FACE TO FACE
Glimpses into the Inner Life
of Moses the Man of God
with which is incorporated
In Death and Resurrection
FACE TO FACE should be the record of every Quiet Hour spent alone with God, but it is to be feared that notwithstanding all the knowledge of to-day, all Gods children do not know their God, so as to have that direct intercourse with Him described in the suggestive words of our title. There is a fellowship with God, which is sight to the eyes of the heart, although, in comparison with the full vision that is yet to come, we see through a glass darkly.
There is a face to face fellowship with God where we enquire of the Lord, as David did, and get our answer; where we have such communion with Him that He is able to reveal His mind to us, and where we intelligently know and enter into the purposes of our God.
the Quiet Hour for which the message of this
book is especially written, let us turn to the history of Moses, to gather
instruction in the vision of God and, by
glimpses into his inner life, to see how he was led from the court of Egypt to
the Presence chamber of the King of kings.
There arose not a prophet since in
Do we say, For Moses, face to face knowledge of God may have been possible, but for me, in my circumstances and in the very different conditions of the present age, it cannot be?
Moses could also have said that his circumstances were against him! He could
have said: Abraham, in his [page
6] peaceful tent life, away from the heathen
We are reminded in Heb. 3: 5, that Moses was a servant in the house of God over which Christ is the Son and Heir. But we have been brought into union with the Son and given the place of children, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.
Face to face fellowship with God is our birthright as children of God, and if we are but willing to follow on to know the Lord, we shall be led by the Spirit from faith to faith, and glory to glory, until we are in reality no longer ... servants ... but friends.
Face to face fellowship means that anywhere, at any moment, we may hold converse with Him Who is invisible, and hear His voice in our hearts speaking to us, across the blood-sprinkled Mercy-seat.
As we wait before our God let us cry, Thy face, Lord, will I seek: so will He cause His face to shine upon us, and we shall walk habitually in the light of His countenance, see His glory, and speak of Him.
Show me Thy face - one transient gleam of loveliness Divine,
And I shall never think or dream of other love save Thine:
All lesser light will darken quite, all lower glories wane,
The beautiful of earth will scarce seem beautiful again.
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CHAPTER 1 [Pages 7-10]
LIFE OUT OF DEATH
She called his name Moses [drawn out, margin] and she said,
Because I drew him out of the water (Exod. 2: 10)
birth of Moses, and the circumstances attending it, picture Gods way of
salvation for every soul translated out of the power of darkness into the
As we read the story of the way Jochebed dealt with her babe, we cannot fail to see how God works all things after the counsel of His own will. It was He who guided the mother to the thought of the ark, and moved her to commit her treasure to the river, rewarding her faith by giving back, as from death, her lovely babe to nurse for Him. It was as though God said to her through the lips of Pharaohs daughter, Take this child away, and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages (Exod. 2: 9).
[Page 8] What a reminder this is of Abraham, who, with his own hands, laid his son upon the altar, accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. Thus did Jochebed with her own hands surrender her babe to the waters, accounting that God was able to save him from death, from whence she did receive him in a figure.
this not the wondrous story of redemption, given us in one of Gods many
picture lessons? The sentence of death
has been passed upon us all. But Jesus,
the Holy Son of God, tasted death for every man. He became the
Stephen tells us, in his brief history of the birth of Moses, that he was fair unto God, and as the Redeemer gazes upon the soul redeemed from destruction, and made a new creation in Himself, He says, Thou art all fair, My love.
Upon our experimental knowledge of the beginning of this new life depends the extent of the face to face communion with God that we desire to know.
Have we really understood the first principles of Christ in the message of His Cross?
as the babe Moses was placed in the
is all one message throughout the Scriptures, repeated in various forms again
and again - God using history and type to foreshadow the meaning of
[Page 9] The flood in the days of Noah pictures the judgment and death of the old creation under the curse of God, and tells of the souls borne in an ark to a new world and a new life.
the daughter of Pharaoh saw the babe and took compassion on him, she called his
name Moses, that is, drawn out, or saved from the water; and drawn
out was the characteristic of his whole life afterwards. He was drawn out of the waters of death, to be trained as a kings son. When he was grown up, he was drawn
out by God from his worldly
home and surroundings to a desert life alone with Him, and later on he was drawn
out from his seclusion to be
Gods instrument for leading
have seen that for a little while the babe Moses was given back to the old home
and the old keeping. It is even so with us.
We have passed out of death into life, and become children of God; but
for a little season we are left in the old surroundings, because we are babes,
and because the time is not yet ripe for us to know our high calling, and the
discipline needed for the heirs of God.
The Father waits for His babes until they are weaned, and able to bear
the detaching from things necessary at first.
I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by
their arms (Hos. 11: 3), said God about
The souls who are yet under tutors and governors need sorely to learn how to wait for God and rest in His will. Let us remember that circumstances are planned of God to fit us for the calling He has in view for us, in the economy of His grace. Let us wait until we know His pattern for our life, lest, in our impatience, we throw aside the very things permitted of Him to fit us for some special service in His vineyard.
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CHAPTER 2 [Pages 11-14]
THE CRISIS AND THE CROSS
By faith Moses ... refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter: choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches ... for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward (Heb. I1: 24-26)
In the fullness of Gods time there came a crisis in the life of Moses, and his decision in it may be said to lie at the very foundation of that face to face friendship with God which he afterwards enjoyed. Up to that time God had been guiding his life almost unconsciously to himself. Dormant in his memory might lie thoughts of early days; but his path may have seemed quite clear, and without anything in it to indicate an impending change until, in the purpose of God, it was necessary for Moses himself to intelligently co-operate with Him.
God had chosen Moses, but now the time had come when Moses must choose God. We are not told how the crisis came about; we only know the outcome, and that the power that enabled him to act was faith. Faith in his mothers God, for Jochebed must have taught her boy of Him in whom she trusted. A faith that came from calm and quiet consideration, for we are told he looked unto the recompense of the reward; literally he looked beyond, or away from that which was before his eyes (Conybeare); he was brought to consider his position in the light of eternity, and to make a choice as to whether he would live for present or for future gain.
found himself surrounded by all that heart could wish. Mighty in word and
deed, he was honoured and powerful.
Tradition declares that he was a successful commander-in-chief of the
Egyptian army; and it has been pointed out that he could not have marshalled
the host of the Israelities as he [page
without military skill of an advanced kind.
In any case a great future lay before him as the adopted son of
Pharaohs daughter. But his eyes were
open to see that there was a beyond to this
present world, and a reward. He faced it all, counted the cost; looked away
from all that was before his eyes, and made his choice to live for eternity and
God. His choice involved a refusal that
would mean a great loss so far as this world was concerned. The pleasures
and treasures of
Some such crisis must come to each of us, when the heavenly vision of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus breaks upon us. We are children of the heavenly King, but, as it were, under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father. We have been left by Him in circumstances and surroundings that seem entirely of this world, while, unknown to us, He has been training mind and character for future service. Then the time comes when, as joint heirs with Christ, we must know our high and holy calling, the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus, and deliberately choose the path of the Cross, that we may be perfected as our Master; for it is written of Him: Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. We are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.
We are distinctly told that it was by faith Moses was able to chose affliction instead of pleasures, reproach instead of riches. Faith is the giving substance to things hoped for, the test of things not seen (Heb. 2: 1, R.V., margin).
Alas! over how many of the promises of God to us can it not be said, the word preached did not profit them, because they were not united by faith to it (Heb. 4: 2, margin)? Faith puts to the proof the statements of God by [page 13] acting upon them, and in the acting finds their substance and reality. Faith tests the unseen things, and translates them into real experience.
was strikingly true in the case of Moses.
By faith he looked beyond the things before his eyes, he deliberately
chose to refuse all the pleasures and treasures of the present, and faith tested, proved,
or gave substance to his hopes. He was
led step by step away from things seen, into a fellowship and communion with
the unseen God, of which he had no conception when he made his choice in
Faith is the key to all the treasuries of God. The Gospel is practically Gods statement of what is in the spiritual world. Faith is simply believing Gods Word, however contrary it may appear to the things of sense and sight. Faith in Gods statement to us is proved by action. We act according to what is told us by God, which we believe, and must of necessity obey. Living faith involves action; without action it may be said to be dead, for a mental assent to the truths of God will never give them substance in our lives. If we do believe Gods Word, we shall act according to that Word.
We must not forget, however, that the faith that is the proving of things not seen, demands direct communication with God. Souls have often been shipwrecked here. They have rested their faith upon the written Word spoken by others, rather than upon God Himself in His Word.
The faith that can act as Moses did must have the Word of the Living God as its basis - the Word of the Living God in His written Word, but by the Holy Spirit applied as His direct Word to the soul. When God speaks, His commands are His enablings. By the faith wrought in us by God, and the assurance of the reward of knowing Him face to face, we too can refuse to be of the world, and declare plainly that we seek a better country, that is, a heavenly; we too can refuse the pleasures of sin and self-pleasing, and choose the way of the Cross; we too can hold lightly the treasures [page 14] that others clasp to their breasts and account reproach with Christ as greater riches than them all. Faith accounting reproach as riches, will give substance to the accounting, and we shall find that our light affliction, which is but for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.
It is said that Moses surrendered the pleasures of sin. We may have thought of these only as the pleasures of the world, which we have lain aside, but may there not be just as much self-pleasing and self-seeking in our lives as Christians?
To Moses these pleasures were in the court of Egypt, its treasures, intellectual companionship, cultured surroundings. How we admire him for his surrender, and think that we too would have done the same! But what about ourselves? Are we choosing comfort, or the way of the Cross? The path of ease, or the way of sacrifice? Are we shirking suffering, or choosing affliction for Christs sake? Are we compromising with the world, or refusing to be identified with it? Are we grasping the treasures of earth, or providing ourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not?
Like Moses shall we turn from all the things that are before our eyes, and seek to know the face of our God? Shall we determine by His grace that we will know Him in the closest intimacy that is possible whilst on earth?
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SELF-ENERGY AND FAILURE
It came into his heart to visit his brethren. ... And seeing one of them suffer wrong,
he defended him (Acts 7: 23, 24)
Moses had made his choice. Does this make him ready to be a vessel unto honour meet for the Masters use? Not yet! - surrender to God, and choosing the path of the [page 15] Cross, is not all. The conflict we have gone through in making the choice, and the wondrous peace that fills our hearts when that choice is made, may make it appear as if the needed work is done, but in reality it is only the beginning of our training, for from the central throne of the will of a really conquered soul, God can work out His deepest purposes.
Moses did not yet know himself! Instruction in all the wisdom of this world, and might in word and deed, are not enough preparation for an effective instrument in the hand of God.
Alas, alas! that in the dispensation of the Holy Ghost we should know no better than Moses!
our reliance upon the wisdom of
The great inward crisis in his life, when impelled to make a definite choice as to his future course, was followed by events that, in the overruling of God, freed him from the life he had decided to renounce.
It is always so when we are in line with God. His inward dealings co-operate with His exterior workings to effect His will. If God deals deeply with us to bring us inwardly to choose the path of the Cross, it will not be long before we shall find ourselves, unexpectedly perhaps, in circumstances where our hearts choice is translated into fact. Maybe by some act of our own, some apparent failure or mistake, but suddenly - all is changed.
It came into his heart to visit his brethren. Thus simply does Stephen speak of a step which had momentous consequences. It was first a thought, then action, and unforeseen results.
went out unto his brethren, and looked (Exod. 2: 11).
Had he never looked before? He
must have known that he was of their race.
In all these long years when he passed as son of [page
Pharaohs daughter, and shared in all the pleasures of
looked, and his heart was stirred! We gather from the words of Stephen that Moses already knew that he was to be the
This reminds us of Peter drawing his sword to defend the Son of God, who needed but to speak and have legions of angels to protect Him. It describes, too, many who are fighting for God to-day, drawing their swords, and smiting all that they conceive to be wrong, forgetting that the Master said, All they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword, and again, If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight. That His servants do fight shows their forgetfulness of the way of the Gross and the spirit of their Lord.
meant to save
God had to teach Moses first by failure. He supposed that his brethren would have understood that God was giving them deliverance! Probably they would have understood if the means had been of God; but this was not Gods way, so how could God bear witness to it!
We are amazed when the souls we want to help do not accept us. We know that God has called us, and told us that He will give deliverance to souls by our hands. With hearts full of our secret dealings with Him, and of all that He has said to us, we go out and suppose that others will understand that God is working through us, when as yet it is not God at all! It is God, in so far as that He permits our efforts to be made, but only that we may fail and know ourselves.
record in Exodus tells us that after Moses had looked
this way and that way ... he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand (Exod. 2: 12).
This was not worthy of God. He does not do His work like this, nor ask
His children to do anything unbefitting their high and heavenly calling. When He did bring out
Let us not dare to put Gods name to anything that needs a looking this way and that before or after it is done. Let us beware of any money-getting in His name, or even attempted soul-getting, that cannot, bear the light of His terrible crystal.
Moses must have been conscious that all was not right! When he retired to rest that night, did it
not occur to him that
and Moses can bring
[Page 18] And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared (Exod. 2: 13, 14). One of those shafts that strike home, winged by the hand of God! It is hard to be told the truth thus sharply, and by those you seek to help. Unpleasant though it may be, if we covet these home-thrusts from others, who see us as we cannot see ourselves, we will be able to submit our lives to Him who can adjust them so that they give no occasion of reproach. No soul that shuts itself up within itself, and carefully avoids every outlook but its own, will ever look from the top with God over a wide horizon.
So this was how the thing looked to the very men he longed to help! If Moses had been able to justify his action to himself, it was a rough awakening. The man he rebuked for smiting his brother could not distinguish between his action and that of Moses! In one case, true, it was a common quarrel; in the other it was the noble ideal of delivering the oppressed. The ignorant Hebrew surely could not distinguish things that differ
Nay, nay, child of God, that action of yours may be prompted by a noble ideal, but to others looking on it savours of the world, or of the spirit of the flesh. We may not let our good be evil spoken of, and we are bidden to avoid the appearance of evil, and to take thought for things honourable in the sight of all men.
Who made thee a judge over us? met the ears of Moses as he sought to make peace between his brethren. What utter failure! Let us thank God for our failures and our rude awakenings. Far, far better to have them now than to live in self-delusion and awaken too late, to find at the judgment-seat that we must suffer loss because we could not bear the truth.
The shaft struck home.
Moses feared, and Moses fled [page 19] fled to the
This period in the history of Moses has its counterpart in our own experience; but, alas, many of us spend years in learning our powerlessness in the work of God, although we know that we are not acceptable to the souls we want to help, and Who put you over us? not unfrequently meets our ears. Let us not blame the people, as we are so often disposed to do, but rather let us seek the light of God to know the cause of failure in ourselves, that He may make us vessels unto honour, meet for His use.
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THE FLAME OF FIRE
The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush (Exod. 3: 2)
had made ready for Moses in the
Through Stephens narrative we learn that Moses spent forty years in retirement in Midian. Forty years is a long period of life now, and God does not take as much time to prepare His instruments in these days.
[Page 20] As Moses led the sheep year after year, did he ever think that God had forgotten that transaction with Himself when he looked beyond to the reward, and chose the pathway of the Cross? Or did he have many sore conflicts over the thought that he had frustrated the grace of God, and been put aside as a marred vessel? Did he ever say to himself that by his own folly and self-will he had cut himself off from the people he had longed to help?
We are given no trace of Moses thoughts during these forty years, but it is probable that God waited until every hope of being sent back to become the deliver of his oppressed brethren faded away.
God waited for Moses until, in the silence of the desert, his whole being was stilled, and all creaturely activity and hurry and impulse had died away.
how restive we are in ourselves! How we
dislike being still, especially when everything around us seems moving at
greatest speed, and the
child of God, you have found your desert training in some workroom or kitchen,
some lonely post in the Mission field, or in some worldly home in
In Gods dealings with Moses, the time came when His purposes matured - the instrument and the people were ready.
The mystery of the manifestation of Divine power depending upon our human co-operation has ever been strange to finite creatures. It lies mainly in the freedom of will that belongs to us. God cannot deliver us from bondage unless we desire Him to; therefore He must permit pressure to come upon us in one way or another, so as to bring us to the point of asking Him to do for us what He has been ready and able to do all the time.
it not just so to-day? Our God is the
same God. As we see Him slowly and
silently maturing His plan for the deliverance of
If we will abide in the secret place of the Most High, [page 22] and look with Him from the top, we shall stand in His counsel, and discern the signs of the times that point to the Lords appearing.
He arrested the attention of Moses by a flame of fire burning in a common little bush, and the strange thing about it was the bush continued to burn, and yet was not consumed.
Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt (Exod. 3: 3). A bush on fire with no human hand to set it alight, no fuel to keep it burning. It was just a picture to Moses of what God could do with him, and a picture to the people of God for all time, of the grace of Him who is willing to dwell in human beings as lowly, as insignificant, as the little thorn bush on the Mount of Horeb.
God spoke to Moses out of that bush, as He has spoken to many of us. He called him by his name; for Gods messages are ever personal and direct, so that we need not any one to say, Thou art the man. When God speaks, we forget our neighbours, and we know whom He means.
But Moses must know how solemn a thing it is to meet God, even though it be not yet face to face! Moses, The place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Holy ground! though a moment before it was but common land. Holy ground because of the Holy Presence of the God of glory.
If any man defile the
Moreover, He said, I am ... GOD (Exod. 3: 6). The same God that Abraham knew, when he fell upon his face whilst He talked with him. The God that Isaac and Jacob also knew. I am ... GOD. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid. It was not the time for face to face friendship yet!
Then the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people, ... and have heard their cry. ... I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver (Exod. 3: 7, 8). I am God. ... and I am come to deliver. Jehovah, the great I AM, for God is an eternal NOW. His heart towards souls in affliction and sorrow, is the same now as when He revealed Himself to Moses. He is immutable, without a shadow of turning.
Oh, how we need so to meet with God, that He can open His heart to us, and show us His love and compassion to this poor lost world, the love that gave His only begotten Son for its salvation! Who shall ever fathom the love of the Cross? The love of the Father in yielding His Son to death, the love of the Son in consenting to be separated from His Father through the Cross, and the love of the Eternal Spirit who yearns over the redeemed ones now with jealous envy.
Come now, therefore, and I will send thee ... that thou mayest bring forth My people (Exod 3: 10). Does God want Moses in partnership? I am come down to deliver; ... come now ... thee! Jehovah had revealed to him first Himself, I am ... God: then His heart, I have seen, I am come; and now He reveals to him His plans for accomplishing the deliverance. God by the hand of Moses! Not Moses with the help of God!
by such a meeting with God can effectual service for Him begin. We
must receive our commission direct from Him, lest we run before we are
sent, and merit the words [page 24] spoken by Jehovah to the prophets of
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SELF-DIFFIDENCE AND LOSS
And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go? ... What shall I say? ... But, behold, they will not believe me!(Exod. 3: 11, 13; Exod. 4: 1)
What a change in Moses! How ready he was to go forty years before! but now he shrinks back. I?
Who am I, that I should go? All the self-sufficiency gone. Is this the man that was mighty in words and works?
colloquy between God and His shrinking servant has been repeated again and
again in many hearts to-day. For one
thing, the task was a stupendous one!
What would it mean? What would
God do with him? Moses had looked upon
the burdens of his oppressed brethren, and he knew the tyranny of Pharaoh, and
what it meant to have him as an enemy. To be
sent to deliver Israel! The sketch that God had drawn out of His
plan of operations looked simply impossible.
Bring them up out of
But God can do impossible things! It matters not how great the scheme if God draws it out; it matters not how insurmountable the difficulties appear, if God undertakes the responsibility.
Moses does not venture to question the scheme, but he does question his fitness to take part in it, so he shrinks back with [page 25] objection after objection. I go to Pharaoh! But I will be with thee, answers Jehovah.
An ambassador from the King of kings will have his Masters authority at his back. Moses would not be sent in his own personal capacity, nor even as the man who once was a royal prince in the land. God had allowed sufficient time to elapse for all that to die away. He wanted none of earths influence for His chosen messenger, nor personal power from position. There must be no fear of this intruding now. He must go in the authority and power of God alone.
But when I come unto the children
The patient Lord has much trouble with this shrinking man; but He tenderly meets his fears, and answers every difficulty. He was to tell the oppressed Israelites just what God had told him - the God of their fathers had appeared to him and sent him unto them. He was told exactly what to do; was promised a hearing; and forewarned that the steps he was bidden to take would not be successful at first; but that God would work for His people, and eventually they would be allowed to come away, not empty, either, like slaves stealing away, but they should come out of Egypt in the sight of all the people, actually hastened by them, and loaded with their gifts!
God undertakes He carries out royally in the face of all men.
If we, His children, when we get into tangled corners, even by our own folly and sometimes wrong-doing, would only turn to God as a King and a Father, and cast ourselves upon Him, He would work for us, and lead us out of our troubles safely and in a way worthy of a royal King.
Jehovah has dealt with two of Moses difficulties, but [page 26] Moses is not yet satisfied. He cannot reconcile himself to the prospect of such an undertaking; he has rather unpleasant memories of a certain day when one of these very Hebrews, to whom God wants to send him, turned round upon him saying, Who made thee a ruler over us?
The adversary keeps these memories for sensitive souls, and he knows how to bring them up in critical moments. The shaft had pierced deep into the mind of the fiery and sensitive man, whose attempt to avenge and defend his oppressed brethren had cost him so much.
The greater the cost and the sacrifice in going forth to
the aid of others, the deeper the wound when that aid is rejected. Only keenly
sensitive natures can understand the suffering that Moses must have
experienced, when his hopes were dashed to the ground, and he fled from
To be sent back to the people who had rejected him! Does the bitter memory of that slain Egyptian, and the undignified hiding in the sand, rankle in Moses mind? Is he afraid the taunt will be repeated, and the terror come back, so that he must flee again? How ashamed he is when he thinks about it. In the sight of God his motive was pure, but he never can forgive himself for his folly.
the devil haunts Gods children with memories like these! Paul, at the very end of his life, could not
forget that he had once persecuted the
Moses speaks again: But, behold, they will not believe me; ... they will say, The Lord hath not appeared (Exod. 4: 1). Moses had supposed once they would understand that God would deliver them by his hand; and the error then made him fear to risk disappointment now. Suppositions are not enough, [page 27] we must have certainties, and Moses will find it very different when God really sends him.
God answers this fear by showing him His power, and proving to him that He will bear him witness in the eyes of those to whom he is sent.
In a picture lesson God teaches him that He only needs a rod to fulfil His purposes. He bids Moses cast the rod held in his hand upon the ground, and it becomes a serpent. He bids him lay hold of the serpent by the tail, and it becomes a rod.
Again we meet with the need of faith as the one thing to link nothingness with Omnipotence: If ye have faith ... nothing shall be impossible unto you, and again, Have the faith of God. Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, ... and shall not doubt in his heart, ... he shall have whatsoever he saith (Mark 11: 22, 23, margin). Moses must not be left with one shadow of doubt in his heart, that the things that he saith at Gods command shall be done.
God will take the same trouble to-day to train His children to absolute unwavering faith in the weapon put into our hands - the sword of the Spirit - the Word of God, which is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.
And Moses said unto the Lord, 0 my Lord, I am not eloquent (a man of words) neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue (Exod. 4: 10).
Now it is all out! First, Who am I? I have no position, no influence, no authority! Second, They will not believe me. They did not do so once, and I do not care to try again. And, thirdly, I am not eloquent. Perhaps Moses said to himself, Forty years in the wilderness has taken away my flow of language; once I was mighty in words, [page 28] but not now; I have become a man of few words, slow to speak, and of a slow tongue.
If Moses only knew it, this was his best preparation. Eloquence is more often a hindrance than an advantage. When God speaks, He speaks little, but what He says is done. With Him speaking is doing, and one word will accomplish His purpose. When God wants a man to be His mouthpiece, He sometimes chooses one who is not eloquent, and has no language of his own, so that God may speak through him.
clearly understood this when he wrote, Not with wisdom
of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect (1 Cor. 1: 17). It is
made of none effect, alas! by the flowery language in
which it is too often clothed. God
forgive us for wreathing the Cross with flowers - even flowers of speech, as
well as of thought. It needs its intense
reality to fulfil its work, even as in all its awful power it shook
The Lords answer to Moses was decisive. He had made his mouth. It was enough. The God that made his mouth could open his mouth, and teach him what to say. Go, and I will be with thy mouth. This concludes the matter; every difficulty is met - position, people, [Divine] power, [and] language - what more is needed?
But the heart of Moses faints! Yes, it is all true: the path is clear; there is no question about the call, the command, the equipment, the power; he has only to give himself up to God, like that rod in his hand, and God will do the rest. There is nothing wanting now but his free, glad consent to be Gods instrument - and God waits. But his heart fails him, he cannot face the work; the Lord has been so gracious in listening to his fears, he does not dare refuse, so, with almost a gasp of terror, he says, 0 my Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send (Exod. 4: 13); as much as to say, Thou must have Thy way, Lord, and if I must go, well - but Id rather not! - a most ungracious, unwilling assent. [Page 29] God cannot fulfil His deepest purposes through us unless there is hearty, unhesitating co-operation with Him, for an unwilling instrument cannot exercise the needed faith, and faith is the capacity, or channel, through which the divine power works. The shrinking does not hinder if there is the full response of the will. Moses did not refuse to go; he agreed to yield to the divine will, but his faith could not reach to the point where God could use his mouth and give him power of utterance.
It is written that the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. He was grieved, and may we venture to say, disappointed? He had intended to do all through Moses, but the latters shrinking and ungracious assent to the service that he was called to, made it necessary that He should use another vessel with him. If Moses had not faith that God would give him the words needed, then God could not make him His mouthpiece.
The Almighty God stands powerless before unbelief, and He can be limited by our faithlessness in His purposes of grace towards us.
It was not an erratic or a petulant change, this determination to give Aaron as a spokesman to Moses. The action was governed by the law that surrender and faith are the only conditions in which God can work in human vessels.
Aaron was given to Moses to be his spokesman, or, as the Lord Himself expressed it, instead of a mouth. And Moses lost his opportunity of proving what God could do. He took, shall we say, Gods second best, instead of His best! He yielded to his fears instead of believing that God could do for him the impossible thing. Moses had to regret his fainting heart this day, for he made for himself, through Aaron, difficulties that need never have come in his path.
Are we not doing the same thing day after day? Do we never look at the human side, and, because our hearts fail us, choose Gods second best?
But if we shrink now from some purpose of God, He will
[page 30] bring us back to it sooner or later. Many years afterwards, when Aaron had died,
Moses knew God better, and his tongue was loosed. At the close of his life, he spake a parting
song in the ears of
interview was over. Moses now goes to
Jethro, and he breaks to him the news that he must return to
* * *
THE FAITHFUL SERVANT
Moses verily was faithful in all His house [Gods house, R. V. margin]
as a servant (Heb. 3: 5)
We need not trace the steps of Moses as he returned to
seems to have given no definite directions as to His will concerning his wife
and little ones, in the path that lay before him. We only read that he took his family with him
on the journey. Perhaps as a matter of course!
But God will not have His will taken for granted; and He has to let us
find out, sometimes rather sorely, that we never sought His mind about a
particular step. So quickly and so
instinctively do we run our own way. The life of real dependence upon God every
moment is not an easy one to learn. He
could have said to Moses, Go, take thy family, and return to
The Lord permitted Moses to start on his journey, together [page 31] with his family, but when they rested at an inn, we are told, the Lord met him, and sought to kill him (Exod. 4: 24). He had evidently failed in obedience to Gods commands concerning circumcision, and had done so through the objections of Zipporah his wife. But the faithful God could not overlook one single deviation from His will, and lays His hand upon him so unmistakably that his wife was forced to recognize the cause, and yield the disputed point, and his life was spared.
sharp discipline seems to have shown Moses that he must go alone into
step at a time! sufficient for the day. Moses did not think of all this when he stood
before the Lord. Aaron now meets him on the way, sent by God, and together they
go to the elders of
over the details of the wondrous story of how God wrought out His deliverance
1. His absolute, implicit obedience to God.
He did exactly what God told him to do, and no more. Back and fore to God he went, sorely tried with the first results of his mission until at last the conflict of faith grew too keen for him to bear, and he said, Lord, ... why is it that Thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at all (Exod. 5: 22, 23).
[Page 32] It was a severe test, and if he had not behind him such an interview with God, such an unqualified, unmistakable commission, such a knowledge of His will, his heart would have failed him. But Moses is going on from faith to faith, and faith grows by testing. Only thus can it be developed and matured, until it can believe against hope, and cry in the face of every obstacle, It shall be done.
now gives him a fresh and more explicit message for the oppressed people, with
seven I wills
enclosed in the Alpha and Omega of I am Jehovah
(Exod. 6: 6-8).
He was known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as El-Shaddai,
the Pourer-forth of blessing, but now He will reveal Himself to
Back to the stricken Israelites Moses goes with this Magna Charta of promised deliverance, but the people were in such anguish that they could not listen, they were too overwhelmed with their sorrow to pay attention. What can be done now? How can souls be lifted up when they are too crushed to heed? Surely God had let it go too far! Moses heart must have been wrung with anguish. To be sent of God to deliver, and to be the very means of plunging the souls he had come to help into deeper suffering - it needed faith to trust through this. Even the same faith that Jesus had in His Father, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, and yet abode two days in the place where He was.
It is in truth the fellowship of His sufferings when we must stand back and wait for His hour to come; wait for His permission to move, or to speak; wait and watch the fiery furnace grow still more heated, knowing that the sufferers reproach you for carrying a message from God which spoke of deliverance, but which instead has apparently only placed them in the fires. Ah, this is sorrow indeed. But only thus can we learn fellowship with the afflictions of Christ, as with Him we wait and watch; like Him to be deeply moved and sore troubled, as He was over the tomb of Lazarus, even [page 33] though we know that the stricken one shall yet hear His voice, and come forth to a new life in the power of His resurrection.
Moses suffered for these afflicted souls as he had never done in early days, when, moved and stirred by looking on their burdens until his fiery indignation burst out, he smote the Egyptian.
deep, silent man had now a capacity for suffering that he had not then. Oh, the anguish in his voice as he cried to
his Lord, Neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at
all. The cruel bondage of
Jehovah takes no notice of this passing cloud; but simply bids him go to Pharaoh, and says that He will make him as God to him, with Aaron as his prophet. That is, that he shall be clothed with all the power and authority of God, and stand in His stead before the heathen king.
After this we get the constant refrain, as the Lord commanded them, so did they (Exod. 7: 6). Step by step they had but to obey; and we watch these two men quietly, faithfully following each direction given them by God. How their faith increased as God bore witness to each step! The first manifestation of His power was the turning of the rod into a serpent, as Moses had seen it done once before, and then from this point, from faith to faith, the wonders grew.
What could not God do with that little rod? It was the medium of power in the first three judgments God sent upon Pharaoh. Then Moses is bidden simply to say, Thus saith the Lord, and God bare witness to the word without using the rod. Had Moses begun to lean upon it at all?
God will not have us lean upon even the things He has given us, or used in the past; and it needs His ceaseless watching to keep us from clinging to, or resting upon, [page 34] anything outside of Himself and His bare word. It will be so to the very end, and this accounts for many of His strange dealings with us. The things He gives must be returned, and given and returned again, so that we may be kept free and pliable for Him to do with us as He wills.
We must also be freed from rigid conceptions of His method of working. He used the rod in the first miracles, then He shows Moses that He can also work without the rod, for nothing is necessary to Him. The next miracles were performed by the word of the Lord through Moses. The swarms of flies came after the word, Thus saith the Lord, ... To-morrow shall this sign be. Again in the plague of murrain, Moses said, Thus saith the Lord. ... There shall be a very grievous murrain (Exod. 9: 3) - and it was so.
Again, God changes His methods: the sixth plague was brought about in a different way; and the rod was used again. All this taught Moses to be very pliable in the hand of God, and very obedient. It taught him to go forward just one step at a time, and to have no preconceptions as to how God would work that day.
2. His uncompromising faithfulness.
was absolutely necessary that he should not depart one iota from what God had
said. Pharaoh parleyed and sought to
compromise as the judgments fell upon him, but Moses must not swerve. Had he yielded one degree he would have
failed the Lord, and frustrated His purposed deliverance for
Sacrifice to your God in the land, said Pharaoh, and
Moses might say, Why not in the land? This is a great concession, we cannot expect
more. But no, God had said three
days journey out of
Go now, ye that are men, again said Pharaoh. No, God had said all. Then Go. ... only let your flocks and your herds be stayed. No, there shall not an hoof be [page 35] left behind, said the uncompromising servant of God, who was faithful to Him that appointed him.
Never, never, until we, too, are faithful, and implicitly obedient to every word that God has said, shall we be led on to know face to face friendship with Him.
It is not a light thing to be
called a friend of God! It doubtless
cost Abraham many tears, and hours of conflict as against
hope he believed in hope that God
would fulfil His word. It cost Moses
much to stand unflinchingly true to God in the face of
Face to face friendship with God in its fullest meaning is only given when the loyalty of the soul has been proved beyond question, and faith has survived every test.
3. His ceaseless recognition of Gods responsibility.
It has been said that perfect obedience brings perfect rest, if we have confidence in the one we are obeying. This is true, and is the reason why we should learn to know our God, so as to be sure that we know His will, and that we are under His entire control.
Moses knew the God he was obeying, and therefore he did not carry any of the responsibility, nor question the issue of the conflict in which he was engaged with the rulers of this world. Moses cried to the Lord we read again and again, and as a result he so spake that Pharaoh knew he had to deal with God, not Moses.
Would that we had learnt thus to be Gods ambassadors, and to be so self-effaced while delivering the message, that the souls to whom we are sent know they have to deal with God, and not with His messengers. Alas! it is to be feared that many of us have scarcely learnt the first elements of spiritual service. We are so occupied with our little part that we get between God and the souls He sends us to. Even more, we fear to say Thus saith the Lord, because we have not learnt how to know His mind.
Pharaoh knew, too, that when Moses cried to the Lord [page 36] the thing was done! What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have. There could be no questioning in the mind of Moses as to whether or not his prayers were in the will of God. 0 God, if it be Thy will, remove this plague, would not do in such circumstances. Moses was not told, in so many words, to pray for the removal of the judgment, yet we read that he said to Pharaoh, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, and the thunders and hail ceased! (Exod. 9: 29, 33).
Ignorance of God and of His heart and His written Word, lie at the bottom of much aimless prayer. How can we say if it be Thy will, when He has plainly revealed His will as to much that we ask for? We need but to point Him to His Word, and say reverently, and with the boldness of faith, Do as Thou hast said. He has yet to teach many of us, His children, the prayer of faith, which hath whatsoever it saith, because it asks in accordance with the will of God. We ourselves know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Holy Spirit can give us that intuitive knowledge of His mind which comes from a close walk with Him.
we read on in the record of the marvellous life of obedience and faith which
sprang from that interview with God on
4. His fearlessness.
By faith he forsook
God was becoming to Moses a greater reality than the things that are seen, and bolder and bolder became his walk of faith, until the unseen grew more real and tangible to him than the visible. How could he fear the wrath of the king, when he walked in fearless fellowship with the King of kings?
By faith he kept the passover, and
the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not
touch them (Heb. 11: 28,
R.V.). It was the faith of Moses that was
the link with Gods power on behalf of
How wonderful his faith was! It was even greater than Abrahams. He had faith, first for himself and then for Isaac: but Moses had faith for the deliverance of a nation.
By faith they passed through the
Ah! is it not so to-day? Faith can fearlessly walk a path [page 38] that would be death without the word of the Living God, The Egyptians copied the walk of faith, and were drowned. No copy of living faith will stand the hour of testing. Let even the children of God take heed. Let them see that they do not assay to follow in the steps of others, without the command of God, and the assurance of His presence in the way, or they needs must fail.
Oh faith! thou art in truth the proving of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Lord, increase our faith!
Lastly, let us note briefly the humility of Moses, as strikingly shown in his attitude to Jethro, when he came to him in the wilderness with Zipporah and his two sons. Moses tells him what God had wrought, and Jethro rejoices. As he finds Moses engaged alone in seeking to meet the needs of the people, he suggests a plan whereby the work could be divided with others, adding, If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure (Exod. 18: 23).
Moses did not reject the counsel of Jethro because he had personally been guided by God hitherto, and the way in which he received the suggestion teaches us that the soul who has the most deeply learnt to know God, is ready to give others an attentive and respectful hearing.
We see, too, how real a link Jethro was in the chain of events that led Moses nearer and nearer to the Mount of face to face communion. How disorganized the camp would have been, when Moses had gone forty days aside with God, but for the wise advice of Jethro and the teachable spirit of Moses, the faithful servant of God.
* * *
FROM GLORY TO GLORY
The Lord said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount. ... and Moses went up, ...
and a cloud covered the mount, and the glory of the Lord
abode upon mount Sinai (Exod. 14: 12, 15, 16)
Jehovah Himself brought
Here God purposed to give His law for His redeemed people, and to call His faithful servant into nearer and more intimate fellowship with Himself.
remember that when Moses met God at
After the day when God appeared to Moses as a flame of fire in a bush, we have no record of any further revelation of Himself to him personally until Sinai is reached. All through the conflict with Pharaoh and with the murmuring Israelites in the journey to Sinai, the intercourse between God and His servant is expressed by the Lord spake to Moses.
the Lord called to him first at Sinai, it was to send him back to
Moses returns to the Lord with Israels answer All that the Lord hath spoken we will do; and then he is bidden to prepare them for the third day, when Jehovah would come down upon Mount Sinai, and speak to him in their presence and hearing.
After solemn preparation, upon the third day, Moses brought forth the people to meet with God; and as they stood at the nether part of the mount, the Lord descended in fire, and the whole mount quaked greatly. When the voice of the trumpet waxed louder and louder, Moses spake and God answered him by a voice, calling him to the top of the mount.
the way up he was sent back again, to charge
Could this be the same God Who had so tenderly and graciously listened to his fears at Horeb? How could he have talked with Him so freely?
Very mercifully does the Lord veil Himself to us in early days, and lead us on as we are able to endure, until we can bear some knowledge of His Holiness, and learn with godly [page 41] fear and awe that we have to do with One Who is consuming fire.
Many of us may have been to Horeb, where we have met the Lord, and where He has been revealed to us as a flame of fire dwelling in us, as He did in that lowly thorn-bush. We have walked with Him, in obedience and faith, while going forth with the message of deliverance to souls in bondage. We have learnt to trust Him in hours of danger. We have sung the song of victory, and, in the testing that followed, have proved the power of the tree to change the bitter waters of our own life into the sweet water of the life from heaven.
We have learnt the power of uplifted hands to God in the conflict with Amalek, and faithfully wrought with God as He has led us from grace to grace; but how we have longed to know that face to face fellowship with Him in the mount, and hungered for His call, Come with Me, and look from the top!
There comes a time with us, as with Moses, when He is revealed to us in the awful majesty of Sinai. Not that we may tremble, as Israel trembled then, but that we may know Him in His righteousness, and have some conception of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the holiness of the God Who has redeemed us.
judgments of Jehovah were not made known to
The people trembled and stood afar off, but Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was [page 42] (Exod. 20: 1). It is written that we have not come to Mount Sinai, to blackness and darkness and tempest, but to Mount Sion, and to Jesus the Mediator, and the blood of sprinkling (Heb. 12: 18-24) At every stage of our spiritual life we have boldness to enter into the Holiest by His blood, and may draw near in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience; but ere we learn in actual experience to know God face to face we may find Him draw near to us in thick darkness. Not a darkness such as fell upon the Egyptians, but a darkness out of which He speaks and judges our lives, as the Righteous One, until their every detail has been adjusted and brought into accord with His mind.
are told that the elders of
at once obeys the call. Alone he enters
the cloud upon the summit, not thick darkness now, but glory, for the glory of the Lord abode on
Six days he waited in silence for God to speak. Then He revealed to him the pattern of the tabernacle in which He would dwell in the midst of His people.
How wondrously true to experience the story is! It is in the darkness with God that we learn His judgments; it is in the glory within the veil that we are shown His pattern for our lives. It is after the darkness, and the judgments, and the sprinkled blood, that we go even part of the way up the mount and have that vision of God, where His light streams into our lives, and we eat and drink as in His presence, having fellowship one with another, with the blood of Jesus cleansing from all sin; but alone we are called to enter the cloud, and dwell in the devouring fire; alone, and only alone, we enter the secret place of the Most High, and know Him face to face.
Six days of silence. Then on the seventh day God spoke to His waiting servant. This reminds us of the six days of creation, when God said, Let there be, and it was so, and on the seventh day He rested from His work.
so the cloud covered the mount and Moses for the six days and God waited until
His servant was brought into accord with that sound of
gentle stillness in which God reveals Himself and His will. Here, in
the silence, all memory of the camp and its busy life would pass away; all the
activity of the creature in mind and thought would be at rest; all burden of the need
On the seventh day, the number typifying completion, God was satisfied, His channel of revelation to the people was ready; the pattern shown to Moses in the mount would be given them as he received it, for his mind had been cleared and stilled and emptied of all other things. So it proved; he did naught but receive; then he was sent back to the camp to give out to others the pattern which he was caused to see in the mount.
Even so does God need channels to-day. Souls who will seek to know Him as Moses did, and be willing to be emptied of all their own thoughts, and to be drawn aside with Him, even from the very duties committed to them by Him, that they may come forth with the pattern for the building of His spiritual temple, and say with God-given assurance, Thus saith the Lord.
* * *
FACE TO FACE
And it came to pass, as Moses entered ... the cloudy pillar descended ... and the Lord talked with Moses ... face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend (Exod. 33: 9, 11)
While Moses was in the mount, there occurred in the camp the events that drew forth from him the most supreme surrender of his life. Whether one had aught to do with the other we cannot say, but it is after this great crisis we read that the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.
the people saw that Moses, the man upon whom they had relied for communication
with God, did not return, they gathered to Aaron and cried, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this
Moses, the man that brought us up out of ... Egypt, we wot not what is become of him
(Exod. 32: 1). Their Egyptian life was still strong
upon them. The Egyptians had exterior
symbols of the gods they worshipped, so must they. Aaron, frightened and weak, [page
yields to the cry of the people, gives them the visible substitute for God they
asked for, and under the name of worshipping Jehovah, back to
In the mount, God tells Moses what is taking place in the camp, and says, Let Me alone, ... that I may consume them; and I will make of thee a great nation (Exod. 32: 10). But Moses knew his God; he had seen what faith could do; and his confidence was in the great compassionate heart of Him Who had wrought such mighty deeds for them. In the boldness of faith he holds God to His word, saying, Remember ... Thou swarest, and he had power with God and prevailed.
Jehovah had said, I will make of thee a great nation but glory at the cost of Israel Moses did not want. His aim was to bring the people into the promised land. He had so pleaded and suffered for them, that his whole heart was filled with intense desire that they should obtain their inheritance.
It is impossible to pray for others and not be consumed with a deep longing to be poured out on their behalf.
could not admit, for one moment, a thought of glory for himself or his family,
and let these souls, so hardly won and so sorely kept in the path to
of the stillness of the Holy Presence on the mount, down to the camp he went;
and, with righteous anger against sin, he took the golden calf, burnt it, and
ground it to powder. Aaron demurs, and
says, The people ... are set on mischief. Whatever the people are set on, it matters
not to Moses; he had come from the Presence of the Holy God, and the sin and
When morning dawns he said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin (Exod. 32: 30). Back to the mount he goes; step by step he climbs, never swerving in his purpose, until he reaches the Presence, and makes his bold request, If Thou wilt, forgive. ... If not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy Book (Exod. 33: 32).
effect he offers to sacrifice, for the sake of
It has been said that fellowship is more than partnership; it is a blending of spirit with spirit, of heart with heart, so that no words are needed, for the two are one.
It is only possible to understand the words of Moses by knowing, and sharing, the Spirit of Christ that lies behind them, for they speak of an intensity of self-surrender that few of us have known. Those who have entered into the afflictions of Christ for His Churchs sake, know something of what they mean, for they have learnt in their measure to pour out their souls unto death, in fellowship with Him - not as sharing in His atonement, but in fulfilment of the law of sacrifice for life to others.
Speaking reverently, and knowing the heart of God as we have seen it revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah must have been deeply moved as He looked at His pleading servant, [page 47] for back in the ages of Eternity the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, had offered Himself to His Father as an atonement for the sins of the people.
had been showing Moses His plan for teaching
Moses listened to Gods directions about the brazen altar, and the great need
of atonement, when Israels sin would be put away by the blood of bulls and of
goats, he understood, as never before, why they had been sheltered from the
destroyer in Egypt by the blood of a slain lamb. He saw sin from the standpoint of God, and the need of atonement, and so
deeply did this revelation enter into his soul that, as he pondered over the
great sin of
all events he resolved to identify himself with
Divine Spirit had so permeated this man of God, that now he looks at
In reply to the petition of Moses, the Lord simply bids him go and lead the people into the land. His offer could not be accepted, but he was heard, in that the nation was not cast [page 48] off, though the inevitable consequence of their sin would follow.
From this time Moses was granted a closer fellowship with Jehovah than before. He had hitherto gone up to the mount when called, but now he has free access to the immediate Presence of God, in a Tent set apart for the purpose and pitched outside the camp. When he went out to the Tent, the wondrous sight was seen of the cloudy pillar descending and standing at the door, whilst within the Lord talked with Moses, and spake to him face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches (Num. 12: 7, R.V.).
We are given a glimpse into one interview at this time between God and His friend, a glimpse unveiling to us the inner life of Moses as it progressed ever more and more into oneness with God.
all the previous interviews we have seen him in the Presence on behalf of the
people: at Horeb, to receive his commission; then at
Sinai, first to learn the judgments, and
afterwards, in the forty days at the summit, to be shown the pattern of the
Tabernacle, where God would dwell in the midst of
But the veil is lifted to show us the friendship to which he has been admitted since that great surrender for the sake of the people. The one desire of Moses is now, Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee (Exod. 33: 13). He has passed beyond all things to God Himself, and when the promise is given, My face shall go with thee (verse 14, lit.), Moses grows bolder, and says, I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory. Through the words of the Lord Jesus we understand what he asked; for the Son of God, when on earth, unfolded the purposes of God as they had been in His heart from all eternity, and said of His redeemed ones, The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one. ... Father, I will that they [page 49] also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory (John 17: 22-24).
Jehovah replies to Moses, There shall no man see Me, and live, and then foreshadows His plan whereby His banished may be restored to Him. As accursed ones they cannot see Him and live, but, hidden in the cleft Rock - the wounded side of Him Who, in the fullness of time would die for them that they might die in Him, and in Him pass in to the place prepared for them - they will behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, Who is the outshining of His glory, and the express image of His Person.
After the interview in the Tent of Meeting, Moses is bidden to present himself once more at the summit of the mount, and the Lord descended, and stood with him there, and proclaimed His name, giving him such a revelation of His character and grace that Moses made haste, and bowed himself to the earth and worshipped.
days and forty nights did Moses spend again in the mount, and later on he tells
Forty days of intercession for the people followed his stupendous offer to suffer on their behalf; and when he returns to the camp his face shines with reflected glory, though he wist it not. So unearthly was this glory that Aaron and the people were afraid to come nigh him, until he called and talked to them as of old; but, so little can those who know not the Lord fully bear even the reflection of His light, he found it necessary to put a veil over his face whilst he talked with them. Truly it was the Presence that separated between him and his fellows, and his difficulty now was to get others to be at ease with him, for he was the man Moses after all!
He was veiled to men but unveiled to God, for the veil was [page 50] taken away when he went in to speak to the Lord, and replaced when he came out to move among men. What loneliness, what isolation this meant to him for he could not have close fellowship with Jehovah without separation from others - even unto Himself alone.
This is what face to face fellowship with God means. On the God-ward side, a life with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3: 18, R.V.), yet, by the unconscious, unavoidable effect of that intimacy with God, veiled to others and separated from the things of earth, as one not living in the world; veiled also under the covering of the most ordinary life, as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair, always delivered unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal body. For we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us (2 Cor. 4: 8-12; 6: 9, 10).
It has been pointed out that, from this time forth, the chief work of Moses was to communicate the will of God to the people, and it is written that he was very meek above all the men that were upon the face of the earth (Num. 12: 3). This is the mark of the heavenly life, and the result of intimate relationship with God. Jesus, the Holy Son of God, said of Himself, I am meek and lowly in heart; and just in proportion as we share His life, and are conformed to His image, shall we manifest the meek and quiet spirit so precious in the sight of God.
The meekness of the man who saw God face to face shines out again and again in his after life. His sorrows and outward trials grew more and more severe through the souls that already cost him so much, and he was tested on every hand. He had to learn fellowship with the longsuffering God, and bear and suffer with the people to the end.
[Page 51] In trial after trial the heavenly spirit shone forth. His freedom from all self-glory was evidenced in his answer to Joshua when, jealous for his leader, he said, Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lords people were prophets (Num. 11: 29), and his silence when Miriam and Aaron spake against him, show the spirit of the Lamb.
the veil is drawn over his sufferings when, after all that he had gone through
on their behalf, the event he dreaded came about, and
nearly forty years they wandered in the wilderness, their much-tried leader
with them, until at the close it even went ill with him for their sakes. Wearied with that great and
terrible wilderness, and with the ceaseless murmurings and unbelief of the
people, he spake unadvisedly with his lips. God had said speak
to the rock, but in the bitterness of his soul, Moses forgot to walk
softly with his God. He struck
the rock twice and thus failed to obey God implicitly. God
could not overlook a single lapse into disobedience in the one who stood for
righteousness before the people. Sin
must be judged, whether in Moses or
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on [him] ... severity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise (Rom. 11: 22). Let us be not high-minded, but fear.
[Page 52] Once more Moses ascends a mount, the mount of Pisgah, and there he beholds the land of promise. There he died, and was buried by God Himself. One hundred and twenty years old, his eye not dim, and his natural force not abated, unworn and uncrushed notwithstanding all the sorrow and suffering of those years in the wilderness, for his God had been his strength. [Page 53]
* * *
DEATH AND RESURRECTION
Three Conference Addresses in summarized form*
*As the series of addresses on this theme required to be read in sequence, it has seemed best that they should be condensed and given in summarized form, eliminating much that was said at the time.
My theme for this Conference is the Deeper aspect of the Death of Christ, in its bearing upon the present hour. It does intensely bear upon the present hour, for unless we get down to the bed-rock meaning of the Cross in actual, living experience, we shall be unable to stand against the pressure of the world, the flesh, and the devil in the present state of things in the world.
Let me say at the commencement that it may appear in the first part of my message that I am going again over ground familiar to you, but this is necessary for the sake of many who have not been in our Conferences before.
There are three main aspects of the death of Christ, which it is important to clearly recognize as being distinct the one from the other. (1) The first is the objective fact of our identification with Christ in His death, so that we are said to have utterly and entirely died in Him as our substitute. We find this set forth in Romans 6: 1-6. (2) The second is the subjective, or experimental, outworking of the first the making to die the doings of the body, which means the application of the death of Christ to the believer through the Spirit (Rom. 8: 13). (3) Then we have the third aspect which follows when the life of Christ imparted to us on the [page 54] basis of our death union with Him, is brought into full maturity. This we find referred to in Phil 3: 10, where, in the power of His resurrection, we enter into the fellowship of His sufferings for the Church, and are made conformable to His death. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be made like to the pattern of His Son, that many brethren might be joined to Him, the firstborn (Rom. 8: 29, C.H.). Like in suffering is the footnote to Conybeares rendering, with a reference to Phil. 3: 10.
THE DEATH IDENTIFICATION
Let us turn to Romans 6 for the basic fact of our identification with Christ in His death. Note the words His death. How shall we that are dead (verse 2); Baptized into His Death (v. 3); He that is dead (v. 7); if we be dead (v. 8). The Lexicon says that here the word to die, in the Greek, has a prefix rendering the verb vivid and intense, representing an action that is consummated and finished. The same word is used in 2 Cor. 5: 14. If one died for all, then were all dead. Again in Col. 2: 20, If ye be dead with Christ, and Col. 3: 3, For ye are dead
us face again what this means. Plainly and clearly that the believer is so identified with Christ
in His death that when Christ died, in the eye of God he died. In brief, when He
This makes the objective fact of our identification with Christ in His death quite clear. There is no process of death referred to in these passages. Nothing of the subjective. That comes in elsewhere. My concern now is to stress the objective fact to be as plainly stated as the substitutionary meaning of the Cross, where we understand that Christ was made sin for us, and bore our sins in His own body on the tree.
But you say, I have known and seen this for years, but it does not appear to make any difference in my life. Here comes in the need of recognizing the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of Revelation. There are a large number of Gods children in these last years who have been accepting the truth of death with Christ, but it has not come to them in the power of the Holy Spirit. They say that they are crucified with Christ, but they know that for some cause they cannot fathom, the acceptance of this truth has not made the difference to them in practical life which they had expected. One reason is that, in some cases, the truth has been received only by the mind, apart from that deep surrender to God which is necessary for the working of the Holy Spirit in the life, as well as for His unveiling of the eyes of the heart (Ephes. 1: 18, C.H.) of the believer of all that the death and resurrection of Christ meant in the purposes of God.
Another reason why many have not realized the power of the truth is that they confuse the objective fact of their death with Christ with the subjective outworking of it. The Scripture tells you to work out your own salvation, but those of you who are properly instructed know that we work out our own salvation, only after we have received it through the Blood of Christ. Exactly in the same way, we must first apprehend, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, that we [page 56] have died together with Christ when He hung on the Cross, and on the basis of that fact, proceed to work it out. Not understanding this subjective working out, many let go the objective fact they have really apprehended, saying it doesnt work.
THE MOMENT OF IDENTIFICATION
But now there is an important point here which Philip Mauro makes clear in one of his books. The question arises as to when identification of the believer with Christ in His death actually began. Mauro says that it began at the moment of Christs death, and not before. The believer is not in any way associated with the sufferings of Christ in His propitiatory work as the Lamb of God, bearing away the sin of the world. It was after He had cried with a loud voice, It is finished, that the God-Man dismissed His spirit (Luke 23: 46; Matt. 27: 50; Scofield) and died. It was at the moment of His death that believers were identified with Him in that death, and died with Him. Mauro points out that in Rom. 6: 10, where it is written In that HE DIED... the verb signifies the exit from the body.
the language used about our identification with Christ in death is clear. We are baptized into
His death. It
is hardly necessary to say that this does not mean into His actual physical death at
THE LIFE-POWER OF THE IDENTIFICATION
Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but ALIVE unto God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 6: 11). The identification union with Christ in His death is most [page 57] truly an attitude, and a position to be maintained in reliance upon the Spirit of God in His enabling power, but it is also to be made a fact in the believers experience as much as his deliverance from the burden of sin. The failure to see this explains the absence of life-power even when maintaining the position and attitude of death with Christ. We need to see that a real identification union with Christ in His death, brought about by the Holy Spirit by His co-working with the believers apprehension of the truth, has LIFE in it as well as death.
We think of the word death in human values, but Dr. Mabie writes that Christs death was not an ordinary death, but an entirely new and original kind of death. So far from being mere mortal dying, it might rather be called immortal dying. It contains, he says, within itself the ENERGY OF A NEW ORGANIC UNION WITH THE RISEN CHRIST Himself. He says, this death was such a death that when, in its whole fact and energy, it comes to exercise itself, it provides the dynamic needed to enter into the believer, and empower him to live the new life to which the death of Christ has committed him.*
Dr. Mabies books, from which these sentences are
taken, are entitled: The Meaning and
Message of the Cross;The
Divine Reason of the Cross. Published by Fleming H. Revell,
Elsewhere, Dr. Mabie again writes that the death of Christ is radio active. I asked a medical man the other day to tell me something about radium, and he said, Radium is the strongest concentrated force that the world knows, and it has the power of contributing its energy or power to everything in its vicinity. Yes, said a missionary. If you come under its direct rays you may be killed, for it burns you.
May this not be the cause of no life realized as the result of apprehending the death-identification aspect of the [page 57] Cross? What Mabie calls mere mortal dying has no life in it) nor does it contain radio-active power. We have talked of resurrection life, but failed to get it in the abundant measure we desire, because we have not seen that that life is the death of the God-Man, and will be communicated to us in dynamic power only as we actually and continuously come under the Power of that divine death in its mighty working.
There are some more quotations from Dr. Mabie which I must give you ere I pass on. Writing of the necessity for the subjective as well as the objective teaching of the Cross, he says: Leave out the substitutionary objective, and you have lost the chief potency for securing the subjective experience. Omit the subjective - the very point in experience where the substitutionary work passes into personal, transforming power and you have vitiated the composite death-resurrection energy of Christ mid process. ... Here it is clear - if you omit the substitutionary objective, then you do not get the subjective. Omit the subjective (and that is what most people do), and you vitiate the composite death-resurrection energy of Christ to save us. You must have the two sides, the objective work of Christ for your faith, and the subjective application of it to be wrought into experience by the Holy Spirit.
The objective and subjective are correlative to each other as substance and shadow, again writes Dr. Mabie, they each imply the other, and there is a new vital energy working in the soul, making the whole process profoundly ethical.
THE REALITY OF THE
have seen clearly that we can only apprehend our union with Christ in His death
The fact of verse 2, we that are dead, is opened out into fuller explanation of its meaning in verse 5. The purpose of God is manifestly that the believer is to be so conformed to the death of Christ that the life of Christ in him will grow up into the pattern of the Lambhood nature of Christ.
Like the grain of wheat which falls into the ground to die to bring forth much fruit, the believer is in some mystical way to be united with the First Grain of wheat in such a way, that through him also life will produce fruit (John 12: 24).
Conybeares rendering of verse 5 is even more striking. It runs, If we have been grafted into the likeness of His death. The footnote adds, Literally have become partakers of a vital union as that of a graft with the tree into which it is grafted.
Such a grafting can only be done by the Holy Spirit. In both cases the growing up together so as to become thoroughly one and the being grafted into His death, has the same objective. The identification union with Christ in His death must be made a fact in experience as well as a fact to be apprehended by faith in the Word of God.*
*A striking metaphor used by the Apostle in Rom. 6: 17, confirms this aspect of the death fellowship with Christ. He says that we are to obey from the heart the teaching whereby we are moulded anew (C.H.) - a metaphor from the casting of metals. The death of Christ is likened to a mould (Dr. Marsh), into which the believer is cast for moulding into its likeness.
This is the sum of the whole matter at this stage. From [page 60] the moment you are planted into the death of Christ, so that you grow up into Christ in its likeness, for the rest of your life. His death lies at the root of your entire Christian life. If we have been grafted. ... A graft is put into a tree to become one with the tree, with the intention that there shall be ONE LIFE flowing through both. Have you fully apprehended the fact of your identification with Christ at the moment that He died, so that you have become a partaker of a vital union as that of a graft with the tree into which it is grafted?
* * *
THE DEATH IDENTIFICATION
Now we turn to the second, or subjective, aspect of the death of Christ in its practical application to the flesh or Adamic life of nature in the redeemed believer. Read Rom. 7: 4 (A.V.) Ye are also become dead by the body of Christ. For when we were in the flesh the motions of sins did work in our members.
The Greek word dead in this passage is different to all the others quoted in Rom. 6: 2, 7, 8; Col. 3: 3, etc. It is thanatoo, not apothenesko. The Lexicon says that thanatoo means to take away the vital principle, to cause to be put to death. It is the word used in Rom. 8: 13, though the Spirit mortify, or make to die (margin) the deeds of the body. Here we have very clearly the subjective outworking, or application in detail to the life of the flesh, of [page 61] the identification fact which the believer has already apprehended, and had made real to him in the power of the Spirit.
Planted into the likeness of His death, grafted into his place in identification-union with Christ, so that the dynamic force of His death has full power of action, the believer has now to have this applied to the doings of the body the possible motions of sins in his members which have perpetually to be reckoned with as requiring the keen watchful making to die, if the identification union with Christ is to progress into a life of full conformity to Christ.
To realize the need of this continuous application of Christs death in making to die the deeds of the body, we must first get a clear sight of what the Scriptures teach about flesh and spirit, and the way in which the flesh has to be dealt with so that the [Holy] Spirit may rule, for unless we are able to recognize the flesh when it seeks to break in, and know how to at once deal with it, the power of the central identification will be nullified. For it must be emphasized that, however deeply we may be planted into the death of Christ in the innermost of our being, there always will exist the necessity of watchfulness against the motions of sin in our members breaking out into action in some degree.
But first as to what Paul says about the flesh. By it he means the entire Adamic nature in the which we are born (John 3: 6; Ephes. 2: 3; Col. 2: 13). What the flesh is Godward we see in Rom. 8: 7, 8. It is in its essence enmity against God, and cannot please God. What the flesh is manward we find summarized in Gal. 5: 19. The works of the flesh are manifest. In these few verses you have grouped a vivid picture of the various phases of its workings: (1) in gross physical sins; (2) in evil dispositions, of hatred, variance, emulations, wrath and strife; (3) in religious forms of intrigues, divisions, sectarian parties; (4) in evil supernatural fellowship with Satan in idolatry and witchcraft; (5) in self-indulgence, in drunkenness and revellings. All these works are easily recognized, and most [page 62] believers imagine they are wholly free from walking after the flesh because they think only of flesh as meaning the various phases of its characteristics as given here. They do not realize that the flesh means flesh even when it works in a more refined form. What about variance, emulations, strife, divisions and sectarian parties, as included in the list of more fleshly sins? And they do not realize that they can walk after the flesh at any moment unless they are walking after the Spirit, making to die the deeds of the body so as to be truly led by the Spirit as sons of God.
To see this clearly we must go back again to Rom. 7: 5: When we were in the flesh, said Paul, the motions of sin did work in our members. And they always will work at any stage of the believers life directly he ceases to walk after the Spirit, with the Adamic nature under the radio-active power of Christs death.
The whole of the seventh of Romans after verse 5 is an inspired picture of the actual condition of the believer as he is in himself, and as he will always be in himself directly he ceases to walk in the Spirit at any moment. Some think that Romans seven lies between chapter six and chapter eight as a sort of passage between, and that when the believer emerges into Romans eight, Romans seven becomes past history, but Dr. Andrew Murray says that Romans seven and Romans eight may be described as being simultaneous states, either of which the believer walks after according to his choice.* This appears to be correct, from Pauls concluding words in verse 25, SO THEN, with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. That is, the flesh is the flesh, all the way along, and although we may not, and need not walk or live after the flesh, the deeds of the body will always have to be made to die, if we are always to be led of the Spirit, and be kept free from coming under the power of the law of sin and death.
[Page 63] The
apprehension of this solemn fact is of the most vital importance at the present
hour, for among many who are pressing on
into the knowledge of the life in the heavenlies there is the danger of
assuming they are beyond the possibility of the inroads of the flesh especially if they are seeking to know the life
of Jesus manifested in their mortal bodies.
They speak of being new creations in Christ
and they are, but we have not yet new creation bodies. Our present bodies of humiliation await
the advent of the Lord from heaven before they are conformed to the body of His
glory. A grave danger at the present
moment is the premature appropriation of truth a stretching beyond that which is
written (1 Cor.
4: 6), for if the devil cannot get
a believer down into the manifest flesh, he
just gives him a push into a spirit-sphere where
he gets out of focus with the central base of the Cross, and into a
hyper-spirituality which eventually means a spiritualized flesh. Error, it has been said, is just truth pushed a shade too far, and thus thrown out of
perspective with other truth that makes up a balanced and symmetrical
whole. We may also be sure that under
cover of this the flesh will begin to work in
some insidious form unheeded and unrecognized.
Now as to the practical application of the death of Christ,
and how it has to be done. Again let us
turn to Rom. 8: 13, in conjunction with
In Rom. 8: 13, we are told that we have to make to die the deeds of the body, but it is by the Spirit. What does this mean? Just this: the believer makes to die the doings of his body by reliance upon the Holy Spirit as he appropriates his death with Christ. Ye are become dead writes Paul. He already is dead by identification union, he now reckons that he is dead to the [page 64] motions of sins in his members, as he finds them arise. The Cross of Christ, wrote the late C. A. Fox, is the Divine laboratory where the flesh is cauterized, and put to death Mortify your members accordingly, which are upon the earth by applying instantly the burning caustic of the Cross to every tempting appetite before it can rise.
This language is wondrously like Dr. Mabies words of the death of Christ being radio-active. Yes, this is the blessed fact we need to understand. The death of Christ has in it dynamic power. The entire Adamic nature, described as flesh, always ready to break out in the motions of sin in our members, must be deprived of its power by the application of the caustic, or radio-action, of that death which was more than a human death. Then, blessed be God, as the caustic is applied by the Holy Ghost, the life of God inherent in that death will rise in quickening power, enabling the believer to walk in victory. For it was only He who was God manifest in the flesh that could go down into death, and rise out of it, bringing with Him all those who, in the potential purpose of God, died in Him, and now, baptized into that death, realize in Him a continual experience of newness of life to His glory.
Give therefore unto death your earthly members, 0 child of God, and set your heart on things above, for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3: 3, 5). [page 65]
* * *
THE DEATH FELLOWSHIP IN
The third aspect of the fellowship of the believer with Christ in His death which we must now ponder over, is of the deepest moment to our Risen and Ascended Lord, and to His Body the Church, at the present hour.
The passage which brings this aspect out we are most of us familiar with, and yet every time we turn to it we are conscious we have but touched the fringe of its fathomless depths in relation to the Cross. Let us turn to 2 Cor. 4: 10-12, Conybeares translation: In my body I bear about continually the dying of Jesus, that in my body the life also of Jesus might be shown forth. Literally it is the killing of Jesus the word rendered dying is nekrosis, quite a different word to those used in Rom. 6 and Rom. 8: 13. Here the Lexicon says, it is expressive of the action as incomplete and in progress.
Conybeares footnote says, the word translated dying here is properly the deadness of a corpse, as though St. Paul would say my body is no better than a corpse, yet a corpse which shares the life-giving power of Christs resurrection. Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus ... for we which live are always delivered to death, runs the A.V. rendering. *
* A correspondent, who is a skilled Greek scholar, writes in respect to this Footnote, There is no means of passing from the thanatoo experience of Rom. 8: 13, to the nekrosis experience of 2 Cor. 4: 10-12 without having first taken exercise at Col. 3: 5, in the deadening process, without which the believers body will always refuse to be handled as a corpse.
The word always is the key-word here, for it shows that the death-fellowship must persistently be recognized and deepened if there is to be a full impartation of resurrection life to the mortal body as the making to die of the doings of the body is steadfastly carried out.
There is no real impartation of resurrection life apart from the continuous death-identification with Christ. Here again, Mabies words are illuminating, You cannot separate death and resurrection. They are twin parts of one fact. The death of Christ carries resurrection in it. If we have apprehended the Romans 6 aspect, and seen the aorist tense of the words, that our death with Christ is a consummated fact, and have passed on to see that the yielding death of our earthly members is a continuously necessary line of action if our death union with Christ is not to be rendered null and void, and the power of the resurrection be absent. That is, we shall be living in the power of the natural man disguised as spiritual, and the true, actual impartation of the very life of Jesus, that life which He now has in the glory will be absent.
It cannot therefore be over-emphasized at this point that all resurrection life is imparted to us only as we reckon upon our death union with Christ. It comes to us from the Risen Lord every moment, via His death, and directly we are out of focus with His death, that impartation of resurrection-life ceases. The centre may abide unshaken, but there is an immediate check in the impartation of life to the circumference, and an immediate check to the outflow of life to others. The language may be unchanged, the mind retain its knowledge of truth, the will and faith unaltered, but life from the Risen Lord has ceased to flow, for all that was kept out of its way by the continuous death-union has again intervened, and the body which may be no better than a corpse has ceased to be quickened by the life-giving power of Christs resurrection.
There is a law of God, a natural law, which is analogous to this aspect of our death-union with Christ. We know that in the physical frame there is a death-process and a life-process going on continuously, and that one must not exceed the other for normal health. So in this recognition of the [page 67] same law in, what, Mabie calls, the composite death-resurrection energy of the principle of the Cross. Swing too far into endeavour to lay hold of all that the new creation means for spirit, soul and body, without the necessary death-fellowship maintained and deepened, and the believer not only will be holding truth which has no power in it, but he becomes open to the deceiving spirits of the air, who are only too ready to give the counterfeit of all the new creation aspects of truth the soul has eagerly stretched forward to apprehend.
Is it not clear, therefore, how vital is this aspect of the death-union of the Cross! It touches the need of the moment at every point, and shows that the one primary message at this time is the Cross in all its aspects. It is the one message which will counter the wiles of Satan in every phase of his working among the children of God at the present time.
Now let us look into the way in which this bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus may be brought about, and some other results to it in the believer himself. The verse we have quoted is a climax to a few words giving a glimpse into the circumstantial environment of the Apostle at the time he wrote, showing that to the believer who knows his death-identification union with Christ, all external happenings to him are to be read in the light of his death-union with the Lord. Troubled, perplexed, persecuted, cast down - all goes toward the deepening of his death-fellowship with Christ. He may not be given, like Him, an actual cross, but he will be given all that went toward that putting to death of Jesus at Calvary; and the believer must read his environing circumstances in that light. They are directly by Gods permission for the purpose of bringing about in deepening measure his conformity to that death.
Then let us note what we may call the deliberateness of this objective. The Holy Spirit, who has brought about this fellowship, actually again and again hands over to death the believer who fully purposes to know the very life of Jesus made manifest in his mortal flesh. If he wants all that [page 68] the new creation means, then there is no other way but to be prepared to be delivered unto death for Jesus sake as he is able to bear it.
results will accrue of deepest moment to the
Is there not a hint of this in verse 11 For Jesus sake? Here comes in at last such deep union with the Risen Lord that the believer can say, I fill up what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh, on behalf of His Body ... (Col. 1: 24, C.H.), and the sufferings of Christ have come upon me (2 Cor. 1: 5). This is clearly not the Romans six death to sin, nor the making to die of the doings of the body of Rom. 8: 13. The death-union has now become so deep that, like the Lord Himself, the believer is living in this world only to be reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. Killed all the day long (Rom. 8: 36) sacramentally being poured out as a drink-offering for life to others (see Phil. 2: 17, C.H.).
The other result in this deep death-union with Christ is to the believer himself, in his deepening conformity to the pattern of the Christ, in what Mabie describes as His Lambhood nature. Let us look at Rom. 8: 29, for a glimpse into this. It reads, Those He foreknew He also predestinated to be made like to the pattern of His Son.
Like in suffering is Conybeares footnote. Look now at Heb. 2: 10. In bringing many sons to glory, to consecrate by sufferings the Captain. ... Literally, says the Conybeare footnote, to bring to the appointed accomplishment, to develop the full ideal of the character. The full ideal of the [page 69] pattern of the Son required suffering to bring it into full accomplishment. The believer is to be made like to the pattern. If suffering was necessary for the Son, so also it is necessary for all who are joined to Him, the Firstborn. If He learned obedience by the things which He suffered - even so, those who are to be conformed to His image. Here then is the key to Phil. 3: 10. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death. The conformity to His death is one aspect of our becoming conformable to His likeness in the body of His glory.
Now, lastly, a word on Throne-life
in relation to this death-fellowship with Christ. Let us not
forget that the Throne in Heaven has in the midst of it a Lamb as it had been newly slain (Rev. 5: 6). You may think of death
with Christ only in its aspect of
The true throne life authority in Christ which belongs to all united to Him, is only to be actually exercised as the believer is deeply centred in his death-identification union. 1 Cor. 4 gives a glimpse into this. You can see the spurious and the true in their contrasting characteristics in this passage. Verse 8 describes the spiritualized flesh apprehending Throne life Ye have already eaten to the full of spiritual food. Ye are already rich, ye have seated yourselves upon your throne - and vv. 9-13 depict the true Throne life of the one who is truly sharing the composite death-resurrection energy of fellowship with the Lord. We are, said Paul, like criminals condemned to die, to be gazed at by the whole world, both men and angels. ... Curses we meet with blessing, persecution with patience, railings with good words Here is manifest the Lamb-hood nature of Him Who is a Lamb in the midst of the Throne of Heaven.