The Heavenly Man as the Instrument (continued)
Israel and the Promises (continued)
Let us pause for a moment, and insert Psalm one hundred and thirty-three here in brackets. "Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!... for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." How does the blessing come? Whence is this hope, this expectation of the blessing? Our question takes us back to the promise made to Abraham: "... in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). These Israelites were looking for the blessing of Abraham. But note what is further said: "... in Isaac shall thy seed be called" (Genesis 21:12). What does Isaac represent? Life from the dead, Divine life. The blessing of Abraham is life. Now note the words of the Psalm: "... for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." So you see that what they were in quest of was the blessing which had these two aspects, the kingdom of heaven, and eternal life.
In Nathanael we see an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile, a pure man in a right quest. The Lord says to a man like that, "Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." Are you in quest of the kingdom of heaven? "Ye shall see the heaven opened..." Are you wanting to get through? You will need a ladder, a way, a means, a vehicle: "Ye shall see ... the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
Nathanael knew exactly to what the Lord was referring. An Israelite indeed, in whom there was no Jacob, was Nathanael! Let us recall the incident to which the Lord referred. "And Jacob ... lighted upon a certain place... and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold the Lord stood above it, and said ... I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest ... And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said ... How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Genesis 28:10-17) - Bethel, the House of God: the House of God, the gate of heaven. The Lord Jesus appropriates that and says, in effect: 'I am the House of God, I am the gate of heaven. Thou shalt see heaven open through Me.' Do you want to know how to reach heaven? Two things have to be considered; one is the fact of union with Christ, the other is that which is bound up with union with Christ - namely, eternal life.
(continued with # 41 - (Man By Nature An Outlaw)