THY GLORY! A Series On The Names of God by Elaine Cook INTRODUCTION
The name, Richard Wurmbrand, has become almost a household word for "a living martyr" in our day. He has been called "the voice of the Underground Church." Christian leaders have called him "the Iron Curtain Paul." This evangelical minister spent fourteen years in communist imprisonment and torture in his homeland of Rumania. During this time he spent three years in solitary confinement, seeing no one but his torturers. Twice he was released and each time he resumed his underground ministry in spite of the danger of imprisonment. Realizing the great danger of a third imprisonment, Christians in Norway negotiated with the communist authorities for his release from Rumania. At that time (1964) the communist government had begun "selling" their political prisoners. The "going price" for a prisoner was $1,900. Their price for Wurmbrand was $10,000! Two Christian organizations ó the Norwegian Mission to the Jews and the Hebrew Christian Alliance paid his ransom.
Some years ago, it was our privilege to meet Rev. Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand at a meeting in Alberta, Canada. The brother had to sit while he spoke, for his feet still suffered the effects of the torture. Oh, how our hearts burned within us as we listened to one whose love for Christ and His brethren had risen to heights we had never known possible! He was a true man of God and we felt we could have washed his feet with our tears. Yet, this man of God would not have reached this spiritual stature had it not been for the challenge of his wife, Sabina. At the very beginning of the persecution when there was still opportunity to draw back and avoid going to prison, she challenged her husband: "Wipe the spittle off the face of Jesus!" She let him know, in no uncertain terms, that she could never be proud of him if he compromised and refused to stand up for the Lord ó no matter what happened to him! He gives her great honor for helping him to stand for Christ when the the price for his family and himself was so high. By this time you may be wondering why I am telling you about this precious couple. Is not this book supposed to be about seeing the glory of God? I shall tell you why.
Off and on for a week I heard this phrase The Names of God in my spirit. Andrew Jukes has written a book by that name which I have read several times. With this word came the knowing that I was to write a book setting forth the names of God which clearly portray His nature in all its many aspects. The majority of Christendom knows so little of the nature of God ó when lies are told about His nature, they readily believe them. I was reluctant to hear this word. How could I portray His nature? That was too great a task to ask of me! At the supper table, Bill and I discussed it and I prayed, "Lord, please confirm this to my heart if this is what You are asking of me." After supper, we sat together to pray. Immediately, a strong weeping travail came over me. I didnít know what it was about, but in my spirit was this clear word: "Wipe the spittle off the face of Jesus!" When the travail lifted, it was very clear what the Lord wanted me to do. The Spirit of the Lord said: "I have justified you many times in the eyes of My people ó shall not I be justified? Not that I need to be justified and My righteousness proven, but My people need to know that I am a righteous judge and am not what they have imagined Me to be. "I do give thee this privilege of setting forth My nature as I have revealed it unto thee and what My Word testifies of Me. I will be with thy words to help thee and My Name shall be cleansed from uncleanness in the minds of those who read and believe your words."
Show Me Thy Glory
The first time the Lord began to show me what His glory was, I was yet a young Christian. If anyone had asked me then what "the glory of God" was, I probably would have answered, "It is some sort of bright aura like you see around the head of Christ in some pictures of Him." I was reading in Exodus, chapters 33 and 34 when I was arrested by what Moses said, "I beseech thee, shew me thy glory." My spirit was instantly at attention: now I was going find out what Godís glory actually was! Godís answer to Moses was: "I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy." I was quite surprised at these words, for when Moses asked to see His glory, God started telling him about His goodness and His nature (Name). Then God told him that He would have to stand upon a Rock by Him and He would hide him in the clift of the Rock and cover him while He passed by. For, said He, "Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live." This Rock represents Christ, who was that Rock that followed them in the wilderness. Standing upon Christ, hidden in Him, Moses could begin to know the glory of God that is His nature ó His goodness, if you will.
In that same way do we come to know Him. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" II Cor. 4:6. Further, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" John 1:18.
"And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord." Did He proclaim all of the names by which He has revealed Himself to mankind? Why, not at all! He proclaimed, "YAHVAH, YAHVAH ó EL of compassion and favour. Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and faithfulness: Keeping lovingkindness to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, though He leave not utterly unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon sons, and upon sonsí sons, unto a third and unto a fourth generation" Ex. 34:6,7 Rotherham. He proclaimed His nature! He testified of WHAT HE IS IN HIS NATURE. The words used here: compassion, lovingkindness and favor all have to do with mercy and grace.
The King James reads, "The LORD, THE LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty... "
These majestic words brought forth a startlingly new view of a supreme monarch ó a king who would forgive law-breaking, trespass and evil to anyone who seeks that forgiveness. He will not clear the guilty as long as they remain guilty. But they need not remain guilty before Him, for His law provides a way to His mercy. This means that the guilty remain guilty until they are willing to meet God on the grounds of the mercy which he has provided for their forgiveness. The Old Covenant was a marvel in the earth of that time, for it provided MERCY TO ALL. There was never any law in any other nation like it for that very reason, for the Law of Moses was a revelation of God Himself. Even though Israel had committed idolatry and had worshipped the image of a beast, God still renewed His righteous laws unto them a second time, and proclaimed aloud His nature unto Moses. The glory of "His goodness" was spoken forth in power! The Lord IS: merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness (much mercy).
The people, even as many today, did not understand or know Godís nature so they sinned in worshipping the vain-glory of self in the place of God. In all the world there is no such cruel beast as that which is in the heart of every man and woman ó self-love! They didnít know that man had been created to bear His glory and to represent Him as he is; to testify the truth of what He is; and to love Him with all his heart.
A Mind to Suffer
The day after the Lord impressed me to write this book, all I could do was weep before the Lord. Finally, I asked Him why I was weeping so, and He said, "I wanted you to know the longing of My Heart to be loved in My Being ó for what I AM, for therein lies the ultimate peace and rest ó to love and to become that which I AM. I have purposed not to cease drawing My creation until all see Me as I AM in My BEING ó and seeing, desire to be in My image and likeness completely.
"Then shall My Family bring satisfaction to Me even as My firstborn Son who took upon Himself a body of flesh and was fashioned as a man to redeem man from death."
This word reminded me of what Jacob Boehme had said, (around 1612) when he received great illumination by the Spirit of God. He was shown that "God stirred Himself to produce creation. . He was desirous of having children of His own kind. . . . Creation was an act of the free will of God; God unfoldled His eternal nature, and through His active love, or desire, He caused that which heretofore had been in Him merely as spirit (as an image contained in a piece of wood before the artist has cut it out), to become substantial corporeal. God longed after the visible substance of His similitude and image, and so created man."
Richard Wurmbrand tells of a Christian named Grecu who was sentenced to be beaten to death ó in slow, repetitive beatings. The one who led his torture was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist party called Reck. At a certain point, Reck would say, "You know, I am God. I have the power of life and death over you. The one who is in heaven cannot decide to keep you in life. Everything depends upon me. If I wish, you live. If I wish, you are killed. I am God!"
Brother Grecu, in the face of horrible pain and mockery, gave answer: "You donít know what a deep thing you have said. You are really a god. Every caterpillar is in reality a butterfly, if it develops rightly. You have not been created to be a torturer, a man who kills. You have been created to become a godlike being. Jesus told the Jews, ĎYe are godsí. The life of the Godhead is in your heart. Many persecutors like yourself, even the Apostle Paul, discovered that it is shameful for a man to commit atrocities ó they can do much better things. They may become partakers of the divine nature. Believe me, Mr. Reck, your real calling is to be a god, godlike; not a torturer."
At the time, Reck disregarded the words of his victim, but they worked in his heart until he understood that this was his real calling and he had a change of heart and believed on the Lord. Through suffering, these believers learned the very nature of Christ who sustained them in all of their trials. In solitary confinement, Wurmbrand tells us that he could not even concentrate sufficiently to say the Lordís Prayer. All he could say was, "Jesus, I love Thee." One glorious day he got an answer from Jesus: "You love me? Now I will show you how I love you." At once, I felt a flame in my heart which burned like the coronal streamers of the sun (that halo of light around the sun). The disciples on the way to Emmaus said that their hearts burned when Jesus spoke with them. So it was with me. I knew the love of the One Who gave His life on the cross for us all. Such love cannot exclude the communists, however grave their sins.
Communists have committed horrors but "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. Love is strong as death. Jealousy is as cruel as the grave." As the grave insists on having all ó rich and poor, young and old, men of all races, saints and criminals ó so love is all embracing. Christ, the Incarnate Love, will never cease until He wins the communists too.
My friend, Faith Williams, often says to me, "We need to have a mind to suffer." It is quite evident that our western cultures do not encourage the idea that any good can come out of suffering óespecially wrongfully! Few have "a mind to suffer" ó to endure joyfully whatever the Lord sends to purify and perfect their hearts.
This, I believe, is directly related to how they view the nature of God. If they see Him as a good God, then all good comes from Him, they reason. If something comes ó not to their liking ó it must be from the devil. They have decided, "Good is from God ó bad is from the devil."
This simplistic standard can raise many problems. When the Lord brings some situations into our life to "child-train" us ó to teach us obedience "through the things that we suffer", what is our reaction? "If thatís God, then I donít want anything to do with Him! I canít serve a God who would do that! (Or ask that of me!)" And on their carnal judgment of what Godís nature is like, they walk away to serve self.
I confess that I also have done this. When I was on the mission field, my baby died. As I faced God, I made a decision not to give my all to this God who, in my eyes, could not be trusted to care for my child while I was serving Him. Not once did it cross my mind the number of babies that had been buried in India and in China by the early missionaries there. Many tiny graves were left behind by these pioneers who kept on for the love that they bore for Jesus and the heathen who needed Him so desparately. They had "a mind to suffer." The Lord got through to me that He was taking me through an experience of "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." That word of the Lord and the prayers of the saints held me steady until I resolved for all time that He was worthy to receive my all, even if that meant my life besides!
Brother Wurmbrand tells of meeting in prison a man whom he had brought to Christ. In prison for his faith, he had left behind his wife and six children who were starving. He might never see them again. Wurmbrand asked him, "Have you any resentment against me that I brought you to Christ and because of this your family is in misery?" His answer was: "I have no words to express my thankfulness that you have brought me to the wonderful Saviour. I would never have it any other way." Because he had "a mind to suffer" for his faith, he could never regret having come to know the Creator and Lover of his soul. How we need to search our hearts to know if we have such a mind, or if we are ready to abandon our faith when the way gets rough. The communists could torture people with no conscience because they had been taught that man was simply "matter." They are materialists. For them, nothing but matter exists and to them man is like a piece of wood. Believing this lie, they sink to unbelievable depths of cruelty. Brother Wurmbrand has seen comunists torturing Christians and the faces of the torturers shone with rapturous joy. They cried out, "We are the devil!"
As Christians, we do not regard man in this light, but in many ways, we have a false image of God. Only recently a friend saw a book in a store window called Hymns to the Unknown God. It is so true that we can know about the Lord for many years but never truly know Him because we do not know His nature, even His glory. Because we do not know Him truly, we can easily accuse Him if things are not to our liking: "He doesnít love me! Or, "The Lord was not there when I needed Him." Or, "He left me because I failed." Or, "Heís a wrathful God." We are as ready to regard Him as a torturer as we are a deliverer if the things that happen in our life are not according to our liking and we have to suffer in the least way!
My friend Christa, a nurse, told me about one of the nurses who always says of the Lord: "I could never love a God who makes little children suffer." She is referring to all the children who are ill or handicapped. Their problems are in a great part due to the parentsí unhealthy lifestyle which resulted in babies born with drug addictions, the AIDS Virus, and so on. In her eyes, she blames God for it all as if He were a tormentor of little children!
For forty years I have walked with the Lord,and it has only been about the last four years that I could say "I know Him whom my soul loveth." It is because I now know His nature and no longer hold false concepts of Him as a wrathful, vengeful taskmaster. I really know that Jesus came to reveal the Father and I love and approve of everything that Jesus said and did!
Do you not see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? Jesus said, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father!" I also see His glory in the faces of His brethren who are becoming partakers of that same nature. Some say, "I canít help loving Jesus because He is so good, but Iím not comfortable with God because He is wrathful!" They have two gods ó a good, loving one and an angry one who instills fear in them. They do not see that there is but one God who came, in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, to reconcile mankind unto Himself. He is not angry at us. It was sin that caused us to hide our faces from Him! In the Garden, Adam hid from God because he had disobeyed Him. Did God come to him with a big stick? No! He called to him, "Adam, where art thou?" which has the meaning of, "Why are you not with Me?" God longed after his creation just like we long after our own children when they stray from the right way.
Recently, the Lord spoke to my heart, "The things in My Word that have offended the unbelieving or immature souls, signifying to them that I am an austere God, full of wrath, are those things that I have used to show forth My righteousness and they have not known it." We could consider the slaughter of the wicked people who inhabited Canaan. It was necessary to cleanse the land from such demonic practices as offering each firstborn baby to the fiery jaws of the idols of Chemosh and Baal. The Lord was a righteous Judge to cleanse the land of evil. It spoke also of cleansing "our land" from sin. Every time God judged a matter it was not from anger as humans know it, but from a zeal to show forth His righteousness. Yes, God deprived those wicked people of life on this earth. Is that not His right? If a man spends his life in wickedness and idolatry, God has a right to withdraw that life, for He did not give it to be used in that manner. That is a just act, not a wrathful one!
In like manner, all the many laws that God gave were to be a demonstration of His nature. For instance, when Godís law tells us not to commit adultery, He is telling us something about Himself. He is telling us that as the Law-giver, He will never be unfaithful to us, but will always be a true and loving Husband. Each point of the Law reveals His righteousness if we can but see it.
The Lord has given us a seven-fold revelation of His nature through the seven names by which he has revealed Himself throughout the Word. Seven means completion or fullness, so His Names reveal the fullness of His nature. If you know only one or two, you will most assuredly have an "unbalanced" understanding of Him. You need to understand each facet of His character in order to fully know Him. The names under which God has revealed Himself to man assist us in seeing His fullness, even to seeing Him as He is. The first four names are revealed in Genesis. They each show some distinct attribute or characteristic of the same God. They tell us what God is. Godís Being is so wonderful and manifold that no one name can express all that He is.
The only name used in the first chapter of Genesis, is GOD, or Elohim. This is the name we need to know before all others. And I declare, His children would have more peace if they knew it! Elohim, in the Hebrew, means "to swear." It describes One who stands i n a covenant-relationship ratified by an oath. Psalm
110:4 says, "The Lord sware and will not repent. . . "and this was prior to creation. So, before He even made man, God made a covenant concerning him! Under this name we see God, according to His own will, working on a dark and ruined creation till, by His Word, all is set in order and made very good. He brings back His light and life and then His image into the creature. In virtue of His own nature and covenant-relationship to His creation, He can never leave it, fallen as it is, till all again is very good.
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . " Gen. 1:26. This was Godís covenant with man. This was His purpose for making man ó to have a visible expression of Himself!"
"But," you may object, "the fall changed all that! Now man is but a fallen creature."
I must answer that when God made covenant it was not dependent upon manís keeping any part. It was strictly made on Godís part óan act of His will. This is proven by the statement: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things. . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundations of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" I Peter 1:20. God knew that man would fail and fall and had made provision for that before it happened! Elohim is God in covenant. His people may not know it, but God has said ,My covenant will I not break, nor alter the word that is gone out of My lips" Psa.89:34.
When He assures us that He will be "our God" (Isa.40:1), He means: "For this is the covenant . . . I will put my laws into their minds, and in their heart will I write them; and I will be unto them a God and they shall be to Me a people" Heb. 8:10. God has sworn ó pledging His Word both for Himself and for His creation. God promises for both parts ó saying "I will" and "I shall." He loves, first of all, in virtue of relationship, which does not even consider our sinful condition. "For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Comparing this to a human family, let us say that a little boy with some handicap is born into a certain family. The child may not look at all attractive and will never, it appears, be able to care for himself .Yet, the parents care for him with undying devotion ófirst of all, because of relationship óthis is their child. He came forth from their love union. He is an extension of themselves, and they go to great ends to provide the child with the best possible advantages to promote his life. And, of course, their love progresses from loving because of relationship to loving that child for himself.
Now, let us see God in this, for we are His family, and He is our Father. We too, have been born "handicapped" by our mortality ó the realm of death and sin in which we walk. Yet, the Lord regards not our unloveliness and our unlikeness to Him. He loves us because we are an extension of Himself! He sent us forth to inhabit a body of flesh. He is the Father of our spirit. "All souls are Mine," says the Lord. He loves us in virture of relationship óbecause we are His offspring ó and He has sworn to make us like Himself. As the loving earthly parents, He too makes a costly provision (of His own life!) in order that His children might be able to walk in life. And, as they begin to make steps in the way of the Spirit,God loves them in a deeper way.
A natural father boasts,"Johnny has my nose!" Our heavenly Father delights, "My child is beginning to share with others. He has a caring heart like Mine" and He rejoices over every small step His child makes toward life and goodness (which is His glory!) The reason I feel so strongly about the covenant that God has made with man concerning the making of man in His image and likeness is that the Lord has written it indelibly upon my heart! Years ago, upon awakening , I heard this scripture resounding in my spirit: "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness." I rejoiced to hear that from the Lord, and that word did not leave me all day. It was just there in my heart all the time! Finally, at suppertime, I said to my husband, "Of this one thing I am sure: the Lord purposes to make us in His image and likeness. He has been saying it to me all day and I am convinced in my heart that He really means it!" After I confessed that truth aloud, I heard it no more within. The Lord knew that "I had got the message!" It was a revelation from God that has never left me. Even then, I can see that the Lord was teaching me, not only His Word, but also His nature which ensures that He will keep His Word.
Jesus taught us concerning His pledge, but we have not "seen it" as an integral part of the nature of God. When the Pharisees objected that He received sinners (Luke 15:1,2), the Lord answered, "What man of you ó fallen and wretched as you are ó would be content to lose even a sheep which had strayed from you? Or what woman would be content to lose a piece of silver? Would you not seek your lost until you found it?"
Is not the lost creature really Godís loss? Can He rest until He find it? And when it is found, is it not His joy even more than the recovered creatureís? Here the Lord declares ó not the joy of the recovered sheep, or the silver, or the lost son, but the joy of the Shepherd, the Woman, and the Father. Each one exclaims: "Rejoice with me, for I have found that which I had lost." His name Elohim says all this!
Many Christians believe that God can do anything He wants to do, but they are unsure of His will óunsure if He wants to be a "blesser"; to do good unto His creation. So many have been taught that God is watching them to see if they step out of line, and then watch out for that big stick! Know that God is both able and willing to do all His good pleasure! Did not Jesus come "to seek and to save that which was lost?" That was God ó Elohim, keeping His covenant with us!
To the One who has said, "I will be to you a God," shall we not reply, "My Elohim, in Him will I trust!" Psalm 91:2.
In Jehovah, we see the righteous Judge. This was the aspect of Godís nature that the Jews considered the most important. They expected Jesus ó if He were truly the Messiah ó to pour some "fire and brimstone" judgments upon the Romans to deliver His people and set Himself up as king. A suffering Saviour who came to free His people from the bondages of sin so that they could be partakers of His divine nature, did not appeal to them. That was not how they saw God.
Sad to say, we are faced with the same attitude in the church system today. Whatever the denomination, the emphasis is on the nature of God as portrayed by His Name, Jehovah. This is almost the only aspect of His nature that they understand. A problem arises when the "judgment" aspect of His nature is considered by itself, with no regard for the other characteristics of His nature which make a perfect balance. As one person said, "I go to church and they just tell me how awful I am and that Iím going to a place I donít want to go."
The name Jehovah is first introduced in Genesis, chapter two. You will see here two names together: LORD God. This means "Jehovah-Elohim." There is a very good reason why these two names should be linked. First, you must understand what aspect of Godís nature Jehovah depicts. We will compare the two names so that you can see the difference. First, in Elohim we see One whose Love works with His creation and overcomes all ó no matter what its condition. His will prevails over all hindrances. There is no human condition so low that He cannot "save to the uttermost." In Elohim, we see the nature of Godís Being. And His Being is LOVE! (A motherís love is a shadow of His great love). We could say that Elohim shows God loving unconditionally because His nature is LOVE. He "has sworn" to love us and to make us like Himself!
The name Jehovah reveals God as TRUTH ó and the Truth that His nature is righteous is THE EXPRESSION OF HIS BEING. It shows love in its relation to certain qualities in the loved one. In all truest love there must be righteousness. Jer. 23:6 expresses the meaning of Jehovah very clearly: ". . . and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. And His people, even the New Jerusalem ó those born from above ó shall share His nature ó for the Lord will also call them by this same name. ". . . .Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, the Lord our righteousness" Jer. 33:16.
Jehovah loves righteousness because that is His true state of Being. Evil is not true being ó but the negation of it ó therefore evil is not eternal. Because evil is not true, it must be opposed and judged. He who "loves righteousness and hates iniquity" finds in all evil something atagonistic to His nature. Therefore, He must judge all evil until it is destroyed and "mortality is swallowed up of life." This is the lesson of the second name of God revealed to us.
Let us look at how our understanding of these aspects of Godís nature affect His people. We have met some followers of Christ who claim to be "sons", yet they feel they can live however they like and it doesnít matter because Godís Love is unconditional. One young man said to us, "The Lord doesnít care what I do in the flesh. Heís only interested in my spirit." This is knowing only Elohim ó One who loves "in spite of" manís condition. Knowing the Lord in this limited aspect of His nature can lead to "greasy grace" ó a place of presumption ó that gives no regard to the truth that His nature is also righteous and He must judge sin in us. If He does not, we could never become like Him, for to become like Him, we must see Him as He is.
Then, there is the other side of the coin. Those who know Him only by His nature reavealed in the name Jehovah become judgmental and harsh because they say He is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. . . "Heb.1:13. They talk like a sinner must be cast out of His presence because of his sin, for the Lord canít stand to look upon evil! This word "look" means "to look intently at; to regard with pleasure, favor or care." This new revelation of Godís nature shows us that evil must be judged because it crosses His nature, and is antagonistic to it. He is now considering the quality of our being and judging that which is opposed to His righteousness.
Do you see why the words LORD God (Jehovah-Elohim) are used together? The Jews were actually afraid to pronounce "Jehovah" by itself. They would read "Adonai" instead, or "Elohim", for they knew Jehovah was the aspect of Godís nature that would judge their unrighteousness. Our Father would have us to understand that what He is in his Being and how He expresses that Being must go hand-in-hand or we do not see Him truly. When He judges, it is not without love and mercy! He must judge, but it is for our good, not for punish ment óbut to correct us! I have heard one parent say to to the other one, "It is not fair that I should have to perform all the discipline in the family, and you do all the loving and giving. It makes me look like an ogre and it makes you Ďthe good guyí. We need to come to a balance here, because we both love our children and yet we must judge their bad behaviour so that they will grow up to be a credit to us." This is exactly what I am saying about the nature of God! We ought not to regard Him only by one aspect of His nature.
We need to achieve a balance between "I can do anything I want because Godís Love is unconditional" and "Godís going to get me if I fall or fail." We need to first see Elohim ó unconditional love ó not dependent upon our state óbut upon His relationship to us. Then, we need also to see that His nature is Truth ó and the true expression of His nature is righteousness. And, though He loves us, He must deal with the sin in our nature. He does this on the basis of HIS LOVE FOR US, not on a basis of WRATH BECAUSE WE ARE SINNERS and He is too holy to look upon us! He more than looked upon our sin ó He bore it upon Himself!
Falling Into Self-hood
We need to learn how our sin ó which is the opposite of righteousness and love, wounds, not man only, but Jehovah. The first record of the name Jehovah is seen in the Garden of Eden. The "living soul" man is put under law. Jehovah commanded the man ó with a "thou shalt" and a "thou shalt not" regarding the two trees. With it was a warning and a threat that disobedience must bring judgment. Yet, in the very judgment there was a promise of deliverance through the seed of the woman.
Jehovah had made a Paradise for the man and put him there to have fellowship with Himself. Because He is holy, He gave man a holy commandment. But, the serpentís word was preferred to Jehovahís. Our first parents believed the lie that God is grudging (and doesnít want us to be like Him!) and is not true. Having taken in this lie, they fall into the snare of self-hood ó believing that they can be like God independently of Him ó through self-effort. To this day, this lie is believed and men are still trying to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps!
Elwin Roach says, "All religions believe that their salvation hinges on the works of man ó the efforts of their own making. The yogi sits and meditates, trying to break through to perfection and becoming one with the Universe. The reincarnationist works in this life trying to do good, believing to pick up where he left off in the next life, finally reaching immortality through his own efforts. The ritualistic christians are attempting the same feat by lifeless motions of crossing their chests with their hand, fingering beads while chanting repetitious prayers, wearing prestigious-looking robes and other rituals that tire me to even think about.
"Regardless of Godís Word affirming over and over that a man, as well as mankind, must go through an experiential process in order to be changed, the soulish mind still believes in the magic of being changed in an instant. Accepted theology says there is no need to die to self ó just follow the formula and wait to be whisked off into the clouds. They know not that Jesus will call them "workers of iniquity" and say "I never knew you" because they refused the way of the cross and never became one with the Lord.
"These misled souls believe that those who do not follow their pattern will be lost to an eternal burning lake of fire. Popular Christianity says that if people have not repented of their sins and accepted Jesus as their Saviour by repeating a certain prayer or being confirmed and baptised before they die, that a punishment worse than death awaits them. Rome has taught us that once a person dies, Godís grace ends. We have also been told that at the close of the church age, when Jesus returns, His grace will also end, except for those few who will be lucky enough to survive the Great Tribulation." (Unquote).
No More Grace?
I have heard radio and TV preachers warning the people, in somber tones, that "the day of grace is almost over." Is this a true statement? Can we believe it simply because it is being taught from the pulpit? Be aware that many accepted doctrines and creeds have been passed down from Romanism and from the traditions of men. The Lord is now clearing the cobwebs away so that we might see clearly what is Truth and what is not.
In order to learn truth, we must have some guidelines. Not only must the doctrine be in the written Word, but it must also agree with the Spirit of Christ, the nature of God, and His ultimate purpose for man. Let us test this one belief concerning grace by these four pillars. Can it stand the test of truth?
(1) In no place in the written Word does it say that there shall be an end to grace. There is an end to the Church Age as the in-part passes away to be replaced by the fullness in the kingdom age. But, rather than Godís mercy and grace being cut off, it shall be extended and poured out in an unprecedented manner upon the nations ó for until now, He has been visiting the nations for one purpose alone ó to call out a remnant for His Name (to come into His nature before the rest). See Acts 15:13-18. When the remnant has come forth, He will use them to bring the rest of mankind.
The Word speaks over and over the sublime truth that "his mercy endureth for ever," with not one word to the contrary! "Mercy" and "grace" carry the same meaning: "to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior, to show favor, to have mercy upon." In Psalm 136, "for his mercy endureth for ever" is repeated 26 times! One brother I know asked the Lord why He kept saying that over and over ó wouldnít once have been enough? The Spirit of the Lord answered him, "I wanted to be sure My children heard it!" It seems multitudes have not yet heard it and are still believing that there is an end to His mercy and grace.
(2) Truth must also witness to the Spirit of Christ within you. Through the years, I have heard some doctrines loudly proclaimed to be true, but my spirit felt uncomfortable with them. There was no peace within to embrace them, so I put them on the shelf, or prayed about them. I have learned to trust the witness of the Spirit even when my mind says, "These words sound wonderful!" The Spirit of Christ unto whom my spirit is joined never did witness that Godís grace would ever "run out."
(3) Judging this doctrine on the basis of the nature of God, we may truthfuly say that if you know Godís true nature, you know that He can never run out of grace and mercy óthat His mercy shall endure for ever! His very name ó Elohim ó tells us His Love is unconditional ó He has sworn to mankind to make them a partaker of His divine nature. If you know only the nature signified by the name Jehovah, you could possibly believe that He would run short of grace. Thinking of His righteous nature being crossed ó and His having to judge sin all the time ó you might feel: "His will cannot be crossed forever! At some point, He must say, ĎEnough! No more grace or mercy!í "Humanly speaking, that is how we act. We say, "Weíve had enough!" and we cut off all mercy to the one who has wronged us.
I thank God that He is God óand that His ways are higher than our ways ó and His thoughts higher than ours. And, because He is righreous, He will judge sin, but He will never cease dealing with His creation until He makes the sinner righteous with His own righteousness! Only then is His righteousness fully declared. This is the truth that His nature tells us!
(4) The fourth pillar, whereby we should determine if something is true, is ó how does it line up with Godís ultimate purpose for man? First, let me assure you that Godís purpose is not to provide "fire insurance" for every man so that he can stay out of hell and go to heaven. His plan far transcends such carnal ends. We have not been saved simply so that we will go to heaven when we die. That was not Godís stated intention for us. Yes, He does have a plan! And weíre asking if that plan has ever an end to grace.
I Tim. 2:3-6 tells us, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour: Who will have ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom FOR ALL, to be testified (evidenced) IN DUE TIME." Further, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation . . . God, who is the SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, specially of those that believe" I Tim. 4:9,10.
God here sets forth His plan for mankind ó His ultimate purpose for which He made man. In this declaration He reveals that His will is for all men to be saved. He points to the provision of Christ that was given for all in order to bring this about. Not a breath of doubt is there here that the task will be too big for God and that He may have to cut short His grace! He does tell us though, that it wonít happen all at once óthat is, not all in one age. When He said, He "gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time," He was opening up His will and purpose unto us. In simple words, He was telling us, "Although My sacrifice on the cross was full and complete and covers all men, yet it wonít be evident, or shown forth all at once. In "due time" ó "the appropriate, suitable, expected, promised-to-come" time, you shall see it happen. In other words, God will continue to deal with man (in life or in death) throughout the ages until He can say once again of His creation: "It is very good."
In I Tim. 4:9,10 where God states that He is the Saviour of all men but specially of those that believe, we need to understand that "especially" emphasises the idea of "over and above all others; chiefly or particularly." Those who have received Him have a closer relationship with Him than those who have not yet been drawn unto Him. He has been a ransom for ALL, but ALL do not yet enjoy His love and security, for they still walk in the old Adamic nature and have not yet been made alive in Christ. This faithful saying is worth being accepted, the Word says! His grace and mercy never fail, for His plan is, in due time, to bring ALL MEN, for He has paid the ransom for all!
To sum up "the test" we have just made, we find that the doctrine that teaches that Godís grace can be over for any man ó or for any period of time, is not true. His Word, His Spirit, His nature, His ultimate plan, all agree that it is not so. This teaching has brought shame and reproach unto Jehovah and has made light of His costly sacrifice by limiting it to only a tiny per cent of the earthís population, and to the seventy years of our short mortal life. Though "sin reigns unto death, grace no less reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord" Rom. 5:21. Jehovah is not content to be righteous Himself! He will have the creature (man) made like Himself ó by coming into its place, and making it a sharer in His own righteousness! He condemns to justify; He kills to make alive ó to make the creature "righteous as he is righteous."
Answers From Beyond the Vail
It would seem that some understanding on what happens to man after death might clear up some of the vile accusations against the nature of God. Some common misconceptions are: (1) that death seals a manís state forever. In whatever state he is in when he dies, he shall never be able to progress from it. (2) that a saint, be they so ever immature, is automatically changed upon death, to be able to rule and reign with Christ. (3) that God, in His wrath, casts evil men into the fiery furnace. (I am not denying the existence of hell; Iím talking about Godís nature!) (4) that there is no place for repentance in the after-life. If you havenít repented here you shall not have opportunity to repent on the other side. (5) that a sinner is doomed to stay eternally in the same spiritual state in which death finds him. There is no spiritual progress to be made in the hereafter.
As our spiritual sources on how God deals with the progress of man in the hereafter, I quote from Scenes Beyond the Grave by Marietta Davis, and writings by Sadhu Sundar Singh who was called the Apostle of India. As Paul, Sundar frequently entered into a spiritual realm where mysteries were opened up to him and he was instructed in matters hidden to us.
Marietta Davis, during her time spent in heaven, was told, "The departure of the spirit from its unsettled and shattered habitation below, worketh no change in its nature." She saw multitudes struggling in the agonies of death. Over battlefields were congregated spirits of the dead, from unholy and wretched to bright angels,
according to the moral nature of the one dying. All classes (both good and evil), as they left their bodies, were attracted to and mingled with kindred associations, beings with whose character they felt comfortable. All classes and conditions arrived at an intermediate state. (Those of discordant and unhallowed natures are attracted by like elements, and enter into regions overhung with clouds of night. Those who loved good, and desire pure associations are conducted by heavenly messengers to the orb of glories appearing above this intermediate place.)
Sadhu Sundar Singh tells also of an intermediate state ó a state between the glory and light of the highest heavens, and the dimness and darkness of the lowest hells. In it are innumerable planes of existence, and the soul is conducted to that plane for which its progress in the world has fitted it. There, angels especially appointed to this work, instruct it for a time that may be long or short before it goes on to join the society of those spirits that are like in nature and in mind to itself.
He relates, "Once in my presence,a man of evil life entered at death into the world of spirits. When the angels and saints wished to help him he at once began to curse and revile them. (They were trying to get him to confess his heartís condition, for in this place one cannot be one thing on the outside and another on the inside. Here your true being is manifested and you must acknowledge it or there can be no repentance for it. This man refused to admit to the evil in his heart).
"He accused God, saying, ĎGod is altogether unjust. He has prepared heaven for such flattering slaves as you are, and casts the rest of mankind into hell. Yet you call Him ĎLove!í
"The angels replied, ĎGod certainly is Love. He created men that they might live forever in happy fellowship with Him, but men, by their own obstinancy, have turned their faces away from Him.í
"Just then the sweet voice of one of the high angels was heard from above saying, ĎGod gives permission that this man may be brought into heaven.í Eagerly the man stepped forward accompanied by two angels, but when they reached the door of heaven, and saw the holy and light-enveloped place and the glorious inhabitants that dwell there, he began to feel uneasy. The angels said to him, ĎSee how beautiful a world this is! Go a little farther and look at the dear Lord sitting on His throne.í
"From the door he looked, and then as the light of the Sun of Righteousness revealed to him the impurity of his sin-defiled life, he started back in an agony of self-loathing, and fled with such precipitancy that he did not even stop in the intermediate state of the world of spirits, but like a stone he passed through it and cast himself headlong into the bottomless pit.
"Then the sweet and ravishing voice of the Lord was heard saying, ĎLook, My dear children, none is forbidden to come here, and no one forbade this man, nor has any one asked him to leave. It was his own impure life that forced him to flee from this holy place, for ĎExcept a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of Godí John 3:3." (Unquote)
Bill and I were visiting a present-day saint to whom the Lord had revealed similar mysteries (though he was not seeking them). We can vouch for the integrity of his person and of his spiritual walk. He saw the intermediate place from which the spirits go into a place of either darkness or light according to the desire of their own hearts. The evil went to places that were graduated from slight dimness to great darkness, where Satan was. The good went to places that went from a very small measure of light, each place increasing in light until the light was full ó and God was there. This would be the same as Bro. Singh spoke of "innumerable planes of existence, and the soul is conducted to that plane for which its progress in this world had prepared it."
Our friend was permitted to understand that when teachings on certain topics, for example, "The Blood of Jesus" were held on earth, that any of these spirits could go and hear the message if they wanted to know about that subject. No one was ever coerced but they had a choice, an opportunity to learn more about Jesus and His righteousness. As they received light, they could graduate into the next higher place of light. This applied to both those on the dark side and those on the light side.
They were being given an opportunity to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. I donít know what you will think of this, but all I can say is: "It sounds like My Father."
Loving ó righteous ó but doing justice and "keeping mercy unto a thousand generations ó though He leave not sin utterly unpunished. . . Ex. 34:6,7. It seems to me that we shall reap what we sow rather than that God is there ready to zap us. Our own iniquities will judge us! But when we have come to ourselves, He is ready to show mercy unto us.
It reminds me of what Jesus said, in Luke 12:47,48: "And that servant, which knew his lordís will (that sounds like a believer ) and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." (It doesnít sound like this unyielded believer, one who refused to die to the adamic nature, will be instantly changed and will be ruling from the Throne! Rather, it sounds like there is some serious correction about to take place here).
"But he that knew not, (sounds like an unbeliever!) and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (And here we see an unbeliever getting off rather lightly, with few stripes. Fancy that! Remember ó this is the doctrine that Jesus taught. I did not "make it up.") There are many doctrines that believers have embraced blindly, believing that they are in the Bible when they are nowhere to be found in its sacred pages.
Heaven ó A Playground?
Preachers and teachers have done the purposes of God a great disservice by portraying heaven as some happy "Disney World" where everyone plays harps and walks on golden streets óand donít forget the wonderful mansion that has been prepared for each one. Jesus has been building on them ever since He went to heaven.
Such drivel! By portraying such a carnal,literal interpretation of heavenly places, all the spiritual reality is lost and some even wonder if that "playground" might not become boring after some time. The Greek meaning of the word translated mansion is from a verb meaning "to stay" (in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy): abide, continue, dwell, be present, remain. It would be more correct to say that Jesus is preparing "abiding places" within His people! We are the ones He has created to indwell! His purpose for making man was not simply to make him happy by giving him all these T-H-I-N-G-S after he died . No! A thousand times "No!"
Godís divine purpose was to have a manifestation of Himself ó an abiding place in His people where He would be welcomed to dwell in all His fullness! I can vouch for the fact that He has been preparing this "abiding place" that I am for a good forty years. I am His workmanship and I honor Him for all the preparations for His abiding glory that He has made in my vessel.
Some years ago we were asked to pray for a preacherís elderly father who was dying. His son said, "My father has been such a wonderful minister for some forty years. It is such a shame to see his ministry cut off like this when he could still be used to bless many." We agreed with that and promised to pray. Much to my surprise, the Spirit of the Lord had other ideas (which we had never heard of before!) He told us that this noble man was well prepared for that large ministry that awaited him upon the other side. We were not to pray for him to be kept here. This shocked us as it shook up our theology!
Some years after that, we had a similar word. One day I suddenly had a burden for an Indian brother who ministered to his own people on a reservation. He had a revelation of sonship and we had fellowship from time-to-time. The burden became so intense that Bill called his home. He was told that he had been rushed to the hospital about an hour previous with a serious heart condition.
We drove to the hospital to try to comfort the family, for the Lord had told us He would take him home. The adult son was very upset. A prophecy had gone over his father that he would preach to multitudes and he felt the Lord had no right to take him until that came to pass. To date, he had only preached at small gatherings.
Bill and I prayed for some way to comfort this young man and his mother. The Lord told us that he had been prepared to preach to multitudes, but it would not be here, but on the other side. The word given over him was true and it would come to pass! The son was not comforted because he felt it had to happen in this life, but the wife was comforted. And as for us, we began to understand that "it is not all over until itís over!" Heaven must be much more than a playground! Jehovahís name declares it to be so!
EL SHADDAI (GOD ALMIGHTY)
Before we consider the third name by which God has revealed His nature, let us briefly review the first two names. The first thing that God reveals to us about Himself is that He is One who is in a covenant-relationship with His creation. He shows us that He loves in virtue of relationship rather than on any worthiness on our part. Then, He shows us, in His work on the outward creation (which figures His inner work) that He carries on His new creation work until all is very good.
Recently, I was answering a friendís letter. In it she had said, "See every person as who they are and not what they manifest ó see ALL as children of God. If we will see them, speak to them, treat them and honor them as the very offspring of God, soon they will be manifesting who they are and we will see ourselves acting like who we are too, even children of God.
In my response to her words I confessed that I had struggled with this for years. I was not sure if Christ was within every man (dormant or otherwise). My conclusion was that I would pray about the matter.Half an hour later found me taking a break from my desk. I sat, quietly peeling an apple when the Spirit of the Lord began to speak to me about this subject. He said, "I did create a heaven (a spiritual place-E.) within the creature that I made, even as I created a heavens in the earth, which is the pattern of My creation. But, through the fall, the heavens were darkened and the true light could no longer shine, even the light of the Sun of righteousness. But where My Word speaks with My Life, the heavens in man open up and begin to respond to the light of My Life that is shining upon it.
"Fear not to believe that all creation is Mine ó that I count them as My Family ó saint and sinner alike ó those in darkness as well as those in light. The only difference in the one from the other is that I have opened their heavens so that they are able to arise unto newness of life and to have fellowsip with He Who is the Light.
"I have purposed to open each manís heaven so that My light may enter, but it shall be in My due order and timing, for I do all things well."
"In this time (until I do this-E.), reproach not any man in your heart for not coming to the Light. Despise him not, but speak a word of life into his spirit as I lead thee and I shall send the light to enlighten his darkness in My appointed time."
Secondly, His name Jehovah reveals God in His true Being. It is expressed in His Name revealed to Moses: "I AM THAT I AM." He reveals His nature as righteous and it follows that He must be opposed to all that is not true being (all falsity and evil). He must judge it because His will is crossed by evil. He Himself suffers with His creatures in the judgment of evil. These two aspects of Godís nature seem to be a contradiction, but we need to see both sides of the truth.
We have a dear friend who told us that before she became a Christian she had lived at peace with all men. After learning that the nature of God is holy and righteous and that He judges sin wherever it is found, she became exactly like the only aspect of Godís nature that had been revealed to her. She told us, "I became extremely judgmental and condemning in my attitude toward others. And I felt that, as a Christian, it was my duty to judge sin.
"As the years went by and the Lord unfolded other aspects of His nature to me, I had a hard time coming out of that condemning, judgmental role that I had played for so long. It was difficult for me to see that His Love could be unconditional in spite of manís sin.
"One day the Lord almost blew me away when He spoke to me, ĎIf you would be a saviour in the Saviour (Obadiah 18), you must be willing for all men to be saved."
One-sided conclusions can bring us into error. They will cause careless souls to hope for Godís mercy on the ground of His unconditional Love. They close their eyes to the fact that He is righteous also and must judge evil. On the other hand, those who know that His will is crossed by sin, conclude it will be crossed forever, and though He desires to save all, He must forever lose a portion.
If careless souls could see Godís holiness and understand that evil must be judged, they would judge themselves so they might not be judged of the Lord. On the other hand, if those who know that God must condemn evil could go on to know God in His nature revealed in His Names of Almighty and the Most High God, they would see that there are powers in Godís nature which cannot permit Him to be crossed forever. He can and must accomplish His will, first, in His remnant, and then, by them, to the rest of mankind until all men are saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" I Timothy 2:3-6.
The Revelation of the Almighty
If you should ask a believer what "Almighty" means, he would likely answer, "It means that God has the power to do anything and everything!" This is not true! He can do nothing against His nature of Truth and Love. He cannnot lie, for He has said of Himself, "God is not a man that He should lie." He cannot be false or hating (yes, He hates sin, but He loves the sinner, "for while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.")
"Almightiness" is the power to carry out the will of a divine nature. God also is LOVE ó His will is to bless all. To be Almighty, He must be able to carry out His own will and purpose to the uttermost. He has not left us in the dark concerning His will ó we have been taught that He is not "Almighty" enough to carry it out! Preachers of the letter of the Word have placed manís free will above Godís Almightiness which gives more power to man and makes God seem to be impotent to change His own creation! Can we put aside manís fables of what God can and canít do and listen to what He testifies of Himself?
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself": (Listen to the opening-up of the mystery!) "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him" Eph. 1:9,10.
If He cannot "turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just," He is not able to fulfil the desire of His nature and so would not be Almighty. BUT ó "He is able to subdue all things unto Himself." Because He is LOVE, He is able to subdue all things to LOVE.
The Bible tells us that Godís will is a mystery. A mystery is something that is kept secret. Yet, it also tells us that He has made known this mystery unto His blood-bought ones. We need not be ignorant of His will, nor unbelieving that He is able to perform it. It has been written in the holy scriptures that His will is carried out "according to his good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself" Eph. 1:9. Sad to say, we have not been taught to believe what God says of Himself in His Word. Man has substituted many carnal imaginations in place of the clear words expressed in the scriptures.
I recall a time when Bill and I were ministering to the called-out ones in the U.S. Everywhere we went we found some with feelings of despair and hopelessness concerning Godís acceptance of them. He was moving in their lives, teaching them about sonship and maturity and yet they didnít feel secure that He truly would perform those good things that He had promised them.
In seeking the Lord as to how to encourage our brethren, the Lord led us to chapter one of Ephesians and told us to read it slowly and carefully with them, asking them to put their names wherever it said "us" or "we". This would establish them in what His will was, and in the fact that it was His delight and good pleasure to perform it. By common consent, each person agreed that they had never really "seen" those clearly-stated truths nor believed that they applied to them. They believed that manís "free will" could thwart Godís plans and prevent them from being carried out. This touted "free will" is not so free when you consider that man cannot even come to the Lord UNLESS the Spirit of the Lord draws him! So, he is not a sinner by choice ó He "was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same (creation) in hope. . . " Romans 8:20.
Settle it in your hearts then, that God is Almighty and has the power to carry out the will of His divine nature! He can declare a thing and perform all His good pleasure in bringing it to pass. If this were not so, then man would be God because his will could prevent God from doing what He desired to do and God would be but a figurehead. This is how many perceive Him. Do you see why it is important to know His Names ó so that we may become acquainted with His nature and know His will.
Ephesians 1:3-11 from the Phillips translation tells us clearly about both His good pleasure and His will: ". . . consider what he has done ó before the foundation of the world he chose us to be, in Christ, his children, holy and blameless in his sight. He planned, in his love, that we should be adopted (son-placed) as his own children through Jesus Christ ó this was His will and pleasure that we might praise that glorious generosity of his which he granted to us in his Beloved. It is through him, at the cost of his own blood,that we are redeemed, freely forgiven through that free and generous grace which has overflowed into our lives and given us wisdom and insight.
"For God has allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposed long ago in his sovereign will that human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth should find its perfection and fulfilment in him. In Christ we have been given an inheritance, since we were destined for this, by the One who works out all his purposes according to the design of his own will."
This testimony concerning Himself proves God to be El Shaddai ó the Almighty God ó One who is able to carry out His own will and purpose to the uttermost.
Almightiness Is Of The Breast
"El", often translated "God", primarily means "might" or "power." David speaks His Name: "It is El that girdeth me with strength." The revelation of the name "Shaddai" is different. It also expresses power, but it is not the power of violence, but of all-bountifulness.
"Shaddai" means "Breasted", a word formed from the Hebrew word "Shad" meaning "the breast", more specifically, "a womanís breast". Thus "Shaddai"means "The Pourer or Shedder forth" of blessings both natural and spiritual. This third name shows us His nature as One whose self-sacrificing love gives and pours itself out for others.
The old Greek story of the mother herding her goats is a fit example to show us the nature of His Almightiness. Her baby had crawled close to the edge of a precipice before she noticed him. Fearful to alarm the child by calling out, she simply stood there, in sight of him and uncovered her breast. The infant was drawn back to her and was safe.
It is in the figure of the drawing power of the breast that the Lord has chosen to reveal to us the nature of His Almightiness. As "the BreastedOne" He can quiet the restless, He can nourish and strengthen and He can attract us when we are in danger of falling from Him. Johnís vision of Him as Almighty shows Him " clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle" Rev. 1:8,13. Here is "The Almighty" portrayed in the womanís dress and having the womanís breast.
What sublime truth is spoken forth here for our comfort. We see our "El Shaddai", the"Pourer forth," the One who pours Himself out, as does a mother, for the children whom He has brought forth. A motherís love has been immortalized by song and poem throughout the ages because it is the purest form of love that we know in our earth realm. The nature of God revealed by His Name El Shaddai reveals a Love far higher than any love that we can know in our earthly sphere.
The Breasted or "Pourer Forth" pours Himself out for His creatures, whom "he won at the cost of His own blood." In addition to pouring out His lifeís blood for them, He also "sheds forth His Spirit" so that they might be quickened and made alive in spirit and be able to become "partakers of the divine nature." This loving and giving aspect of His nature is shown clearly in His words of invitation: "Come unto Me and drink"; "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it"; "Eat My flesh and drink My Blood."
By the sacrifice of Himself He gives Himself and His very nature in order that His perfect will may be accomplished in them.
Yet, we must ever be aware that this giving of Himself involves judgment. There will be self-judgment if the hearers are obedient. If they are disobedient, they will know the judgment of the Lord.
It is as Timothy says, "Some menís sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after." We must ever be aware that, as believers, He gives us opportunity to have are sins judged in this life as we, in obedience, die to our old nature. Our weaknesses and failings we present to Him to be judged unto correction so that we might rise above them. Those who do not come into self-judgment, even if they are Christians, find that their sins show up later and must be judged by the Lord. It is much better to yield something up than to have it taken away from you!
The Sacrament of partaking of the body and blood of Christ in the communion is the ceaseless witness of His giving Himself to us. Only as we "eat His flesh and drink His blood" can we "abide in Him and He in us." Through His indwelling presence, He fulfils His purpose to be Almighty in us. At the communion table we are to search our hearts to see if we have a wrong attitude toward any man that would hinder our fellowship with God. Yet, we are now experiencing a higher communion that we have known in the elements of the bread and the wine. Jim Jensen shares his deep thoughts concerning this.
"Feast hungrily upon the glorified Son of Man in a new kind of Lordís Table. Receive wondrous life-giving nourishment from your Lordís glorified celestial Body of which you are a part. This new kind of Kingdom Age "communion table" is of a dimension and realm far above the former sacrament of "breaking bread" under the old Church Order Age. Jesus instructed us to eat His flesh and drink His blood "until He comes again." Thus, now that He has spiritually returned in spirit Presence we sense that the ordinance has changed even as there has been a change in the dispensation and the Priesthood. We no longer feel drawn to partake of the old communion table. Rather, in the new Kingdom Age now commencing, we are urged by the Spirit to eat of His ascended glorified estate.
"Such is indeed a higher, superior and more significant "love feast" than the former Lordís Table. Scripture is now fulfilled and we perceive the spiritual Jesus drinking afresh with His own on a higher plane ó "I say unto you, I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it with you new and of superior quality in My Fatherís Kingdom" Mat. 26:29 Amp.
"Spiritually, we drink "white wine" that personifies the glorious, dazzling brightness of transfiguration and glorification. We imbibe the celestial essence of immortality and the power of an "endless and indestructible life." We no longer drink the "red wine" of a lower earth realm depicting physical resurrection life whose purpose it was to prepare us for ascension and glorification. The Lord made very real to me that we may now eat of His glorified essence and thereby become as He is.
"We nourish our inner life as we feast voraciously upon His divine substance that is transforming us into His own image and likeness. What a marvellous, astounding provision for our change as we commune intimately and sup with Him and He with us. We become one with our glorified Lord in all of His wondrous glory and majesty and splendor. We partake of His supernatural life and the ultimate of perfection. We must be eager to partake of His glorified nature daily. It is our right and privilege to eat of Him and thus become what He is! Yes, we assimilate His very constitution into the innermost fabric of our being. Oh! Beloved brethren, blessed of God, we must eat of His glorified essence every day and in every way. Wonderful Mystery this!" (Unquote)
Learn From Abraham
This name, El Shaddai or Almighty is most clearly understood in the Lordís dealings with Abram, the man of faith. Abram was a type of the man of faith that we are today. If you wish to understand the way that you take, observe how the Lord led Abram, because that is the pattern for His dealings with us. When we begin to see the nature of Godís dealings with Abram, we start to realize that there is a power in Him that cannot be crossed forever! He has His ways of working that cross in the lives of His Abrams until they become fruitful and may be Pourers forth like Himself. There is a mighty drawing-power in the love that resides in the Breasted God. Many times through my lifetime it has kept me from pursuing my own way. His love has been to me even more powerful than the sword of Jehovah.
First, God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees (which is Babylon). He told him to leave his country and his fatherís house for a land that He would show him. Leaving Babylon meant leaving that realm of confusion and mixture in which he dwelt. The Lord wanted Abram to leave so that He could lead him and teach him His ways. For the same reason He has called many out of the church system (modern Babylon) today!
Then came the years of trying to leave his "fatherís house" behind. This speaks of the ways of the natural, adamic man who is our earthly father. The Lord told Abram, as He tells us today, to leave behind the ways of the natural man so that he might learn the new ways of his heavenly Father.
Long and hard was this struggle, as we also know! We, along with faithful Abram, are promised an inheritance (a new realm of spirit to possess!) Also, we are given a promise of fruitfulness, of bringing forth a son. Yet, the years pile up one on top of the other and all we see is that we have brought forth an Ishmael. We tried so hard in the energies of our flesh to bring forth that promised seed! We even joined ourselves to an Egyptian ó that realm of outward religion ó trying to keep the law in the flesh, only to find that our seed was carnal. It was not the promised seed of God. It was an Ishamel ó a "wild-ass man" ó a mixture of law and faith, and the Lord said, "Send him away! This is not the seed I promised you."
How we lament our barrenness! How our hearts echo the cry of Abram, "Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless...?" We seem no nearer to bringing forth the promised son (His image in us) than when we left Babylon. It is in this despair of self that we finally give ourselves to God to be made fruitful by Him rather than by our self-efforts. When we come to this place, God can now give Himself to us. He may now reveal His new Name to us, as He did to Abram.
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" Gen. 17:1. God had patiently waited until Abram and Sarah had come to be "as good as dead" as far as the strength of the flesh was concerned. And when only weak-
ness was evident, God could reveal that aspect of His nature that shows that He is the Source ó"the Pourer-forth" of all that he needed, even "the Almighty." This is the stage at which we begin to understand that He is able to perform the divine will of His nature and that His will cannot be forever crossed!
After revealing His new Name, God at once changes each of their names. To each name He adds the letter "He" ó the chief letter of His own name "Jehovah." This letter gives a sound which can only be uttered by an outbreathing. He gives to them something of His own nature. By imparting His outbreath or spirit, he is able to mold His children in the perfection of His own beauty and make them a channel of blessing to many. Abram becomes Abraham; Sarai becomes Sarah.
As soon as Abraham yields himself to "God Almighty" in everything, he is told to circumcise his flesh. This is a figure (or picture) of self-judgment and self-surrender. It is acknowledging that our hope of fruitfulness ó of being a son ó is not in the flesh, but in the Giver ó the One who pours out of His own Spirit in the measure that we are emptied of all self-will and self-confidence.
Following circumcision, Abraham is blessed with the true seed, Isaac, coming forth. Isaac is a picture of "sonship" in our lives. And at some time, the Lord requires us to lay "our only son" upon the altar and slay him. All our dreams of being "manifested sons" and doing great exploits for the Lord and being admired by many are suddenly "shot down." Even this mighty promise for which we have longed these many years, must be brought to death. What is there left? If we have no seed, we are once again barren and unfruitful. Is this where Godís promises take us?
It may be that we have kept our eyes steadfastly on "what we would be or what we would do" when we came to the maturity of sonship. In this there is still an element of self-serving which must be brought to death. In our giving up of all, even our highest hopes and dreams, we find that we are able then to be filled with all the fullness of God. We are no longer serving Him for what He is going to do for us or make of us. We are serving Him for Himself alone!
When we offer up our Isaac ó our promise of sonship, we have the revelation that Abram had: "My son, God will provide Him-
self a lamb for a burnt offering" Gen. 22:8. God Himself will come to us in place of all our hopes and desires. We will no longer even think in terms of "sonship." Our eyes have seen that it is HE whom our soul pants after! It is not anything apart from Him that we want ó it is Himself alone ó to be utterly filleld with Him is our one desire. We no longer even think in terms of what we will do or be. That was slain when we offered up Isaac! We have learned that the power of Almighty God is to be found in the utter renunciation of self and our own will.
In weakness we are made strong. In giving up all, we may be filled with all the fullness of God. God gives Himself to us in the measure that we give ourselves to Him. His Almightiness comes to us in our apparent helplessness! We have learned that He alone is the Source of our life, and in turn, He pours Himself out in ways we have never known before. And at last we know that He is the Almighty God who has the power to carry out the will of His divine nature, for we see Him doing it in us.
He knew when He told Abram to be perfect that he could not be perfect until he had relinquished his self-life, for it is only that new-creation man within who cannot sin. He knew that he could be made fruitful only by the One who "pours out Himself" to bring us to that place where we are like Him!
The Other View of El Shaddai
It is in the book of Job and in the Revelation that we most often find this name used, and for the same reason. The pouring out of the divine spirit into the world may bring judgment upon it in order that the true kingdom may come in. We see that now happening all around us as Babylon, in its many facets, is being judged.
The Lord pours forth, but, as the pouring forth of the breast, the babe will choke if it cannot properly receive what is given. In like manner, the rain from heaven may come down, but if the earth is too dry and parched to receive it, it may cause a desolation instead of a blessing. In the same way, to drink Christís cup should be a blessing, but it may instead be a curse depending upon the heart attitude of the one partaking of it.
If the elect who willingly receive the Word and outbreath of
El Shaddai have their flesh judged, how much sorer are the judgments to a world which will not receive God! Although this judgment is called "wrath", it comes from the first creating Love and does those works of puryifying fire which can burn away all the dark evil which separates the creature from union with God.
God creating ó illuminating ó sanctifying ó threatening ó punishing ó forgiving ó redeeming ó are all the same, the never-ceasing work of the Divine Nature purposing to make man in His own image!
In the life of Job we see that His elect are made sacramental.
The book of Job shows us the sacrificial use of Godís chosen, how God may take a "perfect and upright" man, and show how by suffering in the flesh he is purged from self. He is then made a priest to pray and intercede for those who condemned him.
God Almighty works His will in His chosen by giving Himself to them that they may give themselves to Him. Then, by Him, they can be a blessing to others. Being partakers of the nature of El Shaddai, they may make others partakers of the same nature. They also become "breasted" and Ďpourers forth"as they partake of this nourishing and giving aspect of the divine nature.
As the Body of Christ, we have not functioned in the capacity of nurturers as we ought to have done because we have concentrated on condemning the immature for their sins. If we could have had a heart to bless and pour out of ourselves unto them, we would find that they would begin to rise out of their low estate and begin to grow into the nature of their Father. They must see the nature of El Shaddai in us in order to rise up to serve Him acceptably. How the church needs to know this aspect of the nature of God!
EL ELYON (MOST HIGH GOD)
Recently, Billís cousin was in a very bad car accident. Though the vehicle was almost destroyed, he and his wife came out of it alive and unhurt. His cousin comes from a long line of agnostics so Bill was surprised to hear him say, "Someone must have been watching over me!"
The people of the world do not know their Father in any personal sense, yet they do acknowledge Him in their own terms. In Paulís day he spoke to such on Mars Hill and said, ". . . as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. . . as certain of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring" Acts 17:23,28.
The first mention of the name El Elyon ó the Most High ó throws light on Godís relation to those not of Abramís seed. Elohim, Jehovah and El Shaddai were aspects of His nature that were revealed only to the elect, Godís chosen people. The rest of the nations knew about God in a different relationship, which the elect of God are slow to see and to acknowledge. Even their mythologies are full of stories about men who were gods, sons of a higher god, who was the Lord of all. Though their truth was perverted, yet they knew that God had sons, and that man was a son.
Even today, we witness this song that became very popular with believers and unbelievers alike ó "Heís got the whole world in His Hands." I have been in mixed company at some gathering, and if someone started singing that song, the unsaved sang it as heartily as the saved! It was evident that they derived comfort from the words and felt that Someone surely had the care of the world in His Hands, even though they did not know that One.
The book of Hebrews introduces us to the name that is directly connected to a relationship with the unsaved. First, the writer reviews the three names with which Israel is already familiar. Of God (Elohim) he says, ". . . who gave to our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son, through the Son God made the whole universe, and to the Son he has ordained that all creation shall ultimately belong. This Son, radiance of the glory of God, flawless exprssion of the nature of God, himself the upholding power of all that is, having effected in person the cleansing of menís sin, took for his seat at the right hand of the majesty on high ó thus proving himself, by the more glorious name (nature) that he had been given, far greater than all the angels of God" Heb. l:1-4 Phillips.
Secondly, he speaks of the LORD (Jehovah) who "remains the same, and whose years shall not fail", who "is and shall be what He is."
Thirdly, he reminds them of the Almighty (El Shaddai) who gives His Spirit to men, making them partakers of His life. In the power of His outbreathing He makes His chosen partakers of His nature.
After reviewing these familiar names and their meanings, the Apostle tells them that he wishes to teach them of One who is a "Priest after the order of Melchisedek," and is therefore "Priest of the Most High God." He admits that it is difficult to teach them deeper truths, for they are still clinging to the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. They prefer the milk bottle to the strong meat of the word! A call to go on unto perfection is set before them, "if God permit." (Heb. 6)
The first principles consist of three things ó all directly connected to the first three revealed names of God. The first principle is "repentance from dead works." This is connected with Jehovah ó the just and holy LORD.
The second principle is "faith towards God." It takes us back to Elohimís changeless love in virtue of relationship.
The third principle contains a fourfold doctrine:
1. "Baptisms" ó which are purifications.
2. "Laying on of hands" ó signifies gifts bestowed.
3. "Resurrection" ó the sure mercies of David - the promise of an incorruptable life.
4. "Eternal judgment" ó both of these are the different results of the working of Godís Spirit upon a person, whether obedient or disobedient. These are all directly connected with the knowledge of "El Shaddai" ó the "Pourer-forth" of His own life to make His creation fruitful.
Most Christians feel that these doctrines are all that they ever need to know and they rehearse them from their pulpits over and over again. But the Apostle calls them "first principles" and encourages the believers to leave them behind and to go on unto perfection.
The revelation of the Most High is a secret, revealed only "if God permit." We have seen people who had a glimpse of more light who left their church to form a new group. They had a vision, but in time it dimmed and they became just like the group they had left! Somehow, they felt they had arrived simply because they had obeyed the call to "come out." It was plain to see that God had not "permitted" them to go on unto perfection, or to know the secret of the Most High. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" Psalm 91:1.
This verse quite possibly refers to dwelling under the wings of the cherubim who guard the Mercy Seat in the Holiest of All. It has to do with that holy priesthood of Melchisedek who minister face-to-face before their God in a high intimacy.
Scripture warns us that there is danger in receiving higher truths in a carnal manner ó even the truth contained in the name "Most High" and in the doctrine of "the priesthood of Melchisedek." What is the nature of this danger? It is that self may swell with pride if this truth is not received by a heart that has been humbled under the mighty Hand of God. If our will is stimulated to thinking greater of self than we ought to think, only judgment can result.
John Bunyan, author of Pilgrimís Progress, was once asked: "What do you think is the worst doctrine?" This wise saint said, "I know of none so dangerou"s as the truth of God received carnally." This is why we are warned when we approach unto the meaning of this name, and also why it is kept secret until God permit!
The Secret of the Most High
"El", as we have already seen, means "might" or "power." This God, or "El" is the "Most High" and as such is " Possessor of heaven and earth." This name is not only used in regard to divinity, but may also refer to things and person of this world.
Its special sense is that whatever it speaks of is the highest of a series or order of like natures. In natural things, "Elyon" may refer to the "highest" basket of a tier of baskets. Or, it may point out "the nation high above all nations," or "the King higher than other kings." A different word is used to compare things that are not alike, as "the heavens are higher than the earth."
"Elyon" applied to God reveals ó though He is "the Highest", there are others below Him, endowed by Him with like natures. These are, in some way related to Him. Because He is the Highest, He has power to rule and turn them as He will, should they be disobedient or seek to exalt themselves against Him.
It has only been in our generation that the Spirit of God has been bringing to His called-out the significance of the name Most High and the priesthood that is connected with it. Could it be that the Lord has now prepared a remnant Body who have like natures to Himself (gained through many fiery trials!) Now it is safe for Him to reveal Himself as the Highest of all those whom He calls His sons. In fact, it is necessary that those made partakers of the divine nature always acknowledge that Jesus is the Most High God!
The best illustration of this truth is in the account of Nebuchadnezzar, the head of a great Gentile power. Did you realize that a heathen king ó humbled by God ó wrote chapter four of Daniel? In it he tells how he came to know God as "the Most High." Daniel is not here repeating what the King said, it is the King himself who is addressing "all people, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth." He tells them, "I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me."
Daniel interpreted the vision that the king had and told him that his heart would be changed to a beastís heart "to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. . " Dan. 4:17. And when did this happen to the king? When he magnified himself with these words: "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?"
"And at the end of the days. . . mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. . . Now I praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways judgment: those that walk in pride he is able to abase" Dan. 4:34,37.
In Nebuchadnezzar we find a parallel to the dominion given to Adam. He was given rulership over a great kingdom, but his heart was lifted up. Through self-exaltation, he loses his understanding and his mind falls to a carnal, bestial level. Through judgment, he is brought to kow the Most High. And, in a similar manner, when our self-life is judged, we begin to acknowledge that there is One above us and we are not "a god" in "self!"
Man may not know he was "created in the image of God", for he is fallen and become "even as a beast" and is for awhile without his true inheritance. He is a fallen son, yes ó a dead son, blind, and not knowing his Father. Yet, he is a son whom the Father will not forsake, for do not "the fathers lay up for the children?" Even in his fallen state, this son can do wondrous works upon the earth ó conquering space, using electricity, and the whole explosion of computer technology that we see today. Even though mankind can forget his relationship to the Most High, He cannot deny Himself and can overthrow and overcome until He has His proper place in His creation.
The secret of the Most High shows us that souls outside of the election shall acknowledge His power. When Napoleon was thrust down from his hopes of world conquest, he cried: "God was too much for me!" This secret also shows that "the saints of the Most High" shall have judgment given to them and they shall "possess the kingdom."
The first mention of El Elyon, the Most High God, was in Gen. 14 where Abram met Melchisedek after his return from the slaughter of the kings. Melchisedek is introduced to us as "King of Salem (peace), and priest of the Most High." There has been much speculation as to who this personage was, for he represents the order of a priesthood to which Jesus belongs. Jesus was "Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec." Was this king and priest who appeared unto Abram a real, living person, or was he a divine appearance manifested for that brief encounter alone?
Andrew Jukesí works give us the view that the most learned of the early Fathers held. Their view was that Melchisedek dwelt among them as one of the kings of Canaan. He knew the name "Most High," which preserved the truth among the Gentiles that in Godís creation there are "thrones and dominions and principalities and powers" called "gods" which are like unto God. Jesus referred to this when He quoted the Psalmist as saying, "I said, Ye are gods, and all of you the children of the Most High." The chapter sums up with these words: "Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations." (Psalm 82) Though for a time they are under a curse, yet men also are "children of the Most High" and are predestined to an inheritance of blessing.
In the days of Joshua, the name of the king of Jerusalem was Adonizedek which has an almost identical meaning to Melchisedek. One means "lord" and the other, "king" of righteousness. Melchisedek shows how even a son of Canaan kept up the same tradition of manís high nature although his people sought to contact higher powers through witches and familiar spirits, perverting the great truth that God had sons. When believers today look to any of those realms for counsel or leading of any kind, they are, in effect, denying that they have a Father to whom they may turn. They have forgotten that they are His son and He will be to them all that they have need of!
Man, as a son of God, must be a priest! It is Godís nature to love and to give of Himself sacrificially for anotherís good. Man, inheriting His nature, must also sacrifice ófirst to God in laying down his self-life ó and then to his neighbor in "pouring-forth" of blessing.
This priesthood, shadowed in Melchisedek, shows us One "without genealogy or descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God" Heb. 7:3. God said to Christ, "Thou art My son, today have I begotten thee." He is a manifestation of manís true nature ó that he was born to be a son of God. He serves as priest because he is Godís son!.
What does this new "order" of priesthood show us? How does it compare to the Aaronic priesthood ministered through the tribe of Levi? Those who are called unto this Melchisedek priesthood order are wondering about these things.
It is quite evident that the priesthood after the order of Aaron was based on a commandment ó to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren. . . " Heb. 7:5 This commandment was necessary because of the fall, for man no longer viewed God as a Giver, but as an Exactor and a Judge. As a result, man had himself ceased to be a giver or an offerer in willing sacrifice.
In contrast, the priesthood of Melchisedek is "not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life" Heb. 7:16. The priesthood of one who is walking in Godís true nature will be in virtue of a life, not of a commandment. Because this is true, the priesthood shall be far greater than any priesthood or righteousness that comes from keeping a law.
Even tithing can be carnal if it is done with the thought of "What is the Lord going to return unto me since I gave this money to Him?" We are taught to give in order to get! Our giving can become self-serving. When I first began to receive literature from those who were speaking of deeper things, I noticed something quite striking. The ones who were teaching sonship in a humble spirit made no charge for their writings. They didnít have a set subscription price, nor did they copyright their material as if it were their own. It was the Lordís, and they were giving it out ó sacrificially ó many times. Others proclaimed loudly that they lived by faith yet pulled every gimmick they could think of to get you to support them. In those early days I didnít understand that I was seeing the two priesthoods being manifested!
Some years ago while Bill was at work, one of his co-workers told him that he had joined the Mormon Church and complained that they were requiring him to tithe ten percent of his earnings to them. Bill listened to his grumblings patiently but thought in his heart, "I wonder how youíd feel if you came to a place where you had to give all and your life besides!"
The priesthood of one who is a son of God must be in virtue of a life lived, not of a commandment given. A priest, who is a son, inherits Godís nature. "The priest of the Most High is King of righteousness (Jehovah) and King of peace (Elohim). Thus "righteousness and peace shall kiss each other" through the power which is in the Most High to reconcile all antagonisms.
Preston Eby sheds some light on this priesthood: "The ministry of the priest is an intermediate or go-between ministry. He reaches out with one hand and takes hold of God; he reaches out with the other hand and takes hold of humanity; and brings the two together by virtue of his priestly ministration.
"Now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: FOR ALL THE EARTH IS MINE: and ye shall be unto Me A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, and an holy nation" Ex. 19:5-6.
"Can we not see by this that the purpose of God to establish in the earth a Royal Priesthood is rooted in the great fact that ALL THE EARTH IS HIS? That all the earth is His answers the WHY of priesthood. Long milleniums ago at Sinai the cry went ringing forth: "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: FOR ALL THE EARTH IS MINE," and the words that follow may correctly be stated thus: "BECAUSE ALL THE EARTH IS MINE. . . ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests."
"God has provided the redemption of the world in the sacrifice of Calvary, and now raises up a Royal Priesthood, a many-membered Priest in union with the great and compassionate and faithful High Priest in the heavens, our Lord Jesus the Christ, to minister the claims and power and blessings and benefits of His redemption unto men until all have been restored into His image.
"A.E. Saxby wrote: "The character, as well as the ability of the maker, is visible in the thing that He makes. If a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, then it is certain that the great Creator of all, who is holy in all His ways and righteous in all His works, who is good and only doeth good and whose tenderness is over all His works, can design nothing the end of which is not pure happiness and usefulness. Whatever catastrophes may have intervened, and however mysterious are the processes by which His goal will be reached, it follows, from the fact of His impeachable character, that the consummation of His work will justify all His methods. So wide
His care, and so minute, that a falling sparrow is noted and remembered. Peter gives Him the title of Ďthe faithful Creator,í meaning thereby that His responsibilities are fully met in a manner only possible to infinite power and love. If His creatorship yearns over a broken bird, how much more will it reckon with all the forces that have combined to mar the image of Himself in the man He has made. If He employs the discipline of a father, the sacrificial love of a mother, the stern justice of a judge and the passionate affection of a husband ó and all these are figures chosen by Himself (in His Names), to set forth His attitude towards men and His work for and in them ó it is to the end that His great designs of love may ultimately triumph.
"If He turns men to destruction, it is that He may say, ĎReturn ye children of mení (Psa.90:3). If the vessel is marred in the hand of the Potter, it is that He may make it again another vessel (Jer. 18:4). If His work is marred, then His own face will be more marred than any manís, that He may buy back those who have sold themselves for nought. Creation is full of mysteries, but the revealed character of the Creator suffices to assure us of a triumphant solution to them all. Only a traitor to His person and character would deny such a God this certainty!"
"A great preacher has shared this beautiful insight: ĎNever can it be said that a holy God loves an unholy thing. And yet God loves sinners ó bringing the often-repeated question, ĎWhy?í God loves them for what He sees in them of His lost and fallen image, for God can never love anything directly but Himself! God loves everything else for His own sake. ĎFor thy pleasure they are and were created.í God sees in Jesus Christ what you would have been. And this is why God loves lost men. He loves them not by excusing their sin; not by taking an attitude of carelessness; not by any willingness on His part to become morally lax ó but He loves them because He once stood and said, ĎLet us make man in our image.í"
"We cannot ever think that God loves sinners carelessly, loosely, foolishly, with the thought: ĎI donít care ó I love them anyway!í No, it is plain that He loves them because He sees in them the lost and fallen image of what Adam was and of what Christ is and loves them redemptively now for Jesusí sake. The earth, the world, and all they that dwell therein belong to God first because He made them, and second because He redeemed them.í" (end quote).
The Elect Judges the World
The encounter of Abram with Melchisedek portrays before our wondering eyes the mystery of how the Lord turns a curse into a blessing through judgment. The church has seen judgment as a curse only, and that all cursed are cast into hell forever. The lesson of this encounter draws a graphic picture of the truth of Godís nature and how He judges the world in righteousness which turns unto them for blessing.
Is this not a strange paradox? Abram meets this Canaanite king and they share "bread and wine" together. These emblems speak of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that was given for us. It was not served from some sacramental table, but in the great outdoors, possibly under a great shade tree as they met on the road.
Melchisedek was a priest of an order that pre-dated the Aaronic priesthood and he recognized that God dwelt not in "temples made with hands." He knew that man, though fallen, was a son of God. At the same time he blesses the "Most High," he pronounces upon Abram the blessing of the Most High who has delivered his enemies into his hands.
Abram then "pays tithes" to Melchisedek as if he were a debtor to him ó as if he owed him something! This part "blew me away!" The Lord had promised all of this Canaan land to Abram and to his seed. In order for this to come to pass, this king and all his subjects are to be judged and cast out. In the end, the land of those who had been cursed becomes the land of promise and the inheritance of His chosen!
Christ reveals this mystery: for man (as man) is a son of God. He is, for awhile (like Canaan) under a curse. But, because his God is the Most High, he is also the heir of boundless blessing. With such a God, the very curse becomes a blessing ó judgment is mercy ó and death is the way to life. The cursed are to be blessed through the elect who are "a kind of firstfruits" of Godís creatures.
The elect have accepted the judgment of their flesh (in circumcision of their hearts) and are appointed to judge those who cannot judge themselves. It is true that "the saints shall judge the world."
And for this reason: so that the creature may be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Those who must be judged (like Canaan and his seed) bless both the elect (who shall judge them) and the Most High who gives His elect victory over the foe which has led their brethren captive. Jesus walked out these truths. As in the flesh, and linked with all men, He was accursed and yet is blessed. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree" Gal. 3:13,14.
And how shall this curse be turned into a blessing? Through judgment! For His judgment (His sword going out of His mouth ó even His Word) will smite all flesh and save the world. "Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations" Psalm 82:8. The judged ó through judgment ó shall be blessed, for the Judge only judges to bring in righteousness and peace. His judgments are for correction ó to turn a cursed one into a blessed one. Punishment for its own sake, can never change lives.
Possessor of Heaven and Earth
Abram learns from a Gentile that the Most High is the "Possessor of all ó of heaven and earth" ó of both church and world, of spiritual and earthly realms. "Possessor" comes from the Hebrew root meaning to erect, create, and thus to own. It is from a verb meaning to contain, or hold. It describes One "in whom we live, and move and have our being." This claim He never gives up, though men may act for awhile as if they owned their own lives. He is "the God of the spirits of all, for He has said, ĎAll souls are mine.í"
Again, a quote from J.Preston Eby: "ALL belongs to Him. First, because He created it, and second, because He redeemed it. God has assigned to Satan a limited sphere of influence over the creation, for the outworking of Godís wise and wonderful plan, but He has not ceded nor transferred ownership of even one inch of it to Satan for a possession. To say that there is any part of Godís creation that Satan will possess forever is a horrible blasphemy against God. As one has written, ĎNot always, however, shall men be in opposition to our Creator, for after all present travail is ended, and man has run his course of self-will and rebellion, there shall be an inflow of the love
of God into every heart which shall draw the creature back to his Creator, to serve Him with a whole heart,and worship before Him in complete obedience to His will. So great a transforming power is the operation of His grace in man, that we shall come to Him in love, and serve Him because we want to serve Him, freely and joyfully." (Unquote)
Psalm 100:1,3 tells us that all "lands" should "know" that "it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves: we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture." Abram learns from a Gentile the same lesson Peter learned from the Gentile Cornelius: that the elect "should call no man common or unclean." Paul endeavored to make the Jews face up to this truth when he asked them, "Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles?" It seems that the elect are slow to see things outside of their own election and all too easily deny the rest of mankind a place in God when God has purposed to use them to turn cursed ones into blessed ones through the judgment of "the words of His mouth."
In conclusion, I want to quote the words of a beloved brother who said to the Lord, "I donít understand how You could be so kind to me. The Lord answered, "Iím tired of you saying that! Youíre insulting Me. I have created and bought you and you are Mine and I will do with you as I please!" (He is the Most High God!)
A quick review of the first four names of God reveals His nature to us:
1. Elohim ó His unchanging love.
2. Jehovah ó His righteousness and truth.
3. El Shaddai ó shows that He is a giver or pourer-out of Himself for others.
4. El Elyon ó though Most High, He is yet of a kindred nature with us.
The next three names speak of His relationships to things, or persons, whether in heaven or earth, or to differing ages in which He works His purposes. And, of course, a relationship cannot help but show certain aspects of His nature. The name Adonai expresses two different relationships: that of a master to his slave or servant; and that of a husband to his wife.
"Adonai" is the plural of the Hebrew word "adon" which means "lord" or "master." It is not the same word LORD as refers to Jehovah, which name the Jews were careful never to pronounce.
The first time we meet this word in scripture is just after Abram had met Melchisedek. ". . . the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Encouraged by this comforting word, Abram entreats the Lord about his childless state. For the first time, he uses the words, "Lord God, or Adonai Elohim as he pleads with the Lord, who is his Master, to keep His promise unto him concerning his seed. "Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and lo, one born in my house (a servant) is mine heir" Gen. 15:3. The Lord heard his cry and made a covenant with him concerning his seed which was much greater than he had imagined!
Again, when Abram is entreating the Lord over the judgment of Sodom, he uses the name Lord, or Adonai. "And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five?" Gen. 18:27,28.
Abram is making intercession on the basis of relationship ó that the Lord is his Master and Husband. He does not use the name "LORD" which is the name of the One speaking to him, for the capital-letter "LORD" refers to Jehovah, who is "the righteous Judge." The Judge has come down to judge Sodom because its sin was very grievous unto Him. He honored Abrahamís intercession and agreed to spare the two wicked cities if only ten righteous could be found there. In His judgments, He remembers mercy!
Relationships in Olden Times
"Adonai" expressed a personal relationship which involved rights of lordship and possession. Our Father is not simply some cosmic force or benign influence somewhere "out there." He shows us by His Names that He is One who longs to have a personal relationship with His creation. No god among the heathen is like this! They are but spirits Ďlording it overí Godís heritage to keep them in bondage. By this behaviour, they reveal themselves as being opposite in nature to the true and living God. Yet, how many people, like helpless sheep, have been led to the slaughter because they feared the power of some man who made himself a god over them? They knew not that their true Lord desired to know them personally and to make them like Himself if they would but give Him His rightful place.
In olden times, the slave or wife were not their own ó both were the property of their lord. In the slave, the relationship was binding, irrespective of his own will. In the wife, though she might be given or sold by her father, yet there was more of an element of free will. Rebekah was asked, "Wilt thou go with this man?" Yet, with their will or without it, a slave or a wife stood in subjection to their Lord, where faithfulness received due honor and reward, and unfaithfulness was judged.
God continually claims this title for Himself: as declaring His relationship of Master and Husband to us. Godís children have this name, Lord ó Adonai ó Master ó Husband ó on their lips constantly, expressing their relationship to Him and their dependence on Him who is bound to sustain, to keep, and to help them.
We see the contrast between the church and the world in the confession or in the denial of this name "Lord." It is clear that the Church is Church because it acknowledges relationship. The world is world because it denies it, and acts as far as it can, in independence of Him who is both Master and Husband. The worldís way is to do as it likes, think as it likes, speak as it likes without any regard to any higher will above it. It declares that it has a right to express all that it desires, whether it is evil or not. Its great ones do "according to their will" Dan. 8:4. They say, "Our lips are our own: who is lord over us?" Psa. 12:4.
The Charter of Human Rights has, in recent years, been incorporated into our constitution in Canada. It was intended to protect people from having their rights removed from them but it has turned into a nightmare because they have interpreted it as a right to do every evil thing! This is because the world lives as if they were their own and they acknowledge no power but that of man. They feel that all obedience is degrading to them. They want no Master or Husband to own them!
Godís saints all acknowledge a Lord. They all say, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" They desire to please this One who has come into a personal relationship with them. They desire to do, not their own will, but the will of the Lord inasmuch as they can know His will. His children know that only in His will can they find perfect rest. They have, in the world, walked in self-will and found no rest there for their souls.
My friend Faith has told me that when she was attending college, it was simply unacceptable to profess that there was only one true faith (based on the Lord Jesus Christ). The liberal philosophy of the day has embraced all religions as being equal and you are "setting yourself up" and being "narrow" to place the Christian religion above any other! No one wants to be a bigot, but consider this one thing: the true and living God is He Who is in a personal relationship with His creation! If there is no relationship, their worship is found only in forms, rituals, laws, and ceremonies. The Lord is not in any of it and their worship is in vain. He is a personal Saviour or He is not a Saviour at all! The Moslems prostrating themselves toward the direction of their Mecca, in honor of a dead man, know no relationship with their "God." They honor Him not as Master or Husband.
Adonai as Master
Whenever trouble comes, saints call upon this name for help. They know they are purchased by their Lord and belong to His household in a way that no hired servant could be. Psa. 123:2 says, "The eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters."
We are inclined to look upon a slave as being beneath a hired servant who worked for wages. Yet, a hired servant did not have as close a relationship to his lord as did the purchased slave. The hired servant could not go up to the temple with his Master and partake with him of the Passover. Nor could he partake of the holy things of his masterís house, for he was a hireling. He served for wages and when the day was done he went his own way. The purchased slave lived with his Master who met all of his physical needs. He had liberty to go up with his Master to worship together and to partake of his holy things, so his spiritual needs were also met.
This reminds us of something Jesus said. He said that the hirelings "care not for the flock." They work for wages, not for the love of the Master. They exercise no loving watchcare over the Lordís possessions. The mighty patriarch Abraham called himself "a slave" and relied on his Lordís faithfulness and power for everything. He was like the slave who refused to "go out" at the time of his release, but had his ear bored through to signify his love and loyalty to his Master whom he would serve all his life. He loved his Master more than he did his own freedom. (Think about that!)
The name "Adonai" (Lord) is found in the mouth of all Godís servants from generation to generation. They know that their sufficiency is in the Lord. When they recognize their weakness and inability for the task set before them, they cry unto Adonai for strength and encouragement.
Moses cried, "O my Lord, (Adonai), I am not eloquent." Joshua, when Israel was smitten at Ai, cried, "O Lord, (Adonai), what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies?" Gideon cried, "O my Lord (Adonai), wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am least in my fatherís house."
The Psalms of David continually repeat this name. "O LORD, our Lord, (Adonai), how excellent is thy name in all the earth." His children call upon Him in virtue of relationship because He is to them both a Master and a Husband!
Adonai in the Prophets
Jeremiah shrank from the burden laid upon him, even as Moses did. He answers his call with, "Ah Lord (Adonai) God, behold I cannot speak, for I am a child." This was no bold, macho prophet here who wanted power and control. Jeremiah was timid by nature and felt unable to fulfil his call in God (just as many of us do today!)
Adonai touched his mouth and said, "Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.. . . See, I have set thee. . . over the nations, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant."
Isaiahís vision of Adonai "high and lifted up", moved him to say (when all was dark around him), "Here am I: send me."
Ezekiel also lived in evil days, when Israel was "a rebellious house." The prophet was living "among the captives by the river Chebar." It was there that "the heavens opened, and he saw visions of God." In this prophecy, the Lord repeats over and over that He is the Lord (Adonai) God, "not of Israel only, but also of the nations around about" who have forgotten or denied that they too must be His servants. "Other lords (Adonim) have had dominion" over Godís elect and over the world (Isa. 26:13). In spite of this, the loving heart of God does not surrender His rightful lordship over all, for "All souls are Mine," He says (whether they acknowledge Him or not!) His message to Israel or to the nations always begins with His rightful title: "the Lord (Adonai) God." He is both Master and Husband to church and world!
Adonai in the Gospels
It is in the gospels that we see the truest portrayal of Adonai as Master in relationship with His servants. Up until Christ came, men had fallen so deeply that all service was considered degrading and a badge of inferiority. Each man sought "his own" and not anotherís welfare. They did not have eyes to see that God served all of His creation. He fed the ravens, clothed the lilies, opened His hand to satisfy the desire of every living thing. Yet, they perceived it not and men worshipped "The Unknown God."
This relationship of Master was not clearly revealed until the Lord Jesus came in the flesh.He "took the form of a servant." To seal His service, He had His "ear bored". (Ex. 21:6; Psalm 40:6) In Jesus, the Lord of all revealed Himself "as One that serveth." Isaiah foretold, "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles" Isa. 42:1.
Jesus revealed the blessedness of being in subjection to our Lord and Master who "upholds and puts His Spirit on us." Though we are weak and fallen, He conforms us to His blessed nature. We find that He governs well because He serves all mankind. He causes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust!
Matthewís gospel witnesses strongly of His Lordship. "The disciple is not above his Master. . ." "Whosoever will be chief. . . let him be your servant. . " "Blessed are those servants whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching. . . he shall. . .make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them" Luke 12:37. Fruitful service is approved in the parable of the talents ó whether a person was given ten talents or only one, his faithful service was commended (and slothfulness reproved). Paul, In Acts 27:23 freely confessed to his shipmates, ". . . there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve. . ." There is blessing to be found in the service of God.
When we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord, it is usually in the relationship of a servant to a Master that we know Him for some period of time. Some never know Him in any deeper way. All of their lives they are "serving their Master" and "doing the work of the Lord." They may never know the Lord in the relationship of Husband and the intimacy of which that speaks.
Adonai as Husband
As I was writing this booklet, I had a friend call and confess that when she found herself in the presence of mature saints, she felt inferior and such a failure as a Christian. She didnít like to feel this way and asked me to pray about it. Shortly after, in the midst of my writing on Adonai as Master and Lord, the Lord brought her request before me. He showed me that she had walked with Him in the relationship of a servant for many years. (Only a year ago she came out of the church system and is learning to be taught of the Lord). He caused me to understand that she had felt accepted there because of her performance ó what she had done for the Lord. Now that she was not serving Him in outward ways, she could find no self-worth in the midst of others who were pressing in to become, rather than to do.
I felt to tell her that the Lord was now bringing her into a deeper relationship with Him, that of a Husband to His wife, rather than of a Master to a servant. She was now espoused unto the Lord, even as Mary was espoused unto Joseph. In olden times, the betrothal time consisted of one or two years in which time "the Bride made herself ready." In the eyes of the law she was already married to her husband, but the union had not yet taken place. Unlike our "engagement period", the betrothal was as binding as a marriage.
These more mature saints had been "making themselves ready" for that union for a long time and she must not compare herself with them. She should rejoice that she is betrothed unto the Lord and continue to prepare her heart to be fully joined unto Him, was the word I gave unto her and she rejoiced to know that. As Husband, He calls us to the closest relationship with Himself. We shall be "no more twain", but shall be "joined to the Lord." We are to be "one spirit" with Him (Mat. 19:5,6; I Cor. 6:16). As a wife is not her own, but her husbandís, so we too are "not our own." Both in body and in spirit we are the Lordís. (I Cor. 6:19) What precious words these are: "Thy Maker is thy husband" Isa. 44:5.
It is very touching how the Lord speaks in Jer. 31:31-34 of the days to come when He would make a new covenant with Israel. He spoke, with pathos, of the covenant He had made with them when He brought them out of Egypt, "which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband to them."Through Christ, the Husband nature of God would bring forth a new covenant. Was it a covenant that simply saved people from hell so that they could go to heaven as most churches teach? It was of much broader scope than that limited understanding. Jeremiah describes the covenant: ". . . I will put my laws in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." Salvation is far greater than a "fire escape." The Lord is concerned here with relationship and with imparting His nature unto His people. If you consider salvation simply as deliverance from hell, you have missed the heart of God who wants to be a Husband unto you!
Psalm 45:10,11 still speaks to us today: "Hearken, O daughter, and consider: forget thine own people and thy fatherís house (your adamic nature); so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty (His nature inworked), for He is thy Lord (Adonai), and worship thou Him."
The Husband is the Bridegroom. Recently, in prayer, the Lord spoke to me about the wedding that we are looking forward to, even the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. There have been some wild interpretations and imaginations come forth as to the nature of this marriage, but it is nothing at all if it is not something that happens in the spirit. It is not some seven-year feast of pork chops in some super-long table in the heavens!
In prayer recently, the Spirit spoke to our hearts concerning this Feast: "The Feast of Tabernacles is as a wedding when the Bridegroom gives unto His beloved all that He has and is ó all of His substance, and also His person (in His many-faceted nature). Not only do the Bridegroom and Bride become one in the bonds of love, but there is a sharing of all the provision that has been laid up in store for the loved one.Think not of this only in terms of natural wealth ó see it as "the unsearchable riches" of His nature, aspects of His character that we have not yet known and have not yet partaken of in our own nature.
"As dowry to purchase this Bride, the Beloved Husband laid down His earthly life that He might take it again and give the power of that same spirit unto His Bride that she might also lay down her life and take it up again in resurrection, that she be no longer barren, but fruitful unto life eternal.
"That which the Bride has prepared for her nuptials are those things of His beauty that she has been willing to permit her Beloved to work into her new creation life. It is this beauty of Himself coming forth in her that brings Him unspeakable joy and the assurance that full unity shall come at last.
"Hear the cry, My children! Hear the cry! The Bridegroom cometh! He is even at the door!"
The Blessings of a Husband
If a woman boasts that she is going to marry a rich man so that she can live in style and comfort, people call her a gold-digger. Marriage is such an intimate union that it should never be entered into except there be a deep love one for the other and a willingness to face all the ups and downs of life together. It speaks to us that we do not desire a union with the Lord simply to receive of His gifts and graces. We must love Him for Himself alone and love Him above all else (even spiritual blessings!)
There is an interesting law in Numbers 30:6-8 that shows us some of the blessings of having an Husband that is even greater than having our provision met.
"If a woman. . vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond,. . . And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her. . . then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow. . of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her." Her foolish purpose "shall not stand." The One to whom she is so closely related is able to "forgive" an unwise vow.
I have had women tell me of vows they had made (to man or to the Lord) and, in time, found that they had made "a foolish vow" (such as: "Iíll never cut my hair!)" They didnít realize that their Husband could forgive a foolish vow ó one that has become a burden ó and set them free from it.
Bear in mind that Godís laws show forth His righteous nature. Hear this in the spirit. Vs. 9, "But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her." Donít put on your judgeís robes here ó discern what the Spirit is saying! (He is not saying that He has no love for women in these states!)
The widow referrred to can be male or female (even as the Bride is made up of male and female), for it refers to those who have been united to that which is dead. Those people are widowed; they
are without their "head." There is no Lord, or Husband to disallow their folly and so they "bind their souls." We can see in any cult, or dead church, that the people belonging to it are as widows, for they are joined to what is dead and have lost their true Head. They have no Husband to deliver them from their foolish vow to serve a "man."
The divorced woman is a spiritual picture of those that have been put away for unfaithfulness. If they should make a foolish vow that is hurtful to them, they have no relationship with a Husband who can set them free from their own folly.
The Lordís Love Song
The Song of Solomon is the love song of Adonai, our Husband. In it, He shows us His joy in making us His Own, and in giving Himself to us for ever. To know the Lord as Master is not to be compared to the nearer relationship of Husband! He has said, "As a bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee" Isa. 42:5.
Carnal-minded critics have labelled the Lordís love song as obscene because it uses the natural to show forth the spiritual. To those who see only the surface meanings, it appears to be a setting forth of earthly love. It is, rather, an allegory setting forth the relation and love between Christ and the church. In a more personal sense, it is a revelation of the love, dealings, and relation between Christ and each believer who will make up His bride. The intimate relation here portrayed is not found in the lives of any but those who are counting all things but dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and who are following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.
Jane Leadeís 1679 prophecy speaks much of this "virgin church." The word "virgins" means "the pure in heart," and the same word in Ps. 83:3 is "Thy hidden ones." Only as we behold Christ do we love Him, and none but the pure in heart see Him.
The prophecy says, "The presence of the Divine Ark will constitute the life of this Virgin Church, and wherever this body is there must the ark of necessity be." What does this mean? The Ark is a symbol of the presence of the Lord and the most striking thing that the Lord is presently doing in the lives of His "hidden ones" is: He is drawing nigh by His presence in a new way. We are able to enter into
deep communion with Him and are conscious of being well-pleasing to Him and of having His love upon us. Our enraptured souls say: "Thy love is better than wine!" Nothing counts with those who have found by a continual abiding in the presence of the Lord, that His love is more excellent than all the delights and joys that earth can offer. We have entered into His presence in a deeper way and have drawn close enough to Him to begin to delight in His eternal love. We are partaking of the New Wine of the Kingdom with our Beloved!
Unfaithfulness Is Judged
In wife or servant, perfect faithfulness is required. The more a soul is favoured and the greater the gifts entrusted to it, the greater is the sin of the least unfaithfulness. Bill Britton put out a tract called: "Others May, You Cannot!" which expressed this truth. An act, a look, or a word that would be overlooked in a stranger, or an unbeliever , might be unpardonable in a wife. Sins are relative. Only those whom we really love have power to wound us deeply.
The Lord judges the evil that is found in His own house (whose house we are!) He says of His wife under the Old Covenant, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for your iniquities" Amos 3:2. Some Christians feel that the Jews of today hold a closer place in Godís affections than do the Christians, for they are Godís chosen people. Yes, they were Godís chosen people and His wife, but they broke their marriage covenant with Him and He divorced them. "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel comitted adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also" Jer. 3:8.
God made a New Covenant. In it, all who are born of Him are His chosen, and all who enter into a bridal relationship with Him are His Bride. There cannot be any relationship closer than the marriage union.
Even the communion of the Lordís Supper teaches us that communion involves judgment. If we are to have close fellowship with our Husband, we have to search our hearts that we hold not anything against our brother that would mar our communion. He cannot have fellowship with us in things that are opposed to His nature.
It is far more serious if a wife should prove unfaithful than if a servant should prove untrue. The prophets bore the burden of Godís love for His people though they often forsook Him. Jeremiah says, "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel. ." About His judgments, He tells his wife, "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God" Jer. 2:19.
If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself. His gifts and callings are without repentance. Even unfaithful Israel shall obtain mercy. For thus saith the LORD, "In that day thou shalt call me Ishi (that is, my husband;) and shalt call me no more Baali; (that is, My lord;) and I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. And I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. Oh, what a wonderful day, when "the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath made herself ready."
Prophesy: ADONAI ó Your Husband
"In times past I was known unto My ancient people only under the relationship of a MASTER over a servant. And they felt Me to be a hard taskmaster because they never learned that ĎMy yoke is easy and My burden is lightí when the will is yielded to Me through love.
"Now is the time when I would reveal Myself as HUSBAND unto those who are not joined unto man, or manís systems of religion who would demand that they become one with manís ways. For this reason have I called My remnant to come out and meet Me "outside the gate", bearing My reproach, because I am a Husband unto them and I would have them reproduce after My likeness and not after anotherís.
"My name ADONAI speaks of that which I am bringing forth in the last great feast which is nigh at hand. It is a relationship of love and unity of purpose and will that My people have never before experienced ó even this: "Not my will, but Thine be done" because self has been brought into the place of a SERVANT in the house, and the HUSBAND ruleth. Rejoice over these things, My beloveds, even as I rejoice."
Received May 11, 1995. Elaine Cook
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