KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRIESTHOOD
"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 any thing superfluous, or a man that is broken-footed, or brokenhanded, or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or he 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 hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God" (Lev. 21:17-21).
THE BROKEN HAND
As we continue our study in the blemishes which disqualify one for the priesthood, we come next to the one who is "broken-handed." The hand always represents the outer actions, service, and ministry. The hand of the Lord is recognized as being His manifest power and His ministry in the earth. The hand is the servant of the body. The important jobs, and the most menial tasks are done by the hands. From clipping one's toenails, to flying the most sophisticated war-plane, to carrying one's sick neighbor a bowl of soup, the hands are the servants. So the hand speaks to us of ministry, serving. Jesus said that he who would be great must be the servant of all. When one has a broken hand, the body is in trouble. One's work will suffer, for much that needs to be done will not get done. The broken hand will want to be ministered to, rather than ministering. It feels a need to be pampered and cared for. To be broken-handed means to minister deceitfully, ungraciously, inconsistently, or not at all. A broken hand will not be able to wield the sword of the Spirit properly, and there will be no flow of life to those about. The man or woman who has nothing to share with others, nothing to impart, who cannot or will not serve the people, is broken-handed. And he is disqualified to offer the bread of God, to feed the bread of life, to minister as priests of God unto the creation.
Notice the sublime statement of the prophet Jeremiah: "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit" (Jer. 17:7-8). BLESSED is the man, there is no lack, his supply is sufficient, drawing from that river of divine life, "O wonderful and bountiful supply." But there is also an effect of being so blessed, he shall never cease from yielding fruit. There is a constant blessing brought forth from this life that is being ever so blessed by God. Thus, by this one, shall others be blessed.
"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mk. 10:45). A great fact is here stated concerning the Son of man. The speaker is our Lord Himself, who in this, as in all matters, left an example for every son of God, that we should follow in His steps. The incident that gave rise to His words is a sad one. Two of His disciples, James and John, wanted to be ministered unto by being granted the chief places in His glory (Mk. 10:35-37). When the others heard it, they were highly indignant, for they wanted to be ministered unto by having the chief places themselves. But out of the ferment the Lord brought forth a word concerning the principles of the Kingdom of God. He made it an occasion to remind His disciples that they were not of the bestial system of this world, and that their distinguishing mark must be lowliness and readiness to serve one another.
"Jesus called them unto Him" (Mk. 10:42). Notice the tenderness and pathos here. He had been telling the twelve about Himself - of the awful betrayal, the cruel sufferings and indignity, the shameful death that awaited Him at Jerusalem. Surely their hearts melted? Nay! they seem unable to think of Him. They begin to quarrel among themselves as to who should be the greatest. Picture their flushed faces, their angry tones, their violent gestures! "But Jesus called them unto Him," and gently quelled the storm. Carnal, earthly rulers, He tells them, exercise lordship over others: "But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister; and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom" (Mk. 10:42-45).
Ah, Christ Himself was the greatest among them. He said, "I am in the midst of you as he that serveth." He was the humblest, and, therefore, the greatest, but had He no authority? He had authority in heaven and on earth! Because He takes the place of deepest humility, does that strip Him of His kingly authority? No! It intensifies and magnifies it. "And whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant." "Bondservant" is the meaning of the word servant in the original Greek. The man who is to be the greatest amongst God's kings and priests must be the SLAVE of all. The man who will be the greatest, the "primes," or first, will be the man who is, as it were, the very bondservant; willing to serve his brethren and all men as if he were their slave with a deep and true humility: for Christ's sake. Jesus Christ died the death of a slave. Amongst the Romans, crucifixion was the death reserved for a bondservant. No Roman citizen could be crucified, but the slaves were punished in that manner. Christ was the greatest, yet He took the place of the lowest.
The attitude of God's apprehended ones ought ever to be that of being a servant, A LOVE SLAVE OF JESUS CHRIST. And nowhere is there a greater example of this, than in our Lord Himself. He who is the HIGHEST of the order, above all principalities, powers and dominions, also became the most servant of servants, as He "made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant..." (Phil. 2:7). He revealed, as it had never been revealed, the blessedness of subjection to our true and heavenly LORD, our Master WHO TRULY SERVES A-L-L. He sends His rain upon the just and upon the unjust and He causes His sun to shine upon the righteous and the unrighteous. HE IS KIND TO THE UNGRATEFUL AND THE WICKED - serving, freely giving. And they who are SONS OF THE HIGHEST will be as their Father, and as The Son who revealed this true nature of the Father. Though He is calling us to become a Kingdom of Priests unto the Most High, yet our inner attitude must be that of a servant, that we might freely minister, loving, doing good, even without hope of return. Merciful to the unthankful and the evil. To minister as a priest unto the Most High will require this love-nature, that gives to the uttermost, joyfully, freely, seeking only to fulfill HIS WILL.
That is why the Christ today exercises all authority in heaven and on earth. He now takes the highest place. He is the greatest.
He that would rise to be the highest, Must first come down to be the lowest, And then ascend to be the highest, By keeping down to be the lowest.
It is only when you really keep down to be the lowest that you can be a power. That is something to learn. A bondslave is one who serves because he loves. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (I Jn. 4:8). True love always seeks to serve; this is its invariable characteristic and chief distinction, and thereby may it always be identified. The one who seeks to be greatest or whose highest ambition is to RULE, is not yet made perfect in love; indeed he has scarcely the first rudiments of such a character. Self is a boss; love is a servant. The service of love makes us most like God and especially so when in love, you remember also that in thus serving the creature you serve the Creator in the creature.
It is when we come to this thought of SERVANTS that there arises a great deal of misunderstanding among the Lord's people. When we speak of servants, some boast that this calling does not apply to them, for they are no longer servants, but sons. That is true in the spirit in which Paul argues in Gal. 4:6-7: "And because ye are sons, God bath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore, THOU ART NO MORE A SERVANT, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
It is far from the truth, however, to say that there in no sense in which those who are sons are also servants. Paul is speaking of OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD, THE FATHER. Under the Old Testament the people of God had not received new birth by the Spirit and so were not, by birth, the children of God. They were a house of servants (Heb. 3:5). Their relationship TO GOD was that of servants. They were not sons. They were not related to God in sonship. Now, bless His name, He has redeemed us from the curse of the law that we might receive placement as sons, and He has breathed into our believing hearts the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of sonship, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father!" This has brought a change in our relationship to God. Unto Him we are no longer servants, but sons. The sons are God's kings and priests, and as kings and priests we are not only related to God, but also have a relationship to men. It is here that we must be very clear in our understanding. Unto GOD I am a son; but unto MEN I am a servant, serving on behalf of God. I cannot be a servant TO God, for I am a son. And I cannot be a son TO men, so I must approach unto men in a relationship through which I can minister to them the life of the Son who abides within me. The only way by which I may minister Christ unto men is as a SERVANT. To minister means "to serve," and both minister and servant are a number of times translated from the same Greek word.
Can a son be a servant? Hear the words of the Pattern Son! "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto (served), but to minister (serve), and to give His life a ransom" (Mat. 20:28). Jesus was a Son to His Father, but He came as a servant unto men. It is the SON who SERVES! The Son is a servant-Son. The very same Jesus of whom the Father witnessed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," of Him the Father also witnessed, "Behold My SERVANT, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles" (Isa. 42:1). Matthew 12:15-21 points out clearly that this SERVANT of the Lord is JESUS. The Son came as a servant-Son. The beloved John understood this great truth, for the same John who wrote in I Jn. 3:1, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called THE SONS OF GOD," later stated, "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His SERVANTS things that must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto HIS SERVANT JOHN" (Rev. 1:1). Paul also understood this truth, for the very same Paul who wrote in Gal. 4:7, "Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son," also said in Ram. 1:1, "Paul, a SERVANT of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle." Is Jesus a son or a servant? Was John a son or a servant? Was Paul a son or a servant? And lest we exalt ourselves above Paul or John or Jesus, we further find the 144,000 in the book of Revelation, that glorious company of the sons of God who follow the Lamb on Zion's holy hill, and of this many-membered body of overcoming sons it is written, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the SERVANTS of our God in their foreheads" (Rev. 7:3). Ah - the sons are the servants! Not servants UNTO GOD, by any means, but SONS OF GOD who are SERVANTS UNTO MEN, humble ministers of the grace and the mercy and the love of God.
May the Spirit of God graciously enlighten the eyes of our understanding that we may see the Mighty Son in the form of a servant! All had been prepared for the last supper, including even the very water with which to wash the feet of the guests, according to the custom. But in this upper room there was no servant to do the work. Each one waits for the other: none of the twelve considers humbling himself to render even this service. Even as they sat at the table they were full of other, loftier, thoughts - who should be the greatest in the Kingdom they were expecting (Lk. 22:2627). Suddenly, Jesus arises, lays aside His garments, girds Himself with a towel, and begins to wash their feet. O wondrous spectacle! upon which mighty and powerful angels reverently gazed with adoring wonder. Christ, the Creator and King of the universe; Christ, the Mighty God and Father of the ages, the movement of whose hand would summon untold legions of angels ready to serve Him, who might with one word of love have attracted throngs of loyal followers who would have delighted to do the work, - Christ Jesus takes the servant's place for His own, takes the soiled feet of carnal and weary men into His own holy hands, and washes them! "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, YE ALSO ought to wash one another's feet" (Jn. 13:14). No establishing of a ritual here to be performed in Church upon men who have already thoroughly washed and deodorized their feet! Rather, the establishing of the law of the Kingdom - he who would be the greatest, let him be the servant of all. "I am among you as He that serveth" (Lk. 22:27).
In taking the form of a servant, Jesus proclaims the divine order of the Kingdom of God, the House of Sons. The higher one wishes to stand in the Kingdom, the more it must be his joy to be the servant of all. The higher I rise in the consciousness of being like Christ, the High Priest of the heavens, the deeper shall I stoop to identify with and minister to all around me. As sons, there we must live, moving about among the sorrow and tragedy of humanity as the servants of all. No condition is too wretched, no hell too low for us to stoop to serve, to bless, to lift, to redeem, not caring one whit for our own honor or interest, if we can but impart the blessing of the Kingdom of life, love and light. What blessedness, what value has sonship without the outpouring into the depths in which men dwell? The whole purpose of sonship is that God may be expressed and communicated to men even unto the lowest hell. Sonship is not some country-club set of super-spiritual-elite-gods who spend their time polishing up their halos while basking in the meretricious brilliancy of their own self-importance.
A servant counts it no humiliation, and is not ashamed of being counted inferior: it is his place and work to serve others. The reason why some who call themselves "SONS" so often have no desire to bless others is that they think of themselves as superior in rank and blessing. These are broken-handed, and they shall never reign as priests. If, upon our road to sonship, we first learn to identify with the creation which we are destined to deliver, to associate with the lowest of men and the humblest of saints in the blessed spirit of a servant, what a blessing we shall become to the world! Thus is the Royal Priesthood SENT FORTH INTO ALL THE EARTH. Try, my beloved brethren, above all to understand that it is only as a son you can truly be a servant, for only the sons possess that life that can quicken all things. It was as the Son that Christ took the form of a servant. Walk among men AS SONS OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. A son of God is in the world only to show forth His Father's glory, and only as a servant can this life be communicated to the creation.
Sons and servants! Kings and priests! Can you see the parallel between these two? It is the king that reigns and the priest that serves. But, like the horse and carriage, and love and marriage, YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER! It is the priests that reign (Rev. 20:6). "For Thou west slain, and hast redeemed us to 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 over the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).
You will never be a priest without the servant-nature. The story is told of a farmer who had just sat down to the table and prayed: "Oh Lord, bless the poor people in this neighborhood, and feed them." Very soon after, there was a knock at the door and a poor neighbor came in and asked the farmer for a bushel of potatoes. The farmer began to make all kinds of excuses. He had fifty bushels of potatoes, and his little boy said, "Papa, there is a chance to answer your own prayers." That is the servant nature, and the spirit of priesthood. So many in this hour want to be sons and kings and priests while living in their own little world, studying the deep revelations given by the Spirit, singing beautiful end-time choruses, but never having any practical outworking of the servant-nature in the nitty-gritty of everyday living where the needs of creation are met. May the Spirit of God make very real to our hearts the great truth that the person who does not serve is broken-handed. And there are NO BROKEN-HANDED PRIESTS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD! "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life" (Mk. 10:45). The sons come for the same purpose.
What a blessing there is in giving! Even on the natural plane it is a part of the makeup of everyone that they feel good when giving or helping others. But in many people, and even in some who aspire to be priests of God, this attribute is never developed into becoming a part of their way of life and so the opposite takes place. However many wonderful people spend their lives in giving service to others. When analyzed, the servant-nature is the most prized possession of the human race. What a joy is the restaurant waitress who gives true service. To be a real nurse requires this above all else. The secretary in an office can be an inspiration to everyone through her ability to be of help and support in every situation instead of merely doing just what is required of her. Then there is the teacher who is vitally concerned for every member of her class. In such as these is the servant-nature revealed even on the earthly level. Serving those about you will never of itself make you a priest of God, but YOU CAN NEVER BE A PRIEST WITHOUT THE SERVANT-NATURE! HE makes us kings and priests! O God! let the hands be healed quickly, cleanse Thy priesthood from the blemish of broken-handedness and give us the NATURE OF A SERVANT.
The seventh blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is the "crookbackt" as the Authorized Version states it, or "hunchback" as most modern translations render. This man does not have a strong, straight backbone He suffers from a crippling abnormal concave curvature of the spine which reduces height by forcing the spinal column into a horizontal bulge, as though it were pulled out of place by a mighty hand. It is no wonder that "backbone" has come to describe anything that provides primary stability and support. The spine is, in every sense, the backbone of the body.
Now we are not talking about physical disfigurements today, we are dealing with the spiritual meaning of these deformities. And we are all acquainted with Christians and ministries who do not stand tall and straight in God, who do not take a stand for the truth as God reveals it, and who cannot get under the load and bear the burden of the Lord. They have no backbone. They are weak. They are deformed.
As Bill Britton has written, "They do not have firm principles for which they stand. 'Wishy-washy' is the term generally used for them. Eph. 4:14 says they are tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine. Last year they were chasing after some nice-sounding doctrine, but today they are going in the opposite direction. Next year they may be changed again, never standing firm for anything. That does not mean that new revelation will not come. It does not mean that a preacher who drops old tradition for new truth is spineless or hunchback. I am talking about those who are tossed to and fro, always jumping back and forth. This principle is also true concerning our moral lives, as well as our doctrine. The preacher who is up today, thousands of these to date, only four negative letters have been received, and two of those were from the same person! The positive response has been astounding, some weeks it has taken up to three days to answer the mail as many hundreds of letters have poured in to our office praising God for the truth of reconciliation with comments like, "God revealed that truth to me many years ago;" "I have always felt it must be that way, and now it is so clear; " I havent seen this before, but my spirit witnesses with it;" I was opposed to the teaching, but you leave me no choice - praise God, it's true!" etc. etc. etc. The tide of God's beautiful truth is sweeping like a mighty ocean, boundless, fathomless, across the land and around the world. And instead of this ministry diminishing, we are sending out more messages today than ever before! Ah - when we are 100% sure that our word is based on the solid rock of God's Word, witnessed beyond any shadow of doubt in the deepest recesses of our spirit by HIS SPIRIT, and confirmed by many precious brethren who are walking in the Spirit in humility, holiness, wisdom and revelation, then we must stand tall and strong with backbones like sawlogs, proclaiming the present truth without fear or favor. The man who cannot stand tall and strong in the battle should not be teaching the people of God how to walk in the Kingdom. He is hunchback. And no hunchback can minister as a priest of the Lord!
ENTER THE DWARF
A little baby is born and the relatives and friends gather around in admiring wonder. "Isn't he precious?" "Look at those tiny little fingers." "Oh, aren't those ears cute?" "Isn't he adorable?" And they go their way and time passes. A month goes by. The friends stop by to see the little child who still is very much like he was before. "My, isn't he cute?" "I think he is going to be a little one, but he is a darling, isn't he?" Three months go by and he hardly changes at all. "What are you using in the formula, my dear? Perhaps you really should talk to your pediatrician." Six months go by. Again, virtually no change and the smiles are gone. There is no more of the "coochie, coochie, coo." Now there is a sense of sadness. Something is wrong. After a year, two years, it is plain to all that this is a dwarf child. There have been those who have endured and by the grace of God have risen above such experiences, which fortunately in the physical world are not too frequent.
In the spiritual realm, however, that which I have described happens all too frequently. One of the tragedies is that many people who are ten or fifteen or twenty years old in the Lord and who have grown but little beyond a babe, do not even recognize their dwarfish nature. And their pastors and denominations don't recognize it, either!
In the natural there are many little people who are very fine men and women, normal in every way except for the size of their body. But under Old Testament economy they could not have qualified for priesthood because they could not reach up to the altar's height. Their low stature impeded their ability to function normally in various of the priestly duties. Near the base of the skull is the pituitary gland, sometimes called the master gland because it not only sends messages to bones and other tissues but controls other glands to some extent as well. The pituitary secretes a growth hormone, without which calcium, phosphorus and other elements could never unite to form bone. If the pituitary secretes too little growth hormone, it can produce a dwarf. Today there is a spiritual meaning. We see those who have none of the other blemishes mentioned. But there is a lack somewhere in their spiritual life. And this lack prevents them from ever growing up into the full measure of the stature of the Son of God. These dwarfs have many other fine qualities. They love God, and are sincere and zealous in their Christian life. They attend Church regularly, and are active in its various programs. But the faith, wisdom, revelation, victory, love, and power of God never mature in their lives. They know nothing of deeper revelation and God's ultimate intention is foreign to them. They fall short of going on to perfection and being conformed to the image of the Son. They never really get the complete victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Most remain shackled in chains of tradition in some denominational or religious system.. They may even read articles and books on the deeper truths of sonship and the Kingdom of God, but the import of the message never penetrates deeply into their hearts, so they are not drawn to a total commitment to the high purposes of God for this hour. They have some fruit for their labors, but it is always on the dwarf level. I do not hesitate to tell you that we live today in an almost completely dwarf society. The churches are literally packed each Sunday with untold millions of spiritual dwarfs! There are dwarfs in the pulpit. There are dwarfs in the Choir. The musical instruments are played by dwarfs. The deacons are dwarfs. The Sunday School teachers are dwarfs. It is a dwarf-world!
There are certain evidences of whether or not we are growing up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ. If we are growing, one of the fruits will be graciousness, the becoming like Him who is the all-gracious, all-loving God, having an unselfish concern for the needs of others, and an undying love for all God's creation. If you are judgmental in your spirit, breathing out fire and damnation against men for whom Christ died; if the teaching of the reconciliation of all men to God troubles you because you are afraid that somebody might not get every thing they deserve, then forget about the Royal Priesthood - its not for you! Another sign is strength. Another is faith. Another one is stability. The active ingredient in stability is trust. Do you trust God for the things of this life, natural and spiritual? You can tell by whether or not you fuss and fume and fret and worry and have anxiety. All of these are big signs that go up and say, "YOU DO NOT TRUST COD." A true son will trust the Father in A-L-L things! What a wonderful thing it is to see that you are growing in grace when you thank God for the terrible things that happen; for the problems for the setbacks, for the difficult things, in the blessed knowledge that ALL THINGS DO INDEED ALWAYS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THE SONS OF GOD. Do you do that? Many people, because they do not really TRUST God, find that their lives are falling apart because they have not developed those qualities of character, those beauteous characteristics of the Christ that create the image of God in us. Ah, you can fall short of this full stature `'f Christ and still be a Christian. You can come short of the fullness of God's glory and still speak in tongues, prophesy, testify, and do many wonderful works. but never forget, precious friend of mine, that you cannot come up short of the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ and be a priest! Some people are larger than others in their spiritual development, but it is the deformity of being a dwarf that causes God to set a man aside from the Royal Priesthood.
A BLEMISH IN THE EYE
The word "blemish" used in connection with the eyes is from the Hebrew CALLUS denoting a disease of the eyes, namely, cataracts. Cataracts have obscured the vision of more people throughout the ages than any other affliction of the eye. Beginning as minute cloudy spots in the lens of the eye, cataracts eventually pervade the whole lens, turning it a milky yellow white, scattering incoming light and blocking vision. People with cataracts see the world as if they were looking through a waterfall, the reason ancient Greeks gave the disease its name.
The eye is the figure of knowledge and understanding. The apostle Paul penned these meaningful words: "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING being enlightened; that ye may KNOW what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:17-18). The man with cataracts has eyes to see, but he has something in his eyes which causes them to lose focus and perspective so that the vision is blurred. A blemish in the eye bespeaks of an IMPAIRED VISION, some block hindering the viewing of the full truth and reality of God. The man with a blemish in his eye is disqualified to be a priest as the prophet has said: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that THOU SHALT BE NO PRIEST TO ME: seeing thou Last forgotten the law of thy God" (Hos. 4:6).
The phrase, "the eyes of your understanding," reveals that spiritual sight or spiritual understanding is an ability and faculty of the mind. Without mind there can be no understanding. A man's understanding corresponds precisely to the condition, development or quality of his mind. Every created life form possesses mind and the understanding of the creature is limited by the quality of its mind. Quality of mind is, basically, an inherited characteristic. For instance, a cat thinks like a cat, knows as a cat, understands as a cat and acts like a cat because it was BORN a cat - therefore possessing the brain and mind of a cat. Through the years we have had cats in our home. I have noticed that the cat will come and sit in the living room while I watch the evening television news. While I am very interested in the news, the cat has positively no interest all! He couldn't care less what is happening in Central America, the Middle East or the Persian Gulf! It is not that he doesn't see the pictures flashing across the screen. He sees them, alright, but he doesn't understand them, so he just curls up on the carpet and goes to sleep. It is simply impossible for cats to understand things human. Humans are of a different and higher order than are cats. Cats may see men, and observe their movements, yet there is no common ground of knowledge. The cat has no comprehension of what it sees. It discerns only things pertaining to its own realm. It has positively no understanding of the ways of man, or of the meaning of his movements, or words, or habits. Cat minds function on the level of cat nature, while human minds function of the level of human nature.
Likewise, God is of a different and higher order of life and nature than are humans. The mind of man functions on the level of human nature, whereas the mind of God functions on the level of the divine nature. There is no common ground of knowledge or understanding between the two. Therefore, the natural man is totally incapable of comprehending that which pertains to the realm of God. For natural minds to comprehend things spiritual is equally as impossible as for cats to comprehend things human. And so, until men receive of GOD'S SPIRIT - the Spirit that KNOWS and UNDERSTANDS on the GOD LEVEL - it is impossible for them to have any understanding either of God, of His Word, or His ways. With what truth did Paul write to the Corinthians: "For who could really understand a man's inmost thoughts except the spirit of man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of oaf? We have now received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God Himself, so that we can UNDERSTAND something of God's generosity towards us" (I Cor. 2:11-12, Moffat).
And then after men receive God, the depth of their knowledge and understanding is wholly in proportion to the measure of the indwelling Spirit. Of the Pattern Son it is written, "In Him dwelleth ALL THE FULLNESS of the Godhead bodily" (Cal. 2:9). Jesus did not receive the Spirit by measure as do we (Jn. 3:34). He has A-L-L the fullness of God. And therefore He has all the discernment and understanding of heaven! But we faltering mortals cannot claim in fullness what Christ possessed until we stand upon Zion's holy hill, totally transformed, and completely conformed to the image of the Son of God.
We will never, in this age, be fully able to comprehend the boundless power of the mind of man. The natural mind, though it understands not the things of the Spirit, is capable of astonishing wonders. All the marvelous inventions of the world have proceeded from the mind of man, yet that natural mind RECEIVES NOT any of the things of God. As heaven is higher than the earth, so are God's ways higher than man's, and God's thoughts higher than man's. The man who receives of God's life is renewed in the SPIRIT OF HIS MIND, that is, he takes on a new mind originating in the new spirit-life, so that he thinks and acts as an entirely new creation, a new man, a new kind of creature. If he follows on to know the Lord he will find that his darkened mind will completely give way to this new creation mind which is the MIND OF JESUS CHRIST. Paul wrote, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." The mind that was in Jesus was the Father's mind. Because He was fully possessed of His Father's mind, He was able to say, "I and the Father are one." The mind that was in Christ Jesus is freely offered to every man who believes on His name that he might be ONE WITH CHRIST and ONE WITH THE FATHER. Let us never forget that in those glorious ages to come it will be the mind of our heavenly Father that will rule the universe. The Father has decreed that He will rule the universe by HIM whom He has chosen, and those sons, the many-membered Son, every one, will be possessed with the Father's mind. God the Father has given His mind to His Son, Jesus Christ, and He in turn has given that same mind to us. As the hands and the feet of a healthy body act in harmony with the head, so every member among the sons of God acts in harmony with the Head, even Jesus, because ONE MIND DWELLS IN THEM ALL. Hallelujah!
Learn this, O man, and you will know a great truth: Darkness is IGNORANCE. To be in darkness means to be in ignorance. To be blind means to be in ignorance. To have the vision obscured and fuzzy means to be in partial ignorance. To have a blemish in the eye means to have one's spiritual vision impaired by partial SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE. Ignorance is a condition of the MIND, in which the mind lacks knowledge and understanding. Paul tells us in Eph. 4:17-18 that men have their "understanding darkened" because of the "ignorance" that is in them!
True, the light of the Christ has now shined into our hearts, yet I am confident that none of us have yet, at this present time, experienced the fullness of that light. When we were first saved just enough light shone in to reveal Jesus to us as Saviour. We joyfully embraced the glory revealed in that light, but what a great darkness prevailed even yet in so many areas of our lives! The pen of inspiration wrote, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and THE DAY STAR ARISE IN YOUR HEARTS" (II Pet. 1:19). God has shined into our hearts (II Cor. 4:6) but now the DAY STAR MUST ARISE in our hearts as the brightness of the noon-time sun, dispelling all darkness and driving away all shadows. But how many of the Lord's people are satisfied with that initial shining which brings the dawn of their spiritual experience but never FOLLOW ON to know the full arising of the Sun of Righteousness who would flood their whole being with the majesty of the glory of the Lord. All the carnal church systems which hold men in such horrible darkness were built by men who received just a little light from God, and then out of the overshrouding gloom of darkness yet untouched in their carnal hearts they proceeded to build upon the foundation of Christ every kind of grotesque structure of tradition, error, fleshiness, great towering edifices of hay, wood, and stubble in which the Lord's people grope about as blind men.
Let us not forget that UNDERSTANDING is the KEY to everything in God! Faith comes by UNDERSTANDING the will of God. This is why Paul wrote: "Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in UNDERSTANDING be men" (I. Cor. 14:20). Paul prayed for the Ephesians to this end: "The EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING being enlightened, that ye may KNOW what is the hope of His calling" (Eph. 1:18). Again, "For this cause we also do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL in all wisdom and SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING" (Col. 1:9-10).
Faith comes by UNDERSTANDING. How many of my readers were saved BEFORE you came to UNDERSTAND that you were dead in trespasses and in sins, but that Jesus died to give you life? Was it not when we came to UNDERSTAND the Gospel that faith was evoked in our hearts unto salvation? Show me a man who doesn't UNDERSTAND that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and I will show you a man who isn't saved. Show me a man who doesn't UNDERSTAND that God has provided a glorious baptism in the Holy Spirit and I will show you a man who has not been filled with the Spirit. Show me a man who doesn't UNDERSTAND that Jesus Christ is the Great Physician and I will show you a man sitting in the doctor's office with no hope of recovery beyond the skill of the surgeon's knife. Show me a man who doesn't UNDERSTAND that saints are supposed to GO ON TO PERFECTION and I will show you a carnal Christian who is experiencing nothing of the deep processing's of God that produce perfection. Show me a man who doesn't UNDERSTAND that the hope of all creation is the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD and I will show you a man who is still waiting to be whisked away to some far-off heaven somewhere to strum a harp but who knows absolutely nothing about the deep and vital dealings of God which conform men into the image of Jesus Christ. The degree of our faith is always proportionate to the degree of our UNDERSTANDING. Our spiritual understanding always corresponds to the amount of LIGHT and TRUTH that has illuminated our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We will be filled with light (understanding) to the same degree that our new creation MIND has been developed.
Have you ever prayed that God would OPEN THE EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING that you might know what is the hope of His calling and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints? Ah, how much better this would be than to seek the passing vanities of this present world to the detriment of your devotion to God; and how much more grand and glorious is the hope of sonship and the deliverance of all creation in those wonderful ages yet to come, than the cheap tinsel of tradition's mansion over the hilltop. Walk no longer in the VANITY of your mind, HAVING THE UNDERSTANDING DARKENED, while alienating yourself from the life of God through ignorance. Never spend your days seeking the things of this carnal life, for they make themselves wings and fly away, never to yield any eternal reward.
We are further exhorted: 'Be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children, but in UNDERSTANDING be men" (I Cor. 14:20). I greatly fear that for long centuries the Lord's people have been men in malice and children in understanding! The pages of church history show that from time immemorial the church has been a vast feuding ground of malice, envy, bitterness, strife, full of pettiness, peevishness, whisperings, debate, deceit, backbiting, and evil speaking: men in malice and children in understanding! "Trust in the Lord with all shine heart and LEAN NOT UNTO THY OWN UNDERSTANDING," saith the Lord (Prov. 3:5). Yet how often God's people are found leaning to their own understanding and generally their own understanding is nothing more than the faulty understanding of other men whose traditions, interpretations, and deductions the' have accepted. Human understanding is so terribly limited! It is limited because human understanding contains absolutely nothing of GOD'S UNDERSTANDING and is, therefore, as faulty as is the nature of man. Just as the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom so THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY I-S U-N-D-E-R-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G (Prov. 9:10). Understanding will never be yours by following the traditions of the dead church systems, for they know nothing of the things of the Spirit. All their traditions are cataracts in the eyes of the people, disqualifying them for the priesthood of God.
It has always, from the very beginning, been Satan's policy to misrepresent the truth, to distort and carnalize the Word of God, in order to hinder mankind from seeing the beauty and majesty of God's purpose of the ages. The more absurdities the enemy can get interwoven into man's doctrines and concepts respecting God, the Church, eternity, the destiny of man, etc. the better he will succeed in separating men from God. Thus for centuries the great adversary has been working most successfully and has covered and hidden some of the most precious and wonderful truths under the most specious and repulsive errors, and the progress of the saints has been correspondingly slow.
Even in this end-time move of God there are many preachers who have serious blemishes in their eyes and they confuse a lot of people with strange and distorted teachings. They think they have divine revelation, and because they see SOMETHING deeper in God they are hard to convince that they are in error, and need help. The real truths of sonship, reconciliation, and the Kingdom of God are all out of focus before their eyes. Their vision is fuzzy. Out of one side of their mouth they proclaim that the manifested sons of God are destined to set ALL CREATION free from the bondage of corruption, while out of the other side of their mouth they teach that the vast majority of men who have lived and died upon this planet will spend eternity writhing in the flames of hell, cursing, blaspheming, and defying the God of love and power who died for them all. Such teaching is contradictory, distorted, twisted, and fuzzy. This brings reproach on the real truth, for they use the same terminology, and claim to be sons of God with the message of the Kingdom, yet everything they preach is still garbled with tradition and laced with error. But, thank God! we are now living in the time when the veil of ignorance and error is being dissolved, and when the members of the Royal Priesthood are having the eyes of their understanding enlightened. Almighty Father! heal the blemished eyes of Thine elect people that there may be a mighty company of priests of the Most High God come forth in this hour with a pure word from the throne of God!
J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas
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The Royal Priesthood