Joshua 8 – Part 1: Our Authority & the Enemy’s Blindness

And Jehovah said to Joshua,
“Do not fear, nor be afraid. Take all the people of war with you,
and rise up, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given the king of Ai, and his people,
and his city, and his land into your hand.
And you shall do to Ai and to its king as you have done to Jericho and its king. Only, its spoil and its cattle you shall take for yourselves. Set yourself an ambush for the city behind it.”
(Joshua 8:1-2)

“Behold, I have given… into YOUR hand…”
“Set YOURSELF an ambush…”
 
The walls of Jericho were conquered not by the hand of any man; but by the overcoming faith of the people in their Captain.

But having been delivered from the great stronghold, they were now expected to walk in THEIR authority from heaven to continue their conquest. Jericho was handed to them without any requirement but the first steps and proclamation of newborn faith; but the taking of Ai required a walk of both holiness and meekness. This was initially failed by the man who stole the things devoted to destruction (Joshua 7), which brought grief and delay upon the whole camp of Israel; and that man was purged from their midst. The putting off of idolatry is the putting on of authority in the Spirit.

And this authority is that of the pierced hands; for pride brings the loss of authority in God’s kingdom, just as the Devil was opposed and cast out. Pride is the root and substance of all idolatry. But the method of Christ’s victory was through death and humiliation at the hands of all the fury of the adversary; for the enemy is blinded by his own vanity, so as not to discern the mystery of Godliness. The greatest warriors in the army of the Lord are the meek, for the enemy cannot comprehend the mind of Christ, “who subsisting in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, having become in the likeness of men and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, having become obedient until death, even the death of a cross.Because of this also God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and earthly ones, and ones under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

And Joshua sent them away, and they went to the ambush,
and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west of Ai.
And Joshua remained that night in the midst of the people.
And Joshua rose early in the morning and called up the people,
and they went up, he and the elders of Israel in the sight of the people of Ai.
And all the people of war with him went up and drew near,
and came before the city. And they camped on the north of Ai,
and the valley was between him and Ai.
And he took about five thousand men and set them as an ambush
between Bethel and Ai, on the west of the city.
And they set the people, all the camp on the north of the city;
and its rear on the west of the city.
And Joshua went into the middle of the valley on that night.

And it happened, when the king of Ai saw,
the men of the city rose early and hurried to go out to meet Israel in battle,
he and all his people at the appointed time before the plain.
He did not know that an ambush was against him behind the city.
And Joshua and all Israel were stricken before them,
and they fled the way of the wilderness.
And all the people in the city were called to chase them.
And they pursued Joshua, and were drawn away out of the city.
And there was not a man left in Ai and Bethel who had not gone out after Israel. And they left the city open, and chased Israel.

(Joshua 8:9-17)

The Lord set Joshua and the people in a place which to their enemy made them appear vulnerable and open for attack; but his brashness was the very mechanism of his downfall. Joshua took the way of apparent defeat in order to lay hold of victory for his people. This is a wonderful picture of the cross, upon which Christ Jesus took the fall for His people’s deliverance, enduring the scorn and temptation of the Devil; but being the spotless Lamb of God, He was raised from the dead. And having emptied the gates of hell upon Himself to their own exposure, He now holds every key to their final demise. For it is HIS authority by which the gates of hell (the council and strategy of the enemy) cannot overcome those who remain in HIM. For what He has bound and loosed in heaven is bound and loosed on earth by those who give themselves over to walking obediently by faith in what they see the Father doing.

And Jehovah said to Joshua,
“Stretch out the javelin in your hand toward Ai. For I will give it into your hand.”
And Joshua stretched out the javelin in his hand toward the city.
And the ambush rose up quickly out of their place,
and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand,
and entered the city, and took it.
And they hastened and burned the city with fire.
And the men of Ai looked behind them, and saw; and, behold!
The smoke of the city had gone up into the sky.
And there was no power in them to flee here or there.
And the people who had fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers.

And Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city,
and that the smoke of the city had gone up.
And they turned back and struck the men of Ai.
And the others came out from the city to meet them.
And they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that.
And they struck them until not was left to them a survivor, not one that escaped.
And they caught the king of Ai and brought him alive to Joshua.

…And Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
Only, Israel seized for themselves the livestock, and the plunder of the city, according to the word of Jehovah which He commanded Joshua.

(Joshua 8:18-23, 26-27)

The boldness to walk in overcoming faith is a boldness unfamiliar with pride which is held in meekness. Walking in the authority of Christ is knowing of the Father’s will without the restraints of our own will and drawing the power of that heavenly kingdom to earth by stepping out upon what can only be presently seen by eyes of singleness toward HIS purposes and hearts longing for HIS appearing. This requires the present knowing of His actual will: not as a distant and general unknown, but rather as a clear vision of His desire for today into which we step and speak that it might be so, for He has decreed it. It is OUR faith which overcomes this Devil’s world (1Jn 5:4), that upon the gallows meant for his intended victim, he himself might hang, even as Haman did (Esther 7:10).

And Joshua burned Ai, and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day.
And he hanged the king of Ai on the tree until evening time.
And at sundown Joshua commanded, and they took his dead body down from the tree, and threw it into the opening of the gate of the city;
and raised over it a great heap of stones until this day.

(Joshua 8:28-29)

The hidden wisdom of God in Christ Jesus is unto the demise of His enemies by the manifestation of HIS authority and power through those in whom He dwells.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, having been hidden,
which God predetermined before the ages for our glory,
which none of the rulers of this age has known.
For if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory…
(1 Corinthians 2:7-8)

…the mystery having been hidden from the ages and from the generations,
but now was revealed to His saints; to whom God willed to make known
what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations,
who is Christ in you, the hope of glory…
(Colossians 1:26-27)

…and to bring to light all, what is the fellowship of the mystery having been hidden from eternity in God, the One creating all things through Jesus Christ;
so that now, to the rulers and to the authorities in the heavenlies,
the manifold wisdom of God might be made known through the church,
according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through HIS faith.
(Ephesians 3:9-12)

And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom.
And whatever you bind on earth shall occur, having been bound in heaven.
And whatever you loose on earth shall be, having been loosed in heaven.
(Matthew 16:19 LITV)

– Brendan

God’s Law – Part 2: The Law of Life

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world. The one following Me
will in no way walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of LIFE.”
(John 8:12)

To have and to walk in the Light of God is both to have and to walk in the very LIFE of God. What it truly means to “believe,” according to Jesus, is a thing of such substance that His very Life is revealed in those who believe. And because they bear witness of Him by the fruit of HIS Life actually being brought forth in them, that very witness of His Life in them even judges those refusing to see it. Not that we judge of our own accord, but that the Witness within us judges all things, and we discern after Him. For the dead are not aware of the living; but those who have passed through death unto Life are with diligence able behold all things through Him.

The one believing in the Son of God has the witness in himself.
The one not believing God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness which God has witnessed concerning His Son. And this is the witness: that God gave us everlasting life, and this Life is IN His Son.
(1 John 5:10-11)

The phrase “everlasting life” speaks not merely in terms of time eternal, but of the substance of KNOWING HIM ever-increasing TODAY.  “And this is Life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Jn 17:3)

“And this Life is IN His Son” – the Life of God remains abiding in those who remain abiding in Him. “He who has the Son HAS Life (present tense), he who has not the Son has not Life…” The river of His Living Water is the river of HIS eternity, into which He brings us; yet we know that some fall away from the Living God – this means that they were once truly in Him by some measure. To have everlasting Life means to presently know Him. It is the PRESENT KNOWING of He who is Life that keeps us in His Life, and His Life in us. For unto us He has come, and in Him we must abide.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given to us an understanding that we may know the true One, and we are in the true One,
in His Son Jesus Christ. THIS is the true God, and the Life everlasting.
(1 John 5:20)

But how do we walk in this Life, and how does its witness abide in us? By what power does the Light of Life shine forth? For a lamp requires oil; therefore it is spoken of He who lights our lamp: “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because of His SPIRIT He has given to us.” (1 John 4:13)

He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life indwells us by His Holy Spirit – and more than that, He the Spirit is the very power by which the spiritual death once at work in us gives way to His Life being at work! We know that we know Him by His Life being manifested in us – not by our own assumption or doctrinal confession. For in dying to the carnal man by the cross and giving way to the working of HIS life, we abandon the working of corruption unto death through sin in the flesh, for the working out of God’s Law both in and through us by the Law of the Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2).

…My brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, for you to become Another’s, to One raised from the dead, so that we may bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin were working in our members through the law for the bearing of fruit unto death. But now we have been set free from the law, having died to that in which we were held (the flesh), so as to serve in newness of Spirit, and not in oldness of letter.
(Romans 7:4-6)

It would seem to be a contradiction that the Law of God’s heart will be fulfilled in those who were “made dead to the law” – but that is because man supposes that the Law has to be fulfilled through the flesh. But no, Paul said, “the Law is spiritual.” The problem is not that the Law is carnal, but that man is “carnal, sold under sin.” Therefore the old man must be put to death in order for the righteous requirement of God to be fulfilled in us. For the ultimate Law of God is the Word Himself, Who remains forever; and the law of Moses was simply a hidden revelation of HIM to bring men to the end of themselves, begging for the Spirit’s rebirth. This is why Paul wrote “For through the law, I died to the law, that I might LIVE to God.” (Gal 2:19)

For the law “in which we were held” was ultimately the law of sinful flesh, which cannot obey God in a pure heart – this is why the Law of Moses only worked unto death, because the wages of sin is death. For Paul, posing as the carnal man, says, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom 7:22-23)

Therefore the grace of God, if it will make us free indeed, cannot end at the forgiveness of sins, it also must include deliverance from the very power of sin still at work. Now of course we are told that the power of sin is the law; but again, that is because of the weakness of sinful flesh, so that God’s requirement remains holy and just, still requiring fulfillment in His creatures. Therefore our continued salvation and deliverance is found through the putting off of the old man and the putting on of Christ. The old is condemned and must be reckoned dead for the new and blameless to be lived in with any power over sin and death. And this is all by the Spirit of the Lord. “For IF by the SPIRIT you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:13) Those who live after the flesh are still under the condemnation of the Law and abide in death; but those walking after the Spirit are not condemned and abide in the Life of God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set me free from the law of sin and of death. For the law, being powerless in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh (not the law);
so that the righteous demand of the law might be fulfilled in us,
those not walking according to flesh, but according to Spirit.

(Romans 8:2-4 LITV)

At the end of Romans 7 is the cry for deliverance from the cycle of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and Romans 8 lays out the path of said deliverance. The man in Romans 7 is still setting his mind upon and walking according to the flesh, which is death; but Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death! This is why Paul also said in Galatians 5, “But if you walk by the Spirit, you will NOT fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

The one who practices sin is of the Devil;
for the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
The Son of God appeared for this purpose,
to DESTROY the works of the Devil.
(1 John 3:8)

Jesus didn’t come to make an excuse for sins, He came to destroy them. His call from the cross is not merely, “Look at what I did;” but it is also, “Now having seen Me, come up here and die with Me, that you may truly live.” His work is truly finished; but have you stepped into all of it, to walk in the labors of the Spirit of His resurrection Life?

For I may have the new desires of the new creature to obey God; but I have not the power to overcome the law of sin and death at work in my members unless that new creature is animated by God Himself rather than by me myself. It is after I am born again when I truly begin to increasingly realize that it is I who is far more the enemy of God’s work in and through me than I ever previously conceived. The fault is not with God’s demand, nor His lack of empowerment; but rather my lack of surrendering even the new creature to His control. For though I am regenerated in spirit, I am unable to animate or operate the new creature. The new nature desires what is right but gives us no power to overcome by our own will. For we are made into a new creature so that GOD can reside in and rule over us, as HIS temple!

“If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin,
yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
But if the SPIRIT of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life
even to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
(Romans 8:10-11)

So we can have the Word of Christ dwelling in us in some measure; but apart from a direct work of power by His Spirit, we simply remain in a deep struggle between two natures: our spirit being alive in the conviction of His righteousness, yet our mortal body still being subject to the manifestations of sin.
This cycle is not meant to endlessly perpetuate, but to dwindle and die – hence the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit.

“…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be My witnesses…”

Being true witnesses to the power of Christ requires that the power of His Spirit be clearly at work in us; for the Truth is not merely a concept taught and thought, but a Person known and lived in. To walk in the Way of the Light of Life is to walk by faith in the very shoes of He who IS Truth. For He said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” For in Christ Jesus all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily; therefore He is the Way (the Son,) the Truth (the Spirit), and the Life (the Father). Yet on a ‘practical’ level for us, it is by His Spirit working in us that we are made His witnesses; therefore it is says, “And the Spirit is the One witnessing, because the Spirit IS the Truth.” (1Jn 5:6) We will only be His witnesses to the degree that we allow HIS power to be operative in us. We are meant to be continually being filled with all the fullness of God!

For just as one is not a Christian without the initial seal of the Spirit of God and by Him the implanted Word; likewise, one cannot get far into their Christian walk without the ongoing filling of the baptism of the Spirit being present. For this baptism is meant to be a constant flow, a continual refreshing; we cannot run effectively for long on yesterday’s power for today‘s work. Our own strength is insufficient to power the new creature because it is in fact counter-productive to the work of the Spirit. To work out our salvation with fear and trembling truly means to humbly yield ourselves to GOD “who works in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.” So it’s supposed to be HE who works in me, not myself who works in me! The best intentions of our own efforts still amount to nothing but works of the flesh; and we do not have to live by those any longer.

Such is the confidence we have through Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the SPIRIT. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives Life.
(2 Corinthians 3:4-6)

The trade of our own power for God’s power, and the trade of our own life for God’s Life, is the trade of deeds which amount to filthy rags for deeds which are manifest as having been wrought in God” (John 3:21). When we are operating out of any power except God’s power, we are placing ourselves back under the law of the letter rather than the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus and thereby walk under condemnation. Our growth from children into manifest sons of God is accomplished only through the very Life of the Son being at work by His Spirit within in those who are dying to self. It is one thing to initially be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise – it is another to be led in the Father’s will by His power.

So, then, brothers, we are debtors: not to the flesh, so as to live according to flesh; for if you live according to flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.
For as many as are LED by the Spirit of God, these are SONS of God.

(Romans 8:12-14)

The children are many; let them put away childish things and become sons. The children of Israel were not called sons until after they had passed through the death of the river Jordan to enter into God’s rest; which is where we rest from our own labors and walk in the labors of the Spirit. The righteousness of God’s Law cannot be fulfilled and revealed except in those who walk by the Spirit of His Law, the Law of the Spirit of Life. For Jesus said to John of His own baptism in the same river Jordan, “this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” It was after this that God spoke from above, “This is my beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased.” Then He was “LED by the Spirit into the wilderness.” And we are called to follow in His steps.

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin.
For he who has died has been freed from sin.
(Romans 6:3-7)

True Life is to know Him; and to know Him is to see, to look upon, to touch and to handle the substance His very Life indwelling us – by the Law of the Spirit of Life in Him. And by this, Hi’s Law is being fulfilled in us. But those of whom He says, “I never knew you” are the same whom He calls “lawless.” For sin is the transgression of the Law (1Jn 3:4) – that being the eternal Law of God’s unchanging heart and mind, the Word. And only by this exchange of our life for His, to live by His Spirit, do we find the liberty of His Law at work in us, wherein that royal Law of HIS Love can be fulfilled.

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
And we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror,
are transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as from the Lord, the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

– Brendan

God’s Law – Part 1: The Law of Light

And this is the message which we have heard from Him, and we announce to you:
GOD IS LIGHT and no darkness is in Him, none!
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and we walk in darkness,
we lie and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light,
as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
(1 John 1:5-7)

As the Word was from the beginning, so He remains today and forever. The same law of God which was with Him from the beginning and throughout all ages until now, stands immovable still. For even before there were any ordinances written on stone because of the people’s transgressions, even then, the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws?” For the law and the commandment of God is most simply expressed as this: His heart.
And this we know: that in His heart is no darkness or deceit! In His heart there is no variance or shadow of turning! For the law of God was, is, and will forever be the same unchanging law of His very character and nature, even the Word Himself.

Is it not right then, that the Law of that Word should be fulfilled in His own creatures? For it is indeed that same eternal Law of the Word made flesh which shines forth HIS Light unchanging throughout all ages, He being the only “True Light, which enlightens every man…” And He, that True Light which came into the world, is not the abolishment, but rather the very fulfillment of His Law’s requirement within all and through all who are being conformed to the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person: for it has pierced them through unto death, dying to the darkness which they once had been, becoming the transparent lamps of HIS arising and shining forth.

…then God said, “Let light be!” And there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good,
and God separated between the light and darkness.
(Genesis 1:3-4)

The desired work of God in His new creatures is one of dividing light from darkness. There is no obscurity in Him. The Light is good – the the Law is good; but until there is an actual separation of light from darkness made within the creature, it hates the Light – it cannot abide in the Law of Light! For the Light comes that the darkness might be cast away. The heart of every creature walking in darkness is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;” but glory be to God, that the One who tries the hearts and reins of men in the exposure of His Light is the same One who causes the old creature to utterly pass away along with the shadows by HIS dawning in our hearts; that Truth may find His dwelling in the innermost parts of our being!

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)

And of that deliverance from every power of darkness into His marvelous Light, they sing to Him, “You will light my lamp; Jehovah my God will make my darkness light.” For the Light of men, the “Angel of the Lord,” while leading His people out from the bondage of Egypt, divided between the two: being for the enemy a dark cloud, but for His people a light (Ex 14:19-20). To darkness, all is darkness. Whatever Light we cannot see corresponds to whatever darkness we still walk in.

David sang of his own deliverance from the enemy, describing God as having “made darkness His covering, His pavilion all around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. Out of the brightness before Him, His dark clouds passed through, hailstones and coals of fire.” (Ps 18) This is the Lord’s appearance to His enemies. And wherever we ourselves might walk in darkness, our own minds are as an enemy toward the searching and piercing light of God. For God separated the light from the darkness: so that the darkness can neither discern nor mix with the Light. But Christ illuminates all things for those abiding in He the Word. Therefore the Psalmist says, “IN Thy Light shall we see light.” (Ps 36:9) For Christ came as Light into the world that we may abide no longer in darkness. But for those who stubbornly remain in darkness, and darkness growing in them, to them “the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.” (Amos 5:18)

For Daniel says of Him, “He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Therefore no escape is found for the rebellious, though they cover themselves in darkness, though they make the night to be as light around them, of whose exposure before God David also says, “Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Those who walk in darkness are alienated from the mindset of God by the works of evil and every foul spirit. This is threatened by the Light, and therefore they cannot abide it; so that unless the Father of lights draws them, they cannot come into its fellowship. Yet it is still His Light itself by which they are drawn, therefore it says to His children, those lights of the world in whom He already abides, “So let your light shine before men, that they may see…” For His drawing becomes sure upon all that are humbled by its piercing affliction, into whose darkness “the Light has shined… and the darkness has not overtaken it.”

With the merciful, You reveal Yourself as merciful;
with an upright man, You reveal yourself as upright;
with the pure, You reveal Yourself as pure;
and with the crooked, You appear perverse;
for You will save an afflicted people, but will bring down haughty eyes.
(Psalm 18:25-27)

The Light must be allowed do its afflicting work of opening the eyes of those in darkness, so that sin might be seen to be exceedingly sinful. And the crucible of their being drawn and separated to Him cannot be perceived by those without Light; for even the powers of darkness are not beyond His grasp to wield against their own intentions. He even causes His Light to shine out of the darkness – even from its very midst! For He is the One “forming light, and creating darkness; making peace, and creating evil.” (Isa 45:7) Therefore, the words of their repentance through His chastisement are these: “I am the man that has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. HE has led me and caused me to walk in darkness, and not in light.” (Lam 3:1-2)

For He makes darkness His slave, and the shadows He bends to His own will. Yet we who have already walked in the light ought never to presume upon this grace, since to those straying from whatever Light they presently have, He warns, “Give glory to the Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains; and, while ye look for light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” (Jer 13:16)

To those remaining in darkness, and darkness remaining in them, God’s Law of Light has only the ministry of condemnation. For unless a man is full of Light, the Light condems him. And just as the Law’s former revelation could not transform men by the fading glory of ordinances, but only expose them in its requirements; likewise that same Light of the Lord’s conviction regarding sin, righteousness, and judgement was the school master humbling us into the more exceedingly glorious new covenant in Christ Jesus, who is the only true fulfillment of the whole Law of God’s heart for reconciliation. For this is “the mystery having been hidden from the ages… but now revealed to His saints… Who is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.” For it has always been the very same Law, the very same Word, the very same Gospel: yes, even “that which was from the beginning;” for the substance has always been Jesus Christ! And He who was revealed TO Saul of Tarsus, that same One was revealed IN a transformed Paul (Gal 1:16). It is the revealing of this mystery which all the prophets looked forward to, and of which Peter finally said, “and we have the more established prophetic word, in which you do well to take heed, as to a lamp shining in a murky place, until day dawns and the Day-star rises in your hearts…” (2 Pet 1:19)

For the condemnation of the Law (which is of God’s Light) still remains upon all not walking IN the Light BY the Light, with whom His true children have been made one. “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of Light” (Eph 5:8) The former revelation of God’s Law made Moses’ veiled face shine with only a fading radiance of what was upon him: the latter revelation of it now shines forth unveiled, bringing us from glory to glory by Christ’s work within us, becoming the very luminaries of HIS light shining in a dark place. “The spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who will teach Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:15-16)

The spiritual man has been exposed and transformed by the Light, becoming a transparent conduit through which proceeds the Light of Christ; but until they also become light in the Lord, those who are darkness cannot perceive the true Substance (Christ) of the spiritual man, Whose countenance beams forth from him.

But all things being exposed by the light are clearly revealed,
for everything having been revealed IS light.
Because of this, He says,
“Arise, sleeping ones and stand up out of the dead ones,
and Christ will shine on you.”
(Ephesians 5:13-14)

For the Light in which God dwells is unapproachable except by His own Light. Therefore, within whomever the Law of God is not being fulfilled unto righteousness, they are under the Law’s curse; and in blindly judging that Law of Light amidst their lawless deeds, they are made manifest and judged by it.

And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness more than the Light, for their works were evil.
For everyone practicing wickedness hates the Light,
and does not come to the Light, that his works may not be exposed.
(John 3:19-20)

Every man will be judged, each according to his works; yet our works are judged not by the spectacle of their appearance, but by the substance of their source. We will be judged according to our own conformity to the Light of Christ who dwells in us, not merely according to the light of those among whom we shone. It is HIS quality reflected in us by which we are measured. For every light of the Father is simply meant to show forth the pure Light of Christ – the reaction of surrounding darkness is not our responsibility so long as we are walking with singleness of eye toward HIM, by which our whole body will be full of His light. David lived hidden under the shadow of the Almighty’s wing, even dwelling in a cave away from most of his people for a season: not because he was of darkness; but rather to keep the evil one confounded while God proved the true substance of his heart in secret before his time to rule had come. And his proven character naturally exposed the wickedness of Saul’s heart, though David never reviled him, but even had mercy upon his life (1 Sam 24).

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of
them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,
who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord;
and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
(2 Corinthians 4:3-5)

At times, the Light shining forth from us will provoke Light to spring forth in men; at other times, it will cause them to descend deeper into darkness. We may be a beacon of hope in the midst of darkness – we may also be a silent reckoning upon darkness and for those remaining in it. Both are the work of the Light. And there are also those who appear to have already rejected the Light beyond all turning back, whom God will first bring through the deepest darkness before they truly enter the Light; just as Solomon “kept his wisdom with him” even amidst all his revelings, who later returned and at last penned, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecc 12:13-14)

But even regarding this, if we are indeed light in the Lord, then we still ought to strive toward such a degree of brightness in our kingly duty as did David: which is to search out and reveal those matters that are the glory of God to conceal (Prov 25:2); and David was called a prophet of God, though he did not know it. Likewise, as we ourselves are thereby conformed to His likeness in the secret place, growing in the revelation of knowing HIM, we also will naturally fulfill what He commanded saying, “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light. And what you hear in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.” (Mt 10:27) Yet we do not speak before mere men, and we do not proclaim to mere men; but God. The doing comes from the being wrought of HIS inner working. We ourselves must always be lain before the scrutiny of the Lord’s light, lest we begin to deceive ourselves even as the Devil did, who now masquerades as an angel of light.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
(Matthew 6:22-23)

Therefore, as lights shining in a dark place, our effectiveness is not in what we think we are doing for God, but rather in being conformed to His image; for Jesus did not say “shine your light,” but He said, “LET your light shine…” HE is that light! The precision with which HE can use us will be in proprotion to our conformity to HIS Light within our every facet. Our personal singleness of eye towards HIM determines the brightness of the Light naturally proceeding from us. The more we see Him as He is, the more we shall be like Him! Anything born of ourselves apart from Him is tainted with darkness; therefore it is written, “But the one doing the truth comes to the Light, that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.” (John 3:21)

Praise be to God! He has brought the blind by a way that they did not know, to lead us in paths which we could not conceive of; and made darkness into light before us, and the crooked ways straight! Therefore let us now likewise draw ourselves out to the hungry in spirit, and satisfy the afflicted soul; that our light arise from the obscurity of these times, and our own darkness turn to noonday; that we may no longer grope for the wall like the blind, nor stumble at midday as though it were night. For if we walk in the Light of the Day we may say to our accuser, “Rejoice not against me, my enemy; for though I fall, I shall arise. For if sit in darkness, the Lord is a light to me. I will bear the fury of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my cause and brings forth justice for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall see His righteousness.” (Micah 7:8-9)

This is a day for His true children to walk by nothing except the Light of Christ within their hearts. For He is doing a work to bring His people into HIS fullness; but we must be purged from within of every hint of darkness. It is He dwelling fully in His people, and His people fully in Him, of which the scripture says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” (Zech 14:6-7)

The night is far gone, and the day has drawn near; then let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the weapons of the light. Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in carousings and drunkennesses, not in co-habitation and lustful acts, not in fighting and envy.
(Romans 13:12-13)

This is the fruit of the Law of Light being fulfilled in God’s children, this is the very Life which God has within Himself, and also the Son; so that all who remain in Him may have that Life in overflowing abundance, unto liberty from bondage for fulfilling the Law of God’s holy love. For His fullness unveiled is that coming Day of which He says, “the work of each will be revealed, for the Day will make it known…” (1 Cor 3:13) The result of inner darkness is outer darkness (Mt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30). But if we walk in that Day today, we may have confidence before Him.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world.
The one following Me will in no way walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of Life.”
(John 8:12)

– Brendan

Vanity: All But Christ

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “vanity of vanities!
All is vanity!”

(Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Vanity is the only currency of this present world; and vanity its only prize. “The whole world lies in the evil one,” and the fruits of his pride at work in those who follow in his path are the vain and meaningless acquisitions of chasing that dragon. The Devil himself has not attained what he set himself after, and he shall never acquire it. The calling of God upon His people is one of being perfect even as He is perfect – and this is only possible by the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead quickening us, we who have been crucified to the world and the world to us with Him. All but the preeminence of Christ Jesus in all things is as dust in the wind. All that is contrary to each of us living and moving and having our being in HIM is chaff to be burned.

The mystery of God is Christ over all and through all and in all, as revealed in the members of HIS body. Those who are born and lead of His Spirit move with His Spirit, and not with another. Where they truly came from and where they are truly going cannot be discerned by the carnal man. The factions which men call “churches” are the robbers of Christ’s preeminence in HIS church, for they by nature cannot submit to His Spirit, and so they are vanity. But although He is dethroned in the “wisdom” of men, He exalts Himself in the things foolish to this devil’s world.

For this is a world in which the spiritual value of a thing is thought to be determined by its “earthly good.” But truly, it is the lack of outcry in our hearts against the vanity of the passing things of earth and of man’s self-aggrandizing agendas which keeps us from finding the only Worth. We must come to the very end of ourselves and find that HE is everything! As I have heard one sister say, “It is in the void that we find Him.” Men put great effort and sincere devotion into the plans and visions of what a committee decides God should bless; when it is only Christ the head, giving command to each member of HIS body, by which the whole can function and manifest the fullness of HIM. For the true body of Christ IS the fullness of HIM who fills all, as HE is in them all. Only that which God Himself creates, sustains, and truly dwells in will abide the day of His coming. All else will fall and is already falling deep into the obscurity of this fading world, for the Holy Spirit carries along  that which is begotten of Him; but His wind destroys the field which HE did not sow. Man’s own vision and earthly understanding cannot deliver him from the realm of this world of vanity and worthlessness.

For they sow the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind. He has no standing grain. The stalk will yield no head. If it does yield, strangers will swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up. Now they are among the nations like a worthless thing.

(Hosea 8:7-8)

It is therefore no coincidence that the gatherings of man called “churches” under the authority of men are full of people in bondage to darkness, who bear the fruits of the law of sin and death; for a body manifests the person of whatever spirit is allowed to be at work in its members. The prince of the power of the air is at work in all those not subject to the Lordship and headship of Christ, for two masters cannot be served.

But the true and pure bride is His very body, she is ONE with Christ in His Spirit – of whom He can say, “bone of My bone and flesh of My flesh” – she is not a separate entity ruled over by other men. “They are of the world, therefore they speak of the world, and world hears them;” but the sheep of the Good Shepherd are hearing HIS voice, and He is leading them out, “Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away…” (Song of Solomon 2:10)

“And there shall be one flock, One Shepherd.”

God proclaiming all things of this world to be vanity is not a casual indictment. The engagement of our hearts with the “wisdom” and ways of earth is an adulterous union in His eyes.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
(1 John 2:15-17)

Of Jezebel

Of Jezebel,
That unchaste spirit; that bearer of treacherous tales, whose council is a field of snares, whose words are the undoing of faith: that burdener of the good conscience, that tormentor of the upright soul.

May she and her children find no pleasure in her works; for what she has whispered in the dark will be published in the light, and the despairing cry of many righteous will be turned into shouts of victory. Our eyes will only behold the God of our Hope, and our ears will only delight in the words of HIS mouth.

The wagging of her tongue will no longer be considered, and the poison of her lips will no longer find an audience among us; but the Lord Himself will cause her to be cast out from the hearts of the pure, and her exposure will be an astonishment to many. They will say, “Is this she, whose sorceries troubled us, whose threatenings made us tremble and fear?”

When no man heeds her, all of her sorceries are in vain, and all of her threatenings fall to the ground empty. When all the righteous become as one holy city fearing the Lord, she will not be able to enter its gates, nor go into the houses of its noblemen. But the bed of her seductions will be placed in the open field, and the shameful who leave the city to lie with her will be clearly seen.

In reaping she is devoured by the uncleanness which she has sown, and with the unclean her name will be blotted out from all memory. Her fall will be mocked from on high, and her destruction laughed at from the throne of heaven. Then the Lord’s fury will overtake her with those whom she seduced, and none shall mourn her passing.

Let not your heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she has cast down many wounded: indeed, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
(Proverbs 7:25-27)

– Brendan