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 broken-handed, 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 tenth blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is "scurvy." Scurvy is a sickness that is caused by not eating an important food element called Vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in fruits, especially oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, and in vegetables. Persons who do not eat these foods may get swollen, infected gums, and their teeth may become loose and even fall out. In children, scurvy may cause the bones to grow crooked. Scurvy is especially dangerous to babies. It makes them have loose bowels and fever, and lose weight. It can also cause loss of blood by internal bleeding. Sailors in olden days often had this problem, not being able to get fresh fruit or vegetables. They had to eat a lot of canned food and salted meat. After months at sea, fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat to form a balanced diet was hard to get. Scurvy is quickly cured when the sick person is given the missing Vitamin C.
Today we see vast multitudes of Christians who have spiritual scurvy because they are fed a constant diet of canned sermons and dead letter-of-the-Word salted down meat. Scurvy is the result of an insufficient, unbalanced diet, the outward manifestation of an inward lack. When men or women are sick in body or mind, there is always some simple underlying cause for their illness, and, when that is discovered and the problem corrected, health and life will flow into the body as waters flow when an obstruction is removed. Most doctors today merely treat symptoms but remove the cause of the sickness and the body is well. The human body is the most marvelous mechanism of all God's wonderful creation on earth. The body of mar embodies, as an essential element of its nature, a conservative or healing power, which is, under all conditions and circumstances of life, in ceaseless, though silent operation, preserving in a perfect manner the vitality of the organism and withstanding and neutralizing to a very great extent, all of those powers which operate to weaken and destroy it. So efficient and powerful are its conservative and reparative powers that it takes great and long continued abuse of the sound organism to produce serious disease in it. The normal and regular tendency of the body toward health is a very powerful one, so powerful indeed, that the great majority of people succeed in maintaining a tolerable degree of health most of the time in spite of their repeated sins against health and life. The body is self-correcting and self-healing. Give the body a prolonged rest (fast) and it will perform a general house cleaning. It will expel accumulated toxic wastes and morbid matter built up from years of consuming harmful and destructive foods, chemicals, and other substances. It will free burdened organs so they can function normally again. The body heals itself when the causes of its problems are removed. Treat the symptoms and the malady remains.
Countless thousands are at this minute facing a painful death from lung cancer because they insist on filling their lungs with tobacco smoke. They need neither medicine nor operation; all they need to do is discard the unholy cause of their illness. Long centuries ago the glorious Lord gave His people Israel a set of physical health rules, and with them He also gave a set of spiritual laws, telling them plainly that, if they observed those things, they would endure none of the diseases of the Egyptians (Deut. 7:15). So true and faithful was His word that King David, exulting later in the wonder of God's faithfulness, said, "He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes" (Ps. 105:37).
As one has written, "When our minds grasp the significant fact that two million, five hundred thousand men, women, and children wandered in that burning wilderness for forty years without a doctor, a hospital, an ambulance, a stretcher, a pharmacy, an aspirin, or even a crutch, then we can better understand how meaningful is obedience and faithfulness to God's command, and necessary it is to discover the root of all our trouble and remove it out of the way as a man would dig up and remove from his pathway a stumbling stone that often had hurt his feet and distressed him by many a fall" - end quote.
It is not my purpose here to deal with physical diseases or divine healing, but if by God's grace He will open our eyes to see that all sickness and disease is the result of either an inward lack or abuse, then we shall see the path of life and our spiritual health and growth in Christ, our progress in wisdom and understanding, in grace and glory and in righteousness and power will be multiplied exceedingly. And now I will venture to say that stagnation and spiritual disease have overtaken millions of Christians because, whether they realize it or not, they have been fed a steady diet of JUNK FOOD! Their spiritual gums are swollen, their spiritual teeth are falling out, their spiritual bones have grown crooked so that they are deformed and dwarfed in spiritual stature, they are weak and pale and dizzy and itchy because their spiritual diet is unbalanced and insufficient. They have scurvy. AND NO MAN WITH SCURVY CAN MINISTER AS A PRIEST OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. He is disqualified.
In the Churches today you hear the constant drum-beat that Christians are saved to go to a blissful heaven and, failing that, men are doomed to the torment of a blistering hell. One would think, from all the preaching, that the two primary themes running through the Word of God are heaven and hell. Not so! You will have to tear the Bible all to pieces and re-write literally thousands of passages if you say that the great themes of God's blessed Book are heaven and hell. The truth is that God is not primarily concerned with where we are going, but He is vitally and eternally concerned about WHAT WE ARE BECOMING. Man does not need to be saved mainly because he is going to hell; he needs to be saved because of his awful, hopeless CONDITION. It is man's STATE OF BEING that is wrong, he is DEAD, the Scripture says; a Christless death in which he is dead to God, dead to Christ, dead to virtue, dead to truth, dead to purity, dead to righteousness, dead to peace, dead to joy, dead to reality, dead to promise, dead to hope. DEAD! He abides in this death throughout all the decades, centuries, or milleniums of his existence until Christ comes into his heart, making him alive, and beginning the long and tedious process of growing him up into the image of Him who created him.
If saving men from hell is God's primary concern then we must make the Bible say that, if that is what God meant. We must make the Bible say, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely be HEADED STRAIGHT FOR HELL" (Gen. 2:16-17). We must correct the Word of God so that it says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall surely be TOR MENTED IN HELL" (Eze. 18:4). Jn. 3:16 must be made to correctly read, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not GO TO HELL, but GO TO HEAVEN." If going to hell is the main concern for the sinner then Rom. 5:12 must be made to say, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and hell by sin; and so the torment of hell passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
On the other hand, if some far-off heaven of golden streets and magnificent mansions is the goal and reward of the Christian life, then we must re-write the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We must make the Bible say, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it cloth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall GO WITH HIM TO HEAVEN" (I Jn. 3:2). But is that what it says? Nay! "We know that when He shall appear, we shall BE LIKE HIM!" It is not talking about going to a place, it bespeaks of a CONDITION or STATE OF BEING. The question is not, my friend, WHERE are you GOING, but WHAT are you BECOMING! "Except a man be born again, he cannot get to heaven," is how the preachers love to quote it; but the Holy Spirit faithfully records, "...he cannot SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD." I do not hesitate to tell you that there is a whole universe of difference between "going to heaven" and SEEING THE KINGDOM OF GOD. "If any man be in Christ he will go to heaven..." they tell us. Oh, no, my brother, my sister, if any man be in Christ HE I-S ANEW CREATURE. HE I-S! Not place or location, but condition and state of being is unalterably and unceasingly the emphasis of the almighty Creator and Redeemer. We could continue citing hundreds of passages proving that God's great and eternal purpose is not concerned with taking us someplace, but with MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF US.
What purpose would there be if the heaven men preach is naught but a resting place, a celestial Disney-World of thrills and shouting and strumming harps, of swimming in celestial waters and lazing about in a palace with nothing to do and all eternity to do it in; and what purpose if the hell they declare is but a place of torment where unbelievers have nothing to do but scream and blaspheme and suffer excruciating torments eternally? To me it is no great wonder that Christians become spiritually weak, anemic, diseased, and apathetic, and the world is full of backsliders and unbelievers on such a pitiful diet as that!
Scurvy! It comes from an unbalanced and insufficient diet, a lack of something vital to health and well-being. A preacher who has no balanced diet for the saints he feeds disqualifies himself from feeding the bread of God, from serving as a priest. And any saint who eats that unbalanced diet is disqualified for the Royal Priesthood. He will never in a million years share in the Melchizedekian Priesthood. How we praise God for the tremendous revelation coming forth in these last days, how our hearts are enraptured by the wonderful truths now being revealed by the Holy Ghost! How bountifully the table has been spread with His presence, with divers gifts of the Holy Spirit, with truth and revelation, with the gracious unfolding and unveiling of the deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God kept hidden from ages and from generations! And the ministers of God who do not take advantage of this great feast will cheat their people of many glorious things.
But the practice of trying to come up with some profound revelation EVERY TIME one ministers, instead of giving some good solid balanced teaching ALONG WITH deep truth, can also cause the people to have spiritual scurvy. Such an one is disqualified to minister the bread of God. I have been in meetings where all the ministers were competing to see how far each one could top the far-out revelation of the one preceding him. True ministry will provide a balanced diet. Good foundational teaching and inspirational preaching should not prevent the people from hearing new truths and eating liberal portions of the strong meat of the Word. Many preachers and teachers shy away from strong revelation teaching for fear of "not having good balance." But these are among the most UNBALANCED and end up with their own particular brand of scurvy, causing multitudes of hungry saints to be weak and sickly from being fed their weak, watered-down, over-cooked, warmed-over, half-spoiled, so-called "balanced message." UGH! What more can I say?
Lest there be many who would imagine me to be cynical, we will leave the negative way of looking at things while together we go to explore the ineffable glory of the feast now prepared for the sons of God. And this feast, being the last, the feast of tabernacles will bring perfection and will give strength to the laborers to go forth and accomplish great and mighty things for the Master. As we leave this feast in great strength, those who will be in control of this planet from that time forth will be abiding in the fullness of Resurrection Life and will be free from the curse. It is impossible to corrupt one who is incorruptible by nature. So apostasy and shame shall have had its day and never shall it raise its ugly head in God's perfected body anymore! These mighty sons of God, the king-priests of the Most High, terrible as an army with banners, shall march forth with one purpose only, that the Father may be glorified, revealed, and manifested to creation in all His glorious fullness, bringing a life-flow unto a]1 the peoples of the earth, reconciling all into God, bringing an end to sin, sickness, sorrow and death throughout all realms for evermore, praise HIS wonderful name!
If you would be free from scurvy, if you would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek, if you would offer the eternal, living bread of God to benighted creation, then take the shoes from off your feet, bow low in humility and holy brokenness before the High Priest of your profession; come, and hear His tender voice entreating, "If ANY MAN hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20). Precious Lord! how oft have we heard Thee knocking at the doors of our hearts; not only when we were sinners, but after we had tasted and knew that the Lord was good, and had proved Thine infinite love. How often have we heard Thy tender voice beseeching us to open to Thee that Thou mightest sup with us, that we might sit at Thy table and sup with Thee. How often have we chosen the flesh pots of our own desires, and the companionship of others; when, if we had hearkened and opened unto Thee, we might have sat at Thy table and feasted with Thee!
"Thou prepares" a table before me in the presence of mine enemies...my cup runneth over, " sang the sweet singer of Israel, and it is only when we hasten forward toward the sound of His voice, casting all else aside in our eager desire for Him and Him alone, that our souls are thrilled with unimaginable prospect, our spirits lay hold of the eternal promises and joyfully we strip off every weight that with patience, endurance, and faithfulness we may run the race that is set before us. Jesus Christ, the eldest and tallest brother in our family, is the author and finisher of that faith which turns our eyes to the "Mt. Everest" of our hope, which hope "we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:19-20).
The man who will pause long enough from his activity to become gripped by the force and eternal significance of these ten words: YE SHALL BE UNTO ME A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS, will find a table spread before him, and will see the Captain of his salvation sitting at His table; he will find himself sitting with Him in sweet fellowship and communion, partaking of the rich wisdom and knowledge and glory and power which grace His table. Why don't you take off the rest of the hour, or perhaps the rest of the day, just to let the Holy Spirit fill your mind with the wonderful significance and the everlasting importance of what it means to be a PRIEST of God? He does not come to sit with you at your table, but He invites you to come to HIS table: He invites you to listen to HIS voice and follow and obey it until you find the table of continual communion and close fellowship where are spread the delectable bounties which will make you strong and whole and tall in the priesthood of God. He sets before you hidden manna; He has spread a table of heavenly bread which will give you vibrant health and supernatural strength to overcome all things and be conformed into the image of the Son. He opens fountains of living water; He brings the soul to rest beside cool, still streams; your cup will overflow with bounteous rivers of His lovingkindness and grace.
There is one point we must not overlook if we would find this table of hidden manna, if we would feed upon the bread of life and drink deeply of the water of life, if we would be strengthened by doing the will of God. In order to enter into this close relation to the Lord and all it brings, we must sit at the KING'S table, as the Shulamite says in the Song of Solomon. Only when HE IS KING of our lives can we enter into these privileges and experiences. Only when He is enthroned within in His kingly and priestly nature, can we qualify for the heavenly calling. We cannot be king of our own lives, or make some preacher, or so-called shepherd, or harlot church system king over us, and expect He will reveal to us His secrets, or take us into His confidence, or share with us His throne. If Christ were sitting upon the throne of our lives continually, we would be sitting at His table continually! There is no scurvy among those who sit with Him at HIS table. Those who eat from His table get the right balanced diet and are able to serve at His altar. All who eat from MAN'S TABLE get scurvy and are disqualified for the priesthood.
Did you ever meditate upon it, and ask God that you might apprehend and enter into the real meaning and experience of desiring and feeding upon the eternal, living bread of God? To feed upon the bread of God is to so partake of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to so die to self and sin and the world as He died, to so live in triumphant life as He lives, and to so yield to the will of God in all things, that His Word will become flesh in you, you are the embodiment and expression of Himself. That is what the King means when He says, "I have gathered My myrrh with My spice; I have eaten My honeycomb with My honey; I have drunk My wine with My milk; eat, O friends; drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved" (S. of S. 5:1). It is as though He said, "I have eaten it all for you, I have gathered My myrrh and My spice, I have eaten honeycomb with My honey; I have drunk My wine with My milk. I have come and offered Myself as a sweet savor before the Father in your behalf. I have become a man like unto you, I have died to sin in the flesh, I have lived by the life of the Father on the earth plane, I have fulfilled all His will and all His word, I have received the incorruptible glory of the Father, I have eaten to the full of all this, that you also might eat and drink to the full of that which I have prepared for you. Now, O friends, eat! Eat! Drink abundantly. Eat and drink of Me. Do not eat only a little of the bread of life; do not feed upon Me only now and then; do not pass over any little morsel on My table, do not shirk from the cross and yield to it only occasionally and reluctantly. Do not be satisfied with only a taste of that which I have done for you. Drink to the full, until rivers of living water flow out from your innermost being to all around."
Through our union with Him, He would have us partake of His death and resurrection, until all the movements of our own desires and our own selves shall forever be silenced. He would have us drink of that cup which He has mixed with mercy, until the perfect will and working of God is fully accomplished in our lives unto transformation into His image. He would have our lives filled with all the life and light and glory which He Himself is, and which He now offers to us as we sit at His table with Him. Then He would pour it all out through us as His priests!
SCABS AND OPEN SORES
This is one of the most important items, though it sounds horrible. The New International Version calls it "running or festering sores." There is an obstinate and unsightly affection of the skin which older writers called "lepra" but which is today called "psoriasis." Chronic in nature, it is characterized by inflamed patches, reddish, slightly thickened and elevated, and somewhat wrinkled, and covered with silvery scales. The most frequent location is on the scalp at the margin of the hair, on the arms near the elbows, and on the legs near time knees. On the back, chest, or abdomen, patches the size of a saucer or dinner plate may be located. Eruptions may cover much of the body, accompanied by fierce itching. While medical science claims there is no "cure" for psoriasis, it has been demonstrated that it disappears quickly when correct living practices are observed. One doctor who has treated hundreds of cases states, "We have found psoriasis to respond to dietetic treatment in all cases." In some, complete recovery can be effected in four to six weeks. The disease can be conquered when the sufferer learns how to live so as not to cause the disease's condition. Unburden the body of the vast cesspool of toxins created by improper living and it will, through its own healing power, restore itself to health and vitality. If the body no longer has to oppose, counteract and' neutralize the effects of alcohol, tea, coffee, tobacco, and other drugs, of overeating, wrong eating, bad food, impure water, foul air, greasy condiments, rich spices, fear, worry, anxiety, jealousy, self-pity and other destructive emotions, overwork, lack of sleep, and other impairing influences - if it is released from this daily task, what wonders of healing it can accomplish!
The message is clear - the "scabs and open sores" which disqualified a member of the Aaronic order for serving in the priesthood represents an INWARD UNCLEANNESS which erupts in OUTWARD PURULENCE. It bespeaks the inward uncleanness of impure thoughts, motives, and desires which erupt into the outward purulence of a life disgraced by unholy actions. Many well-known ministers have gone down the tubes during the last thirty years because the righteousness of the Kingdom of God was never fulfilled in their deepest hearts. They were great preachers, great orators, great pulpiteers, had powerful gifts of God operating in their lives, with charisma dripping off their fingertips. Hundreds and thousands would come to hear them whenever they showed up. But their word wasn't trustworthy; you couldn't depend on them. They would not live within their means, nor pay their honest debts. They glibly asked their followers for thousands of dollars in donations and willingly resorted to every sordid trick and sob story to persuade people to give more and more money. They bilked widows of their life-savings, and then left behind a disgraceful trail of unpaid bills and questionable dealings. Some were caught in bed with another man's wife, or ran off with the organist, deserting their own wife and children. Some divorced and remarried again and again. Others were caught in homosexual acts. Others sank into the filth of free love, wife-swapping, and group sex - in the name of the Lord! One died in a hotel room of acute alcoholism. Another became obsessed with weird and strange doctrines and illusions of grandeur. He founded a cult and built a tabernacle with a golden throne surrounded by the twenty-four elders. And, of course, the whole world knows about Jimmy Jones and the Jonestown tragedy! Others had violent tempers, lying tongues, deceptive methods, kingdom-building spirit, and egos inflated with pride. Ah - "running and festering sores" - what an apt description of men whose hearts are filled with all filthiness and unrighteousness, "having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: which have forsaken the right ways, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness" (II Pet. 2:14-15). What shame and reproach these bring on the Kingdom of God by their unholy actions!
There are men who profess to be sons of God who have this problem. They have a good knowledge of truth, eloquent delivery, and power to move audiences and influence people, but their lives are oozing with festering pus that stinks to all who come near. Such a one should not feed the bread of God! You would not want a waiter in a restaurant to serve you a meal with his body covered with running sores. How much more important for those king-priests who are to feed the eternal, living bread of God to creation! I can assure you, beloved, that the Royal Priesthood will be made up of men and women who have not scabs or running sores!
Ah, the problem has been that throughout long ages men have sought the POWER of the Kingdom of God apart from the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the Kingdom. Jesus revealed something of the wonderful power of the Kingdom of God when He commissioned His disciples with this authoritative word: "As ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Mat. 10:7-8). Men have asked for and have graciously received an anointing of that Kingdom power, and have gone forth to do exploits in His name, but in the great majority of cases they neither asked nor sought for, nor did they receive, the corresponding righteousness of the Kingdom. To possess power without righteousness is a blueprint for tragedy. It means that men will do the works of God, but cannot live the life of God. They possess authority without character. Such will honor God for a season with their mighty works, but just as surely as the pig will return to his wallowing, and the dog to his vomit, just that certain is it that these will ultimately bring shame and reproach upon the name of the Lord by their unrighteous conduct. THE WAY TO GET RID OF THE EXTERNAL PURULENCE IS TO CLEAN UP THE INTERNAL CORRUPTION. "A new heart also will I put within you."
Let us now take heed to the exhortation of Jesus in Mat. 6:33. "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; and all these things shall be added unto you." The righteousness of the Kingdom is neither a moral standard nor a code of ethics. God's righteousness is JESUS CHRIST. Apart from the inworking of His holy nature and His beautiful character all our righteousnesses are filthy rags and putrefying sores. Christ is made unto us righteousness (I Cor. 1:30) and we are made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21). When we talk about the righteousness of the Kingdom of God, we have to explain what kind of righteousness we are talking about. There are two kinds of righteousness set forth in the Scriptures that pertain to believers. The first kind is IMPUTED righteousness. The second kind is IMPARTED righteousness.
Let us look first of all at imputed righteousness. Paul talks about this in Rom. 4:3, "What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God and it was counted (or imputed) unto him for righteousness." In bookkeeping, we have what are called debits and credits. If you have cash revenue come in, you may debit the bank and credit sales. You debit the bank. What does that mean? You deposit money in the bank. It is "imputed" to your checking account. Almost everyone understands that when you deposit money in the bank, you are debiting your bank account, you are imputing money to your bank account. When you get your bank statement, it might show that you have $743.25 in the bank. That is counted to you, it is imputed to you, though no actual money may have been involved, it may have been a check you deposited. It is debited to you because a deposit to your account took place.
The Bible says of Abraham that when he BELIEVED GOD, it was counted (or debited, imputed) to him for righteousness. He got a great big deposit to his account - righteousness! What kind of righteousness was it? It was imputed righteousness. It was righteousness imputed to his account so that he came to right standing before God by doing one thing. And that one thing was what? BELIEVING! Abraham believed God, and it was counted (imputed) to him, for righteousness.
Salvation begins with imputed righteousness. Most Christians, however, stop right there and never PRESS ON in God to know the blessedness of IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS. Imputed righteousness is like money charged to your account in the bank. But imparted righteousness is like money paid out of the account INTO YOUR HANDS. You can know the joy of sins forgiven and the wonder of being a child of God with imputed righteousness, but only by the INWARD POWER OF IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS can one be brought into the image of Jesus Christ, which is the image of God. What is imparted righteousness? The apostle Peter writes, "Beside this...ADD TO YOUR FAITH virtue (or goodness), and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love" (II Pet. 1:5-7).
Why does he say, "ADD TO YOUR FAITH?" Peter is telling us that once we have believed, we are at the point of beginning in righteousness. We must have imputed righteousness, but we must add to that what the Bible describes in Romans 8 as FULFILLED righteousness or EXPRESSED righteousness. The righteousness that is imputed to us as a free gift must now find EXPRESSION or FULFILLMENT in our lives. "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus bath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned (or judged) sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be FULFILLED (or EXPRESSED) in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:2-4).
As Charles Wesley so beautifully wrote, "He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood avails for me." When He breaks the power of cancelled sin, then we have IMPARTED righteousness, expressed righteousness, experiential righteousness, fulfilled righteousness. All that God is in His righteousness begins to come forth in our life.
I thank God today that there is a righteousness, a divine righteousness which God can impart to men, and which can exalt a man to the image and likeness of God. In no other way can men ever be exalted or lifted up out of the depths of sin, self, sorrow, and death. So I gladly and thankfully this day record this truth that the righteousness of which I speak is the righteousness of God, which by faith we may possess; not only a righteousness imputed, in which we trust, but a righteousness IMPARTED, INWORKED INTO THE NATURE. All very good is this talk about imputed righteousness, but I cannot - will not -settle for a righteousness that is only imputed. If it is not imparted, it is not a POWER WITHIN US at all. I thank God for the Word of the Master Himself who told us that this Kingdom of God would be within us, and defined it. He said that we were to SEEK THE KING DOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Paul himself excellently words it when he says, "The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but RIGHTEOUSNESS and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17).
Those precious elect ones whom God has chosen in Christ He has sanctified by His Spirit. Sanctification is too great a truth to more than mention here, but sanctification is the work of setting aside holy things for holy uses. It is the Holy Spirit who changes our lives. It is the Spirit who separates us from the world and who separates the world from us. It is the Spirit who reveals our carnal nature. It is the Spirit who deals with that carnal nature and establishes within us the power of the divine nature.
There is something deep within me that tells me that the Kingdom of God for the next age and the ages beyond is not going to be launched from the same old launching pad we have used for the past two thousand years. It is going to be as different from the systems and methods and experiences of the existing Church as the ministry of Jesus Christ of Nazareth was different from the forms and ritualistic ceremonies of the Pharisees. The Church age has been an age of limitation, mixture, and imperfection. But when the long awaited sons of God arise in the fullness of the glory and power of the enthroned Christ, they shall not arise as weak, carnal men thanking God for an imputed righteousness, but they shall go forth to meet all the needs of a groaning creation by the fullness of HIS INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE dwelling within them. And there will be no failure!
We see a terrible lack of things being right, or in divine order, in the world and in the Church. There is a divine order for creation, for life on this earth. There is a proper order for animal life, vegetable life, and human life. But all things are out of order, in terrible chaos. The curse must be lifted, every enemy put under our feet. Divine order for the universe must be restored. All creation is groaning and crying for release from the curse of sin and decay and death. And everything hinges on that body of Sons that are to be manifested in a perfect state of divine order. They will have the mind of Christ. They will have overcome all things and conquered every enemy. They will possess the total inworking of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. They will have all power in heaven and in earth. They will have the power of creation, the power to reproduce themselves in others, even as our precious Lord now has and is creating in us. And this shall be done until all the world and every creature has been rebirthed into the image of God.
Today we see an imperfect Church, living an imperfect life, receiving an imperfect seed from an imperfect ministry, and bringing forth imperfect children who are all their life time subject to carnality, sin, limitation, sorrow and death, as well as rebukes, chastisements and scourgings to bring them into sonship. Of course we know that the true Word of God is perfect, but if the preachers were preaching that perfect Word, their children would be perfect. And this shall be done, for the Christ shall yet present unto Himself a people without spot or wrinkle, having no blemish. Then when a perfect company of sons puts a perfect and pure seed (or Word) into a perfect Church, the world will be evangelized completely with converts that are birthed out of darkness right into the likeness and life of God. That which God is bringing forth for the next age will be perfect, it will be sinless, deathless, and gloriously victorious! There will be no running or festering sores or ugly scabs on the sons of God! They will not go out with power to heal the sick, cast out devils, and do signs and wonders, but with no power to be honest, pure and holy. You won't have to worry about them swindling you out of your money, or seducing your wife, or being caught in some homosexual act, or lying, cheating, deceiving, or swelling up with pride and pompousness like a frog, or building another tower of Babel around their ministry. God won't do it that way this time! You can have imperfect apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and Christians, but you can't have IMPERFECT MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD! If God were to give unlimited power into the hands of men with imperfect lives and corrupt hearts they would become the most despicable race of devils and tyrants the world has ever known. They would wreck the Kingdom of God in a few short months and creation would never be set free.
Praise God! God's Royal Priesthood will be free from scabs and running sores. These priests shall reign in righteousness for "a SCEPTRE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS is the scepter of Thy Kingdom" (Heb. 1:8).
The twelfth and final blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is "broken stones." The Hebrew word here for "stones" is ESHEK, meaning testicles. It is the reproductive glands in a man's body.
Bill Britton has written such a pungent and pointed word on this that I would be remiss if I failed to share it with my readers. He says, "A man with broken stones cannot produce life. He can be a husband, but he cannot be a father. What has this got to do with the ministry of the Levitical priesthood? God used it as a type of ministry today who preaches sermons, but does not give life. God help us, there are so many in the ministry like that today. They are educated, they are eloquent, they are convincing, but they do not have the ability to produce the life of God in those who hear them. Their ministry is polished, but dead. Their sermons are interesting and well preached, but lifeless. People listen to them, and continue in their old carnal ways, for there is no life-changing power in their words. Their stones are broken, and they are disqualified to feed the bread of God to His people.
"We have had preachers come by and preach for us, only to discover that they had stirred our imagination, fed our intellect, painted pretty gospel pictures with their eloquent words, but produced no new life in us. Sons of God are being birthed in the image of Jesus Christ. It is because a word of life is being planted in the hearts of dedicated and hungry saints. Thank God, there IS a ministry of life in the land, and God is sending them forth with the Holy Ghost anointing. They may shout their message in a loud voice, or they may quietly teach the word in a modulated tone. But they have life to give. And lives are changed, and the image of Christ is appearing in His people.
"Circumstances have nothing to do with this. Jesus could sit on a well in the middle of the day talking to a much married woman, but there was so much life in His words that the entire city was shaken with revival. They could put Paul in prison, his feet fast in the stocks, but before the night was over the jailer and his family had been birthed into the Kingdom of God. They could exile John to the isle of Patmos, but the words God gave him are still turning men to God many centuries later. On the other side of the coin, a man can preach to thousands in a million dollar cathedral, with millions watching on television, and produce nothing more than a plastic people following a plastic ministry with broken stones and no life to give. There is nothing plastic or man-made about the real Church of Jesus Christ. We have a real Saviour, and He is going to have a real people. He is going to put that people on exhibit in the ages to come, to show all creation what His life has produced in the earth. I have met men who wrote books and claimed that their writing had the same inspiration and authority as the writings of the apostles and prophets in the Bible. That is tommyrot! If you read their writings you will find that you receive information, but no real life. I certainly do not claim that my writings are equal in any way to the Scripture. But I do believe that I have a right in God to expect to put words in print that have enough of the life of God to change lives, and bring forth more of His life in His people. Someone said to me once, 'I enjoyed your message, but you were preaching over my head.' I answered that I was not shooting for his head, but at his heart (which contrary to physical science, is higher than the head). I was not trying to bring information and feed the intellect. I wanted to touch the heart and bring forth life. The man called into the ministry of the High Calling, the Melchizedek order, does not have broken stones. What can we say to these things? With such a high standard for the priesthood in these last days, who can possibly qualify? Have no fear, for the Holy Ghost is doing His work. We desperately need that priesthood of life, and we SHALL HAVE IT!" - end quote.
There is a dimension of the revelation of Jesus Christ that transcends the speaking of words, the writing of books, and the preaching of sermons. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the need of the hour. Only a present intervention of the divine Mind, only a present revelation of the spirit of wisdom will be able to meet the need. If God does not give a special ministration and the spirit of wisdom and power to meet the need of the world and all creation, it will not be met. There are no buttons to press that can solve the complex and frightening problems that exist in the world today. The further we move in God the more helpless and totally empty we become, for our nothingness is magnified in the light of HIS GLORY.
The hour for the unveiling of God's Royal Priesthood is at hand. May God grant to each of His apprehended ones the understanding that from this time on God is not interested in what He has done for you. From now on it must be "When Christ who is our life shall appear..." If there is a mind in us, it must be the mind of Christ, not our religious mind that has been cultivated through the years until it is religious and devoted and full of the Bible and stayed on God. From now on it must not be your mind stayed on God, it must be HIS MIND IN YOU. What we have witnessed to for years was a work of God, His salvation in us, His peace in us, His victory in us, how we had become a product of the work of God; but God's purpose is not that we shall be a testimony of the work of God, but that there shall come a revelation of a Person, that the revelation will be Christ. It will not be a revelation of the work of God, but the revelation of the Person of God in us.
God is talking to His sons about PERSONIFICATION, EMBODIMENT, MANIFESTATION AND REVELATION. All who are pressing forward into sonship are going to embody Christ as you have been embodying the works of Christ. Christians represent the work of God: Saved from this, having received that, experiencing the other, and changed into something else; but it is still "ME." What you see is a marvelous expression of the handiwork of God. But God intends that the hour should come when there shall be a revelation of GOD HIMSELF: "He is our life." Not: We have life because He has wrought life in us, but "Christ who IS OUR LIFE shall appear, then shall we appear with Him in glory." "He is our peace;" our peace then becomes not a witness to a work, but the witness of a Person. He is our righteousness, our wisdom, our redemption, our sanctification; all that He is to us then becomes not a witness to a work or an experience, but the witness of a Person.
Are you willing, precious friend of mine, to have nothing but the Person? Are you willing to lay aside the work and forget the experience to have the Person? The hoary headed old prophet, Simeon, took up the baby Jesus in his arms and declared: "Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." The salvation he saw was not in an experience, it was in the baby. There are thousands of people living in Florida and around the world today who are living witnesses to the work of God, of His handiwork, the power of the blood, the saving grace of God, and the gifts and anointings of God. But what is God still looking for what is creation yet groaning for, what is to be ushered in by the Royal Priesthood that is any different from what we have had for two thousand years? A PEOPLE WHO ARE NO LONGER WITNESSES TO THE WORK OF GOD, NO LONGER OPERATORS OF THE GIFTS OF GOD, BUT WHO BEAR THE VERY PERSON OF GOD, IN WHOM THE VERY BEING OF GOD IS FORMED, SO THAT WHEN THEY BEAR WITNESS TO SALVATION, IT WILL BE BEARING WITNESS TO THE PERSON OF THE LORD.
The Lord is our salvation, and that means that we do not gamble, steal, get drunk and so on, we are forgiven and changed. That is what salvation has been to us up till now. But Simeon said: "Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." And all he saw was a baby! He saw a Person. Ah, if it were not for a Person there would not have been the cross and the suffering and the death and the resurrection and the glory. But what many of us have done is, we began with a Person when first we met the Lord, and ended up with His acts. God's order is: You begin with a Person, then His deeds are accomplished, and ultimately the Person can be formed in you. When all is finished, you are not left with the works of God, you are left with the Lord Himself. Christ shall become in us our life, and when Christ appears AS OUR LIFE then we also appear with Him in glory.
What the Spirit is saying is that God must have a people in whom the Lord is BECOMING rather than DOING. That is what the manifestation of the sons of God is, that is what the revelation of Jesus Christ is, and there will never be a revelation of Jesus Christ if all I can talk about and demonstrate is of what He has done. His works are not Him - HE IS A PERSON. Paul said, "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me," not, "It pleased God to reveal some of the works of His Son in me and give me some great experiences." And when he prayed, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth till Christ be formed in you," Paul did not mean that they should receive a little more cleansing with the blood, a little greater anointing in the gifts, die a little more death and so on. There came an hour when Paul knew that the works of the Lord would not be sufficient, but that the Lord Himself had to be put on in all fullness, so that instead of having a work of patience, the Lord Himself would be the patience.
The Bible says, "The Lord is my strength." It does not refer to some strength the Lord has dished out to you, but, the Lord Himself has become your strength; not a work, but a Person. THAT IS SONSHIP AS A COMPLETED FACT. The revelation now is the revelation of a Person, our witness is unto Him because the Person has become in us. It looks as if you are turning your back on these wonderful works of God, but you needed them to bring you where you are in God. Now you are "forgetting those things which are behind." From now on, what Christ is, becomes the expression. If at this hour we still need God to DO for us rather than for the Christ to BECOME in us, then we are not ready for the manifestation of the sons of God. When God sends forth His sons, He sends them forth as those in whom Christ is so fully formed that it is not a matter of needing God to do anything anymore, but that Christ has BECOME in them, praise HIS name!
It is vastly more important to reveal the life of the Son of God in meeting creation's need, than to be witnessing to people about salvation. We have become so conditioned to the notion that we aren't doing anything for God unless we are able to get out and witness and skillfully use the Scriptures. That is all good, and there is a place for it, but that is not the manifestation of the sons of God. When you are truly helping people you are becoming a LIVING WORD to them which says, "God cares for you!" That is simply Christ living His life through you. We become a Word that is alive to them, not a dead, printed word, or a testimony, but the living manifestation of the Christ. There is something we can do, and it is more important and powerful than witnessing, quoting scriptures, or teaching. Instead of witnessing about God, we BECOME the witness - the embodiment of what Jesus Christ really is.
May Christ be so fully revealed to all of us is my earnest prayer and my deepest desire, that in these coming days there will not be any longer a cry in our spirit, "O God, do something more for met" for that leaves me with myself on my hands. The secret of Jesus was that for three and a half years He did not have to be more consecrated, He did not have to be more dedicated, He did not have to be more victorious, He did not need an-( other experience, or another blessing, all He had to do was let the Father live out through Him. And may it be so in the days ahead that it will be Christ fully formed in us, Christ living out in all the glory of God, in all the fullness of all His life and love and power and victory - HIMSELF.
"Blessed Father! let it be so in us. Let Christ be fully formed in me and in all who read these lines, and in all the body of Christ. Lord, let the work of doing for us come to an end, until it shall be Christ formed in us. Lord, cause Jesus Christ to become in us our peace, our joy, our life, our victory, our power, that from this moment on there shall only be the expression of Himself; not a witness of His work, but the revelation of His own Person and Being and Nature. O God, let that divine Nature, that divine Person of the Son of God be fully manifested in us, that the creation that is groaning for the unveiling of Jesus Christ will see Him unveiled in His body, unveiled in His Church, unveiled in His ministry, unveiled in His King-Priests, that every eye shall see Him and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Do this, we pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
There are no broken stones among those in whom HIS LIFE is manifested!
The Royal Priesthood