FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 177
THE SEVEN ANGELS with the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES [continued]
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
“Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God…”
PART ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SEVEN
Thy Judgments are Made Manifest
The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony Opened in Heaven
The Seven Angels Came out of the Temple
“They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying…Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: and all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” (Rev. 15:3-4)
Nothing is more evident in the Word of God than the fact that God has a great and wonderful plan which He is working out among the nations of earth. Many saints recognize that God has a predestined purpose for each of His people, an appointed end for Israel, a glorious purpose for the Church, and a foreordained plan for the manifest sons of God. We must also understand that the Lord has a determined plan and purpose for ALL NATIONS. God is actively dealing with NATIONS! Many wonderful prophecies reveal God’s ultimate purpose for the nations of mankind, when “ALL the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and ALL KINDREDS OF THE NATIONS shall worship before Thee, for the kingdom is the Lord’s and HE is the governor among the nations. Yea, ALL KINGS shall fall down before Him: ALL NATIONS SHALL SERVE HIM.” (Ps. 22:27-28; 72:11)). It is obvious that all nations do not today serve the Lord, neither do all kings (rulers) fall down before Him. China does not serve the Lord, neither do its rulers acknowledge Him. Turkey does not serve the Lord. Egypt does not serve the Lord. Vast numbers of nations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and even in the Americas do not today serve the Lord, and few of their rulers fall down before Him. But the day is surely coming when all nations shall be joined to the Lord and fulfill their obligations to Him as their Maker and Redeemer!
That is the prophetic message in the song of Moses and the Lamb! All the holy sons of God sing that song, for it is the song of redemption and kingdom blessing for all men and every nation. Only the blessed company of the overcoming sons of God intone this song of salvation for the nations! Only the enlightened elect of the Lord in whose hearts have been birthed the beautiful truths of reconciliation, manifest sonship, and the triumph of the kingdom of God, who have departed out of the precincts of religious Babylon, passing through the purifying processes of the sea of glass mingled with fire, have been given voice to sing the beautiful strains of this song of Moses and the Lamb! Others cannot at this time learn this song, for their minds are blinded by the deceptions of the harlot church systems which see only doom and gloom for the nations and eternal damnation for the vast majority of earth’s inhabitants. Rejoice, O ye sons of God, and lift the song up on high!
Do you not think that it is most significant that the song states clearly that all the nations shall come and WORSHIP before the Lord? It does not say that they will profess to be Christians, or that they will be baptized, join the churches, attend services, study the Bible, keep the traditions, observe the rituals and ceremonies, or a thousand and one other things that people do to distinguish themselves as “Christian.” Oh, no! But all nations shall come before the Lord and — worship! The thing that makes all the difference is what is meant by “worship.” The late Carl Schwing stated it so well when he wrote, “Today, as always, the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Such worship is not part of the mainstream’s preplanned programs or rituals. It has nothing to do with the day of the week, nor the hour of the day, nor the location. It does not matter if we are standing, kneeling, or sitting. Nor does it matter how much time we spend, or how many words we speak. It is the joy of worshipping Him face to face and hand to hand and heart to heart. It is a divine bonding of our spirit with His Spirit. It is a deeper knowledge of Him, a knowing of Him, the pathway of Life. When we enter this place of profound worship in the spirit, we have gone beyond the natural senses of seeing, touching, feeling, doing…into the realm of knowing that He is face to face with us…knowing that His hand is holding ours…knowing that the conversing is from His heart to ours and from our heart to His. Perchance, we would see His face, or touch His hand, or feel His heartbeat, because He who hears in secret rewards us openly…it is because He has anointed our closet with the oil of His presence, and has given us a flashback of a time we have long forgotten.” Think of it! All nations shall come before the Lord and shall WORSHIP! No wonder only the elect sons of God can sing this song — only the ministry of the sons of God can deliver the nations into this place! The church systems bring people and nations into the practicing of religion — the sons of God bring them before the Father as WORSHIPPERS! Worship in spirit and in truth! What a song! What a transformation! What a destiny!
This is the hour, my friend, when the song of Moses and the Lamb is ringing out through the corridors of the world for all mankind to hear! Here let us pause long enough to call your attention to the thought that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is an infinite musician, and sings a song that is infinite in every perfection connected with song or singing. Has it ever dawned in your understanding that the firstborn Son of God is the consummate, superlative, and transcendent Singer, and that He Himself is the leading voice in this great song of Moses and the Lamb? We often hear of David sweeping his harp and singing his sweet psalms, but why should we overlook the fact that the Lord has His harp, and is the choir-leader in that ultimate song of complete victory which is sung on the shores of the Glassy Sea? John tells us in another place that he heard the voice of Jesus like the sound of many waters! When the great waves billow up and break on the sea-shore, they give forth all the sounds of the octave, from the deepest bass to the highest treble; and so the voice of Jesus sounded to John — His voice leading a multitude of voices — like the beautiful music of many waters on the rocks at Patmos.
I have heard it, too, and have stood enraptured in that heavenly choir as my voice has blended with His and with those elect sons of God singing just as the writer to the Hebrews has shown: “For it was an act worthy of God and fitting to the divine nature that He, for whose sake and by whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren; for He says, I will declare (reveal) Your name to my brethren: in the midst of the worshipping congregation I WILL SING HYMNS OF PRAISE TO YOU!” (Heb. 2:10-12, Amplified)
THY JUDGMENTS ARE MADE MANIFEST
“Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” (Rev. 15:4)
We are living in an hour when God is moving mightily in the hearts of His called and chosen people preparing them to bring forth righteous judgment in the earth. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” (I Pet. 4:17). Judgment begins at the house of God, saith the Lord! Oh, how that message has been butchered by the ministers of Babylon! Do you know what most folk believe it means? They think it’s saying that God is going to bring the hammer down on His people. To them it speaks of severity or an awful day of accountability and reckoning. That’s not what the inspired apostle is saying at all! First of all, the “judgment” is not a negative, it’s a positive. It translates the Greek word krisis from which comes our English words crisis, critical, and criteria. A krisis, a crisis or critical time, is a turning point. Very sick people often reach the point of crisis where their fever breaks, or they regain consciousness; it is the turning point in their illness, the crisis where their condition begins to improve.
God’s judgments are always unto victory! In the New Testament context God’s judgments are neither punitive nor vindictive, but rather therapeutic and corrective. Ray Prinzing once pointed out: “The certainty of justice and correction is sure — not as a negative whipping as payment for sin, but as a chastening to teach, a discipline to learn — ‘For when Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.’ (Isa. 26:9). The process is not an end in itself, but the means to an end — through all the judgments a vital correction is made, bringing forth a ‘godly sorrow that worketh repentance to salvation.’ (II Cor. 7:10). His judgments do not save us, but they condition and prepare us to receive HIM who is our salvation. They cause us to turn to the Lord in repentance, and we find He has been drawing us to Himself through it all.”
People quote the scripture, “Judgment must begin at the house of God,” and their first thought is, “Oh, my, Ananias and Sapphira are going to fall over dead any minute now!” But that’s not what this passage is saying. The King James translation is faulty. “Judgment must begin at…” “At” is the Greek preposition apo meaning “away from.” It’s not a picture of God bringing wrath down upon the people of God, but it’s a picture of His righteous, redemptive judgments flowing like a river out from or away from the house of God! It is not the house of God receiving the judgment; it is the house of God dispensing the judgment! Young’s Literal translation reads, “It is the time of the beginning of the judgment from the house of God.” The Concordant New Testament says, “It is the era for the judgment to begin from the house of God.” The Emphatic Diaglott renders, “Because the season is coming for the judgment to begin from the house of God.” The message is clear — contrary to what we have been taught and have believed — the time is not coming for judgment to begin UPON or AT the house of God, rather, the time comes for judgment to PROCEED FROM THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD!
As the prophet has said, “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain (kingdom, government) of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains (strong kingdoms), and it shall be exalted above the hills (weaker kingdoms); and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain (kingdom) of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people…” (Micah 4:1-3)
Can we not see by the passage above that the house of God, the Mount Zion of God, and the holy city Jerusalem, are the source of the law of God, the word of God, and the judgment of God! Oh, yes, the judgment does indeed begin or start with each one of us as He does His wonderful work within; then as our own house has been thoroughly judged and made right, and the sons are perfected and made ready, this judgment goes from or out from the household of God to bring correction and blessing to the nations. It cannot flow out until it has first been wrought within. It is within God’s own people that the judgment of God does its perfect work. Therefore do we stand upon the glassy sea singing with all our hearts, “All nations shall come and worship before Thee; FOR THY JUDGMENTS ARE MADE MANIFEST!” Where are God’s judgments — their reality, power, purpose, and accomplishment — made manifest, made apparent, visible, plain, clear, discernable, perceptible? IN THE LIVES OF GOD’S ELECT!
Ah, here is a people that knows the ways of His judgments, a people in whom and through whom the righteous judgments of God can be executed! The scriptures are continually revealing this grand and glorious truth. The Lord Jesus Himself explained it on this wise: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son…and hath given Him authority to execute judgment…because He is the Son of man.” (Jn. 5:22, 27). To the faithful in Christ Jesus we now proclaim this message — that judgment which is committed to the Head Son is executed through His body, His many brethren. “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…and they reigned with Christ.” (Rev. 20:4). “I beheld and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Dan. 7:21-22)
Many people hesitate to believe that the saints will judge the world (and even angels!) because of the words of Jesus wherein He said, “Judge not that ye be not judged…” (Mat. 7:1). But Jesus wasn’t telling us not to judge! He went on to say, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Mat. 7:2). If you consider with reverent honesty these words of the Lord, who is the righteous Judge, you will see that Jesus was not telling us not to judge, rather, He is showing us HOW to judge! At another time Jesus said, “WHEN ye judge, judge righteous judgment.” Ah, that is the crux of the whole matter! DO NOT JUDGE UNLESS YOU CAN JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT! That is why the judgment is given only to the saints, to the overcoming sons, to the house of God, to the holy city Jerusalem, and to the Mount Zion Company!
The Greek word for judge in the words of Jesus above is krino meaning “to discriminate, to exercise discernment, to make a decision.” To tell us not to judge would be like telling parents never to make a wise decision for their child. So the reason the adversary created that religious spirit — that we shouldn’t judge — is because if we don’t have judgment we have no victory, for judgment and justice are unto victory. Without judgment no decisions are made. It is like the morals in today’s society — no absolutes, no black and white, it’s all gray, it’s all “relative,” and our children and young people are crying out for those absolutes. Jesus taught absolutes, and He didn’t teach us not to judge, He taught us how to judge. After speaking of judging He went on to say, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Mat. 7:3-5)
It should be plain to every understanding heart that divine judgment will not be given into the hands of hypocrites. That is the point the Lord is making! All judgment is committed unto the SON; therefore judgment is given only to SONS. To the hypocrites the Lord is saying, “The problem is you can’t see your brother. The reason you can’t see your brother is because you have a beam in your eye — in your vision, in your understanding. In how you see your brother you have a beam, a huge obstruction, a grotesque perversion.” The Greek word here means a beam so big that it could hold up or support an edifice — it’s a joist, a log. The mote is just a little speck, a grain of grit that blows into the eye. You get onto your brother about the mote — the speck — that is in his eye, which you can’t even correctly discern because of the beam, the huge chunk of humanity, that is in your own eye. It is of great importance that we see how it is that the MANIFEST JUDGMENTS OF GOD are revealed only through that company that has crossed over the sea of glass mingled with fire and been purged and purified, have gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name. These sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, proclaiming that the time has come when all nations shall come and worship before the Lord, for within them HIS JUDGMENTS ARE MADE MANIFEST! Oh, the mystery of it!
If we are not judging by the nature of Jesus, if we are not judging in the same spirit He does, if we are not the personification of His goodness, forbearance, mercy, long-suffering, and redemptive power, then we are not the manifestation of HIS JUDGMENTS and are worthy of being censured and removed from the throne of judgment. Judgment doesn’t flow out of what you know. Judgment doesn’t flow out of a title, position, or office. Judgment flows out of the life and nature of the Son of God! “…for THY judgments are made manifest.” Ah, my dear brother, my precious sister, do you desire a part in the glorious ministry by which the world shall be judged? Then my prayerful recommendation to you is that you draw very close to the heart of Jesus, sit at His feet, tarry long in His presence, fall intensely in love with Him, learn His ways, be filled with His Spirit, be joined in one mind, life, and nature with Him and He will create within you the heart of a redemptive sonship judge! His judgments will be manifest IN YOU. The wonderful result will be that all nations will come and worship before Him! That is the mystery.
It is the uncovering of that people in whom God has inwrought and birthed His righteous judgments to deal with the sin, ignorance, and rebellion of men, bringing deliverance, producing a mighty change unto salvation and righteousness. He will deal with every man according to the measures needed to correct and make right what is wrong in him. Is that not how He has dealt with us, His firstfruit company? If you yet entertain the carnal notion that by judgment God will sentence every man according to what he deserves, then Jesus would have to apologize to those men who crucified Him, because He didn’t give them what they deserved! Rather He prayed for them, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Do you believe God answered that prayer? The lovely One from whose gracious lips these redemptive words fell also said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. And I know that Thou hearest me always…” If I were to say, “I am sincerely convinced and truly hope that I shall see every reader of these lines get exactly what they deserve,” would it not strike terror in your soul? Let us then stand assured of this marvelous fact: BECAUSE OF CALVARY you deserve the best God has to give and all men deserve the best of God through you! “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.”
The following words by Brother Scott Paris are so instructive here. “When your heart is after God, you can be comfortable in His holy presence, for His concern is for the heart. His courts of holiness cannot be tramped on by those whose hearts are cold and who externally produce shows of humility and personal commitment. Father never has, and will never be satisfied by external displays of godliness or religious activity. New truth from the seven golden vials is beheading you to the old letter-of-the-word interpretation. You abandon your heart to His will and look eagerly for His full manifestation in you. And in your brokenness, and only in brokenness, do your hands drip with His oil. And your vessel overflows with His living water. You are chosen to restore the ancient ruins, and to recover the people lost to generations of desolations. A word from your lips delivers a man into the kingdom of Father’s dear Son. You are reclaiming what the enemy has claimed; you are delivering to the Father what past generations have let degenerate. Your hands, your words, your acts of love, flowing with His presence, shall restore a generation to God. With untold joy, you realize that it is not too late to experience the fullness of God. Yes, it is clear now. So clear. You were never called just to sit in a pew. You were called to minister from within the Father. He called you to be redeemed, and to redeem. Your life is now to flourish with His life, resurrection life, as a priest of God and of Christ (Rev. 20:6). How could you have missed it? To be converted merely to hold on until the end was never Father’s purpose and intention, but to flourish with His love as all creation is gathered into Him. We came out of His fullness to enter into His allness. He is ‘all in all’” — end quote.
THE TEMPLE OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE TESTIMONY OPENED IN HEAVEN
“And after that I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” (Rev. 15:5)
“And after that…” How wonderful this is! But after what? Ah, after we can sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, after all these beautiful fruits are expressed in our walk, after all the righteous judgments of God are manifest in our lives, after all that — not before, not during, but after — “I looked, and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.”
The tabernacle was erected in the wilderness and the temple was a permanent building on the same plan builded in Jerusalem. Both buildings were divided into two apartments — the holy place and the most holy place — the latter being typical of the realm of the fullness of God. The word “tabernacle” in our text is the Greek word skene meaning a “tent.” It refers to both compartments, holy place and most holy place, for in the wilderness both were housed in one tent structure made of skins. The word “temple” is in the Greek naos meaning “to dwell,” thus indicating the dwelling place of God, or the most holy place. The “testimony” is the Ark of the Covenant containing the testimony of God, that is, the tables of the law, the golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded. Thus the expression “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony” signifies “the tent of God’s dwelling containing the Ark of His Covenant” — that is, THE MOST HOLY PLACE — that is what John saw opened in the heaven of the Spirit of the Lord!
Truly, we are the temple of the living God, as God has said! The scriptures about the temple of God are so beautiful, so clear, that we are surprised when we hear people speaking of the temple of God as something the Jews or the Antichrist will build over in Jerusalem. We are God’s building! We are God’s house! We are living stones built up a spiritual house — the temple of the Lord! God dwells in us! Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost! There is a temple of the testimony, the most holy place, within each one of us. This most holy place is our spirit, where we receive the witness of God. It is where His life (golden pot of manna) dwells, where His word (tables of the law) is revealed, and where His divine choosing (Aaron’s rod) is known. This most holy place of God is within us as the sacred temple of our being. The only problem is that the world hasn’t been able to see the Christ in us!
That the temple, or most holy place, was opened bespeaks a truth higher and far more glorious that that of the rent veil. In that long ago temple on earth centuries had passed and it seemed as if that veil would hang there forever shielding the glory of the Lord. And then a lone and desolate figure, upon a cross on a hill outside of Jerusalem, cried as He died, “It is finished!” Suddenly the earth shook and reeled, like a drunkard, the mighty immovable rocks rent and split. In that awesome moment two huge invisible hands reached down and took hold of that veil in the temple, so strong that six yoke of oxen could not pull it apart, and those divine hands tore it asunder from top to bottom. I have heard people say that when that veil was rent at the crucifixion of our Lord, the two compartments of the holy place and the most holy place were made one. But that cannot be! Yes, the veil was rent, split — but the veil was still there! It had only been split down the middle, like the curtain on the stage of a theater. The compartments were still divided.
In His resurrection and ascension the Lord Jesus did not stand in relation to His elect in a most holy place from which the veil had been removed, for of His entrance into that realm of fullness in God the writer to the Hebrews testifies, “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither our forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb. 6:18-20). Again, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, THROUGH THE VEIL, that is to say, His flesh.” (Heb. 10:19-20)
Can we not see that Jesus went through the rent veil into the fullness of divine life and glory. By that rent veil He opened and consecrated the way for us to follow, to pass THROUGH the veil into that glorious realm. NOWHERE IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS DOES IT SAY THAT THE VEIL IS REMOVED! The veil was rent, but not taken away. The way into that most holy place consecrated for us is through the veil. You can’t pass “through” a veil that isn’t there! Therefore the veil remains to this day! We will understand a great mystery when we see that the veil is the converging point between the “in part” realm and the realm of God’s FULLNESS. The way into the fullness of God, into the full stature of sonship, has been opened by Jesus, our forerunner. By His resurrection and ascension He has entered in! And now we, His younger brethren, have boldness by the blood of Jesus to enter into the Holiest — but that is only one half of the divine equation. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest…let us draw near.” It is a call to God’s elect to enter in through the rent veil, into the place to which the blood has been brought, where our great high priest lives, where the ineffable glory of the Most High God shines so brightly, where the golden pot of manna of His incorruptible life is revealed, where the heavenly law of His divine nature is disclosed, where Aaron’s rod signifying His divine priesthood on behalf of all creation officiates — there to live and walk and work always in the fullness of the Father!
Christ Jesus has opened the way into the Holiest of all! This is the full salvation and the full inheritance of God that belongs to the saints! Oh, the glory of the message! For fifteen centuries Israel had a sanctuary with a most holy place into which, under pains of death, no one might enter. But now the call goes forth: Enter in! The veil is rent! The way through has been consecrated for you! God wants to welcome you to His bosom, into His fullness. Henceforth you are to live in union with Him. Son of God, daughter of God, the Father longs for thee to enter in, to know and dwell in His fullness forevermore! This has been “present truth” in our generation. Multitudes of God’s elect have received the call to enter beyond the veil into the fullness of God! Yet — when the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony is opened in heaven, something transcendent transpires — the veil is removed! In fact, even the outer covering of skins that enclose the “sanctuary” is likewise stripped away and the most holy place of God stands opened, revealed in the heavens! None of the coverings that have concealed His glory is any longer there. There is no need for any to have boldness to “enter in beyond the veil,” nor is there any need for any to “come out from behind the veil.” THERE IS NO MORE VEIL! The temple of God stands wide open in the heavens of the Spirit, revealed for all to see! It is most solemn to contemplate that no longer do men only enter in to that most holy place, but there is also released from thence a mighty transforming ministry right out of that center of holiness and power!
Ah, yes, we are the temple of the living God! The only problem is that the world has not been able to see the glorious fullness of God in Christ within us because of the veil, the outer covering of flesh. But here the veil is removed, the ark of God is seen, the full glory of God is revealed, the sons of God are manifest (unveiled, uncovered) and GOD IS SEEN! Just as a curtain opens at the beginning of a Broadway play revealing the set and the characters in the play — so God draws back or removes the veil so that no man has to pass through the veil in order to behold the glory of God. It is a manifestation, a revelation of the full nature, glory, and power of God out of His temple of sons! Oh, God, what a word! But not only is there glory streaming out of the temple, there are also seven angels having the seven last plagues. What can it mean? The Word of God tells us very plainly that the source of judgment is the same as the source of mercy. Both flow from the heart of God! Both are essential to His nature. Both can be understood only at the cross of Jesus Christ. Therefore both are redemptive in character! Chapter fifteen of the Revelation gives the source of all the judgment messages that follow. God reveals His innermost sanctuary, the place of His throne, which is also the place of His heart, and shows us that judgment flows from there. Great is the mystery!
THE SEVEN ANGELS COME OUT OF THE TEMPLE
“And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.” (Rev. 15:6)
Let us now consider one of the significant “keys” to understanding the book of Revelation. The “revelation” means an “unveiling” or a “revealing.” This revelation is given in symbols, and only the spirit of truth from God can decipher the symbols. The visions were given to John “in the spirit” and it is only “in the spirit” that understanding comes. The reasonings of the natural mind are completely fruitless and entirely futile. There are key words throughout the book. One of the key words is the term “temple.” We find that word first used in chapter three, verse twelve, and then appearing a total of sixteen times throughout the book. When you follow through you find that God promises to make the overcomer a pillar in the temple of God, God measures the temple, opens the temple, speaks out of the temple, sends forth the ministry of His messengers out of the temple, and many other wonderful things. All that happens concerning the temple takes place in relation to the very same temple, which temple we are! Understand what is happening to the temple, what’s happening in the temple, what’s happening around the temple, what’s coming forth from the temple, and you will see clearly what God is doing to His people, what God is doing in His people, what God is doing around His people, and what God is bringing forth out of the midst of His people. God’s people are His temple people!
John’s vision now returns to the seven angels with the seven last plagues. The ministry of the symbolic “seven messengers” streams forth from the precincts of the ark within the temple — from the very throne of God — from the very heart of God — the heart-throne of mercy and of judgment. The seven last plagues come out of the temple! It should be plain to any thinking mind that when we look at these seven last plagues we are not seeing something that is coming from the Russians, nor from the Red Chinese, nor from some ecological disaster, nor from some alien attack from outer space, nor out the bottomless pit, nor from the mouth of the great red dragon, nor from the antichrist in Israel, for these are things which proceed out from the very glory in the temple of God, that is, out from the midst of God’s called and chosen elect! The vials are indeed judgment vials — and is it not the saints who shall judge the world! Judgment is coming out of God’s temple, but keep in mind, my beloved, that nothing breaks forth out of the temple of God that has not been first worked into that temple!
Now consider the scene! The seven messengers come out of the temple, having the seven last plagues, clothed in pure and dazzling white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. In consideration of these beautiful truths it will be instructive to look again at the significant scene in chapter eight of the Revelation. “And I saw seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.” (Rev. 8:2). Before God! Before the throne! In the Holiest of all! Is it not clear that the position of these seven angels with the seven trumpets is identical with the position of the seven angels with the seven last plagues, as well as the seven lamps of fire, which are identified as the seven spirits of God? The great truth is that these are the same seven angels of the seven churches! Therefore, the sound of their trumpets is a sound that comes out of the midst of God’s elect! Consider this, my beloved. Seven lamps of fire are burning before the throne, right where the seven angels proceed from. Ah, it is a ministry out from the midst of God’s elect — seven trumpets — a seven-fold message. They are sounding forth a word in the power of the seven-fold anointing of the Spirit! And now they are seven messengers bearing seven vials of the passion of God — and they go forth again under that same seven-fold anointing! These messengers represent the coming forth of a powerful proclamation and operation of the Spirit that comes directly from the throne of God! They come out of the naos, out of the innermost shrine of the temple, out from the deepest depths of the divine Spirit, and out from the manifest presence of the Lord in the temple of His body, right out of the heart of God in His called and chosen elect. The ministry that goes forth is HIS MINISTRY — not the programs of man, not the schemes and plans of carnal men building kingdoms, supposedly for God, but actually for their own ego trip. For this ministry they are anointed to bring judgment upon God’s carnal people, to bring chastening and purification, to correct what is wrong in the house of the Lord! Oh, how wonderful these things are!
As you follow these seven angels all the way through the book of Revelation, you find that their relationship is to everything that happens in the three realms men live in upon earth. They sound the trumpets that affect the earth-realm. These same angels pour out their vials into the earth-realm. Follow these seven angels and you will see how they are identified with every activity of God that affects the earth-realm! The vials are God moving in a ministry out of His temple of sons in a seven-fold dealing to effect the purification of all the people of God yet dwelling in the low realms of the flesh and the carnal mind — the vast multitudes of nominal, immature, carnal Christians. Out of this qualified, holy temple of His dwelling proceeds this ministry.
This ministry is represented as “seven angels” or “seven messengers” who are dressed in the garb of priests, they come out of the temple arrayed “in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.” Nearly all commentators agree that the description alludes to the vestments of the priesthood, signifying that they come walking in the nature and power of divine priesthood, thus denoting a positive work of God rather than a negative one. The gold around their breasts represents the divine life and nature; their heart is the heart of their Father. Such oneness with the divine nature of God, their ministry is totally righteous, executing the will of God to perfection and unto victory. They are not sent to destroy men’s lives, but to deliver, purify, mature, and transform them!
The question follows — Why do the messengers come out of the most holy place, out of the “temple of the tabernacle of the testimony” — that is, specifically, out of the place of dwelling of the “testimony” which is the ark of the covenant. It is designated that it is from the dwelling place of the ark that the seven messengers come forth bearing the seven last plagues in which is filled up the wrath or the passion of God. Let us consider with all solemnity this ark which seems to be the authority, purpose, and power behind the activity of the seven messengers!
It is a certain box or chest, not very large, some five feet long and three feet high and broad, resting in the most holy place. It had other functions as well, for when Israel traveled through the desert, the ark always went before them, carried at the head of the procession by the priests, and all the multitude followed the ark. It preceded Israel as they entered their promised land, and was carried before them in all of their battles, gaining the victory over their enemies. It brought blessing, power, glory, and triumph wherever it went! It represents a truth — and that truth it really is, that dwells in the sanctuary and that is moving on before them and on which their eyes are always fastened for inspiration, hope, direction, and victory. The central truth of the ark is that they are God’s chosen people. How can we know this? We know because it is just that — THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. It is the ark of the “covenant” between God and His people! God has entered into covenant with His people, making them uniquely HIS, and the ark is the testimony of that covenant, the place where God and His people meet and converge. God’s presence, life, nature, glory, and power in and upon that ark, together with the people following and exalting the ark, constitutes the covenant between Yahweh and Israel. That truth — the union between God and His people — not any mere box of wood and gold — is the reality which leads Israel into the place of their inheritance!
It is inside the ark, this truth of their union with God, in the shape of three sacred and venerable objects — two stone tablets, upon which God had written His law, a golden pot of manna miraculously preserved, and a rod with buds upon it which had been the divine evidence of His priesthood among them in the house of Aaron. God’s law, that is, His nature; God’s incorruptible life; and God’s divine priesthood, order, selection, and anointing — those are the SPIRITUAL REALITIES represented within the ark of the Lord’s covenant. These are the power within His covenant with His people! The power of God’s covenant with you, my beloved, lies in His nature, His life, and His ordination. Apart from these you can never be the people of God! What qualifies you as a son of God is the inworking of His divine nature, His incorruptible life, and His mighty hand of dealing. This is the “ark” of His covenant! These three realities grouped together within the ark constitute the one truth — that God is our God and we are His people, the expression and manifestation of Himself in the earth! He has taken us for Himself, we belong to one another, He is our inheritance, we are His image and glory, His life is our life, His heart is our heart, His mind is our mind, His nature is our nature, and His purpose is our purpose. His land is our land! In Israel of old, it was that truth which they set at the head of their army; around that truth the silver trumpets blew; behind it the whole multitude of people marched; and when they camped that truth was set at the very center of their encampment. They followed after it all the day-time, and they clustered around it all the night. No wonder that the ark in which the symbols of that great and eternal truth were enshrined came to be as God present in their midst! When it was lifted up it was indeed God rising to go against His enemies and theirs. When it was set down upon the ground it was God Himself planting Himself among the many thousands of Israel. Oh, the wonder of it!
And now, how far off all this seems! How long ago, how far away this caravan of Israelites trampling along through the weary sand between Egypt and the Promised Land, with their strange ark borne along before them! But if we have really got what the picture means, and if you have really minds and hearts to look not at the symbol across the ocean and across the millenniums, but to grasp the spiritual reality it conveys to us, I hope to make you see in that procession following the ark the picture of the new covenant now established between God and His spiritual people, the picture of a life reconciled, sanctified, regenerated, quickened, begotten again, covenanted, given away and dedicated to God, a people joined to the Lord as one spirit, His very own sons, to bear His image, to manifest HIM in the earth, and bring His kingdom to pass.
The soul led and protected by its covenant with God — that, then, is what the ark represents. I think we often hesitate at that word “covenant.” It has an ancient sound. It was a word under which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob conceived their relationship with God. It was also the arrangement between the nation of Israel and Yahweh. But now it often seems as if the word had a hard kind of “contractual” sound about it. It would seem to us as if God is standing and weighing out His love and blessing, grain by grain, against the scrupulously exacted equivalent which man is called upon to render. It seems to miss the whole idea of freedom and spontaneousness which we rather love to make prominent in the thought of our relationship with God. It seems as though God is saying, “If you will keep up your end of the deal I will keep up mine, we’ve got a contract you know, and I’m going to hold you to it.” It appears as though our relationship with God is performance based. It demands too much self-effort and places too much responsibility upon us to measure up to God’s requirements.
Yet, is it not true that it is impossible for God to do anything for man, without man’s meeting God with a response? Is it not true that we must “yield” ourselves under the mighty hand of God, in order for Him to exalt us? God smote Saul of Tarsus down on the road to Damascus and chose him as a special vessel unto His purpose, but did not Saul respond, saying, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” The Lord instructed him to go into the city and perform certain things, and Saul arose and obeyed, and became the great apostle God had chosen him to be. That is covenant! God cannot bless and use a people unless the people are obedient. God cannot speak to a soul unless that soul will listen. God cannot lead a man unless that man will follow. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” — not “as many as are pushed, shoved, or compelled!” The kingdom of God is embodied in this reality of necessary mutualness in the relationship of God and man — covenant. “Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you.” “Do this, and you shall live.” “If you will be my people, then I will be your God.” “I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters.” “The marriage of the Lamb is come, for His wife hath made herself ready.” “Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” In every case, for God and man to come together both must do something, God cannot meet live men as the sunlight strikes a dead rock, merely giving itself to what is helpless, but as the sunlight strikes a live tree which must open to receive its bounty. There is no covenant with the rock. There is a covenant with the tree!
Jesus is called “the mediator of the new covenant.” Ah, the believer has entered into a covenant with God! It is a great and precious truth. What does it mean? Jesus said of this covenant, “This is the new covenant in my blood.” Therein lies the secret power of this covenant! “In my blood” signifies the power of HIS LIFE. “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” Blood denotes life — and the new covenant is not a written, dry, cold contract on paper. Oh, no! This covenant is in His blood, in the power of HIS DIVINE LIFE! It is a LIVING CONTRACT, binding by the energy of a united life as we are made one in Him. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit” — that is the Living Covenant! “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people…” (Heb. 8:10)
That is a man’s covenant-consciousness under the new covenant. The covenant is in the power of His indwelling life. It is not the tablets of the law in a wood and gold box, but the power of His divine nature released in a people! It is not a golden pot of manna in the ark, it is His incorruptible life raised up within us! It is not Aaron’s rod that budded laid in a chest in the most holy place, rather it is His anointed ministry imparted into our lives by the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven! And when a man becomes aware that out of that inward covenant where God has met and joined with him in the depths of his being is arising the impulse and destiny of his life; that what is keeping him, guiding him, empowering him, and filling him with understanding, wisdom, faith, joy, righteousness, and power all issues from His union with God in the spirit — that man has himself become the “ark” of the covenant!
When our spiritual mind begins to comprehend that God has entered into a living covenant with all His people, then we are able to understand clearly why God would send His seven-angels-ministry to pour out the vials of plagues upon His people. We are living in the hour when God has a controversy with His people because they are not keeping the covenant! He is leading, but they are not following! Untold millions of the Lord’s redeemed people are carelessly and ignorantly living beneath their privileges. He is speaking, but they are not listening. He is calling, but they are not responding! God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, for those who spread the table before them feed them the husks of God’s word, and not the corn. He has redeemed them for a purpose, but they have other plans. They expect to be blessed, but will not be obedient. They have polluted the sanctuary, they have walked after the flesh instead of the spirit, they have mistaken the soulical for the spiritual, they have loved the outward forms of religion while despising the reality, having a form of godliness they deny the power thereof, they have chosen law over life, error over truth, and have broken the covenant of life which would draw them into the Holiest of all.
Therefore the Lord will come to His people as a refiner’s fire and as fuller’s soap; and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purge the sons of Levi, and purify them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness (Mal. 3:1-3). This is also the ministry of the seven angels and the seven plagues! Purging is getting rid of unwanted and unnecessary material. When Hitler came to power in Germany he instituted a “purging” of the government. He cast out all those who were not in favor of his agenda and whom he believed he could not trust to cooperate completely with him. Those were put out of office. When a conspiracy to get rid of him was discovered there was another purge. Those involved in the purge were not just relieved of their responsibilities, they were executed. Every time there was a change of leadership in the old Soviet Union there was a purge of the high officials. Many were demoted to a lesser office, some were retired altogether, while others were promoted to higher positions of power. Some were even put to death. This is what is called a “purge.”
The Lord comes forth out of His holy place to purge and to purify His people! The only difference is that in this purge He is not getting rid of some of His people, but He is getting rid of the one man who is deceiving and polluting His people — old Adam. Oh, yes! It is the old Adamic man with his carnal mind, his human mentality, his earthly desires, his fleshly ways, his distorted vision, his vain philosophies, his soulish religion, his demonic lies and deceptions — this is the man He comes to purge away! Purging and purification are simply the PROCESS OF ELIMINATION. The fiery ordeal does not make the silver any better or any more silver than it already is. The intense heat of the furnace does not improve the quality of the gold. It merely removes the impurities so that the gold is pure — unmixed with the dross of no value.
The message is just this: If you are a carnal Christian living below God’s high purpose for you — breaking His living covenant of righteousness, glory, wisdom, and power — THE SEVEN ANGELS HAVING THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES ARE COMING AFTER YOU!
To be continued…
FROM CANDLESTICK…, Pt. 177 [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY 1