The New Thing Which Is Old
Note: The term "reaction", as employed in these chapters, means that acting again on the part of God when that which ostensibly represents Him no longer truly represents Him, either vitally or adequately. He reacts "against" what is merely ostensible and for what is living and wholly according to His mind.
There are two things which we need to keep very clearly before us. These two things, as we put them, may seem to contradict one another or be paradoxical.
1. All the way through the ages, God has constantly done a new thing.
2. That which, from man's standpoint, has always been God's new thing, from His own standpoint has not been new at all.
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18).
"The works were finished from the foundation of the world" (Hebrews 4:3).
In all His fresh activities and revelations, God is working backward to an original position and design. God never leaves His original premise.
This is a far more important truth and law than may at first be recognized. It carries with it these three things: -
1. God has before Him all the time the finished and completed thing, and He knows exactly, to a detail, what He wants.
2. He must and will have that. He cannot be denied it, and He will never give it up or take less.
3. Whenever there is a deviation from or a falling short of it there will be a Divine reaction, and God will begin again, somewhere somehow. A hurried survey of these reactions through history will both establish the fact and bring out the nature and features o that upon which He has set His heart and which He is determined to have. The earlier instances and forms are very simple, but the greater truths and principles are there, either patent or latent.
When the first deviation - that of Adam and Eve - has taken place, the reaction of God is through Abel and his altar. That altar stands for the securing for God of His rights in creation - in man and the earth. While Cain offers the fruit of the earth and of his own effort, he ignores the curse resting upon all such, and he with his offering is rejected. God's seal is upon Abel's way. The elements are these:
1. God has a right to all.
2. God can and will only have that without the trace of the curse in it.
3. In order to remove the curse, the cursed thing must be destroyed in death, in either an actual or a representative living form; and a new life must emerge over which death has no power.
4. Fellowship with God is thus, and only thus, possible.
(continued with # 2)