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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 23

The Throne Is Moving In Relation to the Divine Purpose

We are still occupied with the preparations of the Lord's servant for his ministry, and we were considering the Throne above the firmament and the likeness of a Man upon it. As you will remember, we concluded by pointing out the importance to the servants of the Lord of seeing that Throne - what it means to the Lord's servants to recognize that there is a Throne, and that there is a Man upon that Throne. We passed on into the New Testament, and we saw that it was that that accounted for everything in the first days: they were able to sing and to pray and to preach and to suffer and to die because they knew the Man was on the Throne! So that part of the vision came first and was of very great importance to Ezekiel.

I think you know what the name Ezekiel means; but if you do not, let me tell you what it means: "God shall be my strength." And Ezekiel had to have vision and experience that made his own name true. All this that Ezekiel was seeing was just establishing the meaning of his own name, "God is my strength." We shall only have strength as we see the Man on the Throne! That is a very important thing for ministry.

So we come to the next part of "the visions of God" which were the preparation of the Lord's servant; that is, what was directly under the firmament. And the first part of this was "the four living ones," which are known to us as the cherubims. And, of course, we do recognize that these cherubims are symbols of spiritual things. And one thing about them is this - that in different places they are different in representation. For instance, here in Ezekiel they have four wings; in Isaiah, the have six wings. That is only to emphasize particular spiritual principles, and you will notice that there are other differences in the references to the cherubims. This means that at one time, in one place, certain things are emphasized. At another time, in another place, certain other things are emphasized. It is the spiritual principles which are to be taken note of; therefore, the cherubims are symbols of spiritual realities. The Bible right from the beginning to end is just full of symbolism - things taken up by God to teach spiritual truth.

Now then, we look at these "four living ones." First we take account of their number; their number is four. Everything about them speaks of the number four. Each one of the four has four likenesses, and there are four of them. They have four wings. Their characteristic number is four; and as you may know, four is the number of creation. If we want to cover all the dimensions of the creation, they are covered in the number four: north, south, east, and west cover the whole world. There are the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the Bible the four winds are referred to, four winds as coming from "the four corners of the earth" (Revelation 7:1). Now we know that the world is not square, it does not have four corners, but this is a symbolic way of speaking; "the four corners of the earth" means the whole world. It, therefore, represents the whole creation; it is the number of creation. Keep that in mind as we move on to the four likenesses of the cherubims.

You see, the cherubims had four likenesses: the likeness of a man, the likeness of a lion, the likeness of an ox, the likeness of an eagle; and those four are representative of four parts of the creation. The lion represents the wild creation, the ox represents the domestic creation, the eagle represents the flying creation, and the man represents the human creation. All creation is represented here.

But then, what is the spiritual symbolism? The lion is the symbol for royalty and government. The ox is the symbol of service and sacrifice. The eagle is the symbol of heavenliness and mystery. And the man is the symbol for representation. That is the spiritual symbolism.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 24)

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