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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE UNIVERSAL SONG
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands (Rev. 5:11).
What a vision greeted the enraptured apostle! Have you ever tried to figure out how many messengers were around the throne? Here is your answer: ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands myriads of myriads! The number of those who join in the praise is beyond count! It might well be translated, And the number of them was armies multiplied by armies, and armies of armies. These are all messengers of God, for that is the meaning of the word in Greek. They are not necessarily angels as we usually think of angels, but they are messengers of God, whether of men or any other order.
saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing (Rev 5:12).
The Lamb is here declared to be worthy to receive power as well as wisdom, riches, strength, honor, glory, and blessing. Remember, the things John beholds in the visions of the book of Revelation are things that were yet future at the time he was shown them, the things which must be hereafter (Rev. 1:19; 4:1). How can Christ, who had already been given all power in heaven and in earth, receive power? We know that all power originates with God. God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God (Ps. 62:11). Fifty-six times the scriptures proclaim God to be THE ALMIGHTY. Almighty means all-ruling, all powerful, absolute sovereign, omnipotent. The omnipotent God gave our Lord Jesus Christ all power in heaven and in earth! The question follows How can Christ who has already been given all power now receive power?
The truth is, of course, that although God is the supreme authority and power of the universe He does not hold or exercise that power either arbitrarily or unilaterally. While man is not truly a free moral agent, yet God does cede to His creatures the power of choice, decision making, and spheres of authority and dominion. From the very beginning God ordained that man should choose to eat or not eat of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God did not interfere with man when he made an unwise choice for He had a great purpose in mind. The one question possibly asked more than any other is: Why did God permit the present reign of sin, sorrow, and death? Why did He permit the serpent to present the temptation to our first parents, after having created them sinless and upright in the image of God? Or why did He place the forbidden tree in the midst of all the others? Despite all the attempts to turn it aside, the question remains Could not God have prevented all possibility of mans fall?
The difficulty arises from a failure to comprehend the plan of God! God could have prevented the entrance of sin, sorrow, and death, but the fact that He did not should be sufficient proof to us that its present permission is designed ultimately to work out some greater good. The problem lies not with Gods wisdom or ability, but with mans denseness and dullness of understanding! The natural man lives in a fantasy world. There are many species of insanity. All sin is insanity, in different degrees. The carnal mind is an insane mind given wholly to destructive delusions. The natural man is mentally ill beyond comprehension. The carnal mind is spared from this classification in our world, only because the vast majority of the inmates in this vast asylum called society is equally mad and in harmony with the delusion. There is a universal insanity of the so-called wisdom of this world, inherited from the deranged serpent in Eden. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God! This mortal, this deranged mind of old Adam, must be put off, and the new man or real man, the sane man in the precious mind of Christ must be put on. The carnal mind is exceedingly stupid. Carnal reasoning is dull-witted, lame-brained, simple-minded, silly, and absurd! Gods plans, seen in their completeness, will always prove the wisdom of the course He pursues. Some inquire, Could not God, with whom all things are possible, have intervened in time to prevent the full accomplishment of Satans designs? Of course He could have! But such interference would have thwarted the accomplishment of His own wise purposes! His purpose was to make clearly and eternally manifest the absolute perfection of His own nature and the integrity and correctness of all His ways, and to prove to all men, angels, and creatures in all worlds and realms the unavoidable disastrous consequences of departure from them.
Sin, sorrow, and death are Gods great cosmic object lesson! God could have made all of us like robots, programmed to be holy and to act righteously at all times and under all circumstances. But should He have done so, the one thing we all would lack is character. We would be holy, but without the knowledge of why we are holy, or the understanding of the consequences of not being holy. We would not be holy because we desired holiness, or because, with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, we chose to be holy. God didnt want robots! He wanted sons and daughters! God, in His omniscient wisdom and knowledge, understood fully the difference between good, evil, holiness, and life. He planned for us also to understand! Not by being told, counseled, or trained like animals, but by experience. Oh yes, experience is the best teacher! Our heavenly Father purposed to take us a route through which we would learn experientially the true nature of all things, that through the interchange of good and evil, and the deep dealings of the Holy Spirit, every man and every creature ultimately would be brought to the place where they would knowingly, willingly, and eternally choose and cling to the way of life, light, and love! Arent you glad!
God deliberately gave to man an area of autonomy self government POWER. God not only foresaw that, having given man freedom of choice, he would, through lack of full appreciation of sin and its results, accept it, but He also saw that, becoming acquainted with it, he would still chose it, because that acquaintance would so impair his moral nature that the sense-consciousness of the flesh realm, with its ensuing evil, would become more agreeable and more desirable to him than the narrow way of life. Still, God subjected man to sin and death, while at the same time preparing the remedy of the sacrifice of Christ for mans deliverance from its awful consequences the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world!
God in His infinite wisdom knew that to subject the creation to vanity would be to lead mankind, through experience, through creation, the fall, redemption, and the restitution of all things, to a full appreciation of the exceeding sinfulness of sin and of the matchless brilliancy and glory of Gods divine nature in contrast with it thus teaching him the more to love and honor his Creator, who is the source and fountain of all goodness, and forever to shun that which brought so much woe and misery upon the human family. So the final result will be undying love and overwhelming appreciation for our glorious Father, and eternal abhorrence and avoidance of all that is contrary to His nature and will; and consequently the firm and unalterable establishment of everlasting righteousness and spirit life throughout all Gods vast domains. Every creature in heaven, earth, and throughout the furthest reaches of the universe shall eternally profit from the demonstration God is now giving His creation through the permission of sin and all its attending evils and woes. What a plan!
God intended from the beginning for man to rule. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and LET THEM HAVE DOMINION (Gen. 1:26). The writer to the Hebrews wrote: What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visiteth him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownest him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands (Heb. 2:6-7). The expression, Thou crownest him, denotes clearly that God gave man KINGLY RULE and authority in the earth. The eighth Psalm reveals that mans dominion is to eventually encompass the whole vast universe of galaxies, stars, suns, planets, moons, and all that dwells in them! Gods plan is to give man dominion over all the works of His hands, indeed, over ALL THINGS! But Gods purpose is for man to exercise that ruling authority and dominion in union with Him. And this is what man departed from in the fall! Man chose to rule independently of God; to do his own thing apart from the life of the spirit. He rejected Gods authority and rule over him. The carnal mind ever pursues an identity apart from God, proclaiming the ancient error, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the most High! (Isa. 14:13-14). I will I will I will! So man, in his distorted consciousness, rules his own life and destiny apart from God, yea, in opposition to God! And the inevitable result of this course is confusion, chaos, sorrow, and death. How uncontrovertibly certain are the words of inspiration: There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death ( Prov. 14:12). Yet God has ordained this to be for an appointed time!
This brings us back to our question If the Lord HAS all power, how is it that He receives power? The answer is to be found in that great sonship prayer which is commonly referred to as the Lords Prayer. Setting forth the great principles of sonship prayer Jesus taught, When you pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Mat. 6:9-10). What does it mean for Gods kingdom to come? What does it mean for Gods will do be done in earth, even in this earth which we are, as it is done in heaven? Ah, I am the king of my life; I am seated upon the throne; I make the decisions; I do according to my own will. But when Jesus the Lord comes I must abdicate my throne and let Him sit upon the throne! The testimony of every son in the kingdom of God is: Till Christ was raised up in my life I was the Commander in Chief. Since I have been introduced to the Christ within He commands!
Oh, yes! THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH is something for now, not tomorrow, nor during the millennium, nor in the ages to come. You see, my beloved, when I (that is, my human consciousness, my Adamic identity, my carnal mind) resign from the dominion I have exercised in my life and abdicate the throne, in that same blessed moment the whole realm of dominion which I have usurped and reserved unto myself IS GIVEN TO THE LORD, THE SPIRIT! The power I once held in my own hands is yielded up to Him so that He now exercises the power and authority that I previously exercised. Thus, HE RECEIVES POWER! He receives the right to rule my life. He never took that right by force but He receives the right when I yield it up to Him. All things shall be subdued unto the Son of God! That is the testimony of scripture. And that is how He receives the power, the riches, the wisdom, the strength, the honor, the glory, and the blessing! It is all the wealth and strength and glory of the kingdoms of this world yielded up to Christ the Lord. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever (Rev. 11:15). Oh, the wonder of it!
We are to crown the Lord, the Spirit, as King in every place of our being, outer and inner. It was the humiliation of France, in the fifteenth century, that her king Charles VII, was not crowned in the proper city, where former kings were crowned. Joan of Arc, burning with the high resolve to resolve this dishonor, and have the king crowned in Rheims, emerged from obscurity, gathered an army, drove the enemy back from one point to another, until she dislodged him from Rheims. The king came then. The crown was placed upon his brow in the right place; and the fair maiden bowed at the foot of the throne, with tears of joy streaming down her beautiful cheeks. Where are we to crown our King? We are to crown Him in the most sacred and authoritative chamber of our nature, from whence proceed the impulses and propensities of spiritual life. The authority and dominion of life is in the spirit, in your spirit and my spirit. AND FROM THENCE HE WOULD BE CROWNED AND RULE IN LIFE OVER THE KINGDOM OF OUR BEING.
So, precious friend of mine, when you conduct the King to the place of crowning in your nature, you may have to escort Him down a winding passageway, intricate with illusions, imaginations, fears, errors, and distortions of the carnal mind, dismal with sin, sickness and weakness, bare and jagged with earthly consciousness and evil tendencies, on through the gloom and grind of carnality, corruption, and death, to the most sacred altar of your heart. There implore Him to arise and cleanse and purify all your entire nature every whit. Submit trust all the powers of your being into His mighty hands that HE MAY RECEIVE THE POWER OF RULERSHIP in you and through you in the kingdom of God!
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands and every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever (Rev. 5:11,13).
As John goes on with his songs we might have expected him to say, I heard, but he first says, I beheld. This is a book of visions, and there are continuing references to what is seen. But he did also hear! Though there are many singers he speaks of the voice, which is the one voice heard through the many the voice of the spirit, the voice of the truth and the revelation in the Spirit of the Lord. There is only one voice! Hearing the voice goes beyond the sound, beyond even the words. Jesus said, My sheep know my voice, and a stranger they will not follow. Its not just that the sheep understand the words the shepherd speaks, but they know recognize, discern, and perceive the voice.
There are various Greek words for know, each bearing its own shade and depth of meaning, in this case it is oida, denoting absolute knowledge. Praise God, there is a realm where you can have absolute knowledge of His voice without doubt or questionings. I do not hesitate to say that such absolute knowledge comes as a result of prolonged and intimate association, communion, and relationship with HIM. I know my wifes voice, not merely its sound, but also its meaning and intent. By each inflection of her voice I discern her attitude, determination, state of being, etc. Such knowledge has developed as a result of more than fifty years of being her HUSBAND! His sheep His mature ones shall come to the place where they unmistakably know His voice, not just hear it, but know it. It is precious as we tune out the voices of this world, and of our own carnal minds, and listen only to the voice of the spirit within; the more we do so day by day the stronger and more resonant and meaningful becomes His voice unto us.
There are many pitiful words and pathetic messages pawned off on Gods precious people under the guise of the word of God. But the Lord is bringing forth a people in this day who have gotten beyond dead doctrines and religious traditions. God is causing us to hear with our spirit the Voice of the Living Christ, for He is the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Reality of God. I cannot emphasize too strongly that it takes more than sermons on sonship, and exhortations on perfection, and claims about our high attainments in God, and boasts about immortality to make truly manifest sons of God. We must HEAR HIS VOICE, for it is only those that hear His voice who shall live!
It takes more than having meetings, singing choruses, clapping hands, shouting Amens and Hallelujahs, prophesying, and preaching to one another about the deep mysteries of God to bring us to the knowledge of God and transformation into His likeness. We shall have to see Him and touch Him and hear Him and walk with Him as did John on the Isle of Patmos. We must hear His voice speaking to us in the deepest recesses of our being. We must commune with Him in the glory that radiates from the face of Jesus Christ. Sonship comes only by personal association with the living Christ! And think not, precious friend of mine, if you cannot now discern His voice amidst the confused babble of voices that fill the earth, that you will hear HIS SHOUT when He comes in that glorious Word by which He shall finally deliver us from the last vestiges of sin and death and present us faultless before His Father as holy sons of God with power and great glory.
In the heavenly mists of that long ago Eden Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool (Heb. spirit) of the day. Every day has a voice! Every day of the Lord bespeaks of a season of a particular dealing and purpose of God in our life. The voice of the Lord is speaking in the spirit anointing and purpose of that particular day. All who have truly been called to sonship to God are now hearing the voice of the Lord God walking in the spirit in the anointing and purpose of this new kingdom day to which we have now come! We hear not just the message, for multitudes hear the message but never truly hear the voice. Because they do not recognize the voice they do not discern the importance and significance of the word they hear. It bears no fruit of righteousness and power in their lives. They continue on in their carnal ways, and often in the old-order religious systems of man, professing to embrace the revelation of this new kingdom day, but void of its transforming power. Those apprehended for this day are now hearing the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live! The voice is a tone, a note, a chord, a knowing, an inner hearing and quickening beyond the message of the words.
In our text above great pain is taken to declare another glorious day a day when not a single creature of God, whether in heaven or upon the earth, whether in the sea or even the lowest realms of degradation under the earth, shall fail to bow the knee and joyfully proclaim the worthiness of the Lamb! This includes all men and all creatures of all worlds throughout the universe! This includes all angels, holy and fallen, and includes the devil as well! And every creature heard I saying It means that absolutely everything that has life or breath will, in that great day, rejoice and exult and jubilantly cry, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever! Praise shall be universal for the Lamb, for He is worthy indeed!
John beheld in spirit the wonder of a day when the universe shall be free from sin and sinners, and a universal song of adoration goes up to God and the Lamb. It is futile to attempt to apply this to the church in its present state, or to any time in the past since Adam fled from the garden of God. At the time of which John speaks, every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth without any exception sends up its anthem of blessings to God and the Lamb! While we praise God for every moving of His Spirit and every step of His all-wise plan, the fact remains that none of the revivals of history has ever once-for-all defeated Satan, sin, and death. No revival at any time in any land has ever turned the whole world to God! No dealing of God with humanity has ever brought to pass the total triumph of His kingdom in all realms! Sin and death still stalk across the earth, the vast masses of humanity held tight in their terrible clutches, with sorrows beyond description. Is there no deliverance for these?
How truly the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now! And creation waits not for another Luther, nor another Paul, nor another Finney, nor another Peter, nor another Moody; waiting not for another Pentecost, nor for another evangelistic crusade or healing campaign, nor for another prophet. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD (Rom. 8:19). And why does all creation stand in the wings waiting with bated breath, crowding the door and standing on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of Gods sons coming into their own? For the creation itself ALSO shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God! (Rom. 8:21). Think about it!
Thank God, Daniel 7:27 is really true! And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and ALL DOMINIONS SHALL SERVE HIM! Thank God, Ephesians 1:10 is actually the fully inspired word of God! And this is in harmony with Gods merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ; yes, things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one Head in Him. (Weymouth translation).
What love! What wondrous love! What victory! What an unspeakably glorious consummation! The might of Gods strength which operated in Christ, raising Him from the dead, was sufficient to exalt Him to the highest pinnacle of the universe, thus ensuring that all His enemies would be reconciled to Him, that every opposing power would be made subordinate to Him, that all sin and death in every realm and in every man and in every creature throughout all the unbounded heavens would be so swallowed up of HIS LIFE until God would be ALL IN ALL, bless His glorious name! The gospel of the grace of God! Truly it is not just for this age, but extends to all ages and realms, for every creature cries blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for the ages of the ages. Thats how it reads in the Greek! May it flood our hearts that they may, indeed, be illuminated with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!
The redemption of Gods elect, men out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, is far from being the whole story of Christs reconciliation and redemption. John hears the choirs of heaven joined by the voice of the whole creation in a universal outburst of praise to God and the Lamb! Hear it! And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever! (Rev. 5:13). Such is the universality of Christs achievement that His victory cannot stop short of universal response. No wonder that the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sing a new song proclaiming the worthiness of the Lamb to take the book and open its seals! No wonder an innumerable company of angels round about the throne take up the refrain: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! No wonder that every created thing in heaven and in earth and throughout the underworld unites in the great chorus of blessing, glory, honor, and power unto the Lamb!
This is the very music of heaven! As we look at the praises rising up out of chapter four and chapter five of the Revelation, it can be seen that they comprise in substance two great oratorios the Oratorio of Creation in chapter four, and the Oratorio of Redemption in chapter five. It is interesting to note that an oratorio is a musical composition in which solos and choruses combine to the accompaniment of instruments. Here the voices of angels and the living creatures and the elders with their harps form an immortal choir, chanting celestial praise. As one writer has pointed out, the arrangement of these musical numbers is most artistic. The worship begins with a quartet as the four living creatures sing the seraphs song, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, which is, and was, and is to come! This is followed by the choir, consisting of the twenty-four elders, which continues the praise of God, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.
Then are heard the solo voices: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? Then comes the response: The Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seals thereof! Then as the Lamb takes the book out of the hand of Him that sits upon the throne, there is heard the unison of the quartet and the choir of elders singing the new song concerning the worthiness of the Lamb, For Thou hast redeemed us unto God by Thy blood and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth! Scarcely had the quartet and the choir finished this ascription of praise, than with thrilling crescendo the climax and grand finale are reached. The limitless expanse of Gods universe became vocal, and, led by the unnumbered angelic host, the infinite reaches of creation, filled with its myriads of worlds and suns and these all peopled with the creatures of the mind of God, joined the sublimest anthem of praise to the Lamb that divine ears will ever hear. The strains of this mighty coronation song swell until their echoes fill all the ceaseless ages of eternity with unspeakable melody! Then, as the tumult of universal praise dies away, there is heard the sound of a grand Amen! It is from the lips of the four living creatures. A breathless silence follows, and the elders fall down and worship. Such is the Universal Song the Celestial Song of Creation and Redemption!
The following is a beautiful writing which appeared some years ago in The Sharon Star. No name of an author was attached to it, so whoever the author is, deeper than the human heart can fathom is the meaning and mystery of the words he shares. I quote:
Many centuries ago there was a Greek musicologist named Boethius. Boethius theorized that there were three main levels of music, and he gave each level a name. The lowest form of music was what he called musica instumentalis. This referred to audible music, either sung or played, performed mainly for entertainment purposes. This is the kind that all people are most familiar with. As we all know, there have been countless works of music written and played over the years which have been and still are incredibly beautiful but which still belong to this category.
The second highest level of music, according to Boethius, was what he called musica humana, which was an audible music, but referred only to that which existed between God and man. It was not intended to be entertaining, but the music was spiritual in nature. The song being sung could be a prayer, an exhortation to people, or it could even be a prophetic song. We, of course, are familiar with and thankful for the gift of spiritual singing, that of singing a higher song in the Spirit that has never been sung before.
But Boethius recognized that there existed music of yet a far higher nature. He recognized that there are symphonies that have always been playing in a realm that far transcends our natural ears. He recognized that the earth, nature, the atmosphere, and all of Creation are lost in melodies far, far more beautiful than any human ear can hear, but which can be heard only by those who have spiritual ears to hear, those who listen to the voice of the Spirit. He called this level of music musica mundana, also given the names Music of the Cosmos, Harmony of the Spheres, or the Symphony of the Universe, which referred to this very vibration of all celestial and terrestrial bodies and all of Creation. The scriptures declare that even the very elements give glory to the King of kings! (Isa. 55:12; Job 38:7; Isa. 44:23). Yes, there is indeed such music saturating even the air all around us. But only the sons and daughters of the living God can tune in to that higher frequency and sing its melody, for these are they WHO ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD!
This music is more than just sound. There are not necessarily any words with it. It is not learned in words, nor does it depend upon words. But it is a living, throbbing vibration of all that God is, which is felt and released from the very center of the spirit! This music is the beauty and glory of the Resurrected Christ! It is the unbroken communion between Christ and His Church, between the Bridegroom and the Bride, and between the Creator and His Creation!
The source of power behind this Song of Songs is not musical overtones but SPIRITUAL VIBRATIONS of Perfect Love, Life Everlasting, Joy Unspeakable, and unending expressions of Praise and Thanksgiving, springing up from deep within a heart that is filled with all the fullness of Him who reigneth forever and ever! It is a song BORN OF LOVE! It doesnt just tickle our natural ears, but it pierces the heart and spirit of men! The Song actually operates on a Love so great that mens hearts shall be opened and melted as they hear! The Day shall come when they shall respond to the quickening power of that Song and join their voices with all the angelical host and sing and sing with such a lyrity of heart, mind, soul, body, and spirit until they become enraptured into the beauty of infinite harmony! Creation shall then be truly lifted! Chains shall be broken! Captives shall be liberated as the Resurrected Christ is made alive!
We, as members of this glorious body of Christ, are called not only to sing that Song, but to BECOME that Living Song of Songs! And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isa. 62:7). It is when we BECOME this precious melody of love that its power is made manifest. We then BECOME this rhythm of glorified life, yea, earths heartbeat of Joy. I pray that we all put on ears to hear and join our voices with all the myriads of angels and become that Song. For each individual who develops the power to hear it with spiritual ears can send it on and lift the burdened hearts of a weary world! Hallelujah! For, Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound ! (Ps. 89:15).
As the never-ending fire of God which cannot go out, this Song has always been ringing throughout Creation and it cannot die. Its melody of Life, Love, and Praise DEMANDS expression! Some men may slam their doors, and try to drown it out, but all their noise cannot smother the living crescendo of Love! Its power and impact are too great; it cometh from above end quote.
Some time ago a word from brother Carl Schwing crossed my desk and I was especially impressed by the following testimony: Some nights ago, upon my bed, as my thoughts were upon the Father, my spirit was carried away to the KINGDOM OF THE ELEMENTS I felt the strong wind blowing against my face, I reached out to touch the rain and snow, I could hear the heaving of the oceans, and the song of the four seasons; I heard the clapping of the trees, I heard the mountains shout for joy and the valleys sing, and the song was always the same: Christ is Lord! Christ is Lord! Christ is Lord! I remained in that realm for an hour or so, as my body was in a state of perfect peace. Tonight I understand more deeply what I experienced: The Kingdom of God had visited the kingdoms of the earth (not of the world), for as He had created these kingdoms before creating man, so now they are first to receive the Knowledge of the Lord (the awareness of His presence). My brethren, can you not see how close the Hour is? The Father is walking amid His creation and all creation is being shaken by His presence and we, O sons of God, are being changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye by His presence! end quote.
Some years ago brother Paul Mueller shared the following illuminating experience in one of his papers. To help us understand this truth, I would like to share with you a wonderful experience I had while in Nigeria, West Africa thirty years ago. One afternoon the Lord appeared in my room, and said to me, The Kingdom of God is at hand! As soon as He said that, He immediately turned away and left the room. Needless to say, I was surprised and amazed by that visitation. As I thought about it later, I began to doubt that it was of the Lord. Since I saw no other manifestation of the Kingdom, I thought the whole experience should be questioned. A few days later, as I was walking down a path from our house to the Bible School where I taught Bible classes, the Lord again got my attention. This time, as I was walking through the lush Nigerian bush, I heard the leaves, the shrubs, and the plants singing a combined song of praise to the Lord, and of travail for the Kingdom of God. I stopped to listen! The sound of it all was so arresting that my attention was fixed for a few minutes on the awesome, majestic wonder of that scene. The sound was so awe-inspiring, I thought it to be a most heavenly sound. The whole creation around me came alive with that combined song of praise and travail. In fact, the creation is always singing and travailing (Rom. 8:22), but for those few minutes I was given ears to hear it! As I stood there transfixed by the wonder of it, the Lord spoke again and said, Now do you doubt me when I tell you the Kingdom of God is at hand? I replied, No Lord, help me never to doubt your word again end quote.
A distant relative of mine, Dr. Richard Eby, was accidentally killed a number of years ago when he fell to the street from a three-story building. Instantly he was conscious in the realm of the spirit. One moment he was conscious with a flesh-restricted mind, the next moment with a spirit-released mind whose speed of function was that of light. He was instinctively aware that the Lord of lords was everywhere about him, though he did not at that time see Him. Hours later he was raised from the dead, and of one of the wonderful experiences encountered in that heavenly sphere, he says, Music surrounded me. It came from all directions. Its harmonic beauty, unlike earthly vocal or instrumental sounds, was totally undistorted. It flowed unobtrusively like a glassy river, quietful, worshipful, exceedingly edifying, and totally comforting. It provided a reassuring type of comfort much like a protective blanket that whispered peace and love. I had never sensed anything like it! This music was sounding within my head, not from an eardrum. Obviously it was not airborne. Most unusual to me was the absence of any beat. Then I realized that without time this heavenly music could have no beat which is a measure of time! I was hearing harmonic perfection, undistorted by any interposed medium between me and its source, as heard mind-to-mind.
Richard Eby explains that since God is the Creator of the universe He is the Composer of the Song of Creation. This universal Song is the prime communication of worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Music became the resulting harmony from all creation, both of matter and energy. All resonated in unison with the Spirit. It is like a triad of sub-electronic particles with and around which God constructed everything in the universe. The wave-forms we call Light; whereas the material forms we call earth and water and air. The original creation mirrored the composition and perfection of Person-God. All things vibrated in unison with Him! There was total accord and harmony everywhere as the whole cosmos was resonating with and in God. Each separate thing or being thus carried out an appointed task in His scheme for the universe. A celestial-form of music resulted as the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy! Dr. Eby adds: The music around me suddenly seemed louder. I rushed to a nearby tree and grasped its trunk to my ear; it was singing! I lifted my right elbow to my head; it too emitted the same joyous, beatless melody. Excitedly I stopped to pick some flowers, and found them already in my hand. They too were playing the tune!
There is a story of the Lost Chord that has been told in exquisite verse, and in rapturous music. Perhaps you have heard of the lady who in the autumn twilight laid her fingers on the open keys of a great organ. She knew not what she was playing, or what she was dreaming then; but she struck one chord of music, like the sound of a great Amen. Something called her away, and when she returned to the organ, she had lost that chord divine. Though she longed for it and sought it earnestly in unnumbered hours of practice, it was all in vain. It was a lost chord.
And so in our world today a voice of longing cries out of every human soul in surges of incomprehensible yearning. It is a voice that is felt, not heard. None has ever walked the pathways of this planet who has not felt the haunting refrain of that Lost Chord moaning out its unutterable lamentation. And one and all try to silence that plaintive cry as it sobs forth its heartbreaking sorrow beneath the burden of a faint glimmer from some long forgotten memory or world or lost existence. Whenever I hear the story of that Lost Chord it reminds me of the lost memory, the lost understanding, the lost knowledge, the lost joy, the lost peace, the lost power, the lost glory, the lost life that has fled from mankind. That whining refrain of sadness, darkness, and death, echoing weirdly out of each mans soul, is but the fragmented, scrambled notes of the great Lost Chord, as they are released with harmonic dissonance and discord. It is like the exquisite notes of a masterpiece sounded forth indiscriminately without harmony at the hands of an unlearned child. The notes may all be there but there is no lovely melody, only a raucous racket.
There is recorded in the book of Job the statement of a glorious former time when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). That exquisite harmony was muted when man was lowered out of the realm of pure spirit into this gross material realm, and then muted further by sin and the subjection of creation to the bondage of corruption, as mankind became overwhelmed with the consciousness of this dense realm of the earthly, material, and temporal. But through the quickening of the Spirit of the resurrected and ascended Christ A NEW SONG IS ARISING the Universal Song, indeed, the Lost Chord begins to vibrate and sing within our hearts again!
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore,
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more!
There is a glorious company that stands upon mount Zion with the Lamb, they are of the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (Isa. 14:13; Ps. 48:2), brought there by the transforming grace of God, and they sing as it were A NEW SONG before the throne, which no man (earthly realm, carnal mind) can learn. It is called as it were a new song because though it seems new, it is not new at all! It is the same song Creation sang in that long ago beginning when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy! It is heard through the celestial realms again as the new morning stars take up that lost chord and express the Life and Glory and Reality of God in spirit and in truth. Well did Ray Prinzing write, Thrilling to note that the word song is the Greek word for an ode. An ode isnt the same as a hymn which is a song composed and sung, whereas an ode is a spontaneous outflow of melody and praise that finds its expression in song by the Spirits inner prompting. Now a morning star means the first, early, or foremost one. And it is given as the herald or messenger to announce the day which is coming forth. The night might seem dark, but the morning star shines out to announce that the GREATER LIGHT OF GOD shall soon be seen over all the earth. Truly the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea. Ah, this gives new hope for coming days, His lighted stars betoken the victory end quote.
I cannot tell how all lands will worship
When, at His bidding, every storm is stilled;
Or who can say how great the jubilation
When all the hearts of men with love are filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture
And myriad, myriad human voices sing;
And earth to heaven, and heaven to earth, will answer,
At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King!
Thirty centuries ago the Psalmist cried out in spirit, Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. All the way through the book of Psalms, even in its most sorrow-laden passages, you feel that you are walking in a smoldering volcano of praise, liable to burst out at any moment into a great flame of thanksgiving to God. And as the book draws to its close, the flame leaps high from the crater: here you have praise, and nothing but praise! You have perhaps watched a great conductor bringing every member of his orchestra into action towards the close of some majestic symphony; have seen him, as the music climbed higher and higher, signaling to one player after another, and always at the signal another instrument responding to the summons and adding its voice to the music, until at the last crashing chords not one was left dumb, but all were uniting in a thrilling and triumphant climax.
So these final Psalms summon everything in creation to swell the glorious unison of Gods praise. They summon symbolically to the sun riding in the heavens, You come in now, and praise Him! And then to the myriad stars of night, You now, praise Him! Then to the mountains, piercing the clouds with their summits, Praise Him! Then to the kings and judges of the earth, Praise Him! Then to manhood in its strength and maidenhood in its grace and beauty, Praise Him! Then to the multitude of the redeemed in earth and heaven, Praise Him! The crescendo continues until the whole wide universe is shouting with every voice the praise of God alone. The Psalms in their sequence show forth the redemptive progression that can only end when every heart beats in unison with the heart of God; when every mind shall harmonize with divine wisdom and purpose; when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!
The loving, praising, worshipping attitude of the whole universe is to be complete and perfect. Thus all the ends of the earth shall offer up their praise and thanksgiving to Him for His great love, salvation, and inflow of life. What a THANKSGIVING DAY that will be! Every knee on this globe, and in the heavens above, and in the underworld shall confess the Lordship of God and His sons. What a TESTIMONY MEETING! There has never been one like it. The summing up of the universe is the revelation of harmony. It is not that the harmony comes at the end, but that the harmony is revealed at the end. The universe is all music, but it is not all music to our ear. We only hear a few chords, and they are most often minor chords. The minor chords seem discords when we hear them in their fragmented position; they lack the full symphony to bring out their symmetry. Often our hearts cry out that we are living in a world filled with discords. The Father must teach us that we are living in a world of perfect music, but we only hear a small portion of the music. Sorrow, pain, disappointment, heartaches, frustration, and travail, not to mention sin and death, seem to our ear sad and discordant notes. Often we feel that the coming melody shall atone for the grating chords. Nay, my brother, my sister; say rather that the grating chords themselves shall be revealed as parts of the completed harmony. Then shall we fathom the depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Then shall we understand His ways that are past finding out! Then shall we see just how it is that all things work together for good! The melody is not to come, it has come already; it has only to be completed to be revealed, and then the harpers shall stand upon the glassy sea.
To be continued J. PRESTON EBY
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