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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 55

A River That Could Not Be Passed Over: The Fullness of the Spirit (continued)

The Source of the River is the Man Hidden In the Sanctuary (continued)

For the world, in this dispensation, Jesus is still a mystery and the Church is a mystery. The Church is not understood, but this is the mystery: "Christ in you, the hope of glory." And perhaps the Bible students know that the literal translation is: "Christ in the midst of you, the hope of glory." Of course, Christ is in us personally and individually, but the Word in Colossians is "Christ in the midst of you" - the Church is the context of those words. The mystery which is great among the nations is Christ in the midst of the Church. That is the hope of glory. So Paul said, "Unto Him be the glory in the Church by Christ Jesus." The world can only know the mystery by the life which flows out from the Church.

That is what happened on the Day of Pentecost. By the river (the Spirit) which came out from the Church, the world became aware that Jesus is alive; Christ is the only Way in which the mystery is made known. The waters come out from the Sanctuary. That is what it says in Ezekiel 47:12: "because the waters thereof issue out of the sanctuary." In the Sanctuary, they are a mystery. The mystery is made known when they come out of the House. This is all so true to the teaching of the New Testament.

The River (The Holy Spirit) Makes All Things New

So we see that the first detail of he House is the Source of the river, and then the second is that the waters flow toward the east. It says there that the temple was toward the east. So the waters moved by the south to the east. Now that is also an interesting point! Why was the House built with its gate toward the east? Why does everything look toward the east, and why do these waters move toward the east? Well, of course, the east is always the symbol for a new day. The sun rises in the east, the world's day begins in the east. Therefore, the east is the symbol of a new day, and it is quite clear that this River meant a new day for everything and everybody: it is that new day of the Spirit to which the Lord Jesus referred. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit." When Jesus was speaking about the coming of the Holy Spirit He said, "In that day." How often He used those words, "In that day," that is, the day of the Spirit; that is, the new dispensation - the dispensation of the Holy Spirit.

It is this dispensation that God is offering a new day to everyone. Of course, it is new in many respects. All the old things of that past generation are gone - the old things of types and symbols, the old things of forms and ceremonies. Those old things are passed away: "Behold, all things have become new," and this is the river that makes all things new. It is the day of the Holy Spirit. So it flows toward the east, and the Spirit brings in a New Day.

Then the next thing: "Wheresoever the River cometh, everything lives":

"When the Man went forth eastward with the line in His hand, He measured a thousand cubits, and He caused me to pass through the waters, waters that were to the ankles. Again He measured a thousand, and caused me to pass through the waters, waters that were to the knees. Again He measured a thousand, and caused me to pass through the waters, waters, waters that were to the loins. Afterward He measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass through; fr the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed through" (verses 3-5).

This Man of brass measured "a thousand cubits" four times. He measured a thousand, and the waters were up to his ankles. He measured another thousand, and they were up to the knees. Another thousand and they were up to the loins, and He measured another thousand and there were waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. Well, I think the symbolism is very simple. This sets forth the progressive fullness of the Spirit, or the progressive fullness of Christ.

In the beginning there is immense intrinsic potentiality. It may be small in Jerusalem, it may be small at its beginning, but that is only a comparative matter. Of course, it was a very great thing that happened on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, but compared with what came afterward it is but small. The beginning is small in comparison with all Judea and Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. But in that small beginning, there are all the potentialities to meet the whole world. The scope of this river increases. It grows fuller and fuller and wider and wider, but what is here in the waters is sufficient to meet all the need, however great. The Spirit of Jesus is sufficient for all. That is what it says, or that is what it means. There is sufficiency in Christ ministered by the Spirit to meet the greatest need. There is no need, however great, which cannot be met by this river. It does not matter where the river comes: "wheresoever the river cometh, everything lives."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 56)

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