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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
FOUR LIVING CREATURES AND THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS
“In the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four
living creatures full of eyes before and behind.
And the first living creature was like a lion,
and the second living creature was like an ox,
and the third living creature had a face as a man,
and the fourth living creature was like a flying
eagle” (Rev. 4:6-7).
The four living creatures are in the “midst of the throne”
The four living creatures had four faces in the likeness of four
different creatures, representing four aspects of kingship
which are true in Christ Jesus and are also wrought out in the life of every
son of God apprehended to share His throne.
Each of the faces reveals an aspect of the attributes,
characteristics, and qualities which qualify one to rule and reign with
Christ in His kingdom. They
are, furthermore, the four-fold manifestation of Himself to all mankind!
In our previous message we considered the face of the lion
which speaks of strength —
power, authority, and dominion — for he is the most powerful of all the
big cats, and is known as the king of the beasts, and the king of the
forest, by virtue of his awesome prowess!
This brings us to the face of the ox
which is symbolic of servanthood,
for he is the largest and most useful of all domestic animals and is
historically a beast of burden, one that draws wagons, plows fields, can be
milked, and gives meat — a servant to man from time immemorial.
With the face of the ox, Christ is revealed and manifested as the compassionate
servant of all. The
firstborn Son of God did not come to lord it over people, or to compel them
to obey Him. He came to serve!
(Phil. 2:7). The service Christ
renders is done with compassionate mercy and out of a heart of divine love.
It is the greatest service ever!
He stoops to touch and receive and bless every man right where he is,
without condemnation or judgment. His
is the service of redeeming love and transforming grace that draws a person
to serve and obey Him. When He
comes to us and draws us with the cords of lovingkindness, by the sacrifice
of Himself, we can do nothing else but respond in love and devotion to Him
who has redeemed us!
Only the spiritually ambitious man will lay hold upon the kingdom of
God. To be spiritually
ambitious is to earnestly desire God’s best — in His way and time,
according to His purpose, and always and only for His glory.
It means to seek first the kingdom of God in all things!
It means to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul, and
strength. It means to come only
to do the will of the Father, and to do only what we see the Father doing.
To be spiritually ambitious is the very spirit
of sonship! There is a
place for ambitious men in the
kingdom of God! Jesus explained
the process, “Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant
of all.” He did not turn
the man away from the ambition to be great.
He simply told him how greatness can be achieved — become the
servant of all!
Then there are degrees of this greatness.
If you want to be great,
be “the servant of all.” If
you want to be first, be “the
bond-slave of all.” The
servant and the bond-slave represent degrees of self-giving, and they, in
turn, represent degrees of greatness attained, namely, “great” and
“first.” Beyond that is a
level to which Jesus Himself attained.
“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,
and to give His life a ransom for
many.” In other words, since
He went deeper than being servant of all, or a bond-slave of all, in that He
gave His very life, so He becomes the Son of God upon the throne of the
heavens, which is more than being great, or first, among a group — it is
the acme of being! So the door
is open for ambition. You may
be least, or less, or great, or greater, or greatest, or first, or a son of
God upon the throne!
Yet, it does not mean that we give
in order to get — that is not
the kingdom of God at all! We
do not put on humility and serve others with the motive of becoming great,
attaining to exalted positions of power and honor.
If we are serving to gain advantage, to receive a position of
authority over others, for the sake of authority, then we are not truly
humble servants at all, but devious, cunning, crafty, deceptive, scheming,
snaky, contriving, plotting, insincere hypocrites — and our motive is all
wrong! That is not how the
kingdom works! We do not serve
to be made great — we serve because we are
great with God’s greatness!
This is not a position of exercising power over others but of serving
them. Serving is
the power and the greatness! The
motivation of the desires of those who are truly called to sonship is the
same as the Captain of our salvation. Filled
with the great love of God, the
desire to attain to this position is to give ourselves in sacrifice and
service for the deliverance and restoration of the rest of God’s
creatures. Having attained to
this deliverance from the bondage of corruption as the firstfruits of the
creation, our only desire is to labor together with the Lord in the
deliverance of the rest of His creation, to lift them up to the same level
of life as He has lifted us. The
heart of God, the heart of unconditional, unlimited, and sacrificial love
and all goodness, is the greatest heart in the universe.
It is not serving that makes
us great, it is true divine greatness that causes
us to serve! Oh, the
mystery of it!
Let us see how beautifully Jesus taught this by His own example.
Everything is prepared and set in order for the last supper, to the
very water to wash the feet of the guests, as their custom was.
Christ and His disciples gather in the upper room to eat and
fellowship together on this solemn night.
Each one waits for the other, for there is no servant available to
perform the customary service of washing the guest’s feet.
Washing feet was one of the basest tasks in the culture of Jesus’
day. It was a job usually done
by a house slave. Just as we
offer a visitor hospitality, so in Jesus’ time they customarily washed a
visitor’s feet. Washing feet
was undesirable responsibility: the roads were dusty well enough.
But the filth of the road was more than dust!
The transportation of that day was the camel, the donkey, the horse,
and the mule. It takes little
imagination to understand that the streets and roads were littered with
their manure. The traveler’s
feet would be covered with this as well as being caked with dust.
The washing of feet was assigned to the lowliest slave because it
meant handling the filth of the streets.
This job was thought to be beneath the dignity of the “good man of
Not one of the twelve thinks of humbling himself to do the job, for,
after all, are they not the honored ones, the disciples of the very Son of
God, the flaming apostles of the kingdom, the future rulers of the world!
Even at the table they were full of the thought — who should be
greatest in the kingdom that was then beginning to dawn.
Suddenly, unexpectedly Jesus stood up from the table, and began to
take off His inner layer of garments until He was stripped to the waist,
wearing only His loin cloth. He
then took a large towel and wrapped it around Himself, poured water into a
large brass basin, and, beginning with one of the men at the end of the
table, laid heavy emphasis upon His words of a few moments before, “I am
in the midst of you as one that serves.”
Oh, the wonder of it! on which angels gazed with adoring wonder.
Christ, the Creator and King of the universe, at whose word all
worlds and galaxies flooded the infinity of space, who might with one word
have compelled any man or legions of angels to do His bidding, Himself chose
the slave’s place as His own, taking the soiled, filthy feet in His own
holy hands, and washes them. It
was to this task that the Lord of glory stooped!
But listen more carefully to the divine why
and how of this wondrous
spectacle. Jesus does it in the
full consciousness of His divine glory, for the apostle John records,
“Jesus knowing that the Father
had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God and went
to God, rose…” What a
startling combination of sublime cause with curious consequence!
How could Jesus have done this?
How could the Master and the King of the universe wash dung from His
disciple’s feet? He could do
it because HE WAS SECURE IN WHO HE WAS.
He knew that the Father
had given all things into His hands. He
knew that He had come from the
Father and that He was the Son of God and was soon to ascend the throne.
He knew that He was going
back to the Father after He defeated sin, sickness, death, hell, and the
grave. He didn’t have to
prove anything to Himself or anyone else.
His life had already proven who He was to those who had eyes to see.
And He didn’t stoop so low to become a tyrant, to rule over this
world by force. Oh, no!
He came to heal and bless and deliver and transform, to reign
by serving! Ah, yes, my
beloved, once we thoroughly know
who we are there is no need to proclaim it, no need to sound a trumpet, no
need to wear a badge, to remind people of how special we are.
Once we know that we are
the sons of God WE ARE FREED TO SERVE!
You see, it wasn’t in spite
of the fact of His greatness that Jesus took the place of the servant — it
was because of His greatness!
The greatness of Jesus is the greatness of the Father’s heart.
The greatness of Jesus is the greatness of divine love and humility.
The greatness of Jesus is the greatness of sonship!
For the hands into which the Father gives all things nothing is
common or unclean. Because
one is the offspring of the God of all grace, compassion, love, mercy, and
goodness, in whose hands all things are given, it is not difficult for him
to stoop so low. In this taking
the form of a servant, Jesus proclaims the divine order of the kingdom of
God and the nature of the kings and priests who reign.
The higher one stands in attainment in the kingdom, the more it is
his joy to be servant of all! “Whosoever
will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Mat. 20:27).
“He that is greatest
among you shall be your
servant” (Mat. 23:11).
The higher I rise in the consciousness of being like Christ, the
deeper shall I stoop to serve the creation around me.
The reason why we so often do not bless others is that we wish to
appear to them as their superiors in blessing, calling, or rank.
But that is not the spirit of sonship!
The truth is that only as a son can we truly be a servant.
It was the Son of God who assumed the form of a servant and humbled
Himself. Ah, beloved elect of
the Lord, walk among men as sons of
the Most High God! A son of
God is only in the world to show forth his Father’s glory, to demonstrate
how God-like and how blessed it is to live only and always to find a way to
love, bless, redeem, and restore God’s fallen creation.
Someone has well said, “God has three sorts of servants in the
world: some are slaves, and serve Him from fear; others are hirelings, and
serve for wages; and the last are sons, who serve because they love.”
I once read a story which beautifully illustrates why the mighty God
would stoop so low as to appear as a servant in His sons in order to restore
creation. A little child was
handed over to another by her own father — not because he wanted to part
with her, but they were very poor, and so that she could have sufficient
food and clothing, a good education and opportunity in life, he gave her
into a rich man’s keeping, letting her be adopted by the rich man as his
own daughter. He then hired
himself as a servant to the rich man where he was given a small cottage to
live on the grounds. He was
always there and daily kept watch over that little life until she matured;
and the girl, as she grew up, always felt a peculiar bond with him and that
she could always rely upon the unselfish love and wise counsel of him who
seemed but a serving man. Her
father, as she supposed him to be, was cold, demanding, and even cruel.
The day came when he repudiated her in a fit of rage because she had
brought what he perceived as shame upon his name.
In that dark moment the serving man stepped forward, and flung his
arms around her, shouting, with the fierceness of righteous indignation to
the man who had so cruelly abused her, “She never was your child!”
Then the girl knew why it was that she had felt such acceptance,
concern, care, peace, and joy in the presence of the serving-man.
She had listened to his language of love many a time, not knowing the
speaker was her real father!
Old father flesh, old father Adam, old father the devil repays all
men with cruelty, injustice, baseness, lack, pain, fear, sorrow, and death.
But there is a better Father — the One that sent you here, the one
who has watched over you, cared for you, counseled you, blessed you, helped
you, entreated you, wooed you and overshadowed you with His love as you have
passed through this world of tears and trouble.
Even when you knew it not, He was already your Father!
And in Jesus He came as a servant to minister to your need, to lift
and redeem and restore you unto Himself and His kingdom.
And now, bless His name, He comes in
many sons to reveal His heart of love to the whole vast creation and
restore all things. We, as sons
of God, are among men as Him that serveth!
This is the great miracle of sonship!
It unites greatness and humility in a divine combination.
It is the figure of an ox
in the midst of a glorious throne!
Oh, the wonder of it! This
is the new creation in Christ Jesus! The
great secret lies in the indwelling spirit of Jesus.
Being made partakers of His nature and mind we are able to stand
before Pilate, and when he says, “Are you a king?” we answer, “Thou
sayest it.” On the same night
it is possible to kneel before our brethren with a towel and a basin of
water, washing their feet — cleansing their walk — in the spirit of
service and humility. Only in
sonship do power and humility find their true relationships and their true
balance. Have you ever seen the
President of the United States cutting the grass at the White House?
How about Queen Elizabeth scrubbing the floors of her palace?
Or the Prime Minister of Canada cleaning the toilet?
We don’t expect people of high position to do lowly and seemingly
unimportant tasks. Yet Jesus
has revealed the law of a Higher Kingdom, a kingdom where power and
servanthood are joined together in a divine outpouring of love, grace, and
Lyn Gitchel, a dear friend of ours in Pennsylvania, once shared a
precious point about the meaning of what we call ministry.
She wrote, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and give His life a ransom for many.
The whole idea that we have of “ministry” has got warped up in
these days, and I believe we shall have to have a new picture of what
ministry really is put into our minds by God.
The word ministry comes
from two Latin words, minis,
(from which we get minus), which means lesser,
and tri, which is the Latin word
Now, when you think about it, a LESSER SERVANT is a whole lot
different from what we think of when the word ministry
is put in our minds. We think
of accomplished pastors, famous
evangelists, large meetings, crowds with a tremendous flow of miracles and
worship, and people that can really hold your attention by their great
preaching — and then we find that the word means LESSER SERVANT!
“The impact of this hit me recently and I’ll share the experience
with you. For most of my life I
have served in a professional capacity.
Before I was an ordained minister I was a registered nurse.
I have never really worked as a servant of any kind, until recently.
A friend of mine was doing a little job here in town which involves
helping an elderly lady who has had a stroke.
You need to help her in whatever capacity she needs, from housework
to bathing her. My friend had
to leave town and, to help her out, I took the job.
Nearly a year later I am still doing it!
One day I was kneeling on the bathroom floor drying her feet when
suddenly I said to myself, ‘Whatever am I doing here — I’m supposed to
be an Ordained Minister!’ Immediately
the Spirit of God answered within my heart, ‘You wanted to minister,
“The time has come when we must understand that ministry is not
preaching but servanthood. We
are going to have to learn all over again what it means to serve people with
the same heart of love that Jesus had when He walked among men.
It was not beneath Him to lift a woman caught in adultery to her feet
and speak a word of reassurance to her, nor was it beneath Him to eat at the
house of an ungodly tax-gatherer and his friends.
Jesus did not hire a huge auditorium and put out publicity announcing
great meetings. He simply moved
among men and women where they were and touched them with love, and healing,
and compassion” — end
There is the story of a man who desired from the Lord a true
understanding of heaven and hell. One
night in a dream he was told that he would soon receive this understanding.
He was taken into a room where a few dozen people were sitting around
a huge kettle of stew. Each one
had only a long-handled spoon to eat with, and their arms were straightened
so they could not bend them and bring the food into their mouths.
The people were extremely upset and angry at their plight, shouting
and cursing those who had done this to them.
This, he was told, was hell. Then
he was taken into another room which would be a picture to him of heaven.
To his surprise, the room was identical.
The large pot was there, as well as people with stiff arms and long
spoons. There was one
major difference, however. In
this room, each one would smile and lovingly dip into the stew with his or
her long-handled spoon and feed his fellow on the other side of the kettle!
In this day we are being translated from hell to heaven within
ourselves as we learn the ways of the kingdom which is the kingdom of love
— by SERVING!
Every new year the Queen of England publishes her Honors List,
conferring titles and decorations upon men and women who have rendered
distinguished service to mankind or to the country or to the political party
in power. I have in mind a
little Honors List of my own! There
is not much point in publishing it, because you will never have heard of
these people. They include a
dear sister who was poor in this world’s goods, who lived in a little
house that approached being a shack, yet was committed to God’s purposes
for this Day and vibrant with her love of God.
She was always sharing the Word with the neighborhood children who
graced her porch, continually cooking and sharing with others, fixing up and
maintaining a building for the gatherings of the saints, entertaining the
ministries the Lord sent their way, and encouraging everyone.
She never murmured or complained about anything that came her way.
Honor also goes to a brother who prayed earnestly and is credited
with “praying down” a mighty move of the Spirit of God many years ago,
by which others with whom he was associated were propelled into world-wide
fame, while he unpretentiously cherished the deep truths and hope of sonship
and the reconciliation of all things, continuing in prayer, setting an
example of righteousness and humility before his family and community,
regularly visiting the widows, orphans, and shut-ins.
I honor another brother whose name I do not even know who, during our
Conferences in Florida years ago, would sweep and clean the meeting place
until the wee hours of the morning (without being asked — it wasn’t his
responsibility!), while most of the brethren and the preachers were enjoying
rich fellowship over a mid-night spread of food at the local restaurants.
The one thing that these quiet heroes have in common is that they
lived the spirit of servanthood
without pretense or any motive other than a pure love and the deep desire to
bless creation and advance the kingdom of God into men’s lives.
Truly such are to be called great
in the kingdom of heaven! In
the spirit of these precious ones we see THE FACE OF THE OX IN THE MIDST OF
That there are different levels in the kingdom of God, from the least
in the kingdom to the greatest, Jesus clearly taught.
He told His disciples, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are
born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist:
notwithstanding he that is least
in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Mat. 11:11).
On another occasion we read of Jesus’ disciples that “they
disputed among themselves who should be the greatest.
Jesus sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any
man desire to be first, the same
shall be last of all, and servant
of all” (Mat. 9:34-35). Christ
Himself was the greatest among them! He
said, “I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.”
He was the humblest, and therefore, the greatest, but had He no
authority? He had authority in
heaven and on earth! Because He
takes the place of deepest humility, does that strip Him of His kingly
authority? Not at all!
It intensifies and magnifies it!
Both the lion and the ox
the midst of the throne! They
reign there together! This is
revealed so powerfully in the Lord Jesus.
Many Bible commentators endeavor to make a case for the idea that the
characteristics of the four living creatures are portrayed in the four
Gospels: Matthew showing us Jesus as the lion of the tribe of Judah; Mark
revealing the Lord as the ox, the servant of all; Luke portraying the Lord
as the Man above all men; and John manifesting Christ as the eternal Word,
or the flying eagle. Personally,
I find very little ground for this. The
truth is, if I were picking one of the four Gospels as a portrait of Christ
as the ox-servant, I would choose the book of Matthew.
There are more passages concerning greatness through servanthood in
the book of Matthew than in all the other three Gospels combined!
You will note that nearly all the scriptures I have quoted on the
subject in this message are taken from the gospel of Matthew!
Christ was the greatest, yet He took the place of the lowest.
He who stooped from the highest heaven, not only to earth, but to the
deepest hell, who descended into the deepest depths to seek for erring and
sinful men, is greatest. That
is why He exercises authority today in the heavens and on the earth!
He now takes the highest place as the Head of the body, the High
Priest of our profession, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the Head
of all principality and power.
He is the greatest! And
He is still the servant of all!
He that would rise to be the highest,
Must first come down to be the lowest,
And then ascend to be the highest
By keeping down to be the lowest.
God has called a people aside in this hour and brought them to a
place of brokenness, humility, and nothingness in the eyes of the world and
the church systems of man. We
have obeyed the word the apostle Peter admonished, “Humble yourselves
therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time”
(I Pet. 5:6). God is about to
exalt His sons, but it shall be the exaltation of humility.
Many years ago amidst a great moving of the Spirit of God the
revelation of sonship fell with wonder upon our ears and burst with glory
within our hearts. We sat
enraptured for hours, day after day, and were taught by the Spirit about the
Father and His purposes and about that elect company He has called,
apprehended and chosen to be His sons to rule with Him in His kingdom and
restore all things. We learned
that these sons would have power unlimited — power over everything!
Power over sin, power over sickness, power over demons, power over
the elements, power over the nations, and power over death.
We were going to rule and reign in power, and our eyes sparkled like
diamonds in the noonday sun and our hearts swelled with joy in expectation
of the wonderful position and authority we would soon have in the kingdom.
We could think and talk of nothing else but the power we would have,
and in our glorying we tried at times to usurp and demonstrate this power.
We were intoxicated with illusions of grandeur as we pressed our way
into the kingdom and the exalted position of sitting on the throne with
Jesus and ruling the world and the vastnesses of infinity forever.
Little did we understand in those early days that the way up
The carnal mind would have us believe that the way up
Thus we have pressed our way into ministry, pressed our way into the
kingdom, stood on the promises, demanded of God our “rights,” presuming
even to command God to do this
and that, and sought to seize the throne.
It is true, elect of the Lord, that God wants to take us UP — high
into the realms of God — UP to the throne — but God would have us know
that the way UP is always DOWN! The
one who serves the people well as a priest
is the one who will also reign well as a king.
“They shall be priests…and
they shall reign.”
That is the
order! Though He is calling us
to be kings with authority over all, yet our inner spirit must be that of a
servant, that we might freely minister out of a contrite spirit and a broken
heart the compassion and love of God right down where creation is.
Do you want to know what
manifest sonship is? CONSIDER
JESUS! Jesus was the most lowly
and humble of all men, and also the most powerful and authoritative.
He was not a super-duper-elite-country-club Son of God.
He didn’t bounce onto the platform under the lights with a flare of
worldly showmanship and then disappear out the back door to escape contact
with the people. Oh, no!
He was the ox in the
throne bearing the burden, pulling the wagon, plowing the fields, and giving
His life to be meat for mankind. That
is the mystery!
The following prophecy from the late Norene Nicholls has come into my
hands at this time, and it surely speaks for this Day.
“A strange and wondrous thing is about to come, for the Lord has
spoken to those that will hear, and their ears have been sharpened.
There is a gathering of the royal family, and the shepherds of Israel
shall become rulers on the thrones.
They have stood in desolate places and listened to the low sound
of the sheep — even a little flock in a wilderness place, but now it shall
change. The shepherds who have
proven their worth in aloneness
shall now come forth to be acknowledged of those who would not have Me to
reign over them in times past. Behold
the thing is at the door! Some
have chosen high places for themselves, but others have allowed the Lord to
choose for them, and thus have they been separated from their brethren and
lost to sight. But now shall
events bring forth the deserted ones and show them before kings who are
really not kings at all. The
scepter of these kings shall be righteousness and the girdle of faithfulness
shall be upon their loins. They
shall be recognized, not because they are of great stature nor commanding of
personality, but they shall be recognized because the
Spirit of the Lord is upon them!
“Men shall no longer gather to men, but the
men of God shall gather to the establishment of truth where the angels
activate the holy ground. There
shall strange but wondrous things take place, for instructions
from the presence of the Lord shall be heard, and kings shall lift their
voices in confidence and courage at the declaration.
And, there too, shall be that
peculiar anointing reserved for kings come into being; and that
anointing shall teach you all things. Then
from that pillar of truth shall the kings issue forth to do exploits and
turn the aliens back from the shores of the land promised.
Be not afraid nor amazed, for the Lord has spoken in verity and truth
and shall bring it to pass. No
longer shall you stand idly by and wait for another day, but there shall be
activity of a new source — yet activity that is effortless and quiet.
You shall slip quietly into palaces and judgment halls and speak a
word in season. You shall stand
before prelates and counselors, but not one of your words shall fail.
You shall see the manifestation of what you have spoken, and men
shall shut their mouths nor argue the point.
This is a strange work to be done, but it shall come by the decree of
God and stand unmovable before heaven and earth.
The closing of the day is also the
opening of the Day, and to this time have you been called.
So it is and shall be” —
The third living creature had a face as a man.
The face of a man indicates intelligence
— for it is this which distinguishes man from the brute creation.
It is intelligence with understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, for
Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, revealing in his noble
face the inward nature and character of God, and was thereby given dominion
over all the works of God’s hands. Every
son of God is being filled with this divine intelligence with heavenly
understanding, knowledge, and wisdom. We
can never reign apart from these!
Let us consider these three ingredients in intelligence.
The first is understanding.
Understanding is an ability and function of the mind.
Without mind there can be no understanding!
A man’s understanding corresponds
precisely to the condition, development, and quality of his mind.
Every created life form possesses mind and the understanding of the
creature is limited by the quality of its mind.
Quality of mind is first and foremost an inherited characteristic.
For instance, a cat thinks like a cat, knows as a cat, understands as
a cat, and acts like a cat because it was born
a cat, therefore possessing the brain and mind of a cat.
Until recently we had a cat in our home.
This cat would come and lie in our room or curl up on my lap while I
watched the evening news. While
I was very interested in the news stories, the cat had positively no
interest at all! He couldn’t
care less! It’s not that he
didn’t see the pictures flashing across the screen or hear the sound from
the speakers, he could see and hear just fine, but he had no understanding
of them, so he just curled up and went to sleep!
It simply isn’t possible for cats to understand things human.
Humans are of a different and higher order than are cats.
Cats may see men, and observe their movements, yet there is no common
ground of knowledge. The cat
has no true comprehension of what it sees.
It discerns only things pertaining to its own realm.
It has positively no understanding of the ways of man, or of the
meaning of his movements, or words, or plans.
Cat minds function on the level of cat nature, while human minds
function on the plane of human nature!
Likewise, God, the Spirit, is of a different and higher order of life
than is the natural, Adamic man! The
mind of the natural man functions on the level of human nature whereas the
mind of God functions on the plane of divine nature.
There is no common ground of understanding or knowledge between the
two. Therefore, the natural
man, the Adamic man, is totally incapable of comprehending that which
pertains to the realm of God! God
is of a different and higher order than is the natural man.
Paul stated it so well when he said, “The natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). For
natural minds to comprehend things spiritual is equally as impossible as for
cats to comprehend things human! There
is no common ground of knowledge. So,
until humans receive of God’s
Spirit, the Spirit that knows and understands the things that pertain to
the realm of God, it is impossible for them to have any understanding,
either of God, of His word, or of His ways.
With what truth did Paul write to the saints, saying, “For who
could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of man
himself? How much less could
anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God?
We have now received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of
God Himself, so that we can
understand God’s generosity towards us” (I Cor. 2:11-12, Moffatt).
The spirit of man in the unregenerate individual is truly the
offspring of God who is spirit,
yet it does not serve the Lord, for it is in darkness, and knows not from
whence it came nor who or what it is. This
is easy to understand! If a
human baby were placed in a dark room and kept there in captivity without
contact with other humans or the outside world, it would grow up knowing
neither from whence it came or what it is.
It would be unable to
talk, unable to understand those who do talk, unable to walk, and incapable
of functioning at all in the human world.
It would be less than an animal!
But let someone discover its plight,
give it light, get it in contact with other humans, expose it to the
world about it, shower it with love and attention,
and it will grow up comprehending and corresponding to the world
to which it belongs! That
has been the precise state of every man born into this world of Adamic
consciousness! Man’s spirit,
truly the offspring of God, has been buried, concealed and locked up in the
dark room of the dreadful deep beneath the outer shell of our soulical
consciousness and the limiting confines of the mortal body.
There has been no fellowship with that spiritual
world from which we came and to which we pertain!
But our Lord Jesus Christ is the One who has come to rescue us, and
He is that “TRUE LIGHT which lighteth
every man that cometh into the world” (Jn. 1:9).
The wise man has told us that the spirit
of man is the candle of the Lord
(Prov. 20:27). Ah, when HE
lights our candle, when our spirit
is quickened by His Spirit, there
is awakening, illumination, comprehension, and we begin to see into realms
of spiritual life and reality to which, heretofore, we had been blind.
This involves more by far than someone informing us that we are a
spirit, a spiritual being, and that we should therefore actively begin to
live out of our spiritual reality and identity instead of from the intellect
of our soul and the desires of the body.
That would be like someone sticking their head in through the window
where the little child I described is in captivity, and saying to it,
“You’re a human being, you can talk like a human being, walk like a
human being, act like a human being, now get up and act like it!”
That’s not enough! It
is not by mere information or human effort that we can live out of spirit
— the spiritual life! The
awakening we must receive involves the sovereign, dynamic, living,
quickening, redemptive operation of God within our spirit effecting the
actual standing up within us of a new creature raised up by the power of God
through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost
(Titus 3:5). Regeneration is a
renewal that consists of the inbreathing of God’s Spirit into our spirit,
effecting union with His life. Only
man, of all God’s glorious creation, can be penetrated and lighted up
within by the mind of God, to have an understanding of things unseen by the
inspiration of the eternal Father, in one word, to be spirit, and have the
consciousness of God, and contact and communication with the heavenly realm,
being irradiated, permeated, filled, enabled, glorified by His infinite
Spirit and His divine fullness. It
is indeed wonderful!
And then after men receive of God’s Spirit, and are quickened and
awakened by it, the depth of their knowledge and understanding is wholly in
proportion to their growth and development in the realm of the spirit.
The mind of Christ must be “put on” and we are transformed by
the renewing of our minds. Upon
being born again we realize that we are actual sons of God, yet babes,
“babes in Christ.” And the
understanding of newborn babes is limited in the extreme!
They cannot have a deep knowledge and comprehension until they have
passed through many experiences, been schooled in the wisdom of heaven,
grown up into the stature of mature divine life, and been filled with the
mind of God, the spiritual mind being fully developed within.
who have received of God’s Spirit have been renewed in the spirit
of our mind, that is, we have taken on a new mind originating in a newly
quickened Christ-consciousness, so that we now think and act as an entirely
new creation, a new man, a new creature.
As we have followed on to know the Lord, more and more we have found
our darkened minds giving way to this new creation mind which is the mind
of Jesus Christ. Paul
wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
The mind that was in Jesus was the Father’s mind!
Because He was fully possessed of His Father’s mind, He was able to
say, “I and the Father are one.” This
is the reality into which every son of God is being brought!
In every son who reigns with Christ in those glorious ages to come,
it will be the mind of our heavenly Father that will rule the world and all
things and all realms. The
Father has purposed that He will rule the universe by that man, the many-membered
Christ, whom He has chosen, and
those sons, every one, will be possessed with the Father’s mind!
All understanding is in the mind, therefore, the understanding of God
is in the mind of Christ, which is the mind of the Spirit, which is the mind
of the new creation man. We do not understand the spiritual realities of the
world of our heavenly Father with our natural minds.
It is not the same mind that understands how to drive an automobile
that understands the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
Oh, no! It is the new
mind, the spiritual mind that comprehends things spiritual.
When the firstborn Son of God received the seven spirits of God He
received the spirit of understanding (Isa.
11:2). This was not the
understanding of the same mind that made furniture in Joseph’s carpenter
shop! This spirit of
understanding is the very MIND OF GOD — to know and understand as God
knows and understands! The mind
of Christ is being developed today within every son from one stage to
another until we understand all
things as our heavenly
Father understands! Can you not
see the mystery? THIS IS DIVINE
INTELLIGENCE, THE FACE OF A MAN IN THE IMAGE OF GOD IN THE MIDST OF THE
The second ingredient in intelligence
All of the Lord’s people are admonished seek after the
knowledge of the Lord! The
apostle Peter exhorts, “But grow in grace, and in the
knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18).
Paul’s earnest desire for the saints was
that they might “walk worthy of the Lord, increasing
in the knowledge of God”
Col. 1:10). Something of the
magnitude of this knowledge of God is expressed in these words of
inspiration, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge
of God! How
unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His
counselor? For of Him, and
through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever!” (Rom.
As the mighty oak lies hidden in the tiny acorn, so the knowledge of
God lies concealed in the seed of Christ planted in the womb of our hearts.
As the great oak inches heavenward year after year, so the knowledge
of God bursts forth from realm to realm out of the life of God in our
spirits. “Lie not one to
another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on
the new man, which is renewed
in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Col.
3:9-10). Renewed in knowledge!
What a revelation that is! And
the knowledge that is being renewed in us is the knowledge we possessed when
once we were in the image of God! That
is the clear meaning of those words. The
new man is being renewed
in knowledge, and that knowledge restores to us the consciousness of
God’s image and likeness.
can only be renewed in knowledge
by refreshing or recalling something he has known before.
We often read over such statements so lightly and carelessly, missing
the true implication and import of
the words! The
scriptures are very clear that each of us came into this world out of the
bosom of the Father. Before the
Creator formed you, He knew you. He
didn’t know you in your present physical form as Joe Smith or Sally Brown,
but He knew you as spirit.
God spoke to you about His plan for your life before ever you were
formed as an embryo in the womb of your mother.
Paul states it so clearly when he says, “Blessed be the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual
blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen
us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and
without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:3-4).
The Amplified Bible reads, “Even as He chose
us, actually picked us out for Himself in Christ, before
the foundation of the world.”
Never doubt this reality for a moment — the only way God could have
loved you, chose you in Christ, and picked you out for His own before
the foundation of the world is that you truly existed in and with Him
before the appearing of the worlds. Nothing
can be plainer than that! Yet
we have supposed that we were just recently, in this life, apprehended of
God to sonship. I thought the
work of God began in my life seventy years ago.
Now I find that the thing God is doing with humanity began in
eternity! It didn’t begin in
time. It began before the ages
were framed! God loved me, knew
me, counseled with me, and picked me out for His unique purpose before the
foundation of the world. My
origin was in God! God begat me
by His Word — in Christ — as
spirit before He exhaled me as
spirit into a very unique body upon earth.
Each of us were born into a mortal, physical body and into a world of
darkness, sin, and death. Our
spiritual life was buried, covered, encased, concealed within the prison
house of a natural, worldly, human consciousness just as the little child I
mentioned earlier was imprisoned in a room with no ability to relate to the
world he was in or to understand, express, expand, or function on that
level. But this was according
to God’s plan! It wasn’t
Adam that created the cunning serpent or invented the desirable tree of the
knowledge of good and evil or placed in man’s path the way of death.
Oh, no! It was God who
planted the garden eastward in Eden and placed all these things
strategically in it! But God
had both a purpose and a plan! Paul
speaks of an action of God involved in that plan when he says that we are
“in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised
before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
This is indeed wonderful! We
were born into this world with a promise
from God — the promise of eternal life!
This promise of salvation and life more abundant was given us before
the world began! When we
came here we were born with a promise!
How could God make such a promise to us if we were not there with
Him before the worlds appeared? Furthermore,
we were predestinated
at that time to be the manifest sons of God!
“For whom He did foreknow,
He also did predestinate
to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn
among many brethren” (Rom. 8:28-29).
Not only were salvation and sonship promised, the kingdom was
promised also! “Then shall
the King (Jesus) say to them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared
for you from the foundation of the world” (Mat. 25:34).
All these wonderful things happened to us, and many more too numerous
to mention at this time, before we entered this world as a human being.
But do you remember
any of it? Can you remember
when you were there with the Father? Can
you remember Him informing you of the plan, the purpose, in sending you to
earth? Can you remember what
was said, what you knew, what you agreed to, and why, and what you had when
you were there with the Father? Do
you remember being chosen in Christ, promised eternal life, promised a
kingdom to reign in, and predestined unto placement as a son of God, before
the foundation of the world? Do
you remember the beginning of your journey?
Ah — YOU ARE REMEMBERING!
Do you know how you’re remembering?
The answer is simple — all revelation
is but a remembering!
Someone says, “Oh, brother Eby, the Lord showed me such and such
— I’ve had a revelation and I see thus and thus.”
Yes, you had a revelation! The
reality is, however, that what you perceived as a revelation was simply God reminding
you; He woke you up, refreshed your memory, and caused you to recall
knowledge you once possessed before you entered this mortal state of
limitation and confinement! We
should always be fervently aware that a revelation
is an unveiling.
That is the meaning in the Greek.
To have something revealed means to have it unveiled.
There have been masterpieces of art and sculpture that have had a day
of unveiling. Michelangelo was
famous for the unveiling of some of his great works.
But you see, my beloved, the unveiling
is not the creation of the thing
unveiled! The unveiling is
simply the revelation or uncovering
of something which already exists!
Spiritual revelation is not the impartation of either knowledge or
experience that you have never known before.
Not at all! Spiritual
revelation is the uncovering of the secret knowledge of God within our
spirit. Revelation is a
remembering! The whole purpose
of the Holy Spirit’s moving upon us in our journey in God in this life in
the flesh is to cause us to remember the realm from whence we came, who we
are, what our purpose is — that we might complete the journey and fulfill
that purpose! That is the
How meaningful then is the verse we quoted earlier.
“Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man (human
consciousness) with his deeds; and have put on the new
man which is RENEWED IN KNOWLEDGE after the image of Him that created
him” (Col. 3:9-10). I like
the Amplified Bible’s rendering: “And have clothed yourselves with the
new spiritual self, which is ever
in the process of being renewed
and remolded into fuller and more
perfect knowledge after the image and likeness of Him who created it.”
How grateful we are that in the midst of all the darkness of man’s
knowledge, our God is bringing forth a light, even the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
This wonderful light and knowledge is shining in our hearts, the
Daystar arising, progressively increasing and breaking forth out of the
lives of a firstfruit company. Those
apprehended by God for this Day are discovering that the light is indeed
growing brighter and brighter, and their one and only all-consuming desire
is that they might KNOW HIM “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom
and knowledge.” THIS DIVINE
KNOWLEDGE IS THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE FACE OF A MAN IN THE THRONE!
The final ingredient in intelligence is wisdom.
Wisdom is simply the ability to discern and
properly use the
understanding and knowledge one has acquired!
As the firstborn Son of God Jesus had within Him the spirit
of wisdom (Isa. 11:2). How
did it manifest itself? In His
waiting to hear what the Father spoke!
“Morning by morning He wakeneth mine ear to hear, as they are
taught” (Isa. 50:4). Perfect
teachableness was the mark of the firstborn Son on earth
This is the mark of the Spirit in all the sons!
“What things so ever He shall hear, these shall He speak.”
The life is the light; as the Spirit finds our life in perfect
obedience to Him, He teaches by what He works in us.
Wisdom is learned through
experience! This is the
meaning and object of all the testings, trials, provings, processings, and
dealings of God in each of our lives in this significant hour.
God is teaching us wisdom! Wisdom
is in knowing the ways of the
Lord! Knowing the ways of the
Lord goes beyond revelation — such holy knowledge comes by experiencing
the contrasts between the fruit of man’s
ways and the results of God’s
In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul draws the contrast
between the wisdom of this world
and the wisdom of God.
He says that none of the princes or rulers of this world know the
wisdom of God! They do not
learn the ways of God, but the ways of man, which are the ways of human
intellect. Human intellect
is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!
It is the food of the serpent! It
was in seeking wisdom that man fell. “And
when the woman saw that the tree was…a tree to be desired to make
one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat” (Gen. 3:6).
It was in the pride of man’s wisdom that heathenism had its origin.
“Professing themselves to be be
wise, they became
fools” (Rom. 1:23). We
see this today in much of the so-called “science” which promotes the
most ridiculous of theories as scientific fact.
The theory of evolution, for instance, is so absolutely untenable as
to be laughable, yet multitudes of scientists
and professors with doctorate degrees earnestly teach it to millions of
students with a straight, serious face, as though it were unquestionable,
indisputable, historical fact.
Professing themselves to be
wise they have become fools!
It was in man’s wisdom, philosophy, and the search after truth
(science) that the Greeks sought their glory.
It was in the external knowledge of God’s will, in their constant
extrapolation of every jot and tittle of the law into an elaborate system of
legalistic phobias, that the Jew made his boast.
And yet when Christ, the WISDOM OF GOD, appeared on the earth, Jew
and Greek combined to reject Him! Man’s
wisdom, whether in possession of a revelation or not, is utterly
insufficient for comprehending God or His wisdom.
As his heart is alienated from God, so his mind is darkened that he
cannot know truth aright. Even
when in Christ the light of God in its divine wisdom and love shone upon
men, they knew it not, and saw no beauty in it.
And so the great apostle Paul says, “My preaching was not in
persuasive words of man’s wisdom,
but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: that your faith should not
stand in the wisdom of men, but
in the power of God. Howbeit we
speak wisdom among the perfect:
yet a wisdom not of this world;
but we speak God’s wisdom in a
mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which none of the princes of
this world knoweth. But unto us
God revealed (uncovered, caused us to
remember) it through the spirit. But
we received, not the spirit which is of the world, but the spirit which is
of God, that we might know the things…of God; which things also we speak,
not in the words which man’s wisdom
teacheth, but which the spirit
teacheth” (I Cor. 2:4-15).
Intelligence — understanding, knowledge, wisdom — THIS IS THE DIVINE QUALITY REVEALED IN THE FACE OF A MAN IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE! IT IS THE MIND OF CHRIST IN THE SONS OF GOD! IT IS AN EXPRESSION OF THE LIFE OF GOD WHICH QUALIFIES ONE TO REIGN WITH CHRIST UPON HIS THRONE! Isn’t it wonderful!
To be continued… J.
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