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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Exact Conformity to God's Thoughts

And then there is the third thing we find connected with this anointing. It is that to which we have already referred in general - "exactness."

The anointing brings about that "first-hand touch with God", which means seeing God face to face. Was it not that that was the summing up of Moses life? "There hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face" (Deut. 34:10). And when that happens you come into the place of direct spiritual knowledge of God, direct touch with God, the place of the open heaven - you cannot, under any consideration, for any advantage at all, be a person who compromises, who deviates from what has been shown to your heart.

What is it that the Apostle says about Moses? "Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant" (Hebrews 3:5); and the faithfulness of Moses is seen particularly and largely in the way in which he was governed exactly by what God said. You know those later chapters of the Book of Exodus, bringing everything back again to the word, again and again and again, "as the Lord commanded Moses". Everything was done as God said; through the whole system which Moses was raised up to constitute and establish, he was exact to a detail. We know why, of course; and here is that great, that grand, comprehensive explanation of what I said just now about principles. God has Christ in view all the time, in every detail, and that system that Moses instituted was a representation of Christ t a fraction; and so it was necessary that in every detail he should be exact. It is a difficult, costly way, but you cannot have revelation, and go on in revelation, and at the same time compromise over details and have things at any point other than exactly as the Lord wants them. You are not governed by diplomacy or policy or public opinion. You are governed by what the Lord has said in your heart by revelation as to His purpose. That is prophetic ministry.

Prophets were not men who accommodated themselves to anything that was comparative in its goodness. They never let themselves go wholly if the thing was only comparatively good. Look at Jeremiah. There was a day in Jeremiah's life when a good king did seek to recover things, and he did institute a great feast of the Passover, and the people did come up in their crowds for the celebration of that Passover, and it was a great occasion apparently. They were doing great things there in Jerusalem, but with all that was going on which was good, confessedly good, Jeremiah did not let himself go. He had a reservation, and he was right. It was seen afterward that this thing was very largely outward, that the real heart of the people had not changed, the high places were not taken away, and Jeremiah's original prophecy had to stand. If the apparent reformation had been the true thing, then Jeremiah's prophecies about the captivity, the destruction of the city, the complete handing over to judgment, would have gone for nothing. Jeremiah held back. He may not have understood, he may have been in perplexity about it, but his heart would not allow him to go wholly with this comparatively good thing. He found out the reason why afterward - that, although it was good up to a point, it did not represent a deep heart change, and so the judgment had to be.

The prophet cannot accept as full and final what is only comparative, though he rejoices in the measure of good that there may be anywhere. We should, of course, be generous to any little bit of good that is in the world - let us be grateful for anything that is right and true and of God; but oh! we cannot say that is altogether satisfying to the Lord, that is all that the Lord wants. No, this prophetic ministry is one of utter faithfulness to the thoughts of God. It is a ministry of exactness. That is what the anointing means, and we have said why - it is a "full" Christ Who is in view.

That last statement in Revelation 19:10 sums it all up. It gathers up into one sentence prophetic ministry from the beginning. I suppose prophetic ministry commenced in the day when it was stated of the seed of the woman that it should bruise the head of the serpent, and then passed on to Enoch, who prophesied saying, "Behold, the Lord came ..." (Jude 14), and so right on from then. It is all gathered up at the end of the Revelation in this thought, that "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." That is, the spirit of prophecy from beginning to end is all toward that - the testimony of Jesus. The spirit of prophecy has always had Him in view from its first utterance - the seed of the woman" - to "Behold, the Lord came" (and how beginning and end are brought together so early on!). All the way through it was always with the Lord Jesus in view, and a "full" Christ. "He gave ... prophets ... till we all attain unto ... the fullness of Christ." That is the end, and God can never be satisfied with anything less than the fullness of His Son as represented by the Church. The Church is to be the fullness of Him; a full-grown Man - that is the Church. The prophetic ministry is unto that - the fullness of Christ, the finality of Christ, the all-inclusiveness of Christ. It is to be Christ, center and circumference; Christ, first and last; Christ in general and Christ in every detail. And to see Christ by revelation means that you can never accept anything less or other. You have seen, and that has settled it. The way to reach God's end, then, is "seeing" by the Holy Spirit, and that seeing is the basis of this prophetic ministry.

I think that that perhaps is enough to show what I said earlier, that if we see the nature of the ministry, we at once see what the vessel is. The vessel may be individuals fulfilling such a ministry, or it may be collective. Later we may say something more about the vessel, but let us not now thing technically, in terms of apostles and prophets and so on, as offices. Let us think of them as vital "functions." God is concerned that he man and the function are identical, not the man and a professional or official position with a title, whatever the title may be. The vessel must be that, and that must justify the vessel. We will not go about advertising ourselves as prophets; but God grant that there may be raised up a prophetic ministry for a time like this, when His whole purpose concerning His  is brought back into view among His people. That is their need, and it is His.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 1 - "The Making of a Prophet")

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