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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 39

"Behold ... A Man" (continued)

Now, note that it was "the Spirit" Who was interpreting all this to Ezekiel; the Spirit was showing to Ezekiel something beyond Ezekiel's understanding. The New Testament teaches that by the Spirit, we have come into understanding of these things. The whole meaning of spiritual understanding is that we see what the Spirit has always meant. It is one of our laws of interpretation  that the whole Bible is focused in Christ, and that the work of the Holy Spirit in every dispensation relates to something finally on this earth, just for a time. The Eternal thought of God, and that is centered in Christ. So what we have in these chapters of Ezekiel is a symbolic representation of Christ and His Church.

Here in Ezekiel there are several preliminary points to notice. Firstly, Ezekiel's later visions are governed by the first vision of chapter one, at verse 28: "As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking." Now let us pass on to chapter 43, at verse 3: "And it was like the appearance of the vision which I saw, like the vision which I saw when He came to destroy the city. And the visions were like the vision which I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face." You see, that statement brings the vision of chapter one right over into this section, so that all we have said about the vision in chapter one, governs this new section. We cannot go back over all the details of that first vision, but I suggest that you take your outline of that first vision and bring it here before this section and see how every section of it applies to this particular part of the revelation. In a word, all this is governed by the Throne with the Man upon it. Therefore, we are again right in concluding that what follows is a representation of that Man on the Throne. In various ways, we shall come on that fact as we go along.

Now notice two governing factors here. They are represented by two words: one is "the glory," the other is "the Spirit." You put a line underneath those words, and then you come on another thing: "the glory and the Spirit." Carry that over into the New Testament, and you will find that the revelation of the Church in the New Testament comes by the Spirit on the ground of Christ Glorified. The beginning of everything is Christ Glorified on the Throne. That is where you begin the Book of Acts. The Spirit comes because Christ has been Glorified, and the Spirit's work is connected with the Church - the formation and the revelation of the Church, those things are quite clearly seen here: the vision of the glory, the Man Glorified on the Throne, the Spirit coming, and then the House of God being brought in.

"So He brought me there; and behold, there was a Man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze (brass), with a line of flax and a measuring rod in His hand; and He was standing in the gateway."

Here in this scripture, it is very difficult to separate the Man with the rod from the Spirit. If you read these words in chapter forty, you find it very difficult to make that separation. The Spirit is mentioned, the man with the measuring rod is mentioned, and then we find that a "he" is referred to. Who is that "he"?" Is it "the Spirit,  or is it "the man with the measuring rod?" That is not made clear, but as you read it, it looks as though they are the same. And I think in principle they are the same. The Man with the measuring rod is the Spirit; the Spirit relates to the Man with the measuring rod.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 40)

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