Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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studies in end-time revelation
THE ASHES OF A RED HEIFER
Table of Contents
Chapter One 3
Chapter Two 23
Chapter Three 44
Chapter Four 64
THE ASHES OF A RED HEIFER
"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ASHES OF AN HEIFER sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:13-14).
In the worship of the Old
Testament great principles of truth and eternal spiritual realities were conveyed through
outward signs and symbols. The eye is quicker than the ear. And there is therefore no
language so expressive as the language of symbols. The multitude will better catch your
meaning by one apt symbol than by a thousand words. The mind shrinks from the intellectual
effort of grappling with the subtle essences of things, and loves to have truth wrapped up
in a form which can easily be taken in by the eye, the ear, the sense of touch. This
explains why there is such a tendency towards ritualism in the apostate Churches. Where
man's spiritual life is strong, it is independent of the outward form; but when it is weak
it leans feebly on external aids. And it was because the children of
Numbers 19 is a most unusual
chapter in the Old Testament. All the offerings in the Bible are bullocks and rams, but
here there is an exception - a heifer, a female cow who has never given birth. All the
offerings in the Old Testament are slaughtered and offered to God, but this offering of
the red heifer, though killed and burned, is very different from the rest. While all
others are offered to God to meet current claims - that is, the sin-offering, the burnt
offering, or the peace offering according to the need of the day - the red heifer alone
was not for the present need. It was offered to meet future needs. The ordinance of the
red heifer stands alone. While other sacrifices are often brought before us, this one is
recorded in no other part of
Through Moses and Aaron the Lord commanded the people to bring a red heifer - one without spot or blemish and which had never been under the yoke of service - and present it to the High Priest. The High Priest in turn gave the red heifer into the hands of Eliezer the priest to be taken outside the Camp and slaughtered there in his presence. It was not one of the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement, nor was it one of the offerings of the people subsequent to the Day of Atonement - indeed, it was no "offering" at all, for no part of it was offered on the Lord's altar or eaten by the priests. It was sacrificed, but not in the same sense, nor in the same place, as these offerings - in the Court. It was not even killed by one of the priests, nor was its blood taken into the Tabernacle of His presence. The red heifer was taken outside the Camp of Israel, and was then killed and burned to ashes, - flesh, fat, hide, blood, etc. - except a little of the blood taken by the priest and sprinkled seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle (Revised Version). While the body of the heifer was being incinerated, Eliezer was to throw cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet thread into the burning fire. When all was consumed, the ASHES of the heifer were not brought into the Tabernacle, but were left outside the Camp, gathered together in a heap, and apparently accessible to any of the people who had use for them. Under the prescription of the law, a portion of the ashes was to be mixed with running water in a vessel, and a bunch of hyssop dipped into this water was to be used in sprinkling the person, clothing, tent, vessels, etc., of any one who contracted ceremonial defilement through touching or approaching a dead body. Thus, any one who became legally unclean through touching a dead body, was cleansed or purified by being sprinkled with water containing some of the ashes of the heifer. This "water of separation" could be used for other purification purposes. According to Num. 31:21-13, metal vessels captured among the spoils of war could be cleansed from idolatrous contamination by being passed through the fire and then sprinkled with this water.
In view of the many wonderful sacrifices provided for sin in the Old Testament, and the fact that this heifer was in no sense related to these, we must look elsewhere for the antitype to this red heifer, for had it in any sense been an atonement for sins, it would of necessity have been killed by a priest as indicating that fact. What, then, did this sacrifice of the red heifer signify? What does it have to do with the cleansing or purification of the people of God?
The cleansing for which these red cow ashes were prescribed, were of a peculiar kind, namely, specially for those who became CEREMONIALLY UNCLEAN by coming into contact with DEATH. It is called a "sin-offering" only in the sense that a ceremonially unclean person came under the jurisdiction of the law, with penalty if he were not properly cleansed according to law. The ashes of the heifer were not designed to remove MORAL SIN, it was only a ceremonial cleansing, called by the writer of Hebrews that which "sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh" (Heb. ). Bullocks were offered by people who had committed sin in its usual sense - moral sin. If I were Israelite, and had sinned against my neighbor, or against God, I could bring a bullock or sheep to God and offer it as a sin-offering because I had wronged or offended either man or God. But the offering of the red heifer was different. In relation to its purifying work no man had been wronged, nor had God been disobeyed!
Here is a man who is pure as a lily, he has loved and obeyed and walked righteously with man and God. But he has touched something unclean. He has come into contact with a dead body. Because he has been so defiled, he cannot stay in the Camp, neither can he approach the Tabernacle; he cannot have fellowship with either man or God! "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp...whosoever is defiled by the dead: both male and female shall you put out, that they defile not their camps in the midst whereof I dwell. Whosoever touches the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifies not himself, DEFILES THE TABERNACLE OF THE LORD; and that soul be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean" (Num. 5:1-3; 19:13). The very presence of death caused all fellowship and worship to cease!
"...and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the UNCLEAN, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh" (Heb. ). The word "unclean" here refers to such as had been defiled by contact with dead bodies, as when one had died in the family. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea helped to bury the dead body of Jesus, which made them ceremonially unclean; being conscientious Jews, they would have themselves ceremonially cleansed. The uncleanness here referred to related to the body only, and of course the cleansing of the water of separation extended only to that. It was not designed to expiate moral offenses. A man's body might be clean in the ceremonial sense - he might not have come into contact with any dead thing, or any leper, or any bodily discharge; but he might just have wickedly lied about his neighbor, or committed adultery with his neighbor's wife, or stolen some man's money. But the "water of separation" could not avail for these! It could not cleanse the heart; it could not atone for sin; it removed neither guilt nor penalty. It could only cleanse the body, thus meeting the requirements of the law, and removing the obstructions to fellowship with men and entrance into the presence of God. The ashes of the red heifer HAD an efficacy - removing ceremonial uncleanness, and in clearing the way for the one who had been polluted to be brought again to approach and worship God. Ah! though we have committed no act of sin, though we have not knowingly rebelled against the will of the Lord in anything, yet, because of our contact with the death around us, the presence and influence of the flesh, the world, and the devil, how often have we felt far away from the presence of God! It was not sins that separated us - it was, rather, the NEGATIVE INFLUENCE upon mind and emotion and conscience!
The red heifer is pre-eminently a Wilderness type. It was God's provision for defilements along the way, and it prefigures the blessed provision of Christ to meet our need in passing through a DEFILING WORLD of death on our way into the fullness and image of God. A great portion of our tears of sorrow and sympathy are related to this world's system. Much of our emotional outburst is triggered by the pressures of the situations and circumstances about us of this world. Our mental attitude is strongly influenced by this world's spirit. And it is our soul-life which is so affected. We do not like our emotions and impulses moved upon by this world. We do not want our thinking, attitudes, reasoning, or will bent to conform to this world's way. How we DETEST it all, how we LOATHE the contamination acquired by contact with the corruption and death of THIS WORLD! No one need explain what an awesome terror death holds, or how dreadfully it affects those who are in its presence. Men fear death because it is so final, chilling, depressing - in a way that penetrates into the very soul. Death emanates its own negative aura and imparts something of its power to all who contact it, penetrating the emotions, clinging to the mind, possessing the thoughts, affecting the attitudes, disturbing the feelings, troubling the soul - giving a sense of uncleanness. On the spiritual plane, many who read these lines understand how they are affected by the spiritual death they contact daily in the world - how after a hard day in a smoke-filled office, engrossed in earthly things, dealing with ungodly men of corrupt minds, listening to coarse talk and dirty jokes, surrounded by sin and perverseness - there is a stunting affect on the spiritual awareness, and often a time of quietness, seasoned with prayer and praise, is needed to restore the conscious awareness of HIS LIFE AND VICTORY. Ah, we have touched the REALM OF DEATH, the DEAD BODY OF UNREGENERATED MAN, and there is an attachment of its defilement which must be purged, washed away in the flow of HIS LIFE.
By way of illustration, I remember
when, as a young minister I attended a "spiritualist" meeting. The "
The medium requested each member of the audience to write on a slip of paper any question to which he needed the answer, along with the name of one deceased relative to be contacted for the information. While these were being collected, the medium bandaged his eyes with a black blindfold and several strips of adhesive tape. The papers were placed in a basket at the left side of the huge pulpit. Then he began his demonstration. A strange demonic "anointing" came upon him. He took one piece of paper at a time, held it over his head, contacted a spirit which identified itself as the person named on the paper, and after some conversation with the spirit, received the answer to the question. Some of his answers were short, others more detailed. When a certain spirit identified itself, a woman jumped up, screaming, "Oh, that's my dead grandmother!" He talked to one doctor telling him in what book, and on which page, he would find certain medical information he sought.
There was power there alright, but it was the power of Satan - dark, forbidding, sinister. There was no spirit of praise. There was no atoning blood. There was no salvation experience. There was no joy. There was no exaltation of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. There was no worship of the Lord, no presence of the Holy Spirit, no flow of HIS LIFE, and nothing for the inner man. There was naught but the shadowy presence of death, DEATH, D-E-A-T-H! I had entered into the province of the darkest realm of spiritual death. I felt death. I smelled death. I touched death. My soul was defiled by that death. Its presence hung like a shroud over my spirit for days. I felt unclean. God seemed a million miles away. The heavens were as brass. Joy had fled away over the mountain. There was not the conscious awareness of the lovely presence of Jesus. I struggled. I prayed. I mouthed words of praise. I battled my way through to victory. Finally the clouds broke and the sunlight of His glory burst afresh within my soul. Oh! I promised God in that glad hour that never again would I step foot into the domains of darkness out of mere curiosity. And yet - I had not sinned! Not for one moment had I departed from my Lord! It was not sin that separated me from fellowship, but the NEGATIVE INFLUENCE of a dark realm upon my mind, emotions, and conscience. I had approached death. I had contacted death. There was defilement. I was unclean. There was a separation between me and my God. I shuddered as an Israelite of old might shudder as he hearkened to such words as these: "He that touched the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days," and again, "Whosoever touched the dead body of any man that is dead, and purified not himself, defiles the Tabernacle of the Lord." But praise God! He has provided a cleansing!
But the anxious reader, whose whole being breathes after the holiness of God, may eagerly inquire, What, then, are we to do, if it be true that we are surrounded on all hands, with defiling influences, and if we are so prone to contract that defilement? But then, what of the ASHES OF THE BURNT HEIFER? What of the WATER OF SEPARATION? - what can these mean? They set forth the wonderful provision of God in Christ applied to the heart by the power of the Spirit of God. "He shall purify himself with it the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean" (Num. ). If we contract defilement, that defilement must be removed ere we know the free flow of His life. But we cannot get rid of it by any effort of our own; it can only be by the use of God's gracious provision, even the WATER OF SEPARATION. An Israelite could no more remove, by his own efforts, the defilement caused by the touch of a dead body, than he could have broken Pharaoh's yoke, or delivered himself from the lash of Pharaoh's taskmasters.
THE BODY OF DEATH
There is a death that lies closer to us than all this. The first eight chapters of the book of Romans form a self-contained unit. The four and a half chapters from chapter 1 to 5:11 form the first half of this unit and the three and a half chapters from to form the second half. A careful study of these chapters will show that the subject matter of the two halves is not the same. For example, in the argument of the first section we find the plural word "sins" given prominence. In the second section, however, this is changed, for while the word "sins" hardly occurs once, the singular word "sin" is used again and again and becomes the subject primarily dealt with. The question is, Why?
It is important to understand that in the first section it is a question of "sins" in the plural - that is, the ACTS OF SIN that I have committed before God which are many and can be enumerated. But in the second section it is a question of the singular "sin" - that is, SIN AS A PRINCIPLE working in me. Regardless of how many SINS I commit, it is always the ONE SIN PRINCIPLE that leads to them. I may receive forgiveness from all my many plural ACTS OF SIN (sins), but as along as I have present with me the one sin principle (SIN) I shall have the potential of committing sins.
So the question follows: Just WHAT
IS S-I-N? What is this sin principle which is ever present with us, always enticing,
continually rising up to overpower our wills and bring forth the actions of sin in our
lives? You must admit it is a POWER! In its simplest definition sin is THE POWER AND
PRINCIPLE OF EVIL. Sin is a LAW. In Rom. 8:2 it is called the "LAW of sin and
death." We all know what is meant by the LAW OF GRAVITY. Law is principle. Gravity is
a principle; gravity is a POWER. The power works by a principle and that makes it a LAW.
If I drop a coin in
Now what of the LAW OF SIN? Like the law of gravity, sin is something constant, it is a power, it is a principle. With gravity, the law is there and the coin "naturally" drops without any help from me. The law of sin works very "naturally" also without any premeditation or help from me! The law of sin is thus a power, a principle, a principle present with every man and ever opposed to that which is good, continually working to cripple man's will and lead him into the motions of sin. He wills to be different, but that law within is relentless, ever demanding.
The Word of God bears immutable testimony to the awesome power of the LAW OF SIN which works IN OUR MEMBERS. The apostle Paul explains, "I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward of man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the LAW OF SIN WHICH IS IN MEMBERS. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the BODY OF THIS DEATH? I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord. So then with the mind I MYSELF serve the law of God; but with THE FLESH the law of sin" (Rom. -25).
It seems to me that for centuries our eyes have been kept holden to many of the great truths of the Scripture. We have read and reread the Bible, usually taking for granted that we understood perfectly what was written, and frequently just reading over the passages and noticing little or nothing of their message. I do not think we should be overly concerned about this lack of understanding, but we should never presume that we know all the truth, and we must maintain a humble, teachable spirit at all times. When we approach the subject of the "OLD MAN" we arrive at the point of one of the most serious errors made by most Christians. The common mistake is that saints have somehow come to believe that the "old man" of whom Paul speaks in various places is the SIN PRINCIPLE, the power of SIN IN OUR MEMBERS. And because they confuse SIN and the OLD MAN, thinking they are one and the same, they are always trying to "kill" their "Old Man." Some admit that he is not really dead - as much as they would like to believe he is - so they try to "RECKON" him to be dead. Others say, "My Old Man IS dead because the Bible says he is, but he keeps trying to raise his ugly head." They can't seem to keep the lie closed on his coffin! They know the Scripture declares emphatically: "Our Old Man IS CRUCIFIED with Him" (Rom. 6:6), but at the same time he seems to still be very much alive! Sound familiar? Some say, "Well, my Old Man is dead because God says he is dead," and then they go on just trying to ignore the problem they are having with SIN in their members. But UNDERSTAND! The whole problem here is one of MISTAKEN IDENTITY!
Ah, precious friend of mine, "SIN" and the "OLD MAN" are N-O-T T-H-E S-A-M-E! Every Scripture on the subject throughout the entire Bible bears witness to this fact. Let me give it to you in simple terms. The Old Man is our old unregenerate spirit, the old nature which DELIGHTS in SIN. Please notice that I say it is the nature which DELIGHTS in SIN - and NOT sin itself. It is so very important that we see and clearly understand the distinction Paul draws in Romans between the terms "OLD MAN" and "SIN". This distinction is consistent throughout the book of Romans. These are not interchangeable terms. SIN is the power and principle of evil rooted IN OUR MEMBERS, the physical body. The OLD MAN, on the other hand, is our pre-conversion UNREGENERATE SPIRIT, the Old Spiritual Nature that DELIGHTED in SIN, CORRESPONDED to SIN, and joyfully WENT ALONG with SIN.
Any thinking person should
understand that once our spirit has been quickened by HIS SPIRIT, that old unregenerate
spirit DOESN'T EXIST ANYMORE. The Scriptures have only one thing to say about your Old
Man...HE IS DEAD! Nowhere, in all the vast revelation of God, is there even a hint that he
might, in some way, still be alive. No place does it even infer that you could still be
having some problem with the old fellow, or even that you ought to "reckon" him
to be dead. Here is precisely what Paul states in
Perhaps you ask, "But doesn't the Scripture say that we are to reckon our Old Man to be dead?" NO, IT DOES NOT!!! Here is what it says: "Likewise reckon also yourself to be dead unto SIN, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let not SIN therefore reign IN YOUR MORTAL BODY, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof" (Rom. -12). I would draw your attention to the words LIKEWISE, ALSO and SIN. Paul had just finished establishing the great truth that our Old Man is crucified...dead. Now he adds, "LIKEWISE (in the same manner), ALSO..." You can't do something LIKEWISE or ALSO unless you have first done something else. So Paul is saying that since you now KNOW that your Old Man IS DEAD, you are to LIKEWISE, ALSO, RECKON yourselves to be DEAD UNTO SIN. And being dead unto SIN is an altogether different thing from the OLD MAN being dead! Our Old Man IS DEAD. But now we must "reckon" ourselves to be dead unto SIN. As soon as the Lord's people understand this truth the ground for the adversary's accusation and condemnation will be forever snatched out from under him. I've heard so many precious Christians, overtaken in a fault, saying, "I don't want to be like this!" I must answer, "YOU aren't like that! YOU don't want to sin; it is SIN IN YOUR MEMBERS wanting to find expression, not YOU! The problem is that your NEW CREATION MAN is dwelling in a BODY OF FLESH. And Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH" (Jn. 3:6). Flesh IS flesh, it acts like flesh. Your problem is not with the New Man for the New Man is created in the image of Him who created him - God. Your problem is not with the Old Man - he is gone. You don't have to keep putting your foot on him, he isn't going to come up out of his grave. Your problem is with SIN IN YOUR MEMBERS, the cravings and desires of the flesh, the body.
Paul makes this very clear. "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that is good. Now then it is NO MORE I THAT DO IT, but SIN that dwells in me" (Rom. -17). Did you catch that? "It is no more 'I' that do it, but SIN that dwells in me." YOU and SIN are two different items. YOU are YOU. SIN is SIN. YOU are a Son of God. YOU are a "New Creation in Christ Jesus" to whom old things are passed away, and, behold, all things are become NEW," YOU are seated together with Christ in the heavens. But in spite of who Y-O-U are, SIN still dwells in the corruptible members of your body. But that body is NOT YOU. It is but a house you live in. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels." (II Cor. 4:7).
Let us go on. "For I know that in me (that is, in MY FLESH), dwells no good thing. Now if I do that I would not, it is NO MORE I THAT DO IT, but SIN that dwells in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present WITH ME. For I delight in the law of God after THE INWARD MAN" (Rom. -22). How important these words: "T-H-E INWARD MAN." ONE inward man. Paul doesn't say, "I delight in the law of God after ONE OF MY INWARD MEN." Many mistaken Christians think that is how it is, that they possess a dual personality, with both the Old Man and the New Man living in them side by side. Not so! The Word declares the Old Man to be dead, and now you have only the ONE INWARD MAN...Christ in you, the hope of glory. So it is not another MAN in you, warring against the New Man, for says the Scripture, "I see another LAW in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the LAW OF SIN which is in members" (Rom. 7:23). Where is sin? In ME? NO! "In MY (body) MEMBERS." May the blessed Holy Spirit make this sublime truth real to your heart!
Think of the tremendous tragedy when that first blessed pair, made in the image of God, commissioned to rule the world and have dominion over all creation entered into transgression at the forbidden tree and consequently into the realm of death, thus losing their brightness, their glory, and their life, together with their awesome wisdom, knowledge, and power lowered into the realm of disgusting sensuality, empty vanities, and loathsome corruption. And so Paul says, "And if Christ be in you, the BODY IS DEAD BECAUSE OF SIN; but the SPIRIT IS LIFE BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Rom. ). YOUR BODY IS DEAD BECAUSE OF SIN. I might paraphrase that text: "And because Christ is in you, in spite of the fact that your body is death because of sin, your spirit is life because of righteousness." Alas! we know only too well that we must join Paul in saying, "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh dwells no good thing." This is a sad certainty and yet it is a certainty, in spite of what some people like to believe. We must come face to face with it and acknowledge it if we are to go on to the triumphs that follow. Yes, this earthly house, this mortal body, this flesh with sin imbedded deeply in its members, this outer-man-body of corruption and wickedness IS A BODY OF DEATH - A D-E-A-D BODY! And we are tied to it! So great and terrible is this reality that Paul cried out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (Rom. )? Ferrar Fenton has translated these words: "I am a wretched man! What can deliver me from this DEADLY CARCASS?" The sense of misery underlying this exclamation, the poignant grief here expressed has been expressed by us all!
It is reported that near
THE WATER OF SEPARATION
"And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: and a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even" (Num. 19:17-19).
This running water, this Living Water is none other than the eternal Spirit and Word of God Himself. There are four emblems of the Spirit and the Word. The first is fire; the next is oil; the next is air; the last is water. Fire! The unquenchable love of God is a consuming fire. Oil! The oil that consecrates; the oil that heals is the Holy Spirit. Air! The blessed, quickening influences of the Spirit of Life. Water! It is water that cleanses, that washes away all filth, that makes clean and pure; and it is water that fructifies, that causes the seed sown to expand and die, and to burst forth into new life - blessed water, Water of Life, Spirit of Truth.
If your desire is to truly be an overcomer in all things, a part of the firstfruits of God's redemption in this hour, a most wonderful key is found in II Cor. 7:1 and Eph. 5:25-27. "Therefore, since these great promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring our consecration to completeness in the reverential fear of God." And, "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water by the Word, that He might present the Church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things - that she might be holy and blameless" (Amplified). There is a provision for the Lord's people to be freed, not only from all sin, but from all the NEGATIVE INFLUENCES of the flesh, the world, and the devil.
"There is therefore now no
condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the
spirit. For the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of
sin and death" (
In the glorious presence of Christ, fear, grief, depression, stress sorrow, sin, and death have no power. In fact they have no continuing reality. To illustrate that, let me share an interesting fable that drew my attention, entitled The Cave and the Sun.
Once upon a time a Cave lived under the ground, as caves have a habit of doing. It had spent its lifetime in darkness. It heard a voice calling to it, Come up into the light; come and see the sunshine. The Cave retorted, I dont know what you mean; there isnt anything but darkness. Finally the Cave ventured forth and was surprised to see light everywhere. Looking up to the Sun, the Cave said, Come with me and see the darkness. The Sun asked, What is darkness? The Cave replied, Come and see. One day the Sun accepted the invitation. As it entered the cave it said, Now show me your darkness! But there was no darkness.
The LAW OF LIGHT is that it always
dispels darkness. It never fails. The LAW OF LIFE is that it always conquers death. So if
you have been trying to get rid of the darkness and death of the carnal mind, the motions
of the flesh, by rebuking it, fighting it, praying to be delivered from it, having hands
laid on you for it, or by efforts at self-reformation - FORGET IT! None of those things
can remove the darkness from a man, or the defilement of death. Only LIGHT and LIFE can do
that! Brother, sister, TURN ON THE LIGHT in your life, expose yourself to the mighty
presence of the Holy Spirit, thrust yourself into the living stream of His Spirit and His
Word, and the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF HIS LIFE working powerfully within WILL make you free
from the law of sin and death. You can't take death out of a corpse to make it live, but
PUT LIFE IN IT and it will live. The solution is not in taking something away. It is
applying something, putting something in. The wonderful WATER OF SEPARATION will cleanse
and conquer all the defilement of death, making you free and clean, opening up all the
glories and potential of the
How does the water of separation cleanse the pollution of death? How does it make one clean? The apostle Paul frequently spoke of the vast mysteries of God and, in speaking of them, he left no shadow of doubt that naught but the revelation of the Lord could unfold those eternal mysteries. In a future article on this subject I shall probe deeper into the components and nature of the ashes of the red heifer and the water of separation, but I shall state here that God works by divine law and He has given us not only the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus but the LAW of that life. And just as the law of gravity is a natural law that does not fail, so the law of Life in Christ Jesus is a definite law that will produce in us a result without our struggling to attain it. This Law of Life is a HIGHER LAW than the law of sin and death. This law is powerful enough to lift us up above sin and above all external pressures, above all situations and circumstances and happenings and above all the NEGATIVE INFLUENCES of this world. A great space craft is held on the launching pad by the force of gravity. But once mighty rockets fire it is lifted up and propelled into space, defying the law of gravity. This is accomplished by a HIGHER LAW in operation - the law of rocket propulsion. Can we not see by this that the Law of Life in Christ Jesus is a HIGHER LAW than the law of sin and death?
I have had the experience of becoming so involved with the pressures of everyday living until the presence of God was crowded out of my life. When we spend endless hours in idle chatter about carnal things, reading newspapers, watching television, tinkering with hobbies, and multiplied other carnal activities, the Spirit is crowded out of our lives. How filled our lives are with EARTHLY THINGS! How little time we spend, comparatively, in the Word of God and in intimate communion with Him in the secret place! How constantly we give ourselves to going, going, going, and doing, doing, doing! And then we wonder why there is so little power in our lives, and why we so often fail to be overcomers! It is then that we touch death and become defiled.
The cares of THIS WORLD have turned many people lives into a pressure cooker. The strain of everyday living is steadily growing worse because of financial problems, higher taxes, inflation, recession, the disturbing world situation, added responsibilities, sickness, hospital bills, rebellion in the home, etc. The divisions and distractions of this life are too numerous to mention, we are all faced with them everyday. There are those seemingly needful involvements of daily living, but when they so OVERWHELM us, so mar our lives with anxiety, stress, fatigue, and distraction that we find ourselves so fragmented and divided that we are not able to gather ourselves together to serve the Lord with all our heart, mind, and strength - then we have touched death and have been defiled by it, and need to be CLEANSED from these things and their NEGATIVE EFFECTS in our lives.
In times of spiritual dearth the flesh becomes accentuated, the world presses in upon us. How easily we become defiled! We hear a newscast stating that the economy is in bad shape and we grow apprehensive. Some people are laid off at work and we spend sleepless nights worrying. A report comes out that a certain substance causes cancer and we become fearful. We suffer some financial reverses and we become frustrated, upset, irritable. A messenger arrives bearing bad news and for hours, days, or months we are sad, brooding, depressed, completely overwhelmed with grief. Someone stupidly pulls out in front of us on the highway and we respond in anger. We receive a nasty telephone call and reply with some pungent words that might burn out a wire in the telephone circuit. Tragedy strikes and our faith fails. The heavens become brass; God seems a million miles away; we wonder why God has done this to us; peace and joy have fled; WE HAVE BECOME DEFILED BY DEATH.
"In the world you shall have tribulation," Jesus said. Tribulation simply means PRESSURE. And pressure, in medical terms, is called EXTERNAL STRESS FACTORS. Physicians now recognize the great importance of INTERNAL STRESS (caused by reaction to external stress factors) in causing and aggravating a host of diseases. In THIS WORLD all of us are subjected to a host of stresses - just as Jesus said. Examination of the blood of a person experiencing internal stress will reveal the presence of abnormal toxic chemical compounds that are formed as a result of his emotions of frustration, resentment, anger, hate, anxiety, worry and fear - which result in a number of diseases. And what is the meaning of all this? Let it be known to every reader of these lines that I speak of the defilement that comes from contact with a dead body - the defilement that imposes itself upon us as a result of our association with the things and powers of THIS WORLD - the realm of death.
I can recall many occasions when I was burdened with cares, pressured, tense, irritable, enticed by the flesh, in no spiritual frame of mind. In that condition of spiritual leanness and carnal agitation I have entered into a meeting where there was a flow of the Spirit of God, where LIFE was being ministered and the presence of the Lord was magnified in the midst; and then, with no special ado, even without seeking or asking, just sitting EXPOSED to the flow of HIS LIFE, the Spirit of God so tenderly, so graciously swept through my being, quickening my mind, cleansing my emotions, washing away the tension and frustration, breaking, in the sweetness of His presence, the relentless demands of the flesh, removing the brassy heavens, restoring me again to the Camp and to His Tabernacle. THIS is the cleansing of the WATER OF SEPARATION. How needful it is! And how precious.
This is the law of cleansing. There is a LAW OF LIFE which must be at work in us. But you don't really need to be concerned about the LAW of life, you just need the LIFE! The law will work naturally. When the life is there the law will work. When the law is working the power of death is annulled, all NEGATIVE INFLUENCES are neutralized. Therefore, seek LIFE! If the glorious presence of God, the light of life, can maintain me in a state of overcoming victory for TEN MINUTES...for TWO HOURS...or for THREE DAYS...then that same anointing of HIS LIFE WITHIN is able to keep me in that condition of victory for as long as I yield myself to its cleansing, life-giving flow! I do not hesitate to tell you, beloved, that as long as you maintain the flow of the precious life of the Christ you will have little trouble with the flesh, the world, or the devil. Submit yourself to the application of the water of separation and the negative emotions, the carnal thoughts, the old frustrations will begin to fade away, becoming dimmer and dimmer and dimmer. Ah, precious saints of God, try no longer to "get rid of," or "quit doing," or "kill," or "die," or "change" anything! Only expose your whole being to the WATER OF SEPARATION and you will begin to live in the peace and joy and righteousness of life of God's Son!
The life of Jesus is described as a "fountain opened in the house of David for sin and UNCLEANNESS" (Zech. 13:1). A fountain not only for deliberate sins, but for the uncleanness contracted through contact with the death of this world. This wonderful fountain is the source of the "running water" used in the water of separation. By the power of the Holy Spirit a "clean man" applies that living water to my soul! That "clean man" is Jesus the Christ, praise His name! By faith I place myself in closest touch with this heavenly water. I yield myself to it, I let it cover me, penetrate into my deepest being, and go through me. I cannot withhold its cleansing, sanctifying, transforming power. I must in faith turn away from all that bespeaks death, to receive of this cleansing, with the assurance that it will manifest its blessed power in me. God is seeking the fully developed life of His Son in us in order to manifest HIS NATURE through us as the central revelation of Himself to the whole creation. How we desire to be His Sons! How we hope to be like Him! How we long to speak deliverance to the creation! With what anticipation do we follow on that we might know Him in all His glorious fullness! So let us, with childlike. expectant faith, open wide our souls to the full experience of the water of separation!
"For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ASHES OF AN HEIFER sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:13-14).
Numbers 19 is a most unusual chapter in the Old Testament. Through Moses and Aaron the Lord commanded the people to bring a red heifer - one without spot or blemish and which had never been under the yoke of service - and present it to the High Priest. The High Priest in turn gave the red heifer into the hands of Eliezer the priest to be taken outside the Camp and slaughtered there in his presence. It was not one of the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement, nor was it one of the offerings of the people subsequent to the Day of Atonement - indeed, it was no "offering" at all, for no part of it was offered on the Lord's altar or eaten by the priests. It was sacrificed, but not in the same sense, nor in the same place, as these offerings - in the Court. It was not even killed by one of the priests, nor was its blood taken into the Tabernacle. The red heifer was taken outside the Camp of Israel, and was then killed and burned to ashes, - flesh, fat, hide, blood, etc. - except a little of the blood taken by the priest and sprinkled seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle (Revised Version). While the body of the heifer was being incinerated, Eliezer was to throw cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet thread into the burning fire. When all was consumed, the ASHES of the heifer were not brought into the Tabernacle, but were left outside the Camp, gathered together in a heap, and apparently accessible to any of the people who had use for them. Under the prescription of the law, a portion of the ashes was to be mixed with running water in a vessel, and a bunch of hyssop dipped into this water was to be used in sprinkling the person, clothing, tent, vessels, etc., of any one who contracted ceremonial defilement through touching or approaching a dead body. Thus, any one who became legally unclean through touching a dead body, was cleansed or purified by being sprinkled with water containing some of the ashes of the heifer.
The cleansing for which these red cows were prescribed, were of a peculiar kind, namely, specially for those who became CEREMONIALLY UNCLEAN by coming into contact with DEATH. The ashes of the heifer were not designed to remove MORAL SIN, it was only a ceremonial cleansing, called by the writer of Hebrews that which "sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh" (Heb. ). Here is a man who is pure as a lily, he has loved God and obeyed the law and walked righteously with man and God. But he has touched something unclean. He has come into contact with a dead body. Because he has been so defiled, he cannot stay in the Camp, neither can he approach the Tabernacle; he cannot have fellowship with either God or man! "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel that they put out of the Camp whosoever is defiled by the dead: both male and female shall you put out...that they defile not their Camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. Whosoever touches the dead body of any man that is dead, and purified not himself, DEFILES THE TABERNACLE OF THE LORD; that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean" (Num. 5:1-3; 19:13). The very presence of death caused all fellowship and worship to cease! Until the time he was sprinkled, he was kept out of fellowship with God, but when he had been duly sprinkled he was clean. He then proved his trust in the water of separation by boldly entering in and taking his place as a cleansed man. He was restored to his people and to the presence of God.
The typical uncleanness here set forth related to the body only, and of course the cleansing of the "water of separation" extended only to that. It was not designed to expiate moral offenses. It could only cleanse the body, thus meeting the requirements of the law, and removing the obstructions to fellowship with men and entrance into the presence of God. The ashes of the red heifer HAD an efficacy - removing ceremonial uncleanness, and in clearing the way for the one who had been polluted to be brought again to approach and worship God. Oh, the mystery of it! Ah, though we have committed no act of sin, though we have not knowingly rebelled against the will of the Lord in any thing, yet, because of our contact with the DEATH around us, the presence and influence of the flesh, the world, and the devil, how often have we felt far away from the presence of God! It was not sins that separated us - it was, rather, the NEGATIVE INFLUENCE of a realm of DEATH upon MIND, EMOTION, and CONSCIENCE!
The red heifer was pre-eminently a Wilderness type. It was God's provision for defilements along the way, and it prefigures the blessed provision of Christ to meet our need in passing through a DEFILING WORLD of spiritual death on our way into the fullness and image of God. Many who read these lines understand how they are affected by the spiritual death they contact daily in the world - how after a hard day in a smoke-filled office, engrossed in earthly things, dealing with ungodly men, listening to coarse talk and dirty jokes, surrounded by sin and perverseness - there is a stunting affect on the soulish emotions and the spiritual awareness, and often a time of quietness, seasoned with prayer and praise, is needed to cleanse the emotions and restore the conscious awareness of HIS LIFE AND VICTORY. Yes, we have touched the realm of DEATH, the DEAD BODY OF UNREGENERATED MAN, and there is an attachment of its defilement which must be purged, washed away in the flow of HIS LIFE.
"For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:13-14)?
The truth in this beautiful passage is the basis for the thoughts I would share in this study. We have seen that the water of separation did not cleanse men from sins, but only from a ceremonial defilement that prevented them from entering into fellowship with God. The apostle shows that the cleansing of the water of separation clearly pointed to the CLEANSING OF THE CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS, that we might serve the living God.
God is a great teacher! Long
millenniums ago He initiated a program to reveal Himself to man, to restore man into
relationship with Himself, and teach man His will and His ways. But God's revelation had
to be given step by step. He could not give fallen man the full spiritual light all at
once. God has employed masterly pedagogical wisdom. We teach our children by dividing up
the subject-matter of education into a number of grades, running through a number of
years. If we were to thrust all the subjects upon the child during the very first year,
the child would become completely bewildered, and the result would be that he would not
learn anything. But if we give the instruction gradually, in such a way that each portion
of it is related to and is based upon the preceding, then the child will be able to follow
along and will, after he has passed all the grades, have acquired it all. This was the
method that God employed also when He enrolled
Up to this time God had taught with the visual aids of outward types and symbols, and in divers manners through the prophets, but now He sent His own Son to complete and bring to a consummation the revelation of Himself. We are told very clearly in the New Testament that the Old Testament revelation of God was both insufficient and imperfect, as the apostle points out in Heb. 9:9-10: "Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, which could not make him that did the service perfect, AS PERTAINING TO THE CONSCIENCE; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."
Here we are told that the imperfect thing about the Old Covenant revelation of God was the CARNAL ORDINANCES which had no power to PERFECT THE CONSCIENCE. And by them is meant the OUTWARD precepts, rituals, ceremonies, etc. Moreover, the writer mentions specifically the things he has in mind, namely, the many ordinances concerning meats, and drinks, and DIVERS WASHINGS. The Old Covenant stood in the things they had permission to eat and the things they did not have permission to eat; in gifts, sacrifices, and WASHING FROM CEREMONIAL DEFILEMENT. And lo, we are in the midst of ceremonial defilement, an uncleanness which has nothing whatsoever to do with sins, but with purely natural things. The Old Testament is full of rules and regulations which in the natural seem to be without any significance. It is almost as if the people were to ask, "Why, Lord, must we do these things?" and the Lord answers, "Because I TELL you to!"
As an illustration of this I might
mention Uzzah, who helped transport the ark of God when David wanted it brought to
But God is righteous in all that
He does, even though we cannot always comprehend Him. To be incomprehensible is a part of
His very nature as GOD. And when a God whose ways are past finding out reveals Himself,
there must be something about His revelation which we cannot comprehend, as long as we
remain in the "in part" realm. But a little we do seem to comprehend even here!
Any one who has the least knowledge of child training knows that we cannot speak to a
LITTLE child about MOTIVES, ATTITUDES, AND PURPOSES. The little one does not understand
such things. What the child can understand is the ACT ITSELF and whether he has done what
he was told to do by his father and mother, or has refrained from doing what he was told
to do. In EARLY life a child develops obedience in just that way, by doing what his father
and mother tell him to do WITHOUT KNOWING THE WHY AND WHEREFORE of it. Without any debate
between parent and child as to why the child must do thus and so and not otherwise. This
is exactly the way God dealt with that nation-child which He had adopted and begun to
bring up. The first and foremost thing that He had to teach the children of
But now, blessed be God! the Christ has appeared as a High Priest of the BETTER THINGS that have come and are to come. And now we know "...if the ASHES OF AN HEIFER sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the PURIFYING OF THE FLESH: HOW MUCH MORE shall the blood of Christ PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE from dead works to serve the living God!" The subject here is the conscience. How well the apostle wrote, "Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service PERFECT, as pertaining to the CONSCIENCE" (Heb. 9:9). It is a most remarkable thing that the conscience is never, in all the pages of God's wonderful Book, said to be cleansed from SIN. Believers are cleansed from sin. Our hearts are cleansed from sin. But never the conscience! The conscience is cleansed from DEAD WORKS! This makes it mandatory upon us to remove the shoes from off our feet and tread carefully upon this holy and mysterious ground. But at the same time it also holds out the promise to us that we shall here gain an insight into some of the most marvelous and glorious things in God's whole mighty work of transforming us into the perfection of Christ.
It is not difficult to understand the conscience. The word "conscience" is translated, in the Bible, from the Greek word "suneidesis" meaning, CO-PERCEPTION or A KNOWING WITH ONESELF. The root from which it comes means "to understand, to be aware, to see completely". When the Scripture says of Adam and Eve, "The eyes of them both were opened, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED," it means that the eyes of their carnal understanding, sense knowledge, were opened and suddenly THEY KNEW THEMSELVES. Ones conscience indicates the nature of what he understands and perceives. To perceive right from wrong is one function of the conscience. To condemn or justify is another one of its functions.
Let us now consider the origin of the human conscience. When did it first exist, and how did it come into being? The word "conscience" is used 32 times in the New Testament, but does not appear at all in the Old Testament. This does not mean that the Old Testament has nothing to say about the conscience, but merely that it is spoken of in terms other than the actual word, for man's conscience is clearly one of the myriad things that had its beginning in the first three chapters of Genesis.
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed...and the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, lest you die. And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: for God does know that in the day you eat thereof, THEN YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED, and you shall be as gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And THE EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen. 2:25; 3:2-8).
There is no doubt as to the innocence of Adam and Eve when they first came forth from the creative hand of God. As man stood in the garden, he was neither holy nor unholy; he was innocent, brought forth by the hand of God pure, innocent, undefiled, and to be sure, very untried and unproven. Man before the fall was in a primeval state, like a newborn babe. At that time he was not ashamed of his nakedness any more than a day-old infant is ashamed. This proves that within man there was NO CONCEPT OF GOOD AND EVIL, right or wrong, showing that there was neither the feeling nor the function of the conscience.
Then the serpent entered with the bold assertion: "God knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL." Let us now inquire how far Adam and Eve realized the serpent's promised advantage. This inquiry will lead us to a deeply important point in connection with the fall of man. God had so ordained it that IN AND BY THE FALL MAN SHOULD GET WHAT HE PREVIOUSLY HAD NOT - A CONSCIENCE - a knowledge of good and evil. This, man could not have had before. He could not have known aught about evil as evil had never been experienced. He was in a state of innocence, a condition of ignorance of evil and ignorance of good! Let all who read these lines meditate deeply upon this fact: Man in the image of God was NOT CREATED WITH A CONSCIENCE; the conscience is A PRODUCT OF THE FALL, the result of eating of the fruit of the tree of THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. That knowledge, in fact, IS W-H-A-T THE CONSCIENCE I-S!
As soon as man fell by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we read, "And the EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED...and Adam and his wife HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD GOD amongst the trees of the garden." There is bitter pathos in this scene. Two people, for the first time conscience stricken, overwhelmed with a sense of sin and shame, furtively slink away into the shadows to hide from God! They had gained knowledge, but it was not the knowledge of God and Life; alas! it was merely the knowledge of good and evil. The very first knowledge that came was the knowledge of evil, the shocking discovery that they were naked, followed swiftly by a chilling fear!
Conscience means A KNOWING WITH ONESELF, and is, simply, the carnal consciousness of WHAT WE ARE in the blazing light of good and evil, right or wrong. Many are astray as to this; they think that the conscience will bring us to God! Did it operate thus in the case of Adam and Eve? Assuredly not! In the very moment when their conscience sprang into life within their bosoms, the first thing they did was to run from God and try to hide from Him, clothed in the fig apron of their own self-works! There is not one sinner in the whole universe who has ever come to God by his conscience. His conscience will justify or condemn, and when it condemns it will dictate that he do better, that he sew together some fig leaves of good works, that he do some outward religious thing to cover his nakedness before God! Millions have come to God by the command of His Word, under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, but not one has been brought to God by his conscience! How can they? How can the sense of what I AM ever bring me back to God, if not accompanied by the faith of what HE IS? Impossible! In order to understand better what the conscience is, let us compare it with the instinct of animals. It, too, is a remarkable thing. Instinct tells the animal, in a way that we cannot explain, what to do in order to preserve its own life as well as that of its species. And in a way that is equally inexplicable the animal is warned through its instinct of those things which are dangerous or inimical to its well-being. The instinct of domestic animals has been weakened through association with human beings. In wild animals the instinctive faculty functions with perfect normalcy. We must frequently marvel at their ability to sense danger, such as poison, for instance. As far as we know, wild animals never eat natural poisons. We must make use of artificially concocted poisons if we would inveigle them into taking it. But regardless of how precisely and effectively animal instinct functions, it, nevertheless, is nothing more than an involuntary act, as everything else in animal psychology. It functions entirely automatically and by natural necessity.
Conscience, on the other hand, is a knowledge, a consciousness, not, like instinct, an inner compelling urge such as drives the animals and compels them to pursue the course marked out by instinct. Conscience is rooted in a deep inner consciousness of a LAW which addresses itself to man's conscious will, separating between good and evil, not to enforce obedience to it, but that the man might freely and without compulsion follow or not follow that law which he through conscience recognizes as the law he ought to follow. As a matter of fact, it is through conscience that man acquires consciousness of his humanity, differentiating him from the brute. It is through conscience that man learns that he is not under necessity, as animals are, to act as he has been programmed to act, but is ordained to act from a knowledge of good and evil. This faculty of KNOWING WITH, which man possesses, is exceedingly remarkable.
A sort of doubling of our personality takes place. The "I" takes a position, so to speak, outside itself and observes itself. It looks at self in the light of right and wrong. And then it pronounces judgment upon itself, upon its own actions and conduct in regard to right and wrong. Then comes that which is most remarkable of all. The judgment which the "I" pronounces upon the "I" is entirely objective and unbiased. A remarkable judgment seat indeed! In other courts of justice we require that the judge be a disinterested party in the case, fearing that his judgments otherwise might be prejudiced. But at the judgment bar of conscience it is the accused person himself who passes judgment!
As a rule the judgment which is expressed deals with some particular thing which we have done or are about to do, something that we are saying, thinking, or feeling. However, it may also pass judgment upon our whole being. At all times it tells us how our actions, words, thoughts, feelings, or what we ourselves are compare with its standard of good and evil. Conscience expresses itself sometimes before, sometimes during, and sometimes after the act involved. BEFORE it either encourages us to carry out our contemplated action, or advises us not to do so. DURING the act the voice of conscience is weakest, as a rule. That is when it is most difficult for conscience to gain a hearing or to make itself heard. We are either preoccupied with what we are doing or are under the sway of passion, with the result that the voice of our conscience is either partly or completely stifled. AFTER the act conscience usually speaks most strongly, either approving the deed and expressing satisfaction with it, or protesting against it and producing inner unrest and anxiety.
THE EVIL CONSCIENCE
The problem with the human conscience is, first, that it is a product of the fall; second, it is a conscience with power to condemn you for wrong-doing, but with no power to compel you to do right; and third, it is totally undependable so far as the kingdom of God is concerned, being CONDITIONED by the external influences of THIS WORLD. To understand the truth of what I now say you have only to observe the life of a child. In their first bloom of innocence children can readily develop a sense of what is right. But as they grow older, deprived of original simplicity, imbibing of the voices, concepts, and influences of the world around them - parents, friends, teachers, television, movies, books, etc. - they become affected by the values they learn from these sources and their conscience becomes CONDITIONED TO JUDGE RIGHT AND WRONG BY THE STANDARD OF WHAT THEY ARE TAUGHT. Your conscience is like a computer into which data has been fed from childhood on. Your "computer" gives out the information that has been fed into it!
As a consequence of his deficient knowledge of the nature, will, and ways of God the conscience of the natural man functions deficiently and erroneously in various ways. This we have abundant opportunity to observe in the moral and religious life of the heathen, both in the past and in the present. Thus we observe that religiously the conscience of the heathen leads him in his worship to bow down to man-made things instead of to the Creator and to perform the emptiest and most meaningless kinds of ceremonialism. His conscience leads him to grotesquely paint and hideously cut and disfigure his flesh. We observe also that the conscience of the heathen approves of acts in connection with divine worship which are openly immoral, such as sexual intercourse with the temple prostitutes in honor of the gods! We observe, furthermore, that the conscience of a heathen can require him to lie, steal, and murder in the name of the gods.
The conscience takes the shape of the things it is fed. The conscience of a Hindu has been conditioned to believe that a cow is an especially sacred animal, to be revered. His conscience would smite him were he to kill and eat a cow! What mental anguish he would suffer if he were required to dine with you at the local Steak House! But if one is raised in a Catholic home he knows quite well that a cow is not sacred, and his conscience is not pained by eating beef, but, if he bends his knee before the idol-image of a saint, his conscience will approve that, because that is how his conscience has been conditioned! But another, raised in a Baptist home, his conscience conditioned by Baptist values, if he bows before an image his conscience will not let him sleep!
This brings us to a most marvelous verse of Scripture in Heb. 10:22. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, HAVING OUR HEARTS SPRINKLED FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE." When quickened by the spirit of revelation this passage staggers the imagination with its wonders. Such things are too wonderful for me! In our carnal state while yet our eyes are dim through the ravages of sin and death and the weak and insipid rule of the conscience, we can but see through a glass darkly. But now comes the word: "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" - having the "evil conscience" or the "defiled conscience" REMOVED FROM OUR HEARTS by the cleansing blood of the Christ!
I have shared the following
experience before, but would share it again in this connection. I was raised in a
Pentecostal home. So, upon arriving at young manhood I had acquired a PENTECOSTAL
CONSCIENCE! It was shaped by the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Pentecostal
movement in the area of south
I remember when as a boy preacher
I wanted a tie pin to hold my tie in place. I thought about the tie pin for a long time
before getting up enough courage to go and buy one. I purchased a rather plain, gold
colored one. I shall never forget the day when I put it on, stood before the mirror,
looked at myself, and said proudly, "
THE CLEANSING OF THE CONSCIENCE
"And for unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: and a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even" (Num. 19:17-19).
This running water, this Living Water is none other than the eternal Spirit and Word of God Himself. It was given to take away the defilement of death, as that which stood between God and man; not the iniquities which separate between God and the sinner, but some DEAD THING by which the people of God are defiled. Hear, oh man of God, and give earnest heed, you Sons of God! "For if the ASHES OF AN HEIFER sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the PURIFYING OF THE FLESH: HOW MUCH MORE shall the blood of Christ PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS to serve the living God" (Heb. -14).
He who writes these lines testifies to those who read them that no one can serve "the LIVING God" with "DEAD works". Dead works are the fruit of spiritual deadness, they have no spiritual life in them, no life through Christ from the living God. Some think that "dead" means "sinful" works. These certainly would be dead weight upon the conscience. Yet here "dead works" are not crimes and immoral conduct but rather all formal, empty, false religious observances and self-invented works whereby men would seek to please and serve God.
In those Old Testament days, then, when any was defiled by contact with death, the ashes of the red heifer were brought. It was a female sacrifice, and a female sacrifice free from any blemish, a red heifer taken in the time of that heifer's prime, when the heifer was not only alive herself but able to produce life. The heifer was slain and its blood and everything burned and the ashes kept. The defiled man was brought near, the ashes applied by means of running water; and after suitable interval the man was regarded as clean once more. Ah! We, in a more real sense, have been defiled by contact with the death of DEAD WORKS dictated by an evil conscience! You see, they spring not from a spirit that is alive, quickened by His Spirit, and able to produce life; they are dead works, the product of a creature that is in God's sight dead. They spring not from the fount of all true life, they are dead and as such are obnoxious to God. When the apostle speaks of dead works he does not have in mind the gross works of the flesh, sorry as they are, but much even that goes by way of religion and dresses itself in fine vestments and uses spiritual-sounding phrases and inspiring music and beautiful pageantry and good works; which if it spring not from a conscience that has been cleansed and quickened by the blood of Christ, is all dead works and utterly obnoxious before Him who is THE LIVING GOD. I tell the truth when I say that there is much about us that has been dead, and much of our service, if we are not careful, can spring not from a spirit guided by the Holy Spirit, but from the flesh, done by rote, because we have always done it that way. And when we touch that realm we have touched death, and are defiled by death. We need cleansing, and, thank God, we have it. For if the ashes of a heifer sprinkling them in those days purified their flesh contaminated by death, HOW MUCH MORE shall the blood of the Christ PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM D-E-A-D W-O-R-K-S to serve the Living God!
The words of this beautiful passage of Scripture cast a ray of eternal hope across the gloomy pages of human tradition and ritualistic religion with its static creeds, ordinances, ceremonies and programs that for centuries have blinded men's minds and made their feet to stumble and lose their way so that they have become lost from the glorious and eternal reality of THE LIFE OF GOD IN THE SPIRIT. Oh that men might know that it is the Holy Spirit alone who makes men alive, and it is the Holy Spirit alone who must lead us into all truth and bring to fulfillment the purposes of God in our lives. Oh that men might know that we are servants of THE LIVING GOD! and our spirits have been quickened by His Spirit that we might live by His Life. The flesh with all its slavish forms of religion and dead works, profits nothing. Fill you mind and life with as many doctrines and rules and programs as you like. It profits you nothing. Celebrate Mass every day of the week, if you so desire. It profits you nothing. Be baptized, join the Church, attend meetings, take communion, serve on the committees, if you wish. It profits you nothing. Give all your goods to feed the poor, or give your body to be burned. It profits you nothing if you have not been quickened by the Living Christ, for you are still dead and chained by the power of inbred sin. Tradition and forms of religion and godliness can do nothing for men except cause them to walk in blindness. Men do not need religion. Men do not need external ordinances, rituals, rules and regulations which merely soothe the human conscience, giving the illusion that the Living Christ is being served. They are one and all DEAD WORKS. Men need Christ. They need to KNOW HIM! Christ is the light of men and the light of the world, and all who follow Him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life, having their conscience PURGED FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING CHRIST. Once we begin to serve the Living God we find no further use for any of those dead works, for they carry with them the stench of death.
"Oh," you say, "I cannot give up all these beautiful religious forms I have known for so long!" I do not hesitate to tell you, precious friend, that you will never walk as a Son of God until you do. I speak plainly because it is necessary. You will never know the fullness of His presence nor the greatness of His power until the blessed "water of separation" has been applied and your conscience has completely and forever been cleansed from dead works. As long as the defilement of the dead carcass of Babylonish religion clings to your flesh, you cannot and will not enter the Lord's Camp, nor will you be permitted to approach His Tabernacle, nor will your feet tread within the precincts of His glory. You are shut out to behold but dimly from afar the glory of the Lord upon those whose hearts have been purged from the defilement of death. DEAD works! Why will you cling to the defilement of that which is DEAD? Oh, why! Have you not learned, precious one, that God never takes aught from us, without giving us something better! He removes the symbol, to give us reality; breaks the type, to give the substance; smashes the form to give us the essence; releases us from the natural to give us the spiritual. Oh, trust Him, my brother, and dare let go, that you may take; to be stripped of the garments defiled by death that you may become clothed with glory and life!
There is only ONE FORM in the whole universe to be desired, and it is the one created by God Himself. Millenniums ago the great king Nebuchadnezzar gazed in transfixed wonder upon this form and cried out in astonishment, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the FORM of the fourth is like THE SON OF GOD" (Dan. 3:24-25). Paul, by the divine wisdom given him, penned these words of truth: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the FORM OF GOD, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Phil. 2:5-6). Think diligently of what the apostle has told us in speaking thus: "My little Children, of whom I travail in birth again until CHRIST BE F-O-R-M-E-D in you" (Gal. )
Sadly, the great apostle wrote to young Timothy, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a FORM OF GODLINESS, but DENYING THE POWER thereof: from such turn away" (II Tim. 3:1-5). The "form of godliness without power" is an abomination, but a FORM OF GODLINESS WITH POWER is a mighty thing. Not a form of religion, but the FORM OF GODLINESS, or God-like-ness. Without a form you have no power. If you have some gunpowder, it may be a pound weight, and scatter it in a plate and set fire to it, there is no power to it: but ram it into a cannon, put a bullet there, and you had better stand out of the way of the power: for it is very real! The Sons of God are being prepared, pressed and formed in the processings of the Father, not as power dispersed, but as power concentrated. Under the dealings of His hands His nature and glory and power are being built into us, formed in our lives, for a day of unveiling. The Christ must be FORMED in us! He cannot dwell "loosely" within us, only casually experienced. HIS LIFE must be meticulously PRESSED into every facet of our life until HIS FORM becomes all that is seen in every circumstance and situation.
Forms without power are forms without Christ. Forms without power are a curse. All forms of praise and prayer and religious activity which have no power in them are abominations. The Church that has a form without a power ought to have been buried long ago, and all who are in contact with them are defiled by death. Power goes into form; living does not always contain power. Empty forms are dead carcasses that defile; living forms embody and express all the power of the indwelling life. The only form that does contain power is the FORM OF THE CHRIST as He is formed in truth and reality in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. All forms which are not HIS LIVING FORM IN US are DEAD FORMS and men are defiled thereby. But now, when the "running water" of HIS LIFE is sprinkled upon our hearts by the "clean" heavenly Man - how much more - HOW MUCH MORE - with what an infinitely effectual cleansing must our conscience be cleansed from dead works to serve the Living God!
A conscience fully cleansed with
the blood of Christ is freed from that inner gnawing demand to participate in the
activities of the
Oh, let us believe the infinite mysteries with which we are surrounded! And above all, this mystery too, that within us, THE BLOOD OF CHRIST, THE WATER OF SEPARATION - that mystery of mysteries - is being applied and kept in full action by the eternal Spirit, cleansing us from all the defilements of the death realm, from all the negative influences of the flesh, the world, and the devil, and all the dead works of the religious systems imposed upon us by a corrupted conscience, and revealing now GOD'S LIFE WITHIN US, that we may SERVE THE LIVING GOD IN US!
As the living God, He is all, and does all and fills all - the ever-present and ever-working God. Cleansed from our contact with the death of religion WE KNOW THIS GOD and have fellowship with Him and serve Him. TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD. What a word! The glory of the New Creature is to reveal God, to be a vessel in which He can pour His fullness, a channel through which He can show forth His glory, an instrument for working out His purposes. This is what man was created for in the image of God. This is what the New Creation Man is being formed for today. The whole object of redemption is to bring us back to a life in the living reality of God. It is for this the Holiest of All was opened to us by the blood of Jesus. It is for this our conscience is cleansed in the blood, purged from dead works. A life in the Holiest of All is a life in which everything is done under the sense of God's glory and presence, by the inworking of His power, and to His glory; a life that has no object but to live by the life of God and to do His will.
Praise God. a people is being formed to walk with God, the change is on and we are being changed! Thus, as the defiled Israelites were sprinkled with "the ashes of a red heifer", so the Holy Spirit brings to our hearts and consciences the power of the life of Christ; and as the one outside the Camp defiled by the dead had also to bathe his flesh and wash his clothes, so we prove what it is to have ourselves and our near surroundings brought under the purifying work of His Word and the cleansing action of His Spirit, and thus to have fellowship with all who are so cleansed and with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
We were gloriously freed from all sin by the death of Christ typified in the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement; but we are now being wonderfully cleansed from the defilement of our contact with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and the myriad dead works of self-effort and carnal religion, to serve the living God. Until every area of our conscience is purged from DEAD WORKS, from LIFELESS RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES, we are yet defiled by death and are separated from the fullness of His life. It is not a question of whether we attend some Church or don't attend, or whether we are "busy" for God or have been drawn aside to "wait" upon the Lord; it is a matter of serving the LIVING GOD, not our conscience, and of being LED BY THE SPIRIT as to where we go, what we do, and how we live out every aspect of our lives, daily. If our fellowship is in some harlot Church system and if we are constantly going, going, going, and doing, doing, doing in the Church program because our religion-conditioned conscience dictates that we must, that is one thing; but how much better to have the conscience cleansed from the demands of all this slavish activity to simply BE WHERE THE FATHER WANTS US, DOING WHAT THE SPIRIT DICTATES. Ah, the defiled human conscience is being cleansed from the contamination of dead works, replaced by THE LIVING SPIRIT OF THE CHRIST WITHIN, HE is becoming LORD, blessed be His wonderful name!
In the worship of the Old
Testament, where everything was SYMBOLICAL, that is, where spiritual realities were
conveyed through outward signs, every physical defilement would point to, and carry with
it, as it were, a spiritual counterpart. But especially was this the case with reference
to death. Death, which cast its icy shadow from the gates of
Through Moses the Lord commanded the people to bring a red heifer - one without spot or blemish - and present it to the High Priest. The High Priest in turn gave the red heifer into the hands of Eliezer the priest to be taken outside the Camp and slaughtered there in his presence. It was not one of the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement - indeed, it was no "offering" at all, for no part of it was offered on the Lord's altar or eaten by the priests. It was sacrificed, but not in the same sense, nor in the same place, as these offerings - in the Court. It was not even killed by one of the priests, nor was its blood taken into the Tabernacle. The red heifer was taken outside the Camp of Israel, and was then killed and burned to ashes, except a little of the blood taken by the priest and sprinkled seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle. While the body of the heifer was being incinerated, Eliezer was to throw cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet threat into the burning fire. When all was consumed, the ASHES of the heifer were not brought into the Tabernacle, but were left outside the Camp, gathered into a heap, accessible to any of the people who had use for them. The Lord directed that a portion of the ashes was to be mixed with running water in a vessel, and a bunch of hyssop dipped into this water was to be used in sprinkling the person, clothing, tent, vessels, etc., of any one who contracted ceremonial defilement through touching or approaching a dead body. Thus, any one who became legally unclean through contact with death, was cleansed or purified by being sprinkled with water containing some of the ashes of the heifer.
"And the Lord spoke unto
Moses, Command the children of
The cares of THIS WORLD have turned many people's lives into a pressure cooker. The strain of everyday living is steadily growing worse because of financial problems, higher taxes, inflation, recession, the disturbing world situation, added responsibilities, sickness, hospital bills, rebellion in the home, pressures on the job, etc. The divisions and distractions of "this life" are too numerous to mention, we are all faced with them every day. There are those seemingly needful involvements of daily living, but when they so OVERWHELM us, so mar our lives with anxiety, stress, fatigue, and distraction that we find ourselves so fragmented and divided that we are not able to gather ourselves together to serve the Lord with all our heart, mind, and strength - then we have touched death and have been defiled by it, and need to be CLEANSED from these things and their NEGATIVE EFFECTS upon our lives. If we contract defilement, that defilement must be removed ere we know the free flow of HIS LIFE. But we cannot get rid of it by any effort of our own; it can only be by the use of God's gracious provision, even the WATER OF SEPARATION. "He shall purify himself with it the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean" (Num. ). This sets forth the wonderful provision of God in Christ to meet our need in passing through a DEFILING WORLD of death on our way into the full redemption of Christ, applied to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
THE RED HEIFER
"This is the ordinance of the
law which the Lord has commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of
All the offerings in the Bible are bullocks and rams, but here there is an exception - a heifer, a female cow. Through Moses the Lord commanded the people to bring a red heifer to Him. Notice that it was NOT a bullock but a heifer. Sex has its significance in the Bible. All that pertains to truth and testimony is represented by the male sex, while all that speaks of experience and life is symbolized by the female sex. This is a principle in the study of the Bible. Abraham represents justification by faith, and Sarah stands for obedience. Faith is objective, truthful, a testimony; obedience is subjective and experiential. The Church as seen in the Bible is always referred to by the feminine pronoun because she represents the subjective work of the Lord upon men. The work of the red heifer is therefore subjective, not objective, in nature.
In the Old Testament days, then, when any was defiled by contact with death, the ashes of the red heifer were brought. It was a female sacrifice, and a female sacrifice free from any blemish, a red heifer taken in the time of that heifer's prime, when the heifer was not only alive herself but able to produce life. The more we study the Bible and the more we see its themes unfold, the more we will discover that its many truths are in fact but ONE TRUTH. They are like the sweater that has been knitted and has front, back, sides, collar, and sleeves, but when unraveled is seen to be but one single skein of thread. I now venture to propose that when God, in the beginning, formed the body of Adam from the dust of the ground, He did not make two persons, a man and a woman, for ADAM WAS BOTH IN ONE - after the image and likeness of God. The image of God is not a body with a torso, two legs with two feet and ten toes, two arms with two hands and ten fingers, and a head with two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth. The image of God is the NATURE of God. You see, the Bible states clearly that in the beginning there was only God - omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, holy, perfect...who is love. But because God had a Father Nature, He had to birth a Son: because when one has a father nature, the deepest craving of his nature is to beget and bring forth from his own being an offspring in the likeness of himself. Therefore, because God had a Father Nature, He had to birth a Son; but the problem was He didn't have a Wife. Now this would have been a problem for us, but it was not a problem for God, because He had His Wife in His own side, for in that beginning before human flesh was, God was both Male and Female in Himself. We know this to be true because everything in the whole vast universe has come out from God, and if God had not been Male and Female within Himself in the beginning, we could not have male and female in the earth today - in His image! "And God said, let us make man IN OUR IMAGE. So God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE, MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM" (Gen. 1:26-27).
The Word of God bears immutable
testimony to this wonderful truth. Father Abraham heard the call of God and got him out of
his own country, from his father's house and his father's kindred, and sojourned to a land
that God showed him. God gave to him the promise of a seed and that in this seed all the
families of the earth would be blessed. After many years of experience in
Now this name, GOD ALMIGHTY, is both interesting and touching. In the Hebrew it is "El Shaddai". God (El) means "might" or "power" and signifies the "Strong One". "Shaddai" is different, though it also describes power; but it is the power not of force, but of all-bountifulness. "Shaddai" primarily means "Breasted", being formed directly from the Hebrew word "Shad", that is, "the breast", or more exactly, a "woman's breast", and is so used in Gen. 49:25; Job ; Ps. 22:9; S. of S. ; 4:5; 7:3; 7:8; 8:1,8,10. Thus "Shaddai" means "the Pourer or Shedder forth" of life as a woman bears her child and then feeds and sustains it with the milk from her breast. God is the giver out of His own life as He bears out of His own Spirit-substance His offspring and then feeds and sustains and strengthens it with the "milk" of His Word. Can we not see that all natural things have spiritual counterparts and that "the invisible things of Him are clearly seen in the things which are made," as Paul said in Rom. .
By her breast the mother has almost infinite power over the child. Some of my readers perhaps have heard the old Greek story of the babe laid down near some cliff by its mother, while she was busy with her herd of goats. The babe, unperceived, crawled to the edge. The mother, afraid to take a step, lest the child should move further and fall over the precipice, only uncovered her breast, and so drew back the infant to her. It is this figure which God Himself has chosen in this name EL SHADDAI, by which to express to us the feminine element in His Almightiness! His Almightiness is of the breast, that is of bountiful, life-giving supply! Therefore He can quiet the restless, as the breast quiets the child; therefore He can nourish and strengthen, as the breast nourishes; therefore He can attract, as the breast attracts, when we are in peril of falling away from Him. Ah, this is the "Almighty" who appeared to Abraham and assured him that he would be blessed according to promise. How wonderful are these things!
Long millenniums after Abraham's
encounter with God Almighty, El Shaddai, the "Breasted One", John the Revelator,
in exile on the barren Isle of Patmos, heard behind him the voice of One who trumpeted
into his ears this message: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,
which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY" (Rev. 1:8). As John
turned to see the Voice that spoke to him, with astonished countenance he beheld the
wonder of this One "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and GIRD ABOUT THE PAPS
with a golden girdle" (Rev. 1:13). The word "paps" is the Greek word
"mastos" used exclusively in Greek for the female breasts! "And it came to
pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and
said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare You, and the PAPS (mastos) which You have
sucked!" (Lk. 11:27). On
All the offerings in the Old Testament are slaughtered and offered to God, but this offering of the red heifer, though killed and burned, is very different from the rest. While all other are offered to God to meet current claims - that is, the sin-offering, the burnt-offering, or the peace-offering according to the need of the day - the red heifer alone was not for the present need. It was offered to meet future needs. Here lies the uniqueness of the red heifer. Unlike other offerings, which had only their blood sprinkled before God, the ashes of the red heifer were kept for future use. Its efficacy was in the blood. The ashes which were collected from the burning of the red heifer together with the cedar and hyssop and scarlet were stored in a clean place. What was the purpose? It was that one day when an Israelite became defiled by touching something unclean, he might then go to the priest who would mix the ashes with the running water and sprinkle them upon the unclean person to make him clean. The ashes were used to take away defilement.
According to the Old Testament, an offering was required for every sin. But here it is different. Here is a man who has already presented his offering and then later on has touched a dead body. Because he has been defiled his fellowship with God is broken. What should he do? He does not go and offer another bullock for sin, but he should go to the priest for the water of separation that his defilement may be cleansed. This is quite a different type from the other offerings. The ashes of the burned heifer were kept for the cleansing of the many such defilements of future days. It was burned not for the sake of past sins, but rather to prepare for future defilements of flesh due to contact with uncleanness. In this we see another aspect of the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ, quite different from that of which the bullocks and rams of the Old Testament speak. All believers ought to know this aspect of the Lord's work, the aspect typified by the ashes of the red heifer. All the efficacy of redemption is embodied in these ashes! As the MASCULINE NATURE of God in Christ is made available to us for the quickening and justification of our SPIRIT, so, in the sacrifice of the red heifer, is the FEMININE NATURE of God in Christ made available to us for the cleansing of our SOUL from the negative influences of the death realm around us. The ashes of HIS WORD mingled with the running water of HIS SPIRIT effects a most powerful cleansing from all the external influences of the world upon our minds, emotions, and consciences, praise His wonderful name!
I must make one thing very clear. I speak plainly because it is necessary. I am a plain man and I speak plainly. There is absolutely no ground in Scripture for addressing God as "our Mother-God". Some today foolishly refer to God as "She" and "Her" and even intone prayers to "our Mother which art in heaven." Such conduct is utterly absurd and ridiculous. As Eve was contained in Adam and the two natures in one constituted MAN, so the feminine element of God is contained within His masculine nature and both are beautiful and precious realities within OUR FATHER. True, Eve was taken out from Adam, and the Bride is taken out from the Christ. But in the end all is "gathered together into one in Christ Jesus" (Eph. ) that duality may be swallowed up into ONENESS.
It is interesting to note that in most languages of earth, nearly all words have endings which classify them in one of three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter. This means that not only are living things classified as male and female, but a great number of other things as well. The truth is, however, that a word classified as feminine in one language may appear as masculine in another! Even between the Hebrew and Greek of the scriptures there are these differences. For instance, in Greek the word soul is feminine whereas in Hebrew it is just the opposite masculine. Can we not see by this that it is not primarily grammar that truly determines whether a thing is masculine or feminine; rather it is usage. Usage determines meanings the writers usage, not ours. For example, the word spirit and all that pertains to the life of that realm is by its usage in scripture clearly show to be masculine in character.
Some contend that the Holy Spirit bespeaks the feminine attribute of God, but such cannot be true for Holy Spirit is never used in scripture in either the Old Testament or the New in such a manner. Note when the angel Gabriel was speaking with the Virgin Mary about her conception of the Christ child, Gabriel stated that The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee (as a man covers a woman in procreation): therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the SON OF GOD (Lk. 1:35). Matthew, in his Gospel, adds this unmistakable confirmation: Mary was found with child OF (BY) THE HOLY GHOST (Mat. 1:18) yet on several occasions Marys soul is referred to in relation with her pregnancy thus signifying the soul as feminine while the Spirit is masculine. Multitudes of other passages could be cited in demonstration of this reality.
Thus, SPIRIT is masculine - the life giving force, essential being, substance, strength. SOUL is feminine - that which proceeds out of spirit: mind, desires, emotions, etc., as in the Garden we see Eve "taken out" of Adam. Spirit is BEING and soul is EXPRESSION. Spirit is objective, while soul is subjective. For the sake of understanding, the soul can be said to have five senses just as our physical body has the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. The soul comprises your INTELLECT - that is your mind with all its mental capacity for knowledge, understanding, and reason. Then you have your WILL - the mental power to choose and the forces directly urging you to action. Then there are the EMOTIONS - strong forces of personality and passion with many aspects such as love, hate, joy, peace, grief, anger, fear, etc. Then come the DESIRES - the faculty of wishing or longing or craving. Finally, there is the AFFECTION - heart attachments, the power to search out and cleave to that for which we have a natural feeling, passion, predisposition, or propensity.
Is it not the SOUL, with its senses, which is defiled by daily contact with the influences and pressures of world of death about us? A great portion of our tears of sorrow and sympathy are related to this world's system. Much of our emotional outburst is triggered by the pressures of the situations and circumstances imposed by this world. Our mental attitude is strongly influenced by this world's spirit. The world demands our time, pressures our will, beats upon the emotions, excites our desires, saps our strength, and cries for our attention. We do not like our emotions and impulses moved upon by this world. We do not like our thinking, attitudes, reasoning, or will bent to conform to this world's ways. How we DETEST it all, how we LOATHE the contamination acquired by contact with the corruption and death of THIS WORLD!
And, blessed be God! He has made a gracious provision. Not only did Jesus come as the blessed Son of God in the power of the SPIRIT to offer Himself as a sacrifice, a male sacrifice, fulfilling the typology of all the bullocks, rams, and he-goats of the Old Testament, taking away our sins, quickening OUR SPIRIT with HIS SPIRIT, giving eternal life; but He also poured out HIS SOUL unto death, the feminine nature of His being, becoming, too, the red heifer, the female cow, offering Himself as El Shaddai, the "Breasted One", the Pourer-forth who draws us to God's bosom and satisfies us with milk, quieting our soulish restlessness and agitation, as the breast quiets the crying babe; nourishing and strengthening as the breast nourishes and strengthens; wiping away our tears and healing our pain with the caress of love as only a mother can do! The Word of God is by no means lacking in its vivid descriptions of our Lord's redemptive work. CHRIST IS BOTH the bullock for our sin-offering, and the heifer, the ashes of which daily cleanse our soul-life from the corrupting and contaminating influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The specification of the Lord was
"a RED heifer without spot," that is, without any white or black hair on its
hide. Ancient Jewish authorities make the most incredible assertion that altogether, from
the time of Moses to the final destruction of the
The heifer provided for this sacrifice must be of pure red color - a most rare and difficult thing to find in the world, among the thousands of cattle on its hills, one heifer answering completely to this description. The word for red in the Hebrew is "adumah" and the word for blood is similar, "dam". The word for man is "A-dam". There is a relation between the color red, the blood, and the man. "And God said, Let us make MAN (A-dam) in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). "Adam" means "ruddy; to show blood in the face; to flush or turn rosy".
The book of Genesis gives two accounts of the creation of man in its first two chapters. As I have studied the Word of God, many things have become very evident, one of which is that there are two distinct creations or works of God revealed in chapters one and two of Genesis. In Gen. 1:26-27 the first of these creations, in respect to man, is presented and as we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image and likeness of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very Spirit-substance of God Almighty and bearing His own divine nature, character, and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. The second work of God wrought upon man is related in Gen. 2:7 where we see this significant action taking place: "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man BECAME a living soul." Reading this passage we have the definite assurance that, as man has been first "created" on the sixth day in the spiritual image of God, a further work is being carried forth and the man is now being "formed" into another expression: "F-O-R-M-E-D of the dust of the ground," and so "B-E-C-O-M-I-N-G a living soul" - manifest in the earth realm. The first is the "created" man, the second the "formed" man. The first is a "spiritual" man, the second a "physical" man. The first bears the image of the "heavenly", while the second bears the image of the "earthly". The first is known unto God in the Spirit, the second is manifest to the physical world. The very fact that the Scripture states that ADAM "BECAME" A LIVING SOUL, reveals that there was a process of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm.
The point of special interest to us here is the fact that God first called man ADAM, or RED - SHOWING BLOOD IN THE FACE - when He created him a SPIRITUAL MAN. Man did not "become" Adam when he was "formed of the dust of the ground" - it was not the earthly man who was first characterized as red, or showing blood in the face - but the heavenly man! And this Adam was created "in the image and likeness of God". No poet or philosopher or prophet could possibly describe the glory and eminence of THIS MAN! I have long known that the "face" in symbolic terms bespeaks the outward expression and revelation of the deepest inward parts of man's being - the heart. All that a man thinks and feels and is inwardly is written and expressed outwardly upon the countenance, known and read of all men. Blood bespeaks LIFE. To "show blood in the face" is to show life in the countenance - to outwardly reveal the inner condition of life!
Ah, that spiritual man in the image of God, that heavenly man after the likeness of God was indeed set in the midst of God's magnificent creation to be the REVELATION OF GOD'S LIFE. He was indwelled by heaven's own divine life. In union with man God was the power of his life. Man was full of light, abounding in heavenly wisdom and knowledge, fearful in power and dominion, ethereal as a spirit and radiant with the nature and resplendent glory of God. Here, then, was man's terrible loss in the fall! He lost all. He lost his glory, his dominion, his wisdom, his knowledge, his dignity, his happiness, his purity and his peace - all was gone from him. And after four millenniums of sin, sickness, sorrow, depravity, perversion and the stupefying darkness of the carnal mind, where, on all this sin-cursed earth, could be found a man typified by the RED HEIFER - a man REVEALING THE LIFE OF GOD! Thank God. One was found. Only one! "In many separate revelations and in different ways God spoke of old to our forefathers in and by the prophets. But in the last of these days He has spoken to us in the person of a Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things. He is the SOLE EXPRESSION OF THE GLORY OF GOD - the LIGHT-BEING, the OUTRAYING OF THE DIVINE - and He is the perfect imprint and VERY IMAGE OF GOD'S NATURE" (Heb. 1:1-3, Amplified).
This Son is the out-shining of God's glory, and the express image of His person. How like Adam in the beginning! As we only know the sun by the light that shines from it, so is the Christ THE OUTSHINING, the revelation of GOD'S GLORY. As the light that shines from the sun is of the same nature with it, so the Son is of one nature with the Father. And as a son bears the likeness of his father, because he has his life and nature from him, so the Son of God is THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS SUBSTANCE. He is of one substance with the Father - its express image - and has therefore life in Himself, even as the Father has life in Himself. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST" (II Cor. 4:6). This is the second man, the LAST ADAM with blood in the face, life revealed in the countenance, the GLORY OF GOD IN THE F-A-C-E OF JESUS CHRIST!
"...a red heifer WITHOUT SPOT, WHEREIN IN NO BLEMISH" (Num. 19:2). "For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ASHES OF AN HEIFER sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who OFFERED HIMSELF WITHOUT SPOT to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:13-14). The power of Christ's blood consist in two things. The blood of Christ has its value, first, not from the mere fact of physical suffering and death, but from the inner life and disposition that animated the Christ who shed it. The blood of a man is of more worth than that of a sheep. The blood of a king or a great general is counted of more value than hundreds of common soldiers. The blood of the Son of God! - it is in vain the mind seeks for some expression of its value; all we can say is, it is His own blood, the precious blood of the Son of God who offered Himself WITHOUT SPOT!
The second element that gives the blood its value is the holy obedience of which its outpouring was the proof; the blood of Christ who OFFERED HIMSELF WITHOUT SPOT UNTO GOD. He came to live the life of man, such as God had meant him to be, in creating him. He gave up His will to God, He pleased not Himself but sought only the Father's pleasure, He yielded His whole life that God might reveal Himself in it as He pleased: HE OFFERED HIMSELF TO GOD! He took and filled the place man was meant to fill. And that WITHOUT SPOT. His self-sacrifice was complete and perfect, and His blood, even as the blood of a man, was, in God's sight, inexpressibly precious! The apostle shows that Christ was indeed the RED HEIFER, without spot. And now, praise God, in the power of the Holy Spirit the blood of Christ effects a mighty, divine cleansing, full of heavenly life and energy. The Spirit that was in Christ makes us partakers of its power. His victory over sin, His victory over the world, His victory over the flesh, His victory over the devil, His victory over death, His victory over all obstacles, and His oneness with the Father - the soul that fully knows the cleansing of the WATER OF SEPARATION in its power will know these blessings too!
"And you shall give her (the red heifer) to Eliezer the priest, and he shall bring her outside the Camp, and she shall be slaughtered before him. Eliezer the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger and SPRINKLE IT TOWARD THE FRONT OF THE TENT OF MEETING seven times" (Num. 19:3-4, Amplified). The sacrifice having been killed, one of the priests (not Aaron, the High Priest, but Eliezer, his son) took the blood and sprinkled it "toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times," which is the place of communion, for the subject here is not justification, but communion. It was sprinkled seven times, not around about the altar, but TOWARD THE TABERNACLE, to represent our forward walk in God as we follow on to KNOW HIM in all His glorious fullness. The number "seven", as has frequently been observed, is expressive of perfection; and in the figure before us we see that the blood of Jesus is the ground for PERFECT FELLOWSHIP with God, and fellowship with God is the ground for our "going on TO PERFECTION." The two work together. Like the horse and carriage - you can't have one without the other!
CEDAR, HYSSOP AND SCARLET
"And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: and the priest shall take CEDAR WOOD, and HYSSOP, and SCARLET, and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer" (Num. 19:5-6). How little we have appreciated the "ingredients" of God's grace that flow unto us who are partakers of His Spirit. All the redemptive ingredients of Christ's life and His death are included in the ashes of the heifer and are mingled together in the Spirit of Truth who has come to abide within His people, just as the ashes of the red heifer, and the ashes of cedar wood, and hyssop and scarlet were mingled together in the water of separation.
Every part of the heifer, including her blood and her skin and her dung - the whole sacrifice - was burnt. Into the midst of the burning body of the heifer, the priest cast scarlet thread, cedar wood and hyssop, because they set forth the character of the sacrifice and the nature of the elements which effect our cleansing from the defilements of the world. Remember always, in reflecting on these wonderful truths, that each ingredient of these ashes MUST REPRESENT SOMETHING BY WHICH WE ARE MADE CLEAN, for they are all realities resident in the Christ and now ministered unto us by the power of the Spirit for our cleansing.
SCARLET on the natural plane is
the type or expression of human splendor, worldly grandeur, the glory of the kingdoms of
this world. But in reference to our Lord Jesus Christ it embodies a higher meaning,
bespeaking the splendor and grandeur and glory of the divine power and authority
manifested in Him. It is impossible to speak with too much fervor or be too abundant in
our praise and adulation of the Christ of God! His name is called Wonderful, the
Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Christ is God and
as God, Christ is King: the throne of the universe belongs to Him. His dominion is an
everlasting dominion. O, you souls, redeemed by Christ, behold your God! Our Lord is the
Mighty God. But He descended from that state. He humbled Himself, took upon Himself the
form of man. And yet, while in humility and reproach, a Man among men, He was still the
Mighty God, God manifest in the flesh, Immanuel, God with us! His disciples came to look
upon Him as the Triumphant King; they who knew His power to be absolutely without limits.
Had they not seen Him chain the lightnings, hush the thunders, still the storm, and say,
"Peace, be still!" to the waves of
They were greatly perplexed when
He died. But then He arose the Conquering Christ! The fact of the Christ's resurrection is
historic. The man who disputes it disputes the best established fact in history. He was
seen by those who had despaired of His existence. He ate with them. He drank with them. He
walked with them in a bloodless body. He talked to the despondent and broken-hearted
apostles, the eleven, for nearly forty days. It was impossible to be deceived. He spoke,
and was seen and heard on one occasion by five hundred, the most of whom were living at
the time that Paul made the declaration that they knew Christ and had seen Him after His
resurrection. He proved His resurrection by telling them that if they would go to
Today is the second thousand years since He came into the flesh. The second thousand years is drawing to a close and, blessed be His name! He is the same. He pursues His mission still and reigns in majesty over His Kingdom by entering into these temples of clay, and filling our spirits and our souls and our bodies with His own eternal presence and power, making us one with Him as members of His very own body, of His flesh, and of His bone, and of His blood. He is redeeming a vast family of Sons into whom He is putting His mighty Spirit and inworking His glorious mind and nature so that we, who were destined from the beginning to be the revelation of HIMSELF to the creation, may complete His mighty work for the redemption of humanity. Ah, the Royal Majesty of Jesus Christ was cast as a scarlet thread into the fires of the Cross that consumed the body of the red heifer, and now, as our minds and emotions and consciences are sprinkled with the ingredients of those blessed ashes of His sacrificed life, raised again by the power of the Holy Spirit, there comes the omnipotent authority of HIS WORD WITHIN causing the agitated emotions, the carnal thoughts, the old frustrations, the natural weaknesses, and all the NEGATIVE INFLUENCES of the death realm to flee as darkness flees before the rising sun.
He comes to us as King - in Kingly authority. Scarlet thread! He dwells within as THE WORD, for the Word was made flesh, the Word made flesh was obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, and now the ingredients of His Cross are made available to us in the water of separation - by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are cleansed from the defilement of death by the indwelling Word of God. Speaking is the vehicle of fellowship. It is a proof that the speaker considers him he addresses as capable of fellowship with himself; a token that he longs for that fellowship. The influences of THIS WORLD would interrupt it. But God be praised, not for always!
The words of a man carry weight
according to the idea I have of his wisdom, his veracity, his power, his love. This Word
of God! Oh, who can express what it is worth to us! Each Word carries with it all the life
of God, all His redeeming power and love. The words of men have often exerted a wonderful
and a mighty influence. But the Words of God - they are creative, and they give what they
speak. God speaks to that which is deepest, to the heart, that central depth within us
whence are the issues of life. He makes us one with that Word, A BECOMING, where the
omnipotent power of His Word becomes our STATE OF
"If any man love Me, he will
keep My Words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode
with him" (Jn. ). ARE YOU HAVING DIFFICULTY IN YOUR WALK IN SONSHIP? Do you lose
the victory and fall into the same old pit from which you were digged? Are the problems
and pressures of "this life" too much for you? The secret of your victory, or
lack of it, is in LOVING CHRIST and KEEPING HIS WORDS. We cannot gainsay that. If,
therefore, we are not living victoriously in His presence, we must conclude that we are
not loving Him as we ought and we are not keeping His Words as we must. Our love for God
is manifest in a love for the things of God. If we saturate our lives with corrupt
reading, profane and filthy television, and worldly associates we will become exactly like
these same corrupting influences. Spend every afternoon watching "As the World
Turns" and you will inevitably TURN LIKE THE WORLD. Spend hours each week absorbing
the filth of "The Edge of Night" and you will end with your life swallowed up by
THE DARKEST OF NIGHT. At first it will bring only a "contamination" from
touching death, but if you, like the man of
"If any man love Me, he will keep My Words." But how can we keep His Words if we have not first hidden them in our hearts? Beautiful is the promise, "If any man love Me, he will keep My Words," yet I think no promise can excel that which follows: "My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him" (Jn. ). The precious promise continues: "Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me...He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit...If you abide in Me, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, you shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you...As the Father hath loved Me. so have I loved you: continue in My love...These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (Jn. 15).
What power there is in obeying His Voice, in keeping His Words! What a cleansing! What victory! Blessed water of separation! Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and faith placed in the heart by the Holy Spirit reaches beyond all the pressures and powers of THIS WORLD to grasp the victory. Did not the Queen of Sheba come from afar to hear the wisdom of Solomon? And the harlot Rahab - did she not believe the word given her and perish not? The Syropheonician woman, too! Can we not hear the beautiful Words of Christ, "O woman, great is your faith; so be it unto you as you will." Did not the Roman centurion find deliverance for his demoniac servant as the Word was sent unto him? And Cornelius also - did not God hear his prayer and send Peter to him with the Word that he might be saved and filled with the Holy Ghost?
Happy is the man indeed into whom Christ comes to abide with him forever. No longer will He be a guest in your heart, but you will honor Him as the Host of that spiritual temple which you are. You will take the crown of honor and glory and place it upon HIS worthy head that He may reign as King of kings in the Kingdom within you, shedding His light, teaching His ways and sanctifying you through His truth. This Lord of humility, who so gently knocks at your door, is the King of Glory, who is to become your greatest love. Your heart will burn within you as He opens His eternal truth and reveals the purposes which were in His mind before anything was. Ah, the Royal Majesty of heaven, the Scarlet Thread of history, has come into our souls by the Holy Spirit to carry us onward and upward into the fullness of His divine life! How we desire to be His Sons! How we long to know the fullness of His presence! How we hope to be like Him! How we yearn to speak deliverance to the creation! With what anticipation do we FOLLOW ON that we might know Him in all His glorious and eternal reality! Let this be the chief thing you live for - to know, to honor, to obey your God and King. So let us, in childlike faith, open wide our souls to the full experience of the WATER OF SEPARATION!
In this series on THE ASHES OF A RED HEIFER we have seen that in the worship of the Old Testament, where everything was SYMBOLICAL, where spiritual realities were conveyed through outward signs, every physical defilement pointed to, and carried with it, a spiritual counterpart. Especially was this the case with reference to death. Death pointed to the whole dread realm of sin, sorrow, and separation from God, the ghastly nightmare through which man has suffered for six painful millenniums. Hence, defilement by the dead was symbolically treated as the greatest of all. It lasted seven days; it required a special kind of purification; and it extended not only to those who had touched the dead, but even to the house or tent where the body had lain, and all open vessels therein.
The Lord commanded the people to bring a red heifer - one without spot or blemish - and present it to the High Priest. The High Priest in turn gave the red Heifer into the hands of Eliezer the priest to be taken outside the Camp and slaughtered there in his presence. It was not one of the sin-offerings of the Day of Atonement - indeed, it was no "offering" at all, for no part of it was offered on the Lord's altar or eaten by the priests. It was sacrificed, but not in the same sense, nor in the same place, as these offerings - in the Court. It was not even killed by one of the priests, nor was its blood taken into the Tabernacle. The red heifer was taken outside the Camp of Israel, and was then killed and burned to ashes, except a little of the blood taken by the priest and sprinkled by the priest seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle. While the body of the heifer was being incinerated, Eliezer was to throw cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet thread into the burning fire. When all was consumed, the ASHES of the heifer were not brought into the Tabernacle, but were left outside the Camp, gathered into a heap, accessible to any of the people who had use for them. The Lord directed that a portion of the ashes was to be mixed with running water in a vessel, and a bunch of hyssop dipped into this water was to be used in sprinkling the person, clothing, tent, vessels, etc., of any one who contracted ceremonial defilement through touching a dead body. Thus, any who became legally unclean through contact with death, was cleansed or purified by being sprinkled with water containing some of the ashes of the heifer.
Now, here is an Israelite who has come into contact with a dead body. Because he has been so defiled, under the law, he cannot stay in the Camp, neither can he approach the Tabernacle. Though he has committed no sin, yet he is prohibited from having fellowship with either man or God! The very presence of death caused all fellowship and worship to cease! Until the time he was sprinkled, he was kept out of fellowship with God, but when he had been duly sprinkled he was clean. He was restored to his people and to the presence of God. Ah, though we have committed no act of sin, yet, because of our contact with the DEATH around us, the influence of the flesh, the world, and the devil, how often have we had the sense of being far away from the presence of God! It was not actual sins that separated us - it was, rather, the NEGATIVE INFLUENCES of a realm of DEATH upon MIND, EMOTION, and CONSCIENCE. How often the seemingly needful involvement of daily living so OVERWHELMS us that they mar our lives with anxiety, stress, fatigue, and distraction until we find ourselves so fragmented and divided that we are not able to gather ourselves to serve the Lord with all out heart, mind, and strength - then we have touched death and have been defiled by it, and need to be CLEANSED from these things and their NEGATIVE EFFECTS upon our lives. If we contract defilement, that defilement must be removed ere we know the free flow of HIS LIFE. But we cannot get rid of it by any effort of our own; it can only be by the use of God's gracious provision; even the WATER OF SEPARATION. "He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean" (Num. ). This sets forth the wonderful provision of God in Christ to meet our need in passing through a DEFILING WORLD of death on our way in to the full redemption of Christ, applied to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.
CEDAR, HYSSOP AND SCARLET
"And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: and the priest shall take CEDAR WOOD, and HYSSOP, and SCARLET, and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer" (num. 19:5-6). How little we have appreciated the "ingredients" of God's grace that flow unto us who are partakers of His Spirit. All the redemptive ingredients of Christ's life and His death are included in the ashes of the heifer and are mingled together in the Spirit of Truth who has come to abide within His people, just as the ashes of the red heifer, and the ashes of cedar wood, and hyssop and scarlet were mingled together in the water of separation. Every part of the heifer, including her blood and her skin and her dung - the whole sacrifice - was burnt. Into the midst of the burning body of the heifer, the priest cast scarlet thread, cedar wood and hyssop, because they set forth the character of the sacrifice and the nature of the elements which effect our cleansing from the defilements of the world. Remember always, in reflecting on these wonderful truths, that each ingredient of these ashes MUST REPRESENT SOMETHING BY WHICH WE ARE MADE CLEAN, for they are all realities resident in the Christ and now ministered unto us by the working of the Spirit for our cleansing.
SCARLET on the natural plane is the type or expression of human splendor, worldly grandeur, the glory of the kingdoms of this world. But in reference to our Lord Jesus Christ it embodies a higher meaning, bespeaking the splendor and grandeur and glory of the divine power and authority manifested in Him. Some have supposed that the scarlet represents the blood of Christ, but the true type of His blood, the blood of the heifer, is already part of the sacrifice and the ashes. It is impossible to speak with too much fervor or be too abundant in our praise and adulation of the Christ of God! His name is called Wonderful, the Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Christ is God and as God, Christ is King: the throne of the universe belongs to Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion. O, you souls, redeemed by Christ, behold your God! Our Lord is the Mighty God.
The sense of who He is, the
recognition of His greatness and majesty has been lost in the modern Church. Now He is
"the man upstairs." We have become too palsy-walsy with God. I am utterly
convinced that many people who speak the most intimately about God, as if He were their
Uncle Joe, would find themselves with their hands over their mouths and their faces in the
dust, if they should suddenly come into His presence. We have lost the
What does the word "Lord" mean? In the days of Jesus, the word "lord" (kurios - with lower case letters) was what slaves called their masters. When it appeared in Capital letters - THE LORD - it meant the Caesar of Rome. As a matter of fact, when public employees or soldiers met each other they used to greet one another by calling out "Caesar is the Lord," and the other responding "Yes, the Lord is Caesar." This presented a problem for the Christians. They insisted to the contrary that Jesus Christ is the Lord. Caesar did not mind other men being called lords as long as the term "THE LORD" was reserved for him. But the Christians reserved the term for Jesus. They placed Jesus high above the emperor. They said, in effect, "Caesar, you can count on us in some things, but when Jesus and you are in the balance, we will choose Jesus, because we have submitted our lives to Him. He is the first One. He is THE LORD - the One who possesses supreme authority in our lives." That was the reason Caesar persecuted the Christians.
The Gospel that we have in the
Bible is the Gospel of the
Most people are Christians because
they want to go to heaven and escape hell. If all the preachers and teachers one day
called a press conference and told their people, "We have discovered that there is no
heaven or hell," how many would stay in the Church after that? Most of the people
would ask, "Why are we coming then?" They were coming for heaven, not because
JESUS IS LORD AND EVERYBODY MUST SUBMIT TO HIM. In the hour in which we live the vast
majority of Christians are more miserable than most other people in the world. They are
only enduring this life in order to eventually get to heaven where they imagine they will
spend the next billion trillion years or so singing, playing harps, and dancing. I am
quite sure that if such people would admit the truth, they would admit that even a
thousand years of singing, shouting, playing harp music and dancing around in white robes
would become very boring, to say the least. I find that most of these people can't endure
five hours in a meeting even if the glory is falling all around! Most of them start
watching their watches about on Sunday morning! The problem is that their theology
leaves them with nothing constructive to do and all eternity to do it in! They know
nothing about the
Then there are those who are
Christians for a fire escape out of hell, not because Jesus is King and they truly hunger
and thirst after the righteousness, peace and joy of His Kingdom. How many thousands, yea,
millions of Christians have no true love for God, but are serving Him out of fear of going
to hell, as a slave in fear of a tyrant! If such persons had the fear of hell removed from
them it is obvious that they would promptly tell God to go to hell and then proceed to
drown themselves in devilish pleasures and fleshly pursuits. If the wages of sin were
removed, they would immediately go out and begin to live it up in the world, serving both
the flesh and the devil. Such have no love for God at all, their eyes have never beheld
HIM as the altogether lovely and all-glorious LORD and KING of the universe, and their
heart strings have not been touched by the beautiful message of the
He is the great King of kings and Lord of lords. There are some whom I have heard from time to time who speak of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and soon-coming King - as if to deny by this that Christ has any Kingdom at all at the present time. Such ignorant statements always leave me cold. What could be farther from the teachings of God's Word, which teaches that Christ already rules and reigns over His Kingdom and that we are already a part of that Kingdom? We are told in Colossians that He "has translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son." Already it has taken place, already we are in that Kingdom, already the Christ has a Kingdom and is its King. The word "kingdom" comes from the two terms "king" and "dominion" - king's dominion. It exists wherever the dominion of the Christ rules and holds sway over the hearts of men. Christ is the great King right now, ruling all things for the well-being of His subjects and bringing absolute perfection and completion to His plans which He ordained before the foundation of the world. He is the King of the ages and invincible. He shall yet arise in power and glory in His completed and perfected body - the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD - and reveal Himself as the great conquering King, bringing deliverance to the whole creation, reconciling all things unto Himself, and then shall all know the glory of His Kingdom as every tongue confesses and every knee bows and all in that day declare that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD - Jehovah of hosts, the Lord of glory, the King of the universe!
The Lord our God is the King, and His Kingdom shall rule over ALL. And praise His name, He is even now bringing forth in the earth a Kingdom people - the firstfruits of His redemption - who are discovering HIS LORDSHIP over all in their lives. Ah, the Royal Majesty of Jesus Christ was cast as a Scarlet Thread into the fires of the cross that consumed the body of the red heifer, and now, as our minds and emotions and consciences are sprinkled with the ingredients of those blessed ashes of HIS SACRIFICED (poured out) LIFE, raised in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, there comes the omnipotent authority of HIS WORD WITHIN causing the agitated emotions, the carnal thoughts, the fierce temptations, the old frustrations, the natural weaknesses, and all the NEGATIVE INFLUENCES of the death realm to flee as darkness flees before the rising sun. When all hell assails us, when the power of death all around crowds in upon us, when the pressures of this world would frustrate and vex and suffocate us, then HE STANDS UP WITHIN US AS KING - in Kingly authority. Scarlet thread! When the world, and our own flesh, would tear us apart and smash our lives and our hope of sonship upon the rocks, He is there, the still small Voice, the deep, inner confidence that all is well, that He, the Lord of glory is with us still, and all is secure in His loving hands, for He ordained our path and made provision for the hour. He is Himself the provision, the indwelling Christ, the anointing, His authority inherent in the Spirit moving in our lives, and this wonderful "ingredient" of HIS DOMINION AND LORDSHIP is continually and unfailingly AVAILABLE TO US in the WATER OF SEPARATION - overcoming all external pressures and powers. Thank God, in every situation and circumstance of life HE IS PRESENT TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS unto Himself, thus cleansing from the defilement of death.
The second ingredient cast into
the midst of the burning red heifer was HYSSOP. Hyssop was the plant used by the
According to various authorities,
the hyssop of the Hebrew Scriptures is marjoram. This plant of the mint family is common
It is interesting to note that hyssop always relates to sacrifice - and therefore to humility, and weakness, and contrition of heart. There is a wonderful passage of Scripture containing the kernel of the precious truth embodied in the hyssop. Paul wrote, "Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in HUMILITY count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind within you, which also was in Christ Jesus who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but EMPTIED HIMSELF, taking the FORM OF A SERVANT, being born in the LIKENESS OF MEN. And being found in human form He HUMBLED HIMSELF and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:3-8, Revised Standard).
There is presented first Christ's wonderful Divinity: "in the form of God," "equal with God." Then comes the mystery of His incarnation, in that word of deep and inexhaustible meaning: "He emptied Himself." The cross follows, with the humiliation, and obedience, and suffering, and death, whence it derives its worth: "He HUMBLED HIMSELF, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." And all is crowned by His glorious exaltation: "God has highly exalted Him." Christ as God, Christ becoming man, Christ as man in humiliation working out our redemption, and Christ in glory as Lord of all - such are the treasures this passage contains.
Two striking statements stand out:
"He EMPTIED Himself," "He HUMBLED Himself." The most startling thought
of all is that GOD HUMBLED HIMSELF! We can hardly conceive of such a thing. The high and
holy One, the omnipotent and omniscient Creator and Lord of the universe HUMBLED HIMSELF!
Yet, it could not be otherwise. Let me state it this way: God is humble! Have you ever
thought about that? If God were not humble there would have been no babe in
Furthermore, God REQUIRES humility of us. "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up" (James ). "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with HUMILITY: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the HUMBLE. HUMBLE yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God..." (I Pet. 5:5-6). "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved...HUMBLENESS of mind..." (Col. 3:12). The question follows: Does God require an attitude of mind and state of being of HIS ELECT which He does not Himself possess? Nay! "HE HUMBLED HIMSELF!" In Jesus Christ we behold the humility of God.
And now comes the word: "Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God EMPTIED HIMSELF, and as a man HUMBLED HIMSELF." The Sons of God must be like Christ in His self-emptying and self-humiliation. The first great act of self-abnegation in which as God He emptied Himself of His divine glory and power and laid it aside, was followed up by the no less wondrous humbling of Himself as man, to the death of the cross. And in this amazing twofold humiliation, the astonishment of the universe and the delight of the Father, the Word with utmost simplicity tells us we must, as a matter of course, BE LIKE CHRIST.
People have great difficulty
understanding an abstraction or a force. It must be personalized and that is why God has
come in the person of Jesus Christ so that we might see Him and see what God is like. The
only begotten Son, He has revealed Him. God has been personalized in Jesus Christ, and
this personification, the embodiment of God Himself, HUMBLED HIMSELF! That One who walked
by the sea of Galilee and throughout the dusty roads of
This is the character of the hyssop, God not merely as the Scarlet, the mighty exalted King with dominion and power, but God identified with man, sitting where we sit, living where we live, feeling what we feel, experiencing what we experience, and TRIUMPHING IN IT! This is the humility of God, the servantship of God, the priesthood of God. "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God...for in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:17-18). "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
God said, "I will invade humanity and come down in the person of My Son, limit myself to a human, physical body just like man has, with all its appetites, emotions, possibilities of suffering hunger, weakness, and death, and I will demonstrate the character, the life, the love and the power of God on the human level." The incarnation was God manifesting Himself within the limitations of a human body. Christ could not fly, He could not see further than anybody else, He could not run faster than the other young men in His day, He got as tired as anybody else, He got as tempted as anybody else, He got hungry, fell asleep, they could spit on Him and finally kill Him. Yet in Jesus Christ you have the perfect expression of God. The meaning of the incarnation is that God could drink out of a bottle if Jesus drank out of a bottle, God in Him learned to crawl before He learned to walk, God learned a language and stumbled over the words before He got it straight, His mind could increase.
When God invaded humanity in the body of Jesus Christ, He took upon Himself human nature and limitation, was made in the likeness, not of glorified flesh, but of sinful flesh, and for thirty three and a half years lived, walked, slept and died in that body, manifesting God in the scope of humanity. Being mocked, God was living in Him. Asleep in the boat, God was living in Him. When He was weary, pressed, persecuted, hated, spit upon, His back beaten, His brow crowned with thorns, His hands and feet nailed to a cross, His side pierced, yet, dying on the cross in agony with the spittle running down His face, GOD WAS LIVING AND MANIFESTING IN HIM, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself!
Do you see what God did? He made it possible for Himself to be at home in human bodies. "The tabernacle of God IS WITH MEN" (Rev. 21:3). Not with angels, with man. "And the Word was MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn. ). It means that God can, by His Spirit, Jesus can, by His Spirit, come in and live in these human bodies of ours, grow up in the fullness of His nature, mind, and power within us, living in us, loving in us, and manifesting Himself in us until with the Christ we can say, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father; I and the Father are one."
Paul grasped the deep reality of this when he said, "For me to live is Christ" (Phil. ). He didn't say, "For me to speak in tongues, dance in the Spirit, fall out under the power, heal the sick, cast out devils, be spiritual and get into the 144,000 is Christ." No, no. He said, "For me to LIVE is Christ." Living for Paul did not mean those obviously supernatural moments when he was seeing visions and hearing voices and being caught up into the third heaven. It meant for Paul to walk from one town to another on the dusty roads with Christ walking in him. It was for Paul to sew tents, with Christ making tents through him. It was speaking to people and manifesting the love of God, with Christ manifesting that love through him. The everyday living out of his life in the nitty-gritty of human experience - WAS CHRIST!
So now God can feel at home in us, He has humbled Himself, He can live and work and manifest Himself without any abnormality or strain. The Son of God can live in us, manifest His life in us in the office, in the shop, among the ungodly, in the home, in every relationship of life. Some people think that there are areas, particularly to do with our bodies, our appetites, our functions, with which God does not have anything to do, but GOD made us that way. Christ was made that way, and He demonstrated God in every facet of His life, spirit, soul, and body.
George Warnock has written these precious words: "Jesus comes on the scene, and immediately we are made to realize that here is One that is Great because of His humility. Here is One who can take note of the things that are meaningless to others; for He (like the hyssop) was but a 'Root out of a dry ground.' Here was One who 'had no form nor comeliness;' One who could not get enthralled about the mighty and the noble; or share the enthusiasm of the disciples about the splendor of the Temple; but who saw beauty in the 'lily of the field;' One who would not break the 'bruised reed,' or quench the 'smoking flax.' True greatness does not stand apart, above, or beyond the ordinary. True greatness is always identified with humility and weakness and insignificance and lowliness. That is why the great and mighty God of the universe who created all things could not forever remain high and lifted up in the heavens, He must come down and show Himself as He really is...meek and lowly and compassionate. God takes special note of the 'hyssop' because He is so Great. He tells us that He 'dwells in the high and holy place,' and then He is quick to remind us, 'I dwell also with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit' (Isa. 57:15). Now we are talking about 'hyssop' which is one of the ingredients of this Fountain of Life. Only the humble will see thereof, and be glad. Only the humble will partake of it, because only the humble can get low enough to discover God's dwelling-place (and don't forget, you will never enter into this kind of life until you discover God's dwelling-place, and then abide with Him there)" - end quote.
God's dwelling-place - "Behold, the tabernacle of God is WITH MEN." Ah, beloved, God is here within us by His Spirit, not only as the Scarlet, but as hyssop, an humble priest to identify with us and bear us up in time of trouble and cleanse from all that defiles. The Spirit of the one WHO HAS LIVED OUT GOD'S LIFE IN THE FLESH has come within, not the God in heaven who CAN do it, but the God who HAS done it. This is the hyssop cast into the fire! When we know Him thus, what a cleansing is effected from the defilement around us. God is nigh! He is here! In our today! In every situation and circumstance! To live out HIS LIFE in us, praise His name!
There are also fagots of cedar that are cast into the fire with hyssop and scarlet as the burning heifer is consumed in the flames. The cedar is again one of the ingredients of the water of separation for the purification of defilement contracted by contact with the death of this world's system. The cedar speaks to us of THE FRAGRANCE OF HIS LIFE, which, of course, is known only by exposing ourselves to HIS PRESENCE. The cedar tree has long stood as the symbol of eternal life, and is also known predominately for its fragrance. Here is the picture of Life bowing to the ravaging flames, but yielding up its glory at the same time, and imparting a fragrance to the sacrifice. The cedar filled the mountains and the valleys with delightful odor during its long lifetime; now in death it brings the same fragrance to the sacrifice, yielding up the fullness thereof in the final burst of perfume, that the sacrifice might be acceptable to the nostril of God and efficacious for all to whom it is applied.
The lovely Shulamite maiden in the
Song of Solomon intoned this canticle about her Beloved: "His countenance (presence)
One of the distinguishing
The fragrance of His life is in the sweetness and power of HIS PRESENCE. "Because of the savor (fragrance) of Your good ointments, Your name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love You. Draw me, we will run after You" (S. of S. 1:3-4). DRAW ME! How? By sending forth the sweet fragrance which shall captive me, and cause me to desire and look upon and be conscious of ONLY You. Your name is an ointment poured forth. The name represents the whole nature and character of the one to whom it belongs. HIS LIFE has been poured out, contained in heaven no longer, His love and mercy and righteousness and power have reached out unto mankind, and those who receive THE FRAGRANCE find that it awakens in them a deep desire to RUN AFTER HIM, while at the same annulling ALL OTHER INFLUENCES. Herein is peace and rest and joy! The cares of THIS WORLD have turned many peoples lives into a time bomb just ready to explode. The strain of living is intensified because of financial problems, pressure on the job, ungodliness all around, noise pollution, multiplied activities, hectic schedules which keep one always on the run, until the nerves are completely frayed, the mind weary, the body fatigued, and the emotions ready to erupt. The vital presence of God has been choked out, meanwhile, we have touched death and been defiled by it, and need to be CLEANSED from these things and their NEGATIVE EFFECTS in our lives.
The water of separation must be APPLIED. This denotes that there must be an action, a drawing aside, a giving of ourselves to it, until the cleansing has done its work. OUR FLESH must be EXPOSED to the water of separation with its wonderful purifying ingredients - the scarlet of HIS LORDSHIP, the hyssop of HIS PRIESTLY MINISTRY, and the cedar of the FRAGRANCE OF HIS LIFE...the PRESENCE of the Lord. As one has written: "The presence of the Lord is a secret place. David describes it as the shadow of the Almighty. The cloud overshadowing the Camp of Israel throughout their journey in the wilderness, a shade by day and a pillar of fire by night, was none other than the PRESENCE of the Almighty. 'In YOUR PRESENCE is fullness of joy,' wrote the enraptured psalmist; and how could it be otherwise since the God of Israel is our fortress, our power, and our habitation? As a garment plucked from a perfumed closet bears in its fibers the sweet aroma, so they who dwell in THE PRESENCE of Christ radiate the glory, the beauty, and the power of His attributes. 'All Your garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made You glad,' wrote David. The ointment Mary poured with prodigality upon the head of the Saviour filled all the house where He sat with its fragrance, and we would be right in believing that aromatic balm. To dwell in HIS PRESENCE is to be LIKE HIM. To abide in His presence is to be changed into HIS IMAGE. Man can never hope to attain the likeness of the Lord by any outward regulation or command to his carnal mind, such as, touch not, taste not, handle not. It is when saints become conscious of HIS PRESENCE that men say they have been with Jesus. It is not what God commands that changes the heart; it is He Himself. It is not recitation of God's divine laws that transforms our lives, but our relationship to Him who made them. Our abiding in the presence of Jesus Christ will cure every ill, banish every enemy, dispel all darkness and death, and transform our spirit, soul, and body into the image of Jesus Christ."
One of the great preachers of the last century was one day traveling in a carriage through a difficult area. He noticed that every time the horses came to certain outcroppings of rock, they would tend to shy away and almost pull the coach off the path. He noticed that just before they came to the rocks the coachman would take the whip and snap the horses. The horses would become so caught up in this new emotion (in this case the emotion of pain) that they lost sight of the emotion of fear of the rocks and moved steadily and straightforwardly on the path. Ah, just as the new and intense pain of the whip overwhelmed the emotion of fear in the horses, so, on the positive side, does the PRESENCE OF CHRIST sweetly and graciously sweep through our beings, quickening the mind, cleansing the emotions, washing away tensions and frustrations, purging carnal agitations, lifting the cares and pressures, breaking the relentless demands of the flesh. The new and POSITIVE POWER OF HIS PRESENCE, the sweet and beautiful FRAGRANCE OF HIS LIFE completely nullifies and cancels out the effects of the NEGATIVE. This is the cleansing of the WATER OF SEPARATION. How needful it is! And how precious.
But the water of separation must be applied, there must be a yielding of ourselves to it, to let it cover us, penetrate into our deepest being, and go through us. We must in faith turn away from all that bespeaks of death, from all that defiles, to receive of this cleansing, with the assurance that it will manifest its blessed power in us. A message comes to mind - It is the story of the house of the heart and the various rooms in the heart of one who has come to know the Lord. There was a particular room at the bottom of the stairs, right off to the side. There the Lord said to this believer, "Here I will meet with you each morning." The believer said, "Lord, you would take time to meet with me every morning?" And He replied, "Yes, I will meet you right here in this room." And so, morning after morning, just as the sun was rising, they held their intimate communion, that blessed fellowship. The believer grew in the knowledge of the grace of God and his spirit was enriched and his life blessed. But then, in the press of things through the tyranny of the urgent, there came a morning when he overslept. He had to get to the office and rushing down the stairs he forgot about the meeting. It grew to be a habit. Weeks and months went by and that quiet time was forgotten. Then one day as he reached the bottom of the stairs in his usual hurry to work, he noticed that the door was ajar and the light was on. He stepped inside to see what it was. There was Christ, sitting, waiting for him. He said, "Lord, what are you doing here?" The Lord said, "Have you forgotten that I told you I would meet you here every morning?" He said, "Lord, you mean that you have been here every day waiting for me?"
That is how it is with Christ, and that is how it is with the water of separation. The ashes of the red heifer have been LAID UP IN A CLEAN PLACE, the water of separation is ALWAYS AVAILABLE AND ACCESSIBLE to all, we need only to take the time to avail ourselves of it, to expose our lives to it, to experience its restorative power. Beloved, have you heard your Lord's voice calling you to come apart with Him, to leave everything and every one that hindered you and come into a higher place of revelation and separation unto Himself? Have you kept your Lord waiting while you fulfilled the demands of the world, or while you pampered your flesh, or while you did something that YOU wanted to do, instead of doing what He wanted you to do? Have you heard Him chide you because you neglected Him, because you were not giving yourself to prayer and to the Word, because you were not taking up your cross daily and following after Him?
When you have heard His voice in these and other ways, have you risen up eagerly and quickly and hastened to obey? Or have you asked Him to wait until a more convenient season? Did you have some "church work" which you felt was very important because some souls were looking to you for help? Did you tell the Lord to wait until you could leave them, or finish what you were doing? Many times, it is so. Not always in words do we tell Him to wait, we just go on with our "work," fulfilling the responsibilities thrust upon us. We are going to respond and obey, we are going to arise and commune with Him, we are going to seek Him with all of our heart, we are going to pursue the vision and lay hold upon the prize of the high calling, but not until a more propitious moment when we have finished what we are doing!
I do not hesitate to tell you, precious friend of mine, that it is alone with the Lord; it is when the clamoring voices of THIS WORLD have been silenced; it is when the strife and opinions of the flesh have ceased; it is when earth has receded and Heaven and Eternity have drawn near enough for us to see the unseen, that the voice of the Lord is heard in our hearts and His presence is known and His beauty appears. It is in such separation and communion that the water of separation does its work, and we are restored again to the Camp and to the Courts of the Lord. Our Beloved is calling us to dwell in touch and communion with Him in that clean place, in that secret meeting place within us, until the fragrance of His life is manifested to us, and through us to those about us. It is as we do this and treasure this Holy One who is the fountain of all heaven's perfume, that His presence and preciousness become sweeter to us day by day. How precious is the secret of His presence! Such sweet communion do we have with Him, so sweetly does He abide within us! How gentle is His voice, how He speaks, unfolding the mysteries of His Kingdom in the hearts in which He has taken up His abode!
All who come to Him shall find rest, all who seek Him shall be refreshed. "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your souls." Nowhere else can a soul find rest excepting by coming to the Lord, looking unto Him, exposing himself to the fragrance of His life. All the storms and hurricanes that come up against us, will not be able to dismay, disturb, frustrate, upset, unsettle, agitate, distress nor cast us down when we really KNOW HIS PRESENCE and abide in union with Him. In turmoil, under the pressure of everyday life, when things have not gone as they should, when there have been mistakes and blunders, when all hell breaks loose and the whole world is swirling wildly about us, how unspeakably precious it is to settle ourselves in the Lord. Such sweet assurance and holy stillness come over our spirits from HIS PRESENCE. The voice of our Master speaks to the billows, He quiets us upon His own bosom; and God's peace takes the place of the tension that has held us.
It is not when things are going smoothly, that we need to know His rest, but when all around is in a whirl and in unrest, then if we go into our secret closet and shut the door; if we get still before Him, His presence will steal upon us and He will comfort us as friend comforts friend. Yea, manifold more than any friend could comfort us. It is then we receive grace to say of every persecution or cause of unrest and distress, "This does not concern me; it is no affair of mine; He will take care of it." And as we look away from the death about us, and behold HIM WHO IS THE LIFE, the rest and peace of God that passes all understanding shall keep our souls.
THE THIRD AND SEVENTH DAYS
In Numbers chapter nineteen, verses twelve and eighteen, there is a double action set forth. Anyone coming into contact with the dead was unclean seven days. He was required to cleanse himself with the water of separation on the third and seventh days. Both cleansings were essentially necessary to remove the defilement of death. Now, what did this double action typify? What is it that, in our spiritual experience, answers thereto? The use and repetition of certain numbers in the Scriptures is not without divine purpose. For our present meditation, we would like to consider the spiritual significance and application of the expression "on the third day."
When the Israelites who came out
The expression "on the third day" is prophetic of a new beginning for all who, having been tried in the furnace of affliction, subjected to the pressures of this world's system, turn to the Lord to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse them from the negative influences, and from the many subtle vestiges of their self-life, that they might live in His presence and walk in the joy and triumph of His victory and life. Thus, the cleansing of THE THIRD DAY bespeaks a NEW BEGINNING from man's side. The third day is the day of turning unto the Lord, the seeking and finding of His power and victory and presence in our lives.
The SEVENTH DAY brings the finished work - full entrance into the purposes of God. The third day is an action on our part, presenting ourselves for cleansing, while the seventh day is an action on God's part, acceptance, receiving us into the full privileges of the Camp and the Tabernacle of God. The scripture states: "He shall purify Himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean" (Num. ). The message is clear - if there be no cleansing of the third day, then we cannot be clean on the seventh day. So let us, with humility, and childlike, expectant faith, turn to the Lord in every hour of need, opening wide our souls to the full experience of the WATER OF SEPARATION!
J. PRESTON EBY
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