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The Cross and the City of GOD #3   T. Austin Sparks

Started Jul-26 by PAULFROMNYS; 237 views.




Egypt and Zion

Rahab - Egypt: symbol of natural resource. Abraham comes into the land - God's land of promise by faith and found a supreme test of faith waiting him there; found the heathen in occupation, their idolatrous altars everywhere and a great famine in the land. So he turned to Egypt as an alternative to apparent contradiction and denial; to Egypt, the place of natural resource, Abraham turned under testing.

Whenever Israel's spirituality was low they turned to Egypt for help; when, because their faith was out of order, they found the Lord no longer sufficient.

little natural resource will mar the City of God and bring a cloud. In the City of God all natural resource is cut off, not permitted by God, and by God cut off, brought to an end.

Egypt doesn't come into the New Jerusalem, they are two different worlds, one earthly the other heavenly.

"Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God." Ps. 87.3. Have you dealt with Egypt by knowing the cutting off from natural resources? Do we accept this law of the City of God? Natural resource in spiritual things is not admitted in the City of God, and all natural resource must come to an end. Once you know the Lord as your resource you are not depressed to hear natural resources are cut off, you don't want Egypt. Egypt has got to be smitten, and the Lord is smiting Egypt for us and taking away our natural resources in spiritual things.

The "natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, and he cannot know them." 1 Cor. 8:14. This cutting off from natural resource is foolishness to the natural man; is it foolishness to you?

"Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and which entered not into the heart of man... but unto us God revealed them through the Spirit"; "the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God"; "we received not the Spirit of bondage, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things which were freely given to us by God." 1 Cor. 2:9-12.

To see the City of God needs spiritual capacity. The Blood of the Lamb comes in between you and Egypt, the sea rolls between and after that the earth is but a wilderness, resourceless for them, they now live by a heavenly life in a whole and utter dependence upon God. Egypt has been smitten and is lying behind on the other side of the Red Sea; oh blessed position! "I will make mention of Egypt, but God loveth the gates of Zion."

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Babylon and Zion

Babylon: the product of human effort and the glory of fallen man. "Let us build a city... let us make us a name"; Gen. 11:4; and in Dan. 4:29-30 "Is not this the great Babylon which I have built... by the might of my power and the glory of my majesty?"

Here we see the glory of natural religious man, for we note that Babylon is always religious. Turn to the book of the Revelation and we find Babylon dressed in religious garb. Babylon is always religious, the religion of fallen man, Satan inspired. Gen. 10:8-10, the beginning of this kingdom was Babel. What you can make or reach by your own effort, that is man's product by his own resources. Note, that Babel was the first city built on the new earth, the earth that had come through the flood of divine judgment on that ground, typifying the ground of regeneration, this religious construction of man's ambitions in the realm of religious activity. And this thing, this religion of natural man is with us today; yes, it will patronise God, even bringing His Name into it, as of old - Babel - "Gate of God," but touch it with the eternal fact and purpose of the Cross, bring Calvary's work and claim upon it and man will rise up in enmity against the preaching of the Cross by the Holy Spirit, and defend his natural religious work and worship, and in the background will be discerned the Satanic hate and rebellion against God; and we see also in it Lucifer's bid for universal worship. Isaiah 14:14. It is our own glory in the realm where things are exclusively of God; yet how often there is found even here a personal interest in the things and work of God. Is not this so with the spirit of jealousy, disclosing a secret reservation of some personal interest? Or it may be pride, and assertion of "my right," wanting to be something, wanting to see our efforts produce something for God. All this will result in confusion and loss of effectiveness.

See the difference between the Corinthian and Ephesian believers. At Corinth they wanted something with man's name on it (1 Cor. 1:12-15). In Ephesus it is in the heavenlies with God's Name on it (Eph. 1:3,22, 2:20).

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Philistia and Zion

Philistia: type of man's natural mind intruding into divine things; the people of Philistia are always in the Word called uncircumcised. Man's natural mind taking hold of divine things apart from the Cross. In Babylon we see natural man's effort. In Philistia we find natural man's reason taking hold of the things of God and intruding into them.

There is a preaching a of the Cross in the wisdom of words that makes it of none effect (1 Cor 1:17). The Devil does not altogether put out the Cross; the Cross can be preached without the preacher having been to the Cross; this is a subtle work of the devil.

Tyre. Business world; expansion the order of the day, but expansion and activities under the authority of the Prince of this World, the commercial spirit brought into the things of God, using the World's way, advertisement, much machinery, organisation, etc., this is not the way that the City of God is built.

Ethiopia, turn to Acts 8:26-30. The Ethiopian reading from Isa. 53:7 - Philip meets him with the question "Understandest thou?" and he replies "How can I except one teach me." Here is the type of the darkened mind concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus. It takes the light of God to shine into our hearts, to reveal the Lord Jesus. It takes divine shining to show Who Jesus is. 2 Cor. 4:6.

Over against these cities, Zion is placed, and is different. It is not that which we see in the other cities, it is different, and those born there find also their well springs there. Zion is heavenly, and the Lord loveth the gates of Zion; and those born in Zion say "All my wellsprings are in thee; nothing now in Egypt, Babylon, Tyre, etc".

Zion and Jerusalem though inseparable are not the same, Zion is only a part of Jerusalem, the citadel where the King dwells. Zion typifies the Lord Jesus. He as Zion is altogether different from all these other things represented here. He is God's Ultimate, and that to which God is moving; the result of the spiritual process which is going on now.

The Lord is seeking a people cut off from the earth and its ways, and brought into relationship with Himself, and it must be true of them that their affection is set on things above, not on the earth. Col. 3:1,2 - "If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God."

Remember resurrection and ascension is one act, see John 20:17. "Touch me not for I am not yet ascended unto the Father... but I ascend unto my Father and your Father." "Touch me not," "don't make of Me something earthly on the part of natural affections." He is now a heavenly Lord and that fact has got to be recognised.

We have got to be a people whose life is wholly on the things of God, living out from heavenly resources and fulfilling a heavenly vocation; partaking of a heavenly nature. This is made possible by the Holy Ghost come down from heaven, for the Bride, and to take her back to the Resurrection Man, that she may come forth as Bride out from heaven. Are we walking, living, in the Spirit, being cut off from the earth?

We are "in Christ," in the second Man, the Lord from heaven, are we living our life in Him? Is this true of us in life, nature, sustenance, service, are we looking for the Lord from heaven?

The City of God is most vividly distinctive from all that marks other cities of the earth; compare Rev. 21 with Matt. 11. "Woe unto you"; and it is not without significance that Matt. 11 closes with "Come unto Me." Come out from those cities upon which judgment is announced - come unto the city of Rest - that in which God finds His satisfaction. "Come unto Me and I will give you rest"; His City; in these Spiritual elements - where He is pleased to dwell.

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Chapter 2 - The Gates of the City



We have seen that the Holy City, New Jerusalem, is the nature of God's own people consummated, perfected, and glorified.

He is now constituting this city through the Cross by the Eternal Spirit; shaping the individual members after His own image, the image of His Son; and for this we were ordained (Rom. 8:29). The people of God are a proclamation of Christ (2 Cor. 3 and 4).

The Gates of the City

In Revelation 21 the gates of the city are frequently mentioned as to number, measurement, position and nature; they are positioned by God the Builder and Architect of the city.

Gates throughout the Scriptures are symbolic of a spiritual feature; they stand for counsel. In ancient times the kings, rulers, and elders sat in the gate of the city and deliberated concerning the affairs of the people and the interests of the kingdom. Absalom met the leaders of the nation in the gate of the city.

Christ said, "I will build My Church and the Gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).

Wherever the Church is in power, there are active the counsels of Hades which seek to thwart, hinder and obstruct the power from going forth, but they cannot prevail against it, for the Lamb on the throne has the keys of Death and of Hades (Rev. 1:18). And He has said His church would upset all the counsels of Hell; and Hell's weapons have written on their blades, "It shall not prosper." The Lord hath decreed it.

In the Gates of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, are held the counsels of God; the administration of the Lord in the gates - the Lord united with His people in the secret counsels of His heart so these gates represent a coming into fellowship with the deep secrets of the Lord's heart. It is the Lord getting together His leaders, His elders, to discuss those inner secret things, known and understood only by those who are really one with Him in fellowship and desire; a talking over with these the affairs of citizenship and throne interests. All who will, may be included in this fellowship; it is for all who are with Him in His thought, intention and purpose. That is fellowship with the Lord in the inner things of His heart.

Trace the word "gates" through the Scriptures and you will find great richness, and as you trace out the Gates of God's House you will find spiritual elements there. "Thy gates praise" (Isa. 60:18). Always praise when there is complete fellowship with the Lord. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates and be lifted up ye everlasting doors and the King of Glory shall come in... strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle, Jehovah of Hosts, He is the King of Glory" (Ps. 24). Here is the Lord coming in through the gates of counsel, and unfolding of His glory.

Strength in the Word is also associated with gates and is there not strength in knowing the mind of the Lord? What strength there is in being in oneness with the will of God; admitted into fellowship with Him in His thought and purpose. What strength there is in that. Yes, there is strength in the gates when you know what the Lord is after; uncertainty always makes for weakness. Gates of iron and brass (Ps. 107:16) speaks of strength and resistance.

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Suffering and Preciousness

Gates also speak of preciousness; "every several gate was of one pearl." How is the pearl formed? By a small piece of grit lodged in the opening of the oyster-shell. This wounds and pierces the oyster, so that it bleeds. This blood is acted upon by other elements and so the pearl is formed, but it has given its very life to make that value - a pearl.

In the Word of God, "pearl" is mentioned in terms of great endearment. He saw that in His church which was more than all the glory of heaven and He let go the glory of heaven unto suffering and death to secure His pearl, to gain His Church; He saw her as a pearl of great price, and He suffered and bled to secure her; Matt. 13:45,46; Phil. 2:1-11; Eph. 5:25-27.

So in thus sharing His secret counsels we must in measure know the fellowship of His sufferings. Every gate one pearl. Yes, there is only one way, death via the cross; but unto life triumphant over death, resurrection life.

The Lord suffered and died to get that people and bring them into fellowship with His own heart, endeared and sharing with Him His own counsels. Oh, to get to the heart of the Lord, to be endeared like that, oneness with Him in His own heart's desire; this is the strength, praise and glory of the gates of pearl.

There is only one way. Sin in the race called for something to meet the need of healing. Sin is disease, and the something to meet that is nothing less than the precious blood of the Lord Jesus; there is no other way, death to one means life to the other, the Cross is the gate of life.

The keepers of the gates, twelve angels. The Lord the Keeper, He gives charge concerning the gate of holy fellowship and counsel. He guards it.

"Open" access through grace into this fellowship; a coming into oneness with the Lord through grace. We get the openness of the gates and the exclusiveness of the walls. The gates are open, but it is a divinely guarded fellowship, nothing that defiles can enter by those gates. Sin, death, destruction cannot pass where the blood is, it has swallowed up death in victory.

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Transparency is a very prominent feature of this city -

"Jerusalem... her light clear as crystal" (Rev. 21:11).
"The city was pure gold like unto clear (transparent) glass" (Rev. 21:18).
"The street of the city pure gold, as it were transparent glass" (Rev. 21:21).
"The river of the water of life clear as crystal" (Rev. 22:1).

Yes, transparency is the very nature of this city, and it is the mark of the life of the people of God; crystal clearness, all clear, nothing dim.

Turn to Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart."

By grace we have been brought to renounce the hidden things of darkness, and God hath shined in our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:1-6).

Mal. 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver and He will purify the sons of Levi as gold and silver." He does the refining necessary until He gets His pure gold. "The daughters of Zion... Jehovah will lay bare their secret parts" (Isa. 3:17, A.R.V.). "Jesus said, I have spoken openly in the world... in secret (under cover) I spake nothing." (John 18:20. "God shall judge the secrets of men... by Jesus Christ." (Rom. 2:16). "The secrets of his heart are made manifest." (1 Cor. 14:25). "Yea a sword shall pierce through thine own soul that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:35).

All these passages emphasise an essential element in spiritual progress; for there can be no growth without absolute transparency. The entire history of spiritual things is the contrast of the state of light with darkness; truth with falsehood; purity with mixture; clearness with cloudiness; openness with secretiveness; reality with pretence; genuineness with imitation; sincerity with deceit; these two things are over against each other all the way through spiritual history.

Transparency on the one hand is utter, and has no degrees; there are no degrees of truth, only degrees of approach to truth and some go further than others in approach to truth, but truth is utter and final. So with transparency, it is not transparent if there is the most minute mixture in it, you get varied degrees of shades of approach to transparency but one shade of darkness, then all is not light. One little cloud (earth born) dims transparency; and these shades and clouds come from another realm than the realm of the glory of the divine nature.

God's purpose is to have a thing without the suggestion of cloudiness or mixture; and in order to build His City He must get rid of all that which is not transparent. Hence the necessity for the inworking of the Cross.

The measure of a man is what he is before God, and only that measure counts before the Lord. We may have measurements of one another in varying degrees, and we find something unsuspected that shocks us. The only measure is not our measurement of one another, but the Lord's measurement in that light which no man approacheth unto. If we would but adjust ourselves to that, we should find our rest there before the Lord. What is true in God's sight, that is finality. All the dealings of God with us are related to this transparency of character, and His purpose of securing a people unto Himself of utter transparency, pure gold, clear as crystal, partakers of the divine nature.

See Jacob and how God dealt with him. Why was it necessary for God to so deal with him? Was it not because he was bound up with the testimony of the Lord, and must he not therefore be transparent?

Jacob's scheming ways must give place to the Lord's openness. If Jacob deceives he will surely be deceived. "God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." It is a law. His purpose is to have a pure thing, and He will smite us to the ground with that thing within us; yes, that thing within us which is not transparent will be the very trap by which we fall. There is no secretiveness with God; all must come into the open before Him.

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Progress is Hindered by Secretiveness

The city cannot proceed with anything like that. From the river at the centre to the walls on the circumference, all has to be utter transparency. All these thicknesses of our natural life, our soulish elements, arrest and confuse. There must be absolute transparency of spirit. Fogs come because we are not outright clear before God and man. Christian fellowships are wrecked upon this thing. Failure to apprehend spiritual truth is due to this. Lack of transparency prevents Divine revelation because there is not an open heaven.

Have you noticed the emphasis the Word puts on confession before God? There is no getting through with the Lord until there is confession. Why? He demands it; because it is a yielding up of that dark thing, an acknowledgement, a bringing of it into God's light for judgment and putting away. You will never get liberty before there has been confession before the Lord; it is a principle.

Fog is unredeemable and does not absorb one ray of heaven's radiant light; nothing can redeem spiritual fog but confession to the Lord, and cleansing by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. It is a law of spiritual growth that we have nothing hidden, nothing not clear and true.

This flesh of ours is a vaporous gaseous cesspool, and these exhalations of flesh blot out the face of God, put it in a mist, a fog, and there is no clear, strong going on in the way. Pride has robbed many of the Lord's children of fulness of life and light, and spiritual pride is pride in its worst form, there is nothing more blinding than pride.

Anger, a measure of the flesh rising up and pulling us earthward. Can you be angry and keep your flesh out of it? How often fellowships are spoiled by the uprising of this fleshly anger! Anger white and holy is a high altitude; but the cesspool of our flesh is behind much of our anger.

Unbelief, suspicions, blind spiritual eyes and doubt breaks fellowship; all these mists come from our flesh and blind us to the glory of God, and prevent that transparency which is essential for a clear witness. Transparency is the pre-eminent and predominant feature of God's people when He has them where He wishes to have them.

In the city there is only one street. "The street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass" (Rev. 21:21). Does this not speak of the fellowship of the Lord's people? The one way of fellowship... see in the Word how streets represent fellowship.

"The river of the water of life, clear as crystal" (Rev. 22:1) witness of an absolute transparent life; transparency begins within, then naturally flows out as such.

"Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor.. 4:2).
"If we walk in the light as He is in the light and then we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7, A.R.V.).
"Whosoever believeth on Me may not abide in darkness" (John 12:46, A.R.V.).

The Lord is compelling us to a plane of clearness; and the Holy Spirit has come to lead us into all truth. Only He knows the dark things in us, and He will convict of that thing in us which is not of God, and apply the Cross to all forms of self life, so that we may confess the evil thing and have it put away by the precious Blood.

See what God has in view for us; fellowship and service in the City of God: to be a people for His own possession: "Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love having fore-ordained us unto adoption as sons through Christ Jesus unto Himself" (Eph. 1:45, A.R.V.).

Fred (fnorthrup)

From: Fred (fnorthrup)


Hi brother Paul. Glad to see that you are still doing the Lord's work. What book are you quoting from here?




   Hey Fred, I was wondering if I'd ever hear from you again  :(   The book is the name of the thread, and is copied and pasted from the T. Austin site.  Muuch has happened since we last talked, and I attribute alot of it to the patient holding forth of the truth through TAS, and the example growing in the world of the last reformation movement.  You know my beloved passed 2 years ago this December?  I just wanted to go to her for about 4 months, but slowly lovingly the Lord Jesus made very clear to me that all we had in each other that we treasured was from the hand of GOD, and apart from that we would have left one another with bitter disillusioned hearts long ago. So now I'm following after the 1 Cor 14 model of the local church, and it is((after a few severe trials)) beginning to show His presence and work among us.  At the proper time me and Keenie will be together again. I've had two supernatural events confirming my heart in this  :)   

Fred (fnorthrup)

From: Fred (fnorthrup)


Amen. Thank you for sharing brother Paul. I'm glad to hear that you doing well. Yes i was aware that your wife had passed. I'm interested to hear how you practice your 1Corinthians 14 meetings. I assume you mean "each one has" 1Corinthians 14:26, rather that one person speaking?