|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." [John 10:9].
There is a tremendous freedom of movement in full redemption, to be able to go IN and OUT, and find pasture. Deliverance is not complete until there is this kind of freedom. On any realm or level, our life in Christ should be so overflowing that we live, and move, and have our being in this liberty. Four walls do not a prison make. When one is as free in prison as out of prison, they truly have freedom. This is, of course, a spiritual dimension of which we speak. Oftentimes when God calls one out of a certain sphere, they cannot go back for fear of becoming bound therein again. Plus, the process of coming out was so painful, any looking back upon it is with a negative view, so they cannot go near it again. But later, when God has wrought deeper things within their spirit, and they find themselves in such a situation as of the past, they rejoice to find that they are free indeed.
Paul has experienced some of this freedom, for he said, "I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am." [Philippians 4:11, Amplified]. And Wuest Expanded adds to this, "I have come to learn, in the circumstances in which I am placed, to be independent of these and self-sufficient."
But there is a dimension beyond all of this experienced thus far, and we rejoice for the vision set before us. There is an ascending and descending which the Sons are to enjoy, to appear in the presence of God, and to return to minister unto mankind again.
Of the great law of circularity, we read, "For of (ek, out of) Him, and through Him, and to (Greek, into) Him, are all things." [Romans 11:36]. Amplified, "For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him."
Of the descent, we need not ponder long, but to read, "Thou turnest man to destruction; and (Thou) sayest, Return, ye children of men." [Psalm 90:3]. GOD PLANNED THE DESCENT, He ordered it. "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but BY REASON OF HIM who hath subjected the same in hope." [Romans 8:20].
But it is the same God who PLANS and ORDERS the RETURN, the ascent. "Return, ye children of men." "Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." [1 Timothy 2:4]. Therefore, "IN CHRIST shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order." [1 Corinthians 15:22-23].
The beginning was God, and the end is also secure in God. Now it is this span of the ages in between which has concerned us, and which is filled with all the processings and inworkings of His purpose. The unfolding revelation reveals that the first "order" will be a remnant of His grace rightly called THE FIRST FRUITS. These are to share the ministry of bringing the rest of creation back into fellowship with their Creator. To be a co-labourer with God has necessitated a tremendous preparation process, which has been the subject of this book. To be purged and refined, utterly transformed by His grace, from living our own self-will, to being abandoned to, yes, to become the expression and personification of HIS WILL.
The process has called for a "coming out," hence known as the "church age," "the age of the CALLING OUT of a people unto Himself, to become His peculiar treasure. Yet, the more we COME OUT, we find it that much harder to RETURN to minister to others. The deeper you go into God, the farther you are removed from the world, and the more remote it becomes to you, so that it is difficult to communicate with the world and even tell them of your walk with God. Yet He hath promised, we shall not only go IN to God, but there shall be a going OUT to the people, once His work in us is complete.
"Hereafter ye shall see HEAVEN OPEN, and the angels (messengers) of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." [John 1:51].
Oh, for an open heaven, with no obstructions, nothing to impede our progress back into God. Surely there has been "war in heaven" and we have had to overcome the "prince of the power of the air." But by His grace and unfolding revelation the "devil" has been overthrown, and we come to serve ONE GOD, the Father, receiving all things from His hand, and giving no place to the devil, no, not so much as a thought in our mind. One cannot be fully God-conscious and devil-conscious at the same time, and our eye is becoming single unto God. Praise Him.
And he (Jacob) dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reaches to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." [Genesis 28:12].
Interesting that the sequence is first "ascending" and then "descending." Having already descended when God turned man to destruction, they were already here, now the vision― very prophetic, reveals that there shall be an ascending to God, to be followed by a descending, of which we will speak later. So for years people have sung, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder." Step by step, rung by rung, going higher, drawing closer to God. But to this point it has been ALWAYS ASCENDING, by His grace, as the Spirit enables us.
Praise God, "If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there." [Psalm 139:8]. The upward journey has always signified a closer walk and communion with God. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place..." [Psalm 24:3]. The qualifications followed, "He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."
"He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth..." [Psalm 135:7].
HE CAUSETH― this is God's handiwork. "Draw me, and we will run after Thee...." [Song of Solomon 1:4]. One cannot lift themselves upward by their own bootstraps, i.e. by their own self-efforts. This is God's inworking! "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." [Philippians 2:13]. He must place within us the desire, and then give the power to fulfill it. HE works it in, we live it out, after He has worked it in. He is the CAUSE, we are the effect.
"When He uttereth His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth." [Jeremiah 10:13].
Oh that He would speak― for when He utters His voice, they ascend, yes, there shall be a multitude arising― until "I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." [Revelation 19:6].
Out of every generation there has been a remnant which has ascended in response to His call, "Come up higher." It brought separations, and often misunderstandings, for the world could not understand this inward desire and pull which these apprehended ones felt. But ascend they did, so that we read of "the heavenly Jerusalem, and an innumerable company of messengers, the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, which are written in heaven...." [Hebrews 12:22-23].
In watching the "vapours" ascend, one does not see a full body of water go up at once. Though people wish it were that way, for they like the security of being with crowds. But in the beautiful allegory of Elijah's experience, "Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand...." [1 Kings 18:44]. Out of the sea of humanity there arises a little cloud― which is being joined to that great cloud of witnesses which have already been assembled from past ages. But it has always been, "I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion." [Jeremiah 3:14].
"For He maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof." [Job 36:27]. Herein is the secret of a mighty outpouring, it requires the ascending of much vapour, if there is to be a great return in refreshing showers. Every move of the Spirit across the world, and in every little group, has behind it the ascending of vapour. God lays hold of a remnant, they seek His face, prayers go up, praise goes up, and they draw nigh unto God, and then HE converts the vapour into rain, and pours down abundantly. We sang in Sunday School, "The blessings will come down, as the prayers go up...." According to that which ascended, so also that which descended to bless another.
That the vapour is personified, it says, "HE shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth." [Psalm 72:6]. Again, "it is time to seek the Lord, till HE COME and rain (Hebrew, teach) righteousness upon you." [Hosea 10:12]. We have yet to see the real RAIN which the scriptures have promised, because the "teachers" are still ascending, being brought to maturity in Christ. But at the appointed hour th8.t which has ascended as vapour, shall descend as rain, TO TEACH RIGHTEOUSNESS UPON THE EARTH. The glory of their message will be that they have ascended and stood in the presence of the Lord, and received FROM HIM the message to be taught. It will not be the commandments of men, nor the traditions of the elders, it will be a DIRECT WORD FROM THE LORD, because they have ascended and received it.
Again we read, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." [1 Corinthians 6:17]. And there is another application of fulfillment for the promise, "I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh," for His elect, as vapour arising, become part of that which is poured out. His first fruits become the "rain" which falls upon the earth to refresh and restore. But long before there is a fulfillment of being "poured out," there must needs be a complete ascending.
There is, praise God, a limited ministry even while ascending, as we confirm one to another the Word of the Lord which is in them. HE speaks it to the inner man, and then uses others for its confirmation. And to God be the praise for all the blessings received even in the limited measure.
"And Jacob was left alone: and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." [Genesis 32:24]. The word "breaking" used here is a Hebrew word meaning, to arise, to ascend, to go up. The wrestling ceased as the new day began to break. Praise God, we shall not always be wrestling, for even now there are signs that the old day and age is ending, and though the night has been long and dark, yet there is a glimmer of light which bespeaks of the rising of the day. His day: when He shall establish His kingdom and dethrone all the kingdoms of men.
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto alight that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." [2 Peter 1:19]. This day is ARISING WITHIN, which means that again, perfected in us, we become the new day. And the more we arise in the brightness of His light and life, the more our wrestlings with this old world will cease. Yes, and even the deep struggles which THE DAY had in us, to conquer the old self-life, the carnal mind, the will of the flesh, etc., that struggle, too, will end.
"By faith Enoch was translated...." [Hebrews 11:5], or we could say, he ascended. But "Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints." [Jude 14]. Or, a more literal translation, "The Lord cometh in holy myriads of Himself."
Enoch, who was ascending, and knew the joy of translation, also held the vision of a time when there would be a descending, of holy myriads of this wonderful HIMSELF COMPANY.
The ascending has been problem enough― a processing, a struggle, the way of the cross, the sufferings, conformity to His death, and all the other facets which might be applied to tell of this way. But there has also been another problem, which remained unsolved, and that was the descending, or what we might term "the re-entry." As for the GOING OUT, we only had to "follow in His steps," Jesus was, and is the way to the Father. But for the re-entry there has been no example so far.
All of natural life is a parable. "First the natural, afterwards that which is spiritual." We now live in what is termed "the space age." After they solved the problem of finding an energy source that was powerful enough to blast off and lift them out into space, soaring out through the wide, blue yonder, they had to then face an even harder problem, that of re-entry, lest the spaceship would burn up as they entered again the more densified atmosphere of earth.
This "fire" problem had to be solved before they got "way out there," else they could not come back. Praise God, what an application for spiritual life. We are also now facing the "fire," and will gain total victory over the fire, with all its heat, burning, purification, etc. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." [Revelation 2:11]. Indeed, "on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." [Revelation 20:6].
"Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save." [Luke 9:54-56].
Ah, all we have ever been taught in the past, by the religious systems of this world, was that the fire was to consume. And we have wanted to call down fire on everything and everybody that was not of our persuasion, and would not measure up to our ideas. Fire to destroy, was the theme. But we do not want this destruction, anymore than man wanted his space ship consumed by the fire on its re-entry. So we had to learn the secret that fire is not for destruction, but for restoration, and when we have been thoroughly dealt with by the fire, it is that we might become a part of the ministry of reconciliation.
What a mystery in Moses' day, to see the bush aflame, and yet it was NOT consumed by the fire. Viewing the re-entry of these space ships, we also see how they are ablaze as they enter again the earth's atmosphere, but they are not consumed, or destroyed. Man has solved that problem, and with their protective shields, and certain types of metal, they can become ever so hot, but not destroyed.
When we have been thoroughly dealt with by the fire, we'll no longer want to call it down upon others. Furthermore, it will no longer be a problem to us, we shall be able to abide the fire, for there will be nothing in us of the carnal realm to burn, no carnality remaining to be fuel.
Although there will be a time for re-entry, we also need to take care that we are not pre-mature in this action. The more you go out into God, deeper into revelation, the harder it is to come back to lesser realms and share that revelation. They know not what you are talking about, nor do they comprehend the language― you have become a stranger to them. And to return and try to share your revelation will only cause you more distress, and perhaps a mar and a scar. We are not yet sent back to proclaim our revelations and boast in how far out into space we have explored. It is still a ONE WAY journey, the turnabout comes only after we have come into His fulness, and then He sends us with that divine commission to bring life to others.
They said to Jesus, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." [Matthew 27:40]. Come down, DESCEND, prematurely, why? Mark 15:30 helps to explain why they want to descend from the cross before it has finished its work within. "SAVE THYSELF, and come down." Seeking to save "self," spare self some of the price of total committal. Do not heed the self-alluring call of the world, "come and share your revelation with us," don't go so far out that you cannot come and tell us about it. But to return and mess around with the world is to slow, or stop the progress of ascending.
Even the religious world taunts with the phrase, "They are so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good." True, there is a reality of HIS LIFE IN US THAT CAN BE EXPRESSED IN DAILY LIVING, but there is also a separation unto God which man cannot understand. "Of whom the world was not worthy." [Hebrews 11:38]. For they are God's, and belong to Him alone.
"If they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God." [Hebrews 11:15-16].
Come on― re-enter the world, carry the gospel, you have died out long enough, you have more of a message than anybody else, bring it to us, share it, come down, descend, leave your separated place-don't get so heavenly minded― and thus the test is made, will we remain committed to the vision of going on into His fulness? or will we get entangled and side-tracked?
John 20: 17, Jesus said, "Touch me not, I ascend...." The Greek word for "touch" here is literally, TO KINDLE. Don't awaken in me any other desire, don't kindle in me any strange fire, I must ascend to my Father, and I refuse to be detoured, hindered, delayed.
But the promise is given, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...." [1 Thessalonians 4:16]. "Behold, He cometh with clouds...." [Revelation 1:7]. "In holy myriads of Himself." [Jude 14.]
When HE comes, and He shall, THE LORD HIMSELF shall descend, He will blaze the way back into this world again, having solved the re-entry problem, and making the way for the return of His saints to come and rule the world with Him in His kingdom. He IS the way out to the Father, and HE will be the way back to minister to all creation. Then shall we see the fulness of the ministry which all creation has long awaited, even the manifestation of the sons of God. THE SON and the sons coming forth to bring salvation. Then shall we know HOW to return to the world with the GOSPEL. We'll have the right words to say, and the spirit of life to back up those words so that they bring forth fruit to His praise.
We try to go to the world ―we try to tell them the message, by using all of the world's own methods, to advertize, to appeal to their emotions, to entertain them with music. It only proves that we have not left the world very far behind if we can return and use the world's ways so easily. But those who go all the way out, ascending to the Father. to become ONE in His image, substance, light, life, energy, to bear His name, become His dwelling place, the manifestation of His presence― and everything that pertains to this whole realm of BECOMING― these shall come back as HE comes back, to rule and reign, to minister IN HIS STEAD, and beseech the world to be reconciled to God. Their message will be different than anything ever heard before, and the demonstration of His power will shut the mouths of the scoffers.
There is a priesthood, of which it is written, "And when they go forth into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered (to the Lord), and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments." [Ezekiel 44:19].
There is the glory of the celestial, and a ministering unto the Lord, before His throne, and there is the glory of the terrestrial, with its own ministry to the people. There is a priesthood and it will come back to the outer court and minister to the people, to share the reality of His life, but in such a way that they do not destroy the people, nor harm them with their deep celestial walk. They will have solved the re-entry problem, coming back as HE comes back for His kingdom.
There is an ascending, and there will be a descending― as messengers of the Lord are sent forth throughout all the earth with the good news of the kingdom. The vision is high, holy and heavenly. But there will be manifested just such a people― A PEOPLE WITH A PURPOSE, to become fully one IN GOD, that at His appointed time they may, in His stead, become ministers of righteousness to all creation.
When this vile body, of present humiliation, is changed, fashioned anew like unto His glorious body, we shall be capable of re-entry. His kingdom shall come, His will shall be done, on earth, as it is in heaven, and HE shall be glorifled in these His saints, whom He has fully redeemed, and sent forth to proclaim the GOOD NEWS to all creation.
GOING OUT― AND RETURNING
Going out-yet knowing not where,
This is indeed thy test,
To lay hold of a life unseen,
A realm that is ageless, serene,
This― thy consuming quest.
Going out― to leave far behind
The dogmas of carnal men,
To lay hold of a truth that's pure,
A foundation for faith, secure,
Unwritten by mortal pen.
Going out― challenge that is thine,
Abandoned unto His grace,
To lay hold of the christed mind,
Possessed in a vessel refined,
Unhindered by time and space.
Going out―He knoweth the way,
He marked it out with His love,
The why? when? and where? are His own,
Yet He offers to thee His throne,
Lay hold of the realms above.
Going out―ah, yes, to come in,
Into His fulness to dwell,
Yea, for this He laid hold of thee,
Since thou, too, art His mystery
That wisdom alone can tell.
And then to return― praise God,
To banish the shades of night,
Establish His kingdom on earth,
For mankind, a glorious new birth,
Till all are brought to His light.
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen!" [2 Peter 3:18].
Writings in This Series: