LIVING AT GILGAL
BY: LARRY HODGES
Getting Into The Land By Faith
The Making Of A Pearl
A Change Of Order
What Is The Recircumcision?
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus,
and have no confidence in the flesh.” – Philippians 3:3
When God’s people begin to see who we truly are and begin to serve Him day and night in His temple, before the throne of God, and Christ the Lamb begins to be acknowledged as dwelling in our midst, we shall hunger no more, we shall thirst no longer, neither shall the sun of trial light upon us nor any heat of persecution, for the Lamb which is in our midst shall feed us and lead us unto living fountains of waters.
I have no earthly idea why we, almost to a person, have insisted upon constantly checking up on ourselves to see what sort of progress we might have made, or to see if we have gotten any better. Perhaps it has been because we have not really been circumcised in the putting away of our flesh. Or if we have, perhaps it’s time that circumcision was renewed. All the righteousness, wisdom, power, perfection, peace, joy, holiness we shall ever obtain is never going to reside in us but in Another.
GETTING INTO THE LAND BY FAITH
God is after a New Creation upon the ground of resurrection only. He is not going to settle for a better, somewhat upgraded version of us! The Spirit of Truth utters the almost inconceivable words, “. . . not I, but Christ...” and we stand in astonishment and wonder at the mere prospect of it. Like those Israelites who so long ago failed to enter into their inheritance because of unbelief, we too have marched in our Pentecostal wilderness of unbelief for 2,000 years!
Listen to some compelling words spoken in the sixth chapter of the gospel of John, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto Him, ‘What shall we do that we might work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.“ – John 6:27-29 The whole work God requires here is to believe. That’s all. The very thing the Israelites of old would not do and the very thing we also have not done.
A man who wishes deliverance for his demoniac son says to Jesus, “... but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” The KJV renders Jesus’ response thusly, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.“ – Mark 9:22–23 But a more faithful rendering is offered by the Concordant Literal New Testament. It states, “... now Jesus said to him, ‘Why the if? You are able to believe. All is possible to him who is believing.'”
To have the Holy Ghost make real in us the Scripture, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me... (Gal. 2:20)” is to have opened within us the unbounded and limitless realm of Christ and all the heretofore hidden realities and possibilities in Him that are neither to be perceived nor comprehended by any in whom it is not as yet made real. It actually brings us into our inheritance.
Not I? If not I, then who? Christ! Christ! It is Christ only who now lives! It is not I and Christ. It is not a big Christ and a little I. It is only Christ who lives now! This reveals the great and extraordinary exchange, which actually took place at Calvary. It reveals the awesome oneness that exists and that is to be experienced in Christ. It is the great at-one-ment accomplished in Him.
Someone may ask, “Upon such a mighty attainment as having come to “no more I but Christ,” one should think that there would be some sign which will agree with and attest to such a dynamic and compelling attainment.” The response to such a question is; When the Father’s time is come, He, in His own wise sovereignty, shall render the placement of sons (compare with Jesus’ baptism in Jordan River) and the adoption which thereby shall occur. Then shall be signs enough to convince the gainsayer, but altogether too late to be of any help to the doubter.
There was a night long ago when Jesus had sent His disciples across the sea ahead of Him and Mark states that they had toiled all the night, the wind being contrary to them, without reaching their desired destination. Then comes Jesus walking upon the waters and John states that as soon as they willingly received Him into the vessel, immediately they were at land whither they went!
What a clear and altogether beautiful picture of us who have striven and toiled all through our long night of unbelief toward a shore which has seemed to recede from us rather than draw closer. The more we have reached out after, the harder we have striven, the less of what we reached for we seemed to possess; the more we have toiled and striven for that holiness, that peace, that rest we see in Him, the less we have seemed to exhibit in ourselves. Then, as soon as we know the reality that Christ is within the vessel and all that means, immediately we find ourselves at our desired destination! Gilgal! “For we which have believed do enter into rest.“ – Hebrews 4:3
The rest so long sought after, the peace so long and disappointedly pursued, the overflowing joy so elusive before is suddenly ours without the reaching, without the toil, without the sweat of human effort. It is so simple we scarce can take it in. For the reach, the toil, the striving after, is but in truth a confession that we do not yet believe, that we do not truly acknowledge the truth of God’s statement, “Ye are crucified . . . it is no more you, but Christ.” “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.“ – Hebrews 3:19
My precious friend, it is not our confession, which makes this experience real in us. Our confession must be the result of that reality. But another inherent, inborn tendency, which admits of this reality, is that of the perpetual dying of the Lord Jesus in those who have experienced such a wonderful reality. Christ cannot and does not live for Himself. His is a given life, a life always being laid down for the other and He, my friend, is the only One who can do this in such a manner that it is acceptable with the Father.
Without this sacrificial life in expression, we must be in doubt that such a reality has indeed come. Christ is not an enemy of His cross. Such a life may yet be troubled on every side, yet not be in distress; may be perplexed and yet not be in despair; may be much and severely persecuted and yet not feel forsaken; may be cast down and cast aside by others and yet not feel destroyed, for while death works in them, life also is at work in an even far greater way, to overcome that death.
Nothing other than such a life can manifest upon such a faith as “no more I, but Christ.” For, “Knowing… that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin... reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.“ –Romans 6:6, 7, 11
It is the same as that life at which we marvel as we behold it in the person of Jesus, standing a King before Pilate, the highest earthly authority in Israel at that time. He has been beaten and reviled; He is bloody and exhausted after a sleepless night at the hands of ruthless tormentors, still He stands in such calm dignity and noble resolution that Pilate becomes unsettled, and we witness a most amazing thing take place.
What is portrayed before us is the unmistakable irony that it is Pilate himself and not Jesus at all who is here on trial. Pilate is seen as a wavering, vacillating coward while the Son of Man stands in all His regal persistence before him. It is that life, my friend, which has been exchanged for the crucified I in you and me. This is the only overcoming life any shall ever know. It is the only life revealed behind the veil.
Isn’t it more than a little odd that most of that portion of the Body of Christ to which we refer as “the remnant” lies today incapacitated, disabled, crippled and much of it near death? This sounds totally unlike any victorious army of which I have ever heard. It has troubled most of us as we have sought an understanding of the “whys” and “wherefores”.
As to the caliber of these dear saints, it is this remnant which is thought to have the most revelation, the most spiritual depth, the most maturity, the most understanding, the most of everything…including sickness. This is not something that has just happened which has no cause or purpose. God is in it and will use it all, I believe, to bring forth His ultimate good for us all.
THE MAKING OF A PEARL
Often we are not willing for what God requires at the outset. “I’m not going to change my diet!”, has been heard more than a few times coming from those wishing to hold on to one of the last areas of their life over which they still have at least some control. Today most of them are suffering from one thing or another and it is quite serious.
I do not believe that God is primarily interested in our diet. He is interested in our diet, because what we eat can kill us, but primarily He is interested in that will which is still able and willing to pronounce its “I won’ts” and its “I wills”. In order for us to come into our possessions in Christ, that must be dealt with in utterness. This, I believe is why God has brought many of us to the place where we are able to see that His will, though admittedly costly, is not nearly as expensive as our will.
When that generation of Israelites, which came up out of the wilderness, came to Gilgal (and remember, Gilgal is inside the land), the first order of business was to circumcise them again. “At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, ‘Make thee sharp knives of flint and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time… And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised” – Joshua 5:2 and 4-5
The emphasis here is not so much that there were those who had not been circumcised during the 40-years trek through the wilderness. The point the Lord seems to emphasize is that Joshua must “circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.” Those whom the blood had protected from death in Egypt, were later slain in the wilderness because there was not the protection and deliverance of the blood. Moses was the only one of whom it was said that he kept the Passover by faith. “Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” – Hebrews 11:28
Oh yes, the children of Israel still kept the Passover in remembrance and references made to the blood and the great deliverance affected through it, but there had been lost to the people the true value and worth of a present tense working of the blood and all that Passover meant, which had been so necessary that night in Egypt when the firstborn of all Egypt had been tagged for death. It had become for them something of a historical event to which they could refer back as a part of their testimony. Has it become only that to us?
The “firstborn” of Adam is the flesh man, extending even to the physical body of flesh with its appetites and lusts, and unless the blood is presently, by faith, applied over its doorposts, the Lord is obliged to not Passover. It was not a death angel who slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, it was the Lord Himself. The thought may arise in some minds, “But I do believe in the blood and its power. I do trust in its wonder-working power in my life.” I also may say the same. But I must also ask myself, “Is my faith in the blood of Jesus an active faith or a passive one?” There are worlds of difference between these two faiths.
The purpose here is not to complicate and confuse, but to make plain and understandable what may be the problem. Active faith is simply that faith which is living and moving to take and possess what is hoped for; itself is the very substance of things hoped for. It was that kind of faith which brought our Passover deliverance when we first trusted in Christ Jesus. Passive faith is inactive and is, in truth, not really faith at all. It is an impotent, powerless belief in something, which neither requires nor helps one toward conformance with its professed stance.
Upon the basis of my Passover experience, I experienced that true circumcision not made with hands. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.“–Colossians 2:11-13
Water baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God, which, by faith, declares that we are crucified with Christ and therefore are being buried with Him in the watery grave. When we are raised with Him we are, again by faith, enabled in a walk that is impossible except it be done from the ground of “no more I, but Christ.” It is the acknowledging of the putting off of the body; of our crucifixion with Christ and of our burial and resurrection with Him. That experience required more than a passive faith. It required a step of obedience in faith. It required an action in line with its profession. It was a very silly thing to do so far as the natural man and mind is concerned. Just a quick dunk under water, and that’s supposed to introduce me to another manner of life? When done with a heart of faith toward God, it does.
But it was not water baptism, which saved and it is not the circumcision, which saves. Water baptism, like circumcision, is performed upon the basis of the covenant, which already exists between the believer and God in the keeping of Passover. It is really a part of Passover.
I can well remember the attitude of heart that literally held me in its loving grip those first few months. I walked in all the benefits that Passover accorded me. But as time and tribulations came to pass, my Passover experience (yours too) became more dim, more veiled, more distant.
I, like you, soon hungered for more of God and had to be brought into that experience known as the Pentecostal experience, the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Just as the children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt and into the wilderness, so we were delivered out from the world and into our own Pentecostal wilderness.
They were taken, 50 days later, on the very date of Pentecost, to Mt. Sinai where Moses delivered to them the law engraved upon tablets of stone. At that time 3,000 souls perished. It was the ministration of death. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell and began writing that law upon the tables of men’s hearts and 3,000 souls lived because it was the ministration of life. So the wilderness is very definitely a type of the Pentecostal experience.
Next, after the wilderness journeyings are finished and have accomplished their purposes, God brings us to Gilgal. Gilgal is inside the land of the inheritance and is the place where the second circumcision must take place if the land is to be possessed. Gilgal means “a rolling away” of the flesh. It signifies, more than anything else, “no confidence in the flesh.” Gilgal is the place of a renewal of that heart we walked in as the result of our initial circumcision. It is the place of really and finally realizing and yielding to the truth of, “I can of myself do nothing.” It is the place of a returning to our first love and dedication, where no cost was too much, where gratitude was always upon the tongue, and a tear of thanksgiving in the eye. It is the place of great tenderness and sensitivity toward God.
A CHANGE OF ORDER
Here in this land God will not allow the same modus operandi as was common in Pentecost. Pentecost is the realm of the Holy Place of Moses’ tabernacle. It is the realm of good and evil, spirit and flesh, up-to-a-point service, half-measures, baking the wave-loaves with leaven, etc. But Tabernacles is the realm of “behind the veil”, utter purity, God only, no leaven and all here is in utterness.
It is a realm in which “no more I, but Christ” must be the reality and is the basis upon which all is performed. But there is a very important and, I believe, very critical aspect about living in Gilgal, behind the veil in the Holiest. It cannot be done without the blood! To do so brings death.
It is by faith that we move behind the veil. And we are hearing from many quarters in this hour of those doing just that. We are also hearing from many quarters that very many are sick, ailing in body, and well nigh to perishing. Only the High Priest alone could enter behind the veil of the holiest, once a year during the Feast of Tabernacles at the time of atonement, then not without blood! It was not enough for him to stand in the holiest and point to the blood on the sacrificial passover altar! The blood must also be taken by faith with him behind the veil or he perishes.
There is still power, wonder-working power in the blood, and that blood must attend our transfer by faith, from the Holy Place into the Holiest of All. Though we are progressing onward and upward in Christ, it is imperative that Passover be more to us than a past historical event in our lives to which we occasionally refer. There is an element of Passover in Tabernacles and Passover, during Tabernacles, must be a very present reality. Why? Because Christ is our Passover and He must be to us an inward, present reality.
How does one deliberately take the blood behind the veil or across Jordan, to stand in the holiest or in the inheritance? We obviously do not take literal blood, but spiritual. What is the spirit of the blood of Christ? It is the spirit of sacrifice. A sacrificial life! A life which, stands behind the veil, must stand in the power of, “the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony and of loving not one’s own life unto death” (paraphrased). Where this sacrificial spirit of the blood is not, he who stands in this place must expect to perish. The “place” here spoken of is the spirit of “No more I, but Christ.” No confidence in the flesh.
Living at Gilgal means living in the place where, good intentions or “it seemed like a good idea at the time,” doesn’t pass muster. God is bringing us into another completely different way and manner of living wherein Christ is the Captain of the Lord’s host. We need to beware lest the drawn sword be reluctantly used against those of us who, in our willfulness, place ourselves at cross purposes to Him. Here, in the land, there is but one will and it is God’s. Here, in the land, we shall be able to move in God only upon the ground of, “no more I, but Christ.”
What exactly is our perception of “life behind the veil?” We hear that phrase used quite often these days and when I hear it, I wonder if those using it mean the same as I do when I use it. Often I think the phrase, “life behind the veil” carries with it in the minds of some the thought of some Edenic, paradisiacal experience where nothing ever threatens, no sound of war is ever thought of, much less heard, and all is readily made available to one’s hand and use and there is no thought of risk. It is often thought to be the place of abundance, of peace, serenity and security, of strength and near God-likeness.
This is not quite the same as I view “life behind the veil.” It is surely the place of strength, peace, abundance and even of near God-likeness and ultimately it shall be all this and more. But while this is the truth, it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is also the place from whence Adam fell in the first place. It was a place where temptation, sin and loss were indeed possible.
But regardless of how different people see things from realm to realm, one thing remains certain; before the Kingdom of God can become established under Solomon’s peaceable reign, David’s warring spirit must first remove all warring and opposing hindrances to that peaceable kingdom.
This must all be accomplished upon an inward, personal basis in us. All the kingdoms of our own inward, personal world must first become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ before there is ever to be the display of a “greater works” ministry that is to bring about the release and restoration of the rest of creation. He must first rule over all peoples, nations, kindreds and tongues, in us before there can be any outward rule of these others. And it is just here that the divine declaration of “no more I, but Christ,” actually becomes the powerhouse of God-in-us.
We have an almost natural tendency to think only of our benefits in Christ and not our responsibilities in Christ. The benefits of “in Christ” are well nigh limitless, if not altogether so. But there are also responsibilities and obligations “in Christ” that in no way entice the natural man. For it is only in Christ that the duties, the life, the very expression of the Son, can and must come forth. Only the Son “is always delivered unto death” —II Corinthians 4:11. Only the Son lays down His life.
One of the most profound passages of Scripture, to my mind, is, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” —John 10:17, 18. The Father loves the Son because the Son lays down His life? Is this the basis upon which the Father loves the Son? I believe it is.
Adam, we are told, was a living soul. His it was to live. The last Adam was a quickening spirit (I Co. 15:45) He was life-giving, not only in the sense that He imparted life to others, but that the life He gave must be one freely laid down. His it is to die. Christ is the only one who can do that. He is the only one who will do that, therefore, the necessity of “no more I, but Christ.” For, if we are truly called to walk, as Enoch, into a realm of such dizzying spiritual heights that flesh and blood cannot enter, must there not therefore come a time, in this life, when we, having put off the flesh, no longer cater to its demands, no longer answer its insistent calls, no longer consider our own bodies now, for most of us, “as good as dead?”
Does it mean nothing that most of the Body today is in a physically deplorable state, and medicine, doctors, vitamins, supplements and herbs prove to be all but useless? Many of us feel a weight of concern for the sufferings of those seriously ill at this time. Not a few are literally staring death in the face. Could it be that God is saying something to us that we are not naturally disposed to even want to hear, much less consider?
If there is indeed to be a people who shall conquer death, shall they not be required to face death in the most literal and real sense possible? The martyrs of the early church did. I ask these questions, saints, because they beg answers. If Christ Jesus, our Pattern and Forerunner, must meekly submit Himself to the shame, the suffering and the death of a cross in order to overcome him that had the power of death, shall those who follow after Him be allowed to apply to alternatives in order to ease their sufferings, to fend off their death, to preserve their lives? Must our lives be practically wrenched from us rather than freely, willingly laid down?
He could have called 10,000 angels and have eluded the cross and its sufferings altogether. He did not do what He might have done. In every extremity of the flesh, we have an alternative, we have a remedy for relief, because until now, we have not believed that Christ is our life. We prove that we still believe that our life originates with the flesh when we seek to preserve that life source. Shall we, who stand this day at Gilgal and make our boast in Christ, stand in open contradiction to all we profess to believe and continue in our attempts patch up and preserve the flesh as if our lives depended upon it?
Yes, this is dangerous, or at least seems dangerous teaching. Some may actually die because of attempting to walk in a place they have no faith yet to walk, but all battles know their casualties and even deaths. If we will but glance backward a moment, we shall behold untold multitudes who died anyway, attempting to preserve their lives. How apropos sounds that saying now, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.”
My brethren, it is the Lamb Nature that inherits, and it is the Lamb Nature alone, which will lay its life down. The laying down of one’s life is a deliberate choice, but only the one who lays his life down has the power to take it up again. For those who shall comprise that glad company of Overcomers, the motto is, “If I live, I live unto Christ; if I die, I die unto Christ.” Either way they are in Christ.
WHAT IS THE RECIRCUMCISION?
Look around today and you will see God’s people even more crippled and maimed (naturally speaking) than that circumcised and disabled army of God at Gilgal. If any people ought to have no confidence in the flesh, it ought to be us. Naturally speaking, we’re as good as dead. But it was not until Abraham was “as good as dead” that the son of laughter was brought forth on a supernatural ground.
There can be no debate that the sense life of the body has been the great bar and hindrance to the supersensitive, spiritual life in conjunction with the reasoning mind. If this is so, and we know it is, when shall a people arise who will begin to acquit themselves and stand in the recircumcision of, “it is no more I, but Christ”? If this is so, then what is the step, the action, which an active faith requires? It is that life expressed as “no more I, but Christ.”
When, if not now, shall there arise a people who shall take no thought for the flesh, who will act as if they are not debtors to the flesh, who will walk as if Christ within really is their life, as if, for them to live is Christ and to die is gain?
But it is just here that the matter of, “no more I, but Christ” is proven to be either real or unreal in us. Especially in this present day is rhetoric plentiful and quite cheap. Christ not only speaks of laying down the life, He goes beyond words to the doing of it. He lays His life down, not willing to preserve it for Himself. He sees all things as coming to Him from the Father, even suffering and death. Here is a manifestation of sons! Here is that cry whereby we are to go out and meet Him, and those who are ready shall arise and enter in. Here is where we are called to lay our life down rather than have it taken from us.
There must come a people who are willing to leave the confining limitations of the sense life and walk, not in a confederacy with it, but away from it. Those doing so will do it over the objections of the material, physical realm and they will thereby identify themselves as those not willing to bow down and cater to the pitiful cries of the body, to the image of the beast; not willing to give worth-ship to that which is of the beast or even to acknowledge it as worthy of note.
Only those so released from the kingdom of the beast shall not worship it, shall not receive its number and name, having been truly set free from its debts and demands. Only those who have lost all fear of death are willing to step, with Christ, into its chilly waters to find that they have indeed been pushed back all the way to a place called Adam.
“A double and triple portion of His Spirit has the Lord said He would add to those who first shall abrogate (annul) the law of the senses which has been the chief hindrance of His kingdom. The sense life is to be made void because it diverts the soul from receiving all its supplies from the Rock. Faith cannot arrive at its full strength until sense is led into captivity and cast into a dead sleep.” – Jane Leade, New Jerusalem I, pg. 40.
It is for this reason that we are given the understanding that it is “no more I, but Christ.” For Saul, the man of flesh may only sit in his tent and tremble at the prospect of meeting the great Goliath of death face to face. But bring here the man of spirit, “not I, but Christ”, and this mighty colossus too shall be found a defeated foe. Since we here speak of the sense life with its five senses, it is interesting to note that this Goliath has four brothers, all of whom are also giants and must be slain.
In summary, there is no doubt that God has moved us to the point at which we must enter into our inheritance. Being in the land is not the same as possessing the land. We do so by faith and as faith comes by hearing the word of God and demands a ground upon which it may stand, Galatians 2:20 must become more than merely a verse to quote. It must become a reality within. “No more I, but Christ,” has within it the power to translate one from the wilderness side of Jordan to Gilgal inside the land and is the only basis upon which the land may be possessed. It has the power to work in us that frame of mind which has no confidence in the flesh and cause in us a new and fresh circumcision of heart that will give a new walk to our feet, for it is Christ that now lives and even the life we live by faith here in Gilgal is not ours but Christ’s. We must remember too, that it was Joshua (Jesus) who did the circumcising. Not the people. He is faithful who has called. He will also do it.
“Is your body yielded to Christ for Him thus to dwell and work in you? Jesus is the one Man that contains in Himself all that man ought to be, all that man needs to have. All the fullness of the Godhead and the fullness of a perfect manhood have been embodied in Christ, and He stands now as the summing-up of all that man needs. His Spirit is all that your spirit needs, and He just gives us Himself. His body possesses all that your body needs. He does not need strength for Himself. The energy, which enabled Him to rise and ascend from the tomb above all the forces of nature, was not for Himself. That marvelous body belongs to your body. You are a member of His body. Your heart has a right to draw from His heart all that it needs. Your physical life has a right to draw from His physical life its support and strength; and so it is not you, but it is the precious life of the Son of God. Will you take Him thus today? Then you will not be merely healed, but you will sweep disease away, and then remain a fountain of life for your future need. Oh, take Him in His fullness.” End
Quote by A.B. Simpson
“. . . He that putteth his trust in Me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; and shall say, ‘Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people.‘” —Isaiah 57:13, 14
There has never, to my knowledge, been a move of God’s Spirit upon the earth where there has not been also a renewed and perhaps even enlarged understanding and appreciation of the blood of Christ. My interest in the blood, in its work, its power, its purpose and its spirit has resulted from a look at what part the blood plays in the Feast of Tabernacles, more accurately, atonement. For the blood plays a very significant part in the first feast, Passover. Here we find that the blood covers our sins and brings justification.
Yet, as we consider the Feast of Tabernacles, we find the blood again playing a very significant part. On the Day of Atonement the High Priest enters into the Holiest of all, behind the veil. But we are clearly instructed that he must not attempt this without the blood. In Passover, sins (plural) were dealt with. In Tabernacles, sin (singular) is dealt with. In Passover, sins are merely covered, but in Tabernacles, the sin nature is dealt with in its complete and absolute removal.
We know and accept that Jesus, God made flesh, fulfilled all the types we see in the High Priest and all his office pertained to. Jesus took on Himself the nature of man and overcame as a man in order to make the way for man’s return through the flaming sword, which keeps the way of the tree of life in the midst of the garden of God. But thus far we have known these things mostly in concept and not in their reality.
It appears that there is a decided weariness, a near exhaustion, almost to the point of being bored, of hearing about the things God holds out to us in this hour. Because desire for these things, for God Himself, runs so high and has done so without a satisfying fulfillment for so long, there has come a weariness with words about it.
We, I believe, are all intuitively aware that there must of necessity be a moving beyond mere words about the matter. The very things which are themselves spiritual must become a living reality in us, else there shall be no manifestation of Christ; no release of a creation thus far held in the grip of corruption; no final and complete victory by a people over that last enemy, death.
What is it exactly that the true High Priest, Jesus, shows us as He goes with His own blood, not into the Holiest of Moses’ Tabernacle but, into that which the Holiest typified? What does He say to us by going into that which was made without hands; into the very heavens and throne of God? It could not have been so that we might simply know such things and speak to one another about them, for we are not satisfied in merely speaking to each other about these things.
Could it not be that the Pattern Son, the Forerunner of a New Creation, has set for us an example that we should follow? Now a good deal of Christendom is of the mind that Jesus died so that we should not have to. If that is the case, then Paul and all the Early Church missed the point entirely. Those of that era followed Christ; no, they shamelessly ran after Him, in such a way and with such intensity that we are often embarrassed today by our lack of desire in comparison, our lack of intensity, our lack of urgency about Him.
They died; we live. They bled; we do all in our power to keep from it. They gave themselves; we save ourselves. They lived a crucified life; we speak of it. They overcame; we undergo. They laid their lives down freely as if it were their privilege; we clutch ours to ourselves, and if we should perchance die anyway, our lives must be virtually wrenched from us. They suffered joyfully the spoiling of their goods; God help any who even think of defrauding us today. They lived as those who were not of this world; we speak as those who are not of this world, but just try withholding any part of this world from us and we have a fit. Rather, we want to impose our standards upon a blind world so that their entertainment is tame enough to suit our tastes. We have an unerring tendency to speak high and live low.
But I believe we are all fully persuaded that we, by God’s own providence, have come to such a juncture in mankind’s history and in God’s purposes, when God shall indeed begin to bring into reality the very things we have been thus far only caused to hope for.
We are come to a new day in God – to a day when there must be a renewal of our dedication to the covenant in which we stand in relation to God. It is not that there is any lack on the part of the covenant or God’s intention to uphold it in its every aspect. It has been that we simply have not appropriated to ourselves all that is given us upon its basis.
That renewal of the covenant is a reconfirmation and a rededication of our willingness to serve God in absolute utterness, without drawing a line. It is for this very reason that God has brought us to Gilgal.
When the children of Israel came to their 42nd and final encampment in the wilderness, it was so that God could bring them into their inheritance. We are the 42nd generation referred to in Matthew 1:1-17 – the generation of Christ. That people which shall confess with both mouth and life that it is “no more I, but Christ that liveth” shall, upon that basis enter into the land of their inheritance and possess it. Only the new-creation state finds entrance into the inheritance of overcomers.
Then, once in the land, the recircumcision is performed upon that generation by the Lord Himself. We spoke briefly concerning circumcision in the last article, entitled, “Living at Gilgal, Part I”. “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses”–Colossians 2:11-13
By faith we were crucified with Christ. By faith we have been buried with Him in the symbolic act of water baptism. By faith we have been raised together with Him. This being raised with Him is a “Knowing... that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin... reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” – Romans 6:6, 7, 11
Adam, after the fall, could never live that life which pleased the Father. Only Christ Jesus has been able to do that, and only Christ is able to do that. It is only the life of Christ that allows itself to be “always delivered unto death” – II Corinthians 4:11. Yet (and it is critical to recognize this), it is only that life which is able to possess the land! That is, only that life which exists upon the ground of resurrection, only the new creation life. Thus the importance of God making “no more I, but Christ,” a living reality in us.
Gilgal, it can never be repeated too often, is within the land – behind the veil, but beloved, being in the land and possessing the land entirely are two completely different things altogether. The land is within us. God raised up David, a man after His own heart, in order to take that land for God and rid it of every opposing enemy so that God’s kingdom could, in type, be established in the earth. So our heavenly David wars, and does so successfully, until every enemy has been defeated. I repeat, until every enemy has been defeated – even death!
David gained all the gold, silver and precious stones; all the iron, copper and brass, in the battles he had fought with God’s enemies. These materials were laid up and later used in the building of his son’s temple. These battles all speak of those battles our heavenly David wages within us, and we seldom even guess what gain we have come into when a battle has ceased. All is done with an eye toward a temple that is to be raised for the glory and habitation of God.
Every kingdom I have ever heard about has its kingly castle and royal palace, but concerning the kingdom of God, we read, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” –Revelation 21:22
The peaceable reign of Solomon (peaceableness) cannot be established until David’s warring spirit has ceased its work and has rested. For it is only under Solomon (peaceableness) that God’s typical temple of Wisdom can be raised, and we are here speaking of what God is doing in a people! Solomon’s permanent temple must replace David’s temporary tabernacle. These undoubtedly represent two kinds of bodies, two kinds of dwelling places. One mortal, temporal and quite inferior. The other, immortal, incorruptible and glorious. One, the dwelling place of man. The other, the dwelling place of God.
Gilgal, as was stated in Part One, means “a rolling away” and has reference to the flesh, for it was here at Gilgal that God’s people were circumcised again the second time. If Gilgal represents anything at all, it represents that attitude of “no confidence in the flesh.” You will notice that after every campaign they returned to Gilgal. After every one, that is, except Ai–which they lost.
That people who will arise and possess the land will do so because they, first of all, have no confidence in the flesh, and secondly, they will not attempt the next battle in the strength of the last victory. They know they must return to and abide in the place of “no confidence in the flesh.”
As has already been stated, only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holiest of All once per year on the Day of Atonement, and even then he was not permitted into this inner sanctum without blood. What does this speak to us? It means that when we enter behind the veil, we cannot leave the testimony of the blood in the outer court upon the altar there. We must take the blood with us behind the veil or, as with the High Priest, we stand the very good chance of affliction or even death, for it is by the blood that we find boldness to even enter into the Holiest (Heb. 10:19).
But how do we take the blood behind the veil? The same way we enter behind the veil– by faith. And it is important, I believe, for us to know that we who have been born of the Spirit must do it after a spiritual manner. That is, it is the spirit of the blood, which must attend us within the veil.
The spirit of the blood of Jesus is the spirit of self-sacrifice! That blood from the altar of sacrifice must, by faith, go with us. There must be a standing in the power and spirit of the blood; the spirit of sacrifice; the spirit of “no more I, but Christ.” We no more have the right to treat the blood, and our relationship to it, as a past, historical account to which we occasionally allude as part of our testimony, than the High Priest had the right to stand in the Holiest without the blood being present while he merely pointed toward it on the brazen altar in the outer court. There can be no more comforting thought than that we who were once sinners, no, worse, children of perdition, far off–are now made nigh (brought within the Holiest) by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13).
To stand in the reality of “no more I, but Christ” is to stand in the spirit and power of “the blood of the Lamb, the word of [our] testimony, and loving not our lives unto death.” (paraphrased) It is to stand in the place of “no confidence in the flesh.” There is no hope of the anointing of the Spirit for power to overcome where the blood has not been applied. There is no reason to hope to possess any portion of the land of our inheritance except from the ground of a new creation whose very existence is solely upon the ground of resurrection.
To be behind the veil is to be caught up unto God and to His throne, as is seen concerning the manchild in Revelation 12:5. But while some think of moving through walls and being physically transported around the world as typical of this realm, we read that immediately upon this catching up to the higher, behind-the-veil realm, there was war in heaven! We see clearly that no sooner do the children of Israel enter into their inheritance than they commence battles; first with Jericho and then with Ai and so on.
There was a time when spiritual warfare meant to us loudly lifting our voices, praying for a long time, perhaps beating the floor, some fasting and commanding and some declarations of what we thought ought to be done, as being done. There was a time and a place, I suppose, for that sort of thing, but that took place while still in the wilderness (Israel had some wilderness warfare) of Pentecost. But once in the land itself there is recognition of a new leader. Joshua is the leader now, not Moses. And all are very quickly alerted to the fact that the man with the drawn sword has come to take on all enemies of God wherever He finds them. Achan soon found this to be true.
How different is true spiritual warfare from what we had supposed spiritual warfare to be. No more tears and long nights of loud and adamant commanding; no more such boisterous carryings on and I mean in no way to belittle that form of warfare. It had its place and time. But here comes a completely new warfare. Completely by faith! Instead of assaulting the walls with conventional warring methods that have been tested and proven by use, they walk around the city –in silence! I never knew silence could frighten an enemy. Men always yell in battle. Indians did it; the southern rebel army did it; the Scottish highlanders did it; the African Zulus did it. But silence?
We must remember, here in the land that the battles are never fought while leaning even the least upon the arm of flesh. If this occurs, defeat is sure. Here in the land, the battles are not fought in order to gain the victory. They are fought from the position of victory already won. All battles fought here in the land are, in effect, an enforcement of that victory of all victories–Calvary! He has already spoiled principalities and powers! He has already completely stripped every enemy, snatched the keys from death and the grave and stands forever in all power in heaven and earth. Already! Already!
That company of overcomers called the manchild, knows it fights with all of heaven’s authority, with the power of the throne, assisted by warring angelic hosts, and in the all-prevailing power of the blood! They know the battles are not theirs but the Lord’s. They know they cannot lose. Therefore they are willing to do nothing but silently march around Jericho in faith and await further instructions for the time to give the shout of victory. “Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout” —Joshua 6:10. By faith, they patiently marched and awaited God’s time. By faith, they blew the shofars (ram’s horns). By faith, the people shouted on the seventh day and by faith, the walls of Jericho fell down before them.
As we read the account in the Bible of the taking of Jericho, it is all portrayed to us after an outward manner. There is a city walled up with great walls. The name, Jericho means, “a place of fragrance.” If we are not careful, we tend to forget that these things all have their fullest meanings in our inward part. It is within us that the land is being possessed! Jericho is within us.
Whereas there has been a people of whom it could most appropriately be said, “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. . . a fountain of gardens” —Song of Solomon 4:12,15, the time of a pent-up fragrance, of a fragrance not released, must come to its end. They have indeed been a garden enclosed but it has been a garden whose fragrance has not been enjoyed by Him whose it is, until now.
The great and high walls that have enclosed this place of fragrance must come down, but they will not, they cannot come down except by the arm of the Lord. Even Rahab, the harlot (the soul) of this city, must see that such a thing is right and needful and must declare her allegiance to the blood (scarlet cord) in complete acquiescence. But the central thrust of the entire account is that it is the Lord’s battle, not ours.
It is readily seen that, here in the land, men must not look at those things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. All here is by faith, for without faith it is impossible to satisfy God. Here, all things are possible with them that believe.
It is just here that we come to that crisis and basis upon which all here must proceed – the ground of faith. It is no longer upon the basis of what was allowed in Pentecost or the wilderness. Here it is God only. This people who shall overcome the last enemy, death, and receive the redemption of the body, shall walk no longer in the divided affections they walked in during their wilderness journey. Here even the needs of the natural, physical body must depend upon the supernatural – upon that life which is Christ.
In Gilgal, there is an utterness of trust in God which puts a stop to reliance upon alternative methods in order to relieve pain and suffering, or even to fend off death. In this place, Moses cannot lead; only Joshua (Old Testament name for Jesus) may lead us here. “If I perish, I perish,” is the ensign under, which they fearlessly move forward. This people are reminiscent of an earlier model of Christian who counted not his own life dear unto himself.
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received from my Father” – John 10:17-18. Recall to mind the glorious declaration that Peter made to Christ in saying, “I will lay down my life for thy sake!” Well, it turns out he wasn’t able to do that. “I will” is a currency, which does not spend well in the realm of “no more I”. Only Christ can and does lay down His life wherever that life is in expression. And it seems implied that only that life which is freely laid down can be taken up again.
There have been many, many who have died and have been raised to life again only to die later. But the Bible speaks of a “better resurrection.” The “better resurrection” is the first resurrection, the partakers of which a second death hath no power over. The first resurrection is an inward, spiritual one whose name is Jesus. The tomb of our mortal body cannot hold Him any more than that tomb in Israel did so long ago. But it is now as it was then; He cannot come forth until the third day – the day into which we now find ourselves entering.
Thus, God shall, as He did in the Early Church, raise up a people today who shall not fear to confront death. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.“ – I John 3:16 They are a people of the sacrificial spirit!
At the direction of Mordecai (the Holy Spirit), an obedient Esther must enter into the king’s presence unbidden, at the risk of her life, and touch the king’s scepter. She, of course, represents that people who shall enter into an absolute trust with their King and selflessly touch that scepter which is to rule all nations, thereby prevailing for the rest of God’s people, that there might be a great deliverance in time to come.
Hear the corresponding testimony of another voice: “And thus the temple body of Christ will be built, and the spiritual stones will be joined together. As convenience shall be found, there may be a joining of family to family, for the holding of a holy solemnity and assembling together in one accord. This shall be helpful in worshipping God in Spirit and waiting together for a more full inundation of the Spiritual Powers. All this while sequestering and giving up themselves unanimously for this great and worthy end. This is so that the dove-spirits that may yet lie scattered in several nations and kingdoms, may have a call to the temple-body rising visibly wherever it may be pitched.
“For which end it is required that there be an abandoning and coming out of all preoccupations in the common spirit and principle of this present world. Here must be a ceasing to intermeddle with the earthly crafts and sciences and an entering into a new way, to be brought up as the children and disciples of the Heavenly Wisdom. She will assuredly make all-sufficient provision for the outward bodily part. The seeking after which things is not for the Heaven-born Soul that is redeemed out of the world.
“For these are the things which, as our Lord tells us, the Gentiles seek after. But the Father stands more peculiarly charged for his own family, knowing what things are needful for them. He shall confer that princely gift, which is faith in Him, as the key that opens that unknown storehouse wherein all treasures shall stand open to the hand of Faith’s command. This faith must be steady and never wavering, looking upward with a fixed eye and not divided between two principles.
“Then will it be experienced as it was by the great patriarchs and prophets of old who were encompassed with blessings on the right hand and on the left, not knowing which way they would be brought in; confiding in that everlasting fountain that was unsealed unto them in all its fruitful springs.
“This is such a dispensation as cannot gain credit with any except such as are of the high faith of Abraham. They, as did Abraham, shall go out naked and obedient to the call of God who, as a Father, did much transcend in giving him a lot and portion, which nothing from this outward world could share in. Therefore, he said in confidence of his God that he would not be beholding even for a shoe-latchet to the Sodomitish Spirit.” End of Quote by Jane Leade, The Glory of Sharon
The sodomitish spirit cannot be allowed to work in this realm. It worked in Pentecost, but not here. That is, that spirit of “man working with man, that which is unseemly.“ (Romans 1:27) For those who stand in the profession of “Not I, but Christ,” to then apply to the devices of man for remedy of the bodily ailments is to work with man that which is quite unseemly here. As Jane says, and as there is little room for doubt, “This is such a dispensation as cannot gain credit with any except such as are of the high faith of Abraham.” This is not a realm to which the half-hearted or merely curious shall give themselves.
There can be no imitation faith carried out here in hopes of obtaining by fraudulent means that which only comes by genuine faith. As was alluded to in Part I of this series, some will probably attempt to walk where they as yet have no faith to walk. This has already happened as some in the Pentecostal realm have attempted to apply the principle of faith (which works not by the will of man), as they sought to compel God to heal when He was not disposed to do so.
The issue here is not healing at all. The issue here is serving and trusting God fully rather than fleshly Babylonian means, regardless of what comes of it. Such a trust is exemplified in the spirit in which the three Hebrews said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us… but if not, …we will not worship the image.” – Daniel 3:17 Only that people who have found release from the beast realm shall not bow down to the image of the beast or give worth-ship, value, to it, nor take its number in their forehead or in their hand. The word, worship, comes from the words worth-ship. It means giving worth or value to a thing or to someone. Hence, “The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power…'” – Revelation 4:10,11
In the land, the people of God are no longer under Moses, but Joshua. This speaks of another order entirely. “Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant” – Hebrews 3:5. “Christ (Joshua/Jesus) is a Son over His own house.“ – Hebrews 3:6 This distinction between Moses and Joshua/Jesus is put in stark relief when we consider, “...the servant abideth not in the house forever, but the Son abideth forever.“ – John 8:35
It also speaks very loudly of the fact that they of the spirit who stand by faith at Gilgal, have entered into rest. The children of Israel, according to the flesh, entered into the land promised them but it appears, upon looking at their history after entering the land, they never entered into His rest “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” –Hebrews 4:9-11
Here in this land there is but one will. Where there are opposing wills there can be no rest. It is the goodness, the kindness of God that we have been called into the habitation of rest and that habitation is the will of God. Nowhere else shall a man ever find rest except in the will of God. “Not my will, but thine be done,” is not only a very nice-sounding phrase, it is also the prayer of a true son. As much as the work accomplished in our lives is God’s, so also is the rest His, for His will is our resting place.
Those who rest here no longer must turn aside by the flocks of the companions; no longer must they query, “O tell me where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.“ – Song of Solomon 1:7 No longer must they seek Him whom their soul loveth. They have come into the place of union with His will and therefore with Him. They have entered into the secret place of ascendancy.
There has never been a war without opposing wills. There will never be a true and lasting peace where there are opposing wills. When Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” – John 14:27, there are depths here that the natural mind of man cannot plumb. This peace is undisturbed in the midst of pain, sorrow, grief and suffering. It is there deep, deep down within, even when everything outward seems to be contradicting and challenging its very existence. It is there when all seems to declare that it cannot co-exist with things that are happening in our outward circumstance.
The land of our inheritance is represented by the Feast of Tabernacles, which was commemorated by dwelling in booths. The booths constructed for Tabernacles were purposely constructed in such a fashion as to, in every way, speak of a temporary dwelling. This vile mortal body has been just that – a temporary dwelling. Those booths were dwelt in as a memorial of their time in the wilderness when they were made (as the creature was made subject to this vanity) to dwell in temporary dwellings with a eye always to that permanent dwelling that would be theirs after entering their inheritance and possessing the land.
We keep the true Feast of Tabernacles and not the type when we dwell in these temporary dwellings (mortal bodies) in such a fashion as to demonstrate that we understand that they are not our permanent dwellings; that they are not those dwellings in which we shall even attempt to dwell permanently, but having always our eye of faith upon that celestial house not made with hands. For there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. The natural body must be sown in order to reap the spiritual body.
“It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body... Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
“The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
“Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (in the atom of our being), at the last trump (final message): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead (us) shall be raised (not from a graveyard, but from the death of mortal corruption) incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – I Corinthians 15:42-55
When we read, “But every man in his own order (or class): Christ, the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming”, or as the CLNT has it “The firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence;” – I Corinthians 15:23, we ought not to think that it means Christ Jesus as an individual alone, and then after Him, they that are Christ’s at His coming, for He cannot come until a people has arisen who have put the last enemy, death, underfoot. Therefore, “Christ, the firstfruits,” has reference to the whole Christ. After this, come those who are Christ’s in His presence now.
So, when Paul says, “Behold, I show you a mystery (a hidden secret); We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (by this corruptible putting on incorruption and then this mortal putting on immortality as a result of the sounding of a final message concerning these very things), the “we” spoken of here is we who are dead in Christ and live as if it is “no more I, but Christ.”
Those who have begun to believe and stand upon God’s word as if it were true shall have no confidence in the flesh. They are dead and their life is hid with Christ in God, “and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed!” When? When the message, the trumpet, begins to put forth that sound which brings a people to understand and truly believe that the flesh is neither the basis nor the support of their life! Christ, at last, is truly their life. Not until then shall the dead in Christ rise from Adam’s dust and begin to put on their beautiful garments.
“And it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.“ –Joshua 6:15
There is indeed something of fullness in the above Scripture, which catches one’s eye. It occurs on the seventh day; they compassed the city (Jericho) seven times, and all was done on the authority of seven priests blowing seven trumpets! It fails not to bring to one’s remembrance the sevens of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh feast, in the seventh month, which lasts for seven days.
Leaving these seven priests and all the silent men of war to march around Jericho on the seventh day, let us look for a moment at the breaking of the seventh seal. “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels (messengers) which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.“ – Revelation 8:1–2 Don’t these two occurrences sound very similar to each other?
We know that the number seven is symbolic of fullness, maturity, perfection or completion, so it follows then that what we are here seeing in both above instances is a scene of something of fullness, maturity, perfection or completion. That the messengers of Revelation 8:2 were each given a trumpet is clearly a symbolic manner of saying they were each given a message to proclaim. A trumpet sound is the sounding of a message. There have indeed been various trumpets or messages, which have sounded down through the last 500 years of Church history. (Of course, there has always been a witness to the true gospel. The Waldenses of the Italian Alps bore 1,000 years of persecution unto death simply because they would not relinquish their scriptural views or manner of worship to those of Popish Rome.) We can find all seven trumpet messages briefly described in Hebrews 6:1, even to those of Tabernacles – the resurrection of the dead and aionian (not eternal) judgment.
Finally, we come to that last great sounding trumpet, the sounding of which must cause the kingdoms of our world to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15) and also must cause the dead in Christ to hear the voice of the Son of God and arise from Adam’s dust to take part in the first resurrection. It is this perfection or completion, we are told in Hebrews 6, that we are to press on toward; the truth of our completion and fullness in Christ. The thought suggested is that over the years these various messages were sounded. And each has gripped us as yet another birth-pang which, coming progressively closer together, shall finally culminate in the bringing forth of that manchild spoken of in Revelation 12:5.
It is this last great final trumpet, this final message that has lain longest under the seal of obscurity and misunderstanding. Until the time came for it to be revealed, all the Scriptures relating to it have remained cloaked in secrecy and therefore in misconception. Until God’s time arrived for the seventh seal to be broken, the many Scriptures relating to the time and purpose of the seventh trumpet have continued to be misunderstood and misapplied.
But even though we believe that the time of the breaking of the seventh seal does surely and quickly approach us, still, we do not claim to possess all knowledge concerning it; only our small part. We do, however, maintain that fresh, clear and original (as to this time, at least) light is presently being given through many vessels of the Lord.
The breaking of the seventh seal (Rev. 8) prepares the way for the seven thunders (Rev.10:3) to utter their voice of mystery and then, with the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15), we find an explanation and resolution to the mystery uttered by those seven thunders. We do believe that we are in the days when the seventh angel is about to give forth his sounding trumpet that shall be as a sound of alarm to all of professing Christendom. It shall be not only a message, which concerns fullness, but an uncompromising message which comes forth to produce fullness.
With each sounding of a trumpet of God comes another measure of light and life. What was sounded in a previous trump is not discarded and replaced by the sounding of a later trump. The ministries of Martin Luther, John Wesley, Charles Finney, and others still speak to us today. All the light and life of each sounding trump of God is carried over into the next sounding trump.
Thus, “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18), for those hearing the sounding of the seventh trump shall have all of the light and life of the previous six to walk in besides. No wonder they hear the encouraging sound of; “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth (but we don’t dwell in our earth), and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.“ –Isaiah 60:1-3
Only those who have arisen out of Adam’s dust to live in Christ shall know such a light as the glory of God rising upon them. Woe to those who dwell in the earth, who derive their life from it rather than from Christ. The sun of those abiding in Christ shall no more go down because it is no longer the sun of reason, that light by which the entire world walks. Their moon of the sense life no longer offers its light because the Lord alone, the Lord Himself, is their everlasting light! Hallelujah! This is all utterly dealt with in the opening of the sixth seal in us.
This is the New Jerusalem which is from above! It is neither from nor of the earth. Its life and light is God-only! Oh, these walking here are glorious, but the place to which they have arrived is not the result of their efforts. They are the planting of the Lord, the work of His hands, and He alone receives the glory. And God has given His word saying that when the time for this people to be brought forth has finally arrived – Himself will hasten it! “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.“ –Isaiah 40:5
This is the fulfillment of that which is written, “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men (the rest of mankind) might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doeth all these things.“ –Acts 15:16–17 This people who shall come forth in Christ’s fullness is the reality of what the tabernacle of David was but the type. A people in whom there is no veil of the flesh to conceal, to obscure, or to hide the God or His glory that is in them. It is the day when the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people, and therefore the light of this day shall be as the light of seven days and as the light of seven sounding trumpets, for the Lord has healed their wound which Adam inflicted at the beginning. No sooner shall men behold this transparent people who live only in God than they shall cry out to God for themselves. And everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
The seventh trump or message shall be sounded forth through many messengers at this time loudly and clearly, and the effect of this shall be that “the dead (in Christ – us!) shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.” – I Corinthians 15:52 Do you doubt that when Paul says, “the dead,” that he is speaking of us? “For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3 This is the Holy Spirit of Truth saying to us that we, we, we are dead and that our life is hid with Christ in God. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead, is freed from sin… reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:6–7, 11
We are explicitly told, commanded, to reckon, to regard, to consider, to count it as so, that we-are-dead. But, thank God, not just dead and left there! If we are dead with Him, we also are raised up together with Him. As God’s people begin to hear the wonderful harmonious sounds and implications of the seventh messenger’s trumpet, they will be raised from the tomb of a mortal body and shall be changed! This mortal shall, under the sound of the last great trumpet, put on immortality. This mortal shall begin to live in the place of “not I, but Christ” and shall therefore cease to live as though his life came from the mortal body and begin to act and live as if Christ Himself were indeed his life!
It is a truth which can no longer remain hidden, “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – I Corinthians 15:53-57 This is not speaking of something, which is to take place out in some graveyard. It is the first resurrection and it is an inward and spiritual resurrection, which takes place upon the sounding forth of the seventh trumpet, the seventh and last message.
We read “And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, ‘Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered and write them not.‘” –Revelation 10:4 It seems safe to assume that what the seven thunders had uttered had to do with what the number seven stands for symbolically – fullness, completion, perfection, maturity. John obviously liked what he heard so much that he began to write it down but was told instead not to write it down, but to seal it up.
When a thing is sealed up, it becomes a mystery, a secret; it is not open. But we have hope given us, because the voice goes on to say, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel (messenger), when he shall begin to sound, the mystery (which John had just created by sealing up what the seven thunders had uttered) of God should be finished” – Revelation 10:7 It would no longer be a mystery, because in that day, the seventh angel (messenger) would be declaring it openly.
Daniel, the great man of God, dearly beloved of God, had been shown some things pertaining to the “time of the end” and was also told to, “shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end” – Daniel 12:4
The apostle Paul told of being “caught up to the third heaven, ...into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” – II Corinthians 12:2,4. Once again, we find the mysterious restriction placed upon the revelation he had received. He was not permitted to utter (plainly) some of the things he had clearly seen in the third heaven (the realm of the Holy of Holies in Moses’ Tabernacle).
I am fully convinced that the reason there was a seal placed upon this revelation was that it was not then the time for that message. It was not the time for that which pertained to fullness to be revealed in Daniel’s day, nor in Paul’s or John’s day. The voice which spoke to John clearly promises, though, that there would come a day in which it would be appropriate to break the seal of secrecy which lay upon those hallowed truths contained in what the seven thunders had originally uttered. For in the days when the seventh angel (messenger) begins to sound, that mystery would no longer be a mystery. It would be proclaimed openly. That day has arrived and no sooner shall the sixth seal be opened within us than we shall begin hearing the voice and entering into that life and reality of which the seventh angel sounds forth.
God has a sweet and irresistible persistence about doing things in His own order and timing. This extends even to the proclamation of the gospel in its gradual unfolding and increase of light and life. Concerning the seven feasts of the Lord, “These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” – Leviticus 23:4
It is very clear to all that God intended that each feast be attended with a message and that it was vitally important that these messages be proclaimed in their preordained seasons.
It is extremely important that we keep in mind that the things of which we read in the book of the revelation of Jesus Christ have not to do with outward things where we are concerned. There shall be some things, which eventually come to pass in the outward realm in which most of humanity and a very large majority of the Church lives, but the kingdom of God, the kingdom which the Son prayed to come is within! All that God is dealing with in our lives is within. It began within as a small but incorruptible Seed, it has continued within until that incorruptible Seed develops to the point where the within swallows up the without!
With that thought in mind, let us listen in on what ensues as the seventh angel begins to sound forth his great earthshaking, kingdom destroying message to those who have ears to hear. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for the [ages of the ages]” – Revelation 11:15 brackets Concordant Literal New Testament.
Of course, traditional religion would have us believe that the kingdoms of “this world” is speaking of the present outward physical world in which the natural man finds his life and being, and surely, it shall eventually find a fulfillment there. But this book is not written to those living in that world. It is written to a people who have left that world and seek a kingdom not of this present world! If this book is the unveiling of Jesus Christ, then it must of necessity speak of that realm in which He is to be unveiled – within! The kingdom of God is within you! I do verily believe that the kingdoms of the outward physical natural world shall eventually come down, but not until God has produced a people in whom their world, their little kingdoms, along with all their hopes, aspirations, dreams, goals, ambitions and agendas, have crumbled into the dust of Adam, and the Lord alone stands supreme to rule as absolute Sovereign, without reservation or rival, in their entire lives, in all its interests and activities, within them.
This people are typified as Daniel’s “little stone” that was cut out of the mountain without hands. That is, a little, insignificant people separated out from the great mountain of religious Babylon, not by a man’s doing (without hands), but by the Spirit of God alone. This people, this little stone, shall smite the image of Nebuchadnezzar (an image representing all the kingdoms of the world) in its feet, meaning, it smote it in the latter days, for the feet of this image represented the kingdom of the latter day. This little stone in whom there is no kingdom left standing in opposition to God’s, is the instrument that God will use to bring down the outward kingdoms of this world, making them the kingdoms of our Lord and His (whole) Christ.
Beloved, this people cannot come forth upon any other ground than resurrection ground. These are those who are able to say of a truth, with Christ, “We are they that live and were dead; and behold, we are alive forever more.” Why? Because they have done the whole work of God, which is, they have believed what He said. They believe that they were indeed crucified with Christ and that it is no more they but Christ that now lives and that the life they now live, they live by His faith. This is the only people who shall be able to confront death and overcome death. Therefore they are able to truthfully say, “We have the keys of the grave and death.”
As I have said in parts one and two of Living at Gilgal, if there is to be a people who shall overcome the last enemy, death, then it must be a people who actually entrust themselves to God to such an extent that they count not their lives dear unto themselves. It must be a people who have the sentence of death in themselves; who trust not in themselves but in God who raiseth the dead. It must be a people who expect God to deliver them from so great a death as the tomb of this mortal body. It seems that the great stone and hindering impediment which must be rolled away in order for His people to come forth is that of the reasoning mind, along with it inseparable co-hort, the sense-life.
This great impediment and its removal is revealed to us in another light in the following words, “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates and the water thereof was dried up that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” – Revelation 16:12 “Euphrates, the great head or stream of reasoning, has become the channel of the strength and wealth of great Babylon; while Gihon, or the Nile, the channel of knowledge through the senses, is the river of Egypt, from which we are redeemed.” Andrew Jukes, Types in Genesis, pg. 51. The name, Euphrates, means “fruitfulness.”
This great stream of reason is dried up by an act of God through the pouring out of the sixth vial, in order that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. We realize that God often speaks on several levels at the same time and while the kings of the east may well have reference to one particular in the natural, it carries another, equal force of meaning to the spiritual intent. As to the spiritual, the kings of the east, (kings of the Son-rise) have reference to no other than those overcomers who, as kings and priests, shall rule and reign with Christ a thousand years upon the earth. But in order for these sons of the resurrection to come forth into the strength and reality of the first resurrection, the stone of reason must be rolled away. Reason, that great river Euphrates, must first be dried up in their lives.
I cannot help repeating the importance of why our Pattern, Jesus Christ, poured out His soul unto death. It was not only that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, but also that He might, in doing so, pave the way and set the example as our Forerunner for those who should afterward follow in His steps. It sounds very much like a part of overcoming death is dying but not remaining dead. Dying is not at all the same as being overcome of death; it is simply coming to grips with death. Jesus died but overcame death in that He rose up out of it.
There must be a very real confrontation with death in order to overcome death; perhaps a very real dying but coming up out of it. I can hear the very valid objection in the minds of some who say, “But what of the scripture which says, ‘We shall not all sleep, die, be put to repose, but we shall all be changed?’ That would certainly seem to interfere with a death.” I Cor. 15:51
This is an excellent question and one, which begs a response. Paul was speaking by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, when he said “We shall not all sleep, but “we” shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trump shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.“ – I Corinthians 15:52 If these folk expected not to have to die because they expected to hear the last trump, why then do we witness such a wholesale offering of themselves to death for Christ’s sake? It would certainly seem contradictory, wouldn’t it?
It would indeed be quite contradictory unless in order to qualify for hearing the sound of the last trump one must actually be living in the sacrificial spirit of “no more I, but Christ;” must actually be walking in that spirit which is always delivered unto death. It is just here that we see the need for the breaking in us of the sixth seal. For in the breaking of this seal that man comes to the end of man. It is in the breaking of this seal that such utterness to the Lord God is required that it begets in us a great earthquake of such a magnitude that an old nature is replaced by a new one. This opening of the sixth seal in us is for the destruction and removal of the rational reasoning mind and the sense life. Those coming into this experience shall find it to be cataclysmic in proportion, and universal in scope. Christ alone must remain. This sixth seal will be further enlarged upon in the next issue – The Opening of The Sixth Seal. There shall be no entering into the seventh seal or into anything of which the seventh angel speaks without the foregoing and thorough work of the opening of the sixth seal within us.
For it is only Christ who lays His life down and it is only Christ who comes forth in this resurrection. The natural implication is that if one is not living in that sacrificial spirit of Christ, he shall not hear the sound of the last trump. He will merely think it thunders. Thus it comes about that only that army of God’s which is involved in giving up its life in a very real way can hear the call of the seventh and last trumpet signaling that the battle is over, the last enemy is put to shame. In order for this to take place, the fear of death and of suffering must first be removed from a people. I believe God s accomplishing this in those who are destined for just such an encounter. What we are here speaking of is not some subtle attempt to place God into a doctrinal box of religious conjecture to somehow attempt to compel Him to comply with what we feel He ought to do. That has already been unsuccessfully attempted in Pentecost.
What we are here speaking of is much akin to, if not altogether the same as, that crisis of faith and trust in God alone which the three Hebrew men (they were not mere children) faced in Nebuchadnezzar’s burning fiery furnace. They sought not to force God in any way to do anything. Hear their very words; they were so eloquent and full of nobility and honor, they have been preserved for our example.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand if He chooses that it be so, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.“ –Daniel 3:16-18 (I slightly paraphrased a portion) It didn’t matter whether God delivered them or not, they knew He could if He so chose, but if He chose not to, they still would not bow down to this king’s image.
Comes there not a critical time to every one of us who has given notice that we will not bow down to the beast nor to his image to give worth-ship to it, that we are forced into an either/or situation? All the world, including nearly all the Church, gives such value and worth-ship, not only to the preserving the life of the physical, mortal body, but by what methods it should be preserved. So much so, that should a crisis arise, we automatically dial 911 or race to the hospital, the doctor, the pharmacy or to some other alternative means of warding off pain, suffering and death. Such actions declare that the mortal body, not Christ, is our life.
Imagine, if you will for a moment, a very intense and very agitated farmer as he rushes into the office of a Professor of Agriculture, holding in his hand a badly deteriorating kernel of corn. He cannot seem to tear his eyes from the cherished kernel of corn in his hand as he excitedly exclaims, repeatedly stabbing his finger in the direction of the seed in the palm of his hand, “Look! Look! Quick, do something! Do something! Inject it with something that will preserve it! It’s dying, It’s dying!” The Professor of Agriculture is not looking at the kernel in the farmer’s hand. He is, with blank expression, looking doubtfully at the farmer. He then momentarily glances at the others in the room to see if they are perhaps a part of what might be a prank on him. But the same look of utter astonishment is upon every other face also.
Satisfied then, that this farmer is simply mad, he gently attempts to explain to him: “Sir, after all your years of raising crops, surely you have come to understand that unless that kernel dies, it cannot release the stalk, the ears of corn, or the individual kernels of corn in each ear. So long as you seek to preserve the kernel, you lose the opportunity to receive to yourself the ear of corn you desire to have. One need not be a Professor of Agriculture to understand that.”
It is that simple where the first resurrection is concerned. The modern conception of it seems to be that Jesus’ death has somehow insured that we need not die; that we are saved from death. But it is out of death that we enter into the power of His resurrection. Paul said, “Therefore I will rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me!” —II Cor. 12:9. The natural body is sown in infirmity but raised in power. It is sown in dishonor but raised in glory. It is sown a natural body but raised a spiritual body. But in all these things, it is sown! It is not preserved. I am certain that the early church had this understanding and as such, had the keys of death and the grave.
Until now, the modern church has been like the foolish farmer. It has attempted to reap its resurrection while keeping itself from all that qualified it for that resurrection. Paul said again, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” – Philippians 3:7-11
Herein is seen no “foolish farmer.” Herein is seen a man who realizes that in order for Christ to become ALL, He must replace ALL. That life which now constitutes an earthly existence must be not only relinquished, but counted as dung in comparison to that which is to be gained in Christ. Otherwise we have the unerring tendency of going back and reclaiming it and saying that God gave us back our Isaac.
Paul and the entire early church knew that in order to enter into His resurrection, into the first resurrection, one’s entire life must first be sown, because that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. There was no concept of self-preservation in that day which we so often find now; that of religiously attempting to add Christ to our life. The power of Christ does not rest upon corruption; it replaces corruption with incorruption through death.
The present mortal body is not that which we seek in the resurrection, but bare grain. It is mortal and we seek an immortal. It is corruptible and we seek an incorruptible. However, there are laws, which govern all of God’s realms. That which thou sowest is not quickened, not made alive, not made incorruptible, not made immortal, except it first be given up, relinquished, and sown into death. For then and then only shall it be seen and experienced that death has been abolished and has no power to keep its hold upon any portion of Christ, but must concede to His power and yield. And death, the last enemy is overcome – through death.
There seems to be the contemporary thought that since we are living in that time when God will at some point sound a “last trump” and some of the graves will split open and we shall be changed, at no cost to or loss of our flesh, we might do well to just hold on to our life for as long as we can, through any means possible, and perhaps we can ride this thing out and luck our way into being on hand when that great magic wand of the last trump works its renovating wizardry.
I do believe that there is a last trump that shall indeed work a most startling work for those who hear it and who recognize it is when they hear it. Some shall merely think it thunders. But remember that within all these scriptures of truth on the subject, lies an inviolable principle; that is, when truth is held by the carnal mind or taken up in a carnal manner, it invariably produces the opposite of what it promises.
When the last and final trumpet is sounded, there will be those who recognize it as such and who will appropriate its resonating tones to be to them both light and life. And it is only as we walk in the light as He is in the light that the blood of Jesus cleanses and continues to cleanse us from all sin, and where sin is removed, the sting of death is also removed. For, not only is the light of the seventh day bringing its greater light, it carries with it also the accumulative light of the previous six sounding trumpets. So in this day there is to be seen a people walking in the gradual enlightening of the seventh trumpet-message as the seventh day dawns on a very weary rest-seeking Church and humanity.
Indeed, it is as the light, which shines out of the East (as at sunrise), and gradually shines even unto the West. The sun does not simply pop up to a position every morning from whence all its life-giving and enlightening rays are immediately enjoyed and benefited by all. It is a gradual thing, which, at first, only a few enjoy. Later, as the sun continues to rise and light increases more and more and more, then finally the whole earth is filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Man’s six long working days have at last come to a welcome close and there must be a leaving of one age, of one order, for entrance into another.
While there is indeed a day and a realm in which those who bear the mark, number and name of the beast are prohibited from working, buying and selling, even so shall it necessarily be that those not bearing the mark, number and new name of their God shall find they are not permitted employment in His day. No flesh shall find work in the day of God’s rest. Reaping and eating by the sweat of the brow has by then run its course; the curse has been cursed in Christ. There shall now be much reaping of that whereon we have bestowed no labor.
All must be upon the same basis as all else in this great kingdom has ever been – a true, real, spiritual work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, through and through. If we will not walk wholly after God in absolute utterness of heart, we are not walking in that which the Feast of Tabernacles is. Utterness knows no limits.
LIVING IN GILGAL, Parts 1-3 [Larry Hodges] 1