KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
"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). "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, INTERCESSIONS, and giving of thanks be made for all men...for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:1,3-4).
There was a time in my life when I found it very difficult to understand why the Lord invited and commanded me to pray. Why did we have to pray? Why the ministry of intercession on behalf of men? God is God, so why doesn't He just do what He wants? Why are we even in the picture? Why are the events on earth related to our prayers and intercessions at all? I knew prayer worked, because I saw the effects of my prayers in my everyday life. However, I didn't know why God wanted to involve me in the process. What really was the purpose of prayer?
It all goes back to the creation of man. Jesus said, "The Father hath given Him (the Son) AUTHORITY...because He is the SON OF MAN" (Jn. 5:26,27). One might think it should have read, "because He is the SON OF GOD," but it doesn't say that. The awesome and universal authority of the Son is rooted in the fact that He is the SON OF MAN. Why was it necessary for Jesus to be the "Son of man" to have authority on earth? That man should bear the image of God and have dominion over all things is the first announcement of God's intention regarding man and the first announcement of His purpose, and locked up in that wonderful declaration is a universe of meaning that does not reach the eye and that the mind has never understood.
Man in the image of God is God's government in the Kingdom of God. Creation was originally established with a degree of splendor suitable to the dignity of Adam as its appointed ruler. Man was the final and crowning work of God's hands. I would draw your attention, beloved saint of God, to the fact that man was not created on the first day, nor on the second or third, but in the end of the sixth day when all the rest of His creation had been completed. It was only after the vastness of the heavens and the earth and all the hosts of them had been made that the Creator proclaimed the awesome fiat, "Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and let them have DOMINION" (Gen. 1:26). You see, the dominion of the Kingdom was given unto man. Man was ordained of God to rule not only the earth, but the universe. David mentions this in the eighth Psalm. "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than God (Heb.), and has t crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet."
"What is man...Thou hast made him a little lower than God." In case you have a problem with the way I have quoted this scripture, I must point out that the King James version says that man was made "a little lower than the angels." But this is not correct.
The word translated "angels" in the Authorized version, is the Hebrew word ELOHIM which is the Hebrew word for God, the very same word used in Gen. 1:1 where we read, "In the be ginning GOD created..." So God made man just a little lower than Himself, or lower than Himself for a little while, but higher than all the rest of the creation, even the angels, for as Paul said, "Know ye not that YE shall judge angels?"
"Thou hast put ALL THINGS under his (man's) feet." Now that phrase, "under his feet" is a Hebrew term which means that he was to have authority over all of His creation. He was to rule it all, govern it all, be head of it all. God made man for that intent and purpose. In the New Testament, the idea is taken still further: "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than God; Thou crownest him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put ALL THINGS in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left NOTHING that is NOT put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him" (Heb. 2:6-8). There is holy wonder to these words that is almost beyond our understanding. Nothing has been left outside of the dominion of man. Weymouth puts it this way, "Thou hast put everything in subjection under his feet. For this subjecting of the universe to man implies leaving nothing that is not subject to him. But we do not yet see the universe subject to him." The whole kosmos really belongs to mankind, it is his dominion, his sphere of authority, and everything is to be put under his control.
Now for Jesus to have anything to do with this dominion He had to become a man, for the dominion was given to man, and in order for Him to receive the Kingdom, He had to be a man, it was necessary, in fact, for Him to come as the second man, the last Adam. As the eternal Word of God He could have nothing to do with this dominion, though it was through Him that all these things were made. But become a man He did, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and as man He has qualified to receive the Kingdom and be the ruling head of it, the King of Glory. The man in God's image and likeness has a divine and royal destiny to exercise dominion and authority in this world and throughout the unbounded heavens He is to be the Head of all. All that happens in the kosmos must take place through man. God created all things and then man in His image and likeness, as the connecting link between God and His creation, that through man in His image and likeness the invisible God might be seen and known and touched by the visible creation. The face of God would be revealed for all creation to behold, in the face of man. The likeness of God would be made known to the entire universe in and by man. The glory, love, grace, wisdom, knowledge and power of God would be exercised toward every creature and world and order throughout the vastness of infinity through the man in the image and likeness of God!
When God gave the world and all things into the power of man, made in His image, who should rule it as a viceroy under Him, it was His plan that Adam should do nothing but with God and through God, and God Himself would do all His work in the universe through Adam. Can we not see by this that Adam was appointed God's KING-PRIEST on behalf of all creation? When sin entered the world, Adam's power was proved to be a terrible reality, for through him the earth, with the whole race of man, and all things, was brought under the curse of sin and death. When he fell his kingdom fell with him. When he came under the dominion of sin and death he took all that he ruled with him. But when creation's new rulers, the second man, the last Adam, Christ the Head and His glorified body of sons of God, are manifested, their Kingdom will be elevated again with them. As they are forever free from sin and sickness and sorrow and limitation and fear and death; then will their realm be.
This means that IN CHRIST we have been restored as beloved and royal sons and daughters in the family of God. Once again, we have been given the power and authority to carry out our Father's will - to establish His Kingdom here on earth. We now have that authority and privilege. God's royal purpose for this world will be fulfilled through the body of the Christ. He is the heavenly Head, but we are the earthly members that make up that body. God has purposed to work out His will on earth through you and me. Without Him we cannot; without us He will not! We are God's KING-PRIESTS appointed to bless and restore all things into God!
THE PRIESTLY MINISTRY
It is a fact of present truth that the Lord is calling out a remnant of His people to become priests after the Order of Melchizedek, to share in the ministry of Christ, and that all the Lord's people should become a kingdom of priests. The Old Testament priesthood is a marvelous type and example of the ministry of the Melchizedek priests, and that example is being made reality in our lives as the hour of fulfillment approaches. As one has written, "The ministry of the priest began as he offered a sacrifice for himself and then for the sins of the people. The priest then offered the sacrifice upon the altar within the Most Holy Place, and interceded there for the sins of the people, remaining until the Lord had accepted the sacrifice.
"Having offered the sacrifice to the Lord for the sins of the people, and having ministered to the Lord for the people in intercession, the priest then came out to the people to pronounce upon them the benediction or blessing of sins forgiven and their atonement completed. Thus the three-fold ministry of the priest was SACRIFICE, INTERCESSION, AND BENEDICTION. Christ fully demonstrated the three-fold ministry of priesthood, for He became our sacrifice for sins (Heb. 9:9-15). As verse fifteen shows, the true priest is a 'mediator,' standing between God and the people as a 'go-between,' interceding for the people. Christ as our High Priest completely fulfills His priestly office by interceding for the people: '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. 7:25). When the High Priest of the Old Testament completed his ministry of sacrifice and intercession in the Most Holy Place, he then came out to the people and blessed them, or gave them the final benediction (Lev. 9:22). In like manner, we expectantly look for the appearing of Christ our great High Priest to come out of His heavenly sanctuary with the final benediction for His people. This truth is also set forth in the book of Hebrews, 'So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation' (Heb. 9:28). Thus Christ as our High Priest fully demonstrates the three-fold ministry of the true priest in sacrifice, intercession, and benediction" - The Living Word.
Christ Himself has become the sacrifice. Behold the Lamb of God) which taketh away the sin of the world! "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. 9:12) And for all who share His priesthood there are two thoughts: "he shall stand before My face to minister" and "he shall go out to bless the people." This is what Christ does: He intercedes and He imparts the blessing. And that is the double work every priest has to do: to ask and bring the blessing down from above, and then go out and dispense it.
From of old God had among His people intercessors to whose voice He listened and gave deliverance. On one occasion it was strangely said of God, "He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor" (Isa. 59:16). Here we read of a time of trouble when He sought for an intercessor, but in vain. And He wondered! Think of what that means - the amazement of God that there should be none who loved the people enough or who had sufficient faith in His power to deliver, to intercede, on their behalf. If there had been an intercessor He would have given deliverance; without an intercessor His judgment came down (Isa. 64:7; Eze. 22:30,31). But when it was said of God that He wondered that there was no intercessor, there followed the words: "Therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him. The Redeemer shall come to Sion" (Isa. 59:16,20). God Himself would provide the true intercessor, in Christ His Son, of whom it had already been said, "He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa. 53:12). And now, "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." Christ, as Head, is intercessor in heaven; we, as members of His body, are partners and participators with Him on earth. Because there was no intercessor, God has Himself raised up His INTERCESSOR COMPANY to bring deliverance!
There are two aspects of intercession set forth in the Word of God: that which is Godward; and that which is manward. We shall consider them both. Mighty things have been wrought through the ages by the power of prevailing, intercessory prayer. Daniel was a man mightily used of God and the king of Babylon exalted him above all the princes and presidents of the realm because an excellent spirit was found in him. "Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was found in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm" (Dan. 6:3). Daniel had wisdom and understanding above any man in the whole kingdom. The question follows - How did he get this excellent spirit, wisdom and understanding? The scripture reveals that he got it by prayer, by keeping in close contact and intimate communion with the Almighty. Daniel received many visions and revelations of world events, present and future even to the end of this age. He did not just accidentally stumble onto these wonderful secrets as he went about his daily work, but He received through much fasting and prayer and intercession. "And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes; and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made confession" (Dan. 9:3,4). We are not told how long he fasted and prayed, but the response was that the angel Gabriel was dispatched from heaven and came and gave to him understanding concerning great and mighty things. Events of great import and the rise and fall of mighty empires were influenced by the prayers and intercessions of this faithful servant of God.
Elijah was a man of prayer and intercession and wrought wonderful things thereby. We are inclined to think of these great men as beyond the ordinary; that there was something special about them or that they had a particular mandate from God. Such is not the case. They were no different than us. The Holy Spirit was exceedingly careful to point out that "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed..." (James 5:17). He had the same frailties, the same weaknesses, the same limitations as any man. What made him unique among men was that he prayed, and "he PRAYED EARNESTLY that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he PRAYED AGAIN, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit" (James 5:17,18). Truly, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man AVAILETH MUCH" (James 5:16).
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. 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. And he prayed! He interceded on behalf of a nation. Carlyle tells us that no one man ever succeeded in more totally transforming the entire life of a nation than John Knox. 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.
All the great revivals of past centuries were products of prevailing prayer and intercession. On the night of the outbreak of the Pentecostal outpouring at the turn of the century the minutes which were bearing a world relentlessly onward to the close of its l9th century flew swiftly by. It was a momentous evening. With a feeling tinged with fear, people everywhere were alertly watching the passing of the year 1899 as it fled on swift feet into the eternal past. It was New Year's Eve - 9:30! 10:00! 10:30! Silently the last few hours of the century moved majestically onward to its grand conclusion. It was an evening full of portent.
Within their homes, family groups sat here and there, amusing themselves quietly. In other places merriment ran high. Tinkling music and dancing feet set the pace, as great throngs of people swept carelessly on through the night in light-hearted gaiety and unrestrained revelry. But in the city of Topeka, Kansas, in one of the large rooms of the great house known as "The Old Stone Mansion," a totally different scene was being enacted.
Blazing chandeliers lit up a scene of worship and devotion. The small company of people
knelt, or sat quietly about the room. For three weeks they had been there...waiting, praying, believing...scarcely knowing what to expect, yet following undauntedly the faith which had been kindled deep within their spirits. For three glorious weeks heaven had seemed to stoop down and touch the earth, and the whisper of the Spirit had grown to a mighty thunder within their consciousness: "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost!"
How was one to know when he had been baptized with the Holy Spirit? Was there no sign? Could so important a manifestation of the presence of God take place and one scarcely know it? Would there not be the same supernatural manifestations as accompanied the receiving of the Spirit in the Early Church? The hour of midnight struck. The new century arrived as the little band of expectant saints prayed on. Suddenly, over the assembled company there came the passing of the Divine Breath! A woman began to quiver slightly... the rhythmic quivering of a leaf rippled by the wind...and beautifully, forcefully, distinctly there flowed from her lips ecstatic utterances which soon became a language...unintelligible to the kneeling company, but without doubt a language. Rising to investigate the phenomenon further, they beheld a blue flame-like fire playing about her head, as she gladly and joyfully yielded herself completely to the Holy Spirit of God. Although many groups of intercessors over the country were not present to witness that small and humble beginning, God had ordained that as the next few years quickly passed, the whole world was to hear of what He had done on that New Year's morning at the turn of the century. And by the time the century had run its course, multiplied scores of millions of believers would have shared the blessing of the experience.
Jessie Penn-Lewis has recorded the history of the great revival that swept through the country of Wales about the same time. In an hour of great apostasy and degeneracy many hundreds of people began to fervently pray and intercede for God to move in that land. In
19O1 the Lord drew near to one of His servants in the ministry, and gave him such a revelation of His glory that he cried, like Isaiah, "Woe is me," and entered on a life in God unknown before. Then in a quiet spot on the banks of a Welsh river, burdened over the spiritual condition of the country, he spent hours in prayer, pleading with God with many tears that He would come forth in power and work in the land. Again, in a quiet town in the western part of Wales, there were two or three women meeting together for prayer for several years, beseeching God for a revival among the women of the town.
In the Rhondda Valley, where afterwards the Spirit of God swept with great power, there were some who for years had been praying for a revival which should "sweep over the whole world." We do not wonder that such souls were taken into the secrets of God, the Holy Spirit saying to one of them just three days before the valley was moved by the mighty tide of Life, "Get thee up...there is the sound of abundance of rain!" We find in Monmouthshire the hand of the Lord upon two sisters, one an invalid, who were burdened over the prevalence of sin, and the increase of crime in the county, one sister saying, tearfully, "I cannot sleep day nor night because my dear Lord is despised and set at naught." Another child of God - a retiring, timid lady - bemoaning the deadness of the churches, said, "I shall die unless God exerts His power, and sends a revival!"
At the very same time in a district in Glamorganshire, four young men, only eighteen years of age, were found on a mountain-side holding a prayer meeting, and pleading with God for a revival in their church, which was in a cold and formal state. It transpired that these young men had held their prayer meeting on the mountain every night for a month. But they continued to pray on the mountain-side for two whole months, and, to the astonishment of the church, people joined them, and prayed with them, who never visited any place of worship! The meetings attended only by four at the first now increased to scores, and all testified to the power of God in a special manner.
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. 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. Soon all the churches were crowded, the valleys and the mountains ringing with the high praises of God. The spirit of gladness and praise filled all hearts, as thousands rejoiced in the marvelous works of God. The mighty tidal wave swept hither and thither - men knew not how or why. The Spirit of God found His own channels. There was no forcing, no urging, not even any inviting by "altar calls," yet nearly 100,000 people had been converted within a brief time, 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!
Midway through the twentieth century, again there was to be a mighty cry unto God for a fresh and deeper manifestation of His glory. Bands of saints across the land and around the world prayed and interceded for more of God. When God responded this time the glory erupted in a Bible School in Canada. George Hawtin recounts the wonder of what happened: "God does not leave you in a dry land for long if you are bound to be one with Him. Should my life be very long on earth, I shall never be able to forget the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power that came to our class room as we waited on God that glorious 13th of February, 1948, when God began to do a new thing that was destined for a time to shake the church all over America. How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs on earth went sweeping up to the sky steeps while angels stood at heaven's gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued. Heaven came down our souls to greet, and glory crowned the mercy seat. People came for thousands of miles to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life" - end quote.
This wonderful move of God brought the restoration of the truths of the body of Christ the five-fold ministry, prophecy with the laying on of hands, spiritual praise and worship and the revelation of God's purpose to prepare a people for the manifestation of the sons of God, through which ministry the Kingdom of God shall triumph in every realm, the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, and creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God. The effect of the move of God that began in Canada in 1948, and spread around the whole world, remains to this day and even now a mighty army of saints is in preparation as overcomers to take the Kingdom and rule and reign with Christ over the nations. Events of immense magnitude and universal significance loom bright upon the horizon!
When Solomon first dedicated the temple in Jerusalem, thus initiating the ceaseless priestly ministration therein, he knew it would be a house of prayer, and he asked God to hear the prayers that His people would offer there. As the king prayed on that day, he outlined the international effects of temple prayer: the establishment of justice, military defense, protection from drought and other natural disasters, salvation for all the nations and deliverance from captivity (II Chron. 6:22-29). All these blessings were to be the results of God's people praying in the temple. Jesus affirmed this aspect of the temple's role when, after a violent confrontation with the money changers, He declared that the temple was to be A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR THE NATIONS. The international consequences of prayer in the temple which Solomon and Jesus described are but subtle shadows of God's higher purposes in that greater and more glorious temple of living stones, not made with hands, which for two thousand years has been rising to form an habitation of God through the Spirit.
This company of the sons of God is called to be priests after the Order of Melchizedek to intercede for all mankind, so that they may eventually join the Lord in that grand benediction, the final blessing of CREATION'S DELIVERANCE. The Psalmist pictures this corporate Christ as a COMPANY OF MEDIATORS, standing between mankind and the bounties of heaven, when he says, "I will set His hand also in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers" (Ps. 89:25). The message is clear - the hands of the body of Christ are placed with the left hand in the great spa of mankind, and the right hand in the abundant, refreshing, healing and quickening waters of the river of divine life (Eze. 47:1-9), ready to channel
the abundant resources of God from His river of life into the great sea of mankind, thereby blessing all mankind in a glorious manifestation of the life of God. The course of nations will be determined in the house of God by the prayers and ministry of God's Royal Priesthood. The temple today is a building of UNION WITH CHRIST wherein He will reveal Himself through His apprehended ones, and where their actions on behalf of nations will alter the course of history and bring the righteous reign and total triumph of His Kingdom on earth. Hallelujah!
THE HOLY SPIRIT'S INTERCESSION
We miss so much vital truth by our careless scanning of the Bible. Time and again we read a passage and attach to it superficial meanings arising out of the shallowness of the natural mind, or time-honored traditions we have heard parroted a thousand times by the venerable doctors of religion. Seldom do Christians take the time or make the effort to search out the deeper meaning by the help of that blessed Holy Spirit who has been sent by the Father to guide us into all truth. What a world of misunderstanding there has been regarding one of the most precious and momentous statements ever to proceed from the inspired pen of the apostle Paul! After setting forth by revelation the awe-inspiring truth of the manifestation of the sons of God, he continues with the following exhortation: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26,27).
There is no doubt whatever in my mind that these are among the most misunderstood and misinterpreted passages in all of God's holy Book. Generally, among Spirit-filled people, it is taught that the Holy Spirit will pray through us in other tongues, praying for our own or other's needs, when we lack the necessary understanding to pray as we ought. But this is a fallacy. I do not mean that it is a fallacy that the Holy Spirit will cause us to intercede in prayer either in our native tongue or in an unknown language, for I know experientially that He does, and it is a beautiful experience. But this is not the truth the apostle is conveying here. The intent of this passage is to show that the Holy Spirit will make intercession, NOT FOR OUR PERSONAL NEEDS, but for the deliverance of the WHOLE CREATION!
The word "likewise" in verse twenty-six is a conjunctive adverb which joins the subject of true intercessory prayer with the subject preceding it. What is the subject preceding it? Verse nineteen states that all creation is eagerly expecting and waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. Verse twenty-one says that the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption and brought into the glorious liberty already known by the sons of God. Verse twenty-two reveals that the whole creation is groaning and travailing in birth-pangs for deliverance. Verse twenty-three declares that not the creation only, but we ourselves who have received the firstfruits of the Spirit do groan within ourselves for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies from the tyranny of decay. Verses twenty-four and twenty-five speak of the fact that we all wait and groan and travail in hope. And then the inspired apostle follows these sublime statements with these significant words: "LIKEWISE the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with GROANINGS WHICH CANNOT BE UTTERED." Therefore, intercessory prayer, that is, the intercession of the Spirit through the sons of God, is a prayer for the deliverance of the whole creation and the manifestation of the sons of God! The prayer which the Holy Spirit would prey through all the elect is that prayer which corresponds to the groans and travail of every created thing. Many of us spend most of our prayer time praying for our own needs, rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to pray through us with groanings which cannot be uttered, even the groanings of the whole creation.
It is evident that with so much pettiness and self-centeredness in our praying, WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR AS WE OUGHT. I dare say, not one Christian in a million truly knows what he should be praying for! As Paul Mueller has pointed out in one of his writings, "It must be remembered that the one, supreme subject of Romans eight is the maturing of the sons of God, as well as their ultimate manifestation and the deliverance of the creation. The subject of intercession in verses twenty-six and twenty-seven is not given at that point to begin a new thought, but rather to continue the same thought, expressing the responsibility of the Lord's elect to yield to that spirit of intercession. The fact is that verse twenty-nine continues the same original subject of the entire chapter, the predestination of the sons of God to be conformed to the image of Christ. There is no other subject of Romans eight! Therefore, let the mind of the Spirit guide you to true, effectual intercession. Let the Holy Spirit make intercession FOR YOU ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD" - end quote.
When it is asserted that the Holy Spirit makes intercession "FOR the saints according to the will of God," this is construed by many to mean that the Holy Spirit prays FOR US to the end that God will bless us and meet our needs, or the needs of those about us. But there is another meaning more consistent with the subject of the chapter. If you were to say, "I am going to the hospital to pray for Sis. Jones," and I were to respond with, "I will go FOR you," - what would I mean? Obviously, my intention would be to make the visit to the hospital IN YOUR PLACE, and pray for Sis. Jones IN YOUR STEAD. In like manner, if the whole creation is groaning and travailing for the manifestation of the sons of God and the deliverance of creation from corruption that will come through them, and if we ourselves are groaning within ourselves for this very same manifestation and deliverance, surely it follows that the Holy Spirit too, is making intercession FOR us with that kind of groanings that cannot be uttered, such intercession is IN OUR PLACE, that is, the Spirit is interceding IN OUR STEAD, lifting the whole cry and groan and travail of both creation and ourselves into that higher dimension of SPIRIT. On the plane of SPIRIT the groanings are not able even to be uttered, for they are in some marvelous way the groanings of SPIRIT rather than the cry of the physical or psychical realms. He that searches the hearts know' what is the MIND of the Spirit, that is, there is communication on the plane of MIND, in that wonderful realm where mind communes with mind and spirit communes with spirit, beyond utterance. Thus the deepest desire and longing of the physical universe, the saints on earth, and the spirit realm are ONE - for the life of God to be ministered to all creation through sons in His image, His KING-PRIEST COMPANY. To this end creation groans, and we groan, audibly, and the blessed Holy Spirit groans on our behalf and in our stead with those unutterable groanings of the divine mind, for we know not how to pray for this glorious deliverance as we ought. Blessed be His wonderful name!
THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST
As I have studied the Word of God many things have become evident, one of which is that while intercession GODWARD is a true principle and a precious and powerful ministry, the Scriptures further reveal that the primary thrust of the intercession of the Christ is not Godward at all, but MANWARD, an intercession that is TO US-WARD, to bring us to God, to draw us to the Father, to work in us, that we might yield ourselves unto Him, to love and serve Him with all of our heart.
The real truth about the intercession of the Christ has been clouded by the corrupted theology of man. I am sure that you, as I, have heard preachers try to describe His ministry of intercession. It goes something like this. Satan, our enemy and the accuser of the brethren, stands before the Father up in heaven accusing us day and night. Satan tells God about all our failings; he enumerates to God every sin we commit in thought, word, or deed. He is constantly, unceasingly, relentlessly and unmercifully accusing us of every shortcoming and weakness. The Father, on the other hand, is portrayed as greatly offended and incensed by our sins, and exceedingly wrath with sinners, a vindictive punisher, somehow obligated by His superior sense of justice to be the avenger of every little thing we do wrong. Many parents have unwittingly darkened the hearts of their little children with threats of the certain vengeance of this God who is a constant terror over the life. "Now don't you do that because GOD will punish you!" And even much stronger things are told to little children. God becomes a mean, harsh, vindictive old man up in the sky with beady little piercing eyes possessing wonderful X ray vision which can penetrate into the deepest recesses of mind and heart, and the thickest darkness of night, scrutinizing every thought and action. This God, moreover, is waiting, lurking about everywhere, with a punishing whip of large dimensions!
Enter the Son. You know as well as I do that the church system has always taught that this God of exacting justice and wrath must be appeased, soothed, turned aside from His vengeance, and that this feat can only be accomplished by the intercession of the compassionate SON, our wonderful Lord and elder brother, standing opposite Satan, before the throne of the Father, as our Advocate, our Lawyer, pleading our cause, beseeching God to be kind to us, not to punish us, and begging for our lives on the ground that He paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins. According to this hypothesis the anger of God can only be appeased by looking upon the bloody sweat and cruel, ugly death of His Son, as He stands there interceding for us.
I do not hesitate to tell you that such teaching is utter rubbish and the brashest sort of nonsense. It springs from the Romish tradition that likens God the Father to a fearful and offended despot, spoiling for the blood of the offenders, and it makes Christ to be the One who pleads with God on behalf of the victim until the Father is consoled and placated. And if it weren't for our Advocate, Jesus, God would listen to the devil's accusations and really lay it on to us. We could even lose our salvation because of Satan's accusations, if it weren't that the merciful Jesus is there to prevent God from casting us into hell, by presenting His blood on our behalf. Such is a gross caricature of the truth. More than that, it is a stupid absurdity and a horrible blasphemy. Praise God, the Spirit is unfolding truth in ever-increasing dimensions of glory which magnify God's glorious nature of love and mercy, His wisdom and power, His goodness and the prudence of all His plans and purposes.
It is my conviction that not even Satan is senseless enough to believe that he could approach OUR FATHER and convince Him to condemn us because of our failures. Nowhere does the scripture state that Satan accuses the saints to God. What it does say is that "the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which ACCUSED T-H-E-M B-E-F-O-R-E OUR GOD day and night" (Rev. 12:10). It is one thing for someone to accuse you BEFORE, that is, in the presence of, or in front of another person, and another thing altogether for that person to accuse you TO the other one. It should be abundantly evident that Satan does not accuse us TO God, he merely accuses us BEFORE God. It is not the almighty and omniscient God, my brother, my sister, whom Satan wishes to convince of your unworthiness; it is YOU! Satan has no misconceptions about his ability to persuade God of your weakness and worthlessness, but if he can influence YOU to believe that you are unworthy, that you are a failure, that it is impossible for you to attain to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, or that God does not love you, leaving you condemned and hopeless - he is thereby able to rob you of all your confidence, hope, faith, joy, peace and victory.
Don't think for one moment, beloved, that this scene is set in some far-off heaven somewhere! Satan is not standing in a red devil suit before the throne of God somewhere beyond the milky way - ah, he lurks, rather, in the corruption and unbelief of our own carnal minds, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness. The reason why so many saints fail when it comes to the temptations and condemnations of the devil is that they don't really want to resist Satan. You see, Satan never comes as some hideous monster with horns, a forked tail and a pitchfork. He doesn't blare at you through a loudspeaker. HE COMES IN YOUR OWN DESIRES! HE SPEAKS IN YOUR OWN THOUGHTS! HE MANIFESTS IN YOUR OWN EMOTIONS! "For from WITHIN, our of the HEART OF MEN, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, an evil eye, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: ALL THESE EVIL THINGS COME FROM WITHIN AND DEFILE THE MAN" (Mk. 7:21-23). The battle rages in the MIND, the DESIRES, the EMOTIONS and the WILL, whisperings out of the dust realm, enticements and accusations that shout at you FROM WITHIN. And God is there, too! The indwelling Spirit of God likewise speaks from within, out of the spiritual mind, the voice of inspiration, the spirit of revelation, the still small voice of the Father from within His temple of clay, gently and graciously assuring, "I love you, my child, you are Mine; I have called you, I have made you My very own son and I am your Father; I am with you, I will uphold you; you can make it, yea, you will make it, for I am faithful and will complete the good work I have begun in you and will present you faultless before My throne." And there - before God in His temple - within - rises the other voice, the voice of the carnal mind, the voice of the flesh - the Accuser! And it is there in the imaginations of the mind that Satan the Accuser must be cast down, and every high thing that exalts itself against the God within.
Satan may accuse us, but God will never condemn. Is God for us, or against us? Is He on our side, or isn't He? "What shall we say to all this? If God be for us, who CAN BE against us? Who can be our foe, if God is on our side? He who did not withhold or spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect when it is God who justifies? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen Will God, who acquits us? Who is there to condemn us" (Rom. 8:31-34, Amplified)? That wonderful Father! That gracious Redeemer! The most loving of all Beings! Oh, how I love Him! He turned my heart back again and restored me into His life. God, the Father, sent Jesus - the very fullness of His own heart - sent Him into the world to die on Calvary's cross. God so LOVED the world that He gave! Who is he that condemns? Not God! What can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? There is not one created thing in all the vast universe that can separate us from God's love - not even the accusation of Satan.
What then does it mean, that Jesus makes intercession for us? Jesus is our mediator, our intercessor and our advocate; He stands between God and us, but just what is He doing when He does this? Is He pleading with the Father to be merciful to us and forgive us? No a thousand times no! The Greek word is ENTUCHANO meaning "to meet with, to converse with, to entreat." The question is just this: With whom does the Christ meet, with whom does He converse, and whom does He entreat? God, or man? God so loved the world that He gave His Son for us. Does the Father of love have to be entreated? Listen! "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM... now then we are ambassadors FOR CHRIST, as though GOD DID B-E-S-E-E-C-H Y-O-U by us: we pray (Gr: beg, petition, beseech, intercede) YOU in Christ's stead, BE YE reconciled to God" (II Cor. 5:19-20).
Therefore, we find that HIS INTERCESSION IS TO US-WARD, to meet with us, to converse with us, to entreat us, to petition us, to reveal the Father's heart of love and His will to us, to intercede with us, to bring us back to the Father, that WE might be reconciled TO GOD, working in us, that we might know Him in all His glorious and eternal reality. All this attention of Christ is DIRECTED TOWARDS US. God does not have to be interceded with for us, it was God who sent the Christ to us, to meet with us, to woo us, and unfold the glories of the Kingdom of God to our wondering hearts.
This beautiful truth cannot be expounded more simply or powerfully than it has been by Bro. George Wylie of Canada. Some time ago he wrote, "Intercession is two words put together, inter and cession. Inter means to go between, as an inter-continental flight. This is en airplane flight that goes between two continents. When I went to Korea and Japan I took an intercontinental flight. It took me there and back. It flies between two continents, back and forth. So inter means to go between. The other half of the word is cession. According to Webster this means 'to yield, to give up, a ceding or giving up of one's rights to another.' Put these two words together and we have a go-between who gives up to another. Perhaps the best way I can illustrate it is this. You are on a journey, away from home. You are hungry and need food. You stop at a cafe and the waitress comes with her little pad and pencil and finds what your need is. Then she goes to the source, the kitchen or grill, and gets what you need and brings it to you and ministers to you. In a sense she is your intercessor. She goes between you and the source of your need, gets what you need, and then ministers it to you. This is the ministry Jesus performs now, He receives from His Father, the source of all things good, that which we have need of, and then ministers it to us. God, the Father, is the source of everything good. 'From Him everything comes, through Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends.' He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. 'Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning' (James 1:17). All that we have need of is in the Father. Everything comes from Him, and is freely given to us through the Son. All the riches of His grace He gives to us through Jesus. Because of what the Lord has been through on earth, and the things He has suffered, He knows exactly what our need is. He goes to the source, God, receives from the Father that which we need, and brings it to us. He has entered into the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary above, into the presence of God who is the source of all our needs; He receives from God the grace we have need of, then ministers that grace to us: be it strength, comfort, faith, peace, joy, healing, health, life; whatever the need, He goes to God and asks for it, receives it, and then brings it to us and ministers to our need. THIS IS INTERCESSION!
"This is the ministry of a priest; to go into the Holy of Holies, into the presence of God, receive of His grace and then minister the same unto those who need it. I think of the ministry of intercession my dear departed wife had. When the Spirit would put some needy soul on hear heart, she would pray; she would get something from God for them, sometimes in the form of a poem; then she would sit down and write to them ministering to them the thing God had given her for them. She didn't just pray for them, and hope God would do something for them. She got from God and gave to them, and many people have told me how her letters were such a blessing to them. She would minister comfort, strength, confidence, faith and life to them. She would lift them out of discouragement and despondency, lift up the fallen hands, strengthen the feeble knees, put new confidence and faith in God in their hearts, and help them to rejoice and praise God. THIS IS INTERCESSION. Any one can pray, but the intercessor does more than that, he receives and gives.
"Thank God, the way into the Holiest of all is open to us, so, 'Having therefore boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil...and having an High Priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith' (Heb. 10:19-22). When the Lord died on the cross, the veil that hung before the entrance to the Holy of Holies, separating us from the presence of God, was rent from the top to the bottom, signifying that the way into the presence of God was now open, so that we as the priests of God can enter into His presence. Under the old order only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year, but now every priest can enter into His presence, and in spirit abide there, but we can also go in and out, at will, to receive grace from God to minister to others.
"Any ministry should be preceded by time spent in the presence of God, in the Holiest of all, at the throne of grace, receiving from God of the riches of His grace, so we will have something to minister of God. If we have not spent time with Him and received from Him, then all we minister is something from ourselves, and not something that is of God. This is why so much ministry is ineffective, it is not something from God, but something of self" - end quote. Oh, how we need INTERCESSORS in this hour, not those who weep and wail before God for His salvation, but those who ENTER IN to a place in God to receive of Him that they may in turn ENTREAT MEN TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD and have wherewith to meet the need of all who turn to Him. THIS IS PRIESTLY INTERCESSION!
"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. 7:25). Our great High Priest has a ministry of intercession so potent and so powerful that it can save us to the uttermost a complete and full salvation, spirit, soul and body. "To the uttermost." "To" is from the Greek preposition EIS meaning "into." EIS in the Greek language has a goal, thus making "into" or "unto" acceptable renderings. UNTO the uttermost - completely, entirely, all the way into the image and likeness of God! HE will intercede FOR US, on our behalf, communicating the life of God to us until we have experienced the very "uttermost" salvation.
An intercessor is one who stands between, who stands in the gap and makes up the hedge. He is not so much a minister of words as of actions - and of BEING. No man or woman can be an intercessor and be self-centered or selfish, or carnal, or keep his own opinion, or tell God only what he feels disposed to pray for, or have his own feelings, or be telling the world how he feels about it, imputing their sins unto them, or have his own will, or be praying for God to do things in people's lives that he, with limited vision and understanding, wishes to see done.
I passed by a church building once and saw its schedule of services posted outside. Wednesday night was announced - "7:30 - Intercession." I know what they mean, but intercession cannot be locked into an hour or two on Wednesday night! It is a life lived for others. A prayer may be SAID, but an intercession must be LIVED, for it is Christ living for the need of creation in and as you. All who truly minister of His life are intercessors. With them it is not an exercise, not a hobby, not some religious duty, not a means of making a living, but a flow of His life from within. Intercessors do not merely pray for men to be blessed; they are committed to making it happen. They cannot simply pray and walk away, believing that somehow, somewhere, sometime, God in His great mercy will do whatever has to be done. They are committed to finishing the task. God! give us PRIESTLY INTERCESSORS!
To be concluded
J. Preston Eby
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas 79937
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