KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRIESTHOOD
Levi was the third son of Jacob. Normally the eldest son would have received the priesthood, but Reuben was disqualified because of immorality. Simeon, the second son, was disqualified because he did not protect the younger son, Joseph, when it was in his power to do so when Joseph was in the pit. Therefore the priesthood was given to the third son, Levi. Levi received the choicest of all the promises made unto Abraham. It is possibly the greatest promise any man or woman can receive from Almighty God. In Gen. 15:1 the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, "Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and THY EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD." God said, "I am thy reward, Abram." There is no gift so great that a man can offer than his own person. So God was promising to Abraham the greatest possible gift He could give unto him - "I myself am thy exceeding great reward." In Mall 2:4-5 God says, "And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that My covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; I gave them to him for the peace wherewith he feared Me, and was afraid before My name." Here God gives His reasons why Levi received the priesthood. There are qualifications for every ministry.
In previous Studies of this series I pointed out the truth that Israel, in its relationship to the Tabernacle in the wilderness, represents the WHOLE WORLD OF LOST MEN who are outside of Christ, excluded from His promises, separated from His presence, barred from His glory, having no hope, and without God in the world. As Israel typified the world, so Levi and his tribe typified the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH, or all believers who are justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Levi, when chosen of God, had to see himself as one that was, in God's account, DEAD, as we read, "for they (the Levites) are wholly given unto Me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the first-born of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto Me: for all the first-born of all the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every first-born in the land of Egypt, I SANCTIFIED THEM FOR MYSELF; I HAVE TAKEN THE LEVITES FOR ALL THE FIRST-BORN OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL" (Num. 8:16-18).
The Lord passed through the land of Egypt with the sword of justice unsheathed, to smite ALL the first-born, nor would Israel's first-born have escaped, had not the sword fallen upon the neck of the spotless victim and thus, as someone has beautifully observed, "There was death in every house, not only in the houses of the Egyptians, but also in those of the Israelites: in the former, it was the DEATH OF EGYPT'S FIRST-BORN; in the latter, the death of God's Lamb." The Levites, then, were taken INSTEAD of those upon whom the sword of the destroying angel should have fallen; or, in other words, THE LEVITES WERE. TYPICALLY, A DEAD AND RISEN PEOPLE, and thus were no longer looked at in the same light as the other tribes of Israel, but of NEW LIFE through grace, in which they were placed by God Himself. And here let me observe that this is the path which every sinner must travel if he would know experimentally anything of what Levi typifies.
There is no other way in which to escape from the judgment of the law on the one hand, or from the horrid workings of indwelling corruption on the other, than simply to see ourselves dead to both, and "alive unto God through Jesus Christ." "How shall we," says the apostle, "that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Know ye not that so many of us that were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:2-4). And, again, "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God" (Rom. 7:4).
All Christians today who truly know Christ in the forgiveness of sins and the washing of regeneration, are prefigured by the Levites who were the ministers of the Lord, His inheritance. But the house of Aaron, one family among the Levites, the priesthood, one body under one Chief or High Priest, was typical of the "little flock" which follows on to know the Lord in all His glorious and eternal reality, the overcomers, gathered out of all ages, who through faith, patience, and obedience qualify to sit with Christ upon His throne as a Kingdom of Priests unto God. I cannot emphasize too strongly that although Israel as a nation numbered well over a million at Sinai, and although a whole tribe of Levites, whom God forbade Moses to number, were called for spiritual service, nevertheless five men only (and their descendants) from the tribe of Levi (AARON AND HIS FOUR SONS) were then called to stand "in the PRIEST'S office" and minister on a higher level unto God in the Aaronic order, in the highest calling in Israel under the Old Covenant.
In addition to setting these few special individuals in the Priest's office or the HIGH CALLING of the anointed Aaronic order in the Old Testament dispensation, God also called the Levites to be separated servants of the Israel nation. They were all endued with a certain measure of understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, and all possessed a spiritual ministry in some capacity; but they are always called "Levites," NOT "Priests.' The Scriptures continually show a two-fold calling unto Himself out of Israel, speaking of "Priests AND Levites." This difference (under the Old Covenant) was revealed by such passages as Num. 18:1-7, where we read: "The Lord said unto Aaron...thy brethren also of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou with thee, that they may be joined unto thee: but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the Tabernacle of witness. And they (the Levites) shall keep thy charge, and the charge (upkeep and general running and service) of the Tabernacle: only they shall NOT COME NIGH THE VESSELS OF THE SANCTUARY AND THE ALTAR...thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your PRIEST'S OFFICE for everything of the altar, and WITHIN THE VEIL; and ye shall serve. I have given you the priest's office as a service of gift."
Aaron and his sons were "anointed" with the "holy anointing oil"; and they alone were called to the HIGH CALLING of priesthood. They alone passed through the first veil into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle to minister within the Tabernacle and burn incense before the second veil. They only could enjoy the fuller light of illumination and revelation from the seven-branched candlestick. And whereas all Israel and the Levites could eat the heavenly "manna" in the wilderness, only Aaron and his sons could eat the shewbred made of the finest wheat in the secret place of the Holy. The Aaronic priests foreshadowed those holy sons of the great High Priest of the heavens whom God would later call in an outstanding manner under the New Covenant, anointing them above their fellows by giving unto them the Holy Spirit "without measure", and leading them under their High Priest into the fullness of God in the priestly order of Melchizedek. Those called to enjoy the counterpart of this high calling of Aaron and his sons today must not only be "anointed" into office, but must also pass under the first veil of death to self before they can finally enter the ultimate Holiest Place where the full Melchizedekian Priesthood awaits them at the manifestation of the Sons of God, after the power of an endless life.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRIESTHOOD
I There were three primary qualifications for priesthood in the order of Aaron: (1) birth (2) freedom from blemish (3) maturity. The very first requirement was that one must be A SON OF THE HIGH PRIEST. A man might be the brightest and most capable Levite, but if he was not the offspring of Aaron he was prohibited from serving in the office of the priesthood. The first qualification for priesthood is birth. You must be the son of the High Priest, the OFFSPRING OF HIS PRIESTLY NATURE. Here we have a most wonderful thought connected with Aaron. God made Aaron High Priest in such a sense that his life carried priesthood to all his descendants. Through fifteen hundred years the descendants of Aaron were priests, because they were sons of Aaron. The life of Aaron carried the blessing. And, oh, the life, the divine life, of my High Priests Do you think that that would carry less blessing than the priesthood of Aaron? Verily no. Priesthood BEGINS with the new birth. But being born again no more makes one a priest than being born into Aaron's house made one a priest. Right birth was the first requisite - but merely the first step down a long path of preparation and qualification. In the book of Leviticus, we have the offerings, the priesthood, and many kinds of regulations. Leviticus can be divided into these three parts: the first, dealing with the offerings, is from chapter one through seven; the second, dealing with the priesthood, is from chapter eight to ten; the third, from chapter eleven through the end of the book, deals with many regulations including offerings and priesthood. There are all kinds of regulations typifying the life that glorifies God. We cannot go into detail now regarding them all. If we could, we would see how interesting, how sweet, how powerful, and how pregnant with meaning they are. There are many regulations about what is clean and what is unclean, about what is separated and what is not separated from common and worldly things, about how to act and how not to act. All these are requirements for a holy life.
The second qualification for priesthood is found in Lev. 21:16-24. "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous. Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; no man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy. Only he shall not go in unto the veil, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not My sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them."
One could be the son of the High Priest and still not be qualified for the priesthood IF THERE WAS SOME BLEMISH IN HIM - any kind of disease, deformity, or physical impairment. The regulations laid down in Leviticus twenty-one show that in Israel the ministry of priesthood called for its best and finest sons. This was a more demanding task than others, and its call for a special holiness imposed a considerable degree of dedication and self-denial upon those who entered upon it. Only a man who was physically fit and whose life was not marred by anything which could have been regarded as a blemish was to serve the altar - serving God and man in this highest of all ministries. No special disqualification's for the Levitical office existed, but it was otherwise with the priest's office.
The book of Leviticus deals with the old Aaronic priesthood of the natural Israel. Today we are dealing with a SPIRITUAL PRIESTHOOD, as it is written, "Ye also, as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 2:5). Physical handicaps do not disqualify anyone from entering into the high and holy things of God reserved for those who follow on to know Him. The material and bodily of the Old Testament is always the type and symbol of the spiritual in the New Testament; thus, in this case the spiritual purity and perfection of him who would draw near unto God in the priest's office is prefigured by the physical regulations laid upon the Aaronic priesthood. Ah, matters not> beloved, whether you are blind or cripple, male or female, Israelite or Gentile rich or poor, educated or uneducated, or anything else in the natural. If you possess the SPIRITUAL QUALITIES in Christ that are required by the Spirit, you can minister in the priesthood of the Son of God. Raise your sights to HEAVENLY TRUTHS! Eph. 2:6 tells us that we have been "raised up together...in HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus." So we must look at these natural handicaps in Leviticus, and tier what they mean in the SPIRITUAL REALM in which we walk. As there were dwarfed and blinded sons of Aaron, so are there not a few Christians who are spiritually dwarfed or deformed or blind and these continually take hold of the bread of God and serve up a garbled mess of man-made tradition and confusion. Its being done all the time in thousands of churches across the land, and flooding the air waves day and night. My deep and earnest prayer is that God will open your eyes to see what it takes to have a pure ministry, and deliver a pure word as the priests of the Lord in these momentous days.
"Whosoever...hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God" (Lev. 21:17). A blemish is a FLAW IN CHARACTER. Webster defines blemish as: Any deformity, physical or moral; flaw; disfigurement; to mar or disfigure It speaks to us here of a weakness of character. I have met a number of preachers who have a good knowledge of Kingdom Truth, eloquent delivery, and great ability to influence people toward the purposes of God, but you cannot trust them. They cannot be counted on to keep their word. They will not live within their means, nor pay their honest debts. They leave a trail of unpaid bills and questionable dealings wherever they go. Some live loose lives and have been caught repeatedly in immoral affairs. They have a weakness which they blame on heredity, their environment, or their circumstances. They show no sign of godly character. They may have a flaw of nature such as a violent temper, strange lusts, weird and unscriptural doctrines, disorderly homelife, love of money, desire to control other people's lives, love of pleasure, drunkenness, two-facedness, laziness or pride. They feel they just have to learn to live with such things, for that is just how they are. Not so! Not, that is, IF THEY WOULD BE THE PRIESTS OF GOD.
Ah, you can be a Christian (Levite) and have some flaws of character. You can speak in tongues and have such flaws. You can prophesy and have such flaws. You can fall out under the power and see visions and have such flaws. You can heal the sick and perform signs and wonders and have such flaws. Ask the Corinthians if this is not so! You can be an elder or an evangelist or, perhaps, even an apostle and have such flaws. But I do not hesitate to tell you that YOU WILL NEVER BE A PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK WITH SUCH FLAWS! In the order of Aaron one might be a son of Aaron - leprous, palsied, mad, or blind, not knowing his father - but nevertheless a son; and because a son, never to be forsaken by his family or his God. But he was not permitted to enter the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle, nor to offer the bread of his God, nor to approach the altar of his God, nor to officiate as a priest in any of the high and holy things of Yahweh.
In the days of Christ there was a court of inquiry instituted by the Sanhedrin whose function was to investigate and confirm the qualifications of all new candidates for the priesthood. This court sat daily in "the Hall of Polished Stones." Their first inquiry was into the genealogy of the candidate. If he failed to satisfy the court about his perfect legitimacy, the candidate was dressed and veiled in black, and permanently removed. If he passed that ordeal, inquiry was next made as to any physical defects which disqualified for the exercise of the priestly office. The third inquiry was about the age of the candidate. Those who had stood the threefold test were dressed in white raiment, and their names properly inscribed. To this pointed allusion is made in Rev. 3:5 where the Christ declares, "He that OVERCOMETH, the same shall be CLOTHED IN WHITE RAIMENT..," Thus received, and afterward instructed in his duties, the formal admission alike of priest and High Priest was by investiture. OVERCOMERS! WHITE RAIMENT! RIGHTEOUSNESS! Oh, brethren, beloved of God, such are the qualifications for the priesthood.
The transcendent essential factor is PERFECT SPIRITUAL CHARACTER. Character springs from nature. Character and nature are not the same. Webster defines nature as: The INHERENT TENDENCIES directing conduct...what a thing really is...quality...essence. As a degenerate human of Adam's fallen race we were, one and all, born with a nature just the opposite of God's holy nature. Paul describes our former nature in Eph. 2:2-3: "...in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also WE ALL had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by NATURE the children of wrath, even as others." Yes - we were by NATURE, INHERITED TENDENCY, the children (offspring) of wrath!
But now, praise God, as children (offspring) of GOD, Peter says, "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness (Godlikeness), through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue...that.. ye might be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Pet. 1:3-4). Ah, we are now made partakers of GOD'S DIVINE NATURE. This has been effected through the NEW BIRTH, for nature is INHERITED. Being born of God we now share HIS NATURE. And from this divine nature is developed DIVINE CHARACTER. Hearken, my beloved, you who would understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. Nature is INHERITED, but character is DEVELOPED. Character is progressively formed out of nature. The human baby who is born with a degenerate, sinful nature does not possess a SINFUL CHARACTER until through several years he has established a pattern, of behavior dictated by his inherent tendencies, his nature. In the same way, at the moment the believing man or woman is born of God his nature is changed, a new one acquired, the very nature of God his Father, but, divine character must now be developed out of that nature by experience, learning to daily yield to the urgings of the Holy Spirit who Himself is the active ingredient in the DIVINE NATURE!
CHRIST THE HEALER
This brings before us the holiness required of "the priests, the sons of Aaron." The nearer one comes to God, the more essential it is to maintain holiness. A degree of separation that might suffice for the congregation, or for the Levites, would not be suitable for the priests. "Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and WITHOUT BLEMISH" (Eph. 5:25-27). Thank God! there is deliverance in Zion. A saint is disqualified to offer the bread of his God until he has been cleansed and delivered. A brother in Christ has written: "God is dealing very strongly in the body of Christ today about the question of godly character. This has always been a priority with the Lord, but never so urgent as in these last days. And seldom has there been such a lack of this quality in men of God who claim to be His end-time messengers. Many do not like to hear this message because it deals with that area which they may be ashamed of, or feel that they cannot conquer. But there is victory in Christ. To heal a blemish means to go to the cross, to suffer a death-blow to the self-life. And some cannot face that." Therefore, they are disqualified for the for the Royal Priesthood.
So perfect, whole, clean, and clear, without blemish, they were to be, those priests of the Old Covenant, that offered those outward things, in the outward Tabernacle or Temple. How much more perfect, whole, clean, and clear, is Jesus Christ, our High Priest, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, who offered up Himself to God, without spot or blemish, for the sins of the whole world, and gave His holy flesh for the life of the whole world, abolishing forever all those offerers and offerings of the Old Covenant. And therefore all the members with Him in the Royal Priesthood, must be just as perfect, whole, clean, and clear, without blemish, as their glorious Head. So He cleanses away the inward brokenness, crookedness, scurviness, scabbedness, blindness, deformities, lameness, and blemishes, that every member of the order of Melchizedek might offer their spiritual sacrifices in holiness and honor and praise unto God, blessed be His name!
T. Austin-Sparks wrote, "The highest purpose of God in the salvation of the believer is to bring forth in him the fullest manifestation of Christ in every aspect of his character." A "defect" is not necessarily a man's own fault; it might be the result of bad teaching, Defilement acquired from the harlot church system, the spirit, or doctrines, or methods of "Babylon" which cling tenaciously to ones spirit who has outwardly "come out" of Babylon. Sometimes a "defect" is the result of one's own lack of spiritual diligence. Peter speaks of some being "blind, shortsighted," and he accounts for it by their lack of diligence to make their calling and election sure. Heb. 12:13 speaks of some being "lame," but states that they may be "healed." Thank God! Have the flaws in your own character, precious friend of mine, been magnified in your eyes until you despair of ever qualifying for the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus? Today, dear one, I point you to JESUS CHRIST THE HEALER.
There is no use telling a man he is a sinner, unless you tell him how to get out of his sin. Oh, how good of God, convicting men of sin in order to show them the path of salvation! There is no use telling saints of their disqualifying "flaws" and "blemishes," unless you tell them how to get rid of their defects. Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mat. 11:28). And they came. His hands touched them and the fever fled, the spirits went out, and every form of disease and sin and uncleanness departed, and they were made whole.
Come, see a little girl whom He healed - come with me to Galilee. It was yesterday, only God's yesterday, that this happened. Come, I want to lead you along the streets of Capernaum, and take you into this house. See that little daughter, but twelve years of age, lying there. See the father, who is a rabbi, bending over her, and the little maid is whispering, "Father, go and get Jesus to come and heal me." "I dare not, my daughter, if I do the rabbis of the Great Council in Jerusalem will strike my name from the roll of rabbis; they will curse me in the Temple of my God. Oh daughter, I dare not do it." And the maid replies, "Then I shall die; no doctor can heal me." Said the rabbi, "Daughter, you shall not die." "Yes, my father, I shall; for you cannot get Him to come and heal me unless you go to Him and worship Him." And the rabbi cries, "Then I shall worship Him; you shall not die." Away speeds the rabbi, and he searches through the streets of the city for Jesus, and cannot find Him. Then he is told He has gone to Gadara, but is coming back today. He watches for Him beside the sea, and the moment that Jesus appears he falls at His feet and worships Him, and cries, "Lord, my little daughter lies at the point of death; come and lay Thy hands upon her and she shall live." Jesus says He will go. Away through the streets He goes with the rabbi. On the way a woman touches the hem of His garment and is immediately healed. He turns around and addresses words of comfort to her. Then they go on. Suddenly a messenger comes to the rabbi and says, "Your little daughter is dead; do not trouble the Master." But Jesus said, "Be not afraid, only believe. Did I not say I was going to heal her?" "Yes." "Then I am going to do it." Then they go into the house and into the room and there they find the beautiful little girl dead! Oh, she is dead! But the hand of the Christ is laid on the head of the child and He says, "Talitha cumi! Maid, arise!" In a moment the spirit has come back into the body and the maid arises and looks into the face of Jesus. She lives! She is well! Blessed Jesus! That was done by Thee, yesterday, and Thou art just the I same today!
Think not for one moment, my brother, sister, that Jesus Christ is the healer only of diseases of the body. He has come to cleanse His Church, to sanctify and purify His people, to purge and refine and make every whit whole His priesthood, and I declare to you today that HE IS THE HEALER AND THE RESTORER OF THE PRIESTHOOD. Listen! The great and wonderful mercy of the Christ receives those who have blemishes, and His power heals all who humbly bow before Him, calling upon the name of the Lord. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (I Cor. 1:26). Saints who SEE THEIR CALLING - their high and holy calling in Christ - find neither room nor time to live slip-shod, careless lives. Rather they, SEEING THEIR CALLING, give all diligence to make their calling and election sure by daily surrendering all into the loving hands of God in unending devotion and prayer. Searching the Word and digesting it as the enlightening rays of the Holy Spirit fall upon them, they add to their faith with godly diligence every spiritual grace. To faith they add God's virtue; to virtue, knowledge from on high; to knowledge, temperance control and restraint in all things; to patience, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love - not the wretched, abhorrent thing the world calls love, but that love which is of God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit dwelling in a bloodwashed heart. Those who thus SEE THEIR CALLING are healed of all blemishes, made perfect, clean, clear, whole.
Do you want to be a priest? Then "clean up your act," get rid of the blemishes! The Holy Ghost is closely examining candidates for this ministry. The qualifying time is NOW. The "in part" ministries of the church age may get by with blemishes, as did the Levites, but the King-Priest ministry destined to deliver the whole creation from its bondage to corruption must itself first be freed from every vestige of carnality, weakness, limitation, sin, and death. How is this thing going to be done? "And the very God of peace SANCTIFY YOU WHOLLY; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved BLAMELESS (without blemish) unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thes. 5:23). If you are to be cleansed, made whole, and preserved without blemish there is only one way, and that is shown you in the verse that follows the one quoted above:
"Faithful is HE that calleth you, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT." What a word! Well, then, why do you not come to HIM to do it?
There is enough water in the Crystal River to make the whole state of Florida clean, but there are some people in Florida who do not like soap, and they do not like water. They do not like to be clean. The Great God can take men who are filthy and vile, and if you will submit to His hand, He will scrub you and boil you and sterilize you and strain you, and He will scourge you into shape, and you will come out clean. But it takes God Almighty to do it. And He says He "will do it." O Father! Thou hast come to Zion as Thou didst come to Jairus' house in that long ago. Cleanse Thy sons, heal Thy priests, purge the sons of Levi that they may offer unto Thee an offering in righteousness!
THE BLIND MAN
The very first blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is blindness. Please understand that these defects were applied naturally and physically to the Aaronic priesthood, but they bear a deeper spiritual meaning for us today. A man who is physically blind is not disqualified to follow on to know the Lord, but a man who is spiritually blind and who cannot see the truths of God now being revealed by the Spirit, is not to minister unto men nor unto God as a priest.
Bill Britton has aptly written on this point: "You would not want a blind cook in a restaurant preparing the food for your body. He might accidentally dump rat poison into the pot instead of baking soda. He certainly would not be able to balance the ingredients properly. So much more should we avoid having a blind man feed us spiritual food for our souls. It is tragic how many blind cooks we have feeding the bread of God today! They can remember the size, shape, and feel of the products of yesteryear when they had their vision. But if any new product comes along, they are in immediate confusion. Their only action is to throw out the new truth, because they are not familiar with it.
The problem is that some poisons come in the same size and shape packages as old familiar truths. If they are spiritually blind, they are in danger of feeding poison to God's people under the heading of "old familiar traditional doctrine." There are poisons such as sectarianism, the escape rapture theory, the Christmas folly, the false theory of 'Satan was once a holy and beautiful angel called Lucifer, the choir leader in heaven and guardian of God's holiness.' These are being set forth as good old safe and solid traditional doctrines. This is an example of the blind feeding the blind. Saints whose sight is being restored are escaping from such ministries. If you cannot see the present truth God is unveiling today, then you are disqualified to feed the people of God. Go to the Healer and have your eyesight restored. The problem in many cases remains that 'they have eyes, but will not look.' 'Awake thou that sleepest...and Christ shall give thee light"' - end quote.
Over and over during the last months of His life did our Lord tell the disciples that He must suffer and die. Most tenderly did He warn them that the hour of His departure was approaching; but how unconscious they were that the sun had commenced to go down and the night of His death was closing in upon them. Although Jesus knew that His hour had come, none of His disciples discerned the shadows that were already gathering around them. Jesus saw that the disciples did not discern that His earth ministry was drawing to a close and that the hour was at hand when they would be left alone. He would not have His beloved disciples unprepared, and He gently pointed out to them the deepening shadows, and intimated that the Bride would not always have the Bridegroom with her; but they could not understand. They could not take in the import of His words, which so plainly set forth His death and warned them that the time was at hand. Notwithstanding all He said to them concerning His sufferings and death, His words were forgotten. Even as they traveled to Jerusalem, where the ignominy and suffering of the cross awaited Him, and where the night of His absence awaited them, they strove as to who should be the greatest in His kingdom, which they thought He was about to set up on the earth plane.
How plain were His words if their understanding had not been darkened, and if their eyes had not been blinded by their preconceived ideas. If they had taken in His sayings by the spirit of revelation, they could have been prepared for the end that was so close upon Him and them; but they were blind and could see no signs of gathering shadows. For over three years did Jesus Christ walk with His disciples, teaching and talking with them. From time to time, He told them: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up." "But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him what it meant." We wonder at the dullness of the disciples, and we cannot understand why they could not take in His words and be prepared for His death.
Child of God, is it any different with you and me? For years the truth of the manifestation of the Sons of God has been going forth around the world. Especially during the last two decades has the message of the Kingdom sounded forth as a trumpet and multitudes have heard the sound thereof. Thousands upon thousands of saints have heard the voice of the Spirit exhorting them most insistently to divorce themselves from the harlot church systems that steal their strength away and devote themselves to Christ, and to Him alone. It is this harlot church system that keeps prospective SONS from coming into vital union with Jesus Christ. I never cease to be amazed when I see saints who claim to treasure the beautiful truths of sonship and the Kingdom of God, yet they never cease from dragging this holy vision into the harlot's house, subjecting it to the filthy abominations and uncleanness of that den of iniquity, Sunday after Sunday and week after week.
From infancy men have been taught that they must be faithful to their church, which, if they only knew it, is not THE CHURCH at all, but a sect or a denomination or a system that has become a winking whore that steals their heart away from true relationship with Christ, robs them of union with those precious ones who have been born of a priestly heart, and leaves them like prodigal sons far away from the Father's house, sitting in filthy garments, defiled, hungry, destitute, and companions of swine. You say that you long for a closer walk with Christ. Then pour the ointment of your love upon HIS HEAD, bathe HIS FEET with your tears of brokenness and repentance, and fill HIS HEART with your praise and worship and adoration; and know of a surety that all who come aside from defilement and pour such fervent love upon HIM will in a short time find themselves walking in a RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD that they never dreamt was possible, for "if any man love Me...We will come and make Our abode with him." Though the Spirit of God has been declaring the glory of A NEW DAY for some years now, the same dullness is upon many to this hour, and even many who preach and teach it, are living as though it were not so as they continue on in their old religiousness. Let us take heed lest we, too, are unable to discern the wonderful things God has prepared for His Sons in this hour; lest the same dullness and blindness happen to us as were upon the disciples in that long ago.
To be BLIND means simply to have NO VISION of what the Father desires. The natural mind is very dark and without understanding. Only the Holy Spirit can awaken it. Human efforts to enlighten men to the deep spiritual things of God will always fail. ONLY TO CHRIST IS POWER GIVEN TO OPEN THE EYES OF THE BLIND even as the scales fell from the vision of Saul when Jesus purged them away. This explains why the Bible remains to a great degree a closed book to the most educated but unconverted or unanointed man, while it is an open book to many of the most ignorant of believers. This explains why a man may be educated and trained to hold all the theological degrees that all the theological seminaries in the world can bestow upon him, and yet be utterly blind to the great spiritual revelations of the Word of God, while a poor, simple, uneducated saint will see truths and revelations of infinite depth and eternal glory in the pages of this blessed Book of Books which are absolutely unintelligible to others. This explains why carnally minded men who have read the Bible and studied it through and through, and know the Hebrew and Greek, will yet fail to find the living Christ or the transforming power of the Holy Spirit or the glories of the Kingdom of God or the wonderful hope of sonship to God within its pages. "Except a man be born again he cannot SEE" these things, for they are spiritually discerned. Spiritual truths are for spiritual people, and must be spiritually discerned. Therefore, without the quickening power of the Holy Spirit men are spiritually as blind as bats and it is impossible for the natural man to behold these wonders. At the same time, the most humble and unlearned saint who abandons all to God has no difficulty in finding all these glorious truths, and a thousand more, as plain as the noonday sun in the Word of God.
The following story came in the mail some time ago and it is so real and worthy of quoting. A missionary saw this fellow sitting on a porch. He spoke to this man, and said, "Are you lost?" The man replied, "Why, no, I have lived here for forty years." The missionary said, "I mean, have you found Jesus?" "I did not know He was lost," the man responded. "I am here to find out if you are a Christian man," the exasperated missionary tried again. The man answered again, "There is a Bill Christian who lives three or four miles over the ridge." The missionary, being flustered, said again, "I mean, are you ready for the judgment day?" "When is it?" asked the man. The missionary replied, "Well, it may be next week or next month, we do not know those things." "Well," the man answered, "when you know about them things, let me know."
True, a bit of humor is in that story, but the plain truth is that the understanding of the holy truths and the deep mysteries of the Spirit of God are just as misunderstood and darkened by the natural mind of the unspiritual man, as were the simple questions of the missionary by the poor ignorant and unchurched man rocking away on his porch. The vast majority of the teachings of the churches with their time-honored traditions, carnal creeds, and empty ceremonies have no more to do with the Kingdom of God than do the incoherent babblings of a mad man with the intellectual philosophies of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle. I pity the Christian who walks through life having no understanding of WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING. The fresh air of revelation never breathes upon his spirit, but he stumbles along through life attending his church, listening to insipid sermons, singing of a beautiful land on a far away strand, mistaking the myriad traditions of the elders for the sublime truths of God, but never being able to grasp the truth the Spirit is unfolding right now for those who follow on to know the Lord in deeper measures. These partake of the wine and wafers in the communion service Sunday after Sunday, but never discover the wonderful truth that the Christ desires now to DRINK IT NEW WITH THEM IN HIS FATHER'S KINGDOM. Millions of Christians argue and debate over forms and formulas for baptism in water, and never in their lifetimes comprehend what it means to truly be BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD (I Cor. 12:13); washed with natural water but not yet discerning the washing of water by the Word, even that Word that was made flesh but returned to the Father, into the Spirit realm, and is now come revealing disclosing, uncovering Himself to the inner man by the faith of the operation of God.
Men gaze steadily into the skies looking for Jesus to come flashing across the heavens to snatch them up and carry them away to some far-off heaven somewhere, but their spirits have never been enravished with these enlightening words: "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and HATH TRANSLATED US into the kingdom of His dear Son"(Col 1:13). Is that not an illuminating statement? And while the preachers rant and rave and speculate about a "rapture," displaying their carnal charts complete with pictures of automobiles wrecking, trains derailing, and airplanes crashing while the bodies of the saints soar away through the atmosphere, there are some humble sons of the High Priest who have EYES TO SEE and have discovered a spiritual process NOW TAKING PLACE in every believer who is earnestly pressing toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. From the far distant mountain peaks of revelation the inspired voice of Paul clear as the morning song of the meadowlark sounds forth the message: "Even when we were dead in sin, He HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST, and HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER, and made us sit together IN HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5-6). Praise God!
O what potent words were penned by Paul when he prayed fervently for the Ephesian saints "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: THE EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:17-20).
I do not doubt for one moment that the great apostle Paul directed this prayer to the heavenly Father because he knew, as perhaps few men have known, that ONLY GOD CAN OPEN THE EYES OF THE BLIND. Whenever God comes, whenever God bestows mercy, the light of His countenance is our light, His appearing is our vision, and His presence is our heaven. If we just touch Him, we see light. The moment He hides His face from us, we are immediately in darkness. No matter how much we strive for light, it is of no use; regardless of how much we struggle, it is in vain. It is not that you are a little loose, so you cannot see light, and that I am a little pious, therefore light comes; or that you are a little lazy, so you cannot see light, and I am a little diligent, therefore I see light. Enlightening the eyes of our understanding does not depend on our striving and struggling, but on the mercy and power of God. Alas, how many there are today who make their own light by lighting lamps and kindling fires. When darkness comes, they do not wait till dawn, till the sun rises, till God moves afresh by His Spirit; they themselves go to kindle a fire, to stir up something soulish by self-effort, to make light themselves. God says that all those who kindle a fire to enlighten themselves shall end in sorrow. This is God's decree. What a serious matter this is! May we submit ourselves to fear God and look to HIM for wisdom and revelation from on high.
As one has written, "In the midst of turmoil Job cried, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth, and He shall stand in the latter days upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I SEE GOD: Whom I shall SEE FOR MYSELF, and MINE EYES SHALL BEHOLD, and not another.' He was positively sure in his own mind that in some distant future day he would SEE GOD, but what he did not know was that AT THAT VERY MOMENT God was leading him into the coveted experience. Within a few days he would shout with ecstatic joy, "NOW MINE EYES SEETH THEE!" (Job. 42:5). It is easy to put off spiritual experience for the milleniums to come, but God would have us enter them now. 'That I may KNOW HIM' was the ceaseless longing of Paul's heart (Phil. 3:10). Too many sermons are preached ABOUT GOD, but too few people come to KNOW HIM personally. You can never know people by hearing about them even from their closest friends. You must see them, know them, and understand them personally. However vivid a description may be given of an individual, you could still pass him on the street without knowing who he was or even live in the same house with him without knowing he was the person in question. So also it is with God. You will know many things about Him by hearing, but you will only KNOW HIM when your eye SEES HIM. 'No man can see God and live,' but that does not mean that he will give up the ghost and die. It means that he will never live the same anymore, but will live as God lives in the Spirit."
Ray Prinzing wrote: "The Scripture is clear that 'where there is no vision, the people perish' (Prov. 29:18). Literally, the people are 'naked,' for our vision is our covering until we are swallowed up into the reality of its fulfillment. But we are also learning the tragedy of having a vision and then not progressing on to BECOME the fulfillment of that vision, but rather to get entangled in substitutes, and things of the world. Our earnest prayer therefore is that we might have 'open eyes' to see as God sees, of all that He hath prepared for them that love Him, and then to be progressively developed and prepared for its consummation. It is also self-evident that THE OPENING OF OUR EYES TO SEE, IS A PROGRESSIVE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. He reveals, quickens, unfolds according as He has also worked in us to prepare us for the reception of that vision, and then He imparts the ability to go on and become its fruition. 'For it is God Himself whose power creates within you both the desire and the power to execute His gracious will' (Phil. 2:13, Weymouth).
"The purpose of 'seeing' looks toward BECOMING, not simply to satisfy a curiosity, or just to fill a present need. Seeing is knowing, and knowing is becoming. To see is to become what you see, for one is transformed into the image of what he sees. Thank God, there have been those occasions when it seems as if the veil has been drawn back a little, and we receive glimpses into the realms of reality in Christ. These rare 'visions' begin to work in us, so that we might be purged, purified, and prepared for more sight. And how we groan as we find this heaviness of the veil of flesh still upon us, to blur and make hazy that which we would behold more clearly. The carnal mind cannot see God! 'The world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not' (Jn. 1:10-11). They saw Him as a 'man,' but they could not see Him as God. In fact we even read, 'Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory' (I Cor. 2:8).
"Even His disciples, after walking with Him for three years, found it hard to look beyond the natural realm of the physical, so that 'Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known Me, Philip? He that bath SEEN ME bath SEEN THE FATHER' (Jn. 14:8-9!.
"'When shine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light' (Lk. 11:34). Yes, you become what you see! The more evil we see in one another, and then dwell upon it, talk about it, feed on the negative, the more evil we are guilty of becoming. Our eyes become more negative, and then next time we see that person we'll see even more negative things in him. 'Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judges": for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things' (Rom. 2:1). Certainly God cannot impart to us, unveil the vision of higher dimensions in Him, so long as we still have the allure of the world imprinted as stars upon our eyes. The transition, to focus our eyes upon HIM has been a process, it is not an instant revelation complete. True, the fresh glimpses come suddenly, as a burst of light, but we do not yet fully see" - end quote.
Ah, God is calling out a people in our day, the age of lukewarm, self-satisfied Laodicea, to know Him and walk with Him as priests in His Kingdom. To these He is saying, "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and ANOINT THINK EYES WITH EYESALVE, THAT THOU MAYEST SEE" (Rev. 3:18). And may I with all reverence add that if your eyes do see the precious truths and calling of God for this hour, then lift up holy hands in praise and thanksgiving and worship to HIM who has called and chosen you by His grace. Rail not upon those precious believers who are now blind to these wonderful things - they are your brethren, fellow Levites, though they stand not among the company of the Royal Priesthood. No blind man can approach to offer the bread of his God, no blind man can serve as a priest.
"But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear" (Mat. 13:16)
. J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas 79937
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.