels, obedience under trial would not have been a matter of choice for him, but necessity. His mortality therefore gave scope for the exercise of volition, his freewill, in the conquest of self under trial. And herein lies the key to the whole matter. It is in willing submission to the will of the Father that He is honoured and from which He derives pleasure. If Yahweh is honoured in our life and death it will be His glory to raise us up. If we give pleasure to Him then it will be the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.

The trial of our faith gives scope for the de- velopment and expression of character, without which we would be of no interest to the Deity. Thus it pleased the Father to make the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings. The flesh is a necessary basis for this, so that when the Captain is joined by his many brethren in glory they will all have attained it on the principle of voluntary obedience, motivated by faith. And having overcome, he invites them to sit with him in his throne even as he overcame and now sits with his Father in His throne.

Perfection of nature is the end of a process that begins with perfection of character. This is the pattern of Divine manifestation illustrated in the life of our Lord. “Behold,” said he, “I cast out demons, and I do cures to-day, and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” The Lord first showed perfection of character in a faultless life, revealing all of the moral attributes of his Father as in a mirror. Afterwards he was granted perfection of nature being at the right hand of God exalted, his corruptible body transformed into a spirit-body; a body developed and energized by the radiant spirit of the Eternal Uncreate.

This is all very well for the Lord Jesus who was perfect in every way, but what of his less than perfect brethren?

For them also, perfection of nature is a matter of necessity.

In the beginning Yahweh decreed that every seed should bring forth fruit “after its kind”. Later he was to re-assert this in relation to His people “Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? Shall I cause to bring forth and shut the womb?”

This principle holds equally true for spiritual seed as it does for natural. That which is begotten of the spirit is spirit, as that which is begotten of the flesh is flesh (John 3:6), so that John could write, “These things have I written unto you that ye may know that ye have eternal life”. How did John arrive at this startling assertion? He advances two reasons, Love and Faith. Those that love God are assured of eternal life argues John, for they have nothing to fear from a God they love. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have openness in the day of judgment… he that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16-18). John then proceeds to show that love is a product of faith and faith in its turn is the sign of spirit begettal. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him… Whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, our faith.” (5:1,4)

To believe the testimony of God’s son, says John, is to be begotten of spirit seed, the seed of the word of God. That conception having taken place, it must inevitably manifest itself in a birth after its kind, a birth of a spirit being, made in the image of his Creator. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son”, concludes John (5:11).

Spirit nature, eternal life, is therefore the inevitable outcome of Divinely initiated process. However it is not a blind process driven by the nature of things but serves a lofty and inspiring ideal. An ideal which the Lord poured forth hours before he went to Golgotha. The ideal of perfect unity. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me…that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us… And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” In this prayer the Lord desired to share with his disciples of all ages the ineffable joy of oneness with his Father. Then they would share His character, and His Glory. Such a perfection as this is consubstantiality with the Deity; who, by His spirit is manifested in them all, as the ELOHIM OF ISRAEL, and sons of the Highest—the WHO He said He would become, when he communed with Moses at the bush—I Will Be Who I Will Be.

The Psalmist also argued the necessity of the spirit birth.

The praises of Yahweh endure for ever, maintains the Psalmist (111:18). Only eternal praise befits the One Who sitteth in the heavens. So “ What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?” cries the psalmist. “Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?” Clearly not. Then, “Hear, O Yahweh, and have mercy upon me: Yahweh, be thou my helper”, he implores. Why does he ask this? “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Yahweh my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever” (30:9,10,12).

The Psalmist identifies two reasons why he desires to live. They are not selfish reasons, but are focused in God. First, so that he may continue to praise Yahweh and second, that he may give thanks to Yahweh. For those whose lives are lives of praise to Yahweh, they cannot stay in the grave, for the only appropriate praise for Him is eternal praise. In the hearts of those that dwell for ever in His house, gratitude to God becomes the reigning sentiment and they will be found “still praising” Him, long after sun and moon have ceased to shine (Psalm 84:4; 115:17,18 etc).