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Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 58

"The Lord Is There"

Now we have to bring these studies in Ezekiel to a close, and I think we cannot do better than come right to the end of the book itself. The last clause of this book reads like this: "And the name of the city from that day shall be, THE LORD IS THERE." We might just put alongside of that some words from Ephesians, chapter two, verses nineteen to twenty-two: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."

And the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is There.

And, again, in Ephesians, at chapter three, verses seventeen through twenty-one: "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints  what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus to all generations for ever and ever."

And the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is There.

The end to which all God's works move is this End. Everything that we have in these prophecies of Ezekiel points to the one end, "The Lord is there," but that is also true of the whole Bible. The whole Bible moves toward one end. It is the end for which all things were created, and that is the presence of God in fullness and in finality. The purpose of God is that He shall fill all things. So then the end is "The Lord is there."

Now there is one particular thing which is necessary for this end to be reached. God must be able to commit Himself to man. That is what God wanted to do at the beginning. It is perfectly clear in the beginning of the Book of Genesis that God wanted to commit Himself to man. He wanted to be with man. He wanted to trust man. He wanted to put all His interests into the hands of man; in a word, God wanted to trust Himself to man.

So the great question that is now before us is this, "To what kind of man will God commit Himself?" The  whole Book of Ezekiel is the answer to that question. In the first place, the answer is given in a negative way. God will not commit Himself to that in which satan has a place. From the beginning, satan has always tried to put man in God's way. satan had gained a place in the nation of Israel and in the nations outside, but man was made for the very purpose that God should be with him. However, satan captured man, and he has made man the greatest hindrance to God; therefore, the glory is removed, and it goes right outside. Man as he is now defeats God's purpose. God cannot commit Himself to that kind of man. God will not commit Himself to that in which satan has a place. satan and his works had to be destroyed before God would commit Himself. The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil in order to make way for God, in order that God should have His place and reach His End, because God will not commit Himself to that which has not been judged in righteousness.

Now you will recall all that we have said about brass in these prophecies: the brass in the cherubims, the brass in the Man of brass, the brass of the great altar. God will not commit Himself to anything that has not been judged in righteousness. That is the negative side, but there is the positive side to our question. To what will God commit Himself? The positive answer has several aspects. Firstly, it is where Christ is on the other side of judgment. The Man in the Throne represents Christ as on the other side of judgment. There is a rainbow around that Throne. That rainbow is the symbol of redemption. In the Book of the Revelation, it is represented by the Lamb in the Throne. The Lamb is the Man and the Man is the Lamb. He is there as on the other side of judgment, and that is the first thing related to God committing Himself. I say, again, that God will commit Himself where Christ is on the other side of judgment - that is, where all judgment has been fulfilled.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 59)

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