by T. Austin-Sparks
Transcribed from a message given in July 1969. Extract from "But Ye Are Come Unto Mount Zion" - Chapter 2.
I do wish that all people who are so interested in this word "Pentecost" would recognize really what Pentecost was. They limit it to this and that and something else, "This is Pentecost". The Lord save us from this restricted conception. Pentecost is the act of God in bringing to birth a new, altogether new, humanity. And if your Pentecostalism or experience (forgive me using the very phrase) doesn't mean that there is a new humanity of a different order that is God's doing and not the result of any kind of soul, psychic, or any other force produced by the energy of man, it is not something that you have to stand back and say, "It's God; and it is God producing a new kind of humanity, unique, different. God's act!" Resurrection and Pentecost are one thing as God's act, firstly in the One Son and then in the sons to be. That is all very simple I know, but I am working on toward the object.
Now then, you come back to your New Testament, and especially to begin with to the Book of the Acts; and what have you in the Book here? The gradual dawning, the gradual dawning, upon the apostles (yes, the apostles) and then upon the believers; the gradual dawning of what has happened, what has happened, what the meaning of Christ was. It is dawning... it is the faint rays seemingly of a new day just coming up over the horizon and shooting across the sky, and in their consciousness something happening. Notice, in the beginning, they still continued to go up to the temple, in the ordinances of the temple, the ritual of the temple, the time of prayer at the temple. They are still going up, but something is happening, something is spreading over their sky, and that fades out. It fades out! They are losing that attachment. They are losing that mentality. They are meeting in homes, wherever they can meet: not meeting in the temple any longer. No, it is not a sudden thing that has happened that they make a sudden break. I say it is the dawning of the meaning of a new day.
It is so real, so clear; they don't put it into any system of teaching and say, "You must come out of that denomination. You must come out of that system. You must leave that order of things." No, it is just happening. Something is happening, and they are finding themselves out. And note this that I am going to say: first of all, it is not a physical separation. It is not a physical separation, first of all, it is an inward spiritual separation. I will put it this way: they find themselves out before they are out! They find that they no longer belong. No one has ever told them that they must leave their denomination, their church, their mission; their this, that, and the other organization. No, something has happened inside.
You know, in the old creation, God commenced from the outside; and in the new, always from the inside. And in this spiritual dispensation it is that you just find yourself somewhere, perhaps where you never intended to be. Peter never intended that he quarreled and argued with the Lord about the house of Cornelius, "No, Lord, not so." All right, Peter, what has happened to you? Don't you know what has happened to you? You are going to know, and Peter does come to know, doesn't he? Oh, he will write later on, he'll write about the spiritual house of God. Well, do you see what I mean? Something has dawned, has broken. It is a new day, and the dawn has come in, and the light is growing, growing. That's the first movement.
Oh, dear friends, do take hold of it! It is an organic thing. It is a movement of Life within. It is not legal, "Ye must" or "Ye must not" - "You must leave this and leave that in order to come to God's fulness." It is not that at all. I say, stay there until you cannot for your very life's sake, for your very walk with God's sake, for your very knowledge of the Holy Spirit within. Stay, stay. "Come out-ism" is a dangerous thing. That is not how it was. It was from the inside. It is the way of the Holy Spirit, the initiative of God, the act of God, the dawning of a new awareness that "Something is happening to me because it is happening in me." I know what that means. I have had crises like that. I have had crises like that when I knew that something had happened to create a divide, and "Now, Lord, what am I to do? If I take action, look what will happen." And so I stuck and on a false pretext went on. At the end of some months, I found myself like this - I was not in it. "No, that is not where I am finding the Lord. That is not where Life is," and I have gone back to the Lord and I have said, "Lord, what am I to do?" He said, "So many months ago, I took you out in spirit. Now perhaps you will have to follow in body." Oh, don't you put a teaching on that. Don't take hold of that and crystallise it into a doctrine. It is a spiritual movement because this is a spiritual dispensation.
That commenced, as I have said, at the beginning of the Book of the Acts, and before you are through that book, what will you find? You will find that the light has been growing and growing; and you are having in the letters that are compassed by that book (all these letters, every one of the Pauline letters is compassed by the Book of the Acts, isn't it? And others) you'll find that in all these letters which come out, you have the growing revelation of what? Of what had happened, what has happened; what the meaning of the resurrection of Christ and the advent of the Holy Spirit really meant. It is a growing revelation, not of some new thing as a thing, but of what was at the beginning, at the root of things.
So God is moving (so to speak) backward, in order to move onward; and you have this growing revelation under these two words, "Not - But." An inward thing "Not - But." The Day is moving on. It'll come, it'll come to its glorious consummation when what happened at the beginning is found in the consummation, the "New Jerusalem, coming down from above" - the sum of this new thing that happened with the coming of the Lord Jesus. And we will be coming back to that in Hebrews later on. But you are marking the way, the consummation of the initiation, the growing light, transforming the mentality.
Oh, I have the New Testament you see, right present, all of it in mind as I am speaking. The growing light - increasing understanding of what this new dispensation means: growing. You will have many, many exact statements in the growing light which has grown from the day when he first had Christ revealed in him; as he said. Growing light... Paul didn't have it all at once; it was growing all the time, the growing light, as he will say presently, "The Jerusalem which is beneath is in bondage. Cast out the bondwoman." Not that Jerusalem, "but the Jerusalem which is above is our mother." Our mother. You see the language and what it means? And is it not impressive and significant that it is at the end of the letter to the Galatians?
Do you know what the Letter to the Galatians is about? Think again. Well, it's along this line of contrast of the "not" and the "but", isn't it? Not circumcision; not, not, not; but, but. And at the end of that letter he uses this so significant phrase in Galatians 6, is it 16? It doesn't matter very much, it is right at the end of the letter: "the Israel of God," the whole Israel of God. The new Israel. That, that throws light upon the whole letter, you see. One Israel is gone, the old Israel is gone! That is the argument of the letter, isn't it? That is why he got into such trouble. That is why this letter is such a battleground! That Israel: no more... not, but now another with its Jerusalem headquarters above, its birthplace above, (I'll come back to that later). The Israel of God; a new Israel entirely.
Well, now, I must get on... We must, dear friends, (and this is a very vital point in our consideration or in what the Lord is trying to say to us) we must recognise the new dimensions of God in this thing that has now come in on the "but" side.
The Dimensions of God
What was the tragedy of the old Israel? Of course, the tragedy of the old Israel, finally, is their dismissal. Their dismissal: "The kingdom of heaven shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." That happened and it stands today. The kingdom of heaven taken away - not for that Israel, but for another! The tragedy of Israel, of course, is that they are dismissed from the dispensation, or the dispensational movement of God. These years... it has lasted for two thousand, how many more years we do not know, probably, not so long... you leave that alone.
Here I am going to upset a lot of you: you leave Israel alone for the time being. You will get into terrible confusion if you get down on this earth with an earth touch in these things. Some of us have lived through things - we remember the Kaiser (forgive me, that is not an attack upon any nation or people) but we do remember him going to Jerusalem and having a new door broken into the wall of Jerusalem so that he never went in through any of the old gates of the old Jerusalem, but because of who he was, who he was, a new gate must be broken in the wall for him. And people fitted that into prophecy, see? And said, "Therefore, the Kaiser is... So-and-so, the Messiah!" All right, say no more. Was he?
When General Allenby entered Jerusalem and brought the Turkish rule to an end, the prophetic school laid hold of it, brought it down to earth and said, "The end of the time of the Gentiles." How long ago was that? Was it? Was it? Mussolini. A dear man of God but caught up in this kind of thing, went from Belgium to Rome to see Mussolini to say to him, "You are the last Caesar to reconstitute the Roman Empire." Whereupon Mussolini had a great statue made of himself, statue made of himself, the last Caesar and a great relief map of the revived Roman Empire with ten kingdoms behind his statue. The last Caesar of the revived Roman Empire? We need say any more? What about him? God help the last Caesar.
You see, and you go on like that; confusion, if you come down onto this earth. Leave it alone and see what God is doing, and God is doing a spiritual thing, not a temporal thing.
I could take an hour to enlarge upon that last phrase, "not a temporal thing." Do you see, in the sovereign activities of God, now He is confounding and confusing and breaking down all temporal representations of His heavenly kingdom? Men are trying to set up local churches after New Testament order. You have never had more confusion in local churches than you have today! They are trying to set up things, constitute things, Christian movements, Christian institutions, Christian organizations, and they are all in confusion and don't know what to do with one another. As Billy Graham said, "The psychiatrists are chasing one another around to give some explanation of their own troubles." Well, that may be exaggeration, but do you see what I mean? God is breathing upon every temporal representation in order to have a spiritual expression of Christ! That is the heart of what we are saying, and that is what is here.
Now I was saying, we must recognize the dimensions of this that has come in with Christ and into which we have come. The spiritual dimensions are diverted from Israel's tragedy, Israel's tragedy... yes, of being set aside in this dispensation. But why? Why? Have you ever answered why? The answer is in one word, friends - exclusivism: "We are the people. Truth begins and ends with us. You will never be able to get anywhere with God if you are not circumcised. Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved. The nations are dogs, are dirt." (Poor Jonah, poor Jonah was caught in this.) "We are the people. We are the beginning and the end of all God's work. You have got to come on to our ground, be on our ground, or you are out." You never will be on God's ground if you do not come up out of that. I could enlarge upon that, of course.
Exclusivism - and God never meant that when He took them out of the nations, made them a distinct people, constituted them His Own peculiar people. He never meant that. He only meant to plant them in the nations to show the nations what a God He is, WHAT A GREAT GOD HE IS! And this, this startled and stunned Jonah; that God could ever think in mercy upon anybody outside of Israel; Nineveh.
And so you have it all the way through haven't you? And that is the trouble in the New Testament with the Lord Jesus: it is the exclusivism of Judaism that is the battleground. The battle in the life of the Apostle Paul was that, was that! He was hammering at this brick wall of Jewish exclusivism, and all his sufferings are because of that.
This new Israel is so much greater than the old because Christ, this Messiah, is so much greater than their conception of a Messiah. The immense dimensions of the New Israel! We have got to recognize this, and resist exclusivism where Christ is concerned, as we would resist a plague; where Christ is concerned. I am not talking about fundamental truths and the personality of Christ; I am talking about the greatness of this One Who is introduced, hath spoken at the end in His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of..." an exclusive party? - "ALL things." That is Paul's great word all the way through isn't it: "all things... all things, all things," and in the end, "to sum up all things in Christ." And if I need to safeguard, I am not talking about universalism. I am talking about God's ultimate realm and sphere where it will be nothing but Christ. The rest will be outside altogether; wherever that outside is, it will be outside and not inside. "For without..." - that is the last word of Revelation, "For without are the dogs, (and so on), and everything that makes a lie." That is false, that is out, that is gone. Within: of the all things... Christ. Well, there we are.
Now, what is the governing concept here in this letter right at the beginning? "Has spoken at the end of these times in Son." There is no article - "in Son." What is the meaning of Son or sonship? Always fulness. Always fulness! The fulness of the Father is in the Son, Divinely conceived. The Son is the fulness of the Father: the Firstborn is the fulness and takes up all that is of and in the Father. Fulness!