KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God. . . "
THE HEAVENS DECLARE
The third, and final, constellation in the house of Capricornus is a lovely little cluster of stars named DELPHINUS, or THE DOLPHIN. It is always pictured as a great fish full of life, vigorously leaping upward, out of the water. In contrast to the dying goat, it conveys the idea of springing up again out of the bondage of death. This is the filling of the picture and the completion of the whole truth as set forth in the Sign of Capricornus. First and foremost our Lord Jesus Christ came as our sin-offering, taking upon Himself our humanity with all its sin, weakness, sorrow, limitation and death. We see, however, that He was not to be left there, but, rather, He overcame temptation, He overcame sin, He overcame the flesh, He overcame the world, He overcame the devil, and He overcame death, rising up again wondrously into the heights of glory from whence He came. The dolphin is notorious for leaping forth out of the waves, breaking the surface and rising majestically into the air. So Christ—suddenly emerges from the waves of death as the almighty Conqueror of sin, death, and the grave by rising again! But He is merely the principal Fish of a vast multitude of fishes. Here again Jesus is identified with His people—His elect saints. Unto these chosen ones He speaks the precious and powerful promise: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Father’s throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne" (Rev. 3:21). He died to bring forth a living body, a body represented by a great school of dolphins, all of whom break forth out of the sea of humanity, leaping majestically into the air—viewing that higher world of the spirit to which they are apprehended.
The principle of the dolphin is the principle of overcoming. The reason so many people fail to attain to great heights in the Spirit is because they are unable to see God’s purpose, and therefore they have no particular incentive to seek the great heights that are in Him. So many Christians are far too taken up with carnal ideas and childish notions about mansions and harps and sitting on clouds eating pork chops with nothing to do and all eternity to do it in, to be able to grasp the true purposes of God! There are certain basic principles of the Kingdom of God that must be a part of the frame of mind and the experience of all who press forward into sonship to God. We must learn to think like God. We must begin to RULE WITH CHRIST IN THIS LIFE. Too many saints are weak, frustrated and defeated. May the dynamite of God’s Spirit blow us all out of the low places of lethargy, discouragement, oppression and defeat into a vibrant walk with Christ in the high places of peace, joy and triumph of His Kingdom. "Strength yourselves in the Lord and in the power which His supreme might imparts. Put on the complete armour of God, so as to be able to stand firm against all the stratagems of the devil. For ours is not a conflict with mere flesh and blood, but with despotisms, the empires, the forces that control and govern this dark world—the spiritual hosts of evil arrayed against us in the heavenly warfare. Wherefore put on the complete armour of God, so that you may be able to stand your ground in the evil day, and, having fought to the end, TO REMAIN VICTORS ON THE FIELD" (Eph. 6:10-14), Weymouth).
We are called to reign with Christ from the highest heaven. Such all-embracing majesty is far too vast for my feeble understanding, yet I know by the Spirit that the body of Christ is in practical preparation for the explicit purpose of UNIVERSAL DOMINION. But how can a man rule over principalities and powers and universes if he is unable to rule his own spirit? "He that ruleth his own spirit is better than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32). The awful betrayal, trial, mockery, beating, and crucifixion of Jesus in the most shining example. It is difficult to imagine any humiliation more bitter than that. It is the worst indignity that anyone can be called upon to endure. Few have ever had to bear it. Never was dishonor less deserved, never was dishonor so bravely borne. Through that fierce and heated hour our Lord bore Himself with quiet dignity. Others were convulsed with uncontrolled passion, He alone was calm and self-possessed. His victory over Himself was greater than His victory over His enemies. In such experiences of provocation, truly, "He that ruleth his own spirit is better than he that taketh a city. " God is a God of principle. He does not do anything by chance. It is my deep conviction that what happens in your life and mine is a result of the use or abuse of the principles of the Kingdom of God. Learn this, beloved, and you will know one of the fundamental principles of reigning with Christ: OUR AUTHORITY IS OVER SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS F-I-R-S-T-L-Y I-N O-U-R-S-E-L-V-E-S! "To him that overcometh will I grant (consequentially) to sit with Me in My throne." (Rev. 3:21)
You can never rule anything until you first overcome it within yourself. To "overcome" means TO COME UP OVER THAT WHICH IS OVER YOU. The term implies the existence of obstacles in the pathway of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God. When, within yourself, you rise up above the circumstance, the problem, so that it no longer controls or harasses you, you are then ready to begin to control it, to no longer be the victim of circumstances, but the master of them. Come up over what the religious systems have fed you. Come up over your own pride and inherent weaknesses. Come up over your desire to build a reputation for your name. Come up over the myriad pressures from within and without. Come up over the world of confusion and turmoil about you. You are called to be an OVER-COMER. Come over that wall! Come over into the Kingdom of God and a realm of complete victory. If we cannot come out victoriously over ourselves and over the little temptations and frustrations here, how can the Lord trust us to reign over that which is without? What kind of warriors would we make? How much could He depend upon us? He will give us the place for which we are prepared and qualified; we must set our faces to be overcomers if we are to sit with Him upon His throne and reign with Him.
As sons of the Most High, we have access to the same strength that enabled Jesus to live an overcoming life—and to conquer even death. He has given to us that same authority and power that gave Him victory over sin, death, hell and the grave. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Jesus would come and transfer places with you? If suddenly He would come to dwell in your body. I have often wondered what He would do if He had my circumstances, my weaknesses, my lusts, my pressures, my problems. If the Master came to me and said, "Move over, I am coming to live in your house for a season," I do not doubt that in a short period He would have all my problems straightened out and all of my weakness and turmoil under control. He would overcome all of the things that I struggle with. But the wonderful truth is, my beloved, HE HAS COME! HE DOES LIVE IN MY BODY! "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. . ." (Gal. 2:20). "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). The problem lies in the fact that we fail to yield to Him totally.
I do not believe that any man can experience the victory of Christ except WHERE HE IS. I do not want to distress any soul, but you must know Him where He is. I have union with Christ where He is, in the higher than all heavens. You cannot live in the reality of overcoming if you have not gotten into that region of calm. Why talk of coming up over that which is over me if I do not do it in union with the resurrected and ascended Christ? Practically we have to learn what the frigate bird does. When a storm comes on it gets above the region of storms, above the clouds, where there is none, and there it stays even for days until the storm is over. I am placed beyond the reach of storms; I am a frigate bird, for I am with Christ in a scene where there is no storm and no clouds. I am united to an ascended Christ. The Lord says, "The glory which Thou has given Me I have given them." A person might say, I cannot get this now. I answer, I belong to the glory now; I possess Him now in glory, and I am changed into the same image by the Spirit. I belong to the glory. This is where we fully come up over all that is over us. There is a beautiful promise to the elect of God in Rom. 16:20. "And the God of peace will soon bruise satan under your feet." Stronger words than these are not to be found! Greater words than these do not exist! The greatest and best thing of all about these words is that they are true. If satan is bruised under your feet, dear reader, it does not mean that he no longer exists. It does not mean that the negative realm is destroyed and has no more power to mislead, damage, or dominate. That satan is crushed under your feet signifies that you have risen up above him, gained the mastery over him, assumed the authority of the Christ within. When this becomes a personal life-giving light in the very depth of your being, then sin and satan and darkness and death has lost its power over you. He still exists—under your feet! Crushed under your feet! It is Christ in you who does the crushing. And He does it as you yield fully to the victory HE IS within you.
A pastor by the name of Barnhouse at one time met a member of his congregation and asked him how he was. The member responded, "Well, pretty good under the circumstances." Barnhouse turned sharply and said, "What do you mean under the circumstances? What are you doing under the circumstances? Don’t you know that you are seated with Christ in the heavenlies—way above the circumstances? What are you doing down there?" The man was obviously quite startled. And yet, a great truth is there for us to consider. I am reminded of the story I read once of Spurgeon, the great preacher of another day from London. He was very discouraged at one time in his ministry. He paid a visit to one of the elders with him in the church, who was a farmer. He shared his struggles with this supportive elder. When he had finished the farmer said, "Look, pastor, do you see what that cow is doing?" Spurgeon looked out over the lush English field. A cow was standing by one of the picturesque stone walls that criss-crossed the countryside. Spurgeon answered, "Well, he’s looking over the wall." And then the farmer asked, "Why is he looking over the wall?" the paster replied, "I don’t know." "He’s looking over the wall, because he can’t see through it." There will be times when you won’t be able to see your way through a difficult experience. When that happens, stop trying to look through and begin to look over! There is always a way out of every weakness, problem or circumstance. The way out is always OVER! There is also the story of the stubborn old Chinese man who had a little shop. One day, a developer bought up all the other shops, but this little old man in the middle didn’t want to sell, He wanted to keep his shop just the way it was. The developer threatened him, "If you don’t let us buy you out, we’ll squeeze you out." So they bulldozed everything on each side of him and built two huge, modern department stores, filled them with the best merchandise, and hung the sign across the front, GRAND OPENING. The little Chinese man didn’t let these huge department stores overwhelm him. He had a special sign painted and hung it across his store. In big bold letters it said: MAIN ENTRANCE. Ah, there IS a way to come up over that which is over you! The wisdom of God will show you the way.
When God gets ready to assume His rightful place in the universe again, He will say, "I have a people here who has been tested." How can we rule in the Kingdom of God unless we are tested first? How can God trust us to rule or to have dominion over the universe if He can’t trust us with our own families. If God cannot trust us with ten dollars, how could He trust us with the wealth of the nations and the forces of the cosmos? Have you met the kind of person who can never keep a steady job? The first day that something goes wrong, they want to quit and look for another job. And usually the thing that went wrong was that the boss expected his money’s worth! They might complain about the working conditions, but most folk simply want to complain about the work. The carnal mind is lazy. It doesn’t want to work or exert itself. It is too slothful to OVERCOME! This is the kind of person who is unstable as water (Gen. 49:4). I do not hesitate to tell you that such cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Man’s first instinct under pressure is to run, to extricate himself from the situation. When we run from the problem immediately we FLUNK THE TEST. When we fail to overcome IN the problem, our character in that area is left weak, undisciplined, and undeveloped. Oftimes, so they can appear "spiritual," men divorce their wives, wives divorce their husbands, parents abandon their children, people move from place to place, from job to job, from church to church. Often people pray like this: "Lord, deliver me from this job where everyone is filthy and the boss so hateful; give me a job with the Full Gospel Business Men were everyone is spiritual and praises God and speaks in tongues!" A prayer like this reflects a view of the world which is not uncommon among God’s people. IN this view, since the world is so unclean, it ought to be avoided as much as possible. Certain legitimate occupations are thought to be so hopelessly corrupt as to be shunned at all costs. For that mater, just about any ordinary job in the world would appear to be tainted. God’s name, if used at all, is used in profanity. Co-workers drink too much at office parties. They tell obscene stories and circulate pornographic pictures. Cheating, lying, and stealing are commonplace. Overtly or covertly the men sexually harass the women workers. Gossip runs rampant, and deep-seated hostilities are cloaked with phony smiles. Selfish ambition and the love of money spur men to scratch and scramble over one another to reach the top. All this and more can be found in the typical workplace.
On the other hand, people who work in companies owned and operated by "brethren" are expected to live above all this. Working elbow-to-elbow with believers appears so clean and wholesome and spiritual in comparison to working in an ungodly environment! Ah, we seek an "environment" that is "conducive" to our "spirituality," little realizing that in that environment where all is so beautiful and harmonious we only appear to be spiritual because there is nothing to cross us, nothing to tempt us, nothing hostile, no adversities, no inconveniences, in short, NOTHING TO OVERCOME! You can run from the problem, my friend; you can isolate and insulate yourself from evil; you can position yourself in an environment where nothing is adverse to you; you can even have faith where God will solve all your problems and pour down healings, prosperity and blessings; yes, you can do all this and be a Christian, a good Spirit-baptized Christian, and make it to heaven someday; but I would be remiss if I did not warn you that you cannot do this and BECOME AN OVERCOMER, you cannot do this and BECOME A RULER! Yes, you can achieve some peace by cutting yourself off from that part of your life which takes away your peace—but this is a cutting off from THE THRONE.
As I have stated previously, one can never become an overcomer while running from the battle. I never cease to be amazed at the number of believers who want to go through life without ever coming up over the things that are over them. Every time a hard place comes, the carnal mind drags them further and further into spiritual, emotional and mental bondage. They look for a way out. These folk will run to the next town, the next church, the next job, the next friendship. . . whatever is convenient. They refuse to mature. Anything negative that crosses their will is avoided with scheme after scheme energized by the fleshy mind that is hostile toward God. Some of you are running. Do you know what you will find when you stop. The thing which you have tried to escape is STILL THERE. You carried it with you. It is within you.. The moment you stop running and face the issue, the wisdom of God is going to catch up with you and help you become an overcomer. Turn to God with sincerity, and let Him help you and deal with you. The great tests or trials that we endure are not necessarily what bring about our development as New Creatures. The little things, the everyday experiences, the nitty-gritty where the rubber meets the road, are where the real trials, the true testings, take place. By way of example, perhaps not many of us remember the era back in the late ‘20’s or early ‘30s, when the in thing was for men to do things that were unusual or bizarre. Some of you may remember the name, Barney Oldfield. He was considered an outstanding automobile racer of that time. He set a speed record from Los Angeles to New York, driving his racer across country about 50 miles an hour—extremely fast for the 1920’s! There were also other accomplishments. There was a man who rode a bicycle for the first time clear across the country. And that was the era when they had dance marathons—young couples wanted to prove they could dance the longest amount of time. There was one man who walked across the country from Los Angeles to New York. It took him quite a while, but when he finally finished his journey he was given quite a welcome in New York. When he was interviewed he was asked how he had managed to endure all the hardships. "What was the hardest thing for you to endure? Was it when you were out in the desert and it was so hot—100 to 120 degrees?" "No," he said, "that was very hard, but I managed to survive that." "Was it when you went through the mountains and it was so cold and the high peaks were difficult to climb?" "Well, that was tough too," he said, "but I endured that." "Well, just what was the worst part of the whole trip?" He said, "The hardest part of the whole trip was that I had to endure having sand in my shoes." A little thing, but so constant and irritating! And thus it is with us also; the hardest thing we have to endure is the "sand in our shoes"—the little, unavoidable, grating experiences of everyday living. And that is the reason we have a wonderful and sympathetic High Priest, our Forerunner into the Holiest of all, the One to whom we can turn for grace to help in every time of need. He understands the "sand in our shoes" because He suffered the same small, persistent trials—and overcame!
Many people, if they do not run from or evade the problem, seek "deliverance" from it! There is a vast difference between what the present religious realms call deliverance, and the Kingdom principle of overcoming. What most people call deliverance today is an effort to escape out of their pressure and problem, not an overcoming. Overcoming means to GAIN THE VICTORY OVER THE SITUATION. In deliverance God takes something away from you, as you would take a knife from a child. But in overcoming God’s sons are being processed, so that they will know the cause and deal with the root of the trouble within themselves. The knife is not taken away—you learn how to use the knife! The dealings and processings must be thorough, until HIS IMAGE be formed in us. If your car has difficult climbing a hill, you can do one of two things: (1) make the hill less steep, or (2) increase the horsepower of the car. God usually wants to change us, not the hill. How many of my readers have had a battle with a bad temper? No need to raise your hand! Temper in balance is a godly emotion, God Himself possesses the emotions of hatred, jealousy, vengeance, anger, etc. Jesus was angry with a holy anger when He took a whip and overturned the tables of the money changers and drove them from the temple. Anger and emotion was part of the original equipment man was given to give him an aggressive drive so that he can accomplish worthwhile things in this life. For example, controlled, temperate, balanced anger will neither ignore a child’s misbehavior nor abuse him. It will correct in the proper spirit of firmness and sternness—tempered with love. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Heb. 12:6) Eph. 4:26 says, "Be ye angry, and sin not." In simple terms this means, "Be angry—but let it be a controlled, balanced anger will will act effectively, not destructively." For you see, anger out of control is vicious, destructive, and often deadly. Uncontrolled or misdirected anger can devastate one’s life. But let me make one thing very clear—God has absolutely no desire to "deliver" you from your temper! Anger is not on God’s agenda for deliverance. He intends for you to OVERCOME it. God does indeed deliver people from things over which they have no control, or which they are ill-equipped to handle. God does take knives from children! But for sons emotion is not to be "cast out" like a demon; it is to be overcome and brought into its proper place in our lives in the mind of Christ. How many things believers seek God to deliver them from that He has ordained them to overcome! So many of us are like Helga in a story I heard. Helga and Henry were a Swedish couple. They were married for sixty years. They fought like cats and dogs every day of their lives. Finally, on their 60th wedding anniversary they began the morning with a terrible spat. They argued all day long. At the end of the day, Helga said to her husband, "Henry, tonight I think ven ve pray, ve better pray for peace. Ve been fighting each other for sixty years, Henry. May the Lord give us peace. So tonight, I think I’ll pray that the Lord will take you home and I’ll go live with my sister Olga."
True men never seek escape from the difficulties of the way, whatever the issue may be. Someone has said that difficulties faced are half conquered. At any rate one who evades the pathway of the will of God discovers greater difficulties, as the prophet Jonah soon realized. The world’s greatest acclaimed men not only faced difficulties but conquered them; the pioneer fathers not only hewed their way through the trackless forests, but laid the foundations of what we today enjoy; Columbus not only sailed the stormy and uncharted seas, but he opened the gateway to hitherto unknown continents where, later, men might come and find their homes; Carey and Judson and Livingstone not only fought their way through the opposition of their friends, but also laid the foundation stones of all modern missions; Luther not only refused the advice of his friends to win a personal victory, but he set all Europe free in a religious reformation; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln faced tremendous odds, but steadfastly they went forward until a new nation was born and age-long wrongs were righted. It is how we learn to handle our challenges that separates the boys from the men—the children of God from the sons of God.
Do you feel overwhelmed with problems? Then let me show you how to discover the CHALLENGE that lies in every obstacle. I promise that if you look for the challenge, you will find it, and then you will be able to turn the stumbling-stone in your pathway into a stepping-stone to the throne! The divine principle of which I speak is found in the prophecy of Isaiah, "Out of the desert shall come streams of water" (Isa. 35:6). Out of every obstacle comes a new challenge—an opportunity to overcome. This is the point I want to make loud and clear. For if you want to overcome as Jesus overcame, you will need to tap into the dynamics of this principle. The only force that can cause weakness and failure is a challenge that is mistaken for a problem. But there will be no failure when we discover the challenge in the problem, grab hold of it, and use it as a stepping-stone to higher ground. On the other hand, we can never overcome anything as long as we allow some horrendous problem to blind us to the divine challenge that is inherent in every obstacle. In our Father’s great school of sonship, in His effective training program for the future rulers of the world and universe, He knows just exactly which obstacles to place in our pathway for our development and processing. If we try to use our faith to "move the mountain out of the way," such action will not bring us to the place where faith can be perfected and OVERCOME the mountain—scale its heights, climb over it, and conquer it. On one occasion Jesus, after telling the people of dreadful events to come upon the earth, brushed aside their anxiety as a mother wipes away the tears of her infant and soothes the childish woes of the one she loves. "When ye see these things begin to come to pass," He said, "then lift up your heads and rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh." Forget for the moment the eschatological interpretations the church systems have attached to this passage, and look to the experimental and practical. Jesus was not underestimating the awesomeness of the things that would come upon us, but well He knew that there would be a people on the earth in the latter days who would so discover the divine purpose in the trouble, the divine challenge in the tribulations, the divine ability to rise up and overcome in it all, that in these very difficulties they would be able to lift up their heads and rejoice because IN THEM THEY FOUND THEIR REDEMPTION—their challenge to move into a realm of faith and victory where they could truly be overcomers, the masters of all things! When the trials wax hot upon the obedient child of "God it signifies that redemption is nigh—that the process is set in motion for the manifestation of a GREAT VICTORY. This is according to God’s great law of manifested sonship—Father lovingly arranges the obstacles before us, then marvelously gives the wisdom and power to overcome them, making us strong and victorious over all that appears so formidable and hopeless. Thus are born His warriors and kings who shall bring the kingdom of God to earth.
Some of you who read these lines and are facing severe problems today, are feeling frustrated, at this point, by my apparently trivial treatment of circumstances that tower so ominously and menacingly before you. You think I don’t understand just how bad your situation really is, or how many times you have failed. Listen! I would not make the solution so simple, if it were not simple. These are principles I have proven in my own experience through years of walking with God. The answer lies so near—right there within you. The difference lies in whether you view your situation as a problem or a challenge. "What difference does it make whether I call it a problem or a challenge," you say. The difference is all important! Here’s why: If you perceive an obstacle in your path as a problem, you will nurture negative emotions in respect to it—like anger, frustration, despair, hopelessness, and depression. These emotions are like grave diggers—they carve out the pit of failure and death in which to bury you! On the other hand, if somehow the Holy Spirit can give you the revelation of it, if you can see by the inspiration of the Almighty that the obstacle is God’s challenge—you have received the spiritual attitude in which spiritual emotions are released—like faith, hope, confidence, peace, rest, joy, thanksgiving, encouragement, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and power. These positive emotions, the fruit of the Spirit, will energize you and propel you through and over and out of and above the obstacle, bringing strength and triumph! You see, precious friend of mine, the only problems in the world are problems that are perceived as problems. When the problem ceases (in your mind) to be a problem to you you have risen above it, come up over it, OVER-COME IT! Who cares how high a mountain is when he is flying high above it!
During World War II, a young bride from New Jersey followed her soldier husband to a U.S. Army Camp on the edge of the California desert. Her husband had advised her against going because he knew that living conditions would be primitive, at best. But she wanted very much to be with him and he was unable to change her mind. When the couple arrived at the desert camp, the only housing they could find was a run-down shack near an Indian village. The heat was unbearable: up to 115 degrees in the shade. The wind blew constantly, spreading sand all over everything. And, for the young bride, the days were long and boring. Her only neighbors were the Indians, none of whom spoke English. When her husband was ordered farther into the desert for maneuvers, the loneliness and wretched living conditions got the best of her. She wrote to her mother: "I can’t take any more of this. I want to come home!" Several days later she received a reply. In it, the mother reminded her of the old family sampler on which the familiar lines were embroidered:
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw mud, the other saw stars.
The daughter read these lines over and over again. She began to feel ashamed of her response to the situation she was in. She really didn’t want to leave her husband, and so she said to herself, "All right, I’ll look for the stars." In the days that followed she began to make friends with the Indians. She began to take lessons in weaving and pottery from them. She became fascinated by their culture and history—everything about them. Moreover, she began to study the desert. In the process, she saw it wonderfully transformed from a desolate, forbidding place to a marvelous expanse of beauty. She studied the various forms of cacti, the yuccas, and the Joshua trees. She collected sea shells that had been deposited there perhaps millions of years before when the sands had been an ocean floor. Later, she became such an expert on the area that she wrote a book about it. A remarkable transformation had taken place. But what had changed, really, to make that possible? Not the weather. Not the desert. Not the lack of modern conveniences. Not the long days without her husband. Not the Indians. What had changed was her own attitude. Simply by changing her own attitude—"All right, I’ll look for the stars," she said—she had transformed a miserable life situation into a highly rewarding experience. THIS IS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE DOLPHIN—THE BREAKING OUT OF A LOWER WORLD TO VIEW THE HIGHER. This principle is redemptive, restorative, creative. It works on the natural plane, as in the story just shared, but in that higher dimension of the Kingdom of God it is the key to the overcoming life—the way to the throne! Hallelujah!
A great number of people assume that the spiritual life will give them a permanent resting place and a constant peace. They become Christians with the idea of having all their problems solved for them and their burdens eased. Their disillusionment begins when they discover that the walk with God is no Disney World experience, no eternal bed of roses. In fact it often seems just the opposite from gushing joy and undisturbed rest. It is the spur which demands that they move on higher than they intended to go and strive for a perfection and glory beyond the natural man’s knowledge or expectation of attainment. The life of sonship to God is more concerned with the expansion of our life and the enlargement of our vision and the increase of our stature than it is to provide for us a resting place. This life is bent on breaking the shell of the limitations and protections we are at such pains to create, and opening us up to the dangers and pain of development. Any teaching which leaves this out is a snare and a delusion. There is a rest in sonship, but it is not the rest of childish ease, but it is experienced only when we have at last accepted it as a spur to urge us onward and upward. Just this week we received a letter from precious friends in the Northwest and even as I read it I felt constrained in the spirit to share it with those who are reading this writing. Brother wrote, "Your opening the Word to us has changed our lives and we are really excited about it. We could never go back to our old concept of God. We feel that we have a new and greater love for Him than we ever had before. Almost as soon as we heard the message of the sons of God we opened our hearts to it and began to ask the Lord to consider us. We knew that we didn’t have the ability in ourselves but prayed that as we gave ourselves to Him He would give us what we had need of. Almost as soon as we prayed this way the trials and testings began like you could never believe. This was when Dorothy found that she had glaucoma and could be blind in three weeks. She lost of 90% vision in one eye, and while in for a check-up she slipped and fell and broke a leg. While recovering from the broken bone she learned that she could have a cataract surgery and recover some of her sight. After the operation her eye inflamed. After four months of this we went to another clinic and they discovered that the first lens implant had been put in wrong and the whole operation would have to be done over. While recovering from this last operation she lost her balance and fell and broke her arm. Now she will have to wear a cast for six weeks. All the medication that they have experimented with has taken a terrible toll on her body. I am taking too much of your time, but wanted to tell you how each Bible study month after month has seemed to be exactly right for the stage of testing we have been in. And now this last one has been a balm for our souls. We are encouraged and sense that the long night (nearly two years) is passing and we are BEGINNING TO SEE THE DAWN"—end quote.
The journey to the throne of the universe begins in that small and undistinguished place where you are. The Kingdom of God is within you. The enChristed who are to reign with Christ from sea to sea, then from planet to planet, and finally from galaxy to galaxy, are being prepared. Think not in your heart, precious one, that you may pass your life here careless, indifferent to the dealings of God, and seeking only the blessings and joys of Christ, suddenly to awake one fine morning to find yourself sitting with Christ on His throne governing the universe, because such a thing will not be. Begin today to live the life of the OVERCOMER! This present time is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord over all the endless vastnesses of infinity. He is raising us up to sit with Him in the higher than all heavenlies. He is teaching us to rule, to reign in life, to overcome all things and subject them to Christ. And the place which He is preparing for each one is not only a world to come, and a Kingdom of Life and Light, but a place IN HIM, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, spirit of His spirit, nature of His nature, life of His life!
LEAPING OVER WALLS
Faith is the only ship that sails for the Kingdom. Faith is the door to the heavenlies. Faith is the key to the glory of God. It is by faith that we are saved. It is by faith that we walk. It is by faith that we enter into the Outer Court, on into the Holy Place, and finally into the Holiest of all. It is by faith that we face every obstacle. It is by faith that we overcome the myriad of temptations, trials and problems confronting us daily in this world. It is by faith that we conquer sin, limitation and death. There is a beautiful passage penned by that great and sweet singer of Israel, King David himself, wherein he says, "For by Thee have I run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall" (Ps. 18:29). How are you at leaping over walls? You and I who are apprehended to sonship have not been made for defeat. We have been made to conquer! When the power of this truth grips us, permeates us, possesses us; when we live in this power then things that destroy others cannot conquer us, things that knock others down cannot floor us and things that cloud the vision of others cannot diminish our view. The apostle Paul put it very aptly when he said that Christ always leads us forth in triumph, and we conjure up before our minds a picture of a great Roman general coming back from battle, leading the vanquished foes in his train. Christ always leads us forth in triumph. We are not made for defeat! Why is it then that so many saints are defeated? I am afraid it is because we never learn the secret of running through troops or leaping over walls. I think all of us have faced and do face and will face both of these.
Running through a troop and leaping a wall is a poetic way of simply stating the fact that we who are walking in the Spirit have discovered there have been circumstances which have arisen where we faced what appeared to be impossibilities, and by the living faith of the Christ within, we have been able to overcome them by our God. We have been surrounded by hostile troops and have been walled in by mighty walls. It seems that the adversary has taken the bricks of circumstance and built a mighty fortress of fear. With one brick of discouragement after another, the adversary has walled us in until it seems that there is no way out. There are overwhelming temptations, physical disablements, financial disasters, family turmoils and disappointments—all bricks that the negative realm uses to build what appears to be an evermore insurmountable wall that would close us in forever. If you, my friend, find yourself behind such a wall today, let the words of David be impressed upon your soul: "By my God have I leaped over a wall!" That is what God calls us to do! You will noticed that it is no vain boast, no carnal self-conceit. This is trust in the living God: "By my God," David said, "I have done this," for David knew that cursed was the man who trusts in the arm of flesh. It was David who boldly declared to Goliath on that fateful day when he came against him that it was not in his own strength but in the name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who Goliath had defied. David was not such as trusted in himself; he trusted in the living God. In the preceding verse he declared that God would light his lamp. He faced what appeared to be an obscuring darkness that had crowded in upon him and the future, indeed, looked bleak. But there came an illumination in his soul and he said, "God will do this." And how did he know God would do it? David said, "For by Thee I have run through a troop: by my God I have leaped over a wall." And so we see that remembrance of past victories by the grace of God can be a great stimulus to present courage in the face of problems and temptations and overwhelming difficulties.
How about you, my beloved? Will you who are experienced saints in the Lord and have known His deliverance many scores or hundreds or thousands of times in the past, now lie down and die of despair because of some new threatening onslaught that seems as if it would engulf and overthrow you? And what about the most dreadful enemy of all—the last enemy, which is death? Who is this troop that comes against you now? What is this wall the adversary would build against you? Sound the trumpet of faith! Let the drums roll and the banners fly and watch that wall crumble as at Jericho! Leap over the remains and take the sword of faith and run into that troop as David did with the Amalekites who had kidnapped his wife and children and had taken them away. He had run through a troop and leaped over the walls of Jerusalem and captured that heathen city for the Kingdom of God. Are you a leaper and a runner? Or are you a crawler and a flopper? Some people who face not a troop but merely one adversary which indeed may only be a shadow then cry out, "There is a lion in the street!" and they are afraid to go out. As far as leaping over walls is concerned, the chalk line will do sufficiently to hem them in. They have never even so much as considered the fact that by God’s power they are enabled to leap over every wall. How can we do that? How can we confront the hosts that gather around us so menacingly? How can we leap over walls that seem so insurmountable? Do we each not have our own walls and hosts? I do not know what temptations come at you like armed demons, overwhelm your spiritual resources, and cause you to fall and grieve in guilt and failure. I do not know what personal problems you have in your life. I do not know what is happening in your family, what walls of separation and division have been built so high that it seems nothing could surmount them. I do no know what problems you are facing in your business. I do not know what doubts or emotions plague you and hinder you from pressing on victoriously into the fullness of God. But it is my deep conviction that it is possible to run through those troops and leap over those walls because God has told us it is so.
How do we do that? We do it by Him—"by my God, through Christ," said David and Paul. We do it by faith. "Yes, but how?" some will say. "How do we do this by faith?" Consider, precious friend of mine, how it is that you have obtained your salvation; how it is that you have obtained the gift of the Holy Spirit; how it is that you have obtained blessings and answers to prayer. Is it not true that you came to the place where you rested your hopes for eternal life and the blessings and benefits of salvation upon the work and the promise of the Christ? In the trusting and in the believing it was done! As Jesus said, ". . . whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive it" (Mat. 21:22). And it is in the very believing that we can run through a troop, we are like David who takes up his sword and attacks the host of the Amalekites with a very small band and scatters them every which way. We are like David who with a mighty leap overleaps the wall that seems to be impossible, because we believe that God will enable us to do it. In the believing, it is done. But you will notice that David also says, "I have run through the troop. I have leaped over a wall." David did not sit there and tremble at the thought of that troop. He did not walk up to the wall, feel it, and examine its height in despair. No! He took his sword in his hand, rushed into the midst of the fray, and his enemies scattered before him. He gathered himself together, he rushed at that wall, and he took a great leap which some might have thought would surely have killed him. To the astonishment of all who watched, David sailed over the wall by faith. That is the secret. If we will rise up to conquer our enemies of fear, limitation, bondage, sin, weakness, frustration, failure and death we will find that the wall will tremble before us and we shall find ourselves clearing it with ease. And in all that we shall give glory unto God and shall cause the unbelieving world to wonder.
In another place the Psalmist uses a similar metaphor, declaring, "It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like Hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places" (Ps. 18:32-33). Do you grasp the significance of this allusion? Hinds’ feet are of marvelous swiftness and made to carry their owner over difficult places impassable to slower-footed creatures. The thought in the singer’s mind is that of a divine enduement added to human weakness, an imparting of agility and confidence to the soul, whereby it springs up, so to speak, out of the dangers which assail it on the lower levels of life, and climbs lightly and surely to the uplands of the spirit. Some years ago I read the story of an Englishman who visited the West of our United States, in which he related the following incident. "It was in Colorado. Riding with a small party of friends through the picturesque scenery of that mountainous state, we came to a rugged defile which presently opened into a narrow glade wherein a herd of antelopes were quietly grazing. If I remember rightly another party coming in the opposite direction rounded the farther corner of the defile at about the same moment, so that the antelope were caught, as it were, between two fires. We didn’t intend to do them any harm, but should greatly have liked a closer look at them. That, however, we did not get. The instant they caught sight of us they leaped up the side of the cliff to our right hand, at an almost incredible rate of speed, following one another gracefully and apparently without effort, from point to point in the giddy ascent, making scarcely a sound as they went, till they were finally lost to view amid the towering rocks and trees far above our heads. It was all over in a minute or two, and we were filled with admiration as we watched the rapidly moving feet of the pretty little creatures springing from crag to crag. It could hardly be called climbing; they were not pulling themselves up; they jumped and stood wherever they liked, in perfect poise, and without the slightest hesitation. No fear of their way being blocked! They could go where a man could not except with utmost caution and at considerable risk to his own safety. They were absolutely secure, and they knew it. Up they fled, and were gone"—end quote.
It is obvious that king David had witnessed some scene of this kind long millenniums ago in the land of Israel. And how appropriate is the use he makes of it! "He maketh my feet like Hind’s feet"—the grace of God in the believing soul imparts to it a lightsomeness, a spiritual surefootedness, if one may so put it, a facility and confidence, whereby it is able to escape from any menace and find its way to heights where no evil can reach to harm or destroy. "He setteth me up on high." This is not to say that we shall never descend again, never mix with the rough-and-tumble of life on the lowlands. We must do so; but the point is that in every extremity there is always a way up. The way of escape is less often the way out than the way up. If our faith is real enough and strong enough, our feet shall be as hinds’ feet, and God shall set us up on high. Nothing is less able to resist the assaults of its enemies than the gentle creature here referred to as typifying the child of God. It could easily fall a prey to those that seek its hurt; it has almost no power to defend itself against them; but it has one great gift which makes it superior to them, it can move swiftly for the everlasting hills, and no natural hindrance is great enough to bar the way. Are you caught like a helpless deer in a horrible pit of death? The sun has hidden his face behind the frowning eminences; darkness has fallen in terror upon your soul; there is no way out; it is hopeless to look for an escape; all exits are closed to human wisdom and human strength. Ah, yes, but there is a way UP; there is always a way up in every situation, however, desperate. God calls you, O son, daughter of the Most High, to take the way up. Now is the time to prove the revelation God has poured into your life; now is your opportunity to take the highest ground and save your soul alive. Are you afraid? Are you too weak to make the effort? Do your weary limbs refuse to work? Then lay firm hold upon the mighty indwelling power of the Christ and the Christ within will not fail you. Look not to this preacher, nor to that ministry, nor to another’s gift. God will make your feet like hinds’ feet, and set you on high! Others will not tell you this. They will tell you that if you will sit under their ministry, eat at their table, join yourself to their church, drink from their fountain, then they can lead you into Life. But I point you today only to the God who can do all. I have no ministry to promote, no church to build, no following to gather, no movement to advance, no ego to inflate. My God, your God will make your feet like hinds’ feet and set you up on high! This is what sonship is all about. Only go; spring to the Rock of ages and seek shelter there; mount to where wide horizons break before you, and shining skies surround you on the blessed table-lands of heavenly life. This is God’s day, this is your day—arise and shine!
The Shulamite in the Song of Solomon received a revelation of this same sublime truth. The Shulamite symbolizes the bride of Christ, whereas her Beloved represents Christ the bridegroom. There is, of course, a corporate application of this truth, but on the personal level the Shulamite is the soul and her Beloved is the spirit, for "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." Christ the bridegroom is therefore within our spirit, wooing the soul into union with Him. The soul is that realm of our own mind, will, emotion and desire. The sharp contrast between our own human strength and ability and His divine life and power is described by the Shulamite in these graphic words: "The voice of my Beloved! behold He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills" (S. of S. 2:8). Between the seven and eighth verses of chapter two, the Bridegroom has withdrawn. We are not told whether He withdrew Himself, or whether His withdrawal was caused by the carelessness and indifference of the bride. There are times when He withdraws or hides Himself that He may prod us into deeper depths of earnestness and abandonment as expressed in the old proverb, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." And there are times when we do not keep in touch with Him and are not quiet enough before Him, so that He can remain and unveil to us all His love and power. But now the bride hears the sound of His approaching presence; and before she sees Him, she rejoices in His return. As yet she has not seen Him, has not discerned His working within her, but she has heard His voice, and knows that He is coming. Suddenly she sees Him leaping upon the mountains; those impassable obstacles, which would prove insurmountable to any one else, are stepping places for His feet. He leaps from one to the other with the sure, swift feet of the roe or the young hart.
In the title of the 22nd Psalm, a Messianic Psalm, the meaning of Aijeleth hash-Shahar is, "The hind of the morning." Thus the title reads, "To the chief Musician—the Hind of the morning." And the word translated "hind," and the word that is rendered "hart," in the Song of Solomon, is the same word in the Hebrew. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the "Hind of the morning" and the "Chief Musician." As the first rays of the sun in a clear morning glance here and there upon this mountain peak and the crest of yonder hill, so Jesus Christ, the "Hind of the morning," came down to earth, leaping upon the mountains and skipping upon the hills. How beautiful are the first rays of the sun in the early morning, as its beams touch first this and then that mountain peak. In the valleys, the shades of night seem to linger; and in contrast to these dark shadows, the touches of the sunlight appear all the more beautiful as they glance from hill to hill. So is the life of our Beloved in our spirit, as He arises within our consciousness to bring victory from within. He leaps over every obstacle, He disperses every shadow; He appears and disappears, now in sight and then not seen, but ever drawing nearer and nearer in our experience. Sometimes we see the difficulties in our lives and the hard things that seem impossible, we wonder if He can surmount them; for we know that we cannot. But He who could surmount the mountains of man’s sin and separation within Himself, and the power of death and the grave, can surmount every mountain and hill that is in your life and mine. At first, we only look for Him in the joy and blessings; but He comes much oftener and more precisely as He leaps upon the mountains of difficulty. There are things so hard that none could undertake them but the Lord; but He will make these things stepping-places for His feet, and upon them He will reveal Himself to you in a deeper way then He has ever done before. He will come to you upon the things that are so hard you do not see how you are going to go through them; and you will wonder if even the Lord can lift you over them. He will come to you in the hard things in your life, in your disposition, in your weaknesses, in the testings in your body. He will come to you in the hardest surroundings and circumstances. And He will come leaping and skipping! He will leap over all the mountains of limitation and difficulty and skip along the hills of your fears and distress; and if your eyes are anointed, you will see Him revealing Himself in the power of a life that is irresistible and unconquerable, immortal and incorruptible.
The Shulamite speaks of Him coming leaping upon the mountains and skipping upon the hills, and how our glad hearts rejoice and our mouths pour forth their pearls of praise in the sacred knowledge of the very first words uttered by the Beloved, wherein He cries to her, "Rise up my love, My fair one, and COME AWAY!" (S. of S. 2:10). Ah, He will leap over the sin and weakness in you, He will skip over the corruption and death in you, and speak urgently to you and cause you to arise and come away with Him to leap and skip with Him in the immortal heights of the eternal mountains of God. Methinks you have heard the sound of His Voice, methinks you have been stirred in the deepeth depths of your being—arise, O beloved one, and ascend up into the heights of His victory and glory!
To be continued. . .
J. PRESTON EBY