Song Lyrics – “Mirror Of Souls”

These are the excellent lyrics to the song “Mirror Of Souls” by the band Theocracy. They were a particularly great confirmation to me several years ago, and still ring true.

The (beautiful) song can be heard HERE.

With that, I will let the words speak for themselves.


[I: The Hall Of Mirrors]

Listen to the tale I tell, a haunting dream I know so well
When walking home alone one night, my path revealed by candlelight
Ahead I see an open door; with no idea what’s in store
I glance inside the door to see a hall of mirrors beckon me
I take a breath and step inside a tale of love and shattered pride
The door slams shut, I start to run; and it seems my journey has begun…

I run and turn from side to side with fear and panic in my eyes
The vastness overwhelming me: mirrors far as the eye can see
I see myself in every one, I see the things that I have done
A thousand forms of flattery; the fear soon turns to haughtiness in me…

Different mirrors, different shapes, my different strengths accentuate
Each mirror has a name and face, and all reflect me in some way
I look at them to see myself, to judge my life by someone else
The metaphors within replete: the mirrors are the people that I meet

Look at the man you see – in the mirrors
The things you can be – in the mirrors
The glory of me revealed in the mirror’s eye
(The mirror never lies)
The fire in my eyes – in the mirrors
The vanity rise – in the mirrors
The power of pride comes alive in the mirrors

Gazing in the mirrors I behold
All the greatest chapters of my story ever told
In the mirrors the world is turned to gold

At the end of the Hall of Mirrors I behold a golden door
I imagine all the beauty the other side must hold in store
So I quickly reach out my hand
To enter the next room in this promised land
I pull the giant door open wide
To continue my journey, I step inside
But it slams shut behind me, and I’m back outside
The pouring rain welcomes me
Into the arms of the coldest, blackest night

[II. The Stranger In The Storm]

The light of the mirrors has faded away into distant memory
As the rain keeps coming down
My candle extinguished, I struggle to walk a path I cannot see
And the rain keeps coming down

The darkness grows with every step, I could cut it with a knife
As the rain keeps coming down
I can’t see a thing and I’ve never felt so alone in all my life
But the rain keeps coming down…

Caught in the fury of the storm
(The darkness suffocates)
Body and soul weary and worn
(Another twist of fate)
Never been so afraid before
(The ending of this tale?)
Never should have opened the door
(From euphoria to hell)

I question my fate, my end to die in this storm
Maybe this was the plan back from the day I was born
But in the hall of mirrors I had felt so high…
I cannot walk another mile in this flood
So resigned to my fate, I just collapse in the mud
If I cannot go on, I’ll just lay down and die…

Suddenly a light I see, shining in the distance
I make my way toward it with my fading hope reborn
As I draw near, the light is clear though the rain beats its resistance
But I press on and pray this is a shelter from the storm
Advancing now toward the light, I’m quickly moving forward
This hope has given me new strength I thought I’d never know
But I take a step, and fall right back for the ground is gone beneath me
And I behold, illuminated in the light’s warm glow

A dark chasm, a great abyss, a vast expanse of nothingness
A pit that has no bottom as far as the eye can see
It spans the whole horizon, and there is no way across
My lonely heart is shattered and all hope I have is lost

I’m startled to feel a hand on my shoulder
I turn to see a shadowed figure standing in the rain
But somehow I’m not afraid of him, even when he speaks my name
And somehow I can tell that he means me no harm
Just by the peace that I see in his eyes
And even though I’ve never even seen him before
It’s like he’s known me all my life

“Why are you crying?” the stranger asks
As I wipe away the tears
I point toward the great abyss
The source of all my fears

“I must get across and get to that light
For it represents my only hope tonight
But when I saw the chasm, all that hope was lost
I’ve spent so long in the dark and the rain
That the sight of the light made my heart sing again
But the gulf’s so wide, and there’s no way across”

The stranger smiled, and took my hand
He said, “But you are wrong, my friend
You cannot cross the gulf yourself, that’s true”
He led me down toward the edge
And pointed just over the ledge
And said, “Behold, I built a bridge for you”

I cross the bridge toward the light
The stranger saved my life tonight
I turn to try to thank him, but he’s gone
A long way to the other side
I’ll make my way without my guide
No time to waste, for I must carry on

The bright light shines forth from behind
A door beyond description
Blood and scratches mark the door from ages of abuse
I’m confused no more, for above the door
Is a weathered, old inscription
“All who would see reality, enter the Hall of Truth”
And so I do…

[III. The Truth Revealed]

As I step inside, I can see another mirror
A mirror so bright, that my eyes must turn away
A mirror so high, I start to question all the others
And as I stand there in the Hall of Truth, my heart can only say:
“Show me the truth, I don’t know what to believe
For the mirrors all showed something different to me
And my pride has given way to misery
I’ve spent so long in the dark and the rain
That the sight of the light made my heart sing again
And the stranger built a bridge across for me”

“BEHOLD THYSELF” a voice rings out in paralyzing thunder
It echoes all throughout the hall and sends me to my knees
When the voice calls me by my name I’m overcome with fear and wonder
As I slowly start to rise and face the great mirror in front of me
When I open my eyes, I have to close them again
But still the image is burned into my mind…

A face with eyes as black as night
A terrifying sight
The flesh rotting away
In sickness and decay
It’s mangled by disease
I’m unable to breathe
Tell me what manner of creature this could be
‘Cause it’s not me

I run away as fast as my feet will carry me
Back to the door leading out into the night
Even the storm that almost claimed my life was better than this
And so I throw open the door and see a man
(The figure of a man)
The stranger from the storm returns again
(To save me once again?)
I see understanding in his eyes
(He’s seen this all before)
Maybe he can tell me what I saw behind that door

Traveller:
“Tell me what I saw in the mirror, before I ran away
Tell me what I saw in the mirror, that face of sickness and decay
Tell me what I saw in the mirror, that left me terrorized
Who was that I saw in the mirror, with the lifeless, blackened eyes?
Was it a demon from the fiery waves?
Was it the undead from beyond the grave?
Oh the face that I beheld in the mirror left me paralyzed
Won’t you tell me what I saw in the mirror on this night?”

Stranger:
“The light from the Mirror you saw from afar
The Mirror of Souls shows all men as they are
You entered the hall and you asked for the truth
The man that you saw in the Mirror was you”

Traveller:
“No! Don’t show me the truth, ’cause I don’t want to believe
What the Mirror of Souls has revealed unto me
And the face I saw reflected cannot be me
Dying and lost in the arms of decay
I do not recognize the face I’ve seen today
And if you say that’s my face I must disagree”

The meaning of these things I saw:
The mirror is the holy eyes of God

The truth unveiled before me
with these words of the stranger:
“The mirrors you saw in the hall long ago
Were mirrors of lies, not reflecting the soul
When you look unto others to see what they see
You see an illusion, deception, false reality”

I have seen my soul in the mirror
And it has broken me
I have seen myself so much clearer
Than I had ever seen
“Can’t you take away all this sickness
from my soul and set me free?
You can save me… I believe”

And then he said, “Arise, my child.
Your faith has made you reconciled
Now gaze into the Mirror once again”

We walked together through the door
And I looked in the glass once more
But the only one reflected back was Him
Somehow the only one the mirror saw was Him

Gazing in the Mirror of my soul
Staring at the Man who took my place and made me whole
In the Mirror, the Mirror of my soul


Lyrics written by Matt Smith. I do not own any of the above content.

“Let My People Go”

One of the greatest lies that the Bride of Christ has yet to fully overcome in history is the lie that Christ’s authority is passed tangibly down through men by way of institution.

Even the defectors from Rome – the protestants – and also the ancient institutions of the east, have not avoided this great pitfall, no matter their very poor excuses and semantic wizardry.

As John records,

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me that an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is of the Jews.
But an hour is coming, and now is, that the true worshippers will worship the Father in more localized tabernacles.”

Oh wait, He didn’t say that last bit.
Remind me, what exactly did He “institute”?

A member of Christ’s body is one whom Christ Has purchased with His own blood and in whom the Spirit dwells by HIS impartation. That any man was instrumental is incidental to the invisible workings of God Himself.

They may gather in a particular place; but it is only those who are born of the Spirit of Christ that are the tabernacle.
One may teach; but the authority is in the word of Christ alone.
One may prophesy; but the authority is in the Spirit of Christ alone.

Now, many can understand all of this, and say “amen” to these things, yet still remain under the aforementioned lie.

1) They still suppose that some particular tradition of the governing of the local assembly (although it has become sub-local by way of extra-local institutions) is somehow blessed by God, or that at the very least, that it is inherently acceptable to Him.

This could not be further from the truth. That God has done so in certain times past, or even presently meets men in the midst of it, is no endorsement; it is rather a calling out to “come up hither.” The jealousy of carnal men is provoked when they are confronted with this truth, and they are often quick to condemn to eternal fire any who would dare point this out; for their livelihood and self-delusion depends entirely upon they system which they perpetuate.

2) They fear that those who are lead by the Spirit will easily fall into the gnostic and pagan storm of deception that has (always) filled the horizon. This is foolish. For if the accused “unchurched” (as they call them) christians truly remain under the authority of the Holy Spirit, then they shall not be drawn away after another.

This fear is based upon an experience with carnal men who were full of themselves, and not of the Spirit, who were drawn away into even greater error than that from which they departed. Yet such things are unavoidable with or without an institution; therefore this is not an argument. That men are corrupt and self-serving is no excuse to therefore set up earthly institutions to represent the spiritual reality. If anything, it is an argument against such.

3) They will agree that Jesus is the only head, the only mediator, the only priest of the new covenant, and the only good shepherd; yet they insist that these truths become “balanced” in a “practical application” via the institutional methods of man.

But there is no more practical application possible than that which the Holy Spirit Himself can execute; and He, unlike men and their institutions, cannot be infiltrated or driven off course; He will rather (if only we allowed Him) drive such maladies away from His temple, which are His people.

The more absurd objection which now inevitably becomes raised is that if we are lead by what is unseen, how will men know for certain what God is doing, without an institution to represent it? The answer is that to know what God is doing, one must be walking by the Spirit. Again, institutions are no more immune to infiltration, or corruption in general, than any one of their members.

The design of an organic Body is such that it develops immunity to corruption; the design of an institution is such that it cannot help but incubate and feed into corruption.

To set up institutions as the bellweather of God’s movings is to miss God Himself. For if anything, it men who are lead of the Spirit that are the bellweather; but even these can only be perceived by those who are likewise lead. And if anyone does not approve of this arrangement, then he does not trust the Lord with His own people, and cannot be trusted with their care. Unfortunately this is the mindset of almost every man who is considered to be a teacher or spiritual father in our day. They do not truly believe that the Holy Spirit can lead God’s people into all truth.

Therefore, they ought not boast in their knowledge of the scriptures, which say,

“The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice; but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who has received birth from the Spirit.”
John 3:8 (LITV)

The institutional system that has lorded over God’s people is a mockery of the incarnation of Christ, who said, “a body you have prepared for Me.” For He became man in order to raise us unto partaking in the divine nature; but the trappings of manmade institutions only obstruct this resurrection from among the dead. For the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in a human BODY; and a day is dawning in which the redeemed are breathed upon anew by the Spirit of the Living God; and as a Body like unto His, will rise as in Ezekiel’s vision.

And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:13-14

A child can understand the most basic spiritual implications of when Paul said that God “does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”

Nor do children need our “correction” when they read and simply understand Jesus’ words when He said, “where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”

If we were truly wise and understanding as serpents, as He commanded us to be in this age, then we would come to Him as the little children; not being drawn under so-called spiritual authority of top-heavy men and their lifeless, corporate fictions.

But where are those who know these things and will continue to heed the call of the Bridegroom? Will they remain hiding in the shadows of the ruins, or will they begin to partake in the life of Christ’s Body?

Jesus Christ has already declared, “Let My people go.” He has already been leading as many of His children as will follow Him into the wilderness. He has already parted for them the Red Sea. He has already drowned the armies of Pharaoh. Now He springs forth streams in the desert, and sends down manna to eat; and yet they grumble, not trusting Him to lead them into the promised land.

He WILL find those ready to obey His voice.

“And all with one mind began to beg off.
The first said to him, I have bought a field, and I have need to go out and see it; I ask you, have me excused.
And another said, I bought five yoke of oxen and I am going to try them out; I ask you, have me excused.
And another said, I married a wife, and for this reason I am not able to come.
And the lord said to the slave, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
For I say to you that not one of those men who had been invited shall taste of my supper.”

And great crowds came together to Him. And turning, He said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and besides, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Luke14:18-20, 23-26 (LITV)

“A Body You Have Prepared For Me”

I have written before that the fulcrum point of the gospel of Christ is His cross; and this is true.

Yet it must also be said that the over-arching essence of the gospel is the resurrection power of the incarnate Word, whereby we are made partakers in the divine nature. For our hope is not only in the final atoning sacrifice for sins, but even now much more in the resurrection life of God in Christ, which overcomes the power of sin & death at work in us, for our conformity into His likeness.

For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, by much more, having been reconciled, we will be saved by His life.
Romans 5:10 (LEB)

For just as the Father has life in Himself, thus also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself.
John 5:26 (LEB)

That Son of Man, hidden in ages past, through whom all things created have come into being; He is the true Tree of Life in the paradise of God. Of His branches are borne the leaves of the hidden manna and the fruit of God’s Life in every season. Of His mind is taught wisdom: the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of the Holy One. In His blood is written the testament of the better covenant; in His body is mediated the exchange of our death for His Life.

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin on our behalf, in order that we could become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (LEB)

Of all the Sons of God, only the uncreated Son of God’s very being is the divine person in whom the ministry of reconciliation must be mediated to the fallen sons of men.

Therefore the scriptures say,

No one has seen God at any time; the one and only, God, the One who is in the bosom of the Father – that One has made Him known.
John 1:18 (LEB)

And the apostle which wrote of the blood of that Christ as speaking “better things” than the blood of Abel, opens his entire treatise by writing not only of the blood of Christ speaking, but even the very person of Christ Himself:

In these last days He has spoken to us by a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
Hebrews 1:2 (LEB)

And of what does Christ’s person (more than only His blood) speak? It speaks of being a son both of God and of man.

For the Son by whom the Godhead made the world was always to be the Light of Life unto all men. As He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, so was that last Adam indeed the first Son of Man. He was always to be the One by whom the man Adam and his wife Eve were to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God, whose image they bore. He is the true Tree of Life from whose branch we became cut off by our lust for the fulfillment of self-ascension unto that which was not our place.

For no plan of God has changed; and by that Son of Man, with whom dwells all righteousness, He still has determined that the seed of men will yet overcome their estrangement from Eden; by taking upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, not only to atone for its sins as High Priest, but even to condemn sin in the flesh itself, “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:4 ESV)

This is to say that, although the serpent in his rebellion promised man apotheosis – even man, whose portion in Christ was already allotted to be theosis unto the likeness of the image of the invisible God – the plan of God’s mystery has still not been diverted in the least; but in Christ it rather prevails unto all of creation, and particularly unto men, without dilution or delay. For He has taken His own place as the new Adam at the right hand of the Head of Days, in whom all that are grafted into His lineage by way of the Spirit’s generation may begin to partake in the divine nature.

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:22-23 (ESV)

Having been awakened from seep, we now groan for that which is only natural in God’s order. For in God’s design there is no tension between the human and divine natures intermingled in one person – such was the intended design for man. It is only sin and death that brings tension between the two. But Christ, being both fully God, and also more human than any man (being without sin), has restored the way for the whole creation to be transformed and made fit for His dwelling there, beginning with man, as He commanded at first in the garden.

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:24-25 (ESV)

In saying that we do not yet see it, the apostle Paul has the end result in mind. But our being saved through the hope of this end has begun already, and ought to be becoming manifest in each soul. There is no excuse for resignation to the seeming fatefullness of sin’s so easily continued presence. For then we render the sacrifice of Christ of no more use to us than the sacrifices of the old covenant – which were powerless to remove sins – of which one apostle said:

But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, He said,
“Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body have You prepared for Me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book.'”
Hebrews 10:3-7 (ESV)

So we see that the greatest power of the cross is found in the nature of He who was hanged upon it: since in this particular matter He says not, “a cross you have prepared;” but rather in this instance, “a body you have prepared.”

For the death that He would die was in order to put an end to all atoning sacrifice and offering, and “to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness…” (Dan 9)
But the body in which He would live, die, and be resurrected was prepared in order to be the means through which God’s very Life and nature might be recapitulated in us, whose newness of life is being made after the likeness of the divinely natured Man, Christ, who is the firstfruits of the incarnate resurrection.

For by His death He put away the old; but in His resurrection He began to make all things new. For as the life is in the blood, so is it manifest in the body. And as by the spilling of His blood are our souls purchased, much more by the resurrection of His body are we being transfigured by the resurrection Life of His flesh, in whom we live – if indeed we have died with Him.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:19-22 (ESV)


“He who, by sheer inclination of His will, established the beginning of all creation, seen and unseen, before all the ages and before that beginning of created beings, had an ineffably good plan for those creatures.
The plan was for Him to mingle, without change on His part, with human nature by true hypostatic union, to unite human nature to Himself while remaining immutable, so that He might become a man, as He alone knew how, and so that He might deify humanity in union with Himself.
Also, according to this plan, it is clear that God wisely divided “the ages” between those intended for God to become human, and those intended for humanity to become divine.”

– Maximus the Confessor


Vanity’s End

How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.
Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJV)

The lowest depths…

As with the Devil, the heights of vanity also bring men’s hearts into the lowest depths of a living death; and this dark, hellish imprisonment of the soul makes it all the more fit for the even more real hell of eternity.

There is a kind of living hell in which some persons find themselves when the vanity of self, the lusts of the flesh, and the meaningless pursuits of the world have been permitted to take their full course through the life and being. This dark abode, this endless slide into the consuming void of emptiness, has at its core only eternal decay of spirit and bottomless despair of soul.

There lies within the fallen creature a restless evil, an insatiable lust for that which already infects it unto death. The more that it is fed, the more that its appetite grows; and the more that it is numbed through other courses of wickedness, the more that it longs for the inevitable and fearful death into which it reluctantly falls. Until the creature’s access to vain and wicked paths is cut off, it will forever return to its vomit as a dog, and go back to wallowing in the mire as the swine – loving itself in vain, hating itself in vain.

Yet even in the cutting off of its life from upon the earth, such a soul, in the torments of hell itself, continues the same inward spiral of wickedness and hatred towards God within the heart – and that with even greater despair upon despair, and sorrow upon sorrow.

The hopelessness of this woeful state cannot be sufficiently described in words – yet how many a soul is dragged away by his own lusts and enticed to the slippery sides of that pit, to crawl along the wall like a blind man unassisted by any means, his vision consumed by darkness within! The love of this world is as cold as it is sharp when it stabs one’s back; and the bitterness of this world is kindled into an unbearable flame that sears the conscience and scalds the mind to retreat into dull resignation.

But there is Truth which undercuts all excuse and disarms every defence of the thoughts.
There is Love which warmly bears all things until the heart’s complete surrender to it.
There is Light which makes bare every motive and intention, and graciously lays out a path once known to be impossible.
There is a LIFE of whole and unending goodness, a fountain of life and healing from within, which has been given in exchange for this existence of endless degeneration and vanity.

There is One who is all these things, Jesus Christ; and He is the mercy and grace of God to the lost sheep of His house.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
John 10:27-28 (NKJV)

He is calling.
Who is hearing?
Let them hear!

The hypocrites do not truly hear; but God is near to those who have been humbled.

Let His voice be heard throughout the land by whomever He is calling!
Let eyes of new faith be opened by His visitation!
Let hearts of stone be crushed and transplanted for hearts beating with the life of Jesus!

And may those who have already known His hand be found in the seeking and partaking of these things!

There is no captivity that He did not lead captive for the freedom of all those whom He is calling.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.”
Matthew 5:6 (NKJV)

His righteousness is not merely an external cloak for the covering over of transgressions: it is also a new pure and righteous state of the inward being which increasingly displaces and replaces the old unrighteous state of being that made us love to walk in vanity and sin. It is a spiritual food and a spiritual drink which increasingly sustains and overflows from within all those who partake of its living way through repentance.

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to Me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, My steadfast, sure love for David.
Isaiah 55:1-3 (ESV)


“And all illusion ceases to exist.
The world’s caress is just the Serpent’s kiss.”
Theocracy (band)


Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man!
For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So He bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man! For He shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.
He sent out His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!

Psalm 107:4-22 (ESV)

Priesthood: The Calling Which Purifies


§I ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICES


You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5 (ESV)

Our obedience to the priestly calling of every member of God’s house is the only source of our ability to please Him in what we do. And the priestly calling of all believers is not, as many evangelical traditions have made it, to primarily be the confidant of one another’s sins: it is rather to be a minister UNTO THE LORD, who purifies the true ministers of His temple.

For despite the small good that can come by the confession of our faults one to another (Jas 5:16), there is no overcoming power in the act of itself; and even the prayer of a righteous man, though it may avail much, is soon discovered by many to be of little use in the continued overcoming of worldly and fleshly lusts. This is because we tend to minister in these things not unto the Lord, but rather unto ourselves.

Men seek “accountability” for their besetting sins amongst themselves, and in so doing tend to quickly neglect the power of God; which is found only in each one offering his own incense upon the altar of the brokenness of interceding love to Him, through obedience according to the giftings and callings of God.

For there is but one mediator between God and men: “the MAN Christ Jesus.” And if that Man alone (to whom we truly have to give an account) does not appear or seem close enough as to keep us from falling, then we have found the real root of what besets us: that our present experiential knowledge of God Himself is lacking.

“…to offer spiritual sacrifices…”
A spiritual sacrifice makes no excuse for the self: this means that the one offering does not consider their present sins worthy of hindering an entrance into the holy places. For the blood that has been sprinkled for us, and the body that has been torn open for us, gives us entrance, so that “going boldly” we may find grace in the time of need. His throne in the temple is the mercy seat – and have not our own hearts become a seat of mercy for His holiness, if He has indeed regenerated us in Christ? We have no excuse not to offer the spiritual sacrifices that are pleasing to the Lord, in view of God’s mercy.

“…acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
To confess sin to a brother, or to receive prayer from an elder, is only a spiritual sacrifice as far as it is done freely as a love offering to the Lord (and this can only proceed from a heart enraptured in some degree by His goodness). But the confession of a sin or the receiving of a prayer as a resort to please the real or perceived standards of others, or to attain to a level of personal piety whereby one might feel spiritually accomplished, is idolatry, and is an unacceptable sacrifice.

Time will tell the source and motive of all personal piety. Even an external source or motive, if it is yet other than the goodness of God Himself, falls woefully short of His glory. God will not be mocked. And He will not uphold the proud: He will allow them to fall again, especially if one whom He loves cannot be humbled unto His grace by any other means.

Therefore, we are not left to our own devices, nor to the cleverness of schemes, nor to the wisdom of sound counsel only. But we are called to fulfill the calling of a new priesthood, wherein is found a santification that goes far beyond the overcoming of only one particular sin, though that victory is also given.

The office of priesthood is the office of intercession. If we will minister to the Lord acceptably as priests, then we will seek Him earnestly in all our motives – especially those pertaining to good works, though without delaying in action. We will also be willing for Him to lay upon our hearts the burden of His own soul for His house, and for the lost sheep of His pasture.

We too quickly excuse ourselves in saying, “But I am unworthy to minister to others.” Yet aren’t we much more unworthy to minister to the Lord, which is our first and primary calling, and for which He has made us a way into the holy of holies? Surely then, He will make us able to minister to others in word, in deed, and in prayer, if only we are found ministering to Him in the same things by the bearing out of our souls before Him, and the seeking of His heart to become our own.

And how, one might ask, can this ministry intercession cleanse a man’s way?


§II“LIFT UP YOUR EYES”


And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.
Acts 5:32

Ministering to the Lord in the seeking and doing of His will, despite ourselves and despite our existing shortcomings, is the magnet for His overcoming power. We become witnesses of His work only through obedience. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Exercise thyself UNTO Godliness.” A man with no living experience of walking by the palpably leading hand of God will be a man of little or no strength in God; since the scope of his walk requires little or no strength, and he sees nothing beyond where he sits.

The overcoming power of God is given according to the measure of obedient faith in the various callings of God upon each one. And although the obediences to which He may call us might appear irrelevant or unable to affect our present sins, that is not at all the point. Dare we counsel God in the methods by which He delivers us from our own folly? He places one step at a time in front of us; and He orders those steps according to HIS wisdom, not our own.

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV)

The Hebrew for “loyal” here carries the concept of which Jesus spoke when He said “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single (or sound), thy whole body shall be full of light.”

In other words, while men seek to rid themselves of particular sins by developing tunnel-vision for those sins, the greater answer is truly found in developing a focused vision for whatever places Christ is calling one to in Him. For what the eye beholds, the body will soon reflect. The beholding of He who dwells in us and calls us will transform the beholder and the obeyer – and He is only beheld unto transformation by those who obey Him.

To neglect any prompting of the Holy Spirit is to neglect stepping into a greater place of His power.

If we wait to cross the Jordan until we are first made perfect, then we will never cross. We need to cross in order to find the beginnings of His perfecting power; for in that obedience are contained the seeds of perfection, and also the loyalty of heart which God answers in overcoming strength. In stepping into Jordan, the floodwaters which seemed to prevent us from taking the promised land are suddenly backed away from us, even beyond Adam (Josh 3:16), and the conquering of Jericho (the stronghold) comes well within the realm of possibility.

God fights on behalf of devoted hearts, and teaches them through continued experience to also fight for themselves. We are being made perfect through the crucible of obedience unto greater obedience.

As it was prophesied of such a priestly generation, to whom He comes as God into His temple:

And He (the Lord) shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Malachi 3:3

Priesthood in God’s temple means that we are called to fearfully minister to His heart through walking by faith in the face of all ungody fear; and in this ministry we will find that He begins ministering far more deeply to our own hearts in the purification of the Holy Spirit than by any other means. It is the office by which the exercise thereof will call up a dead church to rise and meet the Lord who calls her to “come away,” shedding all the trappings of self-made religion as the faces of heaven’s inhabitants beam with awe and joy at the sight of a worthy Bride.

The heart of sanctification is not to please ourselves, but to honour God, who is worthy.

They shall enter into My sanctuary, and they shall come near to My table, to minister unto Me, and they shall keep My charge.
…And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Ezekiel 44:16,23


“Experience is the secret of power.”
Brian Troxel


SEE ALSO:

Neglect It Not: Intercession

HIS Intercession Is Our Calling

The Spirit Of The Void

Here are the words of one of Job’s three foolish friends. They are the words of a man led astray, thinking to counsel rightly; when truly he speaks according to a demonic message which he received:

“Now a word was brought to me stealthily; my ear received the whisper of it. Amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, dread came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. A spirit glided past my face; the hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice:
‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? Even in His servants He puts no trust, and His angels He charges with error; how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like the moth. Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces; they perish forever without anyone regarding it. Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them, do they not die, and that without wisdom?’
Job 4:12-21 (ESV)

This is a chillingly familiar experience to many people in our own day. We live in a time dominated by this spirit – and it particularly targets the children of God. It works to crush all hope in the possibility that “a man can be in the right before God,” or “be pure before his Maker.” It works to undermine all trust in God on the part of His servants, by accusing the all-knowing God of evil suspicion, saying, “even in His servants He puts no trust…” And it even tries to excuse its own rebellion as the fault of the Most High: “His angels He charges with error…”

There sat Job: penniless, comfortless, and sickly; and here came the void to swallow him whole by utter despair. It is a spirit which causes men an empty dread, “…and trembling, which made all my bones shake.” Its appearance could not be discerned, just like the nothingness into which it drives men. And it blames God for the very meaningless existence that it is truly the purveyor of, saying, “Between morning and evening they (men) are beaten to pieces; they perish forever without anyone regarding it. Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them, do they not die, and that without wisdom?”

This is not the Spirit of the Living God: for He is not a spirit of such fear; “but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”

But those who do not quickly shun and rebuke this spirit of despair in their own lives are left to gradually accept the slow descent into spiritual apathy and compromise; until they come to embrace it as the very wisdom of God, the gospel truth, and refuse to overcome its stranglehold upon them, returning to God nothing upon the investment He made in them. It is the strongman of vices beyond number: it is the invisible pressure which suffocates us from the breath of God, it is the filth of the world which smothers our hearts with callousness; and its only bane is HE WHO IS IN YOU.

Get it out.

The Lord Is A Man Of War

The Lord is a man of war: The Lord is His name.
Exodus 15:3

Throughout the earthly life of our Lord was manifested this very truth in all that He did and said. Never was the warfare a distant or partial truth to the Son of God – it always was the present reality within which His deeds were done, and His words spoken…

…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 3:8

Whether in preaching the good news, in healing the sick, or in casting out demons, His eyes were alight with the vision of the battle before Him. His passion, His compassion, and His righteous anger all symphonized into the heavenly music of His ministration: vigorous, gentle, and awesome.

In the synagogue He healed the man with the withered hand; and in so doing condemned those who with vehement disapproval looked on. In this He warred against and exposed the false spirit of the pharisees’ religiosity. In large crowds He walked about, teaching men the way of Life; thereby releasing them from the bondage of contrived burdens unto the freedom of His Lordship. In this He warred against and exposed the captivity of the adversary. With great frequency He also cast out demons; directly throwing off the power of the wicked one from those who drew near to His holy light. In this He warred against and exposed the secret devices of the enemy. And in all these things, our Lord was ever in prayer, communing with the Father; and gained final victory over the corruption that is in the flesh by His perfect intercession.

What then of ourselves? Are we men of war after His likeness? For such will become those who are indeed His workmanship!

“…The Lord is a man of war: The Lord is His name…”

Is the Spirit of The Lord upon you? Should you not then be a man of war after His likeness? One will say, “Ah, but the scriptures say, “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Ex 14:14), and, “The battle belongs to the Lord.” – And truly indeed does the battle belong to Him, truly indeed is it His own to glory in. Yet it is on the children’s behalf that He fights while they hold their peace, since war is not the province of children. But He is a man of war: for war is the province of men, not of children; and He would not have us always remain helpless children (Eph 4:13-14). For through men of war, God glories all the more in battle, since then He displays two victories: the one over us, and then the one through us. Under Joshua, the men who warred for the advance of Israel were at times called “mighty men of valour” – and would that we could also be so named!

But carnal men love the convenience of slavery to Pharaoh; and after a time, slaves grow to love the providence of their worldly captors over the deliverance of God. How many a warring man of God is met even by brethren with the accusation, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” (Ex 2:14) Cowards fear deliverance, and spit upon its purveyors.

How easily does the slumbering soul dismiss the Lord’s zeal for His house as undue severity! And how quick also is the conceited mind to mistake the Lord’s dispassion in battle as a lack of heart. For if many of us today had witnessed Jesus drive the moneychangers out of the temple, we might have thought to take Him aside and suggest that He utilize a more “civil” or “toned down” measure against their grievous evil. And if we had observed Him seated outside the temple beforehand, weaving the whip in silence, we might have gasped in self-righteous shock, hand-over-heart at this “uncaring” and “ruthless” display of quiet premeditation.

O, how we trust the unreliable fire of human offense, and disdain the white-hot furnace of Godly passion! O, how we embrace the nihilism and empty hatred of human apathy, and recoil at the unearthly calm of Godly dispassion! This is because we do not know God, and in particular because we have not spent a day on the battlefield – except either in captivity of the enemy, or in cowering behind the Lord, who is trying to teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight.

But the warring character of Christ – with both holy zeal and divine peace – shone forth brightly in Peter when he confronted Ananias and Saphira in their lie…

And Peter answered unto her, “Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?” And she said, “Yea, for so much.” Then Peter said unto her, “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.” Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Acts 5:8-11

Peter derived no earthly pleasure in the demise of these two; yet he also did not shrink from his duty in keeping the house of God clean from the blemish of deceitful scheming. When the Spirit of the Lord is upon a man to do battle against the devil’s handiwork, the man is on fire; and as he fights, he finds peace in the Lord while doing the Lord’s will – though in his wake other men lie possibly condemned, and all around him the demons are stirred up.

“In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.”
Proverbs 14:26

But to fear man is to not fear the Lord; and Egypt is always more than happy to take back its slaves.

Let not the house of God remain such a den of theives: trading the souls of its men for mammon, and their divinely-given birthright for a single meal.

Men of war kneel only for their King.