Friday, September 12, 2014

The Days of Uzziah

“See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’  The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:25-27 NIV).

“Yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in THE DAYS OF UZZIAH” (Zechariah 14:5 NASB).

There is a great earthquake registering in the spiritual realm right now as God’s jealous presence manifests on behalf of His people, and yes, we are all fleeing.  “Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world, and all the inhabitants in it” (Nahum 1:5).  Just as the rain falls on the just and the unjust, so God Himself, falls on the just and unjust.  And His presence inherently divides and separates.  God is separating goats from sheep, tares from wheat, profane from holy, evil from good, chaff from wheat.  It is a deep earth division—a true circumcision of heart—which causes His people to REALLY see the Lord high and lifted up.  For the world it is judgment unto condemnation; for His people, it is judgment unto victory.  For us, it is like blameless Job needing to repent, not from sin per se, but from that which is good to that which is best, from a law and slave mentality based on a report about God to a grace and son mentality based on spiritual sight.  Job repented in dust and ashes after he SAW God, whereas he justified himself after he HEARD the report about God.

Much is said of the days of Noah and Lot, but nothing—that I know of anyways—is said of the days of Uzziah.  But as was the days of Uzziah—the days past (and within the timeframe that that great earthquake occurred)—so are we today—and multiplied!  An earthquake is here today in the fullest measure and force possible (inclusive not only of earthshattering but HEAVENSHATTERING impact).  The magnitude of impact and scope of influence that this shaking is having on mankind today is beyond anything the world has ever known.  “When God spoke from Mount Sinai (representing thundered Law) his voice shook the earth (then), but now (from Mount Zion [the city of the Living God resident in the human spirit of the new creation man], representing the idea of interpreting that thundered Law as the Spirit of Truth) he makes another promise: ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also’” (Hebrews 12:26 NLT; my insertions).

The Pattern Son Jesus Christ initiates the process of shaking off all that can be shaken; He initiates the plan of God to give us eternal life by way of an earth-splitting death, a drop into hell as a result of that split, and a resurrection experience to lift us all up and out of that hell and into new life.  Here is that pattern in miniature or seed blueprint form: “And Jesus (as He died on the cross) cried again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit.  And at once the curtain of the sanctuary of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; THE EARTH SHOOK AND THE ROCKS WERE SPLIT.  The tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep in death were raised [to life]; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.  When the centurion and those who were with him keeping watch over Jesus observed THE EARTHQUAKE AND ALL THAT WAS HAPPENING, they were terribly frightened and filled with awe, and said, ‘Truly this was God’s Son!’” (Matthew 27:50-54 Amp.).  

Indeed, He is God’s Son!  And this is as the days of the earthquake of Uzziah AND that day of God’s Son combined.  It was reported by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius that the earthquake of Uzziah occurred in response to his pride and insolence.  Scripture supports this assertion: “When [King Uzziah] was strong, he became proud to his destruction; and he trespassed against the Lord his God, for he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:16 Amp.).  King Uzziah, in blind pride and utter disregard for convention and Law, did something only the priests were permitted to do.  Consequently, according to Josephus, “a great earthquake shook the ground and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and fell upon the king's face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west, and rolled itself four furlongs, and stood still at the east mountain, till the roads, as well as the king's gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction. Now, as soon as the priests saw that the king's face was infected with the leprosy, they told him of the calamity he was under, and commanded that he should go out of the city as a polluted person. Hereupon he was so confounded at the sad distemper, and sensible that he was not at liberty to contradict, that he did as he was commanded, and underwent this miserable and terrible punishment for an intention beyond what befitted a man to have, and for that impiety against God which was implied therein” (“Antiquities”; book IX chapter 10:4).

A king Uzziah rent the temple, but the King of kings Jesus rent only the “curtain of the sanctuary of the temple”; pride fells the house, whereas humility fells the internal walls, renovates it, and thereby makes it a home.  “If anyone does hurt to God’s temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [the believing church and its individual believers] are” (1 Corinthians 3:17 Amp.).  Additionally, in connection with the fact that “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ,” is the fact that God will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:15 KJV; 11:18 GW). 
Just as Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up in the year that Uzziah died—a time likened to the days within the scope of the year in which Uzziah died—Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up.  It was the year in which God’s train filled the temple, the time of maturation, the time that Christ, the hope of glory, became Christ, the manifested glory.  This earthquake took all the theoretical musings about God in the bottom of Isaiah’s heart up to the top of his heart and all the way up into his mind (understanding) and out his lips (the word of his testimony) into a practical demonstration of power.  The name Isaiah means “The salvation of the Lord,” and God declares that He saves to the uttermost; the earthquake in Isaiah’s day represents what Watchman Nee called “the breaking of the outer-man for the release of the spirit,” a glorious time that corresponds to the full measure or maturation of our salvation, a harvest time that begins when Christ begins to manifest in our mortal flesh.

Finally, the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony is extended outward to its full realization, a place of true testimony grounded upon the grave of our natural life; here on that ground—whereupon we once were threshed like common grain (but now made holy again)—we fulfill the entire overcoming mandate: we die to ourselves, and Christ arises (in our stead) with healing in His wings.  The last feast—the feast of Tabernacles—is come!  Martyrdom is here!  Now we go home.  Herein are the three feasts in overcoming expression: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb (Passover), and by the word of their testimony (Pentecost); and they loved not their lives unto the death (Tabernacles)”—Revelation 12:11 KJV. The rest of faith is the rest implicit in the idea that neither death nor life separates us from Christ, and it is known internally before externally; a true martyr is a spiritual martyr, whether physical martyrdom ever occurs or not. The meaning of the feast of Tabernacles corresponds to the fullness of our inheritance, e. g., the redemption of our bodies (so that we might live in them married to Christ REALLY). We lost our soul/life not to lose them ultimately, but to gain them back forever filled and formed in the cast of Christ. Now the work in miniature (that which was whispered to us in the closet [our hearts] at the inception of our salvation experience) is being seen in maximum (being shouted from the rooftops [of our redeemed bodies] at the backend of our salvation experience).  Finally, we are ministers indeed!  Finally, Christ is in our mortal flesh and is being expressed to the world from heaven to earth without ambiguity!

When God is hidden from our view, like in the days of Esther, and when the Amalekite (meaning “multitudes”) spirit (as personified by Haman the protagonist in the book of Esther) thinks to destroy us, God, from that hidden place inside our renewed spirits, from Zion atop Jerusalem, shines forth and defeats His enemies.  Haman, means “solitary” or “alone” and the close tie to the meaning of “multitudes” is very significant; remember, the nations are but a drop in the bucket to God, and we are no more than a vapor or a shadow past!  Amalekites are those “who lick up the dust” or “exhaust” His people; they rely altogether on their own carnality, the strength of the arm of their own flesh.  Though our Lord was tender toward the multitudes in His days upon the earth in human form, He said that they only came for the perishable food.  Carnality will destroy us eventually; it will certainly rob us of our destiny.  We must fast and pray and breakthrough the inner curtain of our sanctuary in this final push towards this new day and the actualization of our destiny.

If not, we will be as Uzziah, a leper.  These are, indeed, like the days of Uzziah, and many are becoming leprous like he became leprous when he, an exalted king, tried to do what only a humble priest can do (intercede for others).  Josephus said that the earthquake occurred when Uzziah entered the temple, and just like an earthquake rent the way into the Holy of Holies when Christ became leprous with the sins of the world, so Uzziah became leprous when he tried to do what only the High Priest can do.  Though we are a kingdom of kings and priests we must understand the hour and our placement within that kingdom; kings must come down from their thrones in the Day of the Lord; priests alone function on His day. 

God (as we understood Him) is dying in us today, bringing us to gross darkness (to an utter death-to-self experience), that we might be sprung up and out of our graves—like those saints of old who came alive when Jesus died on the cross—to be manifested to the world that we are His.  Uzziah was a king of Judah during the days of several prominent prophets of old (Isaiah being one of them), and the one who, in the year of the aforementioned earthquake, saw the Lord.  “In that day (this day, our inner-man day, which is the beginning of the Lord’s wonderful—and yet ominous to our outer-man—Day of the Lord) His feet (Christ) will stand on the Mount of Olives (that place where God presses us to failure of self and utter spiritual fruitfulness), which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.  You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel (to being “noble” by way of separation); yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!  In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle” (Zechariah 14:4-6 NASB).

The solution to this dissolution of matter—and all that matters to the carnality in us—is summed up well in these few words of the apostle: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV). 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Awesome Gleam of Crystal

“Over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse, like THE AWESOME GLEAM OF CRYSTAL, spread out over their heads” (Ezekiel 1:22 NASB).  This same verse said another way: “Over the head of the [combined] living creature there was the likeness of a firmament, looking like the terrible and awesome [dazzling of shining] crystal or ice stretched across the expanse of sky over their heads” (Ezekiel 1:22 Amp.).

The Hebrew word translated into English as “crystal” (S7140) means “ice (as if bald, i. e. smooth); hence, hail; by resemblance, rock crystal:—crystal, frost, ice”; it is derived from (S7139) which means “to depilate:—make (self) bald.”  Wikipedia describes crystal as “a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions et cetera are arranged in an ordered pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions,” and—as derived from the ancient Greek—it is described as “icy cold frost.”

It is this divinely “ordered pattern” of crystallized judgment founded on the bald head of repentance that sets the jaw straight, freezes the visage in joyous expression unspeakable, and that creates an icy stare of cold resolution to endure to the end of God’s purpose in and through us.  The last work of God’s cleansing us for holy service is a railing rebuke and utter attrition of being; in Isaiah, it is as “hail” that cleans away our last “refuge of lies,” and in Amos, it is that deceitful part of us being whittled down (and away from us) until all that is left is the question, “How can Jacob stand, for he is small?”  These are expressions of baldness to exposure, shame to glory, and ultimately weakness to strength. 

Indeed, “I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the hiding place (the shelter).  And your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol (the place of the dead) shall not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you will be trodden down by it.  As often as it passes through, it [the enemy’s scourge] will take you; for morning by morning will it pass through, by day and by night. And it will be utter terror merely to hear and comprehend the report and the message of it [but only hard treatment and dispersion will make you understand God’s instruction]” (Isaiah 28:17-19 Amp.).

In relationship to this message, and specifically in response to Isaiah 28:17-19 (the above verses), Charles Finney said, “If one observes the ways of God very closely they will soon learn that God moves with an amazing economy of motion.  In other words God always achieves more than one of His objectives with each of His interventions.  The amazing mercy of God is always accompanied by awakening judgment.  The thorns of judgment always accompany the roses of grace.  In one motion God bares His arm of salvation to believers, and at the same time He strikes those who know Him not.  Throughout Scripture we see this.  When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt through the Red Sea, at the same time they were delivered, the Egyptians were drowned in the water which had provided walls to the Israelites.  When the stone flew from David’s sling, at the same time deliverance was wrought for Israel, a blaspheming foe was felled.  When the temple of Dagon collapsed in Gath, not only was Israel delivered from the Philistines, but a prophet of God was disci­plined and delivered out of his misery and more Philistines were slain than in any event in his prodigious life.  God always acts with an amazing economy of motion.  He accomplishes many objectives in one act.  This is the profound wisdom of God.  The same event can be a blessing or a curse, depending upon where one’s perspective is or interests lie.” 

In all of Scripture the word “crystal” is used only five times (denoting grace), and the first time (the seedbed understanding of what it means throughout all of Scripture) in Job 28:17.  In this first usage it means “transparency,” and it is closely associated with gold (representing that which is “Holy to God,” and that which, by nature—in relationship to our human nature—is applied to us as “hammered work”).  Additionally, this transparency is made by a moral cleansing to translucency—to be made innocent.  In context—and in relationship to wisdom and understanding in particular—Job declares that “Man does not know its value,” and that “Man puts an end to darkness, and to the farthest limit he searches out the rock in gloom and deep shadow” (Job 28:13 & 3 NASB).  The “end of darkness” is about coming to enlightenment, but how murky is our realization of what we have found in Christ Jesus!  How blind are those of us that search out the Rock (Jesus Christ) in gloom and deep shadow!

Our destiny is joy, not sorrow (however much God purifies us [with Holy Ghost and fire) and hammers us [with Truth] in order to bring about that joy).  Yes, we must endure the cross for the joy that awaits us beyond it, but we would do well to SEE that, to see where God is taking us (and WHY we must endure hardship to get there).  In the middle of writing this article I received an “IM” on Facebook from a precious friend doing missionary work in Ghana.  Among other things I wrote to her, I said this: “I am right now studying out the idea from Ezekiel surrounding the concept of crystal above our heads. It suggests making ourselves shiny through baldness (like smooth ice); the hail that removes the last refuge of lies is behind it. ‘The Awesome Gleam of Crystal’ is the title.  Above this gleam, above our heads, is the Lord on His throne (but as a man!). It is time to make others UNDERSTAND more CLEARLY.

And such is the sheen of baldness!  If it is disgraceful to be shorn than cover your head!—BUT with what?  The glory of woman is her hair, and the glory of man is woman; to be made bald is a NATURAL DISGRACE—but also a SUPERNATURAL GRACE in figurative language.  To be shorn of the hairs of our humanity—down to the weakest vessel of Adam’s expression—is to be shorn of our shame to the last degree, and cutting hair does not hurt anything but the pride of our own natural beauty.  This is all figurative, I know, but it is about the spiritual truth behind it that matters.

In this wonderful day of “going up” or ascension, we are as Elisha was who was mocked for his baldness.  “He (Elisha) went up from Jericho (from his converted and purified-to-transparency heart that used to be cloaked by the highest and thickest walls of resistance) to Bethel (the magnanimous city of God, the New Jerusalem reality of the heart cleansed clean and enlarged to service). On the way (through the cross of Jesus Christ, out past the gate of the narrow walk into that large place of understanding, and likened unto the Jew sitting under his own fig tree in domestic tranquility), young [maturing and accountable] boys came out of the city and mocked him and said to him, ‘Go up [in a whirlwind], you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!’” (2 Kings 2:23 Amplified, and with my insertions). 

The epithet “baldhead” was one of contempt in the Bible, applied even to a person with a full and healthy head of hair.  Lepers had to shave their heads to be clean, and leprosy is spiritually symbolic of those who profane truth, of those who are “unclean”; they are those who know the truth inwardly, but do not acknowledge it, nor believe it in a full-conversion sense of the matter—in an active way.  Baldness is not to be mocked, but embraced!  It is to lose physical strength and natural sight like Samson.  Samson’s greatest victory was wrought after new hair grew back, yes, but his physical eyes remained gouged out; likewise, we are mere lepers until the hair reemerges, but always still shunned from society, bearing His reproach outside the community of believers.  “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21 NASB).

The “terrible and awesome [dazzling of shining] crystal” that is displayed above our heads is the protecting glory of God, and it is likened to an everlasting firmament, a crystal sea permanently frozen in time immemorial.  Upon this pavement we ascend and descend from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven like angels on Jacob’s ladder.  Crystallizing Ice is to water as concrete or permanency is to sand.  The well of living water springing up to eternal life—that Jesus Christ activated in us—now freezes up in perpetual expression outside the constraint of time.

The last three times the word “crystal” is used in Scripture are all in the book of Revelation.  They are as follows: “Before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind” (Revelation 4:6 NASB).  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:10-11 NIV).  “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1 NASB).

Herein all three verses of expression we see the end of God’s purpose in man.  The sea of “glass, like crystal” speaks of the fragility of innocence becoming the solid character of purity, of losing the hair of leprosy in order to gain the hair of wisdom.  The four creatures are one man in his full-spectrum of light expression; he has eyes front and back when spiritual maturity is arrived at. The New Jerusalem reality is that of being a “Holy City” by pressure and attrition “like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal,” and that reality, like a jasper, came from that which a jasper stone symbolizes.  Jasper is the first foundational stone that makes up the ground upon which the New Jerusalem rests.  It is about a gem that comes forth from insipidness; it is something worthwhile coming out of something absurd (light from darkness, treasure from earthen vessels).  From that which is “dull and stupid (as if shut up) i. e. heedless” (see S3174), that is, from foolish human nature, the brightness of His coming—in the brilliant and no shadow-of-turning light of wisdom—arrives in and over us.  The “river of the water of life, clear as crystal,” is now the issues of our heart, and now her tenderness is forever protected by the heavenly environment of God enthroned inside her.

After being utterly sorrowful, to the point of writing an article titled “Overcoming Overmuch Sorrow,” I arrived at joy.  I wrote it years before I experienced it, but at the end, it spoke and did not lie (and I recorded a final paragraph).  And here is the sound of it for me (and I hope also for you)—that final paragraph: “God has brought me out to a large place, a Promised Land place flowing with milk and honey, a place of great joy.  I am walking on water!  I am walking on a crystal sea comprised of all the sobbed tears of my painfully extruded myrrh which hollowed out my heart and opened me up to the fullness of Christ within; a myrrh which began to bloom in the flames of sorrow, but which is now fully flowered as a molten sheen of purified glass, a solid and wave-less emotional-state-of-being-pavement upon which I now live out a joy more permanent than the carnal vagaries of sentimental happiness.  My golden years look bright, purified to a translucency so clear as to make my reflection clean, sharp, and Christ-like.  Now I understand, O’ my precious Lord, why I was afflicted!”  Indeed, we are afflicted in order to bring about an AWESOME GLEAM OF CRYSTAL understanding derived from our inheritance, the mind of Christ. 


Monday, September 8, 2014

Out of the Miry Clay

“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the MIRY CLAY, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. (Psalm 40:2 NASB).

Miry (S3121)—from the same as (S3196)—means “dregs, (as effervescing); hence mud: mire, miry.  (3196): “to effervesce: wine (as fermented); by implication, Intoxication:—banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber]. Clay means (S2916)—“to be sticky”; mud or clay; figuratively, calamity.

Calamity means “the quality of being a calamus, reed, or straw”; and though most definitions extend it outward to also mean “damage, disaster, adversity,” this is only true to those who misinterpret God’s ways.  Though early definitions are “damage, loss, failure; disaster, misfortune, adversity”; and early etymologists associated it with calamus “straw,” it is perhaps from a lost root meaning “uninjured” when “struck” or “cut.”

Immediately I am reminded of Jesus’ description of John the Baptist as a reed unshaken or unmoved, i. e., “uninjured” when “cut” down as pertaining to these definitional terms of calamity.  “What did you go out in the wilderness (desert) to see? A REED swayed by the wind?” (Matthew 11:7 Amp.).  Think of Caleb and Joshua, who God described as “having a different spirit,” and as those “who fully followed the Lord”; they were “uninjured” when “struck” or “cut’ down in the wilderness (desert) EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE THERE BECAUSE OF OTHER’S UNBELIEF AND SIN; when God tested them to see what was in their hearts (the purpose of the wilderness experience), He was pleased!  They entered the Promised Land of the rest of faith because they remained UNOFFENDED IN CHRIST no matter the circumstances.

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he who takes NO OFFENSE AT ME and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth” (Matthew 11:6 Amp.).

Here is that verse (Psalm 40:2) in my transliteration/interpretation/commentary: “He brought me out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, out of the dregs of myself, out of being intoxicated with my own wisdom, knowledge, emotions, and ways, out of my vain imagination, out of my false arguments, out of every wind of emotion, out of the calamity that was inevitable if God had not intervened and rescued me from leaning on my own understanding, out from leaning on the staff of my own mind, will, and emotions; once God did this for me, I become ‘steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 15:58).”

“THEN AS...MEN WENT THEIR WAY (rather than listen to Jesus), Jesus began to speak (concerning John the Baptist)... “What did you go out in the wilderness (desert) to see? A REED swayed by the wind?  What did you go out to see then? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings.  But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [out of the common, more eminent, more remarkable, and] superior to a prophet.  This is the one of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You.’  Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; YET HE WHO IS LEAST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS GREATER THAN HE.  AND FROM THE DAYS OF JOHN THE BAPTIST UNTIL THE PRESENT TIME, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN HAS ENDURED VIOLENT ASSAULT, AND VIOLENT MEN SEIZE IT BY FORCE [AS A PRECIOUS PRIZE—A SHARE IN THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM IS SOUGHT WITH MOST ARDENT ZEAL AND INTENSE EXERTION].  For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied up until John.  And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom].  He who has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing” (Matthew 11:7-15 Amp.).

Indeed, it takes “ardent zeal and intense exertion” to extract ourselves from the “miry clay,” but if we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven—born-again, not of women, but of God—than to this glorious task of being separated away from ourselves, to be removed outside the influence of our body of death—WE MUST ACCOMPLISH!  We must get revolutionary, violent even, and declare as Patrick Henry once did, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”  And perhaps, even more exactly pertaining to our message, “Give me death to myself that I might REALLY experience liberty!”  This is the liberty of the children of God, the kingdom of God or heaven realized in our vessels, and out of the miry clay and into an established footing upon a Rock, its expression.