A River That Could Not Be Passed Over: The Fullness of the Spirit (continued)
He Caused Me to Go
The second thing necessary for fullness is represented by the banks and the trees. The banks of the river are referred to. This is a river that is flowing between banks. It is not just a flood spreading itself all over. This river is running between banks. You know the Holy Spirit has a way, He has a way that He will take, He has His Own Mind as to which way He will take, He has His Own Mind as to which way He will take. If the Spirit says, "I am going this way," it is no good our saying, "Well, we are going another way." You have a lot of that in the Book of Acts. Paul spoke about assaying to preach the Word in Bithynia, and going toward Asia, but he said, "The Spirit of Jesus suffered us not," and it turned out that the Spirit was going to Macedonia at that time. Now if Paul had gone to Bithynia, or Asia, he would have gone away from the Spirit. The Spirit was saying, "I am going this way at this time. If you want to be with Me, you must come My way." And that is what happened to Peter. The Spirit was moving toward the Gentiles, but Peter wanted to go his way. The Spirit said in effect, "If you want to go with Me, you must go My way. I am not coming your way. I am not coming the way of your tradition and your prejudice. Today this is the way that I am taking." And when Peter went that way, he found the Spirit in greater fullness than he had ever known before.
I think you see the principle.The banks represent a definitely and clearly defined Way that the Spirit is taking. He may change His direction from time to time. The River may not be just one straight line, but it will always flow between the banks. The Spirit always knows exactly what He is doing and what He is after. How important it is for us to be in the banks with the Spirit!!
And then we have the trees on either side of the river. Of course, these trees in the New Testament are the living witnesses. I suppose a passage which best sets that forth is this one in Ephesians four:
"And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
Here are living witnesses on the banks of the river. Here are those along the banks of the New Testament, and God has had His trees all down the centuries. They are the living witnesses bearing testimony to the fullness of Life in Christ, leading on toward spiritual fullness, the fullness of Christ.
There is a rather interesting thing to note here in verse nine of Ezekiel forty-seven: "And it shall come to pass, that every living creature which swarmeth, in every place whither the rivers comes, shall live." I do not know whether you have got a mark in your Bible against that word, however, in the Hebrew it says, "whither the two rivers come." It is in the plural in the Hebrew, and my Bible gives me a reference in the margin which says, "whither the two rivers come." That is the Hebrew.
Now that seems to upset everything, does it not? But I think again, it is a symbol. Perhaps this river did divide into two, but "two" in the Bible is the number of adequate testimony. Wherever you find the number two, you find sufficient testimony - "in the mouth of two witnesses everything thing shall be established ... What by two." You see, two is the number of sufficient testimony in the witnesses. So, you see, the effect of it all is Life. Of course, I would like to say a lot about that, but we must leave it. The test of everything is Life. The test as to whether the House is in order will be in the Life. The test as to whether the Spirit is having His way will be the Life. The Life is the testimony. Thus the testimony is this, that God has given unto us eternal Life.
And so we close for the time being. Ezekiel had been told to show all this to the House of Israel. In order to show it all to others, the prophet had to be caused to go that way himself. You notice what Ezekiel said, "He caused me to go." You and I must be caused to go this way before we can show it to anyone else. This is not just objective truth for teaching: this is the experience of the servant of the Lord.
(continued with # 58 - ("The Lord is There")