KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRIESTHOOD
There were three primary qualifications for priesthood in the Aaronic order: (1) birth (2) freedom from blemish (3) maturity. The very first requirement was that one must be A 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 Priest! Do you think that that would carry less blessing than the priesthood of Aaron? Verily, no! Thus 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.
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 anything 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: be 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 the 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. The blemished one must not serve at the altar, at either of the altars, the brazen or the golden, nor be admitted to attend or assist the other priests in offering sacrifice or burning incense. He could eat, he could receive of the BLESSING of the Lord, but he could not SERVE.
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, bond or free, 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 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 discover 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 airwaves 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.
THE LAME MAN
"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 or a spiritual lack. The second blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is lameness. 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 lame is not disqualified to follow on to know the Lord, but a man who is spiritually lame and cannot walk out the life and truths of God now being revealed by the Spirit, is not to minister unto men nor unto God as a priest.
To be lame indicates one who does not walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called. Bill Britton has written so pointedly and powerfully on this subject that I am compelled to share his-words here. "Now we are dealing with a priest who has good eyesight, but is lame. He can discern what God is doing in this hour, he sees beautiful revelation truths. He can thrill your heart with the message he preaches with great anointing. But he is lame. He cannot walk in what he sees. He sees it, he talks it, but he can't walk it. There is a weakness in his ability to follow the footsteps of Jesus. He cannot set a good example before the people. He can tell them of the victorious Spirit filled life, but he cannot demonstrate a life of victory. He is lame. There is a weakness. In Acts chapter three we find Peter and John encountering a man who had no strength to walk. From his birth he had never walked properly. How like a lot of Christians today! From the time they were 'born again,' they never made a full commitment to God, and never had the strength to walk a clean Christian life. Oh, they believed in Jesus, they wanted to go to heaven. They just could not seem to walk in holiness of life.
"The lame man looked at Peter and John, expecting some of the treasure he thought they might give him. But they saw that he had a greater need than treasures. So they ministered to his need to walk and be strong. So many today are begging for truths, spiritual revelations, and end-time doctrines. They want to fill their purse with all these treasures. Their head knowledge is powerful, but their walk is weak and a reproach to the Kingdom of God. What a reproach this lame man was to Israel, sitting right at the gate of their temple. They claimed to have a God of power and healing (Ex. 15:26; Ps. 103:3; Gen. 20:17). And yet daily this man was carried to their temple gate, and no one could give him strength to walk. And what a reproach it is to have people who can preach the sonship message, know the Scriptures well, and yet cannot walk it out! You begin to exhort them to walk in holiness, and they say: 'Oh, we've heard all that before, how about sharing some deep end-time mysteries with us?' And if you don't tickle their itching ears, they will go elsewhere until they find someone who will. Heal the lame, Oh Lord, and give us men of God to feed us who can walk what they preach! When the man was healed, he not only walked, he leaped! Give us leaping leaders today who can live and walk super triumphantly!" - end quote.
Sons of the High Priest! The members of the Royal Priesthood are the offspring of the Greater Aaron, the High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ the Son of God. He is the pattern and prototype for all who would follow after. Because the leg is an symbol of strength, God did not suffer the soldiers to break the legs of our Lord Jesus when He died. "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: for these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken" (Jn. 19:31-33, 36). Not a bone was broken of this One who so perfectly walked out the nature and will of the Father all the way to the cross, this strong One, the Captain of our salvation.
The lovely Shulamite in the Song of Solomon made this wonderful statement about her King, who is the type of our Lord Jesus Christ: "His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold" (S. of S. 5:15). The feet, spiritually speaking, refer to walk or movement; but His legs are mentioned here and they signify the power and strength behind the walk. One ancient authority translates this: "His legs are pillars, or columns, of Parian marble." This was the whitest, purest, and best - that from which the Grecian statues generally were formed. It is interesting to note that the word for "marble" is exactly the same as that which is translated in other Scriptures as "fine linen" and this points to the Christ's inherent righteousness. Thus the Shulamite speaks of her Beloved in all that He was in Himself, and all that He established in the strength of His righteousness, as having inexhaustible strength and stability There was nothing in His life or ministry which could be the least bit shaken or wearied. His legs were not the uneven legs of the lame, as were those of all other men, but they were perfect, white, strong, and stedfast, a type of unfailing strength.
All who came before Him fell short, but He has never failed. There was some weakness or frailty in the walk of all those blessed saints, patriarchs, and prophets who walked with God, even with those who were the nearest to Him and seemed to be making straight tracks, as Abraham, Moses, and David. Though for a long time they might walk steady and straight, at times there would be mistakes, blunders, falls, a crooked step or a back step, which showed that their legs were not equal - the harmony of their natures with HIS NATURE was not perfect. They needed more dealings, additional processings, and further transformations. Then the Christ of God came, the High Priest of a new order, and dwelt in the body that God had prepared for Him, the body which was as wrought ivory encrusted with sapphires. As He came leaping upon the mountains of separation and skipping upon the hills of praise and holiness, we praise God that His legs were not unequal; neither were they lame as He unswervingly walked out the will of His Father in wisdom, righteousness, and power. They were pillars of marble!
"His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold" (S. of S. 5:15). Three times in the Song of Solomon the Shulamite mentioned "fine gold," as at different times she referred to the thoughts of His mind, and the works of His hands, and now here to the character of His steps. The gold in Scripture is always indicative of the DIVINE NATURE. The sockets of fine gold are His feet. As a pillar is set in a socket to make it steadfast, His legs are represented as being made steadfast in the power of God's nature. Thus we are led to see that it was God who was expressing Himself through the Son, sustaining Him in all His ways, and finding full satisfaction and delight in Him through His perfect yieldedness as He WALKED OUT the strength of the divine nature in human flesh. How meaningful then these words of inspiration: "He that saith that he abideth in Him OUGHT HIMSELF ALSO SO TO WALK, EVEN AS HE WALKED" (I Jn. 2:6). It is true that "He was in all things made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:17). The other side of the truth also holds good: THE BRETHREN ARE IN ALL THINGS MADE LIKE UNTO HIM. They are called to live like Him. They are called to walk like Him. This is not demanded from them without their having the same power. This power is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, whom we have of God. Even as Jesus was filled with the Spirit, and then led by the Spirit, so must we be also filled with the Spirit and enabled to walk in the Spirit. Thank God! He is raising up a MANY BRETHREN COMPANY, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD among whom there is NO LAME, a people born of His Spirit, the offspring of His priestly heart, with power to walk out His life here upon earth as the revelation of HIMSELF to mankind. These, like their glorious Head and High Priest, have legs as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of gold!
THE FLAT NOSE
The third blemish which the Holy Spirit has signified as disqualifying one for the priesthood is a flat nose. This seems very strange. But it speaks not of a flat nose as a racial characteristic; it has absolutely nothing to do with a "pug nose" as against a "hook nose" or a "pointed nose" or a "prominent nose"! The idea in the original has to do with disfigurement. The New International Version and the Jerusalem Bible both render it simply as "disfigured," while the Amplified Bible translates "a disfigured face," and another version says "one with his nose slit." It is talking about a nose that is disfigured, deformed, or mutilated.
Our nose is our smeller, the way we discern whether something is fresh or rotten, pure or defiled. It is the instrument of discernment. The importance of discernment is pointed out by the fact that God put our nose in the middle of our face, right out front. In the beginning the vital, life-giving breath of God was breathed into the nostrils of the man whom He had formed, vitalizing the body made of dust, giving living expression and function to every member thereof. Have you considered the truth that lies hidden in the divine fact that the breath was breathed into Adam's NOSTRILS, the first part of the human body to be mentioned in the Holy Scriptures? Wonderful indeed is the statement made by Job wherein he says, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the A1mighty hath given me life" (Job. 33:4). Earlier Job said, "All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit" (Job 27:3-4). Centuries later the Apostle Paul, in his great message given on Mars Hill, confirmed that God giveth to all life and breath (Acts 17:25) Just one puff of His vital breath and man has life.
The nose is the most important feature of the human face. Its size and shape have much to do with how a person looks. The nose is most important, however, because the sense of smell is located there and because it is wonderfully constructed for taking in and cleaning the air we breathe into our lungs. A wall inside the nose separates it into two channels. These channels begin at the nostrils and go up through the nose and become one channel again at the top of the throat. Within these nostrils of ours the Creator has placed a marvelous network of receptors. With wonderful instruments scientists have studied the construction of the human nose with amazement. As odor-carrying air passes through the nose, it is examined by many extremely sensitive nerve endings inside the membranes of the nose. These nerve endings are the outposts or sentries of a pair of important nerves called the "olfactory nerves," which lead to the brain. There are probably as many as twenty million of these nerves in the pattern, all linked up with the trigeminal nerve, the largest of the cranial nerves. Whatever is smelled by the nose is passed along on the olfactory nerves like messages on a telephone wire. When these messages get to that part of the brain that understands, sorts out, and identifies all the many smells the answer comes back, revealing that we have smelled a rose or a vegetable stew or whatever else it may have been. Scientists have estimated that of the multitude of tiny receptors built into this marvelous system, as little as ten of them with a simple two-way response could differentiate between literally hundreds or even thousands of odors. It has been asserted that possibly as many as sixteen million distinct odor patterns can be identified.
The word "aroma" comes to us from the Greek language. It is derived from the word "airo" which means to "lift up" or by implication to take up and away. We are told that the spikenard sends forth the smell thereof (S. of S. 1:12), just as if it had been sent out on a mission. Such a mission would be vain unless some receptor captured the fragrance and classified its odor to give it a value. Similarly, we could boldly say that there are many delightful fragrances emanating from the presence of the Lord, only to lose themselves, so far as we are concerned, undetected by the defective smelling apparatus of the carnal mind and smothered in the choking smog of the worldly activity that encompasses us.
The nose means quick of scent, quick of discernment; able to discern not only good, but also evil. A flat or disfigured nose indicates, spiritually, one that does not have a sense of discernment by the Spirit. Of all the virtues needed by God's elect in this treacherous hour, methinks that discernment is among the serious. Ps. 115:6 tells us that "noses have they, but they smell not." That's the way it is with people who talk about being overcomers, manifested sons of God, priests after the order of Melchizedek, and deliverers of creation, yet they themselves cannot discern soulish things from spiritual realities, fleshly manifestations from divine operations of the Spirit of God, money-hungry and kingdom-building preachers from a true prophet of God, or truth from error.
I am often appalled at the vast number of saints I find across the land who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship to God, but who at the same time are ignorantly devouring books published by occult publishing houses, authored by deceivers of the first magnitude who deny the Lord that bought us, rooted in eastern philosophies, laced with damnable pagan heresies like reincarnation, science of the mind, white magic, masters of the far east, extra-sensory perception, psychic phenomena, alpha waves, astral projection, clairvoyance, pyramidology, so-called metaphysical Christianity, etc. etc. There are many like that today flat nosed ones, who cannot DISCERN truth from error! I care not how profuse your knowledge or how abundant your revelations of Kingdom Truth, if you have a flat nose, lacking in keen spiritual discernment, you are disqualified for the high calling of God's Royal Priesthood. You stand in need of a mighty healing!
There is placed in every true Son of God an inward sensitiveness to spiritual things. We are made conscious, by this sensitiveness, to the spiritual atmosphere about us, of our own relationship to God, of the tone of meetings, of the spirit of truth or error, and of attitudes and actions that either exalt the Lord or grieve the Holy Spirit. This faculty is our SPIRITUAL NOSE. Perhaps its most important function is that which has to do with our personal contact with God. In this we are made aware of the presence of God and convictions are given to us as to His will and ways. So little are we taught about this and so little do we understand, that often we disregard the "still small voice" within. It is soon quenched and the Holy Spirit is grieved, and this inner sensitiveness is lost. This inner voice is closely related to our communion with God. If it is lost, we need to repent and earnestly pray that there may be a restoration of that which is lost.
Likewise, by this inner sense we are told of the spiritual quality of a ministry, whether prophecy, preaching, teaching, testimony, prayer, or worship. By this same operation of the spirit within one is made aware of the motives in ministry. Among the things that are sensed are love, humility, righteousness, gentleness, dependence on God, or, on the negative side, pride, self-esteem, envy, strife, carnality, deceit, kingdom building, uncleanness. This inner spiritual sense is DISCERNMENT. It is a "knowing" not derived from the physical senses, natural knowledge, observation or suspicion. John Wesley called it "inner witness"; George Fox called it "inner light." It is a divinely imparted ability to the senses of the spiritual mind which enables one to perceive the spiritual states and motives of men, though to the natural man this knowledge may be hidden. There is also a natural intuition, perception, and cognition that are of I the soul, and not of the Holy Spirit. How necessary it is to walk close to the Lord and take care that we do not mistake the natural for the spiritual! By a careful guarding against critical, suspicious, uncharitable attitudes, and a concern for God's glory alone, we will be kept from error in this realm. Many people have a keen sense of natural discernment by which they detect conditions, but this is not discerning by the Spirit. As a result they may think that which is of the natural is of God and be mistaken. Natural discernment fails when it comes to the great mysteries of the spiritual realm and activity. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit," for they are spiritually discerned.
Some years ago a preacher and his lovely wife appeared in a Convention we held in Florida. This man possessed a dynamic personality, was wonderfully articulate, and had a fantastic testimony. At the invitation of the brethren I was associated with at that time, he spoke to the Convention in one of the evening sessions. The audience sat spellbound and the whole atmosphere was charged with excitement as he related how God had poured out upon him a powerful and supernatural baptism in the Holy Spirit while pastor of a Baptist Church in the state of Michigan. Some strange and awesome things transpired in his ministry at that time, and he began to preach the power of the Holy Spirit in that Church. But many rejected the new thing, and even his own family did not understand the unusual manifestations of the Spirit in his life. Misunderstanding, opposition, and hostility arose, he said, and the battle raged until finally his persecutors were successful in having him committed to the State Mental Hospital. On and on the story went, climaxing with his sensational escape from the asylum on a bicycle, and the dramatic dealings of God which propelled him into a vibrant ministry for the end-time. The people were deeply moved and the ministers were ecstatic. But deep within my spirit as I listened attentively that crisp January night, a bright red flag was hoisted by the Holy Spirit. I knew by that Inner Voice that something was wrong - seriously wrong. When he finished his message, amidst great rejoicing and praising God, I turned to my wife and said, "I don't believe a word that man has said!"
But the brethren received him with open arms and opened numerous doors for him across the land. They flew him and his companion to the mission station in Haiti. While there his wife received an astounding vision of the judgment soon to come upon America. The Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship took him up and scheduled him to give his testimony before many chapters of their organization. He soared to higher and higher heights as the days swiftly passed. Then, suddenly, six months later - the lid blew off. A precious prophet of God discerned that something was amiss. He traveled to the town in Michigan where this man said he had been the pastor of a Baptist Church, and made an intensive investigation. What he found out was startling. He discovered that this preacher had indeed been the pastor of a Baptist Church there, but he was dismissed, not for preaching the things of the Spirit of God, but for gross immorality. Furthermore, it was true that he had spent time in a mental institution, but definitely NOT because of having received the Holy Spirit! He had a wife and several children back in that town whom he had abandoned, and the woman now traveling with him was not his wife at all she was his mistress!
The brethren confronted him with the truth and he promptly confessed that his whole testimony was a fabrication, a lie, and his ministry a fraud. When asked why he did it, he replied, "God has raised me up in this hour TO SEE HOW MANY OF HIS PEOPLE CAN BE DECEIVED!" And when that news reached me, the Spirit within witnessed, "Amen!" But what an indictment! How terribly awesome! For out of the thousands of saints and ministries exposed to this fraud, only one prophet and myself (so far as I know) had discerned him!
Judgment begins at the house of God. God is setting judgment in the midst of His elect today. We are not playing games. God is not playing games. Sonship and revelation of the holy mysteries of God are not playthings for the entertainment of the saints. There are qualifications for every ministry, and the council is set, the Holy Ghost is closely examining candidates for this ministry. The qualifying time is NOW. I care not how many wonderful acts of God you can perform, or how many great visions and deep revelations you have received. It is impossible for a man or woman devoid of DISCERNMENT to be a priest of the Lord! There are no flat-nosed priests in the Kingdom of God - you can count on it! Sadly I confess that the land is filled today, as in times past, with those excitable souls who love the excitement of gifts, prophecies, visions, meetings, conventions, and new and deeper revelations without number, but who have not an ounce of spiritual discernment. These gullible souls swallow every ridiculous absurdity peddled in the name of "deeper revelation." Tell such starry-eyed super spirituals that not everything they see or hear from so-called end-time ministries is the truth, or of God, and they will gaze upon your ignorance with the sympathetic understanding generally reserved for a lunatic.
I shall never forget a Convention I attended once. It was sad - a monstrous mixture of flesh and spirit, of truth and error, of the precious and the vile. Assembled was a great host of people, some very spiritual, others exceedingly fleshly. There were true prophets of God there, and others who were merely pretenders, prophesying vanities off the top of their heads. There were profound truths of God ministered, while others consumed the valuable time rambling about in a multitude of meaningless absurdities. The pastor's wife arose to receive the offering. She declared that God had revealed to her that there were twelve persons present who were to give $10.00 each, and seven people who were to give $20.00 each. These she instructed to bring their offering to the front where she would lay hands upon them and confer "the apostle's blessing" on the twelve, and "the deacon's blessing" on the seven. For an hour it dragged on, pleading, coaxing, appealing, and finally she gave up without getting the entire number.
Deeply grieved in my spirit I was about to rise, walk to the pulpit, and read the Scripture, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money" (Acts 8:20), after which I purposed to walk out of the Convention. At that instant the Holy Spirit thundered in my spirit, "No, you don't!" I sat still. Back in the audience a prophetess arose weeping, and began to anointedly prophesy the Word of the Lord, saying, "Yea, My people, it is time that you learn the difference between that which is of God and that which is of man. It is time that you know the difference between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit. It is time that you discern the difference between that which is truth and that which is error."
As the Spirit travailed through this dear sister, my eyes were suddenly opened to behold by the Spirit the wonder and awesomeness of what the mighty God was doing in that place that day. HE had assembled His people together from far and near. HE had drawn both the babes and the mature, the tares and the wheat, the men of God and the pretenders, the fleshly and the spiritual, the true and the false. HE had set them side by side, the Sons and the bastards, drawing forth a manifestation from each. And judgment was set in the midst! How terrible! The Lord would then and there test, try, and prove His people, that it might be known WHO AMONG THEM COULD DISCERN between flesh and Spirit, light and darkness, and truth and error. Those able to discern went home justified, prepared to press forward into deeper depths and higher heights of His glory. But those who could not discern, the flat-nosed ones, were disqualified, and went their pitiful ways to sink ever deeper and deeper into the bottomless muck of fleshiness, fruitlessness, delusion, and darkness.
Someone has written, "Job tells of the one who smells the battle afar off (Job 39:25). You cannot deceive him about the enemy. The battle does not sneak up on him or catch him unawares. Those who live in a realm of darkness cannot see where they are going. But we are not the children of darkness, so that day shall not take us unawares (I Thes. 5:4). There is a ministry in the land, anointed of God, who have sharp discernment in the things of God. Some are afraid of any new truths or end-time revelation, knowing that they have no discernment. They fear that they might be deceived if they launch out past what others have already determined to be safe. So they have a bland, tasteless, fearful realm of teaching. And they produce fruit like unto themselves. God help the body of Christ! And He is. There is a ministry, qualified to feed God's people, because they have the ability to discern between good and evil, the precious and the vile, truth and error. And they are not afraid to speak what the Holy Spirit is revealing. Glory to God!" - end quote. And never forget, dear reader, that the greatest lack of discernment in this great hour is not the lack of being able to discern the errors that present themselves among God's people, but the inability to discern the TRUTH! The land is literally filled with a great crop of flat-nosed priests today who serve up to God's people a garbled mess of foolishness about getting "raptured" away before tribulation, the sin of Adam being stronger than the redemption of Christ, spending eternity in heaven playing harps, who they think the antichrist is going to be, etc. etc. Oh God! give us priests with keen noses!
Beloved soul, you may be asking, "How can I learn to discern?" The answer is very simple. When the spiritual scent has been exercised through obedience and communion with the Lord, and through dwelling in His presence, to discern the odors of HIS OILS and detect HIS FRAGRANCE afar off, we shall need no other training to prepare us to be quick of scent in discerning evil and the approach of the adversary. Our spiritual scent is not trained, but destroyed, by going about and smelling all the evil odors of the flesh and the enemy; for evil odors appear like pure air to the one who smells them too continuously. When the dead flies of folly have caused an evil odor in our oils, and we live in the stench of the flesh (or fleshly religion) until we are accustomed to it, all spiritual discernment is destroyed. If we would discern the enemy afar off, we must dwell in the holy atmosphere of our Father, we must abide in close touch with our Beloved, we must ever smell the perfumes of His graces and attributes and breathe the pure atmosphere of His presence. As we smell only HIS OILS AND PERFUMES and have them upon us, we shall discern the least approach of any odor other than His; and this will be a preparation for keen discernment. The presence of God! Ah, abiding there intimately and continuously is where we learn to distinguish between the scents!
The least sound of the flesh is like a harsh clatter upon our spiritual ears if we are dwelling in the stillness of His presence. If we have been seeking Him with our whole hearts, closing our ears to the world and to the flesh, we become still enough to hear His voice whenever He speaks; and we detect the voice of the enemy instantly because it is harsh and rasping. When we have His fragrance upon us, the approach of flesh is like a vile odor within a sanctuary. Child of God, have you been asking God to give you discernment? The first step that you must take, is to be able to discern yourself; for God cannot trust you to discern others until you can discern yourself. That which prepares you for all discernment, is to draw so near to God that you will see yourself first of all, then see everybody and everything from His viewpoint. You must dwell in His presence and smell His odors until you will instantly detect any strange odor that comes near your life. You must be in such submission to Him, that you will discern the least uprising within yourself, or any temptation thereto when it is afar off. You must become so quiet as to your own self-effort and fleshly activities, that your life is like still waters; and any strange sound will alarm and arouse you to prayer and watching. No less important is the need to come apart from the false odors of the harlot, the strange scents of religious Babylon, man-made creeds, fleshly methods, empty ceremonies, soulish excitement, and fanciful distortions for none can learn discernment in the harlot's house.
Ray Prinzing penned these inspired words of edification: "'And God said unto Solomon, Lo! I have done according to thy word, - lo! I have given unto thee a wise and understanding heart, so that like thee hath been none before thee, and after thee shall rise up none like thee' (I Kings 3:12, Rotherham). This prayer of Solomon which God so graciously answered, is truly becoming the prayer of His people in these days. With such confusion everywhere, teachings that sound true according to the letter of the Word, and yet not witnessing to the Spirit within us, we find ourselves crying out for the ability to be able to discern and to know the way wherein we should go.
"But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption... sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you...for when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage' (II Pet. 2:12-13, 18-19).
"There are so many things stated in this passage, which the discerning heart is able to see in many of the religious hucksters of our time. But one phrase especially catches our attention: 'sporting themselves with their own deceivings.' 'Sporting' is the Greek verb ENTRUPHAO - to live in luxury, to revel in. They deem it their right to live a luxurious life off the money they get from those whom they lead astray into false doctrine. Their hearts are trained in covetousness, lust, greed, and their doctrines are for prosperity so that they might ensnare others - alluring them through the lusts of the flesh also. Like ostriches, with our heads in the sand, we have refused to acknowledge the open, flagrant manifestations of the flesh, and then allowed the Spirit to work in us a separation from such a system.
"For those who are quickened by the Spirit, there is a quick discernment of that which rules BY FEAR, and which is not of God. Since this is so common we need not amplify it at length - they prophesy troubles upon you if you do not give to their work, or attend their many services every time the door opens, and how the blood of the heathen is upon your hands if you do not support their program to save them. Surely God's elect are coming to know that is NOT OF HIM. It is so contrary to the truth HE is causing them to KNOW by the Spirit, that truth is causing them to discern the utter bondage of man's kingdom building program" - end quote.
I well remember sitting on the platform at a large Charismatic meeting in El Paso, Texas. A well known minister from a large Charismatic Church on the west coast was the guest speaker. After giving his testimony, he called those with needs to the platform for prayer. With great flourish he entered into his "word of knowledge" ministry by which he told various ones what their problems were. I had sensed, all through the ministry that night, something strange. Like a lightning bolt from the sky the Spirit spoke to me, and said, "This is not of Me - this man is operating in a PSYCHIC GIFT, NOT in the power of the Holy Spirit!" Then followed this piercing inquiry - "What are YOU doing here?" At that moment I would have welcomed a trap door to open underneath me, permitting me to just quickly and silently disappear from my position! At this rebuke from the Lord, from that day to this, I have never again participated in any meeting of that realm of mixture.
Oh! what need there is for spiritual discernment! How our "noses" need to be healed! There is no area where discernment is more needed in this hour than in the spirit realm. This brings us to the territory even of familiar spirits. In many of the "deliverance ministries" which I have been privileged to witness in previous moves of the Spirit, there has been that true working of the gifts of the Spirit, in a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, a discerning of spirits, etc. But there has also been, especially in recent times, that which was a psychic counterfeit, and even the operation of a familiar spirit. On occasions when a ministry had revealed many things about an individual, and yet there was no true deliverance nor victory, I asked the Lord, "Why?" And He revealed so clearly that it was the work of ANOTHER SPIRIT - it was by a familiar spirit, or a "family" spirit, a spirit which attaches itself to a family or location, having much knowledge about those persons, and though many secrets were revealed about the person's life, there would be no true and lasting deliverance, for only to the Son of God has power been given to make men free and "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (Jr.. 8:36). It was an important lesson, and taught some much needed discernment. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God" (I Jn. 4:1).
I would be remiss if I did not close this thought by sharing these words of a friend: "The Pharisee in men judges by the APPEARANCE OF THINGS, and that is fleshly judgment, a carnal forming of opinions. The Christ in men judges righteous judgment. Well, now, what is righteous judgment? Whatever it IS, we certainly know what it ISN'T! It ISN'T judging by externals. 'For God,' the Scriptures say, 'looks NOT on the outward appearance, but upon the heart' (I Sam. 16:7). That is, God does not judge the outer manifestation of a man's life. He judges the man's HEART INTENT, his ATTITUDES, his MOTIVES. If we cannot see that, by what standard can we judge? If we cannot see the heart, we have no basis upon which to judge. If we cannot see the intent, the motivation, the inner thought behind the deed, we have not a shred of information upon which to base our opinions. None whatsoever!
"That's why Jesus said, 'I judge no man.' Then He turned right around and said, 'But if I do judge, My judgment is true' (Jn. 8:15-16). Did He contradict Himself? No. What He was saying is this: 'I have flesh and blood on Me the same as you do. That flesh and blood has a mind of its own. If I allowed Myself, I could do just what you are doing. I could take the Scriptures and run a sword through men with fleshly accusations. But I refuse to do that. I refuse to allow the mind of the flesh to have a voice in My opinions of other men. In My flesh, in My humanness, in My natural thought, I JUDGE NO MAN. I have put the false judge to death!' 'However,' He went on to say, 'since that is true, since the carnal mind has been put to death in Me and I have no self-life out of which to judge, then if I do get around to judging, My judgment is true.'
"Jesus formed opinions about the Pharisees, did He not? On what basis did He form those opinions? By the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE that was in Him, by the Word of God that was His inner STATE OF BEING. Jesus listened to the voice of the Father. Thus He fulfilled what Isaiah prophesied of Him when the prophet said, 'There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of His roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him...and shall make Him of QUICK UNDERSTANDING in the FEAR of the Lord. He shall NOT judge after the sight of His eyes nor reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor' (Isa. 11:1-5).
"In the Hebrew, that word 'quick' means 'smelling.' He possesses, this Christ of God, SMELLING UNDERSTANDING. He does not use some concrete set of rules and regulations to judge the cases brought before Him. He 'SMELLS' out the truth. He 'SNIFFS OUT' righteous judgment. That is, He DISCERNS the spirit of the thing, the attitude behind it, the motivations that lie deep in the heart of man. The Christ has no concrete, inflexible 'knowledge of good and evil.' He is not bound by such rules and regulations, nor does He need to be. He can SMELL the good regardless of the external appearance in which it is carried. He can also SMELL the bad regardless of the external appearance it may carry. Christ pays no attention whatever to external evidence. He smells out the condition of a man's heart, the motivation behind his acts, the secret intents behind his words and from that and that alone does the Spirit of the Lord make His judgments.
"Would we be like Him? Would we be conformed to His image? We must learn to do the same. That means we must, step-by-step, situation-by-situation, dethrone the Pharisee spirit which judges 'by the appearance of things' and reinstate the Christ Spirit to the throne of judgment that has been usurped in us by the carnal mind. The apostle encourages us to develop this spirit of discernment - this spirit of SMELLING UNDERSTANDING - when he tells us that those who use milk (the letter of the Word) are unskillful - have no real experience, the Greek says - in the word of righteousness. But 'strong meat' this man of God says, 'belongeth to them that are of full age' (Heb.5:14.
"Does that mean that those who use milk do not have the Spirit of Christ? Not at all. It means that they have not learned all His ways yet, have not matured into Him yet. We are invited in another passage to GROW UP into Him who is the head (Eph. 4:15). The kind of discernment about which I speak belongs to those who are of 'full age'. It is a sign of spiritual maturity, of the heart-righteousness toward which all who believe are pressing in their walk with God. Those who are of 'full age' did not learn this discernment overnight. The apostle makes this fact very clear, for he says that these are those who 'by reason of use (Gk: habit) have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.'
"These mature ones have been put through spiritual EXERCISES where they were given the opportunity to learn by experience to smell out, to discern, what is profitable and unprofitable. The Lord shall make Him - and those who manifest the fullness of His Spirit - of SMELLING understanding. Jesus discerned what was not immediately apparent to men in the lives and hearts of the Pharisees. He SMELLED THE STENCH coming from their spirits, seeping around the walls of their legalistic morality, drifting through the air behind their Scripture-quoting words. He smelled the aroma of death. That's why He called them graves, tombs, whited sepulchres. Something very dead was lying behind the white-washed walls of their religious lives.
"Did you ever have a dead rat somewhere in your house? If you have, you know that you did not need to see it to know that it was there. Just recently, the White House in Washington, D.C. had a plague of mice. When one died behind the walls of the Oval Office no one needed to tell the secretary a dead mouse was somewhere around. Nor did she need to see it with her eyes. The smell permeated the air. She smelled it. She discerned it. In like manner, Jesus did not have to catch the Pharisees in some external sin to know what spirit they were in, to know whether they were keeping the intent of the law or not. He had SMELLING understanding. He caught a whiff of something dead coming from within the dead letter! Thus He said, 'You are graves, full of dead men's bones. Men walk over you unawares' (Lk. 11:44).
"MEN walked over them unawares, because MEN judge by the external appearance of things. But Jesus didn't walk over them unawares. He was very much aware. He SMELLED the unrighteousness of their hearts. After all, He was the Word of God, and the 'word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit...and IS THE DISCERNER OF THE THOUGHTS AND THE INTENTS OF THE HEART!' (Heb. 4:12). The true Word of God (which according to Rev. 19:10 is the SPIRIT of prophecy) is a DISCERNER of what is unseen, a manifestor of what is hidden. It can smell evil hiding behind good; it can smell good hiding behind what MEN count evil. It can smell hidden meaning behind words that say the opposite of what they mean and it can discern the purposes of God behind the efforts of men. It does not judge by the appearance of things. It judges righteous judgment.
"Judge by the letter and we prove ourselves carnal, immature in the Lord. Smell by the Spirit, and we prove ourselves in touch with HIS Spirit. If we don't know how to do it, we need to learn. For I believe that the Judge Himself is at the door, and as we judge, so shall we be judged - by God, by life, by men. Let us dethrone the false judge and enthrone the true. Self must die that Christ may live!" - end quote.
Ah, my friend, you can be a Christian and have a flat nose. You can be a preacher and have a flat nose. You can speak in tongues and have a flat nose. You can sing in the Spirit and prophesy and have a flat nose. You can understand end-time truth and have an intellectual conception of deep Kingdom mysteries and be flat-nosed. But I do not hesitate to tell you that YOU CAN NEVER BE A PART OF THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD AND HAVE A FLAT NOSE! To fall short in spiritual discernment as a priest would mean the destruction of the priesthood. Those elect Sons destined to deliver and restore all creation must KNOW BY THE SPIRIT what they are doing at all times, perceive what lies in the hearts of men, discern the motivations and intents behind all things, judge nothing by the outward appearance, but speak, decree, judge, and rule by the grace, wisdom, and power of the Lord. Without such discernment how oft would we curse what God has blessed, and bless what God has cursed! We would soon be "taken in" by every crafty serpent in the garden and God's Kingdom would again fall into chaos. Not this time! For thousands of years, through the deserts of testing, the hot furnaces of affliction, and the lush vineyards of His presence and glory God has prepared a company, a Royal Priesthood, to lead all men back to God. May His grace be multiplied unto you to make you a PRIEST unto God!.
J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas 79937
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