TREASURES OF TRUTH, VOLUME 7
WHEN SAINTS BECOME THE WILL OF GOD
BY: GEORGE R. HAWTIN
TITLE and SUBTITLES
LET US DRAW NEAR
TO ALL WHO LOVE GOD
THAT I MAY KNOW HIM
Ye Shall Know the Truth [John 8:32
Truth and Revelation
BECOMING GOD’S WILL
Thy Will be Done in Earth
SOME THINGS THAT PLEASE THE FATHER
Hearing God’s Voice
Christ the Example
WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS
What Manner of Persons?
A Separate People
A Confident People
Making Yourself Available
LET US DRAW NEAR
It seems good that our pure minds should from time to time be stirred up and awakened lest the dreadful sleepiness and drowsiness of this ever deepening night overtake us in our journey, and we be found in the morning of a new age broken, bruised and senseless in the calamitous wreckage of a dispensation that has fallen under the judgment of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ by word, by parable and by example taught us that we should always be watchful and we might well conclude that constant, continual and diligent watchfulness ran as a theme throughout His life. He understood the ever present human tendency to turn the eyes aside from the eternal goal to watch with interest some paltry thing that had both its beginning and its end in this present life, and thus be sidetracked and led astray into fruitless paths that have nothing to do with the will of God. Well did that great teacher know that it was while men slept that the enemy sowed tares among the wheat. With what gravity of word and forcefulness of parable did He show that the cares of this present age, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of many other things entering into our lives are like vigorous thriving thorns that choke the Word, the Logos, making our lives barren, fruitless and desolate before God. Matt. 13:22.
King Solomon by the wisdom given him of the Spirit left this gem of truth for our earnest consideration: “Drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Then, as though he would intentionally emphasize his statement, he associates this drowsiness with such cardinal sins as wine-bibbing, riotous eating of flesh, drunkenness and gluttony. “Let not thine heart envy sinners,” he warns, “but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end: and thine expectation shall not be cut off. Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among wine-bibbers, among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Prov. 23:21
If the sleepy-headed people of this present age find themselves walking in physical rags and constantly beset by poverty, we may well consider what harm and loss we suffer if we allow ourselves the dubious luxury of spiritual drowsiness. I have found a great evil among Christians, a mistake of such magnitude that it literally robs them time and again of the divine blessing that should be continually theirs. Almost all Christians are prone to imagine that they are perfectly capable of understanding the deep things of God by the use of their natural mind. They are possessed with the mistaken notion that a sincere Christian can understand any spiritual truth, providing it is presented to him with logic and a sound scriptural basis. This, however, is not the truth. In fact, it is as far from truth as anything can possibly be. The truth is simply this: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. 2:14. But someone will immediately reply that because they are Christians and living for God, therefore they are no longer natural men. But my long and bitter experience has proved beyond doubt that God’s people have become so steeped and grounded in doctrinal tradition that they are forever comparing spiritual revelation with their natural way of looking at things. They have puddled and paddled for years in the muddy waters of denominational tradition so that they can see nothing else, and in consequence they are completely ignorant of the unimpeachable fact that beyond them lie limitless oceans, unfathomed depths, unreached limits and breadths of eternal truth and revelation. They are not unlike the proverbial frog who lived in the well who thought he possessed all the water in the world.
Furthermore, it is a mistake for one to conclude that, because in the past he became a recipient of a great spiritual revelation, this will be a life-long guarantee of his continued spiritual understanding. Such thinking is very far from the truth and is indeed a gross and dangerous error. We are aware that many of the great, but dead, denominations in the world today were once living spiritual movements, having their pilgrim feet planted firmly upon a spiritual revelation. They had seen a present truth and for a time had basked in the glory and wonder of the experience it revealed. They thought they had reached the sunlit peak of the mountain when in truth they had but little ascended above the valley floor. As the ocean that bore them receded to her fathomless depths, they were left building castles in the sand, and so they built a fence around their truth and called it a denomination. With its help they hoped to keep all error out and all their people in. But the thing they seemed to have forgotten is this: As the body without the spirit is dead, so a revelation without the Spirit is dead. What value is there in preaching justification by faith if the Holy Spirit who gives the faith is absent? Is there any benefit in preaching holiness if we lack the presence of the Spirit of holiness? Is there any truth at all without the presence of the Spirit of truth? Without the presence of the Holy Spirit truth itself becomes an error, holiness becomes self-righteousness, faith becomes presumption and order becomes confusion. This is the pit into which the denominations have fallen, and this is the pit into which your cherished little group will fall and into which, all unknown to you, it has already fallen.
Did you ever put a new patch on a very old garment? Did you ever put new wine into old bottles? Did you ever attempt to pour the burning truth of a fresh and heavenly revelation into the old denominational wineskins? Did you ever go to a people who have been taught that one plus one makes two and try to tell them the glorious truth that one and one makes one? Does not the scripture say they two shall be one? Can you tell the natural mind that Christ and I have become so one that it is no longer Christ and I, but Christ, and yet that one is two and that two is one? Men hate these truths with a hate that is unrelenting and remorseless. To their natural minds they make no sense at all. Therefore, they deem them to be fanatical nonsense. Yet in the bosom of their fathomless depths lies the very secret of God’s purpose in the creation of man – that man should be in God’s image, the visible representation of Himself, God increased and God extended in preparation for the fullness of His government in all the uttermost corners of His limitless universe.
So intent was our Lord Jesus upon the task of revealing to mankind the existence of definite rearms, one natural and one spiritual, that He often challenged their minds with the truth of it. “Ye are from beneath; I am from above,” He said. “Ye are of this world: I am not of this world.” John 8:23. Well did the Saviour know that the realm to which He belonged was such that natural men on natural planes could not hear its voices much less understand its words of life and truth. “Why do ye not understand My speech?” He asked them. Then, without waiting for their reply, He pressed the truth upon them, a truth they did not understand: “Even because ye cannot hear My word.” John 8:43. In this natural world there are sights and sounds all about us that we are completely incapable of seeing or hearing. The natural ear of man is capable of receiving sounds up to fifteen thousand vibrations per second. Any sound higher than that passes him by and his natural ear does not hear it. But the porpoise, for instance, has a much more sensitive ear and is capable of hearing one hundred and fifty thousand vibrations per second. Thus this creature of the sea is able to hear tones on a scale ten times higher than that heard by man. If then such a difference exists in the hearing ability of two natural ears, should we think it strange that the natural ear cannot hear the sayings of God and the natural mind cannot understand them? The Lord Himself has told us that “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isa. 55:9
It is at this point in our incapability that God comes to the rescue of those who fear Him and put their trust in Him, “because that which may be known of God is manifest unto them, for God hath showed it unto them.” Rom. 1:19. As it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” And again, “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor. 2:9-11. When Paul was unfolding to the Christians at Ephesus the unspeakable wonders of the plan of God for the ages to come, he turned aside to remind them that he never ceased to give thanks to God for them and to make continual mention of them in his prayers. And this was his earnest prayer: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead…” Eph. 1:15-20
This apostle, whose life was filled with an ever expanding spiritual revelation, knew well that the almost fantastic revelation of God’s eternal purpose which he was bringing before the people could neither be heard nor understood by the natural mind. As the natural ear cannot hear a radio broadcast without a radio or the natural eye see a T.V. program without a television, so the natural mind cannot understand spiritual things without revelation. Therefore it is the Spirit and the Spirit alone who can take the things of God and reveal them unto us. Saul of Tarsus, according to all his natural understanding, believed Jesus Christ was the biggest hoax and the most monstrous deceiver that had ever walked on the face of the earth, but when a light brighter than the sun shone into his darkened heart, and his dull ears were touched by the Spirit of/God, he heard a voice speaking and saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutes! thou Me?” “Who art Thou, Lord?” he cried. And the answer came with quick assurance, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutes!” “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” he pleaded; and the Lord said, “Go into the city and it will be shown thee what thou must do.” With this revelation from above an entirely new life began. Earth receded and his natural way of looking at things passed more and more into dimness and obscurity, while heaven opened with increasing light to become an endless source of truth and spiritual understanding. When writing to the Galatians, who had seemingly lost their touch with God because of persistent dependence upon their natural understanding, he said, “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, to reveal His Son in me, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me: but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” Gal. 1:15-17. Christ, preached or proved, meant little; Christ, revealed, meant everything. One day Jesus asked His disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias: and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 16:13-17
We are inclined to entertain the vain imagination that, should Jesus Christ walk the earth in our day, startling men with His miracles, amazing their hearts with His sermons, or staggering their minds with His wisdom and understanding, any man, just any man at all with his natural mind and human wisdom, would recognize Him as the Christ of God. But that is not the truth; neither could it ever be. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is a revelation. You could walk with Him as Thomas did, seeing and hearing, yes, even believing, yet never really knowing Him as God’s Son. A man? Yes. A prophet? Yea, more than a prophet. You could see Him as righteous and good and worthy of trust, the greatest man the world had ever known, yet always fall just short of the divine revelation that He was God’s Son, begotten of Him before the foundation of the world. But in that instant when a flash of revelation came to Thomas, revealing in heavenly light that Jesus was God’s Son indeed, nothing could ever more dissuade him as in astonishment and assurance he gasped, “My Lord and my God!”
Our own sonship in Christ is likewise a matter of divine revelation. There is a spirit of sonship that produces sonship. Mark well the hidden secret of this inspired phrase, spirit of sonship. With great plainness of speech I must tell you that in our day there are tens of thousands of Christians who have tasted of salvation, who have been baptized in the Spirit, who believe the Bible and who live Christian lives, but who do not possess the spirit of sonship. To them God is God, divine, supreme, the author of their salvation, and sitting on His throne in heaven, but He has never become a Father to them. With their lips they have recited the Lord’s prayer saying, “Our Father who art in heaven,” but their spirits have never been able to breathe with the solemn assurance of revelation, “My Father!” It will be a great day for you or any man when God sends forth the Spirit of His Son into your heart, crying, “Abba Father.” Our Father. It is the spirit of sonship that proclaims you a son of God indeed. It cannot be just the written word on the pages of the Bible. With great sadness of heart I must confess that I have seen the most shameful characters boldly setting forth their claims to sonship just because the Bible says, “Now are we the sons of God.” But without the spirit of sonship you are not a son of God. Let no man deceive you about that, for it is to those who have the spirit of sonship that the words, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God,” were written.
As I knelt before God yester morning long before the sun had kissed the eastern hills, the Holy Spirit directed my eyes to a passage of scripture, which I had never noticed before. In the long genealogy of the descendants of Judah mention is made of one obscure man whose name was Jabez. Of him the Holy Spirit pauses to say, “And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldst keep me from evil, that it might not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” 1 Chron. 4:9–10. Do you know why it was that in that long tedious genealogy, relating who begat whom, the Holy Spirit paused to tell us about Jabez? Our minds need not be in doubt for long, for here among the descendants of Judah is one man who is not only a son of Judah but a son of God as well. He was more honorable than his brethren only because God had granted him the spirit of sonship, the spirit that was sadly lacking in all his brethren.
If we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us. If we cleanse our hands that we touch not the unclean thing, and purify our hearts that we may be delivered from double-mindedness, God will meet us. Christ will come in and sup with us and we shall be His sons and daughters.
We are living in an hour so serious that it is impossible to find words, which will adequately put things forth in a clear light. If a man fails to see that we are now at this moment living in the calamitous hours that must precede the end of the age, then surely he must be very ignorant of Bible truth and very blind to the signs of the times. How could a man possibly read the record of events and conditions as they were in the days of Noah, plainly recorded in Genesis 6:1-6, and still not know that the prophecy of Jesus is being literally fulfilled in our day? Luke 17:26-32. Let this truth be impressed upon every heart, for there are few, it seems, who know it. There was one grievous condition in Noah’s day that is conspicuously evident in our day as well. The awful truth is simply that no one would listen. No one would believe that calamity was coming, nor would they believe that God would judge the earth. No man can say he believes until he is willing to act upon that which he believes. If he says, “I believe the flood is coming,” but refuses to bestir himself from his evil surroundings and make his way with haste into God’s ark, then he is a liar. He does not believe at all, because he refuses to take warning and act upon the message God has sent him.
Could we say that the children of Lot had faith in the message of the angels when they mocked at those who were sent to call them out? Gen. 19:14. What good would it have done for one to say, “I believe the city will be destroyed by fire,” yet remain in his bed as the minutes ticked away to the moment of doom? Can that kind of faith save a man? The awful truth of the days of Noah and of the days of Lot was that no one would listen to the truth of the hour. They would readily lend their ears to fables and lies, but to the truth they gave no heed at all. Rather, they made it the song of the ribald and the jest of the drunken and obscene.
We no longer live in the days of Noah, nor yet in the days of Lot or Sodom, but in the days of the coming of the Son of man – dreadful days, so filled with calamity and judgment, so filled by sin and every evil imagination of the human heart, so violent and so replete with forms of godliness that our blessed Lord and Savior said of them, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man.” But they would not listen then and they will not listen now. They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear, which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. Psa. 58:4,5. For “the wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Psa. 58:3
The people of Noah’s day could not see that they were exceedingly wicked. The people who lived in Sodom were unaware that they were submerged in the vilest kind of iniquity and transgression. Neither do the people of our day understand their abominable estate as they mingle the lusts and passions of their flesh with their multiplied forms of religion. They think nothing at all of lying all night upon the bed of adultery, then rising in the morning to sing with the congregation, “Just a closer walk with Thee.” It is nothing to them to practice dishonesty, drunkenness, blasphemy, and even sodomy, and then to sing, “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow with ceaseless praise.” Oh, God! Break the teeth of the ungodly! “Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord. Let them melt away as waters, which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces. As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.” Psa. 58:6-8
But it is not to the ungodly I now write, but unto you, Oh men and women of God; for your hands are not pure, neither have you delivered yourself from the embrace of the greatest destroyer that ever stalked like a specter across the face of the whole earth. Verily I say unto you that at this very moment almost all of God’s children are dwelling in Babylon, that great harlot system that embraces every religious organization, every sect, and every denomination on the face of the whole earth. The mother of harlots is Rome. The daughters, multitudes of them, are the Protestant denominations. Men will rebel more and more at the truth I speak, but be assured of this: those who dare to remain in the embrace of this octopus system serve not Christ, but the system. They labor not for Christ, but compass land and sea to make proselytes for the system. From this standpoint they boast and upon this ground they stand before God to proclaim, “Have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name have done many wonderful works?” And, standing upon this same ground, they will hear the words of the all-wise God, saying, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”
Oh virgin daughter of Babylon, the call of God is upon you. As the call of God to Lot was to come out, the call of God to you is also to come out. Do not call my attention to the wonderful works your sect is doing. Speak not unto God and say, “We are prophesying in Thy name and casting out devils for Thee.” Obedience is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams. The command of God for the end of the age is given to you. “Come out of her, My people!” Come out of the harlot system, the great Babylon of religious confusion that has encompassed the whole earth.
The failure of God’s people to differentiate between the beautiful virgin church of which the apostles spoke and the baudy harlot system which in our day dares to call itself the church has so blinded their eyes and confused their minds that they see nothing as they ought to see it and know nothing as they ought to know it. We need not hesitate to say that there is scarcely one person in ten thousand who can either see or understand that the monstrous system which calls itself the church and which, like a multi-armed octopus, clutches over a billion souls in its embrace is not the church at all, but none other than mystery Babylon the great. When, oh, when, will God’s people see by the Holy Spirit that the true church of which the apostles wrote is not a harlot system, but a chaste virgin. The true church is the ecclesia, the called out ones, a people called out of the world and called unto Christ, a people called out of Babylon and all its multi-headed confusion to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. The true church has nothing to do with denominations of any of earth’s religious systems.
Well do I know that my own voice, which for many years has called to the virgin daughter of Babylon, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partaker of her plagues,” has been a the voice crying in the wilderness of this evil system. It is with great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart that I confess that, though many hundreds have with their lips ascribed to the truth of the message, they themselves choose to remain in bondage to the harlot system, refusing to break off its shackles or free themselves from its chains. They say, but they do not. They hear, but obey not. With their lips they speak the truth, but their hearts abide in error. Woe to you, my brother, for Babylon the great has fallen and has become the hold for every foul spirit and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.
So it was that in the days of Noah men refused to listen to the message. They knew things were wrong, but they paid no heed. God had not stepped in before, so why should He interfere now? “Why then,” thought they, “should we change our ways or repent of our sins?” So they went right on marrying and giving in marriage, the sons of God taking the daughters of men, practicing every imaginable corruption, filling the earth with violence, committing senseless acts of terror even as we see everywhere today, and the whole thing was smiled upon and condoned. The messenger God had sent to warn them was considered, no doubt, the biggest fool that ever walked the earth. And so “they knew nothing till the deluge came and swept them all away.” Matt. 24:39. (Moffatt) Those are very potent words. They knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away. Dare we say that there is any difference in our day? Sinners will not listen. Christians will not listen. Every sign foretold by the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus Christ is filling the earth and telling us in the most unmistakable terms that the end of the age is rushing in like a tide upon us to sweep away the whole mess of violence, greed, sin, drunkenness, adultery, war, homosexuality, ungodliness, forms of religion, dishonesty, destruction and an ever increasing multitude of evil things. Even the vilest of men know the world is ripe for judgment, but they will not listen.
Several years ago in the book Mystery Babylon and others I warned that there would be a great alliance of all religious systems of the world, that Romanism and Protestantism would come together, that they would take into their fold all such religions as Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Confucianism and whatever else there was. I warned also that there would be an alliance between Romanism and Communism. These things are coming upon us now with ever increasing swiftness. They are becoming more and more evident every day. Furthermore, I warned that there would be a union between the religious system and the political system, the religious system being the first beast and the political system the second beast (see Rev. 13), and that the second beast would command that everybody on earth worship the first beast. Every day we are coming closer to this very thing, but scarcely anyone will listen. Christian and sinner alike continue right on in the system.
They would not leave the system in Noah’s day. They would not leave Sodom in Lot‘s day, though angels were present to call them. And Christians will not leave Babylon in this day even though God’s pronouncements of judgment against it are more serious and severe than those pronounced against Sodom or Nineveh. You have read the awesome list of her sins as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation by John who, carried by the Spirit into the wilderness, saw “a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.” Please read Rev. 17:1-18. Truly cried the angel of God, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Rev. 14:8. Are we to imagine that a subject that consumes practically three chapters of Revelation, chapters 17, 18, 19, and part of chapter 14, is a subject of small importance? Dare God’s people continue to go on cherishing a system, which is full of the names of blasphemy? The names given to the multitudes of sects today are the names of blasphemy. Why is it that God’s people cannot see this? You simply cannot mention the word church without someone asking you which church? Which church, indeed! And if you cannot shelter yourself beneath one of these names of blasphemy, then you are considered a heathen or an outright unbeliever. How far have God’s people wandered from the simplicity of discipleship! How far they have strayed from that true and blessed ecclesia that has heard God’s voice and has followed Him! But no; they must have a name tacked on to them, a name of blasphemy, to designate what division, what sect, what political party they belong to, until the whole system has become full of names, which God’s word describes as names of blasphemy. Rev. 17:3. And the woman who sits astride it is called a harlot. A harlot is a woman that commits adultery and fornication with all comers, and this, I think, is an apt description of the system as we see it in our time. Is it any wonder the angelic message today is “Come out of her, My people.”
It is not my purpose to take up further time writing about that monstrous system Babylon that seeks to enslave us all, bringing our minds and spirits into the bondage of its ever narrowing walls and ever tightening shackles. But I shall have no hesitation in saying that in our day as never before in the annals of history God’s people must throw off the shackles of the harlot system before ever they can begin to make any real progress with God.
We are living in the Laodicean period of the church, the day when God’s people are neither hot nor cold, a time when they have a form of godliness but deny the power of it. Where are those glorious experiences of justification we witnessed years ago when chains of sin were snapped, and lifelong habits instantly broken, when family altars were set up, glorious baptisms flooded thousands of souls, and men walked with God? They are gone, my friend, and in their place has come a tepidity that is sickening to the heart. Christians are neither hot nor cold. The wheat is indistinguishable from the tares. It is impossible to tell whether they are sheep or goats. They assemble for an hour on Sunday to listen to a preacher, and they sit for hours watching Hollywood‘s corruption on T.V., that monstrous, one-eyed corrupter of souls that has done more to fill the world with violence and degradation than any other invention known to man. Christians seem to have lost all the tenderness of the Holy Spirit. They have flirted with evil so long that they cannot tell what is good and what is evil. Permissiveness is the order of the day, but the Spirit has fled and the glory has departed from us. No wonder the prophet said, “All tables are full of vomit,” and the whole system is described as a hold of devils and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird. The curse of God is upon it, and except you, my brother, depart from it, you will be destroyed in the flood that is soon to sweep it all away.
It is time for Christians to sit up and take notice. We are definitely at the hour when God is dividing. He is gathering the good in vessels, but the bad He is casting away. He is separating the tares from the wheat. The tares He is gathering into bundles for destruction and the fiery wrath of the great tribulation, but the wheat He is gathering into His garner to become the seed of the kingdom of God. He is separating the sheep from the goats. Those tractable sheep are the sons of God who love to be led by God’s Spirit, but the untractable goats are those people who are concerned only with their own will and desire. They get from this life everything they can and hope that somehow at the end of the journey God will have mercy upon them. Why, even the publicans and harlots will find their place in the kingdom more readily than this mad throng of pleasure-loving, money-grabbing Christians who never seem to learn that godliness with contentment is great gain, but seem to imagine that they must become absorbed in the rat race for this world’s goods and vain glory.
Of the writers of the New Testament the apostle James seems to be the most practical. If you would explore the wonders of the love of God, you will sail its boundless ocean in the writings of John. When your soul is hungering for a spiritual feast, who can feed the famished sheep like Peter, who by his calling was a shepherd of the flock of God. To him Jesus had said, “Feed My Sheep.” For sheer logic and spiritual understanding in the eternal purposes of God Paul was a vessel specially chosen to unfold unsearchable mysteries, hidden from the foundation of the world, but ready to be revealed in the last days by apostles chosen for that purpose. But if you need practical advice and spiritual common sense presented right down on your level, you will find the book of James a gold mine of information. His epistle abounds in instruction to the sick, the afflicted, the tempted, the proud, the impatient, the evil speakers, the boasters, the double-minded, the respecter of persons, the people who talk too much, the people who profess great faith in God but deny it by their lives. His writings are an inexhaustible mine of information for practical Christian living.
Notice what potent words of truth are set before us in this message: “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7, 8 Many of God’s dear children have written to me expressing a fervent wish that they might have a much closer relationship with the heavenly Father. What desire can be better or more noble than the desire to live in ever increasing harmony and unity with the Lord? Why, that was the petition of our blessed Lord and Christ when He prayed to the Father, pleading. “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17:21. Your desire for a deeper, richer relationship with God is a precious jewel in the eyes of the Lord and a sweet perfume to His nostrils. But I greatly fear that many a man has let that earnest longing die within his breast, even as the prayer died upon his lips. Perhaps he thought that all he could do was wish and hope before an unresponsive God, but this, God be praised, is not the fact.
Our relationship with God and our unending progress in Him is always a two way street. Thus it has always been; thus it is now, and thus it ever will be. Therefore James, this most practical writer, says to you and me, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” I once read of a Christian who said to another, “I would give all the world to have an experience like yours.” To this the other replied, “That is exactly what it cost me.” Ah, there is truth in that saying! In all my life I have never found a man whose depth of experience cost him nothing. If your experience has cost you nothing, then it is worth exactly nothing. If it has cost you everything, then it is worth everything. Would you have God draw nigh to you? Then your first step is “draw nigh to God.” Draw not nigh with a mouth full of requests, telling Him what you want, but draw near with a heart full of submission (James 4:7), longing to know what He wants. Those who thus come submitting themselves to God will find acceptance before Him. It has long been a source of distress to my spirit to find that, when Christians come to God, they invariably come with a mouth full of requests. They tell God what to do, what they want done, and how it should be done just as though He were the lackey, the servant and the slave and they were the all-wise Lord. Or, if they do not come with their demanding, they come as whining discontented children, hoping the Lord will feel sorry for them and give them the toy they seek, or deliver them from the trial He has sent to try them and do them good. To hearken is better than the fat of rams; therefore, listen long to Him before you speak.
We may safely say that ninety-nine and nine-tenths of all the prayers prayed are on the same level as the request made by the mother of Zebedee’s children who came to Jesus requesting, “Lord, grant that these my two sons may sit one on Thy right and the other on Thy left in the kingdom.” Lord, grant me this. Lord, grant me that. Lord, heal me. Lord, save my wife. Lord, save my children. Lord, bless the missionaries. Lord, bless the campaign we are going to hold. If you analyze all your prayers and the prayers of other, you will find they are usually on the give me level. It is almost always, “Lord, I want you to do this”, and very seldom, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Since, then, we are drawing near to the end of the age and all the former things are swiftly passing away, together with our opportunities, let us speak with great plainness concerning “drawing nigh to God”.
When I attempt to tell you of the great benefits of fasting together with prayer and waiting on God, it goes without saying that a number of people all write to tell me how pitifully wrong I am. They will try to convince me that all such things as fasting and tithing belong to a forgotten era, that such things are Old Testament truths and do not apply now. But if they will examine their hearts before God, they will find that their reason for denying these things is not because of their convictions, but because they entail the crucifixion of the flesh, and they are loath to submit themselves to God. You must always remember that the flesh, the body, the natural man, literally hates anything that will facilitate your drawing nearer to God. The flesh is God’s enemy and there is no bigger devil anywhere then self as it operates through the desires of the flesh and the instructions of the carnal mind. The carnal (fleshly) mind is an enemy of God and the natural man will not submit himself to God. As the scripture has said, he is not subject to the law of God and neither, indeed, can he be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Fasting, accompanied by submission to God, an all-encompassing surrender to His will, is the first step any Christian should take if he would draw nigh to God. In the temple at Jerusalem there was veil that hung between the holy place and the holy of holies where dwelt the shekinah. That veil represented the flesh (Heb. 10:20). There is a veil that hangs in the temple, which you are, for your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. That veil of flesh hangs between your present experience in God and the relationship you long to have with Him. But it is the same veil untaken away (2 Cor. 3:14), namely, the veil of the flesh. When Jesus died on the cross, His life went out and the flesh was dead. Then the veil in the temple was torn apart from top to bottom and the way into the holiest of all was made open for all to enter. Matt. 27:50–51.
Fasting and prayer causes the earth and all its rotten, deceiving glamour to be shown in its true light before your searching eyes. Earthly possessions shrink to the status of childish toys and wealth and riches become moldy treasures corrupted by moth and rust, capable only of fortifying the frail flesh to the detriment of the eternal spirit. Position and earthly ambition dwindle into the dust of nothingness as the flesh weakens and the spirit, drawing nigh to God, grows stronger.
Why is it that almost all the world, whether Christian or non-Christian, is prone to believe that at the moment of physical death the spirit immediately flies away to heaven, whether it be the Christian’s paradise, the Indian’s happy hunting ground, or some other? Do we not realize that it is the spirit’s deliverance from the bondage of the corruptible body that permits it to return to God where it has always longed to be? Why, then, are we so slow of understanding that we cannot see that, when the body is mortified through fasting, right there the spirit is permitted for the first time to really begin to draw near to God. I have no argument with those who wish to debate the matter. I will not answer them even one word. My only desire is that those who do sincerely long to draw near to God, as I also do, may find the way to do it, being delivered as far as possible from the deceptive bondage of the corruptible body, for the maintenance of which the whole world system functions, for the lusts of which every war in history has been fought and for the filth of which Sodom was destroyed. The earth was flooded in the days of Noah and is even now reserved unto fire and the judgment of almighty God. It is this same flesh which wars against fasting, which dreads even now as you read these lines lest you should announce to it that it must go without food for ten days, for seven days, or even for one day. The flesh is the enemy that is always weak when the spirit is willing. It is the enemy that demands sleep when the spirit would watch and pray. It is the enemy who would demand food when you would fast and pray. All our lives we labor and travail to preserve our physical flesh, but in the end it lies down and dies. Yet we coddle it and cater to its whims rather than give ourselves to fasting and prayer. No wonder James prefaced his instruction^ to draw nigh to God with the admonition, “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” There is no devil closer to us then the corruptible flesh and the carnal mind that never ceases to press the demands of the body.
There is nothing complicated about fasting and prayer except the complications made by those who would avoid it. We will fast when our desire for God is greater than our desire to fill our stomachs. Only then will we do it. A three-day fast can prove to be of great value to you. A ten-day fast unto the Lord will uncover even greater benefits. Fasts of three weeks and forty days were by no means uncommon among the saints of old and among many saints of our day as well. Fasting never does the body any harm. As a multitude of diseases are caused by over-eating, so a multitude of cures come by fasting. It is, however, the spiritual man who is most blessed by fasting. Let us then draw near to God in this manner that He also may draw near to us.
Jesus gave some good instruction about fasting when He said, “When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Matt. 6:16-18. Your attitude toward God in all things is of the utmost importance. I have known men to fast for forty days that they might be given the gift of healing. I wonder what their motive really was? You may know what you want, but do you know what you need? Do not draw near to God to ask for the things you want, but come rather submitting yourself to Him who knows all things and who does all things well according to His infinite wisdom and foreordained purpose. Never measure yourself by yourself to see what you have gained by fasting. Neither measure yourself by the experience of another. It is God who sees and rejoices in your spiritual growth. Fasting should never be a once-in-a-lifetime affair. It should be undertaken whenever we feel a special need of drawing nigh to Him.
The things written in this book are present truths that lie heavily on my heart. I do not pretend that they are well ordered nor do I suppose they will make anyone happy. But the conviction that we are now in the closing hours of this age has at times been almost overwhelming. The hour of change is not near; it is already here. Let us, then, cast off our drowsiness and sleep to stand with our loins girded and our lamps burning as those who watch for the bridegroom, lest, coming suddenly, He find us sleeping. Let us draw near to God.
TO ALL WHO LOVE GOD
The element which we call time is swiftly passing away. The hour approaches when a mighty angel will stand with one foot up on the sea and one foot upon the land and will lift up his hand to heaven and swear by Him that liveth forever and ever that time shall be no longer, and, in that hour when the seventh angel shall begin to sound the last trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished. Rev. 10:5-7. Cf. Rev. 11:15.
Just as the members of the resurrection comes forth each in his own order — Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are His at His coming, then cometh the end, (i.e. the end of the resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:22-24) – so all things likewise come in their own order and all events at their appointed time. As a mighty army moves, each man in his own company and each company in his own order, so the inhabitants of the coming kingdom march from experience to experience, from light to light and from truth to truth until that blessed day when corruptible puts on incorruption, mortal puts on immortality, the saints in God’s image take the kingdom and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and forever. Rev. 11:15.
Centuries ago Israel marched across the burning wilderness of Sin. Ex. 16:1. Forty years they journeyed under the continual care and correction of God. Angels’ food was their meat (Psa. 18:25) and spiritual water was their drink, for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ. 1 Cor. 10:4. Their bodies grew not weary and their garments waxed not old; neither was there a feeble one in their tribes (Psa. 105:37) as they journeyed under God’s orders and moved at His command. So it came to pass that, “on the day that the tabernacle was reared up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning. So it was always: The cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in their tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.” Num. 9:15-23
We today are under similar care and similar orders though we know it not. From time to time through the ages the church has been commanded to move on with the cloud to new revelation and experience in God, and after each move to pitch our tent and patiently wait for the moving of the cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night. What a tremendous sight it must have been for Israel, after having camped for a day, a month, a year, or many years, to see at last the cloudy pillar of God’s presence and glory begin to move on, and what a hustle and bustle there must have been as they broke up their old camps to follow the cloud, every tribe in his own order, and every man in his order whithersoever the Spirit led them!
As time has swiftly passed, the light of that same fiery pillar has illumined to our waiting hearts many truths which we have embraced and have made part of ourselves and ourselves part of them. But with many of us, as with many of them, God was not well pleased, and they were overthrown in the wilderness (1 Cor.10:5). They lusted after evil things, became idolaters, and committed fornication just as thousands today are doing who once were baptized in the cloud, drinking of the spiritual rock and eating the spiritual meat. 1 Cor. 10:2-4. We have made jobs and money, possessions and pleasure our idols and our gods, and we have committed fornication with the harlot daughters of Babylon times without number. We have tempted Christ and murmured because of the rigors of the way, sat down to eat and drink in the fleshly realm, and rose up to play – to play at church and make a play of religion. Cf. 1 Cor. 10:5-11. These things that happened to them are for examples to us upon whom the ends of the ages are come. Verse 11
In the depths of my spirit I seem to hear the trumpet call to a new awakening. It is time to move on from the revelation of the past years. It is time to partake of the resurrection, the bread of God, the better blood and the water of life. The pillar of fire is moving; it is time to move on. The great mystery of the ages, “Let Us make man in Our image”, is about to be fulfilled when all things will begin to find their one head in Christ.
There is a great difference between a childlike faith in God and a childish faith. While the former believeth all things and endureth all things, retaining in maturity the simplicity of childhood, the latter never matures at all, believing less as the years go by, hoping for nothing and quite unable to endure the trials and furnaces of afflictions prepared of God to refine the gold and purify the silver. Childish faith cries like Jacob, “All these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36), but childlike faith responds with Paul, “All things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28). Almost half a century ago I learned a poem whose lilting theme dances like a pretty fairy, dispelling doubt and gloom with her wand of childlike faith:
Two girls I know, Jeanette and Jo,
And one is always moping.
The other lassie, come what may,
Is ever bravely hoping.
Beauty of face and girlish grace
Are theirs for joy and sorrow;
Jeanette takes brightly every day
And Jo dreads each tomorrow.
One early morn they watched the dawn;
I saw them stand together.
Their whole day’s sport, ’twas very plain,
Depended on the weather.
” Twill storm!” cried Jo. Jeanette spoke low,
“Yes, but ’twill soon be over.”
And as she spoke the sudden shower
Came beating down the clover.
“I told you so,” cried angry Jo,
“It always is a-raining!”
Then hid her face in dire despair,
Lamenting and complaining.
But sweet Jeanette, quite hopeful yet,
(I tell it to her honor,)
Looked up and waited till the sun
Came streaming down upon her.
The broken clouds sailed off in crowds
Across the sea of glory;
Jeanette and Jo ran laughing in,
Which ends my simple story.
How happy is the man who grows and grows in wisdom and understanding, ever speaking the language of childlike faith until the heaven of heavens cannot contain God, much less the temples we build for Him. How desperately unhappy is the man whose childish faith never grows beyond the play-pen of his religion, peevishly fretting about every storm, and regarding each chastening rod as a threat to his pleasure, his well-being and even his very existence.
It is indeed a long road that has no turning. Even in the journey from the natural through the spiritual to the celestial there is a turning. It is not a turning to the right nor to the left, but an upward turning from the terrestrial to the celestial, from the fields where we walk and talk and live as men to the kingdom where Christ dwelleth, far above principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but in the ages to come.
It is necessary that we should understand the course of this age, knowing something of Babylon, the Beast, and the coming tribulation, but there must come a time when, as sons, we view all things from the mountains of God and not as men from the doldrums of earth. Therefore God, even our God, is calling a chosen people apart from the thinking of men, aside from the motley crowd with all its pitiful worry about physical welfare, the benefits of the body and the healing thereof, their worry over programs and enforced concern for the souls of men. With what foolishness and unbelief do childish Christians, concerned about their physical welfare, seek to establish desert hideouts in hope of being preserved when the floods of God’s wrath are upon the earth! This they vainly do, for they have never learned the truth of that sacred text, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Here it is that plagues come not nigh our dwelling though a thousand fall at our side and ten thousand at our right hand. Psa. 91:7. In this natural realm where we have lived so long the forest is obscured by the trees. Leave then the plains of men and the realms of human understanding to soar with Him up higher to view the broader plains from celestial mountain peaks in the heavenly realms where Christ sitteth at God’s right hand.
Did you ever stand in awe and marvel at the work of the great artists on earth? Perhaps expressions failed and words became inadequate as you stood before Michelangelo’s statue of David or gazed with wonder at the faces of the presidents carved in the heights of Mt. Rushmore. Wonderful as are these things, it must be that, ere the sculptor placed his chisel upon the stone to chip it away, he beheld in the uncut rock the very image of that which he by toil and skill would bring into being. Thus it was that God, the mighty architect of the universe, beholding in His own Spirit the glorious image of things to come, set the forces of His own will in motion to bring forth with unerring exactness the image of His pleasure in the very likeness of Himself.
No man can truly love God until with the eye of faith he catches a glimpse of God’s eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the ages began. All the purposes of God were in Christ before there was a man, before there was a temporal world and before an age was formed in the midst of eternity. God with omniscient wisdom planned with unerring and immutable accuracy every blow of the hammer that would in the end bring forth from the uncut rock a race of sons in the image of Himself. With omniscience there can be no errors, and there have been none; neither shall there ever be. With immutability there can be no change in purpose. There has been none; neither will there ever be. With omnipotence there can be no contrary powers, except those who, like Pharaoh, were designed by God Himself to fulfill His unerring purpose, for even of Pharaoh God has said, “For this cause have I raised thee up that My power might be seen in thee and that My name might be known in all the earth.” Rom. 9:17
Weakness has no part with omnipotence. Ignorance cannot be associated with omniscience. They are the antithesis of each other; therefore, we must immediately discard all childish philosophy, inherited traditions and all purposeless theology that have sprung up like tares in the fertile fields of the carnal mind to be handed to men as sacred truth. Banish from your heart all thinking that would make God capable of mistake or error. Abolish all idle theory that would lead you to believe that somewhere Satan disrupted and thwarted the perfection of the purpose God has formed in eternal wisdom. Dare you longer think that wisdom can be unwise or that infinity can be finite? Can immutability be changefulness, or omnipotence weakness? Nothing can slink unnoticed into God’s garden. No power can thwart or delay Him nor can any wisdom instruct Him.
We are forever hearing about the power of Satan until one would think that he was only a whit behind God in omnipotence. But hear this, Oh fools and slow of heart, for the God of heaven and earth has declared, “There is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God.” Rom. 13:1. Where in scripture will one search to find the thought that Satan is a power with whom God must reckon? Where, indeed, will one turn to find that Satan has great power over men? I am fully persuaded that he has no power over anything but such as is given to him by the permissive will of God, and outside of that he is as helpless as you or I. He is a deceiver and subtle of heart, walking to and fro continually seeking occasion against men with which he might accuse them before God, for he has this permission of the Lord. It is for your good and mine that temptation and affliction come, for that is part of the chipping by which the image of Christ is brought forth from the rock in God’s perfect likeness. Though Satan had completely considered God’s servant Job, he could touch neither his property nor his flesh without the permission of the Almighty. See Job 1:6-12, 2:1-8.
When at last we see God eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, omnipresent, loving and holy, then upon these seven mountain peaks we take our stand to behold the glory of His purpose for the endless ages. Behold, Oh child of God, the blessed assurance that fills the spirit of man in the knowledge that God’s purpose cannot fall short or fail or die, for He is eternal. It cannot be halted, for He is omnipotent. It cannot be changed, for He is immutable. It cannot go astray or be found at fault, for He is omniscient. Nor can man or Satan mar His purpose, for in omnipresence He stands, keeping watch upon His own. His love is over all that not a fragment should be lost, and by His holiness He has sworn that His purposes should be accomplished.
The hurry and rush of our modern way of life is far more a curse to us than it is a blessing. Rush and hurry have become so much the order of the day that few men pause long enough to consider the eternal wonders God would speak to our hearts. The Lord never speaks to a man who is in a rush, but unfolds His wonders to those who wait upon Him. To many the reading of scripture has become a matter of haste – of reading a short chapter and reading it fast so that they can get on with the more important business of living after and caring for the things that concern the body. But, if you will meditate upon the scriptures you have read a hundred times and found nothing in them, you will see the unfolding of an eternal revelation of the wisdom and understanding of God’s purpose.
What heavenly peace comes into the spiritual mind when we grasp the force of this mighty edict: “For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Col. 1:16-17 I firmly believe that a spiritual understanding of a truth such as this will revolutionize a man’s life, transform his outlook and conform him to the image of Christ. The world is full of people who do not know that God is in control. They have never learned that back of all things stands the Almighty, that He is before all things, and that by Him all things exist, consist and subsist, and that in Him we live and move and have our being. It is He who raises nations up and puts them down again. He is the one who raises up mighty dictators and discards them when they have fulfilled His purpose. He raises up Pharaohs and Hamans, Herods and Hitlers to chastise His people, and when He has finished with them, He brushes them off as dust from the balance and they disappear into the nothingness from which they came. Satan himself is a dignity against whom not even archangels are permitted to rail, (Jude 9), much less men of flesh and blood, but in the end it will be seen that even he who has been the dread of the nations has had his part to play in the divine purpose of an all-wise God.
Even the simplest analysis of God’s word reveals the vast benefits of temptation, that by the trial of our faith we should be able to discern both good and evil, forsaking evil and choosing good. Even our blessed Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in all points like as we are. Heb. 4:15 But God had a purpose in it, for through this very temptation He was able to become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. Heb. 2:17. Many a man has made vain boasts before temptation came, but afterward he confessed that he was like all other men, weak and helpless, needing the grace of God and power from above to carry him through to sonship. Temptation not only proves the weakness of the human frame, but gives us understanding to succor all who are being tempted as we have been. No man or women will ever enter the glory of sonship without temptation, and gladly will he boast that but for the grace of God he would have been overwhelmed by it. Thus, then, in the wisdom of God even the tempter becomes a part of the plan. God has never once told us to love Satan, because he is all that is evil and we are to hate evil. Nevertheless, he who speaks evil of Satan speaks evil of a dignity and does not understand how, in the counsel and wisdom of God, even this stormy wind is fulfilling His word. Psa. 148:8.
Long, long ago, about fifteen hundred years before the story of Bethlehem‘s manger, the saintly Job had been in long debate with three learned and very intelligent men. Though all their argument was filled with wisdom such as men today never speak, yet it was the wisdom of philosophers rather than the wisdom of God. When at last these men fell silent, the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind in these words: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou Me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof? When the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:2-7. If you will read on through this passage, you will find there are forty questions asked by the Lord, none of which Job could answer. I may also add that these questions for the most part are still unanswered in our day, baffling scientific minds with the greatness of their mystery.
It would, I think, be almost impossible to read this passage and pass unnoticed these words: “Who laid the cornerstone thereof, when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy.” Here in God’s goodness is the curtain lifted to give a glimpse into a long past age when in God’s counsel all the vast plans of eternity were laid, line upon line, plan upon plan, purpose upon purpose, ascending with unerring accuracy from glory to glory until that marvelous day when all things should be in the image of Him who created them by the word of His power and for His eternal glory. There the course of angelic things were planned, the perfecting of the sons of God, the fall and redemption of man, the preparation of the bride of Christ and the final gathering of all things in heaven and earth into him. Eph. 1:10.
These things are far too wonderful for me, and so wonderful were they then that the morning stars rose and sang a great universal hymn of praise and the sons of God that surrounded His throne shouted and shouted for joy until the very corridors of heaven echoed and re-echoed from universe to universe and from eternity to eternity. It was then that Eden was planned and all the events thereof. There Calvary was ordained, the Lamb of God slain and the blood of atonement shed before the foundation of the ages. There the resurrection was planned, the ascension, the preaching of the Gospel and the gathering of all things in heaven and earth into Christ until that glorious day when sorrow and crying are ended, pain has vanished and tears are wiped away forever, when all that was lost in every fall has been restored and righteousness reigns without alloy forever and ever and ever. Amen!
It was there that you and I were planned. Indeed, we may have been there! The exact day of our entrance into this world was ordained as was also the day of our departure and all the minute details that go to make our sonship complete. Oh, how big God is! Oh, how infinite in understanding! Oh, how perfect in counsel! Oh, how omnipotent in might! I stand all amazed in Thine omniscient counsel and, but for the weeping of this present night, would rise and sing with Thy stars of light and shout with Thine eternal sons! But, though weeping shall endure for a night, with certainty shall Thy joy come in the morning. The passing statements of scripture always surpass the understanding and imagination of man. The morning stars of which Job spoke in Job 38:17 were in truths sons of God. I think our Lord Jesus Christ intended we should have such understanding when He said, “I am the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star.” Rev. 22:16. And to the overcomers of the church of Thyatira He gave the promise of sonship when He said to them, “He that overcometh and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as a vessel of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Rev. 2:26-29 Peter also, giving counsel to guide us to sonship, said, “Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.” 2 Pet. 1:19. What a promise of sonship that really is, yet how obscured from the prying eyes of the careless and unbelieving! Even the erring prophet Balaam made this unerring prophecy, “I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” Num. 24:17
It is not wisdom to be wise above that which is written and it is foolishness for any of us to claim revelation if it is not in accord with the word of God. To speak of things which we do not understand is not profit, but loss, for it will bring us into error; and the very error in which we find ourselves will in turn close the door to truth, for falsehood does not easily vacate its throne nor make an exit from the human heart. Therefore we will leave with God that which we understand not and endeavor to state those things which are plainly evident to all.
Centuries ago the apostle Paul wrote a letter to his friend, Philemon, regarding a slave who had escaped but who, after his conversion through the ministry of Paul, was being returned to his master. Of this slave Paul wrote these significant words: “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in times past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me; whom I have sent again; Thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels … For perhaps he therefore departed for a season that thou shouldst receive him forever: not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord.” Phil. 10-12, 15–16. This verse in some wonderful way seems to go/far beyond the local setting of a slave that departed from his master and returned again as a brother. It speaks of a creation that departed from its creator and became unprofitable, but will be returned at last to Him as a chaste virgin full of all the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding and the reverence that our long night of separation has brought us. Do not ask me to explain the wisdom and counsel of God in this, for could I explain it I would be as God; but with respect and godly fear we shall believe Him in whom all wisdom dwells embodied.
Between that blessed day when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy and that wonderful day when at last the temple of God is with men, strange events beyond human understanding have taken place. Thrice in the course of the ages there have been falls of almost unbelievable magnitude and separations that none but God can understand. Known unto God are all His ways. All God’s works are in wisdom and His ways past finding out. Who has known the mind of the Lord that he should instruct Him? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath given to Him and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For from Him everything comes; by Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends. Glory to Him forever. Amen and Amen! Rom. 11:34-36. We need not concern ourselves with the sick theology of a modern harlot church system that forever makes God to be the loser in His own eternal purpose; neither should we consider for a moment the abominable trumpery palmed off by eloquent preachers who, with feigned concern for the welfare of the lost, fill their own coffers with gold and live like kings from the pittances of well-meaning widows. Let us rather concern ourselves with the eternal purpose of God, seeking always to put ourselves at His divine disposal that we might come as quickly as possible into the fullness of that eternal plan.
One of the greatest blessings that can come to mankind will come to you when your eyes are opened to see that God is before all things – God, all wise, all powerful, all enduring; God, who is in all, through all, and over all; God, with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning; God, who speaks and it is done, who commands and it comes to pass; God, in whose hand the mightiest nations are but dust in the balance, who makes the wrath of man to praise Him, and whose bitterest enemies do His will, who knows the end of a matter from the beginning because He is both the beginning and the ending of all things. In Him dwelleth all the wisdom of the universe. He hangs the earth on nothing and tells the number of the innumerable stars. Nothing ever gets out of hand with God. Nothing happens in time or in eternity that He did not anticipate and fully know before ever He formed any creature. Well did the apostle say by the mighty anointing of God’s Spirit, “Known unto God are all His works from the foundation of the ages.” Acts 15:18
How different would be the prayer of Christians if they had this blessed knowledge! Then would all their frantic demands be gone and they, like Christ, would breathe from the innermost Spirit, “Thy will be done! Thy will be done!” We do not have record of many prayers that Jesus prayed, but those that are recorded speak forth the assurance of His soul that all things were following the course that had been laid down for Him on that wonderful day when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Even the opening words of the prayer recorded in John 17 are these: “Father, the hour is come.” What hour did He mean? He meant that the exact day and hour of His crucifixion had been set ages and dispensations before, and now at last that long awaited hour had come. The hour had been set in the counsel of God when the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. Jesus was not crucified before the world began, but the immutable purpose and plan of God willed that on such and such a day at such and such an hour God’s only begotten Son should be slain and His blood shed for all sin and all uncleanness. It was then that God decreed that without the shedding of blood there should be no remission of sins. The blood of Jesus Christ was not ordinary blood, but better blood than that of Abel. It was not corruptible blood, but incorruptible blood as fresh and pure today for the life of all the world as the day it was shed on Calvary. That blood was not available for earthy things only, but heavenly things as well. The apostle long ago declared, “Almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purged by these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Heb. 9:23
See again the eternal assurance that filled the heart of Jesus when He said, “I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4. And again, “For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst sent Me.” Verse 8
There is nothing that will give you greater confidence in God than the definite assurance that God is on the throne that all things are working according to His counsel and are carried out by His might. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. Acts 15:18 Neither the wrath of man nor any wisdom of Satan can change one jot or tittle of anything God has ordained. He has His plan for the heathen, for the true church, for the harlot church, for Israel and for the Jew. He has His purpose for those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death and for those who have never heard that God had a Son. He has His plan for the rich and the poor, the naked and the clothed, for slaves and free men; and, when at last we see it as He planned it and have learned experimentally that our light afflictions which were but for a moment have, indeed, worked for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, we will shout with joy with all the ransomed sons of God, even as John the apostle in the Revelation beheld when he wrote, “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Rev. 5:14
It was certainly in such knowledge and eternal assurance that Jesus faced the bitterness of the cross with all its blood and sweat, its agony and separation, but, because He knew the result was certain, for the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, despised the shame and is even now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. God’s people have the wrong idea of the joy of the Lord. They look upon joy as some sort of bubbling effervescence that comes from feeling good all over. This may be the joy of the world, but it is not the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord comes from the enlightening of the soul in the knowledge of the eternal plan. The joy of the Lord endures forever. It is never affected by trial and tribulation because it sees hope in the end. It knows that after the pain of travail a son will be born and that he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
If we realize the truth of this text, “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world,” it will give us a confident assurance such as nothing else can. Nothing ever comes upon the plans of God unawares and, in my opinion, it is blasphemous to suppose they do. For centuries learned men have looked upon the events of the garden of Eden as something that came upon God unexpectedly. They willingly admit that God is all-wise, but somehow beyond understanding Satan slipped in unawares and spoiled His whole lovely plan so that even God was hard put to it to find a way out. In the light of what God is, nothing can be so nonsensical nor could anything create greater distrust in Him than a thought like this. The fall of man and the separation of male from female was part of a purpose that was to bring forth a creation that would know both good and evil that the universe might be purged from sin unto endless ages.
The fact that you are a Christian today is not a matter of chance nor of your being wiser than any other man, nor more tender-hearted nor more susceptible to the truth. It does not even depend on whether your parents were good or bad. It all rests on this one thing – that God, before the ages were formed, chose you to a certain place in Himself. Thus did Paul teach the Ephesians when he said, “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.” Eph. 1:3–4
It should be a very humbling experience, but a very confirming assurance, just to know that on that blessed day when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy you were chosen to be among the first fruits unto Him. It is no grace or goodness on your part or mine, but it is the plan of God that unerringly guides the course of all things and all people. Peter also took up the knowledgeable refrain when he said, “For ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Pet. 2:9. And the Lord Jesus Christ also said to His disciples, “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” John 15:16. There was great understanding in the saying of Jesus, “I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen.” John 13:18. This choice was not made casually on the spot. It was a choice made before there was a man on the earth or ever an age was formed.
Men were chosen not only to noble purposes, but to ignoble also. In a great house there are vessels not only of gold and silver, but of wood and earth, some to honor and some to dishonor. Judas Iscariot did not just happen along among the disciples. His treachery was known and ordained from the beginning and foretold by the prophets long before his birth. Cf. Zech. 11:12–13 with Matt. 27:10. He was a necessary part of God’s plan, however ignoble his purpose may have been. The whole story of the crucifixion of Christ as it concerned both Jews and Gentiles was arranged before the ages began so that nothing was missing when the great offering of Christ for the world was to be accomplished. See how carefully God ordained this purpose and how well it was understood by the apostles of the Lord when they said, “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:26-28. Rest assured, then, that the Almighty God worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.
The Lord has said, “Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Rom. 8:29. Jesus Christ is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3), and it is by union with Him that we come into the likeness of God. As the side of Adam was opened that the woman might be taken from him, so the side of Jesus Christ was opened that we might be grafted in, thus to become bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His Spirit, mind of His mind and wisdom of His wisdom. Both the sons of God and the bride of Christ are to be endowed with all the attributes of Himself that we may be the likeness, the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person. Thus the saying is fulfilled, “And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” John 17:22–23. Even now today the Spirit of truth is in the world speaking to the faithful and longing heart saying, “Because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.” John 14:19–20. Thus the light that shined out of darkness has now shined into our hearts, flooding them with eternal light, illuminating men with the knowledge of God as it shines from the face of Christ. Cf 2 Cor. 4:6.
“It makes me sigh, indeed, this yearning to be under cover of my heavenly habitation since I am sure that once so covered I shall not be naked in the hour of death. I do sigh within this tent of mine with heavy anxiety, not that I want to be stripped, no, but to be under cover of the other, to have my mortal element absorbed by life. I am prepared for this change by God who has given me the Spirit as its pledge and installment.” 2 Cor. 5:1-6. (Moffatt)
Long ago Moses, the servant of the Lord, was called of God to go up to the top of Mt. Sinai. The mountain burned with the fire of God. There was blackness and darkness and tempest, the sound of trumpets and the voice of words, and so terrible was the sight that Moses said, “I do exceedingly fear and quake.” Heb. 12:21. There in the mountain of God‘s presence he remained for forty days, and when at last he descended, his face so shone with the glory of God that he hung a veil over his face that Israel should not behold the glory. Now Paul, in writing of this wonderful thing, makes plain the fact that the veil was not hung over the face of Moses with the purpose of hiding the glory, but rather that the children of Israel might not see that the glory was fading away. No man ever likes to feel that the glory of God is fading, decreasing, and becoming less in his life as the time passes. Thus it was because of this decreasing glory that Moses hung the veil over his countenance that the fact of the fading glory should be hidden from them. 2 Cor. 3:12–13. Goodspeed translates this passage thus: “So, since I have such hope, I speak with great frankness, not like Moses who used to wear a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at the fading of the splendor from it.” It was natural that the glory given under the law should fail and fade away, for the law is death to unspiritual men. But now that Christ has died and has risen again and has sent forth the Holy Spirit into our hearts and the very law of God has become part of us, being written not on stones but in our hearts even as it is in God’s heart, becoming our very nature even as it is the nature and essence of God Himself, therefore the veil is removed from our faces, for the glory is not fading but increasing as we behold, not cold tables of stone, but the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Therefore Paul wrote, “But we all, with open face, (unveiled face), beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18
Over and over again in these writings we have tried to make all men see that it is in union with Jesus Christ that all our hope is embodied. Our hope of sonship is in union with Him. Our hope of glory is in Him. Our washing, our salvation, our sanctification, our sonship and every detail of our eternal redemption depends upon our personal relationship with Him. Beholding His face we are changed into His image and transformed into His likeness, even by the Spirit of the Lord. It is in communion with Him that His mind becomes our mind, His thoughts our thoughts and His ways our ways. In union with Him Christ becomes all and in all. He is the way, the truth, the light, the life, the resurrection, the ascension and the glory. All who rise with Him sit with Him in heavenly realms far above principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named.
When will Christians stop this wickedness of making heroes of men, following this man and that man, this woman and that woman? God’s people have become idol worshippers and followers of men whose breath is in their nostrils, who lead men as sheep and perish, leaving them to look for some other to lead them. Have we not heard the words of Christ, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life?” Change and decay is everywhere about us. Men come and men go, but Christ abides forever. He that puts his faith in man will certainly decay and perish with man, but he that beholds the face of Jesus Christ will be changed into that same image from one glory to another.
The first statement ever made concerning man is this: “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” Gen. 1:26. This is the first purpose of God for man, and this first purpose is in preparation for the second purpose. “Let Us give him dominion.”
Everything from the beginning of the world to the end is working together for good to bring man into the very image and likeness of God, and it shall come to pass as God has ordained: As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. As the first man (Adam) is of the earth earthy, the second man (Christ) is the Lord from heaven… And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 1 Cor. 15:47,49. It is impossible for flesh and blood to inherit the kingdom of God and impossible for corruption to inherit incorruption, therefore God is preparing us now for a marvelous change, a transfiguration, and He who has wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. Cf. 2 Cor. 5:5.
For this reason a mystery of God is about to unfold, and the power of the resurrection, even the power that raised up Jesus from the dead, will be manifest that that which is corruptible may be transformed into incorruption and that which is mortal may put on immortality. “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Cor. 15:51–52
The time of the fulfilling of this great mystery is the time when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, the mystery of God is finished and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. John saw a mighty angel stand upon the sea and the earth who lifted up his hand to heaven and swore by Him that liveth forever and ever that time should be no longer. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished. Rev. 10:5-7 “And the seventh angel sounded and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.” Rev. 11:15. The sounding of the seventh trumpet by the seventh angel is the last trump of which Paul spoke. 1 Cor. 15:51–52. In it the great mystery of God is finished.
Corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms ol our Lord and of His Christ. He that is preparing us for this great change is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. Wherefore comfort one another with these words, for the time is near at hand.
THAT I MAY KNOW HIM
From the days of our infancy we have been children of tradition. Ideas, beliefs and teachings have always been handed down from generation to generation. Our culture, our codes and our beliefs, as our language, are handed down from family to family for many generations without any noticeable change. This can be a very good thing in the natural realm, but it can also lead to centuries of stagnation and even opposition to progress. There are places even in the spiritual realm where tradition can be a good thing, but sooner or later we will be brought face to face with the indisputable fact that Almighty God is not one who can be held within the narrow confines of human tradition nor can His eternal and ever expanding purpose be held in captivity by the ball and chain of human ways of looking at things.
The man or woman who believes that God is static, set, immovable, retired, without ambition and having no further purpose to attain has altogether the wrong idea of God. Everything that God is and does in all His universe shows that His purposes are progressive and expanding. God’s purposes expand as the days of His weeks. He has one week in which every day is twenty-four hours long. He has another week in which every day is one year long. This grows into another week in which every day is seven years long. This grows into another week in which every day is one thousand years long. This in turn grows into another week in which every day is seven thousand years long, and there is reason to believe that this vast week grows into another week in which every day is forty-nine thousand years long. You may not understand this by casually reading about it, but it is so, and a little study of the scripture reveals in part the truth contained in the inspired words of Peter, “A day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day.” 2 Pet. 3:8. We often hear of nations who undertake five year plans or seven year plans to further their prosperity. No doubt it is a good idea, but God first originated the thought of conducting all His work on a seven-day plan, each day of which may be twenty-four hours long or seven thousand years long as He in wisdom deems necessary to fulfill His eternal purpose.
I once listened to an astronomer lecture on the magnitude of the heavens. In the course of his address he spoke with great conviction of the expanding universe, but after using the word ‘expanding’, he paused and said. “The word ‘exploding’ would be more appropriate, for many stars of the heavens are traveling away from the earth and out into space at the rate of fifty thousand miles per second.” Since all these things are so and since even the heaven of heavens cannot contain God, who is the author of all these things, how dare puny man with his frail, worm-like, fallen mind try to incarcerate the Almighty within the paper walls of his human traditions? “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy finger, the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou visitest him? For Thou hast made him (man) a little lower than the angels and hast crowned him with glory and honor and madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all things under his feet… O, Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth.” Psa. 8:3-9
I have no hesitation in saying that the moment men come to know God they immediately become non-conformists. They see God far greater than the tradition of their fathers, greater than the Law of Moses, even as he which buildeth the house is greater and more honorable than the house. Christ is greater than the gospel we know, greater than the kingdom we teach. His power is beyond omnipotence. His wisdom is beyond omniscience, His faithfulness beyond immutability. His loving kindness and tender mercies reach unto all generations and His grace beyond the length, the depth, the breadth or height of all understanding but His own.
There was a man two thousand years ago called Saul from the city of Tarsus. He was as steeped in the time-honored customs of the fathers and elders of Israel as it was possible for a man to be. He was as bound by the blinding traditions of an Israel that had crucified the Lord as millions today are bound by the doctrines and traditions of a backslidden, apostate Babylonish system that has the audacity to masquerade as the church of Jesus Christ without spot or wrinkle. Listen to this Saul as he boasts of his glorious past: “If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, / more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church’, touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Phil. 3:4-6. To a Jew who reveled in his past and in his strict adherence to the doctrine handed down from the days of Moses all this must have seemed very commendable. But, when he saw the whole thing in the blazing-light of God’s revelation of Jesus Christ, he saw all the things of which he boasted as nothing but common dung. He was ready to load it all on the garbage wagon and cart it off to the nuisance ground as a thing that hindered rather than helped his progress. “What things were gain to me,” he said, “those I counted loss for Christ; Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know Him…” Phil 3:7-10
“That I may know Him!” That is where the difference comes in. Knowing Christ makes the difference between Saul and Paul though they were the same man. Saul is tied to doctrines, traditions, priests, people and things, but Paul is swept by the knowledge of the revelation of Jesus Christ into the infinity of an infinite God. He who formerly adored Jews and hated Gentiles was swept into a realm where neither Jew nor Gentile exists, but all are one in Christ. He who slavishly adhered to a written law was transported into the very being of the lawgiver Himself. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? For from Him everything comes, by Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends. Glory to Him forever! Amen and Amen! Rom. 11:35–36. (Good-speed).
How then would it ever be possible for a man who has thus been swept away on the fathomless ocean of divine revelation to ever again be content to puddle about in the muddy waters of Jewish tradition? Neither now is it possible for those who are walking in the brightening light of the Sun of Righteousness to conform to the rotting creeds of a church system that walks in the flickering light of the candle of modern tradition.
Paul was forever reminding us that the gulf that lay between the tradition of the elders and the revelation of the Son of God was as fathomless as God Himself. He likens the first to dung and speaks of the other thus: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man (whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell; God knoweth;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory; yet of my self I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” 2 Cor. 12:2-5. That is what he wrote to the church at Corinth, and to the Galatians he wrote, “Ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God and wasted it: And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers, but when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, to reveal his Son in me… immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus.” Gal. 1:13-17
Whenever a man begins to seek to know Christ, he will find to his amazement that he is coming into variance with the age-old traditions of the church, which, though held high in honor by the multitude, are serving only one purpose, and that is to make the truth of God of no effect. Such a seeker will soon find that he will be at variance with his best friends, for they will regard him as a peculiar person who holds as precious truth many things which they call error. Paul once said, “This I confess, that after the manner which they call heresy so worship I the God of my fathers.” Acts 24:14 If you continue to seek to know Him, you will find yourself becoming ostracized and not wanted. You may even be dishonorably dismissed, as I myself have been, but this should neither defer nor hinder your search, for it would seem to me to be impossible that one who has heard the unspeakable words of the third heaven should have anything in common with the kind of men who waste their time in tradition, always trying to patch up the riven veil of the temple.
There is a verse of scripture in Psa. 105:7 that reads thus: “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.” This verse of scripture clearly shows the vast difference between men who know God and men who only know about God. There were countless thousands of people in the days of Jesus Christ who saw the acts of God as Jesus went about preaching the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and disease, raising the dead, casting out demons, even restoring the maimed, giving them new limbs again. There was no question too hard for Him to answer, no miracle that He could not perform. Even death itself had no power over Him, for no one could take His life from Him, but He laid it down Himself. Such were the mighty acts of God, which were by no means done in a corner, but openly for multitudes to behold. Yet for all their marveling at His mighty acts, they still did not know Him. The majority of them, though doubtless convinced that He was the Son of God, still knew Him not. I could be wrong, but it seems clear that at the time of Jesus’ death the fingers of one hand could number all the people who really knew Him. They knew His mighty acts, but they understood none of His ways. They did not understand anything about His death. Did Peter not say, “This shall not be unto Thee!” To which Jesus replied, “Get thee behind Me, Satan, thou savorest not the things that be of God.” Matt. 16:23. Did they understand the rising from the dead (Mk. 9:10) or any other of the real purposes for which He came?
As it was with the multitudes of Jesus’ day, so also it was with the children of Israel in the days of Moses. They had all seen the mighty acts of God in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea. They had seen His miracles in the desert. They drank of the water that gushed in a torrent from the smitten rock, and they ate the heavenly manna full forty years. No feeble person walked among their tribes. Their garments waxed not old upon their bodies. Their eyes beheld the pillar of fire every night and the cloud of God’s presence shaded their camp every passing day. They saw Mt. Sinai in billows of smoke from God’s presence and they feared exceedingly with much trembling as His voice then shook the earth. See Ex. 19. If God ever made His mighty acts known to any people, He certainly made them known to those wilderness wanderers, yet for all this they knew none of His ways, but grumbled and fretted and rebelled until they were overthrown in the wilderness. And Moses, recounting their experiences before them, made this almost incredible statement. “Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs and those great miracles: Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see and ears to hear unto this day.” Deut. 29:2-4
But with Moses it was all different. God made known His ways unto Moses. He knew the Lord face to face. He spoke to Him face to face. He knew the inner workings of the great plan of God. He understood what was in the mind of the Lord when He called this rebellious people. He knew what the glorious end of it all would be. He prophesied of the coming of the Messiah in these words: “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me. Him shall ye hear.” Deut. 18:15. He knew God and he knew God’s ways. He did not marvel at God’s acts nor did he seek them, for he knew God face to face.
So also it is in our day. Multitudes of men and women have seen the acts of God. Millions have been eye-witnesses of a healing, a miracle or a baptism of the Spirit, and in their zeal to behold these acts of God they willingly run from meeting to meeting, from coast to coast and often from country to country. The moment they hear of a miracle worker here or there, they are ready to run, hoping fervently that they will be able to feast their inquisitive eyes on some mighty act of God. Though they have been deceived times without number by some self-styled modern Moses whose wonders are all in his handbills, still they run again and again like inquisitive little boys to a fire or an accident. But for all their running and hearing and seeing they still do not know God. To be sure many can recount with indisputable proof instances of the acts of the Lord, still for all this they do not know God’s ways. It is an indisputable fact that scarcely one Christian in a thousand has ever seriously considered what God’s eternal purposes might be. The vast majority of Christians are surprised beyond measure when one ventures to tell them that God had a purpose before the world began, that he is now fulfilling it with infinite care, and that all things, including man’s fall, are part of the eternal plan.
Do men come to know God by listening to the endless preaching of sermons from week to week? Can a man ever come to know God by this means? I declare he cannot. He may learn something about the acts of God. He may learn man’s tradition about God or he may imbibe man’s ideas about the doctrines of God, but he never comes to know God in this fashion. Those who know God must be with Him, not with the multitude, but alone. It is not enough to receive the initial filling of His Spirit, but all who would walk with Him must walk with Him into the wilderness of life to willingly suffer the temptation of the devil. They must walk with Him in fasting – not only from food, but from all other things that strengthen and build up the natural man at the expense of the Christ within. They must not only stand with Him in the glory of the transfiguration, but endure the desolating agonies of Gethsemane. They must willingly follow Him to the cross, yea, willingly bear it through all their earthly life that they might say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Did not Jesus say to the rich young ruler, “Come, take up thy cross and follow Me?’ It is the cross of Christ that separates men from this present evil world with all its human lusts. It is here that we not only turn our backs on this present evil age, but die to it, and in dying we discover that all who have thus died in Him are unconscious to this present evil world and totally unaffected by it. They are not, however, unconscious to the spiritual world, for, having followed Christ in death, they have become part of His resurrection. They have discovered that all who partake of His resurrection have been awakened to a new world, even the world and realm of God. They are not raised, as was Lazarus, to the natural realm, but raised as was Jesus to a spiritual life.
During the centuries there has been much teaching emanating from the carnal mind. Everywhere today the theory is propounded that God wants His people to have the best of everything in this life. The truth is that those who seek after the best of everything in this passing world find, when it is too late, that their souls are poverty-stricken, their spirits devoid of God’s grace, and their minds separated from true wisdom and spiritual understanding. While they feast on the things of this earthly realm, they have become spots in the feast of charity (love), “feeding themselves without fear. Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds (doctrines); trees whose fruit is withered, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom is reserved the mists of blackness for the age.” Jude 12–13. Certainly she who liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
These teachings have caused the people of God to commit the three great sins mentioned by the apostle Jude – the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, and the gainsaying of Core. Jude 11. The way of Cain is envy and hatred against those whom God has accepted. The error of Balaam is the willingness to use the gifts of God for profit and earthly gain, a sin that is rampant in the professing church, glaring and blatant in almost every religious broadcast. The gainsaying of Core is rebellion and resistance against the authority of God and those whom He has set. See Num. 16.
We are well past the time when all God’s people should take leave of the confusion and trickery of modern religion. It is time to take your Bible and separate yourself from people, from sects and from the opinions of men. It is time to find some convenient Jerusalem – your back bedroom, your attic, or a quiet mountain stream where you can seek God in fasting and prayer that you might hear His voice, know His will and receive of His understanding. Do not go before God seeking power. He knows how much power you need. Do not go before him seeking gifts of healing and working of miracles. God knows whether or not He wants a miracle worker. Do not seek to be a mighty man of God before the people. Seek to be acceptable before God, one who knows His voice, knows His will, loves His command and follows implicitly the gentlest movings of His Spirit.
While we seek to know God, we must always remember that God knows us. He does not depend upon what we say or testify. He did not depend on Peter’s determined declaration of undying fidelity. He knew Peter would deny Him. He knew Peter much better than Peter knew himself. He knows well those in whom He can put His trust. He once said of Abraham, “For I know Him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.” Gen. 18:19. God knew His people Israel and said of them just before they entered the land of Canaan, “For I know their imaginations which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.” Deut. 31:21. Never deceive yourself by believing that God accepts every word that you speak by way of consecration, for He will try you and weigh you and apply the torture test of temptation and disappointment until He knows that your profession is real, that there is no wedge of silver or Babylonish garment hidden in the tent of your heart.
MY SHEEP KNOW MY VOICE
No man can come to know the voice of Christ by listening to sermons. Though you listen to them twice every day for the remainder of your life, you may still be a complete stranger to the sound of His voice. Though Samuel had been brought up in the temple of the Lord from infancy, he knew not the voice of the Lord. He was unable to discern between the voice of the Lord and the voice of Eli. But when he listened to the voice of God, the message he heard made him afraid, for it was spoken against Eli, his teacher. 1 Sam. 3:11-21. All too often sermons are only sermons. Have we never realized that for every one sermon that is spoken from the very heart of God there are perhaps a thousand others that are contrived or re-hashed by the aid of Homiletics? Texts of scripture are often used as a sort of springboard from which the preacher launches his personal notions or dives into a pool to emerge breathless at the conclusion of his address. You cannot come to know the voice of the Lord after this fashion.
Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice, and they follow Me; and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers.” If we but meditate on these words, what conviction they bring to our hearts, for we are living in an hour when God’s people seem to know the voice of every stranger and follow them, but the voice of Christ they do not know. The Lord has not called me to rail against people, nor has He sent me to slay the prophets of Baal, but I must say that any man or woman who can absorb the trash that is presented in many pulpits and on the airwaves in the name of the Gospel, never recognizing that it is the voice of strangers, surely has never heard the voice of Christ. Every grasping, grabbing scheme, every shifting, deceiving device is presented to wheedle the unwilling dollars from the purses of the people. The presentation of each grandiose scheme for reaching the heathen ends with an appeal for money. Pretentious prayers for the sick usually conclude with a touching appeal to the sick to write immediately to tell of the miracle God has wrought “because we need your letters. They are the life-line of our ministry.” Even the frequent offer of a free book is a wily device to secure another name to whom self-addressed pledge envelopes can be sent. I do not hesitate to say that this is not the voice of Christ, but the voice of big business. Well did Paul the apostle write, “That ye be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, (the Greek word kubeia translated ‘sleight’ means as in playing dice or cheating), and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Eph. 4:14. Why do people not wake up and see that this playing dice with the gospel is the work and voice of strangers! It is a misrepresentation of the true facts. If God’s people would take even a moment to compare this modern racket with the beautiful methods of Jesus, they would soon realize that they are not listening to His voice, but the voice of men who are strangers to His ways.
YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH. John 8:32
Truth is fidelity, sincerity, and punctuality in keeping promises. When truth is used with reference to God, to these are added mercy and kindness. For millenniums of time men have diligently sought for truth. They have burned the candle low as they have searched through the night, spending both youth and old age in their search for truth, and, when at last through elaborate calculations they arrive at their conclusions, they do so only to find in later years that some new discovery has upset their theories and sent them puzzling and searching again. Twenty-five centuries ago Socrates sagely remarked, “One plus one makes two, but I have never been able to decide whether it is the one that was added that makes two, or the one to which one was added.” Thus man goes forever on seeking truth and is never quite able to find it.
Twenty centuries ago two men talked together in Pilate’s judgment hall. Pilate was the judge and Jesus, the Son of God, was the accused. “Art Thou a king then?” Pilate asked. To this Jesus replied, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth; every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.” Pilate saith unto Him, “What is truth?” Then without waiting for a reply he went out. John 18:37–38. But had he waited for Jesus to answer, what do you think the answer would have been? Would He not have given the same answer to Pilate that He gave to Thomas? “I am the truth.” If Pilate had found Jesus, his search for truth would have been ended, for He is truth. He does not merely preach truth and speak truth. He is truth. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” I have heard men speak of the liberating effects of truth, and all they said was perfectly right, but you will leave all your listeners hanging in mid-air unless you are able to point them to Jesus Christ, who is truth incarnate. Truth is not a thing. Truth is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ, the first begotten of the Father.
What a battleground the world has been as zealous men in search of truth and in defense of what they believed to be truth have flung into the raging war all the armaments that human wisdom could devise! What wars have been waged over doctrines and creeds, what battles over baptisms and sacraments as men of varied faiths have thumped the Bible in defense of their petty conclusions until Christ, who is the very Spirit of truth, has vanished from their carnal presence and hate and animosity flourish where Christ should have reigned supreme.
There was a time when I thought it was my sacred duty to be able to answer every question that was asked me. It seemed to be right to know where one stood on all the endless doctrines that have arisen. It seemed to be necessary to be ready to do battle immediately to defend one’s ground on any issue. Well, all that has changed now, for I have found that truth is not a creed, not a doctrine, not a belief nor a faith. Truth is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is truth. He does not need that I should draw my sword as did Peter in His defense. Better far for me to attempt to defend a lion. Truth needs no defense. It is the greatest force in the universe. It opens the prisons and sets the captives free. It restores the sick to health and makes all the blind to see. It defeats the fraudulent claims of enemies. It fills the whole earth with righteousness, and it will abide when worlds are burned away. To know Him is to know truth and to know truth is to be set free.
Our Lord told His disciples long ago that truth would come from heaven to dwell in their hearts. They were not to learn it from a book nor from the lips of men, but truth would come from heaven in the form of the Holy Spirit of God and he would dwell in them and they would know the truth thereby. “I will pray the Father,” He said, “and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you… at that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me and I in you” John 14:16, 17, 20
Oh, if men would halt their vain debating that can only produce malice and envy, and, instead, come to know Him who is the very Spirit of truth that He might dwell in their hearts by faith, for then would even the unbelieving see the light of truth and believe on Him who alone sets men free. He that is born of God cannot commit sin, for His seed (Christ) remaineth in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. Since God cannot sin, should it be thought a thing impossible that he who is born of God should also be totally free from sin? For if God, who cannot sin nor be tempted with sin, dwells within a man, how then could that man sin? It is wrong to argue that a believer who sins is born of God, for that which is born of God cannot sin. 1 John 3:9. The same applies to truth, for he who has the Spirit of truth abiding in his life can neither be a liar nor believe a lie. As deep answers to deep, so he who is of the truth will respond to truth when he hears it and will be readily repulsed by the spirit of error. Error clothes itself in attractive garments. It often appears inviting, acceptable and to be desired, but there is always something about its spirit that is off key and to which the deep chords of Christ within refuse to respond. When anyone feels this way, he should never try to persuade himself to accept either what is taught or the person who taught it, for it is certain to be wrong. Truth, though not understood, will ring true, but error, though understood, will pall the spirit. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
My heart goes out in prayer that the God of all wisdom and understanding will open the hearts of all who read these things that they may see that none can ever know God or understand His ways until God comes to him personally to uncover the truth by a revelation to his heart. Even those who, as Moses, have met God face to face possess no ability to describe His glory so that others might see and be transformed, God must reveal Himself in revelation to each individual heart or all will fail to comprehend His truth or understand His ways. Though Peter, James, and John should stand before me patiently explaining the effulgent wonders of the Mount of Transfiguration, their words would be wasted, for I can never hope to know the transforming power of that holy experience until I myself have stood where they stood to behold His glory, seeing and hearing those wonders that charmed and transformed their beings. It was for this very reason that Jesus charged them saying, “See thou tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen from the dead.” Neither you nor I, my brethren, are in a position to waste even five minutes of our time in criticism or condemnation of anyone, for we all are devoid of truth and stripped to nakedness of understanding. It is time to confess our sins in sackcloth and ashes. It is time to rend our hearts and not our garments. It is time to repent of our waywardness and our hard speeches and confess that we know nothing yet as we ought to know.
TRUTH AND REVELATION
There is something about truth and revelation that no one ever really knows until it becomes a personal experience. While this is especially true in the spiritual realm, it is also true in the natural realm. The only persons on earth who really understand our sorrow are the persons who have traveled the same valley of despair. Only those who have been bereaved know what bereavement really is. They alone can shed the sympathizing tear, for they alone truly understand. Others may kindly and with feeling offer their condolence, but they can do little more than that, for they have not experienced the pain and loneliness of our loss. The reason our blessed Lord is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb. 4:15) is that He knoweth our frame.
He remembereth that we are dust. He Himself was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He knew what it was to be despised, afflicted, and rejected of men. He knows what it is to be misunderstood, to be dragged from prison and judgment with no man to declare His generation. He knows what it is to be tempted in all points as we are tempted, and, though He knew not sin and no guile was found in Him, yet the sympathizing tears flow from His eyes as He extends His nail-pierced hand to lift us from the shades of our gloomy night to the ineffable light of the plane on which He dwells.
How are we to explain the blessedness of justification to those who have never experienced its joy or the peace that comes to the heart with the knowledge of sins forgiven? For many years I heard the story of men who were saved. They told of the wonderful goodness of that experience in God. They spoke of burdens that rolled away at Calvary, of blood that made sinners whiter than snow, of peace that flowed like a river, and of lives that were transformed by grace divine. It all sounded very wonderful, indeed, but one day of experience in that blessed realm taught me more than all my teachers through many a bygone year. I also learned of many things which none had ventured to tell me. I learned that there was far more to being a Christian than reclining on flowery beds of ease while waiting to be transported to the skies. I learned by experience that there were heartaches and crosses, narrow roads and slippery paths. Robbers and traitors lay in wait by my pathway and temptation sought to destroy my soul.
I asked for life and this is what He gave me.
My lot is hard; my tears flow like the rain.
I asked for hours gay with sunshine spattered,
But, lo, my waking hours are filled with pain.
How could I know that crushing brings forth fragrance
Like perfume from some crushed and bleeding rose,
That in the process of my better making
God used the methods He approved and chose?
It is a shocking revelation to find that after lifetimes of instruction in doctrines men still do not know the Lord. Men may learn the theories of justification replete with scriptures and theological argument, but they never know justification until it becomes an experience within them. The various theories of water baptism have been propounded for centuries, but perhaps there is still no man on earth who has experienced the transformation that will come to those who are truly baptized into His death and resurrection. We have been content with forms and ceremonies, but devoid of experience. Mary and Martha knew there would be a resurrection in some far off day, but they did not know that the resurrection was the Christ who stood by their side longing to dispel their darkness and open their understanding that He might become both resurrection and life to the living as well as the dead. “I am the resurrection and the life,” He said. “Whosoever believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?” Yet they wept on, for the light of revelation had not penetrated their sorrowing minds. Jesus wept with them, not from a sense of despair, but because of the blindness of the natural mind. The natural mind understands not the things of the Spirit of God. It never, never can know them, for they are spiritually discerned. God must reach beyond the shadows of the natural mind, causing the light of His glorious revelation to flood upon our slumbering spirits before we can understand or know Him as He is.
To some people the voice of the Virgin Mary was the voice of a fornicator, an unholy young maid who had sinned during her betrothal, but when the voice of Mary sounded in the ears of Elizabeth, the babe leaped in her womb for joy. Thus the Spirit of God reveals the truth to the spirit of man, for, “when He the Spirit of truth has come, He will take the things of God and show them unto you.” John 16:13-15. That is true revelation.
A true revelation is an experience from God. Any professed revelation that does not bring an experience to those who receive it is not a revelation from God at all, rather some figment of man’s imagination. When God reveals Himself to man in any way, there is always transformation. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. I would not give a wooden nickel for any revelation which wrought no change in my life, that produced neither repentance, nor holiness, nor awe. If we could stand with Job in God’s presence, we would hear him say, “I have heard of Thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” If we could stand with Isaiah, we would hear him say, “In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and lifted up and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims, each having six wings; with twain he covered his face, with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly; and one cried to the other, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts: The whole earth is full of His glory, and the posts of the door were moved at the voice of Him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, and he laid it upon my mouth, saying, Lo, this hath touched thy lips and thine iniquity is purged and thy sin taken away.” Isa. 6:1-7. Those who come face to face with true revelation are coming face to face with God, for they, “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into that same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18
You may have seen men claiming great revelation from the Lord who were as puffed up as a toad, whose very being reeked of self-confidence and conceit. I do not believe in their pretended revelation but abhor their pride and turn away. When Gideon saw the angel, he cried, “Alas.” Jacob, awaking from his dream at Haran, was afraid and cried, “Surely the Lord is in this place; how dreadful is this place. This is none other but the house of God and the gate of heaven.” Gen. 28:16–17 And Peter, seeing the miraculous draught of fishes, begged in amazement, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8
The hour is certainly at hand when all who will be sons of God must come to know Him. Let me therefore say with the utmost emphasis that you will never come to know Him by listening to sermons, attending meetings, reading articles, joining in great schemes to advance the gospel or any of the other things that occupy the time and thought of the modern church goer. You come to know Christ by being with Him where He is. “Father, I will that those whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” John 17:24. You come to know Him by speaking often with Him and listening as He speaks to you. You come to know His will when you have no will of your own. Man’s will is very strong and his heart very deceitful, but when at last your will is completely laid down in your Gethsemane as His was in the garden, then He will reveal His will and begin to lead you in His own paths. You have prayed that the mind of Christ would dwell in you. Seek then to have no mind of your own, for that which above all else hinders the mind of Christ from dwelling in you is the dominating presence of your own mind, your own ideas, your own thoughts and your own desires. The moment Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road realized he was face to face with Jesus Christ and that his whole mind and will was contrary to Him, then in utter abandonment he cast his own mind away and cried, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?’ And from that moment the Spirit of God took over.
Learn now the words of the Lord. “My ways are not your ways, neither are your thoughts My thoughts; for as heaven is higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” It is time to stand still before God and give an earnest ear to His speaking, for all the world and the professing church with it has turned every man to his own way. They have forsaken the ways of the Lord. They do not know His voice nor follow Him. They have invented all manner of work, is which appear wonderful on the surface, but they are not the ways of Christ. They are the works of their own hands. Never in the history of the world was there so much preaching and prophesying, so much idle talk about faith, so many claiming miracles and healings, so many great works and extravagant programs, but never was there such a dearth of truth, such lack of the mind of God and such abandonment to the will of man.
Above the tumult of tradition, above the strife of doctrine, above the cries for universal unity, the Spirit of God is calling a people who will hear His voice, walk in His will, know His mind, experience His presence, feel His life. They shall not walk as others walk, for leaving all others they cleave only to Him. They are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people to show forth the praises of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.
BECOMING GOD’S WILL
THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH
The hour is at hand when the glory of the kingdom of God will cast its gladdening rays over the entire earth, for the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings will have arisen forevermore. “Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.” Isa. 60:20-22
The hour is at hand when Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords will take His seat upon the throne of David His father in Jerusalem, the city of the great King. Matt. 5:34–35. Upon His right hand will be the one hundred forty and four thousand chosen sons of Israel, each with the seal of the living God in his forehead, and upon His left hand the one hundred forty and four thousand chosen sons of Zion, each bearing the name of God in his forehead. By those who minister at His right hand shall all the earth be covered with truth, and by those who minister from His left hand will all the earth be governed in righteousness, for “the law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
The hour is at hand when the will of God shall be done in all the earth below as it is done in all the heaven above. For six thousand years the inhabitants of the earth have drunk deeply of the cup of bitterness, bondage and oppression of a realm governed by the will of man. Judgment, justice, truth and equity have been banished from the land while kings and conquerors, dictators and despots have sought to establish their human wills, rejoicing at the sighing of the needy and ignoring the groaning of those they oppressed. But the kingdom of God will not be governed by the craven will of self-centered men, who know nothing as they ought to know, but by the will of Him who created the universe for Himself, who knoweth all things and loveth all His creatures. Those who shall be counted worthy to share His kingdom must first depart forever from their own will to become one with Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.
That the will of God should be done in earth even as it is done in heaven was the prayer of Jesus Christ, the Lord. In heaven the will of God is always done. Those peaceful shores are never cursed by the carnal mind. No distorted vision blights their habitation. No selfish purposes disrupt the calm of that realm. There angels resplendent in wisdom and strength always behold the face of our Father in heaven. With sacred joy they bow their heads before Him to worship, or speed away as on wings of light to carry His edicts to the uttermost universe. In heaven the seraphim, covering their faces with their wings, cry, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!” The heavenly hosts forever hymn His praises. There the sun and the moon and all the stars of light praise Him. The heaven of heavens praise Him and the waters, which be above the heavens, for His will is always done in that celestial realm. Psa. 48. But now let God be praised, for the hour is at hand when His will shall be done in earth even as it is done in heaven. A new sun is about to rise over all the earth. “Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in the dance: Let them sing praises unto Him with timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgments written: This honor have all His saints.” Psa. 149
We must through great tribulation enter the kingdom of God, but, when that tribulation is past, all nations will walk in the light of the Lord. Therefore, “praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps: fire and hail, snow and vapors, stormy wind fulfilling His word: mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl: Kings of the earth and all people, princes and all judges of the earth: Both young men and maidens, old men and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” Psa. 148:7-13 Thus in that day it shall be that all things in earth, whether fire or wind, snow or vapor, mountains, hills, trees and forests, beasts and cattle, creeping things and flying fowl, young men, maidens, old men and children, all will live in praise to the will of Him who created them. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.
If I were asked to name that which in all the universe is of greatest importance, I think I should have to name the will of God, for in the will of God all else that we might seek of Him lies eternally hidden. Apart from the will of God there can be no possession of the mind of Christ. Outside the will of God there can be no knowledge of the purpose of God. All those who shall be accounted worthy to share the glory of Christ’s kingdom in the age to come must first experience in this age the wonderful knowledge of God’s will, for before the will of God shall be done in the earth where we are, it must first have been done in the earth which we are.
The following teaching concerning the will of God is to me a matter of special revelation. If you will ask God to enlighten your mind, you will find an entirely new conception of what the will of God really is. I think you will be able to see clearly that the will of God has nothing whatsoever to do with many of our former conceptions of it, such as, “Is it the Lord’s will for me to do this or that,” or “Is it the Lord’s will for me to go here or there?” God is no longer interested in slavish servitude, but sonship. He is interested in the will of God as it springs spontaneously from the hearts of His sons. We are becoming what He is and what He is we are becoming. He who formerly called us servants later called us friends, because a servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth. Later still He called us brothers, (Matt. 12:49, 28:10), for brothers are sons of a common Father. They have the Spirit of sonship. They do the will of God as it springs spontaneously from what they are.
Many centuries ago Moses with head bowed, feet bare and heart trembling stood before the God of the burning bush. The zeal and fire of former years had ebbed from his spirit and he wanted nothing more than to be left alone with himself and his sheep. This, however, was not to be, for God was speaking to the old man, telling him of a work that was yet future and of a ministry of deliverance that was soon to begin. He must go back to visit his enslaved brethren in Egypt and bring them the blessing of the greatest emancipation ever known. He did not want to go, and we can scarcely blame him, but when finally he reluctantly consented to do the will of the Lord, he dubiously asked, “Who shall I say has sent me?” And God replied, “I Am thatI Am. Tell the people that I Am hath sent you.” It seemed a strange name and surely it was one that would bring misunderstanding to those who heard it, yet the magnificent truth wrapped up in those two words has never yet been fully told or understood. Centuries later when the Pharisees disputed with the Saviour about His authority and divine origin, He told them, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” John. 8:58
No name known to the human tongue can describe the Savior like this name. No sentence ever spoken by eloquent orator, no phrase ever written by sage or philosopher, no song ever sung by angel or seraphim can describe in such all inclusive excellence the almighty magnitude of what He really is. I Am, I Am, I Am. That is His name above all names and includes in itself all that He is and shall be forever.
“Lord, we know not whither Thou goest and how can we know the way,” complained Thomas. “I am the way,” Jesus replied, “I am the truth, I am the life.”
“I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day,” sobbed Martha sadly. “I am the resurrection,” Jesus answered, “and I am the life.”
“I am the vine. I am the door. I am the good shepherd. I am the light. I am the Alpha. I am Omega. I am the first. I am the last. I am the beginning. I am the end. I am thy redeemer. I am thy strength. I am He that liveth. I am He that was dead. I am He that shutteth and no man openeth and openeth and no man shutteth. I am the root and the offspring of David. I am the bright and morning star.” There is no end to what He is, for He is everything. He is the Christ. He is the Lord. He is the redemption of the entire universe.
Jesus Christ is the will of God. He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him who sent Him. The works that He did and the words that He spake were never His: they were given to Him by the Father. All His wonderful acts were the acts of God. “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” All His mighty statements were the words of His Father. He Himself was “the Word of God.” The blessed Christ was not merely a preacher of the Word of God; He was and is the Word of God. The same thing is true of His works. He did not merely perform the works of God, but He is the work of God.
Through suffering and obedience He had come to be the will of God. Nothing He ever did throughout His life was contrary to that divine will. “The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” He asked. “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” “In all things” He pleased the Father, and in consequence the Father was well pleased in Him.
It will not be necessary for me to take time here to show that Christ was the first Son in a vast family of sons who were yet to follow. He is the firstborn, the eldest of many brethren, even as it is said, “Behold, I and the children which God has given Me.” Heb. 2:13. This vast company of children is through suffering and tribulation entering into sonship. They are coming into His glorious image. What He is they are becoming. “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them,” He said. “As the Father has life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.” Likewise also the Son has given that glory to us that we too may have life in ourselves through Him. I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly.” Let us think of any ineffable glory contained in the name “I Am” and wonder of wonders He has given that glory to the Son, and the Son in turn has passed it on to that vast family of brothers who are coming into His glorious image. “The glory which thou gavest Me I have given them,” He declared; and it is absolutely true. Christ was the visible manifestation of the complete will of God and in Him we are becoming not merely reluctant doers of the will of God, but we are actually becoming the will of God. “Of His own will begat He us that we should be a kind of first fruit of His creatures.”
There has always been a conflict between the mind of God and the mind of man. The struggle between the will of God and the will of man never ceases. In all things Christ pleased the Father. It is impossible to please the Father and to please yourself at the same time. Even Christ pleased not Himself. Not my will but Thine be done will be the theme of your life. It will be your meat and drink and the breath you breathe. “My meat,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and finish His work.” You cannot serve God and Mammon, for if you obey the will of one, you will hate the will of the other, because God’s will and man’s will are the antithesis of each other. Paul declared, “If I yet please men I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ.” There is no concord between Christ and Belial, and there is no communion between the will of God and the will of man. To love the one is to hate the other and to serve the one is to despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.
The very moment Jesus Christ proclaimed, “Lo, I come to do Thy will, oh God!” the heavenly Father openly declared that He would take away the first (which is the will of man) and establish the second (which is the will of God). The sacrifices and offerings dragged from man’s unwilling and rebellious heart could never be the foundation and order of the kingdom of God, but when the sons of God come, saying in truth, “I delight to do Thy will, oh my God,” then nothing can delay the coming of His glorious reign. His kingdom will have come because His will shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven. The moment anyone delights in God’s will, all sacrifice and offering is done away, for how could anything ever be a sacrifice to one who delights in God’s will?
There is a path that leads to the will of God. You will never find it by struggling or striving. You will only find it in the great I Am. One day Jesus told His disciples, “Whither I go, ye know, and the way ye know.” Thomas replied doubtfully, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest, and how can we know the way?” What those poor troubled disciples did not know was that Christ was both the way and the destination at the end of the way. It is into Him that we are going, for He dwells in the Father and the Father dwells in Him. Christ is truth. He cannot be anything but truth, because God is truth and He dwells in God. He cannot be anything else but life, for God is life and He dwells in God. Therefore, because we are in the way of truth that leads to life, we become both the truth and the life, for He that dwelleth in Christ, dwelleth in God. When we lay down our will and pick up His, we are becoming the will of God, for Christ is the will of God and we know that He is the way and He is the end of the way.
As Noah in the long ago approached the great tribulation when the whole earth was to be destroyed by water, God called him aside and said, “The end of all flesh is come before me.” God is speaking again in these last days, saying, “The end of all flesh is come before me.” There is going to be a fantastic and unbelievable change from the will of man to the will of God. I have no hesitation in saying that the last particle of church tradition is about to vanish away, and everything will become completely new. Unknown to us there are still things about us that retain the nasty odor of the old disorder, but these also will have to go that nothing outside the will of the Lord may remain. God is going to make a complete riddance of the flesh during the coming wrath and judgment of the tribulation. The kingdom of God cometh on apace. Then His will shall be done in earth as it is done in Heaven.
We must settle it in our hearts that we are not going to try to please man and we are not going to try to please ourselves. In all the life of Christ His testimony remained true. He pleased not Himself. Oh, how we do love to please ourselves. We love to exact our labors. We like to find excuses to pick up what we once laid down and rebuild the things we once destroyed. We love to pad our shoulders so that the cross will be easy to carry, or else we lay it down altogether. The cup, which we have been given to drink we flavor to our taste to make it more pleasing and less bitter. We exact our labors and change our days of fasting and prayer for comfort and ease. In consequence our spiritual eyes grow dim and we lose sight of the celestial hills afar.
Paul spent a long lifetime in pleasing God. From the time it pleased God to reveal His Son in him until the end of his earthly pilgrimage, he never tried to please men. Many bitter and different experiences had taught him the truth, “If I yet please men, I am not the servant of Jesus Christ.” There is only one person in the universe that you can please and that is God Himself. Though you may spend a whole lifetime trying to please men, you will find in the end you have not succeeded. The first thing you do to displease them will be thought sufficient to cancel out all the good things you have done, and they will turn against you and cry for your blood. Paul found it that way. One day he could scarcely restrain the multitude from offering sacrifice to him, but the next day they were stoning him.
As we come closer and closer to the end of this present age, we hear more and more about the manifestation of the sons of God. Whenever one thinks of the manifestation of the sons of God, his mind begins immediately to dream in terms of ecstasies and glories indescribable. Is it not wholly true that we begin to think of all the marvelous things we will do, of the signs and wonders that will be performed, the miracles done on sick bodies, the raising of the dead, the control of the elements, and the bowing of all men to God? I am quite sure that these in part are the general thoughts of each of us whenever we meditate upon this subject. Have we not longed to break through the barrier that binds us to this present age of impotence so that nothing will any more be impossible to us?
The sons of God are not manifest by what they do, but by what they are. Sonship is not doing, but being. It is quite possible for one to be a Son of God without having any record of works at all. On the other hand it is possible for one to have a long and impressive list of good works and not be a son of God at all. There is a record given in Scripture that has been disconcerting to many people. It tells of certain remarkable people, possessing a magnificent array of good works, who were not permitted into the kingdom of the Lord. They were very, very surprised and disappointed, and with a show of injured pride over the evident mistake God had made, they began to number their mighty works to prove that there certainly was an error somewhere. “Lord”, they said, “We have prophesied in Thy name, we have done many wonderful works.” See Matt. 7:21-23. These people are not lying; they are telling the truth. They had done all these wonderful things. For years they had been patting themselves on the back in pride. People had looked at them with admiration. They had decided that their works were evident tokens of their acceptability with God. They were appalled when they were told by none other than God Himself, “I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work in iniquity.” I have heard many explanations of this story, which purport to prove that the miracles were false and the people who performed them were everything that is bad, but that is not the answer. The truth is that sonship is not what you do. Sonship is what you are.
Now let me explain what I mean. In the days of Israel‘s sojourn in the wilderness, many, many offerings were made to God and many things were done to gain the favor of the Lord. I do not mean that they were wrong in so doing, but I do mean it was no evidence of sonship. They offered the blood of bulls and of goats. Their offerings were continual. Every priest stood every day offering sin-offerings, burnt-offerings, trespass offerings, offerings for individual sin and offerings for the sin of the nation. But none of these things made the offerer perfect. Heb. 10:1. In other words, it did not produce sonship.
Then He says, “In burnt offering and sacrifice for sin, thou hast no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come to do Thy will. O God. …” He taketh away the first, namely, all the things they were doing, doing, doing, doing. God had no pleasure in them at all. Neither has He any pleasure in the things that we do for Him. But now one has come to do Thy will, O God; so He takes away the first that He may establish the second. The first means the multitude of works, which we do for God. The second is a very different thing: doing God’s will. The first He takes away. The second He establishes. Please read Heb. 10:1-10.
Just so long as we are busying ourselves rushing here and there making a big show of the things we are accomplishing for God, the old order will continue to persist, but when we begin to take sincerely the attitude that “if God does not want the thing, neither do I,” then we are approaching sonship. Why should I insist on raising up a big work in some corner of the earth if God does not want it? If He is not going to deal with the Jews or the Gentiles just now, why should I try to do it? Oh, the useless labor and hardship that men have endured because they were bound to accomplish something in which God had no interest.
We are like the legendary wise men of Gotham who, wanting the sun to rise earlier than usual, rolled great stones to the east to make the earth turn faster. Do you think they speeded up the sunrise? I don’t think so. It was labor in vain. It is like the men who built a wall around the garden to keep the lark in, and like the man who took the door off his house so the thieves could not break it down. We would call such people morons, but I trow they are no more morons than those who think that the works they do are proof of their sonship.
There is only one attitude of heart that is pleasing to God; “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.” This has nothing to do with the worn out phrase, “the Lord led me” or “it is the Lord’s will,” for there are many who follow the desires and ambitions that spring from their own hearts. They lead themselves to believe that these personal desires are actually the will of the Lord for them. Usually this has nothing whatever to do with the true leading of the Spirit of God. As long as there is any personal ambition, we cannot lay claim to being led by the Spirit of God. God knows whether you are being led by His Spirit or by your own fancy and personal desire. It is those who are led by the Spirit of God who are truly the sons of God.
Please notice now that just as soon as one came “to do Thy will, O God,” it is said, “He taketh away the first.” A dispensation ends right there and then. Truly doing the will of God springs directly from being the will of God. You can never truly do God’s will until you have become God’s will. As soon as this happens, you find all the old things are done away. Your ambitions go and His ambition becomes yours. Your ministry begins to change. Instead of worrying about your ministry as you did in the past, you now find that doing the will of God is your ministry. Nothing else. Absolutely nothing else. It is not how abundantly you preach, prophesy, heal the sick or give to the poor. It is how you accomplish the will of God.
All the old ambitions fade out of your life to make way for God’s will. You no longer have a will of your own. God’s will is your will, God’s plan, your plan, God’s purpose, your purpose. You kneel long in prayer before Him, but you have no requests to make. Your whole being proclaims, Amen! Amen! Thy will be done! And from the thousand corridors of your spirit echoes the joyful sound: Amen; Thy will be done! Thy will be done! Old things pass away all around you. They must pass away to make room for the new things. Everything changes. Everything becomes new. Your planning, scheming, organizing, advertising until you are in a state of exhaustion is gone and in its place comes the rest wherewith He causes the weary to rest, and oh how sweet is the refreshing! When the body of Christ, like Christ the Head, has no more pleasure in the multitude of works but has come “to do Thy will, O God,” then He taketh away the first order to establish the new order, even the order of the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the ages.
If you were to ask me where you might find the will of God and in what place does it dwell, I should have to answer, “The will of God dwells in that place where your will does not dwell, and there and there alone will you find it.” If for a moment we could stand in that place where no creature dwells, then without a moment’s delay we could hear God speak. There are so many voices in the world, all clamoring to be heard. There are so many voices within, all shouting for our attention. Only when we have passed beyond the will of man and the will of the flesh can we become acquainted with the will of God. God is not far away from us, but He can never speak to us because our will never ceases to instruct us and our minds never cease to think of ways and means to gather more things about us. But could we but for an hour cease from our own thoughts and cease from our own will, then eternal hearing, speaking and thinking would begin within us and we would understand and know the will and the mind of God.
If you do not believe this to be the truth, then come before God for an hour and see how your own thoughts drag your soul away from God and your own self-centered will comes into conflict with that of the Eternal. Your own will completely obliterates the will of God within you, and the sound of your own voice speaking its demands within you hushes His voice so it never can be heard by you.
The voice of God is seldom heard in the rush and bustle of life. He seldom thunders His edicts from Heaven, but waits with great patience until all sounds of earth have died away and then speaks with a voice both small and still. Not while we are slaying our Egyptian and burying him in the sand does God speak, but in the back side of some desert where earthly wills have drifted with the barren sands of time, where youthful ambitions have faded, and where the glittering sun of human purpose has cast its last flickering ray upon all earthly resolve. Not while we are riding in triumph to bind the saints does God disclose His secrets to our hearts, but in desolate Arabia, alone and apart from persistent quibblings of scribe and Sanhedrin, He lifts us into the third heaven to hear unspeakable things that concern His will. Let the wicked banish the faithful to some rocky Patmos of the sea, yet there beyond the reach of earthly voices where angels hymn their anthems will one appear like the Son of man, having eyes like lamps of fire and a voice as the sound of many waters. God is not far from any of us, but His will is found in that realm where our will does not come, and His voice is heard only where creature voices are hushed and silent.
If you can come to the place where your will is silent, where even the inner voice of your mind and soul is stilled, there you will be enfolded by His will and become a part of His mind eternally. God existed before any creature, and before the creature there was silence. Only the voice of God was heard; only the will of God was done. When you come to the place where no voice is speaking within you and no will is asserting its demands, then you have come back to the condition that existed before God made a creature. It is God’s will that I should exist, not in self-will, but in His will.
When Adam and his wife rejoiced in the effulgent wonders of the heaven blest land of Eden, they knew nothing but the will of God. Every perfumed path they trod was in God’s will and all their exalted thoughts were from the mind of Christ. The thought of living apart from Him never once saddened their pure hearts, but they dwelt in Him who possessed heaven and earth and, dwelling in Him, they possessed all things. No gloomy shadows ever darkened their bright minds, for in Him there is no darkness at all. Neither doubt nor fear tormented them, for in Him there is no sorrow nor doubt nor any torment of fear. Want or hunger distressed them not, for they dwelt in Hun for whom and by whom all things exist, and there where the perfumed breeze swept through the trees, they basked in His ineffable love and rejoiced in inexpressible joys.
It was a sad day, indeed, for man when the enemy of all righteousness suggested to him that it would be possible for him to have something apart from God. “God knows,” he told them, “that in the day you eat of the tree you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” For the first time a dismal shadow crossed their pure minds, making them think they could have something by themselves, apart from God – something, they were told, that would increase their wisdom and make them even more like God than they already were. In hope of being more like God our innocent mother stretched out her trusting hand to take the fruit, giving it to her husband as well. In truth their eyes were opened wide and they knew good and evil. They knew good, but it had fled back to God from whence it came. They knew evil, but it pursued them and from it they were powerless to flee. How wretched it is to possess things apart from God. Things! Things! Things! Man is always wanting to possess things. He spends his life collecting things and possessing them apart from God and because they are apart from God he has nothing in the end. He is able to collect only temporal things and all temporal things soon pass away. Therefore, should we possess the whole world or the whole universe apart from God, it would cease to be ours. Like mists before the rising sun, it would soon vanish away and our lives would fade as a leaf and be no more. Poor benighted man goes on in his blindness trying to set up his own frail kingdom which, if a fox should run over it, would be destroyed, or if the wind passes over it, is gone. How often it has been my lot to stand by a tomb listening to the plaintive sobs of broken hearts, while I intoned the words, “Like as a Father pitieth His children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him, for He knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust. As for man, he is of few days and full of trouble. As the flower of the field he flourisheth, but the wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more, but the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting to them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children.” A lifetime of labor is laid in the ravening dust and all the earthly things once possessed have fled away. Yet we walk away from the tomb and the lesson it taught us to go on as usual collecting the things of our own little kingdom about us.
I believe you will agree to what we now propose. Since the fall of man from the Paradise of God there has been a wicked, carnal mind that has filled him with an insatiable desire to possess things apart from God. Perhaps man imbibed some of that Satanic mind which once said, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit in the congregation in the sides of the north; I will ascend into the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” (Isa. 14:13–14)
We do not realize it, I think, but frail man not only wants to gather things about himself, but he wants to be the center of his own little universe. The more he possesses the greater his universe seems to be and the greater his feeling of confidence and assurance. He never discovers that he has enough for this life, but, because he finds that what he has does not bring him the satisfaction he thought it would, he seeks to add more and more to it, hoping that the extra he adds will bring him contentment and rest from fear. Why do men who possess millions in earthly possessions go on adding more and more to them? There must be a reason. Think it through. Things possessed apart from God cannot ever satisfy.
Man is not satisfied by possessing earthly things. He secretly wants to possess the things of God as well and that for himself apart from God. There is no wisdom in the universe apart from the wisdom of God. In Him dwell all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Yet in the Garden of Eden man conceived the idea of possessing the wisdom of God apart from God. Can you imagine that? Man possessing wisdom apart from God? Yet this is what he wanted. The Lord says, “All our righteousness are as filthy rags.” What are we trying to do with righteousness? Is there any righteousness apart from God? Yet here is man having a righteousness of his own, trying to possess it himself apart from God even though it is filthy rags. Why did Nadab and Abihu wickedly offer strange fire before the Lord? Did they not want to possess for themselves what only God possessed? Why did Simon, the sorcerer, offer money for the gift that Peter had? He cared nothing for God, but in the gall of his bitterness and the bond of his rebellion he wanted to possess for himself something that belonged only to God and cannot be had apart from Him.
Let me ask one question further. Do you not think that this strange desire exists today? What about spiritual gifts? Do men desire them to bring all glory to God, or do they covet them as a means of self-promotion and self-exaltation? How is it that so many men who seem to have gifts from God soon become the center of a little universe of their own where all roads lead to them and all fingers point in their direction? Let us face it. Men not only want to gather temporal things about themselves, but they also crave to have eternal things for themselves and to possess them in themselves and by themselves apart from God. The carnal mind is an eternal enemy of God. It refuses to become subject to the law of God, and indeed it is powerless to do so. But it secretly desires the things of God, wisdom, righteousness and power, so that it may be as God.
Were it possible for you to possess everything in the world and in heaven apart from God, you would have exactly nothing, but if you have nothing, yet dwell in God, you possess all things. Thus it is clearly made manifest what Paul meant when he said, “As having nothing, yet possessing all things.” It does not seem right to me that the wood should possess the fire but that the fire should possess the wood, for the fire cannot become one with the wood, but the wood can become one with the fire. Neither yet is it possible for the ship to possess the ocean, for then it would sink; but the ocean may possess all the ships of the world without one being in sight of the other. For me to possess God or even any of the things of God will destroy me, but if God possesses me, then I possess all things because all things are His.
Is this truth not the one that was in Paul’s mind when he declared, “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours, and ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” 1 Cor. 3:21-22. All things are yours because you are the possession of God. It is like a beggar maiden who married a millionaire. She could have roamed the dreary paths of life, receiving an occasional pittance of his charity and have nothing. But at the time she gives herself to him to become his bride he declares for the world to hear, “With all my worldly goods I thee endow.”
How I wish I could explain with transcendent light the great difference between our possessing things and our being possessed of God. This, my friend, is the problem we are facing now. In the past we have wanted to possess things and have found ourselves desolate and empty, but if we give ourselves to Him, all things will be ours, because all things are His. He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again. II Cor. 5:15.
When Paul was expressing thanks for the gift given him by the Corinthians, II Cor. 8:1-5, the thing that rejoiced his heart most was that they first gave their own selves to the Lord. If we give abundant gifts to God yet withhold ourselves, we have given nothing. Everything is His anyway. It was His before you were here and it will be His after you have gone away. “Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool. What house will you build Me,” said the Lord. The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, how much less a house we build Him. The early church had the truth straight when they took the attitude that “none of the things they possessed was their own.”
The earth will never possess the kingdom of God as long as eternity shall endure. It must be the other way about. The kingdom of God must possess the earth. Though the kingdom of God is within me, yet I cannot possess it. It must possess me or it will never be seen or known. If I possess Christ, I will be as barren in the future as I have been in the past, but if Christ possesses me, then I will be hid with Christ in God and God alone will fill the earth with His resplendent glory.
As we consider the following thoughts, may God almighty grant that His Spirit may instruct us in the way of truth and understanding. Let us fervently pray that God will reveal the eternal truth of this subject to our hearts.
The spirit’s yearning for the will of God is without doubt the true spirit of sonship. Mark well the all-embracing testimony of Jesus Christ to this fact as stated in John 5:30-37. “I can of Mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of Me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of Me is true. Ye sent unto John and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in His light. But I have greater witness than that of John; for the works which My Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me that the Father hath sent Me; and the Father Himself which hath sent Me hath borne witness of Me.”
I challenge you to survey the whole world today and you will scarcely find a man alive either in the church or outside the church who can truthfully testify in the words spoken above. I greatly fear that the testimony in the early church and the testimony of all men today can be truthfully given in the sorrowful words of Paul, “All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” Phil. 2:21. You would not have to pay a dime a dozen for men who constantly use such worn phrases as “we want God”, “we want God’s will”, or “I’m seeking the will of the Lord about the matter,” or “I think it’s the Lord’s will that we do this or that.” But you will have to search the world over for a handful of men and women who have enough of the spirit of sonship to withdraw from every human effort and wait until God instructs them though they should wait a lifetime. It is to this truth that Jesus was testifying when He said, “I can of Myself do nothing,” “I seek not Mine own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true,” “I do always those things that please the Father,” and many other such wonderful statements of consecration.
At times certain words of scripture strike you like a thunderbolt. They impress you deeply and work a transformation in your life. Did you ever notice the words of Elijah as he stood alone before the prophets of Baal and before Israel and Israel‘s king? “Let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word.” 1 Kings 18:36. We have often heard sermons on the faith of Elijah. Certainly he was a man of faith, but his faith did not stand in his ability to believe that God would do what he demanded. Rather it stood in the fact that, long before he asked, God had commanded him and told him what to do. Calling down fire on the altar and the destruction of the prophets of Baal was not a grandiose scheme concocted in Elijah’s head. The thing that he did was successful only because he was walking in sonship and listening to the voice of God. For three years he sat in the widow’s house seemingly wasting valuable time apparently doing nothing. Why should such a valuable man withdraw himself from a society that needed his ministry so badly? But Elijah had learned that first principal of sonship, “I can do nothing of myself.” If we are going to be guided by “what the public needs, what the church system demands, what the people want, what we feel we should do” or any such thing, then we are going to be wrong. We will be found to be opportunists guided by the opportunities of the hour rather than by the will of the Lord.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the opening request was this: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” These two requests are forever bound up in the hearts of each other. The kingdom of God can never, never come until the will of God is done in and on earth as it is done in heaven. Furthermore, the moment the will of God is done in the earth, the kingdom of God will be here. For six thousand years the earth has been governed by the will of man. We have been governed variously by kings, emperors, dictators, presidents, democracy and communism, but the net result has always been the same, for the will of man always asserts itself, seeking its own purposes, fulfilling its own desires and doing its own will.
Can anyone possibly imagine what would happen to a nation if all the members of its government were completely selfless instead of completely selfish, if they were sons of God who could of themselves do nothing, instead of handshaking, baby-kissing politicians seeking to curry the favor of men for personal advantage, or if judges judged by the Spirit of God instead of the tricky letter of the law? Jesus said, “As I hear I judge, and My judgment is righteous because I seek not My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” To contemplate such things in this age brings but a sad smile to our faces. We know that in this age of the will of man such things cannot be, for, whether it be in the world, in Israel, or in the professing church, the testimony is always the same: “All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s.” The end is always the same. Soon men seek to draw away disciples for their advantage. They compass land and sea to make a proselyte. Man’s will displaces God’s will. So Israel goes to Babylon, the church goes to Babylon, and the world itself becomes such a Babylon of confusion that nothing can save it. The kingdoms of this world must become the kingdoms of the Lord and of His wonderful Christ.
The first principal of sonship then is found in these words: “I seek not Mine own will but the will of Him that sent Me.” The great daring programs of the church systems far too often have their roots, not in the will of God, but in self interest. Like whited sepulchers they look good and commendable on the outside, but within they are full of corruption and dead men’s bones. Men have gone a-whoring after physical healing in our day, not because they have any particular love for the sick or compassion for the suffering, but because the whole world has become so bodily, physically, and fleshly minded that they are led to believe that to attain physical healing is a thing of enormous importance. Because of the popularity of this idea, many men in our age have made a vast financial gain, but there has been very little sign of genuine repentance, revival, or turning to God. All too often, if the wealth were not there, you would hear no more of their professed ministry
In the midst of all this confusion of self-seeking the Spirit of God is calling out a people for His name. He is stripping them of self-interest, draining them of self-will, plucking from their broken hearts all personal ambition, causing them to abhor all self-seeking. From within out of their inner most being as sweet perfume wafted on the winds of God comes the constant sighing of the spirit of sonship, “Thy will be done! Thy will be done!“ “And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up to God out of the angel’s hand.” Rev. 8:4
The world is yet to be governed by a noble race of sons of God, every one in the image of Christ, every one a brother of Jesus, every one a son who “can do nothing of himself.” Adam, the son of God, reigning supreme in his glorious kingdom in Eden, was but a type of the sons of God who will reign in the whole earth at last in the blessed kingdom of the Father. The whole earth, as Eden was, shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Oh, if I by the Spirit of God could but impress upon your holy minds the unspeakable need of entering now into the complete will of God where all earthly, fleshly wills are dead and buried beneath the dust of your crucified selves that you might stand selfless before the throne of His eternal glory! All who hope for sonship and the glory of reigning with Him must first see self-crucified with Christ. In the effulgent glory of the heavenly kingdom all men shall walk in the light and counsel of the Lord. The prayer of Christ shall be answered. His will shall be done in earth even as it is done in heaven. Amen!
SOME THINGS THAT PLEASE THE FATHER
There is nothing dearer to the heart of God than unity. But the carnal mind, implacable enemy of God as it is, knows nothing of unity. It is filled with division and maintains an abiding hate for those who seek oneness with the mind of God. The blessed Lord Jesus Christ gained a great deal of prominence through His miracles, His healings, and His teachings, but when He laid claim to complete unity with God, animosity and hate against Him flared into open rebellion. “My sheep know My voice,” He said, “And I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father which gave them Me is greater than all; and no man can pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” They listened to Him up to this point, but when He continued, “I and My Father are one” then the Jews took up stones to stone Him. John 10:30, 31
We may well conclude that the one thing above all others which incurs the hatred of the carnal mind is its finding someone who is coming into unity with the mind of Jesus Christ. The carnal mind is so deceptive and wicked that it likes to think it is in unity with the mind of God. It loves to think that it is the mind of Christ. But it always rebels to find any mind who is in true unity with the Father, and it will rise up with stones in its evil hand to crush the head of those who have cast off the works of darkness, discarded the human ways of looking at things, and have earnestly sought to let the mind of Christ dwell in them richly in all things.
I believe I am right when I say that the only true unity in the universe is unity of mind. At first thought this statement may seem to be faulty, for we may think of many things which seem to have unity, but if we meditate a while, we will soon conclude that true unity never exists outside the mind. No unity of the flesh can possibly be said to be true unity. We have the testimony of scripture, saying, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they two shall be one flesh.” While this is a precious truth, yet I aver it is not true unity, for the man and his wife will be separated by death. She will no longer be his wife and he will no longer be her husband, for in heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage. Then again a man and his wife, though united in the flesh, may be as divided as the nations of the earth both in mind and in spirit. Sad to say many couples thus united are so much at enmity that they have to terminate their partnership and live apart.
The true unity that existed between Jesus Christ the Son and God the Father was not a physical unity but a unity of mind and spirit. How could there be anything but absolute unity when there was unity of mind? The mind that dwelt in Christ was not His own mind but the mind of the Father. Paul exhorted the Philippian Christians in these words. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus Christ.” The mind that was in Jesus Christ was the Father’s mind. The possession of that mind made Him one with the Father in thought, word, action, and deed. Who on earth can possibly deny the fact that, if the same mind dwells in you or me, we also will immediately become one with the Father in thought, word, action, deed, love, purpose, and being. We will think as He thinks, do as He would do, love as He would love, understand as He understands, and, putting it all together in one grand truth, we would be able to say as our blessed Savior said, “I and my Father are one.”
There is no greater prize than oneness with Him. Only those who have His mind can be led by His Spirit, and only those who are led by His Spirit can possibly come into sonship. The mind of Christ is a priceless pearl, to attain which a man will gladly sell all that he possesses. Beside that precious jewel all human wisdom fades into foolishness, all human understanding bows its head in shame and earthly gain or loss finds itself unworthy of consideration.
There is no wisdom apart from the mind of Christ. The wisdom of the world is foolishness with God; therefore, the mind of Christ and true wisdom are one and the same thing. The eloquent Job with silver tongued oratory declared. “Where is wisdom to be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living. The depth saith, it is not in me: and the sea saith, it is not in me. It cannot be gotten with gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx or sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it; and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels or fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of pearls; for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.” Job. 28: 12-19. And Solomon catching up the refrain exultantly exclaims. “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than silver and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left riches and honor.” Prov. 3:13-16. “Wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” Prov. 8:11
It is from the mind of Christ that wisdom flows like a pure river of living water. No clouds of doubt cast their gloomy shadows upon its crystal sheen, nor do fears trouble its timeless waves. No rocks of misunderstanding mar its course and those who flow with its eternal current sail in the will of God.
Count not other things to be of value. Make the mind of Christ the thing uppermost in your seeking. For He who has the mind of Christ is one with the Father, a son of God, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. The wretched teaching of a Babylonish church has made men think that to be busy for God is the important thing. But what on earth is the value in being busy for God, burning up for Him and working your fingers to the bone if you find at the end of your life that your labor was the product of your own mind and your untiring efforts were born of your own will and not of the will of God? It was of this very danger Jesus spoke when He solemnly declared, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them. I never knew you; Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Math. 7:21-23
Besides the twelve disciples who were always with the Lord, Jesus had chosen another seventy, whom He commissioned with power and authority and sent forth into the towns and cities where He would later come. These men went forth in the power and glory of the Spirit of Christ. The sick were healed, the cripples rose from their beds of pain, lame men leaped and ran, and demons fled at their command. Never had the Judaean hills echoed with such praises. Never had the people seen such wonders as throngs came to listen to these heralds of the coming kingdom of Christ. When their ministry was fulfilled, they returned with great joy to report their success to the Christ who had given them such miraculous power. Their faces were wreathed with smiles and their enthusiasms knew no bounds. Bursting with joy, they proclaimed. “Lord, even the devils are subject to us through Thy name.” And He replied, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke Ch. 10:17-20
It is the fact that we are known of God that counts, that our names are on record before Him. The signs and wonders and works are nothing, for they were accomplished ages ago when Christ saw Satan fall as lightning from heaven. They are not done by our power and we deserve no credit for them. But to know God and be known of Him is the source and secret of sonship and the source and secret of His blessed will. Oh! what a universe of truth is contained in the following words of Christ’s exhortation! Vs 21 “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight .’.’. And no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him … blessed are the eyes which see these things that ye see.” As many, you see, as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
If any man who ever lived could have claimed miracles and signs as proof of his acceptance with God, it should have been the apostle Paul. But we find him near the end of his wonderful life still murmuring with indescribable passion and in longing, “That I may know Him.”
The church today is full of men and women who are the image of those described. They are prophesying, preaching, casting out devils, and doing many outstanding works in many ways. They claim to have a call. They would be angry at the suggestion that they were acting outside the will of God. They point to their outstanding success as proof that they are right, but actually they know nothing at all about the true will of the Lord. They will be the most surprised persons in the world to find themselves left out of the kingdom. With surprise and indignation, they will point to their notable activities, as though God was overlooking something, only to be told that both they and their wonderful works are strangers to Him.
If we want to find the mind of Christ and come to unity with the Father, we are going to have to seek for it as for hid treasure and search for it as men search for gold. God never gives His mind to men just for the careless asking. I am thoroughly convinced that it takes years of enlightenment before we are even ready to see that the carnal mind, which we all possess is the enemy of God and the biggest antichrist in the world. The carnal mind is not only the most monstrous antichrist in the world but the most blatant liar and wily deceiver that ever issued forth from the pit. It makes men think that black is white, good is evil, evil is good. It exalts Satan to God’s throne and sits in God’s temple showing itself to be God. It was of this double-minded monster that James wrote, saying by the Holy Ghost, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Jas. 4:8-10. When you see the situation as it really is, then your laughter is turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness, and, humbling yourself in the sight of the Lord, He lifts you up to partake of His mind and come to unity with Him.
During the last weeks I have thought much of the story of Mary and Martha which is recorded in Luke 10:38 in these words, “Now it came to pass as they went that He entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister, called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha! Martha! Thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Now I think Martha must have been a wonderful person. I have the idea she was kind, considerate of others, generous, hard working, and full of love for Jesus, whom she knew was the Lord and Christ. There was nothing she would not do to welcome Him and make Him as comfortable as possible. So zealous was she in this regard that she was evidently angered that her sister, Mary, was not doing as she was doing. It didn’t seem right that she should have all the work to do while her sister sat and talked. It was with evident peevishness that she asked the Lord, “Dost Thou not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” With the most merciful kindness Jesus tenderly rebuked her with the words, “Martha, Martha.” Now the point is this. Dear Martha could have spent the rest of her life troubling about doing things for Jesus. She could have filled years and years, dashing about, trying to make Him welcome and to show her love for Him, and yet for ah1 this strenuous activity she was not hearing one word that He had to say. And how, my dear friend, can any man or woman ever know the mind of Christ if he does not take time to listen and hear what He says? I think I may boldly say that one could spend his whole life slaving fervently for God and know less of His mind and His will at the end than at the beginning, because the trouble of much serving has taken up all his time and there was no time left to listen to the voice of Jesus. We will certainly find in the end that it is just such busy people who will hear Christ say, “Depart from Me; I never knew you.”
We do not know much about Mary, but there were just not enough hours in the day for her to sit at His blessed feet and listen. And when at last He took His leave of them, it was Mary who knew what He had said; it was Mary who was acquainted with His purpose; it was Mary who had His mind and had come to unity with Him, and, when this blessed woman spoke, her lips were filled with His word and her mind with His wisdom. Even after the mighty miracle of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, while Mary and Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus, it is said, “And Martha served.” And while dear Martha washed the dishes, Mary broke the sacred ointment on His head to anoint Him for His burial.
You will serve Christ much better if you take days and weeks and months and years to partake of His mind. “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done.” Oh! What a promise that is! Millions of prayers are made every day, but the answers could almost be counted on your fingers. Why? Because Christians never take time to find out the mind of Christ or to acquaint themselves with His purpose. They have no time for fasting. They are too busy with much serving to quietly sit at His feet and listen to the wisdom that falls as the snow and rain from heaven. But those who take time to listen to His voice and let His words abide in them move in His will and in His mind. They ask what they will and it is done, because they have no will but the will of God.
“My sheep know My voice and they follow Me, and a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.” There is only one way by which we can know His voice and that is by hearing it. And there is only one way we can hear it, and that is by listening to it. Those who know that joyful sound are never deceived, for they follow Him. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, and with their blessed Master they repeat, “I and my Father are one.” This is true unity and life eternal.
HEARING GOD’S VOICE
“There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification; therefore, if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” 1 Cor. 14:10–11
“The voice of my beloved. Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills … My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the time of the singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle is in the land. The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance Jet me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” S.O.S. 2:8-14
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” “He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To Him the porter openeth and the sheep hear His voice and He calleth His own sheep by name, and when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him for they know not the voice of strangers.” John 10:27, 2-5
“And the Lord called Samuel: and he ran unto Eh’ and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here am I; for thou didst call me.” And Eh’ perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He call thee, that thou shall say, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” 1 Sam. 3:1-10
Never in the annals of human history were there so many voices in the world, all clamoring to be heard. Every artifice and gimmick is used to gain the attention of the unwilling ear. Silly ditties are sung on the radio advertising every imaginable thing. They sing about pencils and toothpaste, automobiles and washing machines. One would think we were a lot of little children whose minds must be impressed with Mother Goose rhymes instead of intelligent people whose minds are insulted with such childish mediocrity. This clamor of voices is by no means confined to the salesmanship of the world, for I think the clamor of voices in the professing church is even greater. The babble of Babel is age lasting. It ceases not day or night. Solomon must have been seeing the modern Babylonish harlot when he said, “A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither.” Prov. 9:13-16
Not only is every voice shouting for disciples to follow it, but every imaginable plan, scheme, idea, and device is put forth to arouse the public interest, capture the mind, and open the pocketbook. The world is full of voices, all clamoring about something, until one would be inclined to liken them to the mob at Ephesus who for two hours shrieked and shouted, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians,” and the most part knew not wherefore they were come together. Acts 19:26-35
The only people who will ever reign in the kingdom are those who know the voice of Christ, those who can shut out all other loudly clamoring voices and hear His voice clearly and distinctly. “My sheep know My voice and they follow Me, and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers.”
There is only one way to come to know the voice of Christ and that is by listening to it and hearing it often. We quoted above the lovely story of Samuel and the voice of God that came to Him. I am sure you must have noticed at once that God spoke to him four times. The first three times the young lad jumped from his bed and went quickly to Eli, saying, “Here I am, for thou didst call me.” But Samuel did not know the Lord. Naturally, therefore, if he did not know the Lord, he could not be expected to know His voice. But he soon learned to know the voice of the Lord and the more often he heard it the better he knew it.
If we are going to know the voice of Christ, the first thing we shall have to do is shut out the clamoring voice of the multitude. Where these other voices are concerned, we must become like the deaf adder, which hearkens not to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. Psa. 58:5.
There was a time when Saul of Tarsus was smitten down on the road to Damascus. He had never heard the voice of Christ before and when the voice spoke and said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul asked immediately, “Who art Thou, Lord?” And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest.” This was, however, only the first time Paul heard the voice of Jesus. I am sure He heard Him many times after that, and never again did he have to ask “Who are thou, Lord?” Behold the great assurance with which he spoke many years later, when for fourteen days the ship had floundered in the teeth of the dreadful storm Euroclydon. After fourteen days of fasting and prayer when all hope of life was fled from the ship’s company, Paul stood forth and declared to the crew, “Sirs, you should have hearkened to me and not have loose from Crete and to have gained this harm and loss, and now I exhort you be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of the Lord, whose I am and whom I serve, (Jesus Christ) saying, “Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Caesar, and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.”
We can never, never come to know the voice of Christ until we silence completely all other voices. The voices that cry and clamor from without, day and night seeking to gain our attention and stir us to some activity of human devising, must be shut away from the inner ear of our spirits as when a man, disliking to hear a certain radio program, turns the dial to something else that suits him better. In like manner also we must silence the voices from within, for they arise from the desires of our own heart, and they clamor to be heard. They chide us of lost ministries and lost opportunities. They also coax us to return to old paths and ways from which God led us long ago. These voices too must be silenced and tuned out, that we may tune our spiritual ear to the voice that speaks from heaven. For God is speaking by His Son and we are warned, “See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh from heaven.” “Thine ear shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” Isa. 30:21
Looking back across the centuries that are gone, we can clearly see that God in grace and mercy has sent many great deliverances to the people of earth. But long before these great emancipations were wrought, there were times of preparation. There were times when no voice was heard from heaven, and it seemed that God had forgotten that He had an earth, or that He had a people. Wickedness prospered and men seemed to say, “Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the foundation of the world.” But God has never forgotten and, at the moment when men think He has, the Almighty has His man called aside where his ear can be tuned to the wave lengths of heaven, and become deaf to the sound of all voices except the voice of the Lord.
For almost four hundred years the children of Israel had dwelt in a land where they were strangers. For a good part of that time they had been in cruel slavery in the land of Egypt.
Year after year their bondage increased and, as each generation passed away, new oppressions were heaped upon them. Their hands were horny with their toil and their backs were bowed with their burdens. In the nights they groaned out their prayers to a God that seemed never to hear, and in the day the sweat and tears washed the grime of toil from their troubled faces. “Will God never hear?” they wondered. Has He forgotten His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? But Oh\ how little they knew that “all their tears were in His bottle” and, as soon as the dross had vanished from their gold, He would lead them forth from His furnace!
What excitement and searching there must have been in the court of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, when one day Moses, that promising prince, was found missing. Suddenly like a whiff of sweet perfume he was gone, and no one seemed to know what had become of him. I need not relate the wonderful story of Exodus, chapter two, for you know it as well as I, but Moses was gone. Where he was, was a total mystery. Frantic search was made in every possible place, but without result. Moses could not be found. Years went by and people began to accept the mystery. Time began to heal the wounds of those who mourned him, and others soon forgot all about him. Life got back to normal again. The shout of the task master, the crack of the whip, and the groans of the people continued endlessly on and on.
But there was One who knew where Moses was. For the God of mercy had not been deaf to the sighing of His people and He was hiding His man in the backside of the desert. His deliverer was being prepared against the day of emancipation, far away from the turmoil of politics, and the earthly wisdom of the Egyptians. The Lord had separated him, and, as the voices of earth began to fade away, his ear became tuned in to the voice of the Eternal, that speaketh from heaven. God cannot speak to those who are filled with the thoughts that belong to carnal minds. He must separate us from it all that we may learn to hear and know His voice. We must learn that deliverance does not come by our slaying Egyptians and burying them in the sand, but that it comes at what time, from what source, and by whose hand the eternal God has decreed from the foundation of the world.
We need go no farther with the story, for your heart has often thrilled as has mine as we read with awe the wonders of the deliverance that followed, the voice of God at the burning bush and the signs and wonders that followed by the hand of Moses when God’s day of deliverance came, and how by a high and mighty hand He delivered His people. But what I want you to see is this: Before God moves according to His eternal purposes, He separates a people whose ears He makes deaf to all voices but His own and whose hearts become dead as stone to all purposes but His purpose.
It is not my purpose to fill up pages in recounting stories, but I know that our God is doing today as He has always done. He is preparing a people in secret in the backside of a spiritual wilderness for the great day of the coming of His kingdom.
There was a young man, Joseph, that dreamer who was so hated by his brothers that they sold him into the slavery of Egypt, and rejoiced in their hearts that they would not have to listen to his dreams any more. But they knew not that they were starting him on a journey into the center of God’s will, and into the place where his dreams would all come true. What tears of lonesomeness and disappointment must have wet the face of this lad of seventeen summers, and, when for his righteousness he suffered the fetters of Egypt‘s cruel dank dungeon, even he did not know that the wheels of eternal purpose were turning and God was preparing a great deliverance for His own people and the whole earth besides. But before the deliverance could come, the deliverer must be separated from all voices of men that he might learn to listen to that voice which alone carries the wisdom of the universe. The weeks stretched on into months, the months into years, until Joseph was thirty. The last tiny grain of sand trickled through the hour glass of the Lord. The moment of deliverance had come, and God’s man is ready. Egypt had long forgotten this stripling lad who years before had been cast into prison. His brethren back in Canaan had become even more callous and their consciences troubled them no longer. Even Jacob, his father, now grown feeble, mourned less often the loss of his son. Yesterday Joseph was languishing in the prison. Today, his ear attuned to the voice divine, he is the deliverer and the second ruler in the land.
Nineveh was a wicked city of one hundred twenty thousand souls. Their wickedness was so great that the God of heaven had declared he would rain down fire and brimstone and destroy them. Little did anyone know that God, who had pronounced such dire judgment against a wicked people, was at that very moment preparing a man to deliver them. Who on earth knew where Jonah was at that moment? The last person who had seen him saw him struggling for his life in the angry waves of the sea. Surely he had perished in the raging waters and no one would ever hear of him again. But God was separating His deliverer. Gone now were the voices of men that had clamored for his ear. Silent were the voices from within himself. In the belly of the whale in the bottom of the sea the voice of the eternal God was speaking, teaching His man to answer, Yes! to His will. And when the consecration was complete, the fish opened his mouth and vomited him out on the dry land and the deliverer went forth to Nineveh, clothed upon by the power of the Holy Ghost. Out of his mouth issued forth the two edged sword of the word of God and like corn before the sickle men fell on their faces in repentance. The words that thundered from his lips were not born of human wisdom or eloquence but of the Spirit of God. Like a spear they pierced the conscience. Like a sword they cut the heart until in forty days one hundred twenty thousand repented and turned to the Lord. History records no greater revival than this. Even Pentecost did not surpass it, but before such a mighty deliverance comes, God must separate the deliverer from the pandemonium of human voices that he may hear only the voice that speaketh from heaven.
Time and space would fail us to tell of Elijah whom God hid in a widow’s house for three years while famine devastated the land and king Ahab scoured the countries in search of him. But while the famine waxed sore in the land and neither rain nor dew appeared on the earth, God had separated His man. There he sat hi lonesomeness and idleness, far away from the preacher, the prophets of Baal and the prophets of the Lord. No need of the people or schemes for deliverance coaxed him to action. He must wait in separation listening only to the voice that spoke from heaven until the hour came for him to go stand before Ahab.
Little is told of John the Baptist, who for thirty years dwelt in the wilderness until the day of his showing unto Israel. God had shut this man away from the voices of scribes and Pharisees, away from the teachers and doctors of the law. No sounds of human wisdom reached his ear. He sat in no schools to hear the wisdom of the ancients, but separated and alone he heard a great voice saying, “Upon whomsoever you shall see the Spirit descending and remaining, the same is He that baptiseth with the Holy Ghost.” And when the great day came, the Father sent him forth like a bolt of lightning to proclaim the message, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Was not Paul separated into the wilderness of Arabia while he received the gospel of the grace of God? In my heart I can hear him saying, “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, to reveal His son in me, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood, neither went I up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.” Gone were the teachings of Gamaliel; forgotten was his righteousness according to the law, and even the good things of the past were accounted as dung because of the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord.
I cannot cease until I have mentioned John, the aged apostle, banished to lonely desolate Patmos, where, I suppose, his enemies hoped he would soon die of lonesomeness. But no! It was not for death that God had separated him, but that he might hear the voice of Christ as he had never heard that voice before. There in the Spirit on the day of the Lord came the voice as the sound of many waters, proclaiming, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” The voice of the lonely Galilean he had loved so long ago was now as the sound of many waters, and John, turning to see the face of Him who spoke, fell as a dead man before the glory of His countenance. But why was John on the lonely island? Because God was preparing him for a mighty, marvelous revelation of the things to come. His mind must not be cluttered with the opinions of men but with the truth and wisdom of God. Therefore he must be free of the conflicting confusing babble of earthly voices that he might hear that one voice that speaketh from heaven.
Does your bewildered heart often wonder why you are being separated in these last days? Do you wonder more and more why your earthly associations are becoming less and less? Wonder no longer, for as sure as He reigns in His heaven and sits on His glorious throne the greatest deliverance of all the ages is at hand. God today is preparing a people in His wilderness, in His deserts, in His prisons, on His lonely islands and in the four corners of the earth. They are a people whose ears are becoming deaf to every voice except the voice of their beloved. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” “Incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
There is a very strange story related in 1 Kings, chapter 13 that has puzzled me for many years. It is the story of the prophet who came down from Judah and prophesied against the altar in Bethel. His prophetic words were immediately confirmed in that the altar was rent according to his word, and Jeroboam the king, putting forth his hand against him, was smitten. But the prophet, turning momentarily aside from the command of God, went to eat and drink in the house of another prophet, and for this disobedience was slain by a lion on his journey home. The story is very interesting and one should refresh his mind by reading it.
I do not understand the significance of the account, but there is one thing that is very, very clear. It is this: Once we embark on a course which has been chosen for us by the Lord, we must never allow anyone, whether he be the king of the land or a prophet of God, to turn us aside. This man refused to go to the king’s house or to receive any reward of him, but because the prophet was a prophet and told him that an angel of the Lord had spoken to him to bring the man of God to his home, he was deceived by him and went and was slain. That is, indeed, a very sad and strange story.
It is very, very easy to be turned aside from a purpose, and because the purpose, which God puts in our heart is often long delayed, we are inclined to attempt some sort of psuedo arrangement or substitute to bring the promise to pass.
The act of Abraham in taking Hagar to wife to fulfill the promise of God is always looked upon as an act of unbelief and disobedience, but it really was an act of faith. Abraham believed the promise of God and staggered not at it, but like all the rest of us, seeing the promise was long delayed, he began to feel the necessity of taking some action to bring it to pass. That may seem good, but it only serves to bring grief. There are hundreds of men today who know according to the word of God that the kingdom is at hand, but because the promise is long delayed and slow in being fulfilled, they are scheming, organizing, planning and working in a frantic effort to bring the kingdom in. But their efforts will fail and fall to the ground. When God’s zero hour comes, all the forces He has prepared from the foundation of the world will be set in motion and nothing will by any means hinder the coming of the glorious reign of Jesus Christ.
With God there is no crisis. With God there is no emergency. Such words are not in the vocabulary of the Almighty. Is there any evidence throughout the Bible that an emergency was ever thrust upon God, or that God was in a crisis and had to rush and hurry to plug some leak in the dam He had not expected to spring? Don’t be silly! God is not only omnipotent. He is omniscient as well, and the end of a thing is no more mysterious to Him than the beginning. The only thing God requires of you and me is that we will lend our ear to Him and be faithful where He has put us. If He has given us a ministry to pray, let us pray and be faithful. If our only ministry is to wait, then let us quietly and patiently wait. In my opinion to wait is one of the hardest things God ever gives a man to do. David said, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him that prospereth in the way, because of the man that bringeth wicked devices to pass.” Of Abraham it is said, “After he had patiently endured, he received the promise.”
It is very easy to become busy here and there, doing this and that, yet all the time forgetting the purpose for which God has set us aside. I think we would all be wise just now to keep the thing God is doing uppermost in our minds. It is not wise at this time to go plunging into the activities of earth. Let us not become busy here and there, trying to bring in the kingdom only to suddenly awake to find the thing God gave us to keep has escaped out of our grasp and we are left with nothing to hope for but judgment.
I always admire good businessmen. Diligent men will stand before kings and not before mean men. But if we go plunging headlong into the swirl and swim of the businesses of earth, making that the main object of life while pushing the purposes of God off into the corner, considering eternal values as a secondary thing to be attended to when we have nothing better to do, we will find we have been proven unfaithful and unworthy of the kingdom.
With all my heart I believe that a man’s first consideration in all things should be, “How will this affect my standing with God?” Perhaps your associates require you to do things against which your heart rebels, just because it is expected of you. But you will do well to remember how Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s meat. He cared not a straw what became of him or his standing with the great king or with the government of Babylon. The one thing that concerned him was what would please the King of kings. Because Daniel was faithful and honored God, God was faithful and honored him, and in spite of all the conniving of all his enemies he rose to the position of the third ruler of the realm. It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.
I would like to say a word about faithfulness in tithing. I have no intention of trying to settle old stagnant questions about whether tithing belongs to law or grace or the kingdom. But I do say that a better system of giving never has and never will be devised. No method of giving is more simple, more rewarding, or more blessed of God. Those who faithfully tithe have a right to claim the blessing of God, and those who are unfaithful in this matter have no genuine claim to the faithfulness of God. Tithing is a partnership between yourself and God. Nine tenths belongs to you and one tenth belongs to Him. We all like to consider ourselves honest men, and would not cheat or short change an earthly partner. Most people are honest about taxes even though they hate them, yet the very same people think nothing of consistently month after month robbing God of the tenth that is His.
If you have no storehouse to bring your tithes into, that is no excuse. In a world where two billion people are always hungry surely good stewardship would find a way and a place for a tithe. I cannot believe that your responsibility ends by casting your money into the church treasury and forgetting about it, or giving to some man who writes you circular letters begging tithes for some vision he professes to have. Men who are always begging for money should be on the street comer with a monkey and a tin cup. Usually they are more concerned about themselves than the people they profess to be trying to help. Thirty years of watchfulness has taught me that irrefutable lesson. Nevertheless let us be faithful in tithing and bring them to a store house in which we have confidence, for we would not want to have to account for them when the great bookkeeper makes up the books. It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.
Read the great scripture classic on tithing as found in Malachi 3:7-15 and see for yourself how it is part of Israel’s preparation for the great day of the Lord, and the coming of Christ in Ch. 4.
CHRIST THE EXAMPLE
Jesus Christ took no part in earthly affairs. He hid himself lest they should attempt to force Him to be king, yet He knew full well that He whose life was in union with the Father was ordained to be King of kings and to rule in timeless splendor.
“Art Thou a king then?” Pilate questioned. “Thou sayest that I am a king,” He replied. “To this end was I born and for this purpose came I into the world.” What value is a kingdom, which God has not given, or one taken by force of arms before the time? Few men are like David who refused to take the kingdom until God gave it to him and whose heart smote him for the mere act of cutting off the skirt of Saul’s garment.
Full well Jesus knew the day would come when He would sit on the right hand of power and come riding upon the clouds of heaven. Full well He knew the nations would one day bring their glory and honor into His kingdom, and all nations would crown Him King of kings and Lord of lords and of the increase of His government there would be no end.
He took no part in the governments of earth and spoke no word for them or against them. When they inquired of Him, “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar?” He replied, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” And when they told Him Herod would kill Him, He answered, “Go and tell that fox, behold, I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”
He did not concern Himself about the status of people. Never did He struggle to make the poor rich or the rich poor. He rebuked Judas for suggesting that the alabaster box should have been sold and the money given to the poor. “The poor ye have with you always, but Me ye have not always.” There was a certain poor widow who, in giving a mite, had given more than all the rich men. There was a certain beggar who was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And there was a certain rich man that was buried and lifted up his eyes in hell. He did not hesitate to bless the poor or to pronounce woe upon the rich. Full well He knew that both riches and poverty are only temporal conditions that belong to time. Well He knew that the possession of riches was often a spiritual impediment tending to make one careless and forgetful of God. He knew that dire poverty brooked no spiritual impediment, but caused men to put their trust in Him who is the source of both temporal and spiritual supply.
Jesus healed the sick and performed His miracles from the standpoint of what and who He was. Never did He seek crowds but often withdrew from them. Never did He advertise His healings or gather crowds for the purpose of healing their bodies only. More than once He advocated silence by such commands as: “See thou tell no man.” Or He conveyed Himself away before He was known as He did at the pool of Bethesda. His wonders were performed neither for show nor fame nor for advertisement, but as His Father directed. “I do only those things which I have seen of my Father,” He said. When the disciples came rejoicing that even the demons were subject to them, He warned, “Rejoice not that the demons are subject unto you, but that your names are written hi heaven.” No boast was made of any glory. No honor was sought of men. No pride was taken in healings, miracles, wisdom, or wonders, but in one thing only: “I do only those things that please the Father.”
WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS
The first four words of the book of Genesis, “in the beginning God”, constitute one of the most sublime statements ever written. Herein lies the true foundation of our faith for things past, things present, and things to come. Upon the sublime certainty that God almighty, all wise and immutable was God and Lord of the beginning of all things, all creatures, and all ages rests our certain hope both now and forevermore. Yea, and much more also, for not only was He in the beginning, but He Himself was the beginning as He will also be and even now is the end.
I speak with a heavy heart in saying that God’s dear people have lost their vision of the eternal majesty of God, their heavenly Father. They have allowed their horizon to become cluttered with arguments and schemes of men whose eyes see no further than the little stage upon which they are performing where they themselves have become the focal point. The world is filled with people each intent upon his little task, and the religious systems boast disciples by the million, each loudly proclaiming his theory, defending with vigor his doctrines while compassing land and sea to make proselytes to his cause, but you will be a fortunate person, indeed, if during your whole lifetime you are blessed with the acquaintance and fellowship of one man who really knows God The church system has no lack of learned men whom they honor as theologians, men who spend their lives studying about God, but who seem never to learn that one may spend his whole life and eternity as well studying about God only to find in the end that he does not know Him. One man who knows God because he loves Him is better than ten thousand men who hold theories about Him. One humble little woman, rejoicing in the knowledge that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed her heart from all sin, is more precious in God’s sight than all the learned doctors of divinity who dryly explain the intricacies of the doctrine of justification by faith, but in whose hearts the Justifier does not dwell.
Well might we disdain the forms and ceremonies of every sect on earth that we might lay hold on that blessed communion spoken of by Malachi the prophet, who wrote: “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” Mal. 3:16-17. The God who was in the beginning and the God who is the end can be known to mankind only as He reveals Himself to the heart that fervently loves Him. Man can study about God all his life and still not know Him, and that, alas, is what the multitude of professing Christians has done for centuries. Woe to us all, for even those who have been washed from their sins and who have received of His Spirit may often be included in that vast throng of professors who know the acts of God but do not know Him.
Have you ever meditated upon this scripture, “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel?” Psa. 103:7. Read that scripture carelessly and it will tell you practically nothing, but let the light of divine revelation shine upon it and you will see the yawning gulf that lies between God’s people who know Him and God’s people who know Him not. There is almost a universe of difference between knowing the acts of God and knowing the ways of God. Possibly there was not one Israelite among the hosts that came out of Egypt with Moses who could not have described in detail the wonderful acts of the Lord. With their eyes they had beheld the ravaging plagues with which the Almighty had cursed the land. They had heard the terrifying thunder and had seen the searing lightning as it raced along the ground. They knew of the hail that had devastated Egypt but had left Israel unharmed. They often spoke of the horrible darkness that had filled the Egyptians with dread, even thick darkness that could be felt, while they in their houses walked in light. They had thrilled to see the angry waves roll back to stand in liquid heaps while they walked through on dry ground, and later had stood in awe as those mighty waves rolled back again to halt forever the advancing hosts of Pharaoh. They had eaten of the manna and had drunk of the life-giving water that gushed in torrents from the smitten rock, but, for all that they knew of the acts of God, they did not know God nor understand His ways. They murmured against Him at the sightest provocation and in their hearts turned back again to Egypt – Even the high priest Aaron, the brother of Moses, who had stood with him throughout all the wonders and signs that had been wrought in Egypt, seemed only to know the acts of God but not His ways. Could you believe that a man who knows God and is acquainted with His ways could ever be prevailed upon to fashion a golden calf and condone the worship of such an idol? Yet that is just what Aaron, the high priest, did. Ex. 32. Can you imagine a man who truly knows God murmuring against the Lord’s anointed? Yet he and his sister Miriam spake against Moses. Num. 12:1. But with Moses it was different, for God had revealed Himself unto him. He saw far beyond the physical acts and manifestations of the Lord because the Almighty had revealed His eternal purposes unto him and he had become one spirit with the Father. It was the eternal purpose that lay beyond the physical acts that God revealed to Moses. Thus it is said in a statement of contrast: He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
Not all who read these lines will understand them, but be it known unto you that no man ever truly knows God who is acquainted only with the acts of God. You may have witnessed miracles without number. Your own body may have been miraculously healed of disease. You may have given half your goods to feed the poor or spoken with the tongues of men and angels, but if you have rejoiced in the outward sign and manifestation rather than the eternal purpose, you are yet a babe and have never come to really know Him. Have you ever wondered why it was that Paul, the author of those two masterpieces of inspiration, 1 Cor. chapters 12 and 14 concerning the proper function of the gifts of the Spirit, should halt right in the middle of his discourse to write, “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away…!” When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see though a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known” 1 Cor. 13:10-13
Many of God’s dear people in our day are like the elated disciples who, returning from their missionary journey, were full of stories concerning the wonders they had seen done. “Why, Master,” they cried, “even the devils are subject to us.” And Jesus with that note of mature pity replied, “In this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:10, 20. The thing that was of eternal importance was the thing of which they stood in ignorance, while the thing that concerned the acts of God was that which gave them boisterous delight.
Surely no one would ever be foolish enough to say that Jesus did not believe in divine healing or to deny that every spirit was: subject to His word of power. He positively demonstrated His omnipotence in every sphere of life whether of things in heaven, in earth or under the earth. Every form of sickness known to mankind fled before His touch. The most violent of demons were cast out at His word. The elements in all their tempestuous turmoil were stilled at His word of command, and the violent mob who in impetuous fury came to capture Him in Gethsemane went backward and fell to the ground, groveling and helpless before the majesty of His presence. John 18:2-9. But He did not rejoice in any of these things. Rather He rejoiced continually in the knowledge of God’s will. “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God,” was the continual consecration of His heart. Where can more sublime consecration be found than was manifest in His prayer recorded in John 12? As He faced the great task for which He came, a strange and troubled uneasiness that often precedes events of great importance was in Him when He said, “Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I sayl Father, save Me from this hour; but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:27–28. And what shall be our prayer in these perilous times? Shall we say, “Father, save me from this hour”, or shall we say, “Father, glorify Thy name?”
As days with quickening footsteps slip away into months and months hasten into years, a deep spiritual conviction is arising in the hearts of the elect of God warning them that days of eternal importance are now at hand. It will not be long until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Only a few more shadows will gather before the gigantic injustice of this evil realm of the carnal mind will collapse before the magnificent shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness. The creation that long has groaned beneath the night of oppression, injustice, inequity and sorrow will be emancipated and delivered into the glorious freedom of God’s sons. Even now, while we meditate upon these lines, the mighty work of preparation is going on. The beautiful feet are coming forth from the womb. They are being washed that the whole body of sons might be clean every whit. They are being shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. They are climbing the lofty mountain of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and reverence for the Lord. Soon all the world in harmonious chorus will chant in glad refrain, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” Isa. 52:7. For “His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass that, at evening time, it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go forth from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name one.” Zech. 14:4-9
Every word of this prophecy will come true just as it has been written. I for one must plead guilty to being a literalist, yet God has taught me that all natural things have spiritual counterparts. All types and prophecies have at least three fulfillments – one small and local, one greater and wider, and one limitless and universal. One would, I think, need but half an eye to perceive that even now the feet are ascending the mountain. Right now there is a mighty earthquake that is shaking the very foundation of every movable thing. Even now the saints are fleeing from the earthquake to find their refuge in the valley of the mountain of God, where they will hide eternally in Him. Now is the day when it is neither light nor dark, for, though there is light and truth abroad in the earth, it is so mingled with darkness and confusion that mankind is baffled to know which is light and which is darkness. But this day shall be a day different from all other days, for, though all other days grow dark toward evenings, it shall come to pass that in the evening of this day “there shall be light”.
When Babylon with her confusion has fallen, when the stone cut from the mountain without hands has smitten the clay feet of the Babylonian image and her power has dissolved into the dust of the summer threshing floor, then shall the stone, the living stone, the stone which was rejected of the builders, rise to become the head stone. It shall increase unto a great mountain that will fill all the earth with the knowledge and wisdom, glory and power of the kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ. See Dan. 2:31-35.
We are now living in an hour of great consequence. Never in the history of all the earth was there a more important hour than this. As the days have passed by, an almost dreadful solemnity has settled down upon my spirit until I cannot shake off that restlessness which one feels while awaiting events of momentous importance. Do soldiers sleep well before the battle or do visions of tomorrow’s strife alarm their dreams? Why, even Jesus amazed His disciples and filled their hearts with fear as in the eagerness of the hour He quickened His pace on that final walk to Jerusalem that would end in His crucifixion and the fulfillment of the purpose for which He came into the world. See Mark 10:32. Even nature itself is manifesting the restlessness of expectancy as the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Since, then, these things are so and all things from the least of earth to the greatest in heaven bear witness in joyful chorus, echoing from heart to heart the blessed refrain of emancipation, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? Long ago our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the head Son, lifted up His eyes to heaven and with a sigh of triumphant relief He said, “Father, the hour has come”. John 17:1. Ah, what an hour that was! That was an hour planned in the purposes and counsels of God before the foundation of the ages, before ever man breathed the breath of life and became a living soul. Long eons had He waited for that great hour to come as suns rose and set, millenniums waxed and waned, dispensations came and went, and ages passed away. But now at last the hour had come, the D Day, the H Hour. Of all the hours that had come and gone through time this was the day and this was the hour, for upon this pivot turned the plan of the ages and in it eternal redemption would be accomplished.
But now once more at the end of this age stands another son, even the body of the sons of God, not the head Son but the feet sons, and again the hour has come. The hour in which we now live was planned of God before the foundation of the world. Any instant now, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead in Christ shall rise first to be joined to the Head and we, the feet, which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. The saints who have died through the ages – the breast, the shoulders, the arms, the thighs, and the legs – cannot be perfected without us, the feet, for they without us shall not be made perfect. Heb. 11:40. But when these precious sons arise to stand upon their glorious feet, then shall we be made perfect together. “Father, oh Father, glorify Thy name!” Then came a voice from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and I will glorify it again.” Oh, God, grant to Thy people such divine wisdom and understanding that their hearts might assuredly know that the hour is at hand for all these things to be fulfilled.
WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS?
Since, then, these things are so, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? Our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of that vast body of sons now being created in His image, was no ordinary person. “Never man spake like this man,” said the soldiers. “I find no fault in Him”, Pilate declared. “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” thundered the Father from heaven. “He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners,” wrote the apostle to the Hebrews. And how much more could we testify to the beauty of His life in all patience, kindness, longsuffering, truth, power, wisdom and knowledge, and tell of the marvelous works He did as the multitudes of sick and demon possessed were delivered every one! And what shall we say of His sacrificial death and His triumphant resurrection, His ascension into heaven, and His pouring forth of the Holy Spirit that all who believed might be born again and become sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom we shine as heavenly lights? No, Jesus was no ordinary man; and the time has come when we who have heard His voice and followed Him shall not live as ordinary men, but as sons of God and members of Christ, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His Spirit, as saviors appearing upon Mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (the flesh), and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. Obadiah 21.
How my heart thrills in anticipation of such marvelous grace! We are slowly learning that the light and momentary afflictions in which we often whine and groan are but for a moment and they are working/or us, not against us, yielding a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are only temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
It is with grief that I now confess the fear that many people who have been talking glibly about sonship do not possess the spirit of sons which God has sent forth, crying, Abba Father. Sonship is not a position attained by signs and wonders and mighty deeds but is the Spirit of Christ in our spirits crying, “Our Father, Thy will be done! Thy will be done!” Many have considered sonship to be a sort of reward for their deeds, for their preaching, prophesying and healing, but sonship is not a reward for anything. It is a divine bestowal of God’s eternal grace by which men receive the spirit of adoption to walk as sons of God in the midst of a perverse world and an apostate church system.
A SEPARATE PEOPLE
There are some things, which should be a great help to all people who are longing to be delivered from this crooked and perverse age into the glorious freedom of God’s sons. Let us first recognize and confess that we have been a people of tradition. We have accepted what we were taught by priest and teacher and that often without question. We have not searched diligently and personally to see if these things were so. We have followed like sheep in the way of Babylon, imagining that her harlotish ways were the ways of God. We have accepted what men had to say, but have not listened to what God had to say. We have prayed and begged for revival in the churches, never considering that God had no desire or inclination to revive that, which always turned men’s hearts from Him. I challenge any man to search the past centuries and produce a case where Go a has ever revived a sect or denomination. Look at every revival of church history and you will see the testimony clearly given that the Lord does not put new wine in old bottles. Did He ever revive the Roman Catholics? Certainly not. He called Luther out from among them. Did He ever revive Lutheranism after it became a system? Certainly not. He called out a people under Wesley who became known as Methodists. Did He ever revive them? No, He did not. He called out another people known and hated as the Pentecostal people. But the moment they began to organize, their glory also began to ebb away until they have a name that icy live, but the glory has departed from them. Even so it is with all people in all ages.
The people who are longing to know the glory of sonship have one great lesson to learn no matter how disagreeable that lesson may be. Should I write a whole book on the subject, I could not express the truth with more concise pertinence than did Paul when he wrote these words: “Wherefore come out from among them, and by ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:17–18. Whether or not we want to accept such challenge will never alter the truth of it, for the truth is that all who would be received as sons of God must cut their ties with the harlots of Babylon and from that there can be no reprieve. The sublime truth taught by the parable of the prodigal son was that this son – for he was a son – had lavishly wasted his life and is gifts to satisfy self. In prodigal extravagance he devoured his living with harlots; which things are an allegory setting forth in clear light the truth that sons of God shall not waste their inheritance among the harlot daughters of Babylon. After he had squandered all and had come to the end of everything, including himself, joining himself to a citizen of that country, he found himself feeding swine – not sheep, I say, but swine. The scathing type is, I fear, sound, though we dread to admit that in in Babylon system the nature of swine is more prevalent than the nature of sheep. He hungered and thirsted for better days, butt the more he hungered the worse things got until he made the momentous decision that all sons must eventually make. “I will arise and go to my Father. I will leave the harlots, leave the swine, leave the citizens of confusion to which I have been joined, and return to become one mind with the Father.”
The story of the prodigal son is too familiar to need repetition here. It is not the type but the anti-type, not the prodigal but you and I who are in the spotlight now in this the end of the age. The harlot systems are soon to be destroyed. There must be a separation unto God, a coming out from among them, a being separated, a refusal to touch the unclean thing, for what is more unclean than an harlot? And who can pity you less after she has brought you to want? These are serious days and hours of momentous decision. Not only does the Spirit urge me to write these things, but the steady stream of mail that reaches me continually testifies that God is calling out a people for His name. From America to Australia, from New Zealand to Britain, and from Europe to the islands of the sea sons are arising to return to the Father. He is calling people from among the Jews, His elect from among the Catholics, His chosen from among the Protestants that they may be one new man in Christ, having broken down the walls of partition that were between them.
A CONFIDENT PEOPLE
It is never wise to make changes until one is sure of himself before God. It will not help to come out because I say so, for all truth is a matter of revelation. God’s servants may tell you about it, but only God can reveal it unto you. But, when He opens the eyes of your understanding, then you will wonder, “Why did I not see this before?” Our confidence in God must be firmly founded upon the knowledge that God has spoken. God has spoken by two immutable things in which it is impossible for Him to lie. Heb. 6:18. The two immutable things are: first, His promise and secondly, His oath. The promise that He gave to Abraham (Heb. 6:13) He confirmed later by an oath (Heb. 6:16,17) that by these two immutable things, God’s promise and God’s oath by which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong confidence, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope that is set before us.
In these the final hours of the dispensation many learned but wicked men are casting doubt upon the word of God, but, if God’s word cannot be trusted, then our harbors are whirlpools and all our rocks are naught but clouds. God’s word can be trusted, for in the beginning was the word and in the end will be the word. By the word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. By the word of God the heavens shall be dissolved and the elements melt with fervent heat. By the word of God we look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, for, though the heaven and the earth shall pass away, God’s word shall not pass away. The word was made a Son. The word is now being made sons, for God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken by His Son, or, literally, hath spoken in Son. How glorious are Thy thoughts, O God, and Thy ways past finding out!
It is not necessary for us to understand everything that God has said, but it is essential for us to believe Him. His ways are too high and wonderful for us as yet. Many things we do not comprehend, but, believing, we rejoice. I do not know how God looses the bands of Orion, causing the snow and ice to melt and the waters to flow, but I know He does it. I know very little about His promised coming again, but I believe Him when He said, “I will come again.” I understand but little of His glorious kingdom, which is soon to dawn on the whole earth, but I know that kingdom is coming, and all the details can be safely left to Him. I know not how He will fulfill His promise that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He will gather together all things in Christ, but I believe Him and it will be just as He promised, all theology and arguments of men to the contrary notwithstanding.
Let us then have strong confidence in God to lay hold on the hope that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Let those who will say, “There is no God.” What difference should their blind unbelief make to our strong confidence in Him? Let a mouse defend a lion, but God needs no defense from us. Let those who will declare that God is dead. We need not argue with men whose iniquity has made them completely insensible to the God in whose hand their breath is. Let us rather show that the life we now live in the flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us and died for us and, being raised from the dead, ever liveth within to transform our own lives into His glorious likeness.
Among the many titles and names of the most, high God, one above all others fills the heart with the abiding confidence of His ever present nearness. That name is so simple that it scarcely seems to be a name at all, yet in it we see Him standing in the past, in the present and in the future. It tells us He is there whether the earth is filled with sunshine or immersed in the deepest shadow. It proclaims the wonder of His presence when we with eagles’ wings rise to exalted heights of revelation and understanding and assures us (hut He is just as near when the journey is too great and we sit beneath our juniper tree, wishing death would mercifully take us away. It is the name “I Am”.
Long ago Moses received a commission from God. He was eighty years old when the angel appeared to him in the burning bush. He was old enough to be free from earthly ambitions, weary enough with earth’s bitter disappointments to be content to spend life’s evening tending the quiet and gentle sheep in the backside of the desert and sage enough to have learned that of all the creatures God had made none was more unpredictable, unthankful, unmerciful and unkind than that stubborn rebel called man. It is little wonder that this old man was horrified at the thought of returning to Egypt to deliver a people that had already rejected him. Many were his efforts to convince the Lord that he was not the man to deliver them. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM that I AM and He said, Thus shah thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Ex. 3:13–14. I AM! I AM! Not I was or I will be, but I AM. He is ever present. He is always there. He is always here. “Before Abraham was, I AM,” Jesus told the Jews. John 8:58. “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20. “It is I; be not afraid.” “Fear not, I am with you.”
Once there was an atheist who wanted his infant daughter to believe as he did. He did not want her to have any superstitions about God, so to impress her young mind that God simply did not exist he hung a plaque at the foot of her bed inscribed with the words, God is nowhere. The little girl could not read very well, so she sounded out the words to herself. When her father returned from work that evening, he asked her if she could read the words he had written for her. “Oh, yes,” she replied, “it says God is now here.” So you see, this is the confidence we have in Him. What men say makes no difference. He is the I AM. Let fools preach that God is dead. He is still the I AM, and ever liveth to make intercession for us. Whether the sunshine sheds its radiant beams upon us or the tempestuous waves threaten to swamp our frail bark, the I AM is always present, saying, “Fear not; I am with you.” Seventy-six times in the Bible the term “fear not” is repeated to bring assurance to every troubled heart in all manner of circumstances. To those who walk the unfamiliar path that leads us to the triumphant hour of manifestation and the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ His ancient words of assurance come ringing down the centuries to dispel our woes and calm our fears: “Fear not, little flock; it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
MAKING YOURSELF AVAILABLE
In this the end of the age there is an ever, increasing babble of voices clamoring for our ear, every one with a tongue, an interpretation or a doctrine. Well did Solomon describe this loud mouthed church woman when he said, “A foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, knowing nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high place in the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither; and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” Prov. 9:13-18. Not only are the pulpits filled with voices pouring forth a murky stream of senseless doctrines and dogmas of men, but the airwaves are crowded with religious clamor both in word and picture, and the mails also are literally stuffed with religious literature, often of such mediocre quality that it is a waste of time either to print it or read it. If we attempt to listen to all the voices that are shouting to gain our ears, we will certainly miss the great plan of God. There is a voice divine filled with the wisdom and counsel of eternal ages that is worthy of the attentive ear of men and angels. But that voice, alas, is seldom heard because we are so busy listening to the paltry observations of men that we never make ourselves available to the voice of God.
It is impossible to over-estimate the infinite importance of becoming personally acquainted with the voice of the Lord. God still speaks to the hearts of men. He is ever instructing them in the way they should go. Seldom perhaps it is that he speaks with an audible voice, but many there must be who are acquainted with the still small voice of the Lord as He speaks to the inner man, making His will and purposes known. Those precious saints who would know the voice of the Lord must learn one lesson above all others. They must learn to make themselves available to God. There must be special times when the sons of God present themselves before the Lord. Job. 1:16. There must be definite times when all other voices are shut out, when all duties are laid aside except the duty of waiting upon Him, when every imagination of our own heart is cast down and every high thought and thing is brought into obedience to Christ. Cf. 2 Cor. 10:5. There must come a season and that season should come every day, when you present yourself to the Lord, not to make demands but to hear and listen to the voice of eternal wisdom, for in the awesome stillness of God’s presence the inner man is full of expectancy as he hearkens to the instructions, the reproofs, the rebukes and the commands of the Almighty.
It was in the year that King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord. Isa. 6:1. It was when Job’s comforters had all ceased their talking and Job had ceased from his arguments that he heard the voice of God. See Job chapters 38-42. Oh what blessedness will be yours when you know the truth of the sacred text, “Be still and know that I am God” Psa. 46:10. Most of us, I fear, are like little Samuel who had spent his young life listening to the instruction of Eli, but when God spoke to him, he did not know God’s voice because he had never heard it. But when Eli told him how to listen to God, then he received instruction from the Lord. 1 Sam. 3. Even so it is today.
It may be that this fact has never dawned upon you, but look about you and you will see that everything, absolutely everything, in modern society is geared to keep us all so occupied with temporal things that there is never time to be silent before God or time to give the Lord opportunity to speak to the heart. Saint and sinner, saved and unsaved are entertained artificially from morning till night. Every spare moment is taken up with the disturbing noise of some sort of entertainment until I suppose it would be thought a singular thing indeed should a man be found alone with his thoughts and with his God. The church system in her backslidden confusion has adopted the attitude of the world, being conformed to the world system in all respects. It is a well, known fact that the pastors of assemblies strain every effort to keep the people constantly busy. All their spare time must be taken up with some church activity. Whether it is of any value or not, it must be done just to keep the people occupied, for it is reasoned that while the people are busy they have no time to look beyond their little realm. It should not be necessary here to recite the numerous activities engaged in, but suffice it to say that in most cases every night of the week is occupied with some kind of meeting with two or three sessions on Sunday. This may be the way to make assembly line followers of a creed, but it is not the path by which men come to know God, for it is possible to chum with friends and associates, subscribe to the doctrines and creeds of your group, and have the whole Bible at your finger tips while your soul remains empty and void of a personal relationship with the Lord.
Sons of God are not made by continual association with religious people. They are made by continual association with their Lord and heavenly Father. They make themselves available to Him to listen to His voice, to read His word, to enquire of His wisdom and to ask of His understanding. “One thing have I desired of the Lord,” said David, “that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple.” Psa. 27:4. And let us see the results of such association with God, for he continues, “In time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me. He shall set me up upon a rock.” Verse 5 There is something infinitely different about the man or woman who has been in communion with God. The revelation of the Lord within comes shining through the darkness of all outward coverings. Lack of schooling, inability to speak or explain are things of naught when the heart speaks from the wisdom of the clear shining light of God within His tabernacle.
When Jesus sat by the wayside well with the woman of Samaria, He spoke truths to her heart that had never been revealed to any Pharisee or doctor of the law, and, while she communed while Him, something was born in her heart that never ceased to grow. A lamp was lighted to shine with increasing brilliance forever. The endless wonders of the words He spoke that day have never ceased, and I am sure that during the remainder of her life on earth she bore radiant testimony to the wonder of meeting Him face to face. Could we imagine that even in death such a gushing fountain of life could possibly cease? Far be this from the truth, for in heaven itself the water that quenched her thirst flows as a river from the throne.
I am sure that you have noticed, in reading the Bible, that the greatest truths ever spoken to mankind were spoken to the ones and twos who had made themselves available to Jesus. When Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews, turned aside from the teachings and doctrines of the scribes and Pharisees to make himself available to Jesus Christ, truth was unfolded to him such as was never spoken before in all the history of the world, yea, and to my knowledge was never repeated by Him again. Stand with me by the door, if you will, and hear their conversation as understanding is imparted to a troubled heart and light eternal comes to dispel the darkness of the natural mind and death’s morbid gloom is displaced by life eternal. “Master, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God,” said he, “for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:2-8. “Art thou a master in Israel and knowest not these things?” Jesus asked. Verse 10 Woe to them, for Israel had many masters who knew not the things of the Spirit. Woe to us also, for the church system with all its degrees and learning knows little of the things of God’s Spirit. It is the revelation of the Lord that makes known eternal things to longing hearts who make themselves available to Him.
Was it not to weeping Martha that Jesus spoke the eternal truth, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on Me shall never die?” John 11:25. Martha had heard of His coming and had run out on the road to meet him. Her disconsolate heart, mourning the death of her only brother, drew from her lips the complaint, “If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died,” and with a note of questioning hope she added, “But I know that even now whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee.” “Thy brother shall rise again” He assured her with godly joy. To this she replied, “I know that he shall rise in the resurrection at the last day.” “I am the resurrection and the life,” our Lord replied, and with this eternal truth He filled the heart of a weeping woman who had run out on the road at the message of His coming to make herself available to Him.
It was Abraham’s aloneness that made him a friend of God, or should I have said that it was Abraham’s friendship with God that made him a lonely man. Yet he who dwells in God is never lonely or alone, for the promise is ever with him, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Enoch could not have walked with God if he had not made himself available to God to walk with Him and commune with Him while all other voices were shut out and their clamoring denied. The voices of scribes and Pharisees, priests and preachers have become as the clamor of high pressure salesmen who hawk their wares in the public place and sell their trinkets from door to door, and those who buy their wares find them something much less than was represented. I am sick of men who harangue about issues and I am sick of the issues as well. I am weary of doctrines and dogmas, slants and shades of so-called truth. I am tired to death of hearing of who is right and who is wrong, or whether this man or that man is God’s man of the hour. I shall rise far above this slimy cesspool of religious debate to dwell where God dwells in the Spirit.
If you, my friend, have looked about you, you will certainly have seen that it is human opinions that divide men from one another. It is the insistent propounding of doctrines that are supposed to be truth, but which in reality do nothing but separate God’s children. How often has my spirit bled and drooped in the dust of despondency as some brother or sister turned his heart away because I had not embraced his pet doctrine or had failed to mention it in any of the articles I had written or because I had not been enlightened upon some thing that was of great importance to him. Such shoddy experience can never be with men who love God and know Him, for instead of devoting their time to senseless pros and cons concerning the resurrection, they will know Him who is both the resurrection and the life. Instead of vain imaginations and explanations about the water of life they will have that artesian well within them, springing up with living water and flowing out to satisfy all who would drink at its Living fountain. What good are debates about the new birth? Is it not much better to receive and experience it?
Is it not much better to know God than to endlessly war and debate about the Godhead as so many do? I am convinced that those who debate about God have neither seen Him nor known Him, for had they done so, there would be no argument. They are like the little girl that was diligently drawing a picture of some mysterious creature, who, when asked by her father what she was drawing, said, “I am drawing a picture of God.” “Well,” said her father, “you cannot draw a picture of God because no one knows what God looks like.” “Well,” replied the child, “when I am finished with this picture, they will know.” We smile at this and well we might, but is her answer more simple than the vanity of men who, not having seen God, describe His appearance and, not having known Him, take pride in their explanations?
There is not a man on earth who is qualified to teach God’s truth until God has revealed it unto him by the Spirit. Perhaps one of our greatest misconceptions is in our understanding of the words of Paul, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,” 2 Tim. 2:15. This verse of scripture is almost always used as an exhortation for men and women to become students of the word of God or to urge upon them the necessity of attending a Bible School to imbibe knowledge by study. I do not believe such a thought as that ever entered the inspired mind of the apostle. He was not telling us to study books. He was not even telling us to study the Bible, good and necessary as that may be, but he was telling the people that their lifelong study should concern their being approved of God. Did you ever read this sentence? “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God.” Acts 2:22 Are we to conclude that God’s approval rested upon Him because He was a diligent student of books and doctrines? No! Never! That is not what made Him approved. Even the miracles and wonders that He performed were not in themselves the basis of God’s approval, but rather the constant attitude of His life: “I do always those things that please the Father.” Well did Paul say, “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit, for he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable with God and approved of men.” Rom. 14:17–18
That you might be approved of God should be your lifelong prayer and study that you might know Him well, become acquainted with His eternal purposes, and above all that His will for you as an individual might be manifest unto you that you might walk in it and thus be blessed with His approval. I frankly confess that I am sick to death of preachers and meetings. I am tired of seeing people sit like dumb sheep to listen to the ideas and opinions of men, accept their interpretation, practice their theories, act on their advice, and yet never come face to face with God at all. Why should these religious professionals be allowed to squeeze everybody into their mold or try to fashion all men after their liking? Is not God Himself the Potter? Are we not all the clay in His hands? Is it not God who is working in us to will and do His good pleasure? Why then must I be a follower of this hireling or that when there is one Lord and one Head that is higher than the heaven itself and when there is faith in each one of us to reach beyond the veil and hold the Head that we may be joined perfectly with Him?
There is no value in belonging to a sect. Even the thought of adherence to a denomination is a schism and a division in the mystical body of Christ. It is a separation of joints and marrow, a hindrance to that which every joint supplieth. Flee from these things that you may lay hold on Christ, for all that comes before Him is naught but a thief and a robber that will steal away the precious unity of His Spirit, which alone can make the unity of every member of His body true and glorious. I am convinced in my heart that, the moment men wild women begin to make themselves available to God, at that same moment the bondage and shackles of creeds, sects, denominational, preachers, programs, meetings and all other inventions of man will begin to fall away, for he whom the Son makes free in free indeed.
We have made lies our refuge and under falsehood have we hid ourselves. We have trusted in our church affiliations to deliver us in the time of the overflowing scourge, but all it has proved to be is a covenant with death and an agreement with hell.
Isa. 28:17–18. But the hour has come in this the end of the age when God is laying in Zion a chief corner stone, even Jesus Christ, the Head of the true body. He is a precious stone, a tried foundation, and those who trust in Him shall not be confounded. Isa. 28:16. Now is the hour when judgment is being laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet (or plumb-bob). Now is the hour for the sweeping away of the refuge of lies that has held God’s people in the vice-like grip of the Babylonish systems. Now is the time for God’s people to break their connections with the Delilahs and Jezebels, the Catholic mother of harlots and the host of her Protestant daughters. This is the time above all times to lay hold on that tried foundation stone to become one in spirit with Jesus Christ, for all who are one spirit with Him are one body in Him. This is the true church and beside it there can be no other either in heaven or in earth. This is the virgin male, the sons of God, the head of that female bride who will come to perfection after the man Christ Jesus has been formed in completeness, from Jesus of Nazareth, the Head of the body of sons, to ourselves the glorious feet of that same mystical body of Christ. Then shall the sons of God because of eternal unity be called the Son, even as the Lord, when calling the multitudes out of Egypt, declared, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.”
It is neither good nor necessary to know men after the flesh. That is why I never clutter up the paper with pictures of myself. That is why I seldom encourage people to visit me. Who is Paul or who is Apollos but ministers by whom you believed? And how much less important am I, the least of all His saints! Seek not man whose breath is in his nostrils, but seek Him who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God. Make yourself and your whole life available to Him. Wait before Him in silence and awe that He may speak and make His will known to your waiting heart. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
TREASURES OF TRUTH, Volume 7, When Saints Become the Will of God [George R. Hawtin] ~ BOOK 1