THREE DEATHS AND THREE RESURRECTIONS: VOLUME TWO

THREE DEATHS AND THREE RESURRECTIONS

SANCTIFICATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

There are three major phases of the Divinely provided redemption that is in Christ. The three phases are not like three rungs on a ladder we are to climb or three grades in school we are to attain. Rather, the three phases are as three facets of one diamond. They are three dimensions of the one redemption that we possess, entire and whole, when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

The redemption that is in Christ is a powerful work, a broad work, a perfect work. It includes the growth of the believer to spiritual maturity, which is the image of Christ; the growth of the Church, the Body of Christ, to the Bride of the Lamb without blemish of any kind; and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The believer is "born again" into the Kingdom of God and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church, the Body of Christ. The saint then fights his way, by the wisdom and power that the Holy Spirit gives, into the "throne" phase of redemption. He must "overcome" if he is to rule with Christ and be God’s son.

In order to enter each of the three areas of redemption we must die the specific death God has ordained. If we are willing to go through the "deaths" God has decreed, we will receive the accompanying resurrections.

Christ asks you: "Will you be saved?"

If your answer is yes, He will bring down your old nature into crucifixion with Him and will raise you in the likeness of His resurrection. You will be protected from wrath by His blood, received of the Father, made alive by the Spirit of God, and born again by His Divine Substance placed in you.

Christ ask you: "Will you follow the Holy Spirit in sanctification?"

If your answer is yes, the Holy Spirit will furnish you each day with the wisdom and power to put to death the deeds of your body. Your fleshly lusts will be brought into subjection to the will of the Spirit. In their place will flow deeds, words, and thoughts that glorify God and testify of the redeeming authority and power that are in Christ. You will be holy and behave in a holy manner.

Christ asks you: "Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?"

If your answer is yes, He will teach you obedience in the school of suffering. He may demand every one of your rights and privileges as a person and as a Christian. Will you allow Him to treat you in this way without grumbling and complaining? Is there any point at which you will refuse Christ?

If you will obey the Lord through every testing He will raise you to His throne. The fullness of fruitfulness and dominion will be yours.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER IV. SANCTIFICATION: THE SECOND AREA OF REDEMPTION Definition of Sanctification Learning To Know God

Holiness: the result of the school of the Spirit The manifest works of the flesh

The Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation The Holy Place of the Tabernacle: The Church The Table of Showbread: The Substance of Christ The Golden Lampstand: The Light of the Holy Spirit Five Operations of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit gives gifts and ministries The Holy Spirit destroys the works of the devil The Holy Spirit creates the Nature of Christ in us The Holy Spirit comforts and guides us The Holy Spirit keeps us pressing toward Christ

Five End Products of the Five Operations

The first end product: imparting Christ The second end product: the testimony of God Three additional end products of the operations

Review: The Holy Spirit and the Lampstand The Altar of Incense: Consecration, Worship, Supplication

The heavenly Altar of Incense Inner resurrection precedes outer resurrection

The Boards Standing Up: Members of the Body of Christ Three Kinds of Lighting The Sanctification Domain of Christianity The Feast of Weeks: Pentecost

The two wave loaves The double portion of the last days Sinai; then the land of promise

The Wilderness Wandering

The Book of Hebrews exhorts us to press on toward the land A season and place of instruction: the wilderness The revelation of God’s Nature in the Law and ordinances "Blueprints" for the Tabernacle and the Church Formation into an army Moses’ ministry: Part Two

The Fourth Day of Creation Hosea Six, Second Day: Revival Waters to the Knees Christ Walks: Second Day The Sixtyfold Bearing of the Fruit of the Spirit

The growth of the truth in us More fruit: the result of pruning

The Second Level of Noah’s Ark

Three periods of God’s dealing with man The Church: the second level of the Ark

Overcoming by the Word of Our Testimony

The testimony of Christ: four workings of the Holy Spirit The Word of God—two aspects The power of miracles Pure Gold—Christ Himself wrought in us First-hand testimony Two distinctions

The Second Anointing of David

Victorious saints, and the second anointing of David Becoming a victorious saint

The Second Temptation of Christ Conclusion: The Area of Sanctification

CHAPTER IV. SANCTIFICATION: THE SECOND AREA OF REDEMPTION

We have come now to the second death and second resurrection.

The first death is that of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and our identification and participation with Him in that death. It is death to all that the first creation and the old nature were. It is the finish of all that went before. Through Christ we have been crucified to the world and the world to us.

The first creation is finished as far as we are concerned. Though we have known Christ as a human being on earth (as a Personage of historical importance), yet we do not know even Him any longer in terms of the old creation. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:7).

The term first resurrection, as used in our book, is not the "first resurrection" of Revelation 20:6. It is the emergence of the Lord Jesus Christ from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea and our identification and participation with Him in that resurrection.

Through faith in Christ we have been raised from death, having been forgiven Adam's sin and our own sin. The Holy Spirit comes to abide in us and our born-again inner man is raised to sit in the heavenly places in Christ.

The first death and resurrection are demonstrated as we enter, and come up out of, the waters of baptism. The sixth chapter of the Book of Romans explains the meaning of water baptism. Chapters Seven and Eight of Romans explain the consequences of our death and resurrection with and in Christ, as we shall see.

The second death (not to be confused with the "second death" of Revelation 20:14) and second resurrection has to do with our priestly office as members of the Body of Christ. The second death is death to the lusts of our flesh and mind—to what is satanic. The second resurrection is life conducted according to the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of God.

We have termed the second area of our redemption sanctification. This especially is the Church realm of the Kingdom of God. It is the place of anointing for service, of gifts and ministries, of Spirit-empowered prayer and praise, of ongoing worldwide evangelism. In the second aspect of redemption we bring the light of God to men, and men are brought before God in prayer and worship.

The area of sanctification is a place of holiness, of the body and blood of Christ (linking the Courtyard with the Holy Place), of the revelation of the Holy Spirit, of prayer and worship. We enter this area of the Body of Christ through the baptism with the Holy Spirit just as we entered the death and resurrection of Christ through water baptism.

The second aspect of redemption is associated with the wilderness wandering, with learning the ways of God, with coming under God's law of the Spirit of life, with Christ pruning back the fruit of our life and the growing of more abundant fruit, with the daily manna from God.

It is helpful to keep in mind that the three deaths and three resurrections that we are describing are closely related. Remember also that all the graces and elements of redemption work collectively and individually in each of the three areas of redemption. Back and forth sweeps the Spirit of God applying the aspect of the Nature of Christ needed at the moment.

The blood of the cross works in all three areas. The Holy Spirit works in all three areas. The Word of God works in all three areas.

The areas of redemption are not a defined one-two-three program. Redemption is Christ Himself. When we possess Christ we have everything of God. Yet it is true that there is a working out of Christ in us. Otherwise, Christ remains as a mental concept, a head knowledge, a doctrinal position, rather than a living Person who actually, tangibly enters us and transforms our personality.

We have been given the piano. Now it is time to learn to play on it.

Definition of Sanctification

To be sanctified is to be set apart as holy to the Lord.

We are set apart as holy when we first receive Christ and begin to practice righteous and holy behavior. In the second area of redemption we make progress in the ability to think, speak, and act in a righteous and holy manner. The Christian discipleship is one of ever-increasing reconciliation to God.

In the third area of redemption, that of conquest, we receive added power and Life from Christ to the point that we are able to tread under foot all the works of the devil.

The Person of the Godhead who is active in a special manner in the area of sanctification is the Holy Spirit. He leads us into the development of righteous and holy behavior, which involves learning of the Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose of God.

Also necessary are the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in gifts and ministries, the offering of prayer and worship to the Father, putting to death the deeds of our body, the forming of Christ in us, assembling together with fervent Christians, and all other graces and circumstances of the Christian pilgrimage.

Learning To Know God

Learning the Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose of God requires a lifetime of patient instruction in the school of the Holy Spirit, the school located in the "wilderness" of our progressive journey.

The wilderness wandering of Israel between Egypt and the land of promise was one teaching session after another. The Hebrews learned that God exists, that He is faithful, that He is a provider and healer. The fiery holiness of God's Nature blazed from Mount Sinai. Later the Glory was revealed from within the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

The tender compassion of the Lord was discovered in such things as prohibiting boiling a kid in its mother's milk and muzzling an ox that is threshing corn. In addition, Israel learned that God will not put up forever with murmuring and unbelief.

The history of the nation of Israel, from Abraham to the rebuilding of the Temple in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, constitutes a series of examples to us so we may understand the Person, the will, the ways, and the purpose of God.

We too, as Christians, wander in our own wilderness. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Will we ever attain the goal?

In our pilgrimage we learn that God exists and that He is dependable. The tender mercies of the Lord are revealed to us as well as His eternal wrath against sin. The Christian experience is a prolonged schooling in the things of Christ. We can choose to be quick, eager students or we can be slow to learn and dull of hearing. The Lord is pleased when we accept His instruction and do not have to be taught the same lesson over and over again, as did the wandering children of Israel.

The various elements of the grace of God are closely related and work together with the incidents and problems of life through which the Holy Spirit brings us. None of these Divine lessons can be directed or empowered by the wisdom or strength of human beings. They are the responsibility of the Holy Spirit as He prepares the Bride of the Lamb for spiritual union with the Bridegroom.

Holiness: the result of the school of the Spirit. The end result of instruction in the school of the Holy Spirit is the shunning of what is sinful and the fervent embracing of what is pleasing to the Lord. We learn to love righteousness and to hate sin and rebellion.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

It is the will of God in Christ that His people be not only saved from Divine wrath but also sanctified. Sanctification is the setting apart of the members of the Body of Christ to God until they act, speak, think, imagine, pray, and worship in a truly righteous and holy manner—a manner pleasing to the Father in Heaven. Sanctification includes complete separation from the ungodly thinking and acting that characterize the world, our fleshly nature, and the devil, and complete union with God through Christ.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust] of concupiscence (sexual desire), even as the Gentiles which know not God: (I Thessalonians 4:3-5)

The first issue of sanctification, in the New Testament writings, is purification from adultery and fornication and related behaviors. The sin of past and present civilizations is that of sexual impurity. Part of the redemption that is in Christ has to do with destroying from the Christian the guilt, tendencies, and effect of all forms of the sins of the flesh—particularly the sins of lustful passion.

An example of the New Testament admonitions concerning the deeds of the body is as follows:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (II Corinthians 6:17)

It is not possible for us to abide in Christ and at the same time to behave according to the lusts of our flesh. When we begin our discipleship we are chained by many unclean desires. During this period the blood of the new covenant cleanses us from our transgressions. As we walk in the Spirit of God we learn to put away the sins of our flesh. Until we lay hold on the grace of God to the point of putting away the sins of the body the Lord will not "receive" us to the degree mentioned in the above Scripture.

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:18)

Our status as sons and daughters of God is related directly to our sanctification. God saves us from wrath by the virtue that is in the blood of His beloved Son and gives us access to His throne in prayer. God receives us as we learn to put away sin. The children of God are holy as He is holy. It is impossible for God to receive us and have fellowship with us unless we are leading morally clean lives.

God's judgment passes over us as long as we are under the blood of the Lamb. Also we have direct access to God's throne through the blood of Christ, there to make our needs and desires known. But our actual fellowship with God grows as we begin to think and act in a holy manner. The degree of fellowship we have with Him is related directly to the degree of holiness in which we are living.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

The "promises" are that we will be the Temple of God and that God will receive us and be a Father to us. The extent to which we attain the promises depends on the degree to which we cleanse ourselves from "all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" and develop "holiness in the fear of God."

The fear of God is healthy and clean and has to do with our recognition of the fact that God cannot accept filthiness of the flesh or spirit. God's wrath always is directed against sin. He cleanses us with the blood of Christ as long as we are following Christ diligently. If we—Christian or not—begin to live in sin and disobedience we need to fear Him who will burn up the works of this age with eternal fire.

We cleanse ourselves by the blood of the Lamb. We cleanse ourselves by confessing our sins to Christ and turning away from them. We draw near to God and submit to Him and resist the devil. The Holy Spirit leads us to the awareness of our personal sins, which are many; then we, by the wisdom and power that the Holy Spirit provides, cease from our sinning.

We are to cleanse ourselves from "all filthiness." We are not debtors to our flesh that we must live in its inflamed appetites. The spirit of the age in which we live is so wicked, so filthy, so perverse, that many Christians have given up the battle, saying, "Everyone is doing it (sin)"; or, "We can't be perfect in this world"; or, "We're saved by grace" (meaning it doesn't really matter whether or not we sin because Christ continues to forgive us anyway).

The Word of God cannot be changed in this manner. If we do not follow the Lord Jesus in the pursuit of holiness of life and thought we are sowing to the flesh and shall reap corruption.

If we believe that Christians are obligated or compelled to sin while they are in world we are ignorant of the authority of the cross and the power of the resurrection and are unbelieving concerning the Word of God.

If we suppose that Christ cannot break the bondages of sin in our personality, then we do not know the scope of the plan of redemption. If we are under the impression that the work of grace is limited to forgiving and excusing a behavior pattern that continues in the chains of darkness, groveling in the slavery in which Satan drives his subjects, then we do not understand the role of Christ as Redeemer.

We simply do not understand the new covenant!

If you have not been aware of the delivering authority and power of Christ we bring to you the good news that Satan's authority over you was demolished on the cross of Calvary and you now are free to choose to be a servant of righteousness. Through Christ you can cease from the horrid practices that are destroying everything of value in your life.

The Lord Jesus Christ has set you free. Now it is up to you to assert that freedom by living in victorious faith.

The Holy Spirit will lead you and help you in every needful manner. Every provision has been made for your complete release from sin and disobedience. No Christian can be compelled by the spirit of the world, by his flesh, or by Satan to sin against God.

If you are walking in lust, confess your lust to Christ and change your behavior. If you are stealing, confess your sin to Christ and stop stealing. If you are lying, confess your sin to Christ and stop lying.

If you are boasting, confess your sin to Christ and stop boasting. If you are practicing any form of spiritism, such as fortune telling, astrology, or any other occult practice, stop it. Confess your sin to Christ, ask Him to cleanse you, and He will lift its power from you and guide you into complete deliverance. Christ is our Redeemer.

The unholy, sinful character of your life is nothing more nor less than a group of sinful practices. The unsaved person has a sin nature, an inherited guilt and compulsion, that compels him to sin. He still is under the authority of Satan.

If you have received Christ as your Savior and Lord you no longer are under the authority of Satan. If you understand that a certain behavior is sinful, and you still are practicing it, it is because you are choosing to do so. Either you are ignorant concerning the provisions of the new covenant or you are leading a careless Christian discipleship. The new covenant differs from the old in that the old was limited to forgiveness. The new includes deliverance from the guilt and power of sin. The new covenant is an eternal judgment against sin, the beginning of the permanent removal of sin from the creation of God.

Sometimes a Christian is bound by the devil to the extent that he must seek the assistance in prayer of the elders of the church.

If any person advises you that you are obligated to sin while you are in the flesh or in the world, ask him for the verse in the New Testament that states that the Christian must sin while he is in the world. The Good News of the Kingdom of God is that we have the authority and power through Christ to put off our sinful ways and to put on the new man. Paul commands us to awake to righteousness and cease from our sinning.

We understand that we are simplifying a complex problem. There are saints of pure intention in the Lord who are tempted severely to sin, who long for release, who have confessed to Christ but who must battle constantly against the lusts of flesh and the mind. This is so frustrating and discouraging. It is true also that some Christians are healed instantly of sickness while others wait in faith before the Lord year after year. Not all our prayers receive immediate answers.

The first point that needs to be clear to us is that it is the will of Christ that we be delivered from all sin and rebellion against God. A delayed answer to prayer is not an indication that it is not God's will that we be holy. Never, never, never change your mind about that. The Word of God remains true. Christ came to set us free from sin.

The second point to keep in mind is that we are in a battle. Issues are contested in the spirit realm. We are not always aware of all that is being wrought in the wisdom of God. If there were no kingdom of darkness, if we did not have six thousand years of sin behind us and were not born in sin and rebellion against God, then we would not be engaged in such a fiercely contested struggle. Also, we must remember that God works out many things in our lives, during the trial of our faith, that are not immediately evident to us. Our battle against sin is producing a ruling personality in us. Our destiny is to sit as kings and judges over all the works of God’s hands.

The Lord Jesus will deliver us from all the works of the adversary if we do not surrender and compromise. Let us press forward in faith in God's Word. Our answer will come in its fullness if we do not draw back in fear and unbelief.

When seeking deliverance from sinful practices of deed, word or thought, be sure you name the sin to the Lord. Do not talk all around the issue. Name what you are doing: lust, lying, hatred, unforgiveness, malice, envy, jealousy, criticizing, or whatever it may be. You will not receive deliverance until you are honest with God, name the bondage clearly, and are ready to have the Lord remove it from you.

Ask God for the strength to acknowledge that your profanity or lust or gossiping will not be admitted into the Kingdom of God; that it is destined for eternal residence in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

In some cases it is helpful to join together with a mature Christian of the same sex as yourself, or with your husband or wife, and describe the bondages in your life. Bring your sins out into the light. Ask their prayers for your deliverance.

Sometimes restitution is necessary. You may must ask someone's forgiveness or return an article that you have stolen. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and strength. He will help you make restitution with gladness of heart. The Spirit can do that.

Having done all, stand in the full assurance that God has heard you and will deliver you completely. Never give up. Rest in God's Word and His strength. You cannot overcome spiritual bondages by your own determination or zeal. Allow the power of Christ to deliver you from the hand of the enemy.

If some area of your life is doubtful, hold it before the Lord until He clarifies the part that is of Him and the part that is of the kingdom of darkness. Never let down your guard, although it may require many years before the issue is resolved completely.

We are not suggesting here that the Christian become introspective or burdened and gloomy because of the accusations that Satan is hurling at him continually. We are speaking only of genuine bondages that are revealed in the daily behavior of the disciple, manifesting themselves as continuing hindrances to holiness.

Neither are we indicating that the Christian should reach backward in time and begin to discuss his behavior as an unbeliever. The past is gone. It is under the blood of Calvary. We left it in the waters of baptism. Rather we are to march forward in victory, being without condemnation in the sight of God through the blood of the Lamb.

Today is the day of salvation. We are guiltless because of the blood of Jesus. We are full of the authority of the cross and the power of the resurrection, and of the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of God. We can overcome all our sinful practices.

The Christian armor covers us in front. The Glory of God is our rear guard. Let us press forward in victory and the Lord Jesus will deliver the enemy into our hands.

As we follow on after Christ there still may be much spiritual darkness in our nature. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from these iniquities provided we are pursuing the Lord Jesus in fervent discipleship.

There is no provision for the spiritually careless, lazy, indifferent church member who is content with a form of godliness but is bearing no fruit of holiness. Such are dead while they live. They are approaching destruction even though they are making a profession of Christ. Christians are known by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Let us not be deceived.

The main subject of the writings of the New Testament is holiness of action, speech, and thought. The Book of First John, for example, is a long exhortation to believers to put away sin. Each epistle of Paul contains exhortations to the Christians to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for satisfying the lusts of our body.

The true Christian discipleship is the pursuit of holy union with Christ. The fruit for which God is looking in the Church is that of holiness. By holiness is meant union with God so that we put away all forms of sexual impurity, all covetousness, all strife and murderous anger, all jealousy, all evil speaking, all violence, all filthiness of speech and actions, all sorcery, all sin and rebellion of every kind.

We are called to abide in holy union with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is authority and power in Christ to create holiness in us, and it is important in the sight of the Lord that we respond and obey as the Holy Spirit leads us into that holiness. "For is ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13).

The sons of God are those who are putting to death the deeds of their body through the wisdom and strength provided by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13,14), and are having created in them the love, joy, peace, patience, and hope that are the fruit of the abiding of the Holy Spirit. True, eternal holiness is the forming of Christ in us.

If we are not making progress in the abolishing of sin, and in the forming of Christ in us, then, we are not continuing in the program of redemption. Redemption is the destruction of the guilt and tendencies of sin into which we were born and the creating of the righteous nature of Christ in us. The purpose of redemption is that we may be received into the Being of Christ, who abides eternally in the Being of the Father.

We have seen that the first aspect of redemption, that of basic salvation, insures (if we continue in it) our preservation during the coming period when God rises up to avenge Himself of the sins of angels and men.

Sanctification, on the other hand, is the development of a holy personality and righteous behavior on the part of God's people.

If our concept is that the new Jerusalem consists of people who have been preserved but who still are performing works of unrighteousness, we do not understand the nature of the Kingdom of God. There will be no sin or disobedience in the Kingdom of God. The holy city indeed is a holy city.

The manifest works of the flesh.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [immorality], Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The works of the flesh are "manifest," but it appears that their relationship to the Kingdom of God is not understood well by many Christians. There may be no greater area of ignorance in Christianity than what constitutes sin under the new covenant, and how the new covenant deals with sin in the Christian personality. Sin is defined clearly in the New Testament writings.

The world is ignorant concerning sin and righteousness and the Church also is ignorant concerning sin and righteousness. Judgment has been missing from the Church, but God now is restoring judgment to us so we can distinguish between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14), and receive the power and wisdom to reject the evil and choose the good.

As we put away sin from our personality we are given to eat of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is Christ—there is no other tree of life.

As we continue to eat of the Tree of Life we then are able to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the eternal moral law of God, the eternal law of which the Law of Moses was a temporary form.

If Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of Life, as they were supposed to, they then would have been able to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When they had eaten of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would have understood they were naked. But because they had eaten of the Tree of Life, of Christ they would have been clothed with the white robe of righteous raiment.

Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil before eating of the Tree of Life. As a result they attempted to hide their nakedness with fig leaves instead of with the white robe of Divine righteousness.

The mark of the maturing of Christ in us is the ability to judge between what is good and what is evil, and to sternly reject that which is evil and to choose that which is good. As we do this God clothes us with the white robe of Divine righteousness, not with the fig leaves of human righteousness.

The Protestant Reformers appear to have gone to excess in the teaching of grace. We are reaping the fruit of this error. We have been left with a swollen justification that pushes aside the Divine work of sanctification.

The Body of Christ is the judge of sin. This Body, the Body of Christ, the Body of the Servant of the Lord, is being created so that judgment may be brought into God's creation—the heavens as well as the earth. The Holy Spirit is the One who instructs the Church in the ways of Divine judgment.

. . . Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [immorality], (Galatians 5:19)

Satan always endeavors to seduce us to sin. Our spirit is willing to reject sin but our flesh is weak. Only the Holy Spirit has the wisdom and power to give us control over the desires of our flesh.

As we behold sexual impurity on the rise we know that Satan is busy. The ancient sins of lust and perversion are being practiced in our day. There is no quicker way to come under Divine judgment than to yield to the flesh in the area of sexual lust.

It does not matter whether or not we are Christians. Grace will not make sexual lust and perversion pleasing to God. We destroy our spirit, soul, and body when we yield to lust. Marriage is honorable in every aspect but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. We do not escape the Divine judgment because we name the name of Christ. The sexually impure will reap corruption.

We are to flee from immorality, God's judgment is on every form of sexual impurity. The grace of Christ does not excuse immorality. We can repent and obtain forgiveness if God gives us the opportunity to do so. But if we keep on practicing immorality we are close to the eternal fire. We may lose our soul.

Christ does not "know" those who are practicing sexual impurity. Such are in the grip of Satan and near to the burning. They are to confess their fornication to Christ, draw near to God, and resist the devil. Now is the time to stop. Tomorrow we may be standing before Christ.

Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, . . . . (Galatians 5:20)

Idolatry and covetousness are related. We humans are prone to fasten our attention on relationships with people, on things, and on desirable situations. The Lord desires our undivided attention but we choose to bring ourselves into bondage to people and things. God and Christ insist on the full concentration and adoration of the saint.

Much of our Christian discipleship is consumed with anxiety as God brings our idols under our feet. This is a painful process and causes us much grief. We are in bondage to many things. The Lord is faithful to deliver us from these idols and to bring us to the state where we worship and serve only Him through Christ. The fire of God burns away our bondages of idolatry.

Sorcery (sorcery, spiritism) is on the rise today because people are discovering that scientific materialism leaves many questions of life unanswered. All forms of spiritism, even those that may seem harmless such as parlor games having to do with the occult, are an abomination to God, just as is true of sexual perversion.

Sometimes it is quite difficult to receive deliverance if one has been involved in any form of sorcery. The demons are unwilling to release the individual. Deliverance is possible though our Lord Jesus Christ, but the spiritual pride that accompanies the practice of sorcery is a powerful bondage.

We come under Divine judgment whenever the Lord sees us having anything to do with spirits other than His Holy Spirit. If we are or have been engaged in any type of fortune telling we are to confess our actions to Christ and then cease this practice immediately. God will assist us if we are sincere and determined.

It is true also that imaging, positive confession when such a declaration of belief is an attempt to manipulate the spiritual realm other than by prayer to the Lord Jesus, the effort to speak creative words, mind reading, and all other forms of the application of soul power are to be renounced.

Hatred in all its forms is the expression of Satan. Satan is a murderer. Whenever we yield to any form of hatred or revenge we soon find ourselves in trouble with the Lord. God is love and dwells in love. Heaven is filled with kindly good will—a good will scarcely known on the earth because of the purity, gentleness, and innocence of its quality.

God dwells eternally in just such love and gentleness and invites us to do so also. He will impart to us His Holy Spirit so we can dwell in love, even in the murderous atmosphere of this world.

. . . variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, . . . . (Galatians 5:20,21)

All forms of division between people are considered to be the works of the flesh. Our striving with one another, jealousy because of some good that another has gained, indignation because of the imperfections of a brother or sister, contention over doctrine, division and sectarian competition, envying of another person, and murderous hatred are the fruit of our flesh yielding to the pressures loaded on us by the evil lords of darkness who rule the world from their spiritual vantage points in the heavenlies and are constantly bringing accusations against our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Our task is to appropriate the grace of God to the extent that we are able to bring our flesh under subjection to God's Spirit so we can cease doing these things. Christ is free from strife, contention, and envy. He desires that we likewise be free from strife, contention, and envy.

. . . drunkenness, revellings, and such like: . . . . (Galatians 5:21)

Self-control is one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit of God. The people who are under the control of the present wicked age practice excesses of food and drink, wild reveling of all kinds. Worldly people cannot understand why Christians advocate and practice self-control, keeping their bodies under strict discipline.

"Eat, drink, and play" is one of the prevailing moods of our time among both the young and the elderly. God never accepted this attitude in times past and He does not accept it today. Where there is reveling there is no lack of sin.

The disciple of Jesus keeps his body under strict control, remaining constantly watchful in prayer lest his attention be diverted from the Master and he fall into one of the satanic traps set for the unwary. We can save ourselves much grief by remaining watchful in prayer.

The items listed in Galatians 5:20-21 constitute one of the many statements found in the New Testament writings defining sin under the new covenant. Because of these statements we cannot claim that we do not understand what Christ accepts and what He rejects. Many passages of the New Testament identify the practices that are filthy and rejected in the sight of God. They are evil spirits, and it is the responsibility and privilege of the Church to judge them and to cast them out of the Kingdom of God.

. . . of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

We come to Christ in our sins and are saved by the reconciling authority and power of His blood. But until we press into sanctification we cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Why is that? It is because the Kingdom of God is the absence of sin and the presence of the will of God. There is no sin or rebellion in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.

When we are committing sin we are not abiding in the Kingdom of God. When the Kingdom enters the sin leaves. The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness; then, peace; and then, joy—all in the Holy Spirit of God. The wicked inherit neither peace nor joy.

When we are committing sexual perversion we are not in the Kingdom of God at that point. There is no sexual perversion in the Kingdom of God.

When we are engaging in occult practices we are not in the Kingdom of God. There is no spiritism in the Kingdom of God.

When we become enraged and violent we are not abiding in the Kingdom of God, even though we are professing Christ. The Kingdom of God reigns in peace and joy.

The Son of God appeared for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. The works of human flesh listed in the fifth chapter of the Book of Galatians are the nature of the devil. To the extent these works are destroyed and removed, to that extent the Kingdom of God has come to us.

There is authority and power in the Kingdom of God to judge and cast out unrighteous, unholy practices. When the works of the flesh are not being judged and cast out, the Kingdom of God is not present. Sin and the Kingdom of God are mutually exclusive. They cannot coexist.

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11:20)

The blood of the Lamb of God is the means God has given us so we may have the authority and power to enter the Kingdom of God. The grace of God is not a means of waiving the principle that sin and the Kingdom of God are incompatible. The grace of God is the power of God to help us enter the Kingdom.

The grace of God provides abundantly for this entrance by forgiveness through the blood of Christ, power through the Holy Spirit, and wisdom and knowledge through the Word of God. These Divine enablements work together in loosing us from the bondages of uncleanness that Satan has injected into the bloodstream of humanity.

The grace of God is the empowering of the Christian to overcome sin and to enter the Kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)

Notice the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit of God. We can determine if we are living in the inflamed, perverted appetites of the flesh by the manner in which we behave. The works of the flesh spring from the life lived in the gratification of the appetites of the flesh and soul.

We can judge whether we are living "in the Spirit" by our deeds, words, and thoughts. The fruit of the Spirit can be witnessed in the person in whom the Holy Spirit is dwelling. When we live in the appetites of the flesh we die spiritually. When we, through the Holy Spirit, put to death the deeds of our body we grow spiritually.

Galatians 5:16 informs us that if we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. The choice is ours. We can choose to practice the works of the flesh in the hope we will be saved anyway (which is a dangerous position from the standpoint of the Kingdom of God) or we can sow to the Holy Spirit throughout our pilgrimage on the earth, denying our flesh, in the hope that we will reap eternal life.

Eternal life is ours to choose, to pursue, to lay hold upon. God has given us grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to lay hold on that grace and to obtain abundant life. Such is the true nature of the Christian discipleship.

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)

How can we distinguish those who belong to Christ? They are the believers who have crucified the lusts of their flesh. If we are walking in the appetites of the flesh, the name of Christ does not make us righteous. The proof of our position in Christ is that we are putting to death the lusts of our flesh. If we are not crucifying the lusts of our flesh we have received the grace of God in vain.

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

When we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior we come alive spiritually. The blood of Christ brings us into the Presence of God and the Holy Spirit takes up His abode in us, giving us eternal life. We pass from death to life. Our new life is "in the Spirit."

Then we must "walk in the Spirit." We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of putting to death the sinful deeds of our fleshly nature. If we do not begin to walk in the Spirit, then our first position of redemption, that of salvation in the Day of the Lord, is placed in jeopardy. We accept the risk of being removed from the vine (John 15:2; Hebrews 6:8).

The process of sanctification, which we are presenting as the second major aspect of redemption, is that of coming out from the present evil age and its filthiness of the flesh and human spirit. It is the will of God that we be sanctified. The program of sanctification accounts for much of what God does with us during our pilgrimage through the wilderness of the world.

During our discussion of salvation, the first aspect of redemption, we mentioned some of the many passages of the Scriptures that portray the plan of redemption in three parts or dimensions. Let us now see if we can gain insight into the program of sanctification by studying the second of the three dimensions of redemption in more detail.

The Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation

The Tabernacle of the Congregation (Exodus, Chapters 25 through 40) is one of the major types of Scripture. The Tabernacle consisted of the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.

The Courtyard signifies the place of the initial salvation experience—the first area of redemption.

The Holy Place is the second area, that of sanctification. It portrays the church of Christ in its holiness and priestly service to God.

The third area is the Most Holy Place, the location of the throne of almighty God.

There was a hanging of cloth at the entrance of each of the three areas of the Tabernacle. The first hanging was the gate of the Courtyard. The second hanging was the door leading into the Holy Place. The third hanging was the veil that divided between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

All three hangings were of the same colors: blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twisted (white) linen. The material was linen and the colors were worked into the linen in a beautiful and detailed manner.

The Courtyard surrounded the Tabernacle building and was fenced in by white linen hung on wooden posts. Located in the Courtyard were the Altar of Burnt Offering, and the Laver in which the priests washed every time they went into the Holy Place.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was a rectangular room, ten cubits high, ten cubits wide, and twenty cubits in length. Inside the Holy Place were the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense.

At the far end of the Holy Place was the veil. Beyond the veil was the Most Holy Place, a cubical room ten cubits on a side. The Most Holy Place was the resting place for the Ark of the Covenant and its lid—the solid gold Mercy Seat overshadowed by the Cherubim of Glory.

The gate that led into the Courtyard of the Tabernacle symbolizes the first death—that of Christ on the cross and our participation with Him in His death. The Courtyard symbolizes the first resurrection—our position of righteousness and our newness of eternal life in Christ.

The door that led into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle building symbolizes the second death—death to the deeds of our body (our fleshly nature). The Holy Place is the area of the second resurrection—our resurrection to holiness and to service in the work of the Gospel.

The veil that led into the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle building represents the third death—death to our self-centeredness, self-will, self-love. The Most Holy Place is the scene of the third resurrection—our resurrection to the fullness of authority and power in union with Christ.

The door of the Tabernacle, which was located on the east end of the building, was constructed from linen hung on five posts.

And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of Shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them. (Exodus 26:36,37)

The linen material of the door was hung on five posts of acacia wood. The wood was covered with gold. The hooks from which the linen was hung were of gold. The posts were set in sockets of bronze. The posts were topped with ornamental gold capitals.

The number five, as we understand the symbolism, depicts our entrance into the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit, just as we are baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ through water.

The five posts of gold-covered wood portray the members of the Body of Christ, the saints through whom the world must pass if it would come into the Presence of God. The sockets of bronze in which the posts stood signify the judgment of God in which Christ—Head and Body—is established.

Judgment is God's response to good and evil. Christ bore on Himself the judgment of our sins, and every member of the Body of Christ must pass through the fire of God's judgment.

The members of the Body of Christ do not bear on themselves the judgment of other people's sins in the sense that Christ, our sin-offering, did. But each member of the Body of Christ must pass through fiery trials until his senses have been exercised to distinguish between good and evil.

Each member must of his own will choose to love righteousness and hate sin and rebellion.

How many Christians draw back when the Holy Spirit begins to reprove and convict them concerning some lustful practice, some unforgiveness toward another person, some coveted treasure or ambition, some relationship with another person, some desired position, some idolatrous practice?

The Holy Spirit yearns over us with the jealousy of God, desiring to loose us from all the works of Satan.

We must come to realize and have faith that Christ indeed has the authority and power to release us from our bondages and that it is His will, under the new covenant, to destroy every claim that sin makes on us. To maintain that Christ is unable to deliver us from sin's power is to deny the purpose of the new covenant (I John 3:3-9).

Cannot He who is so willing and able to remove the curse of cancer from the physical body also be willing and able to remove the curse of lust? Cannot He who is so willing and able to heal every kind of sickness and affliction also be willing and able to remove hatred, backbiting, gossiping, jealousy, envy, pride, fear, and every other sin and rebellion from the members of the Body of Christ?

The breaking of these bondages comes as death to us. It is a putting to death of the deeds of the body. We have participated for so long in these satanic impulses that they have become part of our personality. To let them all go means a radical change in the way we act, speak, and think.

Such deep change is frightening to us because our desire has been toward these evils for so long. To walk in the world without serving sin may appear to us to be undesirable. What we may not realize is that these bondages are the direct cause of the confusion, remorse, grief, nervousness, fear, dread, and general pain and tragedy that characterize our life in the world.

Our sins of the flesh can destroy our health, our peace of mind, our home, our family, and everything else of value to us. Satan and his forces are enjoying the use of our bodies while dragging our personalities toward the Lake of Fire. The evil spirits please themselves and we suffer the consequences.

We are speaking primarily to Christians. The Holy Spirit deals with the saints concerning their sins but with the unsaved concerning faith in Christ (John 16:9). The unsaved are confronted with the necessity for believing in Christ and receiving God's mercy so they may be preserved in the Day of Wrath.

The issue of the cross is that of Christ's ownership of us versus Satan's ownership of us. When we accept the blood of the cross we accept Christ's ownership of us and we receive God's Passover protection from destruction.

However, our tendencies toward wicked behavior are not, for the most part, healed in initial salvation. What does happen is that we come out of "Egypt," out of the world. The question of salvation has to do, first of all, with the sin of Adam and the state of rebellion and bondage that we inherited from Adam. We were born in sin and formed in sin and rebellion. It is this complete separation from God that begins to be healed when we come to Calvary.

After we believe in Christ and are baptized in water we must come to terms with the sins that we are practicing now. The guilt of the sin of Adam, that is, our inherited guilt, no longer is of concern to us. We now are without condemnation in Christ. The attention of the Holy Spirit from this point onward is directed toward our daily conduct as a Christian.

God has given the Holy Spirit to us so we may grasp the grace of God in Christ to the extent of overcoming the sins that we practice as a Christian. Each day of our pilgrimage we choose anew to follow the Spirit of God in the conquering of the sins of our flesh, or else we choose to serve Satan in the indulging of the appetites of our flesh.

All sin ultimately is obedience to the will of Satan. "He that committeth sin is of the devil." By the same token, all righteousness is of Christ. Holiness is the fruit of the dwelling of Christ in us through the Spirit of God.

Truly, the choice to follow the Holy Spirit into the crucifixion of our fleshly lusts, into the repudiation and rejection of all that Satan desires in us, is death to the desires of our flesh and mind. Deliverance from sinful practices is not pleasant as we begin to experience it. Talking about sanctification is as "honey" in our mouth, but the working out of it in our personality can be "bitter in the stomach."

However, as soon as the Holy Spirit brings us to the place where we can begin to enjoy some of the peace and liberty that follow our release from the desire to sin, we understand that God truly is seeking our good and our happiness. The Lord is not attempting to make us miserable, although that is how our fleshly nature perceives the Lord's working in us. God is seeking our well-being, our peace, our joy, our eternal happiness.

God sees that our sins are keeping us in captivity to misery, striving, fear. Our sins are destroying all that is desirable in our life. He gently and lovingly brings us to the place of the breaking of our chains.

We do not always enjoy the Lord's methods of releasing us and we kick and rebel against people, against circumstances, against all that tests and prunes us. However, the Lord proceeds with the program of sanctification.

As the operation of sanctification takes effect in our personality we begin to realize that God knows what He is doing and that we now are free to receive blessing and contentment. We no longer are compelled by our lusts to keep on grinding at the mills of sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us because we have grasped the grace of God to the point of breaking the yoke of sin.

The breaking of the bondages of sin does not take place all at once. We enter the land of promise one battle at a time. Overcoming the world and our sins is a process, and no one except the Spirit of God understands how to accomplish our liberation.

Even though the breaking of our bondages requires a period of time, sanctification is a distinctly defined program, and each day brings an important step forward in the progress of our redemption from all that is satanic.

We Christians, if we truly are disciples of the Lord Jesus, are not wandering about at random in the wilderness of the world. God systematically is working with each of His elect in the most painstaking, most detailed manner imaginable.

All the resources of Heaven and earth are being applied to the work of perfecting the saints of God. Nothing is being withheld. God has a great interest in bringing each member of the Body of Christ into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord keeps on working every day, in your life and mine, perfecting each detail of conduct, each detail of speech, each detail of motive, each detail of imagination. No aspect is left unexamined. Every thought and action is weighed with the greatest care.

Sometimes we feel that God is being too strict with us. If we could see the glory that is ahead we would urge God to even stricter attention to the program concerning us. God's love is the motive behind His work in us. Our task is to have faith in the goodness of God and to endure patiently our daily lessons.

It is not always easy to overcome through Christ the obstacles set before us. Sometimes a certain amount of patience and delayed gratification is required of us before we are able to settle down into the day-to-day learning of the lessons presented to us by the Spirit of God.

The curriculum was designed in the mind of God. Our task is to continue each day with the learning program. We are to give our attention to mastery of the lessons of the moment and to follow the Lord Jesus wherever He may lead us.

If we are willing to follow Him, keeping our complaining to a minimum, not giving up in fear and unbelief, we will wake up one morning to realize that God has finished with us and we now are prepared to reign with Him in glory and joy.

Death to our sinful bondages requires self-discipline. Every death in Christ is redemptive. It is followed by resurrection into a higher plane of life and service than we have experienced. Each time we gain a victory over sin we are lifted into greater liberty in Christ.

Day by day through the Spirit we put to death the deeds of our flesh, the chains of Satan. Day by day we breathe more of the air of Heaven. Day by day we keep our eyes on Jesus. It is a glorious adventure full of surprises and blessings. It is a life and death struggle for mastery over the world and our flesh, but the Lord always brings us to victory if we do not cease looking to Him.

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Peace and joy are among the highest, most desired goals of mankind. Peace and joy proceed from only one source—righteousness.

The second resurrection, that which results from death to sin, is resurrection to righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Also it is resurrection to priestly service to God as a member of the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord. It is resurrection to bearing witness to the living Lord Jesus Christ with mighty signs and wonders.

The second resurrection is to holiness of spirit, soul, and body. It is resurrection, not only to God's powerful communication with mankind through us but also to our communication with God. Spirit-anointed, holy worship and intercession ascending before God are eternal chains of love that draw God's attention to the needs of mankind on the earth.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle: The Church

The construction of the Tabernacle building may be studied in the twenty-sixth chapter of Exodus. The building was an elaborate tent constructed from upright boards covered with four kinds of material.

The first layer of material, that which formed the ceiling of the Holy Place, was fine linen. The upright boards and the linen were the actual Tabernacle of God.

The Tabernacle of God was protected under a covering called the Tent of the Congregation, which was black goats' hair. There was a covering over this tent made from rams' skin dyed red. The fourth and final outer layer of material was of the skin of porpoises (King James version—badgers' skins).

The Tabernacle building, which was surrounded by the Courtyard, had wooden walls on the north and south sides and at the western end. The door of the Holy Place was constructed from dyed linen hung on five posts. The door was on the eastern end of the Tabernacle building—on the side of the land of promise toward which God was marching with His saints.

The three wooden walls were constructed from thick, upright boards standing on silver sockets. The building was barn-like in profile, ten cubits high, ten cubits wide, and thirty cubits in length. It was sectioned off by the veil on the western end, with the eastern two-thirds of the length being the Holy Place and the western third the Most Holy Place.

There were five bars running horizontally through rings installed on the outside of the three wooden sides. (It is possible that one of the five bars ran through holes drilled in the sides of the upright boards, bringing the boards into alignment.)

The interior of the Holy Place was beautiful in appearance, offering a startling contrast to the drabness and wildness of the wilderness in which Israel was wandering. Sparkling white linen, with its blue, purple, and scarlet colors, was seen on the door, the ceiling, and the veil. Figures of cherubim were created in the ceiling and on the veil. The interior walls were of the polished fine gold with which the upright boards of the walls were covered.

In the Holy Place were the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense. The room was lighted at night by the seven lamps of the Lampstand. The incense burning on the Altar of Incense filled the area with the holy perfume. The floor of the Tabernacle building was the uncovered ground of the desert.

This is a picture of the Church, of the members of the Body of Christ. In the heart of each saint is the Table of Showbread (the body and blood of Christ); the Lampstand (the eternally indwelling Holy Spirit who brings forth the power of the testimony and the moral nature of Christ); and the Altar of Incense (the continual offering up of adoration and supplication to the Father by the Lord Jesus Christ).

Covering the Christian personality is the sparkling white linen curtain, speaking of the righteous Nature of Christ assigned to and developed in the saints by the grace of God, resulting in righteous behavior on their part.

The Tent placed over the righteousness of the saints (over the linen curtain) was of black goats' hair, typifying the law of sin that still is in our body and by reason of which we must remain constantly on guard.

Over the black goats' hair Tent was the covering of rams' skins dyed red, which portrays the covering of our personality with the blood of Christ. The blood of the Lamb is a perpetual covering over the Church, protecting us from the wrath of God when the Lord passes over the world to judge the demons and their works (Exodus 29:15).

Finally there was the tough waterproof covering of porpoises' skins, the rugged protective hide that we Christians develop as a shield against all the fiery arrows of the wicked one. "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Christ" (II Timothy 2:3).

The acacia-wood (shittim-wood) boards that formed the sides of the Tabernacle building indicate the humanity from which the Church of Christ is constructed. Wood signifies humanity. The boards stood in sockets of silver. Silver, as used in Scripture, speaks of redemption. The work of redemption is the delivering of the saint from the personality and behavior of Satan and his demons.

The boards were covered with gold (which symbolizes Divinity) so that the wood no longer could be seen. When Christ is formed in us and we are abiding in Christ, the wood of our humanity is covered with the gold of Christ's Divine Nature.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation typifies the members of the Church, the Body of Christ. We enter through the door of the Holy Place, portraying our death to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We also enter resurrection to life lived in the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit of God.

In the Holy Place we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. In the Holy Place we receive the priestly anointing of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in and with us in various ways, always bringing us to the place where we are fit to be presented to the Lamb as His Wife. We serve the members of the Body of Christ with our ministries and gifts. We bring forth in our personality he fruit of the Spirit—the moral nature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Holy Place we grow in our ability to communicate with God in praise, adoration, worship, supplication, intercession, spiritual battle, thanksgiving, and meditation.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle speaks of the area of sanctification in our lives in the same manner in which the Courtyard speaks of the area of justification and salvation in the Day of Judgment.

Sanctification, the second area of redemption, is concerned with our moral re-creation. We become God's witnesses, His prophets, kings, and priests, testifying to every man, woman, boy, and girl—and to the heavens as well—of the Person, nature, purpose, will, and ways of the one true God and of His Son, Christ.

We who "bear the vessels of the Lord," who deal in the holy things of God (and that includes every member of the Body of Christ), must be clean. We must learn to distinguish between good and evil. We must separate the holy from the unholy, the clean from the unclean.

The Table of Showbread: The Substance of Christ

Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. (Exodus 25:23,24)

And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them. And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway. (Exodus 25:29,30)

The Table of Showbread typifies the Substance of our Lord Jesus Christ, His body and blood, that we must eat and drink continually if we are to grow in His image and become one with Him. Our sanctification depends on our partaking on a regular basis of the Substance of Christ.

The Communion service is a representation of eating and drinking of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our actual partaking occurs in the spirit realm as we keep ourselves by prayer, by meditation in His Word, and by exposure to the ministries of our fellow believers, in the place where the Holy Spirit can feed us with the Divine Substance. In order to become holy we must keep on receiving into ourselves His holy Nature.

Christ is the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God. As we choose to overcome the world, the Lord gives us to eat of the Tree of Life (Revelation 2:7).

The Table of Showbread was located in the Holy Place on the north side—to the right as one entered the door of the Tabernacle. The Table was constructed from acacia wood covered with pure gold. There was a rim of gold around the center of the Table so that the twelve loaves of the Presence bread (showbread) would remain in place.

The twelve loaves of Presence bread were kept on the Table continually, even while Israel was on the march. We Christians must never become so busy we no longer are able to commune with the Lord and to receive the Substance that comes from Him. Also, every elder charged with ministering the Bread of God must always be ready to provide the Bread when need occurs.

The activities of the churches must be maintained in such a manner that the body and blood of Christ always are available to those who attend the assemblies of the saints. The bronze Laver represents the written Word by which we are washed. We are made clean by the Word. But the living Word, the Word made flesh, can come to us only as the ministry of the Church is moving in the Holy Spirit of God.

Many of the activities of Christian churches have little or no value in terms of building the Body of Christ. A chief problem is music. While music can play an important role in the Church, it is used commonly to take the place of the Presence of the Lord, to fill in where there is a lack of the anointed Presence of the Lord as represented by the Table of Showbread.

Choir anthems, oratorios, musical specials, often are of little value in building Christ in the saints. They stir the soul and are pleasing to the adamic nature. But if they are not anointed by the Spirit they do not contain the body and blood of the Lord. They occupy time that should be devoted to Spirit-filled prayer and the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.

Art forms, whether music, dancing, sculpture, architecture, pictures, are a Divine blessing to mankind. They have a place in our lives now and hopefully will continue throughout eternity. They have value in our services only as they are wrought in prayer and consecration to the Lord. Banners, marching, mime, tambourines, drama, can be employed in the assembly of saints. If they are governed by the Holy Spirit they add immeasurably to the joy and glory of the worship.

In many instances the Christian people are unable to distinguish between the inspiration produced by Christian art forms and the elevating influence of the Holy Spirit.

The body and blood of Christ may or may not be communicated by dancing, singing or drama. The anointing of the Holy Spirit may be present in such performances but in many instances it is not.

Only persecution and tribulation will suffice to purge the churches of the activities that are traditional and pleasing to people but do not communicate the body and blood of the Lord, that do not build up the saints in the Substance of Christ.

The surface of the Table of Showbread was enlarged by a shelf extending on all four sides from the top of the Table, a little lower in height than the Table top and having its own rim, or crown, of gold bordering its outside edge. The shelf area apparently served to hold the dishes, little cups, and larger cups and bowls that were used by the priest as he ministered in the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

The fact that the Presence bread was kept separate from the utensils of the Table by a rim of gold teaches us that the Word of God is higher and holier than the people who minister it until such time as the minister becomes one with the Word and is part of the Word.

And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute. (Leviticus 24:5-9)

Every Sabbath day hot loaves were placed on the Table of Showbread in two rows of six each, and the past week's bread was eaten by the priests in a sanctified area. In like manner, the Christian Communion service is not to be celebrated before the curious gaze of the world but is for the fellowship of believers who are worshiping their Lord.

When a drink offering was poured out by the priest on behalf of the nation of Israel, such as during the morning and evening offering of the daily lambs, the wine was poured out in the Holy Place, apparently on the floor of the Tabernacle near the table of Showbread.

The lamb was being burnt on the Altar of Burnt Offering outside in the Courtyard while the drink-offering, visible only to the priest, was being poured out in the Holy Place (Numbers 28:7). This is a picture of the atonement made by Christ on the cross of Calvary. While He was being offered on the cross His blood was making an atonement before the Throne of God in the highest Heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, the Tree of Life. No person on earth, male or female, young or old, rich or poor, black or white, can live apart from partaking Christ. There is no eternal life apart from Him.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. (John 6:32)

The multitudes of the earth go about their business each day in the hope of gaining their daily bread. Some are successful and some are not. The one true Bread—that which gives eternal life—is free and available to every person on the earth. The one true Bread is Christ. The true Bread does not grow up from the earth but comes down from Heaven.

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (John 6:33)

Natural bread sustains our physical life. The body and blood of Christ sustain our spiritual life. Apart from the eating of Christ we possess no spiritual life. If we are to be made in Christ's image we must eat of Him. We are created in His image by eating Him.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

Deep in every human being there is a hunger and a thirst that nothing on earth can satisfy. People spend their lives in a frantic attempt to appease this hunger by means of the resources of the flesh. But to no avail. Only the eating of the Tree of Life, Christ, can fill the inner need in every person.

This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (John 6:50)

Natural food feeds the physical body. The physical body is as an animal or plant that is born, goes through the cycle of nature, and returns to the dust of the ground.

The Substance of Christ feeds the spiritual man, who is the offspring of God and who does not return to the dust of the ground. The spiritual man was not formed from the dust of the ground. The spiritual man, who is fed by the Substance of Christ, is eternally alive. He cannot die because he is born of God and is of the Substance of God.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

At this point, Jesus of Nazareth removed Himself from every other religious teacher who has ever appeared on the earth. There have been patriarchs, prophets, priests, teachers, crusaders, and spiritual leaders of all types in the history of mankind. Of them all, only Jesus is able to offer His flesh as food that brings eternal life. The flesh of Christ is eternal life, and when we partake of Him we receive eternal life into ourselves.

The world is dead, by God's definition of death. God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever eats of Him will receive the eternal Life of the Lord God Himself. Only in God is there eternal life. There is no eternal life in the flesh of humanity.

Eternal life must come down to us from God in Heaven, who has given eternal life to the world in the form of His beloved Son. God took the flesh of Christ, and His blood, and said to the world: "Take, eat. Here is life and healing for you. It is My gift to you—something you could not buy though you possessed the riches of the universe."

God gave the flesh of Christ, His Son, for the life of the world.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:53)

The peoples of the world are dead in sin. Each person is born under the guilt of Adam, his ancestor. Each person is born with a sin nature that tends to cooperate with the will of the devil. No human being is born with the eternal Life of God in him. We all were born spiritually dead—cut off from the Life of God.

God has given us the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ so we freely may eat and drink of eternal life. If we will obey God, accepting the gift given us in His love, we will receive eternal life into ourselves.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

When the last trumpet sounds, all mankind will be divided into two groups: those who have eternal life in themselves and those who do not possess eternal life in themselves. Those who possess eternal life because of eating and drinking of the Lord Jesus Christ, have the power in themselves to enter glory with the Lord Jesus. Those who have not partaken of Christ will have no power in themselves to enter glory, even though they make a profession of belief in Christ.

Christ is our eternal Life and the Resurrection from the dead. We have to do more than believe in Him; we must abide in Him, eat of Him, live by Him as He lives by the Father.

For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:55)

Jesus cautioned us to not devote all the energies of our lives to the pursuit of natural bread. He promised us that if we would place the seeking of the Kingdom of God in the forefront of our interests, God Himself would insure that we would be provided with adequate food and raiment. Jesus encouraged us to eat and drink of Him so that we would be in possession of the true eternal life that comes down to us from God in Heaven.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (John 6:56)

There is no way to abide in Christ other than by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The greatest force that overcomes the sin in us and enables us to sanctify ourselves is the body and blood of Christ. The evil of the world keeps on attempting to tear us from our resting place in Christ's victory.

Sin harasses us on every side. The perverse wickedness abroad in the land today is so virulent in quality that we cannot overcome it in our own goodness. Yet the Divine quality of the body and blood of Christ possesses greater power than does the perversity of the present age.

Paul commands us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Evil cannot be overcome with evil, only with the good that comes from Christ. This sounds fine and religious but it is also very practical. When we attempt to overcome the evil in the world and in the churches with some good originating in our flesh, we soon find ourselves burned by the prevailing evil. Then we attempt to strike back in irritation and anger. We seek vengeance—that which belongs to God alone (Romans 12:19).

If we will keep on receiving the grace of Christ, calling fervently on Christ in every situation, His Divine Substance will overcome the evil in which we are immersed. The body and blood of Christ is the only Power greater than the power of evil that prevails in the world today. The Divine Substance of God in Christ is freely available to whoever will call on the name of the Lord.

We dwell in Christ continually by partaking of His Divine Substance. We cannot remain in Christ by our own strength and determination because there is too much wickedness in the world and too much corresponding wickedness in our own fleshly nature.

As we, through the Holy Spirit, receive the body and blood of Christ, there is unlimited virtue, power, and wisdom that soon overcome every trace of evil and lift us above the poison, enabling us to forgive every person who has harmed us.

We cleanse our hearts from the bitterness that has dragged down so many believers from their place of abiding in Christ. Bitterness is the malignant consequence of not being able to lay hold on the grace of Christ to the extent that we can rise above the deadly poison of malice that fills the world (and sometimes the churches) in the days in which we are living.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

Here is one of the most extraordinary statements of the Scriptures. The concept of union with God in Christ is repeated in the seventeenth chapter of John. Such ground (union with Christ) is exceedingly holy and we must take off the shoes of our own works when we tread here.

Christ is of the Substance of the Father and lives by, through, in, with, and because of the Father. Christ cannot be separated from the Father because He is One Substance with the Father and lives by the Life of the Father. Christ and the Father are One.

In the same manner we are to become part of the Substance of Christ and live by, through, in, with, and because of Christ. We then will be incapable of separation from Christ because we will be one Substance with Christ and live by the Life of Christ. We and Christ are to become One.

Imparting to us the Substance of Christ is an act of Divine love. There is no other motive. The closer we draw to Christ the fuller becomes our appreciation of the fact that Christ loves us and desires that we become one in Him—part of Himself.

How will we respond to His love for us? That is decided by each of us. The best way to respond is by partaking joyfully of the Divine Substance of Christ. If we will do this, God will take care of the rest. There is no pathway to the fulfillment of the deepest needs and desires of our hearts other than by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood.

This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:58)

Natural food nourishes our physical body. Yet that body is decaying and dying every day. He who is eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ is nourishing the spiritual life in himself, and that life is not decaying and dying but is beginning to behold the Face of the Father.

As newborn babies we should be thirsting for the pure spiritual milk of the Word of God (I Peter 2:2), since we have been born again by that Word (I Peter 1:23). Christ is the Word made flesh. When we eat His flesh we are eating the Word of God, the Divine Substance.

In many instances the members of our churches still must receive milk even though by now they should be able to digest solid food (Hebrews 5:12,13). If we Christians will keep on eating and drinking Christ, the day will come when God can feed us with the solid food of the Word—the diet of the mature sons of God.

Let us receive what Christ has for us now during these "seven fat years," to borrow a symbol from Joseph in Egypt. The Spirit seems to be testifying that "seven lean years" are coming a bit later and that we need to store up all the spiritual food we can against the day of trouble that is ahead.

We eat and drink Christ by daily prayer and waiting on Him, by studying and meditating in the Scriptures, by meeting with the saints, by keeping ourselves exposed to the ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ, by exercising our own ministries and gifts.

If we are seeking the Lord each day, being sensitive and obedient to the leading, reproof, and counseling of the Spirit of God, Christ will come and feed us with His Divine Substance. Also, it is necessary that the assemblies of Christians receive the Communion elements on a consistent basis because the Communion service brings to our minds the death of the Lord Jesus and our relationship to Him and to one another.

Two thousand years ago the body and blood of Christ were intact in one Person, the Lord Jesus. Then, by the will of God, His body was broken and His blood was poured out. His body and blood never again will be intact until Christ, Head and Body, has been made one in the Father.

The Book of Revelation speaks of the "bride, the Lamb's wife" (Revelation 21:9). There are many figures in the Scriptures that portray Christ, such as the Word of God, the Lion of Judah, the bright and morning Star, and so forth. When the "bride" or "wife" is spoken of she never is referred to as the wife of the Word or the bride of the lion or the bride of Christ. She always is "the Lamb's wife." Why is this?

The reason the Church is the Wife of the Lamb, and not the wife of any other expression of Christ, is that we eat the Lamb. During the celebration of Passover the lamb was eaten (Exodus 12:8). Christ is our Lamb (John 1:36). Christ is our Passover (I Corinthians 5:7). We eat our Passover Lamb and we drink His blood. We become one with Him, united with Him in this manner.

The Wife of the Lamb is formed from the body and blood of Christ. Just as Eve was created from the substance of Adam, so the Wife of the Lamb is being created from the Substance of the Lamb. Christ is not wedded to flesh and blood even though the Church is being formed from human beings. Christ will be married to the Church that has been created from His own Substance.

In God's creation, like marries like. Each species unites after its kind. So it is with Christ. He cannot be married to a lower creature. He is from Heaven and His Wife must be from Heaven. She must be created from Him or she cannot be united with Him.

By eating the Substance of the Lamb of God and drinking His blood the Church becomes able to be united with Him in spiritual marriage. When the Bride of the Lamb appears in completeness and perfection for the first time (Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22), she descends from Heaven. She has been made perfect by partaking of the virtue of Christ.

She now is "bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh." What God has joined together is not to be cut asunder by man. The marriage of the Lamb and His Bride is an eternal union. After billions of eons have passed the wedding of Christ and His Bride still will be young and fresh. We are being created in God in order to fulfill His eternal purposes in Christ. The fullness of the image of God requires both male and female (Genesis 1:27).

We see, then, that sanctification depends on our partaking of the body and blood of Christ, of the Divine Substance symbolized by the Table of Presence Bread. The body and blood of Christ compose the Presence of God in us.

The Golden Lampstand: The Light of the Holy Spirit

And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: (Exodus 25:31,32)

Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold. (Exodus 25:36)

When the priest entered the door of the Tabernacle, the Table of Showbread was on the north (right). The Lampstand was on the south (left), and the Altar of Incense was straight ahead before the veil, in line with the Ark of the Covenant but in the Holy Place.

The Lampstand consisted of a high central shaft and six side-branches standing on a base. On top of each of the seven branches was a lamp containing pure beaten olive oil and a wick.

There were tongs and censers accompanying the Lampstand that were used for the daily servicing of the lamps, and also pitchers for holding and pouring the olive oil. The Lampstand was lighted in the evening and burned through the night.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually. Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the LORD continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations. He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the LORD continually. (Leviticus 24:1-4)

Just as the Altar of Burnt Offering dominated the Courtyard of the Tabernacle, so the Lampstand dominated the Holy Place. The covering Cherubim of Glory and He who dwelled between their wings dominated the Most Holy Place.

The Courtyard represents the nations of the saved.

The Holy Place represents the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem.

The Most Holy Place portrays the throne and Person of God.

The Lampstand dominated the Holy Place just as the Holy Spirit dominates the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the christing, the anointing. The Body of Christ is the fullness of the Anointed Deliverer. Christ, Head and Body, is He who is to come and set up the Kingdom of God on the earth.

One of the greatest needs of the hour in which we live is that the Holy Spirit receive His proper role in the Church. We Christians must become much more aware of the mind of the Spirit in matters pertaining to the Church and to our personal discipleship.

The Holy Spirit has been charged, as was Eliezer of Damascus, the servant of Abraham, with presenting to the Son of the Father a suitable bride. Therefore all matters of the Church of Christ are under the supervision, authority, and control of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God assigns all ministries and gifts and directs their use. He is the Spirit of truth and gives all understanding of the Word of God. He is the Counselor, Comforter, and Guide of the Church of Christ, Sanctification is the work of the Spirit of God as He applies the grace that is in Christ to the task of creating a suitable wife for the Lamb of God.

Without the flame of the seven lamps the Holy Place would have been dark by night. The Holy Place was enclosed by two hangings on the east and west ends, and upright boards on the north and south sides. There were three layers of material covering over the linen ceiling. None of the three holy furnishings could have been seen at night if there were no light from the seven lamps of the golden Lampstand.

By means of the light from the seven lamps, the Table of Showbread, the Altar of Incense, and the central shaft of the Lampstand itself were revealed. So it is that the Holy Spirit is the One who reveals all the graces of the ascended Christ that operate in the building of the believers during the present "night." The Holy Spirit provides the wisdom and power for the verbal statements and works of power of the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.

When the holy anointing oil, the Holy Spirit, is absent from a congregation, the congregation's light—its testimony—is extinguished (Revelation 2:5). When the anointing is absent from an individual, that person's light is extinguished (Matthew 25:3). There is no Christian testimony apart from the Presence of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).

There were only two furnishings of the Tabernacle that were constructed from pure gold: the Lid of Reconciliation (Mercy Seat) and the Lampstand. There is a relationship between these two. They both portray God and the fullness and Presence of God.

The Laver, which stood out in the Courtyard, was solid bronze.

Each of the other four furnishings contained wood, one being overlaid with bronze and the remaining three with gold.

Gold symbolizes Divine Presence and Nature. Bronze portrays Divine judgment, the separating of the clean from the unclean by fire. The Lid of Reconciliation was solid gold, revealing the Glory of the Presence of God Almighty. There was no wood (humanity) in the Lid of Reconciliation.

The Lampstand was solid gold. The Lampstand represents Christ—Head and Body. The oil in the lamps typifies the Holy Spirit who dwells eternally within, upon, and with Christ.

There is to be nothing of flesh when the Body of Christ bears witness of God.

If the Lampstand were made of wood covered with gold, we could state that to people was given the responsibility of carrying on the work of the Church of Christ, and that the Holy Spirit's task was to bless and help with the endeavor.

Because the Lampstand was solid gold we understand that the building and operating of the Church of Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit alone; and that we humans, as far as the testimony of God is concerned, primarily are points of origin for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are as wells from whose depths are to flow the waters of eternal life.

The Lord adds to the Church daily such as should be saved. The construction and working of the Church of Christ are of God. How much of the Christian work being performed today is of the Holy Spirit and how much is of human wisdom and energy?

The solid bronze (no wood) construction of the Laver represents the judging power of the Word of God that cleanses the believer. The judgment of the sins of the believer and of the world proceeds from the standards of God Himself. Fleshly decisions do not enter the distinction between good and evil, between righteousness and unrighteousness, between holiness and unholiness, between cleanness and uncleanness. Every such decision comes from Christ alone. He has been assigned the work of judgment by the Father.

No human wisdom or activity is to be applied when distinguishing between what is sin and what is righteous and acceptable to the Lord. Judgment proceeds from God and is expressed through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church is required to perform Christ's will without any "creative" modifications. The elders of the churches can make practical decisions concerning marriage and other aspects of human life only as they are living in the Spirit and hearing from God.

Both the Lampstand and the Lid of Atonement (Mercy Seat) were beaten into shape from pure gold. They were not cast in a mold, a much simpler and quicker process, but were beaten from a mass of gold in a skillful manner, a task requiring truly extraordinary (perhaps supernatural) ability.

Hammering out the Lampstand and its implements, and the Lid of Atonement, from masses of gold required gifted, exacting effort. The Spirit of God worked through Bezaleel and Aholiab. Without the guidance of the Spirit no human being would have been able—or would yet be able—to hammer out the Lampstand, according to its specifications, from a mass of gold.

In the case of the Christian believer, God refines the Divine gold (the part of God Himself that is in the disciple, particularly Divinely imparted faith) by fiery trials. God shapes the vessel by the blows of hammers that He sends.

The Divine goldsmith hammers, hammers, hammers all day long. We come to the place where we begin to feel that we can't bear it anymore. Yet the hammering goes on, and on, and on, until we are quite willing, as Paul exclaimed, to depart and be with the Lord. Each day the process begins anew.

It isn't enough that we have the Divine Substance of Christ in us. The Divine Nature, the gold from Heaven, must be beaten into shape. It cannot be cast into shape by one dramatic move, such as a sudden work of instantaneous sanctification or by a "rapture" or by dying and going to Heaven.

Beating us into the shape God desires goes on throughout our pilgrimage on the earth. Day by day, day by day, moment by moment, the hammering continues. Will He never be satisfied with us?

Yet we must keep in mind that God is creating us for His eternal service. Therefore, we are to bear up patiently under the painstaking work of the Master Craftsman. God is creating the testimony, the light of the world, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer. It is to be refined gold beaten into shape. There can be nothing of the old nature in it. No human wisdom, energy, or motive can be included in the ministry of Christ.

There were three ornamental figures fashioned in the central shaft and in each of the six side-branches of the Lampstand. The three figures were the cup (fashioned according to the shape of the calyx of a flower), the fruit (knop; knob; bulb; apple; pomegranate), and the flower.

The cup is symbolic of the Christian discipleship poured out unto the Lord, yielding the sweet incense of consecration to the point of death.

The fruit speaks of the Life of Christ that is formed in us and then reproduced in others.

The flower portrays the beauty of the mature, chaste Christian personality—the image of Christ.

The cup is listed first because there can be no fruit until first there has been a pouring out of someone's life. Fruitfulness proceeds from the life poured out to death. "Let this cup pass from me," Jesus cried in Gethsemane.

The fruit is Christ formed in the believer. The fruit contains in itself the incorruptible Nature, and also the Divine Seed that is able to reproduce the image of Christ in whoever will receive it.

The Bride of Christ is the "lily of the valley," the "rose of Sharon." The Bride is beautiful to Christ, as the Song of Solomon informs us, having been made so by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Here is the "flower" of the Lampstand ornamentation.

Christ asks for a pouring out in consecration—consecration unto death—of our personality. This is the meaning of the cup in the ornamentation of the golden Lampstand.

It is significant that in each of the six side-branches there were three cups, one fruit, and one flower. The three cups are three deaths (in accordance with the subject of our book). From the third death comes the fullness of fruitfulness and the fullness of the beauty of holiness.

In the central shaft there were four cups, seven fruits, and four flowers. Four is the number of the Holy Spirit, and seven is the number of the fullness of redemption. The fruit of Christ is perfect, giving rise to the fullness of His image in the heavens and on the earth.

The four cups and four flowers reveal to us that Christ was "offered through the eternal Spirit" and was raised again by the "Spirit of holiness." The resulting fruit is perfect and "fills all in all."

The central shaft was the Lampstand proper, being thicker, taller, and containing more ornamentation than the side-branches. The central shaft represents Him who is anointed with oil above His fellows. The six side- branches of the Lampstand symbolize the members of the Body of Christ.

Five Operations of the Holy Spirit

There are at least five operations by which the Holy Spirit sanctifies (sets apart as holy to God) the members of the Body of Christ, and there are at least five end products of these operations.

The five operations are as follows:

Assigning, directing, and empowering gifts and ministries.

Demolishing the guilt, tendencies and effects of sin.

Creating The Nature of Christ in us.

Giving comfort, guidance and strength in every detail of discipleship, including prayer and Scripture reading.

Inspiring us to keep on pressing toward Christ.

The five end products of the five operations are as follows:

Our ability to impart Christ to people at all levels of spiritual maturity.

The establishment of the testimony of God as the basis for His judgment of His creatures.

The creation of the Wife of the Lamb.

The creation of the Temple of God.

The imposition of Christ's rule on the peoples of the earth through judgment. The fifth end product will occur at the coming of Christ from Heaven and is associated with the third area of redemption—that of our complete victory as the servant of the Lord.

It can be seen from the above list of operations and end products that the sanctifying that takes place in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle leads directly into the Most Holy Place—the area of the throne of Christ, of the Day of the Lord, of setting up the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The construction of the Tabernacle portrays this progression in symbolic form. The Holy Place led directly into the Most Holy Place, both rooms having the same floor, the same ceiling, the same upright boards on the north and south sides. Also, the same high priest who ministered daily in the Holy Place ministered annually in the Most Holy Place during the Day of Atonement.

The more one studies the construction of the Tabernacle building, the more one can come to the conclusion that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a continuation of the Church age, with many aspects of our Christian discipleship being carried forward without significant change.

Nevertheless, the two large sections of the ceiling were clasped together over the veil, bringing to our attention that there is a line of demarcation between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The fact that the veil was rent when Christ died on Calvary does not mean there no longer is a Most Holy Place. Rather it signifies that we now have access to the fullness of the glory of the Father and that Christ is the means of our access.

One of the major problems of our time is that people who have received the Holy Spirit of God have settled back to wait for the appearing of Christ from Heaven. While it is true that we are to wait for the Lord's appearing from Heaven, the attitude of passively waiting without seeking the Lord earnestly is not of God and will result in the stunting of the growth of the believer, if not his falling away to destruction.

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [destruction]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)

We always must be pressing on. Toward what or whom are we pressing on? We are pressing forward to the knowledge of Christ. We are pressing on to a more holy place in Christ. The process of redemption delivers us from every vestige of satanic influence and creates the Nature of Christ in us.

The Holy Place leads into the Most Holy Place. We need always to keep in mind that there is a purpose for the long drawn-out sanctifying (setting apart to God) process that continues in us night and day. If we come to realize that all God's dealings have a specific end in view we will not become impatient with ourselves, with each other, or with God. Rather, we will endure steadfastly until God is satisfied with His operations in us and upon us. The end will be glorious if we do not give up.

We have named five operations by which the Holy Spirit sanctifies the members of the Body of Christ and five end products of the five operations. Let us now take a closer look at each of these five operations and see if we can gain additional insight into the second death and resurrection of the plan of redemption. The second resurrection, according to the model we are employing, is life lived in the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit gives gifts and ministries. The first of the five sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit is the assigning, directing, and empowering of gifts and ministries. The Holy Spirit gives the gifts and ministries and then must direct and empower them so they will accomplish the purposes for which they were given.

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2)

Although the Holy Spirit is prominent in the work of the ministry (notice above verse), the whole Godhead is involved in the edifying of the Body of Christ. Observe this fact in the following passage:

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. (I Corinthians 12:4- 6)

It is the will of the Holy Spirit that there be variety in the Divine revelation that proceeds through the members of the Body of Christ. However, we always must keep in mind that although there is diversity in the gifts, in the services, and in the workings, these all come from the same Lord and it is the same Lord Jesus who is served by them.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (I Corinthians 12:7)

Every believer, upon being baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, is given a gift, a service, a working of God, a ministry. There is no member of the Body of Christ who has not been assigned a ministry, a talent. If he or she were given no impartation of the Spirit's abilities, that person would be useless in the Body of Christ. The gifts are the "talents" of which Jesus spoke (Matthew, Chapter 25).

The word talent, as used in the English language, has come to mean an endowment in music, art or some other line of creativity. These are of the body and soul and cannot build up the Body of Christ. Music and art are not given at the time of baptism into the Body of Christ but at physical birth. The talents that build up the Body of Christ are the varied impartations of the Holy Spirit that the members of the Body of Christ receive at the time of their baptism with the Holy Spirit.

We would not be too strict with our definition of "talent," however. Any type of ability God has given us, whether natural or spiritual, is to be used in the Lord’s service as God directs. It is not the Lord’s way to waste anything.

To each of us is given one or more of the "talents" of the Holy Spirit. They are given us for "profit." Do you remember the story of the master of the household who, upon his return from a journey, required an accounting of the success with which his servants had invested the money he had entrusted to them? It is expected of us that we be diligent in the application of the gifts and ministries the Holy Spirit has assigned to us.

There are severe penalties for being lazy and careless with the talents of the Kingdom of God.

One of the greatest needs of the Body of Christ is for the members to be guided and helped in their personal ministries. The day is quickly passing when a Christian is to do nothing but sit in a pew and receive teaching. It is time now for the Body of Christ to be mobilized into a state of activity such that each Christian is using the spiritual endowments he received when he was baptized into the Body of Christ.

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; . . . . (I Corinthians 12:8)

The Holy Spirit possesses the wisdom of God that resolves all problems and dilemmas. Often we Christians are hindered because we cannot figure out the best thing to do, the wisest course to take. The Holy Spirit has opened a channel in many believers through which the Divine wisdom can flow. The Christian gifted in wisdom is supposed to keep himself ready and available so that when the need arises the Holy Spirit can provide solutions through him. His fellow members of the Body will need his gift from time to time.

. . . to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; (I Corinthians 12:8)

The Body of Christ is not to be limited to the ordinary means of transmitting knowledge such as by the newspaper and television. Each local assembly has members whom the Holy Spirit will use to inform us of events that have taken place, are taking place, or will take place at some point in the future. There are examples in the Scripture of instances in which God's servants were informed of some fact by the Spirit of God (II Kings 2:3; Acts 27:34; etc.).

The Body of Christ is given supernaturally-derived knowledge by the Holy Spirit. It is time now for the gifted disciples to begin to wait on their ministries.

To another faith by the same Spirit; . . . . (I Corinthians 12:9)

This is not referring to the saving faith that is given to each Christian at the time of receiving Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9). Neither is it indicating the fruit of faithfulness that is the creation in us of rock-like confidence and trust in the Person of God and in His Word. Rather, the gift of faith is an extraordinary impartation of Divine Nature and virtue that comes to gifted Christians when an unusual need arises.

We find that special faith was given to Paul when a storm arose: "Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it will be even as it was told me" (Acts 27:25). The gift of faith brings "good cheer" and may be based, as in this case, on a special revelation of the will of God.

Perhaps the reader may recall an instance in his own life in which God imparted unusual faith in order to help him through some particular difficulty or to give assurance that his prayer had been answered, even though he had not as yet seen the answer materialize.

We do not mean to give the impression here that the disciple can exercise only one or two gifts or that the Holy Spirit assigns these without regard to the prayers and desires of the individual or that this is some kind of rigid design that we must discover and then act out inflexibly. Rather Paul instructs us to desire fervently the endowments of the Spirit.

It is the will of the Spirit that gifts and ministries be in thousandfold more evidence than is true today. He desires to come and rain righteousness on us. In such a day as the present, when God is ready to pour out on us the latter rain of His Glory and Presence, there is no limit to the blessing that the believer may receive if he continues in prayer and abides consistently in the place where he can be used by the Lord.

It is our belief that the return of the Master of the house to demand an accounting is not limited to the second coming of the Lord Jesus. There are seasons of refreshing that come periodically from the Presence of the Lord. We may be in one such season now. If we are diligently using what God has given us we ought to petition Him for more "talents" and expect to receive.

The Scripture teaches that to him who already possesses God's gifts and is flourishing in them will be given much more and he will have abundance. We have not because we ask not!

This is an hour in which to receive largely from the Lord. We expect exceedingly great endowments of ability from God—an abundance of gifts and ministries. In I Corinthians, Chapter 12 the Holy Spirit is informing us of the availability of gifts and ministries, not of restrictions on their operations.

God is not poor. He is more than willing to supply us richly with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Our part is to be diligent in the use of the gifts and ministries that we have no matter how important or unimportant our tasks may seem to be, and to covet, believe for, and expect a great many more.

Let us lay hold with all our strength on the Lord today so we may obtain an abundance of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Then, look at the table of good things we will be able to spread before the saints! They will be able to eat, drink and grow healthy and strong in the Presence of the King.

. . . to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; (I Corinthians 12:9)

The healing of the sick was one of the outstanding characteristics of the ministry on earth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even with the increase of medical knowledge there seems to be just as much need for Divine healing today as there was two thousand years ago. Christ still heals today as He did then.

There are many tragic needs in the world and in the Church also. There is much suffering from bodily sickness. "By whose stripes ye were healed" (I Peter 2:24). On Calvary, Christ healed us in spirit, soul, and body. When we reach out to Him for healing He hears us, He heals us: sometimes instantaneously, sometimes over a period of time, sometimes by the hands of a doctor, sometimes without human assistance.

The Christian who walks in obedience to God and lives in the expectancy of Divine intervention in his life is a likely candidate for a miracle of healing to take place in him. Miracles of healing are occurring in the world today. You too can receive a miracle if you will keep on serving and seeking the Lord, continually giving praise and thanksgiving to Him.

The Holy Spirit desires to open the channel of healing in many members of the Body of Christ so that those with the need of physical healing can obtain relief and deliverance. There are few operations of the Holy Spirit that bring the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ as does the healing of the sick. Truly, He comes to save the lost and to heal the sick.

To another the working of miracles; . . . . (I Corinthians 12:10)

Both Old and New Testaments describe the most astonishing miracles one could imagine. When we study the Scriptures we receive the impression that the Holy Spirit is able and willing to break through the laws of nature and put things together or take them apart according to the needs of the moment.

Perhaps the most spectacular miracle of the Old Testament was the forming of the heaven and the earth by the Word of God. The stopping of the rotation of the earth (or the moving of the sun and moon—whichever it was) at the word of Joshua was an operation of stupendous power.

There were so many instances of mastery over nature in the ministry of Jesus that one has only to read the Gospel accounts to realize that miracles were a common occurrence in the daily life of Christ. The raising of Lazarus from the dead after four days is one example of the power over the physical universe that Jesus demonstrated as He preached and taught the Kingdom of God.

Whenever Christ is active in His Church there will be mighty signs and wonders in evidence. The reason we do not see more miracles taking place is that our sins plus our pride of knowledge have hindered our faith until we do not expect the miraculous to occur.

In the day that we cease from our own works and turn to Christ with a pure heart, in that same day the working of miracles will return to the Church of Christ. There can be no testimony of the Church of Christ apart from the working of miracles, for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power. Where Christ is there are miracles. Miracles are the way God states that the Gospel of Christ is from Him.

. . . to another prophecy; . . . . (I Corinthians 12:10)

There was a great amount of prophecy under the old covenant and there is supposed to be a great amount of prophecy under the new covenant. It is the will of the Holy Spirit that all Christians prophesy. "Ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted" (I Corinthians 14:31). "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).

When we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit the burden of prophecy becomes part of our personality. Every Christian is a prophet, a priest, and a king in the sight of God. We have been called from the world so we may represent God in the earth. When we seek the Lord with a true heart and begin to walk and live in the Spirit, the burden of prophecy is as near to us as our physical breath. The burden is heightened when we assemble with other believers.

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. (I Corinthians 14:24,25)

The above passage from First Corinthians is a description of the desirable spiritual condition of the assemblies of the Christian believers. We can see that we still have a distance to go if we are to accomplish the restoration of the power and glory of Christ to the churches.

. . . to another discerning of spirits; . . . . (I Corinthians 12:10)

As the members of the Body of Christ push forward in the Lord they will discover that all kinds of spirits, clean and unclean, are active continually, not only in the heavens but also on the earth—both in the world and in the Christian churches. Although the spirit realm is invisible to us, yet much of what we see and experience is spiritual in origin. The universe itself, the visible creation, was brought into being by the invisible Word of God.

In many cases the churches labor in a mixture of holy and deluding spirits. We experience the effects of these spirits as pleasant and helpful or painful and destructive. Yet we cannot "see" well enough into the spirit realm to cope satisfactorily with the invisible forces.

It is the will of God that the Body of Christ be aware of what is taking place in the physical world and also in the spiritual world. It is the Lord's intention that the Body of Christ have a "nose" (the discerning of spirits) so it can "smell" what is happening and act accordingly.

. . . to another divers kinds of tongues; . . . . (I Corinthians 12:10)

One of the miracles in evidence as the Holy Spirit fell for the first time on the waiting disciples (Acts, Chapter Two) was the proclaiming of the wonderful works of God in the different languages of the Jews assembled in Jerusalem in observance of the feast of Weeks (Pentecost). The disciples who were speaking knew nothing of these languages.

On the occasion of the building of the Tower of Babel, God slowed down the rapid development of world culture by issuing several different languages, dividing the human race into competing factions. God was not ready at that time for mankind to destroy itself by developing a way of life apart from Himself.

When the Holy Spirit was sent into the earth, God enabled the members of the Body of Christ to overcome the problem of the language barrier. God was revealing that He will have a world culture that is ruled by Christ in the Church. The Body of Christ will speak the language of all peoples and will describe to them the wonderful works of God.

During the past hundred years there have been instances in which the disciples of the Lord have been moved to speak to an individual, or to a group of people, in a language unknown to the speaker but understood readily by the listener as his native tongue.

It is the opinion of this writer that during the unprecedented worldwide preaching of the Gospel with signs and wonders to the ends of the earth that will take place prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christians will not be hindered by the language barrier. They will be enabled by the Holy Spirit to move out quickly to every city and village, announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God that is at hand.

In the Pentecostal movement we have utterances that are referred to as "messages in tongues" and "interpretation of tongues." They consist of someone speaking a brief utterance in an unknown language, and the same person or another person following with an statement in English or in a language usually spoken by the assembled church members.

Of the many instances of this manifestation which we have witnessed, there is no doubt in our mind that the majority of these are sponsored by the Holy Spirit. Edification, exhortation, and comfort have resulted from these proclamations.

On such occasions one believer is giving voice to the present burden of the Holy Spirit by praying in the Spirit in a tongue unknown to himself, and then another believer picks up the burden by prophesying in the language native to the assembly. The prophecy is not a literal translation of the utterance in tongues but an independent expression of the current burden of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps these are not what is referred to in I Corinthians, Chapter 12 as "kinds of tongues" and "interpretation of tongues."

There are occasions when a message is given to the assembly that is a direct pronouncement in a language, and then someone else in the Spirit translates the pronouncement word for word, neither speaker having command of the language under ordinary circumstances. Such instances of actual translation of a language of the world appear to be in the minority.

It may be true that "divers kinds of tongues" are Spirit-given abilities to speak from time to time in languages spoken currently or in time past on the earth or by angels in Heaven; and that "interpretation of tongues" is the Spirit-given ability to understand statements made in a foreign language, whether the speaker is "in the Spirit" or employing his native tongue. It is possible, too, that these gifts apply to writing as well as to speaking.

If a Christian were able to understand by hearing or by reading a communication presented in a language that he had never learned by study or sufficient exposure, that, to our way of thinking, would be an example of "interpretation of tongues."

Our understanding is that the Holy Spirit does not intend for us to regard the list of nine "gifts" of the Spirit as being an inflexible pattern for the manner in which He will enable members of the Body of Christ to communicate the Glory of God. Rather, the accent is on diversity. There should be an infinite array and assortment of spiritual talents and abilities, each believer being a unique expression of the ascended Christ.

The apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, and the pastor-teacher are major revelations of Christ. Mixed in with these are innumerable endowments, each being designed in terms of the ministry of the individual saint. The result of the multiplicity is the radiating of God's Word in a splendor of color and beauty.

Here we see the Lampstand, the many-sided revelation of God in Christ. Christ is the light of the world, and the Body of Christ is part of that light. Physical light is a composite of several colors that can be seen individually when part of the light is absorbed and part is reflected. So it is with the Holy Spirit. The shining of the Spirit from a saint is not a blinding white light but a beautiful "color" that is seen because part of the light is "absorbed" and part is "reflected."

There is no clearer symbol of Christ in the Scriptures than the Lampstand of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Christ is the Light—the communication of God to men. Apart from Him there is oppressive darkness. The Church, the Body of Christ, is portrayed by the six side-branches of the Lampstand that illuminate the central shaft. The central shaft of the Lampstand is Christ, the Light of the world.

Christ, Head and Body, will be the Light of the world forever. All the nations of the saved of the world will walk in that light. The Lampstand was pure gold hammered into shape. So it is that the revelation of God can never be mixed with natural ability. The Divine testimony is pure—wholly of God. This is why God is spending so much effort and time carefully perfecting the members of the Body of Christ, the six side- branches of the Lampstand.

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (I Corinthians 12:11)

Every member of the Body of Christ has an endowment of the Holy Spirit, a talent, that God intends for him to spend in the spiritual marketplace. The Body of Christ can be brought to maturity only by the variety of spiritual endowments. We saints must call on the Lord night and day, giving Him no rest until the assemblies of the disciples begin to operate as the Holy Spirit intends that they operate. Each church meeting should be full of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as He moves through the assembled believers.

The Spirit gives ministries and gifts as He wills. Yet we are commanded to covet earnestly the endowments of the Spirit. God is pleased when we seek after spiritual abilities because it is by the gifts of the Spirit that we can strengthen our fellow members of the Body. We are not to be passive about the gifts of God but are to pursue them with our attention and strength. God never will give us an evil gift when we are seeking more of His Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit has been assigned the task of bringing a wife to the Lamb. He leads us in receiving and exercising the gifts and ministries.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

Our physical body has eyes, hands, feet and numerous other parts, some visible and some internal. Yet the body lives and acts as a unit. So it is that Christ, the Anointed Deliverer of whom the Hebrew prophets spoke, has many parts. Christ is the Head of Christ. The Body of Christ still is being formed.

As soon as the Body has been prepared, the Head will descend from Heaven and the work of setting up the Kingdom of God will proceed with revolutionary power until the ends of the earth have been brought under the absolute rule of Christ.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)

We were baptized by water into the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. The baptism by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ is the beginning of the second death and second resurrection of redemption. The Body of Christ is the Church, the fulfillment of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

It is the same for Jew and Gentile. There is not one kind of Divine redemption for the Jews and another kind of Divine redemption for the Gentiles. There are not two churches.

We all have been baptized into one Body. We all have been made to drink of one Spirit. There is one Christ, one Vine, one Israel, one holy Jerusalem, one Servant of the Lord. He is Christ—Head and Body. We Gentiles have been grafted on the true Vine.

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:27,28)

Notice that the four ascension ministries of Ephesians, Chapter Four (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor- teachers) are not repeated here in the same order, indicating that stress should not be placed on a certain pattern of ministry. The four ascension gifts are not to be considered superior ministries or heads of the Church. The most important ministry, the most important gift, is the one needed at the moment.

Works of power, gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues, are placed alongside of the ascension ministries. The Holy Spirit has not specified four rigorously defined ascension ministries and nine precisely ordered gifts. Rather, the concept is more general—that God has lovingly and bountifully placed in His Church, the Body of Christ, various endowments so that all the needs of the Body can be fulfilled.

There may appear in the churches in these days some ways of ministering that we have not known. We can recognize those that are from the Holy Spirit in that they will bring love, joy, peace, and blessing to us. Through them the Lord Jesus will be made so present, so real, that every need for body, soul and spirit will be met and we all will be inspired to seek the Lord with renewed determination and patience.

If the ministries bring us into depression, bondage, anxiety, straining, we must be on our guard in order to distinguish between the true and the false ministers of Christ.

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (I Corinthians 12:29-31)

It is obvious from reading the Gospel accounts and the Book of Acts that every believer in Christ was not an apostle (Acts 5:13). Every Christian of the first-century Church was not a prophet or teacher (James 3:1).

What, then, was Paul asking? He was summarizing his main point in I Corinthians, Chapter 12—that the Body of Christ is one and the Spirit of God is one, and the oneness is enhanced rather than weakened by the diversity of ministries and gifts.

There also is the exhortation that we should earnestly seek after the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This line of thought is interrupted while Paul sets aside his discussion of means (gifts and ministries) and refers to the end product (love—the creation of the Nature of Christ in us and the flowing of that Nature through our motives, words, and deeds).

Then, having assured himself that his readers will not become so involved in the means the Holy Spirit uses that they forget that the end product is the possession of the Nature of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, Paul continues with his teaching concerning the ministries and gifts of the Spirit of God.

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. (I Corinthians 14:1)

Again we find Paul directing us to begin coveting spiritual ministries and gifts. Sometimes the saints are under the impression that if the Lord wants them to be busy in the work of the Body of Christ He will strike them down as He did Saul of Tarsus. Meanwhile they become so involved in secular pursuits there is little time left for prayer, the study of the Scripture, or assembling with the saints. We become entangled in secular pursuits when we are not fervent enough concerning the things of Christ.

God commands us to covet earnestly the gifts of the Spirit. If we will begin using the one talent we have, meanwhile coveting earnestly an enriched ministry in the Body of Christ, God will behold our desire to be of service and reward us with an enlargement of opportunity and responsibility.

If we adopt the passive attitude that if the Lord wants us to work in the Kingdom He will arrest us with a vision or dream, and we do not seek His face each day with intensity of purpose, desiring an expanded area of service, God will turn to someone who is more diligent. He will take away from us the ability that we do possess and give it to the more interested brother or sister.

The Scriptures speak concerning ministries and gifts. They are God's talents, God's money. We are to exercise great diligence and wisdom in the use of them. Every believer in Christ has one or more of these talents, these spiritual endowments, and they are to be used in the Kingdom of God.

Many of us need much help from our brothers and sisters in the Lord in order to grow in our ministry. If such guidance is not available in our local church we need to pray that God will raise up in our church some ways of helping us become more involved in the work of the Kingdom. If all else fails, the Holy Spirit may lead us to another group that is more interested in seeking the Lord with fervency of heart and mind.

What are the "greater gifts" of I Corinthians 12:31? Paul seems to answer this in the fourteenth chapter. First he points out that in the assemblies prophecy may be more useful than tongues. Then Paul proceeds to exhort us concerning using our gifts and ministries for the sole purpose of building up one another in the Lord. This is the purpose of gifts and ministries of the Spirit. Therefore, the "greater" gifts are those that build up the Body of Christ.

If we keep first in our hearts, when we are seeking ministries and gifts, that our purpose is to build up the members of the Body of Christ until we all come into the unity of the faith, to the measure of (maturity as measured by) the stature of the fullness of Christ, the question of what gifts are "greater" will be answered. The greater gifts are those that build the Body of Christ by supplying the pressing needs of the situation in which we find ourselves.

The purpose of the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit is that disciples can be obtained from every nation and that these disciples can be brought to perfection as the complete Body of Christ.

God's plan of redemption takes us from chaos of personality all the way to perfection in Christ. Salvation comes to us when we are lost and undone in sin. We hear the welcome of the Spirit of God and return to the Father's house, back to the fold, into the ark of safety.

Then there are ministries and gifts in the Body of Christ that move us forward toward a fuller grasp of the virtue that is in Christ. If we continue to abide in the Lord Jesus, ministries will arise before us that invite us to keep on moving forward. The end is the fullness of redemption in Christ.

It is all one plan of redemption but it operates at an infinite number of levels. Each member of the Body of Christ has a role to play in the process of the redemption of the believers. We are to keep people moving along in Christ. The Body of Christ is building itself up today. When it is finished it will be the light of the world, the complete revelation of God in Christ.

In the meantime, the Body of Christ holds forth the Word of life, guiding men and women, boys and girls, into the ark of safety. As soon as a person has been brought back to the Father's house, the various ministries and gifts in the Body of Christ will lead him further into the operations of redemption. Each member of the Body is to keep growing, and each member of the Body is to keep helping other members to grow.

The relationship of gifts and ministries to the growth of the Body of Christ can be studied in the fourth chapter of Ephesians.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7)

We found this same concept in I Corinthians, Chapter Twelve—that each saint has been endowed with a spiritual enablement. The Christian Church has suffered throughout the past centuries because only a relatively few Christians have made their unique contribution to the maturing of the Body of Christ. The unscriptural division of the Body of Christ into clergy and laity has no doubt added greatly to the inability on the part of many believers to function in their ministries.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Ephesians 4:8)

The ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ are expressions of the ascension Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each ministry and gift in the Body of Christ is a revealing of the fullness of the anointing that abides on Christ. Our gifts are an overflow of the extraordinary power that raised Christ from the power of Satan.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Ephesians 4:11)

Since this specific list and ordering is not repeated in the New Testament writings we cannot set it forth as an inflexible pattern of authoritative offices that are to govern the Christian Church. Yet it appears, as we study the account in Acts and reflect on the work of the Holy Spirit in the early Church, that these five offices (perhaps four offices, since pastor and teacher are closely related, not only in the punctuation of the above verse but also in practical experience) represent the main divisions of the ministry of the Christian Church.

It may be helpful to keep in mind that Christ is the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, and Pastor-Teacher whom God has given, and that these offices on the earth are reflections of His ministry. When we maintain this viewpoint we are not as apt to fall into the trap of idolizing our fellow members in the Body of Christ.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12)

The ministries call out disciples from the peoples of the nations of the earth and baptize them in water. These disciples are then to be led onward to perfection in Christ by the variety of gifts and ministries that the Holy Spirit places and exercises in the members of the Body of Christ.

The goal of the Christian ministry is to bring each saint to maturity in Christ. The Body of Christ is the composite of perfected saints—perfected in themselves in Christ and perfected in their unique places in the Body of Christ.

The sanctifying and maturing of the Body of Christ will result in our ability to impart Christ to the peoples of the earth, the establishment of the testimony of God as the basis for His judgment of His creatures, a wife for the Lamb, a temple for God, and finally, when Jesus returns, the imposition of Christ's rule on the peoples of the earth as God's judgment is administered through the Body of Christ.

The Church always is moving toward its fullness of expression as the light of the world, radiating the complete revelation of God in Christ. This is the new Jerusalem, the holy city, of Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

The Body of Christ will be perfect. A perfect body requires the perfection of each member. If one member is in any manner imperfect the whole body is imperfect. It is impossible to have a perfect body if there is one imperfect member.

Through discouragement with what is seen in one's self and in other Christians, a believer can come to the conclusion that perfection in Christ will be attained by few if any Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every member of the Body of Christ will be brought to perfection in Christ.

This does not mean that each will be perfect because he is in Christ and Christ is perfect—an imputed (ascribed) perfection. The time for imputation (assigned righteousness) is when we first accept Christ, when His righteousness is imputed (ascribed) to us so that God can receive us and the Holy Spirit can proceed to perform the work of redemption in us.

Imputed righteousness continues with us because of the blood of the Lord Jesus, by which we continually are being covered and forgiven all our sins while we are pressing on in the light of God's will (I John 1:7-9).

The "unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God," the "perfect man," the "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," of Ephesians 4:13 have little to do with imputed (ascribed) perfection. Perfection is not imputed to us. It is righteousness that is imputed to us (Romans 4:22).

The ministries do not labor to bring about imputed perfection in us. They labor to bring about actual perfection in us. This distinction must be kept firmly in mind or the disciple will retreat into an unreal world of ascribed perfection in which his sins and shortcomings are somehow turned into acceptable behavior by a magical "grace." Many continue in this mistaken understanding of the grace of God in spite of the numerous New Testament warnings to the contrary.

The gifts and ministries given each member of the Body of Christ are for the purpose of bringing the saints, individually and collectively, to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

It is ridiculous for us to maintain that God, having given birth to children, is not able to cause them to grow to maturity. We become discouraged by what we see in ourselves and in others, saying that God cannot bring us to maturity. We are looking in the wrong direction. If we dwell in the Scriptures, being full of faith in the things God has said, we will come to realize that God is abundantly able to bring us to full stature in Christ.

Having brought each member to full stature (and we are hewn into shape before we are brought to the site of the construction of the Temple of God, to follow the symbolic significance of Solomon's Temple), God then will bring the Body together, as Jesus prayed in John, Chapter 17. If the work were of men we would despair. Because the plan and program is of God, and not of men, we know it will be brought to complete fulfillment.

Our part is to believe what God has stated in His Word and to be full of faith and diligent in the exercise of our own gift and ministry. God's part is to bring the work to successful completion. He is perfecting us now. The days to come will reveal that out of the confusion of life on earth the perfect Body of Christ that God envisions will be formed, and the Head, Christ, will appear as the crowning Glory of the Body.

If we measure our attainment by any standard other than the stature of the fullness of Christ we will not be able to bear the rigorous operations of God. We will come short of the Glory of God. We must learn to keep our eyes steadfastly on the goal that God has established—the fullness of Christ. If we will keep our eyes on that goal we will be able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He brings us to the goal. We overcome the world by faith in what God has said.

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14)

One wonders just what kind of opposition it was that Paul faced, for he refers several times to teachers who were destroying the flock. Apparently it was the same thing we experience today when God's people are kept in some little fold, having been made the prey of a teacher who is serving his own interests rather than the Spirit of God. The result of many little kingdoms of believers is that the members remain children. Their pastor-teacher is making merchandise of them without even realizing it. May God send to us teachers who will lead us on to the fullness of redemption.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:15)

We who are members of the Body of Christ must keep on speaking the truth, holding forth the Word of Life. This is our responsibility to the Church and to the world. We are a lighthouse by which souls in the darkness and confusion of the storm can make their way to the safety of the shore. We are to keep on presenting the Divine truth in the spirit of love and gentleness, just as Jesus did.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

The whole Body of Christ is to be "fitted together and compacted" by the virtue that each "joint" supplies. All the wisdom and energy flows down from the Head, and it is the Head into whom we grow up. Each part (each saint) is to perform its task. The Body of Christ not only holds out the Word of Life in the darkness of this age but also is continually building itself up.

As the Holy Spirit leads us in the developing and enlarging of our ability to minister there comes to us a love for those to whom we are ministering. There is no effective ministry apart from love because when there is no love the people to whom the ministry is directed hear many words but do not feel the drawing of the Lord.

When the Holy Spirit works through us He "salts" the food with love so that the Lord's sheep will eat. The sheep will not eat until they feel the love of the Shepherd, Jesus. The ministries and gifts that come to every Christian from the ascended Christ proceed from the love of the Shepherd for His flock. The love that flows from Christ must be ministered along with the grace that the "joint" is supplying.

If the exercise of our gifts and ministries is such an important part of the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification, how, then, do we go about finding out what our ministries are? How do we determine the mind of the Holy Spirit as to the use of them? The answers to those two questions can be found only as we consecrate ourselves to Christ.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

The basis of our service to God is the presenting of our body a living sacrifice. It might be more pleasing to us if it were our soul and spirit that were to be offered up. The Lord requires the consecration of our body (and our spirit and soul also).

Another difficulty is that God requires a "living sacrifice." If the Lord would just allow us to become robots, to flee from reality, enter a state of passivity, and let Him use us as He will, it would be easier. We then could "go into neutral" and forget everything.

God requires a "living sacrifice." We must continue in the full power of our lives, allowing the Lord to blunt our motives as He chooses. We must "cooperate with the doctor during the operation."

There were five kinds of animal sacrifices used in the Jewish Divine service, and they are set forth in the first seven chapters of Leviticus. Of these five, the first one mentioned is the burnt offering. The burnt offering is the offering of consecration to the Lord's purpose for our life. The bronze altar on which all animals were sacrificed derived its name from the first type of offering—the Altar of Burnt Offering.

Twice daily throughout the Jewish year a lamb was offered—the morning and the evening Lamb. The daily lambs were a whole burnt offering, a portrayal of the consecration of Christ to the will of the Father.

We are to present our bodies to God as a whole burnt offering, seeking His will for each of our motives, imaginations, words and deeds. We are to present ourselves every minute of every hour, seven days of every week of the year. This kind of offering of our body is the basis of the Christian discipleship and the source of all acceptable ministry. It also is one of the principal means by which we determine what our ministry is and how and when to exercise our ministry.

Laying on of hands and prophecy compose another important means that God has given for determining the role of a believer.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (I Timothy 4:14)

Then too there are personal visitations such as dreams and visions.

Sometimes a saint just "falls" into his ministry, so to speak, in the course of seeking the Lord's will on a daily basis, other Christians bearing witness that the person is in the ministry that the Holy Spirit has assigned to him or her.

It is our point of view, nevertheless, that the most important factor in bringing a saint into his gifts and ministry is the offering of himself as a whole burnt offering to God after the manner announced in Romans 12:1. It requires much strength on the part of our new nature in Christ in order to keep on holding up our body a living sacrifice. The strength comes to us as God "weaves bars of bronze" in our soul.

The Altar of Burnt Offering was a hollow wooden box covered with bronze and probably filled with earth. In order to strengthen it, a grating of bronze was added to it on the four sides, starting at the top just under the ledge and proceeding halfway down the sides, as we understand the Hebrew text in Exodus 27:4,5. Our interpretation of the grating of bronze straps is that it portrays the strength of the believer that is fashioned in him as he learns to work with God in rejecting evil and embracing righteousness, holiness, and obedience.

The stronger and tougher the saint becomes the better able he is to hold up his own kicking, squirming, struggling body as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. If the saint weakens, the "altar collapses" and the "animal" comes down before the fire of the Lord is able to consume the sacrifice.

Are you spiritually tough enough to hold up your body to the Lord as a whole burnt offering? Or is your altar collapsing and your body coming down so that the self-life may be nourished for a while longer?

If we consistently and continually maintain our body before the Holy Spirit as a whole burnt offering we remain in the place where we can receive from the Holy Spirit the knowledge of what, when, and how to minister. The ministry of our life flows naturally from our consecration to the Lord. Christian "ministry" that does not proceed from a crucified life is contrived and without eternal profit.

. . . and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. (Leviticus 1:9)

When we hold ourselves steady as a whole burnt offering, consecrated to the Lord, a "sweet savour" arises to the Lord. Acceptable, rational, intelligent ministry proceeds from the believer who remains subject to the will of Christ every moment of every day.

There may be cheaper, easier routes to the exercising of gifts and ministries. There is no other way that will bring about the long-lasting, satisfying Presence of the Lord Jesus. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints"; and when we are willing to be offered to the Lord as a living sacrifice, God is well pleased with our service to Him.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

We Christians are not to be shaped and fashioned according to the image of the people of the world. Worldly "believers" never can determine the will of God, never are able to serve God acceptably. We are to be changed from the world's image by the renewing of our mind. Our mind is renewed by the Word of God as it comes to us through our study of the Scriptures, through the Christian ministry, and through every other channel God has provided.

The fleshly, sinful natural mind is the enemy of God and never can please God. The Holy Spirit is at war with our natural mind. If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring to our mind the Word of God our fleshly thoughts will begin to disappear, being replaced by the thoughts of Christ. The mind of Christ loves the ways of God and is quick to perceive the will of God.

The offering of our body brings us to the place where our human thinking is replaced by Christ's thinking. The mind of Christ enables us to determine what is good, acceptable, and perfect for us from God's point of view.

There is no way for us finally to determine God's precise desire other than to present our body a living sacrifice and to be transformed into righteousness, holiness and obedience by the renewing of our thinking processes. It is a day-to-day proving of the will of God, each small decision being tested in the fire of the circumstances into which the Holy Spirit leads us.

There is no easy, quick technique for discovering the will of God for one's life. It is a messy, confused, sometimes anxious way of the cross. The will of God emerges from the darkness, on many occasions, as we struggle determinedly, patiently, faithfully onward, climbing the steep, rugged slopes of Mount Zion.

Sometimes we break through into the light for a season. Much of the journey is a laborious, boring, vexing, plodding through the dust and heat of the wilderness. From this patient, self-controlled pilgrimage is forged the will of God for our life.

We uncover God's will for us, moment by moment, in the midst of the confusion. There may be seasons of clear revelation and understanding of the purposes of God in us and toward us. More often than not, it seems, the design of what is taking place is hidden from us.

The picture of that into which we are being made, and how we are being utilized, is seen only by the Father. His way is to illumine only what is necessary for the moment. There always is grace and provision for the moment. Our personal unrest often is due to the fact that we cannot see into the future. This is where faith and trust are needed.

We must prove the will of God for ourselves. Although God speaks to us by His Word, by the ministry of the Spirit, by the laying on of hands and prophecy, by dreams, visions and the still, small voice, these special leadings are exceptional interventions. Most of the time we hack our trail through the jungle of daily circumstances, as the Lord arranges our environment, so that the work that He desires is brought forth in us and through us.

It is our task to keep on looking to the Lord for His will several times each day, letting our needs and desires be made known to Him clearly. Meanwhile we are to offer up the sacrifice of adoration and thanksgiving to God for all things.

It is God's task to carefully and diligently work out His will in us and through us, supplying everything we need to the last detail, and bringing about the parts of our desires that are in harmony with our ultimate good as He views our good.

It is in the arena of turmoil and pressure that we come to the knowledge of our unique ministries and gifts and learn how and when to use them.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

It is not our place to be presumptuous about our gifts and ministries but rather to appraise realistically our ability to contribute to the Body of Christ. We cannot minister what we have not been given. God has assigned a portion of faith to each saint—enough faith to receive the atonement of Christ and some additional faith for daily living and ministry.

There is no member of the Body of Christ who does not have some faith for ministry. We are not to imagine we are a great prophet. Spiritual elders in the assembly or Christian friends can help us understand our strengths in the Lord.

Perhaps the main problem in the Christian Church has not been that people have fancied themselves to have gifts they did not possess (although that may have happened on occasion); rather, in many instances the believers have never understood they were supposed to be ministering.

The division of the disciples into ministers and congregations has been one of the main causes of the ignorance of Christian people concerning their own gifts and ministries. Hopefully in the future the Holy Spirit will enable us to break this bondage and begin to make it possible for each believer in Christ to come into his unique contribution to the Body of Christ.

Let us also keep firmly in mind that the Spirit of God commands us to "covet earnestly the best gifts." The ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit ordinarily do not operate in an atmosphere of passivity and disinterest. The disciples of the Lord are to be utilizing diligently the abilities the Lord has entrusted to them, and to be fervently praying for additional endowments of the Spirit.

The Lord Jesus takes much pleasure in opening His hand and satisfying our desires. How can He find this pleasure if we are seeking the things of the world rather than an increase of our portion of His Holy Spirit?

We are to regard our abilities realistically and not become proud because of gifts we may or may not have. We are to use the abilities we do possess so the Body of Christ may be built up. We are to fervently desire additional endowments—those that will build and strengthen the Body.

We are to "blow the trumpet" of supplication and thanksgiving continually in the Lord's ear so that He never is able to forget we are here on the earth in the middle of enormous needs, that our desire is to help supply the answer to these needs, and that He is the only One who can enable us to meet the needs.

Can you imagine the Lord not sending down the answer when some saint keeps on "blowing the trumpet" after this fashion? The Word exhorts us to give the Lord no rest until He appears on the scene and satisfies our desire (Isaiah 62:6,7).

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:4,5)

Every born-again follower of the Lord Jesus is a member of the Body of Christ. This may seem like a simple fact that does not require labored explanation or much attention. The more we become aware of what goes on in Christendom the more we realize that the simple fact of the oneness of the Christian Church is challenged more often than any other truth of the Gospel of Christ.

There may be a hundred thousand logical explanations why there are sectarian divisions in the Body of Christ. The simple truth is, each division arises from the weaknesses of our flesh.

Every person on the earth either is a member of the Body of Christ or he is not. As far as the Body of Christ is concerned, there is no special kind of Christian, no Jewish Christian or Gentile Christian, for example, but all are one in Christ. How could a person be a true Christian and not be a member of the Body of Christ?

Consider the areas of specialization in the armed forces of one of the nations of today. There are soldiers in the infantry, the signal corps, transportation units, special task forces, naval units, the air force, supply units, clerical units and any number of other specialists. If any one of these branches suddenly decided that it was the whole armed force, the only true, active, capable, dependable attack and defense strength that the country possessed, it quickly would discover in the heat of combat that the other branches were important and necessary.

How foolish it would be for the infantry to announce that it was the real fighting force and all the other branches were false. In time of war the infantry would be helpless without communication, food, medical help, and transportation.

The Christian Church is one Body of Christ, but today we see many divisions in the one Body. Each division is certain it is correct in doctrine and experience and has little or no need of any other part of the Body.

How much better, how much stronger, how much more charitable to receive every believer in the Lord Jesus, no matter how peculiar he or she may seem to us, as a fellow member of the one Body of Christ. Are we able to recognize the Spirit of Christ in another person when his doctrine is different from ours?

As soon as we move into the days of persecution and trouble that are ahead we will discover that the Christians whom we despised are important after all. The battle of the ages is at hand and we will need every Christian on earth and in Heaven if we are to win, and having won to serve God acceptably as kings and priests in the earth.

It is not that God requires many people in order to perform His will. Rather, it is that God is pleased to abide in us and among us when there is love and harmony among the many members of the Body. God will not dwell and work where there is strife.

Let us always adopt the attitude that all the people of the Lord are beloved of Him and that each is important in the Kingdom of God. If we will recognize and receive the Lord's saints, our conduct and speech will bring together and build the one Body of Christ.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8)

We are not to be passive concerning our gifts and ministries. We have discussed previously that we are to covet earnestly the greater gifts. We are to bring before God each day our requests concerning the gifts and ministries we desire, meanwhile giving praise and thanksgiving to Him. Also, we are to be faithful in the exercise of the gifts and ministries we do have.

It requires experience as well as dedication if we are to become skillful in the use of our ministries. There are no short cuts. As we prophesy we learn to prophesy. As we minister we learn to minister. As we teach we learn to teach.

The main business in the life of a disciple of Jesus is to diligently follow Christ, to resist sin, and to be diligent with the Lord's "money"—the gifts of the Spirit. How, what, where, and when to minister are questions that can be answered only in terms of one's personal experience with the Lord Jesus.

The Holy Spirit gives wisdom and power, moment by moment, until we find ourselves in the center of the Lord's will. We are to use our spiritual enablements in a manner that is most helpful to the task of building every Christian into the one Body of Christ, the Anointed Deliverer who will bring justice and deliverance to the peoples of the earth.

We are studying, at this point, the assigning, directing, and empowering of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. We have just reviewed the assigning and directing of our ministries and the importance of personal dedication to the will of the Lord Jesus.

We should consider now the empowering of our ministries. We can have gifts and ministries and be diligent in the use of them, and still not have an anointing of power on them. How can that be?

There are at least three factors related to the empowering of gifts and ministries: (1) absolute obedience to Christ; (2) importunity; and (3) the supporting role of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Let us look further at each of these areas.

And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (Acts 5:32)

The above verse is speaking of the giving of the Holy Spirit when we accept Christ. There is a principle here. When we are obedient to God we become eligible to receive the Holy Spirit. The deeper we grow in obedience the greater becomes our eligibility for receiving the power of the Holy Spirit.

Total obedience throughout difficult trials and testing makes us candidates for the fullness of the power of God. It is not that we earn spiritual rewards; rather it is a case of doing and becoming exactly what the Holy Spirit leads us to do and become.

The more willing and obedient we are, the more we are eligible for the answer to our prayers when we pray for power. It is the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man that avails much.

One of the most astounding examples of obedience to God is that of the offering of Isaac. Abraham was walking in the paths of peace and prosperity, delighting in his son, Isaac, the child of the miracle. Who would imagine that the same God who gave Isaac after such a long wait would now require that Isaac be returned to Himself?

The brokenhearted Abraham brought his only son to the place of sacrifice in one of the most remarkable acts of obedience to God to be found in the history of mankind. Notice that the outcome of Abraham's obedience was that which always follows the empowering of gifts and ministries: the multiplying of Christ, dominion over the enemy, and Divine blessing increased on the nations of the earth.

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:17,18)

First there must be absolute obedience to God, which is an important aspect of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. A second important aspect is our persistence (importunity) in asking for the power of the Holy Spirit.

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (Luke 11:5-8)

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus taught them the familiar "Lord's prayer" and then the role of persistence in obtaining the power of the Holy Spirit for ministry.

Notice that the seeker came at midnight, a symbol of the fact that the greatest need for the gifts and ministries will be present during the dark hours that are just ahead of us. Notice also that the seeker came on behalf of a hungry friend. So it is that the virtue needed to help others can be supplied only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The world is full of people who have "come to us in their journey." They are famished. We have a "wealthy Friend" who has all the "food" that is needed. We ourselves, in our fleshly efforts, have nothing—absolutely nothing—to set before the spiritually impoverished of the earth. Our Friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, is able to send down the Holy Spirit. It is He who gives of the Divine Nature to meet the needs of the spirit, soul, and body of each person who will receive.

When we ask, God does not answer right away. He is "in bed with His children," the saints of past ages. Why should He stir Himself? Why should He trouble Himself to send down food to meet the needs of the peoples of the earth?

What did Jesus teach us to do? Keep on asking. Keep on asking. Keep on asking. Ask! Ask! Ask! We give up too soon. We become weary. We must persist in prayer until God answers.

Have you ever given up on God? Perhaps you stopped just one day before the answer was to have come in abundance. This was not God's fault, it was your fault. Jesus taught us about asking and receiving. Jesus informed us that even the bonds of our friendship with God are not enough to obtain the answer.

Obedience alone will not do it. The elder son (as he himself testified in the parable of the Prodigal Son) never had the fattened calf slain for him. He could have eaten the fattened calf, but he never asked. Yet he had been faithful in all his father's house (Luke 15:29).

"Because of his importunity (persistence) he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."

We are living in the midnight hour. People on every side, inside and outside the Church, are perishing for lack of what the Holy Spirit alone can provide. Will we believe Jesus and beseech God without ceasing until we receive the empowering of gifts and ministries? Or will we choose to not believe Jesus and turn away from the endless requesting of God for the anointing of the Holy Spirit?

The choice is ours. Let us choose to believe Christ and to beseech God night and day, day and night, from now until Jesus returns if necessary, to pour out on us the heavenly power of the Holy Spirit so we may have an abundance of provisions with which to nourish the perishing people of the earth.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Luke 11:9)

We must ask, and keep on asking, and keep on asking. The promise is that the Holy Spirit will be given to us. Our asking requires a seeking also, because in the process of asking we are looking for the will of God. Ours is not an insistence that our own will be done but rather a plea for help for those around us who have needs that we desire to satisfy and cannot satisfy in our own strength.

The term "seek" implies that the good things of the Lord are hidden from us and cannot be found unless we earnestly and diligently look for them. One of the main aspects of the fervent Christian discipleship is that of looking for Christ. Why is Christ hidden? It is because of the sins of mankind.

God was present among us in the Garden of Eden but He withdrew because of our disobedience. Now we must employ the principal energies of our lives "looking" for Christ. If we do not continue to look for Him we will not come to the fullness of His riches. We will remain one of those people who, for one reason or another, turned away from the greatest treasure hunt of all—the quest for the abundance of eternal life that is in Christ. We must knock and keep on knocking. Eventually the keeper of the door will tire of our knocking and will open the door.

It is as though the Holy Spirit is in a room behind a closed door. Usually the door does not swing open as soon as we put our hand on the doorknob. We knock, and knock, and knock, and start in knocking again the next day—on and on. Did you ever have the experience of someone knocking repeatedly on your door and refusing to go away? There is not much peace in the house when someone is standing outside and knocking.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Luke 11:10)

One of the mysteries of Heaven is why the saints do not ask Christ for more help when He has promised "every one that asketh receiveth." The Lord is faithful and He has declared: "Ask, and ye shall receive that your joy may be full."

God, who cannot lie, has told us plainly, "Every one that asketh receiveth." As soon as we begin requesting the empowering of the Holy Spirit so we may build up the Body of Christ, many hindrances arise to beat down our will. We become weary of asking and seeking and knocking. But the Word of God remains true: "Every one that asketh receiveth."

Every seeker finds the power of the Holy Spirit provided he looks long enough and does not give up because he did not unearth the treasure on his first or second effort. We stand and knock at the door for a while, and then we give up and conclude that no one is at home. The Lord is at home but He is waiting to see if we really are determined to have the Holy Spirit or if we are acting in a spurt of enthusiasm.

The promise is this: "to him that knocketh it shall be opened." A hundred reasons may flood into our minds as to why it will not be opened; but God Almighty declares, "It shall be opened!"

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (Luke 11:11,12)

There are occasions when God leads us into clarity of thought concerning His will and we do not accept it. We then may keep on begging God to change His mind. In that case, evil would come from our unwillingness to accept what God deems to be best for us.

It is likely that the majority of instances of delayed answers to prayer involve the believer who drifts along with the powerful currents of our times. He or she desires to have more of God but finds it difficult to set himself or herself to the consistent, diligent asking, seeking, and knocking required for receiving the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)

Most of us, as evil as we are, are devoted to our children and have an abiding concern that they will enjoy a happy and successful life. We are aware of all their requests, although if we love them we do not rush to give them everything they ask for the moment they open their mouths.

If a youngster asks for a toy or a musical instrument we may not run to the store the same day. But the desire comes to our attention. If the child asks for a bicycle or a trumpet or rifle, it may be too much for the family budget or unsafe for him in his present level of development.

If a year or two goes by and we hear about the same item several times a week in a respectful but persistent manner, we begin to give serious consideration to the merits of the request. If we can manage it, the item comes home one day. If there is danger involved, such as with a gun, we may take the time to sit down with the young child and explain to him that he must wait for a few years.

If the answer to the request would bring harm to the son or daughter or if it is impossible for some reason, a firm no! is in order.

The Lord sometimes opens our eyes to various considerations, when we come into intense, persistent supplication, that cause us to think again if this is what we truly desire. But it would seem that most of us are discouraged from our persistence by spirits other than the Spirit of God. By one ruse or another the enemy gets us off our knees.

The one Power with which the enemy is unable to cope is the Holy Spirit. He employs every available device in an attempt to convince us that God will not answer our prayer for the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Let us join the ranks of those who are crying to God day and night that He will pour out the Holy Spirit on us so that the gifts and ministries of every member of the worldwide Body of Christ will be empowered with the dynamite from Heaven.

We have stated that there are three factors related to the empowering of gifts and ministries: (1) absolute obedience to Christ; (2) persistence; and (3) the supporting role of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Let us now examine this third factor.

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)

The Lord Jesus works not only in us but with us. There is an internal working of Christ in us and there also is the living Presence of the Person, Christ who can come and work alongside of us.

No matter how gifted and anointed we may become there ought to occur a moment each time we minister, whether our gift is that of exhortation, teaching, helps, giving, or whatever, when the Presence of the Lord Jesus Himself becomes noticeable. Of course, we cannot make a routine of the Lord's manifest Presence. Still, we ought to be looking for an increasing Presence of the Lord in all that we do.

It is not enough that we become a flaming evangelist, a tireless apostle, or a faithful pastor. There should be occasions when Jesus Himself walks into the room and ministers. How marvelous it is when we are gathered together with the saints, or are by ourselves, and the Lord Jesus comes among us. There is no mistaking the fragrance of His Presence, the touch of the nail-scarred hands, the melting compassion of the Son of God.

He sees the needs and brings the grace of Heaven. Every problem, every discouragement, every vexing bondage from the tiniest to the mightiest, becomes as chaff that is blown away before the universal power of Christ. The Glory of the Lord goes before Him and every work of Satan is driven back.

Truly, He is wonderful! We minister, and He works with us. We are laborers together with Him. Without His Presence there is no ministry among us, no matter how mature or proficient, which is adequate for the needs of the hour. Christ Himself must pass among us and assist with the ministry if the result is to have Kingdom value. If we will allow Him to bear the load, and will work alongside of Him, the tasks will be accomplished.

"Grant it, Lord Jesus, that You will come to us and work with us, confirming the Word of God with signs following. We do not wish to minister by ourselves. We desire that You take the lead and that we will be able to watch what You do and do the same. O God, send the Lord Jesus Christ among us in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Then our ministry will accomplish the building of the Body of Christ."

Having spent some time discussing the assigning, directing and empowering of gifts and ministries, let us return to our examination of the manner in which the Lampstand of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle portrays the work of the Holy Spirit. We are studying the work of the Holy Spirit in the sanctifying of the believer, which is the second area of redemption.

We have stated that the Holy Spirit works in each of us according to at least five operations of sanctification: (1) the assigning, directing and empowering of gifts and ministries; (2) the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin, of all the works of Satan; (3) the creating of the Nature of Christ in us; (4) the giving of comfort, guidance and strength in every detail of discipleship; and (5) the inspiring of us to keep on pressing toward Christ.

The five end products of these five operations of the Holy Spirit are as follows: (1) our ability to impart Christ to people at all levels of spiritual maturity; (2) the establishment of the testimony of God as the basis for His judgment of His creatures; (3) the creation of the Wife of the Lamb; (4) the creation of the Temple of God; and (5) the imposition of Christ's rule on the peoples of the earth through judgment.

We have just examined the first operation of the Holy Spirit—the assigning, directing and empowering of gifts and ministries. We shall go on to the second operation of the Holy Spirit, the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin into which we were born as the result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

The Holy Spirit destroys the works of the devil. The program of redemption has two principal dimensions and one principal outcome. The first principal dimension of the program of redemption is the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin. The second principal dimension of the program of redemption is the creating of the moral character of Christ in us—the fruit of the Spirit. The principal outcome of redemption is our complete union with God in His Being and purposes.

We are thinking now about the destroying of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sins that bear on the person and behavior of the believer in Christ. Part of the Gospel of Christ is this: we no longer are obligated to our flesh, to serve its lusts and appetites (from Romans 8:12). There is power and authority in the Lord Jesus Christ to demolish the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin with which we are dealing in the world.

We are not speaking about going to Heaven, which is another matter entirely. Rather we are pointing toward the plan of redemption that is operating now among us while we yet are alive on the earth. What is going on in Heaven is unknown to us because we have not been there and we do not understand from the Scripture exactly how sin is dealt with in Heaven.

We do know from the Scripture that sin had its start in Heaven among Satan and the angels that followed his lead and that there still is a government of evil spirits in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12). Concerning life on the earth, the Lord has showed us plainly from the Scripture the redemption that is available to us today in Christ. It is the Divine program of redemption that we wish to examine.

The Church has been defeated for so long by the bondage of sin that there is discouragement and confusion associated with this problem. There were powerful preachers of sanctification during the last century and no doubt many such teachers throughout the history of the Christian Church.

Some of us may have grown a trifle cynical concerning sanctification because the results do not always follow the teaching. We claim we have been sanctified "root and branch." But then there are those bondages that people can see in us!

A popular approach among sincere Christian people is that as long as we are in the world we will sin. We should do our best but no one is perfect. We have a hope that Christ will catch us away into Heaven and that somewhere in the airy blue the sins that we practice will vanish.

It is true that in the ages to come it will be far easier to practice righteousness than is true today in the world.

However there are at least two problems with the viewpoint that believers in Christ are obligated to sin while they are living in the world. First, such a viewpoint is contrary to what the Scripture claims to be true of the new covenant.

Second, the necessity for sinning is a human concept and its effect is to turn the disciples away from the fervent, daily, overcoming walk of victory and point them toward waiting for the solution to come with the return of Christ from Heaven. Meanwhile the bondages of sin compel the believers to do the will of Satan and the Church remains weak, divided, and helpless against the attacks of the enemy.

When the Christian yields to sin he is giving in to death, to separation from God.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

When we as a Christian serve sin, we move toward spiritual death.

The good news we wish to bring is that sin is not the invincible Goliath we had supposed. Sin is nothing more than a collection of unclean desires that keep us in misery. There is abundant power in the Lord Jesus Christ to demolish every one of these chains as we follow the Holy Spirit into battle.

We are not debtors to the flesh that we must serve its dictates. We are under no obligation to serve Satan. We cannot be forced to serve sin in this world or in any other world if we are members of the Body of Christ.

It is not wise to view life in Heaven as the solution to the sin problem, because sin began in Heaven. Sin is obedience to the will of Satan. We can obey Satan in the earth if we so choose or we can decide to accept the redemptive power of the Lord Jesus Christ and break away from sin. The decision is ours.

Christ is not limited. It is His will that we be redeemed from the hand of the enemy. The spiritual Jubilee (Leviticus, Chapter 25), the thousand-year Kingdom Age, is near and is casting its shadow before, as it were. God has chosen to set the captives of sin free in Christ. The ancient landlord is being forced to let his slaves go. Would you like to be set free from the power and effects of sin?

Let us turn now to the Scripture. We shall attempt to explain, as the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and ability, the complete provisions for our redemption from sin's yoke that God has set forth in Christ.

God has given three parts of grace that are battering rams able to demolish every stronghold of the enemy:

His Word to our mind that explains to us God's attitude toward sin and His provisions concerning sin—exactly what constitutes sin and practical steps we can take to overcome sin.

The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The blood is an atonement for our sin. Also, the body and blood enter us and create in us the Divine Nature.

The wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit as the source of guidance and energy sufficient to break the chains of sin.

By these three aspects of grace, these three battering rams, God is prepared to tear down all the defenses of the enemy and remove every trace of sin and its effects from our life. Will we believe Him? Will we cooperate with Him so He can do it?

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1,2)

The doctrine that God's grace is an excuse for our sins is swept away in the above passage from the Book of Romans. But Christians of all ages have had a great amount of trouble discovering how the grace of God operates so they can possess not only forgiveness of the guilt of their sins but deliverance from sin's power as well.

Even the early churches, as we can tell from the writings of the apostles, experienced difficulty overcoming sin. So we should not feel we are the only ones who have had trouble understanding how grace is intended to operate in our lives.

Chapters Six and Seven of Romans are not the easiest passages of the Scripture to understand, but in them we find deliverance from sin discussed. Our viewpoint as to the meaning of these chapters follows.

When we are baptized in water we are taking a step of faith (as well as obeying the Lord). We are testifying to the heavens and the earth that we now by faith are entering the crucifixion of Christ and His resurrection. Our old nature is dead with Christ and our new man—he who is born when we receive Christ—is eternally alive in Christ. It is as simple as that. Nothing more, nothing less. The first personality is dead and the new creation is alive and at the right hand of the Father in Christ.

Now we come to the problem of our daily sins of hating, lying, stealing, lusting, sorcery, adultery, and so forth, as well as the problem of our self-will (which we will discuss under the topic of conquest ).

Sin in the Christian disciple is the subject of many passages of the New Testament, including the Book of First John. The answer as to how we are to regard our sinful actions can be given clearly, but living the answer is quite difficult. This is because of the resistance to righteous, holy, and obedient behavior that is exerted by our fleshly nature, by the spirit of the world in which we live, and by Satan and his accomplices.

Our entrance into the death and resurrection of Christ, as portrayed in our baptism in water, does not mean we never can sin again. Nor does it indicate that it does not matter whether or not we overcome sin because we are saved by "grace." Both of these interpretations of Romans, Chapter Six have been held because of the complexity of the doctrine. Both are erroneous. Also they can be quite harmful to the maturing of the Christian into the stature of the fullness of Christ.

After receiving Christ we are well able to sin. It is not true that God is indifferent to our sinning or that He judges us less severely than He does the unsaved. The Lord takes a more serious view of sin in those who are close to Him than He does in those who are far removed from His presence. Sin is sin, and from the point of view of God, sin will be judged and dealt with whether the sinner is a non-Christian or a Christian.

If God responds with judgment when a believer sins, what good is it to receive Christ as Savior? What actually does occur as the result of our entering the death and resurrection of Christ? What is Paul talking about?

The operation of water baptism is dual in effect. First of all, our guilt, the first consideration of the demolishing of sin in us, is completely, totally, perfectly removed from us by the authority of the blood of Christ. There is no condemnation resting on those who have received Christ as Savior. We have been forgiven by the Judge of Heaven—perfectly, totally, unqualifiedly.

Second, for the first time in our lives we have the authority and power to choose not to sin. It is not that we cannot sin or that it does not matter if we do sin. Rather it is that we have a choice. We can choose to serve righteousness or we can choose to serve sin.

The fruit of serving righteousness is eternal life. The fruit of serving sin is spiritual death—separation from God. We cannot be compelled to serve the flesh or the devil when we are walking in the Spirit of God. Christ has the authority and power to give us victory over Satan.

The power of choice given us in Christ is expressed in the following passage.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14)

It is impossible to be servants of righteousness before we accept Christ. We are under the penalty of Adam's sin, and suffering from our own guilt as well. Satan has dominion over us—body, soul, and spirit.

Even if we could observe the Ten Commandments by our own will power, there still is the fact that we were born in sin. The spiritual darkness of the sinful age in which we live, the power of our own fleshly desires, and the influence of Satan combine to make it impossible for the man or woman, boy or girl, who does not possess Christ to walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

When we receive the grace that is in Christ the picture changes. We now, through the Holy Spirit, possess the power to refuse to obey sin. Our guilt has been removed by the blood of the cross. Our conscience is clear. The remaining problem is that of the power of sin.

It is a battle of power. Satan desires that we sin. The Holy Spirit desires that we reject sin. We ourselves now have the authority to obey Satan and our flesh or to obey the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. It is a question of our choice.

Paul commands us to stop sinning. If we cannot stop sinning in some area of behavior we are bound spiritually. We are to confess our bondage to God. Sometimes it is helpful to ask the saints to pray for us. God's Word declares that we no longer can be compelled to sin against our will. God has declared that sin shall not have dominion over us.

There is unlimited power and authority in the grace of God in Christ. We Christians have not realized that we cannot be compelled to sin. It reminds us of the time when the people of God were starving to death inside the city, while outside the walls of the city the enemy had fled in disarray, leaving more than enough food for everyone in the city to eat and be satisfied.

Victory had been won, but the people were ignorant of that fact and of the availability of abundant food. They starved to death in the midst of plenty.

If we believe that as long as we are in the world our flesh can compel us to sin we are ignorant of the scope of the victory accomplished on the cross. We do not understand the power or provision of the new covenant. We will continue to sin and to reap the consequences of sinful behavior. Yet, we are surrounded by sufficient power and authority for deliverance from that behavior.

The Scripture directs us to present ourselves to God as people who are alive from the death of sin, and to yield the members of our body to the righteous works that are brought about by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

Whom do you choose to obey—sin or righteousness? The choice is yours.

If you as a Christian choose to obey sin you will begin to die spiritually. You will come under the judgment of God. The spiritual life in you will begin to wither. Affliction, suffering, grief, and destruction of your flesh will follow relentlessly as the Holy Spirit works to break the hold that sin has on you.

If you choose to obey God, you will inherit eternal life. You will become a servant of righteousness and receive the rewards that are given to the servant of righteousness.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

If you or I choose to obey the adultery, hatred, lying, stealing, fornication, sorcery, covetousness, envy, deceit, criticizing, that our flesh desires so fervently, we will be chastened of the Lord in the hope that our spirit can be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus. The fires of Divine judgment will seek to purify us.

If we choose to obey the purity, love, truthfulness, honesty, contentment, peace, straightforwardness, and compassion which the Spirit of God desires so fervently, our spirit, soul, and body will be brought into the fullness of Divine life.

The power of sin is a law that is present in the appetites of the flesh of each human, both Christian and non-Christian.

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:17)

We who are endeavoring to follow the Holy Spirit in the life of victory are well aware of the power of sin in our fleshly nature.

There is a difference in available resources between the Christian and the non-Christian when it comes to gaining victory over sinful deeds. The Christian is without condemnation. He has been accepted of God. He has come into the Presence of God. The blood forgives the sin of his life.

His spirit has been received by the Holy Spirit. Christ has been born in him. He now possesses not only the Divine Substance, the new Nature, in him, but also the guiding and empowering of the resurrection life of the Holy Spirit to aid him in conquering his sinful tendencies.

Do you see the difference? Both the unsaved and the saved have the law of sin in themselves. The saved have all the resources of Heaven available to them so they can choose to overcome sin. The unsaved have only a sinful nature as a resource to help them overcome sin—an impossible situation.

It is not that we Christians cannot sin or have no tendencies toward sin or that God overlooks our sinning. Rather, we possess the fullness of the grace of God in Christ by which we are enabled to attain mastery over sin, overcoming its power. Mastery is to be attained now—in this life.

We are not to wait until we go to Heaven in order to gain mastery over sin. Victory in Christ is available to us today. We have no idea what will take place after we die.

Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:20)

Here is a picture of a man who is battling for control of his own conduct. He is doing things to which he does not give consent. He is suffering loss of self-control. Something other than his own choice is governing him.

In such a situation the non-Christian has a difficult problem. He is being forced to yield to the influence of the evil that surrounds him on every hand, both in the spiritual and in the physical worlds. The Christian has a choice: he can yield to his sinful nature or he can choose to avail himself of the grace of God and thereby resist the temptation to sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ, who walk not in the appetites of the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

The moment we accept the atonement made by Christ on the cross of Calvary we are forgiven Adam's sin and all the sins that we ourselves have committed. Our sins are forgiven because of the blood atonement made by Christ, and now we stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

If a millionaire chooses to give us his money the bank does not care. They are interested only in the currency. If the judge throws the case out of court there is nothing the jailer can do. If God declares us righteous there is no voice that can be raised in condemnation. He is the Judge. If He throws our case out of court the jailer has lost his prisoner. When we accept Christ, the Judge dismisses the case against us.

Where do we go from here? Do we continue sinning and presume on the goodness of Christ? Or do we go forward in the Spirit to attain righteous conduct?

The blood of Christ keeps cleansing us and declaring us righteous while we are pursuing our pilgrimage. The Book of Romans has informed us we are not to keep on sinning. Being under grace instead of under the Law of Moses does not mean we are to continue in sin. Rather, we are to avail ourselves of the enabling grace of God so we no longer will choose to obey sin but will now obey righteousness.

We have not been called to continue as helpless sinners, trusting in the covering of Christ. We are to keep on trusting in the covering of Christ but meanwhile we must undergo the processes of redemption whereby the bondages of sin in us are demolished and the fruit of the Spirit is created in us.

This is not a haphazard program in which we stumble and fall, stumble and fall, stumble and fall, while we are waiting to go to Heaven. We are in a specific program tailored to our individual needs, designed to bring us into the image of Christ and into total union with God through Him.

We have stated that one of the operations of the Holy Spirit is the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin by which we have been influenced from our birth. Let us see what Paul has to say further concerning the overcoming of sin in our spirit, soul and body.

For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

The law of sin and death is the combined effect of the law of Moses (the Ten Commandments) and the law of sin (power of sin; sinful tendencies) that causes us to choose to obey Satan. The two laws interact. The Law of Moses and the law of sin work together to bring about our separation from God. The Law of Moses does not free us from sin, it makes sin more sinful by turning the spotlight on our actions. Then the law of Moses declares us unworthy of God and doomed to eternal death.

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death. First, the law of the Spirit of life cleanses us with the blood of Jesus so we no longer are held under the guilt imposed by the law of Moses. Second, the law of the Spirit of life furnishes us with wisdom and power adequate for overcoming the tendencies and effects of sin in us.

We are free now to follow the Holy Spirit. When we do so, the righteousness of Christ clothes us and keeps us fit to enter before the Throne of God in Heaven so we may obtain mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Paul goes on to explain that we have received Christ and have started out to follow the Spirit of God in overcoming our fleshly nature. We must be diligent each day and make sure we really are following the Holy Spirit and have not drifted back into the life of the flesh.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)

If we Christians do not follow the Holy Spirit closely, giving ourselves to daily prayer, the study of the holy Scriptures, assembling with the saints, obeying the Spirit, we will begin to find the old life creeping back. The old sinful life of our flesh is capable of destroying our new life in Christ.

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

The sinful body of the unsaved person is dead in sin, having in itself the desire to commit the abominations that caused God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The sinful body of the saved person also is dead because of these abominable tendencies. In this respect there is no difference between the physical body of the unsaved and the physical body of the saved.

However, in the saved person dwells the Holy Spirit of God, who is holy in Nature and in conduct and who brings with Him the righteousness that is based on the shed blood of Christ.

We believers possess the assigned righteousness of Christ and the power for holy living that is of the Holy Spirit. We possess also a spiritually dead body and human mind that are the enemies of God's ways and purposes. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to resist sin and to be disobedient to the desires of our flesh. By the Spirit of God we learn to beat down our flesh and human mind and keep them under the control of His will.

Now Paul points us toward further redemption—that which is to come with the appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

We are to keep our sinful body under control by the ability that the Holy Spirit gives us because the day is coming in which God will make alive even the death-doomed physical body that we are dragging around. Salvation is coming to the body. When it does, our body will be filled with righteousness, holiness, and obedience.

We must maintain a careful guard on our human nature because it leads us into trouble if we do not keep the grace of God in control at all times. We see that at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ there will be a redemption of our mortal body. Jesus will appear without sin (Hebrews 9:28). How we will rejoice then as our whole spirit, soul, and body are filled to the brim with the righteous and holy tendencies of the Spirit of God!

"Who will deliver me from the body of this death?" asks Paul. The Lord Jesus Christ will do so at His appearing. The work of redemption in us will then have been brought to the full.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live in the appetites of the flesh. (Romans 8:12)

Here is one of the most important verses in the New Testament writings. We cannot be compelled to sin after we have believed in Christ. The statements that "no one is perfect," or, "we always will sin until we go to Heaven," fall down in the face of this verse. We are not required to sin. It is a lie of the enemy that declares Christians must sin. The Church of Christ has believed the lie without looking to see what God has said.

Christ saves us from our sins not just in our sins. We owe the flesh nothing. We are not compelled to obey it. If we will pay attention to the Holy Spirit, He will enable us to overcome our daily sins of deed, speech, motive, and imagination. God has the power. It is our responsibility to cooperate with God so He can destroy the power of the enemy that still moves us.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Paul is stating that if we, having once been saved, turn away from the grace of God and go back to living in the lusts of the flesh, we will die spiritually—Christian or not. If we follow the Holy Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our body we will press on to the attainment of eternal life.

We understand that eternal life is more than the initial acceptance of Christ. It is one thing to accept Christ but then we must become disciples of Jesus, putting to death the adultery, fornication, excesses, filthy talking, coveting, lying, foolishness, impatience, and hating that corrupt our flesh.

Is the Holy Spirit leading you into the conquest of your land of promise? Are you putting to death the enemies in your land? If not, turn to the Lord and allow His Holy Spirit to begin to point out the bondages that are keeping you from growing in His grace.

Now is the best time to do that. If we through the Holy Spirit put the appetites of the flesh to death we will attain eternal life. This is the meaning of Romans 8:13.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

What does it mean to be led by the Spirit of God? It means that each day of our lives we are waiting on the guidance and power that the Holy Spirit gives as He labors over us in the task of preparing us for eternal union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 1:12 states: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." When we receive Christ we are given the authority to be the children of God.

We are not unlawfully assuming that relationship but are entitled to be God's children on the basis of the redemption God has placed in Christ. The initial receiving of Christ is not the end of the program of redemption. We then must continue walking in the Spirit of God if we wish to be considered sons of God; otherwise we revert to being sons of the flesh.

We are discussing the second of the five operations of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification—that of destroying the works of the devil. We are seeing that the operation of sanctification results in the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin that we have inherited and acquired.

One of the effects of sin is sickness. This is not to say that every time we are sick it is because we have sinned. Such is not the case. Sickness and sin are closely related in that both are the work of Satan. He is the destroyer. The healing of the sick and the casting out of devils go together.

One of the chief works of Christ in the earth is the healing of the sick. It was so when He walked the shores of Galilee and it is true today. "By whose stripes ye were healed." It is the Lord's will that the members of His Church be healed in body and that there be healing power in the Church. Bodily healing and the Gospel go together. Wherever the Lord Jesus is working together with His ministers there will be works of healing taking place.

Another effect of sin is death. We humans regard death as a natural condition (perhaps desirable in some instances) that God designed as part of life on the earth. This is a false belief, although we are not going to judge the actions of anguished believers who have lost a loved one through death.

Physical death is the enemy of mankind. We are subject to death because of sin.

The message of the Gospel is that Christ has overcome death in the flesh. His body did not experience decay and was raised from the dead. The good news is that we too will be raised from death at His appearing and will see our loved ones again, not as disembodied ghosts but as real, joyous people alive on the face of the earth. This is the Gospel of Christ—the Good News of everlasting life in a physical body.

Overcoming strength is flowing into the members of the Church today. By every spiritual means God is increasing the spiritual strength, faith, and purity of His people. There is an awareness that our wrestling against the wicked spirits in the heavenlies finally will result in victory with our opponent pinned to the mat, as the Lord Jesus Christ goes to war through us.

The wrestling match will end soon and our victory through Christ will be total. Death itself will be destroyed in and through the Church of Christ. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (I Corinthians 15:26).

The work of God in redemption has operated in the spirit realm for so long that Christian people have come to believe that redemption is a spiritual work only, that the earth will be abandoned in the Day of the Lord and we will all go to live in Heaven with Jesus forever.

Such a misconception is understandable because of the long period of time that has been required to call out the members of the Body of Christ from the nations of the earth. The disciples of the Lord have been wandering in the land of their inheritance as in a strange land, so to speak. The work of Christ in the material creation—which is His inheritance—has been suspended while His Body is being formed and brought to full stature. The "heaven," the spiritual domain, always must be created before the "earth."

The Day is approaching, however, in which the redemption that is within us at this time will be expanded to include the material realm.

"He that raised Christ from the dead shall also make alive your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." The indwelling Spirit of God will continue to redeem us from the hand of the enemy until our body has been made eternally alive. Our Lord Jesus Christ is King and Lord not only of the spiritual but also of the material creation. The kingdoms of the world are destined to become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)

The effect of sin on the natural creation has been to curse it with futility and corruption. Nature groans in pain. Our body is locked in the power of sin and suffers sickness, decay, and death as a result. Our body continues in this condition while the Holy Spirit works intently on the new inner nature that we possess as the result of receiving Christ into our personality. Our physical body is held in subjection, awaiting the perfecting of our new nature.

The Holy Spirit enables our new nature to hold the passions of our adamic personality under subjection, meanwhile putting to death one by one the fleshly appetites of our body. When we become ill the Lord Jesus will heal our body if we petition Him, provided there is no special spiritual lesson being taught us through our sickness.

As soon as the work of redemption has reached the required level in the spiritual nature of the firstfruits of the Church, the Lord Jesus will be revealed from Heaven. At that time the work of redemption will expand to include our mortal bodies and then, under the direction of the Lord Jesus, will proceed to release the material creation.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:22,23)

The effect of sin has been that the physical creation remains bound in the chains of corruption. Now it is groaning in the pains of labor because Christ is about to bring forth a redeemed material creation. Not only the natural creation but we Christians also groan inwardly, longing for our adoption as God's sons.

Our adoption as God's sons is the redemption of our mortal body. First we must be born again and have the spiritual side of our personality set free from sin, created in the image of Christ, and made obedient to God. Then we will be ready for our adoption and our unveiling in the sight of the whole universe. At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall radiate Divine Glory as the sons of God, in spiritual and physical composition.

The perfected saint is in the image of our Lord Jesus, having been transformed into his spiritual nature and his material nature. He is ruler, under Christ, over all the works of God's hands. He is a judge of men and angels. This is the inheritance of those who follow the Lord Jesus in stern discipleship.

The only Person who has appeared on the earth in the full image of God is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is in the spiritual image of God and, since His resurrection, possesses a perfected material form as well, Christ is at home in Heaven and on the earth. We now are being created in His spiritual image. However, the Day is coming when we shall receive in addition a body like His glorious body. Then we shall be in His express image—spirit, soul, and body.

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24)

Our hope is that as we diligently pursue the victory that is in Christ, the Holy Spirit will make alive our physical body and we shall be loosed from the corruption of carnality. We shall be set free so we can serve God in our whole being, not just in the spirit realm.

This is the true hope of the Christian discipleship. It is the hope of a fuller righteousness that keeps us pressing forward each day in the Holy Spirit, continuing in patience as the Spirit transforms us from within.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Every child of God is brought into the purposes of God by election. As soon as he receives Christ, nothing occurs in his life by chance. To those who are called according to God's eternal purpose in Christ, every word, every action, every circumstance that affects them is according to design.

God has a purpose in His mind and He is not slack concerning the fulfillment of His plan. All things in the universe are working together for good, and that "good" is the perfected spiritual and physical composition of the members of the Body of Christ.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

God is creating brothers for His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The brothers are lesser than Christ in that Christ is the eternal Word from the beginning and all authority and power in Heaven and earth have been given to Him by the Father.

Yet, it is the will of God that the brothers be in the image of Christ in spirit, soul and body. God is bringing many sons to glory. The sons of God are of the same Divine Substance as the Lord Jesus Christ because they have been created on His body and blood just as Eve was created on the rib of Adam.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

The operation of sanctification fits in between "justified" and "glorified" of the above verse. The reason sanctification is not inserted here, in Romans 8:30, is that our calling, our justification, and our glorification are sudden Divine works that were completed in vision before the earth was created. God sees them as past accomplishments.

Sanctification, on the other hand, is the present work and is the subject of most of the New Testament writings. Calling, justifying, and glorifying are not the main subjects of the New Testament. Contrary to much popular teaching the main subject from Romans to Revelation is sanctifying.

Sanctification is the process of choosing life instead of death. We can be defeated in this area. We can lose our crown. We can lose our calling and election. The other operations of God are Divine, sudden, and already completed in vision. If we fail to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the operation of sanctification our crown will be given to another. Perhaps we will not be lost eternally but we will not receive the rewards prepared for the victorious saints.

We must labor to make our calling and election certain. This is what God's Word declares.

Even though God sees us as being called, justified, and glorified, our task is to walk in the Spirit of God, laying hold on eternal life. God has grasped us for an exceedingly great reward. We must reach up to God and match His grasp with a grasp of our own or we will not attain the crown.

We must apprehend (lay hold on) that for which we have been apprehended. It is the "sword of the Lord and of Gideon," so to speak. God has done His part; we must continue to do our part, being careful to depend on the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit.

We know we are the children of God if the fruit of righteousness is coming forth in our behavior. If the lust and strife of the flesh is all we can show for years of following Jesus, we are well advised to return to Christ and determine whether we are walking in the appetites of the flesh or in the Spirit. Not everyone who cries Lord! Lord! will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

We can be perfect in doctrine, calling Jesus "Lord," and still be rejected. The question is, whether we are doing the will of the Father. The will of the Father is that we walk in love as dear children, bringing forth the fruits of holiness that are the fragrance of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The mark of the true Christian is not the naming of Christ but the fruit of the Spirit. "By their fruits you shall know them."

After bringing to our attention the goal of the dealings of the Holy Spirit in us, which is the perfecting of the members of the Church in spirit, soul, and body, Paul turns back to his testimony to the saints concerning the justifying authority and power that are in Christ.

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. (Romans 8:33)

The idea here is that it is the supreme Judge who has declared us guiltless and has dismissed our case. Every accusing voice is silenced because the Judge has rendered His decision.

There is a lesson for us in the returning of Paul to the doctrine of justification, after bringing us up to the high plane of the redemption of the material creation. The three deaths and three resurrections of which we are writing are not like grades in an elementary school or rungs on a ladder. Rather, the Holy Spirit sweeps back and forth, working into us the many dimensions of the grace of God.

We do not leave one level and go on to the next. We are being made in one piece just as the garment of Christ, which was not sewed together but woven as a whole. The three deaths continually are working in us and the three resurrections continually are working in us.

When first we accept Christ we receive the fullness of God Almighty because all God's Fullness abides in Christ. Then we wander through the wilderness, so to speak, as the Holy Spirit weaves the grace of God throughout our being. Back and forth, back and forth, in and out, in and out, the Life of Christ is woven into us. Back goes Paul to justification so we may keep in mind that all our progress in sanctification and glorification is founded on the work of justification wrought on the cross of Calvary.

We have examined briefly the teaching of the Apostle Paul concerning the redeeming work of Christ in removing the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin.

The Apostle John also commented on the relationship of the Christian to sin, and gave some practical guidelines for the disciple who is being redeemed from sin by the working of the Holy Spirit of God.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (I John 1:5,6)

Walking in darkness is the same as walking in the appetites of the flesh. If we Christians yield to sin, obeying its lusts, we are walking in darkness. God is holy and righteous and we cannot have fellowship with Him and continue walking under the control of the sin that dwells in our flesh.

Sometimes the teaching of the first chapter of I John is applied to the unsaved. "If we are unsaved," it is held, "we cannot have fellowship with God. If we accept Christ we can have fellowship on the basis of the righteousness of Christ imputed (ascribed) to us."

It certainly is true that the unsaved cannot have fellowship with God, and that we do come into the favor of God on the basis of the righteousness of Christ that is imputed (ascribed) to us. However, the first chapter of I John is addressed to Christians, and its meaning is that if we Christians walk in sin and claim to have fellowship with God we are in error.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

God dwells in the light of absolute purity of action, speech, and thought. If we begin to enter God's purity, by the strength and wisdom that the Holy Spirit imparts to us, we are eligible for fellowship with God. The further into the Divine holiness we come, the greater is our fellowship with God.

Because a period of time is required for us to learn to walk in holiness, some kind of provision must be made in order to take care of the guilt of our bondages that have not as yet been broken. This provision is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. As long as we are following the Holy Spirit, stepping along in the light given us each day, the blood keeps on cleansing that part of us that has not as yet been delivered from sin.

We are part holy and part unholy as far as our behavior is concerned. We could not have fellowship at all with God the Father except that the blood of the Lord Jesus keeps on cleansing the part of us that still is not righteous, holy, or obedient to God.

As we learn to tell the truth, to refrain from the filthiness of the flesh, to forgive, to be peaceable, to be gentle, we enter fellowship with God and the blood of the Lord Jesus atones for the part of us that has not as yet learned the ways of righteousness.

There is one more thought to be gleaned from I John 1:7: if we do not walk in the light but continue in sinful practices, the blood of the Lord Jesus does not cleanse us from sin. If we have believed in Christ, and then have made no attempt to follow the Holy Spirit but have maintained the filthy practices of the pit from which we were dug, the blood no longer will atone for our sins. The judgment of God will fall on us.

In such case, the Lord will send warnings and afflictions to us. If we still do not heed but resist the loving promptings of the Holy Spirit, we will be chastised or destroyed with the fires of judgment. Men will gather us and cast us into the fire and we will be burned (John 15:6).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8)

Anyone can see that saved people do sin. Sin is sin, and accepting Christ does not change our sin into righteousness. God's judgment is on sin no matter who commits it.

When we Christians claim we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves. There is as much hatred, criticism, backbiting, foolishness, lust, envy, competition, lying, stealing, vaunting, vainglory in the churches as there is in the world. If anyone claims that saved people have no sin, either he is unwilling to see what is in front of him or he has had little experience in the Christian churches.

How do we go about breaking the bondages of our sin? How do we put to death the deeds of our body (Romans 8:13)? How does the Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16) work so we can obtain not only forgiveness before the Mercy Seat but also the carrying away of our sins from the camp?

The next verse of I John, Chapter One shows us the way to put to death the deeds of our body:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

As we march along in the daily path illumined by the Holy Spirit of God, there arises from time to time an awareness of some sinful practice in our life. It may be a form of spite, hatred, unforgiveness, fear, pride, uncleanness, dishonesty, personal ambition, cruelty or some other sin. When we go to prayer and are sure that the Holy Spirit is dealing with us concerning this sin, and that our disquiet is not merely an accusation of Satan, we are to confess the sin to God, naming it and judging it to be sin.

When we name the deed, confessing it to God clearly, judging it to be sin and turning away from it in sincere repentance, two events take place: first, God is faithful and righteous to forgive every trace of guilt associated with the history of our practice of that sin; second, He cleanses us from the unrighteousness itself.

We emphasize once again that there is authority and power in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ both to forgive the guilt of our sin and to cleanse our nature from all unrighteousness.

There is delivering power in confession. Satan's hold over us is maintained by keeping our motives and lusts hidden in the dark recesses of our nature. When we are willing to obey the Holy Spirit of God and allow the light of God to illumine our secret thoughts we are on the road to deliverance.

As the disciple fights his way along through the wilderness of this life, the Holy Spirit probes ever deeper into the chambers of his heart. One by one the sins are brought into the light of God. As they are exposed the disciple is required to name them to God and to judge them as sin. The more clearly they are named and the more forcefully they are rejected the greater is the deliverance from their power.

The process of judging, confessing, and rejecting sin is part of the eternal judgment mentioned in Hebrews 6:2. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16).

The Body of Christ is the judge of all God's creation. When a member of the Body of Christ names his own sin there is enormous power brought to bear on the particular bondage. The disciple judges it as sin and rejects it. The blood of Christ forgives the sin and washes the unrighteousness from the personality. The Holy Spirit fills the particular area of the personality with eternal life.

The result is, the next time the disciple is tempted in the specific area he discovers that he now possesses the power to resist the temptation. When we now draw near to God and resist the devil he flees from us. Try it and see for yourself.

Confession of our sins to God is essential. It is impossible to obtain victory until we do so. We must become increasingly proficient in the process of confessing our sins, learning to distinguish between our introspection and the accusations of the enemy on the one hand, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit on the other hand.

There are pitfalls along the way as we enter the practice of confessing our sins. For example, we know we are getting off the track if gloom and depression settle on us. These never are from the Father but are from the adversary.

We confess our sins as an act of strength and joy in the Holy Spirit, not in the blackness of gloom and despair. Why should we be gloomy and despairing? We need to thank God every day that He shows us our sins and gives us the wisdom and power that enable us to confess our sins and then to resist the devil.

Day after day, day after day, the Holy Spirit leads us against the enemies in our land, so to speak. Day after day we confess the new areas of unrighteous behavior that the Spirit brings to light. We are not stating that the Holy Spirit will expose some new sin in our personality every day or that we are to confess sins we committed before we trusted in Christ. We are to address only the thinking, speaking, and acting we are practicing now.

The experience of sanctification is progressive, being worked out over a period of time.

We do not obtain victory in a moment. We must be patient with God as He works through the dark recesses of our nature. Our heart is desperately wicked. Only the Holy Spirit can know the depths of the deceit of our personality. He brings the blood of the cross ever deeper into our heart, exposing chains of darkness unknown to us but constantly manifesting themselves in our actions, words, motives, and imaginations.

The darkness is there in each of us. It is the will of God that His saints be purified until they are as refined gold. Absolute purity is required by the Lord God of Heaven and He is producing such purity in each member of the Body of Christ. Our task is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He exposes the sins and gives us wisdom and strength in dealing with them.

There are times when we are required to make restitution. Our selfishness and sinfulness may cause us to hurt others, to steal from them, to withhold forgiveness from them, or to otherwise add to their troubles. In such cases the Holy Spirit may lead us to go to them, seeking their forgiveness. When He does impress us to make restitution we must obey. If we do not we fall back into darkness.

Whenever we disobey the Holy Spirit we bring judgment on ourselves. If we want the blood of Jesus to keep on cleansing us we must continue to walk in the light of obedience to God. Our state of being forgiven and being cleansed is dependent on our continuing to obey the Lord.

We never are allowed to retain unforgiveness in our heart toward another person. No matter what someone may have done to us, we are not permitted to hold a grudge against him or to seek his harm. Many Christians fail in pursuit of the life of victory in Christ because they are filled with unforgiveness and bitterness.

Each of us from time to time becomes offended. We receive a wound, either in the world or in the church. Although it sometimes appears impossible, there is enough Divine virtue in the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to enable us to forgive everyone—to overcome all evil with the good of the body and blood of Christ.

If we allow ourselves to slip down into the bottomless pit of bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred, we are approaching the fires of Hell.

We must forgive everyone. If we do not, we walk out from under the protection of the blood of Christ. If we do not forgive people their transgressions against us our heavenly Father will not forgive our transgressions against Himself.

If someone offends us we are to go to the individual and tell him or her that they have hurt us. If they refuse to make peace with us we are to take with us the elders of the church. If the person who offended us will not reason properly with the elders, the offending person is to be treated as an unbeliever.

We are to keep away from those who have lied to us and stolen from us. We are not to make it possible for them to harm us a second time. If they come to us and ask our forgiveness, we are to forgive them. If they do not ask forgiveness but continue in defiance, then we are to keep away from them. We also must not permit hatred in any form to take possession of us. We leave the offending person in the hands of the Lord. The Lord will avenge us if we refuse to avenge ourselves.

There arise occasions when we are bound so tightly in a certain area of sin that we are unable to confess to God or to cease our sinning. Sometimes we must confess to our husband or wife. This can be difficult to do because it is humbling. When we are in spiritual bondage we may need the assistance of the members of the Body of Christ.

We must be careful, however, if we are guilty of a sin toward another person, such as our husband or wife, that we do not tell them something that will relieve our own burden of guilt but will give them a terrible weight to carry. Sometimes it is best to just confess our sin to God and turn away from it.

We can go to an older Christian of our same sex and confess to him or her our need for help. The older Christian then can pray for discernment and strength to enable us to open up and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the source of the trouble. We and our helper can confess the sin together and the Lord will give release. It is good for us to confess our sins one to another. In so doing there is power available for our healing, both physical and spiritual (James 5:16).

There is no sin we commit that the Lord Jesus cannot overcome through the provisions He has made for our redemption. He will touch us now no matter what our problem may be if we will confess our need. Otherwise we will remain huddled in our dark prison even though God is willing to open the door so we can walk out into the glorious light of His Presence and fellowship.

We Christians are as Lazarus. We have been raised from the dead but we still are bound with the graveclothes of sin. Our salvation is not complete until the graveclothes have been removed.

Jesus did not walk away from Lazarus after He had raised him from the dead, stating that Lazarus had to remain bound as long as he was in the world. Rather, He commanded those standing by to release Lazarus from the bindings.

Neither does Jesus abandon us after we have been saved, saying He is powerless to help us further. He has commanded that we be loosed. If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will begin to remove the graveclothes of sin from us, often using other people to stir up Satan in us or to pray for us for deliverance.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (I John 2:6)

The above verse means we are to behave as Jesus behaved and to do what He taught, as described in the four Gospel accounts. We Christians have come to realize the impossibility of imitating and obeying Christ in our own strength. But by the grace of God and the working of His Spirit the program of redemption is leading us step by step into keeping the Word of Christ.

Sin is being destroyed from our personality and the fruit of righteousness, holiness, and obedience is maturing in us. We cannot emulate Christ by our own ability but the Holy Spirit is able to create the image of Christ in us.

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (I John 2:29)

The purpose of being saved, of being born again, is that we may be able to behave in a righteous and holy manner on the earth and in Heaven. Salvation includes much more than being "saved" in the sense of going to Heaven in spite of our unrighteous conduct, in spite of the hopelessness of our efforts to "walk even as he walked."

Salvation brings about the ability to act in a righteous manner. John teaches us in this epistle that if we are not growing in righteous conduct we are not of God no matter what we may claim.

Redemption is able to accomplish more than protecting ungodly people so they are shielded from the righteous judgment of God. Redemption has to do with our transformation from ungodly conduct to godly conduct, as our book is endeavoring to show.

Going to Heaven, as wonderful as the prospect is, is a secondary issue of the program of redemption. The program of redemption is directed toward the destruction of the works of Satan. All the works and influence of Satan in Heaven and on the earth are to be judged and abolished by the ministry of Christ and His Body. Therefore, as John teaches us, if we say we have been born of Christ and are not moving along in the program of the destruction of our ungodly behavior, we have been deceived.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (I John 3:1)

The reason the world does not know Christ is that the world is immersed in the spirit of lust, murder, sorcery, and covetousness—the behavior that characterizes the fleshly, soulish nature of mankind. Christ is immersed in the Spirit of Holiness. The world despises and rejects the Spirit of Holiness; therefore the true saint despises and rejects the spirit of the world.

The reason the world does not know us is not that we say we belong to Christ (although our confession of His name is an important step of salvation). The reason the world does not know us is that we are overcoming the spirit of lust, murder, sorcery, and covetousness.

The test of Christianity is not whether we attend a Christian church, it is whether we are escaping the lust of the world and are walking in the Spirit of Holiness. The world does not know the Holy Spirit and will not know us when we are walking in the Holy Spirit. The world recognizes its own members whether or not they claim to be Christians.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)

This verse could be construed to mean that although we have failed on earth to walk in righteousness, yet, when Jesus comes, we will be caught away to Heaven and there be transformed into righteous conduct. If such were the case, the statements made throughout the Book of I John would be meaningless.

The change in us that will occur at the coming of Christ is in our body. It is, as Paul teaches, the redemption of our body. The prerequisite of the change in the body is the change in our character, the change that is occurring now. If we choose to continue walking in the appetites of the flesh we will die spiritually. We will not attain the first resurrection from the dead.

The change in our character is a process worked out over a period of time. It cannot be accomplished instantaneously. There are some things in God's creation that require time for their accomplishment. They cannot be hurried.

The creation of the saint in the image of Christ is one such time-consuming process. It is vain for us to believe we will be transformed into skilled warriors, victorious saints, at the appearing of Christ. This is not possible unless we are learning to overcome in battle now.

The change in our body, on the other hand, is instantaneous. It is not fashioned over a period of time. It will take place in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

We shall be like Christ in the body when He appears and we shall be able to behold Christ face to face. This is the reward of the Christian who gives himself to following the Holy Spirit every day of his life. The careless, lukewarm, halfhearted Christian will not receive the rewards promised to the overcomer. He may be saved as by fire, that is, he may be chastened severely by the Lord and then permitted to enter the Kingdom. Or he may not!

There is a hope, as John informs us. The hope is that we will be created in the image of our Lord Jesus Christ in spirit, soul, and body. This hope saves us.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

If we hope that Christ will transform our body into the likeness of His glorious body we must become pure as He is pure. This we can do through the wisdom and strength imparted to us by the Holy Spirit of God.

One of the problems of the Church today is that of unbelief in the area of sanctification. We have become convinced that Christ is unable to create righteousness in us while we yet are on the earth. Where did this lack of faith originate? Did it spring from an overemphasis on salvation by grace apart from godly living?

We must decide whether we will believe the Scripture or whether we will consider our own body, now dead in sins, and believe that Christ cannot deliver us. Which do we choose to believe?

Our body informs us that as long as we are in the world we owe it a certain amount of gratification of its sinful nature—lust, murder, covetousness, sorcery, reveling. The Scripture commands us to purify ourselves as Christ is pure. If we will not believe and obey the Scriptures we never will be established in God. We overcome the world by faith in the Word of God.

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (I John 3:5,6)

To the extent we are abiding in Christ we are not sinning. We are making our pilgrimage into Christ, as it were. The further into Christ we advance the less we sin. When we are sinning we are not seeing Christ or knowing Christ. Only the part of us that is abiding in Christ is not sinning.

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

There have been many deceiving teachers on the earth. Most of them deceive us unintentionally. They deceive us by stating that grace is an alternative to godly behavior. They teach us that no matter how we conduct ourselves we will escape disaster in the Day of the Lord on the basis of "accepting" Christ.

The deceived and deceiving teachers imply that righteous conduct is neither possible nor necessary but that we all will be carried away from the scene of God's judgment on the basis of our stating that Christ is Lord and Savior.

They are well aware of Romans 10:9,10:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

But they are not as familiar with II Corinthians 6:17,18:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be 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.

They would not agree that II Corinthians 6:17,18 is as much a part of salvation as Romans 8:9,10. Romans 8:9,10 is a cornerstone of the Christian formula of salvation. But II Corinthians 6:17,18 is not regarded as important or valid to nearly the same extent.

We claim that the entire Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, but our teaching and preaching reveals that we do not truly regard the entire Scriptures in this manner.

Our day is one of heresy, the heresy that salvation is by forgiveness alone, holy behavior being a desirable but nonessential condition. Yet, God will not welcome us when we are walking in uncleanness, regardless of our profession of faith.

Will God welcome the sinner when he comes to Jesus for help? Yes, He will. He will forgive the prodigal. But then the prodigal is to behave as a son, not to continue in riotous living.

The purpose of the grace of forgiveness under the new covenant is that we may have an opportunity to come to God in our sinful state. The concept is that we are forgiven so we may have an opportunity, through the Divine provisions, to turn away from sin and serve righteousness.

Grace is not the Divine alternative to godly behavior, it is the alternative to the Law of Moses. If we continue to sin after we have come to Christ we make the grace of God of none effect.

The incorrect concept of grace that prevails in our day is a major cause of the moral condition of the Western nations. The preachers and teachers who preach forgiveness apart from repentance and godly living are destroying themselves, the churches, and the nations of the earth that look to the churches for moral direction.

It is possible to distort the meaning of Divine grace until grace becomes an excuse for unrighteous conduct.

. . . he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; . . . . (I John 3:7,8)

We have removed a clause from each of two verses (above) without harming the meaning in context, in order to reveal the truth clearly. This is the gist of what the Apostle John is teaching: righteous works proceed from Christ; sin proceeds from the devil.

It does not matter whether we have said we have received Christ as our personal Savior. Receiving Christ as our personal Savior is the first and vitally necessary step in God's plan of redemption, but receiving Christ does not change the eternal fact that righteous conduct proceeds from Christ and sin proceeds from the devil.

If we do not understand that righteous conduct proceeds from Christ and sin proceeds from Satan, we never will have insight into the working of redemption in us. The purpose of the working of redemption in us is to destroy the works of the devil in us and to create the righteous Nature of Christ in us.

. . . for the devil sinneth from the beginning. . . . (I John 3:8)

Sin originated among the host of Heaven, it did not begin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were deceived by the rebels from Heaven. When we understand this we can begin to grasp the purpose that God has in creating the Body of Christ.

The task of Christ, Head and Body, is to destroy all the works of the devil. The Lake of Fire was not designed for human beings but for the devil and his angels. The only reason any human being will find himself in the Lake of Fire is that he refused to allow Christ to deliver him from the devil. He chose instead to stay on the devil's side.

If we choose to remain on the devil's side we will receive the devil's eternal reward.

Murder, lying, lust, hatred, backbiting, pride, fear, rebellion against authority, spite, jealousy, envy—all these began in Satan. "The devil sinneth from the beginning." "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The devil has sinned from that time and from before that time.

Before Adam was created the devil sinned. He always sins. We always sin while we are in the bondage of the devil. Mankind cannot save itself from this bondage. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save us from being compelled to sin.

. . . For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

There are many reasons emphasized as to why Christ came to the earth, why He did the things He did. He is the Savior, Lord, Teacher, Healer, Prophet, Priest, and King. The Scripture gives the purpose for His coming as follows: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

The tendencies toward sin which we exhibit originated with the devil. Paul terms our sins "the works of the flesh." Satan takes advantage of the sinful nature that dwells in our flesh, that came from Satan in the beginning and deceives us so that we commit sin.

The sin that exists in the world today began with the sly voice in the Garden of Eden. The guilt, the bondage, the lust, the evil fruit, the rebellion, the sicknesses, the curse on the earth—even death itself, both spiritual and physical—all flow from the presence and working of Satan.

Christ, Head and Body, is revealed for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil. The ministry of Christ was performed for three years some two thousand years ago. Since that time the destruction of the works of the devil has continued through the Church as Christ has worked in and through the members of His Body.

When Jesus returns, the destruction of the works of the devil will be multiplied a thousand times. The result will be the removal of the presence and works of Satan from the heavens and the earth.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

We Christians possess a dual nature. We carry around a fleshly nature that is prone to sin. If we do not pay close attention to our behavior at all times, the fleshly nature gains control, and some form of sin is the result. This part of our personality does commit sin and it never has been born of God. It is "sensual, earthly, devilish."

In addition to the fleshly nature, Christ has been born in every true Christian. This is the Divine Seed, the holy Substance of God Himself. The Seed of God cannot sin because it came from God and is of the Nature of God.

Because we possess a dual nature we must decide which side of us will prevail. Each moment of our life we decide to allow Christ to work in us or we allow the fleshly nature to work in us. Either Christ in us is being strengthened or our fleshly nature is being nourished and strengthened. We daily are practicing righteousness or unrighteousness, holiness or sin, the Holy Spirit or our fleshly nature, Christ or Satan.

There is no middle road. Every thought, every imagination, every word, every deed, every attitude, is proceeding either from our old nature or from our new born-again nature in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Each of the two natures represents universal forces and wisdoms. A human being is the merest speck of dust when compared with the colossal energies of wickedness and godliness that are in opposition around us and in us.

Although we are mere specks of dust we have the opportunity to give ourselves over to Christ. In so doing we receive the authority to be children of God. We pass from being dust of the ground into the program that leads to our becoming kings and priests of the almighty God. All the resources of Heaven stand ready to pour into us Divine wisdom and energies so we can escape the corruption that is in the world because of lust.

The Divine Nature in us cannot sin, having come from God. If we will sow to the Divine Nature instead of surrendering to the lusts of our flesh, it will not be long before Christ in us gains control of our behavior and we slowly but surely move up to the place where we can walk on the earth without engaging in the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. This is the true Christian redemption.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (I John 3:10)

The test of whether we are a true Christian is our pattern of behavior. The Christian churches contain many members who are tightly bound in bitterness and unforgiveness. In the churches there is much competition and striving for status. There is strife, envy, murderous hatred, stealing, lust, backbiting, gossiping, slander, and every other evil work. The Apostle John states that people who practice such wickedness are of the devil.

The mistaken idea that an acceptance of fundamentals of doctrine will save the believer may have arisen from the fact that we are saved by the unmerited favor of God; that the sinner can come to God, and upon receiving the Lamb of God as the atonement for his sins be forgiven every one of his iniquities. This is the basis of the Gospel of Christ and it is not to be changed in any manner.

What happens next? If the convert continues in the appetites of the flesh he will die spiritually, according to Paul. His condition is that of the sower's seed that has germinated and then has died because of lack of depth or for some other reason.

The true disciple of Jesus shall bring forth the fruit of holiness. If an individual never brings forth righteous conduct but falls into hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, envying, covetousness, he is manifesting the nature of the devil even though he may be sitting in church waiting for the resurrection morning. How many are in this situation?

When people witness the works of our fleshly nature, our self-seeking, greed, lying, evil speaking, competitive divisions, the willingness to put down another denomination of Christian worshipers, they are witnessing the personality of Satan. We can state that we believe Jesus to be the Savior and that He rose from the dead, but people behold the manifestation of Satan rather than the glory of Christ.

When love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control begin to be witnessed among the members of the Body of Christ, then the world sees Christ. Deep in the heart of the unsaved person is the ability to recognize his Creator. When the unsaved behold the fruit of the Spirit they will glorify the Father who is in Heaven. When God sees the image of His Son in us He is pleased.

We are discussing the program of sanctification, which is the second death and resurrection of the overall process of redemption. We are describing the new covenant fulfillment of the golden Lampstand of the Holy Place of the Congregation. We have been speaking of the five operations of the Holy Spirit which lead in turn to five end products.

The first operation of the Holy Spirit is the assigning, directing and empowering of gifts and ministries.

The second operation of the Holy Spirit, that which we have just finished examining, is the abolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin to which we have been in bondage. Christ has been sent from God to destroy the works of the devil.

The third operation of the Holy Spirit is the creation of the Nature of Christ in us. Let us now go on to a deeper understanding of this all-important process.

The Holy Spirit creates the Nature of Christ in us. We have discussed previously the bearing of the fruit of the Spirit, under that heading in our book. The fruit of the Spirit is the image of Christ in us. There are many expressions in the New Testament writings pertaining to the creating of the Divine Nature in us.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (II Peter 1:3)

The Divine power of God has given us everything we need for eternal life and godly living—the two go together. There is nothing in our flesh that produces eternal life or godly conduct. We must receive the virtue that comes from the Divine Nature. We increase our eternal life and our godly conduct as we increase in the knowledge and Presence of God. O that we may know Him!

We have been called to eternal life and godly living. Righteous, holy, and obedient personality and behavior, which is the Nature of Christ in us, is the result of the impartation and working of the Glory of almighty God.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)

As we spend the time and effort required for contemplation of the Word of God we begin to receive of His Divine Nature. The Substance of God is imparted to us in the form of the body and blood of Christ. Jesus comes to us in the spirit realm and feeds our soul with His own body and blood. His flesh is meat indeed and His blood is drink indeed. They are our food and drink. Apart from them we have no life in us.

When we partake of the Divine Nature we have the desire to live righteously and we become able to live righteously. We receive both the desire and the ability. It is God who works in us "both to will and to do of his good pleasure." We become partakers of the Divine Nature of God.

The godly Christian character and manner of behaving cannot at any time proceed from the flesh of humans. The fruit of the Spirit comes only from the Divine Nature. We must partake of the Divine Nature if we hope to behave in a godly manner.

The world is corrupt because of lust. Lust is the craving to possess someone or something. We burn in our desire for possession.

Instead of committing our desire to God and waiting for His hand to move we are set on fire of Hell and rush out in violence, lying, stealing, murder, and every other evil work. This is the spirit of the age in which we live and it is hopelessly, totally corrupt.

We can escape this burning, devilish lust only by partaking of the Divine Nature of God that is in Christ our Lord. Christ has desires also, just like any other person. He submits His will to the Father and waits in trust and patience. Now He is waiting patiently until His enemies are brought under His feet.

Jesus cannot be persuaded to act against the will of God no matter how much He desires anything. When we partake of the Divine Nature we enter the same spirit of obedience to the Father in Heaven.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (II Peter 1:5)

Our task is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in a diligent manner, working along in the faith by which we are being saved, until we develop a solid Christian discipleship that is above reproach. We also gain the knowledge of the Person, ways, and purpose of God.

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (II Peter 1:6)

While we are gaining in knowledge we must seek the Spirit's assistance in bringing our spirit, soul, and body under control so that we are not given to excess along any line, never abandoning ourselves to our fervent desires.

We always are to be watchful in prayer. Every moment of the day, whether we are in church, on the job, in school, or at a party, we always are to remain watchful in prayer. The officer who is successful in keeping his men alive is the one who never forgets to post a sentry no matter how inconvenient. If we allow ourselves to let down our guard for a short period of time we may be five years digging ourselves out of the hole we fall in.

The enemy ceaselessly is alert, waiting for the first sign of weakness in our defenses. If we forget that, we may find ourselves in serious trouble.

One of the most desirable attributes of the Christian is the quality of patience. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved." There are moments in the life of the disciple when the things of the Kingdom are gloriously exciting. However, much of the Christian experience is a laborious, boring pilgrimage through a seemingly endless wilderness.

This was true also for Elijah, Elisha, and other outstanding saints of the Lord. It may appear to us that they lived in a blaze of Divine glory. If we stop to think about it, the Scriptures portray only a very small fraction of their lives on earth.

Boredom is a strong foe of the Christian. The day in, day out, patient plowing through difficult situations, sometimes with little discernible fruit, is a severe test of our character and patience. It appears to us as though the people of the world who forget God are in a better situation than we. What is the use of it all? Why not just go through the cycle of eat, work, play, sleep, eat, work, play, sleep, and wait in the hope that someday—perhaps when we die—there will be something better?

It requires the impartation to us of Divine patience if we are to maintain our fervent discipleship over a period of many years. It may be especially difficult if we can find no church near us that is spiritually alive.

When we become part of an assembly made up of fervent disciples it is easier for us to serve the Lord, but in any circumstance we must possess Divine patience and endurance if we are to pursue our discipleship to a successful conclusion.

While we are developing Christian character, knowledge, self-control and patient endurance, we need also to develop piety. Piety is devoutness toward God. Not only are we to be concerned about our own conduct, we must also maintain an attitude of worship toward the Lord.

Our attitude toward God should be one of continual reverence and obedience. We should be growing in the consciousness of the majesty of God, of the gracious fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and of the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Increasingly there should come on our spirit an awareness of the holiness and power of the Lord.

At every point throughout the day and night we must keep on looking toward God, rather than toward our own wisdom and strength, for the correct and edifying manner in which to respond to a given situation. A godly fear and desire to please the Lord should characterize our actions, our words, our motives, and our imaginations.

We must learn to walk in the fear of God, but not in a fear that hinders us from drawing near to Him or a fear that brings oppression and gloom.

The true fear of the Lord is wholesome, clean, leading to a chastened, disciplined approach to the things of Heaven and earth. Fear of the devil brings dark bondage. Fear of man brings a snare. Fear of God brings diligence in putting away the lusts of the flesh, and the ability to break the chains that Satan and men attempt to place on us.

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (II Peter 1:7)

While we are developing devoutness toward God we need to be aware of the needs of our fellow believers. When we show kindness and affection toward Christ's followers we are showing kindness and affection toward Christ Himself.

It is a simple, pleasant matter to show kindness toward some Christians. It is quite another matter with Christians who do not measure up to our standards. However, there is power in the body and blood of Christ that can enable us to show kindness and brotherly affection toward all the people of God.

It is possible for us to be kind and affectionate toward most Christians most of the time, even when we are not living in the Spirit to the extent we should. But there are occasions when Christians take advantage of us or harm us in some manner. Under such circumstances we must receive assistance from the Holy Spirit in order to keep the peace of God.

If we seek the face of Christ, He will give us the wisdom and strength to wait on Him and to go successfully through a trial having to do with our relationships with people.

Under no circumstances are we to yield to the bitterness and hatred toward another believer, or toward an unsaved person, with which Satan injects the unwary Christian. God enables us to maintain a heart free of bitterness and hatred no matter how we are treated, and a kind, affectionate attitude toward God's people.

There is much being said these days about love. Love is held out as the answer to most of the problems of the world. However, the unsaved person or the believer walking in the appetites of the flesh is unable to produce a conquering love. No matter how good the intentions, the attempt to maintain a loving attitude breaks down as soon as evil and perversity reach a certain level.

There is too much evil, and of too venomous a quality, in the world today for us to go about loving everybody and thinking happy thoughts. After having had some experience with unsaved people who teach that love is the solution to our problems, we have come to the conclusion that we would rather live among a pride of lions than among such advocates of "love."

The love of God that is imparted to us from God is different in kind from human love. The love of God is as distinct in kind from our love as gold, silver, and precious stones are distinct in kind from wood, hay, and straw. The love of God is the Substance of God that comes down from Heaven and enters us. The love of God is pure, authoritative, powerful, full of Divine compassion. It cannot be provoked easily, is impartial, does not seek its own advantage but behaves in a kindly, generous spirit.

The love of God grows in us as a fruit of the Spirit of God. It is so different from human love that we ourselves are surprised at the spiritual strength growing in the depth of our nature. Love is the mark of redemption and maturity. All the workings of the Holy Spirit bring us into the love of God. We are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and allow the love of God to grow and flow in us.

There is no greater working of God in us than the creation of His love. Love is the sign of perfection. Love does not come to maturity overnight but is the fruit of the Spirit growing in us throughout the course of our discipleship.

Some day in the not too distant future we Christians will be seeing Christ face to face. We will be gazing at pure, perfect, holy, Divine love. We will be contemplating that glory for billions of years. In time we will begin to be formed into the image of love. This will involve the transformation of every atom of our personality.

Total transformation is necessary if we are to dwell in the center of the fire of God. When we are submerged in the love of God we will see Him face to face and we will know as we are known.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:8)

Faith, Christian character, the knowledge of the holy, self-control, patient endurance, devoutness, brotherly affection, and Christian love are to abound in us. When these qualities abound in us they will insure that we are fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to "receive Christ" and then state that we know Him. It is possible to be unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ, and it is the fruit of the moral image of Christ that is the crop the Farmer is looking for, not just an initial mental knowledge.

It is not enough to make a profession of Christ, even if our knowledge of theology is correct. It is the development of faith, character, patient endurance, love, and other fruit that are the necessary outcomes of receiving Christ. If these virtues are not forthcoming we may have believed in Christ in vain. Is it possible to profess Christ in vain?

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (II Peter 1:9)

If we are continuing in the same pattern of behavior, waiting for the resurrection, hoping that when the Lord appears we will be transformed from our coldness, indifference, bitterness, into heroes of faith, we are ignorant of the process of redemption, of the method and outcome of the new covenant.

If we lack the faith, the Christian character, the knowledge of Christ, self-control, patient endurance, devoutness toward God, brotherly kindness and affection, and Christian love, we are blind. We are stumbling around in the dark. We are as Samson, our strength gone, grinding corn for the enemy.

There is much blindness among the people of God today. There is talk about the rapture, the Antichrist, the mark of the beast, the coming of Christ, but little understanding of what actually will take place. The reason for this blindness, this inability to "see afar off," is sin—simply that.

When we Christians turn away from the sins of our flesh and begin to seek the righteousness of Christ, our eyes are opened. We do not continue to labor in the dark, trusting that a careless, indifferent, pleasure-loving crowd of people will be caught up in clouds to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. We see instead that the Lord Jesus is coming for His true saints and that a day of extraordinary trouble is just over the horizon.

When we can "see" we understand the terror of the Lord, realizing that He will not hand out the rewards of the Kingdom to lukewarm followers. We become conscious of the fact that redemption is taking place in us now in preparation for the day when the Lord Jesus will come to judge the world.

The more we possess of the virtues mentioned in the first chapter of II Peter, the further we can see. We no longer are blind. Our eyes have been opened by the righteous conduct that has been created in us by the impartation of the Divine Nature.

When we are blind we have forgotten we were purged from our old sins. We have returned as a dog to its vomit. Having tasted the salvation of Christ we have chosen to turn back into the filth of this age.

What will be the end of those who, having once received the Lord Jesus and been baptized in water, have not followed on to the development of Christian character?

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:10)

God has called us to be changed into the image of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All the circumstances of our life are working toward this specific good. We must give all diligence to lay hold on our calling and election because it is possible to miss the mark.

If we do not attend to the things of Christ but rather occupy our time and affections in the filth of the present age, we may lose not only our crown (our authority as a king and priest of Almighty God), but our salvation as well.

The call of God to be a member of the royal priesthood is not to be taken lightly. We need to make certain, as Paul exhorted, that we grasp that for which we have been grasped. We must lay hold on that for which God has laid hold on us.

If we turn away and give our attention to other gods we will not attain the resurrection of those who die in faith in the true God. What a loss! Inconceivable! How foolish of us to trade our birthright in Christ for a "bowl of lentil soup."

If, on the other hand, we are diligent in the creating of righteous, holy, and obedient conduct in our lives, we never will fall away from Christ. "If ye do these things ye shall never fall."

For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:11)

Our entrance into the Kingdom of God depends directly on the developing of the traits of character listed by Peter. If we develop godliness in abundance we will have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Christ. If we develop scarcely any of the traits of character we will have scarcely any entrance into the Kingdom of Christ.

If we develop none of these traits but rather bring forth the fruit of the flesh—adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, wrath, division, envying, gossip, slander, drunkenness, revelry, we will not enter the Kingdom of Christ whether or not we have made a profession of Christ. It is as simple and certain as that.

Let us consider the three parts of the grace of God by which God is able to transform our personal conduct:

The Word of God, both general and specific, ministered to our mind.

The body and blood of Christ ministered to our whole personality.

The energy of the resurrection life of the Holy Spirit ministered to our whole personality.

These three dimensions of God's Person are given to us. If we add to them the atoning authority of the blood that keeps on forgiving our sins, we have all that is necessary for our transformation into righteous, holy, and obedient conduct.

The Word of God renews our mind, transforming us. The Word of God, symbolized by the bronze Laver of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, keeps on judging our conduct and delivering us from lawlessness. We need to be cleansed daily by the Word of God. The Word is a lamp that guides us into the righteous ways of the Lord.

The Word of God comes to us both generally and specifically. It comes to us in general form as the Scriptures. By daily meditation in the Scriptures we grow in the understanding of the "law" of the Lord.

The more righteous we become the more we find ourselves contemplating the words of Scripture. Gradually our human mind, which always is the enemy of God, is transformed into the mind of Christ. Our delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law we meditate day and night.

The Word of God also comes to us specifically, either as a suddenly illumined verse of Scripture, or as a quiet voice in our consciousness, or in a sudden awareness, or in a dream, vision, or in some other manner. It is a specific guidance to us personally. It leads us into the righteous ways of the Lord and points out to us the right path for our pilgrimage, or gives comfort or the solution to a vexing problem.

The Christian experience becomes dry if we do not receive an occasional word from the Lord to us personally. Sometimes we are required to endure long dry spells. Then He speaks and the shadows flee away.

The body and blood of Christ, which are typified by the Table of Showbread of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, keep on feeding us in the spirit realm. As we remain in the place where God can nourish us, by means of daily prayer, meditation in the Scripture, assembling with fervent disciples, exercising our ministry and being ministered to, faithful and consistent obedience to the Holy Spirit, confessing our sins, forgiving others their trespasses against us, then the Lord Jesus can keep on feeding our born-again inner nature with His broken body and shed blood.

Christ's body and blood become the Substance on which our new life is built. We are becoming the Wife of the Lamb because we feed continually on the Lamb of God. The Divine Nature in the body and blood of Christ creates in us the desire and the strength to choose righteousness of conduct. The more of Him created in us the more intensely we love righteousness and hate sin and rebellion.

In addition to the body and blood of Christ we must receive the resurrection life that proceeds from the Holy Spirit of God. It is the same authority and power that raised the Lord Jesus Christ from among the dead. Day after day the circumstances of our life bring us down to the death of the cross. We continually bear about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus. Day after day the resurrection life of the Spirit of God lifts us up and we are able to fight onward.

We are perplexed but the life of Christ keeps us from being in despair. We are cast down but never destroyed because the Spirit of life from God raises us up and we keep on pressing forward in Christ.

Dying and living, dying and living, dying and living, day after day, week after week, year after year. We are coming to know the fellowship of His sufferings, and He is well aware of every twinge as we enter the rejection, loneliness, and humility that is His (and our) portion.

Christ knows. In our humiliation, justice is denied us. He knows. He can have fellowship with this. We are coming to know also the unconquerable power of His resurrection. Resurrection life is the energy that brings us through death.

What has died and been raised again by the Spirit of God can never die again. It is alive eternally in the Presence of God Almighty. Therefore, every part of us that has been brought down to the death of the cross and has been raised again by the Spirit of God has been resurrected already. It is ours forever.

In summary, then, we see that in order to have the righteous nature of Christ created in us we must receive of the fullness of the grace of God. The grace of God includes the general and specific Word of God to us, the body and blood of Christ that keep on feeding our new nature, and the resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead.

Added to these three elements of grace is the continually atoning blood that, as we have seen, keeps on cleansing us as we walk in the light. God's true grace is given us without price, but we must give ourselves to the Holy Spirit without distraction if we are to be able to lay hold on the gift of God's love.

It may be noted that in the Ark of the Covenant were placed three items: the two tables of stone, the jar of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded. These three speak of the grace of God that is placed in the heart of each believer in Christ.

The two tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments represent the Word of God that creates God's way of holiness and righteousness in us. The memorial jar of manna represents the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the virtue of God, that comes down to us from Heaven each day of our sojourn in the wilderness of the world. Aaron's rod that budded represents the resurrection life that abides on the priests whom God has chosen and that raises them up from the power of sin and death.

Just as Aaron entered the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement, sprinkling the blood on the Mercy Seat, so it is true that each day of our lives the blood of Jesus must be sprinkled on all that we are and do. There you have the picture of the Christian. The Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit are working in him. The blood of Jesus is making atonement for him continually.

We have discussed the assigning, directing, and empowering of gifts and ministries; the abolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin; and the creating of the Nature of Christ in us.

The fourth operation of our sanctification, as conducted by the Holy Spirit, is the giving of comfort, guidance, and strength to us in every detail of our discipleship.

The Holy Spirit comforts and guides us.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

The Holy Spirit teaches, guides, and strengthens us as we journey through the Christian experience. He abides with us. He instructs us, bringing the words of Christ to us. He guide us into all truth and shows us things to come. The Christian discipleship would be impossible if it were not for the assistance rendered to us continually by the Holy Spirit of God.

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (Acts 9:31)

The Holy Spirit was so active in the early Church, as recorded in Acts, that the book well could be entitled, The Acts of the Holy Spirit. The stage is set in Acts 1:8:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Then the Holy Spirit assumed sovereignty over the Church of Christ.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2)

Every action occurring in the Christian Church should be proceeding from the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of the new covenant. One of the great needs in the Christian churches of today is the restoring of the Holy Spirit to His rightful preeminence in the operation of the Church.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (Acts 2:17)

The testimony of the Christian Church must come from the Holy Spirit.

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: (Acts 2:18)

It is the Holy Spirit who is the Oil of the Lampstand of God. We Christians have not been charged with bearing witness to Christ by our human efforts. The task of testifying of Christ is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. The reason the testimony of the churches is not more effective than it is, is that we are attempting to perform a task that belongs to the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus of Nazareth always is approved of God by miracles and signs (Acts 2:22). It is the miraculous that testifies of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power. If we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit He will enable us to bear witness as we ought.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, . . . . (Acts 4:8)

The reason so much was accomplished in such a short time, in those days, was that the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Presence of the Spirit of God was evident in the incident concerning Ananias and Sapphira. Peter asked, "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?" The couple were not charged with lying to the Apostles but with lying to the Holy Spirit.

The early Church was filled with the Spirit of God. Resistance to the testimony of the early Church was not resistance to men but to the Holy Spirit.

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)

The Spirit directed Philip.

Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (Acts 8:29)

The Spirit directed Peter.

And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. . . . (Acts 11:12)

The Spirit gave vision to the Church.

And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. (Acts 11:28)

The Spirit directed Paul.

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not [did not permit them]. (Acts 16:6,7)

We have cited just a few of the references to the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts. The Holy Spirit not only assigns ministries and gifts but also directs and empowers the use of them. We need to be careful that once the Holy Spirit assigns abilities to us we do not run out in our own strength under some wisdom and direction other than that of the Holy Spirit of God.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

The Holy Spirit must take the lead, not only in giving us wisdom and strength to overcome sin but also in working with the atoning blood of Christ, in imparting the body and blood of Christ to us, in arranging our daily circumstances, in imparting resurrection life to us, in bringing to us specific words and helps from the Father, and in many other ways.

The Holy Spirit, like Eliezer of Damascus, has been charged with bringing a bride home to be married to the Father's Son. Our perfecting is His responsibility. If we are willing to cooperate with Him each day He will perform the work of redemption in us.

The new covenant, the covenant of Christianity, has two main elements: the putting of God's laws into our hearts and minds and the removal from God's memory of our sins and iniquities. The Holy Spirit creates God's laws in our minds and hearts, and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ blots out from God's consciousness our sins and iniquities.

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 10:16,17)

We have the New Testament writings, the testimony of the first-century Apostles, that serve as our infallible guide for faith and conduct.

If we wish to be specific we can state that the new covenant can be written only in the hearts and minds of people. It is the Holy Spirit who does the writing.

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: (II Corinthians 3:2)

Sometimes we carry a copy of the New Testament under our arm or paste the sign of the fish in the window of our car. These are good things to do as long as there is no persecution, but in actual fact it is the believer himself who is the testimony, who is the new covenant, who is the epistle of Paul. The first covenant was written on stone. The new covenant is being written on our heart and mind for all people to read.

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (II Corinthians 3:3)

Notice the prominence of the Holy Spirit in the new covenant. It is the Holy Spirit who is the Life of the new covenant. In the above passage the Spirit of God is placed in parallel with ink. The words of a book or letter are written with ink. The new covenant is written with the Holy Spirit of God.

The Ten Commandments were carved by the Finger of God in Hebrew words on the face of stone. The new covenant commandments and statements are being written in the language of actions, words, motives and imaginations on the heart and mind of the believer in Christ.

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

The Hebrew priests and scribes taught the old covenant, which consisted of the Law and the Prophets. The old covenant was good. There was nothing wrong with the Law. The Law came from the hand of God. The problem arose because the flesh of humans is full of sin and corruption. To confront our flesh with the old covenant is to bring despair, and finally death.

God commands us not to do what our flesh craves to do, whether it be idolatry, fornication, lying, stealing, or murder. The letter of God's law kills us.

The new covenant is written with the Spirit of God on our heart and mind. It is the Spirit of life, and the Spirit imparts life to us. The new covenant is the Spirit of life creating God's holy will in every atom of our being.

How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. (II Corinthians 3:8,9)

Moses' law was the ministry of condemnation and death. Yet it was accompanied by the Glory of God to the point that the people of Israel could not bear to look at the face of Moses. Moses had to wear a veil over his face for the remainder of his days.

If this much Divine glory accompanied a covenant of condemnation and death, what fullness of glory will accompany the new covenant, which operates by the blood of God's own Son and is written with the Holy Spirit of God? Our hearts and minds are overwhelmed at the thought of the Glory of God that already has come, and is yet to come in increased measure as the new covenant is fulfilled.

Notice that the new covenant is termed "the ministration of the Spirit." Truly, the Holy Spirit of God is the One who directs each Christian in the process of being redeemed from chaos of personality all the way to the fullness of the image and glory of Christ.

But we all, with open 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. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The above passage is one of the verses of the Scriptures that sums up a portion of the plan of God. In II Corinthians 3:18 we have a concise statement of the manner in which the new covenant works in us.

"But we all, with open face." In Christ, the veil that conceals the Glory of God has been removed. Through Him we now have access to the Most Holy Place, to the Lid of Reconciliation, to the Presence and Glory of the Father. The blood of Christ has accomplished this for us. The memory of our sins and lawlessness has passed from the mind of God.

"Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord." We behold the Glory of God as in a mirror, but the reflection is blurred, as Paul indicates (I Corinthians 13:12). The glory is there, nevertheless. The reason the image is blurred is that our sinful nature prevents our looking directly into the Face of God Almighty. If we were to gaze on the Face of God we could not bear the sight. We would die.

Little by little we gain glimpses of the Glory of Christ, and each time we do we die a little. The Holy Spirit raises us up in proportion to the extent of our death. We die, we live; we die, we live; we die, we live. This is the true Christian discipleship.

Someday God's saints will see the Face of God and we shall behold Him throughout the endless billions of eons of eternity. It will require a period of time and a multitude of Divine operations to bring us to the level of maturity required to behold the Face of the Father.

"Are changed into the same image." As we behold the Glory of Christ we are changed into that on which we are gazing. The closer our fellowship is with Him the more we become like Him. There is no person who gains a glimpse of Christ, or who comes in contact with His Presence or with someone who is dwelling in His Presence, who is left unchanged. We are changed. We are transformed into His image.

When we sense His compassion we are made compassionate. When we get a view of His strength of character we are strengthened and become more courageous. When we realize His selfless love, coming into close contact with Him as He reveals His attitude toward people, some of the same selfless love becomes our eternal possession. We are "changed into the same image."

"From glory to glory." We are not changed overnight. Let us not become impatient with God or with ourselves. It is "command upon command, command upon command; rule upon rule, rule upon rule; a little here, a little there." It requires time for the Word of God to work its transforming operations in us. We die, and then we live—all by the wisdom and power of God. We proceed from glory to glory.

We should not "unpack" at some point, believing we have arrived at the fullness of the Glory of God. Brother, Sister, pack up and move on with the Lord. You have just arrived at one glory but the next glory already is in view on the horizon.

Keep on moving along with the Holy Spirit. We have a distance yet to travel. Our destination is the fullness of the image of the Lord Jesus Christ and union with Him in all His glory and authority.

Have you arrived yet?

"Even as by the Spirit of the Lord." The task of changing us belongs to the Spirit of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the One who assigns, directs, and empowers our ministries and gifts; who demolishes the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin that we are resisting; who creates the Nature and attitude of Christ in us; and who gives us comfort, wisdom, encouragement, and strength at every point along the way of our pilgrimage through the wilderness of the world.

The Holy Spirit is as Eliezer leading the heavenly Rebecca to the heavenly Isaac.

We say "heavenly" Rebecca while realizing our earthly limitations. The Wife of the Lamb, though she is taken from the peoples of the earth, is a new creation being built on the body and blood of Christ. The Wife is born, "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).

The Holy Spirit keeps us pressing toward Christ. The fifth operation of the Holy Spirit is the inspiring of the believer to keep on pressing toward Christ. This inspiration could be considered as part of the fourth operation—the giving to us of comfort, guidance, and strength in every detail of discipleship.

However, the continual, intense seeking of the Lord, the pressing on in Christ and toward Christ each day, is so important to the overcoming life that we are listing the seeking and pressing as a fifth operation of the Holy Spirit.

Notice the attitude of the Apostle Paul, keeping in mind that this statement was made toward the end of his life:

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win [gain] Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

"That I may win Christ." What an extraordinary expression for a man who had been used of God as had the Apostle Paul! Here he was, with an unparalleled record of ministry behind him, imprisoned in Rome, now writing to encourage the Christians at Philippi.

Paul had received Christ. He had been born again. He had been used in Holy Spirit-empowered gifts and ministries. Paul had experienced everything we associate with the successful Christian discipleship. What, then, is the meaning of his longing, "that I may win [gain] Christ"?

In terms of our common understanding of what it means to be a Christian, Paul is not making sense at this point. In terms of the true nature of discipleship Paul's statement makes perfect sense. The Christian discipleship is a fervent quest for Christ. Christ must be won.

The Holy Spirit so entices us that we have the desire and strength to begin anew each morning of our life seeking after more of Christ. Every other ambition must be set aside for the single burning desire. We must arise and press on until we 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: (Philippians 3:9)

It is easy for a religious person to press part of the way into Christ and then to work out a set of practices and observances that become to him "the Christian way." The Christian way is far more than a religion. It is the pursuit of a Person.

During the pursuit our trust in our own ability to serve Christ is pushed from us by the terrific pressures brought to bear on us. Through the various workings of the Holy Spirit our own righteousness begins to fall away and we find ourselves each day relying more on Christ for our righteousness.

When we start out on our pilgrimage we are holding on to God's hand. After a while we discover that somehow God has worked it around so that He is holding on to our hand. The switch from our grasp to His grasp takes place as the Holy Spirit brings us into trials that are too difficult for us, into waters that are too deep for us.

We finally arrive at the place where we possess a righteousness that springs from the faith God has created in us. We have undergone complicated processes of redemption that have brought us to the new creation God desires.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)

"That I may gain Christ." "That I may know him." Isn't this a remarkable attitude for a man as far along in Christ as the Apostle Paul? His attitude puts us to the test. Are we pressing toward Christ with such fervency each day?

We can come to know Christ in a greater way than we do at this time. We can come to know the power of His resurrection as we are brought down to helplessness in ourselves. The resurrection power flows in us in proportion to our personal weakness.

Our sufferings, as we are crucified through the infinite wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, are well understood by Christ. They are part of His sufferings. Every time we suffer rejection, humiliation, pain, loss of status, loss of what normally would be given to us, Jesus feels that suffering. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. He knows.

There is a fellowship among people who have suffered throughout the same set of circumstances, such as the survivors in a lifeboat. There is a camaraderie among soldiers during the time of war. The rejection and humiliation of Christ continues to this day throughout the earth and we enter the fellowship of that rejection and humiliation. We must press on in order to enter the fellowship of His sufferings.

"Being conformed unto his death." We cannot be conformed to the death of Christ in one evening. A period of time is required. The Holy Spirit leads us into an ever-deepening crucifixion and we begin to gain some understanding of the true nature of the death of Christ.

Not only was there the physical suffering of His trial and crucifixion, and then the unimaginable burden of our sins that cut Him off momentarily from the fellowship of the Father; but throughout His ministry there occurred the continual perversity and harassment by high-ranking Jewish teachers and leaders whom He was antagonizing.

Christ left His place of prayer each morning to meet Satan-inspired Pharisees and scribes who were examining His every word, hoping to trap Him in a misstatement. He was brought from weakness to weakness until crucifixion, the final weakness, had killed his flesh. Christ was crucified through weakness.

We are destined to be conformed to His death. Being conformed to Christ's death is not pleasant, and anyone who believes it to be pleasant has never undergone any part of the process.

There is no other way to win Christ, to come to know Christ. We must follow Him into the fellowship of His sufferings, for the fellowship of His sufferings is the only source of the power of His resurrection. As we die, and God resurrects us back from the dead, in that measure we are alive eternally.

No human is alive eternally except the one whom God has raised from the dead. When God brings us from the dead we will never die again. The resurrection of our mortal body will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The resurrection of our inner man is taking place now as we press on to know the Lord Jesus in an ever greater way. The Holy Spirit is inviting us to press forward until we win Christ.

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of [from] the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

The resurrection of the dead must be sought after. The resurrection of the dead is the "excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord." It is the winning of Christ, the "righteousness that is of God by faith." It is perfection—the full grasping of that for which we have been grasped by Christ.

The first resurrection from the dead is the "prize of the high calling of God in Christ."

The Holy Spirit inspires us to press toward the resurrection that is out from among the dead:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: . . . . (Philippians 3:12)

The resurrection of the dead is perfection. If Paul had not arrived at the resurrection by the time of the writing of the letter to the Philippian Christians, neither have we arrived at the resurrection that is from among the dead. Let us press on.

. . . but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ. (Philippians 3:12)

The Lord Jesus Christ has grasped us for transformation into His image, for union with Himself, for the fullness of authority and power over the nations of the earth as His kings and priests. We have been grasped for inheriting all the works of God. Our task now is to match that exceedingly high calling with a corresponding diligence. We are to "sell all" and follow Christ with an undivided allegiance.

His will and purpose must come first in our life or we will fall short of His calling. The Holy Spirit helps by drawing us and inspiring us each day to set out once more on our quest for the fullness of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must follow on, follow on, follow on without letup day or night throughout every moment of our life. Christ desires our complete attention at all times.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: . . . . (Philippians 3:13)

One of the major problems that troubles us Christians is that we count ourselves to have laid hold on Christ, to have won Him, to know Him in His fullness, to have arrived already at the prize of the resurrection from among the dead. Because we have confessed Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, have been baptized in water, have spoken in tongues, have won others to Christ, and have served in our church, we are under the impression that our task now is to wait until He comes and carries us off to Heaven.

Paul had received Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, had been baptized in water, had spoken in tongues, had won others to Christ, had served many churches, and had participated in every other aspect of Christian discipleship. Yet he states, "I count not myself to have apprehended."

What is it that we are to grasp? We are to lay hold on the righteousness that is of God by faith and not by keeping the Law of Moses; the fullness of the knowledge of the Person, Christ; the power of His resurrection; the fellowship of His sufferings; and transformation into His death, which includes the weakness and humiliation of rejection and seeming futility. We are to lay hold on the resurrection from the dead.

When Paul is speaking about the resurrection that is from among the dead he is not referring to dying and going to Heaven or being caught up to Heaven. Being caught up to Heaven is not resurrection but ascension. There is a difference between resurrection and ascension. The Lord Jesus did not ascend to Heaven until forty days after His resurrection.

Ascension is movement from the earth to Heaven or from any position to a higher position. Christ ascended from the heart of the earth to the surface of the earth, and then on up to the highest throne of glory in the heavenlies.

Resurrection is a different matter. Resurrection has to do with the bringing forth of life from death. Everything and everybody of God's first creation must eventually die and pass away.

In the beginning Christ created the heaven and the earth, and all creatures on the earth and that fly in the firmament of the heaven. They will all pass away. Christ will never pass away. Christ will roll up the heaven and the earth as a worn-out shawl and discard them, but He Himself and His Word will never pass away.

God in Christ is working in the lives of some of the people of the first creation, in you and me for example, and is instilling in them Divine qualities that result in their transformation. The instilling of the Divine qualities results in death to the first nature but a resurrection of the personality—that is, a bringing back to life of what died although in a transformed state. A new creation is coming into being.

This is resurrection. It is not ascension to Heaven, which is another matter, but the bringing back to life of what was dead. Because death is the result of sin, resurrection has to do with overcoming the effects of sin. Ascension, on the other hand, is an expression of Kingdom authority and power.

Resurrection occurs as a death and life struggle takes place in us. Each day we pass from life to death to life. This is the spiritual dimension of the resurrection. The change in our body that will occur at the coming of the Lord is the crowning achievement and expression of the process of resurrection that begins in us at the moment of being born again.

The change in our body is important but it is a simpler transformation than the change in our nature. It is easy for the Lord to fill our mortal frame with Divine life, converting our human energies and substance over to Divine energies and substance. Such conversion will take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

The dimension of the resurrection that is taking place now is far more complex than the resurrection of the bodies of the saints. It is the transformation of what we are in essence in our soulish personality into spiritual resurrection life. It is a relatively long, painful, sometimes boring, impossible-to-understand process that includes many aspects that are not enjoyable and some that are enjoyable. The future of the faithful saint is joy indescribable and full of glory!

The present, spiritual aspect of the resurrection does not take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. It would be far less painful if it did. Rather, we are ground to powder like the holy incense of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, mixed with Divine Substance that also is ground to powder, and then the whole is beaten together and salted with love until the new resurrection nature comes forth.

Paul was seeking to arrive at the new resurrection nature. This is the object toward which he was pressing with all his strength.

The resurrection of our body is related to the resurrection of our inner nature in that the more we have been resurrected in our inner man the more glorious the resurrection (bringing back to life) of our body will be.

Our present afflictions are working for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." The weight of glory is the "weight" of our transformed body (II Corinthians 4:17). By suffering we are being prepared to reign. The greater the cross we are willing to bear (but only as the Lord leads) the greater the crown we will be able to wear. The cross and the crown go together.

Paul did not count himself to have grasped the fullness of resurrection life. Neither have we grasped the fullness of resurrection life. If we are sitting back and waiting to die and go to Heaven we have been tricked off the course. We have quit our pilgrimage. We are not moving on toward the fullness of the knowledge of the Lord.

If we will turn toward the Lord we will discover that the Holy Spirit is presenting us with a challenge today. If we will allow the Spirit to bring us successfully through this new challenge we will move a bit closer to the fullness of the knowledge of Christ our Lord. We will die a bit more, and in place of our old nature will be the new resurrection life that cannot die again but is alive eternally in the Presence of the Lord God.

We have started on the quest for eternal life. " Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). Will we be one of those who find the way to life?

"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:8). Will we be one of those Christians who are living in the appetites of the flesh and therefore losing our eternal life? Or will we be as Paul who pressed forward toward eternal life every day of his pilgrimage? The choice is ours each day.

We will be glad eternally if we choose to take up our cross and plod on patiently toward the fullness of the life that is in Christ our Lord.

. . . but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (Philippians 3:13)

Here is the correct Christian viewpoint. We are to forget yesterday. The Holy Spirit has pressed certain lessons into our personality, and these we shall retain. Yesterday's manna already is breeding worms. Our religious experience of yesterday will not satisfy God today. Today is the new day that the Lord has made. We are to be glad and rejoice in it. We also are to take up our cross and press on, press on, press on toward the fullness of Christ.

We are looking forward with anticipation to the return of our King. The fact that God has left us on the earth one more day is an indication that our lessons and service have not been completed as yet. There are more lessons to be learned, more burdens to be carried, higher heights to be climbed, other people to be influenced and taught. We are to be "reaching forth to those things which are before" as though our life depended on it—and it does!

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. (Philippians 3:14)

There is a mark. There is a prize. There is a high (on high) calling of God in Christ. The on-high calling of God in Christ is not to ascension into Heaven. The on-high calling of God is that we may lay hold of the righteousness that is of God through faith instead of through the Law of Moses or our own religious striving. It is that we may grasp the full knowledge of Christ, the power of the resurrection of Christ, and the fellowship of the weakness of the humbling and rejection of Christ.

God will work in us to the extent we are willing to be pressed out of measure. We must become as a worm. The Lord knows how to teach us obedience and humility at the deepest level.

We have found that the Holy Spirit is in charge of our gifts and ministries, that He works to destroy every trace of Satan in us, that He creates the Nature of Christ in us, that He gives us comfort and guidance in every detail of discipleship, and finally that it is He who inspires us each day to keep on pressing toward Christ. We are drawn again each morning toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

Draw me, we will run after thee: . . . . (Song of Solomon 1:4)

The Holy Spirit, if we will allow Him to do so, creates in us a drawing that causes us to give up everything else so we may pursue Christ with our full attention. It is the Lord's will that we love Him above all else. Each day of our life should find us arising in the morning with a word of thanksgiving to the Father, praising Him for making the coming day the most intense pursuit of Christ we yet have known.

The world is filled with attractions and problems of every kind. The Holy Spirit is ready to create such a longing in our heart for more of Christ that we turn away from every other attraction and focus on Him as the first desire of our heart.

Discipleship is possible only when we possess single-minded devotion to the Master. When our eye is single our whole body is filled with light. Double-mindedness causes us to be unstable in all our ways. The Apostle Paul was consumed with the intense pursuit of Christ, and he counsels us to be " thus minded" (Philippians 3:15).

It is the Holy Spirit who creates in our heart the strong yearning for more of Christ. If the things of the present age are appealing to us to such a degree that we are weakening in our pursuit of Christ, we need to petition the Lord for an increased amount of the Holy Spirit so we may attend to Christ without distraction.

Five End products of the Five Operations

We have stated that the five operations of the Holy Spirit result in at least five end products. The five end products are as follows:

Our ability to impart Christ to people at all levels of spiritual maturity.

The establishment of the testimony of God as the basis for His judgment of His creatures.

The creation of the Wife of the Lamb.

The creation of the Temple of God.

The imposition of Christ's rule on the peoples of the earth through judgment.

The first four end products are being accomplished during the Church Age and will be further developed and refined in the ages to come, commencing with the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The fifth end product will be established in power in association with the thousand-year rule of Christ.

The first end product: imparting Christ. Every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth is at some point between having no part of Christ at all and possessing the fullness of Christ. There are millions of people, sad to say, who never have begun in the process of redemption. They are without Christ, without God, without life, without light, without hope, without anything of eternal value.

There also are people who are pressing toward the fullness of the image of Christ, who are moving toward union with Christ, who are learning to reign from the throne of Christ's authority and power.

Each true Christian can assist others toward a further revelation of Christ. If a person is unsaved we are to guide him toward the Redeemer. If a person is weak in the faith we guide him toward a stronger faith in Christ. If a person is ill we present Christ, the Healer. If a person lacks wisdom we point toward Christ who can provide the solution to the problem.

No matter at what level of faith a person may be, we are to do what we can to help him or her along to a fuller grasp on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are directed to build up each other in the Lord, supplying, as the Holy Spirit enables, the things that are lacking whether they are spiritual or material.

To be of help is the desire of every one of us. But how do we come to the place where we are able to offer assistance to people? We come to this place by the five operations of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit assigns, exercises, and empowers gifts and ministries so we can bring ourselves and others into a fuller grasp on Christ.

The Holy Spirit is in the process of removing every satanic influence from us. Freedom from the bondage of sin on our part helps push back the bondage of sin that hinders every Christian. Every time a member of the Body of Christ makes a choice for righteousness he hastens the day when every other member will be able to throw off the yoke of the oppressor, which in turn will lead to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

When Christ is formed in the saints He ascends to the Throne of God, as portrayed in the twelfth chapter of Revelation. Then Satan is cast from Heaven, bringing salvation and strength there. The accuser of the brothers is cast down.

The formation of Christ in the saints results in liberation for multitudes of people, just as Gideon's victory resulted in liberation for all Israel.

We assist every believer toward a fuller grasp on Christ as the Holy Spirit creates the Nature of Christ in us. When men see our good works they glorify the Father who is in Heaven. As Christ grows in us, and people gain glimpses of Christ, they are changed.

Have you ever gained a glimpse of Christ in another person? Isn't it true that you were changed permanently as a result of experiencing the melting compassion, the heavenly fragrance, the pure, holy strength of character of Christ?

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)

The creation of Christ in us transforms our own personality and transforms also those with whom we come in contact. It is impossible to see Christ and not be transformed. As we grow in Christ we affect many people, who in turn affect many other people. The effect of one person who presses forward in Christ is incalculable. He will shine as a star forever.

Every time someone sins there is a breach in the harmony and peace of those around him. Every time a Christian presses forward into the Nature of Christ there is an effect of righteousness that rolls out into all the creation and bears fruit for eternity. By giving ourselves wholly to the pursuit of Christ we save ourselves and those who hear us.

The Holy Spirit comforts and guides us, leading us into the assisting of every person toward a fuller grasp on Christ. If we learn to follow the burden of the Spirit we will find ourselves speaking a word in season to him who is weary. We will possess that sense of the Lord's timing, and resurrection life so that our guiding of other people will bear fruit. The Holy Spirit's task is to present every believer perfect in Christ. As we wait on the Spirit He leads and assists us so we can lead and assist others.

The Holy Spirit inspires us to press forward in Christ, and in pressing forward we become of the greatest possible help to the rest of mankind, particularly to the members of the Body of Christ.

Have you ever come into contact with someone who is pressing on toward Christ in total dedication? Someone who is ahead of you in the Lord? Did you notice the effect it had on you, how new vistas of spirituality were opened up? How you were moved to confess to Christ your own shortcomings? How your borders were enlarged?

Christ pursued the will of God as no other person before or since has done. As a result, Christ's ministry of three years changed the course of world history. The more we press forward in Christ ourselves the more we will be able to guide other people into a fuller possession of Christ.

We have seen, then, that one of the end products of the five operations of the Holy Spirit is the enabling of us to guide people with whom we come in contact toward the Lamb of God. If the person is unsaved we are pointing the way toward the Savior. If the person already is a Christian we are prompting him or her toward a fuller grasp on Christ.

The second end product: the testimony of God.

We impart Christ to people by what we say and do in our gifts and ministries. We receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon us, and that power enables us to bear witness of the resurrection of Christ.

Also, we impart Christ to people by what we are, do, and say as a person. If Christ is being formed in us our life is becoming a holy song of praise and thanksgiving to the Father through Christ. When people see our good works they glorify our Father in Heaven.

We move people toward Christ by the testimony we give. Our testimony is the result of the Holy Spirit giving us gifts and ministries and empowering them, and the result also of the Holy Spirit demolishing sin in us and creating the Nature of Christ in us.

All effective witness of Christ comes through the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who bears witness. We are as the golden Lampstand in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Holy Spirit is the Oil that burns giving Divine light to the world.

The Holy Spirit reveals Christ through the members of the Body of Christ, who are the six side-branches of the Lampstand. Of our own selves we can do nothing. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals Christ.

We are to wait on the Spirit and cooperate with Him as He bears witness. The Lord Jesus Himself works along with us confirming the Word of God with signs following.

The Holy Spirit causes the Church, the Body of Christ, to be a lighthouse in this dark age, pointing the lost toward the safety of the heavenly shore. The Holy Spirit also causes the Church to be as a mother who travails in birth until the disciples are brought to the place where they can sit on the throne of authority and power and rule with the Lord Jesus throughout the ages to come. All these glorious outcomes result from the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ.

The witness of the Holy Spirit through the members of the Body of Christ is a guide for all people so they may obtain a fuller grasp on the redemption that is in Christ.

Unfortunately there are persons who reject Christ as soon as they see Him. The testimony of the Holy Spirit to such persons acts as a basis for judgment rather than as the means of redemption. The testimony of God serving as a basis for His judgment of His creatures is the second of the five end products of the Holy Spirit.

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:46-48)

Jesus is the light of the world and whoever believes in Him does not abide in darkness. He who receives Christ passes from darkness to light, from death to life, from condemnation to justification. Christ came not to judge the world but to save the world.

The words of Christ that bring light, life, and forgiveness of sins to those who believe will serve also as the basis for the judgment of each person who refuses Christ. If we accept Christ His testimony saves us. If we reject Christ His testimony condemns us.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24)

The witness of the Lord Jesus brings life to those who accept and death to those who reject. Jesus stated that if people have not seen the works of His "that none other man did," then they do not have sin (the sin of rejecting Him). People are not judged on the basis of a testimony that they have neither seen nor heard.

The stronger and more complete the testimony of the Body of Christ becomes, the more condemnation passes on those who reject it. The testimony of Christ is not complete apart from the working of signs and wonders. The Gospel of the Kingdom is to be presented in demonstration of the Spirit and power.

When onlookers do not see the mighty works but hear the words only, they are not judged on the same basis as those who have seen the works of Christ. When people have seen the signs and wonders by which God bears witness of the Gospel of Christ, they will accept the testimony and enter God's plan of redemption in Christ, or they will hate both Christ and His Father.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:4)

The same testimony produces life in the believers and death in the unbelievers.

Paul sets forth the concept:

For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (II Corinthians 2:15,16)

The answer to the above question is, no human being is sufficient (qualified); because the assignment of people to their eternal destiny is involved here. The testimony of Christ is fashioned in us by the Holy Spirit. We save no one and we condemn no one.

As the holy God Almighty works in us His will we become the fragrance of Christ. Those who receive the testimony pass from death to life, and then to more abundant life. Those who reject the testimony pass into ever-deepening and binding death.

The testimony of Christ that was in Paul was presented before public officials.

. . . Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: . . . . (Acts 27:24)

Why did the Lord go to so much trouble to bring Paul before Caesar? Was it so that Caesar would be saved? It was so this ruler of the world and his ungodly court would come to know there is a God in Heaven and He has sent His beloved Son to be the King of the kings of the earth and Lord of the lords of the earth.

Beholding the tremendous works of Christ brings on those who witness them the opportunity to repent, or else condemnation to death.

Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. (Matthew 11:20-22)

Why will it be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida? Because Tyre and Sidon did not have the opportunity to see the powerful works of Christ.

The testimony of the Church condemns as well as saves.

And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. (Matthew 10:18)

And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. (Luke 9:5)

Before Jesus returns, the Church will bear witness with signs and wonders of the coming of the Kingdom of God.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)

"For a witness."

The effect of the last witness, which will be given with unprecedented power, will be to bring multitudes to Christ. It also will serve to harden many, paving the way for the fullness of sin and rebellion in the earth. The testimony of the Church of Christ in the end-time is pictured in the eleventh chapter of Revelation.

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)

The two witnesses symbolize the double portion of the Holy Spirit that is to be poured on the Church of Christ as the forerunner of the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

Just as the spirit and power of Elijah prepared the way for the first appearing of Christ, so it is that the spirit and power of Elisha (the double portion of Elijah) will be on the Church just before Christ returns. The power of the testimony will divide between those who will repent and those who will not, making straight the way of the Lord.

The two witnesses are the two loaves of the feast of Pentecost. They proclaim to us: "Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." They are as Joshua and Caleb who have been in the land of promise and who bring back the grapes for the Church to see while God's people are yet in the wilderness.

The testimony of the two witnesses is at hand now and we Christians should look up to our Lord Jesus and ask for rain in the time of the harvest rain. The time for unprecedented revival is now.

The two witnesses will prophesy while clothed in sackcloth. Sackcloth is a symbolic expression meaning that the message of the two witnesses will be, "Repent! Repent! Turn away from the wickedness of the world. Believe the good news. The Kingdom of God is at hand!" The witnesses themselves will not be adorned with the finery and riches of the traditional churches but with humility and meekness.

It is time now for the saints to go to every nation, healing the sick, casting out devils, and proclaiming the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. The Day of the Lord is at hand. Whoever will choose to call on the Lord Jesus in the present hour will be delivered. Whoever rejects His salvation and lordship will be judged.

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks [lampstands] standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4)

The two olive trees symbolize the double portion of the Holy Spirit. The two lampstands portray the Head and Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit will be poured on the Christian Church so that the Church may show the extraordinary works of Christ.

Apart from the works of power there is no complete testimony of the Lord. It always must be true that the Lord Jesus works with us, confirming the Word with signs following. When such is not the case we have an incomplete testimony.

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. (Revelation 11:5)

It is difficult for us to imagine a church of such power in testimony—a testimony that brings not only life to the believers but also destruction on those who reject the testimony.

It is wrong, of course, for Christians to fight back when we are persecuted for the Gospel's sake. Peter attempted to help the Lord by cutting off Malchus' ear. Whenever we fight back we succeed only in preventing someone from "hearing" the testimony. Jesus has to come and repair the damage (Luke 22:51).

The fighting back that the two witnesses do is of a different order altogether. It is illustrated in the incident of Peter, Ananias and Sapphira. The "fire" that proceeds from the mouth of God's witnesses is the Word of God. The Word of God in judgment "devours" the enemies of the Church when the Church is flowing in the fullness of the Spirit of God.

Those who lay their hand on the testifying Church just prior to the return of Christ will be slain by the judgment that results from the rejection of God's testimony. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19).

These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Revelation 11:6)

Catastrophes of nature will fall on those who reject the testimony of the anointed Church. This reminds us of the ministries of Moses and of Elijah and of the plagues that accompanied their testimony. We are not accustomed to seeing this type of authority and power in the Christian Church. Such authority and power will be assigned before Jesus returns, and multitudes will believe in the Lord Jesus as a result (Acts 5:1-14).

Christ spoke of the "greater works" that are to follow those who believe in Him. The works of Revelation, Chapter 11 are demonstrations of tremendous authority. These works have been reserved for the days just prior to the appearing of Christ.

We are entering the final birth pangs of the age, and the fullness of sin and the fullness of righteousness are about to be brought into being. Just before the uprising of the most horrible sinning yet practiced on the earth, the Lord Jesus will go forth with the members of His Body and bear witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mark 16:20).

The Gospel of the Kingdom always reveals both the love and the wrath of God. The Gospel is the love of God working through the Church so that every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth may see and hear the glorious good news of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel also is the wrath of God, providing a basis for the judgment of the nations.

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

The testimony of the two witnesses, that is, of Christ-filled saints, will be finished when the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached in all the world for a witness to all nations—and not until then. As soon as the testimony has been completed the fullness of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit will be lifted, just as the apostolic anointing was lifted from the Church after the death of the first-century apostles and prophets.

Then the "beast" will fight against the saints and kill them. This is a representation of the overcoming of the Christian testimony. God will allow the testimony to be overcome so that the world can proceed to the full maturing of evil and filth. Wickedness cannot come to maturity as long as there remains one Christian bearing on himself the anointing that characterizes the end-time testimony.

It is not the Church that is destroyed but the "two witnesses." This is to say, the testimony, as represented by the two witnesses, will be overcome and stopped. The Church itself can never be destroyed. The gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church. The individual member of the Body of Christ always comes under the protection of Psalms 91. Neither the world nor Satan and his forces nor tribulation nor death nor things present nor things to come can ever overcome a member of the Body of Christ. Christ cannot be overcome and His saints cannot be overcome. There is no authority or power that can overthrow the resurrection of Christ.

We do not claim that Christians will not be martyred in the days to come. We believe that many will be. Christians are being martyred now in some countries of the world. Martyring a Christian and overcoming a Christian are two different accomplishments.

Paul was martyred but Paul was never overcome. His epistles have affected the history of the world and stand today as the judge of the churches and the world.

The Holy Spirit creates the testimony that the Church of Christ is to give. The days just before the appearing of Christ from Heaven will see enormous authority and power given to the saints so that the Christian testimony may attain unprecedented power and effectiveness. The result will be the saving of multitudes upon multitudes, many of whom will seal their faith with their blood.

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)

Also, the nations of the earth will become hardened beyond our ability to comprehend. Human beings will give themselves over to unrestrained orgies of lust and foulness, violence and sorcery, that always have been the desire of Satan for mankind. Men will be confirmed, because of the testimony of the Church, in their murderous hatred of God and His Christ. Reader, where do you appear on this canvas?

As the holy fragrance of Christ is created in the members of the Church the testimony of God shines. To some it is the savor of life. To others it is the savor of death. No one among us is qualified to interpret or control the matters of eternal life and eternal judgment. Only the Lord Jesus is qualified to open that book.

We must give ourselves over to the Holy Spirit so He can bear witness of Christ. Then God, the Judge of all, will be able to make decisions in terms of the reactions of people to the Glory of God in the face of Christ in the Church.

We are to bear witness to all the peoples of the earth, but not by our own wisdom and strength. We are being hammered into shape as the golden Lampstand of God, but it is the Holy Spirit who is the Oil that burns, shedding the Light of Christ for everyone to see.

We have been discussing the second of the five end products of the Holy Spirit—that of the establishment of the testimony of God as the basis for His judgment of His creatures. The Church will judge not only mankind but angels as well. Let us close this discussion with a brief passage from Ezekiel, who was one of God's witnesses to God's own people.

And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them. (Ezekiel 33:31-33)

The thing that was to come to pass was described as follows:

Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed. (Ezekiel 33:29)

The testimony that is being created in us by the Holy Spirit causes us to be a lighthouse for the lost, inviting all men to enter the "ark of safety" and be saved from the wrath to come. It causes us also to challenge every person, no matter at what level of spirituality, to press forward to the fullness of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The same testimony serves as a witness against those who knowingly refuse the love of God in Christ and who choose to be in bondage to wickedness. These two end products of the working of the Holy Spirit, the edifying of those who choose Jesus and the witness against those who reject Jesus, are being accomplished now throughout the world and will continue until the Lord Jesus returns.

Three additional end products of the operations. Three additional end products of the operations of the Holy Spirit are in the formation stage now and will continue to be developed until the Lord returns. Isaiah and other prophets indicate that the three will be active throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The three end products to which we refer are as follows: (1) the creation of the Bride of the Lamb; (2) the creation of the Temple of God; and (3) the imposition of Christ's rule on the peoples of the earth through judgment.

The Wife of the Lamb, the Temple of God, and the rulership of the peoples of the earth by the sanctified members of the Body of the Servant of the Lord, are three aspects of the one Body of Christ, the Christian Church. The five operations of the Holy Spirit result in the maturing of the Body of Christ.

The mature Body of Christ will be embraced and established of God as the Wife of the Lamb, as the eternal Temple of God, and as the Servant of the Lord who will bring justice and judgment to the nations of the earth. None of these three aspects can be utilized as long as the Body of Christ is immature.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-13)

The Church will travail in pain during the forming of Christ, as depicted in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, until the maturity of the Body of Christ has been attained. The Body of Christ must grow to the fullness of maturity in order to serve as the Wife of the Lamb, as the Temple of God, and as the Servant of the Lord who will judge and deliver the nations of the earth and impose the laws of the Kingdom of God.

As to the creation of the Wife of the Lamb:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Do you believe that Christ is able to bring into being such a Church? Behold a picture of the completed Church, the Wife of the Lamb:

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the Glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (Revelation 21:9-11)

Would you like to become part of that city? You can if you will allow the Holy Spirit to work His work of sanctification in you through the people and means that He chooses.

As to the creation of the Temple of God:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)

Would you like to see a picture of yourself as part of the Temple of God?

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

As soon as you have been created as part of the living Temple of God you never will leave that position. Wherever you go throughout the universe of God you will be identified as the Temple of God. The name of God will be written on you, the name of the city of God will be stamped on you, and the new name of Christ will be inscribed on you.

As to the Servant of the Lord, the Body of Christ, who will judge and deliver the nations of the earth and impose the laws of the Kingdom of God:

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (I Corinthians 6:2)

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)

And 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 the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

It has pleased God that the Christians participate with Christ in the destruction of Satan, and in judging, delivering, and ruling the nations of the earth. The thousand-year Kingdom Age will commence as soon as the power of Satan has been broken completely, not only in the heavenlies (Revelation, Chapter 12) but also on the earth.

We read in Revelation, Chapter 20 that one angel will hurl Satan into the abyss. Although the Scripture does not say so, we conclude that all other unclean spirits are cast down with Satan into the abyss leaving the peoples of the earth free to learn and practice the righteous ways of the Lord.

Here is an interesting fact: Romans 16:20 states that God will crush Satan under the feet of the Church. Yet Revelation, in Chapters 12 and 20, shows that God will employ angels to hurl Satan into the earth and then down into the abyss.

The cooperation between the army of angels and the army of Christians will become stronger as we approach the end of the age. Angels do not possess the authority of judgment but they do have spiritual power for battle. All judgment has been assigned to Christ by the Father; and, as Christ directs, is passed to the Church. Therefore the decisions of judgment must be determined in the Church, for it is the Church that holds the keys of the Kingdom of God.

As soon as the members of the Body of Christ have been brought to the fullness of obedience in Christ they will be given the authority of judgment that will enable the holy angels to prevail in the struggle against Satan. God stands ready to revenge all disobedience as soon as our obedience has been fulfilled.

There is abundant power in the heavenly forces of righteousness, the elect, obedient angels, to deliver every Christian from every problem, and to deliver the rest of the world also. Yet we of the Church continue each day to mount our wearying, frustrating resistance against the forces of the enemy.

Why are we not delivered by the army of elect angels? It is because the Body of Christ has not come to maturity as yet. Each day we overcome, by prayer and obedience, some obstacle placed in our path. As soon as we fulfill the will of God concerning the obstacle the army of Heaven rushes to our aid and we are delivered from bondage.

There are instances in the Book of Acts in which the Apostles were helped by angels. Jesus often was assisted by angels. Even today there are occasions when Christians are enabled to see the angels that are protecting them. The protection of the saints by holy angels is no new concept to the servants of the Lord.

If the holy angels of God guard us, as revealed in Psalms 34 and 91, and these same angels have the power to cast Satan into the earth and then into the abyss, why is it that their help to us at this time seems to be so sparing? It is because Christ has not as yet come to maturity in the Church.

As soon as Christ has been formed in the Church to the degree God envisions, God will issue the command and the elect angels will move against Satan and the forces of wickedness. Satan will be defeated in every area and the end product will be the complete deliverance of the creation.

We understand, then, that there is a close relationship between the army of holy angels and the army that is the mature Body of Christ.

God has ordained that the believers will be coheirs with Christ. Although Christ created the heavens and the earth and redeemed us with His blood, being superior to us in every way, God has stipulated that we will inherit all things along with Christ. We cannot account for such stupendous glory, for such an extraordinary inheritance. We set forth only what is recorded in Scripture.

We are to reign with Christ and to be glorified together with Him. When He appears we shall appear with Him in glory. If this is to be the case with us, we must suffer with Him now.

Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered. We are to learn obedience by the things we suffer. We must learn to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ: hardness of mind, hardness of spirit, hardness of body, hardness of the emotions, hardness and toughness in every aspect of our personality. The hardness that we are describing is not an insensitivity toward the Lord or toward people; rather it is a steel-like hardness and toughness that enables us to perform the Lord's will on every occasion.

We need to be hard and tough in order to stand up under the workings of the Spirit as He teaches us obedience to Christ. The Lord's school of obedience is difficult for the weak and faint-hearted. Jesus will impart strength and courage to us if we ask Him.

The sides of the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering were reinforced with a network of bronze. The bronze straps are a portrayal of the hardness and toughness that must be true of the Christian if he or she is to be able to hold up his or her body as a whole burnt offering before the Lord (Romans 12:1,2).

Bronze portrays that which is strong enough to withstand the fires of judgment. As God brings us through the fire the "bronze" that He is creating in our personality is toughened so our offering will not collapse and fall apart under difficult conditions.

If we feel we are too weak to follow Jesus we need to ask God to toughen us so we can perform the Lord's will. Being an overcoming saint is possible for every Christian, but we must seek the help of the Lord continually if we are to stand in the hour of temptation and testing.

The saints are destined to judge people and angels. We must be brought to the place where we can judge our own actions before we will be ready to judge outside ourselves. It is the Lord's will that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in judging our own actions, words, motives, and imaginations. Only then will it be possible for the Holy Spirit to utilize us in judging people and angelic beings.

Christ is the anointed Servant of the Lord. We are the Body of the anointed Servant of the Lord. It requires both the Head and the Body to make up the fullness of the Servant of the Lord. The responsibility of the Servant of the Lord is to bring justice to the nations (Isaiah, Chapter 42).

It is God's intention that every person on the earth conduct himself according to the laws of the Kingdom of God, as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven). The Servant of the Lord will bring about obedience to the laws of the Kingdom by first destroying every particle of Satan's work, and then by ruling over and teaching the nations of the earth. It is the mission of the Church of Christ to judge, deliver, rule, teach, and love every person on earth, as God directs.

We Christians are ambassadors of Christ. We are God's kings and priests. We are His representatives, His Temple, His Servant, that we may bring righteousness and glory to every corner of the earth. We are the firstfruits of God's creatures, the Lord Jesus Christ being the First of the firstfruits.

In order to be Christ's ambassador, His representative, His king and priest, we each must learn to be an overcoming saint. The promises of glory are for the overcomer, as set forth in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three. Being an overcomer is available to every believer in Christ.

Unfortunately, not all who bear Christ's name are victorious saints. Many Christians today are being overcome by lust, bitterness, unforgiveness, covetousness or by some other work of Satan. They have access to all the grace of God, to all the resources of Heaven. Yet for one reason or another they have been lured away from the intense seeking of the Lord Jesus.

They are putting Christ in second or third place in their life. They are selling their glorious birthright for Esau's bowl of lentil soup. They are not victorious saints, they are being overcome. The promises of glory and authority are assigned only to the overcomer.

Are you an overcomer? You can be an overcomer if you will turn over your life to Jesus, being obedient to the Holy Spirit. Do it now. You will be glad for eternity that you did.

Or is there some thing, some person, some job, some situation, some ambition, that clouds your view of Christ? If there is, ask the Lord for help. He will enable you to pass into the fullness of victorious living this moment. Christ will not accept second place in your affections and thoughts. What do you possess or wish to possess that is more desirable than Christ?

The nations of the earth are strong, tough, determined, perversely resolved to live without God. Christ and we shall shepherd them with the iron discipline of God's righteousness, breaking them into pieces like pottery. The willful stubbornness of the nations will be smashed into fragments.

It is unfortunate that people must be treated so roughly. We can observe the effects of the gentle (in most cases) Christian teaching of the past two thousand years. Sin today is more widespread than ever before and more venomous in quality. The abominations committed in the earth today are too wicked to contemplate and they are growing worse each day.

The overcoming saints are heading toward the throne of Christ. We will inherit all things and rule with Christ forever. No man decided that the throne of Christ would be the goal of Christian discipleship. This goal was established by God Almighty, who is able to perform what proceeds from His mouth.

If man had decided on such an ambition it would be sacrilegious. Because God has stated that we will ascend to the highest throne of all, we know that it will come to pass in detail. Our responsibility is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit each day of our pilgrimage and to wait until the Lord makes our enemies our footstool. God has said it, we believe it, and that is all that is necessary.

We do not establish our goals or standards by what we see in ourselves or in others, or by what we believe to be possible or appropriate. We set our standards only by what God has stated.

Jesus said, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Revelation 3:21).

We know that one day we will be sitting on the throne of Christ because He has said so. Let us not stagger at the promise of God in unbelief. Rather, let us be strong in faith, nothing doubting, being persuaded that what God has promised He is able also to perform—not just barely perform but abundantly perform.

Review: The Holy Spirit and the Lampstand

At this point in our book we are describing the process of sanctification, which is the second area of redemption. Sanctification is death to the fleshly impulses of our flesh and mind, death to everything in us that is not of the Lord.

Sanctification is resurrection to the eternal life of righteous and holy personality and conduct that flow from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is especially active in sanctifying the members of the Body of Christ. The Spirit is active also throughout the other two areas of redemption. All the virtue of God has been assigned to us in order to accomplish our restoration to God's Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle portrays in symbolic form the second area of redemption (sanctification) of which we are speaking. We discussed first the Table of Showbread. The Table of Showbread represents the body and blood of Christ, the Divine Substance that is given us to eat and drink.

Next we came to the golden Lampstand. The Lampstand symbolizes the Holy Spirit, who is the principal Agent of the Holy Place. The Holy Place of the Tabernacle speaks of the Church, the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the One who is to dominate everything that the Church becomes and does.

The Holy Spirit, having accomplished His work in us, leads us to the fullness of the Glory of Christ. Christ, in turn, leads us to the Father. Our entrance into the fullness of Christ in God is represented by the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

We have stated that there are at least five major operations of the Holy Spirit: the assigning, directing, and empowering of gifts and ministries; the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sin that binds us; the creating of the Nature of Christ in us; the giving of comfort, guidance, and strength in every detail of discipleship; and the inspiring of us to keep on pressing toward Christ.

We have stated also that there are at least five end products of the five operations of the Holy Spirit: our ability to impart Christ to people at all levels of spiritual maturity; the establishment of the testimony of God as the basis for His judgment of His creatures; the creation of the Wife of the Lamb; the creation of the Temple of God; and the imposition of Christ's rule on the peoples of the earth through judgment.

The accomplishment of the last three end products, in particular, depends on our coming to maturity in Christ. Our coming to maturity in Christ is the result of the operations of sanctification.

When Christ has been formed in the members of the Body of Christ, His rule can then be imposed on the peoples of the earth by the authority of judgment and the power of deliverance administered by the anointed Servant of the Lord, who is Christ—Head and Body (Isaiah, Chapter 42; Ephesians 4:11-16).

The first area of redemption is that of salvation. The second area of redemption is that of sanctification—that which we are discussing currently. The third area of redemption is that of conquest.

Conquest has to do with the development in us of absolute obedience to the will of God, just as Christ, while on the earth, learned obedience at the deepest levels of His Person.

Even after the operations of sanctification have brought us a long distance along the path toward our ability to impart Christ, toward giving a clear testimony, toward union with God, toward fitness as the house of God, and toward ability to rule under God, there still are some difficult lessons to be learned concerning obedience to the Father.

The realm of conquest, which is that of obedience to the Father, contributes toward bringing to perfection the five end products of sanctification. Absolute obedience will be discussed under the heading: "Conquest: The Third Area of Redemption." Absolute obedience to the Father is the third death and resurrection of redemption.

The Altar of Incense: Consecration, Worship, Supplication

There were three furnishings in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation: the Table of Showbread, the golden Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense. We have mentioned that the Table of Showbread typifies the body and blood of Christ, and that the Lampstand typifies the Holy Spirit who has been charged with sanctifying the Body of Christ and with the testimony of God to the earth.

Now we come to the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense represents the communication of the Body of Christ to the Father, both in supplication and in adoration.

The Lampstand portrays communication from God through Christ to the Church, and through the Church to the peoples of the earth. The Holy Spirit ministers this communication.

The Altar of Incense portrays communication from the Church through Christ to God. The Church brings its own needs to God through Christ, and also the needs of the peoples of the earth. The Church offers worship and thanksgiving to God and is accepted as a firstfruits of the peoples of the earth. The Holy Spirit ministers the communication of the Church toward God, as well as the communication of God toward the Church and through the Church to the creation.

Notice that the Holy Spirit is preeminent in the Church. The Holy Spirit ministers the body and blood of Christ, the five operations of sanctification, and also our prayers and adoration toward God. The Spirit is the Life of the Church and the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church.

We are including the consecration, worship, and prayers of the saints, as typified by the Altar of Incense, as part of the second death and resurrection of the work of redemption. However, the consecration, worship, and prayers of the saints, as is true of the other elements of the Holy Place, lead directly into the realm of conquest—typified by the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

The Altar of Incense was not for the offering of animals. All animal sacrifices were conducted out in the Courtyard on the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering. The Altar of Incense was a smaller altar. It was for the burning of the holy incense so that the fragrance of the perfume continually would fill the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, and the Most Holy Place during the annual Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16). The fragrance of the holy perfume typifies the Lord Jesus Christ whose Presence always must accompany every aspect of the life and ministry of His Church.

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. (Exodus 30:1-3)

Notice that the Altar of Incense was not solid gold but acacia wood overlaid with pure gold. The Lampstand, however, was hammered into shape from a mass of gold. There was no wood in the Lampstand. This is because the Lampstand typifies Christ—the manifestation of the Holy Spirit through Christ. This is the testimony of God Almighty.

There can be nothing of the flesh in the Divine testimony. There is, however, a human element in the case of the Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense. These were constructed from acacia wood covered with gold, portraying the blending of the human and the Divine.

The Table of Showbread represents the ministry of the Word of God, and the Word of God is ministered by us humans. Although we are covered by the gold of the Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Word itself is of God, yet we who minister the Word are human and subject to human frailties. Also, we minister the body and blood of Christ which originally was human but now is Divine.

The same thing is true of the Altar of Incense. The Altar represents the prayers and supplications of the saints, and there is the blend of the human and the Divine. Even though the believer who is offering intercession, thanksgiving, adoration, and supplication is covered with the gold of Christ, yet the human is present also.

This was true also of the Lord Jesus.

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (Hebrews 5:7)

It is not so with the Divine testimony—the Lampstand. There is nothing of the human in the testimony of God. The testimony the Church gives proceeds from the Holy Spirit who is God. The Lampstand is Christ—Head and Body. The word Christ means anointed. The term Christ refers to the One who is anointed with the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit of God dwelled in His fullness in Jesus of Nazareth. The Holy Spirit of God dwells also in the members of the Body of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit, the Anointing, who shines through the Church causing the Church to be God's Lampstand—the light of the world.

The light proceeding from the Holy Spirit reveals the Person, will, purpose, and ways of the Father. There is no human frailty in this light just as there is no humanity pictured in the Laver (solid bronze) or in the Mercy Seat (solid gold).

The Laver speaks of the Word of God in judgment, in the dividing between sin and righteousness, between darkness and light, between unclean and clean, between unholy and holy. The Laver was solid bronze, revealing that the Word of God in judgment is not to be mixed with fleshly adaptations. God's ways are perfect and it is not His will that the sympathies of flesh and blood temper the decisions of God as to what is unclean and what is clean, what is unholy and what is holy.

To be sure, the Lord's elders are called on in many instances to apply the judgments found in the New Testament. They are not always able to judge from the letter of the Scripture but must make a decision as to how to apply the exhortations of the Apostles. The new covenant is a covenant of the Spirit, not of the letter. The elders are to go to prayer until they feel they have the mind of the Lord. This is a different process from diluting the strength of the written Word with human sympathy or the social pressure of contemporary thinking.

The Mercy Seat (Lid of Propitiation; appeasement) was pure gold signifying that the Glory of God Himself was present, showing mercy to those who love Him and keep His commandments and exercising wrath on those who hate Him and resist His righteous ways. There is nothing of humanity in the Glory of God. No human can behold God's Glory and live.

We see, then, that some of the vessels of the Tabernacle were solid metal while some were wooden and overlaid with metal. Those that were wooden were overlaid to the extent that the original acacia wood could no longer be seen. This design portrays the fact that while the Church of Christ is created from human beings, the finished work is of the form, Substance and Nature of Christ Himself.

The Church was not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The Church, in its finished state, will be of the same Substance as Christ, having been created on His body and blood.

And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. (Exodus 30:6)

The Altar of Incense was in the Holy Place along with the Lampstand and the Table of Showbread. It was directly in front of the Ark of the Covenant, being separated from the Ark by the veil. The Ark of the Covenant was located in the Most Holy Place.

And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. (Exodus 30:7,8)

Aaron, the high priest of Israel, portrays the priestly ministry of Christ and His Church.

The Table of Showbread reveals Christ as God's Sacrifice for sin. The Lampstand reveals Christ as God's Prophet. The Altar of Incense reveals Christ as God's Priest. The Ark of the Covenant and the covering Mercy Seat and Cherubim of Glory reveal Christ as God's King.

The Altar of Incense was serviced twice each day so that the holy perfume filled the Holy Place at all times. Supplication and worship in the Spirit of God must always fill the Church of Christ, yielding to God the ever-present fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church in the present hour has a need to grow in strength in its supplication, praise, and prayer.

The holy incense was poured on the Altar of Incense from a cup held by the priest. It is believed that the cup was kept on the ledge of the Table of Showbread.

The cup represents death. "Let this cup pass from me," the Lord petitioned. The cup is the cup of death to self.

For two thousand years the Christian churches have attempted to serve Christ with their life. In the last days, a firstfruits of the Church will bow before the Lord in death to self. Like Samson, the Church will slay more of the enemy by its death than it ever has or can by its life.

The Altar of Incense bridged the gap between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. In order to pass from the Holy Place of God to the Holy of Holies we must die the death of total consecration, as portrayed by the Altar of Burnt Offering. The death of total consecration to the Lord brings us into the third realm, the area of Conquest.

The day of serving God by their own life is over for the remnant whom God is calling to Himself. We must endure the anguish of the death of our human personality so that the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus may come into view. This is the challenge of the day in which we are living. Every Christian must choose between serving Christ according to his own will, and bowing in death so that the Life of God may be brought forth.

Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. (Exodus 30:9)

As we come more and more into the Presence of our Lord our supplication and worship is to be increasingly pure. Our adoration and consecration are to be pure, uncluttered, unadorned with human endeavor.

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: (Philippians 3:9)

Cathedrals may present organ concerts during Divine service, and humbler churches have their own methods of adorning the service. However, there is nothing—truly nothing—as satisfying to God as the love, praise, petition, and thanksgiving of a group of consecrated, sincere believers who are in one accord.

The Lord desires that we come "with our shoes off," standing before Him in honesty without pretense or trappings of any kind. We prefer to hide behind ceremony. God keeps calling, "Adam, where are you?" We are busy clothing ourselves according to our own understanding of what it is God requires.

And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD. (Exodus 30:10)

Atonement was made on the horns of the Altar of Incense once each year, during the Day of Atonement. At that time the high priest brought incense into the Most Holy Place, filling the area with the holy perfume.

During the ceremony, blood was put on the four horns of the Altar of Incense, reminding us that our ability to come before God with adoration and supplication is due to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross for our sins. The blood of God's Lamb removes the guilt of our sins and we then can come into the Most Holy Place and offer our love and petitions before the Throne of God Almighty.

The burning of the holy incense was one of the principal responsibilities of the Aaronic priesthood.

They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. (Deuteronomy 33:10)

So it is that one of the main purposes of the Church of Christ in the earth (and in Heaven, we believe) is to worship God and to offer holy prayer before Him. There is a need, in the hour in which we are living, for a revival of prayer and praise. No matter what assets a church may possess in the form of buildings, talented ministry or large attendance, if there is not enough worship and prayer the awe of God will not be present.

Not only must there be consistent worship and prayer, but such worship must ascend from consecrated believers who are living in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

The Altar of Incense stood in the Holy Place, just before the veil leading into the holiest of all. We are to "pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" (I Timothy 2:8). Holiness and obedience must be our way of life if we are to pray and praise in such a manner as to bring back the Presence of God to the churches of Christ.

Each believer can do his or her part. We must submit to the slaying of the Holy Spirit as He works the Presence of God into our personality. Then we are to worship God and to pray to Him with increasing strength. Consistent prayer and praise require considerable spiritual strength—more than we may possess. We need to pray to God to strengthen us. One praying, praising saint can make a big difference in the spiritual life of a church.

The churches themselves have a responsibility at this time. We must set aside facilities and time so that people can pray and praise without distraction. The elders of the churches must lead the believers in Spirit-filled adoration. We all need encouragement and inspiration in congregational praise and supplication. Human beings tend to shun prayer and praise. We would rather do anything except pray. It requires spiritual strength and discipline to come before God with praise and into His Presence with thanksgiving.

If the leadership of the churches assists and directs the people, there will be a revival of prayer and praise. Prayer and praise can become the highlight of the service. There is nothing more joyous in the Spirit than for us to break through into God's Presence in glorious praise and intensity of petition and intercession.

How the Spirit of Christ does meet us when we assemble together and press through into His Presence!

As Christ is maturing in us we are maturing in the strength necessary to communicate with God. Christ in us loves the Father and seeks fellowship with the Father. Our fellowship with the Father is increasing in reality and in importance to us. In some of the assemblies of the saints, emphasis is being placed on the restoration of adoration, thanksgiving, supplication, and singing in the Spirit.

Christ is interceding for us in Heaven. The Spirit Himself is helping our infirmities and making intercession for us. We are growing in strength in prayer, in supplication, in intercession for our fellow Christians. Our power in spiritual battle is increasing.

We of the churches have more to learn about communication with God. We need to learn how to enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Throughout the day we are finding it possible to continue in prayer, sometimes audibly, sometimes silently. We are learning to keep on giving thanks to God for all things.

In the right hand of Christ is the Lampstand, portraying the light and power of God—the light and power of the testimony. In the left hand of Christ is the Table of Showbread, the body and blood of the Lamb of God that is given for the life of the world.

The voice of Christ is the Altar of Incense. Christ, Head and Body, is powerful in communication with God in worship, prayer, supplication, adoration, praise, intercession, spiritual battle, and thanksgiving. Christ is able to cry to God with such authority and power that the heavens and the earth are moved.

The five end products of sanctification depend for their maturing on the strength in praise and prayer of the members of the Body of Christ. If we are to communicate Christ to people we must grow in strength in prayer and worship. As the strength in prayer of the Church increases, the righteous will grow more godly in behavior but the rebellious will become increasingly wicked and hard of heart.

Christians who work diligently and live righteously are an abomination to the unrighteous, but the unrighteous can tolerate them. However, Christians who are able to lay hold on God in a powerful manner are a terror to the workers of darkness because it is by strength in communication with God that the end of sin will come. The prisoners of the earth will be delivered at the sound of the praises and prayers of the saints (Acts 16:25,26).

As the Wife of the Lamb is created she is filled with worship and prayer. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is a symphony of praise to God and the Lamb. As the Servant of the Lord—Christ, Head and Body—walks through the earth in the days to come, He will be in continual fervent communication with His Father. The nations of the earth will be taught to worship God and to bring their petitions before Him through Christ.

The worst effect sin has on us is to cut off our communion with God, to shut the mouth of our natural adoration of God and our prayer to God. Praise and prayer is the normal act of God's child—as normal and customary as breathing air.

When sin entered the garden, Adam and Eve hid themselves. They fled from the Presence of the Lord God. Praise and prayer left their mouths. The fellowship ceased. Man was separated from his Creator.

For the past six thousand years, people have struggled in the task of survival, living as animals. The spiritual life and light of mankind was extinguished in the garden. Since that time man has lived in his flesh and soul, having no spiritual life. The inventions of the human mind have taken the place of prayer. Cursing and rage have gushed forth instead of praise to the Father. Earth has become a prison overshadowed by death and human beings are the prisoners.

In many different ways God has revealed Himself to the prisoners of the earth. In these closing days of time God has spoken to us through His Son. We understand now that God is preparing a living Temple, Christ, Head and Body, so that through this Temple, communication between God and His creatures can be restored.

One of the chief functions of the Church is to enter communication with God and also to assist other people to enter communion and fellowship with the Almighty.

One of the purposes of the Church of Christ is to restore the Presence of God to the earth so that the peoples of the earth can gain favor in the sight of God and enter His Presence. There is no greater need in the hour in which we live than that of bringing the Church of Christ into the place of powerful praise, supplication, and intercession. The Holy Spirit is available now, as never before in history, to assist the saints as they enter the fullness of fellowship with the Lord God.

Set yourself to praise and prayer and see what happens!

The heavenly Altar of Incense. Revelation, Chapter Eight speaks to us of the events of the last days, of the time when the prayers of the saints reach the level required to bring about the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to the earth.

And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. (Revelation 8:1)

The first seven chapters of Revelation give the impression that there are many exciting events taking place in Heaven. So solemn is the import of the opening of the last seal of the book (perhaps that book is the Bible!) that everyone in Heaven becomes still.

What is about to happen?

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)

Some of the angels of the Book of Revelation are saints, and some no doubt are spirits. We cannot tell because the term angel merely means "messenger." What is being stated here is that the seven messengers standing before God are given seven trumpets. This is a special occasion in Heaven, an event that apparently has been long awaited.

And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (Revelation 8:3)

The offering of incense, as we said, was the responsibility of the High Priest of Israel. The incense represents the fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Up to this point Christ Himself has been making intercession for us. Now the prayers of the saints have attained the level where they can be mixed together with the prayers of the Lord Jesus and offered before the throne of glory.

Every Christian has always been able to come before the Throne of God through Christ. The eighth chapter of Revelation marks a growth in strength of prayer on the part of the Church such that the hand of Almighty God is moved as never before in history. We are about to behold one of the most stupendous answers to prayer that has ever taken place.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. (Revelation 8:4)

Christ's constant prayer that He be avenged on His enemies, and that He may return to the earth to receive His inheritance, has now reached the level of action before the Face of the Father. God always hears our prayer and sets in motion the machinery to bring about the answer. Then, if we do not give up, there comes a point of Divine action.

The Lord Jesus Christ never gives up. His prayer, as recorded in John, Chapter 17 has been ascending before God for two thousand years. We have come now to the answer to the Lord's prayer.

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:5)

When the holy incense, which is the Substance of Christ fashioned in the saints, is placed on the fiery coals of the golden Altar of Incense before the throne of the Almighty, the sweet perfume of His beloved Son mingled with the prayers of the saints arises before the Face of God. Much incense is given to the angel, meaning that Christ has come to maturity in the firstfruits of His Church.

Then the angel fills the censer with fire from the altar of God and casts the fire into the earth. The same fire of God that produced the holy perfume of Christ now causes "voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."

The fire of God that the Body of Christ is experiencing today, as we move past the Pentecostal experience and forward to the judgment of God on our lives, produces in us the sweet savor of Christ. When our obedience has been fulfilled the same fire will be cast into the earth. Then the fire of God will produce terrible unrest, fear, and destruction.

Frightful days are ahead for the inhabitants of the earth. Eventually the Body of Christ will be authorized and empowered to enact the judgment and deliverance of the peoples of the earth. The result of the judgment will be peace for the meek who fear God.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (Revelation 8:6)

The sounding of the seven angels is the beginning of the end of the wicked, vicious spirit of the present age. The meaning of the first part of Chapter Eight of Revelation, as we understand it, is that the sounding of the seven trumpets is awaiting the bringing to an adequate level of strength the worship and supplication of God's saints.

Our individual and corporate praise and prayer today are not strong enough, in many cases, to bring to pass God's will in the earth. We are too weak for the Lord to return. God is waiting for the intense cry from the Church, "Come, Lord Jesus!" It seems to be true that the cry for the return of Christ is now increasing in strength in the churches.

Before too long, hopefully, the worship and supplication of the Body of Christ will attain a level of maturity that will cause the cloud of holy perfume—the fragrance of Christ—to ascend before the throne of the Father. As soon as the Church has reached the required strength in fervency of prayer and praise, and in righteous, holy and obedient conduct, then the seven trumpets will be raised to the lips of the seven messengers.

There is a relationship between the maturing of the Body of Christ and the return of Christ. The return of Christ is related to and depends on the spiritual strength and readiness of His Church. There is no purpose in Christ returning before the Church is prepared to receive Him. If Christ were to return before the Body is ready, many of the believers would be destroyed by the fire of His Presence (Psalms 102:16; Isaiah 33:14).

If resurrection life has not been created in us by the five operations of sanctification, there is nothing on which to place the resurrection body. In II Corinthians 5:5 Paul states that God is making us ready for the resurrection body. This statement is in the context of the processes of death and resurrection described in the previous chapter (II Corinthians, Chapter Four).

Both sin and righteousness will attain maturity before the end comes (Genesis 15:16; Matthew 13:30).

We can hasten the coming of the Day of God by earnestly longing for it and by living a godly life (II Peter 3:11,12).

When the seventh angel sounds, the mystery of God will be finished (Revelation 10:7). The heavenly voices will announce: "The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever." We believe that the sounding of the seven angels is at hand, even at the doors, and the end product will be the reign of our Lord and Savior Christ.

A large part of the Christian Church has been at Pentecost, at the golden Lampstand, for many years now. Each day the Spirit moves among the churches, calling out a holy remnant. Multitudes of the Lord's people are in the valley of decision: Should I or should I not go outside the camp with Jesus? Should I or should I not give my life completely to Him?

The Holy Spirit never wastes time. He is ready for the Bride to press forward in Christ.

It may be noticed that in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, neither the Table of Showbread nor the Lampstand is directly in line with the Ark of the Covenant. As we stand looking in a westerly direction, looking toward the veil, the Table of Showbread is on our right and the Lampstand is on our left. The Ark of the Covenant is directly ahead of us, hidden from us by the veil.

This positioning signifies that neither the ministry of the Word (Table of Showbread) nor the manifestation of the Holy Spirit (Lampstand) is directly in line with the Ark of the Covenant. It is the Ark of the Covenant that represents the fullness of the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Altar of Incense is directly in front of the Ark of the Covenant, although separated from the Ark by the veil that hangs between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, As we move past Pentecost, past the Lampstand, to speak symbolically, we are moving toward the Altar of Incense—the place of consecration, worship, and supplication. By so moving we are coming near to the Ark of the Covenant, the fullness of the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We now are standing directly before the Ark of the Covenant. Something hides the Ark from us. It is the veil. We are not speaking in terms of the fact that the veil was torn open at the time of Christ's crucifixion. This happened, and the significance is that every person now has access to the Throne of God through the blood of Christ.

There is, however, additional symbolism associated with the veil. In the context of which we are speaking, the veil is still present. Isn't it true that we yet are unable to see the Lord clearly? We long to see the Lord Jesus and to be with Him. What hinders us?

Is He so far away we cannot reach Him? Not at all, for the Scriptures inform us that He will never leave us or forsake us.

The Lord Jesus is closer to us than a brother, but there is a veil between us and Him. At His glorious return the covering veil will be taken away and we shall see Him as He is.

We have come past Pentecost, past the golden Lampstand. We are ministering at the Altar of Incense by entering Spirit-filled adoration, praise, worship, thanksgiving, intercession, supplication, and spiritual battle in prayer. We are in line with the Ark of the Covenant—the fullness of the Presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords. What is it that hinders us from pressing through to the fullness of His Presence?

In one sense our physical body acts as a veil that separates us from the fullness of the Lord's Presence. Paul explains, "whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8).

"Seeing" the Lord and entering the fullness of His Presence depends on our pressing into Christ. We can come to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. We by faith can press through to the fullness of inner resurrection, on which the fullness of outer resurrection depends.

Inner resurrection precedes outer resurrection. Our ability to enter fullness of life with Christ at His appearing depends on the state of resurrection life we are attaining now.

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

The response of every person to the return of Christ will depend on the state of readiness of that person. To those who press on now to the full knowledge of Him, the response will be the receiving of a body of glory that will enable them to rule with Christ and to see Him as He is (I John 3:1-3).

To those who have not made themselves ready for His appearing, the response to His appearing will be destruction or a minimal entrance into His Kingdom.

There is nothing passive about entering eternal life, into the fullness of the Presence of the Lord Jesus. We must lay hold on eternal life diligently. The Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit have been given to us so that we may arrive at the fullness of readiness for the glorious appearing of the Lord.

It is the will of God that the Church be made ready for Christ's appearing. The return of Christ is related to the maturing of the Body of Christ in the moral image of Christ and in power in praise and prayer. Let us be among those who minister at the Altar of Incense, entering the Presence of our Lord with thanksgiving and praise.

Let us lift up the gates of our heart. Let us lift up the everlasting doors of our personality and allow the King of Glory to enter. The Lord of Hosts, the Lord strong and mighty in battle—He is the One who will enter us and give us victory.

Passing through the holy veil into the Presence of Christ requires a sharing in Christ's sufferings in a way that many of us have not experienced. The only manner in which we can be made perfect as God's servant is by sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

We are not referring to suffering because of sin, for Christ never suffered because of His own sin. Rather, we are speaking of accepting God's will for our life even though it causes us humility, frustration, and seeming futility of existence.

There is a death to one's self that runs deeper than the mere overcoming of sin. Our willingness to walk with Christ through the final stages of personal humiliation and apparent defeat, which is the death of the cross, will bring us through the last death and into the fullness of His glorious Presence.

No man can see God and live. We shall see Him as He is, but such communion with God is based on our absolute obedience to His will. This theme will be developed further in our next chapter, entitled "Conquest."

The Boards Standing Up: Members of the Body of Christ

The three walls of the Tabernacle building were constructed from wide acacia-wood boards standing upright, possessing two tenons on the bottom of each board. The tenons were inserted in heavy silver sockets placed on the ground. The boards were overlaid with gold.

You may recall that the eastern side of the Tabernacle building was not a wall but a hanging of ornate linen cloth called the door of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle building was fifteen feet wide (ten cubits), fifteen feet high, and forty-five feet long (thirty cubits). The floor was the bare ground of wherever the Tabernacle was erected at the time.

The boards standing upright symbolize the members of the Body of Christ. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit with the members of the Body of Christ that the second death and resurrection—the part of redemption we are referring to as "sanctification"—takes place.

And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of Shittim wood standing up. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board. Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle. (Exodus 26:15-17)

It seems the boards were four and one-half inches thick. Each silver socket is thought to have been one hundred twenty-five pounds in weight. You have, then, forty-eight boards, four and one-half inches thick, twenty-seven inches wide, fifteen feet in length, anchored in more than six tons of silver.

The Tabernacle building was surrounded by a white linen fence, seven and one-half feet high, supported by cords staked to the ground on each side. The white fence symbolizes the righteousness of God given us through Christ. The fence bore the first brunt of the desert winds.

Also, there were four heavy layers of material thrown over the upright boards of the walls, forming the ceiling and roof of the Tabernacle building and covering the boards on the outside. The enormous strength of this structure symbolizes the solidity of the Church of Christ. The fiercest blasts of Hell cannot shake the Church when the Church has been constructed on Christ in the manner that God has ordained.

What a picture the Tabernacle building is of the Body of Christ! Each member stands upright in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each member is of the same height. None of the brothers is exalted above the others.

Christ is our Lord and Master and He alone is exalted. Each member is anchored in the redemption of Christ—redemption being typified by the silver sockets. The gold with which the wooden boards were covered typifies the Divinity of Christ that covers each member of the Body of Christ.

There is no clearer symbolic portrayal of the Body of Christ in the Scriptures than the forty-eight upright boards that formed the three walls of the Tabernacle building.

Forty-eight is four times twelve. Four is the number of the Holy Spirit. Twelve is the number of the family of God. Forty-eight symbolizes the anointed family, or house of God.

Many ministries and gifts have been given to the members of the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit of God. There are varied callings and services mentioned in Romans, Chapter 12. There are the nine "gifts" described in I Corinthians, Chapter 12 and the four ascension ministries set forth in Ephesians, Chapter Four.

We must understand that no matter how spectacular the gifts of healing may be, or how loving and wise the pastor-teacher, or how grand the apostleship, the fact remains that the members are all equal in standing before God, from the least to the greatest.

The boards "standing up" are all the same height. The moment we begin to lose sight of Christ because of the effectiveness of a certain ministry, at that moment the jealousy of the Holy Spirit is aroused and He sets about to remedy the problem of our giving worship to a person other than the Lord Jesus.

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:10)

It is God's intention that there be unity in the one Body of Christ (every true Christian in Heaven and on the earth), and that every gift and ministry flowing from the ascended Christ work to promote that unity. There is only one Body, only one Spirit, only one hope, only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God Almighty.

The ministries and gifts are given that the Body may be one and that Christ may "fill all things." When some person or enterprise begins to fill all things, the Holy Spirit abandons the enterprise. Death enters and the fruit begins to wither, although the enterprise may continue to operate with seeming success.

The words of men apart from the Holy Spirit continually increase in self-seeking and divisiveness. The fruit of morality ceases to grow in the members of the organization and the power of the testimony disappears. The Lampstand is removed from its place. The sanctifying operation of the Holy Spirit in the group ceases to function.

The ascended Christ led captivity captive and gave gifts to men—gifts that are the expressions of Christ's own Glory sent forth to unify and mature His Body.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Ephesians 4:11)

The apostles are sent forth from Christ Himself for the purpose of establishing the believers on the true foundation, which is Christ. The prophets keep the believers aware of the current burden of the Spirit.

The evangelists travel everywhere announcing the good news of the salvation that is in Christ. The shepherd-teachers work with the believers helping each to make a success of the Christian discipleship. These four ministries serve to unify and perfect the one Body of Christ.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12)

The gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ provide all aspects of service and ministry of the Church as it ministers to its own needs and to the needs of the world that surrounds the Church. The various ministries promote the maturity of each individual believer and the maturity of the collective Body of Christ.

The service of the Church to the needs of the world that surrounds the Church is on a limited basis now but will increase greatly in scope during the ages to come.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

The above verse describes our attainment of the full image of Christ.

The "unity of the faith" is speaking of the development in all disciples of a common bond of faith in Christ that enables us to be one Body in Christ in the Father.

The "knowledge of the Son of God" is referring to the creation in us of the true understanding and perception of Christ Himself so that we do not give any of our attention to idols.

The "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" is speaking of our arrival at the fullness of righteous, holy, and obedient personality and conduct. The fullness of Christ is complete trust in Christ, complete understanding and perception of His Person, and complete development in us of His Substance and Nature, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good will, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Such is the nature of complete sanctification, and the working of the Holy Spirit in each member of the Body of Christ brings each of us to complete sanctification of spirit, soul, and, body.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

Here are the boards "standing up" of the Tabernacle building. Arm in arm, all the same height (not all having the same attainment in Christ but all regarded as brothers by the Lord), each supporting the other and contributing strength to the other. If one is wounded, all are wounded. If one is blessed and strengthened, all are blessed and strengthened.

Each member supplies a vital need, and through the contribution of each member all the other members are able to obtain full sanctification. The end of the many-membered effort will be the Bride of the Lamb, the living Temple of God, and the powerful and compassionate Servant of the Lord who will bring judgment, deliverance, and the knowledge of God and of His way to the peoples of the earth.

Three Kinds of Lighting

The salvation aspect of redemption (outer court of the Tabernacle of the Congregation) is lighted by the sun, to speak figuratively. Christ was crucified out in the open for all people, young and old, rich and poor, to behold. We come as lost sinners to receive the atonement and to wash away our sins in the waters of baptism.

The sanctification aspect of redemption (Holy Place of the Tabernacle) is lighted by the Holy Spirit (the golden Lampstand). The Holy Place was lighted at night, unlike the Courtyard that was dark at that time. The Lampstand was kept burning throughout the night.

The processes of sanctification are for the Church only, never for the world. The holy things of the Church are not to be displayed before the curious gaze of the world. The Communion service, for example, is not to be made a public spectacle, although from our personal point of view, sinners are welcome to come and be saved by receiving of the body and blood of the Lord. All may not agree with us on this point.

It is true also that if one member of a family is part of Christ the entire family is holy. Thus if a believing woman comes to church with her unbelieving husband and children, and they so desire, they may partake of the Communion elements. It is a lamb for a house. If one member of the family is holy the entire family is holy.

This does not mean that all the members are saved or have eternal life. It means that the believing member is a firstfruits to the Lord, and if the believer prays it may be that God will bring the whole family into His Kingdom.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was seen by no one except the priests of the Lord. There should be occasions when the disciples of the Lord gather together for their own edification. At such times there will be the heavenly Presence of the Holy Spirit of God. A sacred, pure atmosphere should be maintained. This is no place for groups of unbelievers; it is for the servants of Christ. The unbelievers can be ministered to on other occasions.

The conquest aspect of redemption (Most Holy Place) is lighted by the Glory of God in Christ. The light from the Lampstand did not penetrate into the Most Holy Place except one day each year when the high priest went past the veil in order to sprinkle blood upon and before the Mercy Seat.

The light of the Glory of God in Christ (II Corinthians 4:6) is a greater light, a greater understanding, than that of the ministries and gifts of the Spirit. We are moving toward that knowledge of God "in the face of Jesus Christ." It is "that which is perfect."

The Sanctification Domain of Christianity

Back now to the sanctification aspect of redemption, as typified by the oil-fueled golden Lampstand of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. The Lampstand represents, as we have said, the communication of God to us and then through us to other members of the Body of Christ.

Eventually the Divine communication will flow to all the peoples of the earth. First, to us personally. Then, to the whole Body of Christ. Finally, to the ends of the earth. First, to Jerusalem. Then to all Judaea. Next to Samaria. Finally to the farthest reaches of the earth as the Spirit of God directs us.

We have seen that the Lampstand was solid gold, signifying that there is to be nothing human in the testimony of God through Christ. How can this be, seeing that the Lampstand is Christ—Head and Body (Revelation 1:20)? How is it that there is to be nothing human in the testimony? It is the Church that is the light of the world.

The answer, we believe, is explained in two dimensions. The first dimension of the testimony is what the Church does. The second dimension of the testimony is what the Church is.

What the Church can do is to perform acts of wisdom and power—supernatural manifestations that result in deliverance for all who believe and a witness of the Presence and will of God.

What the Church is, is the pure gold of the Divine Substance, the moral character of Christ, hammered into righteous, holy, and obedient conduct by the circumstances through which the Holy Spirit brings us.

Neither the supernatural manifestations nor the righteousness of deed, word, motive, and imagination has one drop of human substance or ability in it. It is the pure gold of God.

What the Church does is to manifest supernatural wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking in various languages, and interpretation of languages.

What the Church is, is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance.

What the Church does is the result of the Oil, the Anointing, the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, which are the power to bear witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What the Church is, is the Divine Nature of Christ who is being formed in us. The moral Nature and Character of Christ is typified by the pure gold of the Lampstand, the seven lamps, and the accompanying utensils.

Power and holiness. These two go together. It is the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man or woman that avails much. Christ was anointed with the oil of gladness because He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. The battles of the Lord depend for their power on the holiness of His army. An unholy army never can win against the forces of wickedness. A holy army, walking in the Spirit, never can lose.

We have seen in an earlier section that there were six side-branches on the golden Lampstand. The central shaft, taller and more richly ornamented than the side-branches, represents the Lord Jesus Christ. The number six of the side-branches symbolizes mankind, in that man was created on the sixth day. The number three—three lamps on each side of the central shaft—speaks of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The whole Lampstand portrays Christ—Head and Body. The design was balanced, there being an equal number of side-branches on each side of the central shaft. The number two (the two sets of side-branches) speaks of power, the power of the double portion of the Spirit, the power to bear witness of God. The balanced design indicates that we have holiness on one hand and power on the other. Christ and His Body possess the fullness of holiness and the fullness of power.

The tiniest particle of unholiness, of unrighteousness, of disobedience, can wreck the Israel of God, the Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ. Every trace of sin and self-will must be cast out.

The light of God flows into the Body of Christ and then out to the ends of the earth. There is power to break every yoke, thereby bearing witness to the Presence and will of God. There is wisdom in judgment enabling every creature to distinguish between what is sinful and what is righteous and holy.

There is the living example of righteousness, holiness, and obedience in the form of the Church—the new Jerusalem. There is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2). There is the love of God that comes to every person who does not resist Christ.

The power of God Almighty, the holiness of God Almighty, and the love of God Almighty are three ideas He desires to communicate to mankind. Each of these concepts are incarnate in the Person of Christ, the Son of God. They also are to become incarnate in each member of the Body of Christ so that Christ, Head and Body, is one Person in God—one in His Glory and one in His love (John 17:20-26).

We have been discussing how the three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, together with their respective furnishings and appointments, depict the fullness of our redemption in Christ. We are endeavoring to relate these three areas to the three deaths and three resurrections that are theme of this book.

We have said that the Courtyard of the Tabernacle represents, among other things, the nations of the saved. The Holy Place represents the Church of Christ. The Most Holy Place represents the Throne of God Almighty. These three areas are distinguished by the level of holiness they portray.

All persons on the earth are welcome to seek God and be found of Him. It is obvious from the most casual glance about us that all persons—Christians included—do not seek the Lord with the same degree of fervency. The Scriptures teach us plainly that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him diligently (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus Himself informed us that some will rule ten cities, some five cities, and some will be strongly rebuked.

We can observe this pattern of levels of holiness in the ministry of Christ on the earth. There were the multitudes who were healed and who ate of the miraculously multiplied loaves and fish. Then there were the seventy who were sent forth. Twelve were called out by name, and to them were explained the meaning of the parables of the Kingdom.

Only three were permitted to see the Lord, Moses, and Elijah on the holy mountain of transfiguration and to hear the Voice that spoke from the cloud.

To maintain that there are not different stations in the Kingdom of God is to deny much Scripture and also to discount our practical experience. In any kingdom there is a multitude of levels of responsibility and of service, even though the king of that kingdom loves each of his subjects and makes sure that each receives consideration and just treatment.

So it is in the Kingdom of God. The linen fence of the Courtyard marks the boundary of salvation. All who are outside the linen fence are lost in outer darkness. Every person in the Courtyard is saved from the wrath of God. The linen fence marks the boundary of salvation, of redemption.

The Tabernacle building, with its Holy Place and Most Holy Place, portrays the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. The Church dominates the Kingdom of God and is the government of the Kingdom of God. All persons who are of the Church of Christ are in the Kingdom of God and are the kings and priests of that Kingdom.

In the ages ahead of us the Kingdom of God will rule the earth (Daniel 2:35). The Christian Church, the new Jerusalem, will be the center of government of the earth.

The Tabernacle building dominated the area surrounded by the linen fence. God met the people at the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering. God Himself dwelled in the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle building.

Today every person who is saved proceeds to become a member of the Church by baptism with the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is a member of the Body of Christ. The purpose of the age in which we live is to prepare the Church for its service of ministry during the eons yet ahead. The members of the Church will reign forever as kings and priests.

As kings the members of the Church will rule and judge the nations of the earth. As priests the members of the Church will bring the blessing and Presence of God to the peoples of the earth and will bear the needs of the nations before the Presence of God. This is an eternal ministry. Therefore God is taking infinite pains with the perfecting of each member of the Body of Christ.

The result of the work of the cross in the first area of redemption is that we are saved. Being saved means we will be preserved during the Day of Wrath and will be carried safely into the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The result of the sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit in the second area of redemption is as follows: we are established in our ability to point people at all levels of spirituality toward the love and Glory of God in the face of Christ; we reveal in ourselves the miraculous power and the holiness of the Holy Spirit so that God has a basis on which to judge His creatures; we become the Wife of the Lamb; we become the Temple of God; we then impose the rule of Christ on the peoples of the earth by the Word of God empowered by the Holy Spirit.

We see, then, that there is a difference between the two areas of redemption in that their results are not the same. The cross saves us from the wrath of God. Then the Holy Spirit conforms us to the image of God's Son that He may be the firstborn among many brothers.

During our discussion of the salvation domain of Christianity we mentioned that there are spiritual, or heavenly counterparts of the work of redemption in us. When we grow from one level to another in the Lord Jesus it is as though we pass from one level of the heavens to another.

We suggested that there is a realm of relationship and contact between the earth and the heavens and that Satan has gained control over this realm. This may be the first, or lower heaven. Satan is termed the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). God's answer to Satan's usurpation is the cross. God planted the cross in the middle of Satan's realm of authority. Satan no longer possesses authority over those who choose to receive the Lord Jesus.

The authority of the kingdom of darkness and the guilt of sin are abolished the moment any person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ—receiving Him as Lord and Savior—and is baptized in water. The baptism in water is a sign that the believer has left the kingdom of darkness and has passed into the Kingdom of God.

The second area of redemption, that of the Church, of sanctification, also appears to have a heavenly counterpart. The fight here is somewhat different in nature. The Lord Jesus Christ did all the fighting in the first area, He, and He alone, bore away our sins to the cross. He was obedient. He carried the load. He was faithful unto death, and by His obedience unto death the authority of sin over us was destroyed.

In the second area we do the fighting. The Holy Spirit provides us with the wisdom and power, leading and enabling us every step of the way. Our goal is to remove each trace of the tendencies and effects of sin from ourselves, from our fellow members of the Body of Christ, and, at the glorious appearing of our Lord from Heaven, from all the saved peoples of the earth.

The second area of redemption reflects a second area of the heavens. It can be noticed that many of the passages of the Scriptures that portray scenes of Heaven do not show the celestial parks we associate with Heaven. Instead there is warfare. One can gain the impression that there is a fierce struggle taking place continually, with Christ, God's people, and the heavenly host on the one side, and Satan and his forces on the other.

We are suggesting that the sanctification area of redemption, that of the Church and of victory over the works of the flesh, is the area of the continual spiritual struggle for mastery. Isn't it true that our Lord Jesus Christ still is waiting until His enemies become a stool for His Feet?

In Job, which is said to be the oldest book of the Scriptures, we read these words:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. (Job 1:6,7)

This conversation occurred after the fall of Adam and Eve. Satan occupied himself with walking up and down in the creation that had come under God's curse because of Satan's counsel.

We are referring to the creation as a first spiritual level, because in the beginning God made a practice of walking "in the garden in the cool of the day," evidently having fellowship with Adam and Eve—creatures who were in His image. Their disobedience made continued fellowship impossible.

It is not recorded in Job that God rebuked Satan for "going to and fro in the earth" although that in itself was an abomination. Satan was not created in the image of God. It was not given to him to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion over the earth.

Angels belong in the heavens but, as Jude tells us, they "left their own habitation" (Jude 1:6). Angels who come into the earth, except under assignment from God, are usurpers of man's inheritance.

God did not rebuke Satan for walking in the earth because the Lord is bringing about good for us through Satan's wickedness. God always brings about good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose in Christ. He transforms all circumstances so that they cause His will to be done in us. The calamities that befell Job resulted in Job's testimony—a testimony that has given comfort to millions of saints who have had to endure suffering under the hand of the Lord.

The first level is that of the earth. We see another level in Job—that of the presentation of the sons of God to the Lord (probably to the Lord Jesus). Satan was among the sons of God at this higher level.

Satan yet walks throughout the earth, the territory that has come under judgment because of his wicked counsel. He gathers together whenever he is able with the sons of God in the realm of the Church. There he opposes us from his spiritual vantage point. As we press forward in prayer, Satan resists us, as do the other lords of darkness in the heavenlies.

Anyone who believes that Satan is not active among the members of the Church of Christ is ignorant of the Scripture and is blind to the murder, lust, covetousness, and sorcery that occur among those who assemble with the saints. The spirit of Antichrist works among us.

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude 12,13)

The Book of Daniel gives us insight into the second area of redemption, the area of the struggle between the forces of God and the forces of Hell.

Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:12,13)

Here we are able to catch a glimpse of the invisible warfare that surrounds us. The spirit realm that is revealed is a scene of activity and strife. There were holy beings who were helping Daniel but they were being resisted. It reminds us of Paul who explained, "Wherefore we would have come to you, even I Paul, once and again, but Satan hindered us" (I Thessalonians 2:18).

We of the Church must understand that there is an army of God's saints and there is also an army of angelic chieftains and warriors. These two armies fight side by side, under the lordship of Christ, against the forces of rebellion and perversity.

Do you remember that as soon as Joshua was ready to go to war against Jericho, the captain of the spiritual host appeared to him? That was because the struggle in the physical realm and the struggle in the spirit realm are closely related.

It is in the Book of Revelation that we see the clearest pictures of the intense spiritual activity that occurs in connection with the perfecting of the Church and with the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The reason there is so much angelic activity described in Revelation, more perhaps than in any other book of the Scripture, is that Revelation portrays the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord involves not only the inhabitants of the earth but the spiritual creation as well. The elect angels are dependent on the Church for their victory and are awaiting with the greatest joy and interest the development of the image of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ.

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, (I Timothy 5:21)

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Revelation 12:7,8)

We notice that the setting of the heavenly victory is closely related to the catching up of the male son to the Throne of God. The male son is Christ, who at this point has come to maturity through the travail of the ministries and gifts of the members of the Body of Christ.

The male son is the conquering Christ created in the disciples of the Lord Jesus. As soon as the male son is caught up to the Throne of God the army of holy angels is enabled to cast Satan from Heaven and into the earth. This is the beginning of the end of the forces of Satan.

The second area of redemption is that of sanctification and it is here that the power of Satan is destroyed. In the first area, that of salvation, the authority of the kingdom of darkness was destroyed as the Son of God met the devil at the cross and conquered him completely.

In the second area the works of the Holy Spirit are accomplished, utilizing the cross as the ground of authority. The tendencies and effects of sin are abolished in the disciples. Tremendous works of supernatural wisdom and power shine from the Holy Spirit in the Church. The Nature of Christ is created in the members of the Body of Christ. The Wife of the Lamb and the Temple of God are brought to perfection. The rulers of the ages to come, the sons of God, are directed toward the required places of obedience as they are prepared to be made perfect by suffering.

We beheld two worlds, the material and the spiritual, in interaction as the Lord Jesus Christ testified on the earth and as He conquered sin on the cross. We see two worlds in interaction in this second area also as the Holy Spirit brings the Church through the processes of sanctification.

The Feast of Weeks: Pentecost

The feast of Weeks was the second of the three occasions on which Israel was called together by the Lord God. The feast of Weeks is better known to us as the feast of Pentecost.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

You may recall that there were seven Levitical convocations in all (Leviticus, Chapter 23). The seven were arranged in three major gatherings. The second gathering, Pentecost, was observed by itself, coming fifty days after the high Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.

The fact that Pentecost was by itself, whereas the other six feasts were grouped in two sets of three each, reveals the importance that God places on the work of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption. The feast of Pentecost portrays the work of sanctification, which is the second death and resurrection.

The term Pentecost is derived from a Greek word meaning "fifty." Pentecost was observed on the fiftieth day, counting from the day of Firstfruits (sixteenth Abib ) as day number one. Pentecost falls approximately in our month of May. It was called the feast of Weeks because it was celebrated after the fulfillment of seven weeks (a week of weeks) from the convocation of Firstfruits.

It is believed that the Lord gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on the occasion of the first Pentecost, that is, on the fiftieth day after the Israelites made their exodus from Egypt. To this day the Jewish people, with their instinct for Divine truth, celebrate Pentecost as the giving of the Law on Sinai.

The Two Wave Loaves.

And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:15-17)

During the celebration of the feast of Weeks, two large loaves of fine wheat flour were waved before the Lord by the high priest. The two loaves were baked with leaven, which seems strange in that during the prior feast of Unleavened Bread the Israelites were commanded to remove all leaven from their houses. The Israelite who refused to do so was to be cut off from his people.

The leaven that was cleansed from the camp during Unleavened Bread typifies the spirit of malice and wickedness of the age in which we live. Now there is a new leaven in the member of the Body of Christ, and that leaven is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is the Divine Life that is small when placed in us but grows until our whole being is filled with the will of God.

Pentecost speaks of the testimony, of the power and holiness of God, of the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit. From the day of Pentecost when the tongues of fire rested on the disciples, until the coming day of days when the Church is presented to the Lord Jesus Christ without spot or wrinkle, the Holy Spirit is to be predominant in every detail of the life of the Church.

The two loaves of Pentecost, unlike the harvested sheaves of barley of the feast of Firstfruits, were baked with fire. The baking process signifies that the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ is fashioned in tribulation.

As we think back through Church history, from the Book of Acts until the present, we can note that persecution and trials of all kinds have tested and perfected the Christian people. The testimony of Christ must be "baked with fire." Until the fire has been applied the dough is a white, shapeless mass. When the dough is put in the oven and baked it is formed into something good to eat.

So it is with the Church of Christ. Before the Church undergoes testing it is a shapeless, unappetizing mass of "dough." It is "sticky and tasteless." After the fire of God "bakes" it, it takes on a desirable texture and taste and is of use to God and to mankind.

The Holy Spirit of God bears witness of Christ by miraculous signs and mighty wonders. Whenever Jesus is present there always are signs and mighty wonders. Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Whenever Jesus is in town the dead are raised, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the Gospel is preached to the poor.

There were two loaves waved, referring to the fact that there is to be a double portion of the Holy Spirit poured on the Church of Christ just before the return of the Lord Jesus.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ and he came in the spirit and power of Elijah. Elijah was the prophet who possessed the portion of the anointing, of the fire of God, on his life.

There will be another forerunner of Christ who will come before the second advent of Christ. The second forerunner will be as Elisha, who possessed the double portion of the fire of God. Elisha represents the two loaves of the feast of Pentecost, being a type of the revival of unparalleled power and glory that is coming to the earth as a forerunner of the second advent of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

The double portion of the last days. There is a double portion coming! We discussed earlier (referring to Chapter Eleven of the Book of Revelation) the ministry of the two witnesses. The two witnesses testify of the Person and will of God and prepare the way for the second advent of the King of kings. They are the fulfillment of the two wave loaves of the feast of Pentecost.

There is much in the description of the two witnesses that reminds us of Moses and Elijah, they being the representatives of the Law and the Prophets. Moses and Elijah (or what they typify) have a role to play in the coming of the Kingdom of God, as we can observe on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3). Moses is associated with the Law, the holiness of the testimony. Elijah is associated with the power, the signs and wonders of the testimony.

The two witnesses speak also of Elijah and Elisha in that the two witnesses are the two olive trees that stand before the Lord of the whole earth (Zechariah 4:3). There were only two prophets in the Scriptures who referred to their source of authority as "the Lord God before whom I stand." These two prophets were Elijah and Elisha.

The two witnesses remind us also of Joshua and Caleb. They will bear witness of the coming Kingdom of God, of the land of promise, of the eternal life and glory into which we are pressing diligently.

Joshua and Caleb, along with the ten unbelievers, were sent into the land of promise and brought back some of the fruit for Israel (the Church) to behold. The two scouts bore witness of what was to come. So it is that the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 will possess the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5). All who accept their testimony will be saved. All who reject their testimony will perish.

It is our understanding that the two olive trees of Revelation, Chapter 11 are symbolic of the double portion of the Holy Spirit that is to clothe the Body of Christ just prior to the appearing of the Head of the Body from Heaven.

We believe that four events will accompany the end-time outpouring of the power of God: first, the Body of Christ will be greatly edified. The saints will grow in unity and maturity, being strengthened in preparation for the time of trouble that is ahead and being purified for their marriage to the Lamb.

Second, every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth will see and hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Signs and wonders of unprecedented power and glory will be performed by the believers. Multitudes of earth's peoples will understand the love of God and the provision for forgiveness God has offered through Christ. Multitudes will be saved and come to know the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer.

Third, the gap between righteousness and lawlessness, between Christ and Satan, will widen. Today there is much confusion—a gray area where people are neither for God nor against God. Before Jesus appears the wheat and the tares will become easier to identify. The godly will become more godly and the ungodly will become more ungodly.

In the Body of Christ the high places of the flesh will be brought down and the low places of discouragement and weakness will be raised. The crookedness and roughness in the Church will be straightened and smoothed out and the highway of holiness will be constructed. So defined will the highway of holiness become, as it points the way toward God Himself, that a foolish person cannot make a mistake if he takes the road revealed in the Church.

Fourth, the double-portion revival will be accompanied by the descent of the world into such depths of foulness that it is hurtful even to speak of such moral filth and perversity. The power and holiness of God revealed in the Church will serve as a testimony against the maturing wickedness in the earth. This will establish a basis for the judgment that will take place as the wrath of God descends on the world without mercy, burning up sinners and their sin with nonredemptive fire.

The edifying of the saints, the witness of the coming Kingdom of God, the separating of the holy and the unholy, and the testimony against sin and unrighteousness, will all result from the double portion of the Holy Spirit. We believe the latter rain already has begun to fall on the Church of Christ.

The former rain falls in the land of Israel in the autumn so the crops may be planted for the coming year. The latter rain comes down in the springtime so the grain will come to maturity.

The Book of Acts describes the seed rain of the Church of Christ. Just before Jesus returns, the latter (harvest) rain will be poured out so that the plantings of the earth can come to maturity and be reaped. The latter-rain outpouring will be much greater in power and glory than was true of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit described in the Book of Acts.

The Levitical feast of Pentecost signals the end of the harvesting of wheat. The Pentecostal outpouring of the last days will mark the end of the Church Age. The harvest rain will come down as a torrent of the Holy Spirit on the earth so that the "grain" of the earth may be made ready for the harvest.

Then will appear the burning sun of persecution in order to perfect the maturing of the heads of grain. We should be soaking up the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in these days. We will need all the Glory of God we can obtain in order to overcome the problems and troubles that lie ahead of us.

Notice in Matthew 3:11 that the Lord Jesus baptizes his disciples not only with the Holy Spirit but also with fire. The loaves of Pentecost are baked with fire. The light from the lamps of the Lampstand came from the burning of the olive oil.

The cloud of the Holy Spirit leads us by day but the fire leads us by night. This is a figurative way of stating that the blessing and glory of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit direct us during seasons of refreshing, but when the night of tribulation falls on us we must be prepared to follow the fire of God's judgment—His written word. Faith and trust in the Scriptures will bring us safely through every trial.

The Word of God in judgment is the fire of God.

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)

The Word of God tests our way. We can follow the judgments of God's holy Word throughout the "nights" of our Christian pilgrimage. No matter how distressing and painful our circumstances become, the Word of God will lead us in a safe pathway.

The Lord Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. If we remain steadfast, patiently following the pillar of fire throughout the night, the morning will break and there ahead of us will be the cloud of refreshing and blessing leading us on toward the land of promise.

The fire of God speaks to us of His judgment on the sins of our life and also of the fiery, Job-like trials that cause the righteous to suffer the "loss of all things" (Philippians, Chapter Three). If we receive our fiery trials in faith, patiently enduring them, the fire of God will burn away our bonds (remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), and also will cause the "wheat" of our personality to be baked into a nourishing and delicious loaf to be waved before the Lord.

Christ Himself is the wheat. He must be baked in us by the fires of tribulations and testings.

Pentecost is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and there is also a baptism of fire. We are mixed with oil, baked in the fire, and then anointed with oil. The oil is more pleasant to receive than is the fire. Both the oil and the fire are necessary if we are to have the kind of loaf God desires.

And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. (Numbers 6:15)

Pentecost is a wonderful place of the anointing and fire of the Spirit of God. Many Christians have experienced their personal Pentecost in the days in which we live. It now is time for us to press onward toward the land of promise.

Sinai—then the land of promise. The Holy Spirit of Pentecost is the law of the new covenant, the law of the Spirit of life. As such, Pentecost is equivalent to Mount Sinai of the wilderness wanderings.

Mount Sinai is as far south as one can go, in terms of the wilderness wandering of the Hebrews. When we are traveling from Egypt toward Sinai we are moving away from the land of promise, geographically speaking. The reason for taking the long way around is that we are not prepared as yet to go to war against the inhabitants of our land of promise (the forces of Satan).

After Sinai (Pentecost) we begin to be organized into the army of the Lord. Now we are ready to turn northward toward the land of promise, toward Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered battle against the enemy.

We have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit so that we may serve God as His servant. One of the main purposes of God in our anointing is that the works of the devil may be demolished; not only in us as individuals, not only in our fellow members of the Body of Christ, but in all the remainder of the saved inhabitants of the earth as well.

Remember, if we are walking in the Spirit of God we will be progressing in holiness of conduct and the Spirit of God will be empowering us to bear witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we neither are making progress in holy conduct nor testifying of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit we need to turn again to the Lord Jesus and find what the problem is.

Some among us are stressing speaking in tongues as the sign of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is a valuable asset to the victorious Christian discipleship. It is difficult to imagine a strong prayer life apart from praying in tongues. Nevertheless, speaking in tongues is not the most important characteristic of the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us.

The important characteristics of the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us are three in number: holiness of conduct and thought; supernatural guidance and power in bearing witness of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the offering of Spirit-filled prayer and praise with thanksgiving to the Father.

It is possible to speak in tongues, work miracles, prophesy, and otherwise manifest the enablements of the Spirit, and still be rejected by the Lord in that Day. We must show the fruit of a godly life. If we are not bearing the fruit of godliness, love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, the Lord Jesus will not behold His image in us and we will be rejected. Let us take heed. Let us move past this mountain of Pentecost and travel toward our land of promise.

The Wilderness Wandering

The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is one of the principal types of redemption. The area of salvation is revealed in the exodus of Israel from Egypt. The area of sanctification is depicted in the wilderness wandering. The area of conquest is portrayed in the occupation of the land of promise.

The Book of Hebrews exhorts us to press on toward the land. The main exhortation of the Book of Hebrews is that Christians must press on toward the promised-land rest of God. The warning of Hebrews is that if we do not press toward the fullness of Christ we are guilty of neglecting our salvation and will not escape the burning of the fruitless branches.

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)

Notice the "if" in the above verse. We are the house of Christ as long as we "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end." Inasmuch as the context of this verse is that of Israel under the leadership of Moses pressing on through the wilderness toward Canaan, we understand the phrase "hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing" to mean that we are to follow the Spirit of God from Egypt all the way to the occupation of the land of promise.

Holding "fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope" has to do with dynamic pressing forward in Christ, just as Paul explained in the third chapter of Philippians.

Holding fast the confidence is not to be interpreted as a static profession of belief in Christ in which we take a rigid doctrinal stance and then live according to the appetites of our body and soul. This would be comparable to Israel remaining in Egypt while speaking and teaching about the Glory of God's goodness and power and the virtues of the Passover Lamb. There would be a celebration of the Passover but no exodus from Egypt.

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, (Hebrews 3:7)

There always is a present truth. The Holy Spirit always is speaking "today." The challenge before the Church always is to "hear his voice."

How easy it is to profess faith in the Scripture and at the same time to be deaf to the voice of the Holy Spirit of God! This type of spiritual deafness is with us today just as it was with Israel of old. Spiritual deafness and blindness brought judgment on that nation from the days of the wilderness wandering to the time when Jesus of Nazareth strode along the shores of Galilee—and on through to the present hour. Do we hear the Spirit today?

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: (Hebrews 3:8)

The wilderness was designed as a school for Israel, a place of testing until they were wise and strong enough to invade the land of promise.

The wilderness turned out to be not only a test of Israel but also of God's patience because of the rebellious murmuring and complaining of the people of Israel. The Israelites murmured because they hardened their hearts in unbelief.

The troubles that come to us in the wilderness cause one of two things to happen to us: they cause us to learn of God and of the ways of God or they cause us to become hard and bitter, angry at God and angry at the people and circumstances that God uses to perfect us. When we experience pain we can choose to humble ourselves and learn God's ways or we can choose to harden our heart and become bitter and rebellious.

The Israelites chose to harden their hearts and become bitter and rebellious. They were driven back from the border of Canaan after the first two years of wandering and had to continue in the wilderness for an additional thirty-eight years. The trials and tribulations continued, and when they finally did cross into Canaan they were unable to lay hold on the fullness of the promise.

It is an evil thing to rebel against God and His ways!

When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. (Hebrews 3:9)

The cloud and fire and the manna continued for forty years. During this period the Israelites witnessed both the anger and the compassion of their God. They learned that God is God and that He is good and can be trusted. The wilderness is a long, difficult school but the lessons mastered there are invaluable. When we graduate we are fit to be royal priests of the Lord God.

Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. (Hebrews 3:10)

It is a tragedy when we grieve God by our unbelief. What a disease it is to always be wrong in our heart toward God even though our doctrine may be "correct"! The error of the heart is that of unbelief: to be continually in trouble, to see God deliver, and then to howl and complain at the next problem, never accepting the fact that God is to be trusted.

Serving God is simpler and easier than not serving God. To abide in Christ, trusting Him for all our needs, is a simple matter. We keep ourselves in a tumult because of our doubt that God cares for us, knows about us, and is able to provide our needs.

Doctors inform us that heart disease is a major cause of death. There is a spiritual heart disease that results in an unwillingness to know and accept the ways of God. It is caused by the virus of unbelief.

So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (Hebrews 3:11)

What a terrible situation exists when God is moved by anger to suspend His promise to us! With good will God called the people from Egypt so they might enter the land of milk and honey, only to have the people grumble in unbelief, refusing to learn their necessary lessons. On occasion after occasion Israel refused to glorify God. As a result, God lifted His promise from them.

The word "rest" is employed in the Book of Hebrews to mean the fullness of our inheritance in Christ. The rest of God includes union with Christ, becoming the Temple of God, complete transformation into the image of Christ, and our position of authority and power over all the works of God. To be in the rest of God is to be in the center of God's will.

The rest of God has two aspects. There is a rest along the way, and then there is the rest that is our destination. To enter the rest along the way is to seek each day the perfect will of God and to rest in it. To enter the rest that is our destination is to come to the fullness of the destiny that was created for us as an individual before the heavens and the earth were formed.

In the third and fourth chapters of the Book of Hebrews the spiritual "rest" of God is symbolized by the land of promise, by the seventh day of creation, and by the seventh day of the week—the Sabbath day. These three types symbolize the true spiritual rest of God—our coheirship with Christ.

We cannot enter the fullness of rest in Christ unless we accept our wilderness lessons in a good and faithful heart of trust in the Lord and his ways.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)

This admonition is addressed to Christians. We need to remain watchful at all times that our hearts are perfect toward God, even though we may have accepted Christ at some point in the past. If our hearts are not perfect with God we will depart from Him when the wilderness experiences become unpleasant.

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)

Sin is deceitful. If sin were to confront us visibly most of us would push it back by the power of Christ. But sin is deceitful. It creeps up on us unawares or sets a trap or an ambush. When we fall into the snare we may become hard of heart. This is a common failing of Christians.

Hebrews commands us to exhort one another each day so that none of us falls into the snares set by sin and becomes hardened thereby. The danger of becoming spiritually hardened is that we may not be allowed to enter our inheritance in Christ.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)

We are not made fellows (coheirs) of Christ solely on the basis of a one-time acceptance of Jesus as our Savior. The initial steps of faith and of baptism in water are necessary. Through them we pass from the authority of the kingdom of darkness to the authority of the kingdom of Christ, just as Israel was commanded to sprinkle the Passover blood and then cross the Red Sea to the area where God would lead them by His Presence.

After we accept Christ there follows a lifetime of lessons taught by the Holy Spirit. If in the middle of our wilderness lessons we lose our confidence and do not remain steadfast in faith in Christ, we are in danger of not obtaining the fullness of the inheritance.

It is a false teaching that claims we shall be coheirs with Christ whether or not we conduct our life in the Spirit of God. It is a false teaching that states we shall receive our rewards solely on the profession of belief in Christ and are not obligated to walk in the Spirit.

We cannot serve two masters. We are commanded to decide between Christ and the world. If we are not being transformed each day by the renewing of our mind, our profession of Christ may prove to have been in vain, not being strong enough to stand in the day of testing.

And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? (Hebrews 3:18)

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. The meaning of faith, as used in Hebrews, Chapter Three and Eleven, is obedience to God and confidence throughout our wilderness wanderings that no matter what happens to us, God is moving on our behalf for our good.

Faith is a cheerful acceptance of the "manna" given for each day, a following of the cloud and the fire, an obedience to the commandments given by the Apostles, and a militant courage and patience that keep us pressing toward the land of promise.

Faith is courageous, trusting, cheerful, joyous, full of confidence and assurance in God. This is the kind of grasp on God that overcomes the worldly wickedness in the midst of which we are endeavoring to serve the Lord.

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19)

The Israelites continually were ready to blame God for their inability to enter the land of promise. "This is wrong and the other thing is wrong. There are giants in the land!"

The truth is, there was not a single condition or giant that in any manner could have prevented a Spirit-empowered Israel from seizing the fullness of the inheritance.

There were, however, two huge giants in the camp of Israel. The name of the biggest giant was Unbelief. Unbelief had a brother standing by whose name was Disobedience. Israel brought their own giants along with them.

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)

The promise to us is that we are destined to inherit all things in Christ. It is possible to start out toward Christ and then to "die in the wilderness" and not reach the land of promise. Many Israelites left Egypt in expectation of glory but never reached Canaan. They perished in the wilderness of instruction and correction.

Wouldn't it be a tragic experience, after having made a victorious start in Christ, to come short of the promised-land rest and perish in the wilderness?

For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:2)

The good news of the Kingdom of God (as represented by the land of promise) was preached to the Israelites, just as the good news of the Kingdom of God has been preached to us. The word preached did not profit them (think of that!) because the hearers did not mix faith with the word they were hearing.

How about us? Are we mixing faith with the word we are hearing? Remember, the kind of faith being discussed here is the faith of remaining steadfast with the Spirit of God as He leads us through the wilderness of temptation.

Is our faith remaining steadfast, being mixed with faith in the Word of God? Or are we losing ground because we are not following the Lord as we should?

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)

God has prepared our position in Christ from the creation of the heavens and the earth. God finished His work and then rested. At that time we were predestined, called, justified, and glorified. The work has been finished as far as we are concerned.

We can stop the whole process and not receive the inheritance if we are unwilling to allow the Holy Spirit to perform in us what was designated for us from the creation of the world.

We will enter the glorious inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ if we will hold fast in faith each day of our pilgrimage, pressing forward in Christ, carrying our cross faithfully throughout our journey.

We never will be able to receive God's first choice for us if we begin to rebel, murmur, complain because of the difficulties of the wilderness trials to which we are being subjected. Nor are we to blame other people for our suffering and frustration.

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8)

Joshua was not able to bring the Israelites into the fullness of their rest, their inheritance, because they were not willing to fight hard enough. Also, they would not continue in the holy ways of the Lord. They are an example to us on whom the ends of the age have come, an example of what not to do.

Although Israel obtained a measure of rest in Canaan, the Spirit of Christ reveals to us that the true and eternal rest in Christ is yet available to the Israel of God. The Spirit has spoken of "another day."

. . . To day if ye will hear his voice, (Psalms 95:7)

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)

There is a mark, a goal, a land of promise, a finish, an omega in the Divine program of redemption. Hebrews refers to this mark as the promised-land rest. It is the inheritance of the people of God from the righteous Abel all the way to the last battle-scarred disciple of Jesus of Nazareth.

We are going somewhere. Our eyes have caught sight of the city of God, a city that has foundations, a better age, a holier place, a nearness to the Lord; and we have declared that we are strangers and pilgrims in the earth. Let us press on toward the fullness of that inheritance.

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)

There is a conclusion of the Christian pilgrimage. There is a destination. The Holy Spirit works in us for "six days," so to speak, until we have been created in the image of God. As soon as this has been accomplished we can rest with God.

Each day a Divine lesson is set before us. We can rest with God after the problems of the day and then be renewed on the following morning in preparation for the challenges of the new day. The struggle will not go on forever. We are pressing toward the glorious promised-land rest in which all our enemies will have been put under our feet. Let us continue to move toward the fullness of resurrection life in Christ.

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:11)

It is impossible to enter our inheritance unless we are willing to labor. The Israelites groaned and complained at every inconvenience until God became weary of hearing their rebellions. We must accept our laboring in the Spirit of God as part of a necessary preparation period. We must remain willing to press on and on and on, gladly willing to spend and be spent. We must give our all so that we and those who hear us may be moved toward the fullness of Christ.

If we labor faithfully toward the rest of God we one day shall join the cloud of witnesses in the heavens who are watching the Body of Christ yet in the earth, as the Spirit of God moves the Lord's army toward a confrontation with Satan. The Christian Church will successfully invade the territory occupied for so long by the forces of wickedness.

The works of God's hands are our possession by inheritance. Let us go on with God until we are able, by the authority of the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit, to redeem our inheritance and enjoy the fullness of the promises that are to Christ, in Christ, and of Christ.

A season and place of instruction: the wilderness. The second area of redemption, that of sanctification, is a school—the school of the wilderness wandering. Each member of the Body of Christ must receive instruction in this school. God established the curriculum. Christ is the Headmaster. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher.

The subject matter of the curriculum is concerned with the knowledge of, and obedience to, God and His ways. We learn our lessons by experience. Every once in a while we receive a "report card" informing us of our progress. The wilderness is a difficult school, an exacting discipline, but an effective training program. We learn well in the wilderness.

There is one important fact the Church of Christ must keep in mind. We were not saved from Egypt in order to live forever in the wilderness. The wilderness is not our rest, our home, our inheritance.

We were saved from Egypt so we may inherit the land of promise, the land of milk and honey. The reason for the wilderness wanderings is that we may become strong enough in the Lord to take the land of promise by force and then be able to defend it against our enemies. Also, we are being taught to love the holy ways of the Lord our God and to hate and reject the abominations of the previous occupants of the land.

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (Leviticus 18:24-26)

The Canaanites practiced abominable idolatries. Typical of their abominations were the giving of themselves to lust and the roasting of their children in the fire as an offering to the god Molech. Because of these two rituals of worship the land of promise was ready to vomit out the Philistines, the Amorites, the Jebusites, the Girgashites, and the rest of the worshipers of demons.

God slowly and patiently rehearsed Israel again and again concerning the way in which they were to behave when they occupied the land of promise. Also, the Tabernacle, the Aaronic priesthood, and the Levitical feasts were instituted in the wilderness so the Lord could be served continually and faithfully as soon as the land was occupied.

The laws, ordinances, and observances enjoined on the Israelites were binding, to a certain extent, while they wandered in the wilderness. But they were directed primarily toward the life they would be living in Canaan.

For example, several of the Levitical feasts (Leviticus, Chapter 23) were celebrations of agricultural harvests. Yet the Jews were not able to practice farming in the wilderness. The lessons of the wilderness were for the future although they applied also, as far as possible, to the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. "Thou shalt not commit adultery" applies whether we are in the wilderness, in the land of promise, in Egypt, or wherever else we may be.

The fact that God impressed on Israel in the wilderness rules for living in the land of promise signifies that the rigorous lessons of faith, of patience, of love, of gentleness that we Christians are learning now are instruction for our behavior in the ages to come.

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)

"The life that now is, and of that which is to come."

These virtues are to be observed now. It is as spiritually weakening to remove the things of God to the future as it is to relegate them to the past. The issues and challenges are now. Now is the day of salvation.

Nevertheless we are being prepared for a future state of personality and actions which, compared with the present evil age, is infinitely better, infinitely more blessed. It will be much easier in the Kingdom age to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good will, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control than it is now under the best of conditions.

The Israelites were not brought out from Egypt by the power of God so they could struggle to survive in the wilderness but so they could enjoy life in Canaan. The wilderness is a miserable place in which to attempt to exist, and the Lord understands this better than we do.

God did not deliver us from the authority of darkness so that we may wander about in the wilderness of the world. We were redeemed so we may rejoice in the fullness of life in Christ; so we may become the Wife of the Lamb; so we may be created in the image of God; so we may serve forever as the Temple of God; so we may receive the inheritance of all things jointly with the Lord Jesus Christ; so we may possess the fullness of authority and power as kings and priests of God Almighty; so we may rule God's creation throughout the eternity of eternities.

We were redeemed from the authority of the kingdom of darkness for the purpose of dwelling forever in the fullness of resurrection life in spirit, soul, and body in an environment so superior to our present age and environment that no comparison is possible.

The present age is incredibly evil and becoming much worse each day that passes. The lid is blowing off the nauseating cesspools of rebellion, perversity, and foul lust. The people who are in bondage to the will and way of Satan are revealing the deeper filthiness and stench that are boiling up from the murky depths of spiritual darkness.

Even the physical environment is rejecting the lawlessness of man. Nature is shaking and writhing in protest against the abominations that today are practiced in the earth. Floods, droughts, famines, hurricanes, and earthquakes are becoming increasingly common. Lust, perversity, and violence abound, and the imaginations of men are exploited by hideous demons that are inventing increasingly detestable manipulations of the flesh, spirit, and soul of mankind.

The age of Christ that is just over the horizon is an environment of righteousness, peace, and joy. As soon as the evil has been crushed in the earth all nature will break forth into singing. The Holy Spirit will descend on the earth as the River of Life who will flow from the children of God until every corner of the earth is covered with the Glory of God.

There will be light, joy, peace, never-ending tranquility. God in Christ in the Church will be present, continually available to each soul on earth. The light, glory, and righteousness will exceed in glory any scene we can envision at this time.

We were not called out from the spirit of this age to stumble about in perplexity and pain. We were called out to dwell in the fullness of joy and righteousness in the Presence of God and the Lamb.

First must come a season of instruction. We may not enjoy every lesson, but some day we will bless God that He was willing to endure patiently with our complaining as His Spirit destroyed our many bondages and taught us the right ways of the Lord.

We are taught the lessons of the Spirit by many devices. One device is the repeating of the lessons again and again until we learn well.

For example, the manna came down each day. Israel was dependent on manna for survival; yet, there was no way to control the manna. The manna came down from the heavens and it was there on the ground each morning. It did no good to collect a great deal because there always was just enough whether one collected little or much. The manna would not stay fresh, except for Friday's manna that lasted through Saturday so the Sabbath could be observed.

The principle of the manna runs counter to the root of our faithless nature. We always are looking for ways to make ourselves independent of reliance on God. We seek security in the predictable resources of the world. We accumulate money so we will not be required to depend on God. Money becomes our god.

Because of the manner in which the manna was sent, Israel had to learn to trust God. This lesson continued for forty years. Every day each Jew must go out and humbly pick up from the ground his daily portion. Whether he liked it or not, he had to learn to lean on God for his daily preservation.

What a lesson of dependence and trust! It was taught by repetition. The force that emphasized the lesson was that we soon perish without food. We humans are frail creatures. Our life's breath is in our nostrils.

God uses our frailty to call our attention to the spiritual lessons that will prove to be our salvation in the coming ages. In the future we will not be as frail as we are now but will be capable of causing much harm if we are not obedient to the Lord, just as has been true of Satan and the fallen angels.

We learn the lessons of godliness in the wilderness of this life. What we learn is useful now, but the major usefulness of the lessons will be realized in the eons to come.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)

"When ye be come into the land."

Many of the admonitions and the ordinances, such as the feasts of the Lord, that were given in the wilderness, were to prepare Israel for life in Canaan. So it is true that what is happening to us now is in preparation for the endless ages of resurrection glory that lie before us.

Another lesson we are being taught is to look to God continually for His wisdom and enabling power. The Israelites were led by the cloud by day and the fire by night. They did not follow scouts or maps as would an ordinary expedition. They followed a supernatural manifestation of God.

If we would make a success of the Christian discipleship we must learn to follow the leading of the Lord. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). To bring one's self under the control of the Holy Spirit requires discipline. Every day there is something new to learn about the ways of the Lord.

We are encouraged when we keep in mind that we have not been called to abide in the wilderness but are pressing toward a goal. We need to behold the vision seen by the saints of the Scriptures.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

God's saints of all ages have been seeking a city that has foundations—the heavenly Zion that is founded on Christ. We too have been called to glory. If we will keep the heavenly glory before our eyes, which is the fullness of eternal life in Christ, then we will cooperate patiently with the Holy Spirit of God as He teaches us the lessons of the wilderness.

The revelation of God's Nature in the Law and ordinances. When Moses met God at the burning bush he knew only of the tradition handed down by word of mouth from the sons of Jacob. Ignorance of God's Person, of His name, of His ways, accounts for Moses' hesitancy in proceeding with what God commanded him to do.

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? (Exodus 3:13)

Neither Moses nor the children of Israel whom he was to lead, knew much about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even when the people stood on the east bank of the Red Sea and commenced their trek south toward Mount Sinai, they still knew very little about this awesome God who had rained down destruction on the land of Egypt and who now was going before them to some distant land He had chosen for them.

The Israelites were delighted to leave because of the harsh bondage of their servitude in Egypt. They were occupied with the excitement of going to a better place. However, they were ignorant of the Person and purpose of God and of the land toward which He was leading them.

When we accept Christ we may be delighted to leave the harsh bondage of the spirit of this age. Satan is a hard taskmaster. We may be excited and enthusiastic about the prospect of coming into the peace and joy of God's acceptance of us, an acceptance not based on works of righteousness we have performed in our own strength.

We may be full of joy at the idea of Heaven and of the resurrection from the dead of ourselves and our loved ones. But we are ignorant of the Person of Christ and of His holy ways. Also, we do not understand the inheritance toward which He is leading us.

The Israelites began complaining a short time after leaving Egypt.

And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. (Exodus 16:3)

How soon we forget!

Moses found himself with a heavy load on his shoulders—that of a grumbling, unbelieving multitude who were ready to stone him if he did not provide them with all the food and drink they desired.

The ignorance of God and of His righteous and holy ways continued until the third month had arrived (Exodus 19:1). Then, one of the most astonishing revelations of God's Person and ways ever given to mankind was presented before the terrified Israelites. The earth shook at the sound of God Almighty.

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. (Exodus 19:16)

The stage was set for the giving of the Ten Commandments, the ordinances of living, the design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the Aaronic priesthood, the five principal offerings, and the organization of Israel into the army of the Lord. From this moment forward the holiness and power of God were revealed to Israel.

God was revealing Himself to and through Moses. No longer was God the memory passed down from the sons of Jacob. Now He became the present "I Am," and the Israelites had to change their habits in order to be acceptable to Him and to keep His Presence among them.

There was no comparable revelation of the Person and ways of God after that until Christ began His ministry.

Whenever God reveals Himself in these momentous ways or even in the smallest of manners, we are brought to a new level of responsibility in terms of what we are and how we behave.

From the Ten Words, the Ten Commandments, down to the detailed instructions concerning the conduct of people, the Law and ordinances issued at Sinai revealed God to be holy and righteous.

The Egyptians and the Canaanites worshipped many demons. Their gods were evil, teaching the worshipers to practice lust and the murder of children. Only the Lord God of Israel is able to provide His worshipers with a law and ordinances that will, if observed, produce soundness of spirit, soul, and body.

The Law and the ordinances were necessary and practical. The only reason they did not prove to be effective in the lives of the Israelites was that the fleshly nature of the people made it impossible for them to perform such holy and righteous requirements.

Notice that the Law and ordinances were assigned in the wilderness. God had called the people from Egypt in order to dwell in Canaan, not in the Sinai desert. We Christians have been called to a glorious promised-land rest of God. God's righteous and holy ways are being created in us now while we yet are in the wilderness of the present world.

We are in better circumstances now than was true of the Church under the old covenant. God's holy and righteous ways are not presented to us on tables of stone or scrolls of parchment.

We have the written records of the Prophets of Israel and the Apostles of the new covenant. But more importantly we possess the blood of Jesus that protects us. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is the law of the Spirit of life. We have the body and blood of Jesus which is fed to us so the Substance of Christ is built up in us.

The Holy Spirit is the law of the new covenant. The law of the new covenant is the law of the Spirit of life (Romans, Chapter Eight). The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. He leads us each day giving us wisdom and ability as we learn to put to death the sinful tendencies (enemies, "Canaanites") that are in our flesh.

The Nature of Christ is being created in us and we rise up each day in newness of life, although the circumstances of our life, under the specific guidance of God, are bringing down our fleshly nature to death (II Corinthians, Chapter Four).

The Holy Spirit is bringing each of us through a wilderness experience of our own, just as Eliezer of Damascus led Rebecca back to Isaac. The wilderness contains one problem after another. Sometimes it is the blackest of tunnels with no end in sight. There are places in the wilderness where we are tested to the limit. Anyone who believes that the wilderness is a pleasurable experience has not been through it.

The glory, Presence, and preserving authority and power of the Lord always are with us in the wilderness. We learn about God and His righteous ways during our sojourn. We do not arrive at the land of promise until we have mastered these lessons.

Many Christian people are waiting to go to Heaven so they may learn the ways of the Lord there. God taught the Israelites in the wilderness before they arrived at the land of promise. God is teaching us holiness now—in this life. The third chapter of Hebrews warns us that if we do not mix faith with the Word of God it is possible for us to die in the wilderness and lose our inheritance in Christ.

The Holy Spirit is serious and determined about our instruction in the wilderness. He expects us to reveal the fruit of righteousness and holiness now. We are saved so we may reveal in ourselves the righteous ways of the Lord (Ephesians 2:10; I Peter 2:9).

If we do not begin to be converted from unrighteous conduct to holy conduct we are in danger of having received the grace of God in vain. The test of whether we are abiding in the Holy Spirit is whether we are bringing forth holy and righteous conduct.

The people of Israel learned holiness and righteousness by attempting to conform their behavior to the Ten Commandments and the lesser ordinances. They had available to them the provision of animal blood to forgive their sins.

We Christians learn holiness and righteousness by yielding to the Spirit of God and by receiving the many dimensions of grace that are given us under the new covenant. As long as we are walking in the light of God's will, continuing in the Spirit and overcoming the lust of the world, the blood of Jesus is keeping us free from all condemnation.

The law of the new covenant is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good will, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is the Nature and way of God. Only the Holy Spirit can accomplish such a nature in us.

"Blueprints" for the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the Church. The design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was given on Sinai at the time of the revelation of God in the Law and ordinances. Moses saw the plan of the Tabernacle, for God commanded Moses to construct all things according to the pattern showed to him in the mountain.

The directions for the construction of the Tabernacle, as recorded in Exodus, are difficult to understand in some instances. It was not necessary for the Lord to be more specific for the following two reasons: Moses had seen the pattern of the Tabernacle; and the Holy Spirit guided Bezaleel and Aholiab as they constructed the Tabernacle and the holy furnishings (Exodus 31:3).

It is true today that the directions for the building of the Body of Christ are not complete in detail, in the New Testament writings. They do not need to be more complete, for the following two reasons: the Lord Jesus Christ has seen the completed work and reveals necessary portions to His ministers; and the Holy Spirit guides the ministry in the application of the Word of God as they do the Lord's work.

We are not implying that there is to be a new revelation concerning the Body of Christ or that we have no more use for the Divinely inspired Scriptures. What we are stating is that we cannot obtain the directions we need from the letter of the Scriptures alone.

The Bible is the general Word of God, the infallible guide of our faith and conduct. Also, we must have the living Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ and the wisdom and enabling power of the Holy Spirit if we are to be successful in building the Body of Christ according to the pattern God has in mind.

It is impossible that human beings, no matter how well-intentioned, can be successful in building the Body of Christ according to the plan of God. It is time now for the Holy Spirit to become preeminent in building the Body of Christ. The well-intentioned efforts of men have led only to division and carnality plus the loss of the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Exodus 40:9).

Under the old covenant, the Aaronic priesthood and Levitical assistants ministered at the Altar of Burnt Offering. The priests and Levites were kept busy caring for the spiritual needs of the people of Israel.

In the Tabernacle the priests serviced the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, and the Table of Showbread.

The design of the Tabernacle, which was given along with the Ten Commandments and the Levitical ordinances, teaches us much concerning the Person and ways of God Almighty.

In the design, furnishings, and elements of the Tabernacle we can perceive the following Divine revelations: (1) the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) the program of the redemption of the believer in Christ; (3) the growth of the Body of Christ to the full stature of Christ; and (4) the construction and setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth. These four portrayals of the Glory of Christ are discussed in our book, The Tabernacle of the Congregation.

Formation into an army. The construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation marked the change of Israel from a wandering congregation of former slaves into the army of the Lord. From the beginning there had been a militant aspect of the movement from Egypt to Canaan.

And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies. (Exodus 12:51)

God is a Man of war.

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:3)

At the time of the exodus, God's army was too weak to fight against the inhabitants of the land of promise.

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: (Exodus 13:17)

It has been that way also with the Church of Christ. For two thousand years the Spirit of God has led the Church by a roundabout way because we have not been strong enough to wrest the creation from the forces of Satan. God has spoken to us in these last days and has alerted us to the fact that the Day of God is at hand and that now we will be able to overcome the enemy, under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, and enter the rest of God.

The time is at hand and the Spirit of God is awakening the saints—God's mighty men. We are preparing to cross the Jordan, speaking figuratively of our final breakthrough into the Presence of Christ, and invade the spiritual kingdom that has held the earth and its inhabitants in the bondage of sin and rebellion.

The construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation is associated with the preparation of Israel for battle against the inhabitants of the land of promise. This is why the Holy Spirit in the days in which we live is bringing into prominence the need for the building of the Body of Christ, which is the true tabernacle of God.

As soon as the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, attains the required level of maturity, the Lord Jesus will appear at the head of His army and we shall go forth to judge and deliver the inhabitants of the earth. The time is at hand. Let us press on to the fullness of the resurrection life of the Spirit of God.

As we have stated, there was a militant quality in the movement of Israel from the beginning. From the moment the Israelites left Egypt they were the army of the Lord, although disorganized. As soon as the Tabernacle of the Congregation was constructed, a marching order was established with the Ark in the center of the formation.

It is time now to organize the Church of Christ (all blood-washed, born-again saints) into a disciplined army in preparation for the coming of the Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The next feast after Pentecost is the blowing of Trumpets. We are entering now into Trumpets, to speak symbolically (Leviticus 23:24).

Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. (Numbers 10:2)

The number two speaks of the two loaves of Pentecost, of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11, of the latter rain, of the "glory of this latter house" (Haggai 2:9). Two is associated with power (Psalms 62:11), with the Cherubim of Glory on the Mercy Seat, with the testimony of Elisha. Elisha, the prophet of the double portion, represents the preaching of the Kingdom of God just before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The silver of the two trumpets portrays the redemption that is in Christ. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is associated with redemption, with the deliverance of the saints from all of the presence and power of Satan.

Remember, when the final birth pains of the creation are occurring we are to lift up our heads, for our "redemption draweth nigh." The Church of Christ is moving toward the Day of Redemption, the day when that which was purchased on the cross is delivered to the Purchaser and the enemies of the Lord Jesus are made His footstool.

And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 10:3)

God met the children of Israel at the door of the Tabernacle. There were two holy vessels at the door: the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering, representing Jesus' death on the cross of Calvary; and the bronze Laver, portraying water baptism, repentance, and moral cleanliness. God always meets His people at the cross.

We are reminded of the words of the Lord: "Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matthew 24:28). When the Lord's coming draws near there will be many signs. One of the most important of these will be that all true Christians, those who live by the body and blood of Christ, will be gathered together to Him.

Today we are scattered all over "Ezekiel's boneyard." Before Jesus comes or, we should say, as the closeness of His appearing presses upon us, all the saints will draw near to Christ as we never have before. When the end-time trumpet blows we shall "assemble at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation." We shall gather together at the cross. Our denominational identities will be forgotten.

So great will be the pressures in the days ahead that only the cross of Christ and the virtue that flows from it will be strong enough to stand. All of God's saints will gather together as one in the most sincere worship of our Lord Jesus Christ and love for one another.

His body and His blood will be our sustenance and we shall survive only by the strength we are drawing from the Divine Substance. "Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together." God's eagles are those who live by His body and blood.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him (John 6:56)

We will mount up at the last trumpet to meet the Lord in the air. So shall we ever be with the Lord.

In the image of the ox we bear the burdens assigned to us. In the image of the lion we rule in the midst of our enemies. In the image of man we have fellowship with God. In the image of the eagle we soar into the heavens (Job 39:27-30, Revelation 4:7).

And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. (Numbers 10:4)

It is possible that today the "princes," the leaders of the flocks, are hearing the trumpet of the Lord. Many ministers are receiving a fresh touch of the Lord and are ministering to thousands.

We do not see as yet the widespread manifestation of the gifts and ministries of all the members of the Body of Christ that we believe will take place before Christ returns. There seems to be no doubt, however, that God is speaking to many of His ministers, inspiring them to press on toward Christ and to teach their hearers to march forward.

When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. (Numbers 10:5)

The "east" side was nearest the land of promise. The Spirit of God is calling today to those believers who are on the "east" side, that is to say, to people who are awake in prayer and in Bible study and who are hearing the voice of the Spirit. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret to his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). "To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

The saints who are keeping before the Lord in prayer each day and who are walking in cross-carrying obedience before Him are beginning to hear "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees" (II Samuel 5:24).

It is the sound of the Lord's army preparing for the battle. It is the call of the silver trumpets. "Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day to the Lord?" (I Chronicles 29:5).

And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. (Numbers 10:8)

The "priests" represent the ministry of the Body of Christ. When the Lord desires to speak to His people He lays the burden on the hearts of His "priests." Throughout the land Christ's true ministers will begin to proclaim the burden of the Spirit. Whether they are Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Methodist or any other Christ-proclaiming congregation, the Word of God will begin to come forth, each minister expressing himself according to his own background.

We are expecting to witness shortly a drawing together of true Christian believers and a separation to come between the believers who are of the world and the saints who are the blood-bought, blood-nourished people of the Lord.

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (Numbers 10:9)

"Ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God."

It may seem unusual to us that God would need to be reminded of what is happening to us. The Scripture informs us that Christ never will leave us or forsake us. Yet, both the Old and New Testament writings tell us plainly that we must keep on seeking the Lord and requesting His help.

When the Spirit of God leads us to attack the forces of darkness we must keep on praying with all our strength to the Lord, reminding Him of what is taking place down here. We need to seek His assistance at every moment, especially when we are in the midst of spiritual battle. We must "blow the trumpet" loudly enough for God to hear.

Sometimes people complain about noise in the assembly when the saints become serious about seeking the Lord. It may be little comfort to such complainers to realize that Satan much prefers that we conduct quiet, passive, unemotional, restrained, dignified "services" that give no offense to anyone. Satan prefers that we be dead spiritually, performing our religious obligations in the deadness of the flesh.

Few battles on the earth are fought in quietness, passivity, unemotional disinterest, restraint, dignity, and without hurting anyone's feelings. Battles are battles and death is death. One of the principal distinctions between war and death is the amount of noise that accompanies each.

Blow the trumpets! Blow the trumpets! Blow the trumpets! Blow them loud enough and long enough that the attention of the Lord will be drawn to us and we will be remembered before Him and be saved from our enemies.

And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. (Numbers 10:11)

The army of the Lord always must follow the Spirit of God. The key to success in the fight against Satan is our strict obedience to the Spirit of God. There is nothing we can do by the enthusiasm and plans of our own mind. We must have the mind of the Spirit. If we do not we will go down to certain defeat. If we will obey the Lord in every detail, victory is assured.

In the first place went the standard of the camp of the children of Judah according to their armies: and over his host was Nahshon the son of Amminadab. (Numbers 10:14)

The word Judah means praise. Praise always goes first as the army of God begins to move. As we see praise being restored to the churches we realize that the ranks of the army are being set in order in preparation for the march toward the land of promise (Joel 2:7).

As we have said, the children of Israel were the army of the Lord from the moment they left Egypt, although they were not at that time prepared for battle.

But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed [armed for battle] out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 13:18)

After the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, Israel became much better organized. Each tribe fell into the line of march according to a specific pattern.

The Israelites broke camp in such a manner that their flanks and rear were protected. They were not the same group of disorganized slaves that left Egypt. They were being given wisdom in war. They were progressing to the point where they would be able to invade their land and drive out the inhabitants.

Israel had identity. Israel had discipline. The nation had faith in God and was following Him by supernatural guidance. The officers of the army were mentioned by name.

This type of spiritual organizing is taking place today in the churches of Christ. We are changing from disorganized groups of believers into fighting units. We are coming under the discipline of the Spirit. As soon as the Lord organizes us according to His wisdom there will be no force in the spirit realm that will be able to stand before the army.

And the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle. (Numbers 10:17)

There are seasons when the Church is to remain at a place and reveal the Presence and ways of God. There are other seasons when the Spirit of God speaks to the Church to move forward in the Presence of Christ.

Now we are at one such place of forward movement. The Spirit is bringing a remnant of the Church past the Pentecostal experience. The cloud and the fire have been lifted and are moving toward the horizon, toward the fullness of Christ.

Let us arise and follow the Spirit of God. The wilderness is no place to abide once the cloud and the fire have proceeded forward.

The sons of Gershon and Merari were Levites and they were charged with transporting the boards and materials of the Tabernacle in wagons. Notice that there were ranks of fighting men ahead of them so that in the case of a frontal attack the parts of the Tabernacle would be protected. There is a wisdom for spiritual warfare, and we are not to be foolish when it comes to the war that Christ is waging against the lords of darkness presently enthroned in the heavenlies.

Reuben, Simeon, and Gad passed on. Then came the seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle: the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering, the Laver, the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mercy Seat.

The seven furnishings were not carried on carts but were transported by staves resting on the shoulders of the Kohathite Levites. The Laver may have been carried on top of the bronze Altar for the Laver had no receptacles for staves.

The Ark of the Covenant, bearing on itself as a lid the golden Mercy Seat, was wrapped in the holy veil and covered with a cloth of blue. God was on the march, moving toward His enemies in the land of promise.

And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came. (Numbers 10:21)

The Gershonite and Merarite Levites set up the Tabernacle when they arrived at the new camp site, so that by the time the Kohathites arrived there was a place in which to place the seven holy furnishings.

There always must be a prepared place in order to receive the glory. When we pray earnestly for revival we can expect things to start happening to us so that there will be a place prepared for the Glory of Christ. The Glory of God does not come down on organs, pews, pulpits, or choir lofts. The glory comes down on the hearts of people. They are the prepared place.

One of the most wonderful spectacles in the history of mankind was that of the millions of Israelites on the march toward Canaan. Their ranks stretched from horizon to horizon. The splendor of the white-robed priests moving in front, holding the silver trumpets, stood out in contrast to the bleak expanse of the countryside through which they were journeying.

In the center of the line of march were the Kohathite Levites, bearing on acacia-wood staves plated with gold and bronze the seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle, each vessel wrapped and carried according to Divinely revealed specifications.

The Ark of the Covenant in its cloth of blue was a constant reminder that this was God's army, not just a migration of people. Blue speaks of Heaven. The tribes marched under the leadership of Heaven. The mind of man was not in control. The exodus was ordered of God, the pilgrimage through the wilderness was ordered of God, and the furious invasion was ordered of God. Woe to anyone who resisted this army!

The showbread was kept on the Table during the march, teaching us that even in times of change we are to keep the body and blood of Christ available to every person who comes to us with a need. "Be instant in season, out of season," the Word of God commands us (II Timothy 4:2).

And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon: (Numbers 4:7)

Remember the fig tree that Jesus cursed because it was not bearing fruit out of season? We are to be ready instantly with the nourishing Word of Christ, even when the Lord's army is marching toward the land of promise.

Six more tribes followed the Kohathite Levites, insuring that the Levites could not be attacked from the rear. The Lord made certain that the front, the flanks, and the rear were protected while at rest and on the march.

The saints need to learn that lesson. We always must keep a "sentry posted" whether we are at home relaxing, on a picnic, at school or in church on Sunday morning. We always must maintain spiritual watchfulness. Such diligence will save us endless hours of grief and remorse. We are engaged in warfare against a vicious, determined, extraordinarily skillful enemy whose tender mercies are cruel beyond belief. Let us never, never forget that!

Moses spoke to his father-in-law, Hobab:

And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes. (Numbers 10:31)

Seeking help from his father-in-law probably was a weakness on the part of Moses. God was helping the Israelites. They had the cloud and the fire. There is no record that Hobab found them a desirable camp. How quick we are to seek help from the flesh, even when we are in the midst of the Presence of God!

When Judas fell, the disciples cast lots in order to make up the full number of Apostles. Matthias was selected (Acts 1:26). There is no scriptural record that God honored Matthias in an unusual way. In God's opportune moment Saul of Tarsus was arrested on the way to Damascus—the Apostle "born out of due time." If we wait on God He fills up our lacks in His own way. What need do we have of Hobabs when we possess the Spirit of the Lord?

Notice in the next passage that the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, not Hobab, sought out a resting place for Israel.

And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them [here are our "three days" again, symbolizing that there will be "three days" of God's workings with us before we are able to enter the fullness of our rest in Christ]. (Numbers 10:33)

There was no reason for Moses to seek the help of Hobab, the priest of Midian, or to offer Hobab any of the inheritance of the Lord. We Christians are too quick to become friendly with the flesh. The Lord showed His independence of the assistance of the flesh by moving the Ark from its customary location in the center of the line of march and having the Ark lead Israel to the place of rest.

The saints do not need to ask the world for a single thing. We will not take from unbelievers so much as a shoelace except as the Lord specifically directs. The sons of God are to be led by the Spirit of God. Many times the Lord uses non-Christians or lukewarm Christians to assist us. This is acceptable if the Lord does it on His own initiative.

And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. (Numbers 10:34)

The "cloud" of the Lord signifies His Presence and protection. When we are doing the will of the Lord and are in the place where He has led us, the "cloud" of the Lord's Presence abides on us. The cloud of His Presence will guide us finally to the fullness of the inheritance, the rest of God (Hebrews, Chapter Four ).

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel. (Numbers 10:35,36)

Notice that it was the Ark of the Covenant that set forward. Inside the Ark were the memorial jar of Manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the Ten Commandments. The Glory of God was associated closely with the Ark.

The jar of manna was the testimony that God provides for the needs of His people so they may trust in Him, and that man does not live by bread alone but by every Word of God.

Aaron's rod that budded was the testimony that God had chosen the house of Aaron to be priests before Him, and also that it is the Spirit of God who gives eternal life to the dead flesh of the earth.

The Ten Commandments, the principal testimony, revealed the holiness and righteousness of the Lord God.

Covering the Ark was the Propitiatory (Lid of Atonement, of Appeasement). God stood ready to reconcile people to Himself and to be appeased concerning the conduct of His people. Of course, the people had to obey God’s ordinances of sacrifice if the atonement (the covering; the reconciliation) was to be accomplished.

The Glory of God rested on the Israelites because of what the Ark represented. The Glory of God flows from some specific place, from some chosen point of holiness and obedience. In the march of Israel through the wilderness, the Glory was related to the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark set forward following the cloud and the fire, the Ark being borne on the staves carried on the shoulders of the Kohathite Levites. Whenever the Ark set forward, Moses cried out to God: "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee" (Numbers 10:35).

So it is today. The ministries and gifts of the Spirit are to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Body of Christ bears part of the Glory of God, and each Christian is to walk in the Spirit, under the watchful eye of the eldership of the church.

When the Glory of God sets forward in our midst it is the rising up of the Lord. The rising up of the Lord always is against His enemies.

God's rising up is not against our enemies but against His enemies. We may have our own personal likes and dislikes as far as the conduct of people is concerned. God's enemies are the evil spirits who have rebelled against Him. God rises up against the wicked spirits who have their seat of authority and power in the heavenlies. God desires to use the Church, the Body of Christ, as His weapon against those spiritual governments and powers.

When the Lord arises His enemies are scattered. They hate God. Mankind behaves the way it does because of the hatred of evil spirits for God. When the Lord rises up in the Church, all members having been set in order under the direction of the Spirit of God, then God's enemies—those who hate Him—will flee before Him.

The march of Israel was toward the land of promise, toward Canaan, toward God's enemies who inhabited Canaan. The Israelites were bringing God against His enemies. They were bringing the Law, the Presence, and the ways of God into an ungodly, unholy. lust-filled land. The business of the Church of Christ is to bring the holiness, the Presence, and the ways of God into an ungodly, unholy, lust-filled land.

We are bringing God into places that are being held captive by the oppressing power of Satan. Our line of march must be established under the careful supervision of the Spirit of God. We always must "follow the cloud and the fire."

The Christian warfare is a spiritual one and we are not sufficient in ourselves to fight the battle. The foe is spiritual, not physical. Only the Holy Spirit is able to fight this battle. We always must be found in God's Presence and God’s will as we march forward.

There are seasons when the Ark sets forward and there are seasons when the Ark rests. There are seasons when we are to move ahead under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, and then there are seasons when we are to rest—always keeping a sentry posted.

When the cloud and the fire came to a halt over the area chosen by the Lord, Moses prayed to God, "Return, O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel" (Numbers 10:36).

What a wonderful refreshing we enjoy when the Presence of the Lord gives us rest from the march and He comes down and abides in His Glory upon us! The Israelite were glad for the chance to pitch their tents and rest for awhile.

Even though the Lord works with us rigorously, yet He remembers our needs and gives us seasons of refreshing so that our strength and joy are renewed before Him. Whether marching or resting, we are the Lord's and His Presence and ways are among us.

In the first area of redemption, that of salvation, God does all the fighting. Egypt shook under the blows from the Lord until finally Pharaoh was glad to see the Israelites leave. God did all the fighting. The Israelites had only to sprinkle the Passover blood and then to follow their leader from Egypt.

So it is that God did all the fighting on Calvary. There is nothing we can do about our salvation except receive the atonement by faith and then follow the Lord in water baptism, coming out from the bondage of this age.

In the third area of redemption, that of conquest, it will be quite different. The third area of redemption has to do, not with our coming out but with our entering in. God does not do all the fighting when we enter the promised-land rest. We do the fighting, under the direction and with the assistance of the Lord. In order to enter our land of promise we must drive out the forces of Satan.

In the second area of redemption, that of sanctification, which is the current area of our study, we are being formed into a conquering army. We are learning in the school of the wilderness. When God is satisfied that we are ready to occupy the land of our inheritance He will issue the Divine Word. Christ will appear at the head of His army and we shall come smashing against the gates of Hell like a bolt of lightning.

The army of the Lord is passing in review in Heaven. The time is short. A little more preparation for the Church in the earth, and then the signal for the attack will be given.

You can be in the army of the Lord and be one of the Lord's "mighty men." You must endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ. You must discipline your mind to absolute obedience to the Lord Jesus. Not a flutter of disobedience will be found in the camp once it is ready to ride against the forces of wickedness.

Moses' ministry: Part Two. Moses represents the ministry of Christ during the Church age and Joshua represents the ministry of Christ during the coming Kingdom age. We have seen that as soon as we move past Sinai, past Pentecost, the ministry of Moses begins to change into a more Joshua-type ministry—a ministry of war. There will be a merging of the Moses ministry into the Joshua ministry just before the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

When there is a need for people to "come out of Egypt," to be saved from wrath, the Lord Jesus ministers through His leaders as an apostle (establishing the believers on the foundation of Christ), as a prophet (declaring the will of God to the heavens and to the earth), and as an evangelist (speaking the good news of God's love and concern and calling the people from Egypt). All of us have witnessed the Glory of Christ as the ministry, speaking in the Spirit of God, calls God's elect from the bondage of the world.

There are millions of Christians in the earth today who have been called out of the spirit of this age. Although they may be divided by walls that self-seeking human nature has erected, they are the blood-washed throng and each partakes of the one body and blood of Christ.

As soon as we have been saved from "Egypt," the Christian ministry becomes more that of the pastor-teacher. The apostleship still holds forth, insuring that we are founded on the Lord Jesus Christ and not on some lesser person or doctrine.

There still is the prophetic revelation in the anointed message because we always must be hearing the present burden of the Spirit of God. Otherwise, we are ignorant of the present mind of the Lord. There always is a "present truth" (II Peter 1:12). We need to know what the Spirit is saying to the churches. The saints will not grow as they should when there is no prophetic anointing on the ministry.

The ministry of the pastor-teacher goes to work as soon as we have been saved. The new Christian must begin the seemingly innumerable lessons of the wilderness. The leadership of the churches must teach us and feed us, teach us and feed us, teach us and feed us, until we become strong and experienced in the ways of the Lord.

There is nothing as important, while Israel is in the wilderness, as the feeding of God's sheep. Have you ever been hungry for the Word of God and not been able to find a place where the food of the Spirit is being served? Spiritual hunger is a painful experience when we are spiritually healthy.

Jesus is deeply concerned with the feeding of His lambs and sheep. He wants them fed. He is the good Shepherd and He wants His sheep fed. He speaks to us, as He did to Peter of old, and He says, "Feed my lambs." "Feed my sheep." One of the surest ways we have of proving our love to the Lord Jesus is by feeding His sheep. This is easier than it sounds and more difficult than it sounds.

It is easier than it sounds because He has given the food to us and all we have to do is to "cook" it until it is palatable, and then serve it in an attractive manner to the right people at the right time. The food, the cooking, and the serving will be given and directed if the Spirit has called us to this ministry and if we seek the Spirit's assistance and guidance.

It is more difficult than it sounds because we allow other ideas to flood in, and soon, without realizing it, we are not feeding the sheep with the Word of the Lord but are selling some program of our own.

Moses was faithful in all Christ's house. There have been few people who have known God as Moses knew God, and it seems there have been few people who have been able to remain meek and do exactly what God spoke to their heart. Moses followed the Lord with the most exacting obedience. The Lord told Moses exactly what to do and that is precisely what Moses did.

Meanwhile, the Israelites were studying their lessons in the school of the wilderness. Like students everywhere they were full of murmuring, perverse ways, laziness, and rebellion. As is true of students they had a tendency to blame Moses, their teacher, for the pain they suffered because of their own laziness and perversity.

Yet, Moses carried all Israel on His shoulders and in his heart. Moses made intercession for Israel and was ready to be blotted from God's Book of Life if the Lord would not find it in His heart to forgive His people.

Moses is an example of a faithful shepherd. He bore with the grumbling and perversity of the flock, being torn apart continually because of their sins, on the one hand, and God's demands on the other. Yet as a faithful shepherd he was ready to lay down his life for the sheep.

As the churches move on past Pentecost, past the "Charismatic" experience, the ministry of the churches will have the task not only of teaching and shepherding their charges but also that of learning how to lead them as an army.

It is time now for every member of the Body of Christ to begin to operate his or her ministries and gifts. The people cannot just rise up in their pews and begin to minister. They must be led by Spirit-filled, Spirit-guided leadership.

This is a new challenge. The services will take on a more militant note as far as sin is concerned. The Lord Jesus will come in the Spirit and assist us, because every ministry of the Body of Christ is an extension of His own ministry.

The Lord Jesus Christ is in the churches today as Moses and as Joshua. The men of God who are responsible for the flock must continue to serve as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers, as the occasion requires, but now will have the added responsibility of leading the people in spiritual warfare.

It truly is a most significant day in which we live and the demands on both the leadership and the flock will increase. The Holy Spirit of God and the Lord Jesus Christ are becoming more present. Where sin is abounding grace is abounding to an even greater extent. There is wisdom and power to meet the needs of the hour. It is our task to look to Christ as never before so that we may move on toward the land of promise.

The Fourth Day of Creation

The seven days of creation are one of the principal prophetic portrayals of God's plan of redemption in Christ. A person starts off "without form, and void," as it were. By the conclusion of the "sixth day" the same person is in the image of Christ and enters the Sabbath, the rest of God.

The first area of redemption, salvation, is typified by the first three days of creation.

The second area of redemption, sanctification, is revealed in the fourth day of creation, the creation of the sun, moon, and stars.

The third area of redemption, conquest, can be seen in the remaining two days of creation and in the seventh day of rest.

There is much interaction and overlap in the three aspects of redemption and there are parts of each of the types that give us insight into various aspects of redemption.

Our division of the plan of redemption into three areas, and the application to redemption of the days of creation, the journey of Israel, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and other types, are but one way of understanding the plan of salvation. No attempt is being made to cast some rigid mold for our thinking.

The Word of God is exceedingly broad and the Holy Spirit can apply these types and shadows in an infinite variety of ways. The Spirit can and does teach different lessons from the same passage of Scripture.

Before we come to the fourth day, the day of creation, which we are employing to typify the sanctification area of redemption, several aspects of God's grace already have been applied to us. Light has been created in us and has been divided from the darkness. The expanse of Heaven has entered us and a division has been created in our personality. Our "waters" have been divided into what is soulish and what is spiritual or heavenly.

Christ entering us has enabled us to distinguish between what is animal and sinful in us and what is of God. We long to do the will of God, as Paul exclaims, but we discover a law of sin working in our members. We are wretched because of the conflict in us between our old nature and our new nature.

On the "third day" there is a beginning of vegetation and fruit appearing in us—the first signs of our new resurrection life in Christ. These are the "things that accompany salvation," of which Hebrews speaks (Hebrews 6:9).

The new Christian tries hard to please the Lord Jesus and there is some evidence of the love, joy, and peace of the life lived in the Spirit of God. There is much work to be accomplished yet but the foundation has been laid.

Now we come to the fourth day of creation. In what way does the fourth day typify the second death and resurrection, the area of sanctification?

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19)

Prior to the fourth day the firmament of heaven was a clear blue having no sun, no moon, and no stars. What would it have looked like, had there been a human to observe the scene, to glance upward and behold an empty sky? There would have been no Glory of God, no Divine handiwork to instruct mankind concerning the majesty of the Creator.

So it is that when we first are saved there is a "heaven" in us, so to speak, but our heaven is empty.

Then God speaks and the Holy Spirit gives light to us. We now have direction, understanding, truth—a means of orienting ourselves on the face of the earth. Before this time there had been the light of conscience and of the written Word of God. Now "another Comforter" has come and we possess the light of the Holy Spirit who dwells eternally in us.

It requires a period of time in order for a Christian to develop experience in following the Spirit of God. One of the most valuable disciplines a new Christian can practice is that of reading and meditating in the Scriptures at every opportunity of the day and night, learning both the Old and New Testaments. He is not skillful yet in following the Spirit of God but he can obey the Scriptures and derive his orientation from them.

As we walk faithfully before the Lord Jesus, keeping His words, the Father will love us and Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their abode with us (John 14:23).

Peter has a word for us along this line:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; 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: (II Peter 1:19)

The "more sure word of prophecy" is the Scripture. We are to take heed to the Scripture, of which the first light of creation is a type (Genesis 1:3), until the "day dawn" and the "day star" arises in our heart.

First Christ is with us and then He is in us. The light of God, our personal millennium (not to be confused with the historical thousand-year Kingdom Age that is yet ahead), arises in us and the Day of the Lord is established in our personality and conduct.

And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:28)

We may walk for a while as a new Christian with little or no apparent inner guidance. If we remain faithful to the Scriptures we soon will begin to experience the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

The developing of the rule of the Holy Spirit in us is one of the major works of the wilderness experience. There is a personal witness, a portion of Christ, that begins to reign in our heart. The inner revelation of truth is more powerful than the deceit of Antichrist that surrounds us on every hand. "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John 4:4).

The work of the fourth day is the creating of the sun, moon, and stars. The sun represents Christ, and the work of the fourth day is the creating of Christ in the Church. Notice in Revelation 12:1 that the woman, the Church, is clothed with the sun. This means that during the fourth day the Church puts on the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Glory of God.

The moon symbolizes the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, who reflects His Glory. The task of the fourth day is to bring from the earth a bride for the Son of God. The sun (Christ) rules the Day of the Lord. The moon (the Church), reflecting His Glory, rules in the absence of the sun. The moon and stars light the world during the night, the evening of the Day of the Lord.

The stars represent the saints of God who press on to the fullness of Christ. The stars are God's witnesses of every age, such as Noah, Abraham, Daniel, Peter, Paul, John.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

From Revelation 12:1 we learn that the saints who press on into God's wisdom and who "turn many to righteousness" are the crowning diadem of the Church. They will stand in their places forever as God's elders.

The first three "days" of redemption were fulfilled as follows: (1) the crucifixion of Christ; (2) the work of Christ in the heart of the earth; and (3) the resurrection of Christ. The "fourth day," the day of Pentecost, is the Church era. It is in this realm that the Church becomes clothed with the Glory of Christ, being changed into His image.

In Christ's absence the Church becomes the light of the world and the "stars" of God are developed. Daniel wrote concerning the end-time: "the people that do know their God will be strong and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32). Jesus taught us, "Many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first" (Matthew 19:30).

The Spirit of God seems to be emphasizing that during the last days of time some of the strongest saints will come forth, while wickedness is coming to maturity, and bear witness of the Person and way of Christ. There have been the Elijahs, the Elishas, the Samuels, the Enochs, the Joshuas, the Daniels, of long ago. What about today?

It is our conviction that there will be brought forth, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our generation, believers in God who will perform the "greater works" of which Christ spoke.

The fullest development of sin yet seen on the earth is just ahead of us. At the same period of time there will arise saints of God who will more than eclipse the filth of Satan by the revelation of God's Glory in Christ. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20).

There is nothing in the Scriptures that suggests we are to look back in order to behold the Glory of God, except as we study the previous workings of God for our edification and comfort.

The contrary is true. Let us be pressing forward in faith, not looking back, being confident that the greatest days of all are at hand. God has "kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10). "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:9).

We now are in the opening days of a revival of Christ without equal as to its unfolding of the Scriptures, its maturing of holiness and obedience, and its anointing of power for witnessing and service. A season of refreshing without parallel has come from the Presence of the Lord.

Hosea Six, Second Day: Revival

After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:2,3)

God's Holy Spirit always is available to the believer who is under the new covenant. The Scripture indicates that there will be "seasons of refreshing"—special outpourings that will accomplish specific purposes in the Kingdom of God. We are to ask of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain (Zechariah 10:1).

It is time now to pray earnestly for the anointing of the Lord. We can receive a portion if we ask and keep on asking (Luke, Chapter 11).

Keeping in mind that the Holy Spirit always is ready to come in greater measure to the insistent seeker, and that there have been fruitful revivals throughout Church history, it appears that there are to be three major outpourings of the Spirit that will flow from the resurrection of Christ. "He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and former rain to the earth."

The Christian Era began with the first appearing of Christ and the outpouring of revelation and power on the disciples of the early Church at the first Pentecost. Apparently this outpouring ceased, to a certain extent, after the first century. The writings of the saints after that appear to be not as authoritative in tone or as revelatory in content. We begin to see the mind of man rising in dominance over the mind of the Spirit of God in matters pertaining to the Body of Christ.

The second outpouring began, we believe, with the Protestant Reformers and is slowly increasing in revelation and power to the present day. It is our understanding that the second outpouring is being given impetus in the day in which we live and that the revelation, holiness, and power of this "latter-rain" eventually will exceed all past revivals by a wide margin.

The third outpouring will be during the Millennial Jubilee, the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The Presence of the Holy Spirit in that day will fill the whole earth. It will make the first and second revivals seem like the merest mercy drops by comparison.

Let us examine the second outpouring, the second "day" of Hosea, Chapter Six. Notice the wording, "after two days will he revive us: in the third day he shall raise us up." We believe this to mean there will be two, thousand-year periods (perhaps the days will be shortened!) from Christ's resurrection to His second coming. It appears that during this interval of time there will take place the two major outpourings of the Spirit of God of which we have spoken.

After that, as we understand it, there will arise much sin and trouble and the result will be a worldwide falling away from the Christian faith. Then the Lord Jesus will appear with His army and the forces of wickedness will be destroyed. The appearing of the Lord is the "third day," of Hosea, Chapter Six., Then we shall live "in his sight."

There have been and yet will be several sendings of Jesus to us in the form of "seasons of refreshing." These will increase in revelation, holiness, and power until they are climaxed by Jesus' coming "in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

Experience and Scripture seem to point out that every season of refreshing that has come to us as individuals, and to the Church as a whole, has been a sending of Christ to us. But He will not make His full appearance until "the times of restoration of all things." Then He will descend from Heaven in the same manner as He ascended to Heaven.

Just before the descending of the Lord Jesus from Heaven there will be revivals that are so tremendous in revelation, holiness, and power that both the saved and the unsaved will become ripe for harvesting. Jesus will not return to the earth until both righteousness and sin have come to maturity. Then He will descend. The revivals that have been and yet are ahead are for the purpose of causing righteousness and sin to come to maturity.

The glory of the first-century revival was so great that the account in Acts seems a myth. As Christians, we believe the Bible record. However, our spiritual environment is so impoverished that we revere the record of Acts in much the same manner that the adherents of the religions of the world revere their books of beginnings.

The books of beginnings of the religions of the world are largely mythological. The Gospel accounts and the Book of Acts are factual records of people who were no more than perfect than we. The difference between us and them is that they were abiding under a cloud of glory that most of us have not known as yet. The cloud was lifted after the first century. That was the "seed rain," the "former rain," preparing the earth for the sowing of the Seed of Christ.

God began to renew the Church with the revelation of grace that was given to the Protestant Reformers and also by non-Catholic translations of the Scriptures. If one studies Church history from the time of the Reformers it appears there has been a gradual increase of revelation, holiness, and power manifest in the assemblies of the saints. The Divine restoration is like a tide coming in. The waves of glory flow and ebb but the tide is rising slowly and steadily.

There were powerful outpourings of the Holy Spirit in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Revival rains swept Wales toward the close of the nineteenth century. The appearance of tongues and other apostolic gifts characterized the early days of the twentieth century.

Missionary work was given strong assistance by the Pentecostal revival. In the middle of the twentieth century there came an addition to the end-time revival in the form of the spreading of speaking in tongues to the members of the historic denominations.

During the 1960's a revival took place in Indonesia that is reported to have included many of the miracles of the Bible. We have not mentioned other outstanding outpourings, such as the revivals in Nagaland, in Africa, and among isolated tribes in South America and other locations. Our purpose is to point to the fact that from the days of the Reformers to the present hour the tide of revelation, holiness, and power has been rising.

Revival has not as yet reached its destined peak. It will keep on rising until the revelation of God's Word, the holiness of God's people, and the strength of the anointing of power have progressed far beyond the first-century outpouring.

The knowledge of God will increase greatly, and the defense against sin will be established even in "troublous times" (Daniel 9:25). Saints will emerge from the womb of the Church who will perform miracles in the realm of nature—stupendous acts of power comparable to the stopping of the movement of the sun and moon at the word of Joshua.

The result of the extraordinary increase of Divine Presence and power will be the preparing of the Church for the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven.

Every valley of the Church will be elevated. The mountains will be brought down and the crooked places will be made straight. A highway of holiness will be constructed on which the weakest of believers will be able to walk without stumbling.

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

Then the Lord Jesus will come to be glorified in His saints and to be "admired in all of them that believe" (II Thessalonians 1:10).

He has kept the good wine until now. The last days, those just before Jesus appears, will witness the "greater works" that Jesus promised.

The second day of Hosea, Chapter Six is the revival that is available to us now. The present revival will reach a climax, as portrayed by the ministry of the two witnesses, and then God will allow it to abate until sin has attained its foul maturing in the earth.

Finally the Lord Jesus will appear and the enemy will be destroyed. The Lord's appearing will be the "third day," and to those who look for Him He will return without sin, bringing the full blessing of redemption. Then we shall live in His sight—spirit, soul, and body.

We will receive the fullness of the Divine inheritance provided we follow on to know the Lord. He has come to us as the former rain. He now is coming as the latter (harvest) rain. Finally He will return in Person as the glorious morning of the Day of the Lord—the Day that never will end.

Waters to the Knees

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. . . . (Ezekiel 47:4)

Ezekiel's "waters" represent the Holy Spirit made available to those who receive Christ as Lord and Savior. When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to the waiting disciples.

Throughout history there have been workings and outpourings of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the saints. Needless to say, the Holy Spirit always has been associated with the Church of Christ. There is no working of the Holy Spirit in any of the world's religions or in the secular affairs of men. The Spirit's role is to bring the things of Christ to us and to convict the world of sin.

The Spirit of God created the world, carried Enoch into the Presence of God, warned Noah, called out Abraham, and dwelled among the sons of Jacob. The Spirit of God rested in His Fullness on Jesus of Nazareth and since that time has been active in the churches of Christ. None of this Divine activity constitutes a religion. Rather, it is the revelation of God to mankind. All of the religions of the world are inspired by demons. Only the Judaic-Christian revelation is of the Holy Spirit, of the one true God.

The pursuit of education is becoming one of the principal activities of the peoples of the world. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and apart from Him it is impossible to attain truth.

Ezekiel's waters are a scriptural portrayal of the fact that the Presence of the Holy Spirit is increasing in the people of the Lord and that the time is coming when—through the Body of Christ—the whole earth will be full of the Holy Spirit.

The future will bring a fullness of the Holy Spirit that will regulate all conduct on the earth. The Holy Spirit is the only acceptable environment for the people whom God has created. Jesus always dwells in the fullness of the Holy Spirit and we also are to dwell forever in the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comes down to us from Heaven, from the Throne of God, as we learn from the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Now it is the will of God that the Throne of God be constructed in the Body of Christ—in each member of the Body.

As soon as the construction of the Throne of God in the members of the Body of Christ has been completed, the Holy Spirit will flow from the Christian people. The Holy Spirit always proceeds from the Throne of God. From each member of the Body of Christ will flow rivers of living water.

As the man with the "line in his hand" moves toward the east, that is, toward the morning of the Day of the Lord, he is taking a more accurate measurement of the Body of Christ. The judging of sin and self-will in the Church is becoming increasingly strict, increasingly exact as to the image of Christ.

The judgment of the sin in the people of the world is not being pursued with such exactness in the present hour. Rather, it is the sin in the members of the Body of Christ that is coming under intense scrutiny. "The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God" (I Peter 4:17; see also Revelation 11:2).

Notice that as the judgment increases the water becomes deeper. There is no way to obtain more of the Holy Spirit of God other than to go through the judgment of God. The more of the Holy Spirit we are to receive the more holiness we must attain. We attain holiness by the work of the Spirit.

He is the Holy Spirit and He cannot abide and work in circumstances that continue to be unholy. If we are to stride into deeper levels of the waters of eternal life we must submit to increasingly precise measurement of our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations.

In our study we are employing the waters to the "ankles" to portray the salvation experience; waters to the "knees" to portray the sanctification experience; and waters to the "loins" to portray the conquest experience—the area of accomplishment and rulership.

After we have progressed through the three levels we have access to the "waters to swim in." "Waters to swim in" tells us that one day, provided we follow Christ to the end, we will be immersed forever in the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God.

We have stated that the waters to the "ankles" is our first "dip" in the ocean of God. We have gotten started in the way of Christ but we still are close to the shore. We may run into the surf and then run back up on the beach because the temperature of the water is not to our liking.

Many believers are like that. They charge out into the surf and then they run back up on the beach. Back and forth they go. The problem with living too close to the shoreline is that we can fall from the will of God too easily. When the Day of Judgment closes in on us we may be forced from His will altogether. Remember Lot's wife!

When first we are saved we are "sealed" with the promised Holy Spirit. We are marked as belonging to the Lord, and the touch of the Holy Spirit on us is God's pledge of a greater fullness to come.

As soon as the atonement has been made for our sins the Holy Spirit is desirous that we be transformed into the image of Christ in personality and behavior. He desires to govern our way of life—the things we do, say, and think.

When the Presence of the Holy Spirit is "ankle deep" in our life, to speak figuratively, our ability to move about in our flesh is relatively unhindered. When we get in water up to our knees it is not as easy to proceed along according to our own inclinations. It is difficult to run fast when we are in water up to our knees. It still is possible to walk about as we will, but our movements are sluggish and tiring being hindered by the resistance of the water.

When we become "knee deep" in the Holy Spirit of God we begin to "slow down." We are not the same wild person as before. We still do, say, and think many things that are of sin and the flesh. The Holy Spirit is resisting every move that we make that is not from Him. Our spirit, soul, and flesh slowly are being brought under the dominion of the Spirit of God.

If we keep moving toward the "east," toward the Person and appearing of the Lord Jesus, we become less and less able to think, speak, and act according to our impulses. We grow increasingly willing to seek the mind of the Holy Spirit in our daily behavior. The "water" is beginning to decrease our weight so that our grip on the ground under our feet is not as solid. We are coming under the control of the water.

When we first are saved there is an initial surge toward righteousness as we realize that the Kingdom into which we have come is a holy and righteous dominion. The King, Jesus, is holy and the wickedness of the world has no place here. Now we discover a conflict in our life as the sin dwelling in our flesh and the self-centeredness of our soulish personality attempt to determine the way we will behave as a Christian.

As we press forward in our discipleship we learn to dwell under the control of the Holy Spirit. One of the major end products of such dwelling is the fruit of the Spirit. Instead of the hatred, misery, and passionate confusion of our previous life in the world there is the love, joy, and peace of the Spirit of God.

Although we come into conflict as our flesh attempts to continue in the old ways of behaving, the nature of the Holy Spirit gradually gains the upper hand. All we are required to do is keep ourselves in Christ each day by prayer and obedience. The Holy Spirit is in charge of the change in our conduct. He accomplishes what all the efforts of the flesh can never do. He achieves in us the moral character of Christ.

Christ Walks: Second Day

And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)

There will occur two days ("to day and to morrow") of casting out devils and doing cures. We are speaking of the first "day" of the acts of the early Apostles, and the second "day" of the restoration that began with the Protestant Reformers and now is gaining in power, holiness, and revelation as we move toward the worldwide manifestation of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.

Just before the Lord returns there will be a worldwide witness that will bring the sights and sounds of the Kingdom of God to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth. Then, when Jesus appears, no human being will be able to say, "I had no knowledge of the will of God for me." The fullness of the testimony will be brought forth and then the end of the age will be here (Matthew 24:14).

It is not enough that people hear the Gospel. It is part of the Divinely ordained testimony that they see, hear, and experience the Kingdom of God. The Church is responsible to cast out devils and heal the sick—all in Jesus' name.

When we do not cast out devils and heal the sick we are presenting only half of the Gospel. We cannot state that the full witness of God has been presented until people have seen and experienced the casting out of devils and the healing of the sick, in addition to having heard the good news of their salvation through Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our example in presenting the Kingdom of God. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. In addition to these actions He taught us concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

When Christ actually is with us in our efforts to preach the Kingdom of God He will continue His ministry of going about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil. As Christ proclaims the Divine truth He also reveals the power of the Kingdom by performing the works of the Kingdom.

The doing and teaching constitute the testimony that must precede the appearing of the Lord from Heaven. "If I had not done among them the works that none other man did, they had not had sin" (John 15:24). Until Christ performs His works there has not been a complete testimony of the Kingdom of God. "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power" (I Corinthians 4:29).

The perfecting of the Body of Christ will be accomplished during the third day of His ministry, which we understand to be the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Until the Body of Christ arrives at the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the casting out of devils and the healing of the sick will be continued.

The day in which we live is the time to cast out devils and heal the sick. The power now is available to the Church. Our responsibility is to keep on asking the Lord for more rain during the time of the harvest (latter) rain.

The Sixtyfold Bearing of the Fruit of the Spirit

We have discussed previously the fruit of the Spirit, the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control that are created in us as we abide in the Spirit of God.

We have mentioned also the abolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of the sins that plague us, the adultery, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, selfishness, dissension and arguing, sectarianism and party loyalty, envying, carousing, drunkenness, and every other deed of our flesh.

When we first are saved we show early signs of self-control and of the holy and righteous nature of the Lord Jesus Christ who has saved us. It is in the second area of redemption, that of sanctification, that the program of demolishing sin and creating righteousness, holiness, and obedience becomes intense.

Because we are being made the "temple of God" (II Corinthians 6:16), and because God has promised to receive us and be a Father to us, we are to be made perfect in holiness in the fear of God.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

Because we possess "these promises" and because we "fear God" we are to cleanse ourselves. We are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness, not only of our flesh but of our spirit as well.

God has given us His Word in the Scriptures and by personal revelation, speaking to our hearts and minds on appropriate occasions. He has given us the body and blood of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has sent down to us His Holy Spirit.

By these three Divine virtues, which taken together are the grace of God under the new covenant, we are to cleanse ourselves from the moral filth of our actions, words, motives, and imaginations.

If we do not utilize the three elements of the grace of God to cleanse ourselves we have received the grace of God in vain.

We have the hope of seeing Jesus as He is when He appears. If we really possess this hope, and are not just mentally agreeing with the doctrine of His appearing, we indeed will purify our behavior.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Hebrews, James, and First John, as well as the remainder of the books written by the early Apostles, teach us that the main activity of the Christian discipleship is the pursuit of godly behavior—the perfecting of "holiness in the fear of God."

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (I John 2:3)

The only way by which we can be sure that we know Christ is by keeping His commandments. His commandments are found in His words in the Gospel accounts. He commands us to be perfect in love toward God and toward one another.

The books of the New Testament expand on the teaching of Christ. They exhort us to cast out the unfruitful works of darkness and to put on the holiness, righteousness, and purity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The grace of God teaches us to deny the lusts of the world and to live soberly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age. We are to keep ourselves unspotted by the uncleannesses of the world.

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)

If we are not increasing in holiness of conduct and in the knowledge of the Lord each day, our faith in Christ is not affecting us as the Lord desires. James teaches us that faith without works is dead. The purpose of the grace of God is to keep us acceptable to God while we are being made perfect in holiness.

If we are not being strengthened in holy and righteous living, all we possess is a head belief in Christ. This kind of "acceptance" of Christ will not save us in the Day of the Lord.

The idea of the love of God being perfected in us as the result of our keeping the Word of Christ is a central concept of the new covenant.

The growth of the truth in us.

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (I John 2:5)

We find this truth in John 14:23 and II Peter 1:19. The thought is that we are to adhere, by the wisdom and enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to the teachings of Christ.

After a period of conscientious discipleship we discover that the law of the Spirit is assuming control in us.

We still walk in obedience to the teachings of Christ. In addition there is a sense of the developing of the Presence of Christ in us.

The perfecting of the love of God in us is the highest level of the working of the new covenant. The external Word of Christ keeps us on the right path until the Nature of Christ has been created in us.

As soon as the Nature of Christ has been formed in us we behave righteously by nature. There is a diminishing need for the external guidelines. This is the fulfillment of the new covenant.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:10,11)

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; 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: (II Peter 1:19)

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

We have referred to this inner guidance as the fulfillment of the fourth day of creation. Prior to the time of inner revelation we have in us an empty heaven, to speak in a figure. Yet we do show the "grass" and the "fruit trees," symbolizing the fact that the work of the first three days of creation has brought forth some signs of Christ in us.

On the fourth day we have the "sun, moon, and stars" created in our "firmament." The purpose of these bodies is to "give light on the earth" and to "rule over the day and over the night."

As Christ is being formed in us we are able to discern between light and darkness. We are increasingly able to perceive the direction and timing of God's will for us and we become aware of the "signs and seasons" of the Lord Jesus.

Before we gain proficiency in being able to respond correctly to the inner guidance of the Spirit of God we are to govern our conduct under the discipline of the New Testament writings. Then, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the creating of Christ in us, we begin to receive inner help in our attempts to please God.

We never, never are to forsake daily meditation in the Scriptures—Old and New Testaments. But now we are receiving assistance from Christ who is being formed in us.

We are not to despair. Sometimes we fall into the snare of attempting to be holy in our own strength and we strive fretfully in confusion. This is not the victorious Christian discipleship. It is well for a person in this condition to relax a bit and realize he is being saved by Divine grace and not by his own efforts.

There is a method of working together with the Holy Spirit that will bring about the desired result of holiness—a method that is of God's grace, that works by faith, and that allows the believer to rest joyfully in the love of God. This is the true grace of God.

If we are abiding in the true grace of God there will be a steady growth of righteousness, holiness, and obedience in our life. If, however, there is no change in our behavior over a period of time but we are continuing to live as a worldly person, the grace of God is not at work in our life. It is as simple as that.

The Law of Moses gave us light, but that light was ineffective because an accompanying grace was not extended so we could keep the Law. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ is more fruitful than the Law of Moses because now we possess the virtue of God that enables us to resist sin and to choose to obey righteousness.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (I John 2:6)

Here is one of the most extraordinary directives of the Bible. We are to walk in holiness as Jesus walked. This is not merely difficult, it is impossible.

God never commands us to perform the impossible in order to frustrate us. When the Holy Spirit gives us such a word by His Apostle we are to obey it.

What, then, are we to do? If we mock the commandment because of the impossibility of its demands, we are sitting in the seat of the scornful (Psalms One) and we will never become the Lord's tree of life.

The expected approach to such a command is to give God glory, being persuaded that if He has commanded us to walk as Christ walked He will make it possible for us to do so.

It is our responsibility to refrain from staggering at the promise of God through unbelief and to present ourselves every day in the most scrupulous and diligent manner possible, expecting the Holy Spirit to perform in us that which He spoke by the pen of the Apostle John.

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (I John 2:11)

Whether or not we are a Christian, if we are walking in hatred toward another person we are walking in the darkness of Satan.

There are at least five major branches of demon-inspired wickedness, and many of the sins that we commit can be categorized under one of these five: lust, murder, idolatry, reveling, and sorcery.

One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit in the present age is to abolish, in the Body of Christ, every trace of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of lust, murder, idolatry, reveling, and sorcery. In the place of these five the Holy Spirit is creating the fruit of the Spirit.

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (I John 2:29)

The holy and righteous fruit of the Spirit in us is the test of true Christianity. If we are righteous we have been born of Christ. If we are behaving unrighteously there is part of our personality that still is in the bondage of the devil.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (I John 5:4)

If we keep our faith in Christ strong, the Divine virtue that has been given us will begin to overthrow the power in us that keeps us in rebellion against the Lord. If we allow our faith in Christ's Word to become weak we will not be able to overcome the evil influences of the world, Satan, and our own flesh and self-will.

There is a law in the physical universe that operates such that the force of gravity decreases as we move away from the center of a mass. The farther we are from the earth the less we weigh. When we are far enough away our weight (attraction to the center of the earth) is reduced nearly to zero.

So it is that as we fight our way toward the good atmosphere of the Holy Spirit our attraction toward the world lessens. If we keep pressing forward we begin to come under the "gravitational influence" of Christ. We begin to "fall upward" toward God instead of downward toward the lusts of the flesh and soul.

The closer we come to Christ the stronger the pull of Christ is on us and the weaker the pull of the world becomes. There is hope. The struggle against the world will not go on forever.

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (I John 5:18)

The proof we have been born of God is that we are learning not to sin. If we have been born of God we are keeping ourselves—that is, we are endeavoring diligently to overcome the world through the grace of Christ. We are continuing to walk carefully in the Spirit of God and are not allowing Satan to rule us through the weaknesses of our flesh.

It is our cooperation with the Holy Spirit that makes it possible for us to overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

More fruit: the result of pruning.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

Every level of redemption has places of attainment. There is a security and the deep sense of satisfaction that we have done God's will. His blessing has made us rich and He has added no sorrow with it. Our fruit extends into many places, and ordinarily we have friends and a certain amount of comfort in our circumstances.

How we enjoy the place of achievement in the Lord! There may be much evidence of the blessing of God on our life. Soon, without our realizing it, much "growth" takes place that is not actually part of the fruit desired by the heavenly "Farmer."

Then we come to the time of pruning. The only Christians who believe that pruning is a time of rejoicing are the Christians who have never been pruned. The pruning knife of the Lord is sharp. We do not enjoy it.

Often the knife of the Lord is in the form of people and circumstances that come to us and deprive us of blessings we hold to be of value and necessary to our well-being. Unless we are prayerful we may begin to rage against the people and circumstances that the Lord is using to prune us.

The temptation to blame people, circumstances, or God for our misfortunes can be a powerful test of our consecration to the Lord. One of the major signs that we are growing in the Lord is the refusal to blame anyone or anything for our problems. The mature saint looks to God alone for the easing of his pain.

No one can possibly harm the individual who is walking conscientiously before the Lord. The Lord will permit Satan or people to afflict us, to prune us, to unwrap the graveclothes of sin and self-will. But then we go to the Lord for the solution. We are not to strive against people, becoming bitter and hateful. All things and incidents will work together for our good if we look only to the Lord for our safety and comfort.

The result of the pruning is that we lose much that is visible and "desirable" in our life. Our roots are never pruned. It is the branches that are cut back after the fruit has been picked.

We do not want to lose our "branches," our associations, our reputation, our identity, our fame, our money, our opportunities for ministry, our pleasures, our relationships with people, our possessions—all that go together to make up the cozy nest in which we have been resting so securely and comfortably.

God loves us dearly but He never is sentimental toward us. He can cut back quickly and heavily with seeming unconcern for our howling. Whenever we doubt the love of God we need only to think about the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Then our perspective is restored concerning the attitude and intentions of God toward us.

People, circumstances, and evil spirits never are the primary cause of our problems provided we are following the Lord Jesus. Every person, every circumstance, and every evil spirit without exception is working to conform us to the image of God's Son. It may take us quite a while before we become assured of that fact.

One of the greatest victories we achieve in the wilderness is the ability to trust the love, wisdom, and control of God concerning the smallest of the circumstances that touch us.

It is eternally true. There is not a word spoken to or about us that is not under the strict control of the Lord, when we are following after Christ.

All things, without exception, are working together for our good when we love God and are being changed into the image of Christ. If you can receive the word all as meaning every detail of your circumstances you are an overcomer. You possess faith and trust in Christ. You are conquering Satan by the word of your testimony.

To the believer who is undergoing pruning we say, "Keep on trusting the Lord. Remain steadfast. God understands your turmoil and grief. He has not forsaken you. The more severely He prunes, the more confidence He is revealing in your ability to endure the cutting and the more fruit you will bring forth."

Every individual for whom an outstanding destiny has been prepared will first be made barren, will experience the temporary hiding of God's Face, and will experience many sorrows and frustrations. Consider the patriarch Joseph!

Pruning is not a pleasurable experience. It is far from that. But pruning is necessary. The Father never causes a creature to suffer without a purpose. To take away the rights of a person without cause is not the way of God. He prunes with our greater good in mind. Can we trust Him for that?

Have unswerving faith in the written Word. Be assured that God loves you and that He is setting you free from slavery to things, relationships with people, and circumstances. Nothing of eternal value will be lost—not the least particle. Everything that is returned to you after the pruning knife has accomplished its work will be yours for eternity because it has been raised again from the dead.

After a branch in Christ has borne fruit it is pruned so that it may bring forth more fruit. Perhaps you are at that point. You are saved and there has been a fair amount of fruit in your life. You have been blessed on every side, like the patriarch Job. You are a godly person and your joy in life is to serve the Lord Jesus.

Unaccountably, things are beginning to become troublesome. You have blamed people, your situation, and even yourself for your inability to keep matters as peaceful as before. Can it be that the Lord is pruning you? If such is the case, arm yourself to suffer in the flesh. Just remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel no matter how long and dark your tunnel may be.

Keep on serving the Lord. Keep your confidence in Christ. As far as possible, live at peace with all people.

You day of victory will come. When your blessing is restored you will bear fruit of a superior quality and greater quantity. God is bringing into being a larger area of joy for you. Have faith in His love and you will come forth victoriously, as Job did, with everything of value given back to you in abundance.

Job's first family was killed, they were not restored to live with Job on the earth. God gave Job another family. We must trust in the love and goodness of God for this kind of circumstance. We are persuaded that He knows what is best for us.

The Second Level of Noah's Ark

A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. (Genesis 6:16)

We have mentioned before the symbolism associated with the Ark and with the numbers having to do with the Ark. The Ark probably is the clearest type we have of the meaning of basic salvation—that of preservation during the destruction that proceeds from the wrath of God.

There is a Day coming in which God will bring to account every action, every word, and every thought of His creatures. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" in that day. No matter how the judgment strikes around us, we shall be saved. This is the covenant of the Lord Jesus. If we step into the Ark, to speak figuratively, and keep ourselves watertight by the blood of the Lamb of God, no judgment will harm us.

From the dimensions it appears that the Ark was shaped long and low, like an oil tanker. It was 300 cubits in length, the cubit being reckoned at eighteen inches. At 450 feet long, it was one and one-half times the length of a football field. There was a hold, probably for the heavier animals, and two decks over the hold.

The Ark was a stable vessel, floating low in the water with the hold under water, the middle and top decks above the water.

The earth and its inhabitants are to be subjected to three periods of destruction. The first destruction occurred during the six-hundredth year of Noah's life. The number six typifies judgment and deliverance, and also the creating of man in the image of God.

The Day of Atonement was the sixth of the Levitical feasts (Leviticus, Chapter 16), portraying God's removal of the guilt and presence of sin from His people. The trumpet of Jubilee was blown on the Day of Atonement, representing the redemption and restoration that comes to those who are willing to receive God's plan of salvation through judgment and deliverance.

The second destruction will take place at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. Again, as in the days of Noah, there will be salvation for those who "come into the Ark of safety." Divine wrath will fall on those who are occupied with the affairs of this life and are not being obedient to God's plan of salvation.

The third destruction will occur at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The deceived peoples of the earth will surround the saints of the Lord. Fire will come down from God out of the heaven and destroy the enemies of the saints (Revelation, Chapter 20). At that time the earth and the heaven will be removed. This marks the end of the heavens and the earth as we know them, the creation described in Genesis.

Three periods of God's dealing with man. It is our understanding that the three periods of destruction terminate three significant periods of God's workings: (1) the era preceding the flood of Noah; (2) the time of Abraham and his Seed extending to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; and (3) the thousand- year Kingdom Age.

The people of the antediluvian (pre-flood) age had the testimony of Adam and of the descendants of Adam through Noah. The flood was the end of the world for this race, only eight people remaining alive. One of the actions of Christ after His death was to bring the Gospel to the people who died in the flood.

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive] by the spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (I Peter 3:18-20)

The next major period of God's workings began with Abraham and concerns the Seed of Abraham. In order to understand the meaning of the prophets we must realize that the called-out people of the Lord are one from Abraham to the new Jerusalem. The cross did not divide between Jew and Gentile. By the cross Israel was redeemed and the Gentiles were grafted on the Israel of God.

The Gospel of Christ always is to the Jew first, but in Christ the distinction between Jew and Gentile ceases and the true Israel—the Body of Christ—appears. The Gospel was preached to Abraham. The Spirit of Christ spoke through the Prophets of Israel concerning the salvation that was to come. All the promises of God are to Abraham and his Seed, and that Seed is Christ and those who belong to Christ. The Law of Moses was added until the Seed should appear to whom the promises were made.

One of the most destructive heresies of our day is the teaching that Israel and the Church are two different entities in the sight of God.

The main purpose of the working of God from Abraham until the second advent of Christ is the creation of the Church, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb. Although we of the present age have more of the grace of God than was true prior to Calvary (the body and blood of Christ, the born-again experience, and the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us and upon us), yet we are one with the Israelites who came from Egypt by the hand of Moses.

Every person who is to be of the Seed of Abraham, whether a Jew or Gentile by natural birth, must come to Christ and receive the promise of the atonement and of the Holy Spirit. Every member of the Seed of Abraham must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God. There is one Lord, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one Holy Spirit, one new man in Christ, one salvation.

There is not one salvation for the Jew and another salvation for the Gentile. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile. Moses, Elijah, David, Samuel, Paul, Peter, John, you, and I are all the Seed of Abraham. When we receive Christ we receive the Seed of Abraham and become the Seed of Abraham.

The age of the Seed of Abraham began with the calling of Abraham from the civilized city of Ur. The age in which we are living will conclude with the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus, but the Seed of Abraham will just be approaching the fullness of its inheritance in Christ.

The appearing of Christ will be salvation for the elect but destruction for the rebellious of the earth. There is much similarity between the second advent of the Lord Jesus and the flood of Noah.

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)

In those days there arose from the earth a wild shriek of desperation, rage, and despair as the people outside the Ark saw the rain begin to descend and the door of the Ark settle firmly into place by the invisible hand of God Almighty.

So it will be when the Trumpet of God blows and the saints come from their graves. The peoples of the earth will behold the dead bodies of the Christians return to life and ascend majestically into the clouds.

Then the wicked will realize, just as did the mobs of Noah's day, that the door of salvation has been closed to them—closed with a terrifying finality. They will be without hope and without God forever.

What an agony of spirit, soul, and body will be theirs! As the Church rises toward the Presence of God, the judgment of God will rain down torrents of destruction and death on those who have refused to believe and accept the salvation God has offered so lovingly and patiently.

The fire that will accompany the return of our Lord Jesus will purify the righteous but destroy the wicked. The waters of judgment buoyed up Noah and his family but destroyed the wicked. The fire of God today is purifying us from sin and teaching us obedience. One day that same fire will destroy the sinners from the earth.

The same fire that burned away the bonds of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego slew the powerful warriors who threw them into the furnace.

The fire of the Holy Spirit is a fire unto redemption for those who love Christ and keep His commandments. But notice the following!

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Malachi 4:1)

There is a fire to destruction.

Just as the top story of the Ark was farthest from the waters of judgment, and just as Abraham was far from the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, so will it be true that the ruling saints of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will not be harmed by any fire that proceeds from God. "On such the second death hath no power [authority]" (Revelation 20:6).

The fire of God will come down from heaven and destroy the rebellious, but the righteous will continue to "shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).

At the next advent of the Lord Jesus there will be a struggle as the Lord Jesus and His army invade the strongholds of Satan in the earth (Revelation 19:19). At the time of the third and final destruction there will be no need for the saints to fight. The destruction will proceed sovereignly from the terrible hand of God. The rebellious will be consumed completely.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (II Peter 3:10)

By this time (II Peter 3:10) the Church will have reached such a state of perfection that it will be ready to descend from Heaven as a "bride prepared for her husband."

The third major period of God's working has to do with the peoples on the earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ known as the Kingdom Age. There appears to be at least two purposes for the thousand-year Kingdom Age: the perfecting of the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem; and the teaching of the laws of the Kingdom of God to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

We can notice both of these purposes in the Book of Isaiah. As to the perfecting of the Church we have such passages as the following:

And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellers as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. (Isaiah 1:25-27)

A few verses later, we learn of the teaching of the laws of the Kingdom of God to the nations of the earth:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2,3)

The Lord's elect must be instructed before they can instruct the nations. We see the same principle in the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah where the people of the Lord must become trees of righteousness before they can serve as priests among the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees [oaks] of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:3,4)

Each of the three periods of God's working commences with the establishing of God's purposes in Christ, moves toward the maturing of righteousness and sin, and finishes with judgment (the harvest). Each time the sin is more evil and the holiness and righteousness are more pure and perfect. These are the three reapings of the earth.

The Church: the second level of the Ark. The Ark of Noah typifies the Christian salvation. The three levels of the Ark teach us that we can progress from the level of initial salvation to the level of the various ministries and services of the Church, and finally into the realm of kingship and priesthood in Christ under God.

The second story of the Ark symbolizes the level of ministries and gifts, the sharing in the body and blood of the Lord, and the other activities and blessings of the churches as we practice them today.

The Ark portrays the Kingdom of God, that is, all persons who are to be saved from the wrath of God and carried over into the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The second level of the Ark represents the development of the Church of Christ from the calling and election of the faith-filled Abraham through to the appearing of the Lord from Heaven.

Notice that all three levels of the Ark were saved from destruction, speaking of the fact that every righteous person—righteous according to Christ's decision—from Adam to the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be "saved," meaning that each will be brought over to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The second level, the development of the Church, is very important. The Church is the pupil of God's eye, the Bride of the Lamb, the Temple of God, the new Jerusalem, the Israel of God. The Church is made up of the chosen, the elect of God. She has been called out from mankind to reveal the Glory of God and also to be a "threshing instrument"—a tool with which the Lord will judge mankind and the angels.

Christ loves the Church and has given Himself unto death so the Church may be created on His body and blood. The Church is a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people belonging peculiarly to God, a special treasure of the Lord's.

The efforts of God from the time of Abraham, who attained righteousness by faith in God's promise, to the end of the Christian Era have been for the purpose of creating a sanctuary for Himself. Let every one of us who are the born-again members of the Body of Christ be thankful to God that He has called us by His grace, opening our eyes so we may see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

There is nothing good we have done that deserves salvation. We have been saved by grace—the gift of God to us through Christ. Let us therefore show our gratitude by living each day for the Lord Jesus, putting His will first in all matters. If we serve God faithfully in this life we will bless the heart of God, and also attain a place of service and responsibility as an ambassador of Christ throughout His realm.

There is a oneness in all Israel, a oneness accomplished by the cross of Christ. Notice, in the following passage, that we Gentiles were taken from the place where we had no provision from God, and now have been made part of Israel so that we may share in the blessings and inheritance of God's elect.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (Ephesians 2:11,12)

Before we accepted Christ we were not permitted to be citizens of Israel, we were strangers from the covenants of promise, possessing no hope because we were without God in the world.

By accepting Christ we became citizens of spiritual Israel, heirs of the covenants of promise, possessing eternally both the hope and the God of Israel.

But now in Christ ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

It is the blood of Christ that makes us part of the Israel of God.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken the middle wall of partition between us; (Ephesians 2:14)

Formerly there was a Divinely-ordained separation between the race of Israel and the other races of the earth. Now God has revealed that Christ is the one true Seed of Abraham and that every person, whether he or she is a Jew or a Gentile, must be made part of Christ in order to be of the Seed of Abraham. All of God's elect are reconciled to God in one Body—the Body of Christ.

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)

ONE NEW MAN!

There is one new man. There is not a Jewish church and a Gentile church. There are not Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. There is only the one new man!

Previously the Law of Moses prevented Gentiles from becoming one with the Israelites in the family of God. Paul instructs us that the Law "was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made" (Galatians 3:19).

Now that the Seed has come, the Law of Moses no longer is the covenant between human beings and the Lord.

Through the offering of Christ every person can be accepted under the new covenant. Whether Jewish or Gentile, all must be born again in Christ in order to enter the Kingdom of God. In Christ all are made one and there is reconciliation to the Father. Whether we are Jewish or Gentile, male or female, rich or poor, free men or slaves, we eat the one body and drink the one blood.

In Christ, Moses passes away and our wild Gentile background passes away. We all become one new man. All the Apostles were Jews and the Gospel always is to the Jew first. Yet we Gentiles have been brought into the new covenant by the blood of the Lord Jesus—Himself born of a Jewish mother and nurtured in a Jewish household.

Truly, Jesus is the hope of Israel. When we eat His flesh and drink His blood, whether we are Jewish or Gentile by birth, we become the true and eternal Israel of God.

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: (Ephesians 2:16)

It is the cross that links all Israel. Those who are Jews by race are bound to one arm of the cross, and those who are Gentiles by race are bound to the other arm of the cross. The cross links together all Israel. There is no more hostility between Jew and Gentile because we have been made one Church by the cross of Christ (Ezekiel 37:17).

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. (Ephesians 2:17)

We Gentiles were "afar off" from the family of God. The Jews were near. Christ has reconciled us both to Himself by the blood of His cross.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)

It is the Holy Spirit who is the one Spirit of the Church. It is the flesh, or Satan, or both that attempts to divide the Church of Christ—the seamless robe—into Jew, Gentile, Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, and so forth. In God there is no such division.

If a person possesses the Spirit of God he is of the Body of Christ. His doctrine may be incorrect from our viewpoint or from the Scripture. But if he has the Spirit of God he is part of the Body of the Anointed One, the holy priesthood of God.

We do not add members to the Body of Christ. It is the Lord Jesus who adds members to His Body. When we refuse to accept a Christian because he or she does not conform to our way we are sawing in half what Christ has joined together. Let us cease the wretched practice of dividing the Body of Christ.

Let us accept willingly every man, woman, boy, and girl in whom we recognize the Spirit of God. If we are not sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit that we can discern Him in another person, the fault lies in us. In this case we certainly are not qualified to reject someone because of his or her doctrine. Who knows?—perhaps it is our doctrine that is incorrect!.

We need to grow up in the Lord and begin to bring together the Body of the Lord. The purpose of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit is to bring the Body of Christ to unity and maturity. The Church is the work of the Holy Spirit of God, not our work. Our place is to be obedient. Let us without delay give back to the Holy Spirit His rightful place in the Church of Christ.

Anyone who is not of Israel is a stranger and foreigner. The saints are those of Israel. Israel is the one household of God. When we were unsaved, without Christ, we were not of Israel. Now we have received Christ and are of Israel, of the saints, of the household of God.

Now we are partakers of the blessed hope. Now our destiny is written in Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah, Malachi. Now we have joined the ranks of the heroes of faith, those rugged men and women of God who have marched down through the centuries declaring themselves to be strangers and pilgrims in the earth, looking for the city whose foundation is Christ. Now we are one with Elijah, Moses, David, Daniel, Joshua, Caleb, Paul, Peter, John, and a cloud of lesser-known witnesses who have served the Lord well in their own generation.

Now we are building the highway of holiness in ourselves and through ourselves so that generations coming after us can walk on it without stumbling, making their way up to God. It is a holy way in which we are walking, a path laid out by the bloody steps of the righteous.

Let us also set our face as a flint, despising the shame, enduring the cross, and fight our way up the rocky slopes of Mount Zion. There is a priceless prize to be won. The prize is to hear Jesus say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

To hear those words from Him one day will make every pain, every disappointment, every dismay fade away from our consciousness. To see the face of Christ and to meet His approval is all that we ask—all we shall ever need.

Overcoming by the Word of Our Testimony

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

Notice that the accuser is overcome by three means: the blood of the Lamb, the word of the testimony of the victorious saints, and by the saints loving not their lives to the death.

We have associated the first area of redemption with the blood of the Lamb, the second area of redemption with the word of our testimony, and the third area of redemption with our willingness to do the will of Christ to the point of death.

The task is to overcome, to conquer. The object of our conquering is the accuser, the spirit who pollutes the world in which we live. In order to conquer him we must employ the blood of Christ and the power of the Spirit-given testimony, and we must be willing to set aside our own life. If we come short in one of these three areas we will not be successful in overcoming the accuser.

The Church never must forget that one of its prime responsibilities is the conquering of the accuser. The Church cannot conquer the accuser by its own devices. Victory over the accuser requires the blood of the Lamb, the Spirit-created word of testimony of the members of the Body of Christ, and the death to sin and self-will of the members of the Body of Christ.

Samson's destruction of the Philistines by his own death is a type of the Church of Christ as it pulls down all the strongholds of Satan through its own death in Christ.

We have spoken already of the effectiveness of the blood of the Lamb in overcoming the accuser. The sprinkling of the blood of Christ is our protection in the Day of Judgment. The appeasing and remitting authority of the blood of Christ is the means by which God pardons the guilt of our sins. The body and blood of Christ are the food and drink we must receive continually if we are to possess enough virtue in us to overcome the wicked forces of the present age.

Apart from the protecting, forgiving, cleansing, and nourishing virtue of the blood of Christ it is impossible for any person to overcome the accuser. Satan has too much of which to accuse us if we attempt to please God apart from the virtue of the blood of Christ.

The second way the saints overcome the accuser is by "the word of their testimony." In previous sections of our book we have discussed the preeminence of the Holy Spirit in the testimony of the Christian Church and in all other areas of the corporate and individual experiences of the members of the Body of Christ.

We have seen that the Lampstand of the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was hammered from solid gold, there being no wood in the construction of the Lampstand. The absence of wood typifies the fact that the true testimony of Christ is Divine in origin.

The religions of the world are put together by human beings, often being assisted by demons. Christianity is the Word of God. God spoke in time past through the prophets and speaks now through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3). When human beings respond to the Word of God by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, the true testimony of the Lord shines in Heaven and on the earth.

The Lampstand consisted of a central shaft (the Lampstand proper) and two sets of three side-branches, one set on each side of the central shaft. The central shaft represents the Lord Jesus Christ. The six side-branches represent the Body of Christ—that which sheds light on the central shaft, pointing out that He is the light of the world.

The olive oil in the seven lamps of the Lampstand burned, shedding light in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. The Holy Place was illuminated because the light from the Lampstand was reflected from the gold that covered the acacia-wood boards of the sides of the Tabernacle and from the sparkling white linen of the ceiling.

What the Lampstand is, is pure gold beaten into shape. What the Lampstand does is to shed forth light in the Holy Place. God places importance on what the saints are as well as on what they do and say.

Both Divine holiness and Divine power are required if we are to overcome the accuser of the brothers. The Church, the Body of Christ, is to be full of the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit of God. The testimony is not adequate for the task of overcoming the accuser unless both the holiness and the power are present.

If the faith, holiness, and obedience of the Church are absent, the Lord will not accept the efforts of the Church or hear its prayers. If the Divine power and revelation are absent, the Church is spiritually helpless and blind.

In the Lord Jesus Christ both the pure gold and the burning oil are present; the Divine holiness and power are in full manifestation. Therefore His testimony is perfect.

He commanded us, "Wait for the promise of the Father, that, saith he, ye have heard of me." "Ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . ." (Acts 1:4,8).

It is the Holy Spirit who bears witness of the Person and will of Christ and of all that has to do with Christ. Apart from the anointing of the Holy Spirit the Church of Christ cannot bear witness of Christ (Zechariah 4:6).

The testimony of Christ: four workings of the Holy Spirit. There are at least four ways by which the Holy Spirit brings forth the testimony of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ:

By the declaration of the Word of God concerning the burning wrath of God against the wickedness of the world, and the provision for salvation God has made through the blood of His Son.

By the power of mighty miracles.

By the pure gold of the Divinely-wrought nature and character of the saints.

By the witness of Christian people concerning what they have seen, heard, and otherwise experienced of the work of the resurrected Christ in their own lives and the lives of other people.

The Word of God—two aspects. The first part of the testimony of Christ is the Word of God to the peoples of the earth. What has God said? What is He saying today? What has He proclaimed concerning the future?

The anointing of the Holy Spirit on the Church, the Body of Christ, is a prophetic anointing. Christ—Head and Body—is God's Prophet. Christ declares the mind of God. When the prophetic anointing, the fire of the Holy Spirit, is not abiding on the Church, the Word of God does not blaze with the urgency of Heaven.

Let each member of the Body of Christ pray with all his strength and perseverance that the Lord God of Heaven will set all of us afire with the burning Word of the Lord.

There are two aspects of the Word of God to the earth. The first aspect is that the wrath of God is against all unrighteousness. Because God does not respond immediately with destruction when humans pervert His way, people begin to believe He doesn't know, doesn't care, or has changed His ways or His attitude toward sin.

The homosexuality, abortion, debauchery, murder, sorcery, covetousness, forgetting of God, is increasing in our day. Divorce abounds as people dishonor the Word of the Lord concerning marriage. Because God does not respond with quick judgment the world is growing to believe He has forgotten mankind or that He does not care how people behave.

If human beings could see what is occurring in the spirit realm all sin would cease, except for those creatures who already are consumed with the burning lusts of Hell—consumed to the point that repentance no longer is possible.

God has given us His Word in the Scriptures. He has sent ministers who faithfully hold forth the Word of Life. He issues personal warnings to people. More than that He will not do. We possess the Word. How we respond is up to us.

The fires of judgment are heated seven times hotter in these days. When the caldron of fiery judgment is poured on the earth, men and women will gnaw their tongues in pain. Their minds will hover on the brink of insanity as remorse and fear replace the confidence in the revelings that kept their attention until it was too late.

God is God. God is not a human. He is a Spirit. Christ came to bear witness of the Person and will of God. Christ intercedes for us; not for the world but for the elect. God has made clear His intentions concerning mankind.

When the world asks, "What shall we do?" the answer is, "Repent!"

The message of God through the righteous Noah, through the Prophets of Israel, through John the Baptist, through Jesus, and finally through the Apostles of Christ, was—and continues to be—"Turn from your wicked ways. Do not follow the world, Satan or your flesh. Flee from all wicked behavior. Do not be changed into the world. Turn away from all sin and wickedness and pray to God for strength to be delivered from temptation."

We have spoken earlier concerning repentance but its importance cannot be overemphasized. Repentance still is the Word of God. In the present hour the message comes down from Heaven with increasing urgency: "Repent! Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!"

The first aspect of the Word of God to the world is that of the wrath of God against sin. Whoever diminishes the urgency of the message of repentance is a false prophet. One day he will face Almighty God and also the people who were deceived because he diminished the urgency of the message of repentance. He will be required to explain why he deceived people with a false declaration of the mind of God.

The second aspect of the Word of God to the world is that of the plan of salvation God has prepared through His beloved Son, Christ. Every human being without exception, no matter how wretched his or her life may have been or what sin or sins were committed, can be saved by the blood of the cross.

God in His marvelous love and mercy holds open the door of salvation and glory. Whoever chooses to do so may receive Christ and enter and be saved. It is not God's will that any person perish. God so loved the world He gave His Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

There is no limit to the love of God. The love and mercy of God is available to every person—to whoever will repent, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, be baptized in water, and then learn to live in obedience to the Holy Spirit.

One error that is made today concerning the witness of the Person and will of the Lord God is to misunderstand the fierceness of God's wrath. The mistaken idea is that because of the Father-heart of God and His love for His creatures, eternal punishment in a Lake of Fire is not possible. This kind of thinking leads to deception and destruction.

The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament is the same Lord. God never changes. He never, never changes! The thundering Lord of Sinai is the same Lord Jesus Christ who received sinners by the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Until a person grasps the fact that the wrath and judgment of the Lord against sin never change, he cannot appreciate the astounding depths of goodness and love of the mercy extended to us from the cross of Calvary.

The wrath of God and the mercy of God are not to be confused in the sense that God changes His mind as He grows older or comes to know us better. The wrath of God and the mercy of God always and eternally coexist in God in the fullness of their quality and quantity. Until we understand both the goodness and the severity of the Lord we cannot appreciate what it means to be saved, to be redeemed.

The wrath of God always burns with white heat against all forms of sin and disobedience. The Lake of Fire is the visible, tangible expression of the wrath of God. The Lake of Fire will continue to burn into the eternity of eternities.

All who disobey God, refusing to repent, will be cast into the Lake of Fire, there to spend eternity with the devil and his angels. The Lake of Fire is as real and eternal as Paradise. The Lord has warned us clearly! clearly! clearly! Let every person take heed to his spirit that he hear and act on the warning of the Lord and His ministers.

An awful holocaust is about to engulf the world. Men and women will cast away their idols of gold and silver as they cry out in anguish because of their mortal terror. Only those who place their faith in the Word of God will be able to stand under the terrible pressures of the hour of sin and trouble that even now is at the door. It will test all who dwell on the earth.

Let those repent who are teaching that no matter how Christian men and women behave in the world they cannot be touched by judgment. Otherwise they will be found to be false prophets.

The Spirit of God is warning us in this hour to set our households in order, to lay hold on Christ, to place our full trust and hope in the Word of God, to live in a godly manner, to not be changed into the present world image, to flee from the wrath to come.

If we will repent, change our way of living, call on the name of the Lord Jesus, be baptized in water, and then look to the Spirit of God for help each day so that we can walk in newness of life, we will be saved throughout the hour of temptation that is coming to test all who live on the earth.

Those who teach that we can walk in the jealous, hateful ways of Cain, serve God for money in the spirit of Balaam and Gehazi, murmur against authority and leadership like Korah and his followers, and still be received of Christ, will perish along with their followers.

The grace of God has appeared in the form of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although the wrath of God is being heated seven times hotter than we can imagine, all who receive Christ, walking in Him and being built up in Him, will be spared in the Day of Wrath.

Let no man teach or believe that God is indulgent toward sin. We may claim to belong to Christ but God does not overlook our sin. The God of the Old Testament has not been converted. God is not sentimentally attached to us. God will deal with us according to our behavior. Judgment always begins with the household of God. The righteous will be saved with difficulty. The ungodly of today, both believers and nonbelievers, are facing a terror beyond our words to describe.

Let us take heed. Repentance is the will of God for mankind. Such is the true testimony of the Body of Christ to the world in which we live. When we give that testimony faithfully we overcome the accuser of the brothers.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (Romans 1:18)

The words of our mouth must continue to be an endorsement of what is written in the Scriptures, both as to the wrath of God against sin and also as to the boundless love and mercy of God toward those who receive His beloved Son as their Lord and Savior.

Our acceptance of Christ and our being baptized in water are an important part of our participation in declaring the truth of what God has testified in the Scriptures and continues to testify in the present-day burden of the Holy Spirit.

Our obedience to the written Word and to the Holy Spirit reveals that we have set our life as an endorsement of God's truthfulness. Adam and Eve, yielding to Satan, testified of their disbelief in God's truthfulness by doing what God commanded them not to do.

We overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony that the written Word, the Bible, is true. The Scriptures are the written account of the power, revelation, and holiness of God. The Bible speaks of the wrath of God against sin, and also of the love of God for mankind and the promise of a Redeemer who will bring us into the Kingdom of God.

The Scriptures testify of Christ.

When we state unwaveringly that the Scriptures are true and reliable we are holding firmly to the testimony that God has given. One of the main efforts we Christians must make is the courageous and consistent declaration that what the Bible says is true and is of God. We must continue to declare that God will keep faithfully all the promises He has made to us.

When we attempt to conform to the Scriptures, stating that the Scriptures are true and are of God, we are setting our testimony of what is true in line with what God states is true. This can be difficult at times as God brings us down to death. We begin to fear that Christ can be overcome, or that God does not know the details of our life, or that for some other reason He will allow us to be harmed.

When we keep on asserting faithfully that God has a plan, that His plan is in Christ, that Christ has overcome Satan, that God loves us and has saved us by the blood of the cross, that Christ has been raised from the dead and will return in victory, and that the wrath of God always burns against all sinful behavior, we are overcoming the accuser by the word of our testimony.

We are affirming the eternal truth that God is wise, loving, and justified in all He does. We are maintaining that God is true and cannot lie.

The original device of Satan, concerning Adam and Eve, was to raise doubts concerning the truthfulness, wrath, goodness, and power of God. When we obey God implicitly, as did Abraham, no matter how impossible our circumstances may seem, we are overcoming the accuser by endorsing with our whole personality the reliability of God's Word.

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. (John 3:33)

Christ comes from Heaven announcing to us what He has seen and heard in Heaven. When we receive the testimony of Christ, affirming that it is truth, we are endorsing and validating the testimony of Christ. We are supporting and affirming the truth that Jesus has spoken to the world and are declaring that God speaks the truth.

We have seen, then, that one of the four ways by which the Holy Spirit brings forth the testimony of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ is by the declaration of the Word of God, both in the Scriptures and also in the present-day burden of the Spirit.

The testimony of the Word of the Lord is concerned with moral behavior. In the Old Testament the Ten Commandments were referred to as the "Testimony." The Ark of the Covenant was termed the "Ark of the Testimony" because it contained the two tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments.

Whoever sets himself to proclaim the Word of God, but does not include the requirement of moral, godly behavior in his or her testimony, is a false prophet and will not be able to overcome—or to help others to overcome—the accuser of the brothers.

The power of miracles. The second of the four ways by which the Holy Spirit brings forth the testimony of Christ is by powerful miracles. Throughout the Scriptures, God has testified of His Person and of His will by stupendous miracles. This was true in Old Testament times, was true to a greater extent in the ministry of Christ, and will be astonishingly, staggeringly true in the days prior to the return of the Lord.

The revival of power, the harvest rain, the anointing of the Holy Spirit that even now is coming upon us, will not abate until earth-shaking miracles have been performed in support of the Word of the Kingdom.

There will be miracles without precedent in the history of the world that will be performed by the saints in one last earth-wide testimony of the Person and will of Christ and of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. We now are in the hour of the latter-rain outpouring.

Where there are no signs and wonders there is not a complete testimony of Christ.

But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. (John 5:36)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:4)

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: (I Corinthians 2:4)

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . . (Acts 1:8)

Whether in the Old Testament or New, the Lord God always confirms His Word with astonishing miracles, signs, wonders, healings, raising of the dead, and the other works of power of the age to come. God is a God of power. He bears witness of His will by demonstrating His power. By the display of the power of God we bear witness of the truth of God, thus overcoming the accuser of the brothers.

Where there is no demonstration of the power of the Lord the testimony of Christ is not as effective as could be desired. We believe that every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth should be given the opportunity both to see the Divine power and to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom. To this end we pray without ceasing. Will you join your prayer to ours?

As we study Joel, Hosea, Zechariah, and others of the Prophets we conclude that the Pentecostal outpouring of the Book of Acts was not the complete fulfillment of the two wave loaves of the Levitical feast of Pentecost.

That which was spoken by the Prophet Joel includes both a seed rain and a harvest rain. Pentecost consists of the seed rain that fell on the first-century Church, and also of a heavier rain that will be poured out before Jesus returns. Hence the two loaves of Pentecost.

The rain cycle of Palestine consists of the seed rain of the fall, at which time seed is planted; sporadic rains throughout the winter season; and then the latter, harvest rain which brings the grain to mature size in preparation for the harvest.

The Scripture teaches that the outpouring of God's Spirit will come both as a seed (former) rain and harvest (latter) rain. Since this undeniably is true (Joel 2:23; Hosea 6:3; for example), it appears that we can expect in our day a full restoration of all that took place in the Book of Acts along with an exceedingly greater fullness of power, revelation, and holiness falling from Heaven on the face of the earth.

The Spirit is indicating that the "greater works" are at hand. Let us gather all the containers of oil we can, to borrow a figure from the ministry of Elisha (the double-portion, harvest-rain prophet). When the oil of the end-time revival begins to flow it will continue until every vessel has been filled.

The purpose of the end-time rain of the Spirit is to bring the wheat and the tares to harvest in preparation for the coming of the Divine Farmer, who has had to exercise patience as He awaits the precious fruit of the earth (the forming of Christ in the Church).

The testimony of unparalleled power and authority that now is upon us will cause the righteous to attain the fullness of righteousness, which is the image of Christ, and the wicked to attain the fullness of wickedness, which is the image of Satan.

The testimony of the saints (Revelation, Chapter 11) speaks of the true Word of repentance and of the love of God in salvation. It must include also the spectacular works of power that testify to mankind that the God of Heaven is speaking. By the Word of repentance and of God's grace, and also by the tremendous works of power, we overcome the accuser of the brothers.

It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to preach wrath and grace, and it is the Holy Spirit who performs the mighty acts of power. The Holy Spirit is in charge of the testimony of Christ, Christ being the One who bears on Himself the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Pure Gold—Christ Himself wrought in us. The third of the four ways by which the Holy Spirit brings forth the testimony of Christ has to do with the "pure gold" of the Divinely wrought nature and character of the saints. What the Lampstand is, as we have stated, is pure gold beaten into shape. God places more importance on what the saints are than He does on what they "accomplish." If we practice lawlessness we will be removed from His Presence even though we have performed tremendous feats in the Kingdom.

The golden Lampstand was hammered into shape rather than being cast in a mold, as we saw earlier; although it appears that the technique of casting metal was known to the Israelites of that day. The time-consuming method of hammering into shape portrays the perfecting-through-suffering method of creating the Divine testimony in us.

The Word of God must be tried in the fire seven times (Psalms 12:6). Our faith is tested just as gold is purified in the fire. The Substance of Christ in us, being purified in the fire of afflictions and temptations, must be hammered into shape by innumerable carefully aimed blows.

Have you felt yourself being hammered on lately? The testimony of Christ is accomplished by the Divine Substance given to us but it must be worked into shape. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was perfected by the things He suffered. We also are being fashioned by the things we are suffering.

When the Lampstand of God, which is Christ—Head and Body, has been completed and perfected, the oil can be placed in the lamps and the fullness of the power and revelation of God in Christ can shine as the light of the world.

One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit during the present age is the perfecting of the testimony of God. As soon as the testimony, the Body of Christ, has been perfected, the world will believe that God indeed has sent the Lord Jesus Christ and that Christ brings to the world the true Word of God.

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)

The shaping of the Church will continue until the Church has become one in the Father and the Son. It is not that the Church is being made one that is so important, it is that it is being made one in the Father and the Son.

The unity of the members of the Body of Christ is not one of sameness of doctrine or of uniformity of ways of doing things (all going to the same church, and so forth). The unity of the Church goes far deeper than that. The unity of the Church in Christ in God is identical to the unity of the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father. It is an organic unity, a unity that proceeds from all members being of the same Substance and of the same Spirit.

As soon as the Church has been made one in the Father and the Son, the world will believe that the Father has sent the Son and that the Father loves the saints as He loves His Son. The testimony will be received by the world because of the oneness of the Church in the Son and in the Father.

When we possess in ourselves the certain knowledge that this oneness actually will be brought about, and that the world actually will accept the Divine appointment of Christ because of it, then our hope is anchored in Christ in God and our Christian discipleship takes on strength because of so great a hope.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)

The Church receives the same glory that has been given to the Head, Christ. The purpose of giving the Divine glory is that the Church may be made one in the Godhead.

There is no way to attain the desired oneness other than by receiving the Glory of God. The Glory of God is the Divine virtue given us through Christ: the Word of God in general and specific application to us; the body and blood of Christ; and the resurrection life and anointing for service given by the Holy Spirit.

The glory of the virtue of God is given to Christ without measure, and Christ gives His own Body the Divine Glory without measure. We are part of Him, and what He gives us actually is Himself if we truly are abiding in Him.

The Glory never leaves the Father because Christ and His Body are one in God Himself. God never will give His Glory to anyone other than His own Being and those who are part of His own Being. To receive the eternal abiding of the fullness of the Glory of God we must become an eternal part of God's Being.

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

We are being made one in Christ and Christ in us. Christ is One in God and with God. Our perfection in the Father through the Son is a testimony to the world. The testimony bears witness to the fact that the Father has sent Christ and that the Father loves the Body of Christ as He loves Christ Himself.

The world must understand that God has sent Christ. The world must understand also that the Father loves the members of the Body of Christ as He loves Christ.

The world must understand that God has sent Christ and that there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved. The world cannot receive the blessing of God apart from Christ. He is the Way. He is the Resurrection. He is the Life.

The world must understand that the Father loves the members of the Body of Christ as He loves Christ and that the only path to Christ is through the members of the Church. If the world rejects the Body of Christ it rejects the Head also. The person receiving Christ's ambassador receives Christ Himself. The person rejecting Christ's ambassador rejects Christ Himself and also rejects God who sent Christ.

When the world rejects the member of the Body of Christ it rejects Christ and thereby rejects God. The world must understand that God has sent Christ to be the Savior of the world, and also that God loves the members of the Body of Christ as He loves Christ, His only begotten Son.

There are many people who would like to come to God but they refuse to come through Christ. In the future there will be many people who would like to come to Christ but they will refuse to come through the members of His Body. The members of the Body are not one with Christ now, but in the future there will be no way to approach Christ and God other than through the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb.

The next passages portray the overcoming of the accuser of the brothers.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

The same thought is found in Revelation 12:5:

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Again, in Revelation 3:21:

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

That they may "be with me where I am." "Caught up unto God, and to his throne." "To sit with me in my throne."

The Lord is at the right hand of the Father in Glory. He is calling us up to His throne. We are being resisted by the accuser who apparently covets this authority for Himself.

Jesus overcame the world and therefore has been raised above the lords of wickedness. Jesus is over all. Now our turn has come. We are fighting to establish our position in the throne of Christ.

By faith and by the Word of God we are raised to the throne of Christ when we are baptized in water. Now we must learn to maintain the heavenly position by diligently exercising our Divinely given faith—faith that enables us to conquer the spirit of the world.

The accuser does not want to lose any preeminence and so he resists every one of God's saints. Yet we press on in Christ. We keep on testifying to the truth of what God has declared concerning Christ and concerning those who are in Christ. We keep on asserting and keep on living by the fact of the realities that God has proclaimed in the Scriptures.

We always are being deceived and coaxed down from the throne by the wiles of the enemy. We always are being invited and exhorted to live in the throne by the Spirit of Jesus. The potential for victory or humiliating defeat is present with us. It is our testimony of what God has declared in His Word that makes it possible for us to be ever victorious in Christ.

Jesus has prayed for us and yet prays for us. Let us be faithful to Him who has called us, and conduct ourselves as men and women of God.

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:25,26)

The world is ignorant of the Person, will, purpose, and way of God. Christ knows the Father. Christ has revealed to the Church that the Father has sent Him. He also is declaring to the Church the Name of God.

The Name of God is the Nature, the Character, the Disposition, the Personality of God. He who is coming to know the Name of God is coming to know God personally, as did Moses. The purpose of causing us to come to know God personally is that the love that God has for Christ may be experienced by us, and that Christ may abide eternally in the love of God that is dwelling in us.

As soon as the Divine love is abiding in us, and Christ is in us, the world will receive the testimony that Christ is not a mortal seeking his own glory but was sent of God; and also that God loves the members of the Body as He loves the Head of the Body.

The fullness of the answer to the prayer of Jesus in John, Chapter 17 is portrayed throughout the Book of Isaiah and in other writings of the Prophets of Israel. The testimony of the true Nature of God will fill the earth in the days to come. There will not be a soul on the earth who will not be able to behold the truth of God in Christ and in His Body.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

The destiny of Christ, Head and Body, is to be a living testimony in the earth of the Person and ways of the Father. By beholding the Seed of Abraham every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth will come to an understanding of the Nature of the true God.

Just as the Tabernacle of the Congregation was a testimony of the holiness, mercy, and power of God Almighty, so also is the Body of Christ—and the individual saint as well—a testimony of the holiness, mercy, and power of God Almighty.

Because the Church has been made one in God, the nations of the earth will realize that Christ was sent by the Father and that the Father loves the Church as He loves His beloved Son. Everyone on the earth will acknowledge the saints—that they are the Seed whom the Lord has blessed.

Any person who resists and rebels against the testimony of the saints in that day will be destroyed. All wicked spirits will be torn down from their positions in the heavenlies because they will not receive the rule of Christ and the saints.

We have stated that there are at least four ways by which the Holy Spirit brings forth the testimony of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ. We have just finished discussing the third way—the testimony that proceeds from the pure gold of the Divinely-wrought character of the saints.

First-hand testimony. The fourth manner in which the Holy Spirit brings forth the testimony of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ is by the witness of Christian people concerning what they have seen, heard, and otherwise experienced of the work of the resurrected Christ in their own lives and in the lives of other people.

Notice how the Apostle John participated in the fourth aspect of the witness of Christ:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (I John 1:1)

In a court of law there must be no conclusion drawn by a witness. The witness on the stand is to tell under oath what he has heard or has seen with his eyes or has handled with his hands. He is not to conclude from these observations, only to report them.

The Apostle John had the rare opportunity of walking with the Lord Jesus Christ in Person. He heard Christ with his own ears, saw Christ with his own eyes, touched Christ with his own hands. It is lawful for such a witness to report the things he has observed.

It is lawful for us—and part of the Christian testimony—to report the things we actually have seen Christ do. The people of Jesus' day ran about telling of the miracles that had happened before their eyes.

"Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did" cried the woman of Samaria.

"Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed Christ, the Savior of the world," responded the people after Jesus Himself had spoken to them.

Many of us may never have seen a spectacular miracle or have had the Lord Jesus appear to us. Our testimony may consist, for the most part, of the wonderful manner in which our own behavior has been changed (miracle enough!); of the things the Holy Spirit, through the ministry and in our own heart is affirming to be true; and of the facts we declare to be true on the basis of our faith in the Scriptures.

There are not many of us who have heard Christ Himself speaking in an audible voice, who have seen His face or form in a vision, or who have touched Him with our hands. Yet we have believed the report of those who have had such experiences.

Jesus declared that we who believe without seeing have an even greater blessing because we have not been allowed to see, and yet have believed (John 20:29; 17:20).

(For the life was manifest, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifest unto us;) (I John 1:2)

John, in his Epistle, bears witness of the eternal life that was manifest to him in the Person of Christ. By so testifying he adds to the tearing down of the strength of the accuser.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

When we bear witness of the things Christ has shown us we bring other people into the fellowship we have with the Father and with the Son. In this way the Body of Christ is built up and brought into oneness in God, in answer to the prayer of Jesus in John, Chapter 17. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5)

Here is one of the principal facts of the testimony: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." The true testimony concerning the Person and Nature of God always asserts the holiness of God. Is this what the Church of Christ is testifying to the peoples of the earth today?

If we are not declaring that God is light and that there is no darkness in Him we are not giving a true testimony of the Person of God. Jesus always testifies of the righteousness and holiness of the Father.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (I John 1:6)

Another fact of the true testimony is that God will not accept us if we continue to walk in the spiritual darkness of the world.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

A third and very important testimony of John is that God has given us the blood of Christ in order to cleanse us from our sins. The remainder of the Book of First John bears witness to the fact that whoever continues to walk in sin has not been born of God.

John learned from Jesus that God is love and that we cannot abide in the Father and at the same time hate our brother.

We see, then, that John was able to bear witness of what he had seen and heard of the Person and work of Christ. By faithfully giving his testimony, John was making—and continues to make—a powerful contribution toward our overcoming the accuser.

The Apostle Paul also was able to bear witness of what he had seen and heard, verifying the hope of salvation by faith in Christ.

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (Acts 26:16)

Paul told many people about his extraordinary experience on the road to Damascus. He boldly gave his testimony to Jews and Gentiles alike, whether they thanked him for it or stoned him for it. Paul suffered many tribulations because of his faithfulness in recounting the things he had received from the Lord Jesus.

Many Christians in the hour in which we live are able to report miraculous healing, visions of Christ, and other Divine interventions in their lives. By testifying of the things they have experienced they give impetus to the overcoming of the accuser and help each of us establish our position in the heavenlies with Christ.

We understand, therefore, that the Holy Spirit bears witness of Christ by the declaration of the Word of God, by the power of mighty miracles, by the Divinely wrought character of the saints, and by the witness of Christian people concerning the things they have experienced of the resurrected Christ.

As God perfects the ultimate testimony, which is His living Word given in visible form in the Person of Christ, Head and Body, the Church of God draws nearer to victory over the accuser of the brothers.

Christ, the living Word, the testimony of God, comes to destroy the works of the devil. The wisdom and efforts of the flesh of man cannot harm the works of the devil. Only the Spirit of God can do so.

Our part is to meditate constantly in the truth of the Word of God, holding to it without yielding; to receive and be obedient to the full revelation and power of the Holy Spirit; to receive the full virtue of the precious body and blood of Christ; and to bear witness faithfully to the things in which Christ appears to us.

We keep on in the Word, in the Spirit, and in the blood, to the point of the complete denial of our own life. We never hold back from declaring the fullness of what we know to be true, when the situation is appropriate for such declaration, no matter what the consequences may be.

If we follow on to the maturing of the testimony of God in us, the Lord will overcome the accuser by His own testimony concerning Himself that we, who are members of the Body of Christ, have faithfully, consistently affirmed to be true in every respect.

Two distinctions.

A description of the testimony, and the testimony itself.

Ministry, and the testimony.

We have pointed out previously that the Lampstand, which typifies the Divine testimony, contained no wood. It was pure gold signifying that there is nothing human in the Divine testimony.

When Christian people tell about what they know of Jesus or about what Jesus has done for them or for others, they are not, in a strict sense testifying but rather describing the testimony. As in the case of the woman of Samaria, they are bringing people to the Testimony, to the Day Star Himself—Christ. The people were interested in her story but wanted to see Jesus Himself.

Sometimes the churches of our day send people forth to "testify." Though they may recount what they know, the Divine testimony is not given unless the Holy Spirit anoints what they say or do. We have not testified just because we have left a tract somewhere or have "told someone about Jesus." Christian people have, in some instances, done harm to the Gospel because in their zeal to "testify" they have driven people away from the Lord, who is the true Testimony.

The Jews, for example, detest the efforts of Christians to convert them. Sometimes the Jews are resisting the Spirit of God. In other instances they are reacting negatively to the fleshly zeal of well-intentioned Christians—Christians who believe they are "testifying" to the Jews but actually are working in the flesh to gain converts to their particular beliefs.

We cannot truly testify except as the Lord guides and empowers us. The testimony is always Divine, never human.

Another important distinction is the one existing between ministry and the testimony. The testimony may be given by the ministry, the true Word of God may be declared, miracles may be worked.

Throughout Church history there have been numerous instances in which the true Word of God was given but the people involved in presenting the Word were not abiding in Christ. They were immoral or seeking their own glory.

The division between the Divine testimony, and the sinful vessels bearing the testimony, was illustrated by the design of the Table of Showbread. The area in which the bread was placed on the Table was surrounded by a golden crown.

And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about. (Exodus 25:24,25)

Then there was a border, or ledge, that also was surrounded by a crown of gold to keep the utensils from falling off. The utensils were kept on the border of the Table, separated from the showbread by the crown of gold that surrounded the showbread.

The design reveals that the gifts and ministries, the utensils, are kept separate from the showbread itself. This is how it can happen that a gifted minister, having had outstanding results in his ministry, is found to be living in sin.

The Word he gave is of God and is the Divine testimony. It is the holy showbread. The minister himself, the utensil of service, should be holy as is the Word he is presenting. But whether he is or not, he is kept separate from the Divine bread. It is the Lord’s will, however, that the minister grow in Christ until he himself has become the Word of God, the flesh made the Word.

The Second Anointing of David

David was anointed king three times. The first anointing was by the Prophet Samuel and indicated that the Lord had chosen David to be king over Israel in the place of Saul. The second anointing occurred when David was installed as king over the tribe of Judah. The third anointing took place when David was installed as king over the nation of Israel.

The first anointing is described as follows:

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. (I Samuel 16:13)

The second anointing is described as follows:

And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul. (II Samuel 2:3,4)

The third anointing is described as follows:

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah. (II Samuel 5:3-5)

The first anointing of David occurred at the time that Saul disobeyed God in the matter of the destruction of the Amalekites. Saul, a type of our fleshly nature, never could learn to serve God acceptably. Just as our human mind always is the enemy of God, so King Saul always was at cross purposes with God.

God gave Saul explicit instructions concerning the destruction of Amalek. Yet Saul thought of a "better way" and proceeded to adjust what God has said in order to fit the circumstances, according to Saul's reasoning. The result was disobedience on Saul's part and stern words from Samuel:

And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. (I Samuel 15:28)

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. (I Samuel 16:13)

The second anointing of David took place just after Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle with the Philistines. David found out about the death of Saul and Jonathan on returning from his victory over the Amalekites. David spent two days in Ziklag, and on the third day the messenger came with the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. (Our third day again!)

The fact that David was informed of the end of Saul's reign on the third day of his stay in Ziklag is another of the numerous scriptural types that reveal the tremendous victory of the Lord Jesus Christ on the "third day"—the Day of the Lord, the Day of His glorious appearing.

David was still in the wilderness at this time, a type of the Lord Jesus who, though anointed by God Almighty as rightful King over the earth, yet is unable to claim His inheritance.

David had acquired a small army of faithful followers during his stay in the wilderness. As soon as he heard of the death of Saul, David inquired of the Lord and was directed to go to the cities of Hebron. David went, bringing with him his army of followers and their families. As soon as he had settled in Hebron the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.

After David had reigned over Judah for a period of seven and one-half years, during which time the leadership of the rest of Israel dissolved in confusion, the elders of Israel came to David and requested that he assume the leadership of the entire nation. David accepted, and the result was thirty-three years of the wisest, most victorious, most productive rulership in the history of Israel.

The first anointing of David typifies the establishing of Christ as King by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, just before the Spirit led Him into the wilderness. Human minds were in control of Jerusalem when Christ was anointed, and human minds have continued in control over the people of God since the resurrection of Christ.

The rulership of the people of God, and of the earth as well, already has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, like David, He must remain with His followers outside the camp of "respectability" until the Father brings to an end the rule of men who are inspired by self and Satan. Then the Lord Jesus can return to the earth and begin to perfect His rule over the Church, and through the Church over all the peoples of the earth.

We can observe the same design in our own life. As soon as we accept the Lord Jesus Christ He is anointed King over our whole being. Yet we go on for a season serving sin and self. When the Holy Spirit enables us to put to death our adamic nature we can come from the wilderness and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ over our whole person. The design is that of the continuously expanding rule of Christ.

The second anointing of David typifies the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and His army of saints to put down all rebellion in the earth. This is the Day of Vengeance, the time when the power of judgment is given to the saints.

The Millennial Kingdom will not be a perfect realm, and that is the reason for a rod of iron. There remains the possibility of rebellion. Satan will be bound, and Christ will be King of kings and Lord of lords during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Again, we may make a personal application here. We can gain victory in our spirit and soul but there remains our mortal body. We still must rule our body with a rod of iron, to speak figuratively, until the day that Jesus takes over the rule of our body also. Then He will be King over all our person—not just over our spirit and soul.

The third anointing of David portrays the extending of the rule of Christ until every Christian, and finally every saved creature in Heaven and on the earth, has been brought under the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will be King over all and there then will be no more need of the iron rod of correction and discipline.

As soon as the created realm has been brought under the unhindered rule of Christ, Jesus Himself will "be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (I Corinthians 15:28).

David now was king over all Israel. David himself was subject to the Lord, so it was the Lord who was governing Israel.

Victorious saints, and the second anointing of David. Let us center our discussion at this time on the second anointing of David—that which took place at the time of the death of Saul and Jonathan. You may recall that this anointing was over part of the nation of Israel, that is, over the tribe of Judah.

The prophetic significance is clear. Before the reign of Christ is achieved there will be a partial rulership of Christ over His inheritance. Christ was anointed King over all when He was baptized in the Holy Spirit. But His inheritance has remained in the hands of men who are inspired by sin and self-seeking. (Of course, God always retains control of the circumstances of His saints).

As soon as the necessary preparations have been made the Lord Jesus will assume the rulership of "Judah," that is, of part of His kingdom.

We can expect a partial installation of Jesus as King, to be followed thereafter by rulership over all of His rightful inheritance.

What is this partial rulership of Christ? It is His dominion that is being exerted today over each Christian who will assent to the unhindered rule of Christ of his or her life.

There are many people in the earth today who have made some kind of commitment to Christ or have some identification with Christ. Of this large group of "believers," how many are disciples? Over how many does Christ possess unhindered lordship?

How many begin each day with a strong grip on Christ, on the fact that Christ is to rule their life in every detail that day? How many are putting Christ first in every aspect of thought, word, and action, and are being obedient to the Holy Spirit each moment? These are the believers who fulfill the prophetic significance of the second anointing. These are the ones who are living the overcoming life of victory in Christ and to whom will be assigned the Divinely appointed positions of service and responsibility.

It is to this army of fervent disciples, these "mighty men" with whom Christ will be surrounded at His glorious appearing, just as David was surrounded by His mighty men, that the Kingdom of God will first be given.

Each Christian, regardless of membership in any earthly group, has full access to the ranks of the saints, the victorious saints, the conquerors. Being an overcomer means we have placed Christ in first position in our life. God furnishes the wisdom and power. The Christian furnishes the faithful, cooperative attitude.

The victorious saints are no mystical company closeted in a home prayer group, reveling in an attitude of superiority over the remainder of the church members. The victorious saints are the Christians, regardless of affiliation, who have accepted Christ as Lord and are following Him with all their strength each day.

There is no reason why every Christian on earth cannot be an overcomer. The only thing that holds us back is our own unwillingness to put Christ in first place in our life. The power is there. It is our responsibility to lay hold on the grace of God that is available to every believer.

The concept that all Christians receive the same reward has crept into the thinking of many of the Lord's people. This in spite of the many verses in both Old and New Testaments that teach that our reward is based on our performance in the earth.

Glorious rewards of authority and power will be given to the victorious saints. There is no glorious reward for the lukewarm, careless believer!

One of the incorrect notions in present-day Christianity is that all believers will reign with Christ at His appearing whether or not they are following the Spirit in overcoming the accuser. We can proceed blindly in this unscriptural belief if we wish, but it is a vain hope.

In order to be saved we must believe in Christ, be baptized, and endure to the end.

In order to attain the throne of Christ we must pursue the life of victorious conquest in Christ.

An overcomer is one who conquers the world, his own fleshly, self-willed nature, and the devil, by the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Anyone who would be an overcomer must establish his faith on the fact that the Scriptures are true. Also, he or she must put his own desires in second place and the will of Christ in first place. Each Christian who does these things, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus, will receive the rewards that are to be given to the conquerors.

Those who do not overcome but rather who are overcome by their own passions, Satan, and the spirit of the world, may be saved if they truly believe in the Lord Jesus. But there is no scriptural hope for their ruling with Christ when He appears. Also, they can expect severe chastening at the hand of the Lord.

There is more to the life of victory in Christ than making an initial profession of faith in Christ and then waiting for His appearing. There is a life of fervent discipleship to be lived during which the Holy Spirit brings us through the three areas of redemption, as outlined in our book. Let us all be among those who press on to the fullness of the redemption that is in Christ.

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are concerned with the attitude of the Lord Jesus toward the "seven churches that are in Asia." Christ has something to say about each of these churches.

Whether the seven churches of Asia represent periods of history, types of congregations of believers, or something else, we are not prepared to say. Our opinion is, if we can apply the admonitions profitably then let us do so.

In addition to the churches, Christ addresses Himself also to individuals in the churches. Christ never says, "to those who overcome"; it is always, "to him that overcometh." A church never can be an overcomer.

Overcoming, conquering in Christ, is an individual accomplishment. Belonging to an assembly or being identified with a particular congregation or affiliation can never make a person an overcomer.

The victorious saints, the conquerors, are addressed one at a time by the living Christ. Each conquering saint is responsible directly to the Lord Jesus. The Church gives birth to and nourishes the overcomer. The conquerors fight their way up to a one-to-one relationship with Christ.

The victorious saints are steady Christians, active church workers in many instances, useful members of the community—an asset to any organization. In addition to demonstrating sound character, there is something in the spirit of the conqueror that sets him apart from the swamps of confusion and defeat that characterize the churches in so many instances.

The conquerors are on an all-consuming quest for God. They are being stretched on the Lord's bow and are pointed straight at the heart of the enemy. When the Lord fully draws that bow and lets the arrow fly the forces of wickedness will be torn down from their heavenly vantage points and crushed under the feet of the saints.

By reading the second and third chapters of Revelation we can notice the contrast between the seven churches of Asia and the individual victorious saints. For example, the church of Ephesus had some fine qualities and had persevered in the face of difficulties. However it had lost some of the fervency of its love for Jesus and was in danger of having its lampstand removed from its place, that is, of losing its Divine testimony.

The reward was held out to those of the church who would follow Christ with a whole heart:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

To eat of the tree of life is the goal of the Christian quest. It is the "resurrection of the dead" that Paul was seeking to attain (Philippians 3:11). It is the "first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6). One of the penalties suffered by Adam and Eve was the denial of access to the tree of life.

The overcomer, the conqueror, does not lose his first love. He is consumed with love for Christ. His reward is resurrection life. The church at Ephesus, on the other hand, had fallen away from the fervency of love for Jesus and was commanded to repent.

The church of Smyrna was about to suffer imprisonment and tribulation. Those in the church who were faithful to death were to receive the crown of life.

Then, speaking to individual saints who have "ears to hear," the Lord Jesus promises, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of [be harmed by] the second death" (Revelation 2:11).

The second death is the Lake of Fire. The second death cannot injure or exercise any power or authority over one of the Lord's conquerors, over a believer in Christ who denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows the Lord Jesus throughout his lifetime. Victorious saints love the Lord with all their heart. The other believers of the churches have problems escaping the attractions of the world.

The reason the second death cannot injure an overcomer has to do with the nature of the overcomer. If wood is cast into the fire it is destroyed. If gold is cast into the fire it is refined.

The overcomer attains the resurrection of his inner nature by sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ throughout the temptations of the present life, and as a result receives the resurrection of his body at the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

If his spirit, soul, and body are all "gold," all Divine Substance, all filled with eternal life, having been raised from the dead, then he cannot be injured by the second death.

The Lake of Fire can no more harm an overcomer than the fire of Nebuchadnezzar could harm Shadrach, Meshach or Abednego.

Christ pointed His two-edged sword at the church in Pergamos. Pergamos dwelled in a satanic area but had made some spiritual progress. However, there were people present in the church who held doctrines of wickedness. Christ warned this church of judgment to come if there were no repentance.

To the conqueror Christ promises:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:17)

What a contrast! Christ with the sword of His mouth fights against those holding doctrines of wickedness but nourishes and blesses each person of the churches who chooses to become a conqueror in Him.

We have stated that the overcomer is born in the Church and nourished in the Church. The saint comes to maturity by the ministries and gifts in the churches as well as by the other means provided by the Holy Spirit.

A church may contain those who follow doctrines that lead to evil practices. In such a case the Lord Jesus rebukes the church. Unless the church repents He will come and fight against those who teach wickedness. Each conqueror in that church is hearing the Spirit and is pressing upward toward the throne of Christ.

Every Christian believer, as we have said, has the opportunity to be a conqueror. The choice is his. The victorious saints are not, for the most part, little groups of saints hidden away in secret meetings. Rather, the victorious saints are the persons in each Christian assembly who give their lives to Jesus.

The remainder of the people who attend Christian churches are not eligible for the promises of glory and authority, at least not while they are found in a condition of half-heartedness concerning the things of Christ. Every believer in Christ is invited and welcome to the ranks of the victorious saints.

The rewards to the conquerors are the blessings that traditionally we have assigned to all Christians. A closer reading of Scripture will reveal that the promises of rulership with Christ always are associated with overcoming, with suffering, with sharing the afflictions of Christ.

Christ will appear with His warriors, with those who have gone outside the camp with Him bearing His humiliation and rejection. By appearing with His warriors Christ will fulfill the type of the second anointing of David—the rulership of David over the tribe of Judah. Shortly thereafter the blessing and Presence of Christ will increase in the whole Church and then expand to every believing person on the earth.

We are not teaching that every individual ultimately will be saved because that is not true. Satan and all who choose his way are doomed to eternal punishment. There is no redemption in that punishment. It is utter, final, absolute. The destruction that God has promised is as eternal as the salvation that God has promised.

What we are teaching is that Christ is seeking and separating out now an army of victorious saints who will rule with Him, just as David's mighty men shared the victorious return of David to Israel. In due time the whole Church, the Body of Christ, will rule the earth and the blessing of Christ will reach out to include every soul whom God has saved.

In order to encourage us to press into the second anointing, the place of authority and blessing with Christ, let us examine the promises God has made to each believer who chooses to conquer in Christ:

To eat of the tree of life—to gain eternal life in spirit, soul, and body.

To not be hurt of [be harmed by] the second death—the ability to survive all judgment.

To eat of the hidden manna—to receive an impartation of Divine Substance for strength, given to those who do the Lord's will.

To receive a white stone having a new name written on it. Since this appears to be a pebble used in casting a ballot, the white pebble signifying acceptance, we can think of this as representing our eternal acceptance in the favor of God. Some of the promises to the conquerors carry with them the implication that the saint has been sealed forever in the Presence of Christ in God and no longer is threatened with being cast away from the Presence of the Lord.

To receive power and authority over the nations.

To receive the morning star—the eternal light of Christ in the saint.

To be clothed in white raiment—the portrayal of the eternal sanctification of the Wife of the Lamb.

To have one's name confessed before the Father and His angels—the establishing of our identity and recognition at the highest levels of spiritual authority.

To be made a pillar in the Temple of God. The conqueror is created an eternal part of the structure of God's Temple.

To remain in the Temple of God forever. The overcomer will be able to minister throughout the creation and to represent God in every place; but he never will leave the Temple, just as Jesus never leaves the Throne of God but is everywhere at once. In fact, Christ and His Body are the eternal Temple of God.

To have the name of God written on him. This marks the saint as the personal possession and representative of God throughout eternity.

To have "Jerusalem" written on him. He now is part of the ruling city of God and will be recognized as such throughout the creation.

To have the new name of Christ written on him. This establishes the overcomer as an inseparable part of Christ throughout eternity. The new creation is of Christ and is Christ. God has determined to make all things new in His beloved Son. Christ receives a new name because we now are part of Him. We receive a new name because He now is part of us.

To dine with Christ and Christ with Him. This refers to the communication of the Life of God between Christ and the believer who receives Christ into his or her personality.

To sit with Christ in His throne. This is the highest possible level of authority and power and is assigned to each believer who, through Christ, wins the fight against his own passions, Satan, and the world.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

The promises to the conquering saint are so great as to be inconceivable to us at the present time, but they are as true and as real as Calvary.

Becoming a victorious saint. We have seen that the second anointing of David had to do with an intermediate rule over part of Israel, typifying an intermediate rule of Christ over part of the Church of God. The first and greatest rewards will go to those who are first to come over to the undisputed sway of Christ. The remainder of the Church still has a problem with making the transition from the rule of the flesh (Saul).

If the key word is overcome, what does it mean to be an overcomer? How does this differ from conventional Christianity? Let us examine the implications of this word.

The term overcome implies a battle. It brings to our attention that there are two opponents and one has subdued the other. The overcomer has conquered the one who is opposing him.

The Church always has known and taught that Christ overcame the devil on Calvary and that His victory is our victory if we will believe and receive. There is no question about the fact that Christ overcame Satan at Calvary and made an open show of triumph over His enemies when He ascended into Heaven. Why, then, do we speak of personal battles and personal victories?

The answer is as follows: the Lord does all the fighting when we come out from Egypt, to speak figuratively, and the atoning blood of the cross of Christ is the means whereby we are able to escape the authority of the kingdom of darkness. But Israel, with the help of the Lord, does the fighting when the time comes to enter the land of promise and dispossess the inhabitants of Canaan.

Israel did not lift a finger when it came to destroying the Egyptians. But Israel had to fight bloody battles against the Philistines, the Amorites, the Amalekites, the Jebusites, and the other tribes of Canaan.

Some of the fighting remains for the Church, the Body of Christ, to do. We are wrestling against evil powers in the heavenlies. Christ is waiting until His enemies have been made His footstool.

Jesus had to conquer and we must conquer (Revelation 3:21).

What does it mean to be an overcomer? It means that by the grace of God that has been given us in the form of the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, we are to take our stand against the accuser, the present evil age, and our own lusts and self-will. Each day of our lives we receive the victory of Christ by laying hold on the Divine grace given to us for that day.

Many persons who name the name of Christ are not victorious saints. They could be!

They wander in the wilderness of the world, not really laying hold on the promises of God in Christ. Periodically they go through seasons of repentance, knowing in their heart there will be no lasting change in their behavior.

It is their opinion that believers never can overcome wickedness in this life, and their hope is that when the Lord Jesus comes He will magically transform them into spiritual giants. They are not overcoming but are living according to the demands of their fleshly, soulish nature, Satan, and the world.

Many weak Christians are good, honest, sincere, hard-working people. God loves them and has in mind to save them, just as He saved Lot. We should not be referring to such persons as victorious saints or leaving them with the impression that when Jesus appears they will receive the rewards designated for the victorious saints. They are not filled with the Light and Glory of God. They are not attaining the first resurrection from the dead.

The overcomer is a different type of Christian. He despises the world, the flesh, and the devil, and has no fear of Antichrist or of any other thing or person with which God will plague the world.

The overcomer abides under the anointing of the Spirit. He walks in perpetual revival even though he passes through severe testings. He is willing to perceive nothing but revival. He does not perceive the world as worldly Christians do, he perceives only the Glory of God filling the whole earth.

He is observant of the fact that we now are entering the greatest of all revivals and that multitudes upon multitudes of souls will enter the Kingdom before Jesus returns. He understands that the wall of defense against sin will be built in the days of trouble.

He beholds the hand of God in all people and circumstances. He is established on the truth that where sin abounds grace does much more abound. Therefore he does not allow himself to fret or be cast down concerning the swelling of the hideous boil of sin that the Spirit has declared will fill the earth in the last days.

The overcomer lives in the throne of Christ. Every moment of his time and every calorie of his energy is bent toward pressing upward to victory, to complete reconciliation to God. How can he settle for less when the Spirit of Christ continually is drawing Him to the heart of God?

Although the conflict is terrific the conqueror is victorious through the Virtue of Christ.

There are Christians who desire to be victorious saints but who are under the false impression that the overcoming life is unattainable for them because of their personal weaknesses. This is not true.

All that is required to be an overcomer now—and we overcome one moment at a time—is to cast all of one's self on Christ. He is the Overcomer. It is His position and power that overcomes our fleshly nature, self-will, Satan, and the world. Our task is to continue steadfastly in faith in the conquering ability of Christ.

We overcome the world by faith in the ability of Christ to conquer.

The overcoming state is not that of a static, passive acceptance of correct doctrine concerning Christ. Overcoming is a day-to-day struggle in the Spirit of God against the world, our flesh, and the adversary. The walk of victory in Christ is dynamic, and challenging to the depths of our personality.

It we look to Christ and surrender all to Him we are victorious saints immediately. If we keep on surrendering each moment we are moment-by-moment victorious saints. None of us can overcome for tomorrow. There is no grace for tomorrow. There is enough grace for now, and so we always are overcoming in Christ now.

Victorious saints are perfect before Christ because they have turned over their lives to Him. They are not perfect in the eyes of the churches or in their own eyes. Perfection is an area of confusion among Christians. One would suppose that perfection before God meant perfection before men, but such is not the case.

A look at Abraham, David, Elijah, and others of God's outstanding saints will reveal that they did not always behave themselves in a manner we would deem perfect. Yet they are God's heroes of faith and heirs of the Kingdom.

God's standards of perfection and victory are different from ours. God's enemies are different from ours. We seek popularity and acceptance by people. God seeks the destruction of His enemies.

Your own view of yourself as an overcomer, a saint, may be quite different from God's view of you as a saint. You may desire to overcome the flaws in your personality that are keeping you back from greater acceptability by people. God desires to destroy from you everything that is of Satan and to create the Nature of His Son in you.

We Christians are ancestor worshipers, in a sense. We read in the Scriptures of the patriarchs, prophets, priests, apostles, and so forth and think of them as perfect people who came down from Heaven. We picture them as something other than what they were.

There are few of us who would care much for the company of Elisha, for example. We probably would find him to be an undesirable member of our church. If we had a committee and put Elisha on it he might prove to be difficult to work with—somewhat abrupt and tactless in his presentations.

Our concept of a conqueror and God's concept of a conqueror may not be the same.

We may have wondered about Paul. There may have come to our mind a handsome, outstanding preacher whose brilliant discourses in huge temples brought cheering thousands to their feet or left congregations weeping or transfixed in rapturous silence.

It is more likely that the Apostle Paul was a homely little Jew, prickly as a cactus, tough as a boot, who argued doctrine in home study groups for the most part.

There were religious teachers who followed after Paul, undoing what he had taught and profiteering from the Gospel.

Paul was no fashionable revivalist. He was a disreputable prisoner. No doubt it has been a surprise to Paul in Heaven to see how God has brought such an abundance of fruit from his letters to the young churches. The greatest fruit comes by our death rather than by our life.

You can be a conqueror. You may be as aloof as Elisha, as fearful as Elijah or Peter, or as lustful as David, but you too can be a conqueror in Christ. Christ has enough wisdom and power to enable you to lay hold on the inheritance for which you have been elected.

You task is to spend your faith, time, and attention in laying hold on Christ. If you will look to Christ in faith you can join the army that is fighting upward against all odds to the throne of Christ. Or you can remain with murmuring Israel, hoping (unscripturally) that the rewards are for all who profess belief in Christ whether or not they are fervent in their pursuit of Christ.

Such double-minded professors are basing their hope of glory on the concept that the Scripture does not mean exactly what it states. You can bury your head like an ostrich if you wish. How much better to look up to Christ and receive from Him this moment the authority and power to press forward to God's rest!

To press on to the fullness of the reward will cost you everything of your adamic personality. You must make use constantly of the blood of Christ. You must hold in unwavering faith to the faithfulness of God's Word. You must love not your life to the death.

Yours will be a sometimes-painful, uphill struggle against incredible pressures. The strength of Christ will enter where yours fails. He never will leave you, fail you, or prove unable to solve the problems that are attacking you on every side.

To not press on to the fullness of the reward will cost you everything. It will cost you the glory and power promised to those who serve Christ. How many Christians, like Esau, will trade the throne of Christ for a bowl of beans? How foolish and unnecessary!

You will suffer pain in this life whether or not you choose to follow Christ. You will be crucified either way (II Corinthians 7:10). There were three crosses on Calvary: the Lord was crucified, the believer was crucified, and the unbeliever was crucified.

So why not get on the right cross? Why not be crucified to the resurrection of Christ rather than to the anguish and death of the world?

There is a price to pay for serving Christ to the fullest. There is an even greater price to pay for not serving Christ to the fullest. The choice is yours, dear reader, and Christ stands near you with all the help you will ever need. He is waiting patiently for you to choose His way. Will you do that—now?

The second anointing of David, that which established him as ruler over the house of Judah, occurred when Saul and Jonathan died. We have suggested that this partial rulership of David is a type of the appearing of Christ and His saints to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

We have set forth the idea that the thousand-year Kingdom Age is a period of time during which the rule of Christ will be expanded until all wills have been subjected to His will. The fruition of the work of the thousand- year Kingdom Age (the Millennial Jubilee) will appear in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Then Christ Himself will be subject to the Father that God may be All in all.

We have suggested further that the conquering saints are being created now. Today the challenge is being presented to us. All things are possible to us if we will believe. Let us turn to Christ again, even if we have been faithful Christians for many years.

Does our heart condemn us? If not, we rejoice that we have been received of Christ and that the fullness of the rewards are ours. We never will allow Satan or our own doubts to keep us under the burden of guilt that there is something more we should be doing.

God desires we be full of faith and confidence that we are pleasing to Him—not full of doubt that somehow, somewhere there is something we should be doing. It is the accusations of Satan that keep us under the impression we always are failing Christ.

Are we not doing the will of Christ with a perfect heart? Why then should we allow ourselves to be persuaded that God is an angry ogre whom it is impossible to please?

The ways of the Lord are pure, simple, attainable by the grace that God gives. Every believer can walk with a perfect heart before God, being without condemnation. The true Christian is the one who is doing the will of God.

If we are being disobedient, let us cease from our disobedience and do God's will. If we are unwilling to do God's will we need to pray for strength to be perfectly obedient to the Lord. All else is rebellion.

It is the Lord's command that we walk as He walked. This is perfectly possible by His grace and is the normal Christian discipleship. To believe that we are "trying to be like Jesus but doomed to failure" is a weak, unscriptural, defeated point of view. It is not the attitude of God's conquerors.

If we attempt in our own strength to "be like Jesus" we indeed are doomed to failure. If we open our heart to the Lord, receive His grace, and perform His will for the moment, we are assured of victory over every enemy.

The difference between trying to be like Jesus, and opening our heart to receive the victory of Christ in every circumstance, is the difference between law and grace, between religion and Divine redemption, between the nominal Christians and the conquering saint.

We overcome the world by faith, not by our own efforts. Let us then flee from all weak talk and actions and receive into our spirit the Lord of hosts. He is the Lord—strong and mighty in battle. He is the ever-victorious Lord of hosts. The Lord does not try to do anything. What He does, He does, and the armies of Hell cower in the darkness when the Lord acts.

Let us receive Christ. When we receive Him we receive victory. We are not attempting merely to imitate Christ. We have Christ by partaking of His body and blood. We have victory because we possess the Victor. This does not mean we are victorious vicariously because He is victorious. It means that the strength and wisdom of God enter us and give us the power and wisdom to behave in a righteous, holy, and obedient manner.

The Second Temptation of Christ

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:5-8)

The three temptations of Christ are the three ways in which every son of God is tested. Each of us is tested in the area of putting God first instead of being occupied primarily with physical survival (the test of bread); in the area of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (the test of sin); and in the area of willful behavior (the test of self-will).

The first test has to do with our animal survival instincts.

The second test has to do with the worship of Satan.

The third test has to do with our identity as a self-centered personality.

Christ was tempted throughout His ministry in these three ways. We are tempted throughout our Christian lives in the same three ways. One difference is that Christ was not born with a sinful nature. The Divine Nature of Christ, employing the words of Scripture, rejected each of the three offers of Satan.

We, on the other hand, were born with a sinful nature. Yet we can become conquerors by the Word of God, the Virtue of Christ, and the guidance and enablement of the Holy Spirit in each of the three areas of temptation.

Do not be surprised if you come into temptation after much seeking of the Lord because it is the Holy Spirit who leads us into the wilderness. Do not become alarmed if there is much satanic activity in connection with your trials because it is Satan who tempts us. Every son of God must be tested in each of the three ways.

We are concerned at this point in our book with the issue of the conquering of sin, which is the second of the three trials of Christ as recorded in the Book of Luke.

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. (Luke 4:5)

God tempts no man. It was the devil who took Christ up into a high mountain, representing the places of prestige, of fame, of vainglory, of living according to the lusts and impulses of our adamic nature.

What a tempting contrast this was to the drab surroundings of the bleak wilderness of temptation! Satan always sets the stage for the particular test, attacking us when we are the most vulnerable. This temptation was designed to be particularly inviting to Christ who is a King by His Nature and by inheritance.

How Christ was shown all the kingdoms of the world in such a brief time must be explained in the supernatural realm. It is important for us to remember that our tests originate in the realm of spirits, therefore we ought not to be blaming people or physical circumstances for our problems. People are not the cause of our pain. They merely are the tools the Lord uses to shape us.

The kingdoms of the world (and no doubt these were the worldly kingdoms of all time) speak of unlimited riches, of being surfeited with food and drink, of harems, of dancing girls, of power to move armies and launch navies, of subservience from other people, of freedom to make decisions and alter one's circumstances at will, and of fame.

All the lust, glory, riches, fame, power, and other delights that can be imagined by the mind of man were presented as a gift to Christ when He was in the depth of His pain and deprivation. What would you have done? Where would we be if Christ had accepted? What will happen to the people who are depending on you if you accept Satan's offers?

Of course, Satan cannot give Christ or you or me anything at all, except temporarily in order to fulfill God's will. The Scripture states that God alone exalts one person and abases another. The temptation of Christ was a seductive lie.

And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. (Luke 4:6)

The kingdoms of the world are not evil, for we understand from the Scripture that the Day is coming in which the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. If the kingdoms of the world were inherently evil God would not give them to Christ as His inheritance.

The evil of the kingdoms of the world is the sin and rebellion against God that Satan has introduced into them.

What a wonderful thought it is that our Lord Jesus Christ some day will receive what rightfully is His! It is true also of us that Satan, after discerning the deepest desires of our heart, the desires that spring from what God has put in us and that will enable us to gain the inheritance for which we were predestined by the Lord, attempts to persuade us to take a shortcut.

In order to take an easier path to our inheritance we must disobey God. The question is, will we be faithful to God or will we esteem the fulfilling of our own desires to be more important than pleasing God?

The evil found in the kingdoms of the world follows three broad trends: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. From these three flow adultery, fornication, impurity, indecency, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, anger, intrigue, party loyalty, gossip, slander, selfish ambition, envy, drunkenness, debauchery, lying, and stealing.

If you will study the activities of the highest levels of government among the nations of the earth you will discover that the above list is an accurate description of what is taking place.

The desire to rule the kingdoms of the earth is not evil in itself because Christ holds out authority over the nations as a reward to those who overcome.

The child who wants to grow up and achieve his desires usually is admired for his ambition. The problem lies in the manner in which we go about getting what we want. If our desires are in God and we are perfectly willing to leave the achievement in His hands, all is well. If we are ready to gratify our desires by any means, without regard for God's will for us or for how we harm other people, we are heading toward sin and death.

There is a tendency in human beings to want to be free to take from the world the things that appeal to them, that they covet. There comes to us a false sense of power when we decide to cast off the rule of God in Christ and take what we want when we want it, to go where we wish in our own time, to be we want to be according to what pleases us.

Satan utilizes this tendency in mankind and promises us pleasure and glory if we will forget about God's way of restraint and launch out freely to satisfy our heart's cravings.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalms 2:2,3)

God's response to those who want to break his bands and cast away His cords is to laugh in derision. We humans are but dust of the ground. Satan tempts us into a false sense of power, giving us the feeling that we are the master of our own fate and are free to make decisions according to our own pleasure.

"Eat, drink, and be merry," the worldly man cries, "for we live today and die tomorrow."

God says to such a man, "Foolish one, this moment your soul will be required of you."

In His marvelous love, God Almighty offers to us the true freedom that comes only from loving obedience to His Son, Christ. We all are slaves to sin until our acceptance of the lordship of Christ makes us free indeed.

There is no power or freedom for us apart from entrance into union with the Person and will of Christ. The seeming freedom to gratify our desires, that Satan offers, is a delusion, a snare—a horrible pit filled with harrowing grief and eternal remorse.

We strive to satiate the lusts of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, and the pride of life that are in us.

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:2,3)

Many evil works spring from men who lust after positions of power over other men. Wasn't this the ruling motive that caused the priests and Pharisees to be blind to their Christ and to demand His murder?

The lying, stealing, lusting, and murdering that take place in the high places of government are a reflection of the activities in the kingdom of Satan.

If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. (Luke 4:7)

There never has been a greater abomination in the history of the world than that of Satan standing before the Word of God, Satan's Creator, and seeking worship from that Living Word. Can you imagine?

Yet the same type of abomination, though on a lesser scale, happens to you and me each day of our lives. God has promised us we will be coheirs with the Living Word. Can we remember that fact when Satan stands before us and invites our worship?

Satan, a cherub, demands worship of every creature. From our point of view, such presumption and boldness may seem laughable. Yet we need to remain watchful while we are laughing. Satan's methods of obtaining our worship are surprisingly effective.

There is this about evil spirits and people who are moved by them: they know no limits of boldness and perversity. Sometimes they win because of the audacity of their demands.

The righteous need to be careful of this because the righteous are trusting and sheep-like in their approach to spiritual warfare. Evil personalities possess a fierce drive toward gratification and dominion. Paul speaks more than once of those who come in and make profit from the unsuspecting believers. By pleasant words and flowery speeches they deceive the lambs. Their goal is to fatten their own stomachs.

It may give us more of a desire to lead the overcoming life if we realize that whenever we sin we are worshiping the devil. We are not claiming that everyone who sins is devil-possessed, filled with demons or is supposed to have demons cast from him, although sometimes this is the case.

Nevertheless it is true that sin has its origin in the devil; also that we believers have sin dwelling in our flesh and the sin needs to be driven out by the Spirit of the Lord.

Whether or not we refer to the sin dwelling in our flesh as demons is unimportant. The fact is, the sin is dwelling in us (even though we have received Christ as our Savior) and needs to be judged and removed from us. The Lake of Fire has authority over all sin; and as long as the sin is in us the Lake of Fire has authority over that part of us.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. . . . (I John 3:8)

If the Spirit of God brings to our attention that we are engaging in some lustful action, word, or imagination, and we refuse to allow Christ to forgive and cleanse us, what are we saying? Are we not saying that we choose Satan over God?

The believers of today are arrogant, stating that "no Christian can have a demon." The issue is not whether a believer can have a demon but how he or she is behaving. In their arrogance they are blind to their own behavior. If we are seeking to avenge ourselves the spirit of murder is in us. No murderer has eternal life! Numerous Christians are filled with murder, revenge, jealousy, bitterness, envy, lust, sorcery. But they arrogantly state, "No Christian can have a demon." What is the purpose of fastening on doctrine when the Christians are practicing sin? They are blind leading the blind.

If God has directed us to do something, and we keep on refusing so we may gratify lusts that (according to I John 3:8) have their origin in the devil, are we not then servants of Satan?

Doesn't the Scripture state that he who commits sin is the servant of sin? Can we be a servant of sin and not be the servant of the devil?

The demand of Satan for worship is not so incredible after all. When we Christians continue with our gossiping, evil speaking, lust, fornication, lying, stealing, murderous rages, envying, personal ambition, conniving, sectarian loyalties, carousing, and so forth we are yielding to Satan's demand for worship.

Let us refuse Satan's demand for worship. Let us cease, by the wisdom and enabling power of the Spirit of God, the evil practices, words, and thoughts with which we are occupied. We can stop sinning by the power of Christ.

Let us now look at the complete text of I John 3:8:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

Christ was revealed in order to destroy the works of the devil. One of the first works of the devil that must be destroyed is the sinning that keeps Christians from worshiping God.

God is worshiped when we do the things that please Him. Satan is worshiped when we do the things that please him. To whom, then, will we offer our service of worship: God or Satan?

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

If we are practicing sin we are not serving God or worshiping God. This does not mean a Christian should give up in despair and go back into the world because the Holy Spirit or the Scripture has reproved him concerning sin in his life. Nor does it mean that the sinning believer never has been born again.

What it does mean, however, is that sin is of Satan, not of God. As long as we practice sin, no matter how firmly we profess to be a Christian, we are not serving God in the specific behavior but are serving the devil. We can be delivered from this bondage if we will turn to the Lord.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (I John 3:10)

The children of God are those who resist the devil and practice righteousness. This we can do provided we walk carefully in the Holy Spirit, laying hold on the grace that is in Christ.

Satan promises us power and glory if we will worship him. All we will receive is remorse, grief, broken health, the destruction of those who were trusting in us, early physical death, eternal separation from God, and everlasting residence in the Lake of Fire.

Only God is able to give us true power and true glory. He has promised us both power and glory if we will lay hold on the grace of God to the point of overcoming the world, our flesh, and the accuser.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:8)

When we are approached and it is suggested to us that we worship and serve Satan by disobeying the Holy Spirit and the Scripture, no matter what area of lust, of personal advantage, of covetousness, of murder, or of sorcery may be involved, there only is one answer: "Get behind me, Satan for I am a servant of Christ. I choose to serve Him and to resist the deeds, words, motives, and imaginations that the Word of God declares to be rebellion against God."

If Adam and Eve had resisted Satan in this manner, think of the agony that would have been spared the peoples of the earth!

So it is with us. Our decisions for righteousness are the source of deliverance and blessing for multitudes of people—some yet unborn. If we decide to yield to Satan, our decision becomes the source of agony and death for many people. He who is not for Christ is against Him. He who gathers not with Christ, scatters. There is no middle course.

Christ was tested in the area of survival, in the area of Satan worship, and in the area of self-will. The third temptation, that of self-will, may prove to be difficult for some of us. We will discuss the third temptation later in our study.

Conclusion: The Area of Sanctification

The thesis of our book is that there are three major phases of redemption. We have termed the first phase, salvation ; the second phase, sanctification ; and the third phase, conquest.

Salvation is the means of our preservation during the Day of Judgment. Sanctification is the program whereby we attain righteousness, holiness, and the purpose of God for our life. Conquest also is a means by which we attain the purpose of God for our life; but conquest is so important it blends into the purpose itself.

We are being specific with the terms salvation, sanctification, and conquest. Our purpose in being specific and analytical is to point out some important issues of redemption. The Scriptures are not as specific in the use of these three terms, particularly in the use of the term salvation. Salvation is employed to indicate all areas of the work of Christ from our first acceptance of the atoning blood to the redemption of our body.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (I Timothy 4:16)

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

By examining the context of I Peter 1:5 we can define "salvation," as it is used here, as the incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that is reserved in Heaven for us.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

The Book of Hebrews speaks of the danger of neglecting salvation (2:3). In the context of Hebrews, neglecting salvation means much more than not accepting the atonement made on the cross. Neglecting salvation in this context means failing to press on to the fullness of the glory of the heirs of salvation, to the fullness of the promised-land rest of God.

We have set forth the preceding passages to indicate that our use of the term salvation is for study purposes only and is not intended to establish a doctrinal position. It is helpful to remember that salvation is past (at Calvary), is taking place in our lives now, and is yet to come with the appearing from Heaven of the Lord Jesus. The term salvation is used in the Scriptures to mean the broad, perfect, and complete plan of redemption.

In discussing the first and second phases of redemption, our use of many scriptural types and examples and our interpretation of them are not intended to be rigid. All scriptural types and examples apply to every aspect of redemption: to salvation, to sanctification, and to conquest.

The grace of God is like fine needlework that is so skillfully and intricately fashioned that it is impossible to separate the infinitely detailed strands and patterns. The Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit are so pounded together into every atom of God's saints as to be indistinguishable and inseparable.

Our scheme of analysis is useful only as it is liberating and leads us to Jesus but must never become a hindrance to fuller revelation and mature understanding in the Spirit of God. Manna is for the day but the end is Christ Himself.

We have been saved—preserved in the Day of Wrath. We have accepted the variety of operations of the Holy Spirit in the school called sanctification. Let us now go on to explore the area of conquest.

Perfect conquest is oneness with Christ in God. Oneness with Christ in God is both the means and the end of redemption.

In salvation we die to the world and are raised into newness of life in Christ. In sanctification we die to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We are raised into the power and liberty of resurrection life in the Holy Spirit.

In conquest we die to our will and self-fulfillment. We are raised into the Fire of God's own Person. We abide eternally in the everlasting Fire of His Being and are fire of that holy Fire; gold of that pure Gold.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)