Brothers, We Are Not Professionals A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry
by John Piper John Piper pleads with fellow pastors to abandon the secularization of the pastorate and pursue the prophetic call of the Bible for radical ministry.
We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry. The mentality of the professional is not the mentality of the prophet. It is not the mentality of the slave of Christ. Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and the heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake. For there is no professional childlikeness, there is no professional tenderheartedness, there is no professional panting after God.
Brothers, we are not professionals. We are outcasts. We are aliens and exiles in the world. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and we wait with eager expectation for the Lord (Phil. 3:20). You cannot professionalize the love for His appearing without killing it. And it is being killed. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man. The strong wine of Jesus Christ explodes the wineskins of professionalism. Named among the “10 Best Books Every Preacher Should Read” in the January/February issue of Preaching Magazine.
“We pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry . . . The more professional we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake.”
I think this explains it well Scriptually-Marion Williams:
1 Corinthians 2:1-16 KJV (1) And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (6) Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The Year of Jubilee The Inheritance Tracing Our Inheritance Inheritance Lost Redemption Redemption vs. Jubilee Limited Redemption Jubilee! The Blowing Of Trumpets The Jubilee Trumpet
THE YEAR OF JUBILEE – By J. Preston Eby
For hours the trumpet sounds blasted and reverberated against the mountains, echoing and reechoing across the valleys of the land of Canaan. While the trumpets continued unrelentingly to proclaim their message, slaves said goodbye to their masters, forfeited farms and properties were judicially restored to their owners, and prisoners sang and shouted for joy as they left the prisons. What was going on? It was the Day of Atonement in the Year of Jubilee. Old men had waited fifty years for this to happen, and young men had never witnessed a day like it before!
The law of Jubilee is given in the book of Leviticus. “And you shall number seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto you forty and nine years. THEN you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the Day of Atonement shall you make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and PROCLAIM LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof, it shall be a Jubilee unto you; AND YOU SHALL RETURN EVERY MAN UNTO HIS POSSESSION, and you shall return every man unto his family” (Lev. 25:8-10).
The rest of the chapter goes into detail about the law of Jubilee. Let us see what the word Jubilee actually means. The Hebrew word for Jubilee is YOBEL which means a loud, long blast by a ram’s horn. It means first of all the ram’s horn itself and the sound of the horn, but it further means the Festival introduced by the blowing of the ram’s horn. In time the word YOBEL came to mean a trumpet. It is translated twenty-one times as “Jubilee,” five times as “ram’s horn,” and once as “trumpet”. Therefore Jubilee means a curved trumpet, the blowing of the trumpet, and the Festival the sounding of the trumpet introduces.
Every fifty years a change took place in Israel. There were four specific things ordained by God to take place in the Year of Jubilee. First, the land and the people were to enjoy a full year of holy vacation. A time of hilarious joy, there was to be no sowing or reaping, none of the toil of harvest or of vintage. The people were to live simply on what they had preserved from the previous year, and what they could gather from what grew spontaneously of itself. Second, all debts were cancelled. Every Israelite was released from his indebtedness and financial obligations. Third, liberty was proclaimed to all Israelites who were in bondage to any of their countrymen. It was the time of total release when every slave and every bondman in Israel working off bad debts or those in debtor’s prison were released to a fresh start. The fourth feature of this year was that there was to be a return of ancestral possessions to those who had been compelled to sell them because of poverty or surrender them to creditors in payment for their debts. Every homestead was to be restored to the family to whom it had been allotted when the tribes originally inherited the land. These were the four main provisions of the Year of Jubilee: a year of sabbath for the land and for the people, release from all debt, a returning of every slave to his family, and the return of every man to his possession and inheritance.
On a practical level this law was very important. The Year of Jubilee was a refreshing sabbath-rest both to the people and to the land which God gave them. It was the chief of a series of sabbaths or rests given to Israel. They had a sabbath DAY every seventh day. The sabbath YEAR occurred every seventh year. In it the land was allowed to rest, no crops were to be planted, nor were they to prune or harvest. Walk through Israel’s land at such a time, and, lo! every one sits under his vine and under his fig tree in peace. No sound of the oxen treading out the corn, no shouting from the vineyard; a strange stillness over all the land, while its summer days are as bright as ever, and its people as happy as a nation on earth could be found. Amid the rest which in a nation of agriculturists would be nearly equivalent to universal cessation from toil – how continually do the godly sing the praises of Jehovah! And, besides all this, no man appropriated to himself anything that the land then produced; all was common, to the rich, to the poor, to the Hebrew, to the stranger – a token of the restoration of mutual love. Rest on the ground, among the beasts of the field, in the dwellings of men, with praise and worship unceasingly ascending from harp and psaltery and gracious lips, while every man partook of earth’s produce as freely as his neighbor – might not Israel say, “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord” (Ps. 96:11-12).
Beyond these seventh-year sabbaths lay the grand Year of Jubilee. Israel was given a cycle of seven of these sabbath years, embracing a period of seven-times seven years, a total of forty-nine years; then there was to be a SABBATH OF SABBATHS the FIFTIETH YEAR – the YEAR OF JUBILEE!
In that old Hebrew world that lies so far back in the dim twilight of the past, there are several customs, of more than transient interest, which claim our attention when we come to the Year of Jubilee. When Israel came into Canaan, the land was divided among them by lot, according to their tribes and families. Every family received a lot of inheritance, that is, a homestead. Success thereafter might increase, or adversity decrease, their individual possessions, as the case might be. If a man became involved in debt, he might be obliged to sell a part or even all of his property. But God made a bountiful provision for the unfortunate: He arranged that such adverse circumstances might not continue forever, but that all their accounts credits and debts – must be reckoned only to the Jubilee Year, when all must be freed from old encumbrances, etc., to make a fresh start for the next term of fifty years. The man of avarice, who had gone on adding house to house and field to field, gained no permanent advantage over his less fortunate neighbor. The fiftieth year, beyond which no lease could run, was always approaching with silent but sure speed, to relax his tenacious grasp. However alienated, however unworthily or unthriftily sold, however strongly conveyed to the purchaser or the usurper an estate might be, this long-expected Day annulled the whole transaction, and placed the debtor in the position which either he or his ancestor had enjoyed.
The property which every man had in his dividend of the land of Canaan could not be alienated any longer than till the Year of Jubilee. Now this was no worry to the purchaser, because the Year of Jubilee was fixed, and every man knew when it would come, and made his bargain accordingly. A person under God’s system never did sell his land permanently, but he could make leases for any limited term of years, not going beyond the next Jubilee. That year it would again revert to its rightful owner. Today we operate by leases. People may have a five-year lease, or a fifty-year lease, or a ninety-nine year lease. When the lease expires, the property returns to the owner. God worked on that basis, also. Anyone purchasing land, or any creditor foreclosing on a property, automatically understood that what he was receiving could only be held until the Year of Jubilee when all leases and liens expired. When selling (leasing) a property neither the buyer nor the seller must overreach. It must be settled what the clear yearly value of the land was, and then how many years’ purchase it was worth till the Year of Jubilee. The scale of prices was to be regulated by the Jubilee. If that glorious event were at hand, the price was low; if far off, the price was high. It is easy to observe that the nearer Jubilee was the less must the value of the land be. “And if you sell ought unto your neighbor, or buy ought of your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another: according to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy of your neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the fruits be shall sell unto you: according to the multitude of years you shall increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years you shall diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits does he sell unto you” (Lev. 25:14-16). Such was the law of Jubilee!
The great reason for this is revealed in Lev. 25:23. Says the Lord, “The land shall not be sold forever: for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.” The Amplified Bible reads, “The land shall not be sold into perpetual ownership, for the land is Mine; you are only strangers and temporary residents with Me.” The Lord, in allusion to Egyptian affairs, says, “THE LAND IS MINE.” The land in Egypt was properly the king’s; and all the people were his tenants, since the days of Joseph (Gen. 47:13-26). On the other hand, Israel’s land belonged to Jehovah; and the people were His guests, or tenants, sojourners with Him.” Here, then, we have the special feature of the Lord’s land. HE would have it enjoy a sabbatic year, and in that year there was to be the evidence of the rich profusion with which HE would bless those who were tenants under Him. “And if you shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: then I WILL COMMAND MY BLESSING UPON YOU in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And you shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of the old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in you shall eat of the old store” (Lev. 25:20-22). Happy, highly privileged tenantry! What an honor to hold immediately under Jehovah! No rent! No taxes! No burdens! Well might it be said, “Happy is the people that is in such a case; yea, happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”
The sweet singer of Israel expressed it thus: “The EARTH is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the WORLD and they that dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). In the light of this scripture I would like to reaffirm something which the world at large, and many Christians, seem to have forgotten: THIS IS GOD’S WORLD! Long before time began … long before a single heavenly body inhabited the vast regions of space … GOD WAS. I cannot imagine what it could have been like not to have a world … with its towering mountains, its vast canyons, and its majestic waterfalls thundering down from the awesome heights in indescribable power, then sweeping on to the seas. The total absence of all these things is beyond my poor, limited comprehension. But the truth remains, as stated in the first four words of scripture: “In the beginning God…” Long before the worlds were made … long before the billows rolled across the boundless seas … long before the mountains thrust their towering, snow-capped peaks up through the clouds … long before there was one flower, or the song of any bird, or the roar of any beast … yes, long before there was anything at all … THERE WAS GOD. Then the blessed Word of God rolls back the curtain of antiquity and shows us God at work, creating all that is, and all that ever was. This passage of scripture goes a mighty step further and establishes for all time and eternity the OWNERSHIP of this world: “In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.” He made it, and it is His. No one can take it from Him. It was then that God wrote His signature of ownership – a signature that reaches from the earth to the farthest outposts of the cosmos.
For this reason no man in Israel, the Kingdom of God on earth, had any right to sell any portion of it in perpetuity. The Lord wished each tribe, and each family of a tribe, to retain its original hereditary possessions under Him, for it was given by God, and they were His people. As state earlier, on a practical level this law was very important. The wonderful provision of the Jubilee Year can better be appreciated when one considers, not only the beneficial results to the individual Israelites, but especially the effect on the nation as a whole. The Jubilee prevented the accumulation of land and wealth in the hands of a few. It prohibited the covetous and ambitious from “adding field to field” whereby the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. It raised legally and at regular intervals families and individuals out of destitution and gave them a fresh start. The slate was wiped clean. Without Jubilee there was a good possibility of one tribe eventually incurring such debt so as to completely lose all their inheritance, their possession, their identity. So God gave them a law that every fifty years, no matter how much debt someone owed, it was to be cancelled. You can be certain that every lender took Jubilee into consideration when making a loan! The Jubilee prevented a great internal debt and its resultant false prosperity, bringing inflation, deflation and business depression. The national economy would always be stable and the nation would have no crushing debt (Deut. 15:6). If these laws had been observed, it would have made Israel the most prosperous and perfect and powerful nation ever to have existed!
If an Israelite, through the stress of bad seasons and disappointing harvests, or unwise business practices, were to fall into deep indebtedness to some rich neighboring creditor so much so that he owed him more than even the land of his inheritance was worth – he was permitted, not only to alienate his land till the Year of Jubilee, but to sell himself and/or his family into slavery so as to work off his debt. Let me give you an illustration of what this law meant to Israel. In II Kings chapter four we read of a case where a widow is faced with a large debt left by her husband, and the creditors are coming to take her two sons into slavery to pay off the debt. In this case, Elisha the prophet provided a miracle of multiplying oil to pay off the debt. But in many cases like this there was no Elisha around with a miracle, and the sons were taken away from their home and their mother to work for a stranger as a slave. But ONLY UNTIL THE YEAR OF JUBILEE!
Let me give you and example. Jacob owed a huge debt to a Hittite by the name of Ephron, and as the years passed by it became increasingly evident that he would never get it paid off. In fact, each year he fell further and further behind. Finally, there was nothing to do but surrender the property to Ephron and himself with his wife, Sarah, and their young son, Eli, as bond servants in payment for the debt. It was a painful thing for Jacob and his loved ones to say farewell to his humble home and endeared possessions, in which his forefathers had lived and thrived, to go forth into the service of another. With tears of sorrow they walked around the sprawling plot, which he might not live to revisit. Ephron turned out to be a hard task-master and compelled Jacob’s family to work long hours. Within a few years Jacob’s health began to fail, and soon thereafter he died. A few years later his wife, Sarah, also died of a fever. Little Eli, now fifteen years old, was left alone as the slave of the cruel Ephron. There lingered in his memory cherished thoughts of his carefree childhood on the old home place when the children played together and had such fun. No time for fun now! He was not his own, and there was nowhere to go. What a miserable way to live, he often thought, yet as long as he was alive there was hope that someday, somehow, things would be different.
Soon after Eli’s eighteenth birthday Ephron departed on a journey. One afternoon Eli was strolling through his master’s field when he heard an unexpected sound. It was the long blast of a trumpet in the distance. The trumpet continued to blow, becoming louder and louder, as other trumpets joined its note from various directions. While standing in wonderment as to what was the meaning of this event, he heard a great commotion. It appeared that a group of people were running along the road in a state of great excitement, shouting and laughing as they went. Finally he waxed bold and stopped an old man with a long, white beard and asked what was going on. “Why, son, haven’t you heard? This is the Year of Jubilee. Just started today – this very hour, to be sure. Can’t you hear the trumpet? Oh, I guess you’re so young you’ve never seen a Jubilee before! It’s the time when all debts are cancelled, and all slaves are freed, and all homesteads restored to their rightful owners.” Eli stood transfixed on the side of the road, his mouth open, his eyes wide with astonishment and disbelief. “All slaves are fr … free … freed?” he stuttered. “Yes, my boy,” the old man assured him, “all slaves are as free as the birds as of right now.” “But … but I’m a slave!” Eli blurted. “Then leave this place, lad,” commanded the white-haired stranger, “you’re as free as the air. Go home! Go to your family, sit under your own vine. What rightfully belongs to you is really yours now.”
The chains of servitude fell from the soul of the exulting slave. Within the hour he gathered his meager belongings and set forth from the house of bondage, and felt himself possessed of liberty which no hand of power or of fraud might invade. He made his way across the miles to the old home place, to his father’s farm, and ordered the strangers occupying it to vacate. He started living in his childhood home again, and eating the fruit of his own land. No more serving as a slave; he was working for himself, in his own inheritance. And it was not by anything he had done. He had not earned his freedom. It was just the sovereign law of God that set him free. All that he had to do was believe it, head for home, and claim his inheritance! Thus every fiftieth year, counting from the time of their entrance into Canaan, was to Israel a Year of Jubilee, a time of rejoicing and restitution, in which families were reunited and lost homesteads were restored. Restoration of every man to his own possession brought great joy, cancellation of all debts brought relief and gladness, and release of all slaves inspired much jubilation and celebration. So marked was the wisdom, so manifold were the blessings of this divine institution! No wonder it was called a JUBILEE!
“Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be FULFILLED” (Mat. 5:18).
It is only when we recognize the typical character of God’s dealings with Israel that we can rightly appreciate the wonderful history of that people, or understand why their history, in preference to that of all other nations, is so particularly recorded by the prophets and the New Testament writers. In them, as the New Testament writers show, God has given striking illustrations of His plans, both for the Church and the world. Their Tabernacle service, so minutely prescribed in the divinely given law, with its bleeding beasts and all its peculiar appointments, their festivals and holy days, their sabbaths and all their ceremonies, as types pointed forward to antitypes, larger, higher, and grander far than those shadows. And the apostle Paul assures us that those antitypes will be laden with blessings for mankind, when he says that the law foreshadowed “good things TO COME” (Heb. 10:1; 8:5; Col. 2:17); while our Lord, in the above expression, assures us that all good things thus foreshadowed are sure of fulfillment.
When our Lord said that not one jot or tittle of the law should pass away until fulfilled, He referred not only to the fulfilling of its covenant obligations for all under that Law Covenant, finishing its hold upon them, by meeting its demands against them in full with His own life, but He meant more than this: He meant further, that all the blessings expressed in it typically would also be sure of fulfillment upon an antitypical scale – the plane of reality. In all the Israelitish ceremonies, God caused no type to be made which will prove meaningless, or pass unfulfilled; for the keeping of a type is not the fulfilling of it. The fulfilling is reached where the type ceases, being displaced by the reality, the antitype.
Thus, for instance, the slaying of the pascal lamb was fulfilled in the death of Christ, the “Lamb of God,” and there began the special blessing upon the antitypical firstborn, the elect believers of the Church age. The blessing, foreshadowed in that type, is not yet completely fulfilled, though the fulfillment began with the death of Christ, our Passover Lamb. In like manner, every ceremony prescribed in the law of Moses proves to be of typical significance. And the particularity with which the observance of every detail of the types was enforced throughout the age of Law gives emphasis to our Lord’s words quoted above – that every minute particular, every jot and tittle, every dotted “i” and crossed “t”, must be as meticulously fulfilled spiritually as it was carefully enforced naturally in the ceremonies of the law.
Because of the tremendous importance of the time that you and I are living in, at the close of the age, it is my deep conviction that it is infinitely important for us to gain understanding concerning some of the patterns, symbols, types and shadows given to us in scripture. Whenever one receives a true revelation from God, he will find somewhere in the Word that which points to it, that which is a symbol of it, that which is a pattern to it. We are admonished by the apostle Paul that everything that was written aforetime was written for our learning, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. So I believe that as God’s unfolding to us continues to bring us more and more into Himself, there are patterns that we can find which will help us to understand the wonderful purposes of God in His people.
What appears in the scripture on the surface, the letter of the Word, suddenly illumined by the Spirit of Truth, brings tremendous discovery. It has been said, and I believe it is true, that the letter of the Word or the letter of the law, could never be explained apart from the gospel of grace. But, on the other hand, the gospel of grace in its fullest measure, in its depth and width and height and breadth, could never be understood without comprehending the figures of the law.
There is an interesting passage in Matthew 5:17. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Many folk would like to do away with the law. Contrary to things He came to destroy – He came to destroy the works of the devil, He came to destroy death, He came to destroy the carnal mind – but contrary to the things He came to destroy, the Christ did not come to destroy the law, rather He came to bring the law to its highest fulfillment.
In this writing we propose to examine that typical feature of the Mosaic Law known as Jubilee, and to show that it was intended to foreshadow the great Restitution, the recovery of mankind from the fall, to be accomplished by the redemptive and reconstructive and restorative activities of God outlined in Acts 3:19-21: “Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Jubilee, in its very character, was a clear and unmistakable illustration of that glorious time of the restitution of all things. Since the Jubilee was a part of the law, and since repeating it naturally does not fulfill it, and since our Lord declared that the type could not pass away without fulfillment; and moreover, since we know that no such restitution of all things as that foretold “by all the holy prophets since the world began,” and prefigured in this type, has ever yet occurred, we know that it must be FULFILLED IN THE FUTURE. True, there is a present partial fulfillment in a FIRSTFRUITS COMPANY, as we shall consider in detail later, but the broadest and fullest measure of fulfillment awaits the total triumph of the Kingdom of God in all realms forevermore.
Under the law of inheritance in Israel every family received a tract of land as a perpetual inheritance. This land was a trust from the Lord. The land remained the Lord’s, although He gave each family the right to produce food and clothing from it. The Israelites were to exercise stewardship of the land. The ancient landmarks showed the boundaries of each family’s portion. If they rented or sold or lost the land to someone else, the property came back to the family in the Jubilee at the end of the fifty years. Thus, even if the inheritance were lost, it remained still, typically, AN ETERNAL INHERITANCE.
On the spiritual plane the very thought of our “inheritance” immediately brings to mind so many things recorded in the scriptures. How that the “meek shall inherit the earth,” how that we are to “inherit the kingdom,” and to “inherit the life age-abiding,” to “inherit the promises,” “inherit the blessings,” etc. and all of this thrills the heart with the gracious outflow of the Father’s love to us. In Ephesians 1:5 & 11 the apostle wrote, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will … in whom also WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will.”
An inheritance is the result of another’s gain, which is passed on to you. It comes to you for another’s sake, it is not the result of personal accomplishment. We are learning what it means to be a son of God, realizing God’s great plan and purposes involved. One of the important rights of sonship is that of INHERITANCE. Heirship depends upon our relationship to God – our Father. If we have been born of God, if we have been born from above, we are children of God and consequently heirs of the Almighty. This is what the apostle speaks of in Hebrews when he teaches about the discipline that God applies to His sons, and he says, “Furthermore we have had FATHERS OF OUR FLESH which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the FATHER OF SPIRITS, and live?” God is the Father of SPIRITS. God is the Father of OUR SPIRITS. Furthermore, God is the God of the SPIRITS OF A-L-L FLESH (mankind; Num. 16:22; 27:16). When we were born of the flesh we became heirs of our fleshly parents; but when we were born of the Spirit of God we became heirs of our heavenly Father – GOD! He purposed to make the inheritance ours by way of relationship, having “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away” (1 Pet. 1:3-4). Begotten – to an inheritance! To be “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ” (Rom. 8:17). It is THROUGH HIM, through Jesus Christ, that we have obtained and been made heirs of this wonderful inheritance. What we receive WE SHARE IN HIM, in union with Him, for HE is the “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2). All that we have is THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ, and BY GRACE. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col.1:12).
Inheritance is also concerned with nationality and law one inherits in the country of his parentage and according to the laws of that land. Jesus explained to Nicodemus in Jn. 3:5, that in order to enter the Kingdom of God human beings have to be born-again – of the SPIRIT. The Kingdom of God is the land or realm of our inheritance, and that great land is entered into by birth!
“Blessed be God the Father … who has begotten us again … to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:3-4). This inheritance is “reserved in heaven for you” – in the spiritual realm. Most saints subscribe to the crude notion that our inheritance is heaven – a mansion over the hill-top in some far away celestial Disney World in the sky. Not so! The apostle says that our inheritance is “reserved in the heavens.” And from this spiritual realm of unlimitations we “draw down” our source of life and blessing and glory and when we are full it overflows to all about us. Ah, from the very first moment of our begettal unto this living hope, we begin to lay hold upon our inheritance. We commence by learning through the revelation of the Word and the dealings of the Spirit, which map out that inheritance, what God is like, and what He is prepared to be to us. Next we proceed to appropriate and make use of His attributes and properties in the crucible of daily experience and need. Then we become possessed of the indwelling life of God, who works His very nature into ours. And so we come to possess God just in proportion as He possesses us. We inherit Him as our portion up to the measure in which He possesses us. Arise! oh sons of God, you are living on a vast estate. Around you on all hands are God’s life and love and grace and wisdom and power and glory awaiting your appropriation. Do not be content to be circumscribed and limited, as was Israel in the wilderness. Be rather like Joshua and Caleb who march boldly into the land crying, “Give me this mountain!” taking in evermore of the rich territory allotted by God.
TRACING OUR INHERITANCE
I am deeply impressed with the words of Jesus Christ as found in Jn. 8:32. The Master was giving a discourse, explaining that He had come from God, sent from the bosom of the Father He had come from above, and they did not know Him because they did not know His Father. Then to those Jews present who believed on Him He declared, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The word “truth” there means a revealing of what was covered. You will know that which is hidden. You will understand that which has been concealed in the patterns, the types, the shadows. You will perceive that which has been obscured by the veil of the fleshly mind and hidden in God from before the dawn of the ages.
The word “know” is from the Greek GINOSKO meaning to experience or become aware of. Jesus said you would experience, you would become experiencially aware of that which was formerly concealed and hidden, and that truth would make you FREE. In II Pet. 1:3-4 the apostle wrote, “According as His divine power bath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that bath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” The word “knowledge” is in the Greek EPIGNOSIS meaning to recognize, recognition, full discernment and acknowledgement. This is most interesting! COGNITION means, according to Webster, “the process of knowing or perceiving.” In RE-COGNITION we have the prefix “re” which means “again”. Re-cognition, therefore, means TO KNOW AGAIN, TO PERCEIVE A SECOND TIME. What did Peter mean, then, when he said that exceeding great and precious promises are given to us, and all things that pertain to life and God-likeness “through the KNOWLEDGE (EPIGNO- SIS: re-cognition, knowing again) of HIM who has called us unto glory and virtue.” Recognition is to become fully aware of and fully acquainted with WHAT WE ALREADY KNEW BEFORE. It means to identify what was known before. If I met you on a street corner one day and then didn’t see you for a couple of weeks, when I saw you again I would recognize you because I met you once before. I would remember you, bringing you back again into mind. And that, precious friend of mine, is what truth is, that is what salvation is, that is what redemption is, that is what re-conciliation is, that is what re-birth is, that is what Jubilee is – it’s recognizing what we already know, it’s identifying and possessing again experiencially what is already ours! It’s being awakened. It’s a return. Hallelujah!
This beautiful truth cannot be more graphically articulated than in the following words by George Hawtin. “With these lofty thoughts of God in our minds, knowing that His ways and methods are higher and better than our own, our hearts respond with joyful accord when Paul in wisdom shows that it was God’s intention that all mankind should come to know Him through faith in God’s Christ and not through their own works of righteousness. Therefore, exalting mightily the grace of God rather than the works of man, he wrote to the Gentiles these almost incredible words of faith: ‘For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom he glory for ever. Amen’ (Rom. 11:32-36). The clearest possible rendering of the final verses of Romans eleven is found in the translation by Goodspeed, which in verses 34-36 gives this clear wording: ‘Who has ever known the Lord’s thoughts or advised Him? Or who has advanced anything to Him for which he will have to be repaid? For from Him everything comes, through Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends.’
“Somewhere hidden in the spirit of every man there abides the secret knowledge that we came forth from God, even as this text forcefully declares. This, too, is the thought so beautifully expressed by the poet in the idyll:
Oh my Father, that dwells In a high and glorious place, When shall I regain Your presence And again behold Your face? In Your holy habitation Did my spirit once reside? In my first primeval childhood Was I nurtured by Your side?
For a wise and glorious purpose You have made me here on earth And withheld the recollection Of my former friends and birth. But at times the secret something Whispers, You’re a stranger here; And I feel that I have wandered From a more exalted sphere.
Oh, my Father, that dwells In a high and glorious place, Yet shall I appear before You And again behold Your face. Day by day Your Spirit leads Ever onward unto Yourself, Till at last I’ll find contentment In Your pure reality.
“I shall be surprised indeed in that glory world above should we find that these blessed words of Christ, spoken of Himself, do not in truth apply to us all: ‘I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father’ (Jn. 16:28). Far away in the depths of my ransomed being there is a chord that vibrates in response to the words, ‘I came forth from the Father and am come into the world,’ and that same chord responds again to the words, ‘Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.’ We came forth from God, our orbit leading us from the celestial to the terrestrial. There can be no doubt of that; and by faith we know that this same orbit will guide us again from the realm of the terrestrial back to the bosom of the Father, for from Him everything originally comes, through Him everything now exists, and in Him everything will ultimatelyend. Glory to God for ever! Amen.
“My spirit rejoices today in thankfulness to my Father in heaven that many years ago He let me hear a secret from His own heart, a secret that few in our generation have ever understood. When He breathed it into my listening heart, it well nigh stunned me because of my tradition and unbelief, yet I could not doubt the truth He taught me when He said, ‘The creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope‘ (Rom. 8:20). As dew distilling from the mighty ocean falls in snow and ice upon the rugged mountain, there to remain in the grip of glacial death for a thousand years or more until released at last by the warmth of the sun to race down the mountainside in rushing torrents of water and join a thousand babbling brooks to expand into a mighty river and flow into the eternal seas, so as a mist has the spirit of mangone forth from the presence of God. Buffeted by the frigid winds of earth, he learns the lessons before ordained by the wisdom of God, and when the Sun of righteousness shines upon him, freeing his spirit from the icy bondages of the flesh, cleansing him by the power of the blood of Christ, he returns to God whence he came, not empty and alone, but as a mighty river, once again to become one with the ocean of God’s self” – end quote.
Who is our family and what is our possession that once we had in the Father, that we are to return to? I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that it is a possession that we had in God BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. How clear and unmistakeable the scripture is about this! “Father, I will that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me: for You loved Me BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” (Jn. 17:24). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He has chosen US in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:3-4). “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN” (II Tim. 1:9). “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, PROMISED (US) BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN” (Tit. 1:2).
Our inheritance is a possession that we once knew in God and that we are being restored to because it was promised and given to us in Christ BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. Do you understand, precious friend of mine, what God is saying? “That beginning you had with Me, when you and I knew each other, in that distant age of antiquity, before the foundation of the world, in the bosom of the Father, in union with Christ, when you were foreknown of Me, while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy – do you not know, dear one, that that state of being in which you existed, that conscious awareness in which you dwelt, that righteousness and peace and joy and glory and wisdom and knowledge and power which was then yours with Me — T-H-A-T IS YOUR INHERITANCE!”
We have an eternal inheritance in the Lord. “And you shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the large tribe you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the small tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance; wherever the lot falls to any man, that shall be his; according to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit” (Num. 33:54). Concealed within that law of Israel’s inheritance lie truths of staggering significance. Every man has a place in God’s great Kingdom, just as each of the twelve tribes of Israel was given a lot of inheritance in the promised land. Each member of each tribe had their own designated lot of inheritance in the land of Canaan. And that is a figure in the Spirit. Just as we are Abraham’s seed after the Spirit, so we have a spiritual promised land which is God’s spiritual Kingdom, bespeaking of a glory, or a position or a lot of eternal inheritance in Jesus Christ.
Long milleniums ago the aged prophet Daniel, having faithfully come to the end of his illustrious course, was given a final blessing with a message of personal consolation and hope. The angel of God turned to Daniel and said, “But go your way until the end: for you shall rest, and stand in YOUR LOT at the end of the days” (Dan. 12:13). He was to depart and continue on his road, awaiting the end. His future was not left in uncertainty. Like many other Old Testament saints, he was to pass away, without receiving the promise (Heb. 11:39), but, in faith, awaiting the divine pledge. When the age of abiding bliss came, he would arise to receive his “lot” of inheritance, the heaven bestowed heritage as distinct from the “lot” apportioned in the earthly Canaan.
Not every one of us has the same lot, for each has his own lot of inheritance and each of us will be different. We know that in the natural if you pertained to the tribe of Judah you had a particular lot of inheritance in Canaan. Or if you belonged to the tribe of Ephraim, Manasseh, Gad, Issachar, or any of the other tribes in Israel you possessed a certain geographical location your lot of inheritance had to be staked in. If you were squatting on the inheritance of your brother you were there like a sojourner or a stranger, sometimes as a bondman, but your real lot of inheritance was found in the geographical area God gave to your tribe. It is my conviction that in the spirit all of us belong to a spiritual tribe in God, that is, a spiritual position or calling in the Lord. Beyond the natural there is a spiritual Israel and there are spiritual tribes And there are spiritual lots of inheritance. Everything that is seen in the earth regarding the plan and purpose of God had its origin in the heavenlies. The arrangement and structure of the Tabernacle in the wilderness and all its furnishings and ceremonies and priestly ministrations were to be made according to the “pattern” shown Moses in the Mount. Therefore there had to be a heavenly reality from which the earthly was made. The Jerusalem which is above is the mother of us all, and that great City has twelve gates bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. This intimates that there is a heavenly Israel as well as an earthly Israel. Therefore we are down here working out or staking out our position in the Christ for our inheritance.
We mentioned earlier that Peter says that we have an inheritance “reserved in heaven for us.” I do not for one second believe, as so many Christians ignorantly assume, that Peter meant that in some far-away land, on some beautiful Isle of Somewhere, we would receive a mansion, a harp and a crown for an inheritance; but we have AN INHERITANCE RESERVED FOR US HERE AND NOW IN A HEAVENLY WAY OF LIFE, IN A SPIRITUAL STATE OF BEING, IN THE SPHERE OF DIVINE REALITY. And no one can take it from us. None of us can have the inheritance of any of our brothers. Each has his calling. Each has his position. Each has his unique place in the great and eternal Kingdom of the Father. Our own is so grand and glorious to us that we care not for a portion of any one else’s. God gives the best for each of us.
Let us look a little closer at our inheritance. The first Adam was given an inheritance which was lost, but through the last Adam the inheritance is regained. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He has appointed HEIR OF ALL THINGS, by whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). The great aim and object of God in creation was to provide yet another dimension of inheritance for His Son, in whom He might show forth His glory and find His blessedness. On the sixth day the Lord said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him…” (Gen. 1:26-27). When the Lord said, “Let us make man in our image,” He was speaking not only of Adam, the first man. His mighty edict included the entire human race, which included every descendent of Adam from Adam himself to the very last man who shall be born of his family. I am a son of Adam, the extension and projection of his substance, mind, nature and being, and so are those who read these lines.
As we consider this truth, we should especially notice this most significant statement: “Let us make man in our image … and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” This statement, which seems so simple, is a shadow of things divine. Man in Christ, man in God’s image, is God’s government in the Kingdom of God. It is a well concealed prophecy displaying to the spiritual mind the vast scope of man’s authority when, perfect in God’s image, he is presented faultless, tested, and ready to receive again his inheritance. First, Let us give him dominion over all things under the earth, let us make him ruler of the things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the seas. Second, Let us give him dominion over the things in the realm of the heavens, the things above, the spiritual world of the celestials, typified by the fowl that fly in the heavens. Third, Let us give him dominion over the earthly and physical realms, over all natural things, typified by the cattle and all the earth. The dominion that would be man’s after he was perfected and conformed to the image of God through the dreadful sufferings of death was to extend, not merely over fishes and beasts and birds, but over those things which they foreshadowed, that is, the things beneath the earth, things upon the earth, and things above in the vast universe of angels, principalities, and powers of the celestial realms being made subject to him. Should someone find it difficult to embrace so great a truth from so small and insignificant a type, I would point you to the unequivocal confirmation of these very facts given in plain and easy to understand words by the inspired writer of Hebrews wherein he says, “For unto the angels has He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, How poor a creature is man, and yet You remember him, and a son of man, and You come to him! You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; with glory and honor You have crowned him, and have set him over the works of Your hands. You put everything in subjection under his feet. For this subjecting of the universe to man implies the leaving of N-O-T-H-I-N-G not subject to him. But we do not as yet see the universe subject to him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels – even Jesus – because of His suffering of death crowned with glory and honor (the same glory and honor given to man!), that He by God’s grace might taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:5-9, Weymouth). You won’t quite grasp that at first. It’s too overwhelming! To be crowned means to be given KINGLY RULE. To be crowned with glory and honor is to be given such rule as Jesus has NOW – and that is described as being the Administrating, Ruling Executive over the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!
As “the seed” of Abraham, Christ is the inheritor of all the PROMISED INHERITANCE (Gal. 3:16,29). Christ is the designated heir of all things, of all ages, and of all worlds (Heb. 1:12). And in Rom. 8:17 we find, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then HEIRS; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” God Himself sums up this great truth in Rev. 21:7, declaring, “He that overcomes shall INHERIT ALL THINGS; and I will be his God, and He shall be My SON.”
But today unregenerate, carnal man is shooting rockets to the moon and sending space vehicles to the planets of our solar system, boasting that he is going to use the moon as a launching pad to soar to the planets and galaxies beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to take over what indeed can be his – but man has not yet fitted himself to manage it – and it has not yet lawfully been placed in his hands! Man today is not in God’s image and likeness, and it is that man to whom God entrusts universal dominion, the man in His likeness! Man today does not bear God’s image, and can only spread his sin and death, bringing chaos and destruction wherever he goes. What natural man does not know, does not remember, is that when, through Christ, he first qualifies for the trust – it has been God’s intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars, but the WHOLE VAST, LIMITLESS UNIVERSE, PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL, UNDER HIS JURISDICTION! What an inheritance!
But there is a deeper and more wonderful truth beyond this. As the ocean includes the seas, the bays, and straits, which, though known by separate names, are parts of its majestic and all-embracing fullness, so is there a dimension of HIS INHERITANCE that encompasses all that is ours in Christ. In the law of the Old Testament priesthood, the Lord spoke to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall You have any part among them. I AM YOUR PART, and YOUR INHERITANCE, among the children of Israel” (Num. 18:20). It was a very satisfactory arrangement for the pious priest. He could well dispense with the oliveyards and vineyards, the wheat fields and homesteads of Palestine, if he might HAVE GOD HIMSELF as the strength of his heart, the source of his provision, and his portion forever. And the Psalmist eagerly caught at the thought, gladly surrendered all portion in this life, if only he might be satisfied with God (Ps. 17:15). “The LORD is the portion of MINE INHERITANCE and of my cup: You maintain my lot. Yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Ps. 17:5-6).
Ah, how blessed the thought! GOD HIMSELF IS OUR INHERITANCE. Not golden harps. Not golden streets. Not walls of jasper or pearly gates. Not a cabin in the corner or a mansion over the hilltop. Not fluttering wings and a white nightgown with which to flit about over the Elysium hills of glory. NO! There is something deeper, more inward and rapturous – the possession of God. HEIRS OF G-O-D! Heirs of all the communicable glories of the divine nature and power. To know Him, to explore His Being, to live on His fullness, to discover new tracts and continents in the terra incognita of Godhead, to see His glory, to put on His mind, to be changed into His image, to wield His scepter – this is “the heritage of the servants of the Lord.” Glory to God!
The inheritance is incorruptible as to its substance. It is not liable to decay, as are the things of this gross material realm. The inheritance of the saints is, above all, SPIRITUAL; and it requires spiritual faculties to apprehend and enjoy it. But in such as have not been born again, their spirits quickened by His Spirit, those spiritual faculties are lacking. They cannot remember the inheritance once promised and given to them before the foundation of the world. They do not recognize heavenly things. They are bondmen in an enemy’s house. The glory that pertains to their spirit has been lost in the dimness of a distant dimension. A blind man may stand amid the fairest landscape unconcerned, because the one organ by which he could enjoy it is lacking. A lunatic may live in a house stored with rich treasures of art and craft, oblivious to it all because his mind is blank to all its beauty and value. And the natural man might stand in heaven itself, and miss God with all the glories of His inheritance in the saints, for want of those powers of spiritual perception of which he is deficient. Truly, the Kingdom of God comes not by observation; for behold, the Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU. We are not heirs of the “things” of God, but of GOD HIMSELF. Heirs of all that He is. Name any of the divine attributes – His love, His holiness, His wisdom, His knowledge, His power, His nature, His life, and myriads more – THESE MAKE UP THE INHERITANCE. What an inheritance!
Ephesians 1:10 speaks of “the dispensation of the fullness of times,” that is, the period in which the perfect end of God’s governmental ways is seen in the dominion of Christ. “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even IN HIM: IN WHOM ALSO WE HAVE OBTAINED AN INHERITANCE…” All things are to be gathered into the Christ in the heavenly realms and in the earthly realms. ALL – INTO H-I-M! “In whom,” continues the apostle, “we have obtained an inheritance.” Listen, my brother, my sister, we have obtained an inheritance, not in Palestine, not in Israel, not in America, not in Great Britain, not in the earth, nor even in the heavens alone; but, rather, IN HIM. We are appointed the heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Christ.
When Christ is manifested in all His fullness of glory we shall be manifested with Him in His glory. At this “manifestation of the sons of God” creation is brought “into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” It is thus in “the heirs of God” that He will hold the inheritance. Christ is the heir of God. IN HIM we also obtain the inheritance. In this enChristed body God will possess the inheritance. All that vast inheritance that shall be placed under the hand and rule of the Son of God, God will hold in the saints; just as the land of Canaan was Jehovah’s inheritance, and He gave it to, and held it in, Israel.
Let us understand! The inheritance is from God, but in Christ. God holds the inheritance in Christ, that is, in the saints, just as a man who has a million dollars may hold it in the bank. He deposits his wealth in the bank, or invests it in a piece of property. So God deposits His inheritance – all He is and all He has – IN THE SAINTS! He invests all in them so that they are the receptacle and substance of HIS INHERITANCE. So Paul says, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation … that … you may know … what are the riches of the glory of HIS INHERITANCE I-N T-H-E S-A-I-N-T-S” (Eph. 1:18).
Mark the two occurrences of the word glory in the above verse and their connection. “The Father of glory,” and “The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” We can understand the Father being the Father of glory, and that He must be the One who gives His grace and glory; but what are these words which tell us that we are of worth to Him? “His inheritance in the saints?” Yea, more, “The glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Yea, yet more, “The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Faith rubs her eyes and wonders if she has read correctly. Love bows in adoring worship and accepts what she cannot understand, and Hope exults with expectant joy and longs for the fullness of the Christ to come. Grace graces the graceless with grace and then admires the graced ones of grace. The worthless are made worthy in the worth of Christ, and then HE appreciates the worth of the made-worthies. The beggars beggar the Son of God by making Him a Beggar, and then HE out of His beggary blesses the beggars and makes them peers of the King of Glory. The inheritance is thus from God, but in the saints. It is our inheritance, but first and foremost it is God’s inheritance – invested into us. As under the law of Israel the land was the Lord’s, but He gave it to Israel to manage as their’s, for Him. What an awesome responsibility!
Nothing in the whole world is more obvious than the fact that the inheritance man once knew in God has been lost. In that dim and distant long ago God set man over all the works of His hands. He appointed man the supreme ruler of the infinite vastness of infinity and the heir of all realms and realities. When sin came, all that changed and man instead of a ruler became a slave, eking out his subsistence by the sweat of his face. He came into bondage to sin, sorrow, satan and death, and, believe me, satan is a hard taskmaster. Man lost his relationship with God, and life became at times unbearable. The mystery that the natural mind can never fathom is the fact that it was by divine planning that circumstances were so arranged that man forfeited and relinquished his title deed to the inheritance given him, and he became a servant of sin, to obey the lusts thereof. “Know not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16).
How pitiful that the myriads of things which appeal to the flesh can become so important that men will serve them to the satisfaction of the flesh, and immediately place themselves in the servant position, while that thingbecomes their master. To whomever, or whatever we yield ourselves as servants to obey, his servants we are. The application of this can take many forms and cover many items, but the principle of it is constant. “In time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Servants of corruption, servants of the negative realm, having lost the inheritance given to man, and rather than being “lord” over the creation, man became the slave of it. Man has throughout these ages of travail borne but a faint semblance of the glory that once was his. Think of a rancher who owns a large ranch and then becomes disabled so that though he still owns the ranch he is unable in and of himself to manage it or to evict squatters or kill rattlesnakes. The rancher didn’t lose ownership, but did lose his ability to manage his ranch. The enemies came in and overpowered him until he became a helpless prisoner in his own domain. Such is the pitiable state of man in relation to his magnificent inheritance!
When the blessed Son of God hung upon the cross God in infinite tenderness wrapped the land in darkness in the hour of His supreme suffering. About those three hours we know little, save the words that escaped the lips of the Sufferer Himself. There came a moment when the voice was heard amid the darkness, and it said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” The men about the cross were quite familiar with the words. They were not strange words. They were quoted from the Psalter, from the Worship-book of the Hebrew people. They had often chanted the Psalm in solemn monotone and recited it in many an hour of heart anguish. But there are values in it far deeper and more profound than the Psalmist knew when he wrote the song. When he wrote it, it was the expression of sorrow such as he was then passing through. But it has become for evermore full of meaning to us, because Christ uttered these words upon the cross. There is great value in recognizing the fact that it was a human cry, and that Jesus quoted it. And the value is all the greater if we remember that all that follows in that twenty-second Psalm is an exposition of what it is to be God-forsaken. The Psalmist was not looking at the old rugged cross on the craggy crest, he had no vision of it; he was, I am deeply persuaded, writing of his own heart’s agony; and here this One, this King upon the cross, stretched back through the centuries and took hold of the most awful wail of agony that ever escaped the human heart, and quoted it as His own experience. He was our humanity, born of a virgin; throughout the whole of His public ministry He had spoken in human terms, and yet with unequivocal divine authority.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!” It was first of all the cry of a soul at the uttermost of sin, having lost the vision of God. It was the cry of a soul at the uttermost of sorrow, conscious of its lack of God. All sorrow is lack. All grief is the consciousness of lack. When the soul becomes conscious of the lack of God, that is the uttermost sorrow. Moreover, it was the soul in the presence of mystery, in the presence of silence, with no voice, with no answer. In that moment Jesus expressed in human speech the fact that the pains and the penalties of the human sin were His. That is the heart of it, and the center of it, and the soul of it, and the mystery of it!
I must assure you, beloved friend, that the anguish endured by Jesus on the cross has been experienced by every son and daughter of Adam’s race. We have already suffered it. We have known the terror of being away from the Father’s presence. Jesus was only then, in His identification with man’s plight, beginning to experience what mankind has experienced for six long milleniums! An absolute forsaking of the Father! And loss, total and unspeakable loss. It was God that lowered man, making him a little lower than the angels, or lacking from Elohim, as the Hebrew expresses it. Most Christians say that Jesus suffered so we wouldn’t have to – but the doleful truth is that we’ve already been partakers of His suffering, for His suffering was naught but our suffering which He took upon Him. There was one difference – we did not have the ability to RETURN! But God so loved us that He gave His beloved Son into the same death so that He could bring us into glory. Since the day I came into this world I have had to suffer the death of a carnal realm of thinking, live in a world that I knew nothing about, with no understanding of spiritual things, no knowledge of from whence I came, no comprehension of where I was going, shapened in iniquity, enslaved to the passions of the flesh, owned and controlled by the law of sin and death, until Jesus came and awakened me and whispered into my quickened spirit that I am on my way back HOME! Away back at the beginning God gave a promise of restoration, of victory over sin and death. “Her seed shall bruise your head,” God told the serpent. And in Romans 16:20 Paul reiterates the promise: “And the God of peace shall bruise satan under your feet shortly.” Man shall surely return to his possession. All that was lost shall be restored.
Let me give you now a scripture that shows the hand of God in this and the extensive scope of both the departure from, and the returning unto, God. I quote from Psalm 90:1-3. “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You art God. YOU TURN MAN TO DESTRUCTION; and then say, RETURN, YOU CHILDREN OF MEN.” You could never read this word “return” here if you had not first read that man had been “turned” away to destruction. In this passage the word “destruction” has this meaning in the original: A COMPLETE COLLAPSE, crumbling man to a contrite condition.
After turning men to destruction God then says, “RETURN TO ME, You children of men.” Oh, yes, He turned us to destruction, but planted deep within the subconsciousness of every son of Adam is the SECRET COMMAND to RETURN, which is revealed in that inner desire, yearning, craving, seeking, feeling, compulsion which is never satisfied until man does find himself home in God once more. All the religiousness of men, from the witch doctor in the jungle to the modernist in the pulpit in America, is the manifestation of this FEELING AFTER GOD, IF HAPLY THEY MIGHT FIND HIM (Acts 17:26-27). While mankind in general is still lost in the hellish darkness of sin and death, yet there is a firstfruit company whose hearts have been charged by the inward call to return, and with the Shulamite maiden in the Song of Solomon share this blessed experience: “By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loves; I sought Him, but I found Him not. I will arise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broadways I will seek Him whom my soul loves: I sought Him but I found Him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw you Him whom my soul loves. It was but a little that I passed from them, but I FOUND HIM WHOM MY SOUL LOVES: I HELD HIM, AND WOULD NOT LET HIM GO” (S. of S. 3:1-4).
Mankind is yet groping about in the dense darkness of the carnal mind, knowing not that HE is standing right there in the shadows, were their eyes opened to see. Yet He has appointed a day – Oh glorious day! – when His light shall shine forth and the plan shall be completed as the apostle said, “For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth should find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. In Christ WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN AN INHERITANCE, since we were destined for this, by the one who works out all His purposes according to the design of His own will” (Eph. 1:9-11, Phillips).
Praise God, by redemption, we already have something of our inheritance, but at best it is only the earnest – what a day’s pay of the laborer is to the year’s wage, or the foyer of a mansion to its vast and magnificent rooms. “Now He which established us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God; who has also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (II Cor. 1:21-23). The word “earnest” is from a Greek word meaning simply a “down payment” or a “pledge” or “token payment” which is paid to GUARANTEE that the balance will be paid. The Amplified Bible renders this verse thus, “He has appropriated and acknowledged us as His, putting His seal upon us and giving us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the SECURITY DEPOSIT and GUARANTEE of the FULFILLMENT OF HIS PROMISE.” Wuest’s translation says that the Holy Spirit is “the TOKEN PAYMENT GUARANTEEING THE PAYMENT IN FULL of our salvation!” Then in Eph. 1:14 we read, “That Spirit is the GUARANTEE of OUR INHERITANCE the firstfruit, the pledge and foretaste, the DOWN PAYMENT of OUR HERITAGE – in anticipation of its FULL REDEMPTION and our acquiring COMPLETE POSSESSION of it, to the praise of His glory” (Amplified Bible). We know not how soon the fullness shall break upon us, but it will come, and not tarry, as our hearts are prepared to receive it, praise His name!
Misunderstanding the nature of our inheritance and the plan by which God shall bring us fully into it has, in the past, led to many ignorant and unscriptural assertions. For instance, speaking of a deceased saint we have said, “He has gone to his reward.” Nothing could be farther from the truth! It is not death that qualifies one to receive his inheritance, but the raising of ones whole being up into the sphere of HIS LIFE. “God … has begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD, to an inheritance incorruptible … reserved in heaven for you.” Heaven is not the inheritance. The inheritance is merely “reserved” in heaven (the celestial sphere) for you. And it is not revealed when you go by way of the grave, for it is “ready to be revealed IN THE LAST TIME” (I Pet. 1:5), here and now, praise God! And truly, not only we, but in the beautiful words of J.B. Phillips’s translation, “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own” (Rom. 8:19). “Their own” is their lot of inheritance, and this will mean the fullness of our salvation – spirit, soul and body – a company of immortal and incorruptible sons filled with the fullness of His mind, nature, glory and power to bless and restore all creation. Towards this blessed consummation, as yet “reserved,” our hope stretches out both hands; meanwhile, it is an inspiration and stimulus for every moment of our life!
Suppose you are sitting in your home some night and the door bell rings. A man is there, and he says, “I’m an attorney with such and such a firm, and we’re trying to find a relative of a missing person. Your name is so and so. Did your mother come to this country from Scotland fifty years ago, and did she have a brother who went to Australia?” You say, ‘We have a family Bible here. It’s all written down. There’s my mother. She was born in Edinburgh on such a date. She had a brother and he went to Australia, and we never heard from him since.” “Well,” says the lawyer, “this is wonderful for this is the last link in the evidence. He went to Australia and had a son there to whom he left his fortune; that son died and left no heir. The lawyers in Australia have traced it back to Scotland; the Scottish people traced it over here, and we have come to you for we believe that you are next of kin.” You say, “Yes, undoubtedly.” “Well, says the lawyer, “I’m very happy to inform you that you have a very large inheritance.” You say, “I can get that new Lincoln I’ve been dreaming about.” He says, “It’s a very large inheritance.” You say, “Mercedes.” “In fact, your uncle had coal mines.” You say, “Rolls Royce.” The lawyer says, “Now, of course, its in the courts and you can’t get anything very soon except the down payment. Your uncle also owned hundreds of thousands of acres of sheep ranches; oil and gold have been discovered there. It’s going to be three or four years before you can get it all, but they have a little advance payment that’s ready for you now.” “Well, what is this little down payment?” “This little down payment is only twenty-eight million dollars.” “If that’s the down payment, what’s the whole thing going to be?”
Not all the certified public accountants in the world could ever add up the glories of the inheritance reserved for us. And none of the religionists can even begin to comprehend what the inheritance really is. It would be impossible for a team of bankers, lawyers, preachers, teachers, evangelists and scholars to get together and tell us what the magnitude of the inheritance is. All any of them can do is tell us a little bit about the interest on the interest. That is about as close as anyone can get to understanding our inheritance, because the down payment is THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD! This inheritance is nothing short of the fact that we inherit GOD HIMSELF!
Incorporated into the law of Jubilee is a second law known as the law of Redemption. Very few Christians are aware of the fact that Redemption is closely associated with Jubilee. Many confuse the two terms, but the truth is that though they are related, Redemption and Jubilee are not the same thing at all. They accomplish the same end, but do not work the same.
The law of Redemption is given in the same chapter we have under consideration, Leviticus 25. “If your brother has become poor and has sold some of his property, if any of his kin comes to redeem it, he shall be allowed to redeem what his brother has sold. And if the man has no one to redeem his property, and he himself has become more prosperous and has enough to redeem it, then let him count the years since he sold it and restore the over-payment to the man to whom he sold it, and return to his ancestral possession. But if he is unable to redeem it, it shall remain in the buyer’s possession until the Year of Jubilee, when it shall be set free and he may return to it. And if a sojourner or stranger with you becomes rich, and your Israelite brother becomes poor beside him and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner with you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, after he is sold he may be redeemed; one of his brethren may redeem him. And if he is not redeemed during these years and by these means, then he shall go free in the Year of Jubilee, he and his children with him” (Lev. 25:25-28, 47-48, 54, Amplified).
The prefix “re” in “re-deem” means “again” (as in re-copy, re-wash, re-write). The main part of the word is from a root that means “to purchase, to buy.” Redeem means to re-purchase or to buy back. Perhaps the best illustration of redemption that we have in modern life is the transaction that takes place in a Pawn Shop. A pawnbroker is a person who lends small sums of money on articles of clothing, watches, jewelry, and other belongings that are left with the pawnbroker as security. The articles that are left are pawned. The pawnbroker has the right to sell these articles, if the loan is not repaid with interest and charges within a certain time after the debt becomes due. When you pawn something you get a piece of paper called a pawn ticket. This ticket has a date on it, usually one year from the day you got it. If you pay the loan or the interest on it within a year, the pawnbroker cannot sell the valuable thing you pawned. The pawnbroker usually limits the loan to the amount that he or she could get by selling the article. The sum is generally less than the article is worth to the borrower. For this reason, pawnshop customers do not usually regard the transaction as a sale of their goods. In most cases, the customers pay back the loan with interest and redeem their property. In effect they have bought back the property from which they were alienated.
It was a long time from one Year of Jubilee to the next. If a man lost his property shortly after a Jubilee, there was the possibility that he would not be alive to enjoy it the next time a Jubilee came around. So God made another provision for the recovery of the land and of slaves. A person who leased out his land could get it back before Jubilee if he so desired. He could repossess it any time he wanted it by canceling the lease and refunding a fair prorated amount to the person to whom he had leased it. If the land had been siezed by creditors, a rich relative was able to redeem the property if he was willing to do so, and then the land could be restored to the original owner. If the owner had been sold into slavery he, too, could be redeemed by a near-kinsman. This is the law of the kinsman-redeemer. In the event that no kinsman had been able to redeem the land, and the former owner was unable to do so, it remained alienated until the Year of Jubilee. At that time it automatically reverted back to its former owner or heirs.
“If your brother be waxen poor, and have sold away some of his possession, and IF ANY OF HIS KIN COME TO REDEEM IT, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold” (Lev. 25:25). The Hebrew says, “The redeemer thereof, he that is near unto him, shall come and redeem it.” The Hebrew word for “redeem” is GOEL and is the term applied to the kinsman to whom pertained the right, according to very ancient custom, of redeeming lands, houses or persons. The GOEL was required to be the nearest blood relation. If this person was unable to redeem, then the relative next in line as kin could become the kinsman-redeemer. The story of Ruth and Boaz is the Bible example of this ancient custom. Boaz redeemed the estate of the deceased Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, by marrying Ruth, the widow of one of Elimelech’s sons. There was a kinsman nearer in relation than Boaz, but he chose not to be redeemer, and this left the way open for Boaz, who was next in line to become the kinsman-redeemer.
The person sustaining the office of kinsman-redeemer was a beautiful figure of our Lord Jesus Christ, who assumed our nature that He might become OUR KINSMAN-REDEEMER. In Israel, if an Israelite fell into poverty, then he had to sell himself. He had to sell his services, his labor, his very life to another. And to whomsoever he sold himself, that one became his master. His own brother, or a stranger, if he sold himself to a stranger, became his master. Now we, through the infirmity of our fleshly nature sold ourselves into sin. And that “stranger” who possessed us was the devil himself. “…and that they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Tim. 2:26). We became the servants, the slaves, the captives of the devil whether we liked it or not, and he owned us, until Jesus came and bought us back, redeemedus.
We know that we came into this world, born in sin and shapened in iniquity, being debtors to the law, we were enslaved by the law of sin and death. Therefore sin owned us and controlled us and we were the servants of sin. Our inheritance was lost and we were in hopeless bondage. Brethren who could not redeem themselves had to be redeemed by a kinsman who had the power of money to buy them when they were slaves or servants of another. We could not redeem ourselves from under the law of sin and death, we could not ransom ourselves from the power of the devil, therefore we have a near kinsman who came and had the wherewithal to purchase us, that we might be released from our slavery to the devil and enter again into the inheritance or lot or position in God which was given us in Christ before ever the worlds were created or the ages framed. We are the brother that dwells by our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the rich brother, we are the poor brother. We waxed poor and had to be sold. But He bought us, He paid the price for our freedom from slavery, for “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty might be rich” (II Cor. 8:9) Hallelujah!
The expression, “If any of his kin come to redeem it,” implies the necessity for willingness on the kinsman’s part; and it points at the same time very naturally onward to HIM who is so often spoken of as “coming to redeem” us. “The redeemer shall come to Zion,” says Isaiah, using the name GOEL kinsman-redeemer. Himself said in eternity, “Lo, I come!” “Blessed is He that comes” – the kinsman, the Goel, that comes to restore our possession. And Job’s hope becomes fruition, “I know that my redeemer lives, and shall stand on the earth at the latter day.” “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Our Saviour needed to be our kinsman in order to possess a right to offer the price of redemption. Hence, He took on our very nature, and was “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh” (Eph. 5:30). “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same” (Heb. 2:14). And by becoming thus related to us, He has the right, which He will enforce, of fully redeeming those He so loved. How glorious our prospect – how sure our redemption, spirit, soul and body, as well as our inheritance, when our Redeemer is such an one as would become our kinsman in very love to us! He loved “the children”, His younger brothers; and since they had flesh and blood, lo! therefore, He must out of love insist on taking the same. And it is done. He is born of Mary of Nazareth, yet continuing holy, harmless, undefiled. He is feeble, and needs to be swaddled in swaddling clothes, and to lean on a mother’s breast; and now so evidently and truly is God manifest in flesh that one could write –
“There is no God but He,
Who lay upon His mother’s knee
And suck’d the Virgin’s breasts.”
Truly He is our kinsman! He is the “mighty man of wealth” in Bethlehem and “in Him is strength” to reinstate the impoverished one in possession of an inheritance that has been lost, praise His wonderful name!
You have read what the scripture says of Moses: “This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and A DELIVERER by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush” (Acts 7:35). We find that this word “deliverer” is the same Greek word which in its various forms is translated ransom, redemption, redeem, and redeemed. The question follows, How was Moses a deliverer, a redeemer, or a redemption-price for Israel in Egypt? Did Moses pay a price to Pharoah for Israel’s redemption? Did he promise Egypt anything in return for allowing Israel to leave? Absolutely not! Moses paid Egypt exactly NOTHING. And yet, he was a redeemer and redemption for Israel! It was his own life which he poured out for Israel, it was the freely giving of his life to Israel which led them up out of the house of bondage.
When Jesus Christ became our redemption He didn’t have to pay redemption money to God. He didn’t take His blood and say, “Here, God, is a price for the people.” Nor did He go to satan, and say, “Here, satan, is a redemption-price, now you let God’s people go.” NEVER! He, like Moses, poured His life out and freely gave it to the people. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I WILL GIVE FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me” (Jn. 6:51, 53-57). We are the ones who are receiving the redemption money, and receiving of His life we are able to get up and leave the filth of the world behind, and walk in the higher realms with Him.
In the natural the redemption price was paid to the slave owner or creditor; and it will clearly be seen that God operates by the same principle once we understand that that which had us bound was in very fact something inherent within ourselves. Ah, the law of sin and death works within, the carnal mind operates within, and the devil himself is but a figure for the bestial spirit of this world which sits enthroned within the very nature and heart of man. People have painted satan as a huge, ugly, impish personage with horns, bedecked with a red suit, having a long pointed tail and carrying a pitchfork. In our minds he belongs in dark pagan jungles where frenzied worshipers hysterically practice devil worship. He belongs in ancient voodoo ceremonies where primitive peoples offer human sacrifices to appease his anger. He belongs to the Garden of Eden, spoiling life for Adam and Eve; to the Judean wilderness, tempting Jesus; to Berlin during the 1930’s and early 1940’s, possessing and using Adolf Hitler, masterminding history’s great atrocities. Certainly satan is present in the above-listed activities. But may I hastily add that he is not present there one whit more than he has been in your life and mine. The pen of inspiration truthfully recorded the fact that “You has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-2).
Ah, yes, this evil spirit is IN MAN! On the very day of Adam’s sin the voice of God brought this message to the serpent in Eden: “Because you have done this, you art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:14). When the serpent was lowered into the dust realm, man became the base of operation for his activity, which activity is limited to the realm of the flesh. “Dust you art, and unto dust shall you return,” the Lord told Adam in the same conversation. The dust man is the serpent man. “The first man was from out of the earth, made of dust – earth-minded; the second Man is the Lord from out of heaven. Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust – earth minded; and as is the Man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven heaven minded. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us bear also the image of the Man from heaven” (I Cor, 15:45-49, Amplified). I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that you will find satan operative in NO OTHER REALM except the fleshly nature of man anywhere in the whole vast universe! You do not need to worry about the devil stealing the keys to your car and driving off with it. But you may have to worry about THE DEVIL IN MEN doing so! You need not fear the devil breaking into your home at night and blowing your brains out. But THE DEVIL IN MEN has done so many, many times. The devil as a spirit being will never try to seduce your wife, but THE DEVIL IN SOME MAN may surely attempt it. Betimes it has even been THE DEVIL IN A PREACHER! I must tell you frankly that I have not had any trouble with that terrible devil out there someplace; but I have had a great deal of difficulty with that devil I behold when I look in the mirror! That ancient serpent slithers about in the lowest realms of man’s earthiness, in the crooked thoughts, perverted desires, and unbridled emotions of the carnal nature, in all the corrupt motions of the flesh. Within man lies the seat of satan. We have been the captives of a power within us, slaves to our own bestial nature. So Christ did not pay a ransom to God in heaven, nor to the devil in hell, in order to redeem us and gain our release. Rather, He gave His life and poured it into us that the transcendent power of His Spirit within might break asunder the bands that bind us. Victory over the carnal mind is gained only by putting on the precious mind that was in Christ Jesus. Victory over the flesh is wrought alone by the mighty power of the Christ-life within. HE GIVES OF HIS LIFE TO US WHO ARE IN BONDAGE, AND THEN WE HAVE THE VITALITY AND STRENGTH TO ARISE AND RETURN TO FATHERS HOUSE TO CLAIM OUR INHERITANCE. We cannot do it on our own, we are weak and helpless, fettered by the shackles of sin and shame, but when He gives of His life, and fills us with His strength, then through Him we are able to rise up and return. Praise God, His life is given as redemption TO US, so that, as the apostle says, “Of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us … REDEMPTION” (I Cor. 1:30).
REDEMPTION VS. JUBILEE
Let me interject a foundational truth at this point. It is a truth seldom, if ever, heard among the people of God. The preachers and evangelists are totally ignorant of it, but it is fundamental to all our understanding of the works of God in this present age and in the ages to come. Few truths have come with more soul gripping force and power to my heart than the truth I now present. I will introduce this grand theme in the form of a question. What is the difference between Redemption and Jubilee? The first thought I want to bring is this: Redemption and Jubilee ACCOMPLISH THE SAME PURPOSE. The end of both is the same. God established the Year of Jubilee so that all who lost their inheritance during the previous forty-nine year period, would be able to return to it during that Festival. When the trumpet sounded, on the tenth day of the seventh month of the forty-ninth year, every man received his inheritance. NOBODY WAS ABLE TO STOP IT. Even though another had bought and paid for it, when the trumpet sounded, the first owner could again take his inheritance and have complete possession. No one could prevent him!
So, in the Year of Jubilee EVERYONE AGAIN received their inheritance. There were no restrictions, no conditions, no qualifications, for the trumpet’s sound called ALL back to the inheritance they had once known. Now Redemption DOES EXACTLY THE SAME THING, ONLY IT DOES IT BEFORE THE YEAR OF JUBILEE. Let us say that a man loses his inheritance in the tenth year of that forty-nine year cycle. He may either sell it or just lose it. After a short time a redeemer, a nearkinsman, comes to him to redeem it, to buy it back for him. Can we not see the relationship we enter into between ourselves and Jesus as redeemed and Redeemer? Thank God! He was not a stranger to us. He was our next of kin, one of our own kind. So it must be in order for Him to become our Redeemer. The law of Redemption demanded such a relationship.
So the near-kinsman comes to the one whose inheritance is lost and inquires the price of redemption. The redeemer says, “I have enough to redeem your inheritance. We will go and pay off the one who has it and you can have it back.” The one who has bought the inheritance must receive the price of redemption, and vacate the property. The original inheritor then has the perfect and unhindered freedom to come again into his inheritance. HIS INHERITANCE HAS BEEN REDEEMED AND THUS HE DOES NOT HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL JUBILEE to regain his inheritance – he has it NOW! Let us use this illustration. A man who is forty-five loses his inheritance in the fifth year after Jubilee. By the next Jubilee the man’s inheritance will not be of great value to him personally, for he will by that time be ninety years old. For that man to have to wait for his inheritance for forty-five years would give him time to starve to death many times over! BUT the redeemer comes and redeems the inheritance and the original owner immediately re-enters his inheritance, GAINING ALL THE YEARS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST.
This, my beloved, IS WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR US. He has made it possible for us to receive our inheritance and enjoy it immediately. We have an inheritance reserved for us IN A HEAVENLY WAY OF LIFE, ON THE SPIRITUAL PLANE OF GOD’S OWN DIVINE NATURE AND GLORY AND POWER. Vast multitudes of Christians subscribe to the crude and unscriptural notion that they must die and travel some inestimable distance through the galaxies to receive their inheritance. But Redemption makes it possible to receive it right now, and through God’s infinite and unbounded grace we are able to appropriate it this very day. REDEMPTION AND JUBILEE ACCOMPLISH THE SAME PURPOSE, THEY ARRIVE AT THE SAME END. The great and only difference is that Jubilee takes fifty years and REDEMPTION DOES IT N-O-W!
In Israel of old THE POSSESSION OF THE INHERITANCE WAS THE SUPREME ISSUE. God wanted His people to have and enjoy their inheritance. He did not want them to have to wait for twenty-five years, or ten years, or even five. HE WANTED THEM TO HAVE IT NOW. God had ordained this law of Jubilee which would return every man to his inheritance, but He did not want them to wait that long. So immediately upon the death of Jesus, and by that death, God enacted the law of Redemption, SO THAT WE CAN REGAIN OUR INHERITANCE RIGHT NOW IN THIS PRESENT DAY. The only reason we are not in our inheritance now is because we do not appropriate it or walk in it. Possession of the inheritance is the paramount thing. God desires that we get our inheritance. It is no glory to God for us to bemoan the fact that we are just flesh and so weak and cannot experience and manifest the fullness of God’s glory and nature and power. How many of the Lord’s precious people are struggling along continually defeated by the flesh, the world and the devil, when all the time they have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus and may with boldness enter into the inheritance!
Listen! Redemption is one of the most wonderful things God has ever given to humanity. Yet – for those who do not or cannot take advantage of it, there is assuredly coming a YEAR OF JUBILEE when, by the sovereign act of Almighty God, ALL shall be restored to their inheritance. By accepting the Redemption offered we can immediately have all the joys and privileges and responsibilities of our inheritance. If we do not experience redemption we must endure the pain and travail of poverty and slavery until the Year of Jubilee arrives. With all emphasis I must now declare that the grace of Jubilee can be fully known beforehand in the Kinsman-Redeemer, Christ Jesus our Lord. We are “not left … this day without One that has the right of redemption” (Ruth 4:14). He can reinstate even one who has sold his inheritance, his birthright. Thus, Redemption is to know that You DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR JUBILEE TO ENTER INTO YOUR INHERITANCE! I am well aware that some carnally-minded soul will suggest the proposition – if all men will be released and restored to their inheritance in the Year of Jubilee – will not the preaching of this incite men to spurn Redemption and wait for their Year of Jubilee? I will answer such ignorant nonsense with this question: Who among you wishes to remain impoverished and a slave for another fifty years when you can gain your freedom and enjoy your inheritance RIGHT NOW!
“In whom we have REDEMPTION through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (
“Ye need not that any man teach you….” but “Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together….” 1 John 2:27 & Hebrews 10:25.
Why would John say that we do not need anyone to teach us, and the writer of Hebrews tells us to assemble ourselves together? If we assemble, wouldn’t we be in a place where men and women would be teaching us, or we would be teaching them? To answer, it matters not who is speaking, or if no one is speaking, we can only be taught spiritual truth by the anointing. If the word is heard by the natural mind, it is man teaching us, but if by the Spirit it is the anointing that teaches us. That is one reason we take heed as to how we hear, and when we hear properly, our Father’s voice will be clearly heard, and we will know what it is for His members to assemble and form His cohesive body. Such as that jet airliner of thousands of parts that are joined together in their proper places by those on the assembly line, forming one body, as opposed to all the parts merely being gathered in a factory and disconnected from one another. Sometimes church and home meetings, in-gatherings, conferences, retreats, spiritual advances or assemblies, and sometimes they are gatherings of discombobulated parts.
Once people come out from man’s religious system, as well as the religious system within themselves, and are joined to the Lord’s body, whether they find themselves in a crowd or alone in the desert, they are God’s workmanship, and He will place them in the Body where they will be fitly joined together. 1 Corinthians 12:18. They will be joined with those who will come forth as the manifested Sons of God! They will no longer just be gathered as non-working parts of a machine, but will be properly assembled with no man teaching them anything.
This is a tremendous day wherein we are being careful of how we hear, as the mysteries are being made known by the anointing. Such marvels are impossible to describe in human terms; but they will be gloriously displayed by the sons of God whereby the nations will be fed. It is then that the whole world will see, hear, eat, and become joyful partakers of that glory! What a much greater teacher and nourisher, that of the anointing, along with manifestation, than of the soul of our old man whose days are numbered and swiftly coming to an end. When that happens, there will be no more spiritual starvation found anywhere! There will be an abundance of the living word of God worldwide.
Jesus said that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of God” Matthew 4:4. However, until the first Adam meets his demise, there will be starvation. Those in the world today are hungry and searching hither and yon for a morsel that will fill the emptiness of their souls. Most assuredly, there are many meats and drinks, yet completely void of nourishment. Those who eat and drink from those tables are only satisfied for the moment. There is nothing in any of it to sustain them for any time at all. The world is filled with pleasures, merriment, and exhilaration; but there is not one ounce of substance to quell the craving of the spirit. The world has more today than any time in history. Religion, entertainment, books, and knowledge, along with lusts on every level flood the banks of the world more than it has ever known. And they all do nothing more than temporarily intoxicate the flesh and soul. Such is the diet from the tree of knowledge of good and evil from which they eat that flourishes in the midst of their garden.
They may not knowingly be aware of it; but those throughout the world of every religion are hungry. There seems to be plenty to eat; but they are still hungry. They are starving; for there is nothing that adds to the Spirit. How can they be filled when there is nothing to feed upon but rituals, programs, ceremonies, ordinances, pomp, vigor, regalia, flash and show, candles, and incense? There are temples, cathedrals, regal appearing priests and preachers, fine-tuned organizations, and a plethora of religious activities of which they partake–but hunger lingers.
The members of the world’s church system get involved in working for the cause. They are very committed, and we do not begrudge their honorable commitment to that which very often serves a good. But they put so much effort into these things that it is often something other than the anointing of Christ. Their central focus is often on the movement. They love being part of the latest movement, or the message. Are you part of the movement or in the message, they ask? Or they focus on the organization, and especially the ministry, or the method, or the personality. Some are caught up in the experience, or some other religious thing. But all these religious things and never-ending activities do nothing but to inebriate and excite the flesh and soul. Frankly, Christians all over the place are drunk, not with our Lord’s New Wine, but with the old! In this stupor, contrary to what they think, they do not know the living Christ; for they have not consumed the nourishing substance of Him! And we are saddened that they do not resound our Lord’s words, “My meat is to do the Father’s will.” If they could in truthfulness say this, then there would be no way for them to suffer starvation or malnutrition to any degree. Sadly, so many do not take care of what they hear or how they hear.
Regardless, there is still a cry in humanity that yearns for some real food. And it is not the superficial, placated, letter of the scriptures that kill. For example, people’s hunger cannot be sated by a five star chef reading cook books to them. Neither will it work if they read the books themselves. Hunger will remain. People might drool over Martha Stewart’s or Betty Crocker’s pictures of succulent dishes in their recipe books; but they will not be satisfied until all the parts of the recipes are gathered, assembled, and salted with fire.
The people want a taste of reality, not pseudo doctrines or even true teachings for the mere sake of exciting their inquisitive souls. And like worthy ships traversing the seven seas, they want vessels that can sail through every storm to God’s celestial shores, not something like a polished surfboard to merely ride the waves of the oceans’ shoreline. There is a lot of religious surfing today, and it may be a lot of fun; but it goes without saying, we won’t get far with that mode of shallow seafaring.
Again, the people of the world are hungry, they are starving, waiting to see all the attributes of Jesus Christ. They may not be consciously aware of it; but their hearts yearn for the incorporated body of the sons of God, the people who become the living manifestations of Who He IS, as Paul wrote in Romans 8:19-21. The world waits for something far more than a superficial church and their sermons about either going to heaven to play harps forever, or sinners going to hell forever. They are weary of religious professions without possession. They want nothing to do with such placated nonsense. But when they see His sons, the work of His hands, they will be satisfied and will sanctify His name. They will glorify God, and in turn seek Him for themselves.
Another way of looking at the difference of being assembled and gathered is a baseball game. From what I remember Kelly Varner having said quite a number of years ago: After your favorite team has won the game, have you ever jumped up and declared? “WE won! WE won! Bless God, WE won!” Well, the fact is, ‘WE’ didn’t win anything–THE TEAM WON! WE WATCHED while THE TEAM WON.
In this picture, all the spectators were GATHERED in the stands watching the ASSEMBLED team working together as ONE BODY. It is much the same with many Christians today. They gather and assume they are assembled; but they are only a gathered group of spectators, not assembled as a team.
Large crowds and the roar of cheers are not necessarily an assembly. It can be; but this is not what constitutes an assembly, nor does believing in your religious team whether it is the Baptists, Methodists, Assemblies of God, Sons of God, ad infinitum. Simply believing is not the ticket to glory. Embracing their doctrines, as good as they may or may not be, will not give you a home-run to paradise. Home-runs come when you are a player on the team. You are then an assembled member of Christ’s Body. You are not just showing up and feeling good, shouting Hallelujah, praise God, and saying Amen to everything preached.
It is good to encourage those running the race, the ones fighting the good fight in this harrowing journey; but we can see there is more to it than being cheering spectators. There is a participation on our part if we expect to finish the race and claim the prize of the high calling. We have heard the call to assemble, even trumpeted the call ourselves to the others to be made ready for the great triumph over all darkness, evil, sin, death, and hell.
“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall *gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31.
*gather together: Grk. episunag; epi (over, upon) sunag (to lead together). Same epi as Epi Archiereus: High Priest; that is, the Highest Priest Over all other priests, and the High Assembly Over all other assemblies.
What do you suppose this means? Do you think it is Gabriel or Michael the archangel standing on the rim of a silver-lined cloud while trumpeting peals of thunder that are the clarion call to arms for all able-bodied saints? Does our imagination see myriads of feather-winged angels amassing with us for battle? No! Not by any means!
Please hear me fellow angels/ saints and sojourners in Christ. Angels in the scriptures speak of a message or messenger sent from God. Regardless of whether the messengers are special created spirit beings or human beings, and the latter could be on either side of the veil, they are what the Bible refers to as angels. From what I have found, most of the angels we read about in the scriptures are men who had not tasted death. Some could be those who have crossed over to the other side and are among the innumerable company of angels and/or the spirits of just men made perfect. (rf. Hebrews 12:22-23).
The emissary who sounds a trumpet is an angel, a messenger. The sound of the trumpet is the angel, or message of a particular note that is heard and understood by those for which it is intended. The angels/messengers of Christ sound the trumpet that will cause the body of His elect to be called together in spirit. It is the superimposition, the high assembly (- episunagg) of Hebrews 10:25. Although they may be scattered to the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other, when the call is heard, they will be gathered together in one accord in one mind, in one voice, and in one Spirit!
After the high calling is sounded the elect will be led together unto the high assembly that is over and above all assemblies, not in one physical location, of course, but as a united spiritual body over the entire earth. There are times that the trumpeting of the high calling is local or for special assemblies of the elect being led together for instructions, edification, blessings from on high, and to carry out God’s special purposes designated for that particular season. But we can be assured that with the High Assembly we will not be sitting on fluffy clouds and strumming harps, nor joining a heavenly choir while singing our favorite church songs to Jesus.
When we are called and led together in the Great Day of our Lord by His angels, and by the word of power and authority, and by the command to assemble, we will do so in the Spirit of the word we hear. It is in His Spirit that we will be in during the Lord’s Day and with the keys of the Kingdom in hand. His power and authority will not be lying dormant but will surely become evident throughout His body. It is then that we will have overcome and been found worthy to shake both heaven and earth by the command of His word! Praise God!
In this race let us never be intimidated by those who fail to realize what true assembling and participation is. Let it also be far from our own minds to feel we need to make excuses for not gathering ourselves inside the walled cities of Babylon or Assyria where the latter’s diet digressed to *asses heads, doves dung, and their babies. And please, we should never be pressured into joining Saul’s army who seek to destroy God’s anointed. Rather than thinking that we must be busy about religion’s business, let us be about our Father’s business. In this, the cave of Adullam will serve us for the time, as it did for David and his men.
*Asses’ heads (Man’s knowledge) doves dung (yesterday’s doctrines which remain after the anointing has flown away) babies (their new converts.) See http://www.godfire.net/diet.html (Pub. #52.93).
The Cave of Adullam
“David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.” 1 Samuel 22:1-2.
Have you ever felt that your flight from Saul’s guardianship; that is, your church and pastor’s covering was a mistake, especially when you found that obscurity was your only place of safety from ridicule, slander, being the object of gossip, and accused of being a heretic? This is where many are today; but rest assured, it was not a mistake. Although you find yourselves in a place like David’s dark cave, you are in the heavens. Even though you are in obscurity and detached from the crowds, you are ever assembled with our Lord in the cave of Adullam. You may have made mistakes in the past; but leaving that religious hierarchy has not been one of them! You are where you belong for the moment. We know that tough times endure through the night; but tough people in Christ last forever.
Adullam means justice of the people and comes from the Hebrew word, Adlay, meaning justice of God. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament. Therefore, let us all be encouraged who are in the cave of Adullam, for we are being prepared to be God’s justice in the earth. Creation is anxiously waiting our exit from obscurity, and thereby delivered from the bondage of corruption, and also made free in the same glorious liberty of the children of God as Paul mentioned in Romans 8:19-21.
In the days of Jesus, before His crucifixion, He, like David, found Himself more in the wilderness ministering to the people than in the synagogues and meeting halls of the cities. Neither David nor He were welcome in the “honorable” places of Saul or that of the Jew, so the seashores, hillsides, and caves had to suffice for the time.
It was therein, outside the camp, where the people in distress, (Grk. matsowq, a narrow place, i.e. confinement or disability (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance); and every one that was in debt, (nasha’, through the idea of imposition; to lend on interest; by implication to dun for debt; to lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce (Strong’s); and every one that was discontented (mar, bitter (lit. or fig.); also (as noun) bitterness, or (adv.) bitterly (Strong’s), sought out David. And so it is with us. Like those in distress, in debt, and discontented–we seek after Jesus, even to the dark cave of Adullam.
While under the rule of Saul in the church system, we were in distress, narrowed down to fit their church mold, confined to their dogmas and thereby Spiritually disabled. We were made to believe we were indebted to them. We were led astray, deluded, and seduced by their religious harlotry. In such servitude, the diet of vile doctrines and unending ceremonies became the norm. The heavy burden of discontentment set bitterly upon our spirits. Oh, but praise God! When we left and were gathered together, assembled with our Lord, it mattered not in what city, wilderness, or cave our physical bodies abode–all was well!
Isn’t it good to be free? Our lives are no longer squeezed from us. We are not seduced, and the sweetness of our Lord has replaced the bitterness of Saul’s reign. Secular Christianity may see us as misfits; but we are God’s justified misfits. Our friend, Ella, said that David raised up an army with only four hundred men, rejects, those of no reputation nor comeliness about them, and like David’s army of discontents–we will also bring the same Adullam justice to the world. Moreover, as 400 is 4 X 100, and 4 speaks of creation while 100 is a type of the Sons of God, these typical 400 are the sons of God who will be instrumental in bringing justice to the world as a new creation. But for now, we will remain gathered together in obscurity with our Lord.
The Hebrew word for gather does not carry the thought of gathering in the sense we are noticing in this study; such as, gathering parts into a pile, or people grouped in a congregation to hear a message. The Hebrew word means to grasp, and it is often used to describe an assembled army that is exercising great power as a working body of soldiers. For example: “That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.” Joshua 9:2. You see, their purpose was not to merely come together to be encouraged for another day by their drill sergeant. They came together IN ONE ACCORD as an ASSEMBLED WAR-MACHINE! It was a mechanized, assembled army, which could crush the enemy and bring victorious justice to the people.
Four Hundred Men
The four hundred who joined David in the cave has some significance for us today. According to E.W. Bullinger in his book, Numbers in Scripture, four hundred (400) carries the thought of a divinely perfect period. Regardless how many actual days they dwelled in the cave, it was the perfect period appointed by God that would prepare them to reign with their future king. What they endured is not unlike our own lives. We too have had a perfect season of long days and dark nights.
There were times when we wondered if the call of being manifested in Christ’s glory was only a dream. Could we have only imagined we would someday rule and reign with the Captain of our salvation? Will these hard and lonely times ever end? Oh, yes, dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, it will end! What we are enduring is working an eternal weight of glory that is not comparable to the silence and inactivity we presently know. Like those in Adullam’s cave, we are being prepared to reign openly with Him in His Kingdom.
Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” has been misused and made to be a whip of condemnation to compel people to gather into their churches. It is also used to condemn those who do not heed their call. It is one of the most abused verses in the Bible. The horrible mind-set for so many is that if a person is a Christian, they must attend a “church” of some sort. Any will do as long as it carries corporate papers, is sanctioned by mainstream religion, they are a nonprofit, tax exempt business, or it is at least a place where people gather on a weekly basis to listen to one person tell his or her view of the Bible. It is in their misguided thinking that everyone has to have a church or pastor to cover them.
Those who do not attend such organized gatherings are often suspected of not really being Christians. We have heard it said,”How could anyone who is a Christian not go to church?” Of course, there is no place in the Bible that says the only way a person can be a Christian is to belong to, or go to, a certain church. Such thoughts are manmade.
The High Assembling is that to which we aspire; but let us not discount all gatherings. They are necessary as well. We are not to only be thinking of high assembling of an army. There is need to gather so those in need of correction can be ministered to. Some require counseling, while everyone should be taught sound doctrine. The brethren who give way to the lusts of the flesh are in dire need of a people who can, and will, exhort them in Godly love and wisdom that will bring correction. If it is not done in love and understanding, it will not be the work of the Spirit and will do much more harm than good.
There are a lot of overseers in churches that are more often scourgers than true exhorters. It is customary to beat the wayfarers with the letter of the law. If this does not work, the sinners may be excommunicated. Rather than administering godly counsel that will set the hapless souls back on the narrow way of Christ, they often destroy them. Religion can be ever so cruel. The face of religion may be beautifully painted, but her heart is pure evil.
Newborn Christians need nurturing. This is common sense. Young girls and boys with driving passions can use good counsel at times from Godly role models. And there are others who simply desire wholesome fellowship with the saints. Should we tell them all to stay home and forsake the gathering of themselves together? Absolutely not! For such gatherings are indispensable for some.
However, with the spirit of the world with which the church system has clothed herself, and coupled with so many erroneous teachings, I am reluctant to encourage anyone to join themselves to that which is engaging in such spiritual adultery. Therefore, rather than sending innocent people into such misguided places, I would suggest the high calling for them. Let the 400 in the cave of Adullam prepare themselves to receive, nurture, encourage, and exhort those in need.
It is time to question those in the religious system, “How can you remain in Babylon or under the heavy hand and sword of churches where there is no justice for the people?” I believe the question is just as legitimate as when it is asked of us by them, even more so. For so long, those in organized religion have warned us about the dangers of separating ourselves from their guardianship, yet it is time to turn it around.
The 400 who have assembled with Jesus, the unseen King, could easily warn those who are at ease in Zion. They could be alerted to the impending fall of that religious system by saying: “Come out of her My people, and be not partakers of her sins and plagues. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together with the anointed, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
You see, righteous gatherings lay in the eyes of the beholder. What is right for one is not for the other. I will hasten to tell you, not everyone is called to the cave of Adullam, and neither is everyone called to subject themselves to the rule of Saul. We all have our own unique calling in this life, and each person should abide wherein they are called. If you make a good church citizen, and you are excited about the word being preached, then stay where you are. The time for you to leave will come when it is hit with God’s judgment. It will then fall, and you will have no choice in the matter. But please know, this is not for your hurt but for your good. Since God loves you, everything that comes between Him and you will eventually be brought down.
However, if you are not one of those who are at peace in those places, you might examine your calling. If you are in distress, feel indebted, and are discontented, it may be time to leave and head for the cave of Adullam. If you are hearing the Father saying to come out, fear not and be quick to move. You will not face starvation, and there is no need to be afraid of the devil. He is not waiting behind every bush and corner for you, and the only shadows where you find him lurking will be in the shadows of your own mind. When you leave the confines of your home-church, you will be joined to the Lord and His 400. Whether you find yourselves in a crowd of people or alone in a desert place, be sure to know–you are God’s workmanship and He will place you in the body where you fit. 1 Corinthians 12:18. Furthermore, you will remain there for the appointed time, but not forgotten, and neither will you be guilty of forsaking the assembling of yourselves together. You will be assembled with those who will come forth as the manifested Sons of God!
“…Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” 1 Kings 8:27. Can we then build a church building in which He would like to live? I think not! But in His assembled body, He is more than pleased to dwell through the ages and beyond, in you and me and all the others! And during any age wherein the increase of His government is a factor, and there is a need to delve deeper into His mysteries–The anointing which we have received of Him abides in us, and we need not that any man teach us: for as THE SAME ANOINTING THAT TEACHES US ALL THINGS, and is truth, and is no lie, even as it has taught us all, we shall abide in Him.” This is wonderful! Don’t you believe it?
“But the *anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27.
*anointing: Grk chrisma; an unguent or smearing, such as, to rub in. Here is an anointing that penetrates to the inmost core, so that it totally changes the inner nature. It will not run off, nor can it be washed or wiped off, because being rubbed in, it becomes a part of the inner being. It abides and changes the inner being, we become spirit of His Spirit, Joined unto the Lord in one spirit. (I Cor. 6:17).
Could this be true? Did the apostle really mean we do not need anyone to teach us, that to hear what someone has to say is a waste of time? Was he honestly saying that it is only the anointing that teaches us? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” why should we ever listen to or read from anyone else? And we might assume that John was telling us that there is no need for ministers of any kind. If so, John would have been opposing Paul in regards to what he wrote concerning the ministries of prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in Ephesians 4:10.
If there was no need of men and women to preach the Word of God, it is unlikely Paul would have written: “…How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”Romans 10:14-15.
Even so, after reading this verse more than 40 years ago, I felt that I should withdraw myself from all fellowship and not receive from anyone, that I should receive the word directly from the anointing, straight from the Spirit of Christ that I had received in order for me to have a pure word to minister to others. However, after doing this and not having the expected anointed word to come to me, and with no feeling of the presence of the Spirit of Christ whatsoever for at least a month, I realized that something was definitely wrong.
That is when the Spirit impressed upon me: “I do not give the whole truth to anyone. Portions are withheld from each person. This is so they will have to fellowship with one another. Everyone is enlightened to some of My mysteries. They all have their part of the truth that the others may be lacking. They, therefore, must fellowship together in order to receive a complete word, not just a partial word that each individual receives from Me. If you cannot receive from others, what makes you think your word to them would be any better than theirs to you? If you will not hear from others, why should they hear from you? And whether you receive any truth, whether from reading the scriptures, reading books, or from hearing others speak–it is by My anointing in you that you hear and learn.” That was quite an eye opener.
You see, the problem does not reside in the hearing of someone preach, teach, or prophesy, as I had taken John’s word to mean. According to the scriptures, men are the primary dispatchers of truth, and very little would be heard without them. If He chooses to do so, God could divinely inspire the souls of every human being, and with one sweep of His hand miraculously enlighten them to all truth and save every one of them . That, however, is not the way he usually works. He has saved people in this manner, I was one of them, but it is not His general rule. He finds great pleasure in taking His time, and working through Christ’s body of many members. That is the primary means He uses to call His creation back home.
Let us never for a moment think that we should cease from hearing others speak. It is good to give your ear to the vessels of His calling. Much life can be had in their words. The issue is not in hearing others, but in not hearing properly. Jesus mentioned this in Luke 8:18, saying, “Take heed therefore howyou hear.”
One can speak either by the anoints of the Holy Spirit or he can speak by his own spirit, and regardless of which spirit it is spoken, those hearing the message can likewise hear by the Holy Spirit or by their own spirit. If it is heard by the Holy anointing that abides within, it is then by that Spirit which will teach the hearers of the word. Although a man or woman presents the word of truth, it does nothing to anyone until the Spirit within quickens it and teaches that person. If the Spirit does not teach it, even if the person is speaking by the anointing, but the ones listening do not hear it by that Anointing, the best possible scenario is mental ascension. It would be carnal reasoning. This, of course, would be the letter that kills. And we know that there is no life in the letter alone, never has been, and never will be. So let us take heed, as Jesus said, in how we hear. It is a very important issue.
When people isolate themselves with hopes of escaping the influence and doctrinal pollution of men, they may be in for a surprise. I am not saying our Lord does not draw us away and unto Himself at various times, for He does. There are also occasions when He may separate us from fellowship, from listening to tapes, or reading anyone’s publications, a spiritual fast, if you please. Many today know by their own experiences this is true. Some, however, separate themselves from the body when it is not the Lord doing it at all as I had done.
When ‘I’ withdrew ‘myself’ from any sort of hearing what others in the body of Christ had to say, my intentions were good; but I was way off track, and I even had a scriptureto back me, so I had thought. This was one of my first and finest lessons in the dangers of building upon an unstable foundation of a presumed truth. Other than having learned by my mistake, nothing was gained. I missed the target by a mile.
I suppose the first mistake I made was in not knowing that I was just as susceptible to error as the men and women I felt I no longer needed to hear. My own mind had a cunning way of sewing adamic thoughts, cherubim if you will, into the veil with those of Christ’s, that the stream of truth flowing through my earth could become muddied as well as with anyone else. I was sadly surprised when the small amount of word I had been receiving stopped altogether. If it had continued, I would have no doubt brewed an apothecary’s mixture. The very thing from which I tried to escape went with me into the wilderness to where I had fled. Try as I may, it was impossible to outdistance myself. I could not get away from my greatest and most deceptive enemy–myself.
Praise God, this deception lasted only a month or two before I knew what was happening. Since I had willingly severed myself from hearing God’s anointed men and women, God severed His word from me. Once I realized where the responsibility lay–which was in me and by the anointing of Christ–not only was I able to hear and receive from all the members of Christ’s Body, but that inner word began to flow again. It is now a true pleasure to hear the voice of my Father in every vessel of His wonderful body. It is good to know that those of His household are not useless utensils, but they all stand as vital parts in my life. Each one will help us all along if we let them. They are not here to slow us down, but to speed us up.
We have many hindrances in the land, this is sure, but most of them cannot compare to ourselves. Although this nation is killing our unborn babies on a massive scale, very similar to when Moses and Jesus were babies, we must know they are not our worst enemies. It is not the president, the liberals or conservatives; it is not drugs, alcohol, or the tobacco industry; it is not the misidentified antichrist, or the hoard of false prophets and teachers; it is not Babylon, nor is it the devil that is our worst enemy. Our worst and foremost enemy is OURSELVES. All those other factions are merely exterior fragments of the evil that is sufficient unto the day thereof. Matthew 6:34. And although greater is He that is in you than he or it that is in the world, there is still an enemy in us that is greater than the one in the world. Again, ourselves! We are deceived when we confuse our natural intellect with that of the rubbed in anointing that abides. Such subtlety takes the place of Christ, and when it rules instead of Christ, it is antichrist!
Gathering And Assembling
Since it is clear that no one can be an island unto themselves, that it is not just them alone with God who will save the world, and gathering themselves together with nominal churches is not the answer either. By doing so, they would most likely bring more division than union to the body of Christ. In their sincere, but sincerely misguided venture, rather than assembling, they can be disassembling themselves from Christ’s body. When they should be re-membering the body from whence they came, they are forgetting and dis-membering it. And please know that I am not suggesting that they should get involved with a home fellowship which can be no more than a microcosm of a large church that is steeped in error. I am saying to recognize the body of Christ and its members and not to refuse being in union or having true communion with them, and if there are none where you are, abide your time. Even when there is silence in heaven, and you are physically alone, the half hour will pass.
Most of those who call themselves Christians do not know the difference between assembling and gathering. The two words seem the same, but there is quite a difference. One is unto life and the other unto death. Ray Prinzing wrote in his book, Daily Overcoming Devotionals:
“‘There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen. The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it’ (Job 28:7-8).
“There is a path – it is a foreign highway to the vulture. A vulture is a bird that feeds upon dead bodies. Matthew 24:23-28, makes it clear that false christs and false prophets will arise, and people will be saying, go here, or go there, to feed upon their ministry. If it were possible they would deceive the very elect. But Jesus already warned us, ‘GO NOT FORTH’ and ‘BELIEVE IT NOT.’ Then He summed it up with the illuminating fact, ‘for wheresoever the carcass is (dead bodies), there will the eagles (the Greek text reads, VULTURES) be gathered together.’
“The vultures gather to feed upon the flesh of all these ministries. There is no stronger indictment to be made. The offerings are taken, the emotions are played upon, the soulish realm is stirred, but the inner spirit famishes for the want of FRESH MEAT OF HIS WORD, a divine revelation application for our NOW.
“But, there is a path, which the vulture’s eye hath not seen; it goes beyond the flesh, beyond the corruption of man, beyond the kingdom-building programs of the carnal. It is our desire to ever walk this ascending path, mounting up, growing into spiritual maturity, into the fullness of God, into that realm of which Jesus prayed, ‘Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, BE WITH ME WHERE I AM: THAT THEY MAY BEHOLD MY GLORY, WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME’ (John 17:24).
“Augustine said, Let Him who prayed, ‘that they may be with Me where I AM,’ fulfill that prayer.’ Full well this man knew that it was not in the power of his own flesh and self-works to enter into the state of being where it can be said, ‘I AM.’ Only Christ can bring us into this UNION with Himself, to become ONE IN HIM. There is a path, it is found in HIM WHO IS ‘The way, The Truth, and The Life’ (John 14:6).” — End quote. A good example of assembling unto life is the 120 at Pentecost. They were led together and met in one accord. It was then that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. We do not generally see this in church gatherings today. The Holy Spirit is really not welcome, and it is a rarity to see them as being in one accord. They may be in one accord concerning their church’s agenda, doctrines, decrees, picnics, and dogmas; but not being in one accord spiritually as on the day of Pentecost.
I do not believe we are wrong by saying that most church services are gatherings rather than assemblies. It is rare for everyone to be in one accord spiritually. For example, let us compare the many members of a congregation to an airplane that also has many members, or parts. Each member of the congregation and of the airplane serves its purpose that enables them to function efficiently. Paul said it this way: “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16.
With the plane, we can have all the parts of a new Boeing 747 gathered together in a pile on the assembly line, but yet to be assembled. Who of us would think to hop on that pile of new parts and expect to be flown to Timbuktu or anywhere else in the world. Even though there are no parts lacking, that heap of plastic and metal would be more akin to a junk-pile than a jet airliner. It could not be flown whatsoever. However, when all those parts are properly assembled, they are in one accord. It is then that it would be possible to fly safely anywhere in the world that has an adequate airport.
We all have bought gifts for our children, and the boxes they came in were full of parts with notices that read, “Some assembly required.” Well, dear gatherers, some assembly is required as well. We want to be portions of Christ’s manifested Body, this is good; but before the members can come forth and work, there is more to it than being gathered together, we must be assembled.
Since there are no meetings of like-minded people in their area, some think that they cannot be assembled with others. However, a collection of warm bodies are not necessary in order to assemble. It is just as possible when isolated, sometimes more so. Being in one mind and spirit is the crucial point, not the grouping of bodies together with minds that think on the same human parallel. It is not unusual for the brethren to be void of meetings of any kind; but this does not stop them from being assembled. Although they would choose to gather on a regular basis with like-minded believers, they do well being without it. They are satisfied when it is known that they fill their place and station in Christ’s Body while doing or not doing exactly what their Father bids. They may be physically detached from the Body, but they are spiritually connected. They may not be gathered with others, but they are assembled with them in Him.
Some may sit Sunday after Sunday in chapels and churches of 20 or so members, a 100 or more, or in cathedrals of 5,000 plus and not be assembled. Frankly, it would be remarkable if they were assembled. They sing in their choirs, teach Sunday-school classes, preach firebrand sermons, and still may not be assembled, only gathered. What a difference! Just being there does not constitute a true assembly. Yet, we have often heard, “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as some are.” They, of course, believe they are assembling themselves together by going to church, and assume that those who are not, but truly are assembled, must be forsaking that bidding word.
Those who are active in their churches may feel they are assembled, but this does not do it either. Men and women can be full of “good works” but totally void of the assembled Spirit and Godly works of Christ.
It is not uncommon to see people gather for special meetings. Wherever a revival, a convention, ingathering, or out-of-town guest is speaking, many are there to hear the anointed word of God. Very often, however, after being filled, they go away without having digested what was ministered. Therewith, they fail to put into practice or grow by that which was delivered. They are suspected of being gathered rather than assembled. It is good to attend these meetings, we love to do so when we can; but the purpose of coming together can be wrong. What is the motive? Is it to enrich our lives and grow in the Lord, or simply to eat and get religiously fat?
Our very dear friend, Bob Torango, gave this analogy about people who are hearers of the word only and do not bring it to fruition, or manifestation. In essence he said: They are like the one-celled amoeba, which is of the simplest life form. Their entire lives revolve around receiving but never giving. Never being full, they are on a relentless search of food, and more food.
Like the amoeba, they flow through the corporate Body of Christ, engulfing and consuming all they can. They may be eating a rich diet of the word, but they still may not be members of that body, and they are not necessarily assembled in it. There is more to being a manifested son of God than consuming and believing present-day truths. It is wonderful to believe God’s eternal truths. We have heard, however, that demons also believe, but it does them no good. James put it this way: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”James 2:19-20.
The apostle did not say that the devilsbelieve and embrace God’s truths, only that they believe there is one God. As for that, we know people who believe many things that we know to be true; but they are devils in the flesh.
We do well to have the believing parts of the body gathered with us in fellowship and spiritual meetings, yet without being assembled we can still be lacking. When we are not assembled, we are not necessarily in one accord, and if not, will be unable to manifest the cohesive substance of Christ. In addition, Paul did not say that creation was standing on tiptoe looking for a people with a new doctrine, or even the ‘right’ doctrine. The fact is, they couldn’t care less about a blueprint of Christ’s body, or detailed instructions of how it is supposed to work. Don’t you think that they want to see it in operation, rather than having the Owner’s manual being read to them?
As profound as Jesus’ words were about His impending death, His resurrection, and the totality of humanity’s reconciliation to Him, they could not be compared to the actual events and fulfillments. Likewise today, creation is not asking to be told about the appearing of the Sons of God. They are anxiously waiting to see it! Manifestation is their hope of being delivered from the bondage of corruption. Great sermons and doctrines are not the answers to their decay. It is good to know what God has planned for His creation; but that for which the world yearns is the substance to which the plan points. They do no care about being hypothetically or doctrinally saved–they want the reality of salvation, and that will be at the consummation of the assembling of Christ’s body.
All the members of humanity hunger and desire their portion from the banqueting table of the Lord. They cannot be filled by others reading a cook book to them, nor by reading the book themselves. People might drool over the pictures of succulent dishes in Martha Stewart’s cook book; but their appetites will not be sated until all the parts listed of the recipes are properly assembled and salted with fire.
People want a taste of reality. They are not looking for pseudo doctrines, or even true ones. It is not in their interest to have their souls excited by the latest revelation or to strengthening and confirm their religious beliefs. There is a groan deep within humanity. The world is crying out for deliverance. Subconsciously they are looking to see the Lord coming in His corporate body, the sons of God. The world is anxious for something far greater than a superficial church and sermons about flying away to heaven or the threats of everlasting damnation and hellfire for those who don’t join their ranks or lineup with their beliefs. They are weary of religious professions without possessions. They want nothing to do with such fluff and nonsense. They want to see the sons of God. They want to see the work of God’s hands, the ones who will sanctify His name and manifest His glorify. In turn they will seek after God for themselves.
They will never, however, see the work of God’s hands in people who do not take heed in how they hear. They who separate and seclude themselves from the body of Christ while saying: “We need not that any man teach us–we will hear directly from on high for ourselves,” will have little or nothing to offer anyone. Those who are not assembled, only gathered as the many parts of a jet airliner, will have no functioning part with the elect of God in His Kingdom. They who are pulled away by their deceived imaginations from the living body of Christ, along with those who are gathered in their churches, will surely be found wanting.
On the other hand, if you are hearing the voice of our Father, you are learning as you abide in that place to which you have been called. Many have heard Him saying to come out of mystery Babylon, and they did. As it had been with them, likewise with you. When you leave the confines of your church, you will be joined to the Lord’s body. Whether you find yourselves in a crowd or alone in the desert, be sure to know–you are God’s workmanship, and He will place you in the Body where you fit perfectly. 1 Corinthians 12:18. Furthermore, you will remain there for the appointed time, but not forgotten, and neither will you be guilty of forsaking the assembling of yourselves together. You will be assembled with those who will come forth as the manifested Sons of God!
“…Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” 1 Kings 8:27. Since King Solomon could not build a house that could contain God, then do we think that we can build one in which He would like to live? I think not! But in His assembled body, He is more than pleased to dwell throughout the ages, which is in you and me and all the others!
This is a tremendous day wherewith the mysteries are being taught by the anointing. They are impossible to describe in human terms; but they will be gloriously displayed by the sons of God for the whole world to see and then become partakers of that glory! What a much greater teacher, that of the anointing, than the soul of our old man whose days are numbered and coming to a swift close!
Therefore, look up dear anointed ones of the Lord. We are being assembled like the members in the valley of dry bones: After he prophesied the anointed words from God, there was a rattling noise from all across the valley, and a great assembly began to take place. The bones of each body came together and attached to each other as they once were. Then the muscles and flesh formed over the bones, and skin covered them; and they laid there with no breath (and in silence, perhaps for the space of half an hour). He then prophesied again the word of the Lord God saying: Come from the four winds, O Breath, O Spirit, and breathe upon these dead bodies, that they may live again. And as he had commanded the bodies began to breath; they lived and stood up–a very great army!Ezekiel 37:1-14 (Paraphrased).
You see, as long as those bones were only gathered in the valley, there was no life in them. They had nothing to give; but once assembled–they became a great army!
So gather in churches if you will. It could either be good, bad, or indifferent, depending on each gathering and the spirit of the people; but never again think that going to church is assembling yourselves together. And neither think that those outside the camp of churches are forsaking the assembling of themselves together. What a day!