Monday, February 11, 2019

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 163

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 163) by J. Preston Eby.

THE 144,000 ON MOUNT ZION (continued)
“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand…these were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:1,4).

It is very clear from the above scripture that the designation “firstfruits” is drawn from the well-known offering of “firstfruits” under the Old Testament law of Israel, in which the first portion of any harvest was dedicated to God, in token that the whole belonged to Him, and was recognized as His. Hence it always implies that something of the same kind will follow it. If there was a field of wheat, the firstfruits, the very first of the ripened grain, would be offered up to God, following which the entire field of wheat would come to the same condition of maturity. In this signification it is often used in the New Testament in the spiritual sense: “If the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump;” “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit;” “But every man in his own order: a firstfruit anointed; afterwards they that are Christ’s at His appearing. Then cometh the end;” “Epeanetus, who is the firstfruits of Asia unto Christ;” “Now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep;” “Of His own will begat He us…that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” In like manner the mention of the hundred and forty-four thousand as “firstfruits” suggests that they are the first of an order, specially consecrated to God — with a great harvest to follow!

Notice further that these 144,000 are firstfruits for God and for the Lamb in the sense that they were purchased, as the Greek expresses it, away from men. In other words, there was a separation: the firstfruits were uniquely for the Lord. In its broad application it signifies a people set apart from men in general, separated unto God; but in a deeper sense it speaks of them being separated from the Adamic nature, from the human consciousness, and from the soulical religious disposition, for in the Revelation the symbol of “men” often refers to the state of the natural man within ourselves, as well as the whole race of mankind. So they are firstfruits, purchased away from men.” This is also evident from the fact that these 144,000 “had His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.” And as such they are the opposite of “the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the bond” who receive the mark of the beast on their right hand or in their forehead.”

They are firstfruits — that means after this the full harvest will be brought before God, for the full harvest must come as well as the firstfruits. It is significant to note that here in the early verses of chapter fourteen we are shown a wonderful picture of the firstfruits. Then in the closing verses of the chapter we see a dramatic picture of the gathering of the full harvest! “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time has come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped” (Rev. 14:15-16). And then only a few verses later, in the fifteenth chapter, we see the fruit of this: “Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy righteous acts have been made manifest” (Rev. 15:4).

Notice — the 144,000 are first — they are not only, they are first. They are not better, they’re just first. They are destined to affect all mankind, for these are redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits (of mankind) unto God and to the Lamb. These are not the firstfruits of an elementary salvation, where men experience the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God. Oh, no! We have untold millions of these, and yet all mankind is still subject to the bondage of corruption. These are the firstfruits of the finished product, perfected, totally transformed, fully matured, incorruptible sons of God. That clearly is what we see in all the symbolism of their being virgins, following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, standing upon mount Zion, redeemed fully away from the human identity, with no guile, and without fault. And they are the firstfruits of that kind of men! These will be responsible for bringing all mankind back to the Father, not just to Father’s house, but with the Father’s ring of authority, with the Father’s garment of royalty, and the Father’s feast wherein all men partake of the FULLNESS OF GOD! As the firstfruits are, so shall all men be! That is the mystery.

NO GUILE — WITHOUT FAULT
“And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault…” Rev. 14:5).

In the past, some popular television evangelists and other well-known ministries have caused some embarrassment among Christians due to impropriety with women. Men claiming to be “servants of God” have been found guilty of adultery, rape, consorting with prostitutes, or engaging in homosexual activities. Perhaps the greatest sin in these cases is that these men did not come forward to confess their sins until “caught.” One wonders how sincere a confession can be after being “caught in the act.” Yet, when our text tells us that these 144,000 have no guile and are without fault the issue is not one of fleshly lust, but one of deceit — no guile in their mouth. How utterly awesome! The Greek word is dolos, meaning “deceit, subtilty, crafty, a trick — a lie.” No deceit or trickery in their speech. These are certainly not the preachers who use every trick in the bag to raise an offering and fleece God’s people of their money! The question is asked in Psalm 15, “Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?” The answer is, “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” It is with this last characteristic that the 144,000 correspond, and they are upon God’s holy hill of Zion with the Lamb. The King James Bible reads, “They are without fault before the throne of God.” The words “before the throne of God,” however, are not in the best manuscripts, and are dropped now by common consent of all translators as no part of the original. Even if we did not know this, we would suspect it, for those standing on mount Zion are not, in symbol, “before” the throne of God — they are UPON THE THRONE! Throughout the book of Revelation a clear distinction is drawn between those who stand “before” the throne and those who sit “upon” the throne. This clearly identifies the 144,000 as the same company as the manchild in chapter twelve and the four living ones in chapter four!

Having truth in the inward parts, no lie was found in their mouth. True sons pray with the Psalmist of old, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14). And the apostle James tells us that “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man” (James 3:1). The word of these sons of God is a sure word, and such a word is possible because it comes out of a state of being which is “without fault.” The word in the Greek is amomos, meaning “blameless, without blemish, without spot.” It bespeaks the qualification first of Him who is “the Lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet. 1:19). Ah, this is the same Lamb standing upon the mount Zion! And now He is able to bring all who follow Him to that same state of having no guile and being without blemish. He is truly able to “present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). What anticipation this stirs within our hearts! He that is within us is mighty, and He is abundantly able to do this! As Ray Prinzing once said, “If ever a victory testified to the capability and success of the Redemptive process, this company, which stands with the Lamb upon mount Zion, is a living manifestation of that triumph!” Their temple has been so thoroughly cleansed that the mouth has become a channel for the words of God.

It will be useful to us to note that many translations read that in their mouth was not found (the) LIE, rather than the word “guile.” Furthermore, the Greek text is clear that “they are blameless” with regard to the LIE. The lie is believed as a result of not receiving the love of the truth (II Thes. 2:10). The overcomers who repudiate the lie stand on mount Zion, just as those who are unable to enter into the holy city, New Jerusalem, are those who “make a LIE.” The truth has ever been the mark of God’s children, and the lie the mark of the devil’s children. To the scribes and Pharisees Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44). God is “a God of truth, and without iniquity” (Deut. 32:4). He is a God that “cannot lie” (Tit. 1:2). And to those who follow the Lamb it is written, “But you have not thus learned Christ, if indeed you heard Him, and were taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus (namely) to put away from you the former manner of life, the old man which is corrupt…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and to put on the new man which according to God has been created in holiness and righteousness of truth; wherefore, putting off THE LIE, speak every man truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:21-25). I have used this translation because it correctly translates the Greek text which reads, “putting off THE LIE,” rather than “putting away lying” as the King James Bible renders it.

Read that passage again, carefully, and you find that here THE LIE IS THE OLD MAN AND HIS DEEDS. This is fundamental! Throughout the book of Revelation “men” in most cases refers to the Adamic man, the natural man, the men who cry for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him who sits upon the throne; men who have not the seal of God, men who die of the bitter waters, men who seek death and cannot find it, men hurt by the sting of the scorpions, slain men, men upon whom fall grievous sores, men scorched by the sun, men upon whom great hail falls, men who blaspheme God because of the plagues, men whose flesh is consumed at the great supper of God. Oh, yes! The man who does not receive the knowledge of the truth and the love of the truth, does believe the lie; not merely a lie, but the lie.

The message is just this: Christ is “the truth,” the old man is “the lie.” With a lie Satan deceived our first parents by offering them a godhood in independence from God Himself — and that lie has lived on in the human race from that day to this. There they were, spiritual beings, in the image of God. Yet Satan promised them that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would be as God in a way that God had deliberately withheld from them — in the knowledge of good and evil. This sounded so spiritual, it was designed to make them more like God! Who wouldn’t want to be more like God? This had to be a great revelation because it inspired men to be more God-like! After the woman and the man partook of that realm of sense-consciousness, self-determination, and fleshly wisdom, God Himself acknowledged that they had indeed become “as one of us, to know good and evil” (Gen. 3:22). Yes, they had become AS GOD! They had assumed a state of GODHOOD! The only problem was that it was a godhood in the wrong realm! It was a godhood of independence from the life of God, not a Godhood through union with God. Man became a self-created god, a self-centered god, truly the god of this world, but not the expression of the divine nature. The Spirit of God which had been in union with man’s spirit fled, and man’s spirit sank low into the hidden depths of his being.

Man took on a distorted, corrupted consciousness, accepting himself as something other than his true being. And that, my friend, is THE LIE! It is not the truth about God and it is not the truth about God’s purpose in man! Paul made this crystal clear when he said that the old man IS the lie! That is not who you are! All the reasoning of the carnal mind, all the self-hood of the natural man, all the vanities of the human personality, the ego of the human nature, the lusts, desires, plans, purposes, ambitions and grasping of the flesh man is part and parcel of THE LIE. Paul stated it so plainly, and I give it as it is in the Greek text: “Who changed the truth of God into THE LIE, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). Every man who lives in self-centeredness, walking after the understanding of the carnal mind, obeying the lusts of his flesh, driven by the impulses of the soul, is fully deceived by the lie! He thinks that is reality!

Adam is the lie, and our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth! What a man thinks himself to be in the Adamic life and nature is the lie; what a man knows himself to be in Christ is the truth! The grandest of all truths is that CHRIST IS THE IMAGE OF GOD! If you want to know what God had in mind when He said, “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness,” you have only to look at Jesus Christ. That is what God meant! “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost (who know not who or where they are): in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of CHRIST, WHO IS THE IMAGE OF GOD, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:3-4). “In whom we have redemption through His blood…who is THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, the firstborn (prototype) of every creature” (Col. 1:14-15).

We will only understand the majesty of man in God’s image when we see that Jesus Christ is the express or exact image of the Father’s Being, the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3-4). The allusion here is to the impression made in ancient times by a seal on molten wax; and as the image made on the wax is the exact representation (though on another substance) of the die, so is Christ the precise representation of the Father in human flesh. And thus He was able to say, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” The life of Jesus is the life of God transmuted into the form of our human life, so that we may see, touch, hear, know, understand, and experience the very being and nature of God in human terms. The natural mind cannot understand such a truth as this, but this is what God meant when He said, “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness.” CHRIST is the image of God and God meant for every man to look and speak and act like Jesus Christ! And that is the truth as it is in Jesus! Anything less than that, accepted as the normal human state, is the lie!

As we consider the wonderful advent of man created “in the image of God” we can only conclude that is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God almighty, and bearing His own divine nature, character, attributes, and power. The “image” of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. Thus the spiritual man is the true image of God! The divine nature was best and fully expressed in the man Christ Jesus who shined upon mortals the truest revelation of God and lifted man’s sights higher than their poor thoughts would allow. Jesus revealed to men their true origin, heritage, and destiny. He came to show man what man really is, was intended to be, and through redemption and so great a salvation shall be — THE IMAGE OF GOD.

We are birthed into this carnal Adamic realm of life, which is really death, not knowing what our original and true state was, who we are, why we are here, or what God’s purpose is for us. So because we do not know we assume that carnality, sin, and death is our true heritage and destiny. We accept our state of being in the Adamic identity; after all, we are “just human.” We believe the lie! Not only do we believe it, we live it! We are captives of a nature that is controlled by a law — the law of sin and death. So the Adamic identity is unable to be anything other than it is, for it is a lie, and cannot receive the truth. No matter how much Adam wants to be godly, no matter how often he goes to church, no matter how many scriptures he learns or resolutions he makes, he always fails, for he is living out of a lie.

Even most of God’s people today do not realize that the Adamic nature, human ego, and the carnal consciousness, need to be totally consumed by Christ. Christ is our true identity, not the human consciousness. The Adamic life is the lie that keeps us bound and limited. The carnal mind knows that it cannot live as Jesus lived on the earth. It knows that it cannot be pure and holy, it cannot love unconditionally, it cannot love its enemies, it cannot conquer sin and death, it cannot possibly multiply the loaves and fishes, walk on water, heal the sick, or raise the dead. Yet because we have not fully unbelieved the lie, and because of our hunger and thirst after God, we keep trying to perfect human nature and purify the human consciousness, in order to please God and be more like Him. Then we feel condemned, because we cannot do or be that which we desire!

When your eyes are opened to see that Christ in you is your true life, then you realize that all the struggling you have done in Adam is to no avail. The idea that you can somehow perfect the old man is part of the lie! Once we learn the truth as it is in Jesus we are able to focus our attention on the reality of the Christ Life within. This is not mere head knowledge. This is a paradigm shift! This is understanding that Adam is a lie, so we now embrace the truth. We repudiate the lie! The truth is that Christ IS OUR LIFE! Forget Adam. He is just a corpse! In reality, he is not even there, for he is the lie. The more we turn our attention away from our Adamic consciousness and focus our attention on Christ within, the more the new man, who is the image of God, will arise in our consciousness as the power of our life. It is not by trying to discipline Adam, it is by focusing on Christ! CHRIST IS THE TRUTH! Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God! Embrace the truth and there will come a mighty transformation! Can you hear what I’m saying? If Adam no longer motivates me, if I’m not driven by the natural desire to be godly, if there’s nothing in me any longer that tries desperately to be godly, if I am no longer trying to make myself better, always making resolutions, always confessing sins, but I simply rest in HIS ability within to do that in me which I cannot do, and He begins to arise within me replacing all my good, carnal, natural desires, replacing everything with the Law of His Life, and He fills my temple with Himself and His glory, then who am I, what is my true identity? CHRIST IS MY LIFE! You see, my beloved, THAT IS THE TRUTH! This is what we are coming to. This is what the world is longing to see, God manifested in humanity! That is the image of God in man!

These sons of God upon mount Zion are without fault — in their mouth is found no guile — no lie, no deceit, no false confession, no acknowledgement of Adam, no admission of being “just human,” no declaration of a mistaken identity. These stand upon mount Zion with the Lamb who is without spot or blemish, He who is the truth, and they are like Him, entirely like Him, they are as He is in this world, new creation men, sons of God, the body of God’s Christ. In their mouth is no guile, for CHRIST IS THEIR ONE AND ONLY CONFESSION! Oh, the wonder of it!

“These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

These are redeemed from “among men,” and the men whom they are redeemed away from signify that there is another man in the earth today. This man is the man of THE LIEA FALSE, DECEIVING MAN! For “guile” is always found in the mouth of this man! Only the 144,000 are found to have “no guile” in their mouth!

There passes across the pages of scripture a character who is awesome and appalling. This menacing figure is mysterious; he is hazy and he is enigmatical. Sometimes he is the shady character of a man. Again, he is an evil influence. Then again, he is an angel of light. There is actually no crystal-clear, cameo-cut presentation of him. He moves on the borderline of the natural and the supernatural. John, in his epistles, calls him by the name “antichrist.” This does not mean, of course, that only John refers to him. Jesus, Paul, Peter, David, Solomon, and many other of the writers of the Bible speak of him. He has many names in scripture, and, as most crooks have aliases, antichrist has more aliases then any person I know of! Also many figures of speech are used in scripture to speak of him, to set him before us, and they occur again and again. One of these is found in II Thessalonians 2:1-10, where he is called “the man of sin.”

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now restraineth (the man of sin) will restrain, until he be taken out of the way. Then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming” (II Thes. 2:3-4, 7-8).

In these verses it is interesting to note that the “falling away” and the “man of sin” should be so LINKED TOGETHER! Indeed, these two realities have been with us a long, long time. The first person in recorded history to “fall way” from the truth and from his place in God was Adam; we have all heard of the “fall” of Adam! Of him it is written, “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…for by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…” (Rom. 5:12,19). Can we not see by this that Adam himself was a MAN OF SIN. The natural mind is very dark and without understanding. Only the Holy Spirit can give men light. My earnest prayer is that the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God shall shine as a beacon light to guide our footsteps and illumine our pathway as we now go back to the shadowy mists of man’s beginning on earth and trace the dilemma, mysterious and sinister, that has bedeviled his path from the dazzling glory of Eden on down to the dreadful darkness of this present time.

When Adam fell we fell with him. Because one man sinned, we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Can we not see by this that in the Adam-nature lies the very root of the MAN OF SIN? In fact, every Adamic man has been a “man of sin”! Truly, Adam is the man who made the earth to tremble, that shook kingdoms, and made the earth a wilderness, for it was to him and to him alone that these terrible words were spoken: “Cursed is the ground (earth-realm) for thy sake” (Gen. 3:17). When God formed man He placed him in Eden, a kingdom of peace and righteousness and power; but when Adam sinned, he and all his descendants were cast out into a wilderness of sin, suffering, and death. Now poor, sin-laden mankind, darkened in mind and impoverished in spirit, is forever spending money for that which is not bread and laboring for that which satisfieth not. As one has pointed out, vainly they imagine that their thirst can be quenched by partaking of the stagnant waters of earth’s fleshly cisterns. Like lost sheep they wander through the wilderness of life seeking satisfaction and finding none. Place after place they roam in their pitiful search for the fountain that satisfies, but find it they never can until at last they come to Christ. They fill the bars and nightclubs to buy wine and strong drink that can do no more than dull their senses, unleashing their passions and rage. They throng the places of pleasure in their unending longing to satisfy the thirst that is within them. They fill their lives with the vanity of things and more things, only to find that all they have attained rises to mock them in the end. This is the way of the world. No satisfaction can be gained from its fountains, for all its potions are libations of death.

Yes, my beloved, within the Adam-nature lies the root of the “man of sin” who brought this dreadful condition and we are all too aware of the inbred power of sin. “I am sold under sin,” Paul lamented, “for by man came sin,” he said again. Sold under sin means he was a slave to it, and we all know the meaning of this bondage and slavery, and our hearts cry out with Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). As it has been stated, “We literally weep these words from hearts that are weary of sin!” The spirit of Adam, the man of sin, is within every man. The unvarnished truth is that he dwells within the saved man as well as the unconverted. Some will deny this, but deep within their heart they know better.

Is not this what Paul meant when he wrote, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” This is precisely why, after the first few holy years of the early church, there arose such an apostasy, a “falling away” of such a dark and dreadful nature that that church, once glorious, actually became the swaggering, filthy harlot, rich and increased with goods and having need of nothing, drunken with the blood of saints, riding in pomp and arrogance upon the back of the bestial system of this present evil world.

The principle never changes! Adam “fell away” from his pure walk in the Spirit to become the “man of sin” in that dawning day. The hearts of God’s people in the early church “fell away” from the love of the truth and the simplicity that is in Christ, so that the “man of sin” became revealed in the temple of God. This has been the course in dealing after dealing, revival after revival, move of God after move of God. It sounds strange, but it is true…and it is just as true in our day! God brings a people out of some form of religious Babylon, they desire the liberty of the Spirit in their midst, they throw off the bondages of man’s domination, of rules, programs, and creeds, they profess that they want Christ to have His Lordship in their lives, and for a while they so walk; but, ere long, the unsanctified man of sin arises in their hearts, in the very temple of God which they are, and pursuing the vision of God, following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth becomes burdensome to their flesh, and someone cries out, “Give us a leader, someone who will tell us what we are supposed to do, someone who can organize this thing, get everyone properly involved and committed, and make the church grow.” And after every fresh moving of the Spirit of God in the earth, as men settle in to the new thing God has done and revealed, sooner or later SELF exalts HIMSELF in the temple of God, and men begin to set up a pattern of church life and doctrine and ritual very much like the old ways they were accustomed to in their former bondage, and there is a reoccurrence of THE FALL once again!

That man of sin of whom Paul spoke is none other than the old Adamic-nature, the self-life ego of the natural man and the fleshly mind sitting on the throne of a man’s life, usurping the throne of HIS LORDSHIP in our own temple, setting himself up in self-will against the Father’s will, making himself to be, instead of the Spirit, the owner and master and captain of our lives, showing himself that he is God in the temple of our being.

Tales of fiction and the most absurd imaginations of childhood furnish no parallel to the extreme notions of some of God’s dear children who have naively swallowed the carnal interpretations of natural- minded and tradition-ridden theologians of the religious systems of man. Untold millions of Christians have lived in mortal fear of the arising of the dreadful man of sin. He is supposed to be a world political leader, sinister and tyrannical, the incarnation of Evil, the very offspring of the Devil, and the ruthless enemy of the Jews. He is to be revealed after the supposed “rapture” of the church to heaven, and will make his headquarters in Jerusalem. He will set himself up in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declare himself Almighty God. His manifestation marks the beginning of “Daniel’s 70th week,” according to their teaching. The Scofield Reference Bible, Blackstone and other authorities? in general, subscribe to this view although there is almost unlimited speculation on details.

There are many fallacies in the popular interpretation of this scripture. First, Paul is addressing the “brethren” in the church of his day, rather than the Jews. The “brethren” would not be affected if they were to be “raptured,” and no warning was given to the Jews who are supposed to be the “victims” of the man of sin! In II Thessalonians 2:7, Paul said that this mystery of iniquity “doth already work.” This statement cannot fit in with something that is to happen some two thousand years later! After Paul warned the brethren about the man of sin he exhorted them to stand fast and hold the teachings they had received (vs. 15). This would be non-sensical advice if it was not meant to be heeded for two thousand years! Furthermore, absolutely nothing is said in this passage about any rapture, great tribulation, seventieth week, world political leader, or the rebuilding of a Jewish temple. Every bit of that is pure myth, legend, superstition, folklore, and fairy tales!

Oh! may God give us spiritual minds to discern Paul’s true spiritual meaning as he identifies and lays bare the roots of this man of sin and declares, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” Iniquity — the Greek word here means lawlessness — without law. And while it is true that we are no longer bound under the old laws of the ministration of death written and engraven in stone, the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, which has been taken out of the way, nailed to His cross (II Cor. 3:6-11; Col. 2:14), we are not now lawless, for in the heavenly realm we have been brought into relationship with the higher and greater law — THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS! (Rom. 8:2). The laws of Moses were natural laws designed for natural men, but God is now bringing His elect into complete harmony with HIS SPIRITUAL LAWS, so that as heavenly and spiritual men we are ordered aright in His ways. How difficult can it be to understand that the old man — the Adamic man, the carnal mind, the flesh nature — does not and cannot obey the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus or any other spiritual law of God! It is impossible! That is the “mystery of lawlessness” that was already being manifest in Paul’s day, only a few decades after the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus had been released into the body of Christ. As to the laws of the spiritual realm of the kingdom of God the Adamic man is a worker of iniquity — lawlessness! That is a great discovery for God’s people, even today!

Jesus touched on these higher laws of the kingdom when He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity — lawlessness!” (Mat. 7:21-23). There are two classes of people which immediately stand out in this passage of scripture, THOSE WHO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER, and THOSE WHO WORK LAWLESSNESS. I think we know, at least in a measure, what Jesus means when He speaks of those who do the will of the Father, for these are they who have been so dealt with by God’s mighty hand that they have surrendered their own will into HIS WILL. These have been taught His laws, His commandments, precepts, ways, purposes, and will by the Spirit and they delight to do them! These are those sons of God who say with Jesus, “I am able to do nothing from myself — independently, of my own accord; but as I am taught by God and as I get His orders — because I do not seek or consult my own will — I have no desire to do what is pleasing to myself, my own aim, my own purpose — but ONLY THE WILL AND THE PLEASURE OF THE FATHER” (Jn. 5:30, Amplified).

It is this other group, the WORKERS OF LAWLESSNESS, that we would briefly consider. These are not the ungodly who aren’t even aware that there is a kingdom to be received, for such, being dead in trespasses and sins, must first be awakened into spiritual consciousness, and then they can hear the gospel of the kingdom, and be led therein. But these are religious folk, even religious folk who claim to be filled with the Spirit and have power to do great and mighty things for God, even prophesying, casting out devils, and performing signs, wonders, and miracles, and they cry, “Lord, Lord,” claiming His Lordship. Yet He says to them, “I never knew you!” The word “knew” in Greek denotes to “know intimately, as a husband knows his wife through intercourse.” “And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived…” (Gen. 4:1). So Jesus says to these, “I did not know you intimately, you did not receive the seed of my word into you.” They are out busily “doing” great things “for” God, they know that HE is supposed to be LORD in their life, the message of HIS LORDSHIP has reached them, and they even claim it, but they still continue to take their own way, creating their own plans, designs, programs, methods, and means, in His name, but it is their way rather than God’s, as they seek to operate in the kingdom on their own terms. “Workers of iniquity” — without law! These work according to their own designs and purposes, their own plans and objectives, and forget, forsake, cast aside, disannul the laws of God, the ways of His Spirit, the principles of His kingdom. They boast in their works, for they have prophesied, cast out devils, held large meetings, touched many lives, and done mighty things — BUT NOT AT THE FATHER’S COMMAND NOR IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WAYS!

Rather than ministering out of the law of the spirit of life, much of their ministry, teaching, praying, prophesying, miracles, etc., are but a cloak to conceal a servitude to the same old flesh and ego of the carnal nature as they seek a following, to make a name for themselves, and build a kingdom, to usurp control over other men’s lives, and use various gimmicks to fleece God’s people of their money to support their grandiose schemes and programs to save the nation or convert the world. They will prophesy or lay hands upon anyone they think will follow after them, or fill their coffers with money, and forget the admonition to “lay hands suddenly upon no man” (I Tim. 5:22). The point is clear, all our so-called spiritual works, if done outside the word and anointing of the Spirit, which is the law of God’s life, if done out of our own zeal and initiative, and not under the leadership and control of His Spirit, become a manifestation of lawlessness. Such can never be partakers of the kingdom which God holds in reserve for those who become ONE IN HIS WILL. To these, when the time comes to rule and reign upon the throne with Christ, He will say, “Depart from me…ye lawless ones!”

Have you noticed, precious saint of God, that Paul does not say of the man of sin that he comes on the scene, or that he comes to power, or even that he is born — but that he is REVEALED! He does not say that he seizes power, or that he marshals great armies, but simply that he is REVEALEDIN THE TEMPLE OF GOD! Revealed — the Greek word is apokalupto. Apokalupto is a compound word composed of apo, meaning “off” or “away,” and kalupto, meaning “to cover up.” Thus apokalupto means to take the cover off, to uncover, unveil, disclose, or reveal. It implies the drawing away or removal of everything that veils, or hides, and therefore it is always opposed to concealment or secrecy, as in the following passage: “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed (uncovered)” (Mat. 10:26). Our English word “revelation” has become for many a word that signifies a strange belief or some far-out-doctrine, which should be handled as something delusive and dangerous, and avoided if possible. But this is just the opposite of the biblical meaning of the word, and the consideration we need to give to that which is revealed. That which is uncovered is no more a mystery, nor can it any longer be a threat. It is open to view, whether positive or negative, and can be considered without fear since it is no longer shrouded in darkness or mystery. Since apokalupto means to reveal, or unveil, there must be something to uncover or which may be uncovered. That something must be present or it cannot be uncovered; and it must be hidden from sight or not understood or it cannot be disclosed.

The whole world has been waiting for the man of sin to be born and to appear on the world scene, and now by the grace of God we are discovering that he has been here the whole time, yet unperceived, not understood, or seen; but now he is being uncovered, he is being revealed as the Lord makes known to His apprehended ones the awful depths of our own carnal minds, self-will, and inherent sin — faithfully and relentlessly purging, refining, crushing, and stripping us of all that pertains to the self-ego and mistaken identity of Adam’s nature.

The moment you understand this great truth, you will also be able to grasp the fact that the destruction of the man of sin comes at the time he is revealed. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume by the spirit (word) of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His manifest presence” (II Thes. 2:8). This man of sin within will do everything in his power to conceal his identity, for his discovery is his undoing! He is hidden, not to God and Christ, but to every man who is not walking in the spirit. As our lives become exposed to the life and light of Christ the man of sin is revealed, uncovered, exposed — then to be dealt with, destroyed, consumed by the bright-burning of the Day Star arising within our hearts. If the cunning, craftiness, subtleness, deceitfulness, treachery, and wickedness of your own carnal mind, even the religious mind, is being uncovered, revealed, exposed by the Spirit’s dealings, and you find it abhorrent, and are distressed and horrified by it, then know, beloved, that THE HOUR OF HIS DESTRUCTION IS AT HAND! The order is: REVEALEDDESTROYED! Glory!

There is a story about a little piece of wood that once bitterly complained because its owner kept whittling away at it, gouging it and making holes in it. But the one who was cutting it paid no attention to the stick’s protests. He was making a flute out of that piece of ebony, and he was too wise to stop when the wood complained so bitterly. The man said, “Little piece of wood, without these rifts and holes, and all this cutting, you’d be just a stick forever — a useless piece of ebony. What I am doing now may seem as if I am destroying you, but instead it will change you into a flute. Your sweet music will charm the souls of many and comfort sorrowing hearts. My cutting you is the making of you, for only thus can you be a blessing in the world.”

The meaning of this little parable is clear: That flute, whose music blended so sweetly in the orchestra, was made a flute only by the knife and file that filled it with rifts and holes which seemed to be its very destruction. But the purpose of the master was the cutting away of the outward form, so that breath could flow through it. The breath upon the wood created a melodious sound which made it an instrument to the praise of God. Ah, the Lord is shaping us, my beloved, cutting away the denseness of our outer shell of human consciousness with it darkened understanding, making rifts and holes in the way that seems right to the natural man, that the in-breathed spirit of life from God may sweep through our earthen vessel, producing the image of God, that His glory might be revealed in creation. Isn’t it wonderful!

The Psalmist alluded to this process when he penned these inspired words: “He weakened MY strength in the way; He shortened my days” (Ps. 102:23). It is in bringing us to the end of ourselves, that we are prepared to rise up solely in HIS STRENGTH. It is the subduing of our will that brings us to the place where we fervently pray, “not my will, but Thine be done.” In ways which He knows best, He strips His sons of every prop of the flesh, removes their self-made reputations, demolishes their personal kingdoms, dries up the fountains of their own soulish religious activities, and tenderly and careful draws them aside into a separated walk where He unfolds truth and works it deep into their being. God has endured with much longsuffering the rule of the man of sin in the temple of His body, all the self-seeking of carnal men, who have presumed to speak and work in His name, and while they have usurped their positions and made their claims, He has secretly and silently prepared His own little flock of disciplined ones to whom He shall give the kingdom! These are called to stand with the Lamb upon the mount Zion, having the Father’s name written in their foreheads, and in their mouth is found no guile, for they are without fault!

Call to remembrance here that the man of sin “exalts himself above all…so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God” (II Thes. 2:4). It is so tremendously important that we understand just what Paul meant by his use of the term “temple of God.” The popular teaching is that Paul was speaking of a future rebuilt Jewish temple in the city of Jerusalem. But a careful study of every reference that Paul made in his epistles to the “temple of God” reveals that he never applied this term to the Jewish temple! When the New Testament speaks of the complete, literal temple, the Greek word hieron is used. This word is used seventy-one times in the New Testament in reference to the temple at Jerusalem. On the other hand, the word that Paul used for temple is naos which refers not the complete, literal temple complex, but to the Most Holy Place or the Holy of holies — the dwelling place of God! And the dwelling place of God is now THE CHURCH WHICH IS HIS BODY!

It cannot be temporal or transient as were the temples of Israel which were all destroyed in turn. The true temple, which is Christ’s body, is eternal in the heavenlies! It is not earthly nor does it belong to the earthly realm, but to an heavenly, for the people that comprise this holy temple have been “redeemed away from men.” It is not of corruption, but of incorruption. Paul wrote of it thus: “The temple of God is holy, which temple YE ARE” (I Cor. 3:17). “Know ye not that your body IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST WHICH IS IN YOU?” (I Cor. 6:19). “For YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them” (II Cor. 6:16).

Would God that all the saints might see that God’s purpose from the foundation of the world has been the building of a spiritual house, a holy temple, an eternal abiding place in which He can be at home, and in which place He and His creation can meet. It is a temple made up of living stones. Every stone is a redeemed person and every stone is a person upon whom the mighty hand of God has been laid in dealing. More than three thousand years ago Solomon built a magnificent temple of stone and precious materials. He overlaid it with gold and adorned it with silver. So wonderful was it that the Queen of Sheba stood transfixed at the sight. But the temple built by Solomon was only an ephemeral foreshadow of the living temple which Christ would build by the Spirit — a temple not made with hands!

The beautiful temple in Jerusalem was a type and shadow of good things to come (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17). Praise God, we are living in the days of those good things to come, a full realization of which causes us to bow our heads in awe and wonderment. These fulfillments are so astounding that to many they will seem fantastic. As with the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, so the temple of old was made according to the pattern of the true tabernacle which Moses saw in the mount, and in spite of all teachings to the contrary, there will never be another temple built to take the place of, or to serve the same ends as, that which passed away with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. That temple was only the shadow of better things to come: merely the natural type of the spiritual reality which Moses saw in the mount and after which he patterned the shadow. So wherever we see a reference to a temple of the present or future, it must refer to “the true sanctuary, and the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Heb. 8:2), and to “the temple of God which is holy, which temple YE ARE” (I Cor. 3:17).

Furthermore, there is only one such tabernacle, or temple. The scriptures nowhere tell of two, or three, or one hundred, one away off somewhere in space where Jesus is ministering, another in Jerusalem built by the Jews, and another spiritual temple composed of living stones. There is but ONE temple, ONE great High Priest, and ONE royal priesthood. So when the priests of old served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5), those heavenly or spiritual things were the same heavenly or spiritual things that Moses saw in the mount, and the same heavenly or spiritual things unto which we have now come. We “are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” (Heb. 12:22). This is not something found out beyond the Milky Way somewhere; this is the heavenly and spiritual reality fulfilled within a heavenly and spiritual people right here upon earth! Let us never forget that fact!

Listen to the words of Peter as he presses this golden truth home to the understanding hearts of the saints. “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To Whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 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. 2:3-5). This superb gem of revelation vividly reveals just what the temple of God really is. Not a temple of dead stones, but of living stones, each stone a spiritually living person. Not covered with glittering gold, but overshadowed by God. Not adorned with silver, but founded upon Christ, the chief corner stone. Not fashioned with glittering gems, but with the eternal jewels of His very own nature, glory, and power!

Notice further that the saints of God are the holy priesthood of this spiritual temple, offering up spiritual sacrifices BY JESUS CHRIST. Now, we all know that Jesus is the High Priest ministering in the true tabernacle not made with hands. And where is that true tabernacle where Jesus, the High Priest, ministers? Not out in space somewhere! Would it not be the very same temple where we, the royal priesthood, minister, offering up spiritual sacrifices by Jesus Christ? Would not the priesthood and the High Priest minister in the same temple? If we offer up spiritual sacrifices in this spiritual temple, and do so by Jesus Christ, then would not Jesus be in this temple where we offer up the spiritual sacrifices? And would He not be the High Priest in the heavenly and spiritual temple? Oh, yes! Our Lord Jesus is the High Priest of the temple of God WHICH WE ARE! Mystery of mysteries! Wonder of wonders! He ministers in the house of God, whose house “we are.” There is no temple out in space. YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD! And it is in this temple that the “man of sin” has been revealed, uncovered, exposed — consumed, and destroyed! Aren’t you glad!

If you are one of the many who believe that the temple of God is the harlot church system of man, or a future Jewish temple in Jerusalem, I must tell you that neither qualifies as THE TEMPLE OF GOD. That swaggering, drunken, idolatrous harlot called Mystery Babylon is not the temple of the living, holy God! The temple of God is a holy abiding place which God is raising up for Himself to dwell in in all fullness. That is why the “man of sin” must be revealed and destroyed out of this temple! And let us not forget that God never will vacate this temple. God will never vacate this heavenly and holy and spiritual temple to return to a paltry temple made of earth by the unsanctified hands of men. To do so would be to set aside and deny the Christ of Calvary, and to render that “once for all” sacrifice of the Lamb of God impotent and of no avail. There will never be another sacrifice for sin offered (Heb. 10:10-14). There will never again be a temple for the offering of such sacrifices! The “shadow” has forever passed away!

It is in this heavenly and spiritual temple of glorified sons that God and creation shall meet. The living stones of this temple are members of the body of Christ. They are sons of God and members of HIS FAMILY. By adding them to Himself God is expanding Himself, as a man by fathering many sons expands his family and himself. By God’s family of sons the holy temple of the Lord will fill the universe with HIMSELF, for the saints are the fullness of Him who filleth all in all. From this temple of sons, and by the royal priesthood of this temple, our God will reconcile all things unto Himself and rule the universe in righteousness for evermore.

For two thousand years it has been rising on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and the flaming words of the prophet Malachi are even now being fulfilled: “THE LORD, WHOM YE SEEK, SHALL SUDDENLY COME TO HIS TEMPLE. Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall PURIFY the sons of Levi (the royal priesthood), and PURGE them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Mal. 3:1-3). Praise God! He is reigning within His called and chosen elect, to dethrone the man of sin (self-ego, Adamic mind, flesh nature) which sits in the very temple of God, proclaiming HIMSELF as god, and striving for his own will and way. That SELF is being de-throned is evident as more and more of God’s elect come to that place of experience where surrendered we pray, in spirit and in truth, “not my will, but THINE be done!”

The man of sin is the man of THE LIE, just the opposite of the 144,000 on mount Zion in whose mouth is no guile — no falsehood — NO LIE! It is this “old man” who is “the lie” that is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s manifest presence. The truth of this is magnified by the words of Paul, and I am giving the literal translation: “Then will be exposed the LAWLESS ONE, whom the Lord Jesus will consume with the breath of His mouth, and annihilate by the appearing of His manifest presence; whose presence (the man of sin) is according to the energizing of the adversary, with all power, and signs, and wonders of falsehood, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that are perishing, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe THE LIE: that they all may be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (the state of the old man)” (II Thes. 2:8-12).

The message is clear — when man turns to and trusts in the flesh he becomes possessed of a strong delusion (mistaken identity) and believes THE LIE — that’s how it is in the Greek — in order that all those may be judged who believe not THE TRUTH. Christ is THE TRUTH! Adam is THE LIE! The mind of Christ is THE TRUTH! The carnal mind is THE LIE! The word of God is THE TRUTH! The voice of the serpent is THE LIE! And all who believe the lie will be judged. Oh, yes! Yet, praise God, how blessed the knowledge that God’s judgments are never unto eternal damnation, for all the judgments of God are redemptive and corrective — to correct that which is wrong, to eradicate the error, to restore men into life and wholeness, into righteousness and truth, into praise and glory.

The 144,000 are the firstfruits of this redemption — they know who they are, they have been raised up into the life, nature, mind, wisdom, knowledge, glory, and power of the Son of God — they stand tall in their true identity, they confess only that which is true in Christ and in them — therefore in their mouth is found no lie, for in Christ the image of God they are WITHOUT FAULT! It is indeed wonderful!

To be continued…

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 162

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 162) by J. Preston Eby.

THE 144,000 ON MOUNT ZION
(continued)
“And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand…these are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins” (Rev. 14:1,4).

It is our purpose in writing these truths to set forth in awe and simplicity the things the Spirit is saying unto the Lord’s elect in this significant hour. As we approach the subject presented in the scene described in the passage above, let us remember, these things God did “signify by His angel unto His servant John” (Rev. 1:1). Signify — tell by signs, communicate by symbols. May God ever give us understanding by His Spirit to discern what the signs mean!

The word “defiled” in our text determines the meaning of the passage. It is the Greek word moluno meaning “to soil” or “defile,” thus denoting not a proper union with one’s wife, but an illicit intercourse or fornication with others resulting in impurity or unchastity of life. This has no reference to literal, natural, fleshly things. It does not indicate that the 144,000 is exclusively made up of “males” and in no way refers to physical celibacy. Celibacy is not the subject or virtue in this description, but purity, freedom from contamination by an improper conduct. Nor does the fact that they are all “virgins” suggest that they are all women! Again, these are all symbols of spiritual realities! The inspired apostle spoke of this when he wrote, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity (singleness) that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:2-3). With a pure heart these 144,000 worship God and follow the Lamb, thus “they are virgins.”

We must keep in mind that fornication and adultery in scripture are the symbols of spiritual impurity. In that sense Esau is called a fornicator, not because he had relationships with women, but because he despised God’s covenant and joined himself with his fleshly desire instead. In the same sense Israel in the Old Testament is very often pictured as an adulterous woman, even a harlot, whoring after other gods and departing from the worship and service of Yahweh, their covenant God. In like manner, then, these one hundred and forty-four thousand have not become defiled. All the church systems of man have been committing fornication in the spiritual sense. All have gone awhoring after the beast. All have been defiled by the spirit, ways, and methods of the world. But the 144,000 have remained faithful to their Lord. They have followed hard after the Lamb. They have kept themselves unto Him and unto Him alone. They have not been stained by the defilement of the carnal systems, doctrines, and practices of religion. They are “without blemish”!

Ray Prinzing commented on this thought with these words of wisdom, “Singleness — ‘He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.’ If, in any way, we turn from that singleness, and yield our mind and spirit to the spirit of the world, we have defiled ourselves. Works is a filthiness unto grace. The flesh is filthiness unto the spirit. The spirit of the world is filthiness unto Christ. We dare not prostitute the anointing, by using it for the satisfaction of the flesh. When our inward desire for God has turned elsewhere for its satisfaction, we have defiled our spirit, lost our virginity, and only our Redeemer can restore us to a virgin state again. It is truly a further ‘revelation of Jesus Christ,’ that we see Him revealed in a company of virgins — undefiled ones. Only He can bring forth such a company of PERSONIFIED PURITY to stand with Him!”

These were redeemed from the earth-realm, from among (natural) men — the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb. They have been snatched as brands from the fire. The prophet Isaiah, in describing the condition of the churches in the days of “the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication” (Rev. 17:1), says, “In that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” The church is represented by a woman; and the relation of Christ to the true church, as the relation of the husband to his wife. The husband gives his name to his wife, and supplies her food and raiment; but apostate church systems, while claiming the name of Christ, eat their own bread, that is, they formulate their own carnal, man-made doctrines and static creeds, spurning the living word and revelation of God by the Spirit. They also wear their own apparel, that is, they clothe themselves in their own works of righteousness, of rules, regulations, laws, commandments of men, traditions of the elders, good works, etc., spurning the true robe of righteousness which is the inwrought nature of Christ by the Spirit. To conceal their reproach they loudly claim the name of Christ, profess that He is their Lord, call themselves “Christians,” yet go their merry way “doing their own thing,” ignoring the living Christ altogether! It is in contrast to these that we have the vision of the 144,000 “virgins” standing on mount Zion!

Again, I quote the timely words of Ray Prinzing, “John speaks of the ‘great whore’ who is also “the mother of harlots,’ one having many daughters who, like their whoring mother, are also harlots in their own right — and it is a fact we find their whore-houses everywhere. We shall not amplify this at length — they who have ears to hear what the holy Spirit is saying to His called out ones, are coming out of Babylon, and leaving these harlot women behind. They will no longer give their strength unto these women, nor pour their resources into her coffers. They refuse to be defiled by her whoredoms, and will not play her games. It has taken some tremendous purgings to become free from the taintings of the spirit of religious institutions. We find that for many, upon first being called out, literally go through a period of ‘withdrawal pains’ spiritually speaking. They feel great pains for fellowship, yearning to be with people, to get ‘another high’ from a service, etc., and it takes much time ALONE WITH GOD to be cleansed until their spirit is pure, and wholly joined to His. Methinks there is yet much purging needed to free us from ‘religious-ism’ in one form or another. We will not condemn nor point a finger, rather we cry out with the Psalmist, RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME!

“There are those who make their withdrawal only in the natural — they leave a religious system, ‘come out from among them,’ and feel they are free, and know not that their spirit is yet deeply defiled — and soon they have surrounded themselves with a little religious realm, which in due time has grown up to be another harlot in its own right, and they love her, defend her, fight for her, and do their best to say she is a true woman, but the spirit is the same as the old sectarianism they came out of, and they birthed another of its kind. But, there are those, praise God, who are being (process) redeemed from the earth, redeemed from among men, not defiled with women, for THEY ARE VIRGINS. They have a pure ‘virgin spirit,’ undefiled, a spirit that is free from the spirit of the world, free from all foreign spirits, free from all familiar spirits, free from all religious spirits. Praise God!” — end quote.

Sects, denominations, and cults have all come into existence through the love of something else rather than the Lord. Some are followers of a man — some eloquent, charismatic leader who can captivate people in their emotions. Some even name their “church” after the man — Lutheran, Mennonite, Wesleyan Methodist, etc. Some are given over to specific doctrines and unless one believes exactly as they do they will have nothing to do with that person regardless of how much their heart is toward the Lord. Various of these go on to name their denominations after their pet doctrine — Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Universalist, Christian Science, etc. Different forms of church government have divided believers into separate groups, each believing they have the best or most scriptural form of government. Some of these even name their organizations after their form of church government — Congregational, Presbyterian, etc. I have no hesitation whatever in telling you that all of this is gross carnality and utter defilement!

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you, as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ; are ye not carnal? Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (I Cor:1:12-13; 3:4-5). It matters not whether you call yourself a Roman Catholic, a Unitarian, a Methodist, a Baptist, the Move, the Church of God, the Church of Christ, the Order, the Word Church, Pentecostal, Charismatic, or any other, they all belong in the same category and are inspired and controlled by the same religious sectarian spirit. It matters not whether the leader or leaders are called popes, moderators, superintendents, presidents, pastors, senior pastors, presbyters, bishops, apostles, or prophets; if it is the same divisive spirit, the same love for something other than the Lord Himself, then those who make up the firstfruits company cannot and will not be defiled with these women! These systems, one and all, are called harlots because the love which should only be for the living Christ has been transferred to a man, a doctrine, a system, or something else. Some churches call themselves a “Bible Church,” but even the Bible, the Word, can be loved, esteemed, and exalted into an idol — a place in our affections above our true Beloved. Many years ago George Wylie related how he was talking with a precious brother who had been an elder in one of the local churches and who had left a group known as “the Move”; George asked him why he had left and he answered, “Because the Move was being preached and exalted above the Mover!”

Throughout the long history of the church age the established church systems of man have a record of rejecting every true visitation and outpouring of the Spirit of God! And, in our present generation, they have not gotten any better, but continue to get worse! The religious systems of this world, because of their spiritual carnality, fornication, and defilement, are anti-Christ in nature, and will reject any future outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord that Father sends into the earth — until the hour arrives for God to judge them unto correction, and break them unto repentance. And that will surely happen, as we hope to show as we progress through the book of Revelation! Our God is sufficient for His purpose! But, as of now, the natural mind of man that governs the carnal, man-made systems, is directly opposed to the sovereign Lordship of Christ, opposed to any fresh outpouring of the Spirit that disrupts their static forms, opposed to any deeper revelation that brings into question their established creeds, and opposed to any new truth that is given by the Spirit as we move higher into God. Their numerous false doctrines prevent them from accepting and receiving Christ as He appears in a greater and more glorious unveiling of Himself. No wonder the cry of the Spirit to all His apprehended ones continues to be, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” ((Rev. 18:4).

Those who follow the Lamb must not be “defiled with women.” They must not be defiled with the error and shame of the fleshly ways and religious spirit that defiles the harlot woman called Babylon and her many daughters. Those who follow the Lamb have been called and separated and chosen by the Son of God to be a pure and holy virgin unto Him. Behold, I show you a mystery and a divine paradox beyond the wisdom of man. In the world one starts out as a virgin and may become a harlot; but in the church one begins as a harlot and eventually becomes a virgin! All the elect of the Lord must be comprised only of those who have been called out of both the world and the church system. They must follow only and always the Lamb! They must cleave unto Him, and to Him alone! They must not be defiled by man, and they must be cleansed from all other religious or spiritual relationships, to give themselves wholly and unreservedly to HIM! Then they shall be pure and holy, qualified to receive His fullness, and prepared for that greatest of all events, known in scripture, as “the manifestation of the sons of God.”

There is also an individual and personal application of this truth, for we know that our individual soul life is also presented in scripture as a “woman.” On the individual and personal level, they, in their spiritual walk, no longer lie down with, and have a relationship with, their soul — their religious soulical nature and self-will. Rather, their soul is called upon to follow always and only the spirit whithersoever HE LEADS! Madame Guyon wrote of this personal experience within ourselves: “There is ‘a virginity’ of the soul in keeping the grace of God. A soul that is perfectly free from earthly things is a virgin soul. The Adam in them is completely destroyed. These follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They cannot part from Him because of the unity that their nothingness has accomplished. These are redeemed from among men, that is, withdrawn from all human corruption in their nature — self-love and carnality. They are also the first fruits unto God, specially sacrificed to Him.”

The following beautiful word from the pen of Paul Mueller is a blessed inspiration to all who seek HIS FULLNESS in this great day of the Lord. He writes, “The last verse of chapter four of the Song of Solomon closes with this sentence: ‘Let my beloved come into his garden and eat its choicest fruits.’ Chapter five begins by saying, ‘I HAVE come into my garden, my sister, my (promised) bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my balsam and spice, from your sweet words I have gathered the richest perfumes and spices. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends, feast on, O revelers of the palace; you can never make my lover disloyal to me! Drink, yes, drink abundantly of love, O precious one, for now I know you are mine, irrevocably mine!” (Song of Solomon 4:16; 5:1, Amplified).

“When our Beloved came into the ‘garden,’ which we are, He came to partake of the fruits that His ‘bride,’ ‘sister,’ or ‘spouse’ provided. Our worship of Him in spirit and in truth are those ‘sweet words’ from which He has gathered ‘the richest perfumes and spices,’ which He also calls ‘my honeycomb with my honey.’ When we fully understand this great truth, we will then realize how important our worship of the Lord is, in spirit and in truth, to the whole plan and purpose of our Father! And then our Beloved invites the friends of the Bridegroom, including ‘the revelers of the palace,’ to join Him in eating and drinking. When He invites them to eat and drink, the bridegroom, according to the natural example, also realizes that some of the revelers may attempt to ‘flirt’ with His betrothed. So he makes this bold assertion to them: ‘You can never make my lover disloyal to me!’ Those who are betrothed to the Lord will never give in to the seducers or to the counterfeit lovers of Babylon, but will remain true to Him forever!

“As the chosen, elect of the Lord, we should never, ever think of going back to the harlotry of the corrupt church system, for we are betrothed to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that binds us to Him and to Him alone forever and ever! And then, as if to assure and affirm the eternal relationship He has with His ‘spouse,’ which we are, our Beloved says to His ‘spouse’ or to His typical ‘bride,’ ‘Drink, yes, drink abundantly of love, O precious one, for now I know you are mine, irrevocably mine!’ How can we fail Him when our Beloved says such beautiful things about us? The entire spiritual celebration involving the Bridegroom (which is Christ) and His spouse (or, the body of Christ, which we are), is just like a wedding celebration in the natural. This union, or this wedding, brings together two separate entities: Christ the Body and Christ the Head, making one complete Christ! And that is great cause for celebration, for the two then become ONE SPIRIT, joined together by the Spirit of Life in Christ! We then function as ONE BODY, OR ONE CORPORATE MAN, BY THE SPIRIT!” — end quote.

FOLLOWING THE LAMB
 “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand…these are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth” (Rev. 14:1,4).

 “A relationship with Christ requires that WE FOLLOW HIM WHITHERSOEVER HE GOETH. The Greek word for ‘follow’ is akoloutheo meaning ‘to be in the same way with, i.e. to accompany as a disciple.’ He has given us ‘an example, that ye should follow in His steps’ (I Pet. 2:21). This is not just an historical way of life, trying to be imitators of Him as He lived two thousand years ago — we are not called to consider, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then be imitators, but PARTAKERS of Christ. It is BEING IN HIS WAY TODAY, as the Spirit leads us onward step by step. Eliezer said it so well, ‘I being in the way, the Lord led me…’ (Gen. 24:27). We’re going the same direction HE is going, following Him!

 “Following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth does not mean that we dash across the country, escaping all of our responsibilities. MUCH OF THIS FOLLOWING IS INWARD! We continue with the normal duties which He has given us to do, but with an attitude of constant surrender to His will, that HE be first and foremost in us at all times. We do not take our religious stance and insist that God do things in our way, in our timetable, according as to how we feel His word should be fulfilled. It is true, there are times when He will test us as to our commitment to Him, and there is a literal forsaking — yielding up our all. ‘Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee. And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more…’ (Lk. 18:28-30). But most of the time this is INWARD — upon the altar of our heart everything remains offered up, so that whatever possessions we have, they do not possess us. Paul wrote, ‘As having nothing, yet possessing all things’ (II Cor. 6:10). And when INWARDLY all is surrendered, it matters little if He requires an outward expression of this, or not. Relinquishment is an attitude of the heart, and when all is loosed within, there will be no exterior grasping.

 “The secret of staying in the will of God is to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth! Even if it does not make sense to us in the light of what we have always known as ‘revealed truth.’ It must have seemed most incomprehensible to Abraham, at least at first, that God would ask him to sacrifice that for which he had waited so long, and in whom his confidence rested. Especially since this was clearly that which had been given by God in such a miraculous manner, as the fulfillment of so long-standing a promise. Yet God’s purpose continued to unfold, and Abraham must follow.

 “To follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth requires great flexibility. It is possible that when we adhere rigidly to a promise, as we understand that promise, without taking a step in any direction, we could suddenly find ourselves outside the will of God. And not only outside the will of God, BUT INSIDE THE RIGID WALLS OF LEGALISM, and in danger of crucifying our Lord afresh. We might claim it and stand on it, and insist that God honor His word on the level we understand it, when He has a far greater meaning for that promise, if we are willing to LET GO OUR OWN SELF-CLAIMING-WORKS, and just let the Spirit lead us where He wills. Hence we often find a prayer in our hearts, ‘Lord, I do not understand what all this Word means, but, whatever You mean by it, that is what I desire.’ Why limit Him to our understanding? Why not yield ourselves to Him — and follow whithersoever He goeth? There are such heights and depths to be experienced in Him!

 “‘These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.’ What processing this one sentence covers, for it requires that we be LOOSED from all the binding restrictions of religion, to be free to follow as He leads. Our English word ‘religion’ comes from the Latin religio, meaning: taboo, or restraint. It bespeaks a system of faith and worship with all of its ‘do, and don’t,’ exercised by the will of man to gain favor with God. The Greek word is threskia, meaning: outward ceremonial observances — which were done primarily for an appeasement. Religion can be, and may well be, the greatest enemy of the Spirit, for it was religious belief that crucified Jesus. It was religious belief that hindered the entry of men into the kingdom of God. As Paul wrote, ‘O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you’ (Gal. 3:1). Having begun in the Spirit, they were ready to revert back to the works of the flesh, to obey days, months, times — back in bondage to form and ceremony, rather than the free flow of His life through them by the Spirit. Turning back to legalism is in effect crucifying Christ afresh, for it is a turning from the life of the Spirit, to man’s own works and self-effort” — Ray Prinzing.

 To follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth means to trust in, lean upon, give allegiance to, be guided by, accept as authority, imitate, emulate, pursue, run after — NO ONE BUT THE LAMB! I was blessed reading the testimony of a brother who in his conversation with the Lord said, “God, I just don’t feel that I am what I ought to be.” God said, “What would you like to be like?” I said, “I don’t know.” My Bible was lying on the floor by me and I pulled it over to me and hugged it. I said, “Lord, look at these great men of God. If I could just be like them.” The Lord asked, “Who do you want to be like?” I replied, “I would like to be like Moses.” “Why do you want to be like Moses?” God asked. I said, “Lord, I need to be more humble. Moses walked before you in humility, the meekest of all men. If I could just be like Moses!” God said to me, “Let me ask you a question: If you saw my finger of fire write on tablets of stone, and my glory was revealed to you, and you heard my audible voice, would you disobey me?” I said, “God, I have seen your glory. I have heard your voice. I have never seen your finger of fire, but I would not knowingly disobey you, especially after that.” The Lord responded, “Moses did! Moses so disobeyed me I could not let him go into the promised land.”

 I said, “All right, God, forget about Moses. Let me be like Abraham.” God said, “Abraham? Why do you want to be like him?” I said, “Lord, Abraham was the father of faith. He had such tremendous faith and trust in you. I do not have anywhere near the faith I should have.” God asked, “Son, do you love your wife?” I responded, “Lord, what do faith in God and loving my wife have to do with this — of course, I love her.” He said, “What would you do if three men knocked on your door in the middle of the night and said, ‘We hear your wife is very beautiful and we want to take her. Give her to us.’ What would you do?” I said, “God, you know exactly what I would do. I would kill them!” At this point the brother said to those listening to this testimony, “I hope you don’t feel any less about me, but that is true. You may think that is a terrible confession but I am telling you the truth. I would kill them, or they would have to kill me first and walk over my dead body before they would get to my wife. That is how much I love her.” He then continued, stating that God said to him, “That is true. I know you. But Abraham went through a strange land and became afraid. This great man of faith pawned his wife off as his sister in order to protect his own life. I had to intervene and stop that man from sleeping with Abraham’s wife!” Then God asked me, “Now — who do you want to be like?”

 I told Him, “God, please have patience with me. One more. Let me be like David.” God said, “David?” Have you ever read the Psalms? What kind of heart David must have had to write as he did! The scripture testifies of him that he was a man after God’s own heart! How he sought God and walked with God! I said, “Lord, I don’t seek you enough. I don’t cry out enough to you. I don’t long for you, yearn after you enough. I want to be like David.” Again the Lord said to me, “Son, did you ever kill anybody?” I said, “No.” He said, “Did you ever take another man’s wife?” I said, “No, I never have taken another man’s wife.” God said to me, “David did!” By this time I was weeping. I said, “Lord, I understand what you are trying to tell me!”

 Ah, the message is clear — the 144,000 do not follow, trust in, lean upon, give allegiance to, be guided by, accept as authority, imitate, emulate, pursue, or run after any man! These are redeemed from among men. They follow the Lamb whithersoever HE goeth! As He is The Lamb, so are they also lambs. They are conformed to the image of the Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren! They are like Him, entirely like Him, exactly like Him! They emulate no saint, no preacher, no bishop, no apostle, no prophet — for they follow the Lamb. They listen for no voice but His, they step only where He steps, and stand with Him upon His holy mountain. They continually and constantly “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

 One translation renders the passage, “Let us run…looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Pioneer — this is a word in the vocabulary of travelers. Those who have grown up in the
United States and Canada are familiar with this kind of traveler. Unlike explorers, who set out to discover what territory is beyond the horizon; unlike surveyors, who plot out the ground; pioneers travel to places where they can settle for the rest of their lives. The pioneers of the American West, for example, traveled in Conestoga wagons pulled by teams of oxen. At night they would draw their wagons into circles to protect themselves from Indian attack. The author of the book of Hebrews calls Jesus “the pioneer.” Jesus came not to explore, or to partition, or to sight-see. Nor was He a pilgrim, making a journey to visit a place someone else had made sacred. Oh, no! He was Himself the pioneer, claiming a calling, a purpose, a position, an attainment, a destiny, the very highest place in God for Himself and for all who would follow Him. It was not easy! Jesus the pioneer struggled against great odds to secure a stronghold for all the sons of God. His opponents were the religious leaders of the day and the corruption in society. Like a sturdy pioneer, Christ prevailed; He persevered through a world of sin, through the arrogance and hostility of the entrenched religious system of the day, through the temptations of the adversary, through the subtilty of His own human mind, through His own natural will, and through obedience unto death, even the death of the cross — THE PIONEER! Pioneers prepare the way for those who follow. In this case, the promised land is mount Zion. No wonder we read, “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer…” In the words of the old hymn, “My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, and all I have to do is follow…” It is indeed wonderful!

 The mystery of God in Christ is exceeding great and the longer we walk with God, the deeper the mystery becomes, yet the depth of the mystery is not that which beclouds the understanding, but that which shines with scintillating brightness revealing the glory of God. Sometimes I am brought into seasons of deep meditation and contemplation concerning the majesty of the Lamb and those who stand with Him upon mount Zion. There has been a mystery in the fact that all the sons share the fullness of His glory, reflect His image to which they are fully conformed, and sit with Him upon His throne, which is also His Father’s throne. The question presents itself — how can we know equality with Christ while at the same time acknowledging HIS PREEMINENCE in all things? As I have waited before the Lord I have come to see that the idea of equality with Jesus has two levels of application — rank and function. As to rank, He is the firstborn among many brethren, the pioneer of our faith, the Head of the body, and the King of the kings. As to function as sons of God, we are His “many brethren” who “share His glory” and “reveal His fullness” under the yoke with Him.

 Let me give you an illustration. I have been called to serve on juries a few times during my lifetime. When a jury is formed the first matter of business is to appoint a “foreman.” No one else can fulfill the rank of foreman — he guides, leads, moderates the proceedings, and makes requests of the judge if necessary. However, as to function, each of the twelve jurors is equal. The foreman is no more a juror than any of the others. He bears the same responsibility of looking at the evidence, forming a conclusion, and casting a vote. Being foreman gives him absolutely no advantage or superior power as a juror. His vote carries no more weight than any other. Each vote is equal. In like manner, as to rank, our Elder Brother has a superior rank, for He is the Leader, the Pioneer, the Firstborn, the Captain of our salvation, and the Lord of all the lords! He leads — we follow. But as to function, our sonship to the Father is one of equality — we all stand upon the same height of the mount Zion — He takes no advantage over us — for as He is in this world, so are we! He is not more of a Son than we are, He sits no higher on the throne, He has no greater degree of life, wisdom, knowledge, victory, holiness, glory, and power — for HE HAS FREELY GIVEN UNTO US ALL THINGS! Oh, the mystery of it!

 There is another truth hidden in this blessed experience of following the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. John the Baptist announced Jesus that day at the Jordan river with these telling words, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!” As the Lamb of God Jesus’ first stop on His journey to mount Zion was at another mount called Calvary. The flesh is wont to romanticize this idea of “following the Lamb,” while missing the great truth that in scripture the purpose of a lamb was, first and foremost, to become a sacrifice. As one has pointed out, “We hear Him call us, ‘Come and follow me,’ and we think He wants us to join Him in a walk by the sea of Galilee. Or perhaps He would sit with us under the shade of an olive tree, and tell us more about the power and wonder of His kingdom. We are sure that He wants us to help Him gather up the fragments after He feeds the multitudes bread and fish. It sounds like an excellent example of prosperity. Or perhaps it is time for Him to give us power to heal the sick, cast out devils, and raise the dead! All of these things have their time and place, and we rejoice in all that He does. A revival time in the camp is most welcomed — but this, this call from mount Calvary, ‘Come, follow me, yield your life to me as a whole burnt offering’ — are you sure you heard right?

 “‘For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach’ (Heb. 13:10-14). It is to be noted that when Jesus went forth without the gate, it was not a celebration time — there were no musical bands playing — no singing and dancing in the street. Without the camp He suffered, without the camp He was crucified. He left us an example, a footpath, consecrating for us a new and living way, and He leads us outside the camp, drawing us onward to where HE IS. ‘For even hereunto were ye called: for Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps’ (I Pet. 2:21). It is a way that includes ‘the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death’ (Phil. 3:10).”

 There are ways in which we can trace the footprints of the Lamb’s glory upon mount Zion. Every step that He took was also ordained for us, that we should follow in His steps. His whole life was marked by unswerving commitment to the purpose of His Father. It was not broken into fragments by many side issues of self-interest, or distracted by lesser pursuits. There was no cross-current of personal ambition. He never allowed the whims of friend or foe to interfere with His devotion to the Father’s plan and will. The whole nature of Jesus was united in one single aim — to prosecute the purposes of God. To that one grand point He related all His words and works, His hopes and aims. He never narrowed His vision to the outer world. He looked at it in relation to the Father and the establishment of the kingdom in the earth.

 This path led Him into the valley of misunderstanding, dispute, controversy, hostility, and danger. And finally Calvary laid its track before His feet! The judgment hall, the spittle of His enemies, cruel mocking, the crown of thorns, His beard plucked, His back torn, the weight of the cross, the pain of the nails, the agony of thirst, blood, and death, the darkness of the tomb — the pathway to mount Zion wound its treacherous way through all this! And for everyone who would attain to the unsurpassed glory of Zion’s holy hill, there is nothing that the Lamb will not share with us. Even Calvary lays its trail before our feet! Those who “follow the Lamb” shrink from no part of the Lamb’s life, whether on earth or in heaven. There is a fellowship of His sufferings for those who will dare that great enlistment. The law of sacrifice lays its claim upon us: ‘Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.’ ‘I am crucified with Christ,” said one who dared the uttermost renunciation, and entered into sacrificial partnership with the Lamb of God. Oh, yes! It is His purpose to transfigure our lives, confer upon us His glory, and lead us all the way to His throne. But with this in mind we reverently trace His footprints from Nazareth to Jerusalem, from Jerusalem to mount Calvary, from Calvary to the tomb, from the tomb to the resurrection, from resurrection to ascension to the dizzying heights of the holy mount and the pinnacle of glory, majesty, and redeeming power. Saviours come up upon mount Zion — via another mount — Calvary. That is the mystery.

The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen;
It were a well-spent journey,
Though sev’n deaths lay between:
The Lamb, with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s band.

 When Jesus was here on earth He never asked very many to follow Him. Though there were thousands who believed on Him and who followed Him around as He went from place to place, even walking all the way around the sea of Galilee to meet Him on the other side when He had crossed the sea by boat. They followed Him to hear Him teach, to see the miracles He did, and to eat of the loaves and the fishes; but this is not what He meant when He said, “Follow me,” to Peter and his brother Andrew, and to John, James, and a few others. This following Him was something different. They followed Him on their own account. He had never bidden them to follow Him! To those men that Jesus had called to follow Him, He said, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Mat. 19:28). Those who sit with Him upon His throne are those who have been called to follow Him. Just following is not enough! If one has not received the call to sonship he will never complete the journey. The multitudes followed Jesus around the lake, but when He ceased to multiply bread and fish and commenced to speak the deep mysteries of the kingdom of God, the multitude began to filter away and followed Him no more.

 I heard His call, “Come follow,” that was all.
 The world grew dim, my soul went after Him,
 I rose and followed; that was all.
 Who would not follow, if they heard Him call?

 The sad truth is that some can even receive the call, and still fail or refuse to follow the Lamb. To follow the Lamb all the way is not an easy proposition! Of the three would-be followers Jesus encountered on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified, only one of them said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus saw through His presumptive words, replying, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus wasn’t telling this man that if he followed Him he would have to spend his nights sleeping on the hard, cold ground. That would have indeed been enough to discourage some from following! But the words of Jesus carry a deeper meaning and message than a mere physical discomfort. Jesus was pointing to HIS HEADSHIP and the fact that He had yet to find a people so abandoned unto Him, so committed to follow Him, so consecrated to follow none other but Him, so ready to forsake everything else, so determined to go to Calvary and onward and onward down the pathway of the Lamb, that HE COULD CONFER HIS HEADSHIP UPON THEM. Ah, this is what constitutes Christ the Head and Christ the body — a body that is so attached to the Head that it goes whithersoever the Head directs with no hesitation whatsoever! It is upon such a people that the Son of man lays or places HIS HEAD!

 To another Jesus said, “Follow me.” But his response was, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” He was told, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” This man wanted to first bury all of the old order, in order to then walk in the new. But that cannot be done! When we begin to follow on to know the Lord we soon discover that the old order will take care of itself. The way into the new is not to bury the old, but to follow the Lamb. The new will unfold before us, and the old will fall away of its own accord. Isn’t it wonderful!

 The third would-be follower said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus replied by telling him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Peter also promised to follow Jesus, not only to prison, but also to death, but failed to keep his word. Only those who take an irrevocable stand for the Lamb can follow Him wherever He goes, for they alone follow Him out of unselfish love, without reservations, and without looking back. Only they are fully committed to do His will no matter where it leads. Only they are willing to give up their rights to themselves and lay down their lives for Jesus. Only they are ready to follow the Lamb not only beside still waters and through green pastures, but also through troubled waters and the valley of the shadow of death. Wherever He goes, they follow! And these have no request to return to tell the old order of the flesh and Babylon “Goodbye,” for it holds nothing for them anymore. Oh, my Father! What a word is this!

Charles Allen related the fascinating story of the migration of the Pacific Golden Plover. “Those birds are hatched in the northlands of Alaska and Siberia. Before the young ones are old enough to fly great distances, the old birds desert them and fly far away to the Hawaiian Islands. The young birds are left behind to grow strong enough to follow their parents. One day these birds rise into the sky and set their course out over the Pacific. They have never made that journey before and they must cross two thousand miles of ocean, with no marks to guide them. During this trip they have not even one opportunity to stop for rest or food and frequently they encounter high winds and storms. Yet unerringly they fly straight to those tiny specks in the Pacific, the Hawaiian Islands.”

How do you explain the flight of these birds? Surely God has provided them with something akin to our radio beams, something they can follow without getting lost. And it is within them! Has God not made the same provision for His sons? Jesus, our Forerunner, has gone before. He has ascended to the heavenly mount Zion. He reigns upon the throne in the heavens of the Spirit. And now, blessed be His name, within all who have received the call to sonship God has provided our very own INTERNAL GUIDANCE SYSTEM! This internal guidance system is discovered as we grow in the Lord — the secret, innate knowledge of our origin and destiny, that inward, irresistible compulsion of divine purpose, the deep mysterious urging of the inner spirit of life by the mind of Christ raised up within us — something we can follow without getting lost! As our lives are brought into harmony with our Father’s will, by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God, even though we cannot see the way ahead, we possess an instinctive sense of the right direction, and with understanding, courage, and confidence we move steadily forward without any fear of getting lost or missing the goal, knowing that through the storms, desert places, dark valleys, and rough and rocky roads, we shall arrive at last to stand with the Lamb upon the mount Zion. Aren’t you glad!

Consider with me an actor preparing for his role in an upcoming drama. He pours over his lines. Striding back and forth in his room, he commits to memory the lines he has been assigned for the play. It is a major part; he will be the dominant actor. The action will swirl around him. He needs to get the lines memorized, know the director’s instructions about where to move in each scene, and get a “feel” for how each scene is to be played. He spends hours and hours to get this drama to fit the director’s expectation. When the curtain is raised on the drama, he will be judged on how closely he stays with the script. The play will become unintelligible if he doesn’t follow the script!

Jesus had walked out every step of His ordained pathway and was now approaching the cross, resurrection, and ascension — the “end game” of His journey to mount Zion. On the night of His last supper with His disciples He said to them, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him” (Mk. 14:21). It was written of Him! One can reverently say that His life was scripted for Him. All the major events were foretold in scripture. Yes, it was written in the scriptures, but it was also written within Him in the scroll of His life. The Father dwelt within Him, spoke within Him, worked within Him. The revelation of who He was and what He came to do was not merely learned out of the scriptures — it was learned from the voice of the Father within, out of the very mind of the Father written in His forehead! At every step Jesus shows that He knew this script by heart! This script, this inward knowledge, this inner revelation, this voice from out of His innermost Being — this was Jesus’ INTERNAL GUIDANCE SYSTEM! This is what He followed, how He journeyed from heaven to earth and all the way up to mount Zion. And now, my beloved, WE FOLLOW THE LAMB. By hearing the voice of the spirit within, by receiving the call within ourselves to follow the Lamb, and by stepping forth day by day to walk out the revelation of the spirit we find the “script” for our lives is easier to know and understand! It is leading us to mount Zion!

To be continued…