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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 30

The Authority Is Invested In the Man on the Throne (continued)

The Spirit of Life in the Wheels (continued)

Now there are other parts of the New Testament which must be brought right into this section. You must read right into the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel the Letters to the Colossians and the Ephesian. Bring the first three chapters of the Letter to the Colossians into chapter one of Ezekiel; and then bring the first three chapters of Ephesians into the first chapter of Ezekiel. It is full of instruction, and those New Testament Letters will be the best exposition of Ezekiel one.

Note some of the main words in those chapters and some of the governing ideas. To begin with, take "creation." Can you call up at this moment the first chapter of the Letter to the Colossians. There is nothing in all the Bible like that chapter as to the place of the Lord Jesus in creation. It is a tremendous chapter on the matter of the relationship of Christ to creation and the creation to Christ.

You will remember what we have been saying about "the living ones" as representing the whole creation in heaven and on earth, and then the Throne is imposed upon that. That is exactly what you have in Colossians and Ephesians. Take the word "heavens" as in Ephesians. That is all very instructive to us. All of this has to do with the preparation of a servant for his ministry.

The Paradox of the Cross

Let us spend our last few minutes on this second thing, and it will only be a very little that I say about it. Chapter two of Ezekiel, verse 9, right through to chapter three, verse 14 has to do with the "roll". Ezekiel says that he saw a hand stretched out and in the hand was a roll and it was written on both sides with lamentations, mournings, and woes and a voice said, "eat the roll"; and when Ezekiel proceeded to eat the roll, he said it was sweet as honey in his mouth. In verse fourteen it says, "I went in the bitterness of my spirit" - sweetness in my mouth and bitterness in my spirit. This sounds very strange. Here is a roll written within and without with lamentations, mournings, and woes. How can that be sweet in anybody's mouth? And then as the prophet proceeded to fulfill his ministry, he said that he went in the bitterness of his spirit.

Here is a combination of sweetness and bitterness in ministry. What does that mean? How can we explain this? I think if I just quote one or two passages of Scripture it will explain the whole thing. Jesus is at the passover supper with His disciples. We know what His Mind was upon: It was upon the cup. Presently He will say, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." The cup was the cup of His suffering, the cup of His passion. It was a bitter cup. There is no doubt about that, and yet it says this: "He took the cup, and gave thanks." Here is a combination of two things, bitterness and thankfulness, suffering and glory. That is the paradox of the Cross.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 31)

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