consideration upon which we now enter follows immediately upon
the former one, or runs parallel to it, namely 'Horizoned by
we speak of purpose being the horizon of all things, there is no
contradiction of the other. We are not changing Christ for some thing
called Purpose, we are only bringing into view the
complement of Christ.
Person and the Purpose are complementary, they form one whole. To
rightly see the Person is to understand the Purpose. Purpose is
not an abstract, detached, and impersonal thing, it is the
extension of the Person, albeit something very definite.
are now and here going to cite and link together two couplets of
Scripture - Ezekiel 1:26; 48:35, and Eph. 1:9-12; 3:21: -
"...above the firmament... was the likeness of a
throne, and upon... the throne was a likeness as the appearance
of a man upon it above."
"And the name of the city from that day shall be
the LORD is there."
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his
will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him [Christ]
unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to
sum up all things in Christ... according to the purpose of him
who worketh all things after the counsel of his will..."
"...unto him be the glory in the church and in
each of these two Scriptures two things are noticeable.
Ezekiel, the beginning is a throne in Heaven and its Occupant -
"a likeness... of a man upon it." The end of all the
history contained in the book is a House, a Kingdom, and a City,
with the final statement, "The LORD is there."
'Ephesians' (so called) the features are similar. The Letter
begins with Christ exalted to the heavenly throne, and proceeds
to the House, the Church, the Body, and the Lord as there -
"...glory in the church..."
Ezekiel, all that is between the beginning and the end is the
expression of that throne. The end is the issue of the
throne-activities, and it shows what all those throne-activities
are leading to. The beginning is individual - one Man glorified
and governing. The end is corporate, a people with the glory and
same is true of 'Ephesians'. The One in Heaven leads to the
corporate Body in ascendency.
two main features of the books explain and justify our bringing
them together although there are many more corresponding features
are two factors which stand out in clear relief in Ezekiel and
'Ephesians' (and in many other places):
The mighty energies of the Holy Spirit in relation thereto.
connections, of course, are different, but they are one in
= historical, earthly, temporal.
CHURCH = eternal, heavenly, spiritual.
were chosen - elect - for one thing in their respective realms;
namely, the testimony of God in the universe.
dealings of God with both are shown to be with that purpose in
the history of Israel and the history of the Church one thing
springs into light and is unmistakably evident, that is that
There is no Substitute for
Light Once Given by God
Unfaithfulness to light once given by
God results inevitably and unavoidably in confusion, weakness,
bondage, limitation, and tentativeness.
are clearly the features of Babylon in Israel's case, and of the
Church's case in the twentieth century.
has said that
"The Church of the first century was
The Church of the twentieth century is problem-conscious."
could not improve on that, but we might paraphrase it by saying
Church of the first century was PURPOSE conscious.
The Church of the twentieth century is perplexity conscious.
is peculiarly the Old Testament book of God's reaction in
judgment to lost distinctiveness of purpose. 'Revelation' is its
New Testament counterpart, with many similar characteristics in
anything becomes something in itself, turning, in doctrine and
practice, into a circle instead of a way and a means, confusion,
frustration, and bondage become its characteristics; limitation
and powerlessness will mark its existence.
are now going to look more closely at this matter of lost
distinctiveness of life and testimony is demanded by God is
self-evident in the whole Bible. A word frequently used to
express God's thought as to His people is the word 'peculiar'.
"A Peculiar People"
shall be a peculiar treasure unto me" (Exodus 19:5).
Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people" (Deuteronomy
shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in the day that I do
make, a peculiar treasure" (Malachi 3:17).
Hebrew word segullah denotes 'an
enclosure', i.e. something separated, a preserve, a protected
area. The Greek word denotes something acquired as out of the
ordinary (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9).
the Hebrews were a distinct race separated and hedged around for
a distinct purpose. The time came in the days of the Prophets
when they removed or destroyed their 'hedges', their spiritual
boundaries, and the line of demarcation was obliterated so that
all kinds of wild things grew around the 'choice vine'. This gave
rise to the denunciations and warnings of the Prophets. The whole
work of the Hebrew Prophets related to this one thing.
prophet had some distinctive feature of God's holiness for which
he was fighting and suffering. The four - called 'Major' -
represented four major characteristics of God. The twelve called
'Minor' (only because of the smaller size of the books bearing
their names) - had each some particular feature of the testimony
of God. Mixture is an abomination to God. The Prophets were a
challenge and a call to recover distinctiveness of testimony
through distinctiveness of life.
the New Testament, Christians were known as the People of the
Way. This was a distinguishing designation. Distinctiveness of
testimony is not some testimony distinct from the whole purpose
of God. Nor is it a special part of that whole. It only arises
when the general state has lost its true character, its
characteristic distinctiveness. It is not a system of teaching, a
form of practice and procedure, an exclusiveness of fellowship.
It is the life and lordship of the Spirit; it is the pure and
powerful river of God vitalizing everything.
whole battle rages around this distinctiveness of life and
testimony. The Old Testament and the New are alike in this
particular battle. The wall of Jerusalem was a symbolic
representation of the Divine line of demarcation. Hence the
sieges and battles. Hence the deeper spiritual meaning of
'Nehemiah'. The first three chapters of the book of 'Revelation'
are a return movement of the Lord on this line in relation to New
feature of the Fall and the mark
of Satanic interference with what is of God is loss of
distinctiveness, purity, transparency. Hence, when Satan is
finally cast down, as in the last chapters of the 'Revelation',
"that which maketh a lie" has no place, and everything is
"clear as crystal".
we come face to face with the major factor and the
distinctiveness of the purpose of God.
1. The Inclusive Factor - The
Energy of the Spirit
back at Ezekiel it is impossible not to see that both the Prophet
and his book are particularly characterized by the energies of
the Spirit of God. Ezekiel was himself a man of the Spirit. The
word occurs some twenty-five times. He was moved, carried, led,
strengthened, and, indeed, entirely governed by the Spirit.
book is a record of the goings of the Spirit. In the wheels, the
living creatures, the visions, the valley of dry bones, the
River, etc., the Spirit is represented as the energy of
New Testament counterparts are 'Acts', 'Ephesians' and, in
point is that in all this the Spirit is moving in relation to
purpose in all the immediate diversities unto final completeness,
the ultimate fulness.
it be clearly recognized that the end and object of all the
Spirit's energies is to reproduce that Man in corporate
expression for glory and government. That
will be the Spirit's triumph and the vindication of the Man who
'emptied Himself, was found in fashion as a man, took the form of
a bondslave, became obedient unto death, yea, the death of the
Cross, wherefore God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name
which is above every name.'
we leave Ezekiel in this particular connection, that is, of the
Spirit, it is important to note that such a vessel or vehicle of
the Spirit's energies unto purpose is a wholly and utterly
committed man. Surrender and submission to the Spirit is seen all
the way along. The same thing was true of the men of the New
Testament from Pentecost onward. Only so can God reach His end.
Only so can we have anything resembling New Testament progress. 'Ephesians'
as the Letter of eternal purpose gives a very large place to the
Spirit. The Spirit is the Earnest of the inheritance. The Spirit
is the Revealer of the inheritance. Hence the demand there "Be
filled with the Spirit".
suspend our consideration here for the time being, and then look
at several distinctive features of the Spirit's energies in
relation to purpose.