KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
THE EXPANDING PRIESTHOOD
There will come an unbelievable transformation to your understanding of God's redemptive plan of the ages when the revelation dawns upon your seeking hears 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 embodied 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 creation back into God again. So perhaps we had best begin at the beginning!
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 thereafter his own blood was mingled with the sacrifice, because his brother murdered him there.
In the book of Exodus we find the head of the family officiating as a 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). A man would offer one lamb, for the covering of his whole family, and all those within his gates. 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.
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!
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. Its ministry was enlarged. Instead of one sacrifice for one mar. 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 priesthood there is an 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!
This brings us to the fourth stage in the progressive unfolding of the priesthood. 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 on 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! 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, by a 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. 10:19-22). True, there is a ministry which touches the world through the body of Christ, but the High Priestly ministry of Jesus is uniquely or. behalf of the Church which is His body. 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. 4:14-16). 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 destined for the ages yet to come.
A PRIESTHOOD FOR THE NATIONS
In the program of God's redeeming purposes, given in Acts 15:14
18, James tells us that the work of God among the nations in this dispensation is "to take OUT OF THEM a people for His name." This, dear reader, is the direct work of the Gospel in this age, and with this program the history of the past nineteen hundred years is in the fullest and most striking harmony. This is precisely what has happened. In every generation God has been "taking out" a people. This is the very meaning of the word ';church"
the "called out". God is not calling all people now, nor is He now converting the nations. He is taking out a people FOR HIS NAME that is, a people to bear the name of Christ, the inChristed that in ages yet to come these elect saints shall rule the world and gather all things in earth and heaven into our wonderful Lord and Saviour (Eph. 1:10).
As one has written: "During the centuries of the Church age many wonderful revivals have taken place. Multitudes of mankind have wept in repentance and contrition at the feet of the Saviour and, being begotten of Him, they rose to walk in newness of life, justified by faith in His blood, but up to the present hour all we have seen has been the gathering of the elect, the sonship company, who at the end of the age stand complete in Christ as His body of King Priests for the blessing of all nations and peoples. While these multitudes were being gathered into the fold, unnumbered millions, yea, even billions, have walked in outer darkness living and dying without even once hearing the message of salvation or ever knowing that the true God existed or that He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. But was that not to be expected? Most certainly it was, for had God intended to enlighten the heathen in this age, His omnipotent power could have done so ten thousand times over, opening their blind eyes and transforming their hearts in a moment of time."
After more than nineteen centuries of the preaching of the Gospel, the body of Christ is yet "a little flock" in comparison with the great world that still "lieth in the evil one" (I Jn. 5:19). "The god of this world" (age) still holds sway over the vast proportion of human hearts and lives. For more than nineteen centuries we have had the Gospel of the grace of God in Europe, and still the vast mass of the men of Europe are completely outside of Christ. For nigh four hundred years we have had that same Gospel in this country, and yet the vast majority of the people of so called "Christian America" are utterly outside of any living relationship with Christ. Take any ration, country, city, town, village, or hamlet in any part of the world today, and only a SMALL proportion of the population will be found to be true Christians. And the governments of most of the nations and cities of the world today are downright hostile toward Christ and His Gospel and His people.
Truly the problems which are confronting the nations today seem almost overwhelming in their immensity and complexity. We have economic stagnation, runaway inflation, racial tension, immorality, pollution, drugs, rebellion, crime, revolution, atheism, wararmed, bristling and aggressive, with enough atomic and hydrogen bombs stockpiled to blow this planet and twenty more like it into oblivion. Since 1945 Communism has gobbled up five hundred square miles of this earth's territory every single day and continues to grow at an alarming rate. We have problems that are baffling and overwhelming. Certainly every thinking person must ask himself the question: What in the world can we do?
The Apostle Paul faced similar problems at the beginning of the Church age. The Roman world was pregnant with difficulties; the Pax Romana was weakening; the barbarians were clamoring at the gates of Rome; Herod, Pilate, and Caesar had conspired to destroy the Christ and His newly
budding religion; the religions of paganism had lost their force and were only nominally held to by most of the pagan world. Even the religion of the chosen people had degenerated until it was in a deplorable state. The world was half slave and half free. Infanticide was prevalent everywhere. Perversion was approved by the philosophers as well as the masses. What hope was there for a world in such a state? Things, indeed, looked dark.
They were dark also in the heart of Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee. He came in religious zeal breathing threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. He was a man who was filled with indignity, and hostility and bitterness If he found any Christians, men or women, he sought to bind them and bring them to Jerusalem where they might be tortured and killed, if they refused to recant of this Christian heresy. He went to the High Priest to secure papers to go to Damascus. As he drew near, there suddenly shone a light from heaven so bright as to pale the sun by comparison, and it caused him to be thrown from his horse to the ground! In this blinding light Saul heard a voice which called his name saying, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" Trembling with astonishment, Saul asked, "Who art Thou, Lord?" The reply thundered back, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutes."
In that moment Saul saw a vision that was to change his entire life. Everything was changed in the brilliance of that light. His world was turned upside down rather, right side up! His right, he discovered, was wrong; his faith was unbelief; his earnestness was treason; his truth was error; his zeal was rebellion. Everything suddenly turned topsy turvy and he realized that this Jesus, whose name just a moment before had been an epithet. an object of derision, of laughter, of scorn, of hatred, now suddenly was the Lord of Glory, the All Holy One, the Altogether Lovely One, the Creator and Redeemer of the world! In that moment Saul was changed from. the persecutor to a disciple. He fell to the ground a sinner, and rose a saint; he fell to the ground a sighted man who was blind, and rose a blind lean who could see. He saw the greatest sight in all the world. He saw his God for who He really is. In that moment Saul bowed low before the God of grace and power; he was brought to submission to Jesus Christ. And through Paul's life and ministry the Church was established throughout the far-flung Empire and the course of history was forever altered. Skeptics down through the centuries have tried to explain that conversion and the dramatic events it precipitated. But, precious friend of mine, there is no explanation other than the SUPERNATURAL SOVEREIGN WORK OF GOD. That is our God. And I do not hesitate to tell you, beloved, that God is getting ready to move again! All over the world in this particular moment in history, the Spirit of God is speaking to His apprehended ones concerning the imminent manifestation of the sons of God The trumpet has sounded, the appointed time has come. Elect saints in every nation have heard the voice of the prophets, foretelling of this most awesome intervention of God's power that is about to sweep the earth and shake all nations.
We are now living in the most momentous hours anyone could possibly imagine. In fact it is beyond the power of human imagination to see and understand the greatness of the things that are happening all about us and to fully comprehend what God is beginning to do in His people. There is an AWAKENING among the elect of the Lord that transcends human knowledge. As at a certain time of the year God puts it into the minds of salmon to leave the vastnesses of the sea and start their long journey back to the river in which they were born, so He is putting into the hearts of a chosen people the desire to ready themselves for the sonship He has prepared for them from the foundation of the world. He is putting in their minds and hearts the very nature and spirit of priesthood, in preparation for their role as the deliverers and shepherds of the nations.
Many years ago I was assailed by a strong temptation to pessimism. The fact that for more than nineteen hundred years only a few in each generation had turned to Christ became a terrible burden to me. The thought that this same progress might continue for centuries or milleniums to come became heartbreaking and intolerable, and I cried out mightily to God. This Study, and my ministry on its theme for many years, forms the answer to my prayer. Now the future is radiant for me because I see a brighter day coming for the Church and for this sincursed world. The history of the past is not to be indefinitely prolonged. We are not to have interminable ages in the future in which a "few" only will be saver and the masses lost. I say on the authority of the Word of God and the revelation unfolded within the hearts of many thousands of God's elect in this hour that the next great event on the calendar of God's program of the ages is the MANIFESTAT1ON OF THE SONS OF GOD the unveiling of God's Kingdom of Priests before all nations!
Great were the glories seen by men like Noah, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David and Solo man. Glorious were the manifestations of God's power that swept the Judean hills when our Lord spoke as never man spoke and healed, and cast out devils, and even raised the dead to life again. Sublime beyond explanation were the holy visitations at Pentecost and in the years that followed as multitudes, both of men and women, were brought to the feet of Jesus Christ, and by the hands of the apostles God wrought mighty miracles and special signs and wonders until the world was literally turned upside down with the glory of the heavenly visitation. It would have been wonderful to have dwelt there then and to have rejoiced with them for all the wonderful works of God. Marvelous beyond description were the works of God as He birthed His infant Church! Blessed as were all those things and marvelous as were the results, yet more glorious still is the hope pulsating within the breast of all creation as "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, for the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD Because the creation itself ALSO shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:19, 21,22). As J. B. Phillips so beautifully renders, "The
hole creation is on tip. toe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own."
The supernal glories that lie like the towering Mount Everest before us are beyond compare. The grandest event of all time is now at the doors. For almost two thousand long years the Lord has been gathering out of all nations an elect people and refining them in the furnace of affliction, transforming them in mind and heart by the deep dealings of His Spirit, and preparing them in wisdom and knowledge to possess the reins of the government of the world. And while we rejoice and praise God for all the mighty visitations of the past, and those glorious visitations we have experienced in our own life time, yet I know by the Word of the Lord that the next great move of God will be greater than all the manifestation of the sons of God. Nothing is more certain than that. The Spirit witnesses all across the land and around the world that the long awaited revelation is at hand. The unveiling of the inChristed is now at hand. The cry of the groaning creation and the prayer of the travailing saint are joined with the unutterable longings of the Holy Spirit, all crying in unison and harmony for the arising of God's Royal Priesthood. The desire of all nations is at hand.
It is through saved INDIVIDUALS that God now reaches and saves INDIVIDUALS out of all nations, but it will be a glorious enlargement of the work of Christ when He reaches and saves THE NATIONS through A NATION that He has saved and formed into a royal kingdom of priests. "But YE are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, AN HOLY NATION, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who bath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Pet. 2:9). My prayer to God is that the eyes of God's elect may be opened wide to see that as there has been a priesthood for the Church, even our Lord Jesus Christ, so there is a priesthood, gathered out of all nations, and ordained for the nations, to bring the living nations of earth with their teeming billions of inhabitants into the life and light and liberty of the Kingdom of God.
The glorious vision beheld by the beloved John while caught up in spirit into the realm of God's throne fills my mind and heart, and makes me an optimist in the midst of apostasy and darkness. His vision caught a glimpse of things far beyond the law with its bondage and far beyond the Church age in which we live. John saw these wonders and lifted his pen and wrote in ecstacy these immortal words: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give POWER OVER THE NATIONS: and he shall RULE THEM with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father" (Rev. 2:26-27). Again, "To him that overcometh will I grant to SIT WITH ME IN MY THRONE, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21). And then with transfixed eyes John beheld in wonder as the four living creatures (kings) and the twenty four elders (priests) fell down before the Lamb and sung a new song, saying, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou west slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: AND WE SHALL REIGN OVER THE EARTH" (Rev. 5:9-10). Yes, and, glory be to God, many thousands of souls now living and waiting are taking up the glad refrain, for they know by revelation from the throne, that God's Royal Priesthood shall indeed reign over the earth and over all nations and that the inhabitants of the earth shall not much longer endure the misrule and treachery of ages past. The six milleniums of human injustice will be ended, and that forever. The Lord with His inChristed saints will reign over the nations of earth. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David to order and establish it with justice and judgment from this time forth, even unto the age. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
The concern of the Lord Jesus has been toward the nations ever since He came the first time. Probably the most powerful and far-reaching word ever spoken is recorded in the second Psalm. It is God's Word to His Anointed Son when He promised Him His inheritance: THIS EARTH. The sweet singer of Israel penned these significant words: "I will decree the decree of the Lord (Jehovah): He said to Me, You are My Son; this day (I declare) I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I WILL GIVE YOU THE NATIONS as YOUR INHERITANCE, and the UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH FOR YOUR POSSESSION. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like potter's ware" (Amplified Bible). Little is known in the Church of this promise, this powerful COVENANT PROMISE of the Father to the Lord Jesus. Most Christians haven't realized that Christ has any inheritance in the earth, thinking rather that He is to possess some distant heaven, "way beyond the blue", and there prepare a place for His "evacuated saints" to spend eternity in rest. Oh, that our eyes might be opened to see that the Lord Jesus the Chris is to inherit THIS EARTH! He is to establish His Rule here, and amazing to the imagination, we have been promised a share in all which will one day belong to Him! "The meek shall inherit THE EARTH" (Mat. 5:5). These are to be a GOVERNMENTAL PEOPLE through whom He may express His authority in a new order here on this earth. The immeasurable importance of Psalm 2 has been impressed on me for years. The understanding of it is basic and essential in the preparation of those who will stand with the Lord Jesus Christ as this age ends in its fury, and the next is born in its glory.
Consider what Jesus told His disciples to do among the nations: "Jesus approached and breaking the silence said to them, All authority, all power to rule, in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL THE NATIONS, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mat. 28:18-19, Amplified Bible). But that is not quite what the Greek text says. In the Greek He did not say, "make disciples OF;" there is no substantive in the command except nations. The Greek English Interlinear reads: "Going forth disciple you ALL THE NATIONS." The command includes a far larger enterprise that that of bringing individual souls to Himself, or establishing the Church in every place. It is a command to influence all the nations toward His will and His ways, yea, to subdue and subject them UNTO HIM.
The Greek word for nation is ETHNOS and occurs in the Greek New Testament a total of 164 times. We derive our word "ethnic" from this word. It doesn't mean "country" (a political boundary) like we do when we think of a nation, but means a race, a tribe, or a group of people who share the same culture, language, and geography. There are over 220 nations with governments in the world today, but there are many more nations as God reckons nations (ethnos). The sons of God are to rule not just over the 220 countries, but over the SIXTEEN THOUSAND NATIONS (ethnic groups) of the world!
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of our understanding that we might see the truth as the Psalmist saw it when he said, "Say unto God, How terrible art Thou in Thy works! THROUGH THE GREATNESS OF THY POWER SHALL THINK ENEMIES SUBMIT THEM
SELVES UNTO THEE. ALL THE EARTH SHALL WORSHIP THEE, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing unto Thy name. Selah. HE RULETH BY HIS POWER FOREVER; His eyes behold THE NATIONS: let not the rebellious exalt themselves" (Ps. 66:17). David expressed this truth in a prayer for Solomon, which is prophetic of the reign of Christ, in that magnificent Psalm 72: "Yea, ALL KINGS shall fall down before Him: ALL NATIONS shall serve Him ...ALL NATIONS shall call Him blessed." It is further written, "ALL NATIONS whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name" (Ps. 86:9). Please notice, precious friend of mine, that it is not the Church, not merely men OUT OF all nations that shall serve the Lord; but ALL THE NATIONS THEMSELVES shall submit unto Him. What a promise! What a day! It has never been since the foundation of the world. Today, all nations do not serve Him and sing unto Him and praise and glorify His name. Russia does not. China does not. Tibet does not. Iran does not. Israel (Israeli State) does not. And most of the nations do not, and many NEVER HAVE.
Psalm 67 is a prophecy foretelling the future joy of mankind when they behold the blessings of the Kingdom of Christ. It also expresses the sentiments of all the faithful saints of God, past and present, who having been birthed into the power and glory of that Kingdom long for its triumph in the earth realm. The Rotherham Version of this Psalm reads: "God be favorable to us and bless us, cause His face to shine upon us, that Thy way may be known throughout the earth, throughout ALL NATIONS Thy saving help! Peoples will praise Thee, O God, peoples will ALL OF THEM praise Thee. Races of men will be glad and shout for joy, because Thou wilt judge peoples with equity, and races of men throughout the earth Thou wilt lead. Peoples will praise Thee, O God, peoples will ALL OF THEM praise Thee. Earth will have given her increase, God, our own God, will bless us. God will bless us. that all the ends of the earth may revere Him."
"In thee and in thy seed shall ALL THE FAMILIES (the 16,000 "ethnos") OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED," is the covenant made with Abraham in that long ago. Since God has promised to bless all mankind, we can rest assured that they will be blessed! This design of our omnipotent Father to bless mankind with peace, happiness, and LIFE is the great theme song of the entire Bible. Its first faint notes are heard in promises recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, and it reaches its grand crescendo in the closing chapters of Revelation, where we are given the assurance that "there shall be no more death," and where we are told of God's wonderful provision for the "healing of THE NATIONS" (Rev. 21:4; 22:12).
Can you not see what a vital, transforming difference is made to your understanding when you see God's purpose behind the Church, His purpose extending to all nations and peoples. God would much rather see the faces of all peoples lifted up to Him, praising Him, and the hands of al1 races and tribes lifted up to Him in worship, than to go about eternally destroying all the people. Jesus said that He did not come to condemn THE WORLD, but that THE WORLD through Him might be saved. As surely as you live, and as surely as God lives, the words of the prophets shall be fulfilled: "Arise, O God, judge the earth: for Thou shalt INHERIT ALL NATIONS" (Ps. 82:8). "ALL NATIONS whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name" (Ps. 86:9). "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain (kingdom) of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and ALL NATIONS shall flow trio it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the NATIONS, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: NATION SHALL NOT LIFT UP SWORD AGAINST NATION, NEITHER SHALL THEY LEARN WAR A
E (and THAT certainly hasn't been fulfilled yet!)" (Isa. 2:24). "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (Greek: ethnos, nations) through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall ALL NATIONS be blessed" (Gal. 3:8). Then again in the Psalm, which speaks perhaps more clearly than any other of God's Kingdom over all nations, the Psalmist's reason why all should praise Him is, that "the Lord, Most High, is terrible: He is a great King over all the earth. He SHALL SUBDUE THE PEOPLE UNDER US, and THE NATIONS under our feet; for God is the King over all the earth; and the princes of the peoples are gathered together TO BE the people of the God of Abraham; for the shields of the earth belong unto God. He is greatly exalted" (Ps. 47:19).
I do not think it necessary here to multiply Scripture to prove that God intends to subdue and save all the nations and fill the whole earth with His glory until all men see the salvation of the Lord which He has prepared before the face of all people. While it has not been God's intention to save the nations during this Church age, He has, nevertheless, given abundant proof of His ability to do so. Church history is replete with examples of how the Spirit of God has moved in sundry places with such mighty power that whole nations and entire societies have been transformed by His grace. It should be abundantly evident that God has given us these unique examples as SPECIMENS of what He can do when He sets His hand to conquer a people for His Kingdom. As I have read of the marvelous dealings of God with peoples and nations in the past I am deeply moved, and how my spirit rejoices in all these things! They teach me, first of all, that God CAN SAVE NATIONS and they further reveal that when His instrument is prepared, He WILL DELIVER ALL THE NATIONS. How our hearts should be encouraged by these things! If God has ever, anywhere, saved A NATION, then He is abundantly able to save ALL NATIONS. Let us bear these thoughts in mind as I share with you some of the beautiful examples of God's glory revealed on the national plane.
I think the life of St. Patrick will come as a great surprise and astonishment to many, when we consider St. Patrick, the Roman Catholic patron saint of Ireland. What was he really like? Here are some facts. One: He wasn't Irish. Two: He wasn't born on March 17th. Three: He didn't drive the snakes out of Ireland. Four: He wasn't a Roman Catholic and he may never have had anything to say about the shamrock and the trinity. However, behind the myth, there was a real person and I think that you might find that the life of the real Patrick is as amazing as the story about the legendary one. Let us look through the mists of legend and see what we may ascertain for sure.
One who has studied the life of St. Patrick wrote: "St. Patrick was born a long time ago in the year 389 AD And most scholars agree that he was born on the west coast of what was then Roman Britain, just south of Lumberton in Scotland, today at the confluence of the Clyde and the Leaven rivers. In the dark land of Hibernia, which had never been subjugated by Rome, dwelt the awesome Druids, with their live sacrifices and their contempt for human life. The very name could send a chill down the spines of those who dwelt on the west coast of Britain, because their ferocious raiding parties would often sweep down and take captives back to this land of Hibernia, which today we call the Emerald Isle.
"One day Patricius, or Patrick, tells us about playing with two other boys on the beach and spending the afternoon in the breakers as they swept up onto the long crescent beach and climbing over the rocks there at Bannavem, where he lived. Afterwards, sitting in the mouth of a cave, planning an escapade for the morrow, all of a sudden, they saw a band of freebooters and pirates coming around the headland. They sprang to their feet to flee in the opposite direction, and as Patrick says, they rushed incontinently into the arms of the other half of the pirate group. They were bound and dragged on board their ship with several hundred other young men and women, and taken away to Ireland. They were driven in chains two hundred miles inland into the forest of Ireland, and there Patrick was sold into slavery. 'To the unspeakable horrors,' he says, 'of slavery.' Heat was sold to a Druid chieftain, who put him to work feeding the swine in the deep forests of Ireland. And there, for six years he languished. He says, 'It was while I ate the bitter bread of that hateful servitude in a foreign land, that the light divine broke upon my benighted soul and I called to remembrance the holy things which I had been taught in my dear old home at Bannavem.' He remembered the words of his father, saying that there was a true God
a God that could deliver a God who cared.
"In the midst of his dreadful solitude, he lifted up his eyes to that God and wondered how he might find Him. And he remembered the stories he had so often heard about the Son whom God had sent into this world, Jesus, who had come in a far away corner of the Roman Empire and there upon a cross, at the hands of Roman soldiers, He had been put to death. But that He had died, not for His own sins, but for ours; that He was bruised for our iniquities and that for our transgressions He had suffered. Patrick tardily re
membered the waywardness of his life and the sins for which he felt he was now being punished. He says that by means of those tender memories the Lord opened his hard and unbelieving heart to a tardy remembrance of his transgressions and led him to turn with his whole soul to his Redeemer.
"Patrick, in truth, became a saint. Not canonized by any Church, but made a saint by God, sanctified and set aside by the Holy Spirit. His heart was transformed and he became a new creature in Christ Jesus. By faith in the Redeemer, this young man in the depths and darkness of the forests of Ireland found the Saviour of the world.
"After six years he had a dream one night. In that dream he had a vision and a voice said, 'Lo, thy ship is ready!' The next morning he fled his captors and staggered two hundred miles through the dense forest of Ireland, finally arriving at the sea. And when he came out of the woods, there was a ship, waiting to sail, loaded with Irish wolfhounds. He asked passage on the ship but was angrily cast out. As he walked dejectedly away, someone ran after him and told him to come back, that they had changed their minds. And so, Patrick left the land of Ireland. He sailed to Gaul and after some years re
turned to his home. But he could never get out of his mind those Irish Druids that had held him captive. For years, he planned the revenge that he was going to have upon his captors. But it was a different kind of revenge; it was a noble revenge in which he would bring to them the light of the Gospel. He could hear the thousands of souls in those darkened forests, crying for the Bread of Life, and there was none to break it, he said. Finally, after twenty years had passed, during which he watched the weltering sun go down over that benighted island, and his heart would return to those people, one night he had another vision and someone came with a handful of letters and at the top it said: 'The Voice of the Irish.' And suddenly, he said, I heard a whole chorus of voices and I saw a group of people standing at the forest's edge, the forests of F. Claugh, and they said, 'We pray thee, holy youth, come and henceforth walk among us.' He believed that he had been called by God to return to the land of his slavery. So, he set sail for Ireland, There he landed on those inhospitable shores and plunged into the depths of the forests and confronted the fanatical Druids and proclaimed the Gospel. And what was the message that Patrick proclaimed? One thing is very clear from his writings. It was very simply the Evangel of Jesus Christ; it was the simple Gospel of Christ. It was the story of the Christ who died and rose again to bring us to God. It was the message of God's undying love. There is nothing here of the Roman Catholic dogma. There is no mention of any foreign Church or Pope or any of the various doctrines of Rome. It is simply the Gospel of Christ which on his lips took on the power of God. He declared himself to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Actually, he was an apostle!
"So he confronted the Druid kings and priests and he overwhelmed them with the power of the Gospel. And so mighty was his missionary endeavor that he crossed Ireland from one side to the other, time after time. There was hardly any place in the Emerald Isle where the breath of the revival brought by Patrick did not reach. The results were astonishing!
"The Encyclopedia Britannica declares that Patrick himself baptized one hundred and twenty thousand persons. That is incredible, when we realize that the population of all of Ireland at that time consisted of only three hundred thousand people. And many more people were baptized by his helpers. He found the island a completely pagan and savage land, and left it almost totally Christianized. He declares himself, 'I am greatly a debtor to God. What have I done to deserve the Grace that has been so bountifully be
stowed upon me? When I think of the multitudes who have been born again through my instrumentality and when I think of the vast number of these converts whom the Lord has called to be missionaries and evangelists, I am bowed down with penitence and adoring gratitude. His Grace has been wonderful most wonderful.'
"He established over three hundred Churches and yet, the Church that he established was very different from the Roman Church of the Middle Ages. In fact, it was not until the year 1167 that Henry II sent five thousand iron
clad Papal soldiers to Ireland to subdue the Irish Church to the Papal authority. Their conquest was completed in the year 1172. The Church founded by Patrick finally was subdued to the authority of Rome, centuries after Patrick died. He was a preacher of the Gospel of Grace one of the greatest missionaries of all time"
Ah, yes, when God has prepared His vessel He is perfectly capable of converting an ENTIRE NATION to Himself. In the light of this truth how awesome is the prospect of a great many-membered body of matured, perfected, overcoming, incorruptible SONS OF GOD being given authority and power over ALL NATIONS AND TRIBES AND PEOPLES in the coming age! The Scriptures contain marvelous promises for the nations and when He is ready to reveal Himself to them, and has His instrument prepared, we shall witness a move and manifestation of God that shall shake the whole earth under the explosion of the power of God. Glory to God!
In the 1500's a man by the name of John Knox went into a garden in Scotland and knelt for hours in agonizing prayer. Someone who overheard him saw that at the end of that prayer, in great agony of spirit, he finally lifted up his hands to God and cried aloud, "Great God, give me Scotland or I die!" And that prayer was very literally answered before he died.
Mary Queen of Scots said that she feared the face of John Knox more than ten thousand ships. It was because he was not afraid. He would come into her castle at a time when she was trying and condemning as heretics people all over Scotland and burning them at the stake. He would come right in and reprove her to her face. She was a woman of keen wit and often endeavored to argue with him. But to argue with John Knox was a task not to be lightly undertaken even by the Queen of Scotland with all of her courtiers surrounding her. They often whispered, "He is not afraid." And he was not afraid!
In Knox's day all of Europe was sunk in the mire of darkness, ignorance, and corruption. Historians tell us that Scotland was the most backward nation in Europe at that time; its morals were the most degenerate; its Church was the most corrupt, and the entire scene was one of gloomy despair. Even the political and social arenas were in chaos. It was into this situation that John Knox was born. Carlyle tells us that no one man ever succeeded in more TOTALLY TRANSFORMING THE ENTIRE LIFE OF A NATION than John Knox. He is, indeed, the Scot of Scotsmen! When all others pale into insignificance at the name of Scotland, the name of John Knox looms with ever greater luminescence as the centuries go by. The imprint of his character and his faithfulness may still be felt in the land of his birth. He was God's man, in God's time, to bring a whole nation under the impact of the mighty regenerating hand of God.
Jessie Penn Lewis has recorded the history of the great revival that swept through the country of Wales in 1902 1905. In an hour of great apostasy and degeneracy many hundreds of people began to fervently pray for God to move in that land. After many months the windows of heaven were opened and the Holy Spirit swept as an overflowing stream over a huge gathering of five thousand men and women, many of them come from distant parts of the earth to seek the power of the Holy Ghost. The presence of the Spirit in the meetings was like the "wind" moving upon the people. The meetings would be closed two or three times but others would cry for mercy or break out in joyful thanksgiving. Strong men and women wept under the power of God. The young people flocked to the services, prayers flowing spontaneously from their lips like water from the spring. There was no forcing, no urging, not even any inviting, spontaneity characterized the proceedings from beginning to end. Soon all the Churches were crowded, the valleys and the mountains ringing with the high praises of God. The people sang without books, and often would be heart a sweet warbling voice like a nightingale's trill breaking out into a hymn while the people bowed in prayer. Souls were sung to Christ, and exulted over in song when won. The spirit of gladness and praise filled all hearts, as thousands rejoiced in the marvelous works of God.
The revival was characterized by a profound spirit of repentance, which is the first principle of the Kingdom of God. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, REPENT! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Mat. 4:17). The Spirit of God did his own work of convicting, and many were the evidences of His power working in repentance, restitution, and transformation. A young man would return his prize medal and diploma be
cause he had gained it unfairly. A grocer would return money picked up in his shop, and kept although knowing the one who dropped it. Long
standing debts were paid. Stolen goods returned. Prizefighters, gamblers, tax
gatherers, racecourse enthusiasts, and men of other classes rarely touched by ordinary means came to Christ, and quickly the world knew the results. Magistrates were presented with white gloves in many places be cause there were "no cases", so many people had been saved that the crime rate had dropped to zero! The taverns had to close their doors, for lack of patrons. Rowdiness was changed to soberness. Cursing and swearing ceased to be heard, so that, it was said, in the coal mines the horses could no longer understand the language of their drivers! The reading of light literature was exchanged for Bible reading, and stores were emptied of their stocks of Bibles. Prayer meetings were held in mines underground, in trains and trams and all kinds of places. Managers of factories bore witness that the amount of work turned out by the men since the revival had been more than they had known for years.
Far and wide the influences spread, affecting all classes. Political meetings had to be postponed, and Members of Parliament were out taking part in "revival meetings". Football teams were disbanded because all the men had been converted, and would rather be out "about the Father's business." From one district a Theatrical Company folded up, as there was no hope of audiences, for all the "world" was praying.
The mighty tidal wave swept hither and thither, men knew not how or why. The Spirit of God found His own channels; and many districts had extraordinary manifestations of the power of God. Lists of converts were sent to the newspapers, the number reaching nearly 100,000 by the end of March, 1905. Many of the young people were thrust out by the Lord to share in the service, and the numbers grew. Visitors from all parts of Britain and the Continent began to flock to Wales to see the "great sight" of God breaking forth in supernatural power upon the sons of men. Practically the ENTIRE NATION was turned to God!
It is amazing to see a brutal people in New Guinea, for whom the highest conceivable virtue was treachery, fall before the spell of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to the place where virtually the entire tribe is converted and worshipping the living Saviour. It is amazing to see the vicious Aucas even become missionaries to other tribes downstream. The Aucas had previously never allowed anyone who entered their domain to live, they had killed the five Christian missionaries. To see that whole tribe converted to Christ was and is a marvelous thing to behold. There is no doubt whatsoever that Christianity is a SUPERNATURAL WORK when one considers the results it has produced in the lives of people.
These great exploits were all wrought by men of like passions as we are, but sublime beyond imagination will be the glory that shall be revealed among ALL NATIONS when the glorified sons of God arise to take the reins of the government of the world. We have had a glimpse of what it is like for an individual to be filled with God's glory and power A man or woman like that can, as Jesus did, shake a city or even a nation. But what if the entire body of THE HOUSE OF SONS is filled with the glory? What will happen to this earth when the sons of God are filled with the fullness of which we, in this Church age, have received merely the "firstfruits"?
Ah, beloved saint of God, the sons of God shall arise and soar to victory all over this planet. There will be no need for a "pretribulation escape rapture". The reason some people still hope for a rapture to take us out of the world alive, is that they simply do not have a vision of this glorious body of Christ full of HIS life and power and victory! Every hamlet, every village, every city, every province, every nation will feel the impact of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This victory of Christ on earth will be repeated over and over again until every enemy is put under our feet. All creation shall know the Christ of God, to the glory of God the Father! Hallelujah!
In closing this article I would remind my reader that in this wonderful PRIESTHOOD FOR THE NATIONS there is once more an EXPANDING OF THE COVERAGE OF THE PRIESTHOOD. In the first order it was one sacrifice for one man by one priest, whereas in the second it was one sacrifice by one priest for a whole family. In the third order it was one sacrifice by one priesthood for an entire nation, while in the fourth order it is one sacrifice by one priest for the whole Church of God. This brings us to the fifth stage in the progressive unfolding of the priesthood: THE PRIESTHOOD FOR THE NATIONS. Every reader should notice especially that with each CHANGE in the priesthood there is an 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! And from the days of Aaron until now the coverage of the priesthood has seen an increase from two million people to HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. When the Royal Priesthood arises in the earth to reign over the nations, blessed be God, there shall be an increase in the coverage of the priesthood from hundreds of millions of saints to UNTOLD BLLIONSS OF PEOPLE! What an increase! What an enlargement! What an expansion of coverage! What an extension of blessings!
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