CHAPTER 7 - THE DAY OF
"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer and offering made by fire unto the Lord..." (Lev. 23:27).
That full and complete Atonement was made for the whole human race by Jesus Christ on the Cross, there is no doubt whatsoever. But it is only too evident, as we consider our own individual lives, as well as that of the historical Church, that we have never really appropriated any real measure of the great atoning work of the Cross. And it is this experimental appropriation of the Atonement that the Church must now enter into. As there is a historical Pentecost, as well as an individual Pentecostal experience for all who will believe for it, so it is with the Atonement. All through the ages men have, by faith reached out and appropriated some measure of deliverance from sin; but as a Body and as a Church we have never really done so. But the Church's deliverance from sin, as a Body, is just ahead--in the fulfillment of the great Day of Atonement by way of experience. The sin and carnality of the Church's long career must be taken away from her midst before she can enter into the full blessing and power of the Feast of Tabernacles. Thank God for the Passover, in the first month, in virtue of which God has "passed over" the saints, not imputing their trespasses unto them. But the Church has been groaning with the apostle Paul for about two thousand years: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24). God has certainly heard our cries, and soon He shall bring His people into a glorious liberty in the Spirit, wherein they shall be completely delivered from their sins and their carnal nature. This shall be the experimental fulfillment of the Day of Atonement for the Church.
ON THE TENTH DAY
The Day of Atonement was observed on the tenth day of the seventh month. The seventh month is the sabbath month--the month of rest. Even now the saints who are entering into the unfolding plans and purposes of God for this hour, and are becoming established with gifts and ministries in the Spirit--they are experiencing a rest which they have never known in the past, despite all the perplexing problems which might arise from time to time. And we may rest assured, there will be many more problems and trials arising in the near future. The Day of Atonement will be a time of great trial and sifting for God's people. The number "ten" signifies trial and testing. The greatest test ever submitted to man, the Law of Moses, was written on tablets of stone and comprised ten commandments. Then we find that Daniel made this request, "Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days" (Dan. 1:12). And again, Jesus promised the Church in Smyrna (which signifies "bitterness"), "Ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Then you will remember how the early disciples tarried for the Holy Spirit from the Ascension until Pentecost, a period of ten days--and what times of trial and sifting they must have been, knowing practically nothing of what they were to expect. There is no doubt, therefore, that from now till the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in the Church, God's people are going to be subjected to great times of testing and trial--with a view to perfecting them, and rewarding them as overcomers. The hour has come for judgment to "begin at the house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17). God is sifting, sifting, sifting His people as never before, in preparation for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles.
YE SHALL AFFLICT YOUR SOULS
There is no question as to what God would teach us by the Day of Atonement: it is the actual taking away from the congregation, of their sins and carnal ways. Israel could rejoice in the fact that the Passover Lamb had been killed in the first month, and the Feast had been observed according to all the ordinances of the Law. And that was their acceptance before God as a nation: "When I see the blood I will pass over you." But now, six months later, we have the Day of Atonement--the day when Israel is called to a new repentance and a humbling of themselves before God in preparation for the Great Feast of Tabernacles. Israel had to have a new Passover every year, and a new Day of Atonement every year--because their sacrifices served only to call sins to remembrance, and to revive their sin-conscience. But Christ died once-for-all, and so effectual was His redemptive work that there is "no more conscience of sins" (Heb. 10:2). And yet we are constantly giving the lie to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, by falling into sin and being hampered by the works of the flesh, and harboring a sin-conscience. We testify on the one hand that God has taken away our sins and nailed them to the Cross--and that is true--but the next moment we are beset by sin and suffer defeat. We rejoice in the righteousness of Jesus Christ which has been placed to our account--and that is true--but how little of that righteousness have we been able to reach and appropriate. How little do we know and experience of real, vital holiness of life, and purity of thought, word, and deed.
Thank God, therefore, for the pattern we find in Israel's Feasts, and for the knowledge that there is a place of real victory over sin and the flesh for the Church of Jesus Christ. We know that many have been preaching this for years, and testifying to having received it; but actually men have never experienced it to any degree of fullness. Those who have sought to go on with God can testify to having received a measure of victory, that is true enough; but real victory over sin and the carnal nature is still ahead for the Church of God. This, then, is the day and hour when God would call us to repentance, that we might receive from His hands that real, genuine victory over sin that the Bible teaches.
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THIS VICTORY?
Let us stop trying to justify ourselves, and insisting on our holiness of conduct, when it is apparent to everyone about us that we do not possess it. "Living epistles" of Christ do not have to tell the world how holy they are. The world will see it and will be amazed to discover something real and genuine in the midst of this wicked and perverse generation. This victory of which we speak is the very victory of Christ Himself. When we attain to this victory, there will be no need to formulate weak excuses why the victorious Christian can again fall into sin and suffer defeat--for this place in Christ knows no defeat. We will not have to explain how Satan gained an advantage over us and planted a new seed of sin in the heart, and the victory we once had was lost; for this victory is the very victory of Christ. "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once..." (Rom. 6:9, 19). He that overcometh according to the Bible enters into the very victory and triumph of Christ--a victory which can never be lost or forfeited. It is the very victory of Jesus Christ Himself, and the overcomer is therefore "more than conqueror" through Christ that loved him.
Here again the history of the Church is positively against us, because we cannot point with positive assurance to any person in the Church age who has really appropriated this blessed condition of holiness in its fullness. However, we are not going to take the history of the Church as our pattern--for it is a sad story of defeat, and worthy of far more lamentation than the weeping prophet ever expressed over Israel. If this glorious victory is declared in the Word, that is sufficient; and thank God, it is. And it shall be attained by the overcomer--not by the flesh, but by the Spirit. The experimental Day of Atonement is at hand for the Church of Christ. The promise, therefore, is held out to us at the ends of the ages, as to no other people in any past dispensation. "To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart..." Let us examine, therefore, some of the Scriptures which clearly promise this victorious, triumphant, overcoming life in the Spirit.
Lev. 16:29-31. "And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever."
Matt. 5:48. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Jn. 17:21. "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us..."
Jn. 17:23. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one..."
Rom. 6:4. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Notice this passage: the newness of our walk is to be comparable to the very resurrection life and glory of Jesus Christ.
Rom. 6:5-7. "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin." Some would like to believe that the "likeness of his resurrection" refers to a future physical resurrection. The whole passage teaches to the contrary. God is speaking about the righteousness and life that overcomes the "body of sin" so that "henceforth we should not serve sin." It is the appropriation here and now of the fruits of Christ's death and resurrection.
Rom. 6:11. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." There is no suggestion here whatever of suppressing the old nature, keeping the "old man" under your feet so that he will not be able to raise his head, or constantly dying out to self. It is a finished work; and just as Christ died and rose again once for all, so those who have appropriated His death and resurrection enter into a new life, a new sphere in the Spirit, a new victory.
Rom. 8:2. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Freedom! And when God speaks of freedom, He means you are "free indeed" (Jn. 8:36). As long as the world, the flesh, or the Devil can bring you into any measure of servitude, you are not "free indeed."
Gal. 5:24. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
1 Jn. 3:3. "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure."
1 Jn. 3:6, 7. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."
1 Jn. 3:9. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
There is no argument against the direct, plain, indisputable truths here presented. The righteousness which God has in store for us is not merely a partial appropriation of God's righteousness, or a certain degree of attainment whereby we measure ourselves with others, and we conclude we are victorious because we have ceased from our bad habits, conquered over anger, and no longer harbor ill-feelings against another. As likely as not, such claims of holiness are a sure sign of pride rather than of meekness and contrition of spirit. This life of which we speak is a life far beyond anything the Church has yet seen in her most glorious saints. It is God's very own: "even as he is pure," "even as he is righteous," "he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
THE BIRTH OF THE SPIRIT
"He cannot sin..." This is the plain Word of God. However, as God's children we all can testify that we are born of God, and that we do sin. And therefore we present some very plausible arguments to prove that God does not mean exactly what He said. Let us forever cease trying to justify ourselves. "Let God be true and every man a liar." The only scriptural explanation of this verse is that we are not "born again" in the fullness of this regenerating experience. Our new birth, by the Spirit, genuine as it is, has not developed into maturity. We have been reproduced after God's likeness like the seed which is produced by the flower, or the egg that is produced by the bird. That seed or that egg is a genuine birth, containing all the potentialities of a new flower exactly like the flower that produced it, or a new bird exactly like its parent. But the full glory and the potentialities of that new life lie dormant within the seed or the egg--and are by no means manifest, or even apparent to our observation. Once can see no similarity whatsoever between the tiny seed with its black crusty covering, and the beautiful red poppy which waves its petals in the breeze; no similarity between the little blue egg in the nest, and the bird that flies aloft into the atmosphere on wings of liberty. In fact, if we did not understand the mysterious processes of nature, we would consider one a fool to suggest that the seed and the poppy are one and the same thing; or that the egg and the bird are one and the same thing. And yet they are--in kind, in nature, in possibility.
So it is with the birth of the Spirit. Thank God for the seed, the incorruptible seed, in virtue of which we have become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4), or "born again" (1 Pet. 1:23). But that seed in the hearts of God's people has scarcely developed beyond the germ state; it has not grown and developed to the place where we can testify, "his seed abideth" in us; and therefore we can and do sin.
A NEW MAN IS TO BE BORN
Let the saints of God who have eyes to see and ears to hear, rejoice in the plan and purpose of God which even now is unfolding before our very eyes. God is hastening the day and hour of Christian perfection. We do not have it, nor have we seen it in any person anywhere at any time. For we are not speaking merely of a life made free from this particular sin or that particular sin, from a bad temper, or a bitter spirit, or sinful habits. We are speaking, rather, of a life which is the very life of Jesus Christ reproduced in the fragile earthen vessels of this human clay. Our prayer, therefore, should be as Jesus commanded, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, even as it is in Heaven." It is, first and foremost, the birth of the Kingdom of God in our own little earth, in the clay of our flesh; for the "Kingdom of God is within you..." It is the perfecting unto maturity of the Christ who came into our hearts as the Seed when we received Him as our Saviour. It is the springing forth of the water of life into glorious liberty and spontaneity--even the water that we drank when Christ came into our lives. Jesus promised it would become a "Fountain of water leaping up into everlasting life" (Jn. 4:14, Literal). It is "Christ in you, the hope of glory," rising up unto maturity, and being "formed within you" (Gal. 4:19).
HOW SHALL IT COME TO PASS?
This life shall not come by fleshly striving. Nor shall it come merely by prayer and repentance and seeking God's face. This, of course, is most essential, and God will hear that prayer of sincerity and reveal the channel and means by which perfection shall be attained. But prayer and repentance in themselves are not the means by which the saints are to be perfected. Neither is the rapture of the Church the plan of God for the perfecting of the saints, and their deliverance from sin and carnality. God has another plan--a far more glorious plan, and yet a very simple plan; and here it is:
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in (unto) the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13). The Church may proclaim an imminent rapture as much as they will, and teach that any moment the saints will be snatched away from earth to escape the gathering clouds of Tribulation. But this is not the teaching of God's Word. True, we must always be waiting and watching for His Appearing--but this is not the "Appearing" of modern evangelical theology. This glorious Appearing must first of all be manifest in the saints.
How thankful we are, therefore, that God is revealing the pattern of perfection. The Ascension gifts, the ministries in the Body of Christ--these are the means of perfecting the saints,--and as we have read, they are to remain in the Church till we all come unto unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man! Notice too, that these ministries were given "when he ascended up on high," and not when He was here on earth. He gave twelve apostles when He was here on earth; but here we find that He gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers after His ascension.
The perfection of the saints unto maturity, then, us just as mysterious as the growth and development of the members of the human body from birth unto manhood--and just as real. Spiritual gifts in the saints, exercised by the recipient in the power of the Holy Ghost, develop into ministries of the Spirit. And these ministries are vital, living spiritual faculties in the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ, therefore, shall nurture and edify itself. Just as the human body has within itself the God-given and God-created ability to grow, to develop, to heal its own wounds, and to reproduce itself; so the Body of Christ, by means of these spiritual faculties, has the God-given and God-created power to grow into holiness, to develop into sonship, to heal its own sin-wounds, and to reproduce its kind. Says Paul, "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:15, 16). "Unto the edifying of itself in love!" That is God's pattern.
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT?
Briefly, this is what happened on the great Day of Atonement. The high priest, clothed upon with the holy garments, was designated to make the atonement for himself, as well as for the people. Besides the offerings for himself, two goats were chosen for the atonement of the people. Lots were cast upon the goats, the one being set apart for sacrifice, and the other as the scapegoat. "Scapegoat" signifies "the goat that went away." The first goat was slain, and the blood brought within the veil in the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat. Then Aaron as high priest laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, confessed over it all the iniquities of Israel, and sent it away into the wilderness.
In type the whole ordinance speaks of the Atonement which Christ effected on the Cross. In the fulfillment of a type, of course, we may expect to see a contrast as well as a parallel. In contrast, we are reminded that Christ was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" and therefore needed not "to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's" (Heb. 7:26, 27). Nor did He offer Himself often, as the high priest offered sacrifices year after year; for the sacrifice of Christ is eternally efficacious, and He offered Himself once-for-all.
But as there was a great contrast between the imperfect sacrifice of Israel, and the perfect Atonement of the Cross--so also is there a beautiful parallel. Here we can see what took place potentially at the Cross when Christ made an eternal Atonement for the Church. It cannot be without significance that the Passover occurred in the first month, Pentecost in the third, and the Atonement in the seventh. It is simply because the Church of Christ as a Body has never been experimentally cleansed from her sins. We may close our eyes to the age-long sin and corruption of God's people if we wish--but the fact remains, the Church did not go on from early apostolic power and blessing to really appropriate Divine life and holiness as a Body. Thank God, however, that He knew all about it, and planned a great Day of Atonement for the seventh month--this Sabbath of the Church, when she shall be purified and made white and made to cease from her own works. "For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you..." (Lev. 16:30, 31).
And so the one goat was slain, and the blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat: for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul, and "without the shedding of blood is no remission." Nor was that all: for upon the head of the scapegoat all the sins of Israel were laid (in type), and it was sent away into the wilderness. Thank God for the Day of Atonement, when God's people shall be made free, and free indeed, from all their sins.
CHRIST, A MANY-MEMBERED BODY
We believe there is a special significance in the fact that there were "two" goats used on the Day of Atonement. As we have discovered in a previous chapter, "two" would speak of the Head and the Body, Christ in the fullness of His people. For Christ is one, but a many-membered Body. This is a great mystery, as Paul tells us, that the Church should be bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh. Christ the Head, therefore, is not complete without Christ the Body. In the "two" goats, therefore, we have (in type) Christ in the fullness of His Body. That the saints are to become thoroughly identified with Christ in His sufferings and in His Cross, is clearly taught in the Scriptures; but the mystery of it is almost too much for us to comprehend, even in the slightest degree. It is only as we can begin to see the truth of the Body, that we can in any measure comprehend the fact that when He died, we died; and that when He rose again, then we rose again with Him.
To many, of course, this truth of our identification with Christ the Head is nothing less than blasphemy. But this is to be expected. When Jesus called Himself the Son of God they said "Thou blasphemest." And yet now we hail Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Man of very Man, and God of very God. And the ages to come are going to reveal, what is now revealed by the Spirit to those whose understandings have been quickened, that Christ is the Body,--the whole Body, and not just the Head. The Church is said to grow up "into Christ" (Eph. 4:15). Just as a "man" signifies a body with many members, and not just a head; so the name "Christ" also signifies a Body with many members. Paul therefore says, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, ...so also is Christ" (1 Cor. 12:12). Using another illustration, Christ is the Vine, the whole Vine. "I am the vine, ye are the branches" (Jn. 15:5). He is the Vine, the root, the stalk, the branches, the leaves, the fruit--the whole vine; and we are part of that Vine. The Lord does not intimate here that He is one thing, and we another. But He is the Vine, and we are part of Him. The Son of Man in Heaven is not complete without the fullness of the Son of Man on earth, even the Body, "The fullness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:23).
THE BODY, THE FULFILLMENT OF JACOB'S LADDER
You will recall the story of Jacob's ladder, how Jacob dreamed as he lay there at Bethel, with his head on a stone for a pillow--and saw in his dream the heavens opened, and a ladder set up on the earth, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder. Jacob awoke out of his sleep in fear and dread, and cried: "How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen. 28:17). And so he changed the name of that place from Luz to Bethel--because Bethel signifies "House of God." Little did he realize that in this ladder-vision he actually beheld, in type, the fullness of the Son of Man in Christ and His people.
This is brought out in the Gospel of John. You will recall how amazed Nathanael was when the Lord remarked how He had seen him under the fig-tree. Actually the Lord may have been miles away and Nathanael knew that. How could this Man, thought Nathanael, be able to manifest such Divine omnipresence as to have seen him under the fig tree, when He was perhaps miles away? And so he pronounced Him the Messiah without any further questioning. But Jesus replied: "Thou shalt see greater things than these... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" (Jn. 1:50, 51). In other words, Jesus said: "Why that is nothing, Nathanael, comparable to what you shall yet discover about the Son of Man. That is nothing that the Son of Man should have been miles away, and yet have observed you under the fig-tree. The time is at hand when the Son of Man shall fulfill the type of Jacob's ladder, His feet shall stand on earth, and His Head shall reach even unto Heaven; and the angels of God shall ascend and descend upon Him..."
Now there is only one way by which the angels of God could ascend and descend upon the Son of Man; and that is, if the Son inhabits Heaven and earth at the same time. And such is the case. The Son of Man is the glorious and wonderful fulfillment of Jacob's ladder; and no wonder Jacob called the place "Bethel" for this is the House of God of which we speak, even the Body of Christ. The Head is in Heaven, but the Body is upon earth; and according to the Scriptures the Head hath sent forth the celestial hosts as ministering spirits, ministering to such as shall be heirs of salvation, ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, this "new Man" that Paul speaks about, "created in Himself..." It is Christ in the fullness of His people.
PARTAKERS OF HIS SUFFERINGS
"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Pet. 4:13).
It is commonly recognized that some day the saints are to become so thoroughly identified with Christ in His resurrection that we shall be exactly like Him, having bodies like unto His own glorious body, and sharing His very own life and glory. But the corresponding truth concerning our identification with His death, has scarcely dawned upon us: that we must share His Cross so vitally that it actually becomes our Cross. This is hard to really comprehend; but God is going to bring His people into that place where they shall become actually identified with the death of Christ, so much so that with this experience we shall testify, "I am crucified with Christ..." For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Rom. 6:5). The word "planted together" signifies "grown up with," and therefore thoroughly one with Him in His death. It is identification with Him, so vital and real, that His death becomes our very own.
We cannot comprehend these things yet, any more than the disciples could comprehend the approaching Cross of Christ. They understood not what He said to them, even though He told them plainly that He must die, and rise again the third day. Nor could they understand of what profit His death would be, when they were so anxiously looking forward to a Kingdom and a King. But Jesus explained, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. 12:24). This is a great mystery, and as true concerning the Body as it was of the Son. It is only as we enter into, and appropriate, His very Cross that we are going to be of any profit to others. Inasmuch as Paul was able to appropriate this experience, therefore, he could testify: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church" (Col. 1:24). And again John the beloved exhorted: "He laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 Jn. 3:16).
We cannot atone for their sin; the Head alone could do that; but as members of His Body we can share His suffering and His rejection, and in that way transmit its efficacy to others. We can suffer for the Truth, and in our sufferings the Truth will shine forth. We can enter into the pangs of Gethsemane, in this evening hour of Christ's betrayal--and in so doing share His Cross for the sake of the brethren. For just as truly as Christ the Head was betrayed some two thousand years ago, so once again Christ the Body is being betrayed today. Christ the Head meant no more to Judas or the Scribes and Pharisees than thirty pieces of silver. Today, Christ the Body means no more to the ecclesiastical authorities than large, costly church buildings, big salaries, pipe organs, choirs, orchestras, creeds, dogmas, and the applause of men. And if we, as God's people, are going to be prepared to share His betrayal, stand true to Him even unto death, and follow Him "without the camp," then we shall share His death. The Head died on a literal Cross; the Body is being nailed to a spiritual Cross.
No man with spiritual insight can behold the Body of Christ and fail to see that it is even now being crucified, as truly as was Christ. Stripped of its clothing, even the purity and righteousness of Christ; helpless to walk, its heel bruised by the Serpent; helpless to serve, its hands bleeding from the nails of ecclesiastical tyranny; powerless to love and to shew mercy, its heart thrust through with a sword of hate; all its bones out of joint--and therefore unable to supply strength and vitality "according to the effectual working in the measure of every part." Every imaginable device of ecclesiastical tyranny has been used against the Church, to make her completely helpless and useless and powerless so far as functioning as a Body is concerned. Every conceivable form of sin, carnality, division, schism, and sectarianism has been foisted upon God's people--largely by men in the pulpit who have been proclaiming a lie for the Truth. As truly as Christ was betrayed by the religious leaders of His day, so truly is His Body being betrayed and crucified today.
No amount of fleshly striving can produce this Death experience within us. All we have to do to share His rejection, His betrayal, and His death, is to recognize the Body, identify ourselves with the Body, minister in the Body according to our God-given ability, and refuse to associate ourselves with anything that will injure another member of that Body. If we do this we will automatically partake of Christ's sufferings and death in this hour of His betrayal. And we will be doing it for the sake of the brethren. Then the resurrection follows: the hour of the Church's triumph, the spiritual resurrection of those who share the betrayal of the Body. "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection" (Rom. 6:5).
These truths, we realize, are difficult for us to grasp. Of necessity this must be so; for as yet we see "as through a glass darkly." But as truly as Jesus said, "Father, the hour is come..." the time is at hand when the Body shall be able to say, "Lord Jesus, the hour is come..." Identification with Christ is a truth of infinite and eternal significance. It means much more than the fact that we are justified by His blood and saved from wrath through Him. It goes on to embrace not only the work of Redemption, but the Person of the Redeemer Himself: so that the Body becomes thoroughly one with Him in the "eternal purpose" which God hath purposed "in Christ Jesus." Does not the apostle Paul affirm, "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (a life-giving) spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45)? A life-giving spirit! Creative power! Such is the heritage and the attributes of the Last Adamic race. And should some insist that this refers only to Christ, the Last Adam, let us continue: "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly" (vs. 48). So thorough and real and vital is our identification with the Last Adam, that in all respects--His work, His ministry, His death, His life--we are to become like unto Him.
ENTRANCE BEHIND THE VEIL
It was on the Day of Atonement that the high priest was granted access into the Holy of Holies behind the veil. After the sacrifices, after the slaying of the sin-offering, once in the year, the high priest was permitted to go behind the veil and there commune with the Lord who dwelt above and upon the mercy seat. (Lev. 16:2). True picture, indeed, of Christ's atoning sacrifice and His entrance "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:24). But here again, there is a glorious contrast, as well as a true parallel. Israel's high priest entered the Holy of Holies only once a year; but Christ has entered the Holy of Holies, not just for a few moments, but to abide there forever. "By his own blood he entered in once (for all) into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb. 9:12). And again, Aaron alone went in, while all the rest of Israel were excluded. But Christ went in as the "forerunner"--one who runs on ahead of others who shall follow later. (Heb. 6:20). "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh..." (Heb. 10:19, 20). It is this unveiling for which all creation is longing and looking forward to with great anticipation, even "the unveiling of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). It is having the veil removed, even the veil of His flesh, the veil of the flesh of His Body, the rending asunder of our carnal nature that the glory of Christ might be revealed. Some fear to enter... fear that this would be intruding into spheres of holiness and life and glory and power that God has not intended for us. But let us assure you, child of God, that God invites us to enter into this realm with all confidence: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest..." And why may we enter with such boldness, we who are but worms of the dust? Because of the precious "Blood of Jesus!" Let us not depreciate the glory and the power and the efficacy of the Blood. We have no right of our own to enter this wonderful sphere, this holy place, this Holy of Holies. But the Blood of Jesus has made us worthy. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Furthermore, God will never be truly glorified until His Sons believe what He has said, and reach out and appropriate this "new and living way," this holy life behind the veil "whither the forerunner is for us entered..." God will be glorified in this wonderful experience; and God alone will be glorified. For His blood alone has made us worthy, and His Name alone shall be exalted.
This brings us now to the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of the seventh month--the culmination of the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. These two events, in fact, are really part of the Feast of Tabernacles in that they prepare and open up the way for the glory that is to be revealed.
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