While we wait upon Thee... on Thee, Lord, we wait...
and while we do need Thee to bless us and ask Thee to bless us
while we wait on Thee, we would rise even higher and say,
Lord, satisfy Thyself. Get to Thyself the reward of Thy
sufferings, the travail of Thy soul. Lord, find Thine own
satisfaction; ours will, we know, follow. We shall not lose
anything if the Lord gets what He wants. And so, may we find
our blessing in Thy blessing, for Thy name's sake, amen.
The Letter to the Hebrews... and we are this morning coming to the
concentration of the whole letter in one section. In chapter
twelve you will note that this concentration of the whole
letter in this section is governed by the two words: "NOT",
"BUT." Verse 18:
"For ye are NOT come unto a mount
that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and unto
blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a
trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard
entreated that no word more should be spoken unto them; for
they could not endure that which was enjoined, if even a beast
touch the mountain, it shall be stoned; and so fearful was the
appearance, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: BUT
ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of
angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn
who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and
to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the
Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling
that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye
refuse not Him that speaketh."
Not... but. We shall not dwell upon the various
details gathered under the "not" simply to say that this
does represent a tremendous change over from one whole system of
Divine activity and method in the past which is (or was) of the
nature of the tangible, the sentient, the palpable; what you
could see with your natural eyes and hear with your natural ears
and touch with your hands and register by all your natural
senses of soul and body. That comprehends the past system, and
over it is written: "Not". Not anymore. That kind of
thing is left behind. And, mark you, dear friends, that it is
because that has been overlooked or not recognized that
Christianity is in the poor state that it is in today, for
Christianity is built upon this "not," very largely. You
will see that perhaps more as we go on the positive side, but
register that: what you are not come to. Take it clause by
clause in its significance. Each clause with its significance...
what we are not come to.
We are not come to a system that can be appropriated and
known by natural senses. That is very comprehensive, it touches a
very great deal, does it not? That is finished. The Cross
has cut in between that and this "BUT we are come."
But... We Are Come
Now I want to be very implicit and
careful. Did they really come to Sinai? You see the description,
the Holy Spirit through the writer is making it very, very
definite and positive and emphatic that this was something very
real - so real that even Moses, who had such access to God, such
fellowship with God, with whom God did speak Face to face as a
man to his friend, this man said: "I exceedingly fear and
quake." Was that real? Was that imaginary? Was that just
abstract? No, this thing was very real. People cried out, "Stop!
We can't bear this. We cannot endure this." Very real! That is
what they came to. If you had been there, no doubt you would
have said, "There is no imaginary thing here. This is something
terrific." "But we
are come," and do you mean to say that it is less real...
the "but" than the "not"? That this that we are
come to is abstract while that was concrete? Oh no, I am sure
that this is even more real, after its own kind, in its own
realm; and, dear friends, that is the point upon which we must
focus everything, the reality
of what we are come to.
When you go on and break this all up
into its details, if you are in your own senses, senses of mind
and soul, you are just completely baffled. It seems so... well,
idealistic or imaginary, so ethereal, so unreal. You
see, to the natural, the spiritual is unreal. To the natural
man, the man of soul, what is essentially and intrinsically
spiritual is unreal. Their reaction is "Oh, let's be practical!
Let's come down to earth, let's get out of the clouds and get
our feet solidly on the terra firma," (as the Irishman said,
"terra cotta"!). "Let's get down to things that we know are
real." That is the reaction of the natural man to the spiritual.
But to the spiritual, spiritual things are far more real than
the tangible. And this that we are come to, to say the very
least, is as real as what they came to at Sinai, if after a
Now I want you to note the tense,
because it is very important to get the tense: "we ARE come
to Zion, Mount Zion." Not we are coming, not we are going,
not we shall then arrive at Zion, "we are." I
know you will go on singing it, "We Are Marching Upward To
Zion." We know what you mean. If you want one of the most
hilariously, comic, humorous things, try to march to the tune of
that hymn; that song! I remember many years ago, there was a
conference of Christians and they decided at a certain time of
the conference they would have a procession around the town. So
they all formed up in procession, and had a brass band to lead.
And the leader, who was neither a musician nor a soldier,
shouted to hymn so and so: "Come ye that love the Lord, and let
your joys be known... we're marching upward to Zion." And the band
started and the people started to try to march. You never saw
anything so funny in your life. If you don't know what I mean,
take that tune outside sometime and get a dozen people to try to
march to that tune. Can you imagine it now? Do you know that
tune? Oh no... well, I just put that in as perhaps a little bit of
humour, but it has the point: we are not marching upward to
Zion. The Word says: "But
ye are come to Zion," present tense. We are
supposed to be at Zion now. Have you got that?
There is here, of course, a contrast
between Sinai and Zion, but it is not only contrast here, but
note, in keeping with what I have just said, it is more than
contrast, it is consummation! This Zion was on the horizon for
Israel right at the beginning. I think it is an impressive and
amazing thing that you find the people through the Red Sea,
through the Red Sea, and on the far side. And then you look at
Exodus and find them on the far side, Exodus 15, and you have
this, right there, before ever they had marched into the
wilderness and on to the land - or got anywhere other than on
the other side of the Red Sea - you have this: "Thou shalt
bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine
inheritance, the place, O Lord, which Thou hast made for them
to dwell in, the Sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have
established." Right at the beginning Zion is in view as
the end, the consummation of their journeyings and their
experiences. During the next forty years? Ah, and many more...
Zion is on the horizon from the beginning.
Zion is Not the Beginning, Zion is the
Consummation of Everything
This is the Letter to the Hebrews. In
old times, old times, they were on the journey, stage by stage,
phase by phase, step by step. You remember that chapter which is
just full, smothered, with that word in Numbers, "and they
journeyed... and they journeyed... and they journeyed." I think it is
forty times in one chapter, "and they journeyed." Old times...
The Letter to the Hebrews says, "We have arrived, we have
arrived!" How? Because all the bits and pieces, phases and
stages, steps and movements, have come to their consummation in
Jesus Christ. We have arrived, we are come to the end of all
God's movements in His Son. He is the consummation of all!
Now then, still this word "Zion,"
which it says we are come to, remains a bit abstract so far as
our mentality is concerned. We must, therefore, get down to see
what this Zion is that we have come to. We have said:
consummation, comprehension (or comprehensiveness), but what is
it? What makes it up? What is the constitution of Zion as God's
Well, then, first of all, we say:
Zion is an
Inclusive and Comprehensive Term.
In other words, we are come to the
all-inclusive and all-comprehending thought and intention of
God when we have come into the Lord Jesus. We may have to
grow in our apprehension and understanding of what we have come
to, but God has nothing whatever to add to what we have come to.
We have got it all! In Christ, we have all!
God has reached His end in His Son,
finished His New Creation in His Son, and entered into His rest.
And so the letter here says, "We who have believed do enter
into His rest." It is a comprehensive term, is Zion, it is
coming into all that
God has placed in His Son for us. Christ is the sum total of all
God's work over which is written: "It is finished." It
doesn't mean just come to an end, it is all completed,
it is all completed, it is all perfect!
You know, the formula when the priests brought the
sacrifice for the atonement and placed their hands upon the head
of the sacrifice, they uttered a formula which in the Greek is "tetelestai, tetelestai" - "It is perfect." They had gone with their trained
eye over that sacrifice, turning up every hair to see if there
was one of another colour; any minute point of contradiction and
inconsistency, through and through, opening its mouth, examining
its teeth; every part gone through the trained eye of the
meticulous priest. And when he finished his examination, the
sacrifice had been put up for ten days under that scrutiny to
see if there would be any development whatever of an
inconsistent, imperfect element.
At the end, he brought it forth and put his hands on it
and: "tetelestai", "It is perfect." That is the Letter
to the Hebrews isn't it? By one offering, forever He has
perfected, made complete; and when Jesus cried, "It is
finished," it was the cry of the verdict of an Offering
Perfect, without spot or blemish, to God. It is perfect. It
is complete. His work and His Person are in right standing
The sum of all God's work is represented in the symbolic name, "Zion."
But Zion is seen to be not only Christ Personal, but a corporate
thing. It is the people
of Zion, as well as Zion - the people of Zion, a corporate thing;
and Zion then is a people
who are in the good of the complete and perfect work of
Christ, a people who are the vessel of that work of
the Lord which is complete.
Zion... It's so easy to say things like this, isn't
it, this is perhaps Bible teaching, you might say good Bible
teaching; but, oh, my friends, we have got to see before we get
through this week that it is not just as simple as that. And you
will discover almost every day of your life that this position
of standing in and being in the good of the finality of Christ's
work is not a simple matter - it is challenged, up hill and down
dale, all the way along, that you should be moved, we should be
moved, from this position of the perfected work of the Lord
That is what I mean when I say we are not marching
upward to Zion, we are
come to something perfect, and we should be the people embodying
that perfect work of the Lord Jesus! I do not mean that we are perfect, but His
work is perfect; and He Who is perfect is with us and in us. The
time will come when that perfection will be manifested. I think
that is a very wonderful fragment, isn't it, in Thessalonians: "When
He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be
marvelled at in all them that believe" - marvelled at! And
I suppose we shall marvel more than anyone else.
Well, that is Zion. It is Christ and Christ
collective, Christ corporate, the foundation of everything. His
perfect work as His perfect Person - that is Zion!
Now, I'm keeping, of course, very close to the
background, the symbolic and typical background of the Old
Testament, because while the things of the Old
Testament have gone, the meaning and the spiritual principles
are eternal so that the spiritual meaning and principle of
Zion is taken over and applied here. That is why the very
name is taken out of the Old Testament and brought here into the
So that the next thing about Zion is
that it is:
The Very Symbol of His Absolute Victory.
Do you remember the beginning of Zion?
After they had brought David back from his exile and made him
king, the Jebusites occupied this site and they sneered at David
from Zion and said, "You shall not come in hither"; and they
fortified it with the blind and the lame and said, "These are
enough to keep you out of here. This is an impregnable
stronghold, so much so that the weakest can hold it, save it. If
the weakest, the blind, and the lame can do it, well, the
strongest... of course it goes without saying what the strongest
can do!" The Jebusites considered this Zion to be absolutely
impregnable, the last word in the unassailable and
"uncapturable." Is that a word in the dictionary? I don't think
it is. It's good enough for our use! "You shall not come in
here, indeed, it is quite impossible for you to do so." - "Alright," says David, they accept the challenge, "We take up the
gauntlet. You will see."
Well, we know what happened. He did
break through and break in and take the stronghold and destroy
the erstwhile impregnability, and it became the city of David,
the City of the Great King. His great victory, his immense
victory, is centred in, registered in, established, in Zion. And
Zion is the very symbol and synonym of the great prowess of
God's King, of God's Anointed.
Now, bring it over: "for ye are come to Zion,"
the City of the Living God, ye are come to Zion. What have we
come to? We have come, we
have come to the supreme victory of the Lord Jesus Christ
over the erstwhile and impregnable - and what was that? We quote
from Matthew: "I will build My church; and the gates of Hades
shall not prevail against it." And what have you heard as
the exposition of "the gates of Hades?" I am not sure that in
the early days I didn't make this mistake, "gates" in the
Bible, of course, in the Old Testament cities, the gates were the place of
the counsels of the elders where they came to their decision by
discussion and counsel and made their decisions for the city and
the land. And so we have said the "gates" are the counsels of
Hell. Don't you make that mistake. That's right, but that is not
what it means. What is the otherwise impregnable stronghold of
the prince of this world? It's death. It's death! So the Risen
Lord in the presentation of Himself in the Book of the
Revelation, right at the beginning, says, "I am He That
liveth, I became dead; but behold, I am alive unto the ages of
the ages; and I have the keys of death and of Hades." The
spiritual stronghold into which the Lord Jesus broke; that
impregnable stronghold of "him (Hebrews) who had the hold of
death". He was able to say here, "Whatever you take from
Me, you can't wrench that out of My hand. In the end, I'll have
you. I have the hold, the power, the authority of death."
Spiritual death is a tremendous thing,
a terrific thing, so much so that the Apostle Paul almost
exhausts the vocabulary in this connection when he says that we
should know "the exceeding greatness of His power, exceeding
greatness of His power." Exceeding greatness of God's
power! Think of that! The psalmist would say, "Selah" -
"think of that!"
God, God! The exceeding, the power of God which exceeds: "The
exceeding greatness of His power which is to us-ward
who believe, according to the working (the energy, the
word is the 'energy') of the strength of His might, which He
wrought (or energised) in Christ, when He raised Him
from the dead." What language... what language! It is
simply, I say it is beyond, Paul's expression. He had a very good
vocabulary, but he is finding himself put to it to express and
explain what it meant to raise Jesus from the dead - to overcome
Oh, it is so easy to say, "God raised Him from the dead,"
but do you see what it meant? The illustration, of course, (and
the illustration always fades in the presence of the reality)
the illustration is Egypt and Pharaoh and the gods of the
Egyptians. See how God is just, shall I say, panning out His
power in those ten judgments. The first is a great power, the
second is a great power and more, and the third is still more,
and on to ten. Ten... you know the symbolic meaning of ten in the
Bible, but we'll not stop for details. On to ten. Increasing
power, increasing power breaking down something, steadily,
steadily breaking down a great force; and when you come to the
consummate thing, what is it? It is life and death, the death of
all the firstborn in Egypt; and when that is registered, the
people are free: out they go, resurrected!
It is an illustration. Types, I say, are
always poor things in the presence of the reality; the reality
is the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead by the glory of the
Father, by the exceeding greatness of His power - and that is to
us-ward. Dear friends, I
don't think we have begun to understand what it cost, and what
power lies behind, our being born again, our being brought
from death unto Life.
Now I come back to Zion, because that's Zion.
Come to Zion"
Ye are come to the immense victory of the Lord
Jesus in the realm that supremely challenged God and
heaven: the realm of death. Death. And so you have
here in this letter, especially in the first chapters, so much
about death, haven't you? "He tasted death for every man."
He tasted death for every man! He delivered all those who
through all their lifetime were subject to fear through fear of
death, to bondage through fear of death! Underline death in those early
chapters because it is basic to all that follows; and when you
come to the end of the letter, you have that great note struck
again, oh what wonder: "Now the God of peace, Who brought again
from the dead that Great Shepherd of the sheep through the
blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect." We are
brought again from the dead. There is the potential, there is
the dynamic, of our being made perfect. The death, which put
a period to all spiritual perfection before, has now been
broken by the Great Shepherd of the sheep.
I say put a period? You in Hebrews remember Aaron
and all his sons, the priests? It says they could make nothing
perfect because they died. Death put a period to their work, and
nothing was perfect. But He has perfected forever. Why?
Because He lives forever, "I am alive unto the ages of the
ages," therefore, that is the hope and dynamic of your
being made perfect.
Oh, thank God, "the exceeding greatness of His power"
which is going, eventually, to present us before the
presence of His glory without spot in exceeding joy, a
glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, presented (oh, what
a word) "faultless!" What a sweep of the board that is! Faultless!
My, we down here now, are just obsessed with one another's
faults and with our own. Faultiness; faultiness, and that's your
trouble - you're looking for the perfect assembly, the perfect
church, and the perfect Christian, and you are just all the time
occupied with what is not perfect; the fault and faults. To
present us faultless - "He is able to present us faultless
before the presence of His glory in exceeding joy." Why?
Because He has conquered death! Death is the stronghold, the
stronghold, and He has plundered the stronghold of Satan.
"He plunged in His imperial strength
to gulfs of darkness down: He brought His trophy up, at length,
the foiled usurper's crown."
The crown of Satan is death.
The crown of Christ is Life: "I will give unto you
the crown of Life." Well, are we spending too much time on
details about Zion? This is what we have come to, or are
supposed to have come to! May we be given strength and faith
to apprehend what is being said; enter into the marvelous joy
Number three about Zion, and Zion again
was, and is, in its spiritual meaning and reality:
The Centre of
His dwelling... the Lord dwelt in Zion. The Lord was
found in Zion. You notice the words from Exodus 15? "Thy
sanctuary, thou wilt bring them into Thy sanctuary"; to the
mountain. "Thy sanctuary". We know historically that it was
there that God had His Sanctuary; and I will say here that
without dealing with details, as in Hebrews 12, verse 18 and
onward, that Jerusalem and Zion look like synonymous terms,
don't they? As though they are interchangeable. They are not
exactly the same thing, but dare I stop to deal with the
difference that there is? It may come out without any special
consideration, but here: "the city which Thou, O Lord, hast
made" - the heavenly Jerusalem.
Well now, here we come then to this
place of His dwelling, the place where the Lord is. If you were
asked where you would find the Lord, I wonder what you would
answer? Well, for one week in the year at any rate, at Wabanna! [Wabanna is where the conference was held.] Or you might mention other things, "If you want to find the
Lord, you come to our meetings. You come to our company, our place
of worship, or you go to So-and-so; you go to So-and-so and
you will find the Lord there"; and so you localise the Lord. I
know in the Old Testament they had to go to the places where He
caused His Name to be. That
is in that geographical and literal sense, no longer the case.
To understand this, here is a great
danger into which Christendom has fallen; and we are all in
danger of localising the
presence of God. I mean literally, literally saying: "This
is where you have to come," or "That is where you have to go, if
you want to find the Lord." Don't you be deceived; it's not true. We
have passed from that system. That is under the "not."
That is under the not... it sweeps all that conception
away. There are no sacred Ephesus's or Philippi's or
Thessalonica's, if they were, they would be today where they
were two thousand years ago. They are not; have gone. The
Lord was met there,
but you won't meet Him there any longer, not in that way. No,
not even in Jerusalem, and not in Rome! But bring it down, bring
it down: where is the Lord? The Lord Jesus has given us... is it a
formula, a prescription? "Wheresoever two or three are
gathered into My name, there I am." There I AM! There I
Am. That is the only "localisation" (I hesitate to use the word
"locality") that is the only localisation of the Lord!
Now, at any place where you may have
met the Lord, any company of the Lord's people where people may
have met Him, as soon as they cease to be spiritually Zion, what
Zion really is spiritually, the Lord leaves that just as He left
the tabernacle in Shiloh. It is not sacred. The tabernacle isn't
sacred or it would be preserved until today. No, things on this earth
are not sacred to God. The place where the Lord is and is to be
found, is in Zion. Ah, but what Zion means, what Zion is, what we
have been saying Zion is - that is what we have come to!
Now you can go and put up a building
and get a congregation and put over the door: "Zion."
No! No! No! This is this mentality, you see, this mentality. No,
Zion is a spiritual thing,
a spiritual people,
and the great thing about them
is... you meet the Lord there when you meet them, and with them
you just meet the Lord. You are not meeting a technique, a form,
a ritual, a doctrine, a teaching, an interpretation and all
that. You are just meeting the Lord. "Ye are come to Zion..."
oh, let that be a test as well as a statement.
We will give up everything, and
rightly so, we can let anything go - buildings, places, and all
our constitution - we let it all go if people are not finding
the Lord when they come where we are. Paul brings it down to the
individual: "Ye are a sanctuary of the Living God." That
is an individual application, "the temple of God." I must
hurry on. The place of His dwelling is the place where Christ is in the finality
of His work, the fulness of what He has done, where
things are according to Christ. That is Zion!
Zion is the Seat of Divine Government.
Go back again of course, "Zion, the
city of the great King." Out of Zion shall the government
go forth. Out of Zion shall He rule the nations. Zion, the seat
of His sovereignty and government, where His throne is. I, a few
minutes ago, hinted at the difference between Jerusalem and
Zion; what difference there is... Zion, as I understand, is what
Jerusalem ought to be; and Jerusalem isn't always Zion, but it is what Jerusalem ought
to be: the governmental centre. I'm sure I'll get myself into a
lot of trouble if I follow that on... however, courage!
All, all the people of God are not the
seat and centre and expression of this government. And in the
Revelation, you will have something more than the holy city, the new
Jerusalem, you will have "nations walking in the
light thereof." You will have an extra circle. Yes, they
are in the Kingdom. Now I, mark this, I am not now
discriminating between the Church and the Kingdom. That is not
my point, but I am
saying that there are
overcomers. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with
Me in My Throne." That is Zion, but the Jerusalem doesn't
always conform to that, so far as the Lord's people are
I think I had better leave it there,
but, you see, it's just like that, this is a great difficulty
with many. You present the ultimate, full thought of God for the
Church - what God's Mind is about the Church, the Heavenly
Jerusalem - yes, you present it, but look at all these
Christians: one foot in the world and the other foot in
Christianity. All these "Christians"... do you mean to say that
they're in the Church; they're in the Church? When we think of
what the Church really is, you'd see. Oh well, don't make a
technical doctrine of it, but remember, there is such a thing as
God having a governing
people. It is one thing to be the citizen of a country, or even
of a city, it is another thing to be a member of the royal
household. See what I mean?
Zion is the very epitome, the very
essence, of God's thought for His Church, to which the Church
(as a whole) does not all approximate, but it, it's this
governmental thing. Now, at the beginning it was like that. The
literal Jerusalem in Judaea was, of old, the centre of the
government of the land. You come into your New Testament, and
you find that things move from Jerusalem. They move. You say,
"Antioch becomes the new centre, it takes the place of Jerusalem".
That is the way expositors put it, they make a geographical
movement of it. Well, alright, you can have it if you like,
but it isn't true. Let us go to Antioch then and have a look and
see what this is.
What are they doing in Antioch? There
were certain brethren in Antioch and "they fasted and prayed,
and the Holy Ghost said...." They are off the earth, they
are out of the world, they have left things here, they are
linked with heaven and by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven,
the Heavenly Government is in operation. The Heavenly Throne is
governing there. No, it is not a board meeting.
I do not know if any of you know
the cartoons of E. J. Pace. Years ago in the Sunday School
Times, he had a very good one. I think it was a humourous one,
but very good. He called it, "The First Board Meeting of the New
Testament," and here is Jerusalem and all the believers are
gathered in a congregation in Jerusalem, and there are two big
hands with a big board in it, in the hand, a big board, this
huge piece of timber, smashed down on that building and "they
were all scattered," scattered throughout all Judaea,
throughout all Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth;
and he calls that "The First Board Meeting."
No, not in Jerusalem literally and,
no, not in Antioch literally. Zion is where heaven is governing and
not men, where the heavenly councils are operating: "and
the Holy Ghost
said..." The Holy Ghost!
That is what we have come to, or ought to have come to. I hope I
haven't offended any of you board members, you committee men,
you church directors. No, no, we are coming to reality. Zion is
testing... challenging our whole system. And here, at this point,
Zion means it is that where Heaven rules, the Ascended Christ
governs through the Holy Spirit, makes the decisions, gives the
decisions, directs the courses. "Separate Me Barnabas and
Saul unto the work where to..." the board meeting has
appointed them? No, "I, I, have chosen them." This is
Heaven acting, and that is fruitful, isn't it?
Now, I must finish... Number five about
Zion is the Place of Secured and Established
Now this is rather interesting,
instructive. Go back to your Old Testament. When the hearts of
the men of Israel turned from Saul to David to bring him back
and to make him king, what happened? The first movement was to
Hebron, and there they stayed for seven years at Hebron. What is
Hebron? Do you know the meaning of Hebron? Fellowship,
fellowship, that is Hebron. Now you can put that over a
fellowship if you like, and call it "Hebron," but let it be true.
However, they brought and first of all made him king in
Hebron. It was a partial thing. It was a movement unto fulness,
but seven years in Hebron, seven years (spiritually interpreted)
of securing fellowship. And after the seven years, up to
Jerusalem to Zion; and the values of Hebron are now centred in
Zion; that is, Zion is that in which the true fellowship
of the Spirit is established!
You have got to read the rest of this
section of Hebrews to see the marvelous fellowship that is
there. Why, what have we come to? Even "to the spirits of
just men made perfect." I don't think I'll ever get to
that in this convocation. We... we are come to a marvelous
fellowship in heaven. To "hosts of angels,"
in fellowship with the angels; fellowship with "the spirits of just men
made perfect"; in fellowship with "Jesus the
Mediator of the new covenant." In fellowship with
everything; it is fellowship that is in Zion, heavenly
fellowship, heavenly fellowship. And you know quite well if you
just get a little taste of heavenly fellowship, it is heaven.
Some of you have come from far places
where you have little or no real spiritual fellowship; and
whatever other values there may be about convocations, I have
always found that one of the
greatest values, even more than the ministry, has been these
lonely pilgrims coming from far and near in the songs of ascents
up to Zion, and finding that heart-ravishing fellowship which
has sent them back to their lonely places feeling and knowing:
"Well, I am not alone after all! I thought I was alone. I was
Elijah looking for a juniper tree to say, 'It is enough, oh
Lord, take away my life. I am the only one left.' But I
discovered that there are seven thousand in Israel!" Fellowship
is a marvelous thing. That is Zion in truth. "Ye are come."
Oh, that we might live
in the good of that always, and in our loneliness and
isolations and exiles, know that our fellowship is in heaven.
Alright, I must just mention these things and go on.
seven years to get it,
and then establish it in Zion. In Zion. Well, what is it? Again, it is the
fellowship of Christ being in His right place and His full
place. David is now in his right place, and in his full place,
for which God chose and anointed him. He is there: our Greater
David in His place; right place and full place - and wherever
that is true here, that is Zion. And it is not Zion unless it is
like that. We're near the end, friends, I have a quarter of an
Zion is the Ground of our Festivities.
I have almost said this in what I have
just said. What does it say? "Zion, the city of our
solemnities." That is the phrase in Scripture, "the city,
the place, of our solemnities." What did that mean? Well, it was
the great feasts and festivals of the people which they had in
God had ordained that this people
should be a festive people. Now this portion in Hebrews says
that is what we have come to. We have come to numerous angels in
festal array. The city of our festivities. Well, need I say any
more? I believe this, I know this: that if you have anything
that approximates to Zion spiritually, anything that is really
and truly spiritual Zion, however small it is, you will have a
feast of good things. Where these things, these five things that
I have mentioned are true, where these things are true, you will
never be hungry, spiritually hungry. The Lord will see to it
that there is plenty there. You will not be miserable, but full
We need something more than religious
picnics; we need Zion's spiritual festivities. "Hosts of
angels in festal array." I don't know that I understand
that altogether, but I think I can glimpse it. My, when the
angels see Zion, how happy they are! How glad they are! There is
certainly joy amongst the angels when you have things like this.
When they look at a spiritual Zion, they put on their festal
garments and say, "This is it. This is it!" The angels rejoice.
Well perhaps that is an imperfect interpretation, I do not know,
but I am sure it is a part of it, because we register this,
don't we, when we have anything that approximates to Zion in
this way... Zion's fellowship and the King really in His Place of
Governing - we register heaven's feeling about it and say, "My,
this is good"; and we no longer condemn poor old Simon Peter. We
fall into the same wonderful and glorious trap, "It is good to be here.
Let us never go away from Wabanna again. Let us build three
We sang, just before this ministry
this morning, didn't we sing about "above the warring world
below..." We have got to go back to it, but may we go back with
something of the joy of Zion, the City of our solemnities,
spiritual festivity. I must leave that then with that and come
to the last thing about Zion; and this is only the first
fragment in the whole section. There is another one which will
probably take the whole of our time tomorrow, number eight, but
that is not coming now.
The Place of our Spiritual Franchise.
Is that a difficult word, idea? Well
if you do not know what I mean, I remind you of Psalm 87: "The
Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of
Jacob." Then the psalmist picks out those places in the
world that men boast of. "I was born in Philistia. Think of
that!" - "I was born in Tyre. Think of that! I am a Tyrite. I
am a citizen of Tyre." - "I was born in Ethiopia. Think of
that!" The psalmist, you can almost hear and see him pout:
"But this man was born in Jerusalem! It shall be said of
Zion, it shall be said: this man was born there."
Something absolutely superior. This man is a citizen of Zion, he
is born there, his name is registered there, and the psalmist
concludes that whole survey, comparison, and contrast with: "All
my wellsprings are in Thee." All my wellsprings are in
Thee; the Place of my franchise: "I am registered in heaven,
I am a citizen of heaven."
"Our citizenship," says the
apostle, "is in heaven; from whence we look for a Saviour."
"Our life is hid with Christ in God." Not only have we
been "born from above" (you're familiar with all that,
aren't you, in John: "born from above" is always the correct translation, not "born again," but "born from above,"
that is something more than being born again) "Born from
above" and our names written in heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Not only that, that is glorious, but you have the franchise.
Paul boasted of his freemanship:
"I am a freeman born," and they all had to yield to that, even
the Roman Empire had to bow to that, a freeman born. The poor
centurion captain had a bad time when he heard that. My word,
his life was at stake for having put chains on a free man! Our
citizenship is in heaven, our franchise is in heaven, we
are "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ." You
could pile it on! This one was born there at Zion, in
Zion, in Zion. I must leave that with you, I do trust it is just
not a lot of either interesting or even fascinating Bible
teaching, but this is a challenge: "Ye are come to Zion."
help us to see what we have come to, what we really are
in the Divine thought. The Lord make this true of us, wherever
we may be, and of the little companies with which we may be
related and connected, that it is in this true spiritual sense,
Lord, make this more than teaching and
doctrine and truth and Bible exposition. Do put the challenge
into it, into every one of our hearts, "Is this true of me? Am I
a citizen of Zion? Are these things real in my life?" Help us to
attend to it. Answer our prayer, for the sake of Thine own glory
and satisfaction in Thy Son, amen.