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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 34

The Messenger Must be the Embodiment of His Message (continued)

"Son of man" (continued)

So this man-principle speaks of three things. First of all, a presentation - God presents His ideas, and then a representation of something that expresses that which is presented, and then a declaration, a preaching concerning that. The thing is presented as a Divine thought, and then the thing is represented in a Body, and out of that comes the message.

Now, brethren, have you got those three things? First there is a vision, the Man is presented. You see the Man in the Throne. You get God's idea. God's idea is manhood, manhood of a certain character. From that God has a representation of this something which embodies the idea, and then when God has got that  which embodies the idea, there is a message. We must not put it in the other order, preaching it first. We must first of all have seen it, and then there must be an expression of it. There must be that to which we can point and say, "This is it." The message must come out of something that actually exists according to God's Mind.

I think I need not stay with that any longer, but, you see, that applies firstly to Christ. You must first of all have seen the Lord, and then that must have produced something in you so that it is not only objective and abstract, but the Lord has done something in you as you have seen. And then out of that comes your ministry.

The same applies to the Church. First there must be a revealing of the Church, and then there must be a representation of the Church, and out of that exists a definite expression of the Church - the message goes out. It is almost impossible to preach the truth unless there is something behind it. It is essential that we are able to say, "This thing works, and I can show you where it works." That will become very clear when we come to our next consideration in Ezekiel, but I do hope that you have got hold of this first idea, the principle in this first title, "Son of man." There is a great deal of the Mind of God in that title.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 35)

God Made His Light Shine in Our Hearts

God, who… made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV)

We stand by revelation, "God who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." "God... called me through grace to reveal His Son in me." - Gal. 1:16. How are we going to be made to stand, to be established? How is this endurance going to be put in us? By knowing the Lord Jesus in this inward way, by revelation. The people who are going to stand are those in whom this thing has become a living revelation; "God hath shined in our hearts," this is one side. The other is, "pressed on every side, perplexed, pursued, smitten down... yet not unto despair" - 2 Cor. 4:6-10. We are troubled and pressed down... why? "That the LIFE of JESUS might be made manifest in our mortal bodies" - 2 Cor. 4:11.

Is not that endurance? Pressed on every side yet not strangled! "In pressure Thou hast enlarged me" - Ps. 4:1. What was meant to be "pressed down," God has made for enlargement. Cast down, yet a wonderful rising up. Why? How? It is "God who hath shined in our hearts... in the face of Jesus Christ," therefore you can go through and survive. Nothing can carry us through but the revelation of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit in our hearts; an inside knowledge of Him - not mental assent to a creed or a doctrine, but a living, vital reality in our very being.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Big Computer Problems!

I've got big computer problems. I'm using a standby computer right now that is not updated at all. I may not be on Facebook tomorrow or the next day. Got to take my "regular" computer to town to hopefully get it fixed. I can't even do anything on it. It says when I turn it on that "there is no profile" and then won't let do anything but turn it off! I'll do my best when I get back on. This standby computer is SLOW! And not updated with windows or email or security protection. God bless you all and see you when I can.

The Persistent Purpose of God # 33

The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message (continued)

"Son of man" (continued)

So, the principle of manhood is taken up for the people of God, and that is where Ezekiel comes in. It is not the person, but the function; it is the principle, so that "Son of man" speaks of two things. It means bringing into view God's original thought and pattern. That was a principle that the Lord was wanting to have realized in Israel. Israel is a man in God's eyes, but in this book of Ezekiel Israel is not the man that God intended. In this book of Israel is a man which has been marred, and God is moving along the principle of manhood to recover that idea in Israel. Later we shall find that He was unable to do it in Israel as a whole, and He therefore sought to realize it in the remnant. However, the Old Testament closes with this idea as a complete failure in Israel.

When we move into the New Testament, we find ourselves in the presence of the one new man, that is, the corporate man which is the Church. But we are not going on to that this morning, we are just with the principle. In principle, "Son of man" means speaking in relation to an original thought and pattern of God. You have got to recognize that as the key to the whole of these prophecies. What is it all about? What does this whole book mean in all its parts? Well, this title "Son of man" is scattered right over the whole book, and it means that the governing thought of God is this conception of man according to God's mind. If God sends this collective man into captivity, it means that man cannot stand before Him any longer. God must have another kind of man. The great illustration of that, of course, is the valley of dry bones - bringing up out of the grave of Babylon a new man with a new heart, and a new spirit.

Now I think that is enough to indicate the meaning of this title. God is moving for the recovery of His original thought. That thought has been lost. This is what Paul meant in speaking to Timothy as the "man of God." His appeal to Timothy was, "O man of God"; that is, God's man - that is what God is after.

We must take this up as to our ministry, and that brings us to this: What are we here for? What is the meaning of our ministry and our work? It is that God may have his corporate man according to His Own Mind. That is the meaning of Ephesians, chapter four:

"Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."

God is working towards this corporate man. We must remember that God's idea is man. I would emphasize that because so many seem to think that God's idea is some organization, some institution, some thing that is called the Church, a way of doing things, a certain teaching - a whole system - and God is not after that. God is not after the Church just as the Church. The expression of Christ! The Church is the Body of Christ. It is not a system of teaching. It is not a special form of practice. It is a Man, and it is Christ in corporate expression! We shall come to that later in this book of Ezekiel, but w take up this principle. It is a very important thing for us to recognize the corporate Man!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 34)

Miracles


"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12


Does God work miracles today, or did all miracles cease with the last of the apostles? This is a question that has occupied theologians for many years. I counter with my own question: "Is God dead?" A miracle is a supernatural happening. If God is still alive and still working, then there will be supernatural happenings. Therefore, the days of miracles cannot be over.

Salvation is a miracle. The rich young ruler, who came to Jesus seeking the way of salvation, finally went away sorrowful. Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The puzzled disciples replied, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus answered, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:23-26).

If a miracle is achieving something that is humanly impossible, then salvation is a miracle because it is humanly impossible for man or woman to save himself or herself. So to say that the days of miracles are over would be to deny that people can be saved today. Let’s thank God that the days of miracles are not over; He is still in the business of working miracles.
Do you believe that God is the same today, yesterday and forever? If so, then pray for the impossible and believe that Jesus is still working miracles today. Put your faith in action and ask the Lord to use you in amazing ways.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 32

The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message

Now we come back again to the prophecies of Ezekiel. There is a large section of this book with which we shall not be able to deal in detail, so we must find some comprehensive way of dealing with it simply. I think that way will be by looking at the three different titles by which Ezekiel was called. Perhaps you have noticed that in these prophecies Ezekiel has three different titles, and these three titles gather into themselves this large section of the book - 1. "Son of man," 2. "a watchman," 3. "I am your sign."

"Son of Man"

The first three of these three titles is "Son of man." Look at chapters two and three:

And He said unto me, Son of man ... (2:1)
And He said unto me, Son of man ... (2:3)
And He said unto me, Son of man ... (3:1)
And He said unto me, Son of man ... (3:3)

And so it goes on right through the book. That is one of the main titles of the prophet. Perhaps you would like to go right through the book and note how many times "Son of man" occurs.

We note then, at the beginning, that this title was peculiar to the Prophet Ezekiel. No other prophet is called by this name in the same way. It marks out Ezekiel in a special way. Now we know that the Lord  Jesus chose as His favorite title for Himself, "The Son of Man," but we must not think of Ezekiel in the same way. Ezekiel was unique among the prophets in this title, but Jesus as The Son of Man was unique among all men. So let us be careful not to confuse the two titles "Son of man" and "The Son of Man."  If there is any relationship or similarity, it is in the function, and not in the person. That is the matter that we shall now consider.

We have seen that on the Throne above it there was the likeness as of a man, and we have seen that the predominant feature of the cherubims was the man. Therefore, we take note of this place of man in this book; it is a special idea. We also know that man means representation and speech for God. Man is not only a person, he is a Divine idea. There is a man upon the Throne, and while that man is a person, he is not only a person, he is a Divine idea. The idea in God's mind in creating man was that he should represent God. "Let us make man after Our Own image, in Our Own likeness." Man is God's fullest thought, and God's final thought.

In the creation God ended with man, and He headed all things up into man. When God has reached such a man, He pronounces His verdict and takes His rest. When He has the man according to His intentions, then He says about everything, "It is very good"; and then God takes His rest. God finds His rest when He has His man according to His Mind.

However, that is not the end of everything. At that point God looks for reproduction. He says to that man: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the law of creation was that everything should reproduce "after its own kind." Things were never intended to change their form, but everything was given a definite and distinct form. It was a kind of creation, and everything was reproduced after its kind.

You see, God has made man, and before man has fallen, God says, Be fruitful and multiply. God's idea was that unfallen man should multiply, and that unfallen man should fill the earth. But we know that man fell, and the earth was filled with a kind of man that God never intended. Therefore, God put a limit to his life; He fixed the number of his years so that man should not go on indefinitely. I think you see from this that God's idea is a man according to His Own Mind. In a full way, the Lord Jesus was that; therefore, He is "The Son of Man," and in a sense we can say He was the only Son of Man.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 33)

Patiently Wait for God Alone


Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence. — Ps 62:5 

Our too general neglect of looking for answers to what we ask, shows how little we are in earnest in our petitions. A husbandman is not content without the harvest; a marksman will observe whether the ball hits the target; a physician watches the effect of the medicine which he gives; and shall the Christian be careless about the effect of his labor?

Every prayer of the Christian, made in faith, according to the will of God, for which God has promised, offered up in the name of Jesus Christ, and under the influence of the Spirit, whether for temporal or for spiritual blessings, is, or will be, fully answered.

God always answers the general design and intention of His people’s prayers, in doing that which, all things considered, is most for His own glory and their spiritual and eternal welfare. As we never find that Jesus Christ rejected a single supplicant who came to Him for mercy, so we believe that no prayer made in His name will be in vain.

The answer to prayer may be approaching, though we discern not its coming. The seed that lies under ground in winter is taking root in order to a spring and harvest, though it appears not above ground, but seems dead and lost.
—Bickersteth

Delayed answers to prayer are not only trials of faith, but they give us opportunities of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in Him under apparent repulses.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 31

The Authority Is Invested In the Man On the Throne (continued)

The Paradox of the Cross (continued)

Jesus has just told His disciples what is going to happen. He has told them He is going to suffer. He has gone over the whole ground of His Cross with them, and then it says, "And after singing a hymn, they went out." - They sang a hymn, they went out. You know what they went out to. You would have thought that was he last place of ever singing a hymn: you wold have thought that they would have gone out in absolute silence and sorrow, but they went out to the notes of a hymn.

I wonder if you know what the hymn was that they sang. There is very good authority for believing that the hymn sung at the Passover was the One Hundredth and Eighteenth Psalm. Now, of course, we ought to read the whole psalm, but right at the heart of that psalm, we have these words:

I shall not die, but live.

It is the psalm of the passion, but it is the psalm of victory. It is the psalm with a Cross in view, but it is a psalm of the glory, which is the other side of the Cross.

If it really was that psalm that they sang, then we see the mingling of the sweetness and the bitterness in the cup. Shall we take another phrase,

Who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross.

This is the bringing together of the bitterness and the sweetness. Is this what Paul referred to when he said: "as sorrowful yet always rejoicing." These two things always go together in the ministry of a servant of God. The was of the Cross always means those two things. It is the way of bitterness, often the bitterness of spirit; but it is not all bitterness. The Lord keeps the balance between the bitterness and the joy. There is not only the bitter side of the fellowship of His sufferings, but there is the joyful side of that fellowship!

THE RIGHT HAND OF THE LORD DOES VALIANTLY. THE RIGHT HAND OF THE LORD IS EXALTED: THE RIGHT HAND OF THE LORD DOES VALIANTLY. I SHALL NOT DIE, BUT LIVE ... (Psalm 118:15-17.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 32 - "The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message")

Songs Across the Storm

He named the second child Ephraim, saying, “Certainly God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering. (Gen 41:52)

 
The summer showers are falling. The poet stands by the window watching them. They are beating and buffeting the earth with their fierce downpour. But the poet sees in his imaginings more than the showers which are falling before his eyes. He sees myriads of lovely flowers which shall be soon breaking forth from the watered earth, filling it with matchless beauty and fragrance. And so he sings:
 
“It isn’t raining rain for me, it’s raining daffodils; 
In every dimpling drop I see wild flowers upon the hills. 
A cloud of gray engulfs the day, and overwhelms the town; 
It isn’t raining rain for me: it’s raining roses down.”
 
Perchance some one of God’s chastened children is even now saying, "O God, it is raining hard for me tonight.
 
“Testings are raining upon me which seem beyond my power to endure. Disappointments are raining fast, to the utter defeat of all my chosen plans. Bereavements are raining into my life which are making my shrinking heart quiver in its intensity of suffering. The rain of affliction is surely beating down upon my soul these days.”
 
Withal, friend, you are mistaken. It isn’t raining rain for you. It’s raining blessing. For, if you will but believe your Father’s Word, under that beating rain are springing up spiritual flowers of such fragrance and beauty as never before grew in that stormless, unchastened life of yours.
 
You indeed see the rain. But do you see also the flowers? You are pained by the testings. But God sees the sweet flower of faith which is upspringing in your life under those very trials.
 
You shrink from the suffering. But God sees the tender compassion for other sufferers which is finding birth in your soul.
 
Your heart winces under the sore bereavement. But God sees the deepening and enriching which that sorrow has brought to you.
 
It isn’t raining afflictions for you. It is raining tenderness, love, compassion, patience, and a thousand other flowers and fruits of the blessed Spirit, which are bringing into your life such a spiritual enrichment as all the fullness of worldly prosperity and ease was never able to beget in your innermost soul. —J. M. McC.
 
SONGS ACROSS THE STORM
 
“A harp stood in the moveless air,
Where showers of sunshine washed a thousand fragrant blooms;
A traveler bowed with loads of care
Essayed from morning till the dusk of evening glooms 
To thrum sweet sounds from the songless strings;
The pilgrim strives in vain with each unanswering chord, 
Until the tempest’s thunder sings,
And, moving on the storm, the fingers of the Lord 
A wondrous melody awakes;
And though the battling winds their soldier deeds perform, 
Their trumpet-sound brave music makes
While God’s assuring voice sings love across the storm”

~L. B. Cowman~

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 30

The Authority Is Invested In the Man on the Throne (continued)

The Spirit of Life in the Wheels (continued)

Now there are other parts of the New Testament which must be brought right into this section. You must read right into the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel the Letters to the Colossians and the Ephesian. Bring the first three chapters of the Letter to the Colossians into chapter one of Ezekiel; and then bring the first three chapters of Ephesians into the first chapter of Ezekiel. It is full of instruction, and those New Testament Letters will be the best exposition of Ezekiel one.

Note some of the main words in those chapters and some of the governing ideas. To begin with, take "creation." Can you call up at this moment the first chapter of the Letter to the Colossians. There is nothing in all the Bible like that chapter as to the place of the Lord Jesus in creation. It is a tremendous chapter on the matter of the relationship of Christ to creation and the creation to Christ.

You will remember what we have been saying about "the living ones" as representing the whole creation in heaven and on earth, and then the Throne is imposed upon that. That is exactly what you have in Colossians and Ephesians. Take the word "heavens" as in Ephesians. That is all very instructive to us. All of this has to do with the preparation of a servant for his ministry.

The Paradox of the Cross

Let us spend our last few minutes on this second thing, and it will only be a very little that I say about it. Chapter two of Ezekiel, verse 9, right through to chapter three, verse 14 has to do with the "roll". Ezekiel says that he saw a hand stretched out and in the hand was a roll and it was written on both sides with lamentations, mournings, and woes and a voice said, "eat the roll"; and when Ezekiel proceeded to eat the roll, he said it was sweet as honey in his mouth. In verse fourteen it says, "I went in the bitterness of my spirit" - sweetness in my mouth and bitterness in my spirit. This sounds very strange. Here is a roll written within and without with lamentations, mournings, and woes. How can that be sweet in anybody's mouth? And then as the prophet proceeded to fulfill his ministry, he said that he went in the bitterness of his spirit.

Here is a combination of sweetness and bitterness in ministry. What does that mean? How can we explain this? I think if I just quote one or two passages of Scripture it will explain the whole thing. Jesus is at the passover supper with His disciples. We know what His Mind was upon: It was upon the cup. Presently He will say, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." The cup was the cup of His suffering, the cup of His passion. It was a bitter cup. There is no doubt about that, and yet it says this: "He took the cup, and gave thanks." Here is a combination of two things, bitterness and thankfulness, suffering and glory. That is the paradox of the Cross.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 31)

How Can We Prepare to Share the Gospel?


Be prepared to share the gospel. There are three essential things that you must do in order to get equipped for sharing the Good News.

1. Prepare Your Mind. Apply yourself to studying God’s Word, along with reading other helpful resources that will sharpen your mind and understanding (see 2 Timothy 2:15). You have already started though the daily devotional teachings you receive each day!

2. Prepare Your Heart. Ask God to give you a heart of compassion for the lost and an earnest desire for their salvation (see 2 Peter 3:9). Ask Him to stir up an urgent fervency to see the lost lovingly called into a relationship with Christ (see Colossians 1:10).

3. Prepare the Way. You have to pray! Ask God to give you boldness to engage with every person whom He leads you to. Ask Him to grant you wisdom so that you can minister to their specific needs. Pray that you will be a prepared messenger speaking to prepared hearts.

~Greg Laurie~

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 29

The Authority Is Invested In the Man on the Throne (continued)

Wheels are Full of Eyes

Then we come to the next thing: these wheels are full of eyes, all around the wheels there are eyes. We meet those eyes on several occasions in the Word of God. We meet them in the prophecy of Zechariah, and we meet them several times in the Book of the Revelation; and, of course, we know what they symbolize - they represent the complete and perfect intelligence of the Throne. This government of the Man upon the Throne is the government of a Perfect Intelligence. If we transfer this principle to the beginning of the Book of the Revelation, there we see what it means. The churches are about to be judged, but the One Who judges them is the One Whose eyes are as a flame of fire. That One says to the churches, "I know thy works." Then He goes on to say all that He knows about the churches, and it is shown that He knows more about the churches than they know about themselves.

He tells one church that they think that they are rich and increased in goods, that they have everything. He says, "You do not know that you are wretched and poor and naked." Then what does He say to them? "I counsel thee to buy of My eyesalve, that thou mayest see," - that you may see what I have seen. The Lord knew more and saw more than that church knew about itself. That is only an illustration of this. All the movements of this Chariot-Throne are in complete Intelligence. That One upon the Throne sees and knows everything. The Lord is not blind to anything, and He is not ignorant of anything.


The Spirit of Life in the Wheels

Then finally: the Spirit of Life is in the wheels. The whole governing principle of the movements of the Lord is Life. The thing which governs that Throne is this main principle of Life. You know so much about Life in the Bible that I need not stay with it now. You have been taken right through the Bible on the principle of Life, and you know that Life is the whole governing question of the whole Bible. That is the issue with which the Bible begins, and that is the issue with which the Bible ends. All the movements of God from eternity to eternity are on this basis, and with this question of Life.

ALL POWER IS GIVEN TO ME IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH

Now we will sum up and bring this into the New Testament. In the first place, there is very little doubt that we have to read Matthew 28:18-20 into this. Jesus said: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." That is the first half of the statement that He makes in these scriptures; and that brings us back to the Chariot-Throne in relation to the whole creation and the authority that is invested in the Man on the Throne. Do note that word "authority" that He used. He did not say, "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth"; of curse, that was implied, but He used another Greek word. He said: "All authority is given unto Me." That is a bigger thing than power. The power lies within the authority. The authority is the exercise of the power. Jesus said, "Behind Me is all the authority of the government of heaven." "Men may just call Me Jesus of Nazareth, they may regard Me as just another man, but they are going to find out that behind Me is all the authority of heaven." And that is what they did find out.

Then we have the second half of the statement in Matthew: "For this very reason, go ye into all the world; and I am with you all the days." Here are the movements of the Throne "into all the world," and the authority of Jesus Christ is with the Church. All the authority of heaven is behind the Church when it gets into line with the goings of that Throne.

So, first of all we bring Matthew 28:18-20 right into Ezekiel, and note we are dealing with the preparation of a servant for his work. Ezekiel certainly needed that preparation. If he had not had that vision, his work would have been impossible. Every servant of the Lord needs that vision. You and I need to see that. We need to be assured of that.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 30)

Rest Is a Heart Set Deep In God

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. (John14:27)
 
Two painters each painted a picture to illustrate his conception of rest. The first chose for his scene a still, lone lake among the far-off mountains.
 
The second threw on his canvas a thundering waterfall, with a fragile birch tree bending over the foam; and at the fork of the branch, almost wet with the cataract’s spray, sat a robin on its nest.
 
The first was only stagnation; the last was rest.
 
Christ’s life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that ever lived: tempest and tumult, tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all the time until the worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there.
 
At any moment you might have gone to Him and found rest. And even when the human bloodhounds were dogging Him in the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and offered them, as a last legacy, “My peace.”
 
Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church; it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.
—Drummond
 
My peace I give in times of deepest grief, 
Imparting calm and trust and My relief.
 
My peace I give when prayer seems lost, unheard; 
Know that My promises are ever in My Word.
 
My peace I give when thou art left alone—
The nightingale at night has sweetest tone.
 
My peace I give in time of utter loss, 
The way of glory leads right to the cross.
 
My peace I give when enemies will blame, 
Thy fellowship is sweet through cruel shame.
 
My peace I give in agony and sweat, 
For mine own brow with bloody drops was wet.
 
My peace I give when nearest friend betrays
Peace that is merged in love, and for them prays.
 
My peace I give when there’s but death for thee
The gateway is the cross to get to Me.

~L. B. Cowman~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 28

The Authority Is Invested In the Man on the Throne (continued)

Wheels Touch the Earth and Are Lifted Up

Then point number three: they touch the earth and then they are lifted up from the earth. And then it seems that they come back to earth and stay. The living ones let down their wings, and for a time everything seems to be standing still, and then the inference is that they go on again. I think there is a lot of history in that.

The Lord began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). He began at Jerusalem. We might say that He began, as it were, on the earth. And then His movements are above the earth - He is there through that book in a position over the earth, and then He stops. This is not a contradiction of what I have just been saying. There are times when the Lord has to wait - He has to wait for something - His onward movements seem to tarry. What a lot of history there is in that - the whole history of the Church is just that. God moves on and then He has to wait and then when He gets what He is waiting for, He goes on again. There are these movements of God which we can see in history. We need to very seriously consider that matter of God having to wait for something!

Take our own lives. There is movement of God, and then there seems to be some waiting period - the Lord is waiting for something. It may be He is waiting for our adjustment to some light that He has given. It may be that He is waiting for the removal of something that has come in that is not of Himself. It may be many things, but we do know that in our own lives there are periods when the Lord does not seem to be going on.

Perhaps He has been stopped in His going on - He is now waiting for something. During that time of waiting, we ought to have very serious exercise - "Why is it that the Lord is not going on? Why is the Lord not going on with me? What is it that the Lord is waiting for? What adjustment have I got to make? What is it that I have got to put out of the Lord's Way?" You see, we ought to have exercise about every seeming staying and waiting of the Lord.

Also, that is true of the Lord's work. That is true in our own spiritual life, and it is true also in the work of the Lord. There come periods when the Lord seems to be waiting. It looks as though He has stopped going on. There may be any one of many reasons for that. It is not because the Lord has given up His purpose! It is not because the Lord has ceased to be a God of movement, but He is waiting for us! He is waiting for His people - He is waiting for something in His people. At all such times, we should have very great exercise about this: "What is the Lord waiting for?!"

Well, if we take the history of the Church during the last two thousand years (and it is a very instructive study), on the one side we see those movements of God from heaven - it is as though the Throne was lifted up from the earth and was going on. The Throne was overriding things of the earth - going on in its power. That has happened again and again. On the other side, we see those dark times in the history of the Church, such as what we call the Middle Ages, and other  times when it seemed that the Lord was standing still. It has been like that many times. The Lord is waiting for something. And then a people arose who took on that matter and had deep exercise about it. That is the history of the Church. Out of that exercise God went on again!

It would be quite easy for me if I had the time, to give you those movements and those stayings of the Lord, but we shall not take time for that. We are just putting our finger upon this principle: The Throne moves, the living ones let down their wings and the Throne stands still for a time, and then it moves on again. Well, think a lot about that. It is full of instruction.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 29 - "Wheels Are Full of Eyes")

The Power of Prayer


Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them. Ezra 5:1-2


The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, to send some of the Jews out of Babylon and back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:5). But once they arrived, adversaries rose up against them and many threats and distractions were used to thwart their work. How often do we encounter such distractions when trying to do God’s work? Our adversary prowls about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) and doing whatever he can to stop our progress in the Lord.

What the people needed, God provided. Zerubbabel and Jeshua needed support and strength. They got it from the prophets whom God raised up to help them. Haggai and Zechariah prophesied in the name of the God of Israel with His power on their lips, a power that brought the others back to work. For us, that power is in the prayers of others. We have the Holy Spirit and God’s Word to strengthen and sustain us. But, we also need prayer intercessors in those times when we feel weak and worn out, especially when the adversary seems to be coming after us.

Take time today and pray for those you know who are working for the things of God. Leadership and ministerial Christians are often on the front lines of battle where distractions are constantly interfering in their lives. Pray for them. If you are one of those on that battle line, do not hesitate to ask for prayer when you feel weak and weary. We have Jesus. We have His Word and we have His Holy Spirit, but He has also given us His body of believers to lift each other up in times of trouble. Prayer is a tool we need to use everyday—not only for ourselves, but also especially for those on the spiritual frontlines. 

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 27

The Authority Is Invested in the Man on the Throne (continued)

Wheels Speak of Directness

Then the second thing: the wheels speak of directness with deviation. This is one of the most difficult points in this vision to interpret. But as I see it, it seems to mean this: when God goes forward, God is never held up by something that He has not foreseen. If God does change His direction, that is all in the pattern, that is not an emergency, that is not because God had not anticipated the situation. Now probably you find that difficult to understand. Well, come back again to what we have just been saying about Peter. It looks as though God is changing His direction, for right up to this point He has been moving with Israel, all His goings up to this point have been related to Israel. Now it looks as though He is changing His direction, and that was the problem for Peter. It was such a big change in the direction of God. Peter wanted the Lord to keep straight on with Israel, and not to change His course to the Gentiles. It looked as though was changing course, simply because He had come up against difficulties in Israel. That is how some Bible expositors interpret this.

God came up against the difficulty in Israel, and therefore He had to go to the Gentiles. Going to the Gentiles is an entirely different policy of the Lord, simply because the Jews presented Him with a difficulty. That is how Peter viewed the thing, and he felt very badly about it, and he would have said, "Lord, You just cannot do this. You have gone all through the centuries with Israel. You cannot change course now." Now do you see the point? - the fact is that God was not changing course. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that God always did have the Gentiles in mind. He would reach the Gentiles through the Jews, but that is quite another thing. If the Jews fail to serve Him in that matter, He is going on with His purpose all the same.

These wheels go straight on. They can change direction, but that does not mean a change of purpose. Even in the seeming change of direction, they are still going straight. God is not caused to go our of His way because of circumstances. He just goes straight on. Now that is a very difficult thing to understand when you read this vision of the wheels, but I think the illustration of Israel and the Gentiles is a key to this situation.

When you come to the end of the New Testament, you come up against another difficulty. This time with the Church in general. It seems as though the Lord has met another obstacle, and it looks as though He has to turn out of His way to take another course. It looks as though He has to leave the Church in general and deviate to the overcomers. That is only one way of viewing it. The Divine Way is that God is still going on with His purpose. There is no deviation in purpose - God still goes straight on. Well, I think we have said enough about that, but there is a lot of instruction in that if you will think about it.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 28 -"Wheels Touch the Earth and Are Lifted Up")

A Humble Heart and Willing Spirit


Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22


So many factors are involved in someone sinning against another. Many times, the thoughts and motives of the one who sinned are not as clear as the reaction of the person who was sinned against. Conflict is hard. Conflict takes a toll on both parties. Defensiveness goes up and trust goes down. Both parties though, the one who needs to forgive and the person who needs to ask for forgiveness, have their share of difficulties. The one who would forgive, deals with skepticism. They hope for real change this time, and deal with thoughts such as, "I hope this is the last time you need to ask forgiveness. I hope this time it works for good. By choosing to forgive you, I may just get hurt again." But the person who continually asks for forgiveness is also in a difficult situation. When we sincerely confess our sin to another, we have to admit to ourselves that we have hurt someone else as a result of our behavior or words. To ask forgiveness repeatedly is to admit that we do not have the ability or power to change that trait in us. So to ask sincerely means that we need to keep seeking ways to change. After a while, it is natural in the flesh to justify and rationalize the sinful behavior instead of continually trying to change. That is why Jesus takes both sides. If someone is repeatedly willing to ask forgiveness, sincerely looking for help, then we need to be willing repeatedly to restore that person back.

I am thankful for Jesus' teaching because I know that He lives by His own teaching. We sin against Him more than anyone else. If we are repentant, He is willing to forgive us - over and over and over again. We have to pray that our hearts remain soft enough to keep asking for forgiveness. His mercies are new every morning, probably because we use up all His mercy the day before.

If you need to ask forgiveness from someone, ask the Lord to give you a humble heart and a spirit willing to change. If you are being asked to forgive, ask the Lord to help you look to Him to help restore the person back in your heart without bitterness. The Lord will help you. He is on both sides. Let us pray that we keep His focus and His heart during the conflicts, and not our own.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 26

The Authority Is Invested In the Man on the Throne

As you know, this first section in chapters one through three deals with the preparation of the Lord's servant for his ministry.  So far we have considered firstly the prophet in himself and then the opened heaven, and then we have gone on with the visions of God. And we still have a little to say about the first vision. We have considered the Chariot-Throne of the Lord, and we have considered the four living ones. There are just two other aspects for our consideration. The first of those two is the wheels. That section is in Ezekiel one, verses fifteen through twenty-one. You have read this so that we need not go over it together. There are several aspects or characteristics of the wheels, and I think they can be set down as five things.

First of all, wheels are symbols of movement, they signify mobility. And then the wheels here speak of directness. Thirdly, they begin upon the earth and then they are lifted up from the earth and then they seem to touch the earth again at different times. In their movement they seem to come back to the earth from time to time. Then fourthly these wheels are full of eyes. All around the wheels there are eyes. And in the fifth place, the Spirit of life is in the wheels. I think just to mention those things is to indicate their teaching. We need not spend a lot of time upon each point, but we will just go over them again with one or two remarks.

Wheels Represent Mobility

Number one: the wheels represent mobility. That suggests two things. Firstly, God is on the move. We are here in the presence of the movements of the Chariot-Throne of God. In the second place, God demands absolute liberty for movement. He requires complete freedom for His movements. If you are not quite sure of what I mean by that, you have only to remember that you are really dealing with what is in the Book of the Acts in this book of Ezekiel. And when we speak of the Book of the Acts, we understand that we are speaking about the whole New Testament. We are going to have to see that in more detail presently. But when we come to the Book of the Acts, we find these two things: "the Throne is on the move." There is no doubt about it that "the Man on the Throne is moving." We can see the goings of the Lord in the Book of the Acts. That is not a stationary book. He is not a Lord Who is standing still. He is on the move.

But the second thing is the Lord demands liberty to move. That liberty of movement must be recognized and accepted. We remember Peter and the house of Cornelius. That vision that Peter had on the housetop is always present in our minds. The Lord is on the move from Israel to the Gentiles, from Jerusalem to the regions beyond. That is what we have in Ezekiel. But Peter would stop the movement of the Lord - he would say, "Not so, Lord." But the Lord will not have that arresting hand of tradition. The Lord will not have the arresting hand of prejudice. This was a tremendous crisis for Peter, and this was the nature of  the crisis. The Lord was saying in effect to Peter, "Peter, I am going on. Are you going with Me?" If you are not going with Me, it makes no difference. You just stay behind. But if you are going with Me, you have got to give Me perfect liberty of movement. Your mind must not interfere with My movement. Your religious traditions must not interfere with My movement. Your prejudice must not interfere with My movement."

The Lord is on the move, and He demands absolute freedom of movement. That is what is here in the wheels at the very first. God is moving, and God claims the right to keep on moving. There is a very great deal bound up with that. We must remember that God is always moving toward His Eternal End. And we must put nothing in the way of the Lord. Again and again the Lord may come up against things in us, our mind about things, or even our past experiences, our ideas that we know all about it. The Lord says: "I have still yet more light and truth to break forth from the Word. You have not yet come to the end of all My movements. There is far more in front than there is behind, and you must give Me perfect liberty to go on."

Now you must think about that, because that is not only the first thing, but that is the foundation of everything. This Chariot-Throne of the Lord rests upon wheels. it rests upon the principle that God is a God of movement and demands liberty for His movement.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 27 - "Wheels Speak of Directness")

Letting Go Is Hard


I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods before Me. - Exodus 20:2-3

Corrie Ten Boom once said that she learned to hold on to things loosely because it hurt too much when God pried them away. There are many things in our life that we get attached to: our work becomes our identity, our homes become our personality, our children become our goals. Sometimes it is hard to know who we were before these things came in and took over our lives. Where do I end and these things begin? When God challenges us on our priorities, it is difficult to truly understand what He is doing.

Because I work in the ministry, it gets confusing at times to separate my walk with the Lord from my work in the LordRecently, I have fallen in love with the plans of a ministry that truly helps people and honors God. I received His promises and His revelation of how to get the ministry started. Then, out of the blue, I had the sense that He wanted me to give the ministry to someone else to do. He used me to get the ministry going, but now He wanted me to let it go and not feel that I must do the work for Him. It was hard to let go because that ministry had become a key part of my life. How do you let go of something that God placed in your heart to do, so that you can honor God by not doing it?

We have to remember that nothing is ours. We are just stewards entrusted with the Master's gifts. Our calling is to be obedient. Our hearts are to have nothing above Him, including His ministries. We are to align ourselves up with Jesus, to rest at His feet and to have a relationship with Him. Jesus wants you, not what you can do.

Lord, thank You that You don't want my attention divided. I am sorry that I fall in love with the work to a point of missing Your will. Help me to walk in Your paths and stay in step with Your call. You have given me everything I have and I give them back to You. Be glorified in me. Amen.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 25

The Throne Is Moving In Relation to the Divine Purpose (continued)

Here is the Chariot-Throne of God! Underneath are the symbols of the whole creation! The whole question is the question of Life for the creation, but we have seen the tremendous energies and power of those movements of the Throne! All the energies and movements of God are in relation to a new creation, a redeemed creation. So we see that the Throne is moving in relation to Divine Purpose - the Divine Purpose in creation. That movement is by way of the Lord Jesus. That new creation is to have Him as its King. That is by way of His service and His sacrifice. That will be an expression of His Heavenly Character, and it is all summed up in "a man after My (God's Own) heart!

In the fourth and fifth chapters of the Book of the Revelation - a great multitude of redeemed ones are displayed to the whole universe; and when that comes to pass, the creation itself shall be delivered. It will not be long before God says: "I create new heavens and a new earth ... the former things are passed away" (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1, 4). All that is here in Ezekiel in principle. But here is a very significant thing - in chapters four and five of Revelation, you have the four living ones. In chapter four, they are connected with the creation. The song in chapter four is "For Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created." The living ones are there in connection with that. The Divine purpose in creation - "God created all things in Jesus Christ - King, Sacrifice, Heavenly Man, that gives the meaning to the creation. "All things were created in Him," and the living ones are there in the presence of the song of creation, but in a special way - not it is the song of a new creation.

In chapter five of the Book of the Revelation, another song is being sung, and the living ones are there. This is the song of redemption. "Thou ... hast redeemed"; that is the new song, and the living ones are there. The purpose of creation in Christ Jesus - Jesus as The Purpose of creation, and when the new creation is secured, the living ones are there. It is a new creation in Christ Jesus. The song of redemption is "Thou ... hast redeemed us," - and THE REDEMPTION IS IN CHRIST JESUS.

You see, that takes us back to Ezekiel - the cherubims, in the first place, are a representation of Christ. On the one side, they are related to creation; on the other side, they are related to redemption. And all these mighty energies of God concentrated upon that. All the goings of God are unto that. One creation has failed; God is going to have a new creation. One representation of God has failed; God is going to have a new representation. Israel has failed as a representation of God, He will have His Church. That is what comes out later in these prophecies.

Now I must leave it there. That is only half of it. The other half is the wheels, and I think we must leave that for later. This is all not only interesting but very instructive. It ought to help us to see one thing: The Throne of heaven is concentrated upon a full and perfect representation of the Lord's Mind. When we sum up this whole section, we shall see more of what that means for us. But it is a tremendous thing to be right in the way of the goings of God! Not alongside of the goings of God, not in some little bit of the goings of God, but right in the full way of the goings of God! That is where we shall find the support of the Throne!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 26 - "The Authority Is Invested In the Man on the Throne")

It Pleased God ...


It pleased God... to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him. (Galatians 1:15,16)


Since Paul’s day so very much of Christian activity has been the furthering of a movement, the propagating of a teaching, and the furthering of the interests of an institution. It is not a movement, nor to establish a movement in the Earth and to get followers, adherents, members, support. It is not an institution, even though we might call that institution the church. The church has no existence in the thought of God apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ, and it is judged according to the measure in which Christ the Son of God’s love is in evidence by its existence. It is not a testimony, if by that you mean a specific form of teaching, a systematized doctrine. No, it is not a testimony. Let us be careful what we mean when we speak about "the testimony." We may have in our minds some arrangement of truth, and that truth couched in certain phraseology, form of words, and thus speak about "the testimony"; it is not the testimony in that sense. It is not a denomination, and it is not a "non-denomination," and it is not an "inter-denomination." It is not Christianity. It is not "the work" – oh, we are always talking about "the work": "How is the work getting on?" – we are giving ourselves to the work, we are interested in the work, we are out in the work. It is not a mission. It is Christ! "...That I might preach Him."

If that had remained central and preeminent all these horrible disintegrating jealousies would never have had a chance. All the wretched mess that exists in the organization of Christianity today would never have come about. It is because something specific in itself, a movement, a mission, a teaching, a testimony, a fellowship, has taken the place of Christ. People have gone out to further that, to project that, to establish that. It would not be confessed; nevertheless it is true, that today it is not so much Christ that is our work. Now beloved, an inward revelation is the cure of all that. Am I saying too hard a thing, too sweeping a thing? The existence of all that represents the absence of an adequate inward revelation of Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 24

The Throne is Moving In Relation to the Divine Purpose (continued)

We may ask, "What is the meaning of all that?" In the first place, we see that this is a symbolic representation of Christ. It is Christ in His four-fold capacity. The lion is "the Lion from the tribe of Judah": - out of Judah came the Ruler, so that the lion is the symbol of the government or royalty of the Lord Jesus. You probably know that the Gospel by Matthew corresponds to that. It is the Gospel of the King! The ox is the symbol of service and sacrifice, and again that is the representation of the Lord Jesus as the servant of Jehovah sacrificing Himself: - "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life." The ox corresponds to the Gospel of Mark! It is in the Gospel by Mark that, more than anywhere else, Jesus is seen in service giving Himself. The Man aspect of the cherubims is very clear, "the Son of Man has come." That is the message of Luke, Jesus the Man! And the eagle is the symbol of heavenliness and mystery, and that is clearly seen in the Gospel by John! The Lord Jesus so often in that gospel speaks of His having "come down from heaven," and yet there is a mystery about Him that no one can understand. He is a Man, but He is more than a Man. This is the eagle symbolism. So I think it is quite clear by these references to see that the Lord Jesus is represented by the cherubims.

The cherubims are called "the living ones." In our translation, a word is introduced that is not there in the original. In the King James' translation, it is "living creatures"; in another translation, it is "living beasts," the four living beasts. Well, of course, to begin with man is not a beast; and an eagle is not strictly a beast. However, those words, creature and beast, are not in the original. What is here in the original text is "the living ones," which is just the plural form of the word "life." - It simply means the plurality of "life." The key characteristic of the cherubims was life: "In Him was Life." What was the life for? - The life of the creation. Jesus is The Life of the Creation. Of course that is now the "new creation!"

We go back to the first appearance of the cherubims. Man has sinned, God has cursed the race and the earth. He has driven man out of the garden, in which there was "the tree of life"; and He has placed the cherubims at the gate to guard the way of the tree of life. What does all that mean? The sinful and fallen creation can never have that life. That life can only be had by "a new creation." Between that which represents the fallen creation and that which represents the unfallen creation stands Christ as "the Door." Christ says, "There is no life for that sinful creation; there is only Life in a new creation." So the cherubims stand between. Thus Christ always stands between an old creation and a new. There is no Life outside of Christ. There is only Life "inside" of Christ. Christ as "The Life" stands at the door. He says  "No" to one creation, and "Yes" to another. Well, I think we can say that the cherubims represent Christ. They represent Christ as The Life.

Now it is also very clear to see that the cherubims in relation to the Throne affect the whole creation. The Throne is linked with the creation - in creation and redemption. On the one side, it relates to the creation; on the other side, it relates to the redemption of the creation! God's Throne governs those two things. The Chariot-Throne of God is linked with God's creative and redemptive power. This Throne says that God is concerned with the redemption of the creation. You notice that over the Throne there is "a rainbow." The rainbow is the symbol of God's covenant of redemption. You will find that rainbow again in the Book of the Revelation, and presently we shall see its connection in that book, but let us be quite sure of what we have just said.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 25)

Chosen by the Lord


“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense." 2 Chronicles 29:11


After King Solomon’s death, the nation of Israel was divided into two separate kingdoms. Israel had ten tribes and Judah had two. Each kingdom had its own king. The Lord had promised King David that he would always have a successor in Judah and God honored that promise as David’s line of descendants continued to reign on the throne in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, not all of these kings walked in the ways of the Lord as David had done. One of the most ruthless and wicked of these kings was Ahaz. King Ahaz turned from the Lord to such an extent that he literally cut the articles from the temple in two, set up idolatrous altars in every corner of Jerusalem and even offered his own children as sacrifices. His wickedness incensed the Lord and brought His wrath upon the people for their abominable sins. But upon Ahaz’s death, his son, Hezekiah, became king and Hezekiah chose to follow the Lord. Today’s verse reflects Hezekiah’s words to the people after they had restored the temple and were preparing to offer their sacrifices and worship to the one true God.

King Hezekiah warns the people to not be negligent for it is time to take a stand for the Lord. He instructed them to ask for His forgiveness, and to worship Him in praise and thanksgiving. The people did all that Hezekiah directed them to do and God’s wrath was averted. The verse says that the Lord chose them to stand before Him, serve Him and minister to Him. In other words, they now had to act upon their loyalty to God, not just give Him empty words. But God is so awesome that He made a way for them to succeed in their service because He chose them and He led them in all they did. Jesus would later say that we did not choose Him but He chose us (John 15:16).

What can we learn from this story and how can we apply it to our lives? First of all, we need to see how God’s Word speaks to us every day, regardless of the chapter or verse or book of the Bible. Even though as Christians, we may read the Bible, pray and go to church, we are capable of easily turning from the Lord. One step leads to more steps until we are farther and farther away from the Lord’s teachings. We then find ourselves engrossed in sins of idolatry and wickedness, just like the Israelites. But the Lord is always with us. He is waiting for us to come back to Him and to serve Him, just as He did with the Israelites. Offer your heart to Him in prayers and worship. Repent from your sins, ask forgiveness and know in your heart that God has chosen you for His own. Do not be negligent. Seize the day.

~Daily Disciples Devotional~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 23

The Throne Is Moving In Relation to the Divine Purpose

We are still occupied with the preparations of the Lord's servant for his ministry, and we were considering the Throne above the firmament and the likeness of a Man upon it. As you will remember, we concluded by pointing out the importance to the servants of the Lord of seeing that Throne - what it means to the Lord's servants to recognize that there is a Throne, and that there is a Man upon that Throne. We passed on into the New Testament, and we saw that it was that that accounted for everything in the first days: they were able to sing and to pray and to preach and to suffer and to die because they knew the Man was on the Throne! So that part of the vision came first and was of very great importance to Ezekiel.

I think you know what the name Ezekiel means; but if you do not, let me tell you what it means: "God shall be my strength." And Ezekiel had to have vision and experience that made his own name true. All this that Ezekiel was seeing was just establishing the meaning of his own name, "God is my strength." We shall only have strength as we see the Man on the Throne! That is a very important thing for ministry.

So we come to the next part of "the visions of God" which were the preparation of the Lord's servant; that is, what was directly under the firmament. And the first part of this was "the four living ones," which are known to us as the cherubims. And, of course, we do recognize that these cherubims are symbols of spiritual things. And one thing about them is this - that in different places they are different in representation. For instance, here in Ezekiel they have four wings; in Isaiah, the have six wings. That is only to emphasize particular spiritual principles, and you will notice that there are other differences in the references to the cherubims. This means that at one time, in one place, certain things are emphasized. At another time, in another place, certain other things are emphasized. It is the spiritual principles which are to be taken note of; therefore, the cherubims are symbols of spiritual realities. The Bible right from the beginning to end is just full of symbolism - things taken up by God to teach spiritual truth.

Now then, we look at these "four living ones." First we take account of their number; their number is four. Everything about them speaks of the number four. Each one of the four has four likenesses, and there are four of them. They have four wings. Their characteristic number is four; and as you may know, four is the number of creation. If we want to cover all the dimensions of the creation, they are covered in the number four: north, south, east, and west cover the whole world. There are the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the Bible the four winds are referred to, four winds as coming from "the four corners of the earth" (Revelation 7:1). Now we know that the world is not square, it does not have four corners, but this is a symbolic way of speaking; "the four corners of the earth" means the whole world. It, therefore, represents the whole creation; it is the number of creation. Keep that in mind as we move on to the four likenesses of the cherubims.

You see, the cherubims had four likenesses: the likeness of a man, the likeness of a lion, the likeness of an ox, the likeness of an eagle; and those four are representative of four parts of the creation. The lion represents the wild creation, the ox represents the domestic creation, the eagle represents the flying creation, and the man represents the human creation. All creation is represented here.

But then, what is the spiritual symbolism? The lion is the symbol for royalty and government. The ox is the symbol of service and sacrifice. The eagle is the symbol of heavenliness and mystery. And the man is the symbol for representation. That is the spiritual symbolism.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 24)