"My heart overfloweth with a goodly
matter; I speak the things which I have made touching the
king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art
fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy
lips; therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Gird thy
sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one, thy glory and thy
majesty. And in thy majesty ride on prosperously, because
of truth and meekness and righteousness: and thy right
hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are
sharp; the peoples fall under thee; they are in the heart
of the king's enemies. Thy throne, O God, is forever and
ever: a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness:
therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil
of gladness above thy fellows" (Psa. 45:1-7).
"...but of the
Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; and
the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy
kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated
iniquity; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows"
Into those two
fragments of Scripture a great amount is gathered. In our
previous meditation, we saw something, if it were but a
little, of the meaning of the Cross of our Lord Jesus,
and what judgment means. Now we move to the other aspect
of the Cross, and come to the ground of righteousness.
Sin unto judgment has so far held our attention; now,
Conflict Between Two Kingdoms
But may I just say here
once more, for the sake of the setting of everything,
that what we are seeking to see in these meditations is
that the cosmic conflict between the two great kingdoms,
the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God, of darkness
and light, of death and life, is heading up in a very
intense and comprehensive way at this time unto the end,
and that the Lord's people everywhere are involved; and
in a very real sense the conflict rests upon them for its
issue. The Church is the eternally chosen instrument and
vessel in and through which the absolute supremacy of the
Lord Jesus is to be manifested and administered. Unto
that a deep spiritual preparation has to be made on very
practical grounds and along very practical lines, for
these kingdoms are not just systems set up in an
objective, external way. They are not political; they are
not economic; they are not earthly in any sense. They are
spiritual; and the very essence of their nature and
strength and existence is a spiritual state, and that
state is found within the very constitution of those who
belong to the two kingdoms respectively. We have sought
to see that the kingdom of Satan is really within man by
nature. It is there in man's own nature that Satan now
has his strength. On the other hand, the kingdom of the
heavens is an inward thing. It is within you, and it is
therefore a matter of inward constitution. Therefore one
thing which arises for us is as to whether this kingdom,
the kingdom of the heavens within the life of the people
of God, is really going to manifest and express its
supremacy, its ascendency; and that is what we are called
unto, and that is really the challenge of these
Kingdom Ruled in Righteousness
Now we shall pursue
that in an inward way again - as to what it means; but
this time, on the side of righteousness. You notice that
we read, "Of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O
God." Do not draw mechanical lines between the
kingdom of the Son of God's love and the kingdom of God.
It is the same thing in meaning and value and effect.
"Delivered us out of the power (authority) of
darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son
of his love" (Col. 1:13). What kingdom is that?
"Thy throne, O God," He saith of the Son,
"is forever and ever" - an everlasting kingdom:
the same phrase as is used in the Old Testament of the
kingdom of the Most High God (Dan. 4:23). "The
sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee...."
the Expression of The Righteous One
Now, if the kingdom of
Satan is based upon sin, and if sin is what we have said
it is - rebellion, perversity, with all its outworking:
pride: self in all its forms; unto enmity against God,
separation from God, and utter impotence and helplessness
to redeem itself - if that is the basis of the kingdom of
Satan, then the kingdom of God is based on righteousness;
that is, upon that which is exactly the opposite of sin.
If Satan is the embodiment of sin, then Christ must be
the embodiment of righteousness, when rightly understood.
The point is that it is something personal, not abstract
or something in itself. Do not talk about sin as some
abstract thing. Sin is the expression of a person. Satan is
sin, and all that emanates from him is sin. In like
manner, Christ is righteousness, and the righteousness
which is of God is Christ, Who is made unto us from God
righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). He is "the Righteous
One" (Acts 3:14). It is personal. We need to say
that and emphasize it, so that we shall not get any kind
of mentality that we are dealing with things. We are
dealing ultimately with persons, and therefore with
kingdoms. On both sides it resolves itself into 'Who?'
not 'What?' Who is going to have the kingdom?
Now if 'kingdom'
suggests dominion, authority, power - as, of course, it
does - then dominion, authority, power, rest upon and
spring from a nature. They are not official, exercised
and asserted by an appointment. They spring from the
nature of the person or persons concerned; that is, you
and I will know no more of Divine power than we know of
Divine nature, of Divine likeness. Our spiritual power,
dominion, authority over the power of the enemy, depend
upon nothing other than our nearness to God and our
likeness to Him. Any system of teaching about authority
which takes up a certain kind of phraseology and begins
to throw about phrases at the enemy without a deep
knowledge of the basis of authority is a most dangerous
and pernicious thing, and will involve all concerned in
inevitable trouble from which it will not be easy to
extricate them. This is not just a statement of ideas,
this is fact. Some of us have seen the devil make awful
havoc of people who stood up talking about Satan being a
defeated foe, and throwing at him phrases from the Bible.
The end of that has been scattering and shattering. But
that does not mean that there is no such thing as
authority over the enemy. What I am trying to emphasize
is that it is necessary to know the basis of authority,
and that basis is what is here meant by righteousness.
of the Righteous One
So then, in coming to
the nature of the Kingdom which is founded upon
righteousness, we see how opposite it is in all its
features to the kingdom of Satan. In the latter, as we
have seen, pride is the starting point, the first feature
of revolt, rebellion, and the long history of perversity.
"Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty"
(Eze. 28:17). Therefore the kingdom of God, the kingdom
of the Son of God's love, must have at its very
foundation the opposite of pride, which is meekness; and
I would call your attention to the large place that the
matter of meekness has in the Word of God, in both the
Old Testament and the New. Let me give you but a little
handful of references, which will make many others spring
up in your mind immediately.
"The meek will
he guide in justice; and the meek will he teach his
way" (Psa. 25:9).
"The meek shall inherit the land" (Psa. 37:11).
"The Lord upholdeth the meek" (Psa. 147:6).
"He will beautify the meek with salvation"
"(He shall) decide with equity for the meek of the
earth" (Isa. 11:4).
"The Lord... hath anointed me to preach good tidings
unto the meek" (Isa. 61:1).
All that leads us to
the One Who was the full embodiment of that feature.
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek
and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29). To Jerusalem
the prophetic utterance was made, "Behold, thy King
cometh unto thee, meek, and riding upon an ass"
(Matt. 21:5). And Peter speaks of this as of great
preciousness when he says, "Whose adorning... let it
be... a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of
God of great price" (1 Pet.3:4). Paul said, I Paul
myself entreat you by the meekness... of
Christ" (2 Cor. 10:1). To the church to which,
through him, had just been given that immense and
incomprehensible revelation of the foreordination, the
predestination, the election of the Church in Christ
before the foundation of the world, and of the object for
which those Divine counsels chose it - to the church to
which had just been given that matchless unfolding
of the Church's eternal calling and heavenly vocation and
resources, he comes right down, so to speak, from that
high pinnacle and says, "Walk worthily of the
calling wherewith ye were called, with all...
meekness" (Eph. 4:1-2): 'Do not let all this result
in spiritual pride.' What is the way of the realisation
of it all? By self-assertiveness? no - "all
lowliness and meekness."
surely, are sufficient to bring us right up against this
fact, that power over the whole power of Satan is found
centred in the first place in meekness. It says that all
that mighty power of sin, all that mighty kingdom which
Satan has set up, into which he has drawn all the sons of
men by nature - his kingdom is to be undone by meekness;
that meekness is a greater power than that.
Yieldedness and Obedience
We use another word
here in this connection - yieldedness. The actual word
does not occur often in the Scriptures, but what it means
fills the Scriptures. We saw that in Lucifer's rebellion,
and then in the great betrayal of Adam into his hands,
the thing which influenced and governed the enemy and
Adam was possessiveness, drawing to self - 'I will, I
will, I will' and all Satan's force was bent upon having
and holding and not letting go; so his kingdom stands
upon that. Does that need any argument? Look abroad today
- the grab, the acquisitiveness, the stretching out of
the hand to have, to take, to hold, to dominate by
possession. Over against that is the kingdom of God,
which is the kingdom of the Son of God's love, and the
characteristic of Christ and of His kingdom is
It is again a
significant and impressive thing that in the letter to
the Philippians this matter of yieldedness arises, though
unfortunately the actual word itself is not used in our
translation. We know what that letter contains. Euodia
and Syntyche were evidently standing for their own
rights. Somehow or other, they had got across one
another. One of them perhaps had been the offender, and
the other was standing to have her own rights
established. 'You must apologize to me, you must ask my
forgiveness, you must restore what you have taken from
me.' Then, as his means and method of meeting a situation
like that (which you might think is, after all, only a
little private quarrel between two people; why make so
much of it?) Paul brings in the greatest argument that it
is possible to find. By implication he goes right back,
before this world was, to that scene we have depicted
earlier, where the covering cherub, walking up and down
midst the stones of fire, the most glorious created
being, next to the very throne of God, said,
"I..." and all the mischief started. And in
Euodia and Syntyche, two people on this earth, away there
in Philippi, the very same thing is being expressed. Here
is division because of pride and personal interest and
personal possessiveness. It is exactly the same thing,
and it divides. So the Apostle appeals. He says, 'Because
in principle it is the same thing and therefore in
outworking it will have the same effect of rending the
Church, see how it has been dealt with and adjust
yourselves. There was One Whose right it was to be equal
with God; He did not grasp at that equality, He emptied
Himself, became obedient unto death, yea, the death of
the Cross.' In our previous meditation we saw something
of what that means - obedient for the sake of rescuing
this disintegrated universe from the thraldom of Satan.
Because of that principle of possessiveness at work, the
Father asked the Son, 'Will you be made sin? Will you
allow all the consequences of that evil to be laid upon
you to the extent that the great divide takes place
between you and myself, and you go out into the land of
forgetfulness, far, far from me, where you will cry and
not be heard?' - and much more than that. And, He became
obedient. He said, 'Yes, I will'; and He died of a broken
heart because of all that. Paul says to Euodia and
Syntyche, two people on this earth - 'That is the range
of this situation between you, that is the significance
of it; this thing has got to come to its right
relationship and focus.' "I exhort Euodia, and I
exhort Syntyche, to be of the same mind in the
Lord." "Have this mind in you, which was also
in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). 'Yield! The devil is
in this; he has a foothold here and is aiming through you
two to disrupt the very Church of God, to do here what he
did in heaven long ago, and what he has done on earth all
through the centuries. It is the kingdom of Satan that is
here. The only way to undo it is by yieldedness.' So
(keeping in mind that setting) a little later in the
letter the Apostle says, "Let your forbearance
(yieldedness) be known unto all men." The
translation in the Authorized Version - 'moderation' - is
unfortunate and weak. "Let your yieldedness be known
unto all men." The Lord Jesus was the great Master
of the art of letting go. There is a sense in which His
whole life on this earth was a life of letting go. Men
and Satan offered Him a kingdom; He let it go. All the
time He knew how to let go; in that way He came to
possess. "Thou hast... hated iniquity." goes to
the heart of the whole thing. "Therefore God... hath
anointed thee." 'You have the Kingdom because You
He was "as a lamb
that is led to the slaughter" (Isa. 53:7). There can
be no more perfect picture of yieldedness. "As a
sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not
his mouth." You remember that when He was before His
accusers, before those who were to slay Him, they did
everything they could to get Him to open His mouth in
self-defence, but "he gave... no answer, not even to
one word" (Matt. 27:14). That was yieldedness. But
oh, that we knew something more of the power of
yieldedness, the spiritual power of that kind of thing!
We ought to dwell upon it long, we ought to search our
hearts. We are not naturally made that way. We are very
ready to give a back answer, to justify ourselves, to
vindicate ourselves, to stand for our rights, to take
offence, to be very upset if in any way our interests are
challenged or cut across. Yes, in the bus, in the train,
when things do not go easily and people do not treat us
as we think they ought to treat us, we are up in a
moment. It is so easy to be caught; the spirit of
meekness is not always there. We have a lot to learn.
Now again, it is not a
matter of introspective self-examination and analysis. It
is a matter of knowing what is the meaning of having the
Spirit of Jesus resident within us in order to make us
Christlike; and the thing to be kept in view is not only
our need of being Christlike but the reason for that
need, namely, that there is a great kingdom to be
overthrown. Yieldedness is the way to it.
includes and issues in obedience - the opposite of
rebellion. In view of what we have been saying, I do not
think we need dwell in more detail upon this; but it is
well that we ponder the specific statement that concludes
and crowns the declaration concerning the yieldedness of
the Lord Jesus - "becoming obedient even unto death...
Wherefore also God highly exalted him" (Phil. 2:8,9).
Then dependence; the
opposite of independence, with all its many forms of
outworking, of which we were speaking earlier - either
throwing God over altogether, seeking to realise our
destiny without calling upon Him, or through the various
less blatant expressions of independence on to the place
where even the sanctified man begins to show signs of
spiritual pride because the Lord blesses him. It is so
easy to assume that, because He has blessed, a step taken
can be repeated without the need for going back to the
Lord and saying, 'Lord, even though the last hour was a
mighty hour, nothing can be for the next hour unless it
comes from Thee.' That subtle movement, the taking of a
second step because the first one has been blessed,
springs from spiritual pride - presumption.
Look at the Lord Jesus.
If there is one thing that stands right out as you follow
Him in those years here on the earth, it is this matter
of His dependence upon the Father. "The Son can do
nothing of himself" (John 5:19). Very often you can
almost feel Him waiting, poised, suspended between doing
and not doing, going and not going, with constraints and
influences being brought to bear upon Him to cause Him to
act. You recall His mother's words, "They have no
wine" (John 2:3), with their suggestion of an
opportunity for Him to save from embarrassment in a very
unhappy situation, to do something quite kind. But He is
for the moment poised. "Mine hour is not yet
come." He cannot, He will not do it simply at her
suggestion. His brethren urged Him to go up to Jerusalem
at the time of the feast of tabernacles, but His answer
was "Go ye up unto the feast; I go not up unto this
feast" (John 7:1-10). Then, when they were gone up,
He Himself went up. All through His life it was like that. Not because other
people did it, not because it was the recognized thing to
do, not because of any consideration, sentimental or
otherwise, did He act in any matter. It was - 'Father, do
You want this?' He would not act apart from the Father.
He was absolutely dependent on the Father. Was not
Satan's kingdom overthrown in that way?
Were not many of these
things all of a piece with that threefold temptation in
the wilderness? - "Command that these stones become
bread"; "Cast thyself down"; "...if
thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matt. 4:3,5,9).
What is behind it? - 'Act on your own initiative, do
something out from yourself, take the matter into your
own hands!' But He refused, knowing that He had been
committed to the Father and that He was the Father's
bond-slave. "Behold, my servant" (Isa. 42:1).
This was dependence indeed.
Now our whole being
revolts naturally against the idea of dependence. Our
pride will not let us be dependent; we are independent by
nature. Yes, that is the poison of Satan in us. If that
comes into the spiritual realm, it is in principle the
kingdom of Satan coming into the kingdom of God.
But dependence is the
way of power. Why? - because it is the way along which
the Lord comes. It is the meek, the dependent, to whom
the Lord looks. "To this man will I look..."
(Isa. 66:2). Power results from having the Lord with us.
We may presume and assume and go on with some activity,
but what is the good if the Lord is not with us?
Selflessness Born of Love
All this is summed up
in selflessness, which is not simply negative -
self-abnegation, the cessation of desire, such as is seen
in Buddhism. Selflessness is the fruit of love, and love
is a very positive thing. Why did the Lord Jesus take
that position and hold to it and fight out that battle
right to the end, even to great drops of blood, against
all the pressure brought upon Him from the spiritual
world? Why did He say, "Not my will, but thine, be
done"? Why? Because of His love for His Father. Love
was the positive factor, and selflessness is positive
when it comes into this realm. It is love, the love of
Christ constraining. When love comes in, self goes out.
So we are not going to take the negative side in this
matter; we are going to ask the Lord to fill us with His
love, and self will go out. Those two things can never
hold the throne together. Selflessness - that is how love
shows itself; that is the fruit of love.
Effects of Sin Negated by Righteousness
What is the result of
all this meekness, yieldedness, obedience, dependence,
selflessness? Well, just the opposite of what sin was on
the other side. Sin was enmity against God; the result
here is love, the love of God in Christ shed abroad in
our hearts, destroying the enmity. Sin put at a distance;
this nature of Christ brings nearness and likeness to
God. Instead of impotence comes power with God and the
power of God.
Issue of Righteousness - Life
Now if you turn to the
book of the Revelation - where all things in the Bible
are brought to a consummate expression - you find there
that the end of movements in the cosmos is the hurling
from his height of "the dragon, the old serpent,
which is the Devil and Satan"; hurled down at last,
with all his, to his destruction; and then the coming
down out of heaven of the New Jerusalem to take his
place. But how has it come about? "The Lamb shall
overcome..." (Rev. 17:14). John at one point said he
saw in the vision a book sealed with seven seals and he
heard a voice saying, "Who is worthy to open the
book...?" and there was none found to open it. And
he said, "I wept much, because no one was found
worthy to open the book." But the angel said,
"Weep not; behold, the Lion that is of the tribe of
Judah, the Root of David, hath overcome to open the
book." And John turned to see this Lion, and being
turned, he beheld "a Lamb standing, as though it had
been slain" (Rev. 5:1-6). You are familiar with
that. A Lion? - power, majesty, dominion? Yes, all that.
Where? - "a Lamb... as though it had been
slain"; a slain Lamb, the embodiment of all the
features of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. "And
they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb"
(Rev. 12:11). Oh, there is spiritual meaning in all that!
It ought to find us out, it ought to pierce our hearts!
How shall the enemy be overthrown? How shall his kingdom
be destroyed? By the nature of the Lamb being so
developed in us, the people of God, that all that other
kingdom of Satan is undone in principle. And the power of
this kingdom, which is an everlasting kingdom, is the
power of the nature of Him of Whom it is said, "Thy
kingdom..." It is His nature. "Thou hast loved
righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore..." And
this is life triumphant over death; and when the Lamb has
made war and has prevailed, and the Church has come into
the good of that in fellowship with Him because of the
blood of the Lamb, because of the word of their
testimony, having loved not their own lives unto the
death, then the way is opened for the final scene - the
new Jerusalem; and from the midst of the city issues the
river, the water of life. That is life!
What is life? It is
letting go to God; it is meekness; it is all this that we
have been speaking of; it is Christ, the Life. We are not
dealing with things - although there may well be
a very literal side to all this and it is not simply all
principles and abstract ideas; yet behind all else there
are spiritual features. We are not thinking of going to
heaven until heaven has come to us. We are not thinking
of going to the Lord till the Lord has come to us. We are
not thinking of a kingdom which is going to be given to
us until that kingdom has already been constituted in us.
All that depends upon what the Lord does inside us now
and our intelligent co-operation with Him in what He is
Kingdom Established Within by the Tests of Faith
Why is He treating us
as He does? Why does He lead us through the experiences
that we go through? Do you ever have the slightest sense
that the Lord has left you? In spite of what we have said
about Christ bearing all for us, do we not from time to
time feel the Lord far away? Why? Oh, we have puzzled
over that! He has said, "Lo, I am with you all the
days, even unto the consummation of the age" (Matt.
28:20); "I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I
in any wise forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). 'Then where
art Thou, Lord, today? Thou dost seem to be a thousand
miles away today, I have no sense of Thy presence.' Why?
just this; God's fact is that He is not far away. What
about your faith in God's fact? Are you living on facts
or feelings? by faith or by sight? - for everything has
to be established by faith. Faith must rise up and say,
'Lord, Thou dost seem to be a thousand miles away today,
but Thou art not, Thou art here, according to Thy
promise. I repudiate the devil's suggestion that Thou
hast left me, and that I have grieved the Holy Spirit and
Thou hast forsaken me; I repudiate it on the ground of
all that Thou hast done to bridge that gap by the Cross.'
When faith thus asserts its position things are restored,
the trouble is cleared up.
And as it is with that
matter, so it is with all others. We are in the school,
where we are to learn that we are not just living on the
Bible in an objective way, and that there is a sense in
which the Bible merely as a book cannot help us or do us
any good. Somehow or other, there has to be something
done between us and that which God has said, in order to
make it real, and that is done through testing and trial;
and thus the spiritual reality - the Kingdom - is
established within us, and we learn to reign over that
other kingdom. The Lord help us.