FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 133
THE TEMPLE OPENED in HEAVEN, (continued)
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
PART ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE
From the Temple to the Manchild
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven...and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev. 11:19)
Let us look a bit more at what John sees when the temple of God is opened in heaven. Out of the throne are seen proceeding lightnings, voices, and thunderings; then there is an earthquake, and great hail. Three other times in the Revelation it speaks of lightnings and voices and thunderings. These things, of course, along with the hail, are the familiar accompaniments of a storm. It is significant that each time they are named in the book it is in connection with some direct action taken by the Lord out of the heavens of the Spirit which produces a reaction and has an effect in the earth realm. And each time there is some added action intensifying the scene!
A physical storm is caused by two areas of unequal temperature coming together. The storm is the process of coming together and equalizing of the atmospheric conditions. The inference here would seem to be that the storm is created when the two “atmospheres” of heaven and earth meet, that is, when the atmosphere of the spirit realm touches the atmosphere of the earthy, carnal, soulical realm, and a storm results which equalizes the atmosphere, bringing clear weather, or true clarity in both the atmosphere of the spiritual and the soulical. It suggests that the Lord is taking the next step in bringing forth the revelation of Jesus Christ in His elect! In this storm, we see God breaking through to the people. He has risen up from His secret place, pulled away the veil, opened the temple, and made Himself visible. The Ark of the Covenant is seen in all the glory that it contains, and a great storm in the lower nature breaks out as God moves to MAKE ALL THINGS NEW! Isn’t it wonderful!
The “storms” of the book of Revelation are interesting. In chapter eight a storm is created when something symbolically represented as “fire of the altar” is cast into the earth and becomes a disturbing element in the atmosphere of the earth causing great disturbance there. When the Lord comes in His Holy Ghost fire it always changes the temperature and creates a disturbance! The fire of God heats up the atmosphere of Adam’s world, quickening the spirit within man, and the heated atmosphere of the spirit meets the cold atmosphere of man’s soulical life, and a great storm is generated! God speaks out of the storm, and there are heard voices proclaiming heavenly things! In the storm God manifests His power in the thunderings! He gives brilliant flashes of illumination and revelation by the lightnings! By this storm He shakes (symbolized by the earthquake) everything of the old carnal understanding, the old natural life, the old worldly system of things, purifies the atmosphere, pours down the rain of His Spirit and Life, and MAKES ALL THINGS NEW! The vision reveals the great truth that in the outworking of God’s kingdom purposes, first something happens in heaven, and then as a consequence, certain events take place in our earth. And the outcome is glorious indeed!
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there were ... lightnings.” (Rev. 11:19)
First, there are seen lightnings that flash throughout our earth! Undoubtedly, we have all seen, when clouds turn the sky into terrible blackness, how there suddenly flashes forth from their awesome darkness almost terrifying streaks of lightning that light up earth and sky. Lightning is a powerful discharge of atmospheric electricity. Benjamin Franklin knew that lightning and electricity are the same thing. Spiritually, there is a word and revelation of the Lord that flashes within our consciousness like a bolt of lightning! When man’s darkness seems impenetrable and unbearable, then suddenly we behold the brilliance of a storm of moving charges as God’s lightning flashes and the Lord breaks through the darkness of the carnal mind by the swift and powerful illumination of His Word by His Spirit. His glory is seen in the “lightning” and we discover where we are in His great purpose! This declares to us with unspeakable clarity that lightning is the symbol of divine illumination! These symbolic lightnings are spoken of in Psalm 97:4 wherein we read, “His lightnings enlightened the world; the earth saw, and trembled.” The lightnings of God bespeak the illumination of men when the Lord moves suddenly and powerfully by His Spirit of wisdom, understanding, and revelation! They are vivid spiritual displays of the light and glory of God which earth-men can neither deny nor ignore, and they are changed thereby!
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven... and there were...voices.” (Rev. 11:19)
After the lightnings John heard voices. One of the key words in the book of Revelation is “voices.” It is important to note in each case what the voices are, what the circumstances are, where they come from, and what they say. Here in our text the voices come from the mercy-throne upon the Ark of the Covenant in the opened temple; they are the word of the Lord spoken out of the mouths of His kings and priests! It is the one Voice of the Lord becoming many voices, as the sound of many waters, issuing from the many sons brought to glory. How do I conceive God? As a personage with a body? No. As some spirit who flits about disembodied with a lot of force and energy? No.I conceive of God as a voice. That is how I conceive of God. That’s how I experience Him. The very first thing we read of God is that “God said...” He spoke! And the only manifestation of God that Adam knew in that long-ago Eden was simply “the voice of the Lord God walking in the midst of the garden in the cool (spirit) of the day.” (Gen. 3:8)
In an article some years ago David Wilkerson penned some penetrating words about hearing the voice of God, which still have meaning for us today. He wrote, “It is possible to hear God’s voice today as certainly and clearly as did Abraham and Moses — as clearly as did Samuel and David — as clearly as did Paul, Peter, the apostles, and John on the isle of Patmos! God has this message for all who have been called out: The voice of God that has shaken the earth in past generations will be heard in power again in one great shaking! ‘Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.’ (Heb. 12:26) Why is God gathering together a people out of the dead churches? Why is the Spirit crying out, ‘Come out of Babylon, my people! Partake not of her sins!’ It is because God must have a people, a Zion people, in these troubled days who are not confused or tossed to and fro by the horrible winds of false doctrine. These are sheep who do not follow false teachers, who know their Master’s voice. God speaks to them clearly and certainly, and they live by His voice! They are directed by His voice, comforted by His voice, guided in all things by His voice! This is the one great characteristic of a holy people: They are not mistaken about God’s voice! They know it, they hear it, and they are governed by it. It is sure, steadfast, and unmistakable!
“The children of Israel wanted God’s voice filtered through a holy servant. ‘Now therefore why should we die? for the great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.’ (Deut. 5:25-27) God’s people haven’t changed much today! They are still afraid of the responsibility of being shut in with God to hear His voice! But the Lord wanted every Israelite to know and hear His voice personally. He made them know that He is a talking
God: ‘We have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and liveth.’
“It is no wonder that thousands are being led astray. They have put their very lives in the hands of a teacher or a pastor, who then becomes God to them — and whatever he hears or teaches becomes their voice of God! But even holy, meek Moses ‘spoke unadvisedly with his lips’ (Ps. 106:33) and misrepresented God’s holiness. Therefore, even if your teacher is as meek and holy as Moses, his voice is not infallible. You need to know and hear God’s voice directly to be able to judge what is taught!” — end quote.
While I am quoting others I am impressed to share the following words from a spoken message delivered by John Wright Follette. He is speaking of the fact that Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden...” Then he comments: “It does not say they heard the Lord God walking. Rather, they heard a ‘voice’ walking. At first I thought the grammar was wrong, but it is right. Then I diagramed this verse. Voice is the subject, a noun. Walking is a verb. It is a participle. I thought, who ever heard of a ‘voice’ walking? In the Hebrew text, this word is not ‘voice’ as we use it. It is ‘sound.’ When the source of the ‘sound’ is human, it is called a ‘voice.’ ‘They heard the sound of God moving.’ What was it that they heard? It was not His footsteps. He had not yet drawn near to them. It was not His voice. He had not yet spoken to them. This is a spiritual thing!
“We are sensitive, responsive creatures and every object has, in a sense, its ‘atmosphere.’ Have you ever been near someone and ‘felt’ their spirit? This is because we are sensitive. The presence of the Lord is like this! Whenever the Lord moves, He chooses a means through which to reveal Himself. Sometimes it is the rushing of the wind. At other times it is thunder. The Hebrew text confirms that this is what it was — sound. The ‘sound,’ or the voice of God in thunder, in whirlwinds, in winds. Whatever ‘form’ the Lord may take in making Himself known is called ‘His voice.’ At Pentecost it was the sound of a rushing wind. In the book of Revelation, the word ‘sound’ or ‘voice’ of God is repeated forty-four times. ‘The sound of the trumpet’ is sometimes called ‘the voice of the trumpet,’ for these are interchangeable.
“Is not this wonderful? The voice of the Lord is a sound that man can perceive. Therefore, whenever God moves in relation to man, there is a sound that man can sense. ‘There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them are without signification’ (I Cor. 14:10) Paul is talking about the ‘sounds’ of God’s movings. When Jesus prayed, He said, ‘Father, glorify Thy name. Then there came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spoke to Him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.’ (Jn. 12:28-30) All do not detect when God speaks. Some thought that it thundered, others translated the thunder into His Word and they heard Him say, ‘I have glorified Him and will glorify Him. There are those today who are only hearing thunder!
“The Lord teaches me just like a child. Education is good, but it does not function in the field of the Spirit. Truth comes by revelation of the Spirit. The voice, the message, must become articulate within. The Lord showed me this in scripture. When Jesus came to be baptized in the Jordan River, John the Baptist introduced Him and then baptized Him. As Jesus came up out of the water, there came a voice from heaven which said, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ (Mat. 3:17) In what did His Father’s pleasure consist? It was in the fact that His Son had taken upon Himself a human concept of living in order to become a redeeming factor which would bring humanity back again to God. This was a sacrifice that pleased the heart of God. The pleasure that God should have found in Adam, He is now finding in the Last Adam. But there is something more to be considered.
“After Jesus had fully overcome in His human temptations and struggles, and was ready for His acceptance by God, He went up on the mount of Transfiguration. As He was glorified, a voice from heaven came saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.’ (Mat. 17:5) The vocation of the Christ had become articulate in a life which is to be heard and VOICED to the ends of the world. He was the Voice, but when He had lived and brought it through to its glorification, it became incarnate. Now it had become flesh, articulate, and God could say, ‘Hear ye Him!’ Again, He has come to walk and speak in us!” — end quote.
In the Revelation the voice always comes out of heaven. It comes from the throne (4:5). It comes from the altar (8:5). It comes from the temple (11:19; 16:17). If you hear a voice speaking out of the earth-realm, do you know what it will talk about? Earthly things! And men and preachers will quote scripture to talk about earthly things — the state of Israel, Israel Identity, the Stone of Scone, Christian politicians, external laws of righteousness, monetary prosperity, physical blessings, church buildings, convention centers, and a thousand more — but all their scriptures will be interpreted out of natural, carnal, earthly minds! If you hear a voice speaking out of heaven, do you know what it will talk about? Heavenly things! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto placement as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:3-4)
Where is the temple? “Ye are the temple...” Where is the voice? Out of the temple! It is the lightnings, the voices, and the thunderings that cause the earthquake. Let me say this — if there is no voice from heaven there will never be an earthquake in your earth or in any other earth! It has to be the voice out of the heavens of the Spirit of the Lord! It takes the voice of the spirit of truth sounding out of our heavens, to cause our earth to shake as it has never been shaken before. This all takes place right here within us, in the house, or the temple of God. It’s a pure voice out of the temple of God speaking to all who have ears to hear! Hear the voice!
Hear the voice out of the temple! Don’t just hear me, or any other man. Hear the voice that sounds in the temple of God which you are! Hear within yourself the word of the Lord! Know His voice for yourself! As long as what you hear is just a word or a teaching from some source outside of yourself, you have yet to hear the voice out of the temple! This voice is heard only by a spiritual ear. There is no other voice worth listening to. In previous days we have heard many voices, go here, go there, do this, do that, this is the way, etc. But today every called and chosen son of God is hearing the voice of the spirit of truth! Oh, yes, God ministers the word through others, but you must hear it within yourself, out of the inner sanctum of God in your spirit. It is there it must resonate, there must be a hearty “Amen” from within. Sometimes the word you hear from others will confirm the voice you hear within you. Other times the voice within will confirm the word you receive through others. And, precious brother, dear sister, if you are isolated somewhere, cut off from fellowship, and all alone in your walk with the Father — remember always — THE VOICE IS IN THE TEMPLE!
I look at the present generation of the church world and it is clear to me that they have never had the opportunity to come into living contact with a fresh, new, glorious, powerful, transforming present truth sound from heaven; they are still enjoying the left-overs from the over-flow of the former feasts of Passover and Pentecost. And many of those left-overs are very stale and putrefying! But there is a people in the earth today to whom God has spoken and promised and covenanted the opportunity to come into a brand new feast — the feast of Tabernacles. As we enter into this new spiritual feast of the Lord it won’t be a revival of Passover, it won’t be a renewal of Pentecost, it won’t be another Latter Rain outpouring, but it will be the manifestation of the sons of God and the kingdom of God coming in great power and glory upon the nations of the earth. Praise God, even now we are beginning to hear the new sound! Silence is descending upon all our former heavens, a reverent, divine, and holy hush has filled the temple of our being, and the trumpets are being quietly passed to God’s prepared messengers as they stand in worshipful awe before the throne.
John the Baptist began his ministry by announcing himself as “the VOICE of one crying in the wilderness.” John was a voice, a sound, a trumpet-message to call God’s people into a new day in Him. When Jesus came on the scene and began His wonderful sonship ministry, the scripture says of Him, “And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.” (Mk. 1:28) It is interesting; the word “fame” is the Greek word akoe meaning “hearing.” Ah, it was the sound of Him that went throughout the land, for His word and His mighty acts spoke more loudly than all the other voices the people had heard; they were like a trumpet-message proclaiming that a new administration of God had come into the earth!
The miracle of what God has already done ravishes my heart. I am enthralled beyond measure at the prospect of what our heavenly Father has prepared for them that love Him and seek His fullness. I am moved by all those multitudinous and indescribable sounds throughout the ages that God has released for creation to hear — yet here we are standing at the very end of the church age and of this Pentecostal dispensation, and is it not just as true today as it was two millenniums ago when the apostle Paul penned those heart-stirring words, describing how the whole creation is standing on tiptoe, in breath less anticipation, to see the glorious sight of the manifestation of the sons of God. After two thousand years of Pentecostal power and blessing, once again God is speaking to those who have ears to hear that there is yet to be an appearing, there is yet to be a message, there is yet to be a move of God, there is yet to be a sound, there is yet to be a glory revealed that will flood the earth and deliver creation from the bondage of corruption, from the tyranny of sin, sickness, ignorance, sorrow, and death. Here we are in the early part of the twenty-first century and this surpassing wonder still hasn’t been seen in the earth! Yet — I tell you today that just as Jesus instructed His faithful disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father; and there to tarry until they would be endued with power from on high — so there is in this hour a company of footstep followers of the Lamb whom He has called aside to wait for this greater promise of the Father, and to tarry until the manchild is birthed and caught up to God and to His throne!
“And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (I Cor. 14:7-8) I would draw your attention to the word “distinction.” “Except they give a distinction in the sounds...” It means to be able to distinguish between sounds. It denotes the presence of variation and diversity, and the ability to discern, differentiate, or tell apart one sound from another. Except there be a distinction in the sounds how can one tell whether it is a call to battle or the announcement of good news? When one is used to a certain sound, trained to discern a particular sound, there is no problem in distinguishing and understanding the sound and knowing how to react to that sound. But it is when there is inserted a different note, a variation of tones, a new sound not heard before, that one is faced with the challenge of making a distinction of sounds and learning to respond appropriately.
This, then, in no small part, is the significance of this important hour to which we have come! The hour of God’s greatest glory and honor is now at hand! It is very near! Two thousand years ago Paul wrote by revelation that the whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. The people to whom Paul wrote had witnessed the power and glory of Pentecost and drank from its refreshing, quickening stream. But Paul wrote often of a greater glory yet to be revealed in the saints, of another day in which the glorified Christ with His glorious brother-sons-of-incorruption would no longer cast devils out of a few individuals, as the apostles did, but would cast the devil out of the world system, rebuke every evil power, bind the principalities of the darkness of this world, destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations, swallow up death in victory until there is no more sin, sickness, pain, or death anywhere in God’s vast creation, wipe away tears from off all faces, and make all things new. Ah, my beloved, that is truly a NEW SOUND! I am certain I don’t need to tell you that after two thousand years of Pentecost the Christians of the world, the church systems of the world, and the preachers, priests, and ministers of the world have NEVER HEARD THAT SOUND! It’s a strange sound to their ears! It’s a new sound they have not heard before. And they know not how to either distinguish or respond to a sound so unfamiliar and unparalleled!
And the temple of God was opened in heaven... and there were...thundering.” (Rev. 11:19)
Leaving now the “voices” John heard out of the temple, we proceed on to the “thunderings.” The word of the Lord to His people in the eighty-first Psalm is this: “Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder...” (Ps. 89:7) As Noreen Nicholls once pointed out, “This raises the question as what thunder really is! Thunder is the noise (a sound) that accompanies a flash of lightning due to the air disturbances caused by the sudden heating and expansion of air during the electrical discharge. Electricity is power, and in the discharge of power air, which represents spirit, is heated and expanded with the resultant thunder or the issuance of noise or voice. Such phenomena as a flash of lightning with its accompanying thunder is awesome to say the least, and how much more so when this natural occurrence is fraught with spiritual meaning!”
Thunder is thus associated with lightning — no lightning, no thunder. Lightning is power; thus the thunder is the “voice” or “noise” resulting from that power. Lightning brings sudden and powerful illumination, understanding, and revelation, but the thunder is the voice, the sound, the noise that results from the illumination. Notice that the Lord said in the passage quoted above, “I answered thee in the secret place of thunder.” God spoke by the thunder! The lightning bespeaks the illumination of the word of God, whereas thunder signifies the power of that word or illumination. Perhaps this simple explanation will aid our understanding: God speaks (lightning) in power (thunder). Paul calls it THE WORD OF HIS POWER! That is lightning and thunder together! The word “thunder” in the Greek also means to “roar.” It is when God roars out of Zion! Our church age ministries have often seemed so impotent, but when God SPEAKS HIS WORD and RELEASES HIS POWER to begin His deliverance of the whole creation and restore all things into Himself again, it shall burst forth with a roar, a mighty thundering, getting the attention of the whole world with all its powers and institutions, and awakening new hope in the hearts of the prisoners who have long been waiting under the tyranny of sin and death. Who can comprehend the power of our God? Who can tell the workings of His energy force? We have personally experienced the demonstrations of His might, the roar of His deliverance, as the power of His word turns everything upside down, and assures us that it is His doing and He will accomplish all His purpose. Thank God, the temple shall be opened in heaven, the ark shall be seen, and the thunderings shall be heard! It happens in us, and it shall also be experienced by all mankind!
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven... and there was...an earthquake.” (Rev. 11:19)
The great ‘storm” produces an earthquake! Throughout the scriptures the earthquake was a regular feature of divine visitation. When God descended upon Mount Sinai, “the whole mountain quaked greatly.” (Ex. 19:18) Isaiah prophesied that men would hide in caves from the terror of the Lord, “when He ariseth to shake mightily the earth.” (Isa. 2:19) “Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth,” writes Haggai (Hag. 2:6). Earthquake denotes a sudden, powerful, and violent disruption of the normal state of things. No human power can control or bring about earthquakes. Many times we have seen on the news cities that were shaken by temblors, and have seen the wreck of some of the finest dwelling places and commercial buildings the ingenuity of man can devise. In a few seconds, while the hearts of men stood still with terror, while no human hand could possibly aid them, the great concrete structures crashed and shattered to ruins in the street below. Men and women grabbed their babies and fled blindly for shelter — they knew not where. No human power can stay an earthquake, or even definitively warn of its coming.
“See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably.” (Heb. 12:25-28)
Reference to the shaking of the earth and heaven comes closer home than just the upheaval and doing away with man’s earthly orders, governments, institutions, cultures, and religious systems. Certainly all of that, too, shall pass away! It also speaks of God’s dealings with all who aspire to become the sons of God in the here and now. Not only the earth in us — our humanity with its faults, weaknesses, limitations, emotions, ways, powers, and attributes — but also the heaven in us must be shaken! The heaven in us embraces all our spiritual blessings and experiences of the past. The purpose of this shaking is not to destroy but to replace what has been of God in our spiritual journey but only intended for a specific time and purpose in our growth and development in Christ. The removal of those things is to reveal something far greater! Never does the Lord take something away unless it is to give us something better! He removes the natural to give us the spiritual. He replaces the good with His best. When the transitory (shadow, letter of the word) has fulfilled its purpose, He then introduces us to what is real, heavenly, and eternal (divine substance). Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken! This wonderful kingdom of our Father is earthquake proof — it will never pass away, and of the increase of His government and peace there shall be NO END!
Earthquakes are mighty shakings! On the physical level, an earthquake occurs where the cooling of the earth has caused two layers of earth to overlap rather than to come together flush. As they try to settle into a more natural position, they release energy. Spiritually, this is fulfilled within each of us in those areas of our life where the flesh and the spirit, the carnal mind and the spiritual mind, truth and error, or our will and God’s will overlap within ourselves, causing intense pressures to be formed! We have these places deep within us where things do not fit together properly, for soul and body have not been synchronized with the spirit, so that they do not “mesh” together. The flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit wars against the flesh! When both the spirit and the flesh want to dominate great pressures are created. When we meet a situation that begins to trigger this conflict, we cannot help but experience the rumbling! As the Spirit of God moves sovereignly in our life, exerting a force beyond the capacity of the natural man, the great “earthquake” then ensues! The earthquake touches the fault-lines of our life, not just surface things, but the very depths of being where the foundation is defective, imperfect, and unsound. When there is a shaking from deep within there is a change on the surface, not from outside in, but from inside out! It should not be difficult to understand that no man can be conformed to the image of God apart from spiritually devastating and destructive earthquakes! In order for creation to be delivered and restored into God everything of the natural constitution, the human mentality, the Adamic consciousness, the carnal mind, the flesh life, our own will and ways, yes, and even all our former heavens of spiritual experience must be utterly removed and demolished!
When the earthquake comes there are great commotions within and we react and feel in a spiritual way exactly like those people experience naturally who are victims of physical earthquakes. Cars in the streets roll back and forth, trees thresh about, broken like toothpicks; buildings collapse, the terrain moves violently, bridges buckle, hospitals are devastated, water supplies are broken, communications are cut off, highways and railways are split asunder, our whole equilibrium is thrown off balance, and there is great suffering and death. Oh, yes! When the spiritual earthquake occurs within us, the old world of our carnal understanding, the powerful citadels of the flesh, and all the entrenched spirit of man-made religion are wiped away! This is the awesome work of the earthquake that strikes when the word of our Father comes in power and shakes us out of heaven!
I am thankful for the divine order in our Father’s working. Aren’t you glad you behold the lightnings, hear the voices, and feel the thunder before the earthquake strikes! Ah, the Lord sends His word, manifests His power, and gives wonderful illumination before proceeding to shake our old human nature and religious identity to pieces. Should He have sent the earthquake first, we would simply have disintegrated into oblivion! There would have been nothing left. But we have a wise and wonderful Father! He says, “I’m going to come and awaken the Christ-life within you, I will quicken you to the life of the spirit, I will raise up my presence in you, reveal to you my glory, show you my power, and put my purpose and word in you — after all this has been firmly established within you, with the fault-lines clearly delineated, I will then shake that old realm of the earth-man, and the old creation that you were will fall, never to rise again! Oh, the wonder of it!
“And the temple of God was opened in heaven... and there was... great hail.” (Rev. 11:19)
Hail in its natural state is nothing more than hard water. When the heavens drop down the hail it always is destructive in some measure, depending on its size and duration. Water is one of the best known biblical symbols, used in many places as a type for both the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The rain is usually perceived as a spiritual blessing and a life-giving power. The Word of God is quick and powerful, and the Spirit of God is refreshing and life-giving. But not so when it freezes in the heaven and falls upon the earth as hail! Hail is indeed water, and spiritually it is truly the Word of God or the Spirit of God falling upon our land, but it is not a blessing in the way we think of blessing, but comes as a judgment from the Lord. It is a hard word and a hard dealing of the Spirit that beats down all the proud fields of man! A single word of God’s rebuke will smash to smithereens the strongest vanity of the carnal man. When this judgment falls upon the earth it does a precise work, not pleasant at the time, but needful and ultimately corrective and redemptive!
The following words by Ray Prinzing are truly instructive here. “‘Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the HAIL shall sweep away the refuge of the lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.’ (Isa. 28:17) Although it is written, ‘My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish the name of the Lord’ (Deut. 32:2-3), yet it is equally true that the truth shall have a SOLID IMPACT upon the lies and the false doctrines of the religions of our day, and shall utterly demolish the refuge of creedal error and the traditions of men.
“Men have built their kingdoms, walls and barriers seem to abound, but when God sends forth HIS HAIL from His temple, it will bring an end to the works of man. Who can tell of all the ways and methods this shall be fulfilled, for prophecy has amazing ways of fulfillment, far beyond the speculation of man. But the vision is sure — John saw the temple measured, he saw the finished temple OPENED — and so shall God’s truth be declared, and established in all the earth. ‘For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’ (Hab. 2:14) God will have a people through whom this tremendous work shall be accomplished. His power and glory shall be revealed, and His name shall be glorified in all the earth!” — end quote.
“I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies...and your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol (hell) shall not stand.” (Isa. 28:17-18) The prophet Isaiah declares that the hail sweeps away the refuge of lies, that is, of all the falsehoods of the doctrines of men, all the foolishness of the religious systems, in which men take refuge, in which they trust for their blessing and eternal salvation. I am substituting the word falsehoods for lies because lies infer a deliberate, intentional, malicious deception. Very few preachers, teachers, and church systems deliberately intend to deceive God’s people. They themselves are deceived and the message they proclaim is laced with falsehoods. The hail is a strong, hard, corrective word from the Lord which He sends into our lives with such solid impact that it sweeps away our refuge in falsehoods. I have experienced the hail, and I tell you that in just a very brief period of time the word of God can come to us in such power that it completely lays to ruin all our strongholds of carnal thinking and religious error! The ultimate result of this wonderful deliverance is that He will abolish our covenant with death and destroy our league with hell! It is a complete salvation, yet it cannot be wrought apart from the hail-storm of God’s strong and powerful word which sweeps away the falsehoods that have kept us from laying hold upon life and immortality. Aren’t you glad!
FROM THE TEMPLE TO THE MANCHILD
As we conclude our meditations upon chapter eleven of the Revelation and prepare to enter upon chapter twelve, I trust that all have become aware that the visions of these two chapters are not separate and dis-jointed visions, but are progressive unfolding revelations of our heavenly Father’s great work in His elect leading to the manifestation of the sons of God. The wonderful truths here are so clothed in mystery that when men read them with carnal minds and natural understanding they wonder, yet fail to see what God is saying by His Spirit. Only in the Spirit and by the Spirit are we able to clearly see how the Lord is meticulously leading His elect through a series of transformations into new levels of growth and development in Him. Each step is significant and has a glory which pertains to it, which must give way to the new glory that follows it. The old glory must be dissimilated, broken down, and then re-assembled and raised up into a new expression of glory. As we experientially pass through these realms of passing orders and glories, we experience the process of one glory fading, followed by the anticipation and arising of the next dimension of glory. We begin to hunger and thirst for that new glory, yearn for it, pant after it, and travail for it as a woman travails in birth-pains to be delivered of her child, until its reality is birthed within us.
In chapter eleven we first see John measuring the temple of God. When the Lord commissions John to measure the temple of God we must understand what the measure is. Christ Jesus Himself is the measure! And all God’s sons are being brought unto “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” How my glad heart rejoices in the sacred knowledge that whenever the Lord speaks of “measuring” His temple, it signifies to measure, that is, to evaluate, assess, judge, weigh, and investigate the spiritual condition. The great revelation that the Holy Spirit would make known to us by this measuring is that the temple of God has now progressed to
the point of bringing forth out of its midst a prophetic ministry that will begin to announce the imminent birth of the manchild, the manifest sons of God.
Have you not noticed that as soon as John is commissioned to measure the temple of God the Lord declares, “AND I will give power unto my two witnesses...” Here is the divine order: “Rise, and measure the temple...and I will (then) give power unto my two witnesses.” The latter is contingent upon the former! Discovering the “measure” of the temple brings the divine assessment: God’s temple people are now ready to move into the prophetic ministry which shall herald and prepare the way for the manifest sons of God!
When the two witnesses finish their ministry, the beast “kills them” — signifying that the prophetic order passes away! The great visitation of the Lord that came beginning in 1948, like all previous moves of God, has not been a failure — it accomplished precisely what the Lord purposed and ordained, establishing in the earth the word of reconciliation, the great truth of sonship, and the living reality of the kingdom of God, which has continued to bring forth a harvest unto all the ends of the earth. God never purposed to propagate and preserve the “order” of that move, only to plant a “seed” in the field of the world which would grow, change, and increase, in due time producing a vast harvest of sons of the kingdom. Oh, the wonder of it!
After three days and a half God calls the two witnesses back to life, not back to the same old prophetic ministry which was finished at the conclusion of the symbolic “1260 days,” for now we find that the two witnesses are ushered into a new realm and a new glory, ascending up to heaven in a cloud. Now, can you not see that this signifies entrance into a higher heaven of the Spirit of the Lord, where more glorious things await them! There is nothing wrong with desiring to ascend higher into the spiritual heavens of our Father! It is an honorable goal, the aim of every saint of God with a holy passion to press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The witnesses ascend, raised up into a greater degree of perfection, fullness, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ! This is a higher dimension of the Spirit and the Word — the realm where the fruit of the former prophetic flow is now to be realized!
Following this ascension the temple of God appears again, but there is a difference — this time it is in heaven! Is it not interesting that the Holy Spirit placed the testimony of the two witnesses right between the two references to the temple of God! At the first mention the temple is pictured as being on earth, as are the two witnesses. As soon as the two witnesses ascend up to heaven, the temple is also seen in heaven! As we read these marvelous things, surely we must realize that in the imagery of the vision John sees the two witnesses ARE the temple! When they are on earth the temple is on earth. When they ascend up to heaven, in that very moment the temple is in heaven! The temple has grown unto a holy temple in the glory of the Lord! All the deep inworkings of God have brought the temple to a new and high place in the Spirit, prepared to fulfill a greater destiny in the plan of God. The temple is opened in the realm of the Spirit, in the high places of Christ in God. And it is there that Christ (the ark) is seen in His temple!
The temple of God is measured on earth and then found in heaven. Yet the mystery does not end there. As soon as the temple is seen in heaven we step forth upon the celestial shore of chapter twelve. Immediately John cries out, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.” (Rev. 12:1-2, 5)
You will understand a great mystery when you see by the spirit of wisdom and revelation that the temple in heaven is here appearing under a new symbol — a glorious woman in heaven, in the pangs of childbirth, travailing to bring forth a manchild who is appointed to rule all nations with a rod of iron. These are all progressively changing pictures signifying the transition of the Lord’s called and chosen elect from one order to another, on to another, and on to yet another, until we have all come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST! How we do groan within ourselves, waiting for our final change which will bring the full manifestation of the sons of God! Not only we, but all creation is in pain and agonizing travail waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God! (Rom. 8:18-23). Only the manifest sons of God will possess within themselves the full measure of the power of the kingdom of God as did Jesus! Only the sons of God can deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption. Jesus is not the firstborn among many Christians, or among many believers, or among many saints, among many apostles and prophets, or among many pastors and ministries — He is the firstborn among MANY BRETHREN! The brethren are all sons of God and they are like Him. Each and every one is fully and completely like Him!
Sonship is glorious beyond anything our eyes have seen or our ears have heard. Jesus Christ is the firstborn Son of God. And now all His brothers are empowered to follow Him to maturity! All will follow His steps, becoming what He is. The spiritual life of every son of God has the same origin as the firstborn, for all are born of God and have come from God. We are being perfected by the same process, and will ultimately achieve the same result! Jesus Christ was the personification of the Father within Himself, and so shall we be! The holy nature of Jesus is ours to be raised up within us. The works that He did, we shall do as well! The authority of Jesus Christ, even the dominion of the ages and all things, He will share with those who come to the measure of the stature of His fullness. Jesus possesses the totality of God’s substance, and this is the heritage of every manifest son of God. The present resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus is the portrait of our destiny! It is indeed wonderful!
Our dear brother Bob Torango once touched the heartthrob of all those who have in this hour received the call to sonship, with these poignant words: “If we are all feeling the same anticipation concerning the break-through of life in our midst, then we can rest assured that the change is at hand, even at the door, for us to enter into it. I have never had such an expectation within me concerning this tremendous truth of transformation as I have right now. Irregardless of the fact that it seems that so much is happening in our lives that would appear to make it impossible for such a thing to be happening, I declare to you all that are reading these words, IT IS HAPPENING! Even in the midst of such sickness and death throughout the ranks of the sons of God, I cannot hold back this declaration, although it may grind against our logical mind and what we see with our natural eyes and hear with our outward ears; I tell you of a truth, we are on the precipice of the greatest event the world has ever known!” — end quote.
Truly we are in transition, my beloved! The temple of God on earth becomes the two-witness prophetic ministry proclaiming the imminence of the kingdom of God. This prophetic ministry in turn becomes the temple of God in heaven, in a higher realm of the Spirit. The temple in heaven is then presented under another symbol as a glorious sun-clad woman in travail to give birth. Then out of herself she brings forth the manchild company of the sons of God! Oh, think of it! The chapter division between Revelation chapters eleven and twelve is man-made and artificial. It is perhaps the best natural minds could do in an effort to simplify the reading of the scriptures. But chapter eleven do es not portray one thing and chapter twelve another! Oh, no! It is all one continuous flow of revelation presenting through an ascending scale of spiritual visions the progressive unfolding of THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST WITHIN HIS BODY. That is the mystery!