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Deliverance From the Present Evil Age
Our study at the present time centers around Galatians 3:1 where Paul says to the Galatian Christians, “Who has bewitched you?” And the evidence that they were bewitched was that they had lost the vision of the cross, and as a result of losing the vision of the cross they had gone back into legalism and carnality.
I’ve been trying to explain to you the essential nature of witchcraft. I’ve pointed out that witchcraft is a twin of rebellion. Rebellion is the rejection of God’s righteous and legitimate government. And then rebellion substitutes an illegitimate government and has to use illegitimate power to support the illegitimate government. That illegitimate power is normally witchcraft.
I pointed out that we encounter witchcraft in two dimensions. As a work of the flesh—that’s an expression of the behavior of unregenerate, fallen man—and as an evil spiritual power which had moved into the church in Galatia and was corrupting their spiritual life and destroying the foundation that Paul had laid.
I gave at the end of the previous session some everyday examples of witchcraft as a work of the flesh operating in the home. And then we were talking about witchcraft operating in the church.
Now there’s a very thin dividing line between the work of the flesh and an evil spiritual power. It’s like, for instance, if a person regularly indulges in lust, which is a work of the flesh, sooner or later that person will be captivated by a demon of lust. Or anger, or fear. In other words, the flesh ultimately exposes us to demonic power. I’ve described it this way: The flesh is the carcass, the demonic powers are the vultures that feed on the carcass. So when we expose our fleshly nature continually in the spiritual realm, we are inviting evil forces to move in.
For instance, I gave the example of the pastor who didn’t want to lose a member of his congregation so he gives this kind of threat, “If you leave this church you’ll never prosper, you’ll go downhill from now on.” I don’t know whether you’ve experienced that but that type of attitude and behavior is very, very common in the contemporary church.
Then I gave the example of the Pentecostal church where there’s a young, inexperienced pastor and two older sisters, the “spiritual” ones in the congregation. Whenever the pastor deviates from what they think he ought to do, one of them gives a tongue and the other gives an interpretation.
Now, when we’re getting to that point we are probably moving beyond what is merely the flesh because when you misuse spiritual gifts you are in a very dangerous realm. It could easily happen that such a person exposes herself to a spirit of false prophecy. It is common today.
I want to continue for a little while considering the problem of witchcraft within the church basically as we know it today. And there’s one other particular area that I want to deal with and I trust God will give me grace to be gracious and discreet and yet to tell it like it is. But it’s an area which I’m involved in personally and it’s one in which I think witchcraft has gained tremendous influence in the contemporary American Christian scene. It’s a man with a ministry who is building his ministry. God gives him success and blessing and he sees fruit and he becomes a significant personality. Then he faces a crisis, maybe various kinds of crisis, but the crisis is whose ministry is it? Is it mine or is it God’s? Because if it’s God’s, he’s got the right to do what he wants with it. And God is a jealous God.
Sooner or later I believe he’ll deal with such a person as he dealt with Abraham and with his son Isaac. God gave Isaac to Abraham supernaturally by a miracle. And all God’s plans for Abraham’s future centered in Isaac. But there came a time when God said to Abraham, “I want your son Isaac. I want you to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of Moriah.” And Abraham came to the actual point of being about to kill the very son who was God’s gift to him and God rescinded. We could read that passage for a moment. It’s in Genesis 22, we’ll begin at verse 10 and read through a little bit. This is the scene on Mount Moriah. There’s only Abraham and Isaac there, and the Lord.
“And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here I am. And he [the angel of the Lord] said, Do not lay your had on the lad, or do anything to him: for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
Let’s pause for a moment and consider the implications of that. Who said that to him? The angel of the Lord. To whom did he offer his son? To the Lord. But the angel of the Lord said, “You have not withheld your son from me.” Who was the angel of the Lord? The person manifested in history as Jesus. Not God the Father but the Eternal Son. Almost everywhere in the Old Testament where you find the phrase “the angel of the Lord,” that’s the person it refers to. He is the Lord but he’s also the messenger of the Lord.
“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The Lord Will Provide [which American Christians call Jehovah-Jireh]....”
I was with a tour group in Israel and an Israeli guide said to me, “What’s that they sing, Jehovah-Jireh, what’s that?” I said, “You call it, AdoniUreh.” He said, “I understand.” Anyhow, it means the Lord will see, literally. But will see with a view to providing.
“Abraham called the name of the place, The Lord Will Provide, as it is called to this day, in the mount of the Lord it shall be provided [or it shall be seen]. Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven and said, By myself I have sworn, says the Lord...”
It’s interesting, the angel was the Lord but he said, “says the Lord.” So you have two persons called the Lord in that passage.
“By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: In blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants.”
The Hebrew says “your seed.” What is the way to get God’s permanent blessing? It’s to offer your Isaac, you understand? Abraham could have held on to his Isaac but he would never had had the blessings.
And notice what the Lord said, “I will bless you and I will multiply your seed, your descendants.” You see, the thing we lay on God’s altar he will multiply. The thing we hold on to for ourselves will corrupt. And many of us individually, and almost every man in a significant ministry, at some point or other comes to this crisis. To whom does Isaac belong? “He’s my son, God gave him to me, I’m not going to give him up.” God says, “I gave him to you, will you give him back?” Believe me, it’s no easy crisis. But it’s decisive. The one who gives up his Isaac has the Isaac returned and multiplied beyond his power to measure. The one who holds on to his Isaac has a corrupted ministry.
There are many corrupted ministries. And the Bible says a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. It doesn’t say it won’t bring forth fruit. It may bring forth a lot of fruit but it will be corrupt fruit.
“I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand that’s on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies; in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.”
Think of the blessing that’s released through what we give back to God. And then notice these last words:
“Because you have obeyed my voice.”
I spoke to you about that little booklet there, From Curse to Blessing. Let me tell you the basic causes of blessings and curses. They’re very simple. The basic cause of blessing is hearing what God says and doing it. And the basic cause of a curse is not hearing and not doing. That’s the watershed of humanity. On the one side are those that are blessed and on the other side are those who are cursed. And our destiny is based on how we relate to God when we hear his voice. Do we hear his voice and do it, we’ll be blessed. Do we reject his voice and disobey him, we will be cursed.
I want to come back a little closer to earth and near to our time and I want to point out to you that there is a tremendous temptation in contemporary America—not only in America but primarily in America—to use witchcraft to build your ministry. What are the key words? Manipulate, intimidate and dominate.
Now dominate is the end purpose but there are two roots. One is manipulate and the other is intimidate. Whichever root is followed, that’s the objective: dominate.
I have really prayed for grace to be gracious because I don’t want to talk in such a vague way that I’m not talking about anything and I don’t want to seem to be discrediting anyone. But let’s take the question of how we raise money. Okay. We organize a banquet and I’m the fund-raiser. I say, “God has shown me there are ten people here tonight, each of whom is going to give $1,000.” What’s that? Now, don’t answer hastily. What is it? I believe it could be manipulation, it could be the Holy Spirit. More often then not, believe me, it’s manipulation. But you see, it’s a terrible thing to say because if you thought the thing up for yourself and planned it and then you say, “God has shown me...”, you’re taking the name of the Lord in vain. You’re invoking God and his authority for something that proceeds from you.
I was in a meeting some time back and a man came and preached and he said, “God has given me a word of knowledge of what I’m to preach about.” I have to say it was the most shocking message I’ve ever heard preached. It was obscene. God had nothing to do with that. It’s one thing to make a mistake but it’s another thing to attribute your mistake to the Lord.
Witchcraft uses both enticement and threat. “If you’ll give $50 to this ministry, God will give you back $100 for every $50 you give.” What’s that? In most cases it’s manipulation. Or, “If you don’t support my ministry, all the plagues that God has shown me are coming on the world will come on your life.” What’s that? That’s intimidation, isn’t it? What’s its total nature? Witchcraft.
Now, you make your decision. But for me this is a precipice that I walk because I need to raise vast sums of money to support our ministry. And God, I think, has put the fear of the Lord in me that I will not resort to witchcraft to support the work of the Lord. I trust that’s true, God help me.
But what really grieves me, I have to say honestly, is that the majority of American Christians can be so easily manipulated. It’s a tragedy. I think doubly tragic is so much of that money could go to people who are doing things that God wants done. I believe witchcraft diverts money from where God has destined it to go—down a drain hole. I’m not attacking anything or anybody but I’m really concerned about something that’s to me a vitally real issue.
I said, you know, the man may say, “There are ten people here tonight, each of whom give $1,000.” That could be a real revelation from the Lord. It’s perfectly possible that God could do that. God could show a radio preacher that everyone that offers $50 will get $100 back. I think it’s unlikely myself.
Now, I’m coming to this burning practical issue. How do we protect ourselves from witchcraft? How can we avoid this snare? How can the church be kept from being bewitched? It blesses me that I’ve discovered the problem is stated in Galatians and the solution is stated in Galatians, too. And that’s what I want to deal with. I’m not interested in expounding on the problem. As long as you feel that it’s real.
Now I want to say a little bit more first about the nature of witchcraft as an evil, spiritual power and not just a work of the flesh. I believe that it emanates from Satan and his rebellious angels. Remember we talked about Ephesians 6:12, the upper level of Satan’s kingdom, the kingdom of rebellious angels? I believe it’s Satan’s way of reestablishing his dominion over the human race. I believe furthermore, that it’s the natural religion of fallen man. In other words, everywhere that the Bible has not come that there is religion, the religion is witchcraft. In Asia, Africa, South America, North America; there’s plenty of witchcraft still going on in this continent.
When I came to see that, everything fitted into place. You know, if you think about witchcraft as old ladies riding around on broom handles, it’s weird. But when you think about it as the way that fallen man relates to those whom he considers to be gods, then you understand that it’s all pervasive. The only alternative to witchcraft really is the gospel. And it includes every form of occult practice. Every thing that’s occult is in that area. And it ultimately is the way that Satan seeks to gain control, to dominate the human race.
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed in the past decade the amazing upsurge of the occult. You can hardly go to any major store in this nation without having all sorts of things that are blatantly occult displayed for sale. Ruth and I were in Norway a few years ago. I’ve always regarded Scandinavians as being advanced in civilization. My first wife was Danish, I’m very familiar with Scandinavia. You know, we did not see a single store in Oslo that didn’t have a ?trollkiner?. Do you know what a ?trollkiner? is? A witch. They’re very respectable, nice looking witches. But trollis the Scandinavian word for a witch. ?Trollkiner? is a witch woman. I can’t think of a store that didn’t have one. It’s astonishing. Some of those stores were owned by people who professed to be Christians.
We are not aware of the degree to which the occult has infiltrated our total society. And we have to be very, very much on our guard not to be affected by it. It’s possible to be totally unaffected. After all, the early church was born into a culture like that. Both the Greeks and the Romans worshiped many different gods. Satan’s angels. And they’re still demanding the worship of humanity. Don’t imagine that Satan’s given up. He hasn’t, he’s making a comeback.
Here in this island there’s a tremendous resurgence of the acknowledgment of the old gods including Madam Pele. Have you read some of the things that the secular newspapers have said about that? In New Zealand there’s a tremendous upsurgence of what they call Maori culture. What is Maori culture? It’s witchcraft. And believe me, they are experts at it. You have to go a long way to find anybody who can beat the Maoris at witchcraft. The same in Britain. A resurgence of Druidism. In Germany a resurgence of all the old Nordic gods, Valhalla and all that. Satan is saying to the church, “You’ve pushed me back in some places but you never really defeated me and I’m coming back, I’m taking over.”
What exposes the human race, what makes it so vulnerable? Why are even cultivated and educated people prepared to go for these ridiculous superstitions? Because it appeals to rebellion. That’s the thing that Satan exploits in humanity, it’s humanity’s rebellion against God. The refusal to accept the righteous government of God and Jesus Christ. And wherever you find rebellion, what’s the next thing you look for? Witchcraft. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
I said that the purpose of witchcraft is to overthrow the legitimate authority of God and substitute an illegitimate authority. Let’s look for a moment at what it did to the Galatian churches. We’ll turn to Galatians 4:1–11. This is not on your outline, you might want to jot this reference down, it’s an important one. Paul is talking about the purpose for which the law was given and he says the law was like a responsible slave in a wealthy man’s household whose job it was to take the wealthy man’s children to the school and hand them to the teacher. The word that’s used here is tutor. But Paul says once the slave delivered the child to the teacher, the slave’s job was finished. So the purpose of the law was to bring us to the place where we would find Christ, the teacher. But once we found Christ, the purpose of the law is finished. If you see the picture, I’ll read now. Galatians 4:1:
“Now I say, the heir [the rich man’s heir], as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he’s master of all; but he’s under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even as we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world...”
That’s Paul’s description of being under the law. To be in bondage under the elements of the world. What’s the modern word for bondage? Slavery. Bondage is such a nice, religious word we don’t really get the impact of it. We were under slavery.
“But when the fulness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [No longer slaves, but sons.] And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son.” [When were you a slave? When you were under the law.] And if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then indeed [that’s in the past] when you did not know God, you served those by which nature are not gods. But now, after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage [or under slavery]? You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.”
That’s a tremendously serious statement. Those people had come into the fullness of the gospel, baptized in the Spirit, experiencing miracles. And Paul says, “At the present moment I’m not sure whether I’ve wasted my time on you or not.” Why? Because they were going back into legalism, carnality. And what does legalism produce? Slavery.
What’s the illegitimate authority? It’s restoring the rule of the flesh over the Spirit. It’s restoring a legal system in place of the leading of the Holy Spirit. That’s the purpose of Satan through witchcraft. In order to do that he has to blind God’s people to what was accomplished by the cross.
I said that the remedy, the defense, the protection is revealed in Galatians. That really blesses me. The problem is stated there and the protection is stated there. And I tell you that I have earnestly studied Galatians for nearly two years off and on because this is a personal problem. It’s not something that I can just preach to others, but I don’t want to come under witchcraft. I don’t want to use witchcraft to get my ends. I’m a strong personality, I’ve got a flow of language, I’ve been in the ministry more than 40 years. But believe me, I know how to get people to do what I want them to do. It’s not difficult. And let me say lovingly, Americans are the easiest because they’re open hearted, generous, kind people. It grieves me to see them bewitched.
Now you try to bewitch the British, that’s another job, you can do it. You tell the British, “If you give 50 pounds to my ministry, you’ll get 100 back.” They’ll laugh at you! It takes a different type of person to bewitch the British.
We’re going to look at a fivefold deliverance which is unfolded in Galatians.
Let me tell you something while you’re looking. Whenever I get angry, and uptight, and easily offended, and I’m determined I’m going to have my way, you know what I am? I’m a candidate for witchcraft. I need to repent at that time.
There’s a fivefold deliverance and it’s stated in your outline, I don’t have to put it on the board. The first is stated in Galatians 1:4: Deliverance from this present evil age. I read this introduction to Galatians scores of times and never even noticed that statement. But when the Holy Spirit’s time comes, he puts his finger on a thing. We’ll read Galatians 1:3–4.
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins... [Where did he do that? On the cross, that’s right.] ...that he might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”
So the purpose for the death of Jesus on the cross stated there is that he might deliver us from this present evil age. That statement carries with it some very important implications.
First of all, let me say a little bit about some of the words that are used. There are two related words, related in meaning, that we have to deal with. One of them I think we’ve looked at already, is ionwhich gives us the English word eon. Are you familiar with that? It means an age. The other is the word cosmoswhich gives us all sorts of English words like cosmonaut, cosmological, all that. And it’s translated world. They are connected but they’re very different.
Ion, or eon, is a period of time. A very long period of time by human standards. Cosmos, as I’ve said before, is really a sociological order. It’s the way the human race has got life arranged, but it’s one that leaves out God, the true God. It’s an organization of rebellion to keep in being a rebellious race. There you find the key word is rebellion.
It says about the people in the days of Noah—perhaps you should look at that. Keep your finger in Galatians and look in 2Peter 3:5–6. This is just to bring out the meaning of the word “world.”
“For this they willfully forget, but by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: by which [that’s the word of God] the world that then existed, perished, being flooded with water.”
So the world that existed in the days of Noah perished. Now the earth didn’t perish but that whole social order perished. And then a new order came into being. That is, the world in which we live today.
There are many important features about the world. First of all, it’s at enmity with God. It’s really at war with God. Jesus said to his brothers, his brothers in the flesh before they became believers, “The world cannot hate you, but me it hates because I testify that its works are evil.” And then he said to his disciples, “Don’t wonder if the world hates you, because you are not of the world.” Do you understand? The church is a group of people brought into being by a sovereign, miraculous act of God in the midst of the world, but not part of the world. This is a lesson that is desperately needed by the American church.
You see, I’ll just offer you a little thought. I believe a tremendous revival is coming to this nation. God spoke that to me audibly in l953 and I’ve been believing ever since—to the United States and Great Britain. But before you start praising the Lord I think you better buckle your seat belt because I’m inclined to think that the impact of this revival will be to separate the world from the church. And then the world will hate the church as we’ve never known it to hate the church. I don’t think it’s going to make everything beautiful and lovely. I think it’s going to accomplish the purposes of God and it’s going to bring a line of separation which doesn’t really exist today.
The great preacher Spurgeon once said to his congregation on a Sunday morning in the middle of his message, “If the devil were to come in now and start hauling some of you off, I wouldn’t know whether to shout ‘Stop thief’ or not!” If that was true then, how much more today?
So that’s the world. Now we’re not talking for the time being about the world, we’re talking about the present age. God’s dealings are split up into ages and ages are very long periods of time. It excites me that some of the statements in the Bible are to the “ages of the ages.” It occurs seven times in the Book of Revelation. Think of an age that’s made up of ages. How can the human mind even begin to contemplate that?
But anyhow, we’re talking now about ion, age. Jesus delivered us from this present evil age. I want to look with you at some of the implications of that statement. First of all, this age is coming to an end. Turn to Matthew 13, there’s a number of references given there.
You know, it’s very, very important for all of us to realize this age is coming to an end. Many of you, frankly, are living as if it were never coming to an end.
Matthew 13—and we could find many more passages, verse 39, the interpretation of the wheat and the tares parable.
“The enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age...”
This age is going to end with a harvest. I believe it’s going to end with a double harvest. Revelation 14 speaks about both harvests. First the harvest of souls into the kingdom of God. I believe we’re going to see souls saved on a scale that we have never even anticipated. But immediately after that is going to come the harvest of the grapes of wrath. But the harvest is the end of the age.
And I think it’s important to remember in the parable of the wheat and the tares the same climatic conditions that ripen the wheat ripen the tares. That certainly is happening today. The same kind of conditions that are ripening the church are ripening the wicked. If I were to put one word, it would be the casting off of restraint. Religious people are being released from old time bondages but the world is being released from all the restrictions of morality and decency and law abiding. That’s the summer that ripens the crops very rapidly. So the harvest is the end of the age.
Just let me give you the other text here and we’ll look at another one. Verse 40:
“Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so it will be at the end of this age.”
And verse 49, another parable, the parable of the dragnet:
“So it will be at the end of the age, the angels come forth, and separate the wicked from among the just.”
And you can find many other such statements, the end of the age.
While we’re talking about the end of the age and the harvest we’ll go to one scripture that isn’t here, James 5. I’m glad you people give me liberty. I’m taking it, I hope you’re giving it to me! I’m not sticking entirely to the outline. There are people who pray for me that I’ll get set free from my outline. Usually the most exciting things happen when I do. James 5:7:
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until he receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient, establish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Notice James is speaking about the harvest, the conditions that are required to ripen the harvest and he relates it to the end of the age and the coming of the Lord. So that when we talk about the end of the age, it’s the ripening of the harvest and the harvest season. It talks of the time of the coming of the Lord. And in order to ripen the harvest, in the climate of Israel, they had to have the former rain and the latter rain. The former rain at the beginning of the winter, the latter rain at the end of the winter. If the latter rain failed, the harvest would fail. And so I believe personally, since the beginning of this century we have been experiencing the latter rain on a worldwide scale which is ever increasing. The latter rain of the Holy Spirit. We need to bear in mind the rain is given for the sake of the harvest, not just to make little spiritual “bless-me clubs” but to ripen the harvest and equip us to reap it.
There are two kinds of ways to react to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. One is to become super-spiritual and inbred. The other is to realize there’s a world out there that needs the gospel. I’ve been equipped to reap the harvest. I mean all of us. That means me too, thank God.
That’s a vitally important fact. This age is coming to an end. If you’re living as though we’re going on forever, you’re living in a fool’s paradise. Furthermore, in my opinion, it’s coming to an end rather rapidly. I see everything proceeding at an accelerated rate. What used to take 100 years takes about 10 years.
2 Corinthians 4:4. Now here is perhaps the most important fact of all. We have to read verse 3 as well.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing: whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
Notice that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers. Who is the god of this age? Satan. Now that’s tremendously important. Satan is the god of this age. That’s why it’s an evil age. And that’s why we need to be delivered from it. I personally don’t believe that will ever change until the age ends. Satan will continue to be the god of this age until it ends. Then he’ll be a god no longer. That’s why he’s desperately anxious to prevent the age from ending. And that’s why he’s desperately anxious to prevent the church from doing the things that will bring the age to an end. His being a god is contingent upon the present age continuing.
I would have to say to you, brothers and sisters, God can do a lot of wonderful things, but I don’t believe he’s going to change the basic character of this age. It’s an evil age and it remains evil. God’s remedy for us is not to change the age but to deliver us from it. We don’t belong in this age.
Let’s look at some more scriptures. Hebrews 6:4–6. This is speaking about people who pass the place of repentance. I’m not talking about that although I do believe it is possible for a person to pass the place of repentance. I’m simply using this scripture to illustrate certain experiences which belong to all God’s people in this present age.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened...”
Now notice, we’re going to have a list of experiences. First of all, they were enlightened.
“...tasted the heavenly gifts, have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come.”
Now all those statements should be true of every believer here. We have been enlightened, we have tasted the heavenly gifts [eternal life], we’ve become partakers of the Holy Spirit, we’ve tasted the good word of God, and we’ve tasted the powers of the age to come. That’s what the baptism in the Holy Spirit does. It lifts you out of the limitations of this present age. And you get a little taste of what it will be like to live in the next age.
Paul calls it a deposit. This isn’t in your outline but I’ll make no extra charge for it! Turn to 2Corinthians for a moment. 2Corinthians 1:21–22. If you don’t have this you might want to write it down in your outline.
“Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God.”
You need to bear in mind the word “anointed” is the same word from which we get “Christ.” So we’re in Christ, and in Christ we’re “Christed,” we’re anointed.
“And has also sealed us [what’s the seal? The Holy Spirit.], and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.”
The Holy Spirit is a deposit. I’m going to give you the word that’s used. It’s a very, very interesting word. You may have seen that I’m interested in languages. I’ve been around a long while and a lot of places, I know English and I know some of some other languages. But this word is a word that occurs actually in four languages. The deposit. We’ll start with the Hebrew, I’ll put it in English letters. Arabon. In Arabic, ?arbon?. In Greek it’s arrhabon. There are different ways of writing it but it’s the same word. Then interestingly enough, in the Swahili language—Swahili is spoken in East Africa, it’s the kind of common language of East Africa. They’ve got a background amongst the Arabs so they call it ?arabuni?. But it’s one and the same word. It’s a word that’s really got around.
Now, it means “a deposit.” And years back in Jerusalem in 1946 I learned the real meaning of this word. And I want to share it with you because it’s so illuminating.
My first wife and I moved into a new house in Jerusalem and we needed some furniture and fittings. We needed some curtains. Let’s say we needed 20 yards of material so we went down to the Old City—how many of you have been in the Old City? One of those little narrow streets—but they were much narrower and much smellier in those days. And you know, there’s an area for everything. There’s an area for meat, and there’s an area for coffee, and there’s an area for shoes... We went to the area for cloth, for material. And we found the material that we wanted and its price was, let’s say, $4 a yard. We needed 20 yards so that’s $80.
Now I didn’t have $80 on me but I said to the man, “I want all that 20 yards and I’ll give you a deposit.” What’s the word? ?Arbon?. “I’ll give you twenty dollars and I’ll come back with $60. But bear in mind that from now on that piece of material belongs to me. You’re not free to expose it for sale to anybody. No one else can buy it.” A day or two later I came back with $60 and took the cloth.
Now the Holy Spirit is the Lord’s deposit. He says, “From now on, you belong to me. You can’t even be exposed for sale to anybody else. If I’ve given you this deposit, it tells you what? I’m coming back to give you the rest, take you with me.” So the Holy Spirit is a little bit of heaven’s glory and power now. It’s just to assure us that’s where we belong. We’ve been delivered from this present evil age, we’ve tasted the powers of the age to come. That should give us such an appetite for that age that we’re not interested in this age.