The term “mother of us all” (Gal 4:26) denotes that we are children of the heavenly Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that we have “one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” And we are to understand that God is the “Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:6) He dwells in us by the Holy Spirit. Without that Spirit we are not children. We become children by the process of birth, being “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6).
Jeremiah 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
The church is a “comely and delicate” woman. There are two women mentioned in the book of Revelation. One is found in chapter seventeen which is known as “the mother of harlots” (Rev 17:5) And another woman is seen standing on the moon in Revelation twelve. We read of her “travailing in birth.”
Revelation 12:1-5 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. …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.
There is only one woman who could be mother of this child. Her identity is revealed in Galatians 4:26: “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” She is pictured above the earth, standing on the moon. She has many children, “the remnant of her seed” (Revelation 12:17).
The process by which we become “the remnant of her seed” is birth: we are “born of the Spirit.” Therefore “ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant…” (Hebrews 12:22-24)
What does the term “firstborn” indicate? It indicates “birth.”
It indicates sonship. God said “Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (Exodus 4:22). But furthermore, we are told that “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1). Interestingly, Matthew said that this prophecy referred to Jesus Christ’s childhood sojourn in Egypt: “… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” (Matthew 2:15)
So then what is the “church of the firstborn”? Who is the son mentioned in the above verses? It is Christ “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15). Therefore we can say that the church of the firstborn is the church of Christ. And this church is built on the very identity of Christ as the Son of God, the Firstborn of heaven. It is built on the rock of ages.
Matthew 16:13-18 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Some have read this passage and thought that the church was built on Peter. But that’s not what Christ meant. He was teaching the disciples that Peter’s declaration was correct; that He is indeed the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that He is the rock on which God will build His church. In other words, He is the foundation of the building.
The very fact that Christ is the Son of God teaches us that God is His Father; not a plethora of persons, but rather a single individual. This is Christ’s identity. And in order to know your own identity, you must first know where you came from, and who you were created to be. According to the Bible, you were created to be a son of God.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Since Christ is Israel, and Israel is the firstborn, and you are Israel, you are therefore the church. “God’s building…the temple” (2 Cor 3:9, 17). You are sons of God. God is your Father.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
The Bible describes our identity as sons and daughters of God, members of the church of the Firstborn. This church is not a denomination, but rather a heavenly and holy temple, the “spirits of just men made perfect.” And there is no knowledge more important for the church than to know God and Christ as They are truly revealed in Scripture. According to the above verse, this knowledge is eternal life. But furthermore, to know God and His Son leads us to know who we are. And the devil is doing everything he can to keep you from obtaining this heavenly knowledge.
God’s Church Building
God wants us to discern where His heavenly church is located. But so many are attending their local congregations, believing that the building constructed by man down the street is “the church.”
God’s church is not the house or building where His people gather, but rather His people who are gathered in the building. And at the end of the day, when we are done assembling, we can truly say “the church has left the building.” That’s how Paul used the term.
Colossians 4:15 “and the church which is in his house.”
Philemon 1:2 “and to the church in thy house:”
1 Corinthians 16:19 “the church that is in their house.”
Romans 16:5 “the church that is in their house.”
Some ask me, “What church do you go to?” According to the Bible definition, I am the church. Therefore, if I worship with other believers, there is the church—with or without a building.
What About the Temple Made with Hands That Many Call “The Church”?
Acts 7:47-49 But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Solomon built God a house. But in truth, this is not the church. God does not dwell in buildings made with hands; He dwells in His people. Notice the following text:
Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
In this building dwells the fullness of God; this is the church of God. This building is not the building built by Solomon, nor is it the houses of worship we attend today; in the verse above, Stephen made the point that God doesn’t dwell in buildings made with hands.
So the answer to the common question, “What Church do I go to?” is, “I am God’s church, a building made without hands, the temple of the Holy Ghost, God’s house.” To be honest, I gather with others at homes and houses, and sometimes buildings. As far as denominations, I stand with the “Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.” You can identify me as a son of God, Israel, a spiritual Jew, Abraham’s seed, Christian, Protestant, and a latter-day saint, because according to the actual definition of all of those terms and scriptures this is my identity, I truly identify with each of them. I am also an Adventist since I am waiting for the soon advent of Christ. Not only one in the flesh, but one in the heart and spirit (Rom 2:28, 29).
John the Baptist once said, “think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9). And the same principle applies to Christianity today: think not to call yourselves a Christian, for God is able of stones to raise up Christians, and He is doing just that—spiritual stones built up a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).
Knowing the Spirit of God
If we don’t know the Spirit of God, we cannot know the children of God, or the church. The following question has been given as a test of the spirit: what flesh did Jesus come in? The answer is that He came in our flesh.
1 John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Did Christ come to our planet clothed in sinful human flesh two thousand years ago? Absolutely. Yet John meant even more than this. Let us examine the context of this statement. The previous verse states:
1 John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.
How do we know the Spirit of God? The Spirit of God confesses that Christ is come in the flesh. What flesh? Does this verse specify that we must merely confess that Christ came in the flesh two thousand years ago? No, there must be more. We are not only to confess that Christ came in the flesh to our world, but we must confess that Christ lives in our flesh TODAY. Right now. We read in verse four:
1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Who is in you? Who is greater than he that is in the world? Christ Jesus. “He that is in you” is “come in the flesh.” He lives in your flesh. It is Jesus Christ living in your sinful flesh today if you will confess and believe it. You merely have to accept the word of God by faith, for Jesus said that He Himself would come and live within us. The Firstborn of heaven is dwelling within His church. And this means that you who have the Spirit of Christ, are counted as Israel, God’s son, even His firstborn (Exodus 4:22).
John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
The world does not see Him, nor know Him, because the world does not know Christ. But if you know Christ, you know His Spirit. Who was dwelling with the disciples at this time? Who was going to dwell in them? Jesus is the only true Comforter of the human race. There is only “one Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor 8:6) and “the Lord is that Spirit” (2 Cor 3:17) Christ tells His disciples in the next verse:
John 14:18 I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you.
What does it mean when Christ comes to us? It means that we “know the Spirit of God” (1 John 4:2); that we “know the spirit of truth” (1 John 4:6). Will you confess “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh”—your flesh? “Greater is He that is in you.” Christ Jesus is in you; how is that possible? How can the divine Son of God dwell in you? By His Spirit. And what is His Spirit? It is His life, His character, His mind. The Bible says:
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 Now we have received… the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God… we have the mind of Christ.
1 John 4:13-15 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit… Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
There is another teaching today regarding the Holy Spirit which detracts from this Bible understanding of the Spirit of Christ. This doctrine teaches that the Spirit is a ghost being that does everything that God and Christ are unable to do for us. Yet this idea delves far beyond the information that we are given in the Bible, and robs the glory of the Father and the Son, who alone are worthy of worship; who alone answer prayer. Sadly this is truly another god, and is exalted above God and Christ by most of Christianity today.
The Bible says that when we get to heaven we will see “His face” (Rev 22:4). God has a face, not three faces. And when we get to the throne we will see “God and the Lamb” (Rev 22:1-3, 14:4, Dan 7). We will see God and His Son. God will not say, “Meet My Spirit; He is over there.”
If I ever said to you “Hi, I would like you to meet my spirit, let me go get him for you,” would you not recognize that I was misinterpreting the term “spirit” right away? My spirit is me: my character, my personality.
Someone might raise the objection that John spoke of the Spirit in the third person, and so did Jesus. Yes, John did use the third person perspective when speaking of the “spirit of truth” (1 John 4:6). He described it as “every spirit that confesseth that Christ is come in the flesh” (verses 1-3). And he said, “hereby know ye the Spirit of God…hereby we know the spirit of truth” (1 John 4:2, 6). This is how we know the Holy Spirit. We have God’s Spirit, His character. It is the river of life that flows out of the throne from the “One God, the Father, of whom are all things” and by our “One Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things” (1 Cor 8:6).
Our Identity When Christ’s Spirit Dwells in Us
Our “old man” of sin being nailed to the cross, Christ now lives in this flesh as our Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:14-15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying,
Since Christ is living in my flesh, I now have freedom from sin. I am no longer captive to it; the chains have been broken.
Whoever is a son or daughter of God does not commit sin. What makes them free from the power of sin? “His seed” remains in them. Whose seed? The seed of God the Father. And who is this seed or offspring of the Father? The Son of God, Christ Jesus. God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son to dwell in us, which is the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:14, 15), and therefore we do not sin.
This is not after twenty years of working at it; this process is birth. Unlike Christ who is “the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16), we must be “born again” (John 3:3, 7). We are adopted children. And when you are born (adopted) into the family of God, you accept God’s seed or offspring as the governing power of your mind and being. And unlike your flesh, Christ living in you does not sin, for He is of the divine nature. Therefore, you no longer commit sin, that is, make the commitment to violate His law (1 John 3:4).
We do not know everything when we first accept the word of God by faith. We have much to learn and much to unlearn. So it is possible to do things that are wrong ignorantly; that is part of growth. But we no longer commit to things we KNOW are wrong.
Therefore we need to walk humbly with God, yet be ready to walk in the light as God gives it.
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doethit not, to him it is sin.
This is not the goal that we as born-again believers work toward. It is the written word of God, and all we need to do is believe that the word is in us and will do what it says it will do. Is the word in your flesh? Will you confess it?
There is a common belief today that the church is full of sinners, or that the church consists of sinners: people who know what is right and still do what they know is wrong. This idea is a deception. Yet this is the group of people that most of Christianity today is told to identify with. They are told that it is impossible for their identity to become “Christ in you,” but rather that it must always be self and sin, the old man that is supposed to be crucified, dead and buried.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
If Christ is living in this flesh, are we still found sinners? I believe that many have this confession, and yet they think that Christ is living in their flesh. But if this were true, it would mean that Christ is a sinner.
Like Paul, our confession should be:
1 Timothy 1:13-15 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
God “saved us from our sins” (Matthew 1:21) Not in our sins. Paul “was before” chief of sinners. Did Paul continue to be chief of sinners after his
conversion? Of course not. If “we also are found sinners,” then we make “Christ the minister of sin.” Can we be found sinners after we find salvation from sin? We are to be found “saints.” Paul didn’t write “to the sinners that be at Ephesus.” He wrote “to the saints that be at Ephesus” (Eph 1:1). Some may find this statement arrogant, yet this is the word of God. And this is to be our testimony, since our testimony is to be “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:17). This is who we are to identify with. Satan wants us to deny this fact so that he can pervert the gospel.
And what was the testimony of Jesus Christ? This is an issue of identity. Many still identify with the old man: the works of the flesh. Yet God gives us victory over that man, and if we are His children, we will identify with the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
This is the plain word of God, but do we believe it? Will we accept this plain statement of the Lord, or will we continue working at overcoming and yet continue to identify with the flesh? The old man must die first before Christ can live in you (Romans7:1-4).
Forgetting your Identity
We are to have “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 12:17) We must never fail to recognize who we are as partakers of the divine nature. What was His testimony?
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
Since Christ is living in us, we can confess that our Father has not left us alone. Can we not also confess that we “do always those things that please Him”? Can our Father say when looking at us, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”? (Matt 3:17) Or are we sons of someone else?
John 8:34-42 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
It is clear that the Jews had an identity crisis. They really believed they were children of God, yet they had not received the Word, Christ Jesus, into the soul. They were not partakers of the Spirit of Christ, but of the spirit of antichrist. If we are confessing that we are still sinners, then we are not confessing that Christ is come in the flesh; and therefore the Spirit of God is not in us, but rather the spirit of antichrist.
Satan’s constant purpose is to lead you to question your identity. He wants you to doubt that you are God’s son or daughter. Just as he came to Jesus in the wilderness, he now comes to you, trying to force you to prove yourself. He says to you, “You are not a son of God. This old sinner here, this is the real you,” and he points at all the works of the flesh that you once did, tempting you to identify with that dead man.
If Jesus has paid the price for your sins, give them to Him. Don’t keep what He paid for. Submit yourself to God, and Satan will flee. Let go of your past life, and let Christ live in you freely. Remember your identity, and don’t let Satan trick you into selling the birthright for a bowl of pottage, and end up begging for your inheritance with tears like Esau. (Heb 12:16) You are not Esau; you are Israel, His firstborn, His son. (Exodus 4:22, Heb 12:23)
You have been born again by the Holy Spirit. You have received new life by faith in the word of God to perform its promises in you. He has forgiven you, and what’s more, He has given you a new life.
“…Even now are there many antichrists.” (1 John 2:1) Is it possible that even you have been an antichrist; that you have refused our Father’s offer of sonship, the Spirit of God, Christ in you, the new covenant promise, and His promise to write His law on your heart?
Our Father bids us “go and sin no more” (John 8:11), and with that word comes the power and the ability to do what the word says, since it is the living Word of God, Jesus Christ.
“The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14) and you are living proof as long as you will believe, accept, and live it. Then you can truly “confess that Christ is come in the flesh.” “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God” (1 John 4:2, 3). If you can make this confession, that Christ is come in your flesh, it is evident that you truly know the Comforter that the world does not know. You also know the children of God, and can see the kingdom of God, and the true church of God. It is impossible for the world to know these things. (John 14:17, 1 John 3:1, John 3:3-7) Therefore it is impossible for the world to know the true church, since “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he knowthem, because they are spiritually discerned.” ( 1 Cor 2:14)
Now, what does all of this have to do with good health? Maintaining health is all about value. When you realize how much you are worth as a son or daughter of the Most High, the place where Christ abides by His Spirit, you take care of yourself. You treat yourself with respect.