Reading: Psalm 8:1-6; Hebrews 2.
We have now to speak of the
Fall and to notice three things about it, namely, its object, its nature, its
The Object Behind the Fall
What was the object of the fall, so far as
the Adversary was concerned? It was nothing else than world dominion. It was
not just to mar God's work, not just to spite God, not just to gratify some
unholy and malignant whim. It was to possess a position, to obtain a place.
What Lucifer has failed to achieve in heaven he will seek to achieve in earth.
What he has failed to accomplish against God directly he will now seek to
accomplish against God indirectly through man. He was aware that dominion was
vested in Adam; spiritual dominion and the government of the Kosmos. He was
aware of the conditions upon which that dominion rested and was held, namely,
faithful obedience and allegiance to God. He was also aware of the threefold
faculty of that dominion, the faculty of prophet and of priest and of king.
His object was to secure that Kosmic and spiritual dominion which was vested
conditionally in Adam, and for which Adam had been constituted. The thing in
view with the adversary was world dominion. We know from the rest of the
Scriptures, and especially from specific statements in the New Testament, that
he got it, and even Christ did not dispute that he had it.
The Nature of the Fall
The nature of the fall makes
very clear that the adversary directed his attention, firstly to the condition
of the dominion, and then to the character of the dominion. The condition was
faithfulness, obedience, allegiance to God. He struck at that. That is so
familiar that we need not analyse it nor say any more about it. It is quite
clear that it was in the direction or in the realm of Adam's relationship to
God in the obedience of faith that the enemy directed his attempt, his effort,
(1) The Spiritual Mind
He also recognised this
three-fold basis or faculty in dominion, that of the prophet, the priest and
the king; and, seeing that in the first case it was the spiritual mind which
was the feature of his dominion he struck at it, and dealt with man along the
line of reason. Thus he countered spiritual-mindedness with merely human
reasoning. There is a big history attached to that. You notice how he argues.
(The very fact that man will listen to the devil arguing is a sure way to his
being dethroned. Argue with the devil and you will lose your spiritual
position. And do not let the devil argue with you. The Lord Jesus had none of
that. When Satan would argue with Him, He said: "It is written...." That is
final; He does not argue, the thing is settled.) The realm of the mind was
assailed by the devil. God had said, and that ought to have been enough (it
was enough for the last Adam). But the mind was assailed and the mind was
opened. Beloved, there is never anything wrong in having your mind assailed,
the wrong is when you give the mental assent to the assault. Demas departed
from Paul and went back into the world, and we are told that it was because he
loved this present evil world. But that is only the end of a history. The
world made its appeal. Demas could have shut the door and said, I will have
none of it; but he assented to the appeal, and that is where his fall came. In
the same way Adam, instead of at once closing the door to such arguments as
were bringing into question God's known mind, assented to the assault in that
realm and lost his prophetic faculty. You see the first realm of the attack.
(2) The Pure Heart
Then the priestly faculty was
assailed - the heart, the desire. The whole thing, of course, was very
beautiful, dressed up, gilded as not to appear wrong and unrighteous, but
something to be desired. Oh! what a lot that gives away - "to be desired." The
heart, the desires, the whole direction was unrighteous, wrong, but the
priestly function was assailed in the heart with an unrighteous desire.
(3) The Holy Will
Then the dominion, the kingly
faculty, the will. Once the mind and the heart are captured, it is not far to
go to catch the will, and that is the order. Reason over on the side of the
devil, desire over on his side, and it will not be long before the will
follows. So the authority is assailed, the dominion. But there was a
deep-seated principle of spiritual holiness.
That is the nature of the
fall. The prophet, the priest, and the king, in all that that means
spiritually, as spiritual features, were assailed and, by consent, surrendered
to the enemy.
The Consequences of the
What are the consequences of
the fall? They are quite obviously and naturally in keeping with the nature.
They are, in the realm of the spirit or the spiritual mind, blindness and
darkness. And that is how we find fallen man: "Having the understanding
darkened". The whole teaching of the New Testament on spiritual blindness,
spiritual darkness - "the god of this age hath blinded the minds of the
unbelieving" - is bound up with the fall.
The spiritual mind is not in
the natural man. He has lost the knowledge of God, spiritually. He has no
spiritual understanding. That is the prophet.
In the realm of the priest,
the heart, there is malice or enmity against God. That is the natural man. You
see the opposites. The true priest represents the love of God, the heart side
of things. Aaron always represents the heart aspect of things. God read
Aaron's heart right at the beginning. The very first thing that you have said
about Aaron as he comes into fellowship with Moses is, from God to Moses:
"Aaron thy brother... when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart." That is
the Lord having read Aaron's heart, and Aaron comes in on the heart side of
things. He always represents the affections, just as Moses represents the
government. But now you see the heart, or the priestly feature and faculty,
has been interfered with, overthrown, and now, instead of love toward God, it
is enmity against God. That is the natural man, and it does not matter what
you say about multitudes of good people unsaved in this world not being at
enmity with God, and repudiate strongly any such suggestion, the fact remains.
There is not a man or a woman who has ever been on this earth who, if put into
certain given circumstances, would not manifest enmity against God. It only
wants circumstances to do it. Try them on Job's line and see!
The will - the king? Where is
the natural man if he is not in bondage in the realm of his will? Say what he
may about liberty, freedom, there is no man free. There is no such thing as
liberty in this creation. Bondage to sin and to death, and also - unconsciously
with many - to the devil.
The prophet, the priest and
the king in spiritual meaning has simply been overthrown in the fall, and
these are the consequences; consequences with which we are all too sadly
The Spiritual Battle of all
Now, in the realm of the three-fold function
of man according to God's mind the fact and nature of the fall is continuously
manifested. This will head up to and in Anti-Christ for its full expression.
What I mean is this; whenever God has raised up an instrument, either
individual or collective, of this character, and with this object, to fulfil
this function of prophet, priest and king in principle, to express the Divine
government, the battle has immediately commenced along these three lines.
THE PROPHET - The battle
commences along the line of the prophetic function, that is, along the line of
the spiritual mind. What is the nature of that assault? Unbelief! Unbelief is
the first step in the assault upon the spiritual mind. That is the first step,
therefore, in the assault upon the prophetic function, as an expression of
God's thought. But then it intensifies, and history is full of it from its
first phase of - shall we say - simple unbelief, through all its intensified
phases of rationalism.
Rationalism is a direct
assault upon the spiritual mind, and therefore an assault upon the prophetic
faculty. That is, God's thought represented and expressed. Rationalism is
against that. Atheism resulted. Unbelief, rationalism, atheism; these are the
direct methods of attacking that which is meant by the prophet - a spiritual
revelation of God's mind. It is tremendously illuminating if you follow it
out. Put on one side spiritual revelation of God's mind, the expression of the
mind of God as given by the Holy Spirit. Over against that you have positively
set, unbelief, rationalism and atheism. Is that not so? It assails the
prophet, which every man and woman in living relationship to God is called to
be. The prophet is not a specific office, but an inherent constitutional
faculty in every man according to God's will. That is, you and I and every
child of God - all the Lord's people - are called to have the spiritual mind, the
knowledge of God by revelation of the Holy Ghost. That constitutes a prophet.
I know that there are various aspects of prophetic expression, but that is the
principle, whatever the aspects. If it is forth-telling, well, the only
forth-telling that comes within the compass of God's appointing is by
revelation of the Holy Ghost. That the fore-telling is that, it goes without
saying, but it is the unveiling of God by the Holy Spirit. Over against that
are positively set these things mentioned.
While that is the direct
method, there are less direct methods. The apostle speaks and warns about
philosophy: "lest any man SPOIL YOU through philosophy." That word "spoil" is
an exceedingly interesting word in the Greek. It means, to separate you from
the source of your life. Now think of that! The devil was out to spoil the
Lord Jesus, therefore the Lord Jesus was out to spoil the devil, and spoiling
there means, cutting clean in between the object and his base of operations,
and cutting him off. Now, "lest any man spoil you through philosophy," cut you
off and separate you from your true source, your true life. There is nothing
more materialistic in its effect than philosophy.
Then there is mysticism, an
indirect assault upon the spiritual mind. Oh! how subtle it is! You can have a
mystical presentation and interpretation of the New Testament and of all the
Scriptures, which is very beautiful. It makes a tremendous appeal to the
artistic faculties and temperament. Some far-reaching, mighty religious
systems owe the whole of their strength to mysticism, the mystical
representation of Christian truth, appealing to the aesthetic, the artistic.
Mysticism is not spirituality. But, oh, the multitudes carried away by that
beautiful, artistic, mystical presentation of Christianity! It is an assault
upon the spiritual mind, and this is where our peril so much lies in relation
to truth; the appeal so wonderful, beautiful, and our own natural, rational
response to it; the sublime ideas, these wonderful conceptions; and then
grasping it like that, holding it in our aesthetic sense, in our soulical
mind, and thinking we have got the truth and always talking about it, how
wonderful it is, and yet there being a background of fundamental
We are in dangerous realms.
When God by His Spirit breaks clean through and reveals a thing He turns the
life upside down and inside out, and you can never be the same again. Do not
talk about the wonderful, sublime, beautiful things. These things have become
something far, far deeper than that. You know quite well that there is a sense
in which they are terrible things, marvellous but terrible. You can never
contemplate God as a beautiful work of art, about which you talk sublimely. He
is wonderful, He is marvellous, but, oh! He is awe-full! Those two things
always go together. Mysticism is one of the devil's most cunning inventions
and means of side-tracking from real, genuine spirituality. It is a blow at
the spiritual mind, a substitute for it and a delusion.
Forgive me if I add one other of these
indirect means of attack upon the prophetic function of man according to God.
It is educationalism.
Now that wants guarding. Let
no one think for a moment that that means that we are against education. I
have not said "education"; I have said "educationalism." What I mean by that
is this; the theory that you can educate people up to a Christian standard and
into acceptance with God, and that education can become a way by which you
come into the Kingdom of God. Today there are great Christian institutions
labouring under that lie, that deception. They are out to educate, educate,
educate, by slow absorption of Christian knowledge, Christian ideas and
ideals, along the line of education. Thus shall we bring in the Kingdom of
God, they say. And that, being what we mean by educationalism, is a blow of
the devil at this very thing, spiritual-mindedness. You and I can never by
searching, by study, or by education, by the development of our brains along
any academic or scholastic lines enter the Kingdom of God, nor even apprehend
the very minutest degree of spiritual truth. That is only possible along
spiritual lines by the action of the Holy Spirit. Educationalism as such, used
in relation to the things of God, is in the same category as mysticism and
philosophy, and they are only other aspects of unbelief and rationalism.
hope I am not tiring you, but I do feel that the foundations of God's people
have got to be well and truly laid, so I am going on. The natural and carnal
mind, at their very best, are still enmity against God. Nothing - mysticism,
educationalism nor philosophy - alters the basic fact, nothing changes the
nature of man as the result of the fall. Now that deals with the line of the
prophet, or the spiritual mind.
THE PRIEST - We are saying that
the nature and fact of the fall are continuously manifested through history in
this three-fold realm.
Mixture and Loss of
Then, in the second realm of
the priest, where do we trace these marks of the fall? In the loss of
distinctiveness between good and evil, right and wrong. "If thou shalt take
the precious from the vile." You see, God demands a separation. But in Israel,
when those words were uttered, there was no clear apprehension of the
distinction between the two, the precious and the vile. It became so mixed up
that the people in general could not discriminate between the two. And then in
the upsetting of standards, calling evil good, and good evil. Do you see that
at work today? It is spreading through this earth like a disease. Those old
standards are being cast down, those land-marks are being removed, and evil is
being called good, and good is being called evil. Why, right across the whole
of the system of Communism, religion, Christianity, God, are called evil
things. That is, in its intensive form. In less intensive form the same thing
is going on in the world today, and in a very general way. Good is being
called evil, and evil is being called good, and so the standards are being
upset. The sinfulness of sin is being modified or extracted. With what object?
It relates to the heart, that is, it is an easing of the way for human desires
and passions. Men desire, want, and have passions for certain things, and
therefore they must modify the sinfulness of those things, or extract from
them - for their own satisfaction, and say they are either good or, "necessity
knows no law." Do you see it is a heart matter? You are touching the priest
THE KING - The fall is shown
continuously through history in the realm of the kingly, or dominion calling
and constitution of man. Firstly, along the line of substitutes for the pure,
Divine, kingly faculty of government. What are they? Despotism on the one
hand, and, on the other hand, democracy. Again, autocracy and communism. These
are substitutes for the true, Divine government and faculty. What do they lead
to? Anarchy! What does that represent? The overthrow, the destruction
of a true Divine order of government as represented by the king.
The Spiritual Background of
Now what have we done in this
survey? We have seen that at the back of history there is a spiritual
thing going on. At the back of history as seen, there is a history which is
not seen, and it is in that realm back of the seen that the real issue is to
be fought out. Do you understand why the Lord Jesus put back and put back all
suggestions and attempts to set up a kingdom amongst men, when He came, when
they would take Him by force and make Him King, and when they would talk about
the Kingdom? "Dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel." They
expected that the Kingdom would immediately appear, but all the time He is
thrusting it away. "Art thou a king then?" "My kingdom is not of this world."
Why? The issue was not in the foreground, it was behind, and He was going to
deal with the whole question of the curse, in the spiritual realm. In His
Cross and by His Cross He stripped off principalities and powers, He got
behind everything. He starts behind things. He will finish in the foreground
with the Kingdom and dominion restored, but that is where you and I are,
beloved. We are in the background at present, we are not setting up a kingdom
before the eyes of men, we are not out for this Kingdom of Heaven which is a
seen thing that can be displayed to the eyes of men. What you and I are in is
the great spiritual conflict back of everything else, the issue of which is
the dominion of this universe. "Our warfare is not with flesh and blood, but
with principalities and powers, the world rulers of this darkness, the
SPIRITUAL hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies." That is where our vocation
is as prophets, priests and kings. It is back there that you and I have got to
have the spiritual mind, the spiritual knowledge of God, by revelation, the
only thing that counts. It is back there that you and I have got to stand in
that righteousness which is of faith, as a mighty thing against the assaults
of the enemy, having on the breastplate of righteousness. It is back there
that you and I have got to reign as kings, to know what spiritual dominion
over the enemy and all his forces is. That is our calling. Later it will be
displayed to the universe, later on it will come into full view. When He is
manifested we shall be manifested together with Him, but now it is spiritual.
THE WHOLE vocation of the
Church in this dispensation is spiritual, and in the realm of principalities
and powers, and, mark you, you will never be able to deal with souls of men
only in so far as you know ascendancy over the power of the enemy behind. You
will never be able to deal with situations which arise only in the measure in
which you know how to deal with that situation behind as the work of Satan.
The whole issue is one of spiritual dominion, and we are in the battle for the
Throne. Blessed be God, we know the issue, but the battle is a very sore one,
at times it is a terrific one. Every time there is going to be a little
addition to the saints along the line of spiritual revelation, which will
constitute them prophets in that spiritual sense, or an addition to the saints
of righteousness by faith, which will constitute them priests unto God, those
two things directly point on to the Throne, and the spiritual ascendancy of
the saints and dominion; and so every time there will be a strange, a
mysterious, unaccountable - unless you know the spiritual history of
things - conflict to start with. Yes, before the thing begins, perhaps weeks
before. The enemy knows our programmes and he knows what the issue of
spiritual people coming together for a season means for him, therefore ahead
he starts the battle, and we know days, sometimes weeks, before we are coming
together what it is to enter into a terrific conflict, a withstanding, and
every attempt is made to destroy that thing in advance, to make it impossible.
You see what the issue is. It is dominion. We ought to be reaching out to see
that we are going to move into whatever God is after. They that have the
abundance of grace shall reign in life by that one Man, Jesus Christ.