KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRIESTHOOD
In the last three articles of this series I have written concerning the three primary qualifications for priesthood in the typical Aaronic order of the Old Testament, namely, birth, freedom from blemish, and maturity. We have seen that the first requirement was that one must be a son of the High Priest, the offspring of his priestly nature. The second qualification was that every priest must be without blemish, free from any kind of disease, deformity, or physical impairment. The regulations about this are laid down in Lev. 21:16-24. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or anything superfluous. Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; no man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire...he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not My sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them."
The book of Leviticus deals with the old Aaronic priesthood of the natural Israel. Today we are dealing with a SPIRITUAL PRIESTHOOD, as it is written, "Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:5). Physical handicaps do not disqualify anyone for entering into the high and holy things of God reserved for those who follow on to know Him. The material and bodily of the Old Testament is always the type and symbol of the spiritual in the New Testament; thus, in this case the spiritual purity and perfection of him who would draw near unto God in the priest's office is prefigured by the physical regulations laid upon the Aaronic priesthood.
A blemish is a FLAW IN CHARACTER. Webster defines blemish as: Any deformity, physical or moral; flaw; disfigurement; to mar or disfigure. It speaks to us here of a weakness of character or a spiritual lack. The fourth blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is having in one's body something "superfluous" (Lev. 21:18). The Hebrew word here is SARA meaning "to prolong, i.e. to be deformed by excess of members." Many translations render SARA simply as "deformed." But the deformity here is of a particular kind, not merely a misshapen member, but an EXCESS OF MEMBERS, a greater quantity than is wanted or needed, something over and above what is necessary. Some such deformity you will see occasionally is a foot with six toes, a hand with six fingers, or other growths that don't belong on the body at all. Sometimes you will see a piece of superfluous flesh growing on a person's face, neck, or some other part of their body, or hair growing where it is unattractive and uncomely. Superfluous things are things that are not needed. They are things that are not wanted. They serve no purpose. They add nothing to the body, and are often ugly and grotesque, detracting not only from the person's appearance, but from his physical agility as well. So it is with the ministry of the body of Christ! Early in the history of the Church there arose those who sought to ADD SOMETHING to the life and work of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ. God imparted a beautiful ministry of life, light, and power to His body, but these men ADDED man-made creeds, laws, regulations, traditions, ordinances, rituals, rites, ceremonies, holy days, holy orders, methods, techniques, organization, offices, human talent, personality, programs, vestments, education, theology, etc. etc. None of these things came by the Holy Ghost, and none have anything whatever to do with what God is doing by His Spirit. They are a deformity. They are things added by man to the divine order of God in the body of Christ. They are flesh added to the anointing of God. All these are superfluous flesh, and contribute nothing to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. They are ugly, unnatural, and grotesque. They are empty and fruitless. Yet men give their lives and spend their entire ministry promoting these things. And God just keeps eliminating the deformed ones from His Royal Priesthood!
Originally the New Testament Church was filled with truth and reality and spiritual power. The book of Acts gives an account of those glorious days. Unnumbered multitudes of men and women have experienced a supernatural encounter with God since that wonderful day 1900 years ago when the first one hundred and twenty disciples were assembled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Suddenly a sound was heard like the rushing of a mighty wind coming straight down from the sky, and flaming tongues of divine fire crowned the heads of those humble saints gathered there. This little band of believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, was ushered into the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power of the Kingdom of God as Christ the Lord returned to them in mighty Spirit, to indwell their believing hearts and reign upon the throne of their yielded lives. How they sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of their souls and re-echoed among the battlements of celestial realms! With what power, signs, and wonders did they bear witness to the living presence of the Christ! God through them began to shake the entire world. The Word of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, swept the world like a prairie fire. It encircled the mountains and crossed the oceans. It made kings to tremble and tyrants to fear. It was said of those early Christians that they had turned the world upside down! - so powerful was their message and spirit. In spite of persecution it grew and multiplied, for God dwelt mightily in the midst of His people. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord covered the earth as the waters cover the sea. Day after day, month after month, year after year the celestial wonder continued, thousands upon thousands came to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life, and it looked for a time as though all the kingdoms of men would be broken down, and the whole world would come marching to Zion.
But, alas! the Church had progressed only a few years into the dispensation of the Spirit when THE FLESH began to rear its ugly head and men began to add THINGS to the pure flow of HIS LIFE. I do not believe there is any way to explain, imagine, or understand the many ways THE CARNAL MIND works. Even before the apostles had passed from this life, a spirit and system had set in among the saints of the Lord and many people were wearing the Babylonish garment. They were instituting rules and regulations, formulating creeds, observing days, establishing sacraments and ordinances, elevating human government, becoming disciples of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas, and of many others. The babble had begun and a whole multitude of SUPERFLUOUS THINGS was making its appearance upon the body of Christ.
Before too many years had passed men began to set themselves up as "lords" (today it is called "pastor," "shepherd," etc.) over God's people in place of the Holy Spirit. Instead of conquering by the power of the Spirit and by truth, men began to add in THEIR ideas and THEIR methods. Soon the glory and power, the presence of God in the morning time Church began to be eclipsed, degraded and debased by the idolatrous inventions of carnal minded men. Consequently, man's carnal understanding was put upon the Scriptures, and the Word of God took on an ugly, distorted, warped, and bizarre appearance. The powerful, mighty, glorious manifestation of the indwelling Spirit was corrupted by endless ritual and ceremonial cleansings and outward observances of feasts, holy days, communions, robes, shrines, cathedrals, holy orders, seminaries, catechisms, incense, organization, etc. etc. That which had once been beautiful and glorious became unsightly, illshapen, deformed, uncomely, disfigured, hideous, monstrous, and loathsome. As these deformed priests ministered among the people of God the Spirit of Christ fled from their midst and the pure vision and experience of CHRIST LIVING AND REIGNING IN HIS BODY was lost to them.
And why was the anointing lost? Because any man who has a blemish - some superfluous thing - IS DISQUALIFIED TO MINISTER AS A PRIEST OF GOD! The apostle Paul was getting to be a very old man when he penned these immortal words: "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the Church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. BUT WHAT THINGS WERE GAIN TO ME, THOSE I COUNTED LOSS FOR CHRIST. Yea doubtless, and I COUNT ALL (these superfluous) THINGS BUT LOSS for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:4-8).
If any man who ever lived had natural ability and talent, it was certainly the apostle Paul. From a very young man he had been brought up at the feet of the learned Gamaliel. There was no article of the law of Moses that he did not know; and when it came to the keeping of the law, he pronounced himself blameless. He was an Hebrew of the Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, a strict Pharisee, having obeyed all the ritual required by the law. In his zeal for what he positively knew was right he had zealously persecuted and put to death all who he felt were opposed to God's way. But for all this his soul was an empty void that could not be satisfied with form and ceremony, for the heart of man is a golden temple not made with hands, expressly formed for an habitation of Jesus Christ by the Spirit. But these are not the things on which he depended nor in which he gloried. In fact, he placed the correct value upon all those fleshly things, counting them but dung, and amputating them all out of his life, that he might be the image and expression of CHRIST ALONE. Paul was a great priest, and he was a man without blemish before God. "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (I Cor. 2:4-5). There were no SUPERFLUOUS THINGS in either Paul's life or his ministry. He allowed God to operate on him and remove from him every superfluous thing that he might WIN CHRIST. Ah, anything that is ADDED TO Christ, or the anointing, is superfluous. Some Christian Jews try to add to Christ the value of their Juiciness. Some talk about being "completed Jews," what ever that is supposed to mean. I do not hesitate to tell you that there is no such thing! If ANY MAN (Jew or Gentile) be in Christ, he is A NEW CREATURE, for "there is NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK...for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus" who "hath made both ONE, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us...for to make in Himself of twain ONE NEW MAN." There are neither converted Gentiles nor completed Jews in the body of Christ, there is only the ONE NEW MAN, AN ENTIRELY NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS. Any other virtue we may seek to add to that is a superfluous thing which will disqualify us for the priesthood.
How easy it is to be deformed in our ministry! The carnal mind loves any kind of a "method" or "technique" by which to enter into some supposed realm of spirituality.
The natural mind ever seeks for a simple "formula," "seven easy steps" to a new experience in God, some way to claim the blessing and receive the promise apart from the sovereign power of HIS TRANSFORMING LIFE! A dear brother once said that if the Holy Spirit were to be withdrawn from the face of the earth, most of all church activity would continue on without notice anyway. But God is preparing a people whose spirit is so at ONE with the Spirit of Christ that they are indistinguishable. He is preparing a company of Sons to stand in the earth and say as Jesus has said, "I can do nothing of Myself, but as My Father has taught Me, I speak those things and I do always those things that please Him."
If all the multiplied SUPERFLUOUS THINGS employed by the churches today WERE SUDDENLY SWEPT AWAY, it would in all probability CEASE TO FUNCTION! If all the preachers and priests were compelled to lay aside their robes and their trappings and stand before the people in ordinary street clothes, they would lose much of their glamour and most of their prestige. If they had to tear down their altars, their elevated platforms, their statues, lay aside their professionalism and showmanship, and throw out the candles and the prayer books, their services would appear very "lack-luster," losing their sense of beauty and pageantry. If the churches had to drop all their rituals, forms, programs, and ceremonies; all their confirmations, baptisms, and communion services; all their special singing, organ music, and altar calls, they would feel as though they had been stripped naked and could not serve God in any way. All this simply demonstrates the terrible fact that the faith and dependence of the churches IS NOT IN GOD, but is in the trappings that they have accumulated to themselves throughout the centuries. The thought that God is perfectly able and fully willing to run His Church without the aid of anything in the way of man's contributions, is found abhorrent to the average church member.
For those walking in the sunlight of HIS GLORY those things hold nothing anymore, for they are to us as a sixth finger or a third foot, a deformity, superfluous things! Does it really matter to the Holy Spirit whether the choir has on robes, whether the windows are of stained glass, or whether the physical body consumes a bit of bread and wine? Ah - there are a few simple tests by which any saint of God can try a thing whether it be a true part of the ministry of the body of Christ, or merely some superfluous thing. Anything one practices in his spiritual life or ministry which can be eliminated WITHOUT AFFECTING OR DIMINISHING THE POWER AND OPERATION OF THE INDWELLING SPIRIT - is superfluous. Anything one has participated in or leaned upon which DOES NOT STAND IN THE POWER OF CHRIST - is superfluous. Anything that LOSES ITS FORMER PRECIOUSNESS once we enter into more intimate relationship with the Lord - is superfluous.
There are many superfluous things that present themselves as we press forward into deeper depths in God. Right here I could name a dozen different doctrines and practices that are added to this end-time move of the Spirit of God, but which contribute nothing to what God is doing by His Spirit. Oft times I have been told that this doctrine or that teaching or some other ordinance or experience is "the key" to entering into the life of sonship. Most of these did not come by the Holy Ghost, and do not belong in the body of Christ. They are superfluous. They are a deformity.
Well do I remember the day when I was instructed that if only I would be re-baptized by a CERTAIN FORMULA, with just the right words called over me, the Lord would then be more real to me, my spiritual life would be greatly blessed and my ministry mightily increased. As the years passed, as I grew in grace and wisdom and in the knowledge of God I did, indeed, experience the Lord in deeper measures and my life and ministry were blessed beyond my wildest dreams. But as I look in retrospect I can plainly see that none of this glorious reality came as the result of a preacher dunking my frame in a tank of water, however correct the formula may have been, but because that the eternal Father had, by His infinite grace, called and separated me from my mother's womb to reveal His Son in me.
On another occasion I was told that if I would be re-baptized yet again for THE CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART, the sin-nature would, by that singular act, be completely eradicated from my life. Another group wanted to baptize me yet a fourth time for the immortality of the body! These, dear ones, are subtle deceptions which lead men to believe that because they perform some EXTERNAL CEREMONY they are thus initiated into a new experience or deeper realm in God. It is amazing to find how many people are daily deceived by this enthusiastic line of BLESSING BY RITUAL, PERFECTION BY FORMULA!
It has been my spiritual observation through many years that those apprehended as Sons of God today have been baptized many different ways, and some not at all, and GOD HAS PAID NO ATTENTION WHATEVER TO ANY OF IT. If it were very important to Him He would withhold His blessing until the condition is met. But He doesn't! He just pours out His presence and revelation and glory upon those He sovereignly chooses irrespective of how they have been baptized, or whether they have even been baptized at all! The prophets and great men of God I have been privileged to know through my lifetime, came from many diverse backgrounds, and I testify that God raised them up by His sovereign hand and used them mightily REGARDLESS OF HOW THEY WERE OR WERE NOT BAPTIZED. Yet men traverse land and sea proclaiming that if you want God to open His heavens to you then you must submit to them to be baptized by their pet formula. I do not hesitate to tell you that all such doctrines are SUPERFLUOUS THINGS and disqualify one for the priesthood.
A friend has written: "There is always another program initiated by some man which will claim to get you into the fullness of God faster if you go his route. But we are reminded of the word of the Lord through Isaiah, 'Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and bath no light? LET HIM TRUST IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, AND STAY UPON HIS GOD. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow' (Isa. 50:10-11) Others will be very busy kindling their fires - and it does seem betimes that they have more illumination than we, and are DOING so much more than we, and they have 'sparks' flying every where. But the end result of all their efforts, God says, they shall lie down in sorrow. They shall be forced to confess, 'We have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind, we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth: neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen' (Isa. 26:18).
"The preacher came along waving his torch, assuring the people that there was a new baptism which would place them into the kingdom, or into immortality, etc. and some people have been baptized in water for so many things the poor souls are practically waterlogged. Yet for all this they remain unchanged. Then another comes along teaching for a different experience, you must feel the fire, and they have hot flashes from their sparks going all over the place. (Let us make it clear, we know that betimes there is a genuine experience from God, be it of the fire, or whatever, which He witnesses to some in their natural body, but experiences of various true gifts and graces are not the ultimate, and they are often turned into perverted doctrines). So the sincere believer who has never felt the fire, nor been baptized again and again, is caused to feel that he has missed out, and will never see the fulfillment of the vision. What a gross distortion of the truth! When God has imparted a vision, even if we are currently walking in darkness and have no light, LET US TRUST IN THE NAME OF OUR GOD, AND STAY UPON HIM. HE, and never man, is the AUTHOR and the FINISHER of our faith. HE is the Fulfiller of the vision. We shall be obedient unto Him - and by virtue of our faithfulness to Him, prove that we are worthy of this calling" - end quote.
It is a great fact that God apprehends and separates and blesses and uses men and imparts the revelation of His plans and purposes to them entirely APART FROM what day they may or may not keep as the sabbath, how they define the Godhead, whether they call God Yahweh, Jehovah, or Lord, whether they are of the Anglo-Saxon or some other race, or what they believe about a great number of doctrines. The Spirit of God has directed me to stay clear from all these superfluous issues. I do not like deformities. God does not like deformities. If we expend a great deal of energy on things which the Lord obviously ignores, then we become deformed. Can we not see that God imparts of His glory to men on all sides of these issues - paying no attention to them at all! The one group does not have more Christ-likeness or power with God than the other. While men debate the correct spelling and pronunciation of the name of God and Jesus Christ, God just goes right on saving souls, answering prayer, healing the sick, casting out devils, and doing signs and wonders in the name of Jesus Christ! HE COMPLETELY IGNORES THE DEBATE. While men pride themselves that they have some spiritual advantage because they pertain to a certain tribe or race, the Holy Spirit faithfully reaches out into all the nations of the earth, separating a people unto Himself, imparting the vision of His purposes, transforming into the image of the Son, and forming them into a Kingdom of Priests praise His name! "Thou hast redeemed us unto our God by Thy blood out of EVERY KINDRED, AND TONGUE, AND PEOPLE, AND NATION; and hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).
God's Royal Priesthood is not contaminated by deforming superfluities. There is a little flock, there is a body of Christ, neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, and its members are scattered abroad and almost invisible to the great religious Babylon. They are the seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal, and they are the called and chosen and faithful who follow the Lamb. They are those who have turned to God from all the religious idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for the glory that shall be revealed when all God's Sons come into their own. They are those who have not the FORM, but the POWER of godliness, those who keep themselves unspotted from the world, overcoming all things by faith. Its ministers are not robed in material robes of scarlet and gold; they are robed in the righteousness of Christ. They are not trained in the seminaries and teachings of men, but by the Spirit of grace and wisdom and revelation from God on High. They are not busy interpreting the doctrines of the church systems; their very lives are the interpretation of the Christ enthroned in their hearts. They have no interest in persuading people to believe WHAT they believe; their whole ministry is to bring people into intimacy of fellowship and vital union with GOD and His CHRIST.
In other words, GOD IS SUFFICIENT for the priests He is raising up in the world of men! Because God is sufficient, because the Christ within is All-in-all, this priesthood is left entirely free from all encumbrances to pursue the vision God has given it. Let all who treasure the call to the Royal Priesthood know that CHRIST WITHIN I-S S-U-F-F-I-C-I-E-N-T! All else is superfluous, a disqualifying deformity. The truth that is set like a diamond in the pages of God's Word is the absolute and total SUFFICIENCY of the Christ within. To say that the Christ Himself is not sufficient for our whole life as Sons of the Most High, that the indwelling Spirit is not enough, that there is something we must do to add to, supplement, or improve on what HE IS WITHIN US is an insult to God and an affront to our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet we see men doing this on every hand. The carnal mind is never able to take God at His word! It continually seeks to initiate some additional actions or services or qualifications on the natural plane to supplement pure spiritual reality. It is all a deformity. It is all superfluous.
Men do not need religion. They need Christ. They do not need to know creeds. They need to KNOW HIM. They do not need to perform ritual. They need to EXPERIENCE CHRIST. Tradition can do nothing for them but cause them to walk in blindness, but Christ is the light of men and the light of the world, and all who follow HIM will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. Can we not see that this demands a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD WITHOUT BLEMISH, a people not deformed by anything superfluous, to show forth His glory and His glory alone, until all men can see Him as He is.
THE BROKEN FOOT
The fifth blemish which disqualifies one for the priesthood is a broken foot. This speaks to us of a permanent injury to one's foot, that is, to his WALK in God. The brokenfooted man cannot walk strong, he cannot walk straight, and is continually up and down in his walk. You can never tell where he is going spiritually for his foot is broken, and he leaves deceptive looking tracks.
Bill Britton has said it well: "I'm not sure what disadvantage this had in the Levitical priesthood, but it presents a serious problem today. A man has been injured in the ministry, and now he walks crooked. He no longer can walk with his brethren. He is disqualified for this spiritual priesthood. I knew of a radio evangelist who traveled over the nation, and seemed to be doing well. Until one night he arrived home unexpectedly and found his wife with another man. From that time on he would not walk straight. He took up with women in about every city he visited. He used deceptive means to get money from his radio listeners. He had been injured, he had a broken foot, his walk was crooked, and he was of no more use to God in the ministry.
"The man with a broken foot has to walk alone. He cannot keep step with others. He has been injured, and he does not trust anyone else. Everyone else is wrong somewhere, he alone has the true message. He will not let anyone get close enough to him to hurt him again. He walks alone. And he is disqualified for the ministry of feeding God's people. Yes, there are many disqualified still active today, but they will not be in that body of the Melchizedek order which is without blemish.
"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. What does the man with the broken foot stand for? You don't really know. One foot points in one direction, and the other foot points in another. His foundation is weak. He may fall at any time. He may fall for a strange doctrine, or a pretty girl. You never know if he will still be walking in a straight walk this time next year or not. For his foundation is weak, and his walk is not straight. He has a broken foot. We have a lot of 'ninetyday-wonders' who have read books, listened to tapes, taken a three month course in how to be a son of God. They go out like a blaze of fire, ready to turn the world upside down and win nations to God. And some people wonder why their dear old pastor can't be like that But follow their trail, look at their footprints, and see how many of them are brokenfooted. When you see a minister who has walked straight for many years, fought demonic powers and a multitude of temptations, continued on in the unfolding revelation of God's end-time purposes, and is still standing tall and solid, then you know he doesn't have a broken foot. He will feed the people good bread" - end quote.
Oh, how we need stability in our walk in God! But stability comes only from intimate relationship and vital union with God. It means a partaking of God's very own nature. This is the nature of the Christ. The nature of Christ is the nature of the Spirit that indwelt Him - the Spirit of His Father. Many milleniums ago the prophet Isaiah uttered one of the most wonderful statements of truth concerning sonship to God, saying, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because He hath anointed me..." (Isa. 61:1). Turning to the prophecy from which this quotation is made, we read there in the Hebrew, "The Spirit of the Lord JEHOVAH is on Me, because JEHOVAH hath anointed Me to proclaim good tidings to the humble." It was the "Spirit of Jehovah" that was upon Jesus the Head, and it is thus the "Spirit of Jehovah" which is communicated from the Head to the elect members of His body.
To properly understand what is meant by THE SPIRIT OF JEHOVAH, we need to understand the meaning of the name. Jehovah is the modern English form of the ancient Hebrew word "Yahweh." In the King James Version of our Bible the Hebrew word "Yahweh" is mistranslated "LORD" in capital letters. The Hebrew word is correctly translated "Jehovah" in the American Standard Version and in a number of other modern translations. Some contend that we should use the name in its Hebrew form, but we do not speak Hebrew here in the United States of America, we speak English, and we do not bring anybody else's name over from the Hebrew. Thus, whenever you see the word "LORD" in capitals, it should be Jehovah. Jehovah is the name of God most frequently used in the Old Testament, occuring some 6,823 times!
The thing of importance is not the spelling or pronunciation of the name. God never gave Himself a name because it sounded nice. God's purpose in a name is its MEANING! II know many people who feel they mouth all the correct forms of God's name, but they know absolutely nothing about God's name, for they have never entered into relationship with Him IN HIS NATURE REVEALED BY HIS NAME. God's name is His nature. The name Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew verb HAVAH meaning "to be," or "being." This word is almost exactly like the Hebrew verb CHAYAH meaning "to live," or "life." One can readily see the connection between BEING and LIFE. Thus Jehovah means THE SELF-EXISTENT ONE or THE ETERNAL. He is the One who in Himself embodies essential life, permanent existence, derived from no source outside Himself, and absolutely dependent upon no other person, thing, or circumstance for its continuance. Any being whose existence is dependent in any manner upon another, or upon conditions such as food, light, air, etc., or even upon some cosmic influence, is not SELF-EXISTENT. This quality inhered originally in Jehovah God alone, as it is written, "The Father hath life IN HIMSELF" (Jn. 5:26). That means that His existence is not a derived one, nor a sustained one; not derived from anything nor dependent upon anything, but inherent and eternal within Himself. The verbs "to be" and "to live" from which the name Jehovah comes denote both ESSENTIAL LIFE and a STATE OF BEING. Hence, God is not only eternal Himself, but every aspect of His nature and all His characteristics are as eternal and unchangeable as is His life!
Anything that is absolutely eternal is not only unending, but is also UNCHANGEABLE. Anything that changes in any way is not eternal, for in the change some characteristic is left behind and a new one acquired. In every change something ends and something else begins, at least in form. That which dwells in an eternal state knows NO CHANGE. Change is possible only in that which is limited, imperfect, or not fully developed. Jehovah declares of Himself, "I am Jehovah, I CHANGE NOT" (Mat. 3:6), and the inspired apostle says of Him, "with Whom there is no VARIABLENESS, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). God is never surprised. God has not learned anything this week, nor last year, no- in the last several trillion years. If God learned one thing today, it would destroy Him. He would no longer be the omniscient One knowing the end from the beginning, for known unto Him are all His works from the creation of the world. God does not experiment. God does not become stronger, mightier, or increase Himself in any way. God is the omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal One. He CHANGES NOT. He eternally is all that He is without any decrease or increase or fluctuation whatsoever. Ah, He is the ETERNAL GOD, JEHOVAH - the SELF-EXISTENT ONE!
It is a great and blessed fact that Jehovah is the eternal God. Transition, adjustments, change - these words seem to be constantly with us, until we fain would grasp for something that seems to be stable, solid, enduring. Much of the inner drive for change is simple evidence that man is not satisfied, has not found his completeness in Christ, for "beloved, NOW are we the children of God, and it cloth not yet appear WHAT WE SHALL BE: but we know that when HE shall appear, we SHALL BE LIKE HIM for we shall see HIM AS HE IS" (I Jn. 3:2). Here is stability - immutability - the quality of His nature remains the same, HE IS THE ETERNAL! And this is the nature of which we would be a partaker, the fullness of which we find in Christ, and through union with Him with which we shall BE CHANGED until we become changeless in the absoluteness of that which He is. He who is eternal cannot be influenced, affected, moved, changed, altered, damaged or destroyed in any way. He cannot grow tired or old. The character of God is eternal, changeless, unaffected. The love, joy, peace, righteousness and power of God do not rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. Matters not what happens or what men or devils say or do, the love of God, the nature of God, the purpose of God, and the power of God are stedfast, unmoved, unquenched, unaffected, without fluctuation. The eternal existence of God is certain for He is the source of all life. Death cannot touch Him for He is not dependent upon the sustaining power of another, He is Jehovah, the SELF EXISTENT ONE.
The origin and meaning of the name Jehovah are especially brought out in relation to Israel. When Moses at the burning bush says to God, "Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and say unto them, the God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Ex. 3:13-14). The origin of this name, I AM THAT I AM, is exactly the same as that of Jehovah - being, existence - and denotes the One who always has been, is, and always will be: personal, continuous, absolute existence.
I AM THAT I AM reveals God as the UNCHANGING One. And while some have shared interesting insights into the original of this phrase, the fact remains that in this name Jehovah is saying to Moses and the children of Israel, "What I am, I ALWAYS am. I have never been anything but what I am. I never will be anything other than what I am. What I WAS - I AM. What I AM - I SHALL BE. I am what I am unchangeable, irrevocably, and Invariably! Tell the people of Israel that the eternal, self-existent, unchangeable One has sent you. Tell them that what I was to Abraham - I AM! What I was to Isaac I AM! What I was to Jacob - I AM! What I was to Joseph - I AM! And throughout all your days, in every situation and circumstance, even to the end of all times, when you shall seek My face and call upon Me you will find that I WILL BE, even then, WHAT I AM!" Long centuries later Jehovah spoke to the prophet Malachi these words: "I am Jehovah, I CHANGE NOT" (Mal. 3:6). Of Him who came into the world as the embodiment and personification of Jehovah in the flesh it is written: "JESUS CHRIST THE SAME yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). The apostle James witnessed of Him: "Every good gift...cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is NO VARIABLENESS, neither SHADOW OF TURNING" (James 1:17).
With these lofty thoughts of God in our minds our hearts respond with joyful accord when Christ in His wisdom shows that it is God's intention that he who walks in the blessed realm of sonship should be as constant and unchanging as is God Himself. To His disciples Jesus spoke these incredible words: "For as the Father HATH LIFE IN HIMSELF; so hath He given to the SON TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF" (Jn. 5:25-26). LIFE IN HIMSELF! This is self-existent life, a life not derived from any source, not dependent upon any sustenance, inherent life! Jesus could stand and declare, "I AM THE LIFE!" No man before Him could say that. But the firstborn Son of God could say that.
The exceeding great wonder of all is that not only did Jesus possess the self-existent life of God, but God has made Him to be "a life giving Spirit." Truly, "He that hath the Son HATH LIFE" and "this is the record, that God hath given UNTO US ETERNAL LIFE, and this life is in His Son" (I Jn. 5:11-12). How plain. If the Spirit of Jehovah dwells in us, He imparts THE POWER TO COMMENCE ETERNAL, SELF-EXISTENT LIFE within us NOW! True, the life we have received is not truly eternal yet, for we are still BEING CHANGED. But God's life has been injected into time to be processed and matured within us into that unchangeableness which He Himself is, and to the degree this has been wrought in us we are enabled now to know and express THE INNER STABILITY OF THE CHRIST, praise His name!
Jesus is the altogether lovely One. When He walked this earth in human form He was altogether unlike anyone who had ever lived before. He was quite different in so many ways - many that perhaps you have never thought about. For example: Did you ever notice that Jesus never withdrew a word or modified a statement in His life? Which of us can say the same? He never apologized for anything He said. Which of us can make the same claim? There was no misstatement, no half-truth. Why? What He uttered was truth itself because HE WAS THE INCARNATE TRUTH. Did you ever notice that Jesus never sought advice? Even Moses the lawgiver had his counselors; and Solomon, the wisest of them all, had those from whom he sought counsel and advice. But Jesus had none. In fact, He never went to any school of higher learning. That which He had received of His Father He gave unto us. Occasionally, someone had the temerity to offer Him advice which was peremptorily refused on every occasion. Yet, does not the Bible say that in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom? Yes, when one is as ignorant as we are, so ignorant that we have no earthly cure for our ignorance, then, indeed, we need counselors. But Jesus is INCARNATE WISDOM. "Behold, a greater than Solomon is here," He said (Mat. 12:42). Can you imagine that? Solomon? The wisest man that ever lived? Jesus very calmly said it in such a way that few people even so much as raised an eyebrow because from Jesus' lips the words seemed absolutely natural.
Jesus never confessed a sin. This is absolutely astonishing! It is axiomatic in the spiritual realm that the holiest of men have been those who were most conscious of their sin and guilt. Job was brought to absolute desperation when God appeared to him. Isaiah abhorred himself when he saw the living God and said, "I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Isa. 6:5). Peter said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man" (Lk. 5:8). And Paul said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Tim. 1:15). Jesus confessed no sin for one very simple reason: Unlike anyone of us He had none. Though tempted in all ways such as we are, He was yet without sin.
Further, Jesus never troubled to explain any of His frequent ambiguous conduct. When word was brought to Jesus that Lazarus, His good friend, was sick, what did He do? Did He rush to his side to help him? No, He remained right where He was for three days, until Lazarus died. Then belatedly, He appeared and His appearance evoked from the broken heart of Lazarus' sister these heart-rending words: "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died" (Jn. 11:21). No explanation. No apology. Not a word! "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" (Jn. 11:40). "Lazarus, come forth!" (Jn. 11:43). He just allowed time and the unfolding plan of God to justify all that He did. Jesus was asleep in the back of a boat in the midst of a storm with waves breaking over the railings, filling the ship. "Master caress Thou not that we perish?" No word of explanation, just the command, "Peace! Be still!" and the waves ceased their raging.
Jesus never asked and never permitted prayer for Himself. You may recall the time in Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion. He gathered together His apostles and asked them to pray. But note well, my friends, His words: "Watch and pray (for yourselves) that YE enter not into temptation" (Lk. 23:40). Why did He not ask for our prayers? Why did He never permit anyone to pray for Him? Why did He not even pray with His disciples? Why did He always go off to pray alone? Very simply: He did not need anyone's prayers! He did not need them and He did not want them. Why? Because Jesus of Nazareth is THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD! As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself.
Can you imagine Jesus, on the road to Samaria, sitting down on a rock by the wayside and calling to Peter, James, and John, saying, "Boys, I want you to come over here and pray for Me. I really need to be ministered to today, I need help, I need your strength. Ever since we left Galilee the old devil has really been after tie. This depression has hit Me and I want you to lay your hands upon Me and rebuke this thing. It started last week when the Father showed Me that Judas is going to betray Me. I've been so upset ever since, Satan wants to use that to beat Me over the head. Some other things have been bothering Me lately and this physical condition isn't helping any. If I don't get the victory soon I won't be able to minister in Samaria, but I know its just the devil fighting Me!" Do you think those disciple ever had to encourage Jesus, or lay hands on Him, or counsel Him, or rebuke the devil from Him, or minister to Him? Jesus said, "The Son of man CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life" (Mat. 20:28). Jesus did not come to receive life for HE WAS LIFE. He did not come to receive life but to GIVE LIFE. He HAD LIFE IN HIMSELF even as the Father had life in Himself. Within that life was contained every element of victory, righteousness, and power He could ever need. If He needed power the power was in the life. If He needed encouragement, the encouragement was in the life. If He needed wisdom the wisdom was in the life. This is a nature and a life that is not dependent upon anything without, for it is a self-existent life, not requiring sustenance, not derived from another, not drawing from anything, all-sufficient, abundant and unchanging life!
My spirit rejoices today in thankfulness to my Father in heaven that many years ago He let me hear a secret from His own heart, a secret that few in our generation have understood. When He breathed into my listening heart, my whole being was charged and my entire life and ministry changed, for I could never be the same after hearing His words: JESUS IS THE PATTERN SON! I was thunderstruck by these words because they revealed to my spirit that the purpose of God is not to save us from hell and take us to heaven, but to bring a vast company of Sons into vital relationship with the Father, conforming each
I and every one of them into the same image of that firstborn Son, TO BE LIKE HIM IN EVERY RESPECT. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
LIKE HIM? CONFORMED TO HIS IMAGE? ARRIVING AT THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF THE CHRIST? A SON OF GOD? O our Father! be pleased to open the eyes of Thy children that they may see to what a high and holy calling Thou hast called them in Thy Son. Ah - if Jesus did not change, then these Sons must come to the place where they do not change. If Jesus never apologized, because He never spoke or did anything wrong, the Sons must also come to the place where they do no wrong. If Jesus received all His wisdom and knowledge from the indwelling Father, the Sons, too, must receive all wisdom and knowledge from the Father within. If Jesus did not sin, the Sons must not sin. If Jesus never needed to be encouraged, the Sons must become so triumphant in His life that they do not need to be encouraged. If Jesus did not need to be prayed for, or ministered unto, the Sons also must so grow up into Him, needing not to be continually ministered to, but ministering and pouring out HIS LIFE to those about. If Jesus always had the victory, the Sons, too, must always have the victory. If Jesus lived every moment by the life of the Father, then the Sons must also live victoriously by the life of the Father.
The PATTERN SON. How awesome! LIKE HIM. What a challenge! What were the strong points of this Pattern Son? He did not have any...not a one! To have a strong point you must have a weak point and Jesus did not have any weak points. Other men are noted for some one faculty or talent. Moses was the meekest of all men. Job was the patient one, but Jesus was altogether lovely in every way...the meekest, most humble, most patient, most loving, most gracious, most courageous, firmest, wisest, everything. The incomparable symmetry of the perfections of Jesus Christ. What a balance He had! And this glorious Personage is not something unique in the universe, He is the PATTERN by which your life and mine is being designed! He is the firstborn of an entirely new race of men, the SONS OF THE LIVING GOD. He is the High Priest of our profession, the Head of a great Kingdom of Priests unto God! "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (I Jn. 2:6).
How can you identify a Son of God? How can you pick one out of a crowd of Christians? How can God's Royal Priesthood be known? I will tell you! They HAVE LIFE IN THEMSELVES! Only one who has life in himself, only one who is the offspring of Jehovah, the self-existent One, can be an overcomer. There was One who perfectly walked in this realm and OVERCAME ALL THINGS. Upon Him rested the fullness of the Spirit of Jehovah, the Spirit of SELF-EXISTENT LIFE. He walked like Jehovah. There was no broken-footedness about Him.
Let me present this glorious company of overcomers, the priesthood of God, even those who have life in themselves. These are they who have discovered the river of life flowing from deep within their own beings, life full, abundant, and triumphant! They are never discouraged by any situation, nor upset by any circumstance. They are constant - not "up" one day and "down" the next. You do not find them standing in anybody 'c prayer line. They are always encouraging others, but never needing to be encouraged. They pray for others, but never have prayer requests of their own. They minister to many, but do not stop to be ministered to. They are not offended by what others say or do. They are not depressed or burdened. They are not fearful, worried, or confused. They are not upset or angry with anyone. They don't quit when the going gets rough. They do not tell you how the old devil has been fighting them, in fact, they don't talk about the devil at all, for he no longer exists for these victorious ones! They don't talk about their problems. They are not sad, sorrowful, or downcast - regardless how dark things seem. The word of Christ dwells in them richly. They have been given a new song, even praise unto their God! They walk daily in wisdom and understanding, in confidence and faith, in the conscious awareness of the Father's plan and will, they always have the victory, are always positive, always rejoicing in the Lord. They walk tall and strong. They walk straight. There are no ups and downs in their walk. They are constant. They press forward toward the goal, rejoicing in expectation of the glory of God. They are not brokenfooted. They are without blemish, these priests of God! Ah, you can be a Christian and be brokenfooted, you can even be a Spirit-filled Christian and have a broken foot. You can teach Sunday School, pass out tracts, win souls, and do many wonderful works and have a broken foot. BUT YOU CAN NEVER BE A PRIEST WITH A BROKEN FOOT!
How can one minister deliverance to another if he is bound himself? How can one furnish encouragement if he is himself discouraged? How can one impart joy when he is sad? How can one supply faith when he is fearful? How can one lift another when he is himself bogged down in the slough of despondency? How can peace be bestowed by a soul filled with anguish? How can righteousness be communicated by one with an evil heart? How can victory be given by the defeated? How can strength be ministered by the weak? Oh! the world so desperately needs priests! All creation groans for a people who can manifest and demonstrate IN THEIR STATE OF BEING the life and love and nature and power of God. My reader! as in the presence of God, who has said unto you, "Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests," and of Christ Jesus, who gave Himself that you might apprehend this high calling of God, I charge you that you do not refuse the call of God's messenger, but enroll yourself among those who accept it: "Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign over the earth." Only such a priesthood can restore all back into God again, delivering creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Arise, O Sons of God, let us not sell creation short!
J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas 79937
If you would like any of these messages or would like to be on J Preston Eby's mail list you may write him at the above address or e-mail me at Gary@Sigler.org and I will forward your request to Preston. He has nothing to sell, all his writings are free to all. You may contribute to his ministry to help spread this message to the world, but gifts are not tax deductible.
The Royal Priesthood