KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
THE MAKING OF A PRIEST
The book of Revelation is without doubt one of the most important and wonderful books ever written. It is difficult for many people to understand because it is written in highly symbolic language, understandable only to the spiritual mind. When the book of Revelation was written, John was IN THE SPIRIT. This is a fact of supreme importance. The realm of the Spirit is a realm beyond the reach of the natural. Spiritual things are all about us to such an extent that we live and move and have our being in them, yet the natural man can never see them until the Spirit draws aside the dusky curtains of our carnality and opens our eyes to the realities of the spiritual world. Vivid imagery marks the book of Revelation. There are powerful representations of scenes both in heaven and on earth. The central scene is the THRONE OF GOD. All other things are related to the Throne. In his glorious vision the beloved apostle John saw this truth and describes in intense and picturesque language the majestic drama which passed before his vision. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven...and immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, A THRONE WAS SET IN HEAVEN, and One sat on the throne" (Rev. 4:1-2). "Behold, A THRONE!" This Throne is the very center of the universe. Not the physiographical - but the spiritual center! The Throne is a SYMBOL bespeaking that realm of God's absolute dominion and omnipotent power. The Throne is not a literal seat in some far-off heaven somewhere; it is the omnipresent dimension of God's sovereign authority and power In the book of Revelation all "heavenly things," that is, all SPIRITUAL REALITIES, are revealed in their relationship to the Throne of God. And while the Authorized Version states that "ONE sat upon the Throne," you will note that the word "One" in your Bible is in italics, meaning that the word does not appear in the Greek text but is supplied by the translators in an effort to clarify what they perceive to be the intent of the passage. And while it is true that there is ONE sitting upon the Throne, it is equally evident that that ONE is a CORPORATE BEING - a many-membered body! God is a God of corporateness. Christ is a Christ of corporateness. "For as the body is ONE, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, ARE ONE BODY: SO ALSO IS CHRIST" (I Cor. 12:12). While there is only one God and one Throne, yet the God of the Throne shall ultimately and eternally be manifested in corporateness through a vast company of His Sons who are themselves "the FULLNESS OF HIM that filleth all in all." God is a Spirit and he that is joined to the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT. Therefore, He who sits upon the Throne is One - but that One is a Corporate One even as Jesus says, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne" (Rev. 3:21). This is that eternal unity of the many-membered FAMILY OF GOD of which Jesus spoke when He said, "That they all may BE ONE as Thou, Father, art IN ME, and I IN THEE, that they also may be ONE IN US. And the glory which Thou gayest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect IN ONE" (Jn. 17:21-23).
THE FOUR BEASTS in addition to the beautiful description of the symbolic Throne with its effulgent glory, our attention is immediately directed to certain objects IN, BEFORE, and AROUND the Throne. Three different prepositions - three distinct relationships to the Throne. Everything in the whole book of Revelation is shown to be either IN, BEFORE or AROUND the Throne. In Rev. 4:6-8 four wonderful beasts are brought into view. "And before the Throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle The word "beasts" is an unfortunate translation, being necessarily associated in our minds with the brute creation and that which is typified thereby. It is not the Greek word THERION which in thirty-five instances in the book of Revelation is translated beast, meaning a "wild and ravenous beast," thus denoting an animal of ferocious disposition. It is, rather, the Greek word ZOON which signifies simply a "living creature" and is so translated in all modern translations of the Bible. In Revelation the word THERION is used as a type of the brutish and tyrannical kingdoms of THIS WORLD, ruled by the carnal, depraved, and vicious nature of unregenerated men. But the word ZOON means LIVING CREATURE, or A CREATURE EXPRESSING LIFE. How significant, then, that these four CREATURES OF LIFE are found "in the midst of the Throne" and "round about the Throne," occupying the central position in the Throne while emanating as a radiance out from the Throne. The picture is clear - these are in some way identified with, and representative of, "HIM that sits upon the Throne." A further key to their identity is found in Rev. 5:6 where we read, "And I beheld, and, lo, IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE...stood a LAMB as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." Ah, notice the divine parallel: "In the midst of the Throne...stood A LAMB" and "In the midst of the Throne...were FOUR LIVING CREATURES. In the midst of the Throne! The four "Living Creatures" are four manifestations of LIFE - the LIFE OF THE GOD OF THE THRONE! They are four representations of NATURE - the NATURE OF THE GOD OF THE THRONE! The four Living Creatures are four expressions of the NATURE OF THE DOMINION of the Throne. If you want to know what the God of the Throne is like, then take a look at the four Living Creatures in the midst of the Throne, for in them is manifest the attributes of the life of the God of the Throne. If you want to know the nature of the rule and power and dominion of the Throne, then understand the nature of the four Living Creatures in the midst of the Throne, for these embody within themselves the character of the dominion of the God of the Throne. But not only do they represent the life and nature of the God of the Throne; not only do they express the character of the dominion of the Throne - they likewise reveal the very life and nature and character of A-L-L WHO SHARE THE THRONE in union with the Christ! Ah, precious friend of mine, if you cherish the hope of the overcomer to "sit with HIM in His Throne," then all that the four Living Creatures represent must be wrought out in your life, their nature becoming your nature, for naught but the nature of the Lamb and of the four Living Creatures can stand "in the midst of the Throne. It is not my purpose in this Study to unfold the glories typified by the four Living Creatures, but merely to point out that they reveal the nature of the Throne, the realm of God's omnipotent power and sovereign dominion. They bespeak the position and ministry of KINGSHIP. God REIGNS! The Lamb REIGNS! The four Living Creatures REIGN! The Overcomers REIGN! All are IN THE THRONE! And if you would share that Throne as a KING, dear one, then the nature of God, which is the nature of the Lamb, which is the nature of the four Living Creatures, must become YOUR NATURE, too! "And...the four Living Creatures and four and twenty Elders...sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou west slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and nation; and hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:8-10).THE MULTITUDE "BEFORE'' THE THRONE After this I beheld, and, lo, a GREAT MULTITUDE, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood BEFORE THE THRONE, and BEFORE THE LAMB, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb. And one of the Elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me? These are they which came out of great tribulation (pressure) and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are BEFORE THE THRONE of God, and SERVE HIM day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth upon the Throne shall dwell among them" (Rev. 7:9-10, 13-15).This is the great company of the redeemed of all ages who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. But note their location relative to the Throne: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude which no man could number... stood BEFORE THE THRONE, and BEFORE THE LAMB." The four Living Creatures are IN THE THRONE - KINGS reigning with the Christ! But the great multitude is not in the Throne; it is "before" the Throne, "serving" Him who sits upon the Throne. These do not rule or reign, but they are redeemed, washed in the blood of the Lamb. These have been delivered out of the sin and death and travail of this present evil age, and receiving the life, joy, and victory of Christ's redemption are "servants" of God. These did not "grow up into Him in all things," they did not qualify for the HIGH CALLING of God as KINGS AND PRIESTS UPON HIS THRONE, but by His matchless grace they believe on Him and find their place "before" the Throne and "before" the Lamb and "He that sitteth upon the Throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore...for the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. 7:15-17). The great mass of Christians of all ages, and the multitudes yet to bow in humble submission and loving adoration before Him in the ages to come, belong to this great company. The imagery is drawn in allusion to the encampment of the children of Israel in the wilderness. God is represented as sitting upon His Throne in the Tabernacle of Moses, within the Most Holy Place. There "before" His Throne camped the tribes of Israel, three tribes on each side of the Tabernacle, and He that sat upon the Throne dwelt among them. Israel is used in many instances to typify the Church, the body of Christ. For instance, when they left Egyptian bondage, they were a type of God's children who hear His call to come out from the bestial spirit of this world and follow Him into His Kingdom. But while Israel is thus and in other ways used to represent the body of Christ, yet as we are now viewing it, in its relation to the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, it is a totally different type. In this setting the whole of Israel lay totally OUTSIDE of the Tabernacle, OUTSIDE of the place of sacrifice, OUTSIDE of the ministry of the priesthood, OUTSIDE of the presence and glory of God, separated by the white curtain of Christ's righteousness from all that lay within. Thus "the Camp" was separated from all holy things by the curtain of white linen surrounding the Tabernacle, . representing to those within a wall of righteousness by faith, but to those without a wall of unbelief which hindered their view of and access to the holy things within. Israel, in its relationship to the Tabernacle, represents the WHOLE WORLD OF LOST MEN who are outside of Christ, excluded from His promises, separated from His presence, barred from His glory, having no hope, and without God in the world. The "Outer Court" of the Tabernacle represents the condition of justification, entered through faith in Christ, the "gate." There was only one gateway into the Court, the type thus testifying that there is but one way of access to God - one "gate" - Jesus. "I am the way...no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." "I am the door by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved" (Jn. 14:6; 10:9). It was at this gate that the air-offering was slain, and it was on behalf of the WHOLE CAMP that the blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat of God' 8 Throne in the Moat Holy Place on the day of Atonement. The Camp of Israel represents, on one hand, the whole world of lost mankind and, on the other hand, the great multitude of the redeemed which no man can number that stands "before" the Throne and "before" the Lamb, "serving" God. Someone will surely inquire, "How can the same Camp represent both the lost world and the redeemed saints?" Simple! We were all sinners before we became saints. J. Preston Eby was once a sinner; now he is redeemed: the same man, but transformed into a new state of being, with a new relationship to God. The "Camp" before the Tabernacle-Throne typifies the world outside of God, but drawing nigh unto God, receiving the gift of life, becoming the people of God. "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling THE WORLD unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them" (II Cor. 5:19). "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph. 2:13).THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS And ROUND ABOUT THE THRONE were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads CROWNS of gold" (Rev. 4:4). "Twenty-four other thrones SURROUNDED THE THRONE and seated on these thrones were twenty-four Elders, arrayed in white clothing, with Crowns of Gold upon their heads" (Amplified).The twenty-four Elders bear-a special signification for they are represented as distinct from both the four Living Creatures "in the midst" of the Throne and the great multitude "before" the Throne. These Elders occupy a unique position described as "round about" the Throne - yet UPON THRONES! In order to fully appreciate the scenery here drawn by the Spirit we need to go back and examine one particular of the order established by God among the people of Israel after they came up out of the land of Egypt. It is important that we get a clear idea, not only of the structure of the Tabernacle of Moses, but also of the arrangement of both the people and the priesthood in relation to it. Below I give you a diagram of that arrangement
In this arrangement we see the same typical picture, under different symbols, as that presented to us in chapters four and five of Revelation. The Most Holy Place was the abode of the God of Israel among His people. When the Tabernacle was set up as described in Exodus chapter forty, then the Shekinah, the Cloud of God's Presence, covered the Tent of the Congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. It is interesting to observe that while the Cloud of God's Presence rested upon the entire Tabernacle complex, the glory of the Lord "FILLED the TABERNACLE," thus designating the Sanctuary Place as the DWELLING PLACE or the TABERNACLE OF GOD. Later God said to Moses, "Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the Holy Place within the veil before the mercy seat. that he die not: for I WILL APPEAR IN THE CLOUD UPON THE MERCY Seat" (Lev. 16:2). Isaiah rectified, "O Lord-of Hosts, God of Israel,. that DWELLEST BETWEEN THE CHERUBIM, Thou art God" (Isa. 37:16). God was IN the Cloud, He APPEARED in the Cloud, He SPOKE out of the Cloud, He LED Israel by the Cloud, and in the Cloud He DWELT IN THE HOLY PLACE. Thus, the Tabernacle was in very fact GOD'S THRONE among Israel from which HE RILED OVER THEM! The Most Holy Place is, then, an earthly picture of the Throne of God - the realm of God's manifestation in power and dominion. The Most Holy Place prefigured CHRIST THE KING together with all those holy Sons of God who reign with Him. It is the glory of KINGSHIP. Armed with the understanding that the Tabernacle constituted God's Throne among His people, let us remember that there is "before" that Throne a "great multitude" of people receiving the blessings and benefits of His Kingdom ministered through the typical sacrifices and ritual of the Tabernacle service. As you will note in the diagram, the arrangement of the Tabernacle, the Priesthood, and Camp of Israel into three distinct divisions, sets forth the three-fold economy of God in His redemptive processes. The Tabernacle is the dwelling place of God - His Throne, His sphere of activity, the center of His power and glory. The Camp of Israel, the great multitude "before" the Throne, is the whole world of mankind outside of God, estranged from the life that is in Him. But there is a third company - the CAMP OF THE PRIESTS - situated, as it were, "round about the Throne," directly BETWEEN the "Throne" and the "great multitude" The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ''The Israelites shall encamp each by his own tribal standard or banner, with the ensign of their fathers' houses, opposite the Tent of Meeting and facing it on every side. Then the Tent of Meeting shall set out, with the CAMP OF THE LEVITES IN THE MIDST OF THE CAMPS" (Num. 2:1,17. Divine infinite purpose lies behind this whole arrangement and the moment the wonderful significance of this dawns upon your spiritual understanding, you will see that God has placed a PRIESTHOOD COMPANY between Himself and the world of mankind! A priest or priesthood infers that there is a reason why such has been called into play. It denotes that there is an estrangement between God and His creatures and the priest ministers to bridge that gulf and bring about peace and at-one-ment. As I have explained in a previous article, Webster's dictionary defines priest as: A mediatory agent BETWEEN God and man. In the Old Testament the word priest is translated from the Hebrew word COHEN, the root meaning of which is "one who stands up and draws nigh for another." The Greek word, in its root, means "to minister." Thus, a priest is one who "draws near and ministers on behalf of another." And the priest always draws nigh and ministers in TWO DIRECTIONS - drawing nigh to God on behalf of the people and drawing nigh to the people on behalf of God. The priest STANDS BETWEEN. He reaches forth with one hand and takes hold of God; he reaches out with the other hand and takes hold of humanity; and brings the two together by virtue of his priestly ministration. This great truth reveals why God placed the Camp of the Priests directly BETWEEN Himself and the people of Israel. It should be clear to every thinking mind that the Priesthood camped "round about" the Tabernacle corresponds precisely to the twenty four Elders seated "round about" the Throne in Revelation chapter four. You will re member the account in I Chronicles twenty-four of how, under David, the Levitical Priesthood was divided into TWENTY-FOUR COURSES under the headship of TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS. The twenty-four courses or orders of the Priesthood were chosen by families according to the twenty-four grandsons of Aaron the High Priest. Each course was named for one of these twenty-four grandsons and the male descendants of each grandson constituted one of the twenty-four courses throughout their generations. We are inclined to lightly pass over many profound statements of Holy Scripture. The Priesthood wee divided into twenty-four orders for this stated purpose: "This was their order for coming on duty to serve in the house of the Lord, according to the procedure ordered for them by their forefather Aaron, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him" (I Chron. 24:19, Amplified).The Priesthood numbered thousands. Of course, all those priests could not go into the temple at one time, so they were divided into courses and assigned to work shifts, each "course" of Priests and Levites came on duty for a week, from one Sabbath to another. When a "course" was on duty, all its members were bound to appear in the temple, and the service of the week was subdivided among the various families which constituted a "course." The point I wish to emphasize here is this: It took all twenty-four courses to MAKE UP THE ENTIRE PRIESTHOOD OF GOD! As the Father unfolds these truths to the inner man, we become convinced that as the four Living Creatures "in the midst of the Throne" reveal the glory of KINGSHIP, so the twenty-four Elders "round about the Throne" reveal the glory of PRIESTHOOD. KINGS AND PRIESTS! A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS! PRIESTS THAT SIT UPON THRONES! REIGNING PRIESTS! This is the great truth revealed in the four Living Creatures and the twenty-four Elders. John the Revelator summed up in three short verses the wonderful truth of which I now write: "And when He had taken the book, the FOUR BEASTS and FOUR AND TWENTY ELDERS fell down before the Lamb, every one of them having harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints. And THEY (the four Living Creatures and the twenty-four Elders) sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou west slain, and hast redeemed US to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast MADE US unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:8-10).The four Living Creatures - KINGS! The twenty-four Elders - PRIESTS! Together they bow low before the great King of kings and High Priest of the heavens, intoning this NEW SONG - "Thou hast MADE US unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall REIGN over the earth!" Ah, beloved, those are not mere words God's meaning of a "song" is "message; revelation." All songs are meant to convey a message. Man calls anything a song, any weird beat, any unnatural accents, any harmonic dissonance, any melodic discord, the ba-ba-bu of the jungle and the raucous racket of rock music is merchandised as a song. A "new song" in spiritual language means a NEW REVELATION, a NEW MESSAGE, a NEW EXPERIENCE in God. A new song is born when men experience the inworking of a new message, the message and the messenger so becoming one until the messenger BECOMES THE MESSAGE. I am reminded of Cartwright, the backwoods preacher of a past century, who used to sing a hymn as he went through the woods: "No foot of land do I possess. No cottage in the wilderness; and one day a man presented Cartwright with a cottage and a piece of ground, and he went on his way singing: No foot of land do I possess, No cottage in the wilderness; and he stopped and said, "Joseph Cartwright, that is a lie; you have got a cottage and land; YOU CANNOT SING THAT HYMN!" Every time the Spirit of God unfolds new dimensions of truth to our hearts, effecting further transformations into His image, and the fulfilling of His will in our lives, a NEW SONG is born. The old song wee good and true in its time, but we can sing the old song no more, for a new day has dawned, a new glory has arisen, a new reality is birthed within, praise His name God is even now preparing a people, overcomers, a Royal Priesthood, a Kingdom of Priests, and while the Church world continues on with its time-honored traditions and childish delusions, singing about cabins in the corner and mansions over the hill-top, a people is arising in the earth with a new and wonderful vision - to become Kings and Priests unto God their hearts vibrating with the melodious strains of a NEW SONG, the song of a people with a purpose, a company gathered out of all generations, joined unto the Christ, which in due time shall be led forth to be the manifest expression of His image, character, and nature, the revelation of His power and glory, with an outflow of His life and light and love for all mankind. For these the whole creation groans, and they are in the process of preparation, BEING MADE, in the skillful hands of the Great Potter, a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS. God knows every detail of His plan for His Kings and Priests, and precisely the work to be wrought upon each one to conform them unto His own priestly heart. Ah, those who receive THIS CALL, who cherish THIS VISION, being motivated by THIS HOPE, indeed sing a NEW SONG which can be learnt by none but those apprehended ones, the firstfruits of His redemption. This is the ineffable, preeminent Song; ineffable because it strikes a chord, the vibration of which cannot be discerned by the carnal man; preeminent because it is the Song of the Lamb that stands in the midst of the Throne, the King of kings and the High Priest of OUR PROFESSION, who in all things has preeminence! THOU HAS MADE US PRIESTS "Thou...hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and has MADE US unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS" (Rev. 5:9-10). This passage is one of rare beauty. It is like a precious diamond, the effulgence of whose radiance dazzles the mind. It is a drop of pure distilled essence, whose fragrance fills the rooms of the heart of every man and woman who has received the call to sonship. It is a joy forevermore and a challenge to all who comprehend its message. It must be engraved deeply upon every heart of God's Royal Priesthood. It exalts and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. "THOU hast MADE US!" THOU ! There is so much depth to that text that I am afraid that we often do not perceive it. It is like a beautiful star-studded sky on a bright clear night and one cannot even begin to grasp the vast depth that lies above us. So it is with these marvelous words: "Thou hast MADE US TO BE KINGS AND PRIESTS!" Can you say that? As we plumb its depths a little more I hope that you will ask yourself the question more carefully, "Am I being MADE a PRIEST unto God? Is the process of transformation into the priestly nature taking place in my life?" My deepest desire for you, dear one, is that you will come to be able to experientially say these words: "Jesus Christ is MAKING ME A PRIEST!" Not in the sweet bye and bye - but HERE AND NOW! A great and important truth is contained in that declaration, and one which most Christians deny. Theoretically all Christians believe that in a sense "we are God's workmanship," but in practice most of them deny it by all their self-effort to MAKE THEMSELVES. In other words, most Christians live as though the responsibility of their own development and perfection rested entirely upon themselves. My earnest prayer is that the blessed Holy Spirit will help us to understand this most absolute and literal truth: We do not have anything to do with our own "becoming" excepting to "yield ourselves unto God" (Rom. 6:13). Listen: "THOU hast redeemed us by Thy blood ...THOU hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests." THOU! Oh God! the work will surely be done, and done well, for it is Thou that doest it. Jesus, the High Priest of our profession, does His work WITHIN US. He imparts of His own life, power, and ministry. We cannot have the priesthood in full power except as the power of HIS LIFE is fully inworked in us. If we begin to understand that, then we shall see what is meant by the fact that we are called to be priests, because we have the very life of the HIGH PRIEST in us - not only imputed, but the High Priest Himself dwelling powerfully within us and working effectually through us, praise His wonderful name! The quality and power of this indwelling life of Christ is spoken of in Heb. 7:15-17. "And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. For He testifieth, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." The wonderful priesthood of Jesus is after the power of an ENDLESS life. We now come to what is implied by the word "endless." This is the Greek word AKATALUTOS meaning indissoluble or permanent. The power of an endless life is the power of an indestructible life - eternal life. To understand what kind of life this is we must connect it to God, the eternal One. Eternity is an attribute of God and His divine life and has its true existence only in fellowship with God's life which is the life of eternity.These precious words are the key to the life of Sonship! Jesus lives in the Spirit as High Priest in THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. And as He lives, so He works in that power. Each work He works within us He is able to do in the power of an endless life. What He works within us is INDESTRUCTIBLE. He works it within Us AS A LIFE, as our own life, so that it becomes our very nature to delight in God and do His WILL. He is not a Priest-in the House of God in some far-off heaven somewhere, but a Priest in the House of God WHICH WE ARE. His Priesthood acts as an inner life within us, lifting us up, not in theory or thought, but in Spirit and in Truth, into a vital knowing of God. He breathes His own life in us. And He works it in as THE POWER OF LIFE, a life that is pure and holy, full of vitality and strength, unchangeable and indestructible, because it is HIS LIFE. The sole object of this indwelling and inworking life is that God may reveal His Son in us in all His beauty and glory and power a Priesthood to minister Himself to His creation. However clearly we see by the eye of revelation and faith the truth of this realm of Kingship and Priesthood, however earnestly we desire it, however firmly we think we grasp it by faith, all will not avail - GOD HIMSELF MUST DO IT! God Himself must admit us to His presence, and make His face to shine upon us. And as the path to Priest. hood, God Himself must write His law in our hearts, give us the new divine nature in such power of the Holy Spirit, that it is HE that works WITHIN US both to will and to do. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so shed abroad His love in our hearts, that to love becomes as natural to us as it is for the dove to be gentle. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so fill us with the nature of righteousness that to be righteous becomes as natural to us as breathing. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so clothe us with the mind of Christ, that to think the thoughts of God becomes as natural to us as are the self-serving thoughts and desires of the unregenerated man. God Himself must by the Holy Ghost so make us vessels of mercy that to be merciful becomes as natural to us as the emotions of anger and retaliation are to the carnal nature. Consider, dear brother, sister, is it not GOD HIMSELF who has faithfully directed all your steps, who has initiated every circumstance of your life, who has given sight to your poor blind eyes and caused you to behold the majesty of HIS PURPOSE? Is it not GOD HIMSELF who has led you out of the blinding traditions and enslaving bondage of Babylonian religion, and nurtured you and brought you to the place in which you stand in the Christ today? I do not hesitate to say that no more than you can SAVE YOURSELF can you MAKE YOURSELF an over comer, BRING YOURSELF to perfection, or OF YOURSELF apprehend the beautiful ministry of Priesthood unto God. What man by taking thought can add a cubit to his stature, Jesus asked. What part by self-effort does a man take in accretion, in digestion of food, in the reflex actions of the body? Men need only reflect on the automatic processes of their natural body to discover that this is the universal Law of Life. What does any man consciously do, for instance, in the matter of breathing? What part does he take in the circulating of the blood, in keeping up the rhythm of his heart? What control has he over growth or the physiological change a producing maturity? What man ever came into the world by 0a own will? In point of fact man is born by the will of another, every organ of his body GIVEN HIM, every function arranged for him, brain and nerve, thought and sensation, will and conscience, all provided for him ready made. And yet he turns to his spiritual life AND WISHES TO ORGANIZE THAT HIMSELF! Oh preposterous and vain man, thou who couldest not make a finger nail of thy body, thinkest thou to fashion this wonderful, mysterious, subtle soul of shine after the ineffable Image? Wilt thou ever permit thyself TO BE conformed to the Image of the Son? Wilt thou, who canst not add a cubit to thy stature, submit TO BE raised by the Divine Life within thee to the perfect stature of the Christ? Ah, it is truer "THOU HAS MADE US to be Kings and Priests unto God: and we shall reign over the earth." All of us have this treasure in earthen vessels, and we are continually being changed from glory to glory. For years God had put me on His potter's wheel and made me a certain shape. For years I was an evangelist and, whenever the Lord wanted to move in the soul-saving, evangelistic realm, I was right there. No problem at all. I was in the evangelistic shape. My whole mind was conformed to that ministry, my whole thought, everything. All about me was conformed to that. But if God wanted to move any other way through me, He could not. That was my shape. If He came in that shape I said, "Come, Lord Jesus." If He came in another shape I couldn't handle that, so I said, "Go, Lord Jesus." Most of us have had a certain shape and we have been hardened to that. The only way the Lord could appear to us and appear in us and appear through us, would be in that form. It has been the "Baptist" form, the "Pentecostal" form, or the "Charismatic" form. It has been the "evangelistic" form, the "apostolic" form, the "divine order" form, the "healing" form, the "deliverance" form, the "miracles" form, the "tongues-speaking" form, the "prophesying" form, or a hundred other forms. But the highest glory of the ministry of Christ is embodied in these two wonderful Offices: KING and PRIEST. He is indeed "the King eternal" and "a Priest forever" after the order of Melchizedek. And while we truly praise God for all the manifestations and ministries of this present "in part" realm, so graciously bestowed, yet our hearts cry out mightily for a GREATER REALITY and a HIGHER MINISTRY for the blessing and deliverance of the groaning creation. Our deepest desire is that He may so thoroughly transform us into HIS IMAGE, so completely CHANGE OUR SHAPE until we fully BECOME all that Kingship and Priesthood mean. A friend has so beautifully written of this truth "Kings and priests - the magnitude of this calling is far beyond the outreach of the natural mind, how God shall receive into Himself a people through whom He shall execute His judgments and His mercies. A people that shall 'rule with a rod of iron,' and yet shall 'comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness' (Isa. 61:3). Although there are those who would dare to presume to announce 'themselves' as Kings and Priests today, that they might usurp control over the people, and exalt themselves above measure, we are firmly persuaded that 'no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God' (Heb. 5:4). HE THAT IS CALLED OF GOD - that is the qualifying statement, for whom God apprehends He also thoroughly disciplines and purifies, yea, 'whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth' (Heb. 12:6). For 'a pupil is not superior to his teacher, but every one WHEN HE IS COMPLETELY TRAINED, READJUSTED, RESTORED, SET TO RIGHTS AND PERFECTED will be like his teacher' (Lk. 6:40, Amplified)."In many of its aspects 'haste' is a mark of immaturity. To those who are now becoming spiritually mature, there is also an undergirding of knowledge that 'to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose...' (Eccl. 3:1), and they desire to only move in GOD'S TIMING, not to rush ahead in a final outburst of 'self-promotion' to claim to be this, or that. When the vision seems to tarry, we can well afford to 'wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry' (Hab. 2:3). At the Father's appointed time He will fully manifest His own - placing them in the position for which He has been preparing them.
"That the preparation process has been extreme, its requirements to the UTTERMOST, is readily seen as most necessary in view of the tremendous calling to be realized. This is not a position to be filled by a novice, one that is undeveloped, untrained, one that is still of a 'double mind' - torn between his own will and the will of God. The challenge of the calling is such that it demands complete conformity to HIS DEATH, ere we are to partake of His more abundant life, and to be able to freely give that life to others. TO HIM THAT OVERCOMETH, to him that has gained the victory 'will I grant to sit-with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne' (Rev. 3:21). Yes, in the making of kings and priests through whom to administer the affairs of His Kingdom, HE has carefully selected His vessels, and is now processing them by means that stagger the imagination-with their intensity and scope. But God shall not be satisfied with an 'inferior product,' hence the transformation must penetrate into every fiber of our being, until the whole becomes A NEW CREATION in Christ Jesus. When God quickens these revelations to our spirit, deep inside, even if the flesh would like to cast it aside, this quickened truth doesn't let go of you. You say, 'It cannot be for me, I'll never qualify.' But that does not change it at all. For the gifts and the callings of God are without a change of mind on God's part. He knows exactly where He will bring you, the exact route to get you there, and it matters not how devastating it seems betimes. Be assured that God is bringing you by the easiest route possible for Him to fulfill His purpose in you. HE maintains the proper pressure, the exact heat of the fiery trial, and the length of time for its processing. But He will not allow you to be tested beyond that which you are able to bear. He will press you to the far limit to accomplish that for which He has apprehended you. In ourselves we are not sufficient for these things, 'but our sufficiency is of God, Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit' (II Cor. 3:5-6). The CHRIST WITHIN is equal to it all, so we cast all our cares upon Him, while He brings us through to ultimate victory. 'Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it' (I Thes. 5:24)" - end quote. For years we thought that the manifestation of the Sons of God would be the manifestation of what some people could do - raising the dead, emptying out the hospitals, asylums, and so on. John said, "These are written that Jesus IS" - not Jesus HAS, or Jesus CAN DO - "Jesus IS the Son of the living God; and that believing ye might have life through His name" (Jn. 20:31). He IS a wonderful Saviour, Healer, Baptizer, and HAS all power and can DO anything. But it is not only what Jesus HAS, nor what Jesus can DO. "That ye might believe that Jesus IS!" If you believe and confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, WHO HE IS, you will be saved. We are not changed one iota by believing what Jesus HAS, or what Jesus can DO. The power is in WHO AND WHAT HE IS. The unveiling of the Sons of God is not the revelation of some people that can DO something. No, it is the unveiling of some people that have BECOME something. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to BECOME the sons of God" (Jn. 1:12). "Thou hast MADE US unto our God Kings and Priests." If Jesus IS who He IS, then certainly He can DO all things, but the doing is incidental, merely a by-product of the BEING. If you are BECOMING what HE IS, the signs will follow automatically, you cannot help it. But we are not following signs. We are "following on to KNOW THE LORD." Our hearts are set on HIM. We are not becoming occupied with ourselves, we are occupied with what He has said that He would MAKE US, for HIS sake. "This people have I formed FOR MYSELF." "Ye shall be UNTO ME a Kingdom of Priests." When the light of God comes and shines into your heart, you become a light. When you feed on the Bread of heaven, you become living bread. When you drink of the water of the Spirit, out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. You are what you eat, and if you are feeding on Him, you become like Him, being changed into whatsoever HE IS. If you still have any self-consciousness, you are in trouble. Jesus had no self-consciousness. When He read that Scripture' "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me," He did not say, "But I cannot see how it could be Me, being born in a stable, My mother being reproached, and all that." "He has anointed Me to preach." "But I do not understand it, not being of the tribe of Levi, and never having attended the seminary." "He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives." "But I have no college degree, and everybody knows that no good thing can come out of Nazareth however the Bible says it, I believe it, and that makes it true!" That would be the mark of a false prophet, false to Him that sent him, presumptuously claiming a dead letter Scripture with no quickening of the Spirit, appearing as an angel of light, as a minister of righteousness, but with all kinds of apologies: "I am not much" - all taken up with self! Once God has you, it is up to Him to MAKE YOU whatever He desires you to be. He can make the vessel as it pleases Him. If He wishes to make you a healer, that is not your business. If He wants to make you an evangelist, or a deliverer, or a teacher, or a King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek, let Him MAKE YOU whatever He wants to make you! And when the revelation of His calling bursts within your bosom, embrace the calling with all that is within you, yielding to all the processings necessary to bring it to pass. Do not drown the high purposes of God in a flood of false humility. Set your face as a flint, turn neither to the right hand nor the left, consider not your own weakness, faults, inability or insufficiency, for YOUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD! HE WILL MAKE YOU! And there must be no other-people consciousness, being occupied with what other people think. The only thing that matters is that you have the thoughts of God and do the will of your Father. "We have the mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2:16). Those who cherish the hope of sonship are no longer people-conscious. We are no longer world-conscious. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who...made Himself of no reputation" (Phil. 2:5-8). When you have no reputation, what does it matter what anybody thinks? Whether they think good or bad does not make any difference. God wants a people in whom the mind of Christ is so fully formed, that all they have is a GOD CONSCIOUSNESS. So He has made us Kings? That is His business. All glory be to Him! He has made us Lords? All glory be to Him! He has made us sit in heavenly places? All glory be to Him! He has made us Priests? All glory be to Him! He has made us Saviours? All glory be to Him! For so many years we have sold ourselves short, thinking, "God will be lucky, when the trumpet blows, if three of us are ready." For such a long, long time we have glamorized everything else but the name of the Lord. God must have a people today who do not care one whit whether they were born in a stable or raised in Nazareth, or have any natural abilities whatever according to this world's standards - a people who are walking in fellowship with Him, a people who are living in such total yieldedness to Him that whatever He wants to make them, He car make them. However He wants to reveal Himself, He can do it. Whatever He wants to accomplish through them, He can do it. Do you see how this takes all the strain out or us? If you are a King and a Priest, if He gives you authority over all the power of the enemy, if He says, "Whosoever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins you retain, they are retained," if the full authority and His own life is manifested in you because HE is manifested, then you can go into a city and they bring out a dead boy and you stop the procession and say: "Young man, arise!" and when he arises you can hand him back to his mother and keep going about the Father's business without a picture for the magazine and without taking up an offering. What was the secret of Jesus' ministry? He could perform any miracle and walk away from it. The miracle was incidental. Raising the dead, feeding the multitude, or preaching a sermon, all was incidental, He never tried to learn how to raise the dead or perform a miracle, He sought only to KNOW THE FATHER AND DO HIS WILL. When He rode into Jerusalem His mind was taken up with the Father, NOT WITH THE HOSANNAHS. And when they crucified Him He paid no attention whatsoever. God is preparing a people who will pay no attention to anything but the WILL OF THE FATHER, If men say, "You are wonderful," that is God, and if they say, "You are a devil," it is also God. If the crowd cries, "Hosanna!" you will be unaffected, no inflating of the ego, and if they crucify you, you will be unaffected, with no retaliation, no claiming of your rights. SONS are not interested in anything but the Father's will - the manifestation of His glory, the outworking of His purpose. God will have a body through the earth in these days, a people walking in God terrible as an army with banners - whose only purpose is that the Father may be glorified, a people formed for Himself, through whom He can reveal and manifest Himself in all His wonderful fullness. Oh, beloved, come, let us now open our hearts wide to Him. Come, and as we gaze upon this glorious ministry and its life-flow unto all the peoples of the earth, let us yield ourselves unto God that He may work HIS WONDROUS WORK in our lives, bringing us into such union with Jesus, the HIGH PRIEST of our profession, that we BECOME in nature and power His ROYAL PRIESTHOOD in the earth! May God grant it in these days.
To be continued...
Table of Contents
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
All writings are distributed on a free-will basis.
(Brother Eby does not have e-mail service)