Seven Lamps of Fire - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 4 - COME UP HITHER
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me: which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter" (Rev. 4:1)
"Come up Hither"
John must move higher in the Spirit in order to see the full glory of Christ in the Most Holy Place. True, he was in the Spirit on the Lordís day when he heard the voice of the Son of Man walking in the midst of the lampstands. But the ministrations of Christ in His church are intended to bring us into the place of His throne, still higher than where we are now. When John heard the invitation to "Come up hither" he was "Immediately in the Spirit". When He speaks to His people, as He did to John, with a trumpet sound from Heaven .. suddenly there is power in His Word to make it happen. "Let us draw near with boldness" the apostle said. But somehow the voice seems to be dim, and it doesnít happen. "Immediately" John was there -- at the Source and Fountain Head of all the glory that he had seen earlier. Now he is in the realm of pure Light. In the Holy Place there is light from the lampstand, which I believe represents all the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. We need all that supply of the Spirit that He has given, to bring to us words of wisdom and knowledge, new measures of faith and understanding. We need those gifts of healing, and discerning of spirits. All these gifts are like rays of Light from the Most Holy Place .. and we must have that Light. But God wants this Light to shine from His people in a blaze of glory that will fill all the earth. Gifts and ministries were never intended to do that -- but rather to show us the way to that higher realm.
Like Ruth we are thankful we may glean in the fields of Boaz, whose name means: In him is strength. Boaz was strong on behalf of the servant girl from Moab. He told his reapers to leave handfuls of grain on the ground, for Ruth to gather. This was very generous of him. Then when he had promised to be her kinsman redeemer, he gave her "six measures of barley" strictly as a gift. She did not have to glean it from the fields. How thankful we must always be for "every good and perfect gift" He bestows upon us: whether we glean it with hard work, or He simply pours it into our bags without us even asking Him for it ..
But He wants to bring us still higher .. beyond the place of receiving gifts. He wants us to give ourselves to Him .. as Ruth did. And He wants to receive us unto Himself .. as Boaz received Ruth. Let the flower fade away from our lives, and make way for the fruit. Let the Holy Place of ministry give way to the Most Holy Place of abiding union with Him who "dwells between the cherubim". Thankful as we are for the gifts, let us understand this: Godís purposes fall far short of His desire, if we are not always looking for the more excellent way -- a relationship with Him, where we live together in the same home. His desire is that we dine with Him, and He with us: "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one" (Jn. 17:23). Godís desire is to bring us into still greater depths in the Spirit. What does this really mean, to be --
In the Spirit?
You fill your cup with water -- so the water is in the cup. You throw the cup in the river -- now the cup is in the river. Jesus said, "Abide in Me". But in the same breath He said, "And I in you". Christ is in us .. is that not sufficient? It is if we realize He comes into us that we might come into Him. He wants us to be immersed in the River .. cup and all. Itís wonderful to walk in the waters of Life .. up to our ankles .. our knees .. our waist. But we fear to go further, because we feel we are losing our footing. We fear to commit ourselves to the surging River of Life. We fear to "Launch out into the deep, and let the shorelines go.." We fear, because we donít really know our Father well enough, to commit our all into His care. A little bit of self-control seems more desirable, than casting our all upon Him. I know we find it difficult to understand what God has in mind for us, by way of coming into the fullness of the Spirit. But He wants us to pursue that -- just as the children of Israel knew very little about Canaan, yet followed the Cloud of His Presence. As we follow on to know Him, He will be faithful to bring us to the fullness that He desires. Let us consider some aspects of the fullness of Christ.
Spirit of Faith.
In the gifts of God, we receive a measure of faith. As we are faithful in that measure, so He would bring us further into the spirit of faith. Abraham had faith to leave his country and go into a foreign land, at Godís bidding. His whole life was a life of faith. And in process of time, and because of Godís dealings -- he came to faith that was so complete, that he surrendered his beloved Isaac on the altar of sacrifice -- being assured that God would raise him from the dead. His faith had progressed from a faith that believed God for direction in life, faith for a promised seed, faith for an inheritance in the land of promise -- to the ultimate of faith where he would surrender it all back to God on the Altar of Burnt Offering. For he knew that his God was the God of power and of life. His faith had become resurrection faith.
Paul talks about resurrection faith, that was always there, because he was "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus". Certainly he had faith to do many wonderful miracles in his ministry. But the spirit of faith goes far beyond that. "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken". He was quoting what David said when he had been in situations of death many times, and yet the Lord was faithful and delivered him from death (see Ps. 116:8-10). We say we want everything God has for us. But are we prepared to get all that, and then surrender it all back to Him on the Altar of Burnt Offering -- as Abraham did, as David did, as Paul did? Only then may we experience the power of His resurrection: "Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you" (see 2 Cor. 4:10-14)
Spirit of Worship.
We go to places of worship. We are taught to worship under certain influences -- as music, or under the direction of a worship leader. I realize in songs of praise we sometimes have musicians to lead the songs. And this is well and good -- if the musician is a worshipper, and in tune with God. But true worship goes beyond the singing and the praising. God is looking for "true worshippers", who worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. If we abide in the Spirit of worship we worship at all times. Like Abraham, when he pitched his tent he erected an altar of worship, no matter where he was. People will ask us, "Where do you worship?" The woman at the well thought it was a case of Samaria, or Jerusalem -- she worshipped in the mountain near Samaria, and you Jews, she said, worship in Jerusalem. But Jesus taught her a lesson we all need to learn: Itís not the place, itís not the church setting, itís not the musical program, itís not in an evil situation or a good one -- true worship must be in Spirit and in Truth.
Abraham was a worshipper. In obedience to God He loaded Isaac down with the wood of the burnt offering, and announced to his servants: "I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Gen. 22:5). Strange way to worship! It really is, if we do not understand that the finest ingredient in worship, is a heart that lays all on the altar of God -- even the best that God has given.
Job was a worshipper, in good times or in evil times. Once when Satan came before God, God boasted in Jobís integrity. Notice it was God who raised the issue -- and Satan charged Job for having selfish interests in worshipping God. Why wouldnít he worship God, when God was so good to him, and fenced him in so well that not even Satan could get at him. This was Satanís argument against Job. And so God let Satan take everything away, including his health, his sons and daughters, his flocks and herds -- and all that he had. But there and then he sat in the ashes, and worshipped God. He had no worship team to help in this, nor was his worship motivated by happy laughter. But there was a deep inner knowledge that the God he served was great and awesome, and worthy of all worship -- simply because of who He is. Spiritual songs ought to bring us to a total bending of our hearts and minds and our wills to God. If you will run through the word worship in your concordance you will find that worship is very often attended with a kneeling down, a bowing down before Him, or a falling prostrate on your face on the ground. It is a spontaneous response to the awesome awareness of Godís presence, or of His righteous judgments. One cannot prearrange it, or cause it to happen. It is a deep inner consciousness that God is great in holiness and majesty .. and that we are helpless and undone before Him -- yet loving Him for who He is. But we cannot really define it, for it is a state of being that is always in the heart of a worshipper, and may manifest itself in so many different ways.
But nothing before Calvary or after .. nor in the ages to come, will ever equal the quality of worship that ascended before God, when the Son of God "through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God" (Heb. 9:14). And never could any incense ever offered on Jewish altars be compared to the pleasure that filled Godís heart, when the incense of this Burnt Offering ascended to Heaven, fulfilling the commitment that He made to the Father: "Lo I come, in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, to do Thy will O God".
Spirit of Prayer.
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 20). How effectual is this kind of prayer! One may be praying with the Spirit in a language he understands, or in a language which he does not understand (1 Cor. 14:15). But the Holy Spirit is our Intercessor here in the earth, as the Lord Jesus is our High Priest and Intercessor before the throne. And the apostle reminds us of this, when he says: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" which literally means: "The Spirit joins Himself to our weakness". Often there may be no words one could say, nor any real understanding of the situation at hand. "For we know not what we should pray for (or, we know not how to pray) as we ought, but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26). The Spirit alone understands these deep inner groanings in the Spirit, "and He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26, 27). We should seek Godís will, even in our prayers. For the Spirit has come into our lives, to be joined unto us in such union with Him that there is a continual communication of our hearts with His. Paul speaks of this, as praying without ceasing, and "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (see 1 Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18).
I am not convinced of the effectiveness of prayers that are regimented by leaders in the church who have their own programs and agendas to fulfill. The burden the Lord in all of the seven letters to the churches of Asia, was never: You must pray more! Rather His burden was to bring the people of God to repentance, to be watchful, to be awake and alert, to be patient, to return to first love, to be faithful, to hold fast to their witness, to keep the word of His patience, to seek the true riches, to keep their garments clean, and to have hearing ears to "hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches". With the Key of David on our shoulder, we should be inquiring more of the Lord, as to His will and His way in our lives -- rather than telling Him what Heís got to do. Then will our prayers be strong, effective, and fervent -- when we are truly walking in the Spirit, and motivated by His desire and His burden for us, and His way to bring the Bread of Life to others. It is the responsibility of each member of the body, to carry that particular burden that the Spirit has laid upon his shoulder -- each in his own walk with the Lord. When we come to this, the whole body will be edified, and will become the Testimony of Jesus in the earth.
Spirit of Prophecy.
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the Testimony of Jesus: worship God: "For the Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10). John did the same thing again, in Rev. 22:8. And each time the Angel said: "See thou do it not". The word angel simply means messenger, and in this case he was a man, who had gone beyond the veil of this life. He was just one of the brethren like John, who had the Testimony of Jesus. A little later he describes himself as "thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets" (Rev. 22:8). We do not know who he was -- but it is evident from what he said to John that there was something higher than a prophetic ministry, for he said: "the Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". What then is the Testimony of Jesus?
The Old Covenant Testimony
To understand better how the Testimony of Jesus may be called the spirit of prophecy we will refer first to the Old Covenant. For even in the Old Covenant, the letter of the law was not sufficient in itself to send forth this clear Testimony of God in their midst. We must emphasize that the testimony that terrified the nations that came in contact with Israel was not the fact that the tables of stone were in the ark of the covenant, along with Aaronís rod, and the pot of manna. Their enemies could not even see those holy things in the Ark. Rather, what terrified their enemies was the fact that they knew Israelís God was identified with the Ark that went before them, and as they went into battle. The Ark was carried on the shoulders of the priests of the Lord, not by the men of war. And when the Ark moved forward Moses prayed: "Rise up, O LORD, and let Thine enemies be scattered". The Testimony of Israel was powerful because of Godís holy presence. And when the wicked priests of Israel thought God must save them for the sake of the Ark -- they were terrified to see the Ark taken by the Philistines. Israel thought that if they brought the Ark into the battle it would be a sure defense against the Philistines. But you cannot manipulate God when you despise His holy Name. Both Hophni and Phinehas, who had turned a deaf ear to God, were slain in battle. Eli the high priest, when he heard the tragic news .. fell backward and broke his neck and died. Phinehasí wife was with child, and no doubt had proud thoughts of this child, who (if a son) would be eligible for priestly garments and anointing. But when she heard the sad news she went into immediate travail, and brought forth a child whom she named Ichabod -- and then died in her sorrows. The Ark was preeminently the Ark of His Presence. It was Godís dwelling place in Israel. And it was this that made the Tabernacle to be the Tabernacle of Testimony, and the people themselves to be a Testimony in Jacob (Ex. 38:21; Ps. 78:5). And the reason God ordained all that, was to give a picture in type and shadow of the real Testimony that He had reserved in His heart for revelation in the fullness of time.
The New Covenant Testimony
Our Lord Jesus calls Himself "the faithful and true Witness" (Rev. 3:14). In His life on earth, and now in the heavens, He is the faithful and true Witness. Even in the earth He only spoke those things which He had "seen and heard" from the Father" (Jn. 3:32). He was Godís Testimony in the earth. "I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things" (Jn. 8:28). Jesus said of His disciples when He was about to go away: "And ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8). So when the Holy Spirit came to fill them and empower them, and abide within them, Peter was able to give forth a clear Testimony concerning the Lord Jesus -- just as they would in a court of law. They testified to what they had seen and heard. God confirmed the word He gave them with great power, and their Testimony got them into trouble with the world -- especially with the religious world. As they stood before the judges, who commanded them not to speak or teach "in the name of Jesus" -- Peterís reply was simple and clear. They were witnesses of the power of the risen King whom the rulers had crucified, and they could not be silent: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20). John likewise declared what He had seen and heard: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.." Then he goes on to say: "and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us" (1 Jn. 1:1, 2). In a declaration like this by the Spirit .. then we too become witnesses -- if in truth we have ears to hear and eyes to see what the Spirit is saying. The Testimony of Jesus shines forth from the lamps in the church, and it is the Lord Jesus Himself who sustains the Light. This is a corporate Testimony in a people who walk in Spirit and in Truth, and this "Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy".
The Church at Corinth came behind in no gift. With all of their faults, there was a certain prophetic witness that was far beyond what we see in the church today. We have already mentioned it: how prophecies coming forth in the church would cause the unbeliever to "fall on his face, and worship God, declaring that God is in you of a truth" (1 Cor. 14:24, 15).
People continue to cry out: "We need another Elijah! .. We need another John the Baptist!" But God has something even better in mind. Twice John fell at the feet of this shining one who was showing him heavenly things. And twice the man rebuked him for his error. For this angel was a man who had gone on, perhaps one of the prophets; for he said, "I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the Testimony of Jesus" .. And the second time, "I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets". And he said to John, "Worship God: for the Testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (see Rev. 9:10; 22:9). Is he not reminding us, who are often captivated by the charisma of some great prophet -- that the Testimony of Jesus in the earth is something better than having a great prophet?
It is a corporate Testimony, a people moving in such union with Christ that they speak as one voice, and shine as one Light, in this world of darkness. They do not come to this mutual Light by ecumenical dialogue, but by coming under the Lordship of Christ who walks among the lampstands, following the Lamb wherever He goes, and loving not their lives even unto the death. They will be crowned with Holiness unto the Lord upon their forehead, and with the oil of His anointing on their heads. But these crowns may become crowns of thorns if they are prepared to be true and faithful witnesses in the earth. John was a true witness, and it brought about his exile on the little island of Patmos. We do not know whether John was actually slain for his Testimony, but he was a martyr because like Paul he was "always delivered unto death for Jesusí sake", and the true witness is one who is faithful in life as well as in death. He will be hated for his prophecies, not glorified -- because true prophecy in a time of spiritual declension will reveal the hidden works of evil in the people, and will seek to turn their hearts back to God. Often this kind of persecution will come from some segment of the apostate church .. who have political clout. But this true witness will know he must follow his Master, loving not his life unto death. Yet he will know also that nothing can hurt him, or prevent him from fulfilling the appointments of God, until his work is finished. Their enemies will both fear and hate them, for by their very presence in the world about them, they will be declaring the Testimony of Jesus in "the spirit of prophecy", with Jesus the conquering Lamb going before them.
Chapter 5 - A Glimpse Beyond the Veil
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