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Blog Series - Defining Key Biblical ConceptsView All Parts
Psalm 2:8 tells us that the nations are our inheritance. Matthew 5:5 says that we will inherit the earth. As far as our relative position is concerned, Romans 8:17 tells us that we are fellow heirs with Christ. In other words, our inheritance is not self-derived but depends fully upon Christ receiving His inheritance as King.
There is, however, a more basic inheritance that we must receive in order to rule the nations properly. We must be changed fully into His image, so that all of our decisions and verdicts are precisely those that Christ would do if He were to make those decisions personally. The rulers of the earth, then, must be in full agreement with Him. Philippians 2:5 KJV says,
5 Let this mind [phroneo] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word phroneo means “to exercise the mind” and has to do with one’s opinions. Hence, our study of the word, along with the leading of the Spirit, is designed to conform our opinions to that of Christ Himself. If our views are different from His, then the Spirit still has work to do in our minds.
We are expected to renew our minds even now, so that we may “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is” (Romans 12:2). This is obviously a process, and it is linked to our wilderness journey in our time of Pentecostal training. At some point, however, we will experience a flash point, where we will be “changed” in a moment (1 Corinthians 15:52). This will complete our training and allow us to reign with Christ in the fullest sense of the word.
Some put off reigning until the resurrection; others say that we are already raised from the dead and are to reign in the earth here and now with a victorious life. These are not mutually exclusive. Both are true. The fact that the old man has died and we have also been raised to “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) is the basis of our daily walk today.
But this “resurrection” is imputed or reckoned as a legal act, in the same manner that our flesh has been crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6). It is on a legal level, God calling what is not as though it were. The legal act is a decree from heaven that brings our resurrected life into existence. Existence, however, is not the same as manifestation. Note that all things came into existence when God spoke the creative word in the beginning, but not all things were manifested in the earth until its appointed time.
A Change of Clothing
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, Paul compares our bodies to clothing, tents, and houses. He says that we have an “earthly tent which is our house,” but that we also have “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” We live in this present house (body), but our hope is for a heavenly house (body). In this present house, “we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:2).
In other words, our hope is to have a change of clothing—or to move into a new house or tent which is currently being held in reserve in heaven. It is clear that we are not currently dressed in heavenly garments, otherwise, we would not “groan, being burdened” (2 Corinthians 5:4). The great apostle clearly includes himself in this groaning, so we are not alone.
How We Lost This Clothing
Adam lost his heavenly garments when he sinned, for only then did he discover that he was “naked” (Genesis 2:25; 3:10). The Hebrew concept of nakedness refers not only to physical nakedness but also to spiritual nakedness. For example, the church of Laodicea did not realize that it was naked (Revelation 3:18).
Likewise, speaking of the heavenly clothing, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:3,
3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
In other words, being clothed in garments of mortality, we are spiritually naked, for our mortal and corruptible condition before God is thereby exposed. It is only when we finally put on our heavenly garments that we “will not be found naked.”
When Adam and Eve sinned, God took away their heavenly garments, and so they found themselves naked. God then clothed them with alternate garments, which were physical (earthly). Genesis 3:21 says,
21 The Lord made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Mankind has remained in this condition since that time. Although they are clothed physically, they remain naked spiritually. Their garments of mortality allow them limited lifespans. They have life but only on a low level.
Meanwhile, Paul says that our heavenly garments are being reserved for us in heaven. We have not yet been clothed with those garments, but we have been given a pledge assuring us that we will indeed receive them at some point in time. That pledge is the Holy Spirit.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:5,
5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge [arrabon].
Paul uses the Hebrew word arrabon in describing this “pledge.” The word was used a number of times in Genesis 38 in the story of Judah and Tamar. Tamar was Judah’s widowed daughter-in-law. The law commanded that if a man died, his brother was supposed to raise up an heir to inherit the estate, but when Tamar’s husband died, Judah refused to let his son Shelah marry her.
So Tamar pretended to be a harlot and sat along the road, knowing that Judah would soon pass by. When Judah saw her, he hired her, not knowing who she was, for her face remained covered. Judah had no money with him, so he gave her a pledge (arrabon). Genesis 38:16-18 says,
16 And he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He said, therefore, “I will send a young goat from the flock.” She said, moreover, will you give a pledge [arrabon] until you send it?” 18 He said, “What pledge [arrabon] shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.
Later, he sent a friend to pay her with the young goat and to get back that which he had pledged as collateral, but his friend could not find her. He did not know how to retrieve his pledge until a few months later when it became apparent that Tamar was pregnant. Only then was it revealed who the father of her child was.
The point is that Judah’s seal, cord, and staff were not given to Tamar as a downpayment (earnest) on his debt. Earnest money is partial payment, which the purchaser does not expect to get back. A pledge is collateral, which Judah expected to get back when she received the young goat.
So when 2 Corinthians 5:5 KJV renders arrabon as an “earnest,” it is incorrect. The NASB is correct in rendering it “a pledge.”
Paul tells us, then, that the Holy Spirit was given to us as a pledge (collateral) in regard to our heavenly garments that God is holding for us. Only debtors pay pledges. That means God has acknowledged Himself to be our Debtor! How?
In the Garden, when Adam sinned, he became a debtor, because all sin is reckoned as a debt. So God took his garment as a pledge on Adam’s debt. Four thousand years later, Jesus came as the last Adam to pay the debt of the first Adam. This was paid in full by His own blood.
At that point, God should have given the pledge back to Adam (and his heirs). But instead, God chose to reserve these heavenly garments in heaven until the time of the end. That is what made God a Debtor, and He then gave us the Holy Spirit as a pledge on His debt to us. This is seen only by understanding the meaning of arrabon.
Clothing as an Inheritance
This heavenly clothing, or “house,” is our inheritance, from which we are able to reign with Christ and inherit the earth. Up until now, we have not been able fully to inherit the nations, because the Holy Spirit has been functioning as a pledge on God’s debt to us. While there is much that we can do with such a pledge, we can do much more with the inheritance that has been pledged to us.
Paul refers to this clothing as a “house” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 2). The heavenly “house” is the “mansion” that Jesus talked about in John 14:2 KJV. The NASB reads,
2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places [monay, “staying places; abodes, residences”]; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
Many picture these as literal houses (“mansions”) built on Golden Street. But in fact, these are spiritual houses, defined by the apostle as the garment or house in which we dwell. In this case, the heavenly house is the residence of our conscious identity that makes us “us.” We will take our “mansion” with us wherever we go as we rule the nations in the age to come. So Jesus instructed His disciples in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” The Greek word used is meno, the verb form of the noun monay (abiding place).
Our inheritance is not a mansion in the sky but an abiding place in Christ. John 15:7, 8 says,
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified in this…
Earlier, when talking about the Holy Spirit who was soon to come, Jesus said in John 14:12-14,
12 Truly, truly [Amen, Amen], I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
Here John uses the Hebrew word “Amen,” within the flow of the Greek text. Both Paul and John did this occasionally. The term is used to bear witness to the truth of what is being said. When we abide in Christ, when Christ Himself is our dwelling place, our mansion, we will then do greater works than even He did during His ministry on earth. When we abide in Him fully, we will fully have the mind of Christ. We will be in full agreement with Him, and for this reason, everything we ask of the Father will be in accordance with His will. Hence, our prayer requests will always be answered, even as everything Jesus asked was also granted.
This is the remarkable inheritance that awaits us when God gives us the heavenly garments that He owes us. Is not this inheritance far better than a mansion in heaven?
Blog Series - Defining Key Biblical ConceptsView All Parts