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Monday, July 7, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 13

The Persistent Energies of God Toward His End (continued)

The Prophet Was Given To See the Way (continued)

Now I am not suggesting that after this training course you go away for two years. But, you see, here is a principle. The Lord spoke to Ezekiel, and Ezekiel was silent for seven days. He could not go on with his ministry until he had spent those seven days thinking about what the Lord had shown to him. My point is that the Lord does NOT give us everything at once. He waits until we have really understood what He has said, and He waits until we have adjusted ourselves to that. We are touching a very important principle here - this matter of periods between revelations. So it was with Ezekiel, he had his quiet times. Not just an hour in the morning, but from time to time he was silent, he was saying nothing, he was alone with the Lord.

Then the second thing, these visions varied in their nature and not only in their time. So you have the various kinds of visions. We are not going to stay with these just now, we only mention them: there was the vision of the Throne; the vision of the valley of dry bones; the vision of the Lord's House; the vision of the great river; the vision of the land; the vision of the people in their inheritance; and, finally, the vision of the city.

Ezekiel Was Instructed By the Spirit

In the third place, the visions varied in method, and this is something we must stay with for a minute. The visions that came to Ezekiel came in two different ways. Firstly, they came in an objective way - things were presented to him in vision, he was like John on the isle of Patmos, he saw things in an objective way, but the visions were not always in that way. There was a second method by which the visions came to Ezekiel, and that method was by the instruction of the Spirit, and that was the larger method. Of course, these two methods were not always separate, but they do mark a distinction.

In our dispensation, the first method is very uncommon. Paul did have some visions and revelations in the first way, in 2 Corinthians 12, he said: "I will go on to visions and revelations ... I knew a man ... whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a man was caught up to the third heaven ... and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak." Well, that was the first method for Paul. He had those objective visions. The Apostle  John had the same, but these visions were the exceptional; and there are very few of us in this dispensation who have that kind of thing. Such visions usually belong to the beginning of things: the objective side usually related to beginnings.

Paul and the other apostles were laying the foundation for this whole dispensation. Therefore, they had the exceptional, and what we might call the abnormal, side of things. However, what is the normal way in this dispensation? It is the second method that the Lord employed with Ezekiel, which had to do with the development of the purpose of God. When you come to such a great thing as the House of God, and the inheritance, and the city, it is the Spirit Who is doing it all the time. You notice it is "The Spirit led me in, the Spirit sat me down, the Spirit took me out, the Spirit showed me." It is all the movement of the Spirit! That is the normal way for this dispensation. The Lord Jesus Himself said that would be the normal: "When He, the Spirit of truth, take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you." And the rest of the New Testament is along that line: the normal way is the Spirit teaching us all things.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 14 - "The Heavens Are Opened to Him")

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