|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." [Isaiah 42:6-7].
That "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." [2 Corinthians 13:1], we shall also quote Isaiah 49:8-9. "Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves."
There are various convenants which God made with individuals, and with nations, recorded throughout the Scripture, these were between God and man, and they reveal to us more of His inworkings. But there are also those specific covenants which pertain to God's called out ones, of which we can be a part, not just of its blessing, but of that which brings blessing to others. We are indeed a PEOPLE WITH A PURPOSE. The many facets of this oneness with God which we have already examined in previous chapters, the preparations to bring us into His fullness, is that we might also become truly "labourers together with God" in the glorious restoration of all things.
In giving forth the word of the Lord, Isaiah prophesied, "In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee." This is carried over into 2 Corinthians 6:2, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." The Greek word used here for "acceptable" literally means, RECEIVABLE. "Now is the receivable time." It is the time to receive the divine impartation of His grace, of His truth, of His salvation. But then, what is the purpose of this personal receiving? Christendom has taught that we were immediately to go out and "spend" this blessing from the Lord in witnessing, doing many good works, and especially helping to build up all these religious kingdoms which man promotes. But if we would adhere to the scripture, it simply states that "now is the receivable time," it did not say that now is the "giveable time." What we first receive from the Lord is to WORK IN US the process of our own complete transformation.
Then we read on, having received of Him, He has promised to "PRESERVE THEE..." and in His own appointed time, "I WILL GIVE THEE..." God must first give to us, that we might receive, and then HE must give US when it is time for the next one to receive. But, in the interim, these spiritual gifts and graces are given to us for our development, even as it said of Joseph, "Until the time that his word (of deliverance from prison) came; THE WORD OF THE LORD TRIED HIM." [Psalm 105:19]. Oh, how that word tried him! He had received some marvellous dreams from the Lord, a definite word of promise concerning his position and ministry― but instead of immediate fulfillment, his path seemingly went ever downward, in reverse. Sold by his own brethren as a slave. Endured false witness by his master's wife. Ended up in prison with his feet in fetters. Yet deep in his heart the truth burned as a living flame, purging, purifying, until such an hour as God had planned for all things to be fulfilled.
So, also, this revelation which we have received of Him has been for our own inward development, till all of our nature has been refined, fully conformed to His image― yes, because ONE in Him. How it has burned within, becoming LIFE to us, even though as yet we could not share it with another. As we read in Job 33:16, "He openth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction." He will open your ears to receive, "line upon line, precept upon precept," and it becomes quickened, illuminated to your understanding, but He also seals it up within you before it is dissipated, so that it can work in you and bring forth IN YOU fruit unto perfection. Then will come the time when it can be shared with another for their blessing and profit.
A receivable time, until the message has so worked itself into the very fiber of our being that the messenger and the message become ONE. We sometimes yearn for the day of release, and feel like Elihu, when he said, "For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles." [Job 32: 18-19]. And yet we also know full well that until He opens the way and anoints us to speak, we have nothing to say. He has sealed it so deep within it finds no expression, until the Spirit gives an effectual utterance. That is because HE HOLDS FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE VISION IMPARTED, and He will watch over His word to perform it, and He holds it within us until the appointed time.
"AND WILL PRESERVE THEE..." The word preserve literally means-to keep, watch, reserve. "He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest." [Jeremiah 5:24]. Sovereignly held, while others run their course, and the works of healing, the blessings, the seasons of refreshing come and go, and still HE PRESERVES, yes, RESERVED His own until the appointed time. "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." [1 Peter 1:5].
We cannot bring God's time to us, but HE will bring us through to HIS TIME. He is able to preserve us and bring us to His time. "For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." [2 Timothy 1:12]. And when that day is fully come, "I WILL GIVE THEE for a covenant of the people."
And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee." [Genesis 17:7]. First given to Abraham, it was also to be for "thy seed after thee in their generations." The full extent of this covenant was not immediately revealed and fulfilled. In due time the children of Abraham, who had become the nation of Israel, found themselves down in the land of Egypt where they sojourned four hundred years. The bondage steadily grew worse, and they cried unto the Lord for deliverance. In due time the message came, "I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage: and I have remembered My covenant." [Exodus 6:5]. God does not forget His covenant, but He has a set time for every degree of its fulfillment. And so in due time Israel was brought up out of Egypt.
"And they departed from the mount of the Lord (Horeb) three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them." [Numbers 10:33].
There was a certain fulfillment and application in that time, but this is also a very prophetic passage. The ARK (Christ) of the COVENANT has gone before us through this three days' journey, to seek out and bring us into that appointed resting place. We need not give again all the scriptures here which pertain to the third day― but with a thousand years as a day, we are entering into that third day from Calvary, and rejoice to know there is to be a fulfillment of our REST in Him, body, soul, and spirit. It is part of HIS covenant to us, and part of that which we BECOME for others. "Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third I shall be perfected." [Luke 13:32]. We have appreciated the "cures" and the blessings for strength to follow on, but we yearn for the hour of PERFECTION, that release of His divine life and immortality, to come into that STATE OF INCORRUPTIBILITY where we won't need to be cured of something, but shall fully possess His life.
Although the covenant was given to them, Israel did not always remember their heritage in the Lord, nor serve Him faithfully, and they were often brought under His discipline rod. "When He slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned and inquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the High God their Redeemer. Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant." [Psalm 78:34-37].
Nevertheless, "He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant He made with Abraham and His oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant." [Psalm 105:8-10].
If Israel forgot, and periodically had to be reminded, still God never forgot, He always remembered His covenant, and fulfilled each part right on schedule as He had planned. There are depths and ramifications which still are held in secret, because we are not ready to bear the load of such knowledge. But this much is already revealed, there was to come forth "A SEED" through which all nations of the earth would be blessed. That Seed is Christ, to be sure, but it is also the whole inchristed company of which He is the Head.
The first part of the Covenant was in the natural― in that it was partly based upon man's obedience. There was nothing wrong with it, but it was only "in part" and to work out certain things which would bring forth the proper setting for the second part, which is well termed, anew covenant. Not one written upon tables of stone, but that which is written in the heart. It was to be a FULL ARRANGEMENT. "In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." [Hebrews 8:13].
We are definitely in a transition, passing from the old into the new. The "in part" is to be swallowed up into that which is "perfect." What was limited in the past is to be replaced with that which is complete and full. The former is swallowed up into the greater, for it was a part of the greater, in that it prepared the way for what was to follow.
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest." [Hebrews 8:10-11].
Praise God, from the LEAST to the greatest. "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, nor many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty." [1 Corinthians 1:26-27]. In due time ALL shall know the Lord, but He begins with that which is "least," and will continue to subdue and abase until all has been brought low, and then will He also raise it up in due time. That no flesh should glory in His presence. That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
What a process of stripping, purging, purifying, until we KNOW that we are NOTHING in ourselves, then to be filled with HIMSELF, so that we can be given to the nations, to bring them His life and salvation.
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." [Romans 11:26-27].
He has not forgotten HIS COVENANT, and it includes a Deliverer, and a complete removal of their sins, so that man might enjoy the fullness of His life. Yet when we speak of a "Deliverer" there is much more involved than just the first Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his death at Calvary. For there is to be a MANY-BRETHREN-COMPANY of whom He is the Head, which are ultimately revealed as a part of that "Deliverer" to fulfill Obadiah 21, "And saviours shall come up on mount Zion..."
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of Salvation for us in the house of His servant David; ― to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham, ― and thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways." [Luke 1:68-69,72-73,76].
God was remembering His covenant even when He brought forth John the Baptist to prepare the way before the Lord. "Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come," saith the Lord of hosts. [Malachi 3:1].
John the Baptist was the forerunner messenger. He announced The Messenger, and Jesus Christ was The Messenger of the Covenant, and also the Mediator thereof. HE "hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality ( Greek, literally, incorruption) to light through the gospel." [2 Timothy 1:10]. For "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." [John 1:17]. HE is the Messenger of the covenant, and He is the Executor of that Covenant.
Just as there was a forerunner before His first coming, when provision was made for the new covenant, i.e. the full arrangement, so again there will be a forerunner ministry to prepare the way for the establishment of that covenant. We praise God for all the ministries of this day which have, and are being used of the Lord to alert men, and prepare them for deeper moves of the Spirit. The very fact that we have these witnesses to something indicates that they are not that something. Once you have become the very personification of a thing, you no longer witness to it, you are it, and dare we say, become that which others witness to.
Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24), and the whole many-membered-son-company of which He is the HEAD, shall become the administrators thereof. Thus, these actually become the COVENANT GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE, they more than represent it, they will be able to fulfill its outworking.
The covenant becomes personified in a people, it is a living covenant. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." [1 Corinthians 6:17], and as we are duly processed to become part of this glorious union, we also will become one in all of His glorious operations.
"FOR A LIGHT OF THE NATIONS..." We know that Jesus is the Light of the world. (John 12:46). But He also said, "Ye are the light of the world." [Matthew 5:14]. Of Jesus Christ it is written, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." [Matthew 4:16]. Yet Paul also declared, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, I have set thee to be a light of the nations, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." [Acts 13:47].
How often through the years has the Spirit renewed the promise and the vision, as the Scripture has been quickened, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." [Isaiah 60:1-3].
By the operation of His sovereign grace He has been removing all the inward traits of self which would dim this light, or cause it to be distorted. But the inflow of the Oil is being set aflame, and when He unveils His sons, they shall truly shine as HIS LIGHTS in the world. To say with Paul, "FOR SO HATH THE LORD COMMANDED US... TO BE ALIGHT..."
"TO OPEN THE BLIND EYES..." Herein is the ministration of the Spirit. And the veil shall be taken away, the light shall dissipate the darkness, "And he will destroy (swallow up) in this mountain (His kingdom) the face of the covering (veil) cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations." [Isaiah 25:7].
"God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day." [Romans 11:8]. And, "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." [2 Corinthians 4:4]. We know this is true, blinded, asleep, and they know not the ways of the Lord. Furthermore the light and the message have been SEALED WITHIN until the appointed day. But when God gives His Sons for a light, to open the eyes of the blind, it is because the hour of their salvation and deliverance has come. All creation groans, and waits for this day, that they too might be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
The world longs to see― they imagine all sorts of dreams of their superman, someone that can right the wrong. When this true light shines, and they see the MANIFESTATION of what redemption really is, the scales will fall from their eyes, and they shall believe and receive also. It will no more be a profession without a possession, but we repeat, the message and the messenger will have become one, and their eyes will behold the reality. God's prepared ones are to be that living epistle known and read of all men. Their very state of being will be the message personified, something they can see, feel, handle, and know is true. And what is the message all about? That Jesus Christ is Lord, and so seeing it clearly demonstrated in you, they will RUN TO HIM, to receive of HIS LIFE, that it may do in them, what it has wrought in you.
Oh, to be able to lift the veil, and let the light shine into these darkened hearts. Yet, one thing is sure, it is not to condemn, expose, and shame them, it is to dissipate the darkness, that they might walk in the light. Not come to condemn, but to save!
"TO BRING OUT THE PRISONERS FROM THE PRISON." A prisoner is not free until the inner chains are broken. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." [John 8:32]. Therefore, "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." [2 Timothy 2:25-26].
This is an imposed bondage― and the prisoner groans for release. Creation was made subject to the bondage of vanity, not willingly, but in hope. [Romans 8:20]. God knows about the bondage, and He is preparing the COVENANT which will bring their release. As a secondary cause He also uses the devil to take them captive at his will. They hate their bondage to drink, to corruption, to these habits which destroy them and their homes. Yet they find themselves powerless to resist. They wake up in the morning determined to do differently and soon slip and fall again. Self-condemned they loathe themselves, and everything involved. Ah, how creation longs to fully be set free.
What love, what compassion will be known, as in meekness THE COVENANT ministers the truth, and there comes repentance, a change of mind and heart, and these prisoners are set free. Yes, and without condemnation, for the ministry is, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM..." [2 Corinthians 5:19].
When this COVENANT is given, rest assured that it will be given in LOVE, not a sentimental, temperamental type of love, but that solid, abiding love of God, self-sacrificial in nature, that gives all to redeem all.
LOVE COVERS ALL
O glorious ministry in view
As God now maketh all things new.
No more the pattern of the old―
With laws inscribed on stone so cold.
A condemnation to arise,
While tears of shame becloud our eyes,
With fingers pointing at our sin
To leave us numb, filled with chagrin.
But now we see a better way,
"More excellent," I hear them say,
A way of love that covers all
Transgressions of creation's fall.
No sin that's charged to man's account,
No load of guilt, no gross amount
Of debt to pay. But now we find
Love breaks the fetters that would bind,
To set the lonely captive free,
Proclaim a day of liberty.
To turn our feet into the path
Of righteousness of Him who hath
Now gone before to mark the way
That leads us to redemption's day.
And when no more our steps do err,
We wander not in deserts bare,
Nor follow those who would deceive,
But a pure love of truth receive,
Then sin shall vanish from the earth,
Creation blessed by a new birth.
And what love covered is forgot,
Sins of the past remembered not.
Each soul is rescued from its doom,
Delivered from death's morbid gloom.
The whole released from sin and strife,
Shall praise God for abundant life.
Writings in This Series: