KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
Deep down in the heart of men there is a strong and instinctive demand for a priest, to be a mediator, to lay one hand on man, and the other on God, and going between both to bring the two together into unification. A priest or priesthood infers that there is a reason why such has been called into play. It denotes that there is an estrangement between God and His creatures and the priest ministers to bridge that gulf and bring about peace and contentment. The ministry of the priest is an intermediate or go between ministry. He reaches out with one hand and takes hold of God; he reaches out with the other hand and takes hold of humanity; and brings the two together by virtue of his priestly ministration.
It seems that many people envision God as like the politicians, they just go from day to day reacting to each crisis and improvise as they go along. When a difficult or dangerous situation rears its ugly head they come up with some stopgap measure and hope it works, and then when it doesn't, they try something else. Believe me, precious friend of mine, God doesn't operate in that manner! Long before there was a world or any man, God almighty and all wise, planned every detail of the whole creation from start to finish. The omniscient and omnipotent God has known the end from the beginning, He established His plan and His program from the beginning, He ordained precise measures for its development, He set it on a time schedule, and He is seeing to it that His program is carried out. Can we not see by this that the priesthood of God was not an afterthought, not some hastily concocted plan to remedy an unforeseen and unfortunate situation, but it was part of His great and wonderful purpose from the beginning?
Priesthood and the shedding of the blood of a sacrifice for sin are inseparable. Dear friend, it is well that we should go back to Calvary and the atonement, to the cross and the precious blood, to look at the everlasting foundation of the priestly ministry. The blood of God's Lamb is our foundation. What unfathomed depths are contained in these words that come down to us from the beginning of time! "And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:9-10,21). We would be totally void of understanding as to what kind of victim it was that provided this blessed covering for the sinning man and his wife, were it not that the Holy Spirit has shed precious light upon this wonder, revealing that the Christ is "the LAMB slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8) who verily was "a LAMB without blemish or spot...foreordained before the foundation of the world" (I Pet. 1:19-20).
I now invite you to meditate deeply upon my words. Redemption is not an afterthought Of God by which He hopes to salvage a few of the broken and shattered pieces of His creation. Redemption is PART OF THE PLAN OF CREATION. If the fall of man is part of the plan of God, then the redemption of the fallen creation must also be a part of the same plan that issued forth from the fathomless depths of His omniscient mind. If Peter was speaking the truth when he wrote of God's Lamb, "Who verily was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you" (I Pet. 1:20), then the fall of man must certainly be a part of the plan of the Creator. For what possible purpose was the blessed redemptive Lamb foreordained BEFORE the world began if redemption itself was not already in the mind and plan of God? It is clear that the plan of redemption was prepared in its fullness before the voice of God ever commanded, "Let there be!" It was not completed just in case man should fall, but because the fall of man and his redemption from sin was part of the process by which he would come into God's image and live in the eternal realm as a creature of experience and knowledge, completely re
deemed, completely purified, completely perfected, and completely incapable of sin forevermore. Creation and redemption walk hand in hand through all the pilgrim journey from Eden to the New Heaven and the New Earth.
THE PROGRESSION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
From the day that that first sorrowing pair was driven from Eden's blessed garden there has existed in the earth the priesthood. The sinner was given a sacrifice that could die and pour out its life on his behalf. Through substitute animals man could know fellowship with God until the Saviour, by the offering up of Himself, established reconciliation forever. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, the Scripture says, and may I hastily add that it is just as true that without the shedding of blood there is no ministry of priesthood, and without the priesthood there is no power in the blood. I have long believed, and with abundant Scriptural backing, that apart from our great High Priest in the heavens Calvary's blood would be worthless, and without the blood the High Priest would be powerless and meaningless.
This great truth is set forth beautifully by the inspired writer of the book of Hebrews wherein he says, "For every High Priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, THAT HE MAY OFFER BOTH GIFTS AND SACRIFICES FOR SINS...for every High Priest is ordained to OFFER GIFTS AND SACRIFICES: wherefore it is of necessity that this man HAVE SOMEWHAT ALSO TO OFFER...but Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (creation); neither by the blood of goats and calves, but BY HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENTERED IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 5:1; 8:3; 9:1112). If there were no sins against the living God, there would be no need of a priest. The perfect man Adam in the Garden of Eden needed no priest, for he was created sinless. Jesus Christ, "the last Adam," was born into a race of sinners, but He needed no priest, for He had a virgin birth through Mary and His life was direct from God. He was born sinless and grew up sinless and remained sinless down to His sacrificial death. Because of His sinlessness He could offer the perfect sacrifice and become the forerunner and High Priest of the heavenly order.
There will come an unbelievable transformation to your understanding of God's redemptive plan of the ages when the revelation of this truth dawns upon your heart teaching you that THE PRIESTHOOD IS PROGRESSIVE. Its development can be noticed throughout the Scriptures. There is a beautiful progression from that day when in the beginning every individual man was his own priest and offered his own sacrifices, as did Adam, Cain, Abel, Noah, Abram, and others, to a larger priesthood whereby a man became a priest for his family, as did the patriarch Job, onward to a priesthood for an entire nation of people, as was the Levitical Priesthood, to that which is personified in Christ, who is the priesthood for the Church gathered out of all nations, and ultimately shared by those who become ONE IN HIM as members of the Royal Priesthood destined to reign over the earth and all nations, reconciling the world and restoring all of creation back into God again. So perhaps we had best begin at the beginning!
A PRIESTHOOD FOR A MAN
"And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering" (Gen. 4:4). The worship of God under the dispensation of conscience and under the patriarchal dispensation was of the simplest kind. An altar was erected where Abel, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, or any of the patriarchs
offered the sacrificial lamb. Man could not initiate his salvation. The substitutionary sacrifices were God's gift to man, foreshadowing the day when the power of man's sin and death would be fully broken and dealt with by the greater power of God's own life. From the first promise of the Deliverer, man was given the sacrifice a place, a time to come and claim in type and by faith God as his salvation. The first recorded coming and receiving of salvation was that of the son of Adam called Abel. The first order of the priesthood was that of an INDIVIDUAL PRIESTHOOD in which there was a single sacrifice offered, one lamb given for one man. Each man was his own priest, making his own sacrifice to God, approaching and officiating before God on his own behalf one sacrifice FOR one man, and BY one man. That was the first worship acceptable to God, when Abel offered the firstfruits of his flock, a lamb, and when shortly afterwards his own blood was mingled with the sacrifice, because his brother murdered him there.
A PRIESTHOOD FOR A FAMILY
In the book of Exodus we find the head of the family officiating as priest on behalf of all who were in his house. "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the HOUSE of their fathers, a lamb FOR AN HOUSE" (Ex. 12:3). Israel was about to be delivered from Egypt, and as the commands were given for the Passover observance, it was to be a lamb for a household. A man would offer one lamb, for the covering of his whole family, and all those within his gates. The head of the house was responsible for all the house, and was to make sure the lamb was there. It was a family rite, where the housefather acted as priest. The father of the home was the priest of the home, and he could spread his coverage to all of his family, claiming the protection and blessing and salvation of God for them all.
Job was one of the greatest priests of this order. Scarcely any doubt exists that the book of Job, a divine drama, existed long before Moses was born, and that probably Moses himself, or some great Hebrew poetic genius, put it into its present sublime form. This wonderful book records: "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his (birth) day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. THUS DID JOB CONTINUALLY" (Job 1:1,4,5).
I would point out that in this second order of priesthood the principle remains the same, but there has been an EXPANDING OF THE COVERAGE. In the first order it was one sacrifice for one man by one priest, whereas in the second it is one sacrifice by one priest FOR A WHOLE FAMILY. Now the priestly ministry has intensified, there is an enlargement of its scope and an increase in its coverage, so that one priest is so much more effective, ministering on behalf of, and bringing blessing to, not himself alone, but to ALL THAT ARE IN HIS HOUSE!
A PRIESTHOOD FOR A NATION
The third step in the progressive unfolding and development of the priesthood designated one tribe as separated from the twelve tribes for holy service, and from this one man and his posterity was to be chosen to be the priesthood on behalf of THE NATION. His name was Aaron. He was assisted by his sons because of the magnitude of his ministry. Until the law was given at Sinai, each man was a priest over his own household. But now there is an entirely new arrangement, the priesthood itself being numerically altered, and the scope of its ministry extended to embrace the entire nation of Israel instead of just a family or a clan. On Mount Sinai, Moses was shown the splendor and glory of the heavenlies, and God gave him a pattern from which to build a tent on earth that would be a symbolic visual aid of heaven itself and the heavenly realm. God provided for the sin of the nation of Israel by giving them a priesthood, headed up in the High Priest, who was given by God to be the representative man for the whole nation. He carried the nation in himself, and in him they communed with God. The priesthood officiated at the Godgiven offerings. For every spiritual need and mood of the people there was provided offering wherein God took it upon Himself to bring the people to Himself. The very center of the whole sacrificial system was on that one day in which God proclaimed all that He was doing. It was called the day of atonement. On this day the offering included all other offerings of the year and in a final sense summed them up so much that through this offering the High Priest, as the representative of the covenant nation, could go into the immediate presence and commune with God behind the veil. In his being there, every covenant Israelite saw himself there, carried in his representative.
Caiaphas, being High Priest the year in which Jesus was crucified, said to the chief priests and Pharisees, "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that ONE MAN should die for the people, and that the WHOLE NATION perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being High Priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for THAT NATION; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad" (Jn. 11:49
52). As one has written: "Interesting to observe that there is a Spirit that accompanies the office, not dependent upon the man filling the office. So Caiaphas, being the High Priest that year, was anointed by the Spirit to prophesy concerning the death of Jesus, that it should be ONE MAN for a WHOLE NATION, which was the nation of Israel, and not limiting it to those gathered in the geographical boundaries of the nation, but for all those children of God, the Israelites which were scattered abroad throughout all the nations"
For sixteen centuries the priestly system of Aaron prevailed, like ivy, entwining itself around the oak of the national life. And it was a more intense and effective priesthood than the orders which preceded it. Its scope was increased. Its coverage was expanded. Its ministry was enlarged. Instead of one sacrifice for one man by one priest, or one sacrifice by one priest for a family, it was now one sacrifice by one priesthood for an ENTIRE NATION! Every reader should notice especially that with each CHANGE in the order of the priesthood there is a enlargement, an increase, an expansion of its scope of ministry, blessing greater and greater numbers of people being included under its coverage. From the days of Abel to the time of Aaron the coverage of the priesthood saw an increase from ONE MAN to more than TWO MILLION PEOPLE!
A PRIESTHOOD FOR THE CHURCH
This brings us to the fourth stage in the progressive unfolding of the priesthood. "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest. Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For He testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 7:1117).
If the priesthood is changed, the writer to the Hebrews states, there is also the need to change the law under which the former priesthood operated. Or we could reverse the statement, if the law is changed, then there needs to be the changing of the priesthood also, to bring forth those who are able to minister the life of the new order. Each priesthood has its own order of laws, the Levitical priesthood was under the ministration of condemnation and death. The Melchizedek priesthood is of the law of the spirit of life. We are now in a time of transition, the Melchizedek order of priesthood is execute
d only by the HIGH PRIEST AND FORERUNNER of that order, Jesus Christ, for He has entered within the veil. We have no earthly priest performing our services, but we have an HEAVENLY the glorious firstborn Son of God and Captain of our salvation. He is the High Priest of OUR PROFESSION, ministering on OUR BEHALF, as we press forward to apprehend the fullness of that Melchizedekian Order. There is no filling of this Melchizedek priesthood position without the total and complete maturity of HIS LIFE bringing FULL REDEMPTION AND CONFORMATION TO THE LIKENESS OF JESUS CHRIST. Presently we are in the process of preparation, following in the steps of Christ, "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and duplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from (out of) death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect; He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. Called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 5:710).
While our High Priest ministers this eternal salvation unto us we are possessed of a 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. 6:1920). While manifested on this earth plane, Jesus Christ left us His personal example that we might follow in His footsteps. It is a way that leads BEYOND THE VEIL into the glories of the Father. It was necessary that He tread all the course that we might be able to follow all the way into His divine fullness. HE IS THE WAY unto the Father, and by our union with Him we find it is first a way of humiliation before it becomes a way of exaltation. Thus we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, assured that in due time HE will lift us up, and we shall live in His sight.
As we have pointed out earlier in this series, a FORERUNNER is one who goes ahead of others. He goes ahead as a sample of those who are to follow. Jesus is our FORERUNNER, which clearly indicates that others are expected to follow on into the same realms of glory. Christ, a priest forever after the Order of Melchizedek, is our FORERUNNER, He went first, and where He went, we are to go. The Forerunner blazed the trail all the way, and we rejoice in this fact, but then He also came back, by HIS SPIRIT, to escort us all the way into the glory beyond the veil, the glory of a PRIESTHOOD AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. Full well He knows the route, for He has travelled it all the way through to victory, and now is able to guide us down the same path into the glorious victory which He obtained. It is HIS daily enabling that gives us strength to carry on until the consummation is reached.
The Aaronic priesthood continued until the death, resurrection and ascension of the Christ in the days of Caiaphas, the High Priest. Then it ended, for the Christ passed within the veil of the heavenlies and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of high as the Great High Priest and took upon Himself the ministry of intercession for the whole Church of God. And Oh! What an increase! What an enlargement! What an expansion of coverage! What an extension of blessings! For now, instead of one sacrifice for one man by one priest, or one sacrifice by one priest for a family, or one sacrifice by one priesthood for a nation, we have one sacrifice forever by one priest for THE CHURCH a great body of redeemed men gathered out of EVERY KINDRED AND TONGUE AND PEOPLE AND NATION!
"For Thou west slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9). "For by one Spirit are we ALL baptized into ONE BODY, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been ace to drink into one Spirit" (I Cor. 12:13). "For ye are ALL the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, THEN are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:2629). "For the Scripture sayeth, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is NO DIFFERENCE BE TWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: for the same Lord over ALL is rich unto ALL that call upon Him" (Rom. 10:1112). "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God...where there is NEITHER GREEK NOR JEW, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is ALL, and IN ALL" (Col. 3:3,11).
It is a great fact that Jesus came into the world to save sinners ALL sinners. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men...for...God will have ALL MEN to be saved...for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time" (I Tim. 2:1,3 6). Christ Jesus died for the sins of all sinners; He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but "also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" (I Jn. 2:2). It is also a great fact that He died to redeem all that Adam lost, "He planned for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify ALL THINGS and head them up and consummate them IN CHRIST, both things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph. 1:10, Amplified).
There are those who teach and preach that Christ is NOW the High Priest for all peoples, but that is not true. Throughout this Church age He is the High Priest of His redeemed, bloodwashed, Spiritbegotten elect ONLY. "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing MANY SONS unto glory, to make the captain of THEIR salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all OF ONE: for which cause He is not ashamed to call THEM BRETHREN... wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto HIS BRETHREN, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God" (Heb. 2:10,11,17).
Where we clearly see that Christ is the great High Priest for "the brethren" those who are sons of God, sanctified, made one in Him, and partakers of the heavenly calling. He is great High Priest to all who are covered by the blood and who are living stones in the House of God. "Having therefore, BRETHREN, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, byes new and living way, which He bath consecrated FOR US, through the veil...and having an High Priest OVER THE HOUSE OF GOD; let US draw near" (Heb. 10:1922)
The High Priestly intercession of the Christ is a dual ministry, as is all priestly ministry, both Godward and usward: In its Godward aspect we hear His own words: "I pray NOT for the world" (Jn. 17:9). There is no need of making any mistake about it. With all the grace we may attribute to Him it is an outstanding fact. Christ does not now pray for the world, for those who are not His. This is what He says: "I pray not for the world, but FOR THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN ME" (Jn. 17:9). What a mark of separation from the world and separation unto Himself there is in that statement and the fact of it! True, there is a ministry which touches the world through the body of Christ, but the High Priestly ministry of Jesus is uniquely on behalf of the Church which is His body. The world shall yet be blessed through a people who are PERFECTED IN HIM, as Jesus said, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: THAT THEY MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME" (Jn. 17:21). When the Lord turns His hand to save the world it will be a glorious day indeed! But the work of God today is with US the firstfruits of His redemption, His kings and priests for the ages yet to come.
What an amazing fact it is, that He who is the Master of heaven and earth prays for US and prays in heaven on the throne of the Highest. It is not that He is praying for just the things we wish, nor even such as we dream we need, but the fact that He is praying for us is beyond definition of all
it demonstrates of interest in, of grace, and care and divine purpose for us. There is a priesthood yet to arise to rule over the earth and reign over the nations, but the Christ is now High Priest on behalf of those who have received of HIS LIFE. It should not be necessary to enlarge on this thought. Nothing could be more reasonable and just than the fact that Christ is a Son and High Priest over His own house, "whose house YE ARE" (Heb. 3:6).
Notice the pronouns in the following verses: "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of OUR profession" (Heb.3:1). "Which hope WE have as an anchor of the soul, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for US entered, even Jesus..." (Heb. 6:19
20). "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: WE have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens" (Heb. 8:1). "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands...but into heaven itself, NOW to appear in the presence of God for US" (Heb. 9:24). Ah, all is now for US, not for the world! "Seeing then that WE have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let US hold fast OUR profession. For WE have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of OUR infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as WE are, yet without sin. Let US therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that WE may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:1416).
"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). Just what does it mean to "save to the uttermost"? This phrase is given by Phillips as "He can save fully and completely." Young's Literal, "He is able to save to the very end." Amplified, "He is able to save to the uttermost
completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity." As one has pointed out, "The Greek words used here are most interesting, 'eis to panteles,' or INTO THE ALWAYS. It is only used twice in the New Testament, here, and one other time, which, while being in the negative sense, we shall examine anyway, for it helps to bear out the strength and meaning of the word.
"'And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could IN NO WISE lift up.' IN NO WISE could she lift up, it was a complete bondage, not a single avenue of escape, nor a moment of respite. Always it was bowed down,' to the uttermost, always. UNTIL Jesus came and brought liberation, and then the negative had to give way to the positive, and it was His salvation which was then to the uttermost. Praise God, what is to man an unchangeable situation, and as far as the natural is concerned will remain that way always, such a state is not impossible to God. The only permanent, and unchangeable state which is truly eternal, is HIS SALVATION. All sin and evil shall end, but His life and righteousness shall continue always"
The Greek points out that He is able to save COMPLETELY. He is able to save ALL THE WAY, even unto the valley of the shadow of death. He is able to save altogether, NOTHING LACKING
complete salvation with no flaw, complete as only a holy and omniscient and omnipotent God knows completeness and perfection. This "salvation to the uttermost" is a complete salvation of spirit, soul, and body reserved for those who "come unto God (the Father) by Him" those who follow all the way into the Holiest, within the veil, to know HIM in all His glorious and eternal reality.
"The uttermost" is the strongest and the extremes" word in all the world. There cannot be anything beyond the uttermost. The uttermost is situated on the very extremes" rim, on the very outmost edge, and on the very highest pinnacle of all existing things. It is the limit, the boundary, the completeness, the perfection, the fullness, the summit, the apex and the ultimate of all realities. All change absolutely ends, all growth stops, and all development comes to its everlasting limit, when it comes to its uttermost. Beyond the uttermost, sheer nothingness or absolute infiniteness exist. We may labor the thought, and we may repeat and multiply the word, till we are wearied; but after we have done all, we must always end with this, that the uttermost is just the uttermost; and beyond the uttermost, neither the experience of man can pass, nor the imagination of man can picture.
Now, as there is something that is the very uttermost in the world of time, and as there is something that is the very uttermost in the world of space, so there is something that the very uttermost in the world of sin and in the world of salvation. It is not given to any mortal man to know when the uttermost moment of time is to come. "Of that day, and that hour, knoweth no man: no, not the angels which are in heaven: neither the Son, but the Father." And as for the uttermost point of space, some men of science are so perplexed with it as to think that space must be absolutely infinite, like it Creator.
And, on the negative side, no more does any man know what is the uttermost limit of sin and death and misery. Who is the uttermost of all sinners?
who can tell? But that there is such a sinner somewhere, still sinning on earth, or saved in heaven, or suffering in hell; and that God knows that sinner, and knows all about him, all that is quite certain. There is something in that sinner's case, there has been something in that sinner's career, that conclusively stamps him as the very uttermost of all sinners everywhere to be found. In God's sight, and in God's judgment, there is some sinner somewhere, who bears the title: TO THE UTTERMOST. In Paul's day he was convinced that he was himself that man! "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I AM CHIEF" (I Tim. 1:15). The Amplified says, "of whom I am foremost," and Phillips renders, "I was the WORST OF THEM ALL."
With the release of the mystery of iniquity into the Adamic race, the wickedness of man became great in the earth, "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5), and God used a restraining work to hold the upsurge of evil in check, restraining it according to HIS purpose. The race of Cain was a filthy, sensual polygamistic race; they were hateful and violent and they were murderers. They were ignorant and rebellious and would not learn of God. They were boastful and vile in the extreme, and would have nothing to do with the God who made them. They were the offspring of a murderer who slew his brother. God knew exactly where their "uttermost" of wickedness lay, He allowed it to go a certain course for a certain length of time, knowing full well just how far HE could allow man to express these evil inclinations, and just where to draw the line. They were so bad that God could not wait for them to die, and another generation to arise, but in order to reestablish some order on earth He had to sweep all of them off the earth into hell. At the appropriate moment the spirits of these wicked men were put in prison as society today puts a criminal in prison; the flood swept them away into hell and hell restrained the antedeluvians from committing more wrath upon earth. Their limit, the extremity and fullness of their transgression had been reached. They had sinned to their "uttermost."
On the positive side, however, there is a "to the uttermost" SALVATION which leads to perfection, unto complete and full redemption into the image of God. Not just a salvation "from" sin and death, but an apprehension unto the "uttermost" the very fullness of HIS LIFE, the very plenitude of HIS WISDOM, the very maturity of HIS NATURE, the very perfection of HIS CHARACTER, the very summit of HIS POWER, the very apex of HIS MAJESTY AND GLORY! In this "salvation to the uttermost" there is no aspect of man that is left unchanged, no part of man that is left untransformed, no remaining vestiges of the carnal mind or of sin or death that are left undealt with, no measure of HIS LIFE that is unappropriated
it is victory all the way, and forever, TO THE UTTERMOST! All the lack, and all that now troubles you, dear one, shall be taken care of in the glorious and abundant provision of this SALVATION TO THE UTTERMOST. Praise His name!
Captain James Cook was a famous English explorer who lived about two hundred years ago. His adventurous life began when he joined the British navy at the age of 27. He surveyed the St. Lawrence Channel and the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador before he was given his own ship, the ENDEAVOR, to command. He sailed this ship all the way around the world, exploring the coasts of eastern Australia and New Zealand on the way. After returning to England he set out again for the South Pacific with two ships, the RESOLUTION and the ADVENTURE, and explored the icy Antarctic Ocean. He explored the New Hebrides Islands and discovered the island of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean off Australia. Early in his career Captain Cook made this amazing statement: "It is not my desire to merely go where other men have not gone; I WANT TO GO AS FAR AS IT IS POSSIBLE FOR MAN TO GO!" And his wish was granted, for when he was killed in 1779 by natives of the Hawaiian Islands, there were no more frontiers to explore on this planet, and no more coasts to be charted.
Ah in the spiritual realm just such a desire is arising within a company, those destined to become God's Kingdom of Priests in the earth, the desire not merely to press on in God into heights and depths not discovered by those great ones who have blessed this earth with God's grace and glory and wisdom and power, but indeed to GO AS FAR AS IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A MAN TO GO IN GOD! What a vision! We are well acquainted with the "in part" realm, as God anoints men with the Holy Ghost and with power, and their gifts increase and their ministries expand and many are blessed. But then they die, and while others might try to carry on their vision, it is never the same again, the movement crystalizes around the memory of the "part" the ministry possessed, and while they try to perpetuate it, it finally stagnates and dies. For one thing, every generation needs a NEW VISION and not a carryover of the old, but in this end of the age God is birthing a SON COMPANY, a Royal Priesthood, who desire not merely to rebuild and restore the work of God of yesteryear, be it New Testament Church Order, fivefold ministry, gifts of the Spirit, or whatever; but we are possessed of a heart to become identified with Jesus Christ behind the veil, in His Melchizedekian Priesthood, after the power of an endless life, to know God not just in a measure, but in His fullness, and receiving that ministry which can proceed through the ages until a full victory is consummated and God is ALL IN ALL.
This "uttermost" salvation can never be understood apart from our great High Priest who has secured it and who now ministers it unto us. Paul's letter to the Hebrew believers sets forth the divine truth concerning our great High Priest. In this epistle the Lord's priesthood is the main subject, and it is very significant that at the immediate outset of the epistle the Holy Spirit draws our attention to the dignity of the Person who is now our great High Priest. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, bath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son. Whom (His Son) He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Heb. 1:14).
The Son by whom God has spoken is the brightness of God's glory, the express image of God's Person. He is the One who at all times is upholding all things by the word of His power. He Himself purged our sins, and is now seated in the higher heavenlies at the right hand of God. He was made so much better than the angels, He has obtained a more excellent name than they, and at His name every knee in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, shall finally bow to the glory of God. THIS is our great High Priest! This Per
son, our great High Priest, is GOD yet He is man! Very God, very man. Therefore, when angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Isaiah, David, or Solomon are compared with Him they fade into insignificance and disappear like the fog in early morning when the sun breaks through. They are lost in His high, surpassing, eternal glory.
Most of us think of the WORK of the Lord Jesus Christ as our High Priest
and truly, it is profitable to study and learn all we can about His office, which He does for us as our great High Priest; but the first thing the Holy Spirit would have us recognize is HIS PERSON the Person of Him who, as our High Priest, is now standing before God on our behalf. His qualifications, His ability and power to EXECUTE the office of our great High Priest depend entirely upon the character of His Person. Who WAS He? Who IS He NOW?
There is nothing ordinary about our Christ. Everything about Him is superlative. His perfection is far beyond all question. Our Christ is the most powerful among the powerful, the mightiest among the holy and the holiest among the mighty. With His nail pierced hands He has lifted empires off their hinges. With the same nailpierced hands He has lifted prodigals out of the hog pen. Our superlative Christ has turned the stream of time into new channels. HE MAKETH ALL THINGS NEW! Whatsoever He touches, whatsoever touches HIM, becomes new. Our Christ governs the ages of the ages, and when we LOOK UNTO HIM we are changed from glory to glory into the very same image. The LOVE of Christ is unknowable (Eph. 3:19). The RICHES of Christ are unsearchable (Eph. 3:8). The JOY of our
Christ is unspeakable (I Pet. 1:8). The WAYS of our Christ are untrackable (Rom. 11:33). The GRACE of Christ is inexhaustible (II Cor. 9:8). The PEACE given by our Christ is unfathomable (Phil. 4:7). The POWER of the Christ is unlimited (Mat. 28:18). CHRIST HIMSELF is unsurpassable: "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Ex. 15:11).
Ah, He is unsurpassable, but He says, "The glory which Thou gayest Me I HAVE GIVEN THEM; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and HAST LOVED THEM, AS Thou hast loved Me" (Jn. 17:22-23). Rev. 3:14 tells us that Jesus is the "beginning of the creation of God." Which creation? Adam's creation? OF COURSE NOT! "If any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION" (II Cor. 5:17). Moffatt's translation says, "There is a NEW CREATION whenever a man comes to be in Christ." And the New English Bible is very enlightening: "When anyone is united to Christ, there is a NEW HEAVENS and a NEW EARTH." A new creation! How? By coming INTO CHRIST. For He is the beginning of this new creation. Before He came, there was the realm of Diety, the angelic sphere, the demonic world, and the world of Adam's fallen race. Adam was a living soul, of the earth, earthy. But Christ came to establish something new, and to those that received Him, to them gave He the privilege to enter into this NEW CREATION WORLD.
None of Adam's race will ever enter this new world. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (I Cor. 15:50). Adam must die, as was spoken to him in the beginning. Adam's nature and life cannot inherit this Kingdom. Not that God is vindictive or unforgiving. It's just that the Adamic nature can not stand in that glorious light unto which no can approach. So God is creating a new man. "This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people which SHALL BE CREATED shall praise the Lord" (Ps. 102:18). This creation or world of which I speak was never in existence until Jesus came. He was the beginning of this new creation Man. He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. So through Jesus Christ, something new came into existence. And He is the Door, so none can enter this realm except through Him. He is the Head, so once in this realm you cannot move or operate in His divine principles except as He directs you. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end, so no one ever had this without Him, and you will never get past Him or surpass Him; no matter how far you go in God, you will find that Jesus is there, too! He is truly the GODMAN. And in union with Him we become GODMEN. As it is written, "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the GODS!" Oh, the wonder of it! Salvation to the UTTERMOST! What a limit! What a boundary! What a summit!
The glory and extent of such a salvation rests in the ability of our great High Priest A changing priesthood is sure to have its limitations, but an UNCHANGEABLE priesthood can proceed to minister until fullness is reached in every part. "The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek: by so much better was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man, because He continueth ever, bath an unchangeable priesthood. WHEREFORE HE IS ABLE TO SAVE THEM TO THE UTTERMOST that come unto God by Him, seeing He EVER LIVETH to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:21 25).
As someone has written, "Herein is another seal of our total redemption! Because HE EVER LIVETH. Being our Forerunner, it was essential that HE COMPLETE ALL THE JOURNEY INTO VICTORY, else He could not bring us through to the same goal. The contrast in Hebrews 7, is that the Levitical priesthood could never finish the job because they did not live long enough. Always the priest would die, and another would have to take his place. But Christ having conquered death, ever liveth, and whatever work He begins in us, He is able to bring to a successful conclusion, regardless of how much time is involved, because He lives on and on, bless His name. He is Lord, both of the dead and the living, and He can make intercession
the Greek for 'intercession' means TO CONVERSE WITH, HAVE DEALINGS WITH, TO MEET WITH for us, until He has saved us to the uttermost, to the full" end quote.
Ah, beloved, does it seem that you shall never overcome the flesh, the world, and the devil, never live the abundant life, never arrive at perfection or come into the image of God's Son? Be encouraged, dear ones, for we have a great High Priest who can SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST because HE EVER LIVETH to make intercession for us there is never a single moment in which His priestly action, His watchful care of us, His loving sympathy and succour, His working in us in the power of our endless life, is not in full operation. Therefore HE CAN SAVE TO THE UTTERMOST, COMPLETELY, there is no bondage that He cannot break, no fear that He cannot calm, no sickness that He cannot heal, no pain that He can
not alleviate, no sorrow that He cannot assuage, no trait of Adam's nature that He cannot slay, no death that He cannot conquer, no victory that He cannot gain. Glory to God! My earnest prayer is that God shall make this a living hope in the hearts of all who read these lines.
Salvation to the UTTERMOST! Someone said that the highest purpose of God in the salvation of the believer is to bring forth in him the fullest manifestation of Christ in every aspect of his character. To which Ray Prinzing adds these pertinent words: "Is that your desire? That God might bring forth in you the very fullest manifestation of Himself? There are times when our mind staggers under the impact of such a realm in God, but we say this, 'while presently I cannot grasp it all, whatever God means by it, that's what I desire.' Surely we would not limit our salvation to the scope of what the natural, finite mind can comprehend. Rather, we desire that which is above and beyond all that we can ask or think even that which is purposed in the heart of God. Christ didn't and couldn't procure a partial, an ineffective and unproductive salvation for men at Calvary. The horror of the fall, with its utter ruin and chaos, as man was 'turned to destruction' by the sovereign plan of God, demands the provision for ALL the need to be met, even unto the uttermost. But He is able 'to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams' (Eph. 3:20), insomuch that 'you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God that is, may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself' (vs. 19)"
The great Italian sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini, told of receiving a vast block of marble with one flaw. Because of this flaw, no artist would submit a design except one. In the public square of Florence a fence was built around that piece of marble, and a little shack was erected for the artist. For two years the sculptor labored; then the fence was torn down, and the shack was taken away. All of Florence beheld the result and marveled. Since then, Italy and all the world has marveled at Michelangelo's "David." In that block of marble was a statue; others did not see it, but Michelangelo did. In the lump of clay which is you, God sees an image too the image of Jesus Christ! And God wants to form the image of His Son in you in its totality and completeness salvation unto the uttermost!
How precious is this thought, we are not BECOMING because we are so capable, wise, strong, or deserving. Ah, we have nothing but the barrenness, the weakness, the unprofitableness, the unworthiness and nothingness of a vessel all flawed and scarred and marred by sin and selfhood, that's all we have to offer Him, but it becomes the arena for the operation of God's quickening, vivifying power. HE is able to bring forth a new life, glorious salvation unto the uttermost, praise His name. A full salvation and exaltation unto the celestials. Indeed to the UTTERMOST'
The progress summarized is, therefore:
A priesthood for a man
A priesthood for a family
A priesthood for a nation
A priesthood for the Church.
But that is not all, for there shall yet be revealed in the progressive unfolding of redemption's plan:
A PRIESTHOOD FOR THE NATIONS and
A PRIESTHOOD FOR CREATION
This priesthood is NOW IN PREPARATION. When our great High Priest has completed His work within us, He will PLACE US as His King
Priests into His Kingdom Authority, and the world shall know that a NEW ORDER has begun. While we shall yet reign with Him as priests over creation, we rejoice that He now reigns over us by His Spirit to bring forth His FULL SALVATION. "And unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb. 9:28). Only when His priestly work is fulfilled IN US will we be qualified as priests of the Melchizedekian Order to bring deliverance and life to ALL CREATION.
J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas
If you would like any of these messages or would like to be on J Preston Eby's mail list you may write him at the above address or e-mail me at Gary@Sigler.org and I will forward your request to Preston. He has nothing to sell, all his writings are free to all. You may contribute to his ministry to help spread this message to the world, but gifts are not tax deductible.
The Royal Priesthood