He is not here, HE IS Risen!

We are familiar with the saying, “It is the darkest just before the dawn.” This is also a spiritual truth. Look at the account of creation.

And the earth was without form [chaos], and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light:” and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Gen 1:2-5, KJ2000 – emphasis added)

The above passage is rich with spiritual meaning. God is all about light because He is the Father of it. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas 1:17, KJ2000). The story of creation begins with darkness but ends with light. Notice how it starts with spiritual darkness, but ends with His spiritual light shining forth from His people.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. (Isa 60:1-2, ESV2011)

One might read the above verses about creation and think that it is talking about an absence of photons that made all this darkness. Yet, the sources of light as we know them–the sun, moon and stars–were not created until the fourth day! The darkness we read about here is caused by a lack of spiritual light, the presence of God’s Spirit, yet the earth begins in darkness. (I believe that this darkness and chaos on the earth was the result of the battle between the archangel Michael and his angels and Lucifer and those seduced by him when Satan was cast down to the earth [see Revelation 12:7-9]). Into this situation God said, “Let there be light” and there was light and God saw that it was good.” The word good in a spiritual context is always descriptive of God and His will. When Jesus was called “Good Master” by a Pharisee, He stopped him in his tracks by saying, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” So you see when God calls something “good,” it is because He is in it. He is our source of Light, and without His light we dwell in darkness. Also notice that God counts time differently than we do. He starts out with the evening and darkness. Our days start at midnight. They start in darkness and end in darkness. Not so with God. So we read in the creation account, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” His Light always “gets the final word” with God. He and those who are His are always victorious in anything He does. Darkness never prevails if we abide in Him instead of getting sucked in by the Prince of Darkness.

When we come to Christ, it’s because our Father has said, “Let there be Light” It’s the life of Christ that gives us light. John wrote about Jesus saying,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4, KJV – emphasis added)

Paul wrote,

But all things, when their true nature is seen, are made manifest by His light: because everything which is made clear is light. For this reason he says, “Be awake, you who are sleeping, and come up from among the dead, and Christ will be your light.” (Eph 5:13-14, BBE)

We were once dead in our sins, but now we have been made alive IN Christ. We started out our lives in spiritual darkness and God set out to reclaim us from the domain of the devil. He is the father of darkness and Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God by following the incitements of Satan against God’s command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent said to Eve, “For God knows that if you eat of this tree you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” He was offering them a short cut to be gods without being in submission to their Creator. But Eve saw that the tree was pleasant to look upon, that it was good to eat and it would make her wise, so she ate of its fruit and gave it to Adam and he did eat and immediately they saw that they were naked. Guilt entered into their lives for the first time. This was the first fruit of this new knowledge that they acquired. So they hid themselves from God and mankind has been in darkness ever since.

But God had a plan in mind to circumvent Satan’s ploy from the beginning. He would send His Son in the form of a man to die for our sins in our place. And not only that, He would put His Spirit within us and write His laws upon our new hearts (See Jerimiah 31:32 and Ezekiel 11:19). Paul wrote,

Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5:18-19, KJ2000)

At some point in our life’s journey we discover that we are bankrupt and can’t live our life without making mess of it and we call out to Him for help. And by His grace we become born again and His Spirit is placed within us. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

This “evening and morning” in our lives is our first day in His Spirit realm. But His creation process continues on in us. The light of God within us is forever taking new ground and the increase of His government within us never ends. God said in the beginning, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” He created Adam and Eve in His own image, but the likeness part is a process and needs our cooperation if we are to be made like Christ. The Apostle John wrote,

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1John 3:2-3, ESV2011)

And how do we go about purifying ourselves when we are so helpless? Paul gave us the answer.

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Rom 6:13, ESV2011)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2Thess 2:16-17, ESV2011)

It is all done by Jesus Christ Himself and our Father. All we can do is yield to them while they do the work, This is what it means to walk by faith and to enter into His seventh day rest.

Why Must We Go Through a Spiritual Wilderness?

At some point by His grace, God has to do a deeper work in us than was done at the point when we became born again. We start out thinking (or are told), now that we are born again, that we need to join a church. Never mind that according to the scriptures all who are born from above and have the Spirit within them ARE the Church of God! Soon, we find one and as we attend that church the teachings of the pastor become our all. But the scripture says that Christ is our All in all. The problem with all this is knowledge puffs us up and makes us proud (see 1 Corinthians 8:1). Then pride starts to grow within us and God has to resist the proud, even as He gives grace to the humble. Darkness starts to cast its shadow over us once again because Jesus warned,

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. (Matt 23:8-10, ESV2011)

David knew that God was His all when he wrote, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” But our church leaders insist that we need human shepherds and teachers even though God has put His Spirit within us. Men can be a help in our walk as long as they don’t take the place of Jesus in our lives, but all too often this is what happens. In our immaturity we sit in our padded nests with mouths open, expecting the holy man up front to give us all we need. Yet, Jesus told us that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would lead us into all truth not man. About this usurping of the Holy Spirit in our lives, Apostle John warned,

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing [the Holy Spirit] that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. (1John 2:26-27, ESV2011)

In order to do this deeper work in us He has to dislodge our need for human teachers and all that we have learned that was not from Him. These things block His light from going deeper within our hearts. I think it was A. W. Tozer that said, “God seems to be more interested in un-teaching us than filling our minds with new information.”

It is here that our Father has to take drastic action. Dislodging false teachings of men from our souls is especially difficult when we think they were put there by God. He has to put us back in a time of darkness where no new input comes into our souls from the outside. During this time we are cut off from all Christian fellowship. Even reading the Bible seems blah to us. Our soul is starved of any new input that could puff us up. But during this time He teaches us in a way that our flesh cannot capitalize on it. He subliminally gives us His spiritual food that we can draw from later. If He were to do anything overt in us, our flesh would seize it, get puffed up and try to minister to others once again The flesh would even try and package up what He is teaching us so it can be sold! All that old self centered motivation has to die. He cuts us off from all external support and we find ourselves in what has been called a wilderness experience or the dark night of the soul. As we try to search out what has happened to us, we soon find that the Bible is full of God’s people who had to dwell in a time of wilderness and being a prisoner in their lives; Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, many of the prophets, Paul of Tarsus, the Apostle John and even Jesus had to suffer being cut off from the land of the living and their own people for a season. I never heard this truth from any pulpit ministry because it is strange to most of them. Like Jesus said, “Your time is always, but my time is not yet come.” No, God has to teach each of us these things by His Spirit if we are to go on in Christ and not just spend our lives in a lukewarm Laodicean church. Isaiah spoke of this spiritual condition among those who fear the Lord,

Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay on his God. (Isa 50:10, AKJV)

There are many “evenings and mornings” in our spiritual lives in Christ because our God is like a refiner’s fire. His gold (the righteousness of Christ) within us is heated and let cool seven times in the fire to remove all the soulish human dross that mingles with it. But the first firing we go through is the worst because it is totally strange to us and we think that Father has cast us out and forsaken us. Like David and Jesus on the cross, we cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” But somehow the faith of Christ within us sustains us through this terrible time of testing. T. Austin-Sparks wrote,

“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then said Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended in me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matt. 26:30-32).

Here the Mount is the place of the eclipse of all the earthly. It is rather remarkable and impressive how one thing moves into another like this. It is as though you are in one continuous, unbroken movement; the Mount of Olives bringing out in clear revelation this thing which has to go [Jesus had just spoken the words found in Matthew ch. 24 and told them that the whole temple system would be destroyed and eventually much of the earth and its people before the end comes], and the Mount of Olives again showing how it is going [to be], and bringing them right into the eclipse of all that. They were still clinging, still holding on for something here. Now it is shown that that is going into midnight, going to be blotted out, and so far as they are tied up with it, they are going to be blotted out, they will go with it if they are bound up with it, and their only hope is that they come out on to other ground altogether.

What a terrific thing is the breaking of the earthly and the natural things! Just look at these men when this word was fulfilled – all made to stumble, offended because of Him, scattered abroad, disintegrated in every way; personally in themselves, broken to pieces, shattered; among themselves, scattered, no one trusting the other’s report. Nobody is being trusted. Yes, a real scattering in every way. What a shattering thing it is to be delivered from the old, earthly attachment, even in the things of God. Your world goes to pieces. When God brings you into view of His real spiritual order of things, the real nature of His work in this dispensation, your world eclipses, disintegrates, and you go into the dark, you do not know where you are. You have lost one world and so far you are not [gone] right through into the other. It is midnight. [1]

This pretty well describes what I had to go through starting in May of 1980 when Mount Saint Helens blew up and we were downwind and covered with ash. But that was only the start of Him blowing away all that I thought was of Him in my life, because my wonderful church fellowship disintegrated shortly thereafter and I was soon cut off on every side, even financially.

Just a few hours earlier before Jesus let them know that all they related to as the kingdom of God would be done away with, these disciples wanted to take Jesus on a tour of the temple buildings to show Him their wonders, but to this Jesus replied, “You see all these things? I tell you not one stone will be left upon another until it is all thrown down.” Before the last one of them would die, Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed and raised to the ground by the Roman army. Their religious beliefs still had a hold on them. They were still enamored with the things of this world, earthy things like “my ministry” in His new earthly government arguing over who would sit on His right and who would sit on His left. And on top of all that Jesus, their Messiah, told them He was leaving them and not setting up an earthly kingdom at all, but that God’s kingdom was spiritual and was within them and it would not come with outward observation. In fact He prophesied against that bloody city that they worshiped in saying,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt 23:37-39, ESV2011)

It was no different for me. After some time He made it clear to me that I would never be a platform speaker in front of the masses in Christendom as I had envisioned. Like Jesus said about a seed, unless it falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it does it will bring forth much fruit. That which falls into the ground and dies is not the same thing that springs forth. I never dreamed that He would have me write what He had been showing me since 1980. In the natural, writing and the English language were my weakest subject in school and He would not have it any other way. All that book learning and any degrees I had accumulated were worthless in His sight along with most of what I had learned sitting at the feet of Christian teachers. It only got in the way. Not one stone would be left upon another in my life. It all had to go so there could be a NEW Easter rising in me. If you want to read my testimony about this period of my life it can be found here.[2]

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4, ESV2011)

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come… (2Cor 5:16-18, ESV2011)

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…” (Rev 21:5, ESV2011)

HE IS RISEN and so are we. HALLALUJAH!

[1] http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/003271.html

[2] http://www.awildernessvoice.com/ThirtyYears.html

14 comments on “He is not here, HE IS Risen!

  1. Wow, Michael, what a long article! It seems to me with this writing God wanted to shine a light on that which we call ‘darkness’ as we do not like such experiences by nature. It is only if we have gone through several long and dark periods when we finally sense God’s presence in the darkness, too. These dark nights or wildernesses are necessary to pull us out of our soulish ways of feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting and touching things of the visible realm. In this darkness God puts His new nature into us so that we detect later – with much joy – that we have received five spiritual senses, too, with which we can taste, see, hear, feel and touch God as well as all life divine.

    You might remember that during my first dark night (of the soul) which began in 2000, my only help after having left the cult we were in were John of the Cross’ books, in particular the one about the two dark nights. The second night which is called the dark night of the spirit is a much longer and thoroughly more painful period during which we are finally being made one spirit with God and Christ. I just found an excerpt from John of the Cross here I sometimes quoted to you before which explains why God’s tender and loving light is, esp. at first (on the first day as you said above), so hard to endure for our souls.

    “But it may be asked: Why does the soul call the divine light, which enlightens the soul and purges it of its ignorances, the dark night? I reply, that the divine wisdom is, for two reasons, not night and darkness only, but pain and torment also to the soul. The first is, the divine wisdom is so high that it transcends the capacity of the soul, and therefore is, in that respect, darkness. The second reason is based on the meanness and impurity of the soul, and in that respect the divine wisdom is painful to it, afflictive and dark also.”

    ― St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul (1)

    And here is another quote by the same author that sheds some light on the the reason why it is good for us to walk toward the light fully wrapped in God’s darkness.

    “The reason why the soul not only travels securely when it thus travels in the dark, but makes even greater progress, is this: In general the soul makes greater progress when it least thinks so, yea, most frequently when it imagines that it is losing. Having never before experienced the present novelty which dazzles it, and disturbs its former habits, it considers itself as losing, rather than as gaining ground, when it sees itself lost in a place it once knew, and in which it delighted, traveling by a road it knows not, and in which it has no pleasure. As a traveler into strange countries goes by ways strange and untried, relying on information derived from others, and not upon any knowledge of his own—it is clear that he will never reach a new country but by new ways which he knows not, and by abandoning those he knew—so in the same way the soul makes the greater progress when it travels in the dark, not knowing the way. But inasmuch as God Himself is here the guide of the soul in its blindness, the soul may well exult and say, “In darkness and in safety,” now that it has come to a knowledge of its state.”

    ― St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul (1)

    This darkness has been our protection from the enemy, just as you wrote above, my brother. There is no knowledge we could share with others as we do not even know ourselves any longer. We cannot get puffed up that easily as we have started to love the Living God. ❤ ❤ ❤

    “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (1 Cor 8:2-3 ESV)

    [ Wow, Susanne, what a long comment! 🙂 ]

    (1) https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1911605.Juan_de_la_Cruz?page=2

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, you also wrote,

      “This darkness has been our protection from the enemy, just as you wrote above, my brother. There is no knowledge we could share with others as we do not even know ourselves any longer. We cannot get puffed up that easily as we have started to love the Living God. ❤ ❤ ❤ “

      You are so right, Susanne. His darkness has kept us in a low profile as far as religious men were concerned. We have been an anomaly to those who have not experience our Fathers deeper ways of dealing with their souls. They might say to us, “You must have really sinned to have to go through so much darkness. Don’t you know that God is light and in Him there is no darkness?” But the verses I shared from the Old Testament below show that yes, He is light, but He often cloaks Himself in darkness when dealing with those He loves. Yes, our relationship with our loving Father is one in which we do our best to avoid offending Him because of that love.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Michael says:

    Yes, Wow! The way John of the Cross writes, it will take much contemplation and help from the Spirit to understand and digest it. But I think that in his way he was sharing a lot of what I have seen in my walk. I know that Father kept me in the dark for all those years so He could teach me deeper things of the Spirit without my light seeking, sensual soul getting excited over it and using it to draw attention to itself among others. If He had He would have undone the death that my soul was suffering and the process would have to start over again.

    Our God cloaks Himself in darkness often when dealing with soulish man. I think of the darkness that swept over Egypt that Passover night Then there was the darkness that Abraham experienced when God accepted His sacrifice. And how about the darkness accompanied by an earthquake at 3PM that covered Jerusalem as Jesus was dying on the cross? But to Him it is all the same. David and the prophets experience Him in their darkest hours. Here are some verses from the Old Testament and how I have come to understand them and His ways.

    If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” ​even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Ps 139:11-12, ESV2011)

    What seems as darkness to our souls is His light to our spirits.

    ​And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. (Isa 42:16, ESV2011)

    Even when we are blind He works His miracle of lighting the way for us.

    Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. ​I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. (Mic 7:8-9, ESV2011)

    Yes, even when we sit in darkness as our souls perceive it, He is there lighting the way and even when we fall He is there to lift us up. Even when we sin against Him and He corrects us with His rod, HE pleads our cause, shines light on our errors and executes judgment on us so that we might be truly vindicated in Christ.

    Thank you, dear sister, for sharing your experience and the light you have seen while sitting under the cloak of His darkness.

    Your brother in the Son forever,

    Michael

    Liked by 3 people

    • Btw, Michael, I felt nudged to write a poem, a story about the narrow path or the dark night of the soul leading to eternal life and God’s love. If you are interested, here is the link.

      https://susanneschuberth.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/gods-love-and-life-eternal/

      Your sister in Christ,
      Susanne

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Oh Susanne, thank you for sharing your spirit’s journey with us through this poem. It is easy to see that your heaven bound journey continues to this day. As I read it I was thinking of Jesus’ words,

        “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you.Because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.” (Matt 7:7-8, ISV)

        And this is what you have done, dear heart, and because of your persistence you keep receiving, keep finding and you keep knocking on the doors that have been before you and they keep opening up to you. The story of the persistent widow who would not let the Judge have any rest until she got her request, reminds me of you. When it comes to our heavenly quest, our Father loves it when we do not give up. As we grow in Christ our horizons only grow larger. That city four square is beyond being confined by human limitations. I thank Jesus for sending us the Holy Spirit so that we are no longer limited by our five natural senses, but are being given spiritual ones so we may see His greatness with new eyes, hear the one who speaks, the Word of God, smell the sweetness of His presence, feel His heavenly touch when He draws near, and taste and see that the Lord is good.

        We love you in Christs heavenly love, ❤ ❤ ❤
        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are most welcome, Michael. I am happy to hear this poem spoke to you. 🙂

        In fact, I sometimes had this persistent widow on my mind as it seemed to me that I had not given up on seeking Him until recently as my whole spiritual life rather felt like DEATH. But then, as I did not expect from Him anything any more during my lifetime here on earth, only then He came and saved me out of my miry pit.

        I recall that John of the Cross in his book (“The Dark Night of the Soul”) wrote that as long as we want Him to do something or to expect Him to be close to us soon, we will be disappointed again and again. But heaven eventually opens up to man when we do not really hope for this miracle any longer. It appears to me that all our soulish striving must have come to an end before, too. Indeed, we need to finally acknowledge that without Him we can do NOTHING. Period.

        “As we grow in Christ our horizons only grow larger. That city four square is beyond being confined by human limitations. I thank Jesus for sending us the Holy Spirit so that we are no longer limited by our five natural senses, but are being given spiritual ones so we may see His greatness with new eyes, hear the one who speaks, the Word of God, smell the sweetness of His presence, feel His heavenly touch when He draws near, and taste and see that the Lord is good.”

        Amen, my brother. Could not be put better! ⭐

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, It is such a blessing to be on this spiritual journey through God’s heavenly realm with you. It just occurred to me that we are living what John Bunyon wrote about in his book “Pilgrim’s Progress.” He always had a companion in that book. I think of Pilgrim and Faithful walking together. Amazing!

        “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1Thess 5:23-24, HCSB)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have not read this book, Michael, but I believe we are on a more beautiful journey together with Him than we might have ever expected or hoped for. I see myself as a pilgrim and I believe God can be trusted as He alone is faithful.

        This is funny, Michael. We keep pasting our comments from my poetry blog to yours on here and on SSP you left out this Scripture about God being faithful. Same time, same thought once again, it seems. STST!! 🙂

        Like

      • Michael says:

        Our experiencing so many things together at the same time as we walk together on this heavenly quest is totally amazing! This has been an answer to my prayers ever since I read the following passage that Jesus prayed and asked this to happen in my life.

        “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:17-21, ESV2011)

        I have read John Bunyon’s book and I keep remembering Pilgrim walking together with his friend, Faithful. Faithful is He who has called us together IN HIm, He is doing it! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amen, Michael. Very well put!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        😇🕊️😇

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You are very welcome, Michael. What you just wrote above hits the nail on the head,

    What seems as darkness to our souls is His light to our spirits.

    Amen to that! 😇🕊️💡

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Powerful. Thank you, Michael. By the way, that verse from Psalm 139 is one of my favorites. Blessings, A.

    Liked by 3 people

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