Preparation Of The Body Of Christ - From Tent to Temple
No man could tamper with, or in any way meddle with, the creative Word that came forth to Mary. This would only spoil and completely nullify what God had in mind. Certainly human instruments were involved. Mary and Joseph were greatly involved: Joseph as the protector and guardian of the Holy Child, and Mary as the mother. Together they must bear the reproach of it all. Mary in particular had only to believe what the angel had declared; and her simple reply was, "Be it unto me according to thy Word" (Lk. 1:38). Simeon, a lowly old man with a great revelation, had only one small task. But oh, how grievous a task! Just to have to wait, and wait... perhaps year after year... and then just to catch a fleeting glimpse of the infant Messiah, hold Him in his arms for a moment, and declare Him to be God's light to the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel. Then his responsibility was finished. He would go on his way, and perhaps very shortly pass off the scene. Anna, a very old widow woman, was involved. She must abide in the temple day and night in intercessory prayers for the redemption of Israel, and live to see the Redeemer when He was brought to the temple for dedication. John the Baptist was involved, as the one who would introduce Him to Israel in the waters of baptism.
All these had their particular responsibility... but their involvement was carefully planned and sovereignly overshadowed by the purpose and plan of God, and the brooding wings of the Holy Spirit.
In this day God is preparing the Body of Christ--which is not another Body, but a joining of His people unto the Lord Jesus, Who is the glorified Head, And our involvement is much of the same nature as it was when God "prepared" a Body for the Man Christ Jesus. And to those who are involved, there is a living hope that keeps them walking in His Way. But the Way is just as grievous as it was with the faithful remnant in Israel. We too must accept the reproach and the misunderstanding that comes our way as we seek to walk in God's will and God's way. To hear the Word that God has spoken, impossible as it may sound in the ears of men. To believe that God is yet to bring forth a virgin Bride for Christ, from sinful and corrupt humanity. To intercede in union with the Spirit of God for this great thing that He will do in the earth. To wait and wait and wait for this Body to come forth in the earth, without trying to manufacture one of our own by studying the blueprints of the New Testament Church. For let no one imagine that by gathering the people of God together into some kind of "New Testament Church" structure that they are in that manner helping to bring about the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus. God has ordained ministry; but it is only as the ministration of Truth brings the people of God into that vital abiding union with Christ that the prayer of Jesus has been answered.
When Jesus said, "Without me ye can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5), He was not implying that with His help we can do many, many wonderful things. What He said was, "Apart from me ye can do nothing." This is different. He is telling us plainly that severed from the flow of life and wisdom and knowledge and love and grace that proceed from Him, we can do nothing. The gifts may be there, and valid, and functioning. But apart from that constant flow of His own Life and Word and Spirit, NOTHING is accomplished that will stand the test of Him who sees with eyes "as a flame of fire." Too long has it been assumed that because we are enriched with spiritual gifts... or because we are apostles or prophets or teachers... or whatever... that we have been authorized of the Lord to go forth and make these gifts and ministries work, and build His Church. These gifts and ministries rather must come under such subjection to the Holy Spirit in our midst that He Who is the Truth will grip the hearts of men and cause them to become deeply rooted in Him, and so "grow up into him [Christ] in all things, which is the head" (Eph. 4:15). Then will the people of God be ONE... and then will they speak the same thing. Not because they belong to the same church or fellowship, or have subscribed to the same teachings, or have submitted themselves to the same apostles and prophets and pastors in the Church, but because they have been joined together in a vital abiding union with the same Lord.
I am persuaded that God is preparing such a people in the earth, and that through them He will demonstrate the very fullness of the Love and Light and Truth of God in the earth. There is a people hidden in the hollow of God's hand, unseen and unrecognized by the world, and throughout the Church, But in the Day of the LORD their mouth shall be as a sharp two-edged sword. "And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me" (Isa. 49:2). God is preparing the arrow of Truth, that He might send it forth in a clear, certain Word: "And [he] made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me" (vs. 2 cont.). God has determined that His Word will hit the mark, and do the work that He intended. It must not swerve, fall short, or go beyond what God intended. Therefore He polishes the shaft until there is a true and perfect balance in all things. There is a ministry in the hands of the One Who holds the "seven stars." They are learning to abide in His hands, so that when He stretches forth His hands to minister, they will stretch forth their hands. When He speaks, they will speak. When He is silent, they are silent. When He moves forward, they move forward. Like the wheels of the Cherubim that we mentioned earlier, they will move in harmony with God. No longer will they have doctrines of their own, for they have laid all that down... that they might have only His doctrine. They no longer have any plans and programs for enlargement, because they walk in union with Him Who is the Architect and Builder of all things. They only plan as they know His plan. They only build, as they build together with Him. They are not working for God, but like the apostle Paul said of himself, they are learning to be "labourers together with God" (1 Cor. 3:9). They are in His yoke, and are therefore learning from Him.
Now this is the way Jesus lived and ministered, is it not? But it was not in the plan of God that Jesus should stay here in the earth these two thousand years, and travel about in this kind of ministry. You and I know very well that had He done so, what we have said of the disciplined ministry would be totally true concerning Him. But we are a little hesitant to believe that it could be totally true of anyone else, no matter how well-disciplined they are. But let us remind you once again what Jesus said before He went away: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you" (Jn. 16:7). As clearly as any translation could tell us, it would be for our profit, for our good, and to our advantage if Jesus would go back to the Father, and send the Holy Spirit to abide in His people in the earth. For He would, in fact, be the same Lord Jesus abiding not only with us but in us.