The Vision and the Appointment
George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 4 - OUR HERITAGE IN MOUNT ZION
"But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb 12:22-24). We must speak a little of each of these areas of our heritage in Zion.
Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem
After the defeat of Saul's army at the hands of the Philistines, David inquired of the Lord if he should return to Judah, and the Lord told him to go, and settle at Hebron. Then the men of Judah anointed David as King over Judah. After seven years the elders of Israel anointed him as King over Israel. So all Israel and Judah served under King David; and it was after this that David returned to Jerusalem.
The Jebusites were in control of Zion and mocked and challenged David, from their stronghold on the mountain. But his men ascended the hill in a gutter, and caught the enemy by surprise, and took the stronghold. This became David's stronghold, and he called it the City of David.
So here we have an illustration of how our Lord Jesus through His death, overcame principalities and powers in high places, triumphing over them in His Cross. And those high places of the enemy became subject to our Lord, who made an open show of them when He suffered and died on the Cross. And now, clothed upon with the whole armour of God, we are assured of victory because of the triumph of the Lord Jesus. Yet the apostle would remind us that "we see not yet all things put under Him" (Heb 2:8). Then he adds, "But we see Jesus" (vs 9), and that is sufficient for now. Our Lord defeated them by His triumphant death, but the execution of their sentence awaits the timing of God, when the victory of the Cross will be openly manifested in the earth and in the heavens.
And so those high places of the Enemy, are subject to Christ and to His people, even in the midst of continuing rebellion by those defeated powers. But as we are clothed with "the whole armour of God" we have the assurance that "in the evil day" we will be conquerors through Him. The apostle goes a step further, that "having done all," or having fought the good fight of faith to the very end, we "stand"-- we remain victors on the field of battle.
We know this is God's desire for us, as well as His provision. But too often we live in defeat because of "the devices" of the Evil One. All his devices proceed from areas of darkness, such as hate, anger, malice, deceit, lies, treachery -- all these negative things from the shades of darkness. If we walk close to God, and keep our armour bright and shining with Light, there is nothing that can defeat us. We are not only able to overcome, but we are "more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Rom 8:37).
Gross darkness has invaded the earth in unspeakable measures, and there is not enough Light in the Church to suppress the darkness. But we have this assurance, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the Armour of Light" (Rom 13:12). There is no density of Darkness in the camp of the Enemy that can extinguish the Light of God in His people who "walk in the Light."
We wait, O Lord, for the creative voice to come forth in the midst of Your people who dwell so often in the shadows: "Arise, Shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee" (Isa 60:1). We fail miserably if we try to "shine." We know God said it! But because we read it, and know about it, we can't make it happen. When God said "Let there be Light," it was after the Spirit of God had moved upon the face of the waters. Then God spoke, and Light sprang forth out of the darkness. Once again we anticipate the day when the prophetic voice from the lips of Isaiah will find its fulfilment in a people who "wait for Him," and by His creative Word He will once again bring forth Light out of the darkness. The Word of God is true, and pure, and holy. It is "sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12). But let us be sure we understand, that it is only powerful and sharp when it is spoken forth from the heart of God. Paul said, "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" (1 Thess 1:5).
Mount Zion, the Mount of Light
A Light is shining on the Mount
It shines from Zion's holy hill;
Dark has been the Shades of Night
And hearts of men are sick and torn,
And sleep has turned to dreams of pain.
But now they feel the warmth of Dawn,
Arise! and Shine! the Night is gone!
The Day Star rises in the East,
The Sun of Righteousness appears
With healing in His shining wings.
Arise! and Shine! and dream no more,
For 'tis the breaking of the Dawn!
There has been too much expectation of a premature rapture into Heaven, to get away from earth's troubles and problems. God loves the world too much to strip the earth of the righteous ones. He will have a warring righteous people for that hour. He will have a people clothed upon with "the whole armour of God"-- for what Day? -- for that evil Day. What a selfish hope some have, to fly away from it all, and leave Planet Earth in the hands of the Devil! God has prepared sufficient armour for us to overcome any evil plot that Satan has against God's people. "Wherefore," the apostle tells us, "take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph 6:13). When the overcomers have fought this last great Battle against the forces of evil, they will stand victorious on the field of battle.
We have come to Zion, the City of Light
"The Mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken,
And called the earth from the rising of the sun
Unto the going down thereof.
Out of Zion, the Perfection of Beauty,
God hath shined.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence:
A fire shall devour before Him,
And it shall be very tempestuous
'Round about Him.
He shall call to the heavens from above,
And to the earth, that He may judge His people.
Gather My saints together unto Me;
Those that have made a covenant with Me
And the heavens shall declare His righteousness:
For God is Judge Himself. Selah,"
A devouring fire! Very tempestuous round about Him! Let us not be confused with this seeming mixture of Light and Darkness, of Judgment and Mercy in the Day of the LORD. For that Day is both wondrous and fearful, both "great and very terrible" (Joel 2:11). It is God's Day! Never is it called God's Night! But it is on this Day that there will be great confrontation between the forces of "good and evil." Our Lord Jesus has "overcome the world," and He has shown us the way whereby we may become "more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Zion, the City of God's Habitation
David's first attempt to bring back the Ark of God to Israel, failed in a great tragedy. The Ark was on a cart and when the oxen stumbled one of the men reached out his hand to steady the Ark, and God smote him dead. David was greatly troubled about this. After all, the man was helping to keep the Ark from falling on the ground! David considered the matter very seriously, and stopped the whole process. He must seek God for understanding about this matter. It was clear enough in the records of the Law: the priests of the LORD were ordained to carry the Ark on their shoulders, not to draw it along on a cart that was pulled by oxen. God is very concerned that His people worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. But somehow men have devised their own methods, and it seems to work, so why not? When God's Presence returns to His Church once again, I fear there will be many such tragedies when men arrange the order of Church worship, as seems good to them, and God doesn’t seem to be there. He should be there, in every gathering of His people in His Name. That's another Name for Zion!
"And the name of the City from that day shall be, the LORD is there" (Ezek 48:35). If the LORD is not there we are not walking in the Light of the City!
As David earnestly sought the Lord, God showed him His way. The Ark must be carried on the shoulders of the priests. And it was to be brought to the City of David, and placed in a Tent (the Tent of David) on Mount Zion. David was a King, not a Priest! But he had a priestly heart and God granted him priestly prerogatives many times. And this was one of the most significant of all: the place of David's throne, was to be the place of God's Habitation. David delighted in spending his time before the Ark, in the Tabernacle of David! His songs were prophetic of the Day when God would have a "Royal Priesthood" -- a Priesthood of Kings, and a Kingdom of Priests! Such a dwelling-place was mutual between David and his God. God had chosen Zion for His dwelling place -- and David longed to dwell with God in Zion:
"In Salem also is His tabernacle,
And His dwelling place in Zion" (Ps 76:2).
"For the LORD hath chosen Zion;
He hath desired it for His habitation.
This is My rest for ever:
Here will I dwell; for I have desired. it"
O that the LORD would reduce us to one desire, even as it was with David!
"One thing have I desired of the LORD,
That will I seek after;
That I may dwell in the House of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to enquire in His Temple."
The old Tabernacle that Moses built was on Mount Gibeon, and it was still functioning along with true priestly ministry. But David was confident that he was to pitch a Tent on Mount Zion for the Ark. It was known as the Tent of David, and God's Presence was there. David was not of the priestly tribe; yet he had access into the presence of God, who dwelt there between the cherubim.
Be assured, beloved, God Himself desires no other House, no other Temple, than a 'Tent.' And when the true Temple walked the streets of Jerusalem, God dwelt in that Man in all His fulness. When the unbelievers asked for a "sign" from Heaven, Jesus told them clearly:
"Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
"But He spake of the Temple of His body" (see Jn 2:19,21).
God had found Rest and Delight in a Man, who was (to all outward appearances) just a humble Tent, where sinful restless men might come and find Rest. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14). The word "dwelt" in this verse is from a Greek word meaning "Tent," and literally it could read: "And the Word was made flesh and tented in our midst. " It's the same Greek word that is used for God's ultimate home in Man, in Rev 21:3:
"Behold, the Tabernacle (tent) of God is with men,
And He will dwell (tent) with them,
And they shall be His people,
And God Himself shall be with them,
And be their God"
John saw no "temple" in the Holy City, because "the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it" (Rev 21:22).
Let us not deceive ourselves in this matter. There are not two, or three, or more -- temples. Jesus is that Temple who dwelt among us. In His teaching, followed by the teaching of the apostles, He reveals the great mystery of the Church which, if we understand it correctly, is not another Temple, but the same Temple that was "made flesh and dwelt among us." But now in His glorification He becomes the "Head of the Church," and we are His body. We are not two bodies, but one; not two temples but one.
"Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor 3:16).
And so the apostle admonishes us, that "speaking the truth in love, (we) may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ" (Eph 4:15).
"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an Holy Temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an Habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph 2:21,22).
Ye are come . . . unto an Innumerable Company of Angels
We are thankful for this realm of heavenly beings, all of whom are involved greatly in the unfolding of God's eternal purpose. Some people have seen angels. Some have seen their special angel, which we refer to as their "guardian angel" in the course of one's life. In some respects they have certain characteristics and mannerisms like the one they are designated to accompany and assist through life. I mention this because when the saints were praying in Jerusalem for the release of Peter, and couldn't believe what Rhoda said -- that Peter was there at the door knocking -- they said, It can't be Peter -- it must be his angel (see Act 12:13-16). Why would they say that, unless they understood that one's particular angel had certain features about them, like the one they were assigned to, as helper and protector.
I recall the story of a friend, who said he saw an angel on the platform in a certain meeting, and the angel looked like himself. This puzzled him a lot, till I mentioned this incident in the early Church, how the people said: It can't be Peter at the door, it must be his angel.
Another man I know said something similar. He was a pilot and was flying a small airplane, and suffered a serious crash out on a farm in Saskatchewan. His face and head were badly mangled; but he managed to get out of the plane, and walk a few steps. And then he collapsed. A man happened along, talked to him with words of comfort, and offered to help him. He lifted him up, and the two of them walked together perhaps a quarter mile to a farmhouse. Along the way the man would have him stop for a rest, and perhaps sit on a rock, and converse a little. He said his attitudes and mannerisms reminded him of himself -- but thought no more about it. It was springtime, and there was fresh snow on the ground. The two of them walked to the farm house, and one of them knocked on the door -- and the man disappeared. A lady in the house came to the door, and was startled to see such a gruesome looking man soaked in blood, and called for help. When her husband came home from work, he followed the footprints back to the plane and examined it. He said there was only one set of footprints in the fresh snow, and that the tracks formed a direct line, until he got close to the plane. Then the footprints were staggered. It was there that my friend stumbled about, and collapsed. When the father went to visit him in the hospital, he told me he couldn't even recognize his son, he was so horribly lacerated from the crash. He eventually recovered, and as far as I know, gradually returned to normal.
We should mention the role of angels as they relate to young children. One time some women brought their children to Jesus for a blessing. The disciples felt they did the right thing by sending them away. But Jesus saw what they were doing and said to them in so many words, Don't send them away! the Kingdom of Heaven is comprised of little children such as these. Then He said, "Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein" (Lk 18:17). And in another place, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in Heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in Heaven" (Matt 18:10). Many children have come to know the Lord Jesus when they were very young – even at 3 years of age. It is not by a lot of knowledge that one is found worthy before God, rather it is by a simple child-like faith and love for the Lord Jesus.
God is not pleased to let men see angels too frequently, because we may give them undue adoration. Let us understand that our role in God's plan is for a destiny above that of the angels. Peter reminds us that the angels themselves desire to know more about our great salvation. They are not partakers of our redemption, and as angelic beings their knowledge of God's plan of redemption is limited, and they want to know more. The apostle Peter tells us that they "desire to look into" the things pertaining to the Gospel of Christ (see 1 Pet 1:12).
Let us Beware of Fallen Angels
They, too, may appear to men; and we must keep our focus on the Lord Jesus, lest we be led astray by an Angel of Darkness. They may not appear to be angels of darkness; for the apostle Paul tells us that "Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of Light" (2 Cor 11:14). God have mercy on us all, in this hour of great deception, and give much grace to His people to follow the Lord Jesus, and make Him to be Lord in their lives. I hear reports of Christians calling upon their angels, and commanding them to send them money, or supply certain things they want; and this has to be a very great form of deception. The apostle warns us about things of that nature: "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Col 2:18). I am confident that those whose hearts are totally given over to the Lord Jesus, will not be deceived. We need to exercise a lot of caution these days, for it is an hour of great deception.
I have never seen an angel, but because of what the Word says about them, I firmly believe they have been ordained of God to help us along the way, in the journey of life. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb 1:14).
Why Does God need Angels?
Or why does He need us? Is He not powerful enough to do what He wants to do, without the help of angels or of men? Certainly He is; but the Almighty God chose to bring forth a creation that would not only bring Him pleasure and delight, but it would also bring glory and praise and honour to His great Name. God is always greatly magnified and glorified in the extension of His Kingdom. He uses us, as well as angels -- not because He would be helpless without us, but His glory is enhanced by all of His creatures, who abide in their appointed role.
And so the Book of Psalms closes with a call to all created beings to give glory to their Creator.
"Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts" (Ps 148:2). Then he enlists all other created beings to join with the celestial hosts, to fulfill their appointed destiny, which is to bring honour and glory to their Creator.
"Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light. Praise Him ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens" (Ps 148:3,4).
We may wonder, How can all these created things really praise their Creator, for many of them do not have much knowledge, and many of them are inanimate creations that have no intelligence at all? Then we understand that those creatures who have intelligence can only truly praise God by abiding in that place and in that destiny that God had chosen for them. Most animals have an instinct of divinely imparted wisdom, which we cannot even comprehend, and which they themselves may not understand. Like the ant, they gather their food in summer, and store it away. Or the honey bee -- we marvel at the intricate wisdom they have to produce honey for themselves, and for men.
And what about those lifeless creations -- sun, and moon, and stars – which have no intelligence at all. They too, move in the power of His wisdom and knowledge. Whether we be men or angels, we are responsible to walk in obedience to His will and Word. But they, having no inherent wisdom or knowledge or understanding, are nevertheless upheld by the same Word of God that He has made meaningful to us, as intelligent beings.
"For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (or, subsist)" (Col 1:16,17).
It is not true that God made all created things out of nothing. He made all things out from His own inherent power, and glory, and knowledge, and wisdom; and it is "through faith" that we are able to understand these things (Heb 11:3).
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they (all mankind) are without excuse" (Rom 1:20).
Ye are come . . . to the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn which are written in Heaven
We do not seek to see or make contact with those in the faith who have gone on to the City, but we are aware that we are part of the Church Triumphant of many generations gone by. And we should be encouraged by "so great a cloud of witnesses," as we seek to uphold the Testimony of Jesus in our generation, clothed upon with the whole armour of God, and fighting the good fight of faith. The assemblies of God's people generally have a Register of Members, to keep in contact one with the other. But the Register of Zion is the only register that has eternal significance. Ungodly rulers in the church have frequently blotted out the names from their registers, of those who resisted the apostasy of the leaders. The church may continue on as before, comforting those who hold membership there, with a false hope. Saying in so many words, Our church was founded by Jesus, and if you leave us you are no longer on the true foundation. Ignorance such as this has prevailed all through the centuries, and it is all based on the fallacy that because the Church started out right, you must stay in the church or lose your soul.
How easily men can forget that when the holy Dove is grieved with the apostasy of His people, He will withdraw His Presence, and many of God's people will withdraw from the assembly when they know the Spirit of God has departed. God is faithful to give opportunity to the leaders, and the people, to repent, and if this does not happen, the judgments of God will follow.
May we find much assurance in knowing that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, and that our salvation is totally in Him, and not in any church system. And that no dictator in an apostate church can blot our name out of the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain for our redemption (see Rev 3:5; 17:8).
Ye are Come . . . to God the Judge of All
The apostle is talking about the glory of Zion, the City of the Living God. It may not appear to many like a City of Love and Grace, if we are standing before God the Judge. But it ought to be the cry of our hearts, that our God whom we love, and whose Son died for our redemption, should be our Judge as well as our Saviour. I know Jesus said: "He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (Jn 5:24). He has delivered us from wrath and condemnation; but one day "we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ" (Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 3:12-15). This is a judgment of our works, "of what sort it is," and we are rewarded for the quality of our works. Quality, the apostle implied, not Quantity -- for that Day is a Day of Fire, and our works go through the Fire, rather than being weighed in balances. Would it not be better if God would judge us now in this life for our failures and shortcomings as Christians, rather than have Him judge us on that great Day when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ? Or better still, if we go so far as to ask Him to judge us, as David did. He is not asking for God's wrath, but that God would search him out and try him. "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart" (Ps 26:2). For if He judges us now by our own consent and desire, is not this much better than waiting for that Day?
This is all relevant to the institution of the Lord's Supper, where we are admonished to judge ourselves so as not to partake of the table unworthily. Many Christians have been known to pass by the "communion" service, because they realize they are not worthy. It is true the apostle said if we partake of the communion unworthily, we shall be "guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor 11:27). But his admonition to us is not to refrain from the table, but rather to repent of any wrong doing, and take the communion in fellowship with the believers. "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup" (vs 28). This is God's provision, and His commandment.
I believe there ought to be healing for spirit, soul, and body -- in the communion. But it is only as our hearts are exposed to Him, and we know the cleansing of the blood of Jesus, and the dominion of the Spirit of God in our lives, that the communion becomes to us a partaking of the virtues of the blood of Jesus, and of His broken body. It is only then that we truly "eat of His flesh, and drink of His blood" (see Jn 6:53).
Ye are come to God the Judge of all. And the Father "hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (Jn 5:22). If we truly love the Lord Jesus, we welcome God's judgments, for His judgments are ministrations of righteousness.
Ye are Come . . . to the spirits of Just Men made Perfect
This does not mean, while living in this body of flesh, that we should seek to communicate with those who have gone on. But in the working of God in our lives now we become a part of the blood-washed and spirit-perfected people of God who have gone on. They are now on the other side of the veil, we are on this side. To what extent they may have knowledge concerning their brethren who live in the earth, we do not know. But God sees us as joined unto them. They are overcomers in Zion, and we on earth still must endure sufferings and afflictions, till we have overcome as they overcame: 'by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony, and loving not our lives unto the death' (see Rev 12:11). I like to think of them as that "great cloud of witnesses" that Paul speaks about (Heb 12:1). Often I will think of the trials and tribulation of people like Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, John the Baptist, the Apostles, and I know there are many others. But as we consider the great trials that they endured to become citizens of Zion, we are encouraged to press on toward the goal with new hope and strength and faith. In our land we know little about the trials and persecutions our brothers and sisters are enduring in other nations. And when we hear about these people going through tribulation, it ought to give us great courage as we see those dark clouds of trouble on the horizon, ready to pour out God's wrath on our nation, and all nations who have forgotten our God. All judgment is in the hands of the Son, and no judgments can fall on the earth until the Lamb sees fit to open yet another seal.
I know we do not like to consider troubles of this kind coming our way, but they are inevitable, if the hearts of His people do not turn back to Him. No amount of social and political reform will solve our problems. Only a people walking in the Light of Jesus, and crying out to God for His intervention in our midst, will spare us from the cup of His wrath being poured out on our nation, and all other nations that have forsaken the true and living God – the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ye are Come . . . to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant
We are part of a "royal priesthood" (see 1 Pet 2:9). Christ "hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father" (Rev 1:6). There are different ministries in the Church, designed of God to edify one another. But being a priest is the ministry of all the people. God has not designated certain priests in the Church, who have some kind of priestly preeminence over other believers. Each ministry should be recognized as a priestly ministry, having access into God's presence, and a priestly heart to minister to fellow believers in the body of Christ. But it is not enough to know this truth. We must emphasize that in order to function with power and grace as a priest in the house of God, we must have priestly qualities of grace and mercy to minister healing to those who are weak and oppressed. We must walk with God, and know God's ways, and be one "who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity" (Heb 5:2).
If we are true believers in Christ, we must know that we have but one Mediator before the throne. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). No priest or bishop or cardinal or pope can assume this role. No apostle, or prophet, or pastor, or teacher, or elder, or deacon can assume this role. And yet it is very often very evident that some of these ministries have in fact usurped the authority of this One Mediator in the heavens, the Man Christ Jesus. This is our heritage as believers in Christ, that we have access into the very presence of God, through One Mediator. "We have come to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant" (see Heb 12:24).
Our God knew no man of Adam's fallen race could keep any covenant He made with them; and that's why He made a New Covenant for His people. God raised up the apostles to declare this New Covenant, and they explained it all in great detail. Paul tells us: "And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me" (Rom 7:10,11). He goes on to explain that the Law was good, but it was weak, and had no power to restrain sin from its deadly workings -- and in fact, even caused sin to "become exceeding sinful" (Rom 7:13). Paul would emphasize that the New Covenant is so much better, because it was written, not on a stone chiseled out of Mount Sinai; nor with ink on a piece of paper, "but with the Spirit of the living God -- in fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Cor 3:3). We call the second part of our Bible The New Testament because it tells us all about this New Covenant. But God's full intention is to write that New Covenant in our hearts and minds, and if this does not happen, then God's purpose in preserving the scriptures for us, has not been fulfilled in our lives. It is not enough, to have a New Testament written in ink; it must be written "with the Spirit of the Living God" in our hearts and minds, or it will profit nothing. The Law in the Old Covenant could not help us, but in the fulness of time God brought into being a New Covenant, which He would write on our hearts and minds.
"I will put My laws into their mind,
And write them in their hearts:
And I will be to them a God,
And they shall be to Me a people."
How can a Law like that fail? It is said that Newton discovered the Law of Gravity, as he saw an apple fall from the tree. With that scientific mind of his, he wondered: "Why did the apple not go up, instead of down?" That Law was there from the foundation of the world, but Newton defined it, as a Law of Gravity: a larger body (the earth) just automatically draws a lesser body (like an apple) down to the earth. So when God writes a Law in my mind, and in my heart, I am drawn to love Him and serve Him, because of Law, a higher Law, a more powerful Law: "The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:2). Why do men do such degrading, despicable things that we read about in our newspapers daily? Because of the Law of Sin that has the ascendancy in their lives, and pulls them into a vortex of corruption, in unspeakable dimensions.
Ye are come . . . to the Blood of Sprinkling, that speaketh Better Things than that of Abel
God had said to Cain: "What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground" (Gen 4:10). O the righteous blood that has cried out to God, because of the blood of the innocent that has been shed in the earth!
But the apostle reminds us that the "Blood of Jesus" speaks of better things than the blood of Abel. If Abel's blood would cry out to God, and God heard it, surely the Blood of Jesus has better, greater things to speak to us!
It speaks! "This is My body, which is broken for you" (1 Cor 11:24).
It speaks! "This cup is the New Testament in My blood" (vs 25).
It speaks! "Being now justified by His blood" (Rom 5:9).
It speaks! "We have redemption through His blood" (Eph 1:7).
It speaks! "Peace through the blood of His cross" (Col 1:20).
The apostle mentions how the Old Covenant would sanctify the people by "the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer." Then He points to the Sacrifice of Christ, and cries out: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb 9:13,14). The blood of Christ in the New Covenant cleanses our conscience from dead works because the Spirit of God was there when Jesus shed His blood, and was overshadowing His sacrifice. And this same Spirit now abides in our hearts to speak into our hearts the cleansing of the blood of that Sacrifice.
How wonderful to know that it was "through the eternal Spirit" that Jesus offered up Himself as the Sacrifice. The Spirit of God who saw it all, and arranged that Sacrifice for us – now abides within us! He is the Eternal Spirit, and He gives us a clear witness of what happened on that awesome day. When the Roman soldier took his spear and thrust it into the side of Jesus, there flowed forth a stream of "blood and water" (Jn 19:34). John saw it happen, and wrote about it, and we know his record is true.
Blood and Water and Spirit
Now this is John's witness: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 Jn 1:3). And Paul's witness: Christ gave Himself for the Church, "that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word" (Eph 5:26). Paul said in another place, "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb 10:22). The blood is sprinkled on our hearts, by faith; then our baptism in water, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, is our witness to others that we believe in the blood of Jesus. Then the Spirit of God becomes a clear witness within us.
"This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth" (1 Jn 5:6). We are born anew, as a child of God. We are saved by the blood of Jesus, but we bear witness to that as we take His Name in the waters of baptism. From then on we are committed to do whatever He would have us do, in that same Name: "in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Col 3:17).
Now we have a High Priest in the heavens, whose ministry is to bring His people into a perfect cleansing of heart, mind, soul, and spirit. And so we are exhorted, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb 10:22). Our conscience needs that holy cleansing, where God "writes" a new and powerful Law of the Spirit in our minds and hearts, and the old conscience is washed away by the blood of Jesus!
Lord Jesus, Thou great Mediator of the New Covenant, continue to write Thy holy Law upon our hearts and minds with Coals of Fire from off the Altar, that we sin no more, and that we may shine forth in this world of sin and darkness with the very Light of Jesus.
Chapter 5 - Pursuing the More Excellent Way
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