PAULFROMNYS

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Based on Malachi 3:16-18 I believe the Lord will harken to us as we consider his word together.

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Looking for that City #4   Bible discussions/belief

Started Aug-27 by PAULFROMNYS; 111 views.
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-27

   

 

Chapter 2 - The Crisis as to the Earthly and the Heavenly

 

 

Reading: Numbers 13:1-3, 17-23, 27-33; 14:1-3.

We have been considering the fact and nature of the heavenly way. The Bible begins with the creation of the heavens and the government of the heavens. It ends with the emergence from heaven of that which has been formed by heaven, according to heavenly principles: the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, fulfilling this word which we have read in Hebrews 11:16 - "God hath prepared for them a city".

THE CLASH BETWEEN THE EARTHLY AND THE HEAVENLY

We remind ourselves here that a characteristic of the Old Testament at every stage is the clash and contrast of two worlds, of two orders: the heavenly and the earthly. All the way through the Old Testament we have this element - of heaven challenging this world, and apprehending, in this world, that which it will take out and constitute according to its own, heavenly, order and nature. It does not require a very profound knowledge of the Old Testament to confirm that. Your minds run quickly over its story and you recognise that you are in the presence of a clash all the time, a conflict. It is this conflict between heaven and earth. Heaven is not satisfied with this world - very much to the contrary. Heaven is against what is here in this world; but heaven is seeking to take what it can out of this world to reconstitute according to its own standards: and so, while you find the opposition of heaven, the challenge of heaven, you at the same time find heaven, right from the beginning, as it were laying hold of people - a line of individuals and a nation - in order to detach them from the world, even while here in it, and by a deep process to make them a completely different type and kind of people from everyone else; apprehending them, in other words, for heavenly purposes.

In reply toRe: msg 1
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-29

   

The Old Testament men were pioneers of the heavenly way. We have already seen a little of what that involves, but it is upon that particular point that we want to focus all our emphasis just now. It is not only that there is a heavenly way which is different - we know that, we know it in our hearts if we have been born from above, we are learning as we go on how different the heavenly way is from every other way - but the focal point at this time is this: that there is such a thing as pioneering that heavenly way, being called into a relationship with heaven in order to cleave a way, to take possession, to make it possible for God's full meaning to be understood, interpreted; a ministry to others who shall follow on. We said earlier that there is a sense in which everyone born from above is a pioneer, because for every such one the way is a new way, which they and they alone can follow: no one can do it for them; it is a new way for everyone. Our present occupation is with the vocational aspect of this.

There is no doubt about it that the majority of the Lord's children know little, very little, about the heavenly way. Organized Christianity has become very largely an earthly thing, with earthly standards and conceptions and resources: therefore it has become spiritually very limited. In comparison with the heavens, this world is a very, very small thing. I mean that spiritually as well as illustratively. The kingdom of the heavens is a vast thing, far greater than any conception of man. God's thoughts are as the heavens are high above the earth in range, outbounding all earthly conceptions, and not until we get well away from this earth do we realise on the one hand how miserably small we are and on the other hand in what a very much greater realm it is possible to move than that in which we do move - I mean spiritually. The great, great need of this time is that the people of God, the Church of God, should come into its true heavenly position, with its heavenly vision and vocation.

In reply toRe: msg 2
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-29

   

Now there is a great deal in that statement, but it all means that someone, some people, have got to pioneer the way for the Church back again to the realm where it once was at the beginning, the realm which it has lost in succumbing to that persistent tendency earthward. I say, a pioneering instrument is needed, and the way is a costly way.

Now let me repeat, the Old Testament men were pioneers of the heavenly way. That is what is explicitly stated by the writer in this letter to the Hebrews, particularly in the passage which we have read. Heaven has its own standard and basis, and earth cannot provide that. One of the great key-words of the Old Testament is 'sanctify', and sanctify means to separate, make holy, consecrate, set apart, and in the main that is a spiritual and inward thing, dividing between heaven and earth. God has divided those two things, put them apart, and there is to be this putting apart in a spiritual way, inwardly, also. So you find that these men of the Old Testament were men who were set apart in this sense: something was done right at the very centre of their being which separated them from this world and committed them to a course which was altogether different from and contrary to the course of this world; and if, under pressure, under strain, by deception inadvertently, consciously or unconsciously, they touched this earth, they were at once in confusion - they knew at once in their inner being that they were out of the way, and the only thing was somehow to get back. You see that again and again. Heaven witnessed against their position; they were in trouble. Not until they got back could they go on. They were being ruled by another standard, but oh, how different was that standard, and how difficult to understand!

Consider Cain and Abel. From this world's standpoint, Cain's was a very worthy procedure. Looked at from the standpoint of the religious man of this world, it is difficult to see what was wrong with Cain, or how much more right was Abel, or how absolutely right and absolutely wrong these two were. Yet how utterly right Abel was is shown by the issue. One got through to heaven. That is the fact. He got through to God and he got through to heaven, and the other one had a closed heaven and a rejecting God.

In reply toRe: msg 3
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-30

   

You say, What is the standard? Just the difference between heaven and earth, that is all. Heaven's basis and standard of access is altogether different from earth's - even religious earth's. The religious man may have the same God, worship the same God, bring his offering to the same God, and yet get no way to heaven, no way at all on the heavenly road. Heaven has its own basis and standards and provision, and earth can neither find nor provide that. It is different. That is the fact that we are up against when it is a case of getting to heaven. I am not talking about geographical location, but about getting through to God, finding an open way with heaven. You can only come on heaven's own provision, and that will entirely and utterly upset all your own natural calculations. You have to find something that nature cannot provide. If you, like Cain, reason this thing out according to religious reason, and come on that ground, you do not get anywhere. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts" (Heb. 11:4). Heaven attested.

I am not dealing with all the nature and detail of these things. I am pointing out a fact - that heaven's standards and judgments are altogether different, and they are going to throw us completely into confusion when we try to come, even in a religious way, into heaven. Nicodemus may be the most perfect representation of the religious system, but he cannot get anywhere where heaven is concerned. Heaven makes its own provision for access, and you have to have heaven's provision. You may ask a thousand Why's. There is the fact.

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PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-30

   

PIONEERS ARE LEADERS

Let us now turn to our reading from the book of Numbers. It is at the point of the sending over of the spies, and the focus of the whole incident is upon two men: Joshua and Caleb. Now, mark you, all the twelve heads of fathers' houses - princes in Israel (a significant term), typically representative men - were called to be pioneers of the heavenly way. The principle of their headship and princeliness was that they were to be pioneers. That is the pioneer principle. If you are a true pioneer, you are a leader, you are a prince in character. But only two of them justified their calling; only two of them became what all the rest were supposed to be - pioneers. Very often it just works out like that. It is the minority, the very, very clear minority, that does the work. The others have the name, but they are not doing it; the others have the official position, but they are not doing it. The point is - where is it being done? Here it was Joshua and Caleb.

In reply toRe: msg 5
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-30

   

A LINK WITH THE PAST

Now let us spend some time in taking account of the significance of these two men, Joshua and Caleb. To begin with, we will look at them as a link with the past. The intention of God which was taken up by them harked back to His covenant with Abraham, so that with Joshua and Caleb Abraham comes very much into evidence. You are at once compelled to look back and take fresh stock of the significance of Abraham, as taken up by these two: because, you see, the point at which Joshua and Caleb came into view was a critical point, an hour of very great crisis. The whole question now is - Is God's purpose going to be realised in this people, or is it not? That is no small issue; a real crisis has arisen. And they are the deciding factor.

There are three features of the place of Abraham as it comes in here.

In reply toRe: msg 6
PAULFROMNYS

From: PAULFROMNYS

Aug-30

   

A SPIRITUAL AND HEAVENLY SEED

First of all, there is the feature of a spiritual and heavenly seed. Do get that - a spiritual and a heavenly seed. We, today, are in a position of very great advantage. We have now, through the Holy Spirit, the full significance of Abraham. We have our New Testament and all that the New Testament says about Abraham. We have the full revelation through the Apostle Paul, and we are now able to see from our New Testament - we have not to go back to the Old Testament for all our knowledge - we can see now, with our New Testament in our hand, the full significance of Abraham; on this point we have much extra light.

A spiritual and heavenly seed. You see how that bears upon Joshua and Caleb, and how they take it up. But this other seed of Abraham is not spiritual and it is not heavenly. It has come down to earth. In these thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Numbers that we have read, the reactions of this people - how gross they are, how earthly, how lacking in spiritual vision and life and aspiration! They are swayed entirely by the earthly - by the sight of the eyes, by things here, the difficulties, the people, the mountains. For them there is no way. For Joshua and Caleb the mountains were a way, not a hindrance. There was a heavenly way. But these others see nothing of that, they are earthly.

A heavenly and spiritual seed - that is the thought of God in Abraham made clear to us in the New Testament.

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