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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 40

"Behold ... A Man" (continued)

Perhaps we could understand that if we took just a look at the first chapter of the Book of Revelation. John there said: "I was in the Spirit ... and I saw." What did he see? He saw a Man with a measuring rod, that is, the vision of Christ coming to measure the Church, or the churches. These two are moving together, the Spirit and the Divine Man, and their activity is one activity - to measure the House of God. That is just a little point of interpretation, but it helps us to see that here in Ezekiel, we have New Testament truth again.

We remember all that the Lord said about what the Holy Spirit would do when He was come. He said that the Spirit's work, when He was come, would be all related to Himself: "He shall take of Mine, and shew it unto you." The work of the Spirit would be to show Christ, to give "the length and the breadth, and the height, and the depth of Christ," - all the measurements of Christ. That is what the Lord said would be the work of the Spirit, and that is exactly what the Spirit did. First of all, He presented Christ, and then He went on to show the dimensions of Christ, of how great Christ is! - Christ is too big to be confined to any earthly Jerusalem, Christ is too big to be contained in any earthly temple, and Christ is too big to be confined to any earthly country. Therefore what we have here just bursts all the bonds of the old Jerusalem and the old country. I think that is a very clear spiritual truth as contained here in this book.

We can only really see what the Spirit presents when we occupy a heavenly position. To see the Lord and His Church, as we have it in Ephesians, you must be  in the position that is there: "He hath raised us up together with Him and made us to sit in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus." It was from that heavenly position that Paul gave us the revelation of Christ and His Body.

Everything According to That Man

One more thing. In Ezekiel chapter forty, it says: "And He brought me thither, and, behold, there was a Man, Whose appearance was like the appearance of brass." I think we shall have to stop half-way through that verse. "Behold ... a Man" - here we find our Man idea again. You see, it is the Man idea that is going to govern everything. That is a thing that we have said again and again. "There was a Man," and there is a very great deal gathered into that statement.  Everything is going to be according to the measurements of that Man. We make the statement again and leave it there. "Whose appearance was like the appearance of brass." This also takes us back to the first vision. You remember the vision of the cherubims: "there feet were like fine brass." When you come to the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, in that presentation of "the Son of Man," in verse fifteen you find, "His feet were like unto fine brass." I expect you know what brass represents in the Bible: it represents righteous judgments. Here then, in the symbolism, all the activities and ways of this Man are those of righteousness. The unrighteous man has been judged and put away. He has no place in the House of God.

The great altar was made of brass, and everything was consumed on the great altar. It is the symbol of righteous judgment. It is God judging everything in righteousness. There is no place left for the flesh: all is reduced to ashes. Therefore, this is another Man, this is The Righteous Man, and everything is being measured according to righteousness. How much Scripture we could quote concerning this! Of the Lord Jesus it is said, "(He) is made unto us ... righteousness"; "The Lord will judge the world in righteousness by the Man Whom He has chosen"; "Jesus Christ the Righteous One"; and much more Scripture could be brought in. It is what Christ is in character that is the standard of the House of God. So the comprehensive statement is that the whole dimension of the House is "Holiness unto the Lord."

We shall come back to that later on, but it becomes perfectly clear at this point that there is no place for the natural man in this House. This House only gives a place to the Righteous Man. In this House it is the man who has "the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ." So, if the Lord wills, we will proceed with this tomorrow morning, and go on with the "measuring." But for now, I do hope that you have begun to see something of Spiritual value, or, shall I say, you have begun to see "Someone", for it is Christ by the Spirit Who is coming into view!

MAY WE BE GIVEN THESE VISIONS OF GOD.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 41 - ("The House of God: The Greatness of Christ and His Church")

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