KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God. . ."
THE HEAVENS DECLARE
In ancient times there were more constellations recognized than the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. Each of the twelve Signs has three other constellations grouped around it. Thus altogether there are twelve Zodiacal Signs with 36 additional constellations. These secondary constellations are called "Decans," from the Shemitic term DEK, meaning a "part" or "piece." The Decans are therefore "side pieces," indicating that they belong to the Sign and that their message is a part of the Sign's message. As previously pointed out, each Zodiacal Sign has three Decans, or three secondary constellations grouped about it. These three additional constellations are a part of that Sign's revelation. Therefore, to fully comprehend the significance of each Sign we must examine not only the major Sign, but also its three Decans. The Sign of SAGITTARIUS has its three Decans: Lyra, Ara, and Draco. Before proceeding to the next major Sign let us consider the three Decans or other pieces of the house of Sagittarius.
The first is called Lyra. This star group is pictured as a Lyra or Harp. The harp is the oldest of stringed instruments of music. We find it named three hundred years before Adam died (Gen. 4:21). The only musical instrument mentioned in the book of Revelation in connection with heaven -- the realm of spirit -- is the harp. The harp was the famous instrument on which king David excelled. According to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, the harp of bible days had ten strings which were plucked with a plectrum (pick). The harp was used on joyous occasions; for instance, it was stated in Gen. 31:26-27: "And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword? Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?" The Jews refused to play the harp during the Babylonian Exile. They suspended their harps upon the willows, how could they "sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Ps. 137:4). The harp was gay, and when the prophets of old admonished the people, they threatened that the harp, the symbol of joy and happiness, would be silenced unless the people repented from their sins. The harp was one of the temple orchestra instruments and its tone is described as sweet, tender, soft, and lyrical. Chronicles 25:3 states that Jeduthun and his sons prophesied with a harp, and I Samuel 16:23 says about David and Saul: "And it came to pass...that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."
Dr. Joseph Seiss, in his book THE GOSPEL IN THE STARS, wrote: "The placing of that harp as the first Decan of Sagittarius connects pre-eminent gladness, joy, delight, and praise with the action of this great Archer with His bow and arrows. There is but one such sign in all the ancient constellations, and that is associated with the going forth of this double-natured Bowman aiming His arrows at the Scorpion's heart. That glorious Archer, as He appears in this sign, answers to the Lamb as John beheld Him, standing, having seven horns and seven eyes - all the fullness of regal, intellectual, and spiritual power. Heaven grew breathless as it gazed, and a thrill went through the universal heart of living things. A new song broke forth from the living ones and elders around the throne of Diety, accompanied by the celestial harps, and rolled sublime through all the heavenly spheres, till afar in the depths of space the voices of angelic myriads took it up, and every creature in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and upon the sea, and all things in these realms, were heard singing and saying, To Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion for the ages of the ages!" -- end quote.
Modern atlases depict the constellation of Lyra by an eagle holding the harp, or a harp placed over the eagle. There can be no doubt about the meaning -- that praise shall ascend up AS AN EAGLE TOWARD HEAVEN. Two other conspicuous stars in this constellation are Shelyuk, which means "an eagle" and Sulaphat, meaning "springing up" or "ascending" -- as in praise. And this praise is associated with the going forth of the victorious horseman. It is the celebration of His triumph in us, the extension of His Kingdom over our land. It is also interesting to note that the name of the brightest star in the constellation of Lyra is Vega, meaning He shall be exalted. Its actual magnitude is very great, perhaps a hundred times that of our sun. This sparkling gem of the summer sky directs our attention to the theme of universal praise, "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously" (Ex. 15: 1).
I would like to take this harp out of the starry heavens above and out of the inspired pages of holy writ, and, by the help of the Holy Spirit, touch the strings and bring out of them melody for our souls. Music reflects the heartbeat of every culture. From the roll of African drums to the long mountain horns of the Swiss Alps to the sound of banjos around the campfire, music speaks a special international language of the heart. All people of all cultures express the wonder and joy of life in the sounds of music. There is, I believe, not only the audible song of earth, but symphonies which have always been playing in a realm that far transcends our natural ears. The earth, nature, atmosphere, sun and moon, trillions of blazing stars and shimmering nebulae above, together with ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of the heavenly hosts are lost in melodies far, far more beautiful than any human ears can hear, but which can be heard by those who have "ears to hear." There is built into every atom and molecule of creation the harmony of a musical note; together the notes vibrate in a single and perfect chord which makes the universe sing. In the beauty of allegory the scriptures declare that the very elements give glory and honor unto the Lord of the universe. "For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands" (Isa. 55:12). "Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein" (Isa 44:23). "All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee" (Ps. 145:10). "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all ye His angels: praise ye Him, all ye hosts. Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light. Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created. He has also stablished them for ever and ever: He hath made a decree that shall not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling His word: mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: both young men, and maidens; old men and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven" (Ps. 148:1-13). Some months ago a word from Bro. Carl Schwing crossed my desk and I was especially impressed by the following thought: "Some nights ago, upon my bed, as my thoughts were upon the Father, my spirit was carried away to the KINGDOM OF THE ELEMENTS...I felt the strong wind blowing against my face, I reached out to touch the rain and snow...I could hear the heaving of the oceans, and the song of the four seasons...I heard the clapping of the trees...I heard the mountains shout for joy and the valleys sing...and the song was always the same Christ is Lord!' 'Christ is Lord!' Christ is Lord!' I remained in that realm for an hour or so, as my body was in a state of perfect peace. Tonight I understand more deeply what I experienced: the Kingdom of God had visited the kingdoms of the earth (not of the world), for as He had created these kingdoms before creating man, so now they are first to receive the 'Knowledge of the Lord' (the awareness of His presence). My brethren, can you not see how close The Hour is!...the Father is walking amid His creation and all creation is being shaken by His presence...and we, O sons of God, are being changed in a 'moment, in a twinkling of an eye' by His presence!" -- end quote.
Some time ago Bro. Paul Mueller shared the following experience in one of his papers. "To help us understand this truth, I would like to share with you a wonderful experience I had while in Nigeria, West Africa thirty years ago. One afternoon the Lord appeared in my room, and said to me, The Kingdom of God is at hand!' As soon as He said that, He immediately turned away and left the room. Needless to say, I was surprised and amazed by that visitation. As I thought about it later, I began to doubt that it was of the Lord. Since I saw no other manifestation of the Kingdom, I thought the whole experience should be questioned. A few days later, as I was walking down a path from our house to the Bible School where I taught Bible classes, the Lord again got my attention. This time, as I was walking through the lush, Nigerian bush, I heard the leaves, the shrubs, and the plants singing a combined song of praise to the Lord and of travail for the Kingdom of God. I stopped to listen! The sound of it all was so arresting that my attention was fixed for a few minutes on the awesome, majestic wonder of that scene. The sound was so awe-inspiring, I thought it to be a most heavenly sound. The whole creation around me came alive with that combined song of praise and travail. In fact, the creation is always singing and travailing (Rom. 8:22), but for those few minutes I was given ears to hear it. As I stood there, transfixed by the wonder of it all, the Lord spoke again and said, Now do you doubt Me when I tell you, the Kingdom of God is at hand? I replied, 'No Lord, help me never to doubt Your word again.' With that, I ceased hearing the sounds of the creation, everything returned to normal,' and the heavenly experience ended" -- end quote.
A distant relative of mine, Dr. Richard Eby, was accidentally killed a number of years ago when he fell to the street from a three-story building. Instantly he was conscious in the realm of spirit. One moment he was conscious with a flesh-restricted mind, the next moment with a heaven-released mind whose speed of function was that of light. He was instinctively aware that the Lord of lords was everywhere about him, though he did not at that time see Him. Hours later he was raised from the dead, and of one of the wonderful experiences encountered in that heavenly sphere, he says, "Music surrounded me. It came from all directions. Its harmonic beauty unlike earthly vocal or instrumental sounds was totally undistorted. It flowed unobtrusively like a glassy river, quietful, worshipful, excitingly edifying, and totally comforting. It provided a reassuring type of comfort much like a protective blanket that whispered peace and love. I had never sensed anything like it. This music was sounding within my head, not from an eardrum. Obviously it was not airborne. Most unusual to me was the absence of any beat. Then I realized that without time this heavenly music could have no beat which is a measure of time! I was hearing harmonic perfection, undistorted by any interposed medium between me and its source, as heard mind-to-mind." Richard Eby explains that since God is the Creator of the universe He is the Composer of the Song of creation. This universal Song is the prime communication of worship, praise and thanksgiving. Music became the resulting harmony from all creation, both of matter and energy. All resonated in unison with the Spirit. It is like a triad of sub-electronic particles with and around which God constructed everything in the universe. The wave-forms we call Light; whereas the material-forms we call earth and water and air. The original creation mirrored the composition and perfection of Person-God. All things vibrated in unison with Him! There was total accord and harmony everywhere as the whole cosmos was resonating with and in God. Each separate thing or being thus carried out an appointed task in His scheme for the universe. A celestial-form of music resulted as the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy! Dr. Eby adds: "The music around me suddenly seemed louder. I rushed to a nearby tree and grasped its trunk to my ear: it was 'singing.' I lifted my right elbow to my head; it too emited the same joyous, beatless melody. Excitedly I stopped to pick some flowers, and found them already in my hand. They too were playing the tune!"
The atmosphere all about us is permeated with this celestial song of creation. But only the sons and daughters of the Most High can tune in to that higher frequency and sing its melody, for these are they who are LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. This music transcends any earthly sound, nor are there necessarily any words of earth's feeble languages with it. It is not learned in words, nor does it depend upon the skill of utterance. But it is a living vibration of all that GOD IS which is released from the very substance of the spirit within, flowing outward from the tabernacle of creation. This music is the beauty of holiness, the glory of the living God, the divine communion between Christ and His body, the unspoken love between the Bridegroom and the bride, the spiritual harmony between the Creator and His creation -- the triumphant symphony of glory! The source of power within this Song of songs is not tones and chords or melodies and harmonic sequencies but SPIRITUAL VIBRATIONS of divine power and reality -- Perfect Love, Life Everlasting, Joy Unspeakable, Infinite Light -- incarnate in creation and redounding unto the praise of HIS glory! It is a Song born of Life, Light, and Love. It doesn't merely tickle the outer ear or stir the soulish emotions -- it pierces the very heart and spirit of men! The Song comes in a vibration of a love so intense, a light so penetrating, and a life so transcendent that men's hearts are opened and melted as they hear. The day shall come, my beloved, when every creature in heaven above, in the earth beneath, and under the earth shall respond to the quickening power of that Song and join their voices with all the heavenly hosts and sing with such lyrity of being that the whole spirit, soul and body shall become enraptured into the beauty of infinite harmony! Hallelujah! Creation shall be released! Chains of darkness and death shall be broken! Captives of sin and sorrow and limitation shall be liberated as the resurrected Christ comes forth from within!
We as sons of our heavenly Father are called, not merely to sing that Song, but to BECOME that Living Song of Songs! "And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He MAKE JERUSALEM A PRAISE in the earth" (Isa. 62:7). It is when we become this mighty concerto of Life, Light, and Love that its power is made manifest. The release of the Christ-life within causes us to BECOME this rhythm of glorified Life -- creation's heartbeat of joy, peace, and victory. The Song is sung as Life, Light, and Love are expressed as the essence of Being. It is an Immortal Song -- the vibration of incorruptibleness. It is not in words spoken -- it is in a state of being, the 'emanation of God's glorious and eternal reality to all about. Every man who develops the power to hear this Song out of the realm of the Spirit is given the ability to sing the Song, sending it forth to a burdened and captive world. "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound...!" (Ps. 89:15). As the unquenchable fire of God can never be extinguished, so this Song has always been ringing throughout creation and its symphony shall never end. Its melody of Praise demands expression! Some men may stop up their ears, others may try to drown it out, but all their efforts can never quiet the crescendo of LOVE! Its power and impact is too great, it cometh from above. Sing that Song, O Jerusalem, for it shall never, never die! Sing that Song, O ye sons of Zion, for it shall eternally triumph! Let the beauty and majesty of the King of kings in the tones and chords of this Song vibrate from your redeemed spirit that it may fill the whole earth and subdue all the nations! Yea, all ye peoples of the earth, SING THAT SONG!
THE LOST CHORD
The story of the Lost Chord has been told in exquisite verse, and in rapturous music. Perhaps you have heard of the lady who in the autumn twilight laid her fingers on the open keys of a great organ. She knew not what she was playing, or what she was dreaming then, but she struck one chord of music, like the sound of a great Amen.
It flooded the crimson twilight,
Like the close of an angel's psalm,
And it lay on her fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.
It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love overcoming strife;
It seemed the harmonious echo
From our discordant life.
It linked all perplexed meanings
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away Into silence,
As i it were loath to cease.
Something called her away, and when she returned to the organ, she had lost that chord divine. Though she longed for it and sought it earnestly in unnumbered hours of practice, it was all in vain. It was a lost chord. And so in our world today a voice of longing cries out of every human soul in surges of incomprehensible yearning. It is a voice that is felt, not heard. None has ever walked the pathways of this planet who has not felt the haunting refrain of that "Lost Chord" moaning out its unutterable lamentation. And one and all try to silence that plaintive cry as it sobs forth its heartbreaking sorrow beneath the burden of a faint glimmer from some long forgotten memory...or world...or lost existence. Whenever I hear the story of that "Lost Chord" it reminds me of the lost joy, the lost peace, the lost power, the lost life that has fled from mankind. That whining refrain of sadness, darkness and death, echoing weirdly out of each man's soul, is but the fragmented, scrambled notes of the great Lost Chord, as they are released with harmonic dissonance and discord. It is like the exquisite notes of a masterpiece sounded forth indiscriminately without harmony. The notes may all be there but there is no lovely melody, only a raucous racket. There is recorded in the book of Job the statement of a glorious former time when "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). That exquisite harmony was muted by sin and the subjection of creation to the bondage of corruption, as mankind became overwhelmed with the consciousness of this dense realm of the earthly, material and temporal. But through the quickening Spirit of the resurrected and ascended Christ A NEW SONG IS ARISING -- the Celestial Song of Creation begins to sing within our hearts again.
"Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore,
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more."
Truly we experience those moments when verbal praises are inadequate to even begin to express that which surges deep within. There is a note, a chord, an inner song of rejoicing that finds no articulation in mortal words. From whence cometh this? In the measure body and soul are brought into subjection to, and union with, the spirit, the Song of the morning star begins to vibrate once more -- there is a Song of songs to be sung unto His glory. It will be heard through the celestial realms again as the NEW MORNING STARS take up that Lost Chord and begin to express the Life and Reality of God in spirit and in truth. There is a glorious company that stands upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, they are of the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north (Isa. 14:13; Ps. 48:2), brought there by the transforming grace of God, and they sing as it were A NEW SONG before the throne, which no man (fleshly realm) can learn. Well did Ray Prinzing write, "Thrilling to note that the word song is the Greek word for an 'ODE'. An ode isn't the same as a 'hymn' which is a song composed and sung, whereas an ODE is a spontaneous outflow of melody and praise that finds its expression in song by the spirit's inner prompting. Men can learn hymns, they are written out in notes and words. The unsanctified singer of 'rock and roll music' records his album of hymns to collect that money too. But there is a SONG that the unsanctified cannot sing, for it is not something produced by the carnal mind, it is a RELEASING OF THE SPIRIT'S MELODY. It is a song that dates back to when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. We have carried within us a song that could not be released because of the bars of self-will and carnal rebellion. But the CROSS is canceling out the self, and the hour is close when the last vestige of the threads of that veil shall be torn aside, there shall be an outflow of the Christ within, a new song. Praise God, the day shall come when the world, long accustomed to the pipings and shriekings of such distorted music, negative beats that inflame the bestial passions of the flesh, shall awaken to hear the pure melodies of the harmony of God. Never again will they be satisfied with the discordant notes and the off-beat that has so characterized our generation. As they hear the pure song that flows from the Spirit, out of the depths of our being, they shall hunger and thirst to be filled with the same, the harmonious chord of the morning stars' song. Now a morning star means the first, early, or foremost one. And they are given as the herald, messenger to announce the day which is coming forth. The night might seem dark, but the morning star shines out to announce that the GREATER LIGHT OF GOD shall soon be seen over all the earth. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea.' Ah, this gives new hope for coming days, His lighted stars betoken the victory" -- end quote. Another has written, "The universe echoes with the harmony of spirits made one in the Father! Yet taller, so much taller is our Elder Brother! Once we walked with Him...now we move and have our existence in Him. Once He walked with us, now He moves and has His existence in us...the two are One, and from that holy union comes forth God's Christ!"
I read the story of a young man who happened to visit a church one Sunday. He listened to the church service and heard an organ offertory played -- a Bach toccata. When the service was finished, the young man inquired as to whether he could play the organ. "Oh no! Only our church organist is permitted to play that instrument." But the young man persisted. Finally, they agreed to let him play one piece of music. He looked over the stops, carefully set them, and then he played the same number that was played for the offertory, a Bach toccata. There were still people lingering around. They listened -- enthralled, and when he finished, everybody applauded. The organist asked the young visitor, "What is your name?" He said, "My name is Johann Sebastian Bach! I wrote that music!" And the organist exclaimed, "Oh, to think that we almost would not let the master himself play the instrument! Only now have we heard the real music come out." YOU, precious friend of mine, are an instrument designed to be a channel of Life, Light, and Love. And Jesus Christ is the Master and wants to play the strings of emotions and thoughts and nature within you until you become a son indeed, the Song of the Lord in the midst of the earth. Your life when it is hid with Christ in God becomes a beautiful thing: every drop of blood is singing His praise; every pulsation of the heart is a joyful harmony keeping steady time; your thoughts in unison with God are running along the lines which ever lead to God, for they diverge not; they are not like comets rushing out into the darkness, but they are like beautiful planets revolving around a Central Sun.
Handel Brown tells of a German ruler who wished to possess a Cremona violin. He offered an unheard of price. It was published in every market place throughout the realm. For months he had no success. Then one day an old man appeared at the castle gate. He was poorly dressed. He had a shabby violin case under his arm. The servants refused to admit him. Finally, because of his importunity, they agreed to carry his message to their master. He asked them to say, "Heaven's music is waiting at your door." The Prince ordered him to be admitted immediately. The old man drew from the worn case a perfect violin. He soon created marvelous music which won the Prince's ardent praise. "The violin must be mine. Name your own price," said the Prince. The old man shook his head. "I want no money," he said; "the violin may be yours only on condition that I pass my life within your house, and use the instrument every day." The Prince accepted the violin on these terms. Ah -- the Master Musician (spirit) waits outside the door of soul and body. He offers us the harmonies He alone can create. He, the firstborn Son, can make us sons with whom the Father is well pleased. Let us recall the lovely prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Betimes the circumstances surrounding us appear to be chaotic and hopeless. But we are much comforted by the knowledge that the Composer and Conductor of this Symphony -- THE KINGDOM OF GOD -- knows every part and every player and is able to execute all phases to its grand conclusion. Discord only enters when we take our eyes off the Conductor or mistake another player's notes for our own.
THE CELESTIAL SONG OF CREATION
GOD ALL IN ALL -- this will be the grand conclusion of the great drama of the world's history and of Christ's redemption. There will come a day -- the glory is such we can form no conception of it, the mystery is so deep we cannot realize it -- when the Son shall deliver up the Kingdom that God gave Him and which He won with His own blood and established and perfected from the throne of His glory. "He shall deliver up the Kingdom unto the Father...that God may be all in all." ALL IN ALL -- such is the grand goal of our God! He will yet be everything to every one of His creatures, as it is fitting He should be. Nothing less will satisfy His heart for "He has created all things, and for His pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4.11). Nothing less will vindicate His love or form a fit conclusion for the sin and sorrow and death of the ages. Let us with joy believe it! Let us exult as we receive it! Let us be "laborers together with God" to accomplish it! May this simple phrase, that the smallest child can utter, become the very basis of our being, the background of every act, the key to every occurrence, a light in every darkness, a balm for every wound, and our ages-lasting consolation and good hope.
Let us awake from the terrifying nightmare of Babylon's delusions and let us wing our spirits to God's glorious consummation. Here is a vision worthy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ -- GOD ALL IN ALL. And now, this ultimate reality must begin in us who have received the call to sonship. If this is what fills the heart of Christ; if this expresses the one end of the work of Christ, then, if I would have the spirit of Christ within me, the motto of my life must be: Everything made subject and swallowed up in Him "that God may be all in all." What a life that will be when that really becomes our banner! To serve the Father fully, wholly, only, to have HIM ALL IN ALL! I am praying, believing, and pressing on "that God may be all in all;" that the day of glory may be hastened. Would that all the saints of God realized with what a grand cause we are working and praying; that all had some conception of the Kingdom we are partakers of, and what a manifestation of God we are preparing for! That He is not All-in-all at the present is quite obvious, for only a fraction have faintly felt that God was indeed ALL to them. Some have known Him as their Saviour, some have experienced Him as their healer, some have received gracious gifts from His hands, some have acknowledged Him as their Lord, and a few have found Him as their ALL. Happy are they who know Him thus! They have tasted of the cup ineffable, which quenches every thirst, satisfies every hunger, conquers every enemy, meets every need, dispels all darkness, and destroys all death. I am living for this -- that God may be all in all. I am living in Him, and I shall be there not only as a witness, but I have a part in it all. The Kingdom delivered up to the Father, and God all in all! I shall have a part in it and in adoring worship share the glory and blessedness. Let us permit this to penetrate deeply into our hearts that it may rule our lives -- this one thought, this one faith, this one aim, this one joy: GOD SHALL BE ALL IN ALL! Everything in history is moving inexorably toward a day when Jesus will have conquered everything and everyone. Like a mountain of dirt before a gigantic bulldozer steadily moving forward, all that can be conquered is being collected into the loving arms of Jesus, whose right it is to rule. When Christ ascended on high after His resurrection, He Ied many captives out of the pit and also set forth this greater purpose: "Now He that ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, THAT HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS" (Eph. 4:9-10). The message is clear -- redemption includes the complete transformation of the entire universe and all that is within it so that God shall FILL ALL THINGS. There shall not be left one corner of this vast universe, nor one creature in it, where He shall not be LORD AND KING. EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE SHALL BE RESTORED TO THE BEAUTIFUL HARMONY AND ORDER OF THE LOVE OF GOD. Indeed, HE SHALL FILL ALL THINGS SO THAT "GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL."
When God becomes All-in-all there will be no more preaching, teaching or prophesying. We won't need admonitions or reproof because ALL will know the Lord fully for themselves and live wholly in and unto Him. But there will be a lot of singing and praise! I think that music is something right out of the heart of God, the pulsating of His divine life. In the scriptures music is mentioned far more often than preaching as an expression of the spirit. Under Old Testament economy the primary manner of presenting God's Word in the Temple service was through Levitical singing rather than preaching. The major ingredient of Old Testament worship was the chanting and singing of Psalms. Then, as now, music freed the soul of the worshipper and lifted the spirit toward God. Music was also the principle characteristic of the New Testament church. Pliny, the Roman statesman and writer of the first century A.D., writing to the Emperor, and asking what he is to do with this new-fashioned sect, the Christians, reports that they seem harmless folk who gather together before dawn, and sing hymns to Christ as God. That singing is a Christian novelty. No religion on earth sings like the people of God! Most have very little, if any, music at all. The sound of singing and praise echoes and reechoes in the early church, and down the years. And naturally so. For the New Testament is the happiest book in the world, written by men who had heard news too good to be true, yet it was true; who had had spiritual experiences so extraordinary that plainly they were just impossible, and yet they had happened to them; who, as Paul puts it, piling metaphor upon metaphor, had passed out of the cold and dark night into the glory of full sunshine; men who had become new creatures, needing a new name to describe them, because the old one, with its miserable connotation, no longer fitted them, for whom life had become so strangely big and purposeful and glorious. A new name and a new song -- these are the marks of the New Creation!
The fourth Psalm is a Davidic Psalm. The inspired superscription reads, "To the Chief Musician on Neginoth, a Psalm of David." The superscription is a part of the Hebrew text, so we can know that King David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, was the human author. However, there is nothing in the superscription to let us know when, or under what circumstances, David wrote this Psalm. Taken in the divinely arranged order of the Hebrew songbook, the fourth Psalm is the first of the Psalms that include a musical superscription. In our standard English translation, that superscription reads, "To the Chief Musician on Neginoth, a Psalm of David." The untranslated Hebrew word, "Neginoth," means "stringed instruments." So, this Psalm is written "To the Chief Musician on Stringed Instruments." Who is the "Chief Musician"? In Psalm 22:22 we find these words, "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION WILL I PRAISE THEE." The writer of the book of Hebrews translates this verse, "...I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH WILL I SING PRAISE UNTO THEE" (Heb. 2:12). The One who is spoken of in these verses is our Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ. HE IS THE CHIEF MUSICIAN; He is the One who inspires the singing of praises throughout all eternity! He sings praises in the midst of the church, and He leads the music of praise of His elect people from henceforth and for evermore. The superscription to this Old Testament Psalm dedicates it to the living Christ, the firstborn among many brethren. In this Psalm we hear the voice of David's greater Son: David's Lord, our Saviour!
The Lord Jesus Christ is both the Director of the heavenly choir and the Song that it sings! He it is who sings praises unto the Father in the midst of His elect. The praises that are sung in the midst of the Lord's many brethren are not the feeble praises of man, but the very Word of the Lord Himself. During the great Latter Rain outpouring of the Spirit in those heaven-blest years following 1947, many thousands of the Lord's people entered into the high praises of God that burst forth from within. We literally experienced the Christ of God singing praises in the midst of His brethren. Some churches today are trying to "teach" people how to praise the Lord, how to sing and dance "in the Spirit." I do not hesitate to tell you that there is a realm of "strange fire" that is offered before the Lord today. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, "offered STRANGE FIRE before the Lord, which He commanded them not," and "they died, when they offered strange fire" (Lev. 10:1; Num. 26:61). Strange fire was simply fire of their own making -- fire that had not been kindled by the Lord. Then there was also STRANGE INCENSE. And so we read, "Ye shall offer no strange incense..."(Ex. 30:9). Incense bespeaks of WORSHIP. And regardless of how we want to say it, your worship is YOU. Worship is more than speaking words, lifting the hands, bowing down - it is simply the expression of your inner life toward the Lord. Paul says, "We are unto God a sweet savour or Christ" (II Cor. 2:15). "A sacrifice unto God for a sweet smelling savour" (Eph.5:2). We pour ourselves out to Him and it is to be IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH. But strange fire and strange incense is that which is offered up from our own SOULISH EFFORT; rather than the spontaneous outflowing of His life. In many circles the pleasure of music as an art or as entertainment is provided, in place of the anointed praise and spiritual worship that is inspired by the Spirit of God. "I hate, despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer Me burnt-offerings and your meat-offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. TAKE TH0U AWAY FROM ME THE NOISE OF THY SONGS: for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" (Amos 5:21-24). "And the songs of the temple shall be HOWLINGS in that day saith the Lord," we read in Amos 8:3. I have heard those howlings, my beloved, even among "sonship" and "kingdom" people -- the noise and confusion of people praising and worshipping God apart from the anointing, the hollow melody of those who sing not by the spirit, having merely "learned" how to go through the motions, creating the harmony with their lips, but with no divine now of life. They are trying to sing the Song of the Lord, but the voice of the Christ is not heard singing in the midst. I has fallen upon my ears and I have discerned it by the spirit as the sound of a pack of wolves howling at the moor in the night. The Word of the Lord declares that the Lord Himself will sing praises to the Father in the midst of the church. It is not the fleshly efforts of man, but the quickening presence of the King of glory manifesting Himself as life in praise and worship among the many sons He is bringing to glory.
In the visitation of the Lord as Latter Rain, we heard the "heavenly choir" singing praises to the Lord from within the temple of His many-membered body. It was an incredibly glorious wonder to hear such celestial harmony issuing from untrained lips of clay. As the saints were gathered together by the Spirit and in the power o the Lord, the entire gathering, whether ten or ten thousand in number, would all break forth into spiritual song: and psalms and hymns, and would all sing the same song BY THAT SAME SPIRIT. The organ, piano and other musical instruments were in divine harmony with the many voices. One brother related the example of a large congregation all singing Handel's Messiah, from beginning to end, singing every word and every note in DIVINE HARMONY under the anointing of the Spirit, although no one in the congregation knew Handel's Messiah. I have sung the Song of the Lord and sensed every part of my being being tuned, vibrating like a harp, the hand of the Master Musician plucking from my strings a melody divine. Have you ever heard the heavenly choir? It is a most remarkable experience, nothing like the empty sounds coming from the church systems today. And when the beat is the polluted, satanic beat of rock music, there is no way that it is going to be an offering acceptable to the Lord. The religious world speaks of "Christian rock music," but I have no hesitation in telling you that the word "christian" and "rock" constitute an unnatural and unholy union -- an abomination. The rock beat is the ba...ba...ba...beat of the jungle, a reversion to savagery. There is actually very little melody, little sense in the lyric -- only rhythm. The mass hysteria present in the rhythmic chants of primitive peoples is perpetrated today upon the youth of our generation under the guise of "music." The so-called music is loud, primitive, insistent, sensual, strongly rhythmic, and releases the phenomena of mass hypnosis, contagious hysteria and the blissful feeling of being caught up in all-embracing, animalistic, orgiastic experience. On the other hand, music that is constructive contains always beautiful melody, wonderful rhythm and marvelous harmony; for all constructive sound is comfortable to the feelings, forever producing ecstasy, alertness and peace, energizing the mind and body, facilitating balance and self-control in the listener.
Paul Mueller penned the following words of wisdom for the elect of God. "The wonderful HEAVENLY CHOIR does not sing the high praises of the Lord without purpose. All that God does is for a glorious design, and He does nothing without an objective. The praises of the Lord which we experienced in the last outpouring came forth to prepare His elect to hear His Word and bring them to greater maturity. All that the Father intended to do in that last outpouring He fulfilled in every detail to every one of His elect who were set apart for that glory. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds as they watched over their flock by night to tell them of His birth. Then, suddenly, there appeared with the angel 'a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men' (Lk. 2:14-15). The heavenly host thus appeared to the lonely shepherds to confirm the blessed truth that had just been announced to them by the messenger of the Lord. The heavenly choir came with a manifestation of Spirit power and glory. And we are persuaded that a similar manifestation of Spirit glory will attend the birth of the corporate company of sons who are now being brought forth. When this corporate Christ company is birthed into the fullness of His life and glory, the heavenly choir will again sound forth the high praises of the Lord. Then the glory that is now within us will be openly manifest to a waiting, groaning creation, and will be joined with the greater glory of the heavenly hosts just as it was on that night of HIS birth. The wonderful phenomenon that took place in the presence of the watchful shepherds must have been a most magnificent event for them to witness. They were accustomed to the loneliness of the night watches on the hills of Judea. They had spent many such nights with the sheep, but this night was different from all others. An angel appeared as if from nowhere. Their first reaction was one of fear, until the heavenly messenger clearly announced, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.' The word of the Lord gave promise and hope of a Saviour for all people, which is CHRIST THE LORD. The present generation is in desperate need of 'good tidings of great joy.' Soon Christ shall appear, this time in His fullness. Then Christ, both body and Head, will be complete. He must have a body upon which to place the Head, which He is (Lk. 9:58). Therefore, the Lord is faithfully preparing a body who shall be as glorious and honorable as the Head. They will be joined to Christ the Head to make one COMPLETE MAN, who will be the hope of all creation. When this Christ company is complete the heavenly hosts will announce their birth. Many in the world who now languish in sin and darkness will then hear the good tidings of great joy at the creation of this anointed company. The message from the heavenly hosts will again be directed to all people. As the angel gave promise of a Saviour to that generation, so this corporate company is created and brought forth for the deliverance of the present creation. With that glad proclamation of victory, every created thing will join the heavenly hosts in praising God for the complete and joyful triumph of His salvation (Rev. 5:9-14)" -- end quote.
THE HARP OF PRAISE
We mentioned earlier that in the constellation of Lyra an eagle is holding a harp. The message is clear - praise shall ascend up AS AN EAGLE TOWARD HEAVEN. It is interesting to note that in nature besides man, no animal can sing, unless it can fly. That is a very significant point, particularly when you remember that even that which can fly does not sing if it is a scavenger -- one that feeds on putrid flesh. Buzzards don't sing! Once the rotting flesh of our self-life and the carnal mind has been dealt with and done away, we shall be able to soar into the heavenlies and fully join in that heavenly chorus, intoning the glory of God.
The harp is mentioned several times in the book of Revelation and in Rev. 14:1-2 we read, "And I looked and to, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. And heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps." In this passage we find this company standing with their Redeemer upon Mount Zion. Zion represents the very highest position attainable in the Kingdom of God. Such are the ruling class in the capital city, the New Jerusalem, prefigured by King David who dwelt on the natural Mount Zion of old. And this company standing with their Lord can represent nothing other than they who have followed the Lamb experientially all the way from the death of Mount Calvary to the power and glory of Mount Zion, and will now reign with him on His throne forevermore (II Tim. 2:12; Rom. 8:17). They are said to have "His Father's name written in their foreheads" in distinction to those who, in Rev. 13:16, take the mark of the beast in their foreheads. The mark of the beast denotes that those who bear it have subscribed to the mind -- the doctrines, blasphemy, idolatry and nature of the bestial system of this world. Therefore the mark which these 144,000 bear denotes that they are not defiled with the antichrist doctrines, methods and shame, but are in every respect perfected in the divine nature. Following, in verses two and three, we find a voice of singing and of music. The singing is "as the voice of many waters;" that is, of many peoples and tongues, and it is of great volume, "as the voice of great thunder," denoting almighty spiritual power. They sing a "new song" which no man could learn except the 144,000. A song is peculiarly expressive of praise -- praise with a message. And the quality and depth of praise is dependent on one's spiritual progression in God. Those who have received salvation, but have never followed on to know the Lord more intimately, are limited in their praise; for the more we receive from the Lord, the more we learn His will, His word and His ways. Saints are filled with praise according to their individual capacities. Consequently, while unfaithful and immature saints will be filled with the good things of God according to their various capacities, yet these can never render the same worship as those who have followed their Lord all the way into the fullness of His life. Therefore these sons of Zion are said to sing a NEW SONG that no one can learn, except those who have traveled the same road as they, even as theologians, or great scientists, or business executives, or powerful political figures, have very little in common with the untutored and the unlearned in the natural. All have different capacities and different interests. A song in scripture represents both praise and a message. It is praise that bears a message, or beyond that, praise which is birthed out of revelation and experience with God. You can tell the spiritual level of a person by the songs he sings. A person's "song" will always express his depth of understanding and relationship with God. When we receive new revelation from the Lord, experientially inworked into our lives, a new song is created. There is an old English ballad the first line of which runs, "I cannot sing the old songs." Some change has taken place in the singer's feelings which makes the old song inappropriate, impossible. We all know something of this kind of feeling. Sometimes I look back over old sermons, and very often I have to say to myself, "I could not preach that again." God has been teaching me during the years of my ministry, leading me into a fuller knowledge of Truth and a deeper walk in the Spirit. Hymns and choruses which once ministered life no longer express what the Spirit is saying and doing in our lives, so we no longer sing them as we once did, and betimes change the wording. In the things of God, as in well nigh everything else, "Time makes ancient good uncouth." Thank God there is a new song, a new revelation, a new message, a fresh word, a higher experience in God for this day, and for all the days to come! Those who sing the new song have outgrown the old ones. They no longer express their experience or satisfy their needs.
What saith the scripture? "But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel" (Ps. 22:3). God INHABITS THE PRAISES OF ISRAEL! Listen and pay attention, ye sons of God: When you proclaim the praises of the Most High, when you exalt Him, He inhabits that very expression of your heart. Applaud Him! Exalt Him! Laud Him! Worship Him! Rejoice in Him! Sing unto the Lord a New Song! We are much too stuffy and we have too many "religious hang-ups." There is yet so much religion, so much vain worship, so many commandments of men. "Go forth from Babylon, flee...with a voice of singing declare...the Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob' (Isa. 48:20). "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever" (Ps. 89:1). "Sing unto the Lord! Sing praises to His name! Extol Him that rides upon the heavens by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him "(Ps. 68:4). In the Philippian jail, "...at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praise unto God" (Acts 16:22-26). "Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!" (Ps. 100). "I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing!" (Ps. 101:1). "Sing unto the Lord, because He has done excellent things..." "Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving" (Ps. 147:7). "Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people" (Isa. 49:13). "O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation" (Ps. 95). "O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth; sing unto the Lord, bless His name." "The Lord is my strength and my song...sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously..." (Ex. 15). "Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth...let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains; let them give glory unto the Lord and declare His praise" (Isa. 42:10-12).
Some time ago the following prophecy came forth, declaring, "For surely men fill balloons with helium and the balloons rise, and bear men up into the air to great heights. And as they ascend, and cast out their ballast they ascend even higher. What they have done, and the heights to which they ascend, is not because men have lost the pull of gravity, but because they have hitched themselves to a heaven bound substance, and have cast aside the weights that hold them to the earth. So, My people, I would say unto thee, cast aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset, and hitch thyself to the heaven bound substance that will bring thee into My presence. For I would say unto thee that praise is heaven bound. It is directed toward the Throne. It has a power and a force that will carry it to the Throne. And in the midst of thy praise, thou shalt find thyself being lifted into the heavenlies, casting aside every weight, every sin, every condemnation and guilt. In the midst of thy praise thou art lifted into the heavenlies. I would bring thee up, and have brought thee into heavenly places where thou has known in thy spirit newness of life, where thou hast found a new dimension of the Spirit. The hour is at hand when I will have a people that through their praises shall rise into the heavenlies. And as they cast aside every weight, they shall rise even higher. And as their praises become heated up, ascending up into the heavenlies, SO SHALL THEY ASCEND HIGHER INTO THEIR GOD."
There is something else that we may fail to grasp that is an incredible principle in the Kingdom of God. Many years ago the Lord spoke suddenly and powerfully to me, saying, "I have N-O-T COMMANDED YOU TO PRAISE ME!" I was astonished, incredulous, speechless at His word! In my understanding I was absolutely certain that God had repeatedly commanded us to praise Him! I rushed home, got out Strong's Concordance, and began a search of all the scriptures on praise. How clearly then the truth dawned on me! Yes -- we are commanded to praise -- but the command was not issued by GOD! Instead, men of God, caught up in the Spirit of God, beholding the splendor and majesty of God, cried out in spirit, "Praise ye the Lord!" I quickly discerned the pattern. It is never God speaking in the first person, proclaiming, "I command you -- worship Me!" There is no such command anywhere in the Word. God speaks of worship and praise, but not in terms of an imperative. It is always the man of God, with the veil drawn back from his vision, getting a glimpse of the Lord of Glory, as the prophet Isaiah said, "In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord...high and lifted up," -- that is the beginning of worship. We could easily understand how God who made us could command us to do what He wants us to do. After all, He is our Creator! We could even understand how He could command us to say what we should say or even to think what He would have us to think. And He does, indeed, do that. He says that every thought should be brought into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ. But, to go into that innermost closer, that deepest recess of the human heart of our love and affection and to say that we must love, to command us to love, and to say that we must praise, to command us to praise, seems to be a contradiction in terms.
Yea, it is more than that. Were God to command us to praise and worship Him He would thereby display the most proud, egotistical, conceited, self-centered and vainglorious personality in the universe! Have you never met an egoistic, self-seeking person reeking with the odor of their own self-importance? I have known men who were obsessed with their importance and power who manipulated others to constantly fawn before them and heap flattery upon them. There is something in me that has always detested such and found them among the most despicable specimens of manhood. Shall we now attribute such contemptible characteristics to the great and glorious God! Can you imagine saying to anyone, "Thou shalt love me!" "Thou shalt adore me!" "Thou shalt praise me!" "Thou shalt rehearse in my ears how great and wonderful I am!" We have had the idea that God is good and knows He is good; that God is holy and knows He is holy; that God is great and knows He is great; that God is omnipotent and knows He is omnipotent; therefore He is justified in commanding our respect, love and praise. But what is worship? It is simply man's response to the REVELATION OF GOD. When we see God we will worship Him and our worship will be in direct proportion to the clarity of our vision of Him. God has no need to command us to worship -- He reveals Himself for what He is. The response of all who behold the King in His beauty is the same -- the revelation redounds in blessing and honor and glory unto God because He is worthy! Worship is man's response, not God's command. And the response of the man to whom the Lord has truly unveiled Himself is as natural and spontaneous as breathing.
God has revealed Himself in nature and in His Word. We see God revealed in the thunderstorm. In fact the passage which says, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," is taken from the Psalm which describes a great thunderstorm that sweeps off of the Mediterranean and crashes over the hills of Lebanon and down into Judea, wrecking havoc on every side. David, the psalmist, tells us that here the majesty and the power and the might of God was revealed in the crashing lightning and the clap of thunder. Here we see the power of His arm and in all of that we are to give glory to the Lord because we get some faint glimpse of His might and His power. God has revealed Himself to us in His Word; preeminently we see that revelation in His Son Jesus Christ who is the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person. Ultimately we behold the revelation of God in our own experience and reality as CHRIST IN US, THE HOPE OF GLORY. Have you discovered the wonder of the Christ within? Have you beheld the beauty of the Christ within; have you inquired of Him in His temple? What makes people gamble! People don't gamble for money -- for very few win. They gamble because of the thrill and the tingle of gambling. They gamble because they love to stand right on the edge between total disaster and great wealth; because it makes their pulses pound and their hearts throb. They do it for the thrill of it. What is the reason people climb mountains and walk tightropes. It is the reason that people go to football games! If you were to pass some law that a football game was to be watched scientifically and dispassionately (like watching in a museum, for example), the stadiums would be empty overnight. People go there because they find in that one or two hours a thrill. They are lifted up out of the drabness and dullness of their life and find an excitement. They become a "fan" and they shout and they scream for joy for their team. And yet, it's an amazing thing that if person shows just a little bit of excitement and enthusiasm for the living God, he is not a "fan," he is a "fanatic.' Because that is what a fan means! Fan is but the abbreviation of fanatic. Are you a fanatic for football, and blah for God? That is what a lot of professed believers are. They can work up more enthusiasm for a football game in two hours than they have for God in the last twenty years. The message is clear -- they have not yet seen the Lord high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. They have never discovered the treasure within their field, the glorious and eternal reality of the Christ within!
Praise is not an instrument by which we can "get" things from God -- it is our response to His reality within ourselves. The Psalms are inspired songs of praise. Praise, not pity. That is the repeated message found in the Psalms. Praise for the goodness and greatness of God and for the constant care He gives His creation runs throughout the book. It carries, also, the spirit of a deep devotion to God, and a willingness to trust Him in any circumstance. It overflows with testimony of God's love, His faithfulness, His righteousness. The truths found in Psalms reveal God's unfailing care for man. But they do it in a special way -- through praise. As it says in Psalm 107, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Praise, of course, is not something we plug into so that things will work out for us. The very thought "Praise God' recognizes the presence and power of God right where we are. As someone has written, "God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the Infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and love." Praising God, then, isn't meant to persuade Him to help us. Instead, it lifts our burdens by opening our eyes to God's presence within us, and we gain a fresh perspective on spiritual creation, as, for example, in Psalm 104: "O Lord, how manifold are Thy works.... Thou sendest forth Thy spirit they are created." But can praise actually help us in practical ways? Not if we're trying to use praise as a technique. But if our praise is the natural outpouring of joy and gladness as we become conscious of more and more of God's Life, Light and Love, then praise does have a practical impact on our life, for God inhabits the praise of His people and there is the revelation of HIMSELF. In the revelation of God we can "Praise the Lord from the heavens and praise Him from the heights" (Ps. 148:1). We can so rejoice in the Lord, we live in the praises; all heaviness, doubts, and fear are gone and we laugh at impossibilities. As Evelyn Isaacs wrote, "The land of the miraculous is our native land. If people would continue praising Him they would enter into the unceasing praise of the spirit. It is then, all the powers of gravity would lose their hold and men would ascend from plane to plane. There is no space in heaven, on earth, or underneath the earth where spirit is not. It has no dimension, and goes beyond the extremist point of the imagination. There can be no greater fullness than that of spirit, nor can there be any greater height or depth. No mortal mind or eye can scan immortal heights, neither can depths be plumbed. No substance can bring greater expansion than that of spirit for its immensity and density are unscanned. No space is devoid of that which is substance so we may cease reasoning with the finite mind and rise to the infinite. Those who are flooded with the spirit, are not ordinary men, and unless God's people are moved into the place they are called, they too will die" -- end quote.
All the sacrifices of the heavenly realm into which we are now translated are spiritual sacrifices. The altar upon which the spiritual sacrifices are offered is Christ Himself as it is written, "BY HIM therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13:15-16). "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Ps. 51:17). The "sacrifice of praise" in no way infers that we must consistently and persistently mouth words of praise and thanksgiving unto God when we in no way feel like doing so. That is the idea many people have. They feel they must "wring" some praises out of their soulish senses in order to offer a "sacrifice" of praise to God. To the contrary, the sacrifice of praise must be the very BEST of our powers, like the lamb without blemish in the Old Testament, painstakenly selected and carefully and reverently brought to the Tabernacle door. In the awesomeness of His presence and glory we launch joyously down our little rivulet, until we are borne out into the great ocean of praise, which is ever breaking in music around the person of Jesus. Praise is one of the greatest acts of which we are capable; and it is the transcendent service of heaven. In that blessed realm of spirit they ask for nought, for they have all and abound; but throughout the cycles of glory the inhabitants of those bright worlds fill them with praise. And why should not our earthly tasks be wrought to the same music? We are the priests of creation; it becomes us to gather up and express the sentiments which are mutely dumb, but which await our offering at the altar of God. The praise of the order of sons is not that which is offered in the assembling of the saints, in which so much is soulish instead of spiritual, but the daily expression of the spirit of sonship -- thanksgiving and honor and glory to the Father in all things and for all things, in the nitty-gritty of everyday experience and under the pressures and problems of life. More than words, this sacrifice is an attitude, a disposition, a STATE OF BEING. It is the outraying of the nature, love, grace and mercy of God in all and unto all. It has been said that the messenger must so become one with his message until the messenger BECOMES THE MESSAGE. In the same vein, the praiser must so become one with his praise until the praiser BECOMES THE PRAISE of God in the earth. This is the greatest of all spiritual sacrifices! In these blessed ones is fulfilled the Sign of LYRA in the heavens -- the eagle holding the harp. In these the praise of God ascends into the heavens as the Song of the Lord personified in God's Christ!
To be continued...
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