The Sanctuary of God
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 - Heavenly Government

Hebrews 3:1,6; 4:14; 6:4-5; 8:1-2,5; 9:23-24; 11:16; 12:22-26.

There is that in heaven which is God's perfect thought. Man since the fall is an exile from heaven, so that heaven must govern if there is to be anything here which is according to God's mind for God to dwell in.

The government of the heavens means:

(a) Man by Nature is Excluded

"Holding fast our boldness... firm unto the end", means going on a heavenly path, persisting on the level of the heavenlies as "partners in a heavenly calling". As we go on we are more and more excluded in what we are by nature. Wherever God's dwelling place is mentioned in the Old Testament there is always associated with it the aspect of heavenly government, that man has to be made suitable for God to dwell there.

Bethel. The House of God came in with Jacob very early in his career, but he could not stay there. He called the place Bethel because he met God there, but he took hold of Divine things for himself, and therefore that could not be for him God's abiding place. God chastened this son whom he had received (Hebrews 12) for twenty years, and then he could come back to Bethel and pour out a drink-offering - that which is for God's pleasure.

The Tabernacle. In relation to service every precaution was taken against man appearing before God in his natural state. There were no steps to the altar, but an incline, so that no flesh of the priest should appear; and when going into the sanctuary there was rigid provision for the covering of all that suggested man by nature.

The Temple. The same was true of the temple. Wherever you come upon the House of God precautions are taken by the Lord against man's flesh, so that man comes in only in Christ by the Spirit under the anointing.

In the New Testament this was carried out in a spiritual way very stringently and drastically. Ananias and Sapphira associated themselves with the pure, true, holy, spiritual House of God in another spirit, and the Holy Ghost smote them, setting an example of the sure judgment that rests upon all flesh that dares to come into touch with that which is of God, and where God is.

(b) Man in Christ is Brought in

The House of God is constituted of men. They are still human and still mortal, yet heaven brings man in and transcends the human limitations, inasmuch as he has no standing in himself. The House is constituted of what we are in Christ, not of what we are in ourselves, and the measure of Christ is an important factor.

(c) Heavenly Qualifications

When man is dealt with by the Cross, so that he recognises that he cannot, and accepts that he cannot and that he must not try, then heaven comes in to qualify for this heavenly purpose. Heaven governs in two ways for qualification: (1) By giving a spiritual faculty; (2) By giving that upon which the spiritual faculty can work. The faculties are given in new birth, and then the Lord shows Himself, reveals Himself, and His heavenly things, so that we grow by using heavenly faculties upon heavenly things.

The heavens govern where God's purpose is concerned, to see that things are heavenly, and therefore there will be a steady breaking down of all that is merely natural ability, or cleverness, or facility in handling spiritual things, so that what relates to God's purpose has to come from God to us. "The second man is the Lord from heaven". It is the inclusive governing factor. Mark, again, the phrase, "The Holy Ghost sent down from heaven". That means that what is being done and said is in the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.

To counter God's end the method of the enemy is to counter God's means. So he has ever sought to relate things to earth and in that way to nullify what is of God.

There are laws of heaven, there is an order of God's House, and the government must be from heaven. Our proximity upsets the balance of heavenly things. We must stand back.

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