Tag Archives: faith

Taming the Wild Horse


Thanks to Pamela for permission to share this teaching!

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Taming the Wild Horse

By Pamela Mcdonald

Sep 8, 2018 at 7:32 PM

Today while lying here thinking about taking a nap I couldn’t clear my mind. I kept thinking about the work of the Holy Spirit and the LORD Jesus. As I had just drifted off to sleep I was interrupted a few times by Kathryn coming in my room, asking questions or looking for things. I kept my cool and even hushed any thought of aggravation that tried to enter my mind. Then closing my eyes the YouTube music of Christian Saxophone instrumentals would freeze, then the phone rang. It was a mirage of interruptions and I was still trying to keep my composure and just relax.

I laid back down and something I had said Tuesday to someone came in my mind.

The LORD looks at me like a wild horse that needs tamed.”

Then in my spirit, I heard, “study what it is like to tame a wild horse compared to your walk with Christ.”

Now mind you I am still wanting to nap, so I thought, I will look that up when I wake up. Immediately the study I did yesterday for someone, came flooding in my mind about grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit. I quickly sat up and began to search out taming wild horses. What I have discovered is amazing and a huge eye opener when I look at myself and my walk with Christ.

A wild horse is “meeked” when tamed, and I do not believe that is worded by accident. Being meek is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and to get a better understanding of what that word means go to the Strong’s Concordance not the Webster Dictionary.

Strong’s Concordance

praus: mild, gentle

Original Word: πραΰς, πραεῖα, πραΰ
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: praus
Phonetic Spelling: (prah-ooce’)
Short Definition: mild, gentle
Definition: mild, gentle.

HELPS Word-studies

Cognate: 4239 praýs (also listed as 4239a/praupathia in NASdictionary) – meek. See 4236 (praótēs).

This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than “meek.”Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.

[The English term “meek” often lacks this blend – i.e. of gentleness(reserve) and strength.]

This same Greek word “praus” is used when taming a wild animal.

In the New Testament language of Koine Greek the word for humble was ‘praus’. Borrowed from the military, praus related to horse training. The Grecian army would find the wildest horses in the mountains and bring them to be broken in. After months of training, they sorted themselves into categories: some were discarded, some broken and made useful for burden bearing, some were useful for ordinary duty and the fewest of all graduated as war horses. When a horse passed the conditioning required for a war horse, its state was described as ‘praus’. The war horse had ‘power under authority’ or ‘strength under control’. A war horse never ceased to be determined, strong and passionate. However, it learned to bring its nature under discipline. It gave up being wild, unruly, out of control and rebellious. A war horse learned to bring that nature under control. It would now respond to the slightest touch of the rider, stand in the face of canon fire, thunder into battle and stop at a whisper.” Robert I Holmes of Storm-Harvest Ministries

A wild horse never loses its passion it is born with, nor does it lose its strength, but instead learns how to control itself under the authority of its trainer. The horse must learn to trust the trainer.

When a trainer begins training a wild horse, they must show themselves to be trustworthy. A trainer will get the attention of the horse to look his way, when he is sure it is looking at him he will be as calm as possible to show the horse he is not a threat. He will also extend his arm out gently and slowly, so the horse can get used to his scent. When the horse looks away he will scare it making it run away keeping his distance. The trainer will do this several times teaching the horse when it looks at the trainer there is calm when it looks away it gets scared. This causes the horse to trust the trainer and eventually allowing the trainer to approach the horse.

A horse must always feel safe with the trainer. When the trust is established the horse will do whatever the trainer asks of it, because there has been established a level of trust. The horse will be transformed from a wild horse doing as it desires, and become a tamed horse doing what the trainer desires. The horse does not become weak in this process but becomes meeked which is not weakness. The horse now has its power under authority, and its strength under control. A trainer that is consistent and faithful will have the ultimate companion and a bond will be very strong between them.

A horse was created to run, and boy do wild horses enjoy running in open fields and meadows. Even the trained horses enjoy the freedom of running, because that is how God created them. Therefore, we place bits and bridles on them to help control that urge to take off. If a horse is walking in the woods where there is moss covered rocks, tree branches, and big logs, the rider needs to use the reigns to keep the horse from running and possibly slipping and injuring themselves. A horse that is injured would be hard to get out of the depths of the woods and would probably end in destruction to the animal. When the opening of the woods appears, and the open field is in view the horse will take off at full run to enjoy running freely.

When we come to the LORD and are born again we are a new creation in Christ, yet there are things that remain in us that need to be tamed. It does not mean we are not truly born again, it means we need to be reigned in like a wild horse and be tamed, learning not to lean on our own self anymore but to lean on Him.

I am a very passionate person when it comes to the LORD and His Word. At times I sadly allow my passions and zeal to run away from me, and get argumentative, harsh, all the while trying to tell people that Jesus is love and is forgiving! Well, that doesn’t get received very well with an unbridled passion.

I am like a wild horse taking off at full speed and the LORD is using the Holy Spirit to tame me. I can only be of limited use to the LORD in my wild and untamed stage in my life right now, and the LORD is showing me it is time to “let go and let God.” While breaking me during this time of taming, I must let go of my own ways, self-will, being headstrong, selfish and unpredictable. By doing so I will embrace His Will, obedience, allow the Holy Spirit to bridle my tongue and be fit for the Master’s use. My walk in Him will be strengthened and faith will increase as I submit myself to Him. I have been that horse taking off in full speed in the woods and have stumbled and injured myself. But thankfully the LORD did not let destruction overtake me and helped me up leading me to an open field to run for a while.

My passion will not fade during this time but will be harnessed in a Godly manner instead. By allowing the Holy Spirit to be my guide, where He tells me to go I will go, when He tells me to stand still I will stand still.

It sometimes varies the amount of time this will take considering we are all different. Some people are fully trusting and embrace this quickly, while some like myself have been hurt often and been betrayed, so it has taken a bit longer. Even though I am not relying and trusting on another person but on God Himself, believe it or not it is hard to simply let go of my will and follow His Will which is perfect.

But He has been showing me in prayer, through His Word and other Believers He alone can be trusted and He is faithful.

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The Breaking of the Waters (Re-publishing)

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by Joanne Panettieri

For the past several days in prayer I have been hearing the Holy Spirit saying “Breakthrough, breakthrough, breakthrough”!

This brought to my remembrance the story of King David when he defeated the Philistines:

 2 Samuel 5: 17:   When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.  18  Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;  19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

The term “Baal Perazim” literally means Baal “the owner or lord” of the perets, “breaking forth or breach” or literally the “Lord of the Breakthrough”. We use the term “breach” in English as a noun in referring to a “breach in the law”, a “breach of contract” or a “breaking of the law”. As a verb it means “to make a gap in and break through” as in “there is a breach in the wall”. David saying “as the waters break out” is a term referring to a child coming forth from the birth canal and is a reference to birthing and new life.

“During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membranous sac called the amniotic sac. Typically, at the beginning of or during labor your membranes will rupture — also known as your water breaking.” 1

This same term is used in Genesis 38 when we look at the story of Tamar and Judah.

Genesis 38: 27  When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28  As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29  But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.   30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.

In the story of Tamar we find out that her husband, the son of Judah, dies. Judah then gives her his second son as a husband to have children in his brother’s name, as a kinsman redeemer. He refuses to impregnate her and the Lord also kills him. Tamar is then left to live as a widow, while she waits for Judah’s third son. When Tamar releases that Judah is not going to give her his third son to bring forth a child in her husband’s name, she seduces Judah and becomes pregnant with twins.

When the midwife says “So this is how you have broken out” she uses the same word “perets” that David used in referring to the Lord of the Breakthrough, because God was giving  him victory over his enemies.

Tamar, a barren woman, impregnates herself by Judah, whose name means “praise”. She then gives birth to twins, a double portion. The first one she names “Perez” or breakthrough. The second one Zerah, which means “to rise”, “come forth” or “to shine”.

This same word in verb form is zerach and is used in Isaiah 60: 1 referring to the glory of the Lord “rising” or “coming forth”.

Isaiah 60:

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth

and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

and his glory appears over you.

As I write this today, it is the first day of the 3 part Feast of Tabernacles. The first part of that feast is called “Yom Teruah” or the “Day of Shouting” and the “Feast of Trumpets”. The blowing of the trumpets is a call to attention, to remind the people that the day of atonement, or repentance, is near. For the Christian, this is a reminder that we are to stay in a constant state of repentance before God. We can shout the victory because of the complete atonement that we have by the blood of Jesus.

During the Feast of Tabernacles there was also a breaking forth of water in the Temple. This was known as the “water libation ceremony” and it took place at on the 8th or “great day” of the feast. In Hebrew it was called Nissuch Ha-Mayim. During this ceremony the priests would bring a procession to the pool of Siloam (living water) and fill golden pitchers with water, which were then poured out on the altar in the temple as the priests and congregation recited the “Hallel”  or praise Psalms 113 – 118,  giving thanks and reminding God of his promises. It was at this juncture we read in John 7:

 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The “rivers of living water” are the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which breaks out through the believer as the water of life, and is an essential part of the new birth.

The Feasts of the Lord are holy convocations and were required to be attended by all the males in Israel. They are all connected through water. In Passover we pass though the waters of baptism, and go from death to life. In Pentecost we are filled with the water of the Spirit, as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4 “whoever drinks of this water will never thirst”. And in Tabernacles the water of the spirit breaks forth from out of us into the world to bring forth the harvest. Let us always strive to keep the eternal feasts of the Lord in our daily lives!

Leviticus 23: 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of
malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

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Incense Prayer by Leo Fenton

the-altar-of-incense

 

Introduction To The Altar of Incense

The Kingdom Dimension Of Prayer.

The Priesthood Ministry!

Part of the Next Restoration

 

January 10, 2017

Jesus said” I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father except through Me”.

We can interpret that as another cliche or we can see the reality of what He said. Was Jesus saying there are three unfolding revelations of him that lead us to the Father? Is Jesus, the Way, the same understanding as Jesus the Truth. Is Jesus, the Truth, the same understanding as Jesus, the Life? Is Jesus the LIFE the same revelation of Jesus, our Great High Priest?

Those who have studied the scriptures know there are various and diverse revelations of Jesus Christ that are higher and different than the revelation of His birth in Israel.

He may first be seen as the baby king and later as The Savior. Or as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. He may be seen as the Son of Man and also as the Son of God, who is the first of many sons of God that He will bring to Glory. Some understand Him as the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit or as the Healer. He may later be seen as The Lord of highest authority who must be obeyed. He may be seen as the Lord of all lords and The King of all kings. Or the ONE To whom every knee must bow. He may be seen as the captain of the hosts of the armies of God or as the Coming King! Or, as the revelation of Christ Jesus who is our functioning Great High Priest who sits at the Right Hand of God, the Almighty! Each of these represents an unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ. Rarely, would anyone receive a complete revelation of Jesus at his conversion experience. The Revelation for this study is this;

He is the Only way to the Father.

Many of these otherwise confusing statements are brought to light in the Tabernacle of Moses. In the tabernacle of Moses, the three revelations of Christ can be seen within the three veils that separate the worshiper from the manifested presence of God, who dwells over the Ark of the Covenant and ABOVE the Mercy Seat and BETWEEN the Two Cherubim. For example; according to the “gospel of salvation” all three veils are removed and as soon as our sins are forgiven we are seated with Jesus, on His Throne! However, what is revealed in scripture is not even close to that.

The general presence of God was in the entire tabernacle but there was the specific place of God’s presence in the Most Holy Place. There was no open access to the Most Holy Place, behind the third veil, during the Old Covenant period. Only the consecrated high priest [who was Aaron or the son of Aaron and of Aaron’s priestly order] had access to the Holy Place, behind the second veil and NO ONE had access to the Most Holy Place and that was limited to the High priest!

That access was only once a year on the Day of Atonement.

Any Israelite, who was not circumcised or have a sacrifice for his sins, had no access even to the Outer Court, behind the first veil. Three separate revelations of God are seen in the three separate divisions of the tabernacle. These three are identified by their separate sources of light by which they were illuminated. Each of the three partitions, that form the three divisions, required different light sources! Natural light from the sun, moon and stars illuminated the Outer Court. The gold lampstand, with it’s pure oil and it’s seven mounted lamps of gold, illuminated the Holy Place. The manifested presence of God, the glory of God, illuminated the Most Holy Place. These three sections also speak of these three revelation of Christ Jesus. The First, as our all inclusive Savior! The second as our great active and functioning High Priest, building His Church! The Third as our King Eternal, currently building a Kingdom of Priests! The Most Holy Place also is the revelation of the Father and the Location of His Manifested Presence. In other words the Tabernacle exposes multiple Revelations of many Eternal Things!

Light speaks to us of revelation but Light and Life are linked together in John 1. Three levels of light indicate three levels of unfolding revelation of God, and possibly three levels of Eternal Life. The curtains or veils speak two things. First, stay out. Second, with proper preparation, you may enter. In the tabernacle of Moses, the third veil said, there is NO Access under the Old Covenant!

HEB 9:8 The Holy Spirit {is} signifying this, that the way into the holiest

(Most Holy Place) has not yet been disclosed, while the first tabernacle is still standing.

Christ Jesus, by His sacrifice on Calvary, opened up our access to the Most Holy Place. Why? That SACRIFICE and His blood introduced us to a completely New Covenant that was NOTHING like or subject to the Old Covenant! Ignorance of the New Covenant and the Promises of God are the source of the current ignorance and the powerlessness in the visible church!

Of course, in this study, we are not speaking of access to the physical Tabernacle, the one on earth, which no longer exists, but the access to Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle of God in the Eternal Heaven. In other words, to the New Jerusalem.

The first veil then speaks to us of Jesus the Way. The second veil speaks to us of Jesus the Truth. The third veil speaks to us of Jesus the Life. Once we have the revelation that Jesus is the only way— and there is and never will be any other Way to the Father— it leads us to a deeper acceptance and a more complete repentance. Since the Third Veil was only TORN, from top to bottom, when Jesus gave up His life, this torn veil represents HIS LIFE!

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, 52 and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised—.

But, brother, what has that to do with us since we are “already saved.” We need to see that “salvation” is not one experience but a process including several foundational experiences, However, forgiveness of sins is the first in our salvation experiences!

Then, by faith, we may need to “return” to the altar of Calvary and find a much deeper repentance because of our primary ignorance. For example; Our High Priest insisted upon a continuous and deeper repentance in Revelation 2 and 3!

We are not suggesting that we did not have our sins forgiven by the blood of Jesus when we first came to our Savior. However, each succeeding step in our foundational experiences has added to our understanding and revelation Christ Jesus, the Way! The succeeding Foundations mean ; the removal of old garments, then into the death in the Laver (baptism), to the new Garments of Resurrection, to the Anointing by the Holy Spirit, to the giving of ourselves in a total Consecration to God and to His Purpose and up to the Second Veil . Each “Genuine Experience” contributes to an unfolding revelation of ” Jesus The Way”. There are seven such steps in the Outer Court. It is this last Outer Court revelation of Jesus Christ, the Way, that leads us to becoming a Full Consecration Offering.

My point is this; In the first (earthly) Tabernacle, {the Type and Shadow) the consecration offering was the last thing the priests did before entering into the Holy Place to BEGIN their ministry. Their first ministry was to God, to become His Minister in behalf of and toward the people of Israel!

All that is just the introduction to this study in which we are essentially interested in the Incense and the Altar of Incense! We will not just focus upon the “items” but more upon the “ministry.” Why? That is because the Holly Place Life and Priesthood Ministry will be the Next Restoration. This “ministry” will primarily be Toward God! In other words, a complete renovation of ministry methodology!

Exo_29:44 “And I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me.

Exo_30:30 “And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister as priests to Me.

Exo_40:15 and you shall anoint them even as you have anointed their father, that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing shall qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”

That they may minister as priests to Me will be our emphasis in this study of the Incense and the Incense Altar. Why? Incense Prayer is primarily FOR GOD and to further His Purpose.

The Lampstand, the Lamps (the Seven Spirits of God) and the Table of Showbread and the Showbread ministry are covered in other studies of the Tabernacle of Moses which is a COPY of the Tabernacle of God, which is the Ultimate Reality!

However the foundations for all the Holy Place ministries, which we are guessing must be restored, must begin with the second veil which we have identified as the Veil of TRUTH. This Begins with our revelation of Jesus Christ who IS TRUTH. It is not just that Jesus preached to us a message that was “true,” He, Himself, is ultimate and absolute TRUTH. In the world and too often in the church, truth is relative.

Current Truth is somewhat like doctrines that vary from church to church. In some churches baptism is essential while in others baptism is considered as a Jewish ritual (a ritual washing) that provides nothing in our experience as Christians. In some churches the Loed’s Table or the communion service is practiced each Sunday while in others, the communion is considered as a Jewish ritual of Passover that was done away with at Calvary. That kind of truth is popular but is not stable or Absolute so it is relative. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s absolute TRUTH.

People have a lot of foolish doctrines that only get straightened out when they get the Revelation of God’s absolute TRUTH.In my opinion, that only happens when we approach the Second Veil. For example;

Isaiah prophesied with power for five chapters. Then he saw the Lord. When he saw the Lord he was devastated and was finished as a prophet of God because he saw the reality of himself and the uncleanness of his own lips. With that revelation of ultimate truth, Isaiah saw his own need for cleansing. In other words; Ultimate TRUTH revealed the lie that was in Isaiah and in his ministry. Of course this revelation of God brought Isaiah to the place where God could correct the problem and to continue to use him as God’s prophet. We could say that Isaiah 9, and his future ministry as a prophet of God, was the result of the Isaiah 6. With that “uncleanness” could he have continued his ministry as a prophet? NO! However, many of us still try today. This is NOT a matter of sin but of uncleanness and requires a different dimension of repentance.

This example reveals the nature of TRUTH in our personal experience. It not only reveals the truth about Jesus but it reveals the truth about ourselves. A normal revelation of the truth about Jesus puffs us up and makes us proud. We want to write books about our experience and get on the talk show circuit. However the true revelation of Jesus brings to us the true revelation of ourselves. Another realm of repentance, that doesn’t puff us up, but humiliates.

That “second Veil” Truth devastates and humiliates us but it brings a new balance into our lives for a Holy Place Priesthood function. Anyone who sees himself in the light of Jesus Christ can never be the same again. Anyone who has seen Jesus Christ and has not seen his own uncleanness and foulness, hasn’t see the Exalted and Glorified Christ of scripture. When John the Revelator saw Jesus in Revelation 1, he fell like a dead man. That is normal! However, this cannot be taught as another doctrine or can it be experienced as a new study. This is a Holy Place experience that BEGINS at the Second Veil, which has not been TORN.

REV 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

From this we can see the second veil can be a very dramatic and devastating experience. Some people have the mistaken idea they can just stroll through the second veil and on through the third veil because the third veil is torn from top to bottom and Jesus has made the way for us. Remember, the “torn” third veil is still part of the New Covenant Experience!

Whatever the condition of the third veil, the veil of truth still confronts us with Ultimate TRUTH. First, the truth about Jesus, and then, the truth about ourselves, which is the result of the TRUTH about Christ Jesus. The devastating part for us is when we see ourselves in the light of Jesus Christ, the Ultimate and Eternal Truth.

The Holy Place life and ministry, and each successive experience, produces a progressing revelation of Jesus Christ. Whenever we see Him, in His different revelations in the Book of Revelation, we should also see ourselves in that progressing Light. In the Holy Place, there is the Pure Gold Lampstand, The Gold Lamps, the Golden Oil, AND the Special Illumination from the Seven Spirits of God. Then the Wood Table covered with Gold on all sides! This “TABLE” held the Special Showbread which the Priests ate. Then the Gold Altar for the burning of Incense. This is a WOOD TABLE that is covered on all sides with Pure Gold! However, this Essential Table was for the specific purpose of burning this detailed and specific Incense. Burning any other incense on this altar invited disaster.

Not only do each of these items of furniture represent a Holy Place Life and Ministry function but each of these items represents a clear revelation of Jesus Christ, our High Priest, taken from among men to mediate the New Covenant! It is in this Holy Place that ( I am guessing) we will understand that HE IS absolute TRUTH.

Most everyone, who has eyes to see, has seen the extreme superficiality that is in the church today. So much that is passed off as Christianity is just cosmetic. An outward form but inwardly shallow, full of spots and wrinkles. When we compare the visible church today with the Church He is in the process of Building – The Lampstand Church of Pure Gold, holding and manifesting the Seven Spirits of God, illuminating a Priesthood ministry, we should see the visible church today, is frivolous, lukewarm, casual, impractical and insignificant. In so many ways, the visible church today is just, plainly speaking, irrelevant. This is also the world’s criticism and the evaluation in much of the media. It is just not seen as force to be reckoned with.

The contrast is this; Jesus said he would build His church and it would be a force to be reckoned with. What then has gone wrong?

If we could see the preparation of the church {for a Holy Place Ministry} from the picture, the type and the shadow from the Tabernacle of Moses and the Preparation of the Priests, it will give us some insight of what God intended for the church, which is His body. This Church He is Building is pictured as the PURE GOLD LAMPSTAND. Our Great High Priest is pictured as personally rebuking, correcting, threatening and teaching the Seven Churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3. Why? He is revealing to them the advancement to the NEXT dimension of Pillars, Throne and Authority over the nations.

REV 1:20 “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. One church in each geographical location is represented by one lampstand. REV 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:

Jesus is the one who is walking among the Seven Golden Lampstand Churches who knows what is happening in thoes churches and every Lampstand church in every age!

REV 2:5 ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place– unless you repent.

From this it is clear that if Jesus removed the lampstand from the church at Ephesus, the Holy Place Life and Ministry would go into darkness.

Since the “darkness” is obvious in the visible church, is it possible that is what has happened, over the church age, in the visible church?

But, brother, why are you concerned since we are “already Saved?”

It is clear that the church at Ephesus was “already saved” , as was the other six churches, but now, in the Holy Place dimension, {following preparation} this is NOT about forgiveness of sins but about God’s Eternal Purpose!

Our continuing thesis is this; God has called ALL of us to be a Kingdom of Priests. It was the “priests duty” to keep the lampstand full of oil and the wicks trimmed.

Praying that God would keep the lamps full of Oil and burning brightly, to illuminate the Holy Place, was, is, and will be, a BIG WASTE OF TIME? Why? That duty is given to the priests! This ignorance is demonstrated in most “prayer meetings.”

Here is a Scriptural example:

Eli and his sons let the lampstand go out, the Holy Place went into darkness. The

Holy Place ministry stopped. No Showbread could be set out and no Incense could be offered.

It was just a short time until the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant. The Glory of God departed from the Tabernacle.

If the Lampstand is the church and the Lampstand is removed, the church, in the Holy Place dimension of the Seven Spirits of God, is in darkness and can no longer be a church. However, the visible church, like Eli and his sons, may not recognize that NOTHING was happening in the Tent of Meeting. Why? The Lampstand had gone out and the Ark of the Covenant was GONE from the Tabernacle! No Incense was burning! This was the situation for about 60 years but the priests were still performing their duties at the bronze altar of sacrifice and continuing the other Outer Court rituals.

Today, it seems normal to continue to hold “church services” Sunday after Sunday even if “the Lampstand is gone out and the Ark of the Covenant ” is missing!

It should be obvious that if the “ARK” is gone, the whole religious ritual will be superficial, shallow and mostly cosmetic and just more theater. Today, it seems, most of the visible church has no idea that anything is wrong. Why? The ministries are not aware so no one is concerned.

The main point in what I want to share about the Lampstand Church is it is not in the Outer Court. There is no Lampstand in the Outer Court. The Fullness of the Seven Spirits of God ONLY function and provide illumination in the Holy Place. Looking for the Seven Spirits of God in the Outer Court is a big waste of time. Why? There is NO fullness there! That is the place of the Down-payment of the Spirit dimension.

God has only designed one place for the Lampstand Church to function and that is Beyond the Second Veil and in the Holy Place. If there is such a thing as a counterfeit church, it would have to be in the Outer Court. It is just not possible for a superficial church to be in the Holy Place where Our High Priest is building His Church. There is no such thing as a superficial Lampstand Church made out of plastic, wood, bricks or be cast in plaster or even made of brass. What God recognizes is a PURE GOLD Lampstand Church, hammered out of one piece of gold.

Our conclusion from this type is this: It cannot be Jesus Christ who has built this aberration, casual and superficial visible church, therefore, what we see must be the work of uninformed men.

The Lampstand Church will have passed through all the unfolding revelations and experiences of “Jesus the Way” and will have been confronted with Jesus Christ the Lord, the Ultimate Truth and our King / High Priest. Since the Lampstand is made of pure gold, it is apparent the church must have experienced the process of refining the gold ore, to remove everything from the dirt realm! This requires the work of fire and requires that all the dross be removed. Why? What is required for His Church is PURE GOLD!

This process BEGINS at the Consecration Offering. Why?

That is where all hypocrisy, carnality, casualness, superficiality and religious trappings are removed. What was only cosmetic for theater is transformed into real Christianity and made transparent by the fire consuming the Sacrifice, the Whole Burnt Offering! The church that Jesus builds, which is a power to be reckoned with, will be A PURE GOLD LAMPSTAND CHURCH. We should not confuse what we see in the visible realm with what Jesus is building in the Holy Place.

The “ministry” in the Holy Place is not revealed by one item of furniture or by two but is revealed by a combination AND the function of all three. Regularly refueling the Lampstand Church, being Illuminated by the Seven Spirits of God, setting out and maintaining the Table of Showbread and eating regularly from the Showbread, continuously maintaining the fire and the Incense upon the Altar of Incense is the RESPONSIBILITY of the Active and Corporate Priesthood Ministry.

This is only presented as an INTRODUCTION to the Ministry of Prayer and the burning of INCENSE. Hopefully, The next study will be clearer about the Incense, the Fire and the Incense Altar.

It should be clear that I am NOT presenting this as “from my experience” but just from the TYPE revealed within the Tabernacle of Moses!

I have never been able to burn the real incense! What is my excuse? This is reserved for Priests after the Order of Melchizedek! What I am writing is ONLY doctrine!

I believe this “doctrine” of burning incense is true and real but beyond my present experience! What is the purpose of this document then?

This is part of the NEXT restoration and certainly must be the Experience of the Lampstand Church that He is Building

 

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The Responsibility of Hearing the Word of the Lord 

hear-word-of-god-and-obey-it
by T. Austin-Sparks

“I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.” Isaiah 65:12.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” Hebrews 2:1.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me… He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches… He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 3:20,22; 22:20.

The Lord is constantly coming to His people. He comes to them every time that there is a living Word from Him. This familiar passage in Revelation 3 is impressive when you note that the knock, the voice, the ear and “the Spirit saith” are all one. “I knock”; and if you listen, it is not a tapping but a Voice, a Voice that could only be heard by the inner ear because it is the Voice of the Spirit and what the Spirit says is all one language. “My knock is My voice and My voice is what the Spirit says”, and that requires an inner ear giving heed to what the Spirit says, so that every time a living Word comes, the Lord has come, and coming in His Word by His Spirit, He comes expecting a response. 

There is a practical issue bound with every drawing near of the Lord in His Word and it is only as that issue is taken up definitely that the real meaning of the Lord’s drawing near is entered into and secured. The Lord may be there in His Word, the Spirit may be there speaking by that Word, the Word of the Lord bringing the Lord near may visit us, may be with us; and all that may be wonderfully true, as true as ever it was in those days of which it is written “The word of the Lord came by the mouth of” this one and that one, as true as ever it was true as a prophet said “Thus saith the Lord”. It may be just as true as that today, and yet at the same time result in nothing; that is, so far as the Lord’s purpose and intention is concerned. That is always the peril which lies alongside of a Word of the Lord coming, that it may, after all, result in nothing so far as that which the Lord intended is concerned.

“Herein is My Father glorified that ye bear much fruit…” not that ye know much truth, that ye hear many expositions of the Word, that the Word of the Lord indeed has come to you, but “Herein… much fruit”. And that can only be as we recognise the issue bound up with the Word and definitely lay hold of it. The response which the Lord expects when He comes in His Word is the response of Life, not merely of assent, agreement or pleasure. We have from Him the parable of the sower, a fourfold response from the Lord being present with His Word, for He is the sower, and the seed is the Word. The Lord is present with His Word, and He is sowing in expectation, and His expectation is disappointed very largely, whenever there is any kind of response to Him other than the response of real fruit, and that is taking hold of the issue into the heart. That is the very core of the parable, it is taking it into the heart; I think I can say: taking it to heart. There may be some kind of reaction that is not the response the Lord is seeking. He wants a heart response, not in emotion, but in fruit: that which becomes the embodiment of the Life that is in the Word which He brings so that the Word, having the Life, being planted in our hearts, means that that Word expresses itself in a living way in us. Such is the response which the Lord is seeking every time He comes to us in His Word. 

The apostle said to Timothy, “Give thyself wholly unto them that thy progress may be manifest to all”; “the things thou hast heard and received of me, give thyself wholly unto them”. As you give yourself wholly to them, the fruit, the progress, shall be seen of all. That is the only way to spiritual progress and it is the only response which satisfies the Lord. That is the response which He is seeking. Therefore it means utterness as well as immediacy.

Another peril is always present when the Lord comes with His Word. It is somehow indefinitely in the mind to postpone the issue. If it is not a deliberate postponement – for very few perhaps do that – it is a postponement all the same, for every failure to take hold and follow up is a postponement.

I do feel that there is much room with the Lord’s people as a whole for immediate transaction on the basis of every word which comes to us which we have any reason to believe is the Lord’s. This is the way of fruitfulness, this is the way of progress, this is the way of enlargement. I am sure you are concerned very much about the matter of spiritual growth, advancement, progress. I am sure you, in your own life with the Lord, often ask Him for spiritual increase in you, progress, that you might go on, that you might come to maturity. I am sure there is much in your prayer in that direction. Now, may I suggest to you a way in which you may co-operate with the Lord in answering such prayer? It is that you make a practice, whenever the Word of the Lord has come, of going immediately and dealing with the Lord on that matter, with the practical issue bound up with that Word. If you wait until tomorrow you will get into that vicious course that there will be another message presented and the last one has simply gone past, and so you go on. 

Each message is intended to have an issue, but it becomes an accumulation of messages, of words, with the weeks and months and years, and the great responsibility being piled up inasmuch as we are going to be judged by the Word. “The word that I have spoken unto you, it shall judge you” (John 12:48). The piling up of a great responsibility, because for some reason or other – not deliberately, not intentionally – we never square immediately to the practical issue bound up with the Word. If you will at once give yourself wholly for an application to the Word as well as of the Word, your progress will be seen of all. Here is a man or a woman who deals with God at once upon any issue raised by His Word. God takes that one on wonderfully; it is honest thoroughgoing dealing with the Lord immediately. The Lord is a Lord who requires prompt response. If you like to go through the Word, you will see what is bound up with a prompt response to the Lord. The blessing of the Lord is there. You will see the trouble that is bound up with the postponement, the increased difficulty, and you will see the loss that eventually comes when the thing is passed: “Because I called and ye did not answer”. “Behold… I knock, if any man will hear My voice” – what the Spirit says. That is speaking to the Church, as you know, not to the unsaved; it may be true there, but this word was a word to the Church.

It is only my purpose to help towards the end which I am always trying to keep in view for myself and for you: how can we come to that maturity, to that growth, to that enlargement? The Lord puts His finger upon this point and just hedges it about and says, “Now I want immediate and definite response in action, a transaction with Me on the issue that is raised by this word”. If we would do that every time instead of letting it go, and would beware of all those things which are ever waiting to dissipate God’s Word when He has drawn near in His Word, we should grow. You need not move out of your seat before someone will talk to you about something of tomorrow or the past, something which has nothing whatever to do with what the Lord has just been saying. You have only to get to the door and find yourself in general conversation. That kind of fellowship may be good and I am not in any way against the real fellowship of the Lord’s people, for it is a great help to be able to meet and talk; but beware because no sooner is the Word spoken than it is snatched away and for all practical purposes it might be as though it had never been spoken. That could never be if we immediately got down before the Lord and said, “Now Lord, there is a practical issue bound up with this and that issue has got to be possessed!” That is the way of growth. Bear the Word. As I say, it is only to help towards the end which we have in view. 

There is a great value in immediacy, and that response of course will call for utterness for the Lord. Such a response will test our utterness. If anybody really does have the Word of the Lord, seriously and immediately we must get before the Lord about it, meaning business; not just attending meetings and listening to addresses, but out for the Lord, bringing up this question: “What is it that the Lord has said? How does that apply to me? What is the Lord after in me concerning that? I may see it or I may not, but that is not the point. The point is, Lord is there something there that I do not see? Is there something You are trying to say to me and I am not yet alive to it?” How often, sometimes afterwards, we have seen that the Lord said something at a certain time and really it touched upon something in our lives, but at the time we did not see it. Now we see how that was fitted for our case. If we had gone to the Lord, might we not have seen it? That is utterness for the Lord in our response to His Word. There must be a taking hold and a keeping hold until the thing is settled, until it is established, because it is possible even to have exercise over a Word, to follow the point of the Word, to feel the weight of it and feel it getting into us and touching us and then for it to fade. We felt it and we always look back and say, “Yes that was a word that came to us; we felt something in that word; it moved us!” But we have to say that it fell short of the actual issue. What we have to do is to take hold and to keep hold. Has the Lord said something to us? Are we holding on to that until the matter is secured and established and the Lord has got that in us?

Note that word in Hebrews 2: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” I have often pointed out that that word has behind it the picture of a man in the boat taking up his moorings. There is a current running and he comes up on his moorings, reaches out with his boat hook, takes his moorings on his boat hook, but he does it carelessly; he does it without all his attention bent upon it. The tide is running fast, the current is strong, and he has not given the more earnest heed and before he knows what has happened, he has slipped his moorings inadvertently and is drifting away. He had them, he came into touch with them, they were on his hook, and he lost them. It is so often like that. The Word of the Lord comes; we make contact, we even would say we have got it, but where is it after a bit? After a while, what about it? “Therefore… give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” That is the kind of response that the Lord is seeking all the time.

Now, it would never be right to leave things there without another word. Such a response to the Lord which He is seeking will always be costly. The Lord will see to that. The things of the Lord are not had cheaply; God’s purpose is a costly purpose and any fresh movement in relation thereto will be costly. You know that Hebrews 13:13 is the summary of the practical issues of going on. The exhortation throughout the letter is “Go on”. The summary is this: “Let us therefore go to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” That is what we are going to get for going on. Down here that is just what you are going to get if you go on. It all looks so glorious to go on, all that we are going on to is wonderful. We can romance about the eternal purpose and reigning and having dominion. Yes, but the present side of that is outside the camp bearing His reproach. There is a cost attached to going on with the Lord. There will be a cost bound up with every step. It will make demands; it will only be men of faith who will go on. That is what drives it in. It is that which makes it ours and makes it a part of us.

The Lord comes looking for response; the Word demands it and everything hangs upon it. There is nothing so established that it cannot be set aside by God if it ceases to respond to His purpose. “I… will remove thy lampstand out of its place, except…” (Rev. 2:5). God planted those churches in Asia, those lampstands; He blessed them, He used them; they were vessels of testimony; and then there came the crisis in which God said, “That which I have planted, that which I have blessed, that which was the work of My Spirit, and had My Spirit in it, I will move it out of its place”. There is a sense in which we are always on trial for our life and the nature of the trial is this: immediate response to every visitation of the Lord in His Word. “If any man will hear…”.

Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust.

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120 Trumpeters

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by Joanne Panettieri              Photo credit 1 

The Glory Of The Lord Falls

The apostle Paul tells us that what happened to Israel in the past happened as examples for us. 1 Cor 10: 11Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition,”  and we can say with certainty that there are repetitive patterns in Scripture. One such pattern that I would like to explore here, is when the Glory of the Lord filled the temple. This story is given to us in 2 Chronicles chapter 5.

1 “Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished…. 2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. 4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up…….

God’s Glory Fills the Temple

V:11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: 12 Also the Levites which were the singers, …. being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets: 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.”

The Assembly:

The Glory of the Lord filling the temple is a picture of the future Glory of God, the Holy Spirit, filling the New Testament temple, the believers in Jesus, the Messiah.

2 Chronicles 5:3 “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast”

During the dedication of the temple the people were assembled. The actual word that is translated “church” in the New Testament is  ekklesia which means “an assembly or congregation”, whereas the word “church” comes from the Scottish word “kirk” and refers to the building where the people meet. The believers in Messiah are actually the assembly of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

The Work is Finished:

Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished”

Solomon’s name in Hebrew is from the root word Shalam, and means “amends”. In this story he is a type of Jesus, who finished the work of atonement.

Shalam: “make amends, make an end, finish, full, give again, make good” This is what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and making amends between God and man. He has finished the work:  John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

Because Jesus / Solomon had finished the work of building the temple, it could now be filled with the ark which held the presence of God. The temple that Solomon built was made of the materials of the earth, stone, wood, gold and silver. The Temple that Jesus has built is also made up of the things of the earth, because God created man out of the dust of the ground, but we are the living stones.

1 Cor 3:16 “ 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

1 Peter 2: “4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Temple is dedicated during the Feast of Tabernacles:

2 Chron 5: 3 “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.”

The appointed Feast in the 7th month is the Feast of Tabernacles. It begins with the Feast of the blowing of Trumpets, called Yom Teruah, then comes the Day of Atonement, called Yom Kippur and ends with the 8 day long celebration of Tabernacles or Sukkot, when everyone lived in booths for a week. This is significant because the Day of Atonement is the most holy day of the year in the Hebrew calendar. It was a day of deep repentance for the people. 2 Chronicles also tells us in verse 11 that all the priests were sanctified, or made holy. Because Jesus made atonement for us, we, as Kingdom priests, are also made holy.

Hebrews 2: 17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (atonement) for the sins of the people.

Romans 5: 11 “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

The Tabernacle of David is Brought Up

Solomon brought up the tabernacle and all the pieces of furniture that were in it up to the new Temple in Jerusalem. He also established the singers in the Temple, which is a type of New Testament worship.

2 Chronicles 5: “And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 ; And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up…… 12 Also the Levites which were the singers, …. being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps.”

When David brought the Ark back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6) he did not put it in the Tabernacle of Moses, which was still standing on Mount Gibeon, but he built a new tent for it on Mount Zion. Here he established 24 hour worship with songs and instruments.

….but in the midst of the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion; and further that there were no animal sacrifices there, only sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; and no priests, but only Levites, whom David appointed “to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record,” that is literally to make mention of, or bring to remembrance, or in other words to proclaim or preach the mercies and the marvelous acts of God, “and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel” (1 Chr. 16:4). This was a very remarkable suspension of the system of worship of the Law, and an equally remarkable foreshadowing of that of the Gospel. And so it was during the greater part of King David’s reign, during all the years the ark of God dwelt in the Tabernacle of David.2

Isaiah 16:5 tells us the the Lamb will rule from the Tabernacle of David: “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”

The Bible promises in the book of Amos (Amos 9:11) that the Tabernacle of David would be restored at some future time. The Apostle James declared that this was fulfilled in the first century by the bringing in of the Gentiles to the assembly of believers:

Acts 15: 16 “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”

White Linen

The priests in Solomon’s temple were arrayed in white linen, which is symbolic of the righteousness of the saints when Jesus Christ washes away our sins.

Revelation 19: 7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

120 Priests Sounding Trumpets

1 Chronicles 5: 12 …….“and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets ……. 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD”

What occurred here at the dedication of Solomon’s temple is a prophetic symbol of the dedication of the early church when the Holy Spirit filled the believers on the day of Pentecost. The believers were all together in one accord (they were as one to make ONE sound)

Acts 2: 1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place”

There were 120 waiting in the upper room, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, trumpeting the praises of God with their mouths!

Acts 1: 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem …. 13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, ….. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, … 15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)…… Acts 2: 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance…… 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, (they had gathered there for the Feast of Pentecost) devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, (They heard the believers speaking in tongues the trumpeters) the multitude came together, (and said in amazement)… we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”

Just as the priests sang praises to God with the blowing of the trumpets on the day of the dedication of Solomon’s temple, so also, on the dedication day of the living temple of Jesus Christ, there were 120 trumpeter priests giving praise to God!

Peter’s Message is Atonement:

After Peter talks to the assembled crowd on the day that the ekklēsia of Jesus Christ is born, he tells them that the only way into this new temple is through the atoning work of Jesus through repentance:

Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call

Even as the glory cloud filled the temple of Solomon, the promise of the Glory of God, through the Holy Spirit, fills the Kingdom Temple of Jesus Christ. And as Peter tells us “this promise is for AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL”

Hosea 14: 1 “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return (repentance) to the Lord. Say to him: Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” (This is the Torah portion read every year in every Synagogue on the Sabbath between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur during the Feast of Tabernacles)

1 Corinthians 5:8 “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

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Faith Unto Enlargement Through Adversity Part 1

Faith Unto Enlargement Through Adversity
by T. Austin-Sparks

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Chapter 1 – Introductory

Reading: Psalm 118.

The real title of this Psalm is the ‘Passover Hosanna Psalm’, and its theme is faith unto enlargement through adversity. Martin Luther called this Psalm his Psalm, and I think his life is a very good commentary upon it. We know why he made it his Psalm. He might well have been the originator of it, so true was his life to all that is here. It is just an explanation and a summing-up of all his experience. ‘This is my Psalm’, he said.

This Psalm was really born out of experience, and it is that that makes it live. There lies behind it very deep history, especially in two particular connections.

The Background Of The Psalm

In the first place, this Psalm, whose composer no one seems to know, was at least adapted to, if not composed for, the Passover after the dedication of the second Temple. You are probably acquainted with the history of the second Temple. You have to turn, of course, to the Book of Ezra, and alongside of it to the Book of Nehemiah, and then to the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah; and when you have read those four books, you have the setting of Psalm 118. Read again verses 5 to 16 of the Psalm in the light of that, and you will see what light is thrown upon these verses. Or take a fragment – verse 10: “All nations compassed me about: in the name of the Lord I will cut them off. They compassed me about…” And turn to the Book of Ezra, chapter 4, verses 9 and 10. Here you have a whole host of nations all gathered against Ezra and the building of the second Temple. They compassed him about – all these nations compassed him about – they compassed him about like stinging bees. Thus this description of adversity, of opposition, gives this Psalm a very real, practical application: for the remnant which had escaped from captivity had returned to the land with the building and dedication of the Temple in view, and if this Psalm is a description of things as they were then, it is indeed the story of life out of death.

Life Out Of Death

We must remember that the ‘I’ and the ‘me’ repeated in this Psalm represent the personification of the remnant or of the nation. It is as though the nation were speaking as an individual; it is a collective ‘I’. The nation is here saying: “The Lord hath chastened me sore” – how true that was for the seventy years in captivity – “but He hath not given me over unto death” (v. 18); “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (v. 17): so that the remnant speaking in these words does really embody this great truth of life out of death and life triumphant over death.

The Lord had promised His people, when they were in that far-off exile and captivity, that He would ‘open their graves’ and bring them out (Ezekiel 37:12-14), and here it is. They are out – out of that grave of captivity; and a grave it was. There is no singing in the grave. “The dead praise not the Lord” (Psalm 115:17) is a phrase of Scripture, and how true it was away there. “Upon the willows… we hanged up our harps… how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137:2-4). ‘The dead praise Thee not.’ But listen! “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His lovingkindness endureth for ever” – four times repeated at the very beginning of the Psalm, and then added as the crown at the end. It is a new Psalm on resurrection ground. So the Psalm, to begin with, is one of life out of death.

Release From Bondage

And then quite clearly it is one of release from bondage. These people are so rejoicing in this aspect of their position by the lovingkindness of the Lord, that they are reminded of their earliest great deliverance, and you will see here in the Psalm a reference to the great deliverance from Egypt, and a quotation from the Book of Exodus. They bring the two together – deliverance from Egypt and deliverance from Babylon – and the deliverance from Egypt is always, in the Scripture, termed deliverance “out of the house of bondage”. The Psalm, then, is the Psalm of release from bondage.

Now, bringing that into the rebuilding of the second Temple, you can see how the remnant were straitened, were pressed, by the nations represented by these people who had been brought into Samaria. What a time Nehemiah had from these people in building the wall! He was pressed on every side. What a time Ezra had! How those prophets suffered! The work was held up for more than a decade by reason of this opposition and adversity all around. But the point is that the Temple was built and finished and dedicated, and this Psalm was sung at the Passover which followed the dedication. It says: ‘Let men do their worst, let them oppress from every side, let them oppose as they will. The thing is done: the Lord has done it in spite of everything, and we are out.’

From Limitation To Enlargement

So “the Lord answered me and set me in a large place” (v. 5). From death to life, from bondage to liberty, from limitation to enlargement – into a “large place” – and this represented a very great thing on the Lord’s part. Consider all that the Lord had to cope with – though of course it is putting it in a wrong way to say the Lord ever has to ‘cope with’ anything, for He is so supremely superior to every situation. Yet what was against His people was no small thing. To bring them out into this enlargement meant the overcoming of tremendous difficulties. “The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.” We are reminded of another word, so familiar to us: “Thou broughtest us into the net… Thou didst cause men to ride over our heads. We went through fire and through water; but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” (Psalm 66:11-12). It is a Psalm of triumph over limitation, bringing into enlargement.

God’s Faithfulness Over His People’s Unfaithfulness

The version from which I have quoted uses the word ‘lovingkindness’. The version which is perhaps more familiar has the word ‘mercy’ – “His mercy endureth for ever”. I think there is a note about ‘lovingkindness’ – God’s lovingkindness’ – that touches the heart, when you think of the failure and the unfaithfulness of His own people. What a story it is all the way along, right through the lives of the major and the minor prophets. It would seem that if ever the mercy of God, the lovingkindness of God, could have been exhausted, it would have been so with these people, so terrible were their reactions to the mercy of God. How far they went against the Lord! But here in the end – and with Nehemiah we are in the last Book of the Old Testament in historical order, we are at the end of a dispensation – the great note is: “His lovingkindness endureth for ever”. When they used that language, these people knew what they were talking about. It was not just poetry or sentiment.

It is, therefore, a Psalm of tremendous consolation. We know our weakness, we know our unfaithfulness, we know how we have failed and do fail. The end of the story is – “His lovingkindness endureth for ever”. You see, this is the experience – and, out of the experience, the testimony – of a people who have proved the Lord to be faithful over against all that men could do against them. It is a Psalm worth having. No wonder Luther said, ‘That is my Psalm!’

Sung By The Lord Before Gethsemane

But there is something even more than that. The second thing about this Psalm is that it is believed to have been the Psalm sung by the Lord Himself and by His disciples on the Passover night. Before I knew this, I used to say, ‘I wish I knew what it was they sang when it says that after the supper, “when they had sung a hymn, they went out”‘ (Matt. 26:30). I have discovered that, on very good grounds, it is strongly believed that this was the Psalm that they sang. The Lord Jesus actually sang this Psalm! And His disciples sang it with Him – I wonder if they really knew what they were singing? Let us look at it.

There is no doubt that this Psalm is very largely, if not altogether, related to the Lord Jesus, because it is quoted in immediate connection with Him in several places in the New Testament. For instance: “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord” (v. 26). But the titles of the Psalm, the ‘Passover Hosanna Psalm’, is not based upon that incident of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, when they cut down palm branches and went before Him singing out of this Psalm: “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”, but upon other grounds. And then you know that on several occasions in the New Testament the words are quoted: “The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner” (v. 22). The Lord Jesus used them concerning Himself (Matt. 21:42), and Peter used them concerning Christ (1 Pet. 2:7). So this is in a large sense what is called a ‘Messianic’ Psalm. It is related to the Lord Jesus.

The Triumph Of Faith

Now, if the Lord did sing this Psalm on that dark night of the Passover and betrayal, what a triumph of faith it was! “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (v. 17). Going straightway to Gethsemane, the trial and the Cross – “I shall not die, but live”. In faith He has leapt the garden, He has leapt the trial, He has leapt the Cross, right over into the resurrection. “I shall not die, but live.” What a triumph of faith through adversity, through suffering! But oh, what a meaning this gives to Gethsemane. Look at the Passover. “This is My body, which is for you” (1 Cor. 11:24). “This is My blood… which is shed for many unto remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). And they sang a hymn; and after the hymn, the next thing – Gethsemane. Look – “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar” (v. 27). What was Gethsemane? They bound Him and led Him away from the garden, but His interpretation of that binding was of “a sacrifice… even unto the horns of the altar”; not tied to the horns of the altar, but bound with a view to being led toward the altar. That is the meaning here: ‘Bind and lead to the altar.’

This puts a new light upon Gethsemane, upon the bonds, the captivity, does it not? This is not man’s prevailing, this is not man overcoming, this is not man’s triumph. This is the Lamb of God allowing Himself to be led to the altar. For that is the next thing after the singing. He has sung: “Bind the sacrifice… even unto the horns of the altar”; and forthwith He goes. He goes to Gethsemane, then to the betrayal, then to the judgment hall, and then to the Cross. There is the Divine side of all that, but here you see faith taking hold of this human side, as men regard and interpret it, and turning it into the redemption of the world.

The Lord’s Enlargement Through The Cross

In verse 5 again – “Out of my distress I called upon the Lord: the Lord answered me and set me in a large place.” Are these words of the Lord Jesus? Yes: out of His distress He cried: “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from Me”. “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly…” “Father, if this cannot pass away, except I drink it, Thy will be done” (Matt. 26:39, 42; Luke 22:44). “Out of my distress I cried…”; and, although it does not seem that the Lord answered and delivered, an Apostle says that Hewas heard (Heb. 5:7). And how was He heard? Have we the proof that He was heard and answered? “The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.” A large place? Yes, a very large place He is in. How enlarged was our Lord through His Cross! “How am I straitened”, He said–“how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). This was enlargement through suffering: His passion meant enlargement, release from limitation. But it is the voice of faith. As He goes to the Cross, faith goes beyond the Cross and claims the answer of life, not death; enlargement, not limitation. We could dwell quite a long time upon the enlargement that has come to the Lord Jesus through suffering by faith, and this we hope to do in later messages.

Life, Liberty And Enlargement For Us In Christ

But what a testimony this is to the mercy of God. This is the point. I said a little earlier that this ‘I’ of the Psalm is an inclusive and collective ‘I’. In the first place, it is the nation speaking in this personal way, using this personal pronoun “I”. Now it is taken up in relation to the Lord Jesus – “I shall not die”. But, you see, it is not just personal. We know that the Lord Jesus had no need to go to the Cross for Himself. It has often been pointed out that those words used much later by an Apostle – “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2) – should be translated: “Who, instead of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despised shame, and sat down…”, and it takes you to the mount of transfiguration.

The mount of transfiguration was the seal to the perfection of His moral character. There is no transfiguration or glorification apart from moral perfection, and so God gave Him the great witness that He was perfect, that He saw no fault in Him, that He had passed the scrutiny of the eyes of Divine holiness, and there was not a flaw or a blemish in Him: He was perfect. Therefore He had a right to go from the mount of transfiguration right through to the glory for aye. The glory was His: it was declared His, it was shown to be His, it was His. But instead of the joy that was set in front of Him, He turned round and came down and endured the Cross, and if you will look at the context of these words in Hebrews, you will find that it was all because of ourselves – that He was not going to glory without us. Bringing many sons to glory necessitated His coming down, foregoing for the time being His right, His immediate right, to the glory, and enduring the Cross. You remember how, in that same letter to the Hebrews, it is put into the mouth of the Lord Himself: “I and the children whom God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:13). “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (2:11).

So this glorious Psalm, with its wonderful background in the life of the Lord Jesus and by the Cross of the Lord Jesus, gathers us in. We are in this collective ‘I’. We come into the good of this. “I shall not die, but live.” “The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.” It is true, is it not? It is true. We have that life triumphant over death. He has given that life to us; it is ours. It is not only ours in that general way – “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23) – but it is a testimony for all our life, something for now. It is a life which has come out of His death, and has overcome death in Him. It is for us. Do not let us lose the force of that by familiarity. It is to be a testimony every day. What we have in Christ is to be experienced and manifested every day, and it can be.

But then – and upon this we shall dwell very much more fully – what enlargement we have in Christ from our limitation! How infinitely great is the place into which we have been brought, how immeasurable are the resources, how vast are the ranges, how potent are the forces into which we have come in Christ through His death!

I close by reminding you of this – that while it is all concluded in Him, that where He is concerned there is nothing more to be done in this matter: it is full and it is final, and He has entered into His rest, has sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; nothing through which we go can add to that, nothing which we experience can take from it; nevertheless, in a sense – not vicariously, not atoningly, not in the sense of His great redemptive work – but in a sense of fellowship with Him while He is still rejected in this world, and of humiliation in fellowship with Him, the principle still remains: that is, that life and enlargement come through adversity and faith’s triumph therein. It is the law of life. Faith’s triumph in adversity issues in life and enlargement.

We shall see more fully how true that is. The Bible is just full of it. Given a real test of faith, much adversity and opposition, everything hemming in, circling round – ‘all nations compassed me about, they compassed me about, they compassed me about’ – you see, it is reiterated, it is very real – nevertheless, nevertheless, that only constitutes the challenge to faith. Faith looks upon that as its opportunity, and when faith comes out in its declaration over against all that, and says, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord”, that is the highway to a new experience of life and a new range of fullness – to enlargement by way of faith’s challenge and faith’s victory.

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Faith Unto Enlargement Through Adversity Chapter 2 by T. Austin Sparks

Faith Unto Enlargement Through Adversity
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 – The Key Of Faith

Reading: Genesis 15:1-6; 17:1-8; Romans 4:16-25; Hebrews 11:8.

In these passages, we find five things. One, enlargement; two, establishment; three, life; four, faith; five, consummation. All this is to be brought into fulness at the end of the dispensation. The Word of God gives us to understand that at the end God will have a state of Divine fulness corresponding to the word ‘enlargement’: at the end, God will have things established, fixed: at the end, God will have things wholly characterized by life: and all this will be through tried and proved faith. You will recall how this end is brought into view in the symbolism of the city – the holy city, new Jerusalem, seen as coming down from God out of heaven in the last chapters of the Bible. Here is Divine fulness: everything brought to a state of finality, establishment, and all characterized by life – illustrated by the tree of life, the river of water of life, and other symbols. But leading up to this, all the way along, is the matter of tried and proved faith.

As we look at the Christian world in our time, we realize that these are the great things which are supremely necessary. There is need for spiritual, Divine, enlargement – things are so small spiritually; for spiritual establishment – things are so weak and uncertain, so variable and inconsistent, without assurance, without certainty; for Divine life – how great is the need for more life, heavenly life, a greater fulness of life amongst the Lord’s people! But, while we recognize these things to be the crying needs, we should probably all be prepared to admit that the only way to these things is for the Lord’s people to be really tested, really tried. We do not like the idea, but we realize that everything needs to be put to the test, to be proved, in order to be established. And we are in fact already very conscious of a new movement of God amongst His people really to test their faith, to try their faith, to bring faith to maturity.

Now this would seem to have been God’s pathway for His people all down the ages: by tried, tested, proved and established faith to bring to enlargement, establishment and life more abundant. These are laws of the ways of God, principles of His dealings with His people. Let us, then, in the first place, take a comprehensive view of this matter, before coming to the practical applications. The Bible has many angles. If you take it, and look at it from one standpoint, you may think that that is all that the Bible is about. You seem to be able to gather up the whole of the Bible into that one thing. It might be sin, judgment, death – it is an aspect, an angle. Or it might be righteousness and life – it is another angle. Give the Bible another turn, and the same thing seems to be true again. It has many such angles, and every one of them seems to be comprehensive. If the Bible is like that, you can see the whole of it by just turning it a little from one angle to another.

Faith The Key To Life And Enlargement

Now, you will see how true this is in the very clear instance that we have before us – the matter of enlargement by life through faith. It would be very easy to gather all the Bible into that, and to say that is what the whole Bible is about. Of course, it is not, but it is one very comprehensive angle. You will at once see how that theme runs right through. But suppose we change the metaphor, and say that there is a whole bunch of keys to the Bible – quite a large bunch of keys – every one of which seems to be a master key to open the whole of the Bible; and on this large bunch of keys there seem to be three that are linked together, so to speak, on their own separate ring. Those three keys are – faith, life, enlargement.

Faith opens the first door. That door leads to the next, which is life, and through life to the next, which is enlargement. Those three things always go together through the Word of God. Of course, this is clearly seen by the opposite. Unbelief is always shown in the Scripture to result in limitation. Where there is unbelief, you just do not get any further – you stop short and stop dead: there is no enlargement, and therefore there is no life, no greater, fuller life, beyond. You cannot separate these things; they always hang together – faith, life, enlargement.

All the great crises in the history of God’s people, as recorded in the Scriptures, had these three features. Beginning right at the beginning, with Adam, in the first chapters of Genesis, it is perfectly plain there that the whole question of establishment, of enlargement and of life hung upon faith, and that when he refused, or ceased, to believe God, that was a dead stop, a full stop. There was no more. At that point death entered in. The possibility of fellowship with God, and of all that God can mean in the life, hung entirely upon his faith – or upon his refusal to believe. If only he had believed God, the way would have been wide open to enlargement, establishment and life, continuous and unceasing.

Moving on in the Book of Genesis to chapters 15 and 17, some passages from which we have placed at the head of this meditation, we come to Abraham. The Lord comes in with Abraham on this line of enlargement, of establishment and of life. Those are the three great things that sum up Abraham’s life with God. And everything hung upon faith. All that God said about this multiplying, this tremendous increase and enlargement; about the finality of things – establishing him in the covenant for ever; and about this wonderful principle of life – so apparent in the case of Abraham, when death would argue that there was no prospect at all in himself or in Sarah or any situation, yet life is in view in spite of it all – all those things just hung upon faith. He believed God. If he had not, there would have been nothing.

In the Book of Exodus, we find the great crisis in the national life of Israel – the deliverance from Egypt. Chapter 12 of Exodus just rests upon this: ‘The whole question here is that of your release with a view to your enlargement; it is a question of your being established and brought to finality, to fullness; and it is a question of your life.’ The central thought of that chapter is perhaps life, is it not? The slaying of Egypt’s firstborn, on the one side, and the deliverance of Israel into life through death, on the other. But it all hung upon this matter of faith – faith in action: whether they would take the lamb, whether they would sprinkle the blood, whether they would gird their loins and take their staff in their hand. Everything depended upon an attitude and spirit of believing God.

Passing through Numbers into the Book of Joshua, we find that here it is the land that is in view–the land of promise, with all that it meant to them historically and all that it means typically and spiritually. What a matter of enlargement that was! From the wilderness, with all its emptiness and ‘pent-upness’, into the largeness, fullness and liberty of being established in the land. There was never, in God’s mind, any thought or purpose of permanence in the wilderness at all. That was only a phase of things to be got through quickly as the spiritual condition of His people would allow. His thought for them was – into the land and established for ever. The promise to Abraham was that the land was covenanted for ever: finality. And then through Jordan, running there between Numbers and Joshua, between the wilderness and the land, and overflowing all its banks, speaking of death to be overcome in its fulness, in its depths; and into the land: here is life triumphant over death. But again, everything hung upon their faith. Would they move in faith? One generation could not do that, and perished in the wilderness. It was left to the next generation to enter the land. These three things rested upon faith.

Passing over the terrible four hundred years covered by the Book of Judges – the most terrible book in the Bible, I think – into the Books of Samuel, we find a transition toward a new state of enlargement. This phase will end with David and Solomon, with the enlargement of the kingdom beyond anything that had ever been before, with establishment and life. Again, it is all on the basis of faith. It was faith in Samuel’s mother, for instance, that brought in Samuel. But we cannot stay with all the detail. At last, as we know, faith was lost, and unbelief prevailed. Once again we see a return to limitation, to bondage, to uncertainty, to spiritual death. It all hangs upon faith.

As we take up the New Testament, we find that the issue is still that of enlargement, of establishment, and of fulness of life, and the question now is – Believe it! – a question of faith. These are the things, for instance, governing the first chapters of the Book of the Revelation, where the churches are dealt with. It is a matter here of spiritual enlargement or spiritual limitation: either of being established, or of having the lampstand moved out of its place, with nothing established, nothing final. It is a matter of life, through the Living One Who became dead and is alive for evermore. The challenge is on whether it is to be life or death, and it is focused in the one question of faith. Finally, as we reach the last chapters of the Revelation, we find these things brought to fulness, in the great City as a symbolic representation of the Church. How great it is, how full, how enlarged, how solid! It is established. How living it is, too! Abundant life is its most central feature. And it is the very embodiment of tried, tested and proved faith.

Here, then, is the whole Bible gathered into this, and our Christian lives are based upon the Bible, the whole Bible. What does that mean? It means this, that our lives are concerned with spiritual fulness, as we shall see as we go on; with our being established to eternity, and not carried away with time; and with the great matter of Divine life brought into complete triumph over the last enemy, death. And the thing that governs and comprehends the Christian life in these three aspects is the whole matter of faith: tried faith, proved faith, established faith, perfected faith.

God’s Reaction Against Emptiness

Let us now look for a few minutes at these words, these terms, that we have been employing. We will take for the present just this matter of enlargement. We can use the alternative word ‘fullness’ – and we shall do so, quite extensively – but I have here a special thought in my mind in preferring this word ‘enlargement’. This whole matter of enlargement, whether the Lord is going to enlarge us, whether we are going to be enlarged, is a very living question and issue, for enlargement is a governing thought of God. All the way through the Bible, as we have seen, God’s thought is enlargement. God is always thinking in terms of enlargement, of increase, of final fullness. God never finds any pleasure at all in emptiness and in smallness. God dislikes emptiness, and always reacts against it.

As we open our Bibles at the first page of Genesis, what is almost the first thing that we read? After: “In the beginning God…”, and then a few words more, we read: “And the earth was without form and void” – that is ‘waste and empty‘ – “and the Spirit of God…” The earth was empty, and the Spirit of God – did what? – reacted against the state of emptiness. It was as though God said, ‘This is not My mind at all; this is altogether contrary to My thought. I am against this, and I am going to do something about it.’ God would have everything in Divine fullness – that is, in abundance. That is His thought for the earth, and for His people. And so the Spirit of God, brooding over this void, this emptiness, begins to work, and every stage and phase of the Divine activity is to fill. He fills the earth with the vast range of the vegetable kingdom – seeds in abundance and life within the seeds capable of endless production and reproduction. He fills the earth with the immense variety of the animal kingdom. He fills the sea, and says: “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures” (Gen. 1:20). And then, creating man, He says: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (v. 28). ‘I am against this emptiness, this void’. And on He moves on that principle, governed by that thought. Reaching Abraham, He says: “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore” (Gen. 22:17). Comprehend that, if you can! That is Divine thought. Beyond all comprehension, God thinks in terms of enlargement.

How much can be gathered up in the Bible on this matter! The Lord Jesus, for instance, came to express the thoughts of God in practical terms, and, amongst many other things, He spoke of a great feast which was made. The guests were bidden, but they did not come – they made excuses. And so the man who gave the feast said to his servant: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and constrain them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:15-24). Here we see Christ bringing God’s thoughts into this world – ‘That my house may be filled.’ But perhaps in the New Testament the day of Pentecost is the greatest example and expression of this Divine thought. When the Spirit came, a mighty, rushing wind “filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). And then it is applied to each believer: “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

The Danger Of Passivity

It is thus clear that enlargement is a governing thought with God. But the Lord Jesus has not only pointed out that this is what God would have, but He has said on the other hand that it is exceedingly dangerous to be empty. He spoke of a certain ‘house’, which was a man, possessed of a demon, an unclean spirit; and He visualized the casting out of the unclean spirit: but, although the house is ‘swept and garnished’, it is left empty; and, because no other occupant takes possession, the unclean spirit comes back to his old home, taking seven other more evil than himself, and fills the empty house (Matt. 12:43-45). It is a dangerous thing to be empty, to leave a void. If God does not fill, the Devil will. Beware of negative conditions, of not being positive and not being definite. Beware of vacuums in your heart, in your mind, in your life. David was one day on the house-top in a state of ‘vacuum’, at a time when kings go out to war (2 Sam. 11:1-2) – and he was a king, and a warring king. But instead of being occupied in a positive way, he was in a passive state, and we know the disaster that overtook him, from which he never recovered all his life. It is a dangerous thing to be empty. The Devil will see to the filling up of any space that he can occupy. The Lord wants to fill to the exclusion of all else.

The Fulness Of God

The ultimate word in this matter in the Bible is: “that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:19). Think of that! This is said to believers together in their corporate, related life – to the Church, which is “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Think of it: the fulness of God! – that is, God coming in such a way that there is no room for anything else. It was like that at the dedication of Solomon’s temple, in the Old Testament. When the priests moved out of the sanctuary, the glory of the Lord moved in and filled the house, and the priests could no longer stand to minister (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chron. 5:11-14). When the Lord fills, there is no room for anything or anyone else. That is the fulness of God.

Emptiness The Result Of Judgement

Returning to that word ‘void’ or ’empty’ that we find at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, it seems to me that this represents the result of a judgment. That, of course, has already been surmised on other grounds. But the following considerations are perhaps confirmatory. When the Lord sent His people Israel into Babylonian captivity for seventy years, the land became waste. The land fell into a state that could well be described in the terms used to describe the state of the earth at the beginning – void, waste and empty. Now, the Babylonian captivity of Israel was a judgment upon their unbelief and their idolatry, and the waste state into which the land fell was surely a part of that judgment; and it would therefore seem that “in the beginning”, also, the desolation was the result of a judgment upon a former creation.

But what is the point of this? The issue must have been this – as it has always been–that God was not allowed to fill all things. God’s place was either shared with other things, or God was driven out. The end of this present world, as is shown to us in the New Testament, is going to be like that. There will be a point at which God will be finally rejected by this world, and will have no place. We are moving fast toward that time. What will be the result? It will be the burning up of this world – judgment, destruction – and a longer or shorter period of desolation before there is a new heaven and a new earth, and all things are created anew. Judgment is always upon this one thing – as to whether God is all and in all, or not. Therefore enlargement – the fullness which is God’s thought – rests upon this matter of God having full place; and that is the basis of all testing of faith. God presses this point closer and closer as we go on: whether we will believe God sufficiently to let Him have His place in an impossible situation.

The Fullness Of God As Light

Now, what do we mean by the fulness of God? It is nothing less than the nature of God filling all things. “God is light”, the Scripture says (1 John 1:5): then where God is there is no darkness, there is no room for darkness; and when God comes in in fulness there is “no darkness at all.” It is all “light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). And the Lord is moving on this line with you and with me. He is seeking to get us completely out of our darkness into His light; to bring us into the light as He is in the light. And how great a factor is faith in this matter of coming into the light of the Lord, coming to know the Lord, coming into understanding, or whatever expression you may use for light. It is seeing, it is knowing, it is understanding.

But you and I never come into one additional ray of real light – I do not mean information, I mean spiritual light – except along the line of tests of faith, faith really tested. A sister in the Lord, who felt that she was far too short-tempered, too quickly provoked, said to a dear servant of God, ‘Oh, I do need more patience – do pray for me that I may have more patience!’ The servant of God said, ‘All right, let us get down and pray now’, and so they knelt down and he prayed, ‘Lord, do please send more tribulation into this dear sister’s life.’ And she stopped him and said, ‘No, I did not say I wanted tribulation – I want patience.’ ‘Ah, but’, he replied, ‘the Word says: “tribulation worketh patience”!’ (Rom. 5:3).

Yes: we want more of the Lord, but we are not always so ready to go the way that He would take us in order to have more of Himself. But it is that way – the way of tribulation; and what is tribulation if it is not the testing of faith? We are put into situations where only faith in God will enable us to live and to go on. Yet it is possible – it is so possible. Early last year, during my visit to California, a brother there proposed that we should go to see some dear friends, living about sixty miles away, who had begged that we should visit them. These dear children of God were living in perhaps one of the most worldly, unpropitious, impossible situations imaginable – the week-end resort of all the Hollywood stars. I cannot describe the utter abandonment to the flesh. Our two friends were living in a large trailer, or caravan, right at the centre of a great trailer park, surrounded by all these worldly people in their luxurious trailer homes, in an atmosphere of the utmost sensuality, fleshliness, indulgence. We went in, and had a most blessed afternoon with them on the things of the Lord – a most precious time, with a real touch of heaven – and when we had spent the whole afternoon with them, a brother said: ‘Perhaps you will not believe it, but there are sixteen out-and-out Christians in this trailer park. I am going to fetch some of them’. He went across to another trailer, and brought back two dear children of God, elderly, saintly people; and, without any going round matters at all or talking on generalities, we were right on the things of the Lord instantly, and we could have gone on all night. The brother told us, ‘We all meet here in this trailer, sixteen of us, and have most blessed times of fellowship.’

Why am I telling you about this? In the most unlikely place on earth – yes, the most impossible place for anything of a spiritual character, for anything really of the Lord – there, right in that terrible place, are saints walking in white raiment, in living fellowship with the Lord. Do not say, ‘Oh, the place I have to live and work in is impossible for any spiritual life or spiritual growth – everything is against me.’ Remember that the Lord can enlarge you anywhere if He calls you to be there. Never use the argument of the impossible. Just think of Abraham and the impossible. He came into enlargement, but not because everything was propitious, not because everything made it so easy and was so helpful. No, there can be light in the darkest place if the Lord is there. When I first heard of that situation, I had expressed the wish that those dear friends could have been got out of it, but when I left them I changed my view entirely. I do not know that they would really be the better for getting out of this. This is the thing that is enlarging them spiritually: it is throwing them on the Lord, it is making them prove the Lord. There is nothing here for them but the Lord; everything else is against Him.

The fulness of God is in terms of light, even in darkness; of love – for God is love – in a realm of hatred; of life in a realm of death; and of holiness in a realm of unholiness. “That ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.”

There is much more about this matter of enlargement. It was the governing thing in the sovereign gifts of the ascended Lord. “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men… and He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets;… and some, pastors and teachers” – for what? – “for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:8, 11-13). Every Divine gift in ministry has fulness as its object and its governing motive.

Let me close with this for the moment, that the test as to whether a thing is of God is always spiritual measure. It is not the measure of our doctrinal knowledge, nor even the measure of our Bible knowledge as such. It is not the accuracy or correctness of our technique in form and procedure. It is the measure of God. We can have all those other things, without there being really any measure of God. That is what counts.

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