Church of God, Carmichael, CA

and other spirits 

D. O. Teasley, May 15, 1903

[Original Page Numbers]


Earnest of the Spirit

  The earnest of the Spirit is mentioned only three times in the New Testament, each time being translated from the Greek word "arrabon," meaning a pledge. In the law the earnest, or pledge is given when anything is bought and not delivered at the time of buying. Paul uses it this way in Ephesians, the first chapter and the thirteenth and fourteenth verses. Says he, "In whom (Christ) also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

  "The purchased possession" here referred to is heaven and immortal glory, of which possession the Holy Spirit is an earnest. Anciently, it is said, when a purchase was made the purchaser was presented with a part of the thing purchased as an earnest, or pledge, that he should have the whole. Thus if a man bought a piece of real estate he was presented with a cupful of earth from his piece of land as an earnest that the whole should be his. Sometimes money was used as the pledge; and various other articles. God has, so to speak, given us a cupful of our eternal inheritance, which we are to have and to hold until the heaven of heavens is really ours and in our actual possession. Thank God for the pledge of His grace.

  In Ephesians Paul connects the earnest of the Spirit with the seal of the Spirit. And in Corinthians, as will be seen in the following text, he has it connected with the anointing of the Holy Spirit as well as with the sealing: "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 2 Cor. 1:21, 22.

  The anointing, sealing, and earnest of the Spirit are indeed the same thing in reality, and are only different in the natural symbol used to bring out different phases of the Spirit's operations.

  The most convincing proof of the authenticity of the Bible is the "earnest of the Spirit in our hearts"; and who could ask a better proof of heaven after this world than a foretaste of heaven [65] in our souls? If the real possession of immortality is even as blessed—and we have every reason to believe it better far— as the foretaste we now enjoy, then our covenant with God is a good one, and worth ten thousand lives in this world. In the language of Jerome we are made to exclaim: "If the earnest was so great, how great must be the possession?" The pledge of His promise is more than we could ask of one who "is faithful." Who can draw from theology, logic, or science as convincing proof of the supernatural as the "earnest of the Spirit in our hearts"? And why will Christians spend so much time endeavoring to find out God by worldly wisdom, when "the world by wisdom knew not God"? The Greeks sought after wisdom, and the Jews required a sign: but let us "taste and see that the Lord is good."

  Something similar to an earnest is mentioned in Revelation, the second chapter and the seventeenth verse. "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 name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

  The white stone among the ancients was used for several different purposes. It was used by judges to denote that their decision was to acquit a prisoner, while the black stone was used to denote condemnation. It was used to denote friendship, or as a pledge of friendship and hospitality. As a ticket to a public feast or banquet, the Romans used a white stone which they called a "tessera"; it was also given as a certificate to successful gladiators.

  In the foregoing text it would seem from the clause "to him that overcometh," that the Roman practice of giving a tessera to the gladiators is referred to. We are said to wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness; and if we are overcomers we are promised a tessera, which will also give us admittance to the feast of "hidden manna."

  Possibly the reason it is spoken of as the "hidden manna" is, that the Jews believed that the ark of the covenant, which contained the golden pot of manna, together with some other sacred things, was hidden by King Josiah when Jerusalem was besieged and captured by the king of Babylon. They believed also that this ark together with its contents, would be discovered when the Messiah came. And so it was; and the overcomers are eating of the spiritual manna, which is hidden to the blinded Jews. [66]

  Only those who have the tessera, which can only be purchased by overcoming, can eat of the hidden manna; but those who have it may enter and partake of the feast, while to the rest, the manna is hidden. When Jesus comes in final judgment those who have the white stone shall enter in with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb and sup wine with Him in the Kingdom of glory. Dear reader, have you the white stone which will admit you to the feast? If not, remember it is promised to the overcomer.

  From the latter clause of the text it would seem that the tessera of friendship or hospitality is referred to. In this pledge or earnest, a stone was divided between two persons, on which the names of both were engraved, each one taking the piece which bore the other's name. This tessera entitled the holder to the hospitalities of the other for life, and no one else was to know of or see the name in the stone. When lodging, food, or any hospitality was desired the tessera had to be produced, and if it did not tally with the one held by the other person the hospitalities were not granted. These hospitalities it seems were extended to the entire family and kindred of each person; hence the need of the test stone.

  When we receive the white stone with a new name carved therein, we are then entitled to all the hospitalities of God's house, even to the water of life and the bread of heaven. Whomsoever of His children we meet we should also be hospitable unto them; for inasmuch as we do it unto them we do it unto Him. But all who would enjoy the hospitalities of the kingdom of heaven must produce the pure white stone with the new name therein.

  In the day when He shall take us to share the hospitalities of the celestial world above, the tessera will be the test. Every one who has it will hear the welcome invitation, "Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But to those who have it not He will say, "Depart from me, I never knew you." [67]


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